fiction, poetry & more

Honorable Mention
$25 Award


 by Nancy Fowler

His spinal cord severed, just below his shoulders.

The grip on his machine gun lost, as he fell

into the waving grasses. Other bullets danced

up and down his legs for fun. Flown home

for Christmas to live in a Stryker bed, turned over

and over like a roasting pig, to stop the advance

of weeping bed sores. So, like other such heroes,

he drank, a lot. Bottles served and removed

by hospital aides. No one cared he wasn’t twenty-one.

Until someone did, and she told him

if he drank like that there would be

no more visits, at least from her, and

she meant it. Later they were married.

He went back to school, learned to drive

with a hand shift, got a good job with the VA,

and angled for bluefish, wheelchair secured

to the deck. Once a year, near the anniversary

of his time near Da Nang, he spent three days

alone, in a comfortable hotel room with services

for those disabled, and remembered.

Then he went home.


Nancy Fowler was born in Boston, but recently moved to California after 17 years on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington.  Her writing reflects on both the natural and social world. It asserts that acknowledgement of a specific place, feature, person is the first step in understanding, respect and love. Her work has previously been published in Tidepools, Songs of the San Joaquin, Naugatauk River Review, Cirque, and other journals.

May 2023