There is something volcanic behind his eyes that trowels nourishment like black soil succours the wild gums
but not black they are the blue above the mountains with a little yellow just before the fade
perhaps he is the sky full of soft and storm clouds that thrash deluge and bleed rainbows.
Lili Birdis a writer and visual artist from the Blue Mountains, Australia. Having spent a long time in the wilds of Canada, Iceland, Scotland, and her own rugged bushland home, Lili draws inspiration from her love of travel, road trips, and remote wilderness exploration. Central to her work are themes of duality, vulnerability, beauty, fear, and love, encapsulating her experiences as a young woman. Her writing has been published in Woman Cave Collective, and she recently had her first solo art show in Sydney.
you hear my cry as it crashes through the night I feel you coming darkly made of earth and ancient truths my voice my howl from the deep has bled into you seeped into your soul making imprints of shadow and desire words entangle in the silence I taste your hunger and hesitation it floods hot all through me into my veins into the dark and hollow places now alive
Heather R. Parkeris a freelance writer, editor, and published poet from Georgia. She works as a writer and editor for the self-publishing platform Fictionate.me. Her work has been published by Nightingale & Sparrow Magazine, Analog Submissions Press, Friday Flash Fiction, Medium, and others. Heather lives in Georgia with her husband, son, and a menagerie of pets. In her spare time, you can find her doing yoga, taking long walks in the woods, birdwatching, or picking flowers in sun-dappled meadows. You can follow Heather’s writing on Instagram, Facebook ,and Fictionate.Me.
“Your bones are made of sugar because you’re just so sweet!” my mother said the first time I was sent home from school. I was seven years old. My wrist had snapped during recess, the jagged bone jutting out of my skin and into the air. It was amber-coloured and slightly sticky and smelled sweet, like solid honey. My mother had to keep pushing the dog away so she couldn’t lick it.
“Don’t cry, love,” she said, wiping tears from my cheeks. “We’ll fix you up in no time.” She sat me at the kitchen table, still cradling my wrist. Then she pulled out a small saucepan and added sugar and water to it. She put the pan on the burner and turned on the heat, stirring the mixture until it began to bubble. I could smell the sugar cooking, a sweet, burning scent that matched too closely with what wafted up from my wrist. It made me hungry and nauseous. After a few minutes, she pulled the pan off the stove and brought it over to me.
“My candy girl,” my mother said lovingly as she forced the fragment of sugared bone back into the skin of my wrist. She whistled as she poured the molten liquid into the wound. I blacked out and, hours later, awakened to find myself in bed. Clawing at the bandage on my wrist, I ripped it off and saw how the sugar had hardened, attaching bone to bone again. The skin would grow back in a few weeks, and it would look exactly as it always did.
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It’s not so hard, living in a body like this. I like to tell people that I’m sweet to my core. I always laugh. They rarely get the joke.
I had a boyfriend once who was obsessed with the idea of my bones. When I told him they were candy, he said he didn’t believe me. But he couldn’t stop thinking about them. Sometimes he would spend whole weeks barely touching me, as though I would snap if he held my hand too tightly. Other times he got rough out of nowhere, gripping my arm or the back of my neck as though he could crush me into sugar granules with his bare hands. I imagined him fantasizing about turning my bones into crystals and stirring them into his coffee.
Once, when he was drunk, he got on his knees and grabbed my foot and sucked on my big toe like it was a lollipop. He gently, so gently, bit down. He begged me to let him eat one of them, just to see if it were true. To see if my bones would crunch like candy between his teeth.
I stopped telling dates about my bones after that. There are a lot of weirdos in this world.
“My father once told me that I should donate my body to science to examine the candy girl when I die.”
Do you ever think about what your skeleton looks like? How it sits inside you, gleaming and perfect as a Halloween decoration? I’ve always been a little jealous of people who can walk into museums or rob graves and get a look at their future. It sounds dreamy to know exactly what you’ll look like when you’re dead and gone.
I haven’t seen my bones since I was seven. It’s not that I’m careful. In fact, I’ve been trying to break myself for years just to get another look at what’s inside me. No luck, however. Apparently, candy is quite hard.
I think my skeleton must be beautiful, like some macabre confectioner’s masterpiece. Every Día de Los Muertos, I look at sugar skulls and think, that’s what I look like, underneath all this. I hope I’m decorated just like that, a riot of colours against my caramel bones. I will be the loveliest skeleton at the cemetery one day, even if no one will be able to see me. My father once told me that I should donate my body to science to examine the candy girl when I die. But I think I’ll keep these sweet bones to myself. I’ll be a treat for bugs until the day I melt, leaving only some sticky earth to mark that I was here.
