Women and Children – Kristiana Reed

Women and Children

What had been a clutter of china and tinkling of stainless steel on unfinished breakfasts, became a hush as my ears attuned to the conversation beside me.

Two women. Huddled around a low pine table, their faces bent inward, listening intently. The steam from their coffees wistfully evaporating as they sunk into worn chairs, coffee shop chic. From a distance, the man two tables away for instance, they may have appeared as mothers, sisters or daughters with a moment to spare, to share. Two escape artists who had stolen away from the circus of finger painting and unmade beds. The assumption grounded in the laughter lines and exposed roots. An assumption dressed in coffee coloured fog.

In fact sitting there, with hands clasped around steamy ceramic or raised in quiet gesticulation, were two women. Two women – fiery, tempered by the ‘selfish’ desire to live as women. Not mothers. Not sisters. Not daughters. Just women. One who regrets her decision to settle. One who was working through a divorce. One who equated children with kittens and puppies. One who refused to live vicariously when she could live. One who favoured two steps forward in the workplace, rather than two steps back.

Yet, children were always on their mind, on their lips, on their hips. As I lifted the cup I was cradling to sip, ante-natal classes, school gates and extra-curricular clubs were described as the working mother’s Inferno. Two women. Who felt like outsiders. The clothes pegs left forlorn in wet grass. Soggy and damp. Too slippery to be of any use. Two women. Cast aside by frowns and pursed lips reeking of nappy cream.

On a frosty December morning, I was made aware of these two women who echoed a passive chorus of many more. Two women. Who wanted to be known by name and not by the power between their thighs.


Kristiana Reed juggles writing and teaching English; in both vocations she endeavours to remind people of their self worth and how dazzlingly beautiful the world can be.

You can read more of Kristiana’s writing at My Screaming Twenties

Image: pinterest

Offshoots- Kristen Wood


My 9-year old daughter

is shaking,

unable to sleep.

Panic overtakes her.

I clasp her hands

and remind her

to focus on what’s real,





It is hard to quell

a panic attack

by focusing on reality

when the reality is

she found out

why the flags are at half-mast.

But what if it happens here

what if

what if

what if?

I offer unassured assurances.

I breathe



She knows

her uniformed, conservative school

on lock-down.

She knows

police swarming

her brother’s junior high.

Reports of guns

and danger

and crouching out of sight

and staying in the bathroom

if that’s where you are when the shooter comes

and dark paper on windows

and teachers who will

bar the door,

human shields.

My daughter suffers from anxiety

because she cannot




the world around her

and her mind reminds her

that the truth is scary.

It could happen




It happens




They need their guns

and they fly their flags proudly,

even if they have to be at half-mast

too often.

My hand would only cover my heart

at that flag

if there were a shooter coming

and I had to protect it

or her.

My child is not your collateral damage.

No more teacher-heroes.

No more kindergarten casualties.

I want my daughter to




Kristen Wood is a mother of five, a writer, a reader, a student, and an aspiring librarian. She has had her work published on Mothers Always Write, and is an ongoing contributor to the online magazine, Still Standing. She is also a proud pop culture geek and a champion napper. She loves to make people laugh and make people think, and if she can do both at the same time, even better.

Hours- Samantha Lucero

Hours clem-onojeghuo-192729

I see those mottled photos, ornate albums

of yesterdays yellow sun

Of swollen women, dream-like, in a lavender field.

They leash their arms around an oval-shape

becoming empty; the shape deflates, the air comes out like water.

It starts to breathe it’s own small breath in the shape of a person,

someday a man, a woman, sometimes swollen, sometimes

stiff, stark, or bleeding.

Seeing those photos one day,

your nose has memorized leather and tobacco flower.

for her, it’s dr.pepper, Disney on ice

the cotty musk she never knew she had just inside the pi of bone.

samantha lucero 2017 ©

Samantha Lucero likes… uhhh… cats, and can never think of what to say about herself, she writes at Samantha Lucero, sometimes and is a managing editor at the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective.

Not the Playground-Robin Wright

Not the Playground RW

The inflated, wide- as-a-car sign lying

on the west side of the boulevard reads,

Caution Children Playing. Cars slow then stop,

not for children who play ball or tag but for that sign.

One snag from the rusted metal door of a jalopy

will pop it like a blister. A runner zips past, turns,

jogs in place long enough to read the words, shrugs.

I slow my fast-paced walk so the wind reeling

from my feet won’t ruffle the caution, read the words

again and again, look for children who should be

playing in the street. They’re in the yard behind a fence,

safe, tucked away from anything roaring past.

Robin Wright’s work has appeared in or is forthcoming in Indiana Voice JournalEunoia ReviewPeacock JournalUnbroken Journal(b)OINK zine, Lost River Literary MagazineRat’s Ass Review, and others.Two of her poems were published in the University of Southern Indiana’s 50th anniversary anthology, Time Present, Time Past. She has also co-written two novels with Maryanne Burkhard under the name B. W. Wrighthard, Ghost Orchid and A Needle and a Haystack.