• Very timely piece. It reminds me of all the news stories showing how wildlife are taking over towns while people quarantine themselves. Mother Earth will survive anything we do to her, but we may not survive her, and that is as it should be. Just painful. The appreciative tone at the end leaves readers with a hopeful note, and I like that. I feel…[Read more]

  • Powerful piece. There is no life without death, and we do die alone no matter what. The lines about mutual desertion are strong, and the poem illustrates well how we go through life feeling as if we aren’t ready for death yet realizing we’ll have to face it anyway.

    This part leaves me wondering:
    “who are we to each other
    beyond what the…[Read more]

  • I love the ending and can relate. As a teen, there was so much about my mother I feared emulating. but that fear subsided greatly with age. (Not entirely though.)

    I do wonder about the line “Now far from her forgotten life.” It seems contradictory, because the speaker clearly hasn’t forgotten. Maybe the intention is to express that she was…[Read more]

  • I like how the rhyme and slant rhymes at the end add a certain rhythm to this simple yet sweet poem. My one suggestion would be to increase clarity. When “he” is used, the antecedent seems to be father, yet to have your father as your brother would be a little more family love than is healthy. 🙂 Maybe “this boy” or something would work.

    Thank…[Read more]

  • “Your cat had kittens in my yard.”

    Not our cat.

    Feral female who came for food.

    Hundreds of cans over hundreds of days.
    Always at a distance.

    “Just take the box,” my husband said.

    I remind him of that now as […]

    • Agh! I was like oh this is a cute cat story of triumphing over cat trauma! No such thing. heartbreaking and lovely. I like that she doesn’t ‘speak cat’ but you still tried to comfort her broken heart. Universal motherhood. Thanks for sharing.

    • OH wow Elizabeth. This bought a little tear to my eye. You have told the story so well and so beautifully. And I do believe you acted out of kindness for those three feral little tigers. Thank you for sharing:))

  • I agree with Janice above, very charming story. It highlights the importance of family rituals and storytelling. The dialect is well done overall. I can hear the Irish brogue as I read, and it makes me remember my trip to Ireland and the people I met while there. Well done.

    Comma placement does sometimes cause a moment of confusion. For…[Read more]

  • Your story reminds me of The Yellow Wallpaper by Chopin but in the reverse. In case you’re not familiar, a woman with postpartum depression is prescribed a “rest cure” and slowly loses her mind. In this case, it’s loss of child rather than birth of one that plagues the individual, but the strong voice is reminiscent of the other story. I like the…[Read more]

  • I like the concept behind the story and feel like it’s a creative approach to the prompt. I’d like to see Rachel’s character develop with more depth, which, granted, is hard to do with only 2500 words. For example, we never get to see any of her writing. Sharing bits would strengthen her voice. It seems odd, too, that she would feel daunted by an…[Read more]

  • Enjoyable read. Boris comes across as believable and realistic. Just a man who is living the daily drudgery and sleeping on the couch. I felt you did an especially good job making the connection between his wife and the mare. Although he’s exiled to the couch at home–a clear indication of marital strife of some sort–in The Old World he is able…[Read more]

  • Well, that didn’t end as I thought it would. I was predicting a crime boss or such rather than a brothel, so good surprise. I think the protagonist made peace with her new job a bit too easily: there is a difference between enjoying sex and wanting to work as a prostitute. But I could see her coming to terms with in after more questions and after…[Read more]

  • The novel is more beautiful in Spanish, I’ve been told. It’s beautiful in English, so I can’t imagine what it must be like to read it in its original tongue. Even if I took the time to improve my Spanish, I would […]

    • This is a beautifully written piece and sums up our current situation perfectly. I loved how you used the prompt and the reference to one of my most favorite books was the icing on the cake. You have somehow made our very dark reality into something very beautiful. I thoroughly enjoyed this well-written piece. I hope that everyone in your corner of the world is staying safe. We will get through this. 🙂
      P.S. I also think that One Hundred Years of Solitude has the most brilliant ending of all time.

    • Great use of the prompt. And, loved the timeliness of your piece. Nice job.

