Delayed Combustion – Sledgehammer (12/29/21)
Mammaw burned up on Thanksgiving when I was thirteen. She was sipping bourbon, staring daggers at her daughters-in-law when she leaned over and said, “Chiclet, go sit by Grampy.”
I’d smelled that whiff of blown-out match before, thick and heavy when she was angry, so I crossed the room. Mom and Aunt Corkie kept talking about Jackie Kennedy. Mom wanted a pillbox hat like Aunt Corkie’s even though Daddy voted for Nixon. Everyone’d been bickering all day. Mostly about the election, but the turkey was too dry, and stuffing was wrong.
Murmurations – Every Day Fiction (6/2/21)
Mom’s ashes are in the urn on the table, and I smile with my lips at people who hold pieces of her. I am greedy for every fragment, but hugs are extortion. “She never got to be a grandmother,” one lady tuts, tipping her head to the side to regard me with sad eyes. The revelation throws me once and for all out of the peace I’d been hiding in. We say we are putting her in the ground in a “private ceremony,” but my dad keeps her next to the winter coats in the upstairs closet. He thinks there will be a right time.
Entropy – Rowan Glassworks (5/1/21) – Nominated for Best of the Net 2021
I need to make myself smaller. I need to not take up so much room. I suck the oxygen out of the house, this family. I’m busy shrinking myself when she comes into the only room in the house with empty hinges.
Mom has those eyes, and I know she’s about to say again (and again, and again) “Did you take your meds?”
Yes. It’s always yes. I swallow the pills every morning, round like a buoy. I do what I’m supposed to do even though nothing keeps me afloat.
Excerpt from Afterworld -January 2020
Read at the 2019 Key West Literary Seminar as the winner of the 2020 Marianne Russo award for a novel in progress
Native Grey – The Lit Pub (6/16/20)
Chuck Augello’s debut collection of short stories, The Inexplicable Grey Space We Call Love, presents a retinue of Everyman characters and their stories, revealing quotidian reality so painful and recognizable that it hurts, wonderfully. Augello doesn’t explore or examine loneliness, or hope, or grief or love as much as he breathes closer and closer to those ubiquitous human experiences, detail by detail. The characters who pass through Augello’s gaze express the exceptionality of the everyday, leaving us blinking and shaken in the marvel of the universe behind the faces of characters who are achingly familiar.
Lovebugs – Cease, Cows (5/7/20) – Nominated for Best of the Net 2020
Maddi Mitchell has three lovebugs in her hair. One is poised on the edge of a golden curl cupping her left eyebrow. One is burrowed into the dark space behind her ear, its orange head peeking out like a signal fire. And one is perched on Maddi’s part, and I imagine it grabbing two strands of hair like reins and riding her scalp all day.
The Hands Remember– X-R-A-Y Literary Magazine (2/26/20) – Nominated for Best Small Fictions 2020
I sit on the bench outside Publix. A little boy ran by me in light-up sneakers when I was almost, almost, almost to the door, and suddenly I could hear Caleb’s feet, encased like two meat loaves in the shoes I got him before he started K-3, drumming against the cart.
Thursday – Porcupine Literary Magazine (2/24/20)
It’s always a decision.
Rise and ready to
step onto ground
that could be blood-soaked.
Wild Life Review – Up the Staircase (2/3/20)
You can insert your own cliché: size matters, good things come in small packages, small ones are sweeter, cut down to size…
The truth is that Kathy Fish’s flash and micro-fiction collection, Wild Life, is like a handful of gemstones, each one unique, brilliant, and carefully cut and polished. Originally published in such journals as The Jellyfish Review, Wigleaf, Cheap Pop, Smokelong, Guernica, and Forge Literary Magazine, the collection of fifty unique pieces sparkles that much brighter when strung together.
Commute – Lost Balloon (1/29/20)
At the stoplight, I think about turning left instead of right and going who-knows-where but definitely not to my office. Then it turns green, and I move along my path just like every weekday morning. Once I merge onto the highway, the idea of turning the steering wheel ever so slightly and letting the car wander into the other lane occurs to me again.
Women Writers We Love: Andrea Rinard – Dying Dahlia (11/19/19)
In this month’s interview, our senior copywriter Luisa got to have a wonderful chat with the talented Andrea Rinard. Her story, “Burning” was featured on DDR in September. Find out what she’s working on, what got her into writing, and much more.
Bouquets – The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature (11/1/19)
The man in the parking lot handed her a pink carnation. Sara reached automatically to take what the stranger offered as unconsciously as passing a fork when she used to help Mother do dishes. The man just smiled and kept going across the black asphalt that shimmered in the late afternoon heat.
Burning – The Dying Dahlia Review (9/3/19)
On the night before she started high school, Katelyn set the book on the grill. A scrape. A flash of orange. A whiff of sulfur. The corner caught, and the edges of the pages glowed. Aunt Ninny had given her the diary for her thirteenth birthday, saying with a wink, “A girl needs a place for her secrets.”
The Morning After – The Jellyfish Review (5/25/19)
The door opens downstairs, and I freeze with a fistful of freshly washed underwear poised over the drawer. After twenty-six years of hearing his familiar feet entering our home, I know it’s not Jack, coming back for his wallet, his coffee, a file. I’m realizing that my phone is downstairs in my bag and scanning for a weapon or a place to hide when she calls out to me. Her voice in that one wavering syllable is worse than a home invasion. Worse than a serial killer picking this house at 8:07 in the morning on a Thursday.
Sixth Period – Spelk (7/3/19)
We know where the hard corners are. We crouch together, our breaths slowing down while our hearts race, but we are quiet, quiet, quiet, quiet. If we are still and silent it’ll be over soon, and we can get back to Hamlet’s indecision and the Civil War and the laws of multiple proportions and espero, esperas, esperamos.
The Third Date – Crack the Spine (5/14/19)
The beer splattered onto Gabby’s lap where the cup landed, making a large wet spot on her jeans that looked like nothing so much as a pants-peeing.
To-Do List – Prometheus Dreaming
Walk past his bedroom door and resist that tentative tap-tap-tap he hates and knows is just a prelude to you walking in regardless if he says “Come in.” He’ll be hunched in his bed. There will be a stack of cups teetering on his nightstand. The sour stench of piled dirty clothes, unwashed skin, and unrealized potential will be almost more than your mother-heart can stand. The stuffed bunny by his hand where he’s held it to fall asleep for nineteen years will break you in pieces if you let it. Assure yourself that he’ll get up and take a shower as soon as you leave for work.
A Year After They Stopped Bothering to Name the Hurricanes – Wingless Dreamer (2/21/19) *1st place winner for flash fiction
The zebra is back. I can see it from the kitchen window where I am washing some underwear and a couple of t-shirts in the sink. The water’s sulfurous smell is getting really strong. Everything I wear now smells like the inside of a lunchbox left in the backseat of a hot car. It’s not like I can just run down to WalMart and buy bags of salt for the well. I’m lucky to have running water at all no matter how bad it stinks.