Poem of the Week–Sisters Together

Sisters Forever

My sister Joan was the first one to
laugh and make wisecracks.
She drank too much.
Appearances are often deceiving.
Joan was not a social drinker.
She became an alcoholic
after her baby girl died of SID:
“sudden infant death.”
The doctors assured her that
she could not have prevented
such an unknown and
dreadful tragedy…
but I knew in my heart
she suffered from guilt.
Joan’s therapy consisted of
using liquor to escape
from her own inner demons.
Life has taught me a valuable
lesson about human weakness:
People who have a drinking
problem deserve compassion
and not contempt.
Joan’s life was a story
with an unresolved ending —
I always understood.

Marlene Klotz
Boca Raton Branch, FL

Flash Fiction–Jean’s Story

Jean’s Story

Jean got bitten by a turtle trying to save it. She immediately went to ER. Her wound was washed and dressed. Doctor told her she did the right thing. He gave her a tetanus shot and some steroids to help with any venom-like material she may have gotten from the bite.
Never let a bite from any animal go unattended. I now whole-heartedly believe in Ninja Turtles. I think I ran into one. I mean one ran into me.

Barbara Whitmarsh
Bayou City Branch, TX

Poem of the Week–Bargaining with Karma

Bargaining with Karma

Dear Karma, you can have my Girl Scout badges
if I can take back shunning Ann Sanders next door

Giggles at Catcher in the Rye
for savoring Valley of the Dolls

I’ll give back almost anything except time with my dogs
for things I did in college (you know what I’m saying)

I could also give up working at Petite Shoppe
for asking a woman if she was pregnant when she wasn’t

The King & I revival on Broadway?—
not worth throwing up in the theatre lobby

Yes, I enjoyed Amanda’s dinner party once I got there
but not driving off with my peach pie on the car’s roof

Please take back that carat ring my husband gave me
and return his mother’s small gold necklace I lost

And here is whatever pleasure I had shopping
the day I picked up my daughter late on her birthday

Thanks for stuff that seemed dreadful but really wasn’t:
      seeing my parents drive away from Camp Fair Winds
      my first wedding cancelled after I got the dress
      two lay-offs from big, “important” jobs
      even my fall from a deck eight feet up

In fact, why mess with the dominoes—
their pockmarked, yet magnificent faces?

Karen Paul Holmes
Atlanta Branch, GA

First published in Untying the Knot (Aldrich Press 2014) by Karen Paul Holmes

Editor’s note: Flash Fiction Fall will resume at the beginning of next week, and the Poem of the Week will return to its regular Thursday spot! Keep connecting!

Flash Fiction–In or Out

In or Out?

From his wheelchair, Bob reached for the doorknob and dropped his hand.

Jay, his caregiver, leaned over his shoulder. “Aren’t we going in?”

“I can’t face them.” Bob looked at his legs. “What will they think of me, now?”

“As the strong man they knew and loved,” Jay said.

Bob shouted, “Look at me. I can’t walk into the room. Turn around,” he snapped. “We’re out of here.”

“Tough,” Jay said. “We’re going in.” He pushed Bob to the door.

Bob turned the knob and heard cheers from the men in the room. “Welcome back, coach.”

Margaret Leis Hanna
Central Ohio Branch, OH

Thank you to all our veterans who served our country and our freedom.

Flash Fiction–That Sounds Better

That Sounds Better

Summer in the Hampton’s: nine year old Jack, his Grandpa Tony, Grandma Peggy and I are in the living room of the rental house.
Grandpa Tony says, ‘Jack I have to get a new dinghy for the boat.’ ‘Why Poppa?’ ‘Because it’s old and worn out.’ ‘Sort of like me,’ I immediately say.
Jack quickly replies, ‘No, no Nana, you’re not worn out, you’re just old.’
Now, that made me feel better.

Etta Schaeffer
Boca Raton Branch, FL

Flash Fiction–Postcards

Postcard #1

The second time the waiter spilled soup in Archibald’s lap, he ended up with bouillabaisse stains on his pinstripes. The waiter—he’d better succeed next time—was positively abject with apologies. I plan to wear yellow to Archibald’s funeral before I leave for Paris. See you soon, my dearest.

Postcard #2

Well, mum, you were right. Why didn’t I see it as clearly as you did? Had to trip the blundering fool twice. If she could pay him, I can pay him more. Tonight, I think. Then I’ll be home for a good long rest. After her funeral.

Fran Stewart
Atlanta Branch, GA

Flash Fiction–Between Duty and Devotion


Sitting with John, my mind reflects back fifty years to the day of our marriage.

A hot August day in Maryland, sweating in his Navy uniform, then a short honeymoon, duty called.

John’s breathing coming hard and erratic. Last night he held my hand tight and gave a weak smile.

This morning nothing, simply curled in a fetal position, eyes shut and that deep, hard breathing.

I hold the form to sign for relieving him of his pain allowing him to die with dignity.

Sign for devotion or sign, as he would say, for duty.

By Mary F. Twitty
Boca Raton Branch

Flash Fiction–War


Strategy is the only order in the chaos of battle. Can’t tell if we’re winning or losing.

Combat subsides with an uneasy calm. Losses are surprisingly limited; strength renewed.

Enemy approaches.
Walls fortified.
Attack fails.

Curious, then furious: “Weren’t these soldiers weak and undisciplined in war? Haven’t I been their master?”

Young soldiers watch as the enemy circles and strikes without success.
“We have been injured before, why not this time?”

His eyes light with rage. “I can’t get in! I can’t get in!”

“He can’t get in!”

One who had power through fear suddenly had none.

Elizabeth Martin
Pikes Peak Branch, CO

Flash Fiction–Breakfast


Francine poured a cup of coffee and went outside to sit beneath the hemlock. It had been a rewarding though hectic family visit. They left behind a supply of vodka, beer, used linens, wet towels and plenty of sand.
She pondered on her sons’ lives: David attempting to be father of the century to compensate for the dubious mental state and physical health of his wife. Cookie, the dog was company for Jay who was in the midst of a nasty divorce from his irrational wife.
It was 10:30 a.m. The sun was high. Francine opted for vodka over coffee.

Dayle Herstik
Boca Raton Branch, FL

Flash Fiction–Spring Break

Spring Break

He stood in the drive as we drove away.
His eyes said it all: “I wish I were going, too.”
In the car, one grandmother, two granddaughters, and one empty seat.
“Why didn’t Papa want to come?” one asked.

“Not sure,” I lied. But my silence gave me away.

The homebody changed his mind, too late.

Cheryl Johnston
Tampa Branch, FL