December 27, 2022

“Stuckey’s,” by Michael Lloyd Gray

“Stuckey’s,” by Michael Lloyd Gray

His father had warned him not to go out too far.   “One step at a time, boy,” his father had said sternly. “No need to pop a gasket right off the bat.”  It was mid-summer on Lake Argus, Illinois, where Billy Ray’s family summered. He nodded at his father but stole glances at the motorbike, a 60 cc Harley. He didn’t know they even made them that small, but that was okay since he’d just turned sixteen and really had nothing to compare it with, certainly not the family Plymouth station wagon. His old man had taken the bike in on trade and fixed the fuel line, brakes, and patched the leaky tires. With the throttle thrown wide open, it might hit forty-five mph, but to Billy Ray, it was downright supersonic.  The motorbike was—freedom. …

Continue reading →

December 15, 2022

“Mother,” Poetry by Bharti Bansal

“Mother,” Poetry by Bharti Bansal

Mother Sometimes I look at the regrets of my mother trailing along the corners of her eyes As she wonders about her place in the world too often There is no secret to motherhood, I suppose Just a constant feeling of doing it wrong My father consoles her, calls her beloved A sincere way of reminding her of their own vows Yet when she wakes up at night, feeling the clutches of past on her throat, she simply lets him sleep without saying a single word I believe it is when a relationship turns into partnership as time moves along the edges of their bodies, Sometimes becoming a game, as they team up together, shake hands, pat each other’s back, constantly reminding themselves about the love that blossomed years ago This is how I see…

Continue reading →

December 6, 2022

“Monsters Like Us,” by Sarah Normandie

“Monsters Like Us,” by Sarah Normandie

The New England mid-October air, sharp and crisp, presented itself in a way that said goodbye to summer while promising winter soon. Detective Thicket trudged his feet through the carpet of red and gold fallen leaves as he breathed in the wet, musty smell of the woods. He couldn’t help but notice that nothing had changed since the last time he was here. The trees stood the way they stood each day before, just some taller and stronger while others stood with lost branches from heavy winds or were dying from disease. The squirrels and the birds went about their business on this day, the same way other squirrels and birds went about their business in 1995. If only the forest could talk, he thought, the stories it would tell. Somewhere in Thicket’s mind he…

Continue reading →

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…

Continue reading →

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…

Continue reading →

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…

Continue reading →

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…

Continue reading →

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…

Continue reading →

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….

Continue reading →