Shaun Byron Fitzpatrick (she/her) lives in Philadelphia with her husband and black cat. Her fiction has appeared in Maudlin House, Ellipsis Zine, New Gothic Review, and Coffin Bell Journal, among others. Find her on Instagram at or on Twitter.
peel the layers laid bare truth hides in the darkest of places slithering lies bask freely in stark white sunlight warming cold blood the past: scar tissue old wounds never forgotten the present: blade in skin slicing wide cutting deep red-black blood freely flowing the future: crouching tiger hidden hydra it lies in wait ready to pounce to peel the layers and find my truth
Heather R. Parker is a freelance writer, editor, and published poet from Georgia. She works as a writer and editor for the self-publishing platform Fictionate.me. Her work has been published by Nightingale & Sparrow Magazine, Analog Submissions Press, Friday Flash Fiction, Medium, and others. Heather lives in Georgia with her husband, son, and a menagerie of pets. In her spare time, you can find her doing yoga, taking long walks in the woods, birdwatching, or picking flowers in sun-dappled meadows. You can follow Heather’s writing on Instagram, Facebook ,and Fictionate.Me.
Once again, you knock on the door of my inattention. I open it, those daffodils are flowers, not stars. A nuthatch squeaks, a pulley in my brain anthro- pomorphosizes helplessly, long after the fall.
Mark Jackley‘s poems have appeared in Fifth Wednesday, Sugar House Review, The Cape Rock, Talking River, Cagibi, and other journals. His book Many Suns Will Rise is forthcoming from The Main Street Rag Press. He lives in Purcellville, Virginia.
while pouring grapefruit juice in your prosecco stretching sadness that you’d last forever. In your blue eyes, cold as ice burns the shadow of what you’ve never said; you tired of standing on that stage which gave you nothing but weariness while your love is now in someone else’s arms and you still consumed open another beer before lurking in your bed, early as you do every night.
Luca Massimo Lombardolives in Milan, Italy. He writes short stories and poetry. He’s the author of “Rats Chewed Up My Doormat” published in Italy. He’s interested in everything that happens after 2am. His works appeared in literary magazines and webzines such as “Unpublishable Zine”, “King’s Daily”, “Runcible Spoon”, “Brave Voices Magazine” and “Peeking Cat”.
For me- the best story of transformation at church was not loaves and fishes or water into wine but my father quietly showing me how he learned to fold his Sunday Palm into a cross during mass
Dominic Loiseis open about and advocates for mental health awareness as seen with his essay writing for F(r)iction. His work has appeared in Alchemic Gold Poetry Society, Alt.Ctrl.Jpg, Analogies & Allegories, Calm Down, Clementine Zine, Collective Realms, Emotional Alchemy, Frances, Goat’s Milk, Innsaei Journal, Mulberry Literary, October Hill, Ouch!, Push up Daisies!, Raven Review, Re.Collective, Refresh and Silent Auctions. Dominic was a finalist in Short Editions’ “America: Color it in” contest.
Gardner in straw hat dreaming over the steering wheel
Mailbox like a hunchback trying to thumb a ride
How of the air but heavy we cut the air, ripples
Book clutched like a weapon
Warm laundry, humdrum zen
Braille of wet pine needles on bare feet
Mourners softly drifting
Pills like Christmas lights
Waking like Adam and Eve, nothing between us but time
Crow, little black king
One darkness and one me
Stranger on the train dropping blueberries in my palm
Mark Jackley’s poems have appeared in Fifth Wednesday, Sugar House Review, The Cape Rock, Talking River, Cagibi, and other journals. His book Many Suns Will Rise is forthcoming from The Main Street Rag Press. He lives in Purcellville, Virginia.
Diving in a Milanese shower of sunshine sitting on a bench at the races in your deep and dark sunglasses loneliness hiding your hollow eyes worrying about eternity. I feel your blues, distant you already know darling there’s no Mr Tambourine Man waiting for you at the end of your day.
Luca Massimo Lombardo. He’s the author of “Rats Chewed Up My Doormat” published in Italy. He’s interested in everything that happens after 2am. His works appeared in literary magazines and webzines such as “Unpublishable Zine”, “King’s Daily”, “Runcible Spoon”, “Brave Voices Magazine” and “Peeking Cat”.