Different from traditional stories or poems, these pieces offer up small slices of life that are not necessarily whole stories but vignettes that absolutely invoke emotion, doing so in a small amount of space. I barely put down my pen the whole time I read as I took down notes and wrote down quotes.
Allen Taft’s “We Don’t Need No Trouble” invokes elements of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” as well as “The Three Little Pigs.” In the story, “Little Son Bear begins to wonder why nothing stays warm, why Papa and Mama sleep in different beds.” And, later, “Somewhere B B Wolf’s new track plays ‘I’m gonna huff I’ve had enuff I’m gonna puff you mothas down.”
In Sean L Corbin’s “Gnats,” the house is inhabited with gnats that “float like shadows . . . like a cloud splintered into individual clouds that hover close together because they miss being one cloud; like men at a bar that crowd close to me . . .” The gnats cause the narrator to think about his/her own life and his/her role in it.
“Did you ever notice how virtually impossible it is for anyone to walk past a store or office window without looking at their own reflection?” asks the narrator in Mernick W. Allen’s “The Window.” “It’s as if we’re compelled to make sure we are all still who we think we are and that we look just exactly as spectacular as we did in our own bathroom mirrors that morning.” This story makes me laugh as it points out this small quirk that we all seem to have—this obsession with looking our best at all times.
My favorite poetry is “Broken Cookies” by Hal Sirowtiz, which delivers a heart-breaking message in just a few short lines, and “Phosphorescence and the Girl” by Lauren Payne, which creates line after line of beautiful poetry. It starts,
my heart aches. I fill the bathtub
with tepid water and stand there, naked
pouring salt into it, trying to turn it
into my beloved ocean.
it is never deep enough.
Later, she says that perhaps her obsession with the ocean comes from the way her mother would wade into the ocean while pregnant “. . . letting [her] be weightless / inside weightless.”
Tumble through the rest of the magazine, and you’ll find many more great treasures. Vine Leaves creates a great selection of vignettes with something for everyone to enjoy.