The sun is rising. I know I should get to bed, but I can’t stop thinking about her. I keep replaying our goodbye in my head, the way she kissed me so gently, the way she batted her little eyes. And the way she flew off, perfectly silhouetted against the full moon. It’s only been a few hours, but I miss her. I’ve just been circling the cave since then, picking at the occasional rat, but I don’t have any appetite. The butterflies in my stomach make it hard to eat.
Finally, I give in and head inside. My parents will kill me if I stay out any later. The sky is streaked with fiery red by this point, and my eyelids are getting heavy. I dive into the cave, hoping to slip into my room unnoticed, but it seems like the whole colony is up, blinking at me from their hanging places. It’s easy to pick mom out from the crowd.
“Have fun?” she pings at me sarcastically. I click back nonchalantly and dart under them, into my tiny cavern at the back of the cave. Mom and Leslie follow me, Leslie giggling the whole way.
“What are you laughing at?” I click. “Shouldn’t you be asleep? It’s well into morning.”
Leslie rolls her eyes. “I stayed up for the drama.” She latches onto the ceiling and hangs next to me, grinning innocently. I look to mom in exasperation.
“Walter, we just want to make sure you’re being safe,” she coos. I had almost settled in on the ceiling, and I nearly lose my grip.
“God, mom!” I ping. “Don’t be gross!”
We have a silent hang-off, neither of us blinking. Finally, mom sighs.
“Fine. Just be back by curfew next time.”
I grumpily wrap my wings around myself as she flaps away to rejoin the adults. Leslie starts humming “Here Comes the Bride” next to me, but I swing my wing out and knock her off the ceiling. As a warning. Then, I drift off into dreams of my love.
By Molly Burdick
"One of your characters is a piece of furniture."
I used to work for Peewee Herman. In a chair’s world, that’s becoming a god. On the show, Peewee talks to you like he’d talk to a human. You have lines to say in response. Peewee doesn’t talk to you in between filming, but I knew the man loved me like I loved him. Knew. It isn’t until years after the show ends and you stop watching the reruns that you put it all together: I had lines to say, but they weren’t chair lines, they were person lines coming through humanity’s most valuable player: the chair who wanted a seat at the table. You get an ego, think of yourself as a high chair, but every human who ever saw me still assumed I was their salvation should they be tired. My only rescue was having a reserved sign: they don’t sit on me because they’re afraid of disrespecting another human. That’s why I tell people Paul Reubens was just like his character Peewee Herman, because the closest claim I had to autonomy was to be reserved by someone benevolent.
By Maxim Vinogradov
Wildflowers sprout up beneath
The deck chair you loved
Still sitting where you left it
You built this desk with your hands
Its aspen veneer
Peeling and stained with spilled ink
We borrowed the chair
That sits in the living room
Too heavy to move
You built my bed wrong
It’s creaked since its conception
It will creak always
By Molly Burdick
It's been lonely these days, at work. I sit in the corner of the room, waiting for customers to come in. It's hard, though. With COVID. Less people to drink coffee, less people to want to stay awhile. I miss the feeling of it. I miss the gentle scrape of my legs against the floor in anticipation of someone carrying a mug and a book. I miss the pressure in my back when someone finally sits down. Sitting, perched on my sturdy form, talking to someone or working on their laptop. I miss wondering if they'd stay in my embrace for a few minutes, or even hours at a time. I stay here, my rectangular wooden frame pressed back against the wall, wondering when I'll feel the warmth of a soul in my arms again. It could be days, could be longer. So I sit. And wait.
By Claire-Frances Sullivan
Leave the light on
when you go
I want to see the cluttered desk
I want to see the bed at rest
I want to see the shelves of books
I want to see the hanging hooks
I want to see the empty chair
[I want to see you sitting there]
Leave the light on
Just like you used to do
And pull the shades closed, too
The light inside is you
by Molly Burdick
We are a group of multi-disciplinary writer-types who are committed to collective creation. Writing doesn't happen in a vacuum, it happens at a table.