Many thanks to the 180 writers who entered our contest and to Judge Adam Kluger who created the art prompt and volunteered his time to select three prizewinners.
First Prize: The Lion’s Tooth by Nell Jenda
Second Prize: A Night With Old Friends by Chris Espenshade
Third Prize: Infinite Morning by Alyson HilbourneJudge:
A quick note to thank you so much for participating in the Art Prompt Writing Contest. It is such an honor to have so many talented writers participate.
In my opinion there are 180 winners. Each entry I’ve had the pleasure to read is making its own very strong argument for recognition. But contests being what they are, only three of you will win prizes.
So what was actually going on in the painting? In case you are curious—the painting shows a writer sitting by himself in deep thought at a diner (The New Amity Diner in NYC) with a red-nosed waiter named Frankie stationed behind him. The painting was rendered in charcoal pencil with pastels and some water-color mixed in to create a grainy feel. On the ceiling is a old fashioned fan emitting some yellow light. That’s it.
Thank you, Brilliant Flash Fiction!
Very best regards to all,
PS: if any writers would like to start a correspondence—here’s my contact info: firstname.lastname@example.org
PPS: to check out more of my art and short stories:
Amazon.com: Adam Kluger.
The Lion’s Tooth
By Nell Jenda
One china cup of cappuccino á-la-moi. Low-fat Supermilk, added Vitamin D. Can’t get enough vitamins at my age.
One Sudoku puzzle, level extreme.
One pencil, one eraser.
My Thursday afternoon is set.
After one sip, a giggle comes from Jim’s garden. Those pesky kids again. They’re not even his grandchildren, just some random louts from up the road.
If they ever set foot on my lawn, there would be trouble.
I hear Jim now, chatting to them. Idiot. You can get into trouble these days, talking to little kiddies. Maybe I should report him myself? No. Margo wouldn’t approve.
Back to Sudoku.
It’s no good. I can’t help thinking about those rascals and the yellow curse on his lawn.
This is where I have another difference of opinion with Jim. He doesn’t mind the nefarious dandelion. One man’s weed is another man’s treasure. I have nothing against daisies. But the lion’s tooth, the nasty dent-de-lion? Unacceptable.
I sneak out in the evenings, when he’s watching his soaps, to pluck his dandelions that have gone to seed. Damn, I missed yesterday because of the Spurs game on the telly. There’s bound to be some of the fluffy filth out there now. And those kids will find them. They’ll blow off the feathery bits, the infernal seeds. And I’ll have another crop of the revolting plague on my pristine lawn.
I yank back the lacy curtain and glare out at the impromptu kindergarten. Sure enough, there’s three of them sprawled on Jim’s weedy patch of green. But they’re not at the dandelions—they’re making daisy chains. I made daisy chains for Margo. Long ago.
My head drops forward, my forehead pressed against the glass.
The smallest girl looks up. She smiles at me.
And Goddammit, I find myself smiling back at her.
A Night with Old Friends
By Chris Espenshade
“We need to be heading out in 10 minutes.”
Oh no. He has the bloody black vest and white shirt combo. He’s not Johnny fucking Cash. And the cut of that vest really brings out all the weight he has put on. Why not just wear a wife beater, yelling hey, look at my beefy arms? When did we get so old?
“Are you wearing a jacket over that?”
“No, I think the vest will do.”
What is that smock she’s wearing? She looks like an under-inflated pumpkin. And she really needs a collar with her new haircut showing so much neck. She’s not 23 anymore. What she was thinking?
“Who’s invited to this thing? Usual suspects?”
“Probably so, but I think I heard the Klugers are on holiday.”
I hope we won’t be outside on the Eppersons’ beloved deck. The sun always highlights the redness of his nose; looks like a happy town drunk.
“Remind me to grab the wine. It wouldn’t do to show up empty-handed.”
Well, he did get a haircut as he promised. I guess you can call that a haircut. I wonder if he specifically told the barber to cut it so my head looks really square. Well, almost square, if his chin had stayed where it used to be. I think it might be time for him to grow an old man’s beard, to hide what is happening from his mouth down.
“I am all set. Just let me pull on my boots.”
Shit, she has already put on her make-up. How does she manage to make her face wash out into a single, consistent blandness?
“Darling, you look wonderful tonight.”
“How Clapton-esque. I was just thinking the same about you, you old charmer. Shall we?”
By Alyson Hilbourne
I drag myself from bed, my legs weighted as if held by leg irons. I slept but don’t feel refreshed. I sweep hair out of my face. It’s lank and dull, like me.
