Sampler of my Short Work

You only truly get to know a writer through her writing

“Beneath the Starfish Sky”  Short fiction by Barbara Jacksha, published in The Summerset Review

Every day, with her mail, gifts slipped through Mellie’s mail slot. A Chinese paper lantern, folded flat. A striped gull feather. An antique volume of sea shanties. A laminated letter from Thailand in a script so beautiful she had it framed. A second starfish, this one smaller, a pale yellow, that Mellie named Helene.

Every day, after delivering her mail, the postman sat on a small milking stool on her porch. One day Mellie sneaked a peak through the slot. There he was with his back to her—to protect her modesty, he’d said—but she was content to watch the rustling waves of his blue uniform shirt. As she watched, two women walked by on the sidewalk. They smiled at the postman, and from the blush on their cheeks, Mellie decided he must be quite handsome.

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“In the Neural Zone”  Short fiction by Barbara Jacksha, published in Mad Hatters’ Review

It’s finally quiet. I have forty-five minutes to think before Edgar wakes up and Myrna gets home with her dogs.

Myrna is the woman living in my right ear. She sings arias all day, except for the hour between three and four when she takes her six schnauzers for a walk. I call the woman Myrna though she’s strangely similar to my mother–same Catholic-cloned values, bouffant hairstyle, flash-to-the-fifties couture, and fondness for stiletto heels that click-click through my head and remind me she’s always there.

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“At the Well”  Short fiction by Barbara Jacksha, published in Smokelong Quarterly

Stone angels look down on Danika and me from their high-rafter perch. They got their wings arched high, ready for a fight. The bone-white Madonna stares at us too; her face has this frozen-lip look, like she’s got something to say but will be damned if she’ll speak up before we’re gone.

Danika doesn’t notice. She’s eyeing the holy water, circling the basin like a cat afraid to pounce on its lunch.

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“Falling Like Snow”  Short fiction by Barbara Jacksha, published in Per Contra

Danielle wondered what it would feel like to fall like snow, to split into millions of pieces and hobo a million highways through the sky. Would a piece of her thigh still think of itself as a thigh? Would a bit of thigh still recognize a bit of elbow? And would the cells of her eye still deliver a single vision or would she get a multiple, bug-eyed image like those she’d seen on TV?

She’d aim for a farmer’s field. Though dark and stubbled as an old man’s beard this time of year, the land would lift her up in the spring. She imagined herself a taut corn stalk, pushing higher and higher until late summer when blush-blonde silk would sway on warm night winds, wavy and lush like strands of her long-forgotten hair.

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“Everyday Equality”  Short Essay by Barbara Jacksha

I began to wonder whether I really championed equality on the small, everyday levels as well as the grand–the subconscious and conscious levels. I thought I did but I wanted to know for sure. So I decided to observe my thoughts and feelings, attitudes and behaviours, to see if they reflected my belief that I see and treat people equally. As is true for most people, my perception of self can be a very slippery thing, coloured by a host of factors including a strong desire to see myself as a loving, compassionate person.

The first few days of my Equality Test were smooth and easy, and I thought, all right, I’m doing pretty well at this whole equality thing. Then I encountered a gruff, tight-lipped cashier at the grocery store…

Published in the anthology Equality: What Do You Think About When You Think of Equality, edited by Paul Alan Fahey

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“The Mayans Said that Time Would End”  Short fiction by Barbara Jacksha, published in Cezanne’s Carrot

She has burned all her candles, silenced all her clocks. Now she paces her house, counting footsteps, each weighty with the question–what will it mean for this to be my last?

Floorboards flex and creak and mimic the rattle of her spine. Already her bones have abandoned their guise of solidity. Unaware, she tries to straighten a rug with her toes.

When she falls, eggs spill from her womb. They swim the air like minnows, school around her head. Stop, they tell her, there is no more time.

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