Read the issue below or via Wattpad
Welcome to Issue 4 of Whispers and Echoes, a journal of small things, of short writing.
The pint-sized poetry and flash fiction found herein is short and succinct but beautifully written. Writers have, in ten lines and under for poetry, or in one hundred words or less for fiction, shown what can be accomplished with a brevity of voice.
Like a whisper in the winter…
Like an echo in the spring…
To learn more about the amazing writers whose poems and flash fiction can be found below, visit our Meet the Writers page.
* Copyright remains with the author the piece is accredited to *
Barefaced | McKenzie Richardson
I paint my face / inhale hairspray fumes / all for the sake / of looking presentable.
I put on a façade / a happy expression / but inside I’m withered and wilted
because every nick from the razor/ when shaving my legs / is another chink in my armor
but also a badge of courage.
Being a woman is hard in this world / you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
Everyone else tells us what they think we should be / reiterating that we’re not good enough as is
in order to sell another product / to fill a quota / to target a market / to further a business
but my mental health isn’t accounted for in your business model / and we have suffered for it.
It’s the little strengths / when I can walk out of the house
barefaced / and feel loved for being me.
Penance | Reena Saxena
Staying upright, standing for a cause
letting my expressions divulge disapproval
being myself, was pure folly.
The world was flabbergasted, they had not seen
transparency and candor – of this order.
Blinded by truth, fearing doom
they screamed ‘Blue Murder’.
The few who understood- chose silence
It was the safest bet for peaceful existence.
The corpse hung on the Square still demands Penance.
Dutch Elm Diseas | Alun Robert
prince of our domain
weeping from summer with
leaf upon leaf withering, yellowing.
Vascular wilting from fungal blocking spread
by bark beetle epidemic nefarious in vocation.
Roots rotting from starvation our elms have but gone.
Taken from our landscape. Robbed of their beauty.
No return silent.
Ashes and Dust | Sammi Cox
The broken pieces lay scattered, like splinters of glass
Sharp, jagged edges, too painful to touch
Bring tears to the eye with one look, when once, as a whole, they gave hope
Dreams shattered; they all disintegrate in the end,
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust
Blank | McKenzie Richardson
I hate blank walls / blank spaces / blank pages
I always feel the need / to cover / to coat / to fill / I always fill the need.
I hate white walls / white spaces / white pages
I always feel the need / to adorn / to embellish / to create / I always create the need.
I hate empty walls / empty spaces / empty pages
I always feel the need / to fill it all in / to begin again / to sustain the substance of substances.
I hate these blank silences / these white silences / these empty silences
I hate the sound of silence / the openness of space / the nothingness that surrounds us.
I hate the absence of matter / when nothing matters / what’s the matter?
when all is blank.
Santa’s Sleigh | Reena Saxena
Is he the real Santa?
There is no sleigh, I don’t see red.
Does this guy wear a mask, or that?
How do I celebrate, if belief is dead?
I’m an adult now, write my own tales.
while Old age recalls
and childhood wails.
I’ll reshape the world in my own image.
God is being reinvented,
Antigods come of age.
Hoppers Calendar | Alun Robert
Another month, another calendar page
no more ex-lax pics at this stage
so much less fun and much less joy!
But I cannot just believe, do my eyes really deceive?
Instead of “Silbers Pharmacy” I now have views beside the sea.
The “Highland Light” in Edward Hopper tradition as featured in his exposition
greets me until this month is done.
No more laughs and much less fun.
Another month, another page.
I Wished It Was Me | Sammi Cox
‘It wasn’t me.”
“Then who was it, Bill?”
“I don’t know.” I sighed.
I had just walked in to find our open-plan home in chaos. Things, our things, were everywhere, strewn across every surface. Then Mandy had come down the stairs, yelling, blaming me for it.
“It wasn’t like this when I went up the stairs.”
That could only mean one thing: intruder. Burglar, wild animal or poltergeist…and I didn’t like any of those options.
Don’t Feel A Thing | McKenzie Richardson
Here’s my neck / Here’s my pretty little neck
And you break it /And you snap it / But I don’t feel a thing.
Here’s my face / Here’s the smile on my face
And you smack it / Wipe it off / But you know / I don’t feel a thing.
