Retrieving My Father’s Ashes on My Birthday

by David P. Miller

It took fewer days for him
to carry me home, lay me in the crib
than for me to carry him home,
place him on a bedroom closet shelf
among the bare clothes hangers. Continue reading

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True Story

by Kay Cosgrove & Lauren Hilger

Now, when I read this, a cloud covers
a marble lobby deep in sick July,
changing my face with grief.

I have been here before,
at least every summer since, hot air,
a hug behind a locked hotel room door— Continue reading

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Just the Facts

by Vivian Lawry

I was my younger sister’s maid of honor when she married her high school sweetheart a year after graduation, and fifty years later I was her matron of honor when she married him again—and I hope to tell you that finding an appropriate outfit for a sixty-something matron of honor was no easy task— Continue reading

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The Poisoned Birds Come Home To Roost

by Susan Taylor Chehak

It’s called a murmuration, when the starlings flock together and swoop like that, as one, a great cloud of them, moving in synchrony. How do they know? Who keeps the choreography?

Elf is considering the squalor of the kitchen at the north end of his (ex-)girlfriend’s trailer. Ariel. Or: that tramp, as his mother calls her, which never fails to make Elf wince and flinch, even though he knows that’s just the purpose and the point. His older brother only smiles; his younger brother elbows him and laughs. Elf is a small man, in full sync with his name: Elf, short for Elfred, and he doesn’t know why they can’t just call him Fred. He’s not quite the runt of the litter, but that same laughing younger one of his two brothers—the latecomer, as he’s sometimes fondly called, though not by Elf—isn’t yet full-grown, and because his father doesn’t happen to be the same as Elf’s, it very likely won’t be long before he’s outpaced his older brothers both. Continue reading

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Wing Night at the Enlisted Club

by Lucas Shepherd

Someone plants a full beer bottle
near the jungle. Longneck, full
sweat in this humidity. Sure enough,
before long, a coconut crab emerges
between ifit trees. She is called robber
crab, palm thief. Glass clinks like a toast.
She pinches her trophy proudly, gracefully.
Continue reading

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