The Red Romper by Eleonora Balsano

When life hasn’t turned out the way you hoped, nor have you found a way – yoga, God, Prozac – to make peace with it, you dream that you’re pregnant. Your baby needs clothes and bottles and a pram and a playmat. You dream of the brood of mums-to-be waddling out of your living room arm in arm. A folded pram in their boot, a bag containing a scented layette on their lap. Your baby’s pram, your baby’s layette, your baby’s scent. You want it all back. Continue reading The Red Romper by Eleonora Balsano

That Thing I Lost by Tara Van De Mark

On my knees, I reach behind the toilet, but my phone isn’t there. I crawl to the mattresses and reach into the space between bed and wall, finding only used tissues, hairbands and dust. I shake out the sheets and toss the pillows. Nothing. I dig through the clothes on the futon until I reach the dirty red slipcover. Still no phone, not even a handful of coins for a payphone. Continue reading That Thing I Lost by Tara Van De Mark

ToadGirl by Kerry Byrne

“Your pa’s Toadman. Your pa’s Toadman,” the boy sang over and over as he followed her home from the market. He scuffed the scree along the path, provoking dust and picking up stones to pelt her back. A sliver of flint ricocheted off her right ear, a misthrow, drawing blood. She wanted to turn around then and face him, to bare her knuckles like teeth and punch-punch-punch his freckled nose until his vest matched the rust of his hair. Continue reading ToadGirl by Kerry Byrne

Ten Sheets to the Wind by David Christopher Johnston

content warning: suicide This is not a cry for help. If it were, I’d be standing on the eastern edge of this multi-storey car park – directly above the busy bars and nightclubs – so all the Saturday-evening drinkers could witness my final fall. I’d linger on the ledge long enough to cause a scare and soak up the sympathy before deciding to give life … Continue reading Ten Sheets to the Wind by David Christopher Johnston

Crackers by Karen Walker

First published in The Womb Department Anthology content warning: death Dressed in the cleanest clothes she has, Wendy shops at Grocery Giant on Mondays when selection is best, her pocket full of coins. People give the most on Sundays. She nods to the cashiers as she enters the store. They call the manager: “Crackers is here.” Wendy shops in aisle six – Snacks. She passes the candy and the chocolate because … Continue reading Crackers by Karen Walker

Latent Life by Sherin Bual

Originally published in Sky Island Journal. I. Arthur squinted into the tall, rectangular window of his eighth-floor office, then out at the horizon. The flood of fluorescent winter daylight on his eyes felt painful, almost unbearable. His gaze shifted downwards, myopically, towards the bottom of the window. A water beetle lay dead but upright between the double-paned glass for what had probably been years, its … Continue reading Latent Life by Sherin Bual

Lady’s Mantle by Leon Coleman

He tries to remember their time at the allotment. The crack of dawn. Spring. Clear blue sky, sunshine, fresh. He was ready, spade in hand, to help her turn some soil. Along the edge of the path, she crouched down to show him something: a clump of spreading green foliage, webbed fingers covered with tiny droplets of water like glass beads. Lady’s Mantle, she had called it. What a strange name for a plant, he had thought. Continue reading Lady’s Mantle by Leon Coleman

Wheelbarrow Rides, and Fractions of You by Kate Wilkinson

Another woman comes up to me, shaking my hand. This one has wispy hair, a dark dress, she’s old – and, before you ask, I don’t know how old, Granny. Just old. Anyway, she says she’s called Susan, and Susan is telling me that you were in London together in your early twenties, during the war. Apparently when the air raid warning went off you would run to the shelter together, and when you were there, huddled underground with strangers in the dark, she would play guitar and you would sing, and people knew the two of you as the musical girls from Mayfield Street. Continue reading Wheelbarrow Rides, and Fractions of You by Kate Wilkinson