The Read More Project

The Read More Project features some of the best prose, poetry, and narrative non-fiction around. We regularly publish work from a variety of writers, with a special focus on new and emerging writers. These works will span genres, styles, forms, voice, and more – we want our corner of the literary world to be as varied, as eye-opening, as challenging as possible.

If you’re interesting in submitting something to us, you can find more information here.

All Poems and Stories

The Gulf Between Them By Ola Mustapha

For a brief period, it seemed my parents’ marriage might survive my dad’s fling with the Yugoslavian manicurist from the salon above his shop. 

How Are You? by Amy Stewart

I’m alright, thanks – although now you ask I do feel a bit,you know,skinned –like the last layertougher than the reststretched tight over my drumhas ripped – and out comeall the things I can’t sayunseen thingsthat can’t find the words to fit themshapeshifters –I can’t pin down in any tonguea whole sea of shapeundulating and […]

December 14th, 1922 by Natascha Graham

Vita is caught up unexpectedly by EM Forster, who encompasses Vita and her attention halfway through a sentence. And then she is laughing, charming, taking the floor, immediately the highlight of the evening, her being, in short, (what Virginia had never been) a real woman. Virginia is left to push her wine glass half an inch further away, leaving a half-moon of condensation on the table, a puddle reflecting the fluttering caprices of the fire’s waxes and wanes.

Pedalling For Peaches by Yannick Pas

The bushy eyebrows flexed and the great toucan-like nose, having been tickled by a wandering moustache hair, wrinkled as Gherardo looked around the town square as the prospering sun slowly peeled back the early morning’s inactivity. The townspeople emerged from their shaded domains and into its ceaseless glare as they went about their daily routines. He peered through the golden rays of sunlight that had crept around the sides of the crumbling buildings and blessed the cobblestones with its amber gaze.

Leftovers by Ceinwen Haydon

Wine-careless, you try to wipetacky, viscous stuff off our soiled floor.Still my feet stick. I can bear no more.I begged you to take more care when spillingnourishing meals, everythingI’ve ever cooked for you. Now I know, with your plummy Rioja you prefer snacks, salty and sweet, rather thanbalanced main courses. Our fridge is rank,full of […]

Gary by Josh White

He wasn’t sure if the damage to his body would remain with him for the rest of his life, but he knew, unequivocally, that the hospital bill would.

The Hypnotists by Genevieve Jagger

I wasn’t trying to get into anything serious when I responded to the ad. I mean – I was serious, but I was serious about not being serious.

On The Run by Fija Callaghan

I’ve screwed up before. God knows I haven’t been a saint, done things I ain’t proud of, said things to my poor wife that I shouldn’t have, but this… this will ruin me.

Sounds Sensible To Me by Luke Fisher

The sound I am thinking of describes me, exactly, the sound is exactly how I am, now. It’s the hum of a jack when it’s half-way into the aux but not quite. Not quite the grunge-growl of feedback, but it sits between the pops and crackles. Rice Krispie music. It’s not the death spiral of Stereophonics out of a neighbour’s window either, but it has aspects of that melancholy. It contains within it the last note of the fire alarms we had in primary school, the note which fades slow into deflated-expectations. But above all it’s joyful. I could dance forever to this sound. 

Cheat Code by Sam Roberts

I tell them about Shackleton and the struggle on the ice, how they rowed eight hundred miles to Elephant Island and endured their way home to face the horrors of a war. The children are quietly spellbound by the story of brave explorers risking their lives in a frozen world. Any young lives I can save from what’s coming – to give them the spark I never had, that was crushed out of me on that floor, to save even one life – will make my seventy years worthwhile.

Family Night by Nicholas Elliott

How many times had they been here? Every third Saturday of the month since the beginning of time. It used to be called the Golden Dragon, now it’s the Happy Buddha. It’ll be something else next year. It’s the only thing that changes. Family Night, he calls it.