Pulling aside the slats on the blind I squint at the day. Sun has washed the garden in pale yellow as the trees along the boundary stand sentinel. I wait a moment hoping Reuben will burst into the room, urging me on. But there’s only silence.
I shower letting the water scald my skin, enjoying the pain.
I need to get out, but everything takes time and my body won’t work as fast as it should. Jeans require a belt because of weight I’ve lost. Shirts flap on me like laundry in the breeze.
Outside the light is deceptive. The air is cold and I leave dewy footprints across the grass. I pick a bunch of daffodils, half ripping the bulbs from the ground and hurry along the road, clutching my golden offering, hands wet with sap, until I reach the wrought iron gate.
Inside, long grass tickles my legs while under the trees pine needles stay crisply dry and sweet smelling.
I kneel at Reuben’s grave. The black marble angel above is flecked with sunlight. I toss away yesterday’s flowers and lay the daffodils on the grass. Then I trace the letters with my fingers, trying to absorb the fact that he has gone.
Reuben Simon Jones
A blackbird rustles the leaves, alarm call hoarse on the morning air. I look up. Down the path in the sunlight is a shadow. Squinting I see blond curls, orange T-shirt and knee-worn jeans. He’s dancing, just as he used to, and I stumble after him, just too far behind to save him into my infinite morning.
By Jean Feingold
“Don’t turn your back on me, Andrea. I’m still talking.”
I hear Richard clearly as I walk toward the door. I keep on walking.
We’ve had this same argument too many times. He wants me to quit my job and move in with him. He believes any woman would prefer being supported luxuriously to working.
I want my life, the life I’ve chosen for myself, the life that doesn’t involve someone taking care of me. I like Richard. I like me better. He’s okay as an occasional date but he wants a steady, a regular companion, a woman available to him at all times. While we have fun together, I also enjoy being alone, going to movies on a whim, eating ice cream for dinner, or doing nothing at all if that’s my mood. He would never allow his woman these things.
Being 60 and single like me would engender desperation in another woman. Richard’s offer? To her, an answered prayer. But I relish my independence. Am I a bit eccentric after spending my life alone? Of course! Does it matter? Not to me.
So why am I unable to say a final goodbye to Richard? I’ve tried. Several times. The words come up through my throat and out of my mouth and into the air. “I’m not the woman for you, Richard. We don’t want the same things. We’re done. Goodbye.” He never hears me. It is always as if he has suddenly been struck deaf. I know I have spoken, I know what I said. He ignores my words. In doing that, he ignores me.
Now, today, I get into my car. It is packed with my important belongings. I drive away to a place where Richard will never find me. I smile.
By Faiza Bokhari
My wife fell in love with my shadow. She saw it before she saw me. Cast across a cream coloured wall in the Arts building on campus, were my broad shoulders, wide chest, and narrower waist. A silhouette, devoid of the details that can make a man seem fallible. No acne scars, or coffee breath. Just the important angles.
We walked to the cafeteria together, the sun warming our backs. ‘Did you ever play that game as a child—chasing shadows?’ she angled herself towards me, watching as her outline stretched across the path. ‘Huh?’ I was distracted by her proximity. Something citrus tickled my nose. She had dark brown eyes, with flecks of mascara on the end of long lashes. ‘Look,’ she moved her hand carefully towards mine then stopped short. ‘Our shadows are touching even though we aren’t.’
In the dark, tangerine scented candles flickered carelessly around her apartment. I sneezed, and she giggled, pulling her shirt overhead. Each movement showcased across the walls, like obscene shadow puppets dancing. On our wedding day, her long black hair was held in a bun full of twists and intricate braids. Small wisps unravelled throughout the night, as she kissed well-wishers on both cheeks. If she lost sight of me, she’d perch carefully on tiptoes, craning her slight neck above all the other heads, searching for mine.
Now, each evening she slowly pries off her tan coloured heels, discarding them in the middle of the entry way. There are overdue bills, and dog-eared pages in half-finished books. There are bills serving as bookmarks in half-finished books, and this bothers her more than the dog-ears. Now, when I talk to her, she looks past me. As though there were something or someone in the beyond. A shadow person, waiting in the wings.
