Geoff Mills for National Flash Fiction Day!




Gladys Walker ascended to heaven in her eight-first year to find the place not at all to her satisfaction. Glancing critically over the field of serrated clouds upon which a manna market had been erected, she collared the next person who jostled past her.

‘Einstein?’ she barked.

‘That is I,’ he replied candidly, for in heaven no untruths may be told.

‘This is not what I had in mind when I pictured eternity. Is this all there is?’

‘All there is? What more could you wish for? Any flavour you care to imagine and it may be found here!’ He swept his hand across the teeming plain and gazed in wonder.

‘And beyond the market?’

Einstein’s eyebrows rose up like a pair of ambushed seagulls. ‘Madam, once you’ve tasted our manna, the question of beyond ceases to exist.’

‘Yes well! I’d like to have a word with God all the same. If you could point me in the right direction!’

‘Not possible I’m afraid. He’s indisposed. Indefinitely.’

‘How so?’

‘Depression or some such. He just doesn’t believe in himself anymore.’

‘Well then, Jesus?’

‘Blackholing in Andromeda I believe.’

‘St. Peter?’

‘Otherwise engaged. Problem at the entrance. Went to ask about letting some thieves in, came back to find the gate missing.’

‘Outrageous. This is not the heaven I imagined!’

‘Ah! Heaven, madam, is a problematic concept. By what standard do you take measure? It’s rather a question of relativity.’

And with that, Einstein disappeared greedily into the munching masses.



Geoff Mills is a Midlands based writer and teacher. He is currently in the final year of his PhD in creative writing at Birmingham University and teaches on the script writing module at Worcester University.  @geoffmills7

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Hideko Sueoka




Cherry Blossoms

Today dark blue is my facial colour.
So can you see ashy-indigo confetti?

A cherry addict admires pale pink
fluttering down in lambent sunlight.

But through the flyaway organza of misty breath,
my skin hides another complexion

that lurks on the counterfeit surface
in spring frolics. After catharsis of my mind,

unknown beauty you can find in me
bright blue – like cranesbill,  grape hyacinth, catmint.





Hideko Sueoka has been working as a translator, living in Tokyo, and was the winner of 2013 Troubadour International Poetry Competition. A recent poem was published on the online journal Stravaig issue 4:

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Kenneth Pobo




Red Carnations

Your dad died three years ago.
You were 61.  Today
your brother left red carnations,
his favorite, by his name.

Beside your dad’s place,
a stranger’s sinking grave,
the name angled like
a board game played
on a tipped table.  Deer

watch us, often eat the flowers.
We don’t scare them.
They sneak back
after we drive away.

In the morning,
work.  The slow moving forward,
step by step, to death.




Kenneth Pobo had a book out in 2015 called Bend of Quiet from Blue Light Press.  His work has appeared in: Orbis, The Fiddlehead, Indiana Review, Amsterdam Review, and elsewhere

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Miriam Sulhunt





I’m holding the damp spray close.
The leaves are tender.
They reek of innocence.
Once, you bunched a sprig
on my lapel – an elf-lock
green as nature
in perpetual Spring.
I was an ungreened girl.
You were my ruin.




Miriam Sulhunt lives in Edinburgh where she writes poetry and short fiction. Her  poems have been published in Poetry Scotland, Lighten-Up-Online and in various anthologies.

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John Greening



Seven Steps

but the stream itself is in full spate
Dennis O’Driscoll

The first stepping stone is nearest the house
Preparing the second, I discovered roots, and an immovable erratic
The third stone rocked, rocked
On the underside of the fourth, I signed my name, spoke a few words
At the fifth stepping stone, I hit (then quickly dismissed) an electric cable
By the sixth, the pond was in sight, and the path’s curvature
Past last year’s bonfire, through hawthorn, elder and sunset
I laid the seventh
No use for an eighth stepping stone
so I leant it with some broken slates where the privy had once been





John Greening’s latest Carcanet collection is To the War Poets and a collaboration with Penelope Shuttle, Heath, appears from Nine Arches this June. His OUP edition of Edmund Blunden came out in 2015. He is RLF Writing Fellow at Newnham College, Cambridge. His website is

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Jo Dingle






And the raven suited night,

feathered at the edges
with the pinking guts of morning
sends from its shearing seams
a flock of cloth winged commuters
to gather at platforms,

beaks towards the yellow lights

of the Greater Abellio service
to London Liverpool street.
That wingless flight path
absorbing at stations
the black flock of overcoats,

line stitched into carriages
and speeding through the
peeling sky





Jo Dingle lives in Norfolk and so irons nothing. This leaves her plenty of time to write poems and dream about hills.

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Diane Mulholland




Under Putney Bridge

The tide is out and I take the stone steps down into the mud.
The air is quiet here and damp walls
grow around me, over and below, arching grey.
There are ducks. And the weed has been neatly combed
by the river’s see-you-later.

I imagine I’ve drifted through a forest canopy,
emerging into stillness. There’s
none of the dust and bustle of the other side.
If I listen, I can catch a glimpse of horns and hustle
and the voices of monkeys in the trees.
But they don’t join me here. Only the birds
know how to break the membrane and live
in both places.

Each step is drier as I climb
back to my own world. Rocks give way
to flatter stones, the chatter and clutter
of the city overtakes me, and the mud
dries and crumbles from my shoes.



Born and raised in Australia, Diane Mulholland now lives in London where she spends as much time as she can watching the river. Find her on twitter @dianemulholland.

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