May 2019: “Hormones & Undertones” Call For Submissions

“We’re all just bags of bones and muscle and hormones; I’ll never understand what makes our minds do the things we do.”
– Meshell Ndegeocello

Share your original flash fiction, non-fiction, or poetry piece that fits our theme by Sunday, May 26 for a chance to be included in our publications that following week.

Be sure to send in your work via our Submissions page!

Here’s a word list to prompt some inspiration – try writing a 300 word description or stream of consciousness for each one, then go back and expand on an idea that stands out to you the most:

The Change
The Hint
The Maturity
The Development
The Age


by Sarah Bigham

he was mine
sunshine boy
and running free
he lived
in surf
and sand
and pools
on skis
and boards
and towers
that glow

he was mine
he burned their
eyes in Adonis
glory and ached
their throats
from laughing
and twitched
their lips in
effortless beaming
at the magic
he wrought

he was mine
he was someone
else’s others’
centers and
the friends’
friend a blaze
for moths and
butterflies dowsed
out on a train
on the tarmac
on the ground

he is mine
among the
stars and
clouds and
birds flying
across drenched
sheets on reddened
lazy mornings
as he lies
softly next
to me

Sarah Bigham writes from Maryland where she lives with her kind chemist wife, three independent cats, an unwieldy herb garden, several chronic pain conditions, and near-constant outrage at the general state of the world tempered with love for those doing their best to make a difference. A Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee, Sarah’s poetry, fiction, and nonfiction have appeared in a variety of great places for readers, writers, and listeners. Find her at www.sgbigham.com

A Farmer’s Viewing Station

by John Grey

He once thought just land was beauty,
or a gold that moved in
whenever the topsoil was exposed

but the crop makes him think
of help that will never come,
dirt that nickels and dimes him to desperation,

and rocks, once necklace now headstone.
Who emptied the Earth, he wonders.
Who dressed the bones hot as a stove.

Everywhere he looks,
fastened to the windows,
stunted fields of corn.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Midwest Quarterly, Poetry East and Columbia Review with work upcoming in South Florida Poetry Journal, Hawaii Review and Roanoke Review.

Captive Of Circumstances

by Mileva Anastasiadou

He lost his job the day Athens became the world book capital. That was a sign. He spent that day wisely, filled it like the empty pages of a book he would one day write. He crossed the streets that led to the Lycabettus hill and then climbed as high as his feet and breath allowed him to climb, searching for a place to sit and rest. He opened the book to a page at random, choosing a random paragraph and started the repair, the difficult task of putting himself together.

He then looked up to the sky, choosing the pieces carefully. He started by grabbing a piece of the Attic sky, smoky with exhaust fumes or even tear gas, then caught some city buzz, a honk or even a bird tweet, a few voices or even screams, drops of philosophical discussions that echoed through centuries, and went on grasping pieces of a glorious past. He collected a few sips of ouzo or even of that bitter poison that Socrates once drank, took hold of a couple of contaminated particles of past and future ideologies floating like invisible islands in the air and mixed them with the smell of defeat from the present and a trace of hope from the future.

He mixed the ingredients, improvised, until he achieved what he longed for, until he formed yet another piece which would someday complete the puzzle of his fragmented self, of his broken life, of his lost sense of freedom. And he felt as if he stood firmly on the ground, yet he was flying, beyond the clouds, high in the sky, taking deep breaths, to fill his lungs with oxygen and the book he was still holding in his hands served as a balloon which took him to other places, brighter, less dark than his own gloomy reality. Once he watched the sun set, when it was getting dark, he took the scissors and used it to cut off all the yarns that had kept him high, trying to land as gently as possible.

Once again, he had mistaken lightness for freedom.

He then touched the ground and scattered all the pieces he had collected during the day back in the air, still as confused as before he had started collecting them, unable to find the perfect recipe for his salvation. He remained a captive of circumstances. He walked down the hill, storming into the open stores to consume, to buy all the liberty he could still afford, as long as he could afford it. It was air that he needed, hoping to fill the empty spaces of his lungs, or of the puzzle he hadn’t managed to complete. He went back home exhausted, holding the book tight, as if every hope to find the missing pieces was hidden inside its pages, in the book that had opened another window to the future.

He then closed it firmly and fell to sleep.

Mileva Anastasiadou is a neurologist, living and working in Athens, Greece. Her work can be found in many journals, such as the Molotov Cocktail, Maudlin house, Jellyfish Review, Asymmetry fiction, the Sunlight Press and others. She’s the founding editor of Storyland Literary Review. You can find out more about her and her work on Facebook

The Bookstore

by Goody Niosi

Madison started small: a packet of chewing gum and a candy bar from the 7-11. And even then, she only did it on a dare.

“Bet you’re too scared to steal anything!” Barb had said.

“No I’m not.”

“Oh yeah? Prove it!”

So she’d gone in, wandered up and down the aisles and when she was sure the clerk was busy ringing through a customer, she’d slipped the items into her pocket, then walked casually to the magazine rack, leafed through Teen Vogue, put it back on the rack, shrugged, and waved her fingers at the clerk as she pushed the door open.

