Poem of the Week–Cream

Cream

My mother stands in the kitchen
pouring cream over sliced bananas,
cream skimmed from the top of
a milk bottle delivered that morning,
her flowered housedress
hangs loose on her frame.

On holidays she hand-whips cream
laced with powdered sugar and
vanilla into white mounds— her apron
catches stray spatters. She scoops
thick clouds onto pumpkin pie,
as light splays silver on her hair.

Years later she chooses cream puffs
from a bakery. I see her sitting at
the table late afternoon with tea and
the newspaper, a wrinkled hand
lifting a fork to thin lips with a smile,
her glasses tipped on her nose.

Behind her, a window opens to farmland
where once the clink of glass bottles
left on the step could be heard and
cream always rose to the top.

Lorraine Walker Williams
SW Florida Branch

Flash Fiction–Paradox

Paradox

On a day when divorce was distinctly possible, she threw up, went to work, then to her son’s baseball game. For one moment, breeze, sun, voices combined and something utterly inexplicable occurred: she felt purely and completely happy.

by Louise Kantro
Modesto Branch, CA

Flash Fiction–Too Fat to Fit

Too Fat to Fit

We drove 300 miles to the Iowa State Fair–Ian, Leo and me. Planned to stay with Sis, so we did. Next day we walked. Ate things on a stick. Grandsons kept walking as they ate –cotton candy, pork-chops, funnel cakes. Tried midway rides, some twice. Sun warmed farmer caps and strollers, as we listened to horse-drawn wagons and talent scouts.

Packing for home next day, Sis rushed super-mega toilet rolls to my back seat.
“Why we taking these to Wisconsin?” asked Leo.

“They’re too fat to fit,” Sis said, “my toilet holders.”

“Why not just stack them on the counter?” he said.

Linda Newman Woito
Iowa City Branch, IA

From the author:

I still am laughing out loud, to this day, when I think of Leo’s obviously ADULT rational response. I think Leo wins the day, and for me, the story is about him, not the sister.

Reader response?

And happy, belated Valentines day:

“FRAME”

Oh you’re so pretty!
I think you’ll fit just fine!
I might have to hang you
and call you my Valentine!

Dianne Lynn Benanti
Palm Springs Branch, CA

Flash Fiction–The Ring

The Ring

Traffic whizzed by; she waited at the café table. Running her fingers through her gray hair, she recalled.
“You’re so beautiful,” Angelo had said, frowning. “Why do you look so young? You deceive me.”
It was one of those smack-in-your-face moments. She loved him. He loved her.
She shook her head. He’s not coming. Rising she crossed the street. In an instant, brakes squealed. She was on the ground – pain, blood. Someone picked up her head, cradled it in his lap. In that moment she looked up, a death smile on her lips.
It was Angelo, fingering a velvet ring box.

Christina Laurie
Cape Cod Branch, MA

Flash Fiction: Ester

Ester

My mother died when I was thirteen years old. Never mind that my father died the same day-he shot her twelve times and then turned the gun on himself. Ester, I loved her so much.

Years later I was in labor with my first child. I cried with heart pain not labor pain, wanting so much for my mother to be there. Hours passed and I was still in labor-couldn’t my body just let go and move on?

That’s when the new duty nurse came in and said, “Hi, I’m Ester. I’m here to help you have your baby.” Mom.

By Mary E. Edgerton
Bayou City Branch, TX

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Poem of the Week–Black Feather

Black Feather

Not four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie,
but rather thousands, falling from the sky
in Arkansas. Drum fish decomposing
in adjacent waterways. All gone.
And now her. A flash of a solar eclipse.
A glimmer of light extinguished.
Our niece who days before celebrated
a swarm of flies ringing the air with oscillating
haloes along the windswept dunes. Gone.

She has become our newest astronaut circling
earth with her baby brother from another family
incarnation, poisoned by Agent Orange
his dad inhaled in Nam. Two years of radiation
and chemo battering his frail body. Holes
in the ozone layer, holes in the heart as large
and gaping as the cavernous surface at Ground Zero.

Out there, sailing on updrafts of the spirit’s current,
she joins the throngs of all who have gone before
while the bones of those remaining, shrink, all
but disappear, as the spaces between cartilage
yield invisible nets that glisten in the sun,
ready to catch those departed with a wink,

a blink, a nod, a strand of kelp in the shape of a dragon,
makeshift necklaces of shells, ribbons of yellow, pink, red,
signaling fierce loss, fiercer love. Prayers wending
their way on upturned palms, incense, breath,
the wing of a fly, a filament of iridescent fish scale,
a solitary black feather.

by Calder Lowe
Modesto Branch, CA

Poem of the Week–I am a Bubble

I am a Bubble

Sometimes easily burst, other times, not.
I can linger around and just float into space, without direction
Or I can land heavily and drop onto someone for anchorage.

I can be colorful—tinges and hues of reds, pinks, blues;
Transparent, translucent, opaque.
I don’t mind being transparent for I like to be sociable.

One very special bubble-strong and firm showed me the ‘light’ to persevere and to ‘hang’ in there.
I felt love and confident to move on.

I’m flying and enjoy floating with other bubbles.
I re-explored ‘new’ horizons that were really explored previously.
Passing the time on old territory helped me see that I had total control of the situation, rather than being controlled by it.

I’m a happy bubble and have been all day.

Vera Ripp Hirschhorn
Boca Raton Branch, FL

Members–still time to enter the biennial competitions for music, deadline for entries is February 29, 2016! Click here for more info.

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