By Tom Sheehan
The sun, angling into her eyes, had come up “like thunder out of China ‘crost the bay,” and even as Caitlin Bordeaux made music of the poet’s words, she couldn’t remember his name. Nothing was right in the scene though the day had begun in promise. Nick had just gone through mere minutes earlier, the load piled high on his flatbed rig. Most of the night the truck had been parked in front of her house, the neighbors probably talking again. She didn’t care, his mouth still alive on her.
By Ashley Murrell
Children’s laughter and screams of joy drifted through the air around the playground on a warm spring day. Little hands flew up into the sky, expressing their hopes and dreams of the game that was most important that day. Lilly, the teacher chosen to supervise the kids’ outside time sighed as she circled around the playground for Larchway After School Enrichment Rooms. Keeping an eye on thirty children was never an easy thing to do. But today was her day to open the outside to assure the kids wouldn’t explode from not digging into the woodchips or bouncing the basketball off the hoop in attempt to hit her car.
“So how’s your day going?” David, her boss, called as he sauntered over to where she was standing.
“It’s fine as always David, how about you?” She asked, never letting her eyes wander away from the playground.
“Good. I’ve been working on one of my paintings and have been so inspired that I can’t sleep much.” His low laugh rolled like a ball down a hill. “So I’ve been hearing some plans from your portable.” He continued, ending with a smirk.
By Sonora Greer-Polkow
He ran in the night
He ran in the back seat
He ran in the river
El Rio Grande
He ran in the river drowning in concrete
He ran in the bottom of a flatbed truck
He ran while shots fired into darkness
He ran in the night that swallowed us up. Like the snake swallows the gopher
He ran with the ghosts
He ran with blessings on his lips
He ran with coyote
He ran with the wolves
That delivered him to my mother’s waiting arms
by Nick Allen
Ray stepped into his home for the first time in six weeks, thankful to be back. Tired from the journey, he sank gratefully into his chair by the fire.
Then he spotted them on the arm, like a faithful dog awaiting the return of its master. A relic from a previous life.
Ray held the packet in his hand, struggling with forgotten demons.
He’d beaten it, mustn’t cave now. But that had been an enforced ban – no smoking in hospitals these days, not that he’d been in any condition to. He’d spent a week in intensive care and the rest of the time either high on morphine or, following the chemotherapy, vomiting until he cried. Not even a 40-a-day man like Ray would smoke in that state.
His neck was still painful after the surgery, but he was told they had got it all, and that was what mattered now.
Well that, and what he held in his hand.
He wouldn’t have one he decided, but flipped back the lid anyway, pulling away the foil, revealing 20 pristine cigarettes arranged in that wonderfully compact, geometric pattern.
Somehow Ray found a lighted cigarette in his hand and he watched mesmerized as the blue smoke curled. It was like meeting with an old friend, and Ray now realized there was no going back. He held it to the tracheotomy tube embedded in his neck and sucked hard, drawing the smoke into his lungs.
Tears tumbled down his cheeks.