Something In The Water by Jędrzej Kierys

The things dehydration does with you. It prevents you from forgetting, maintaining the lust for water at the centre of your field of vision every second of your waking hours. And then when you put your head down on the sandy rough ground beneath your feet and sense your mind drifting away somewhere to a place of sweet rest and blissful emptiness, after barely two minutes have passed you find yourself dreaming of water again, of vast oceans and seas and lakes and bountiful life-giving rivers and you’re awake once more, dry and solitary.

On the Outside of Everything by Mike Fox

 The canal tapered away from us, dappled with light in the hazy afternoon sun, relentlessly straight and level. I’d developed the habit of gazing at it, hoping the sense of distance it created could take my mind somewhere else.

Madame Clara Had a Dream, and You Were in It by Steve Gergley

An hour after my mother’s funeral, I stepped into her bedroom and found a message on her answering machine. The message was from my mother’s psychic, a woman who spoke with a fake Cajun accent and who referred to herself in the third person as Madame Clara.

How To Unravel Reality in Seven Easy Steps by Ryan Walraven

The bar, Hops with the White Rabbit, was also not within his purview. It was located on the outskirts of Honolulu’s Chinatown, in what Daniel could only describe as an industrial park. The façade was spray-painted brick, while the inside was dimly lit and covered in tawdry tapestries. It smelled of incense and cigarettes despite the city’s smoking ban, but the owners brewed their own beer and kombucha, so it had that going for it.

Family Portrait by Lisa Deane

I’m smoking again. If there’s a silver lining to all this, it’s the sweet burn of tobacco in my lungs after eleven years of abstinence. I wonder what my accusers would say if they found out I’m not so much a sadist as my wife is a masochist. Nora has always been wild. I was afraid I’d lose her if she didn’t get what she needed. And you know what, I started liking it.

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Woman by Shannon Savvas

But Venice is different.
You want to be jostled among the crowds, jump on and off the waterbuses, amble down alleyways, over footbridges, take a turn too many and get lost only to have the delight of finding your way back.

Root Rot by Melissa Martini

Mama is a tornado, a storm. She strolls into the house, heels pounding into the wood floors, singing Bon Jovi and swinging her purse. She cries to you, using your chest as a pillow, her tears raindrops watering you – but you do not bloom, you drown. She smells like she did when she would return from the doctor’s office, rubbing alcohol and sweat.

Slater by Euan Currie

Its seven pairs of legs scuttle soundlessly across the tiled floor, moving in a purposeful line before pausing in front of her foot, antennae caressing the air. With a sniff of irritation, Heather plucks a tissue from her pocket and reaches down to clasp the woodlouse, the segments of its hard body putting up slight resistance.

Cleopatra’s Needling by Karen Ridley

Age shall not wither her I think someone said. Well, that was a bloody lie for starters; I wither like a plant in a winter bed.  Now gnarly hands twist like roots around my head, where fingers once played music on myriad lovers. Age shall not wither her I think someone said.  In memories I dance, I move with […]

Phosphorus by Jordan Aramitz

There’s a firefly warmth to your wry eyesthat I want to capture in mason jars,to make string lights out of them,out of memories better left behind. 3am is the bewitching hour. My circadianrhythm scours two continents to bowto a heartbeat I can’t hearacross an ocean I can’t cross.I buy a dream [or two] of youand […]

Doorjamb by Chris Cocca

In the summer, when school was over, we picked mulberries in the yardand spun in circles on the grass.It was soft and living, warm on our bare feet,and every day the sun was lightening your hair.Your mom, she was playing Brian Wilson, and we listened to his brothers intervene.  In the summer, when we were […]

Fall’s Belly by Kehinde Winful

Growing stripes.Vertical like the feelings that never left leavewater-sized marks on the hills of my cheeks. Growing in vain.Still reminiscing on yesterday, please somebody come lie with me.There are no fresh starts – only leaves. Concave bulge simile.Normal bodies on easy street, phase outlike the clear sky. Fire flies directly over me. New size, turn […]

Shades of Black Don’t Hide in Shadows by Larna Bobby Lou

Black is the colour of my velvet suit Grandmother dressed me in for baptism,Black is the colour of carbonado, a natural diamond in its purest form,Black is the colour of Olbers’ Paradox which holds everything possible in the entire universe,  Black is the colour of my chest. The first shade used by Palaeolithic artists to express […]

