December 2, 2022

“Ode to the Wild Daffodil,” Poetry by Birch Saperstein

“Ode to the Wild Daffodil,” Poetry by Birch Saperstein

Ode to the Wild Daffodil  After Ross Gay  Come, rise, my friends!  The season has shown  her fertile belly, turned  her deep skin, and now a new portion  is facing the sun!  Come, join me!  Our time growing underground  has come to an end, face  the world with me!  Open your faces to the bees  and butterflies and hummingbirds  and gnats and let them sing  you everywhere! I know  you’re scared, terrified  to stick your stems out  into the air, terrified of frost  and collapse and wind  and rabbits and I know  there’s nothing I can do  to change or quell that which you fear.  But I know, no,  I promise, that we’ll rise  together, into a new season. ** Clippers My heart is a pair of hedge clippers wielded by a crow who simply…

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November 22, 2022

Nina Kossman Poetry

Nina Kossman Poetry

The Tale of Tzarina Alyonushka and Her Brother Ivanushka (a free-verse version of a well-known Russian fairy tale) “I warned my brother not to drink from the lake. I warned him. But, at that age, do they listen? He drank from it. And of course his quick arms and legs became goat limbs, his blond curls became white fleece. –Ivanushka! Beware, kid brother, of the witch and her knives, her pots full of water. Her greed fills them up. Her jealousy heats them. She is the Queen now. She wears my face. She stole my figure, and I– I worked so hard at it! But who can hear my protests? My voice hardly reaches you from these stinky depths. What does she want with us? Ah, my husband, the Tzar. Does she hold his hands…

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October 11, 2022

“The Anchored World”- An Excerpt

“The Anchored World”- An Excerpt

Fictional Cafe is pleased to share with our readers an excerpt from a just-published, highly original new work by Jasmine Sawers. Please see our interview with the founders of Rose Metal Press, which follows the excerpt. ** The Weight of the Moon The moon fell from the sky last Tuesday. I rolled her into the shed and gave her some water. “Thank you,” she said. “Don’t you worry about it,” I said. I patted her sorest-looking crater. I got some lotion and rubbed it on. “Thank you,” she said. Everyone was so worried. “The tides,” they said. “The rotation of the earth on its axis,” they said. “The migration of the birds, the turning of the seasons, the visibility at nighttime. Where is the moon? The end is nigh. Judgment is coming. Repent.” They don’t…

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September 29, 2022

“The Last Supper” by Rachel Cann

“The Last Supper” by Rachel Cann

“Now there’s a view,” said Phil, so smugly I felt like putting my hands around his neck and throttling. Easter Sunday and we were on the concrete deck at the Swampscott home of his best friend under house arrest with bail in excess of a million dollars. It would be the last time they would break bread, the two most feared men in the New England Cosa Nostra. The tide was low; the air charged with the rich, dank smell of home. As complaining seagulls swooped and soared above the deserted beach and the dark, gray Atlantic, I breathed deeply, tried to relax the muscles around my narcissistic heart. The family inside was in crisis. I was always in crisis. Would it never end? Adrenaline coursed through my veins like an out-of-control locomotive, clickety-clack, drowning…

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September 22, 2022

“The Day I Thought I Would Die, ” by Mini Babu

“The Day I Thought I Would Die, ” by Mini Babu

The Day I Thought I Would Die The day I thought I would die the woman who accompanied me to the hospital said, she needs cooking oil for, “tomorrow,” I used up a little of my valued time, to contemplate on, “tomorrow.” Coffee houses, supermarkets and theatres drove past me, coffee, bread and rice were found unseasoned . . . And they went on talking of “coffees” while I rode in a vehicle called, “now.” All things, other than me were yesterdays and tomorrows. ** Talcum Powder The first time I powdered my face, I imitated the manner my father did, tender strokes on the brow, cheeks and chin, and a mellow even rub, from that time on, I thought of him, twice a day, at no unusual hours, later on, I gave up using…

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August 31, 2022

Martha Clarkson Brings Urban Photography to FC

Martha Clarkson Brings Urban Photography to FC

Artist’s Statement: I photograph in order to apprehend the world in a different way, create a story that has not been told before. It could be any number of things that compel me to take the photo, but I am driven to find the neglected vantage that will facilitate an unexpected story for the beholder, each one a little different. *** Martha Clarkson’s writing and photography can be found in F-Stop, Seattle Review, Portland Review, Black Box Gallery, Tulane Review, Hawaii Pacific Review, The Seattle Times, Feminine Rising, Nimrod, Tipton Poetry Journal, Rattle and many more. “Her Voices, Her Room” won the short story prize from Open City/Anderbo.  She has two notable short stories in Best American Short Stories. Martha attended University of Oregon’s Creative Writing Program, and was a past poetry editor for Word Riot….

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August 29, 2022

African Safari Campfire Stories by Lesley Mukwacha

African Safari Campfire Stories by Lesley Mukwacha

“17 guides and a lioness”  Being the head ranger at a fast-growing game reserve in Zimbabwe, I was assigned the duty to take seventeen young aspiring newly recruited guides and game scouts for a seven-day intense training program in the Victoria falls national park, something I enjoyed and was very good at. Something I was passionate about. I was excited beyond measure.  The seventeen young men were also just as excited as this would be their first such experience and would certainly shape them into remarkable safari guides, tour leaders, game rangers, and anti-poaching scouts. We were all ready to get the show on the road. The company had given us two vehicles for the trip into the heart of the park, a 4×4 22-seater overland truck for the seventeen boys and a 4×4 Land…

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August 25, 2022

“Blue Ridge Autumn,” A Poem by Reed Venrick

“Blue Ridge Autumn,” A Poem by Reed Venrick

“Blue Ridge Autumn” ONE On a cold but sunny afternoon, late autumn, Wendy hurries up a chilly, pine-shaded sidewalk. And as she hurries, she memorizes her favorite poem from that semester’s study and strife; she, sounding out dee-dum, the stresses of iambic rhythm, while inhaling the rich aroma of pine boughs hanging over her ascending walk. After another week of classes, just a few weeks more, at the university across the ridge, but now Wendy hurries on up to her waitressing job at the restaurant and hotel called “The Grove Park Inn,” where Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda dined, where Thomas Wolfe rushed to write—gazing out to Mount Pisgah. Hopkin’s “Spring and Fall,” the sounds stepping inside Wendy’s fresh-air brain, as she recites the lines on an autumn day cold enough to need a woolen sweater,…

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