His makeup case hasn’t been opened for over a year now. This will be a careful search, delayed for almost two years. He is in here.

The first red lipstick is the same color as the blood I found on his bathroom and kitchen floors after he passed. The next tube is a neutral shade, the color of our skin, his and mine. Another red, the color of his liver, a darker one the hepatitis C virus in his body.

All remind me of the wine I pleaded with him to not drink. He is in here, I am sure.

 

~Pat Horner is a painter/collage artist and writer exhibited and published in the US and abroad—and publisher and editor at the “The Woodstock Guide.” Pat’s also writing fiction and memoir from Woodstock, NY. This piece is an excerpt from The Case by Pat Horner 2016.

Visit Pat’s Website Here.

The first time, my Lutheran pastor’s wife went downtown to the bars to drink and pick up men. He lost his wife and his congregation. The second time, my pastor’s wife ran off with her first cousin and divorced my pastor. She returned and they remarried. The third time, she left for a woman, also leaving her two sons. My pastor and his wife divorced again. For the next six months he shoveled horse manure to clear his mind and his nasal passages. After that he said, “Shoveling horse shit is  the best therapy.” Now, he is a minister again.

 

Jim Krotzman is a retired English teacher at Watertown (WI) High School. He is a struggling haiku poet and fisherman.

My oven is broken. It turns out heavy half-baked loaves that do not rise. My freezer is leaking. At random times, water runs out and pools on the floor. My faucet drips. Dishwasher won’t run. I absentmindedly threw a pair of pantyhose into the washing machine. They got tangled in the gasket. Now that leaks, too. So depressed, I have no energy to cry. My appliances are weeping for me. In a feedback loop of sympathetic dysfunction, turmoil is manifesting through my appliances. For twenty-five years, I was a housewife. It’s over. Kitchen Aids sob. Maytag mourns. Thermador trembles. Broken.

 

Desirée O’Clair is a writer in Woodstock, New York. She is currently completing her collection of short stories titled Naked At The Seder Table – Will I Ever Be Jewish Enough? She is also working on ELSIE, a one woman show based on telephone conversations with her crazy and much loved Aunt Elsie. Visit her website: http://www.desireeoclair.com

The frost bedded on the grass. Our breath rose from our throats, cast gold by our lanterns. We took our shovels, taller than all five of us, and we stabbed the dirt, pulling up roots and weeds. Our palms were bleeding–we weren’t callused like our daddies.

There was no casket, just a blanket of mud, and I lowered myself in the hole with Stuart from town to get a better look. The skeleton lay all crooked but he was smirking like he was glad to be found.

He had no name. But after that long, names don’t matter anymore.

 

Byron J. Kimball is a freelance tech writer based in Sacramento, California, where he lives with his partner and their dog. He enjoys playing guitar, sushi, and the occasional novel.

Not so much the cold, but the wind
pressing against glass, announcing his passing
glances, lifting wood smoke over snow-fields of soft prints
broken through ice.
These are clues, you say, as we sweep the steps of powdery air
and fallen sky. Without looking up, I know a hawk by its shadow.
The sound of a chainsaw in the distance without seeing the blade.
The shape of your hands covered in work gloves—clues, as we sweep
last night’s silence from our doorstep. The stones uncovered,
veined with time, the sun bright outside your leaning, his
name, here, finding me.

 

Sharon Rousseau is a poet, writer and photographer living in New York City and the Hudson Valley. A 2014 New York Times Poet’s Pick for NYC Haiku, she also posts regularly at sharonrousseau.com.

The oldish man with the craggy face of a forgotten character actor told the barber while paying for his Marine-style haircut that he had to get home to milk the dog. It’s all a weird kind of poetry – not just the words, but also the gaps in-between. Merriam-Webster.com lists the 10 words that users have looked up most often over the past 24 hours. Tonight “love” was No. 3, and No. 4 was “irony.” Most nights I’m the last one to go to bed, feeling along the wall in the dark for the door that I know must be there.

 

Howie Good’s latest book of poetry is The Complete Absence of Twilight (2014) from MadHat Press. He co-edits White Knuckle Press with Dale Wisely, who does most of the real work.

Dad and Mom took me to the General Election although it was a school day. They wanted me to see how lawmakers were chosen. It was important that our country’s citizens were involved in our democracy.  We had been told for months how different the candidates were from each other. The line moved slowly. When we got to the voting booth, Dad took out his charge card and told the official how many dollars he wanted to vote to his candidate. Mom took her charge card and did the same for her candidate. Afterwards Mom said, “I just love auctions.”

–Jim Krotzman is a retired English teacher at Watertown (WI) High School. He is a struggling haiku poet and fisherman.