War Stories 2016 & 2017 are anthologies about the affects of war on society. Including pieces from veterans, families of veterans, and civilians, these pieces are a yearly attempt at trying find out where we are after more than a decade at war. Both of these anthologies are co-edited by Sally K Lehman, Jessica Standifird, and Sean Davis.
Order copies here
Bear the Pall is an anthology edited by Sally K Lehman about the loss of parents.
It Hurts is a short story about a man unable to let go of his lost love. Published by The Coachella Reviewexcerpt
The entryway tiles echo without the rug Martha used to have there. Who the hell names their kid Martha these days? My ex-mother-in-law, I suppose. Guess it wasn't these days; it was forty-five years ago. Forty-five years in real time, thirty-nine according to my ex-wife, who refused to admit she was any older. Still expected me to buy her a birthday present, until she left me for "the love of her life" which is what I thought I was supposed to be.
Today is July 7, 2013, my ex-wife is officially thirty-nine years and seventy-three months old, and it is the one year anniversary of my divorce, which is laughable because I honestly thought I had a good marriage. I was able to get it up at least twice a week, more often if she'd wanted more but, after twenty years together, even that was too much for her some weeks.
She got the house when we split and she let some family rent it. This was the dream house, the place where we were supposed to have two kids and a dog. By the time we got around to looking at dogs, I was shooting her in the butt twice a day with fertility drugs that never worked and she was freaking out on hormonal swings every fifteen minutes.
Peace Comes at a Cost is a short story about a granddaughter and grandfather in an uncomfortable situation. Published by Lunch Ticketexcerpt
"That nurse-girl stole my check blanks.”
It’s a conversation starter. I just got here, just sat down in the chair that used to be Grandma’s and we needed a place to start.
The nurse comes in on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to check on him and get him to bathe. On Fridays, I show up a half hour after the nurse leaves, and he bitches. As he bitches about that “nurse girl” he points to the front door and I can see his arm because he forgot to button his shirt sleeve and his muscles aren’t big enough to keep the material up. His withered arm, like chicken skin that’s been pulled off raw, slaps at the air. He shakes his fist and that skin jiggles and I can’t eat chicken anymore.
I look away, over to the television that’s not on, to the bookcase filled with Reader’s Digest books in rainbow colors, to the robin’s egg blue paint on the walls and the thick brown shag carpet. But his arm stays up, the skin jiggling back and forth at the edges of my sight line.
“She didn’t steal your check blanks, Grandpa,” I say.
“Listen here, missy, they’re gone.”
“I put them in the desk drawer where you always keep them.”
“That’s not where I like them.”
“Yeah, it is.”
He looks over the 1940’s red metal TV tray he likes to eat at, his brittle blue eyes pale imitations of themselves with white cataract lace crocheted across. The old face, deep wrinkled cheeks, and I make myself remember being told that I’m supposed to love and respect this man. And I want to, I really do. It’s just easier to remember when his skin’s not jiggling at me.
How Mom Played Sad is a short, woven story about a mother and daughter. Published by Voicecatcher.
Our Hell is a poem about how Hell becomes redfined while waiting for a death.excerpt
By the beginning of the year we had redefined hell.
Hell is now the white condominium, one away from the golf course, with petunias in the brick flower box by the front door.
We have to believe in this hell. Without a hell there is no heaven. We have to have our religion of please-god-save-our-mother even though there is no longer a god and Mom is going to die.
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