Blog : Beautiful-Things

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The Bike Lesson

The Bike Lesson By Desiree Cooper   |  August 1, 2022
Jax perched on his brand-new bike. I stood beside him, a human kickstand. “I can’t do this, Nana!” he yelled, his nervousness masquerading as anger. “It won’t stay up!”

To the Men Who I’ve Talked Out of Leaving Their Wives

To the Men Who I’ve Talked Out of Leaving Their Wives By Amber Wong   |  July 25, 2022
When you called, I was careful not to interrupt your soliloquy. Sometimes the best truth comes in fragments, unguarded bits of prose, an ugly tone or misshapen phrase that reveals much.

Cast-Iron Generations

Cast-Iron Generations By Tonya Coats   |  July 18, 2022
The cast-iron skillet has been in our family five generations, since the early 1900s. Twice as thick as when it was forged, it has layers of black scales on the outside. An imperceptible skin inside.

Seven Weeks or About the Size of a Coffee Bean

Seven Weeks or About the Size of a Coffee Bean By Christopher Notarnicola   |  July 11, 2022
The morning is here again. My fiancée and I have taken to acknowledging the miracle of recurrence. The water is hot again. The towel is dry again. The mirror is us again. And the coffee, about once a week, is the ever-coffee again.

Goodnight Moon

Goodnight Moon By Cicily Bennion   |  July 4, 2022
Surely, in his two and a half years of living he's seen the moon. But he looks at it now like it's the first time. He knows it, yes, but only from his books on the shelf, the ones I read on nights I'm home for bedtime, when the sun is on the horizon and the blinds are closed.

Here I Am

Here I Am By Caroline Sutton   |  June 20, 2022
Two-year-old Ella takes a stick and draws zigzags in the sand. She asks me to write her name; I say each letter aloud and she knows that these are the marks that make words that make the stories we read to her, which she inhabits and commits to memory.

Gotcha Day

Gotcha Day By Erika Nichols-Frazer   |  June 13, 2022
We adopted Nala the day my mother fell down the stairs. That wasn't her name, but she didn't look like a Mindy.


Thingness By Darien Andreu   |  June 6, 2022
My husband raps on the kitchen window from the deck outside where the cat sews in and around his legs. "Can you hand me that thing?" he says, pointing unsteadily. The scar from his brain surgery curves over his left ear. An upside-down horseshoe.

Pedestrian Acts

Pedestrian Acts By Susan Barr-Toman   |  May 30, 2022
We were late for an appointment. I wove through the afternoon crowd at a quick clip with my son and daughter, nine and six, following behind me like ducklings. Head down and shoulders bent, I had the posture of someone punched in the gut.

Into the Answer

Into the Answer By Erin Murphy   |  May 23, 2022
Your high school teacher mother taught you a trick for taking comprehension tests: always skip ahead to read the questions before the passage.

Things to do in the Belly of Despair

Things to do in the Belly of Despair By Kerry Herlihy   |  May 16, 2022
Blow out the candle that burned for his last days. Dump the OxyContin and morphine in the cat litter like the hospice nurse told you to do. Touch his cheekbones that emerged like knives these last few weeks.

Everything You Hold Onto in Your Body Lets Go

Everything You Hold Onto in Your Body Lets Go By Billie Hinton   |  May 9, 2022
In autumn, my massage therapist comes to the barn, plugs in her electric pot to warm the large black stones she regularly returns to the river, whose current removes things bodies hold onto: the ache of arthritic knees, tight pelvises, a woman’s chorus of sharp edges, shrill songs of sore muscles and little heartaches.

On Turning Forty-Four

On Turning Forty-Four By Kim June Johnson   |  May 2, 2022
This was a particularly hard number for me, and in the back of my mind, I knew it was because the late Nora Ephron, in her book about aging as a woman, wrote about how much she regretted not wearing a bikini the entire year she was twenty-six and suggested to anyone reading that they “go, right this minute, put on a bikini, and don't take it off until you're forty-four.”


Tea By Deb Werrlein   |  April 25, 2022
At every lesson, she serves me tea. She steeps it with cardamom and swirls of evaporated milk then pours it steaming into “my” cup—a white ceramic blue-flowered mug—and adds a heaping spoonful of sugar.


Walk By Beatrice Motamedi   |  April 18, 2022
I’m at my desk, playing with the idea of taking the day off, when the phone rings, and shit, it’s the landline, the number I dread, the one on too many contact lists and credit card applications to ditch, and unfortunately it’s in the bedroom, across my office and one hallway away, and even worse, I have to answer it...

