My Name was Supposed to be Elizabeth Ann

— Stories from the Roads (Not) Taken

Lila starts, awakening on the family room couch, a blanket noosed about her torso and legs. In her nightmare, a monstrous tree leafed in violent red thrust skyward along their yard’s furthermost edge, its roots mounded with freshly turned soil like a grave. Her grave. She’d grabbed a shovel. Advanced, then stopped. Poison ivy, her …

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As I write, Thanksgiving is a few days away, but I’m already listening to Christmas music while cross-stitching ornaments. Usually I wait until after Santa arrives in Herald’s Square to start prepping, but this year I started early. The ornaments take awhile, and the music… I credit my son. Recently, my daughter accompanied me on …

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Somehow, I acquired a dead man’s interrupted life.  His grey stone cottage, mid-forest. Books, a barn, blank stationery veined with mold. Curled edge photographs stacked like kindling in a dusty hope chest. They claim me. A rusted horseshoe slumbered in the cook stove. I burnish it with wire, secure its resurrected luck with a trinity of nails …

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In eighth grade, Leann’s California brother blank-check, birthday-gifted her a whole new wardrobe, accessories included. I tried not to hate her. Tried not to worry whether anyone saw my Thursday jeans were Allthedays’, my sweater winnowed from Glad bag cast-offs, my wrists braceleted with scabs. They healed up mostly clear, except just there. See? One …

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… strolling hunched and sandalled along the highway berm. His right hand clutched a blanket ‘round his shoulders. His left, a cigarette whose smoke wafted through my car’s open window. I cat-sneezed, but he kept on walking. Didn’t say god bless. Just shrank inside my mirrors as  I slowed and braked for red. Tuesday, I’d …

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So in August, I finally made my new year’s writing resolution. Not for the calendar year, dear reader. The academic year. My resolution? To write and post an original microflash every Monday.  Three reasons.  First, I’m a very slooooow drafter and wanted to practice increasing my productivity. Second, I knew time would shrink even further …

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The day after, Birdie bins and washes, shelves detritus of a home upended. Dust clogs her nose. Tickles her eyes. She sneezes. Blinks. Sneezes yet again. Birdie knows dust is partly skin, that skin sloughs and regenerates each moon cycle while her bones and heart require ten years of cycles to renew. By which math, …

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Outside, monsters roam. They won’t hurt you, bud.  Behind his mask, curiosity battles fear. How come? Magic, she says, sidekick to his cartoon hero. Kneeling, she steps his feet into leggings, arranges a cape about his shoulders and goblets on a table. Their cream faces blush dull orange as she pours.  How’d you–  Witches’ secret. …

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