Some of my favorite reads this year so far:
Queen by Suzanne Crain Miller
Brass by Xhenet Aliu
Cattywampus by Ash Van Otterloo
Caterpillar Summer by Gillian McDunn
Red, White, and Whole by Rajani LaRocca
Enjoy a short piece I wrote!
Face Down, Sun Up
(a semi-fictional flash fiction piece)
By Elaina Battista-Parsons
I force myself into child’s pose in the middle of the dock that smells like old blue claws, salty old men, and cloves. I didn’t plan it, it just happened. We came for a walk, but my body makes decisions too. My five-year-old questioned my safety. “Mommy there are nails and hooks. Be careful, mommy.”
If she only knew the hooks. Pricking my ribs. The overwhelming summer that finally ended. But here on Saturday, I’d begin a fall chapter by our fragile bay. My coffee cup steams, inches away.
Head down, child’s pose. Arms reaching for the autumnal equinox, stretching out my middle. Blocking out the sailboat banter and yacht club moms.
I made it through my breast reconstruction, Dad’s lung surgery, Mom’s broken C-1, husband’s job switch. Inhale…..”Mommy. I’m going to talk to the ducks.” Exhale.
“Mommy, look! Baby ducks!” My neck pops in release. I feel it click into place. My lower back is being a bitch though. Not following along nicely. It wants to clutch the darkness, but I reach my arms closer to the light. The breeze curves over my head.
“Can we get ice cream, mommy?”
A vertebrae at a time empties its luggage. Dripping stress strands between the slits of this oniony, oily dock. Raw chicken bits at the bottom of the bay greet my heavy worries that sink. Finally, some decompression. I see my grandmother’s hands on her heart behind my eyelids pressed on my tight thighs.
“Mommy. Are you awake?”
I sit up. Swallow the sun. Stand up. Sip my coffee. Extend my hand.
She approaches, and I see she knows.
“Beautiful Mommy. Great Grandma is proud of you. She told me through the water.”
“Through the water?” I ask.
“While you were talking to yourself. To your body. I saw her.”
My skin shivers. I bend to her. I hug her and smell her watermelon curls. Feeling less overwhelmed. The air smells like crab soup.
Enjoy my new favorite song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXO4IOK9S3g