Everything Under the Sun
By Christine Rhein
“You got to be kidding. You want to go to marching tomorrow? Ellen, you are not a marcher. I mean, c’mon, I know you. We’ve been married for how long? Thirty-six years, right? And sure, I get it—I voted for the guy and you didn’t and he won, and now, I guess, you’re feeling a little angry, but that’s no reason to go traipsing around the capital tomorrow. I mean, past all those reporters with cameras. Picture it, Ellen—there you’d be, caught in the newspapers and on the Internet, right in the middle of all that shocking pink. I mean, those caps! And even if I did say go for it—hooray for marching—it’s not like it would make a difference, like it could change your life or something. And besides, life’s going to get better now—maybe not exactly great, but better. I mean, let’s you and me—like the old days—go somewhere fun tomorrow. Like to the Sunrise Café for pancakes, and then to Big Henry’s to check out the cars on the lot. And then, if you want, I’ll even drive you to the mall. Maybe there’s a pretty new dress you’ve got your eye on? I mean, that march, Ellen—you’d have to carry some big sign around. Have you thought of that? I mean, look at you—sitting there, not saying a word—what kind of sign could you possibly make? Hey, I’ve got it—we could go out to Stonybrook tomorrow, visit your dad. I mean, he’s going to tell you the same thing, Ellen—you are not a protester. Never have been. Never will be. So, c’mon, what do you think? Ready to make us some lunch now? I’m getting hungry here. I mean, really, I’m starving.”
By Edith Ochieng
At least he got the dress code right; Jack chuckled as he watched the sulking Brian Grayson in his orange sweater that complemented the brightly colored playroom. A far cry from his own black outfit that together with his large frame, had momentarily dimmed the sunny disposition in the room and caught all the kids’ attention when they came in. He had immediately retreated to the corner but now wished he could walk up to Brian and force him to wear a posture befitting the room and its occupants: the slumped shoulders, sulking face and depressed look belonged in a retirement home, not a playroom. But image consultation was not part of his job: He was here to supervise, and so he waited for Brian to start.
Brian wished he could crawl further into himself, become invisible or bolt out of the room, but none of those options were viable; plus he could feel the court supervisor’s gaze on him, ready to apprehend him if he made for the door. He trained his eyes firmly on the ground, avoiding the kids’ stares. Jail would have been better, he thought. When the judge had passed a community service order for his offence of vandalism by graffiti on the stadium walls, it had seemed like he had dodged the bullet. Forty hours of teaching children how to paint and decorate their playroom had then looked fun, but now he felt imprisoned, literally. He waited for the supervisor to call the kids to attention.
And so that morning, the kids watched in wonder the two strange men in their playroom. The huge one who wore black and looked like Mr. Flintstone just smiled and kept his eyes on the smaller one in the orange sweater who looked like he had lost his cat.
Happily Ever After
By Ann Zimmerman
Katy thinks she and Dan have had a good life together. Yet, sometimes she wishes he could be a little more considerate.
She always wanted to take a beach vacation, but Dan countered with numerous excuses. He couldn’t swim. He hated the heat. Sunburns cause skin cancer.
So she surrendered to his desires. Instead of relaxing in Hawaii or the Bahamas, they went cross-country skiing and horseback riding, mountain climbing and salt flats racing, bungee jumping and skydiving. He loved adventure, not a dull beach.
Now, as they approach life’s end, they are choosing their afterlife VR scenarios. This is where their mental engrams will reside after their bodies are depleted. She crafts a lovely beach with gentle waves lapping the fine white sand. The sun shines intensely and palm trees sway in a warm breeze.
When she glances at Dan’s screen, she sees a boulder-strewn mountain with a dark blue lake at its base. A sheer cliff descends from one side of the mountain while a thick forest covers the other side. Hot air balloons and hang gliders dot the sky.
When he completes the final touches to his scene, he turns to look at hers. His wide grin transforms into a frown as he views the peaceful ocean and beach.
“Why would you think I’d want to spend eternity in a place like that?” Dan asks. “You know I wouldn’t even vacation there.”
“We’ve had more than our share of excitement,” she answers. “I think I deserve a little tranquility.”
“Well, think again,” he huffs. “I suppose we could add some sand and beach chairs around my lake for you. But I’m not interested in eternal boredom.”
Katy smiles. “I know,” she says. “I’m not inviting you along.”
“What’ll ya have, Solly?”
By Thomas Turman
Beanie polished the last of the pint glasses, lined them up behind the taps and bellied up to his bar facing the front of his place, The King’s. His hands gripping the worn wood, he waited for Solly to make his furtive entrance into the empty pub.
