A Family Trip to the Store

A Family Trip to the Store

by Joe Freeman


One Sunday morning, after my momma and I returned home from church, I was sitting on our front porch. This porch had been enclosed with wood on the bottom three feet and had glass panels on top, so I was pretty much hidden from view. There was a seldom used road about one-and-a-half football fields in length in front of our house. This road led past a very large fresh fruit packing house to a section of town in which poor whites lived. So as I looked out this particular morning there was this   scene unfolding right before my eyes. I looked down the road to my right toward the packing house because I heard a ruckus coming from that direction. I was all of about eleven years old. I may have already accepted Jesus as my personal savior, confessed my sins and been baptized by full immersion, which was the Baptist way.

This white man was trying to get someplace. This white woman kept running after him, crying and begging him not to go. She would run after him and throw her arms around one of his legs, weeping and begging. He would just drag her along for a few steps and then, when he tired, push her off him. Then she would run after him again, throw herself on a leg, be dragged along for several steps and then pushed to the ground again. This happened over and over again, about every ten yards or so all the way down this road until they were right in front of our house. This woman would be pushed to the ground in her torn, thin dress, then she would come crying after her man, throw herself on him, grabbing a leg, and be dragged along for several steps until he got tired and pushed her off again. Trailing along behind this man and this woman were three little chillin, all crying and all under five years. It seemed like I was watching for at least one-half hour. I couldn’t stop watching. I could hardly breathe. I told my momma. She just told me to stay quiet and stay out of sight. It finally dawned on me where this man was heading. There was a liquor store about 150 yards on the other side of our house.

My mother hated alcohol. She barely tolerated my daddy keeping a fifth of Canadian Club in her kitchen cabinet. He would come home at the end of the day, pour himself a shot glass and drink it right down. He said it was for medicinal purposes. It wasn’t until I was much older that I came to realize he did his serious drinking at the office before he came home. And it wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I came to know from my aunts that most of my momma’s brothers were heavy drinkers. I suspect her first husband may have been a heavy drinker as well, and may have gotten physical with my momma when he drank. He was about twenty years older than my momma when he married her around her 17th year. My momma must have been terribly desperate to risk going to hell for certain for divorcing Mr. Coleman, that’s what her sisters said. Anyway my momma hated alcohol and I already had her fear in my body at eleven watching this scene unfold.

About twenty minutes later, I saw the same man walking back, resigned now, from the direction of the store. The same woman walked, quiet and slumped now, about five yards behind him, and the three little chillin still trailed along behind all in a row with tear streaked dust caked on their faces. Everyone seemed plum spent. I realized the liquor store was closed on Sunday.


Joe grew up in a small, segregated Southern town. He is a psychotherapist and parent educator in Storrs, CT. Joe is just starting to write about his childhood experiences.



Mary Wynn: Berani (charcoal on paper)


charcoal on paper

Mary Wynn_Berani


Mary Wynn is an Animal Science graduate student who researches ways to improve animal production and draws on the side for fun. She has never taken a drawing class but enjoys drawing human and animal subjects, especially Benedict Cumberbatch and tigers. Her work has recently appeared in the 2016 edition of the Long River Review.

paper doll (n.)

paper doll (n.)

by Amanda Buck


 a piece of paper cut or folded into the shape of a human being.


What surprised me most was the feel of it

—how unceremonious, it could have been

an arm or a leg. I had never had the power

until it was bestowed upon me blandly

in someone else’s bed, house, sheets:

they would know all my secrets before I

mastered them myself. What did I know

of yes?


This isn’t how our mothers wished

it for us, paper dolls, drawn and easily

ripped. Yet, they were the ones that dressed

us and gave us expressions for encounters such

as these.


I was always so eager to please, erase.


I liked the way you positioned me like a mannequin

—that you had a plan for each limb. It’s true,

I took the tights off myself and kissed

what I wanted to kiss. I suppose

I was destined to love you because you said my

name and didn’t know the panicked child I’d been.


