Mother Hen

By: Lauren Spagnoletti

Mother Hen pecked. She pecked at her chicks when they chirped too loud. She pecked at the farmer’s boots when the feed wasn’t quite right. “Needs more barley and less corn.” She pecked at the other hens when they encroached on her space. She pecked into the air when it looked like rainyet again.

She pecked and pecked. One day, she realized that she didn’tknow why she was pecking. The sun was high and warm. The meal that day wasperfectly balanced. The other hens moved into another coop to her give space. Andher chicks were grown.

Newborn

By: Laura K.

We meet at a cafe, order cappuccino and chocolate croissants. I exclaim over how adorable he is, and I’m not faking. Even just a year in, myself, I forget how little they are.

“So. How are you?”

An exhausted exhale. “Oh my god. It’s so hard.”

So hard. Nobody tells you.”

“I mean, they try. But you don’t really get it, till…”

I nod. “They’re just so completely helpless.”

She smiles. “But…”  and I smile too, knowing.

The corollary. The intoxicating truth you don’t say out loud.  

They need you for everything…and, for right now, you’re everything they need.

Smile

By: Steve Fite

“You know, you’re never going to have any friends if you’re always so unhappy.”  

Just the kind of thing a little unhappy girl wants to hear from her mother.

“Even if you don’t feel happy:  Smile. If you smile and keep smiling, you’ll see, it’s easier to stay smiling.”

Much to her chagrin, her mom was right.  Smiling became easy. Eventually everyone started seeing her as the happiest kid.  Always smiling. Even into adulthood.

But underneath she was still very much an angry little girl.  

All her mother really taught her was how to trick everyone else into thinking otherwise.

Modern Day Adonis

By: Samantha Howie

Walking Peter Pan complex seeks female partner at the top of her game to witness my journey of self discovery. Vacillating between needy and distant, I’ll keep things interesting while confusing your senses with an alluring mix of intoxicating intensity and pretending you don’t exist for several days at a time. I bring to the table a voracious appetite for attention and spontaneous adventure, and my ideal mate will, like my mother, continually nurture my ego irrespective of the drain to her own life force. Come for my soulful eyes and distinguished jaw, stay for the rollercoaster of arbitrary messages.

hi i’m jeffrey

By: Lauren Spagnoletti

my therapist says i need to find a woman who can love my cats as much as i do. my siamese, missy smooches, would be most jealous. she’s my favorite. she doesn’t pee on pillows as much anymore, so a new girlfriend shouldn’t be a big deal for her. my mother says i need to find a girl to cook for me as much as she does. she still comes by everyday to make me dinner, but she only wants to come over on weekends. that leaves five nights for someone to cook and watch wheel of fortune with me.

The Smell of You

By: Alexis McGuinness

Your mother thinks your body odor after you haven’t bathed in a few days smells like summer time. She thinks your breath is curious. She sniffs and considers the varying particles that reveal what you ate for lunch and snack and on the way home. She knows you’re sick before you sneeze. It’s in the smell of your exhalation. When you tickle her face after scratching yourself, she does not recoil at the odor under your fingernails. After all, it’s her odor too. You are loved, you dirty you.

The Song

By: Steve Fite

Sang until her voice hurt. Used to beg church to stay later so she could teach herself piano.

Taught her older sisters to sing harmony like the Carters and sang so soulfully that grown adults wept.

Moved to the city to make it big.  Bought her own piano. Met a husband.  Had kids.

Sold her piano in the divorce.

Worked nights while her kids grew up.

After they’d flown away, she opened her voice to sing.

There was no voice.

Did the muscles wither from not being exercised?

Or did the songs fly away, too; never to be found again…

What’s For Dinner?

By: Melissa Ratliff

Waiting in the van, it seemed Mom was taking too long. I grab a cart, one foot on the underneath basket while I push and coast along into the store. An ominous haze hovers in the aisles and everything is a little too quite. I search for life. Past the frozen food there’s an employees only door. It’s open. I peek inside. Mom’s propped up in the middle of the table, arm missing, head hanging unnaturally to the side, white. The storeowners look up as they eat. I awake in a cold sweat. Fuck this recurring nightmare I cannot shake.

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