Blog : Beautiful-Things

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After Hours

After Hours By Rebecca Turkewitz   |  November 23, 2020
My grandfather wakes, confused and flooded with his body's toxins. "Sit down," he tells my grandmother. "We're going around a bend." He thinks they're on the train forty years ago. He reaches for invisible handholds . . .

The China Tea Set

The China Tea Set By Aisha Ashraf   |  November 16, 2020
The china tea set, wrapped in tissue paper, nestles in its warped cardboard box on the shelf inside my mother's wardrobe. She draws it down gently, as though not to wake it, places it on the bed, slides the lid off.

Photograph

Photograph By Sarah Ives   |  November 9, 2020
I push through the brambles and climb over the rotting, peeling fence that inevitably grabs at the cuff of my pants. Getting snagged, I always seem to fall cursing onto the beach, an unfitting way to enter the quiet beauty.

A Good Day to Die

A Good Day to Die By Shannon Cram   |  November 2, 2020
What I remember is the salt that formed in his pores like crystalline grains of sand. A million tiny specks covering his skin. Everywhere, everywhere, everywhere. The hospice nurse said that this meant his sweat glands were shutting down, squeezing out the last drops of his life.

The door with the fresh coat of turquoise paint and brass hinges

The door with the fresh coat of turquoise paint and brass hinges By Jennifer Todhunter   |  October 26, 2020
I open the door to see if you're there, the door with the fresh coat of turquoise paint and brass hinges. There is a noise, a constant; it could be the rain or the thick of my heart in my eardrums. I've never heard this sound before . . .

The Hart

The Hart By Kelly Gray   |  October 19, 2020
He steps out of the grass like a god. Thick necked to hold up east-to-west spanning antlers which in turn hold up the entire sky, three clouds and a Northern Harrier. I am caught off guard by his emergence, how he comes from nothing into everything.

Grandmom's House

Grandmom's House By Karen Langley Martin   |  October 12, 2020
Our house was like a radio playing six stations at once: brothers arguing, piano keys banging, lawn mowing, blender blending, phone ringing, dog barking. Stepping inside Grandmom's house was like that moment at the YMCA swimming pool when you duck your head under water and all the noise gets muffled and feels far away.

Before the First Frost

Before the First Frost By Stacy Murison   |  October 5, 2020
The yellowed aspen leaves shimmer like so many pennies against the setting sun, almost frantic in their last-dance enthusiasm for the night's forecasted hard frost. Your neighbor's forgotten garden has little to offer: one ghostly chalk-colored squash that just a few weeks ago was a cheerful orange trumpet blossom.

Waste Not

Waste Not By Desiree Cooper   |  September 28, 2020
My parents are old and inert, their bones want only to be still. There's not much we can do for entertainment, except sit here, and then for a change of scenery, sit there.

Flicker

Flicker By Vince Puzick   |  September 21, 2020
I watch her snap the skateboard's tail to the street just like her boyfriend does, mount it, one foot at a time, steady herself and roll to the corner. Her right foot steps off, kicks twice, three times, she accelerates, wheels click on the sidewalk's seams.

Mom's Nighty

Mom's Nighty By Jonathan Rentler   |  September 14, 2020
I started wearing Mom's nighty after she died. “You don’t remember?” Grandma asks. “You used to spray her perfume on ribbons.” Pink fills my skull. Satin dipped in distilled forget-me-nots. Little boy fingers tying bracelets around small wrists.

Black Hair Matters

Black Hair Matters By Marsha Lynn Smith   |  September 7, 2020
My toddler grandchild sits still on the carpet between my knees, her back cushioned against the sofa. I consider detangling her springy hair coils. Should I fix her hair similar to the way my mother did mine? Most school mornings, she would twist my bristly hair into a short, thick braid.

The Greatest Unease

The Greatest Unease By Irene Fick   |  August 31, 2020
Flying over deep water in the inscrutable dark. We are doomed. I hear the pilot slur his words. My neck is stiff. I feel a headache coming on. My legs begin to cramp. The anxiety pills make me nauseous. The line for the loo snakes down the aisle. The plane begins to jerk.

He Gave Her the Honey-Sweet Berry of the Pomegranate to Eat

He Gave Her the Honey-Sweet Berry of the Pomegranate to Eat By R.S. Wynn   |  August 24, 2020
In the produce aisle, I consider genetically modified pomegranates: ruby globes that overflow my palms cupped together. But the one I choose to bring home I pluck with my thumb and forefinger. Pitted and tawny, my pomegranate looks like what it is: a seed pod . . .