The Fawn

The Fawn By Robert Barham   |  April 11, 2022
Hunting was a source of food, the main recreation, and a rite of passage. Everyone hunted. Still, I had a choice. It was dusk, and my father and I sat beside a crop field, plowed over in the fall. We watched from woods that earlier were full of birdsong, canopied by oak, cottonwood, and pecan, when two deer appeared—a doe and its fawn.

Delicate as a Hummingbird's Heart

Delicate as a Hummingbird's Heart By Noah Davis   |  April 4, 2022
This past Saturday, the fire burning on the north side of the river jumped a ridge and lit another hillside of drought-stricken timber, sending a plume so high that the air turned red with the seared skin of Douglas fir and larch.

The Last Pie

The Last Pie By Jill Quandt   |  March 28, 2022
I take my grandma to the grocery store. While perusing the produce, I mention that it is my father-in-law's birthday. She takes that to mean we are making a pie, and who am I to remind her that she doesn't make pies anymore?


Uprooted By Jamey Temple   |  March 21, 2022
The day Papaw Laster kicked out Mamaw, just before their divorce, our pickup pulled up to their porch. Daddy worked in the bed, stacking and arranging furniture handed to him by Papaw. Mamaw stood silent, looking through boxes as they passed her, thirty-five years of accumulated belongings.

Dandelion Fritters

Dandelion Fritters By Bex Hoffer   |  March 14, 2022
Fingers flower-yellow. I want to make a poem from those words, but as always, line breaks trip me up like wires at ankle-height. Still, yes, my fingertips are tinged yellow, blessed by the blossoms of dandelion suns.

Istalif, Afghanistan, 2004

Istalif, Afghanistan, 2004 By Brandy Bauer   |  March 7, 2022
We picnic by firelight in the bombed-out carapace of a hotel, where a guard in tattered shawls sips tea, cradling his gun. Beyond the balcony, mud homes jut out from the snowy hills.

Reason Enough

Reason Enough By Sherrie Weller   |  February 28, 2022
A friend and I are at happy hour. Icy doubles swim in glasses before us. Recently discovered: We are both adopted. Blooming: An intimacy unwarranted by the length of time we've known each other. I describe growing up with an identical twin, wondering about our birthmother. Ask if she has done a search.


Gratitude By Kathryn Petruccelli   |  February 21, 2022
Spring in a cold place. Which means everything is so heartbreakingly tender—tulips lifting their dusky prom skirts, dandelions twinkling in their green sky.


Eyelashes By Monika Dziamka   |  February 14, 2022
The AC rattles above me, but all else is silent, so silent, so blissfully silent. My baby is asleep at grandma's tonight, across town and across space so wide and deep and needed that I now almost don't quite know what to do with all this time.


Confession By Rachel Greenley   |  February 7, 2022
It happens six, maybe seven times a day. I'm crouched. He looks at me with those liquid eyes, his face in front of mine, his wet nose quivering, exploring my breath.

Zero at the Bone

Zero at the Bone By Heidi Czerwiec   |  January 31, 2022
Emily Dickinson knew something about—holding space—the power—dashes have— The white spaces hold so much—the ghost of her white dress—posing in the corner. They may be silent—but are not empty.

Flower Salute

Flower Salute By Anne Leiby   |  January 24, 2022
The flowers bob on the brown swirls of the river bloated with spring rain. As they float downstream, I serenade them with poetry - “the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief“ - words from a Wendell Berry poem, that you, a poet, once told me “was damn-near perfect.”


Reenactor By Laura Rose   |  January 17, 2022
My father was orphaned at eighteen, and though he'd made his own family, we weren't enough to satisfy his craving for deep roots. For that, he had his sixth great-grandfather and the American Revolution.

Hard Frost

Hard Frost By Yelizaveta Renfro   |  January 10, 2022
On the morning of the day the jury would return, snow swirled with fallen white blossoms in the gutters of the streets. April can be cruel like that. The next day, as I drove, all over town I saw plants that had been protected from the hard frost with sheeting and tarps, and the covered shapes seemed to shift before my eyes...


Amelioration By Mariah Anne Agee   |  January 3, 2022
I want waking up to feel like shuffling a new deck of cards: smooth and full of intention. The citrus sun rises early now. I remember that my body is also a tender peach, wrinkling as I stretch to the horizon line.

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