Here’s my body / Here’s my weak little body
And you take it / And you beat it / Baby, I don’t feel a thing.
Here’s my soul / Here’s my puny mortal soul
You can try to trap it / Attempt to grab it in your hands
You may seek to cage it / Won’t give into your demands,
Because this is my life / And you don’t mean a thing.
Shadows | Reena Saxena
Goddamnit, you have always been there
measuring, mocking, unforgiving
disappearing in the dark
reappearing, but supporting – Never.
Thank god I’m Me
unconcerned, indifferent, charting my own path
not letting you know, but for me
your disappearing act would be forever.
Fragrance At The Cusp | Alun Robert
Among rose bushes with a fragrance of Marilyn Monroe,
white petals waft upwards in late evening breeze.
Leaves rustle in synch while reflecting crepuscular light.
Nightingales sing sweetly – goodbye Norma Jeane.
A Change of Perspective | Sammi Cox
I’m standing at the edge of the escarpment
It makes a change
I’m usually the one looking up
But from here,
Idle thoughts are so easily grounded in reality
Anything seems possible
It is only then I remember
Monsters | McKenzie Richardson
They say that monsters live under the bed / but mine only live inside of my head.
They say that monsters lurk behind closet doors / but mine reside within my very core.
They say that monsters are scaly and green, / while that may be true (one I never have seen),
my monsters never seem to take physical shape, / rather they bend and they scream and they shake.
They claw from the inside and try to rip through / paying no mind to the damage they do.
They wail and they cry for freedom and light / because my monsters don’t just slump in the night
my monsters are always here, ever-present / in words that I said, all the things I never meant.
They may be hairy or slimy or gray / they may have horns or wings or a snout
but each of us has a monster inside us, / it’s your choice if you let it come out.
The Hallowed Writer | Reena Saxena
The hallowed writer
The harrowed reader
forlornly scrolled through
looking for the spirit
the pages once had.
Rosemary’s Baby | Alun Robert
Dew of the sea poses next a birch
where I carved my initials
your’s too; would have been sixty eight.
Floral apices coiffured azure,
branches brittle to touch
whistle in the breeze
her songs of love.
The Storm | Sammi Cox
The letterbox clatters, a gong sounding in the early morning hush. Now broken.
Rain falls, pulsating in waves, dancing along the street to its own mixed tempo rhythm.
Fences rattle and sway, daring the wind to try harder.
Tree limbs thrash and snap, an angry whip cracking, tapping and tickling windows, bending one way then another, under the influence of this swirling mass of Mother Nature’s energy.
The air carries a song; its timbre is quiet one moment, building to an apocalyptic crescendo the next.
Verses come and go, and in the silence between, we wait…
Good Morning, I Love You | McKenzie Richardson
I open my eyes / to the sight of your smile
Good morning, I love you.
I miss you when you leave / but before we part, we say
Have a good day, I love you.
And before we go to sleep / held close in each other’s arms
Good night, I love you.
I smile in my sleep / waiting for the sun
so I can hear you say / what I can never get enough of
Good morning, I love you.
Love In Circles | Reena Saxena
I received love, and transmitted it
after absorption and internalization
on multi-directional paths.
You were heartbroken – love did not return
But all that you received was the same love
moving around in circles to reach you again.
Time lags on complex trajectories
transformed people make it incomprehensible.
But love is Karma – whatever goes around will come around.
After The Rain | Alun Robert
After torrential rain the beautiful time
with storm clouds consigned beyond the horizon
rich aromas from grass, plants and the trees
released into the air for senses to be awakened
light tingling brightest shadows much sharper
reflections in the water creating mirror images
birds back in tune calling and responding
music from Mother Nature; a cacophony of sound
time sitting still today this is my case.
Not Forgotten | Sammi Cox
I try not to think, not to remember. Sometimes it works.
Today it doesn’t. There’s something in the air that reminds me of you: a smell I can’t place. The wind whispers your name. The way the leaves rustle, and the trees gently sway to a rhythm not their own…
And when I can fight it no more, I go to the kitchen and pull your mug from the back of the cupboard. When it’s full of freshly boiled tea – milk and two sugars, just the way you liked it – only then will I give in and think of you…