Skip to main content


Showing posts from June, 2023

Flying Island 6.23

Dear Flying Island Readers: Welcome to the 6.23 Edition of the Flying Island Journal! In this edition, we publish the third place winner of our Short Fiction Contest,  "The Long Dark" by James Matthew Lee Wilson ! In this edition, we also have three new poems and a nonfiction piece by Tony Armstrong. Inspired to send us your fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction? For more info on how to submit, see the tab above. Thank you for reading, Flying Island Editors and Readers

The Long Dark, fiction by James Matthew Lee Wilson

On a bright summer morning, smelling fresh of rain and honeysuckle, I lay in my bed, listening to the sounds of my grandmother's kitchen. Down the hall, a cabinet opened and closed. The kettle clanged into the basin and then water from the faucet rushed in to fill it. Footsteps tracked over to the stovetop. My grandmother hummed to herself, but she was not alone. "I wonder what Bill will do now that Esther is gone." A familiar voice. Joe Camacho; forever sweet on my grandmother. He came most mornings but never on Sunday. On occasion, he brought flowers, which she would fuss over before placing them in a vase. But most days they would sit at the kitchen table, sip their coffee, and chat the morning away. To my knowledge, it was never anything more than that. "I imagine Bill will stay. Don't see him as the leaving type." My grandmother answered, confident in a way that only a long-term resident of a small town can be when speaking on local matters. I heard the

Ducklings, a poem by Joshua Kulseth

Ducklings For David Ferry I met some ducklings on their way to somewhere on the river: three stopping by me calling to them, my sporadic quacking likely strange but curiously stopping by on their way hurriedly anywhere as long as it was forward, maybe lost and looking for other ducks, maybe paddling away from other ducks. Who can know? Only they were very eager in their searching maybe a little desperate to be stopping by me on the river speaking poorly their mother tongue. Was it company they needed? I must have confused them saying over and over the same phrase so they felt sorry for me, big broken duck who had forgotten how to speak. Paddling quickly along they passed me by, swept along in the current of words, searching for someone else to talk to on the river. Joshua Kulseth earned his BA in English from Clemson University, and his MFA in poetry from Hunter College. He is currently a PhD candidate in poetry at Texas Tech University. His poems have appeared and are

What’s Remembered, What’s Forgotten, a poem by Martha Christina

What’s Remembered, What’s Forgotten On the first day of summer camp, the counselor introduces her two newly-adopted sons, biological brothers from Brazil. They’re 6 and 7, old enough to remember their former lives.   My son volunteers that he is Inuit, and recently new to our family. I choose not  to embarrass him, not to contradict him with my memory of his birth, our bodies parting ways. I leave him with his story intact, a child’s imagined  version of a different life,  the true story of small boys,  who remember the journey  from before to now . Martha Christina was b orn and raised in Indiana.  She earned a BA in Spanish from IU Bloomington, and married in Beck Chapel there.  She now lives in Bristol, RI, but considers herself a Hoosier-at-heart. She has published two full-length collections, Staying Found (Fleur de lis Press) and Against Detachment (Pecan Grove Press), both of which contain poems set in Indiana. Individual poems appear recently in Crab Orchard Review , Star 82

You Couldn’t Keep Anything Down, a poem by Lindsey Priest

You Couldn't Keep Anything Down  I like to think the baby my father  beat out of my mother before she married him  left their heart behind for me  to carry on our way out,  giving me the start  they knew our parents were unable to give    either of us.  My father, charming and predaceous, impregnated, proven by the near  dozen children wandering alone across America, six different women. In theory, this country had it coming.  Being half black, I almost cheer his fearless recreation of brown eyes and skin, in our first graves, those white wombs  that have gotten men better  and more polite than my father shot, or worse, and without so much as touching. Slick motherfucker, my old man.  I want to salute him, but I am one of his abandoned bastards. His reasons  for leaving aren't my politics. My mother’s body is no country. She survived  him, but her body looks like the earth’s been trying to evict her for decades  and gravity is saying “Nuh uh, not up here.” The effect is a woman

Getting Real, nonfiction by Tony Armstrong

I hate talking about writing.  I’d rather just tell you the joke than dissect the punchline.  When I first started teaching essay writing to my high school students—in the antediluvian 1990s—I thought the task hopeless.  After all, writers are like artists.  Tolstoy is a Renaissance master, Hemingway an expert in etchings, Morrison a leading Expressionist.  Me, I can paint a passable watercolor on a greeting card.  But you either get writing, or you don’t: IYKYK.   When my ex was still my wife, she used to tell me what a lousy teacher I was because I was too hard on my students.  Some of them just weren’t going to write well, she said.  But if I can’t make them good, I at least have to help them get better.  That’s part of the job.  So, in the beginning, I dusted off my own essays and reverse-engineered them to transfer my subtle genius to my apathetic pupils.  Over the decades, I have picked up clearer labels for the techniques, worked more closely with each person in my class, bu