The flood and its aftermath

Brown waters sweep over the banks,

flood the farms on one side of the river,

the town, on the other.


Squirrels scramble to the tops of trees.

Families eye the rooftops for possible safe harbor.

They wonder, should we leave or stay?

The answer is a cop going door to door.


It’s too late to save

the bedding, the stuffed animals,

the books, the photographs.

The orders are

if it doesn’t breathe

it has no place

on higher ground. Continue reading “The flood and its aftermath”


One day when I’m dead maybe I won’t be

so naughty but in Sunday School today

I fell asleep again, up too late last

night reading Wonder Woman comic books,

my sister’s, I prefer Superman and

Batman but Diana Prince will do in


a pinch and she’s got that magic lasso

that she wraps around your waist and you must

do her bidding and those bracelets that break

the speed of approaching bullets and she’s

as strong as an . . . Amazon, I guess strong


-er, and if she can’t fly she surely can

leap but anyway when I woke in Sun

-day School standing there before me as if

I was God and she a new, dead soul was Continue reading “Wonderful”

Lemon Meringue

Kelly’s boyfriend dropped her at Vancouver International; they were off to visit their respective parents for the long weekend. Kelly flew to Sault St. Marie, Aaron drove to Kelowna. On Tuesday evening she would return to the west coast for her next shift as a rookie police officer in the city, a different world from her years growing up in Northern Ontario.

Aaron’s parting comment was, “Enjoy the home cooking!”

Kelly’s mom, Clara, was a wonderful cook. In Kelowna, it would be snacks, Timmy’s coffee and Swiss Chalet for her boyfriend. Continue reading “Lemon Meringue”

A letter for Carver

The letter slides through the tarnished brass mail slot onto the floor of Dorothy Carver’s compact shotgun row house along with all the others. In its plain white business envelope, the letter does not stand out from the gas and electric bill or the worthless junk mail that comes along for the same ride. It does not distance itself from the folded grocery circulars that merely, and innocently, offer you a dollar off on Mott’s applesauce. No, the letter possesses no innate powers enabling it to stand up on edge and spin around, begging for special attention. And only much later does Carver—as she likes to be called—wonder why anybody would think it’s OK to share bad news, life-changing news, so quietly and unobtrusively. Such things should come with a warning—red flashing lights, perhaps, or, at the very least, a deeply revealing dream. Better still if someone were to show up at your front door and begin yelling at you. At least then, Carver decides, after the whole business had spun itself out, you’d have the illusion that everything happening to you is somehow connected with real people, and not just a faceless system. Continue reading “A letter for Carver”

Harley Dome

Hemmed in by low-lying clouds that lay along the towering brow of the Elk Mountains on the Gunnison River drainage of the White River National Forest, Eldon Merrill trailed his father as they traipsed up the game trail that threaded through the tall, spindly Blue Spruce trees.  It was Eldon’s first elk hunt.  Now fourteen years old, Eldon was no longer a child.  Having waited for this day for years, the boy, tall and lanky for his age, looked like a grotesque scarecrow swallowed up by his hunter’s vest.  Though lanky for his age, he was still a full head shorter than his father.  Mincing forward, carefully planting his feet in his father’s footsteps, he crept forward trying to make as little noise as possible, which was not easy in the ice-crusted snow that covered the slope they were ascending, the boreal forest.  As if soldiers storming an enemy stronghold, they were both approaching the prey bent at the waist.  He cradled the old Remington Model 700 rifle his father had presented him his last birthday.  The rifle had been Peter Merrill’s for years, one which he proudly displayed in his study when not hunting elk on his annual sacramental pilgrimages.  Though old, it still shot true.  Many were the hours he had spent on the family farm outside Riverton target shooting, the empty beer bottles exploding, and the corroded tin cups – corrupted like the constellation of acne covering his face – crumpling into the arroyo that formed his practice range.  The detritus of the impact of the Remington 200 bullets left little after their impact.  Despite the red, checkered wool coat, the wool pants, high-top leather boots, the long-johns and the fleece-lined leather gloves and cap, Eldon’s teeth were chattering and his fingers and toes were numb in the freezing front that made for perfect hunting weather in the West Elk Mountains of Colorado.  Only two days before, a northwesterly front had blustered through, depositing its burden of precipitation as rain in Riverton, as snow in the higher elevations where the elk browsed, driving them down lower, far below the timberline. Continue reading “Harley Dome”

2019 Contest Winners!

The 2019 Rejected Manuscripts Competition is now officially closed. Thank you to all who participated, and congratulations to this year’s winners, listed below. We will be sending out licensing agreements shortly, and aim to have the 2019 anthology available as soon as possible.

Rejected Manuscripts will be going on break now; the 2020 competition will begin later.

–Charlie Taylor (Editor)

Obrigado (or “thank you” in Portuguese) by Mandy Miller

The path by Dennis Robleski

Concerning fairies by Thomas J. Misuraca

Frantic feathers by Sylvia Melvin

Aging rhymers by Sylvia Melvin

Capture by Philip Mann

Saying something by Philip Naylor

Our wakeup call by John Grey

The bull in the china shop by Mark Hudson

Death comes to Happy Valley by Sankar Chatterjee

Not good enough for Jamie by Saul Greenblatt

Thunder above, fire below by Joseph Dylan

The travails of Dyke Debenham by Joseph Dylan

The lazy man writes by John Grey

Ancient mariner by Joseph Dylan

This way by Edith Marie Green

Three surrealists in a boat by K. J. Watson

Just the two of us by Monika R. Martyn

The tramp returns by Christian McCulloch

The twilight letter by Mark Hudson

Prison writing class by John Grey

How lucky is she by Karen Walker

Moses denied by Joseph Dylan

Wash and wipe by Migel Jayasinghe

Backstroke or smoke by Mark Hudson

Bobbing by John Grey

The Sea Wolf Cup by K. J. Watson