Solly slouched into The King’s at exactly 3:35 on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for over twelve years after he turned in his cab. He always ordered the same thing. Solly seemed to like Beanie, but didn’t talk to anyone else.
Today Beanie waited, but Solly didn’t show. 3:45 then 3:55 and no Solly. Beanie tugged at his black leather vest and stared at the front door.
Finally, Solly crept in, but passed right by his usual stool and sank into a chair at the rear table staring at the floor. He was a sack of sadness slumped forward.
“What’ll ya’ have, Solly?”
Solly didn’t even look up at the unneeded question.
Finally, the silence brought Solly’s head up.
“I just killed little Tillie’s dog Barker. Didn’t mean to, but there it is. He just ran out in the road. Had to take him to the vet.”
Beanie moved to the end of the bar closer to the cab driver. “Couldn’t be helped, eh? Pets loose all over the town today.”
“I killed Barker … ”
Beanie came out from behind the bar and knelt in front of his friend.
“What’ll ya have, Solly?”
Child is the Father of the Man
By Jamie Stedmond
There was that Beach Boys song.
He was soaking colour, infected by sunrise. And soft, softer than his old man. He looked, at the ants flowing river-like around pebbles, his scuffed leather boots on the dusty path, the hemline of green stalks and shoots. The pathside plants; the ant’s destination. Path. Horizon. He wondered on the light blue pool water and how Brian would’ve sat ankles dangling talking art to Parks. How his face would’ve moved through all the arrangements of feature as Parks talked to him about the phrase. And on his heels he heard the snuffling sound of a hound bearing down on him, the heavy padding and panting of “himself” in the brown leather shoes and shirtsleeves.
There was that Wordsworth poem.
He was holding straight to his lines. Walking behind the back of a head that was always turned down. One that could never face the imperious brow, or the wonderful world. He wandered under a colourless sky, taking in the varieties of nature. Pathside hollyhock, foxglove, catmint. Pansies: a white flower on which an artist had daubed a midnight brush. The boy would never know the names he had learned off yellowed musty paper after smelling sights and sounds in William’s poems. He put leather to rock just ahead, him in a garish jumper, slouching.
The man never paid much attention to that one line of the poem, but the line in the song had kept the boy up nights. He turned on his heel, gravel scratching, and looked back at the chunk of torso and haunch waddling behind and thought how Brian must have wanted to pull the dead skin from his face and burst veins with sunshine to make himself anew.
By Heidi Sterling
Damian: loud, wild and abrasive. He ached in and around me, the constant sun, the endless rain, in my eyes.
He came and left in January, when the sky was ice, tipping forward, crashing and cutting into flesh. He left as he always did, with the clatter of beer bottles, a mush of dirty clothes, with his hot tears and foul language. Hackles up, a tired hound, angry at the wind.
The last morning of our tumbled, disjointed fates, we slept in a trucker’s motel. At 7 am a motorcycle pierced the silence, backfiring loudly. The loud pop was the sound of night breaking violently into day, and suddenly morning spilled into our bed and over our skin, a cold sluicing morning, chilling and discompassionate.
I sat up and looked down at Damian’s flushed, sleep-heavy body. In two hours he would head back to Oregon, to the family tree farm that dug him into the grime of life, rooted him to pain and brutal obligation.
Two winters ago, we met. I, a trucker carrying his manicured firs east to Ohio, and Damian, the dutiful son, farming and hating the land, the culture, the wet drudgery of the northwest. We met, mismatched and exhausted. I, divorced, drifting, taciturn and old-fashioned, and Damian, younger, uncouth, almost immoral. He rushed and pushed and grabbed what he needed. At the bar, in restaurants, behind silent hotel doors.
What was I, but lonely and unwanted. Damian, escaping small town life, perhaps found victory in subverting my simple needs.
There was no chance, then, for love.
Yet at this hour, my hands clasped and eyes tired, I wished for it. As yellow light struggled through frost, as Damian rolled unconsciously, almost caressingly, against me, I felt, in that moment, surely life granted it was mine.
By Gina Headden
Professor Marks watched Euan walk away, sure that this time he’d got through to the boy.
Head bowed, Euan left the studio, despair spreading through him like a virus.
There was a place for naïve art, of course. But this wasn’t it. The boy’s painting was no better than one by a five-year-old: a yellow sun pasted in a blue sky above a four-windowed house. Child’s play. Euan still had so much to learn.
He had wanted to talk of simplicity. Of warmth freely given. Of brightness and of light. Instead, he’d been burned.