Ode To A Dream Catcher by Makaila Aarin

At the Arizona market, I perusean array of crafts and relics in booths.My hand reaches for a Sacred Hoop of willow wrapped in rose coloured leather:a frame for a woven web of sinew,an anchor for gemstones and feathers. Now hanging from my purple painted wall,a talisman between the night skyand my body curled under Grandma’s […]

Plaid by Lindz McLeod

Luminosity among the pine  needles; silken-sided peers.  They fell him with twelve flannel shirts  sewn into wings, feed him his own  wolf whistle until his teeth blubber.  Good boy: cubbed mouth eager and malleable. Good boy: fit for purpose and factory fresh. They take to the skies again,   having picked clean  the carcass of […]

Matches by Debbie Hudson

Stood terraced in this limited Lowrylandscape, monochrome-matchstick lads liddedvermilion and blue. Like the bruise from yourdad, when he’s seven pints bittered on anil-one score. Blunt swipe of your fringe, blank face,buttoned coat. You’re a naïve oil painting,this sketched-scanty Saturday afternoon. About The Author Debbie is a writer and artist who lives in West Yorkshire. Her […]

The Darkening by Rhys Timson

The darkening started small, like turning down the brightness on your phone screen a notch. Nate thought he was imagining it.

Into the Looking Glass by Shannon Savvas

El Matador, shadowy stairs up to a darkened room crowded with oases of rosy lamplight. Wine red walls, posters of matadors in tight scarlet trousers and black ballet pumps flourished blood-red capes to taunt monstrous black bulls. Waiters glided between tables, whilst the crockery clinked and private conversations syncopated with a lazy trickle of jazz.

At Your Earliest Convenience by Remy Maisel

You would like to die today, if convenient. You check your diary and note that it isn’t because you agreed, what feels like years ago, to a Saturday evening Hinge date and it would be unforgivably rude to stand him up on account of killing yourself.

Walk Towards the Whisper by RG Thomas

Spin is a whisper,a quiet collusiondressed up as fact, paraded as truth. Bias murmursabout the wayyou look or walkor think or talk. Prejudice shouts,behind your back,in your face,inside your head. Tyranny is dumb.No need to speakto the disregardedand dispossessed. Freedom is a cryfrom the streetsby those who failedto walk towardsthe whisper. About The Author Took a […]

To Grow A Contradiction by Nicholas Elliott

After this routine had been established, she began stressing the dangers of the world to Tommy: Don’t run, we could slip and crack our head open! Careful in the bath, we could drown. Make sure we chew our food properly or it’ll get wedged in our throat and we’ll choke.

God and the Airport Check-In Girls by Paul Taylor-McCartney

Stephanie and Trinity sat alongside one another but rarely spoke. Since their shift now lasted fifty weeks out of every year, they no longer made the effort to socialise outside of work. They led insular, bone-wearying lives and although this suited Trinity – she was never quite able to recall accurately how she’d even come to be a check-in girl – her colleague Stephanie wanted so much more from life than to process people for Go Missing Airlines.

Canada by Carl Boon

ed’s the color of my imagination. Red must’ve been the cottage and red the candy store to which—in the hour between beer and supper, or sun and none—they took me.

Son and Heir by Patrick Nevins

If Rex walked with any urgency at all, it was because the evening was getting on and, should he fail in his quest to locate his son (and he was nearly certain he would), he wanted to get back to his own lonely existence before it got too late. There wasn’t the urgency of the father who fears his child is in danger; Paul was risk-averse to a fault.

Swedish Death Clean by Mike Hickman

Phillip had suggested that, seeing as Guy was struggling to see the wood from the trees – so to cliché – perhaps he needed someone who wasn’t so used to what he had lying about the apartment and would thus be able to swiftly identify those things that would stand out most to any visitor who thought perhaps they knew Guy and would be disturbed by the evidence that they didn’t.

