PERFECTION IN ACTION // The Last Bedtime Story

Her hair was like straw, a far cry from how it used to be. She no longer adorned it with dandelions. Nor did she wear clovers or ladybugs to make it grin with a certain visual poetry. No, a brush of dry, prickly, lifeless bristles was all that greeted his touch.

“Don’t worry, honey,” she whispered, cutting a faded tress. “We’ll bring our Summer back.”

And so they painted on the lush green grass with the remnants of her youth. Dewy dandelions and sleepy ladybugs. Clovers and sweet peas. Then the hedgehogs joined them in the sunlight, and they danced.

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2021

GUEST POST // Ghost Letter 53 by Mark Renney

I have managed to abandon the City yet again but there it is; the point that rankles, a sharp needle stuck in my side as I walk, the fact that I have done this before, that I am doing it again.

I rarely think about my former existence, but I remember now how my past life had also been filled with repetition. But the rituals then had been more intimate and my connection with the places I frequented much more deeply ingrained and that these places had been rife with memories.

I wonder, is this what I am running from, am I trying to forget, to not feel this deeper connection. Drawing to a halt, I turn away from the busy road and, gazing out across the open fields, I realise that, if so, then I have failed.

by MARK RENNEY
© All rights reserved 2020

GUEST POST // After Goodbye by SonOfDewangan

Two winters have already passed by
Two whole years without sadness, without joy.
The memories are still alive & fresh in my mind
Not alone, but still lonely most of the time.

Imagine a world where the past was different
Where we wouldn’t hurt each other
Our suns shone alone on different skies
Where our tears still rolled out
But not through each others’ eyes

A butterfly passes me by,
wings carrying storms of your place.
Sunlight reflects on its wings.
As if a long forgotten melody it sings

Carry on, as if it doesn’t matter.
We have been long alone together

Carry on, it doesn’t really change.
The fact that our lives we live are strange.

Carry on, Carry on till the piper plays.
Carry on, till the our paths cross again.

by SONOFDEWANGAN
© All rights reserved 2020

Covid Diary pp. 19-20

Dear Diary,

I still can’t kick the habit of eating off of a knife. I remember my mother would get mad every time she saw me do it. I’d listen to dozens of reasons as to why I should avoid it. There were rather sensible ones such as hurting my mouth, and completely superstitious ones such as getting an angry temper for the rest of my life.

I did, of course, attempt to state my position. I’d declare dozens of reasons as to why I should be eating off of a knife. There were rather sensible ones such as reducing the amount of dirty utensils that would need to be washed after dinner, and completely superstitious ones such as it helping to develop an immunity to werewolf bites for the rest of my life. But my mother wasn’t having it—and anyway, why shouldn’t she have the last word? She was my mother! Her verdict would always be delivered with the same stinging whip crack as a wet kitchen rag to the neck—which she also did.

All rationales aside—even the irrational ones—I learned not to fall into these habits while my mother was in the room. But at other times? Well, then all bets were off. I didn’t have to concern myself with her displeasure and so I’d often not be conscious of all the wrong things I was doing until after I’d done them. And then I’d get a wicked little smile on my face. I still kinda do.

In these days of lockdown and social distancing, I find myself wishing she was still here. I would love to defy her again, to find new habits with which to earn the pleasure of her displeasure. I wonder… could that be the reason why I still eat off of a knife or walk under ladders or leave umbrellas open inside the house?

And also, I’m not afraid of werewolves, but that’s a completely different story for another time.

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2020

forever ambered

we set out to find a secret stone on the pavement
and began to whirl like that girl in the devil’s dark pearl
do you remember
we laid upwind the pheromones of enslavement
then took a daring stance to dance the prance of scalded squirrels

we looked right at the april sun
tho’ we were told not to
we huffed and chuffed o’er happy air
dandelion swirls behind our eyes

we set out to find the hoary old chestnuts of burgeon
and began to pray like gay fey in jehovah’s dark play
do you remember
we rowed upstream with a warry shoal of kingly sturgeon
then in emerald grass laid brass to glass in arcane ritual

we looked nebby at the may moon
musing next on what to do
we fussed and cussed o’er happy air
dandelion swirls behind our eyes

the locket on my neck
as ambered as the gleam in your eyes
enshrining our faraway spring
you do remember

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2020