Sometimes, one had to be harsh to be heard. He had gone through the same process himself and, well, just look at him now. He had tenure.
Black and white. His tutor saw everything in black and white. His vest, his trousers, his shirt—his entirety was monochrome. Euan doubted he’d ever get through to him. Moreover, this place smelt of things gone bad. And Euan felt like Atlas bearing the heft of the heavens on his back.
Professor Marks shook his head. The boy had potential, but …
He’d had it. Creative criticism he could take but out and out condemnation, ridicule …
He’d give him one more semester. If there were no improvement after that, Euan would have to go.
Outside, in the open air, Euan felt the heat of the sun on his skin. No hothouse manipulation, just nurturing warmth. Straightening up, he turned round and strode back to the studio. He took his painting from its hook and, leaving the contracting college walls behind him, he let go the weight of the heavens and staked his claim to a world full of colour.
By Jeremy Ryan
Xavier Moore took a cab from the Earth Port terminal, nervous to meet his clone for the first time. It was his legal right following the clone’s eighteenth birthday and he was anxious to place newfound congnizance with the corresponding events a world apart.
The esteem in Hosting a clone progeny was to isolate one’s best qualities to imprint him with. Xavier felt that he had many best qualities and hoped to see them processed well.
“I think I have known you all my life,” said Conner when they met in a busy Atlanta café. He had many questions and listened as Xavier elaborated. It was important the clone’s emotional imprints were validated with material evidence. Statistically, clones who are engaged by their Hosts are integrated better.
Conner talked about his goals of pursuing a business degree and exploring off-world opportunities. “I have the advantage of your wisdom imprints,” he said. Which was true. Traditional offspring carry genetic information but are not imparted with advanced consciousness.
Xavier assured him their telepathic link—their consciousness bond—would strengthen and their mutual emotions and attitudes would gain clarity over time.
At the afternoon’s end Conner departed quickly, promising to remain in contact and help ripen their bond. Xavier smiled and stood proud in his decision to become Host and in the value he’d imparted on the young clone.
Ignorance is bliss, Conner thought as he dumped Xavier’s ham-handed imprints. His most immediate take away was new money in his account and a good hustle under his belt. With the right practice his Host would never know the difference, never see into Conner, never be disappointed by what he found, never be bonded by shame and anger and addiction and self-loathing and the loneliness of being clone-dumped and imprinted by a world apart.
THE WRONG BAR
By Perry McDaid
It seemed like a friendly pub, full of laughter and clinking tumblers: rich with the melange of spilt alcohol and cleaning products. The sun was splitting the sky and his tongue. No one was wearing overcoats or even jackets. Sean even felt awkward in his light pullover.
The bus wasn’t due for a half-hour; just time enough for a pint and a wise visit to the toilet before the one-and-a-half-hour journey to Derry.
He examined the decor until all the rubbernecks had assessed him and turned back to their conversations—at first muted, then recovering original gusto as he continued to offer no offense. It hadn’t appeared such a closed local from outside. It was across the road from the bus depot, after all.
The barman—or bar-person as despotic political correctness would have it—finished serving a busty young thing with a strategic sense of open buttons, polished a pint glass, and oozed up the counter towards the thirsty Derryman. Sean was too preoccupied with a growing sense of uneasiness to take in the draught beers on offer.
“Pint of Smithwicks,” he ordered when the youth drew level. He looked about sixteen, but Sean’s mind was not on child labour laws.
The boy stared blankly at him, then over Sean’s shoulder, before turning his back and grabbing another glass to polish—presumably responding to some hidden prompt.
The big guy noiselessly appeared at Sean’s elbow. “Only Bass drinkers here! What time’s your bus?”
The menace carried in the tone was not about taste in beer, but all about Loyalist pubs serving one ale, Catholic bars the other.
Sean checked his watch for effect. “Sooner than I thought,” he lied. No fear using this toilet. He left eyes down, relying on peripheral vision for warning of any attack.
One Week in October
By Cheryl Nicol
Myra feels acutely Eugene’s contempt, blowtorching the back of her head, searing into her brain. She deserves it. She always deserves it. He says she has no backbone. He’s the one with guts and a stiff upper lip. If she had a pound for every time he’d said so, she’d be a multi-thousandaire by now, easily.
Fallout was inevitable. Accusations and recriminations. Outrage over two letter words he’d never heard of, and then carrying on like some mad Dr Seuss overdosed on extra-strength cough mixture, convinced that implurt is a proper word. When you imply something with no forethought or warning, he’d said. Implied blurtism.