The Sunken Man by Eleanor Johnson

But he wouldn’t answer me then. He was still panting from nausea, like a dog in heat. The absence within him filled my belly, plunging me down into a borderless uncertainty. When there was no more room for silence, he instructed me to collect the wheelbarrow and supplies from the shed down by the cattle grid. I ran back towards the house, my boots slipping against the wet grass. It had been raining hard that morning, and the night had a heavy dankness about it, the air plump with its lingering residue.

The Ghosts of Choirokoitia by Shannon Savvas

If you seek ghosts, winter is best. Choirokoitia when the sun shines enough to warm, not heat the air, and tourists with their many tongues cursing the climb and climate have not yet begun their pilgrimages. Here you need your imagination.

Rose Knows by Zach Murphy

Rose knows that even the happiest golden leaves grow weary when they catch the first gust of winter’s harsh might. Rose knows that if the sun ever decides to go away for good she’ll try to make it promise to come back. Rose knows that if she had her life together, her adopted boy Frankie would still talk to her.

After Party by Hannah Stevens

Most people have left, but a few stragglers remain. The party began to dissipate maybe an hour ago – Kylie isn’t sure. She checks her watch: four thirty-five. She vaguely remembers Doug leaving. It didn’t seem to matter by then that she didn’t know anybody here. They were drinking and talking and everybody was friends. Doug had introduced her to his friend and then soon she was talking to somebody else, and then somebody else again. And the drinks were coming and the cocaine was being shared and it was just fun.

Evergreen Chapel by T. S. Vickers

The heavy door closed with a thud. This was his moment. He moved across the fence to a spot hidden by their shed, and a tree behind would block him from being spotted by park witnesses. After a swift glance, he climbed the fence beneath the pointed roof and dropped into a crevice. He moved out sideways, crept within the flapping washing, and entered through the open back door.

Unsent Letters Found in Time Machines by Sara Magdy Amin

I know now why the idea of you always seemed like an afterthought written on the back of holy paper, scrunched, thrown into a mist and never retrieved. But maybe there is a version of you somewhere that was retrieved, maybe, below a rusting copper roof, the past and the future uncoil at your feet.

Visibility by Zoë Green

Yesterday it rained from lunchtime. The whole of the previous fortnight, we’d been sweating in the mid-thirties and so we were dressed only in light clothes for the journey. The sky didn’t seem to take any enjoyment from its performance. By the time we got to the hotel, we were shrunken with cold.

A Burning World by Erica Abbott

The television set sizzles with static while the world burns at your feet – a war that’s been seen before is teetering on the precipice of unhinged jaws and fingers cut off from the electrical charges of the brain. Here lies all the truths that were kept buried while every lie hums just outside the […]

The Pact House by Isaac D. Williams

The man behind the desk had introduced himself as Albert Ryman the first time he and Haytham met, and Haytham hadn’t believed it for a second. He was tall and thin, with white hair and black glasses that framed his face. He always wore impeccable suits. But it was all a little too perfect: the hair too well-maintained, the jacket and shirt too complimentary, and the tie knot always impossibly symmetrical. His glasses weren’t crooked in the slightest. Everything about him seemed cultivated, right down to the pretence of humanity.

Headline by Robb Sheppard

10.36pm. They’re not just late now; they’re Amy Winehouse late. The blips and wub-wubs of the Never Gonna Give You Up cover version are barely audible over the audience’s detached impatience and theatrical sighs. The song’s ironic. I think. I hope. The crowd, however, are being more vocal at this one moment than during the entirety of the support slots. I guess clapping is out again this season.

Even Gods Cry by Albrin Junior

He was the only child; they always listened and made sure he got everything he wanted. Sometimes life was too comfortable for his own liking, but it was a privilege and he enjoyed it. They sat in the parlour and listened to all his fears and dreams, before they burst into laughter. It was something they had never done before.

Amor Fati by William Nuth

Mr K. was unhappy. He felt entirely alone. Mrs B., sitting just a few meters away, typing at her desk was no comfort. And since sitting down, a dread feeling had come over him; he felt his life would soon be ending.

