Half Empty

I expect the worst



even as a kid I expected birthday

presents I didn’t want, like another


loser Chutes and Ladders game

I expected a D on my spelling test


even though I was the best speller in the class

and today for sure my car will need new brakes


new struts, new tires, not just a tune up

for sure the grocery store will be


out of Meyer lemons and heavy cream

and my dessert will be a disaster


and the doctor will find

warts or high blood pressure or lung cancer


for sure the maple tree will fall on the house

in tonight’s high winds


and I will have to move to a hotel

I can’t possibly afford


and end up panhandling by Route 580

holding a cardboard sign in the pouring rain


as cars roar past

and drivers pretend not to see


but most of all I am worried my heart

is too stressed from all this worrying


and will pack up veins and arteries

and move to Wyoming


Claire Scott

Claire Scott is an award-winning poet who has received multiple Pushcart Prize nominations. Her work has appeared in the Atlanta Review, Bellevue Literary Review, New Ohio Review and Healing Muse, among others. Claire is the author of Waiting to be Called and Until I Couldn’t. She is the co-author of Unfolding in Light: A Sisters’ Journey in Photography and Poetry.

Another Chicken Dinner Fundraiser

We didn’t want to go to the homeless non-profit fundraiser, mostly because we were tired, because we already donated money and needed items, and had volunteered to work the shelter, but we were invited and had free tickets. It had been a while since we’d been out in the community even though we were vaccinated, boosted, and still wore masks. Before we committed, however, we pulled a suit and dress that hadn’t been worn in two years and decided they both still fit well enough and likely no one had seen us in them before, or if they had, they wouldn’t remember.

The same caterer who supplied all chicken dinner fundraisers served fried chicken, and by the time we got to the steaming pan, the breasts were gone, and we had to choose between thighs, drumsticks, or wings, not enough protein to keep anyone alive. We spooned some instant mashed potatoes, some green beans from a can, and a store-bought role and shuffled like cattle back to our table to hear a speaker who thought a lot of himself and droned on about motivation from his stint in professional sports. If anyone had checked, he would have discovered plagiarism from a psychology textbook.

The venue was at the city owned Civic Center, a place each non-profit rented because instead of twelve hundred dollars, they got a discounted rate to one thousand dollars. What none of them knew was that the mayor used to charge eight hundred dollars and raised the price to twelve hundred dollars with the idea he could give discounts to a thousand and still make two hundred dollars for each chicken dinner fundraiser. His capitalistic move had worked, and the Civic Center went from a fifty percent occupancy to ninety percent and could have been one hundred, except for the religious college who simply wouldn’t move their events even after twenty percent of their alumni and donors got COVID, since the college hadn’t social distanced them and because they refused to wear masks.

After dinner, a handful of couples danced around their tables to the live music coming from the corner by a three-string band who made a decent living from their fee plus tips even though they didn’t have health care or any other benefit and were one gig away from homelessness. I heard the nonprofit cleared five hundred dollars profit after the rent, the band, and the caterer were paid, and they set a goal for one-thousand-dollar profit for the next chicken dinner fundraiser. We decided we’d give even more, but we weren’t interested in any more chicken dinners.


Niles Reddick

Niles Reddick is author of a novel, two collections, and a novella. His work has been featured in over 500 publications including The Saturday Evening Post, PIF, New Reader, Forth, Citron Review, Right Hand Pointing, Nunum, and Vestal Review. He is a three-time Pushcart, a two time Best Micro nominee, and a two time Best of the Net nominee. His newest flash collection “If Not for You” has recently been released by Big Table Publishing.

Geon Park



Geon Park

Geon Park is currently an 8th grader who is attending Saint Paul Preparatory School located in Seoul. He is extremely dedicated to sports, especially ice hockey. However, sports are not his only interest. Geon is also very interested in arts and engineering. As much as Geon likes to play hockey, he loves to draw as well. As for engineering, he is exceptional at robotics programs. He uses his creativeness to solve problems and generate ideas. He wants to continue playing hockey while he is also devoted to art and engineering.

Listed at Duotrope
Listed with Poets & Writers
CLMP Member
List with Art Deadline
Follow us on MagCloud