We are pleased to present our first flashglass anthology! Comprised of all flash works originally published online at rowanglassworks.org in 2015, this anthology is available for online viewing, digital download, and for purchase in print.
Thanks to all our contributors for allowing us to present their work this year!
the traffic lights turn red, all the way down Park Avenue. snowflakes are falling and taxi's pile up.
Black rubber boots step onto the thick wet snow, walk from the sidewalk to curb and a cab door swings open. Across the street is the Armory with its massive brick face of history taking up the entire block. The bus stop billboards flash slick photos of young men and women with their backs curved and bare. I step onto the slushy street and into her apartment building.
Elaine lies in bed. She is sleeping and her mouth is shaped into a perfect O. A quiet hum rises from the small machine blowing cool mist in her direction. Standing in the doorway, I wait as I watch the silver mist travel serpentine then disappears, sucked into the warm dry air.
she is resting lightly in her sheets and outside the day floats in a haze of whiteness.
All day family and friends slip in and out. Heavy glass doors lead into a lobby of mirror and marble greeted by welcoming doormen who move swiftly--the elevator, gold buttons, the soft pink hallway, apartment 3G with the door ajar. Visitors walk in to the entryway, then more slowly into the bedroom. There is a hospital bed and chairs around it. On the side table sits a small paper cup with a long straw tipped and balanced. From her bedroom window you can see the Armory.
She struggles to take a sip of the warm white liquid, “ I feel like a pancake,” she whispers to me. Her body is dead weight. Her feet are swollen and her skin is so thin with multiple shades of purple underneath. You cannot touch her with too much pressure or the skin will tear and her bruises will bleed through. I look out the window and notice that the snow has stopped and I think how lucky she is to have this view of the Armory. “Do you want the painting? Take the painting,” she tells me. Her finger points to the wall, to one of her older paintings. I see the rabbi’s back and he is standing in front of a thick stained glass window. He holds a prayer book. It is realistic and somber and not like her later abstracts that layer the canvas intricately with easy blotches of color.
she searches the room while somewhere a train is rocking and eyes are opening from a sleep.
It is late afternoon now and her bedroom has become more lively with visitors. They all marvel at the view and how smooth her face looks as it rests on the pillow. Her thin white hair is combed back like a straw halo. “Photos ? Tomorrow. No now.” We put a little lipstick on her, the color she remembered and it is the high point of her day. We all gather around her, smiling. The look in her eyes does not change, but her lips close, present and red.
Denise Mostacci Sklar has had a career as a dancer and now has had the good fortune to discover writing as another way to move through life. She also has the good fortune to study with poet/teacher Marc Olmsted. She has been published in numerous journals including the Aurorean, On the Rusk, Ibbetson Street Press, Wilderness House Literary Review, Gravel, Similar Peaks, Damfino, and Poesy. Denise is from Hamilton, Massachusetts where she lives with her husband and two incredible sons.
Victor Goines, “Joie de Vivre”
Please tell that story again, the one
whose grief fills our hearts with something
like joy, green neon letters
glowing in the glasses on each table.
The bartender frowns at two young women to listen,
their stories can wait till yours has ended.
Wind chill warning remains in effect….National Weather Service
We understand now.
We have stopped whatever we were doing:
our schools have closed, trains
ground to a stop, the river frozen over.
What more can we learn from a cold
that cramps our fingers, settles into the bones
of our houses, breaks up the pavement beneath our wheels?
John Donne, “To Mr. R. W.”
No, not that kind of letter—you are long gone
so it’s not about letting you go.
I’m just curious about this magic
that brought you back to life simply by reading
a few words from a friend. Every day
I check the mail for a letter like that
but so far only catalogs and bills.
“Bald eagles’ numbers soaring in Illinois,” Chicago Tribune
I don’t blame you for not following the script.
You don’t owe us anything, certainly not a spectacle
since grace is our concern, not yours--
yours is the ice that seals off open water where you can fish.
I hear it’s better in Kansas: a friend writes
of seeing eagles gather near a lake that’s still
unfrozen. Go visit her; she’ll send me a postcard.
Susanna Lang’s newest collection of poems, Tracing the Lines, was published in 2013 by the Brick Road Poetry Press. Her first collection, Even Now, was published in 2008 by The Backwaters Press, followed by a chapbook, Two by Two (Finishing Line Press, 2011). Her poems have appeared in journals including Little Star, New Letters, The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, The Green Mountains Review, The Baltimore Review, Kalliope, and Jubilat. She lives in Chicago, where she teaches in the Chicago Public Schools.