In Real Life by Rachel Tanner

Let’s talk about the newness of it all, of thebeginnings that followed me homethe entire hour drive back from your housethe morning you heard me throw upfrom last night’s wine and tried to kiss me goodbye anyway. The night was warm. I mostly remember how I was shaking when I took your handand put it on my […]

Working Out by Zoë Green

He wants to be the beating blood beneath her skin, he thinks, as he drops his new gym bag next to her canvas backpack. The skin of our lips is a hundred times more sensitive than our fingertips; he wonders if she knows this. She must be knowledgeable since she’s always reading. White veins have developed on the buckled corners of her War and Peace, which, he sees, is sitting ready by her neat white trainers.

Into July by Tanner Lee

We believed ourselves the monsters of North Dallas, curly-headed and leaning on trees. We painted our faces green and black, and we wore second-hand fatigues from thrift stores and family attics. We buttoned up and were war-ready, swaggering with ammo and plastic rifles tipped with orange. Airsoft gave us the thrill of war without the warring. We talked like we killed, and we found ways to best each other. In the forest with our guns, our mothers didn’t exist.

Beyond Lamorna by D. G. Champken

Soldier’s Buttons, Robin noted the spiky blooms of cornflower-blue underfoot as he trod his familiar, solitary track out of Newlyn harbour. The cliffside above Mousehole, the next village along, was raucous with heather, sweet-scented bells ringing silent and glowing in the early-evening sun, a sun that showcases a unique shine in this small corner of Cornwall. The surrounding sky was burnt orange, a stain that would soon blossom into lilac. Blue skies were rare in this part of the world and time of the day, signalling when they did appear a good day ending.

Burning the Bridge by Julia Knox

Your dad tied you behind his pickup with the strong quality rope we used to tie up the horses. He dragged you the length of the driveway and everyone knew.

Swan Song of a Failed Composer by Warren J. Cox

As the overwhelming underdog, and the American, the crowd was rallying for him. Now approaching four hours, the match had matured, building like tantric sex or ostinato music composition. Twice a woman had legit screamed out prior to the conclusion of a point, prematurely anticipating its end; once just before a phenomenal backhand stroke from Rodrigo which went crosscourt zipping right past Tristan’s eyes seeming to emit heat and hum like a missile. Tristan was right to let it fly, it had landed just out.

Resolutions by Diana J. Timms

At quarter past three one April afternoon, Lucy Mackenzie had picked up her six-year-old daughter from school, and the mother’s body had been pulled out of the river at seven thirty by a jogger. The daughter had never been found, despite the dredging of the canal and the most expensive missing person investigation that Catharine had ever instigated. The last sighting of her had been by her teacher when the child had been picked up from school. The police investigation had circled for eighteen months, unable to reconstruct a mere four hours.

The Jackalope by Sheldon Birnie

A devotee of Red Dead Redemption since way back, Tony was familiar with jackalopes. He’d never seen one though. He’d never even been sure if they were real or not – he’d never paid much attention to science, or anything really, in school – until that day on the loading dock. But when he tried to tell his buddies at the bar after work about it, they all laughed at him.

My First Strand of Grey by Michael B. Keane

It happened today: my first strand of grey.In my bathroom’s bright light, I felt shock, then dismayas my fate flashed before me: arthrosis, infirmness,decay, the faint footsteps of Death on his way.I felt hopeless already: aging, unsteady,and struggling to think. “What about me won’t shrink?My backaches? My future collection of hair dye?The length of my […]

Pet Names by Nikki Bausch

You are Dolly and Mousey, and Bunny, and others. With each new pet name that he gave you, you used to imagine yourself experiencing a quick metamorphosis into that animal or object.