His dyslexia she could handle. Being bullied to allow ‘pithology’ was more than even she could take. “The thientific thtudy of wee-wee,” he’d insisted. There was no point arguing. But she did. That’s not a word, she’d said. “Yeth it ith!” he’d spluttered, spraying saliva all over the board and banging his fists on the table.
Myra made the decision there and then. No more giving in to his rage and illogical lisping logic. It was a huge risk beating him at Scrabble. She would pay the price.
Every room is thick with the familiar glug of three days’ worth of post-eruption silence. That’s his style; the cold shoulder. He’s always there. Menacingly imposing his presence, brooding surliness and unspoken self-righteousness.
Years ago she’d attempted to rationalise it, his irrational behaviour. The scars remain. Since then she’s had good days, bad days. Bad, mostly.
She tries to ignore the dark clamour in the front of her head. Crazy thoughts, elbowing each other for thinking space.
Move on. Leave him and live a little before it’s too late.
It is too late; Myra knows that. The tumour is already curdling her brain.
She can feel it.
Uchechukwu Agodom, A Work of Art
Beverly Alexander, Stood Up
Ariadne Meriwether, A Warm Welcome
Amy Ballard, The Contemplative Type
Cath Barton, It was in no way predictable
Svenja Bary, Like the Petals of a Flower
Greg Beatty, What If He Had Listened?
Harley Jaynis Beechner, Colors and Values
Maria Bertolone, THE CONFESSION
Bridget Blankley, Cheer Up
Agnes Bookbinder, May the Sun Shine on Your Back
Taye Carrol, The Taamah Match
Renee Cohen, Roll With the Olives and Punches
Theodore Jerome Cohen, The Secret
Susan Cornford, Hang-dog
Tim Dadswell, The Reluctant Muse
Tristan Deeley, Unwanted Help
Sylvia Davis, Disappointments
Rhea Dunn, berserker
Catherine Edmunds, The Blacksmith
Sarah Estime, TAXED ON AFFECTION
Krystyna Fedosejevs, Between the Tears
MFC Feeley, I thought
Andrea Santo Felcone, The Spark
Debbie Felio, Quiet Storms
James Freeze, Primal Priorities
Gimbiya Galadima, GOOD ENOUGH
Sharon Gerger, Monstrous Marriages
Joe Giordano, The Golden Years
Clare R. Goldfarb, A MOTHER’S JUDGMENT
Ronald Guell, It’s What You Take Out
Leah Harris, Joyride
Heidi Heimler, Music for Coping
Ken Hollar, SURRENDER
Abha Iyengar, When Paths Cross
Mansi Jhingran, Bake Me a Cake
Joan Johnson, When God Erases He Is Preparing to Write
Teddy Kimathi, Dreams
Christine King, The Fight
Allen Lang, Love in Starspace
Jessica Larose, Azazel
Emily LaRue, “ILLEGAL”
Claire Lawrence, Adult Imposters
Josh Lefkowitz, The Worst of Us
Dale E. Lehman, Probation
Myra Litton, The Strippergram
Tricia Lowther, The Quiet Woman
Linda Lynd, Dreamscapes
Courtney McDermott, Collecting Sunlight
Tom Magee, COMMUNICATION PROBLEM
Tyrean Martinson, Walking Away
Susheela Menon, All in a Day’s Work
Ciera Miller, Field of Memories
Andrew Mobbs, Death Dream
Irene Montaner, BROKEN HEARTS UNDER THE SUN
FJ Morris, She Could Do Better Than Barry
Justin Nguyen, Off-colored
Ernest Ogunyemi, Without Life—I Live
Erin O’Shea, Helen
Noelle Palmer, Crack Shot
Edward Palumbo, The 4:98 to Sundown
Shermie Rayne, Cheap Lies
Abigail Rowe, No Poet Is Respected in His Hometown
Jeremy Ryding, The Broken and the Blessed
Giovanni Santalucia, Untitled
Erin T. Shifflett, Spare Time
Ty Spencer Vossler, Coming Home
Chris Tattersall, Legacy
Bob Thurber, When Harry Left Sally
Matt Tucker, Observances in other words
Leslie Vlietstra, Election Night
Fred D. White, SELFLESS PORTRAIT WITH DAD
Anna L. Winders, Generations
Joe Wocoski, Dance Until You Can’t
Kirby Wright, Window Shopping in Helsinki