Sep 17, 2008

The Ghost, J.Visconti

By Jason Visconti

He sashays his sheet with a good haunt.
He rides up his airspace like the tail of a wing.
When he lifts, the color of rooms change
and the sky spits up a sheen of black.
He flutters out of range.
His bird self sighs on landing.
He draws you in on a single draft of despair.
He whips himself up then disappears.
The moon will take him,
a cellar of soot under night’s torch.
Then a hazy film of white light.
A dart at the stars of the sky--
fanning into the night.
A cold chill of hollow unbroken.
A wind at such heights.

Sep 3, 2008

Winning the Prize, J.Yung

Winning the Prize
Janet Yung

The lawn and garden award sign mysteriously disappeared from Ellen’s yard. It had been there the night before, but now was gone. Ellen didn’t notice it was missing when she went out for the morning paper or when she watered the pots of geraniums and petunias lining the porch.

She was dressed and on her way to work when she spotted something wasn’t right about the house. At the curb, it came to her. The sign, announcing the much coveted award was hers, was gone.

The award was a fleeting thing -- given annually to only the best manicured and designed front yards in the neighborhood. Judges surveyed the area throughout the month of June and then green signs announcing this yard was worthy appeared before the Fourth of July. In August, the signs would be collected, stored over the winter till next growing season.

This was the first year Ellen won the award, beating out the competition on either side.

“Well, I suppose it’s your year,” Mrs. Hobson, Ellen’s neighbor to the east conceded when the Hobson’s yard had been overlooked.

“You’ve been a great inspiration,” Ellen replied in a nod to the loser. Then, Mrs. Hobson began to ignore Ellen, pretending not to see her while Ellen was in the yard, pulling the errant weed from the prize winning shrubs and beds of impatiens.

“I think Mrs. Hobson is unhappy about the award,” Ellen confided to her husband, Larry who laughed off the suggestion.

“Don’t worry about it,” Larry said, but Ellen couldn’t help it. She went outside to give everything another drink and pluck out the spent geranium stems. Holding the hose, her eyes kept drifting to where the sign had been planted, imaging if she studied the spot long enough, it would reappear. Ellen felt eyes on her and when she looked up, spotted lace curtains falling back into place in Mrs. Hobson’s window.

Inside, Ellen rummaged through her junk drawer in the kitchen, digging out the phone numbers for the neighborhood association.

“What are you doing?” Larry asked, in the kitchen for an after dinner snack.

“I’m going to call Laura and find out if the signs were picked up early.” Larry shrugged while she dialed the number.

Five minutes later, Larry was back in the kitchen. “What’s the verdict?”


“About the sign?”

“They haven’t picked them up yet. Laura said sometimes kids take them as a prank.”

Then, Ellen gathered up the kitchen trash and headed for the dumpster. It didn’t do any good to fret about it. Opening up the lid to deposit her trash, she spotted the sign. It was at the bottom of the bin, covered in red sauce. She dropped the lid as the back door to the Hobson’s slammed shut.

The Shower, C.Effinger

The Shower
By Christy Effinger

I didn’t mean to get drunk at the baby shower, honest, but I couldn’t find a shot glass in Haley’s kitchen, so I had to pour the rum straight into my punch. What kind of housewife doesn’t keep a shot glass in her kitchen? I have five or six squirreled away in mine. While the other women played some game that involved sniffing at melted candy bars in diapers—no, really—I downed two glasses of spiked punch. Then, while they played a game trying to guess the width of Melissa’s girth, I downed two more. I wandered into the living room just as the women passed around the ultrasound picture. When the picture came to me, I held it up to the light. “It’s precious,” I cried, “just precious,” and then someone told me I was holding it upside down.

Fireball Lily, B.Hatfield

Fireball Lily
By Brad Hatfield

I sit in the garden of the Baccarat resort,
with an untouched drink, writing a report.
I see no contradiction, nothing athwart,
in the lily’s beauty and lethal sangfroid;
bright orange bursts cunningly deployed
on a solitary stem--and poison alkaloid
surging in its veins. Pygmies in Cameroon
mix this flower to tip crude harpoons
and fell young bucks in the shade at noon.