Two Poems by Haley Byer

Parting the Red Sea The bog – bolbus berries blistering red, burst ripe in the late September sun. I, captivated, carried courage in my life before – carelessness. I returned home from the coast of clams to find Pa had become one of the ghosts of the bog. I wade through red water and I wait in my waders  wondering how long it took the […]

Three Poems by R. Gerry Fabian

Just Waiting For A Title I have a song in methat doesn’t have a title.It has a Tastee Freezclosed for the winter sadness.The song occurs in late fall.Even though there are lovers;it is not a ballad.The refrain is stabbedby saxophone urgency.But I goose bump to the lyrics.They are exceptional wordsthat go together so wellI always […]

Three by David Christopher Johnston

George doesn’t want to be here, you can see it in his expression: eyes darting nervously from side to side, perspiration shining his top lip and brow, an uneasy smile offered through closed lips. You can sense it in the way he stands: sagging shoulders anticipating defeat, clenched fists buried deep in trouser pockets. It is clear from only the briefest of glances that George feels out of place, out of his comfort zone. A zone that was far from the spectrum of spaciousness to begin with.

Lockdown Tuesday by Colin Mayo

Gerald didn’t like working at home. He found it hard to concentrate. He’d much rather be in the office. It was the whole routine he liked. It gave him a focus. He was someone. He was Gerald R. Scott, Actuary for the Ask Us Insurance Company. At home he was just Gerald or Gerry.

Late Bloomer by Shelby Crane

Sometimes she would make up stories if the conversation turned to first kisses. Her first kiss was when she was thirteen at a summer camp, Or fourteen with her friend’s brother. Often she would steal a story from others if the groups didn’t intersect. Her problem was keeping her stories straight.

Hidden Treasure by Steven Thompson

A starfish. That’s the lobster out the window. I clean the surface. Smoothing the card out so I can see it properly. I worry that I’ll miss something one day and throw a winning card out. The thought makes my belly ache.

Gloves Off by Bryn Chamberlain

I’m not sure, but I think the phrase “Gloves Off” may have originated in hockey. In a demonstration of perverse chivalry, the first step in the all-too-common hockey brawl is that the opposing players will throw down their gloves prior to trying to cold-cock one another. This may have been due to the fact that early hockey gloves had stiff little edges that could possibly poke an eye out and clearly, beating the shit out of someone does not include poking out an eye.

Hold My Hand, Please by Martha Lane

Once his acne cleared and the hormones settled, like a glass snow globe – fragile, still there, but took a good shake to rise them – I watched him fall headfirst into love affairs, rife with pain. My fingers twitched, desperate to hold him back: make him think, make him see, make him more like me. I watched him tackle with two legs out front, drive without indicating, and drink until he was rendered a clown.

Nevada Suicide Prevention by Leah Mueller

Nevada Suicide Prevention has previously appeared in Anti-Heroin Chic Friends catch her by the shoulderson the edge of a casino balcony,drunk and reeling above gaggles of tourists. Cocktails in hand, the revellers gaze: first with curiosity, then malice. Vulnerability brings out their sadism.They point and laugh. She tries tohurl her body into their upturned faces. Hands […]

The Air; It’s Alive! by Joseph Darlington

The Earth was beset by a great psychic panic. We have seen them before. The dancing plagues. The birth of Christianity. Suddenly, the things we knew were uncertain. Worse, in fact; what we knew, we knew to be false. But what new things we needed to know, those things we call the truth; we didn’t know those yet.

Divas of Bollywood & Politics of Remembrance by Ashish Dwivedi

The Bollywood industry is prolific, in almost every sense of the term, including the sheer number of women actors that are encapsulated within a strip of time. Some become household names; some reach a flux; some walk back, while some pass to the dirty hands of oblivion… and I take the latter-most as the grim child of destiny. This becomes the subject of my discourse here: remembering the forgotten dancing queens.

First Date by Skendha Singh

By then she’d started to scroll and tap her phone. What are you doing now, I asked her? Just checking Google reviews for what’s good here. I must have gaped. She looked up. Did you get the oil? I told her they didn’t have it. She went back to tapping the phone screen furiously.

The Dandelion by Sophia Vesely

The Dandelion has been previously published in Writer’s Egg Magazine. The seedling…most recently aware,frolics newly-sprouted in a fantasy of yellow.It smiles and gigglesunder the sun,which nourishes the bright skin.It crouches and tremblesby the harsh whip of the stormwhose shadows echo and howl.It dances and singswith the light kiss of a shower. Yellow bloom…most recently rooted,stands confident […]

Silk by Joseph Darlington

The bathrobe? I found it in the flea markets down on Gagarin street. It was just hanging there, among a bunch of old peasant clothes. Yes, I know it’s ugly. Orange squares and blue stripes. But it’s still got its silk ribbon, look!

