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Christmas with Stanley-Fiction by Robert Kokan
Gravedigger Sunrise-Fiction by Zach Wilhide
Billy at One O'clock-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Christine's Tune-Fiction by Andrew J. Kolarik
Paid in Full-Fiction by Bill Baber
Is Today the Day?-Fiction by Thomas X. Cross
Dead Bodies Everywhere-Fiction by Roy Dorman
Murphy's Law-Fiction by Edward Ahern
The Ghost in the Factory-Fiction by Jeremiah Minihan
Communication Breakdown-Fiction by Joe Surkiewicz
So Long, and Thanks for All the Texts-Fiction by Jay Adair
Time-Share-Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
It's Xmas and Maureen Feels Like Death Warmed Over-Flash Fiction by Gay Degani
Uncle Andrew-Flash Fiction by K. A. Williams
In a Nearby Church-Flash Fiction by Bethany Cody
What Happened after His Head Oozed-Flash Fiction by Michael Dioguardi
Prospero's Last Party-Flash Fiction by Jacqueline Doyle
Slick-Poem by David Spicer
Word Cruncher-Poem by David Spicer
The Life that Lives on Man-Poem by John Short
Pet Shop Story-Poem by John Short
dear tom-Poem by Meg Baird
the canvas-Poem by Meg Baird
A Killing-Poem by Ian C. Smith
Green Grass-Poem by Ian C. Smith
No Joke-Poem by Ian C. Smith
a soft landing-Poem by JJ Campbell
going through the motions-Poem by JJ Campbell
the shotgun still rests in the corner-Poem by JJ Campbell
an earthy affair-Poem by ayaz daryl nielsen
death loves the deep-space pirate-Poem by ayaz daryl nielsen
robotic mistress-Poem by ayaz daryl nielsen
A November Morning-Poem by John D. Robinson
Hard & Heavy-Poem by John D. Robinson
The Storm-Poem by John D. Robinson
The Earth Keeps Sabbath-Poem by Judith Partin-Nielsen
Obituary-Poem by Judith Partin-Nielsen
Rock Whisperings-Poem by Judith Partin-Nielsen
Longing-Poem by Judith Partin-Nielsen
Cartoons by Cartwright
Hail, Tiger!
Angel of Manslaughter
Strange Gardens
Gutter Balls
Calpurnia's Window
No Place Like Home
Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

Art by Terry Butler © 2020

Green Grass

by Ian C Smith


It was because he faced years of limited or no reading for one who, as a child read by lamplight, a guilty secret in that milieu. A rat reviled, he releases nervous energy mingling outside, scanning for an assassin in a popular city alley, its graffiti attracting tourists. The broken light of joy gleaned when his name was different, haunts him. He would live in a stone house near a pier, the past cast off, with painted window boxes of flowers. A girl walks his way, carrying a basket as he wrinkles a dog’s ears.

He sleeps fully dressed, lit by pulsing neon. Knowing they will come, thoughts funereal, he reasons death awaits us all, listens, tuned into anything different; an approach of addicts’ familiar tread, howling homeless shelter dreams, their sad hopes rotting in rooms with grimy glasses, bare light bulb décor, narrow beds, pillows rancid with despair. A dog whimpers somewhere in the city. He remembers the glimmer of light afforded by books, a girl’s doona-shrouded body warmth.

Stubbing, saving, a cigarette, he longs to disappear, wraithlike, his treasured share of the shakedown gone, grand plans drained like blood from a bullet hole.  Stupid, stupid. Beyond the window, that dog again, a cry in the night. Outside his blocked door, a muffled alien sound. A sloped sill reaches a drainpipe, grouted bricks afford knotty fingertip holds if he doesn’t look down. Down is the problem, inching down, his direction until he can run, hide, slide, no longer.

Coyote a caste

apart, senses fine-tuned, sniffs

yellow rainflower.



Ian C Smith’s work has appeared in, Amsterdam Quarterly, Antipodes, cordite, Poetry New Zealand, Poetry Salzburg Review, Southerly, & Two-Thirds North.  His seventh book is wonder sadness madness joy, Ginninderra (Port Adelaide).  He writes in the Gippsland Lakes area of Victoria, and on Flinders Island, Tasmania.

Terry Butler lives in the country, near a small town south of San Jose, CA called Hollister. He used to write steadily, publishing both in print and online as Terence Butler, but after some health issues, the energy needed to write seemed to dissipate somewhat. He has been a professional photographer and a painter/collage-assemblage maker for most of his working life, so painting and photo art have taken the place of genre fiction as an outlet. Recently the story “Fire Man” appeared all as a piece in his mind so he simply wrote it down. He sent it to Cindy, and in the ensuing back and forth. They somehow discussed using some of his visual art, too. Cindy is simply the best, and a real stalwart in this little world. She has a big heart and a deep love for animals, too!

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications © 2020