Tag: Women

Bad Fruit by Catherine Roberts

Falling in love is like lighting a scented candle. You spend years in the dark and suddenly everything is filled with light and the sweet smell of berries and roses. But before long, it’s snuffed – a part of you forever melted away until the wick is lit again. This can only happen for so long until you’re left with nothing but a pool of cool wax. 

After the first few loves of my life, I only had boyfriends I couldn’t stand. Jake with the specks of toilet paper stuck to razor cuts on his chin, or Troy who peed in the sink while brushing his teeth for “convenience”. There was always an urge, squirming, eyeless and hungry, under the surface of that once-sweet fruit. To feel more.

So, I started crashing funerals.   

Movie Magic by George Nevgodovskyy

I could always spot the look. That glint of recognition. A sideways glance, a tinge of embarrassment. Most people crumble – unable to separate fiction from reality. You’ve thrilled them. Aroused them. You’ve made them sob violently in an empty theatre. A matinee.

They’ve even modelled themselves on the characters you’ve played. The way they speak. The way they dress. That’s why most can’t resist the urge to approach you. Make sure you know they exist too.

Aren’t you that actress from –

I just loved you in –

How to inherit storytelling by A.J. Akoto

*All italics in parentheses are excerpts from Unmothered, A.J. Akoto’s debut poetry collection, published by Arachne Press in July 2023.

My mother dreamed me before she even knew she was pregnant. The message of me came from her grandmother. Her dead grandmother. Woman to woman, across realms, whether real or in the imagination-soaked field of my mother’s subconscious, they communicated. I sometimes wonder if my mother and I would talk more if one of us were dead (Dreams are a gathering place,/ after all. Is she meeting me/ where she can?). Then again, the silence between us is so populated – by memories, stories, aunts trying to push me into contact – that it makes me question what it really means to no longer talk to someone. Especially when that someone is your mother.

The Taxidermist by Alison L Fraser

It was not abnormal for taxidermy to be around the apartment, but it had been a long time since Ruth had last seen it. Not since her mom died, she thought, and she brought a few to a consignment shop, the type of shop that loved to decorate itself like a hunting lodge. But there the bird sat on the askew toilet lid, statuesque. The kestrel’s body was firm, heavier than it could have been when it was alive. Ruth gently lifted the taxidermy creature off the toilet, its beak unaligned appeared to be mid-joke.

The Next Scene by Deborah Shrimplin

When Kaye noticed her brain was struggling to remember the most basic nouns (she was told this happens to most seniors) she decided to take up writing. Writing was supposed to be good for her senior brain.

Last night, Kaye had written the first few scenes of a story she thought had wonderful potential. This morning she is sitting at her computer rereading it. She questions, “What would happen next?”

Born in Fire

Enough by Angela M Cowan

We’ve been mingling at this benefit for two hours now, and no one has noticed I’ve not said a single word.

No one ever does. They all watch Robert, with his movie-star smile and his bleached teeth and his calm, caring aura that can charm ten grand out of a man’s alligator-leather wallet without so much as a blink. All while I, the very picture of the devoted wife, smile and keep my lips pressed tightly together, doing my duty.

Secrets by Lori D’Angelo

The blood drinking would not begin till after midnight, which was good because it gave Daphne time to prepare. 

They say that your first experience is unforgettable, a gateway to everything else. 

Daphne was 14, so she was old enough to participate if she wanted to. But she could also choose to wait. 

“You don’t want to rush it,” Serafina had told her. 

Serafina was older and a prefect and the only other girl from Daphne’s depressed farming town, so, by default, they were best friends. 

Excavations by Regina Rae Weiss

I’d been here a few weeks in relative peace but now the park was being dug up all around me, and I was having trouble finding out why. At first I thought they were going to excavate and replant the flower beds and shrubberies. I panicked then about being displaced from my comfortable abode in the heart of the ancient rhododendron, which was larger than my last apartment and rent free. Would I have to go back to the west side tunnels? I couldn’t do that. Peggy was probably still marooned over there and she wanted, understandably, to kill me. But I couldn’t go to a shelter either. The city’s shelters bring out my claustrophobia worse than any tunnel ever could.