April 2020 | poetry, Pushcart nominee
Like the Mississippi River where the Rock River cuts the Rock Island Arsenal bridge in three. Like heavy clouds in that evening period when birds huddle in nests to await the next. When a single bat cuts sky too early for the mayfly too late for robin. Like threats of let loose. Like cover, like hands over mouths, like breath. Like heat. In eddies where remains of my best friend were bagged, after bound, after held, after down. Like heavy and shut. Like what I call God, what I call Heaven, what I call Green. Where sand holds ankle, promise, and anklet. Bones trace fern. Memory trace warning sign. I sit on the second truss, halfway suspended, awaiting the storm.
stumbles to wall
catches with skin
slides to floor
He can feel Her.
He can feel Her.
He can feel Her.
scabs upon canvas
Or he doesn’t. Not with hands.
falls into child’s pose
canary knees exhausted
postulates to her to her to her
She watches him
until he falls asleep
Shoshana Tehila Surek
Shoshana Surek received her MA and MFA in Creative Writing from Regis University. Her essays, short stories, flash fiction, and poetry, can be read or are forthcoming in Carve Magazine, december Magazine, SmokeLong Quarterly, Malahat Review, Vestal Review, Cease, Cows, 3Elements Review, and f(r)iction Magazine. In 2017, She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and she is a 2019 Curt Johnson Prose Award finalist. More of her work can be found at www.ShoshanaSurek.com.
April 2020 | poetry
Albert did you really say
science without religion is lame
Did you repose under constellations
hour-less nights no calculations no formulas
knowing infinity lives in cosmic sparkle hoping
to stir eons of wonderment
When in deep contemplation did a welling-up
ferry you into timeless paradise priests call heaven
I ask you if this sacramental suspension
could be a black hole final grave consuming us
Tonight blackness swallows me
Imbibed by inky abyss turned inside out
I wonder of my finality earth’s extinction
the fate of pondering
When you reveled under constellations
hour-less nights did you implore God
that this luxury not be something
time forced you leave behind
Did you write a verse incant an intercession
invite tempus fugit back over and over?
Conversation with Albert Einstein
Marianne has been a music teacher for 43 years. After teaching in Hong Kong, she returned to the Napa Valley and has been published in various literary magazines and reviews including Ravens Perch, TWJM Magazine, Earth Daughters and Indiana Voice Journal. She was nominated for the Pushcart prize in 2017. She is a member of the California Writers Club and an Adjunct Professor at Touro University in California.
April 2020 | Best of Net nominee, fiction
It wasn’t a very good time at all, not good. Edward Whitley stood in the corner like an old floor lamp. He wasn’t looking at anything. His beady little eyes just sat there like the last two peas on a plate, lost in some thought, away from everything around him. Winnie Spencer was passing out homemade peanut butter cookies, a good thing to do, but there weren’t many takers. It wasn’t that out of place. This was peanut country. Everybody loved a peanut. It’s what made Southampton County tick.
Why is it that the more miserable a time you’re having the slower it seems to move? It sounds reasonable, even true, but why, really? Emma Pattersoll’s little girl was sitting on the floor in her best Sunday dress, petticoat and all, playing jacks The ball bounced and she’d grab one. Then she’d do it again. George Spencer chewed Beechnut. He had a sort of slow rhythm to it. The last thing anybody needed was a clock.
Wade and Wayland Bennett were identical twins. It wasn’t until Wade died that anyone could tell them apart. “So, that was Wade,” someone said looking down into the open casket.
“Wade was the silly one. He had a mole.”
The funeral home man said, “I was expecting a bigger crowd.”
“Yes,” said Rosalie Bennett Poole, “I can’t understand it. Wade was such a good man. There weren’t no other man like him.”
“People just don’t pay respect the way they used to. They don’t come out.”
“I know. I know.”
“I always figured Wade Bennett to be queer,” said Charlie Ingram.
“For land sakes Charlie, don’t say that. Don’t say it so loud.”
“Hell, I thought that was Wayland.”
“Well, it don’t matter now.”
“Cookie?” said Winnie Spencer cheerfully.
James William Gardner
James William Gardner writes extensively about the contemporary American south. The writer explores aspects of southern culture often overlooked: the downtrodden, the impoverished and those marginalized by society. His work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.