Amanda Buck is an evocative, collaborative, and brave writer in the Greater Philadelphia Community with a passion for education and the arts. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Rutgers University-Camden where she received Thesis with Distinction Honors, and a BA in English and Theatre Arts from the University of South Florida. During her time at Rutgers, she served as President for the MFA Student Organization and Co-Chair of the 2014-2015 Rutgers Student Reading Series. Her writing can be seen or is forthcoming in Four Ties Lit Review, Wordpool Press, The Bleeding Lion, and more. Currently, Amanda is Artistic Director of Chasing Windmills, an eclectic bi-monthly creative reading series that promotes community while showcasing local artists in Philadelphia community. In addition to her work as a writer, Amanda has performed both on and off stage in over 100 full-length plays and musicals. For more information, please visit amandamariebuck.com or follow her on twitter @chasingwindmil4



by Nathaniel Herter


Expend yourself today

since night impends

in scarlet sighs


of branches shorn

by grasping children

already far too high.


High, and leavened,

risen, and awakened

in oppressive humid


green, and I alone

breaking glasses keen

and keening quiet.


Behold, and betake

me, playing in mud,

slapping mossy roots,


bearhanded, bear me

back and caress, barely,

in bare twilight bask


together, lest I turn

in sudden spurt

to something less


Nate Herter is a Classicist recently of UConn. He enjoys hearing himself talk, but wishes he was funnier.

Steve Pfaffle: Unitled


digital photography



Steve Pfaffle is a freelance photographer and owner at Zenfull Results LLC, specializing in Portraits, Real Estate, and Small Business Photography.  In his free time, he creates artistic landscapes and has an affinity to the old, weathered, rusted and neglected subjects present in his home area of Rural Eastern Connecticut.  You can see more and purchase prints of Steve’s work at http://steve-pfaffle.pixels.com/ 

And the Sleeping Me Aches

And the Sleeping Me Aches

by Devin Samuels



The tired bone

Shambled ligaments,

All jello across a mattress.


It’s not mine

But I sleep on it,

Like a lot of things I sleep on:

The box spring, her insta – gram message,

Like the night.

Its bosom all hold,

All sweet spring chirp.


Not my spring.

Chirp sweet melody,

Anyway day in

And out day

Till each palm a collision.

Still unborn and still born

And unstilled when this sleep get out of hand.


Can you see?

How glow I is?

How am I be, a war,

A fire still pulled by moon.


How sleep be half a howl?

Half a throat she caught in.

The neck,

My neck



Unborn yet stay tuned,

Say moon,

Soon beautiful moon,

I wane.


Devin Samuels has been embedded in Spoken word since age 14. Now 24, he has competed in many national level competitions, coached 7 national level teams, and is engrossed in the poetry communities of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Now living in Detroit as the Inside Out Literary Arts Future Corp Fellow, Devin devotes his time to crafting opportunities to building the voices of youth through poetry and performing arts. He brings a deep love and commitment to both his craft and his mentorship, devoting himself fully to each project and never backing down from a challenge. “I don’t write because it’s fun, I write because I don’t know how to live any other way. The fun is just a perk.”

Languish For Desire

Languish For Desire

by Kik Williams



I tried to squish my body into a bottle

pretended to be a shell   a bunch of shells

the bunch I found on the beach

in Cuba when I was a little girl

the day the sand was covered in blue

balloons   the nurse said non toca

es mal   bad balloons  man of war

balloons   decorate the beach

para me   I want to put everything

in my mouth for him   a leg

a hand   a breast through the slits

of fabrics   I want to do everything

to reveal myself   I’d cover my body

in blue balloons   pretend I’m a conch

all pink inside   and listen   if you hold me

up to your ear   you can hear me sigh


Kik Williams is a grandmother who just started kickboxing. She loves it. Kik is also aceramic artist specializing in certain female body parts. She lives with four chickens, two mini dachshunds, a cat and a couple of gold fish. Kik has traveled to over 20 countries and most of the United States. Her Spanish is terrible. She is looking for a honey. Until she was in her 60’s, Kik had never written a poem, a late bloomer in many ways.