Your Dad's Not Here

Your Dad's Not Here By Susan Hirsch   |  August 17, 2020
“You don’t have to go in, Mom,” my son said through the phone. I was standing on the porch, holding the phone, and knocking on his dad’s door.

Fog

Fog By Annie Penfield   |  August 10, 2020
Low-slung fog canvasses our narrow valley. The film of haze blurs the trees, rubbing out their distinct edges. As if the forest is fine print and I am trying to read it without my glasses. This morning I awoke thinking of my old brown mare . . .

Footfall

Footfall By Jennifer L. Hollis   |  August 3, 2020
The black, four-inch stilettos with pointed toes were a gift, so I tried to be polite as I thought of a kind way to say: Hell no. Then I looked at his happy, hopeful face and knew I would learn to wear them.

Convergence

Convergence By Diane LeBlanc   |  July 27, 2020
Rain falling on the cabin roof isn't music or balm or metaphor. For two days and two nights, it's nothing but water saturating the stairs I descend in the dark to go to the outhouse while my husband sleeps.

False Spring

False Spring By Stephanie Cox   |  July 20, 2020
Fourteen cedar waxwings cluster in the apple tree. The bright February sun sharpens their dark masks and perky crests as they bounce from branch to branch devouring the rotted fruit beakful by beakful until the apples hang in tatters.

Two Forms

Two Forms By Deborah Elderhorst   |  July 13, 2020
Henry Moore's bronze sculpture Large Two Forms sits like a pair of discarded vertebrae on the pavement outside the art gallery, where small children clamber and slide through its round openings on their bellies and backsides. Teenagers, too, are drawn to these primal shapes.

Stream

Stream By Harmony Hazard   |  July 6, 2020
I want to believe that the first song I heard came from my mother. She sang "Moon River" while putting me to bed. I'm crossing you in style someday. What was that river of the moon?

Airview

Airview By Beth Boyle Machlan   |  June 29, 2020
My father decided he wanted an airview, a photograph of our summer home taken from a tiny plane on a clear, bright day. In these pictures, the skies are always blue and the houses have been carefully groomed like children for class pictures . . .

Fear of Poetry

Fear of Poetry By Claudia Monpere   |  June 22, 2020
My beloved friend dying of cancer said she’d been afraid of poetry for too long. I suggested a poetry party. A university lecturer, Susan was inspirational whether she was talking Jane Austen or freshman composition.

Electric

Electric By Kathryn Petruccelli   |  June 15, 2020
I try not to give too much power to what some call signs. Sure, when my mother was dying there was that thing with the poem I'd written about lightning, followed by the plane ride I took to her deathbed in the lightning storm . . .

Enigma

Enigma By Jeff Ewing   |  June 8, 2020
My father's face could accommodate almost any emotion but disappointment. There were times it was called for, certainly, but it just couldn't get any purchase. It would pass like a stab of indigestion, visible for only an instant...

Peaches

Peaches By Carolyn Rose   |  June 1, 2020
My granddaddy's knotted hands were forever peeling a tangerine, slicing a fig, cracking a native pecan, offering it to someone he loved. Most often, most tenderly, to my grandmother. I imagine him and this day without her . . .

The Perfumed Winds of May

The Perfumed Winds of May By Leanne Ogasawara   |  May 25, 2020
In the Japanese taxonomy of breezes, the perfumed winds blow just before the south-easterly winds of the rainy season, which arrive later in the month. Known as plum rains—so heavy, the downpours are said to knock the ripening plums right off their branches.

Jumping in Leaves

Jumping in Leaves By Joseph Gross   |  May 18, 2020
Somewhere after the turn of the millennium I slid from leaf jumper to leaf raker, and so on this smoky November afternoon I hold down my job for the boy in front of me during what will be his only non-digital hour of the day.

The Entertainer

The Entertainer By Amber Emanuel   |  May 11, 2020
When my mother sits in front of our antique upright piano, it is almost always Scott Joplin's "The Entertainer." Almost always only the refrain. She never stops moving around the house, except for those moments she slides onto the wooden bench.

Cord

Cord By Kat Read   |  May 4, 2020
I think the apartment is horrible – the bathroom sink is in the bedroom, the blind in the shower falls down every other day, the sliding closet door skitters out of its track. Everything feels rickety and as though it is about to topple . . .

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