She was sweating, her legs trembling.

“So?” Barb asked.

Madison emptied her pocket. “No big deal,” she said.

“Sure isn’t – like that’s all you got?”

“Well why don’t you go in there if it’s no big deal?”

“Can’t now – not two in a row. They’d get suspicious.”

Madison decided “never again.” It wasn’t worth it. She looked behind her all day, expecting to see a policeman with handcuffs. Would she get expelled from Junior High if anyone found out?

She didn’t think about stealing again until she lived on her own with a roommate. Brigitt was struggling between night school and a minimum wage job as a cashier at Wal-Mart. Madison worked at a Hallmark store in the big mall at the north end of the city.

They split the rent of a small basement suite and shopped together for food. Most nights they ate eggs and toast or mac and cheese. One Friday, while they cruised the aisles of Loblaw’s looking for specials, Brigitt slipped two cans of salmon inside her bag.

“Won’t they know?” Madison asked.

“No – we’re good,” Brigitt said.

They paid for their Kraft dinners, a loaf of bread, a tub of margarine, a jug of skim milk, and a bag of apples. They walked out, Madison certain she would hear an alarm. Nothing.

That night they ate salmon salad sandwiches. “Best meal ever!” Madison said.

They didn’t steal food every week – just when money was extra scarce – or when one of them craved something special.

One day Brigitt came home with a new T-shirt tucked under her sweater.

“Tell me you didn’t shoplift that.” Madison said.

“I did so.”

“Holy cow! What if you get caught?”

“You have to take off the tag – that’s all,” she said.

“But what if they’re watching?”

“You take it into the dressing room.”

“What if they have cameras?”

“Look for them. They won’t anyway – for sure not in the smaller stores.”

One Saturday afternoon, they walked into a busy gift shop on Queen Street West. Its shelves were crowded with small stuffed animals, colouring books for adults, replicas of old Toronto streetcars, and photo place mats. Earrings and bracelets hung from a wooden rack.

Brigitt tucked a set of earrings into a pocket. Madison slipped a bracelet into her bag. They took a couple more pieces each and walked slowly out of the store. They had taken about a dozen steps when they heard “Hey! Thief – Stop!”

They ran. “Split up!” Brigitt gasped.

Madison turned a corner, reached into her bag, flung the bracelet onto the sidewalk. She fumbled in her pocket, dug out two pairs of earrings, threw them behind her, ran around another corner, tore across a street and ran and ran.

She ran down an alley, past overflowing garbage bins, dodged a skinny grey cat, and barrelled to a stop at a door, slightly ajar. She walked down a dark, narrow hallway and into a bookstore. At the raised front counter, an old man was bent over a book, glasses sliding down his nose, white tufts of hair sticking up over his ears, a dim light bulb painting a round sun on his smooth, bald skull.

The man looked up. “You’re back.”

Madison nodded.

“It was inevitable, you know. You can’t escape your plot line.”

“But I don’t want to be a thief! I don’t want to go to prison! I don’t want any of it – the gangs and the recidivism and all the horrible crap that goes on inside jail.”

The man shook his head. “I wish I could help you. I can’t. You need to go back now. I can’t sell a book missing its main character.”

He pulled a volume from under the counter. The Reluctant Thief. He opened it, laid it on top of a stack of magazines. “Just slip in.”

Madison stared at the open pages of the book. “How does it end?”

“I can’t tell you that,” the old man said.

She walked toward the back of the store.

“Don’t be stubborn, Madison. Don’t make me use force. This is your second escape – I won’t have you doing it again.”

He reached for her. Madison grabbed a book, opened it – and jumped.

“And we are his sisters and his cousins and his aunts – his sisters and his cousins and his aunts.”

Madison stood in a group of more than a dozen women dressed in nineteenth century bonnets and crinolines.

“Where am I?” she whispered to the older woman closest to her.

“Oh!” the woman said. “Who are you? You’re not in costume!”

“I know – but what…”

“Are you in the wrong book, dear?”

“Sort of.”

“Well – I suppose you can be a sister or a cousin or an aunt.”

“Of who?”

“The admiral. Can you sing?”

“Not well.”

“You may just have to mouth the words.”

“To what?”

“HMS Pinafore of course.”

“You’re joking.”

“Oh no – only the main characters get to joke. But it’s great fun and you get to rest a lot being in the chorus.”

Madison learned the sisters, cousins and aunts bits of the chorus quickly enough. But all the free time was boring and she considered her options – back to The Reluctant Thief? Or should she try Harry Potter. Hogwarts would be such fun. But escaping the pages – that was only possible when someone opened the covers.

She could only hope that a Gilbert and Sullivan fan entered the store before the pages yellowed and faded with age.

Goody Niosi began life in the film industry as an editor and later, a director. For the past twenty years, she has worked as a freelance journalist and has had five books published focused mainly on biographies. In the past year or so, she has fallen in love with the short story form. You can find her random ramblings on her website: goodyniosi.com