Anne Goodwin: Her Knight in Shining Armour

Ella looked up from where she knelt at the fireplace, raking cinders from the bottom of the grate. Her father loved a log fire in the evenings but, like a small boy begging for a puppy, he had no notion of the time and energy lost in feeding it and cleaning up its mess. She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. “I’d love to, Gris, but you know what it’s like.” Continue reading “Anne Goodwin: Her Knight in Shining Armour”

Matthew Andrews: Seeing Tomorrow

Lewis rolled onto his back. He first noticed it when he could see the dark outline of the tip and bridge of his nose against the morning light leaking through the window blinds. No no no, he thought. As a test, he raised his right hand toward his bedroom ceiling and opened both eyes wide. Beyond the front edge of his nose, he only saw his hand and the beginning of his wrist. He slowly moved his arm left. It was not until his arm crossed his torso that Lewis could see his forearm. “Shit!” he shouted. He pounded the bed with his right hand clenched. “Not today.” His breath quickened. Moisture built in his eyes. Continue reading “Matthew Andrews: Seeing Tomorrow”

Chris Pellizzari : Trapped in Darien

Jimmy Belino sits up in bed, his heart pounding. He looks around his room. He breathes slowly, through his nose and out his mouth. He knows the routine. He has battled anxiety and depression in this room more than any other place. Damn this insomnia, he says to himself. He falls asleep for a couple hours, then wakes up. It takes him another three hours to fall back to sleep. It plays hell with his anxiety.

“St. Therese, why am I still here? Why didn’t you take me last night?” he says out loud. Continue reading “Chris Pellizzari : Trapped in Darien”

G. W. Clift: My Husband Had a Mid-Life Crisis

One night when Dan was out of town, I awoke in the middle of a rain storm, sure I had heard a voice between the bursts of thunder coming from outside my bedroom.

“Look in the cistern,” the voice whispered in my ear. “Look in the cistern and you will find . . .”

The final words were covered by a timpani roll and I couldn’t make out what it was the voice was telling me. In fact, I figured the message was intended for my husband. Ghostly voices didn’t usually speak to me in the middle of the night. Continue reading “G. W. Clift: My Husband Had a Mid-Life Crisis”

Loretta Diane Walker: Interpretations

“The ultimate goal… is not to understand the dream,however, but to understand the dreamer.” —Calvin S. Hall

I am a sycamore tree
levitating over a deep hole
where I was once planted.
With roots intact, fanned like wild hair,
I stare down
at the gaping wound.
No thing or thought can fill its yawning.
No longing is large enough
to fit inside or cork it.
The bark on my aged wide trunk
is smooth and slippery.
Light slides up and down my chest
with its quick fingers grasping
for purchase around my neck.
My fleshy branches are hundreds of arms
reaching in all directions, searching
for something to hold
or give my life to. Continue reading “Loretta Diane Walker: Interpretations”

Loretta Diane Walker: Before My Birth

“Think long and hard about it. You won’t get a second chance with this one.” —Mother    

I want to return to a sticky September afternoon,
back before my umbilical cord was snipped
and tied. Even further still, back before I was a seed
in the garden of my mother’s life.
There are a few things I want to negotiate
with the Creator, “do overs” for squandered opportunities. Continue reading “Loretta Diane Walker: Before My Birth”

Ken Wheatcroft Pardue: This Morning

eating my 4-minute eggs, my 2 veggie sausages, my whole-wheat toast,
out my front window, a passing school bus’ rumblings
launch a jumble of wings.

Our annual spring rite in full swing.
When cedar waxwings swarm on my holly bush
to gorge on its red berries.

Like Hitchcock’s The Birds,
an ear-full of them, their beaks
spotted with scarlet drops, swoop down.

My eggs cold, my plate abandoned.
I stand at the window, eyes flitting from branch to branch,
at this orgy, this blood-red frenzy. Continue reading “Ken Wheatcroft Pardue: This Morning”

Christina Moriconi: Contra-conception: On the 20th anniversary of a child I chose not to have

Long before your conception,
a mix of protection with lust
prevented your existence.
With regularity,
chanted “my body, my choice,”
sought my “self”
before I sought the thought of you.
In this contra-conception,
mixed with bohemian illusions,
men wooed me brain and body,
and I muted thoughts of children. Continue reading “Christina Moriconi: Contra-conception: On the 20th anniversary of a child I chose not to have”

Vicki Collins: GPA

All my life I had been guarded and protected by a strict father and three brothers, whose intentions seemed to align with the work of wardens. Most important decisions had been made for me by my parents, so on my first day of college, I was like a felon ready to bolt from her cell. When they were satisfied that I had my campus bearings and was properly settled in my dorm room, my parents said tearful goodbyes to their sixteen-year-old baby girl whose heart and soul were chanting, “Free at last!” As my mother turned toward the parking lot, her shoulders shook as she sobbed into Daddy’s handkerchief. I couldn’t wait until the big green Chevy, like a tank in God’s army, rolled out of sight. I was ready to be independent of their conservative Southern Baptist constraints. Continue reading “Vicki Collins: GPA”