    • This was both a hard and enthralling story to read, especially as it’s not fiction and so much has changed since it was written. I love that we get the experience of the pandemic thorough one character (you) and the very specifics of how it affects her life. It very relatable, and it helps us realize how this is affecting everyone’s lives in both the same and very different ways.

      Yor pacing and the way you intersperse what’s going on with your internal dialogue really worked. My favorite paragraph without a doubt is the one that starts “Friday my husband had prescriptions to pick up.” The whole gist of the story and your experience feels encapsulated right there.

      On very rare occasion a sentence crops up that just seems to break the rhythm and tone. Maybe because it feels too normal or expository. One that stood out to me was ” I grabbed my external harddrive. It doesn’t work on my Mac at home, but it will work on my husband’s computer and I can use that if push comes to shove.” It just seemed to jar somehow with the rest of the paragraph.

      I would highly encourage you to submit this to what will no doubt be one of many journals cropping up about people’s pandemic experiences. I might just change the end a bit so it’s not as focused on the 12 short stories audience. Thanks for sharing something so powerful and personal.

  • The novel is more beautiful in Spanish, I’ve been told. It’s beautiful in English, so I can’t imagine what it must be like to read it in its original tongue. Even if I took the time to improve my Spanish, I would […]

    • This is absolutely, chillingly, wonderful. I am so glad you didn’t come up with an alternative. Thank you so much for sharing this. 🙏🏼

    • What Nsbnina said 😉 Thank you for writing and sharing this

  • Powerful imagery here, and your use of onomatopoeia is masterful. The two together make the power come alive. Read aloud, the poem has a certain rhythm to it, a beat yet chaotic, much like a hospital. I really like how this part flows: “its sluiced heart thrumming my ears, thump-drumming blood running thick through its trunk, my trunk, my heart,…[Read more]

  • Interesting piece. Seems almost like the opening piece to a Stephen King novel or a fantasy movie–an angry woman reaches for the flames and gains their power. (I visualize a woman, but it doesn’t have to be.) Great imagery.

    There are two typos: “too close” and “its power.” Minor though.

    Engaging read. Thank you for sharing.

  • I love the contrast between the final line and the title. Without the title, the darkness would seem comforting, but the title contradicts that, adding to the powerful discomfort of the poem.

    Thank you for sharing!

  • Powerful poem. A life ruined by drugs, two lives really. I can’t decide whether the rhymed couplets add or detract from the poem. They add a certain rhythm to a chaotic situation. The final line is perfect.

    You may want to revisit the punctuation for these two lines:
    I didn’t care my mind was free
    the powder served me f…[Read more]

  • Stray cat at my door,

    Through my door, 

    Too quick for me.

    Scouring the floor for food.

    Ribs showing its hunger.

    “Hey, Kitty,” I coo, 

    Wanting him? her? to come near,

    To be open to love,

    But the cat’s […]

    • john replied 1 month ago

      meee ow? nuevo amigo didn’t think much of your love?
      Fun and enjoyable.

    • I love how you pointed out the way animal sounds are different based on the language of the speaker. So cool. Really enjoyed this. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • My love and knowledge of cats makes this poem so relatable… Twas fun to read.

    • Thanks you for sharing. You have wonderful insight into the behavior of cats. You must be a cat owner. They are aloof in any language. I once read that the meowing sound that cats repeat to you when you meow to them is only made to humans. They don’t make that sound to other cats. Your use of the prompt was spot on.

    • Wonderful! Love the sounds, and the longing for the kitty comes through so well. You did a great job of getting the reader right there, calling the cat.

    • SaraS replied 1 month ago

      What a clever take on the prompt! And such a lovely moment captured in your poem.

    • hahaha! This is really genius.
      You never know whether a cat is male or female.
      You killed this prompt.
      Is it possible we could share our work with each other.
      You can reach me
      wambuiochieng8@gmail.com

  • Bhavna K. and Profile picture of Elizabeth StrehlElizabeth Strehl are now friends 1 month ago

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Elizabeth Strehl

Profile picture of Elizabeth Strehl

@eliz375

active 1 day, 19 hours ago