Christine Tabaka

Citrus sinensis Rutaceae  

 

Plucked from the tree,

fragrant orb in hand.

Thumb poised at pedicel,

leathery flesh is pierced.

Aromatic spray released into the air,

the bite of citric acid on skin.

White pith clings to wedged segments.

Sticky juice runs down the arm,

anticipating the sweet reward.

Endocarp popped in mouth.

All sensations heighten and merge,

while peeling an orange.

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Sankar Chatterjee debuts with a short story.

Sankar Chatterjee possesses the passion for traveling worldwide to immerse in new cultures and customs to discover the forgotten history of the societies while attempting to find the common thread that connects the humanity as a whole for its continuity.  His most recent essays appeared in Foliate Oak, Wilderness House Literary Review, Subtle Fiction, The Write Launch, The Vignette Review, and Friday Flash Fiction among many others.

If You See Something, Say Something

The well-maintained trail ran parallel to the river flowing along one side of this cosmopolitan city.  It was being used by the brisk-walkers, joggers and the bicyclists for their daily physical activities.  It also connected the historic city to a well-preserved battleground, 25 miles away, where an important battle during the nation’s war of independence had taken place. However, lately women joggers were reporting attempted assaults around dusk by a masked and gloved man, jumping out of a bush in an area not illuminated enough.  But, they were able to speed up to escape from him.

On a recent evening, Dr. Rebecca Pak, a medical resident in city’s hospital was jogging on the trail to recharge after a grueling 36-hour floor-duty, when the assailant targeted her; dragged her inside a bush to assault sexually.  Fortunately, a security camera mounted on a distant pole captured the incident in grainy black and white blurred images.  Though the assailant’s face was not easily recognizable, two bright glows appeared in the middle of all the images.

Mr. Peter Towson, a well-built athlete regularly trained on the trail.  He watched the local channel on TV when the crime news accompanied with the photos was broadcast with a plea from the police commissioner in identifying the suspect.  As Peter intently looked into those two bright flashes in each frame.

A few days ago, Peter decided to start his spring gardening.  He stopped by his local flower nursery to pick up a few tools and some seeds when he overheard a conversation between a salesperson and a customer holding a pair of neon-green garden gloves: “The gloves are genuinely hardy; they would even glow in dark if you were gardening at dusk.”  Peter was in hurry, so he paid his bill and left the store without glancing at that particular customer.  He wondered why the incident suddenly popped into his head!  However, after much deliberation and hesitation, he anonymously called the police hotline to report the conversation, while mentioning about those neon-green gloves.

Two days later, in the evening, he saw the police commissioner’s live news conference on TV, announcing the apprehension of the assailant.  The commissioner profusely thanked an unknown tipster for relaying an incident in a flower nursery.  Based on that tip, his department screened the recent sales reports of that particular nursery and found the one for a pair of glowing garden-gloves, being paid by a credit card.  On legal request, the card issuing bank provided the customer’s identification information.  His agents kept the person under surveillance and nabbed him in the evening, just before he was about to embark on another assault. When they showed the day’s black and white images from the security camera. Indeed, two bright flashes, in the middle, appeared in all of them.

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Mitchell Grabois Returns With a Flash Fiction

Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois  has had over fourteen-hundred of his poems and fictions appear in literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad. He has been nominated for numerous prizes, and. was awarded the 2017 Booranga Writers’ Centre (Australia) Prize for Fiction. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available for Kindle and Nook, or as a print edition. To read more of his work, Google Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois. He lives in Denver, Colorado, USA.Mitchell

Over Scotland 

My girlfriend, my dentist said: Get out. I can’t live with you anymore. Your rampant neglect of your dental health fills me with disgust, despair, anger, not on occasion but every minute of every day. It’s a sign of disrespect of yourself and of me. You’re an adult now, no longer a child whose head was filled with your mother’s paranoid delusions, chief among them the stupid notion that going to dentists creates cavities and worse dental problems, like the ones you have. This is idiocy, Mitchell. I can’t tolerate it any longer.

So it had finally come to this. I could tell she was serious. In the past she could be playful about my neglect of my many dental problems, tooth and root, crown and gum. She could be tolerant, but no more. She’d reached her limit. She would no longer be blackmailed by the fact that she had raped me in her dental chair during my first appointment, when I was flying on nitrous oxide. 

It’s time for you to man up, she said.

I had tens of thousands of dollars of work that needed doing but the thing is: she was going to do it all for free and she was going to do it herself, with all the love, care and attention she could bring to bear.

I said: Okay, you win. I’ll make an appointment in the morning.

So here I am, full of nitrous oxide. This is me flying over Scotland, my naked body through the damp air, clouds like sheep’s wool, a new type of cloud, a message from God, a warning, as always.

I’m warning you, He says. I’m warning you, Mitchell.

I ignore him. He no longer has any power over me.

 

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Christine Tabaka Debuts

 

“Ann Christine Tabaka is a Pushcart Prize in Poetry nominee. Her poems have been published in numerous national and international poetry journals, reviews, and anthologies. She was born and lives in Delaware. She loves gardening, cooking, and the ocean.  Chris lives with her husband and two cats.”

 

Words of Truth 

I search no more for words of truth,

as my words died today.

Buried beneath weary feet,

that have trod too many miles.

 

Missives all beaten to dust,

are scattered far and wide.

Settled on the path of indifference,

devoured by voracious wolves.

 

What is in an appellation,

call me what you will.

I am the opposite of myself,

a contradiction of terms.

 

A hundred times I tried,

and a hundred times I failed.

The waywardness of effort

to be pondered at its worth.

 

Now shame hides behind the veil

as I struggle with my fate.

My words no longer carry truth,

for I have been undone.

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Laura Zucca-Scott

Leaving

Remember the day

We went to the harbor

I took a photo

Of you smiling

Under the flag

Of a docked ship

 

The light breeze

Memories of salt on your face

Fuel scent lingering

From a cruiser nearby

 

Every reflection of the sea

Every sound spoke of home

As gulls took flight

Saying their goodbyes

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Robert Beverage Debuts

 

Robert Beveridge makes noise (xterminal.bandcamp.com) and writes poetry in Akron, OH. Recent/upcoming appearances in The Nixes Mate Review, Violet Rising, and The Road Less Travelled, among others.

Vespers

I sing my prayers to you

at night, alone

in the dark. I wonder,

sometimes, if you can hear.

I whisper tears of joy

and rage, frustration,

desolate fulfillment.

Come to me, my darling,

come to me. Be with me,

beside me, on the bed

we’ve made our own,

let me offer worship

in the ways our bodies crave.

You do not come, of course,

for goddesses will only come

in their own good time, when deeds

and captors will allow.

It is enough to think

perhaps you hear.

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Jim Zola

Jim Zola is a poet and photographer living in North Carolina.

Light at the End       

It begins
with split nails,
darkened half-moons.
Scritching brick
casually as if
just a tic.
What a step up
a spoon seems —
heaven sent.
At first
you consume
the dirt,
gravelly caviar,
blood muddied.
When the hole
becomes a HOLE,
tools materialize
in baked goods
or slyly slipped
between bars.
Who needs sleep
when there is light
at the end
of the tunnel?
Wider, deeper.
One night you hear
trapped miners
singing folk songs
through soil.
Caballito blanco.
You know this passage
only leads
to another prison.
Still you dig.

 

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