Blog : Beautiful-Things

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Leeches

Leeches By Katie Walsh   |  January 18, 2021
When we get home from the hospital, I realize the electrodes are still stuck to my father's chest and back. He says that it hurt too much when the nurse tried to remove them, so he told her to forget it. The confusion makes him this way, irritable and impatient.

Drawn In

Drawn In By Lisa Huffaker   |  January 11, 2021
I got better at drawing when I began to think of petting an animal. I sent my eye running along the spine of a thing, felt it warm and alive, arching its back into my palm. I moved my eye like I'd move my hand, stroking an edge, pressing against the body of a mass.

Rubber Tourniquets

Rubber Tourniquets By Kristin Engler   |  January 4, 2021
My four-year-old son plays with the blue rubber tourniquet from his latest hospitalization. A nurse tied it around his arm to insert an IV into the tender part of his forearm near the crook of his elbow.

You Should Ask for More

You Should Ask for More By Rachel Sudbeck   |  December 28, 2020
"Am I sad?" I ask my dog, because it's not something I recognize anymore. Sadness had come so thick and urgent for a while that the quieter emotions don't register like they used to.

Car Keys

Car Keys By Bridget Lillethorup   |  December 21, 2020
“I can drive today,” my partner said, and I tossed him the keys over the hood of my 1999 Jeep Cherokee. Up went the key to my mom’s house, which opened a small home of wall-papered, floral prints and a retired woman shuffling in a bathrobe, slowing sipping coffee . . .

The Ledge

The Ledge By Anna Reid   |  December 14, 2020
We've come to Switzerland and we're in love. It's the crisp air, the towering waterfalls and majestic peaks – a guise to hide the death that lurks behind the exquisite landscape where we've flocked to feel alive.

Real Mom

Real Mom By Mee-ok   |  December 7, 2020
Until I decided to come to Korea, I hadn't realized how special my mother was – how selfless, how enlightened. Most adoptive parents of her generation can't understand that searching for our origins isn't a direct affront to them. In truth, it has nothing to do with them at all.

Jars of Daybreak

Jars of Daybreak By Robert Erle Barham   |  November 30, 2020
Roused before dawn, my siblings and I stood at the edge of the kitchen and marveled at gleaming red jars that filled the room. Our parents shuffled wordlessly from stove to kitchen table and back again, their bright faces like blacksmiths' flushed by forge light . . .

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 . . .

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