Three Poems by Lucy Cundill

A previous version of “Carnivore” has been published in Squeeze 2020: UEA Creative Writing Anthology rorschach’s nose bleed Rorschach’s nose bleed,  you don’t sit on the paper like you ought to,  – you twist and turn and try  to defy shape. you try to defy everyone – it’s the only thing that lets you get […]

The Passion of Mariam by Glykeria Patramani

A kitchen where nothing has ever been thrown away, two mouths with tongues grown old before they even got to know each other, a sip of coffee, some rusks dipped in milk, bronze peacocks, a TV ad selling creams made from snails and the heavy smell of mothballs. And amongst all of this a tray with semolina cake, nine candles stuck in the top and a parcel on the table.

Porcelain by Martha Lane

There’s a child downstairs that I’m ignoring. I have business to attend to right here. She’s great, the child. It’s not that I don’t like her, a whirlwind of incomprehension, but she is young. A sapling. Sapping. At the stage in her life where autonomy is not on her radar.

Three Poems by Audrey Spina

La Pietà to be published in the online magazine, They Call Us, in early January 2021. Museum Entrance Two ancient lovers hold handsas if they’ll dissolve away from each other like heated sugar;a woman holds herself, rocking a crying baby slung on herchest like a gold medallion. A glass door holds ustogether. We slide in […]

Both Sides of the River by J.B. Polk

Through the open door he can hear the clutter of cutlery being pushed into the dishwater basket – forcefully, with annoyance, just as everything Wanda does. In the background, KLW3 and Dolly Parton’s nasal drawl praises ‘The Coat of Many Colors’ her mama made for her. He can hardly picture Miss Big Boobs Parton in any coat, never mind in one of many colours, but Wanda likes the sentimental stuff.

Loving Uncle Tim by J.B. Polk

Although they never met in person, I often spoke to Alex about my austere Presbyterian upbringing, the type of ideals that the family pursued and how hard it was for an outsider, not born and bred in Middlebury, population 513, to be accepted by the local community. You were either in or out – there was no middle point. According to an unspoken agreement, the Middlebury community held monopoly on moral values and any other lifestyle was sinful and condemnable. Rooted in traditions and immutable ways, life seemed to move in circles there and no one expected any changes.

Strongman by Rae Stringfield

Tommy lay draped over his mother’s protruding belly, her short fingernails massaging his scalp. The smell of salmon slowly saturated the air in the living room, wafting under the crack below the kitchen pocket door. They never used to close the door, but for weeks now any whiff of food sent his mother running for the bathroom.

An Evening’s Work by Shani Naylor

Tonight, I’m at the Bradford Hotel. It’s your typical seaside establishment, full of newlyweds, elderly widows. You know the type. The hotel has seen better days – purple carpet threadbare in places, gold paint rubbing off the stair rails showing dirty white underneath.

Windows on the World by Flora Jardine

Those who were home either waved at me—some ladies even sending flirtatious kisses)—or ignored me, eyes fixed on television screens or laptops. Many were out though, and each suite was a stage on which I imagined a life story playing out. The props were comic, sad, intriguing, revealing or puzzling. The stuff folks collect is surprising. Suggestive.

The Secret by Lea Emil Hollis

Hidden behind a row of seemingly unrelated hardcovers, a secret compartment of sorts. A secret place where his most precious tome could rest, unnoticed. Reverently, he withdrew it, drawing it close to him as I tried to inconspicuously take it in. Despite the worship he clearly held, someone had not been particularly kind to the book, a dozen dog-eared corners bulged the worn edges of the pages and made the cover warp unevenly.

Meet Me When Your Hair Is Shorter by Courtney Kerrigan-Bates

At least it wasn’t word-for-word long time no see. His eyes focus on my face. If he wasn’t already too drunk, he’d be analysing how each line of my face has changed, but he is already too drunk, so he’s simply trying his best to look like he’s analysing something, when in fact he can probably see two of me.

