- A Small Room at a Hot Time of the Morning by Davis
- The Lion's Noose by Lloyd
- This Side of the Rainbow by DeMoss
- Grandpa's Bluetooth by Fowler
- Down Low by Long
- Crayons by Adams
by Stan Long
Why he made me thus I'll never know - some twisted sense of humor he has, to send me with one foot, and no crutches to help me through the world. And worse, my house I have to carry on my back, no light tent to make a bivouac but a most cumbersome shell, and then to make more play of me, face me with a wall of tight-fit mortared stones that climbs to high heaven, all set about with ropes of thorns, and sweet smelling blossoms that taunt my senses, this joker, creator, who yet has given me a redoubtable spirit to face these difficulties and thus conquer them.
And a mate too he gave to couple with, we like those grotesques animals from the Encantadas in a shaky balancing act, one house upon another where we stay glued for hours before the proper join is made, the irony of it that our ecstasy lasts so short a second - and we have to listen to him who made us, laughing his great belly laugh, at our, oh so public, discomfiture.
But though the innate bitterness we feel at having to live so close to the ground, where our silvery tracks are easily followed by the great spotted thrush - that most persistent of our enemies - our race remains in stasis, no evolutionary change, no advantage gained over the millennia, except perhaps a little color added to the whorls on our shells to camouflage us, and make us a little less vulnerable.
There is no escaping it, his laughter at our tiresome ingratitude. Has he not given us the supreme gift of life, the same that vivifies the hummingbird and the whale, and are we not bound to the same road, the same journey : from here to oblivion?
Oh ye moaners and groaners, he preaches at us; carry your burden gladly, be patient in adversity. Though you may think you lead a little life; by surmounting the rose-wrought garden wall and reaching its other side, you outshine the bird who simply over flies it's obstacles, and the leviathan, who lazily whipping the ocean to a froth, proceeds upon it's journey unfettered.
Neither of them are like you - they journey not with a house upon their back or the loving laughter of their creator in their ears. See how his grand design allows you to climb those thorned roses, even over the razor's edge, and always within the mercy of his means.
Stan Long, a single father, works in Toronto, Canada. He has produced two chapbooks: The Georgian Bay Suite & Eros in Ithaca; "two very disparate works." His poems and fictions have appeared in print and online/ezines in Canada and in the USA.