A light makes slats across my thighs once we are alone. The night is thickening--swollen stone heavy and immaculate. If nothing else I clench electricity now because the star-filled cloak is too dim for much use anymore. We evade the ruptured cuneiform thinking a few hours would be enough. I unfashion the order of sentences into movement of a tongue. I have been ready to start over though you have only seen the latticework of poets. What you say might be put on a page at any time is how I warn you I write again. See. Consider the volumes of stilled Incan rituals since my hands find the roughened edges of your jaw.
Anna Ivey is currently working on a PhD in poetry at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2014. Her most recent publications have been featured in So to Speak, The Unrorean, Antithesis, Stone Highway Review, and West Trade literary magazines. Further, she was offered a fellowship by the Summer Literary Seminars to attend a writing program in Lithuania in 2008 and 2013. She teaches high school English and lives with her husband Chad and her daughter Aralyn. Anna and Chad are expecting a child in August of 2015.
A bearded man in ski boots watches me as he sips his orange juice and I wish I could drink like that. All that sugar first thing in the morning. He seems sad in that way that bearded men sometimes do when they are trying to pick up women. The waitress asks what brought me here and I see him look at me again, turn his head so that he can half listen to his friend, half hear my story. He seems to like it — Au pair... Australian family here on holiday...flew me out to visit. I wonder what I might say to a man like him if he hobbles over in his space suit. Sorry sir, I’ve got a man of my own back home. I picture his life -- pushing down a french press alone in some cabin in the woods, humming with a voice like an indie musician because all bearded, lonely men sound like indie musicians — as I cut into my toast with the edge of the fork, pull it through some eggs, hold a book open in my left hand and wonder about the way people meet. If it is ever as romantic as he is wishing this could be. He hears me order another latte and tells the waitress it’s on him. He smiles. I smile. He asks if I mind if he sits, I say of course not. He asks me my name, where I’m from. I ask him the same. Suddenly it’s hours later and he’s asked for my phone number and we begin a long distance romance. He spins me around in his kitchen on the weekends, I take him on long walks, we fall in love with each other’s friends. He ties a piece of string around my finger and a ring appears, dangling in the air above a white down comforter. People only meet this way in movies. In reality it’s work, school, sneaking away to kiss by the refrigerator when their friends aren’t looking. They fall in love fast and out faster. They are constantly apologizing for getting too drunk, for not saying good night in the right tone. For driving other women home from bars. This man thinks that because I am twenty-something, and alone, drinking coffee and eating raspberry jam on the last bit of my toast that I am different. He thinks that he is different and that he deserves me. I think that I am an asshole for this imagined dialogue. The way that I pretend to read while I am really practicing what I will say to him if he comes over here, how I will prove that life is not an independent film. But as he stands and tips the glass and empties the last of the orange juice into his mouth, and stares at me for a good long beat before he nods at me in that bearded, lonely man kind of way, picks up his yellow tinted goggles and his gloves and walks away, turning as he goes to look hard at me one last time and show his white teeth through the red web, I realize this is an independent film. The kind you have to watch over, and over, before you truly understand.
Kate Peterson earned her MFA in poetry from Eastern Washington University in Spokane, where she lives and works as an adjunct professor. Her poems have been published in Medical Literary Messenger, Barnstorm, and Eat This Poem, among others. She has poetry forthcoming in The Examined Life Journal and The Sierra Nevada Review. Her feeble attempt at a website can be found here.
Focus on the times-table quiz. You and Nell drilled these numbers daily during recess for weeks so that one of you might beat Daniel Lee. Read 7 x 8 and think 56. Do not think best friends, open-palmed sun, four legs collaging at the top of the spiral slide. See 8 x 11 and scribble the loop-de-loop answer. Do not notice the absence of a friendship bracelet clinking along to the motion. Do not remember that Nell gave you the spirits charm because you thought kindred was an ugly word, because she understood how much things like that mattered to you. Fill in all the easy 0 tables. Think about that—nothing. Not tomorrow’s gym class, when Nell won’t stand in front of you and catch every dodgeball. Read 3 x 5 and try to feel relieved that you won’t need to buy her a birthday present on the fifteenth. Focus. When your hand shoots up after 62 seconds and your classmates gape at you in awe, lower your eyes and pretend you are invisible. Do not look at Nell not looking at you. Pass your paper forward and file outside for recess and ascend the slide’s throne alone. Remember that you won.
FLASH GLASS: A MONTHLY PUBLICATION OF FLASH FICTION, PROSE POETRY, & MICRO ESSAYS
Cover Image: "Spots"