World Cup by Tom Morgan

Yes, he’s funny, and I can be funny when I want to be, but he’s the butt of the joke. He’s a complete and utter clown. Hannah’s not going to want to be with a clown, is she? She’s going to want to be with someone tough. I’m tough. At least, I can be – I’ve had four teeth out, and I didn’t even make a fuss. I’ve got them in a small red box in my bedroom.

3250 by D. R. Hill

Hannah feels my presence. She sits straight up in bed, alert, and she looks directly at me. I wonder if she has an image of me, of the real Miranda. I wish I could communicate with her. As she calms I stay and watch over her, as if I’m a carer tending to someone who is sick. She relaxes in bed. This is timeless for me.

Failures of the Heart by Chris Morey

Macavity, she thought, like the cat. As a birthday present, she’d splurged on a Versace bathrobe for him, with a design of a leaping tiger. Or rather, her allowance had, though to keep within budget she’d gone without a lovely little number that she was almost sure she could carry off. It hung in his wardrobe, worn only on the day she gave it to him. And he’d been such an elegant dresser.

The Brothers Callabaugh by J. David Thayer

Right now, before he opens his stupid mouth any wider, I’m feeling just fine. But I already know that’s all about to change. Any second now he’s gonna spill it. Can’t help himself. He’ll hand his burden off to me like a baton and it’ll be my leg to run in the anxiety relay. Well, I don’t want that baton!

House Clearance by D. R. Hill

The charged stillness of the house enveloped you even as you stepped into the open wooden porch. Piles of rotting leaves disguised the intricate floor tiling, and there was a shudder as the front door swung open to reveal evidence of activity abruptly abandoned.

‘Away from Mycenae, Or’ by Spencer Woollaston

The rain started on Olivia’s second round of houses, and reached its most torrential by her fifth. That day she walked more than she had ever done in her entire life, knocked on countless doors, spoke to hundreds of strangers.

Little Big Voice by Dave Henson

Freddie Fredrickson owns Car Cars Cars. His voice makes fingernails on a chalkboard sound like a Brahms lullaby. He used to do his own ads for awhile but finally accepted that his screech was a turn-off and hired me to dub him. The Cars Cars Cars gig has become my bread and butter.

Lights Off by L. Colm

She parked up on the side of the road. It was already dark – quarter after seven. The only things that lit the neighborhood were lampposts and windows from seemingly lively houses. She made sure the shadows camouflaged her car, certain nobody would remember seeing it there the next day.

Don’t Talk To Me Of Hiroshima by Kaustuv Ghosh

Do not talk to me of Hiroshima, he saidSurprising the nurse with one free hand. Not fourteen anymore and not quite forty,He had manned the pickets for over a weekWithin the tear gas amphitheatre.Briefly, the sea of khaki had partedFor an elderly teacher who, bewildered,Called them his children and urged surrender.I had taught you the […]

The Parrot by Eleanor Platt

As the afternoon deepens, and the shadows get longer, the Parrot watches as the chickens start to come out to peck at the dry ground of the courtyard and the near-baked grass in the garden. Signor Lucan watches too, ready to shoo any bird that tries to nibble at his prize tomatoes.

Where The Water Runs Clear by Stephen Brophy

I was in no condition to be driving an eighteen-wheeler. The medication kept me tethered to the world around me, but rendered heavy machinery out of the question. So when the dispatcher called me for an international run, I flushed the pills.

Albatross by Shannon Clinton-Copeland

Dad built Mom out of pipe cleaners when she died, sat her on the kitchen counter in fuzzy green dress and wire eyes. Took him days; barely three foot of her, starch-stiff ragdoll on the kitchen side but enough, big enough for you to press your head between her nylon bristle legs, small twin scars on your forehead where the wires catch.

Cross Training by Wm. Brett Hill

“He’s always late, Lord. Always!” he complained to The Man Upstairs. His complaints went unanswered, as they always did, but it still made him feel good to lodge them. “It shows a complete lack of respect for the process.”

Tag Cloud

Follow Our Blog

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.