It began as easily
as the opening of a flower.
A parfait of feelings,
an ache in the marrow
when they were apart.
They went to dinner and films.
They danced at clubs and balls
dressed up in the costumes
of fairy tales.
Then came the camping trips,
and visits to theme parks.
And they got an apartment,
dividing rent, utilities,
groceries and chores.
Soon, they met the parents
with mock chastity,
sleeping in separate bedrooms.
It was a predictable dance.
A diamond ring
to close the deal.
They sat together on the couch
in their bathrobes by the flatscreen TV.
Between them was a bowl of buttered popcorn
to share on movie night.
As he listens to Andy Dufresne and Red
talk about escaping from
Shawshank State Prison,
all he can think about
is how to say goodbye.
by William Ogden Haynes
William Ogden Haynes is a poet and author of short fiction from Alabama who was born in Michigan and grew up a military brat. His book of poetry entitled Points of Interest appeared in 2012 and is available on Amazon. He has published nearly forty poems and short stories in literary journals and his work has been anthologized multiple times. In a prior life he taught speech-language pathology at Auburn University and authored six major professional textbooks.
You gaze at the clothes flipping in the washer, because you don’t know what else to do. They’re not even yours.
You told Brad you needed something more, something he couldn’t offer, something you couldn’t explain. You rubbed your damp palms over the lime green material of your dress and told him you wouldn’t forget. You didn’t mention the inoperable tumor.
You changed jobs and moved to the other side of the city, so there would be less chance of you running into each other. You didn’t tell your new employer you’d be there for less than a year.
You changed your cell phone number and closed your Facebook page. You knew Brad would try to find you.
You spin the diamond to match the cycle of the clothes. You don’t think about the future.
You handed Brad a valise with his stuff from your apartment when you met at the cafe, everything except the ring, that is. You told him you lost it. He was too shocked to be angry.
He asked why. You couldn’t tell him the truth.
You walked out of the coffee shop, leaving him sitting with his mouth open. You told him not to follow you. You needed some space.
People stared. You wanted to tell them you didn’t want to be a burden, like your mother had been at the end.
by Jim Harrington
Jim Harrington began writing fiction in 2007 and has agonized over the form ever since. His recent stories have appeared in Short, Fast and Deadly, Ink Sweat and Tears, Near to the Knuckle, Flashes in the Dark, and others. “Redlining” was chosen for inclusion in the Pulp Ink, a collection of crime stories. He serves as Flash Markets Editor for Flash Fiction Chronicles (http://www.everydayfiction.com/flashfictionblog/). Jim’s Six Questions For . . . blog (http://sixquestionsfor.blogspot.com/) provides editors and publishers a place to “tell it like it is.” You can read more of his stories at http://jpharrington.blogspot.com.
I hear a red, circular noise,
but I don’t know where it’s coming from.
I could look for it,
but I think I’ll just to go back to bed for a couple of weeks.
Even if the night is a magnetic field,
it’s still darkly repulsive.
When you examine the historical record,
you can learn about the lowest high temperature,
and the highest low temperature.
The speed limit however, is not posted.
It’s a little like listening to the sizzle of pink electricity;
carnal, yet pristine.
I often wish I knew how to play poker, but I was raised very religiously.
I wasn’t allowed to gamble anywhere near a television set.
It’s much easier to love an other at a distance,
although, over time, you may discover yourself
Love chooses its own gravity,
just like a remora chooses its own shark.
Symbiosis works best in tandem with loneliness.
On the surface of the diamond planet, ‘55 Cancri e’,
the temperature is 3900 degrees.
Wherever you may be, the flame burns bluest near the source of combustion.
On August evenings, Hollywood’s swimming pools glisten
like intentionally set wildfires.
They shimmer, wet rectangles of aquamarine, television light.
Of course, you can’t change the channel.
Fortunately, learning to write a complete poem is a lot easier than it looks,
if you give it half a chance.
Like a reincarnation story you’ve read twice,
it’s over more than once, before you’ve begun.
by Brad Rose
Brad Rose was born and raised in southern California, and lives in Boston. His poetry and fiction have appeared in , Boston Literary Magazine, San Pedro River Review, Off the Coast, Third Wednesday, The Potomac, Santa Fe Literary Review, Barely South Review, Imagination and Place, Monkeybicycle, Right Hand Pointing, Little (flash) Fiction, SleetMagagazine.com, and other publications.