Gail Oare – USA (PJ22)


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 The only empty seat is between a table strewn with outdated magazines and a middle aged woman picking at a styrofoam cup.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