Gail Oare – USA (PJ22)

Unexpected

The car was parked the bottom of my driveway, its emergency blinkers on. From the panorama of phlox from the woods across the road showed through the windshield I could see that no one was sitting in the driver’s seat. Then I saw him sprinting up the road toward the car. A young man in faded jeans, a bright orange road worker’s shirt, and bandana. The tattoo wound down his arm and terminated at the hand that held a large cluster of pink phlox. He jumped into the car, popped the gear and squealed the tires out onto the road and around the bend.

stopping by the woods
on a rosy evening
with and without frost

Samar Ghose – Australia (PJ17)

The fcuk you say

Tehy wree yeillng at ecah ohetr lkie feirdns otfen do owvr a fwe drniks ltteing teihr hiar dwon triyng to mkae teihr pnoit a ltitle luoldy, not taht it raelly matetred. I wnas’t dirkning but the suftf was mkiang ltitle snese to me . . . but I kndia fegruid waht was bnieg siad whituot hivang it seplt out for me; pahreps it was the msinisg aohlcol fug or mbyae I had been aawy too lnog . . .

alphabet soup
making sense of this
tone deaf life

Carla Shepard Sims – USA (PJ10)

Time Will Tell

It’s eight o’clock in the morning. The sun has been up for hours. I have not. Although I am caffeine deprived, I feel jittery. The waiting room is packed and smells of burned coffee, floral cologne and hand sanitizer. A dusty fake ficus flanks rows of thread stretched chairs. Under a large window, a couching toddler holds a Hot Wheels car in one hand and winds bright beads around a wood maze with the other. The only empty seat is between a table strewn with outdated magazines and a middle aged woman picking at a styrofoam cup. I weave in and out of nervous chatter among strangers about their bodily functions and the weather. I reluctantly sit, sensing someone else’s warm bottom has recently vacated the chair. I cringe. I can’t help but wonder what news my rear-end’s predecessor is hearing behind closed doors.

chance of rain
she stares at the clouds
on a tissue box