8 and 10 |
by Holly Day

We woke up
and there was breakfast on the table
and my mother was awake, out of bed,
ready to step out into the snow
and walk us to school.

It happened
just like that.
Two years before
my mother went crazy
started by accusing my father of stealing the ocean
and hiding it from her, just out of spite
I can still remember how my father looked
as he tried to defend himself
from her useless accusations.

For much of the long, Nebraskan winters
we sat through
days when my mother wouldn’t get out of the tub
hiding from the cold in near-scalding bathwater.
“The ocean feels like this, ” she’d tell us, urging us
to climb into the tub with her, or at least
sink hands beneath the bubbles
hold them there until our skin was as pink as hers.
She spent most of the first spring and summer
on her knees, trying to coax things to grow
out of our small, gravel-filled patch of a yard
before my father poured concrete over it all
bought her a television.

Then somehow she got better
all on her own, and in the meantime
I learned how to cook for both
my little sister and me.
I woke up one completely nondescript, ordinary day
and there was breakfast on the table
the laundry was done
and my father was happy.


___
Holly Day has taught writing classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minnesota since 2000. Her published books include Music Theory for Dummies, Music Composition for Dummies, Guitar All-in-One for Dummies, Piano All-in-One for Dummies, Walking Twin Cities, Insider’s Guide to the Twin Cities, Nordeast Minneapolis: A History, and The Book Of, while her poetry has recently appeared in New Ohio Review,SLAB, and Gargoyle. Her newest poetry book, Ugly Girl, just came out from Shoe Music Press.

I’m Waiting for a Green Light |
by Aaron White

Ju-Ju
a real banger from Kentucky
sits idle in his blue Impala
flicks his ash and stares real
Hard
into his side-mirror
and into my
Soul


___
 Aaron White's fiction and essays have appeared in Brain, Child Magazine, Mothers Always Write, 13th Dimension, Bluestem Magazine, Flash Fiction Magazine, Heart Literary Journal, and others. He holds an MA in Literary Studies from Eastern Illinois University, and maintains an active Twitter (@amwhite90) and Tumblr (amwhite90.tumblr.com). 

Radiation Day 17 |
by Ally Malinenko

Betty has lost her necklace.
She clatters around the room
banging her cane against the legs of the chairs

and Anna shouts
Did you look in the gown
when you changed?

Betty nods. It’s not important
Betty tells us even though she’s
hunched over trying with all her might
to get that bum knee to bend enough
so that she can see under the chair.

Did you look in the machine room?
Anna offers

Betty nods,
It’s just a necklace
just a material thing.

She wanders out of the room
down towards where we all change
each morning.

While she’s gone
Anna says,
This is why I don’t wear nothing.

I’m on the only in the room so I assume
she’s talking to me
but when I look at her
she’s not.

When Betty comes back 
Anna says,
Check the couch cushions
Maybe it fell.

It’s okay, Betty says with a sad laugh
and I can’t help but think
as someone who has lost quite a bit of jewelry
that it’s probably not okay.

But Betty is steely.
You know, she tells us
I wore it every day
because I read in one of those cancer brochures
that this woman
got dressed up for radiation every day.
That it made her feel better
to go there all ready and
beautiful
and I thought,
Betty says, poking her cane under the chair one more time,
It might have helped.

Anna nods.
So does Maria
but Betty just sighs
and says
I better call for my ride home
I’ll see you all tomorrow

and this time,
even I say goodbye to Betty.


___
Ally Malinenko is the author of the poetry collections The Wanting Bone and How To Be An American (Six Gallery Press) as well as the novel This Is Sarah (Bookfish Books). A forthcoming poetry book entitled Better Luck Next Year is slated for publication in 2016 by Lowghost Press.

Invective |
by HR Creel

a spreading hatred
like a rash
ruby red splash
of angry bitters
burns the skin

these are the results
of words
like victims in a burn
ward, convalescing.

___
HR Creel has been around a while, but is getting too old not to write.

Announcement from Verbolatry

*Verbolatry Laugh-a-Riot Contest 2016*

Send Verbolatry your funnies about writing, and win £100!
Entries are now being accepted for the Verbolatry Laugh-a-Riot
Contest. Humorous essays and cartoons about writing/publishing.


Deadline is 31 August 2016. There are two categories, free and paid, with cash
prizes and publication. Results announced October 2016. 
Details at
http://devyaniborade.blogspot.com

Sponsored by
Anam Cara Writer's and Artist's Retreat. 
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#Verbolatry #LaughContest

Formless Voice |
by Ash Gamble

a voice that formed 
me but did not offer
me its face, a door
slamming in my memory
of what my father would
have been











___
The Poet: J. “Ash” Gamble is a late in life poet from Florida.

The Photographer: Keith Moul's poems and photos appear widely.  Three books are recently published: The Grammar of Mind from Blue & Yellow Dog; Beautiful Agitation from Red Ochre Press; andReconsidered Light, a collection of his poems written to accompany his photos, from Broken Publications.