Showing posts from November, 2018

Hannah at the Launderette by Laura Scoble

Hannah came from a nice part of Surrey where people gave their dirty clothes to a young man at the back door who brought them back a few days later, clean and ironed. Once married to handsome Jerry, however, Hannah forfeited back doors and all that came through them. But her sweet-talking husband did buy her a washing machine and steam iron with some of their wedding money. He even taught her how to use them. Jerry, meanwhile, got on with betting on dead certs at various horse races around the country. Sympathy for Jerry’s rotten luck survived intact through three wedding anniversaries, the loss of Hannah’s heated rollers, camera, the best of their furniture and even some of her jewellery. Only when her washing machine was sold to pay the bookie who’d popped round for a chat late one night, did she begin to suspect that gorgeous Jerry was completely useless at backing the winning horse. Hannah had never used a launderette before. She arrived with her dirty clothes n

Remembrance Day by Robert Beveridge

In this world we all have silver eyes hunched in an alley at night in a dark overcoat and a floppy hat bottle of cheap liquor next to me like a prayer candle that went out hours ago the beginning of a scene that has played itself out a thousand times before all we need to do is wait for the lights/ camera/action/enter stage left the guy with the blue shirt and the badge and his hand grabs my shoulder and my knife goes into his gut and I stand up and whisper in his ear “regards from my brother” and once I finish drawing the T on his body it’s only a short jaunt to the river to wash off and send the clothes on their way to the ocean

Snowy Down by Judith Goldsmith

She left from the gathering around the grave, leaving behind the kindness that couldn't reach her. She ignored the concerned calls and drifted deeper among the heavy granite slabs. She had no direction beyond 'away'. She saw the stark red, harsh against the snow, before she saw the tiny corpse. A sparrow, plucked from the air by winter's call and shredded by a passing cat, perhaps. She looked, but didn’t register this other, lesser, death. Even so, she reached unsteadily down towards a fluffy, furled feather lying in the glistening snow. She touched it gently. It had so little substance that her skin could not believe there was anything there - but then her finger tips no longer knew how to notice touch. It was one of those unexpected changes that had come on her with age. The drying skin, turning to paper; the muffled hearing; the clouding eyes. They had laughed together at it. Carefully, clinging for support to a nearby stone, she knelt in the crisp moisture a

Closing up shop...

Indeed, we're sad to say that  Cafe Aphra is closing its doors from the end of December 2018 , at least for a temporary period during Spring 2019 and possibly longer. This is so that the three of us who currently run the blog can have some time to concentrate on other life and writing projects that we have going on.  We will therefore not be accepting any more submissions from now on. We'd like to thank all our lovely contributors for sharing their wonderful work with us and for giving us and so many others so much reading pleasure over the years. It's been a fabulous experience! We hope that we've provided a safe and welcoming online environment for aspiring and established writers to air their work in public, sometimes for the first time. With all our thanks, yours as ever, Sara, Barbara and Charlotte - current baristas on duty ... and, of course, all the other Cafe Aphra baristas who have helped us keep this place open over the years! Chad, Yvonne, Dia

Dust by Paul Taylor-McCartney

As it settles The brilliant darkness Of your passing Masks each particle, Point sharp, end of a needle, Spliced in half, small. As if weightless Through time I hurtle, hearing Whispers, stammered breaths, That dreadful, collective Mournful slide into silence. As once removed, The whole world Comes at me through fog, Opaque forms shimmering, Fizzing, dissolving, retreating, As was often your way. And the dust Of that final touch, Marks the moment When all passed from dark to light, Caught on tips of fingers, lips, Crown, heart and proof of life. As if in six months, April Fool’s Day Trick of the mind, I can bring your Songs, stories, smiles Back from mere chalk and have them become Clay in my hands. by Paul Taylor-McCartney

Night Skating by Alyson Rhodes

Me and Joe were inseparable as boys. “You could be twins,” me Mum used to say smiling.   She’d pack us both brown bags filled with squashed sarnies and an apple each, before ushering us out for the day. Watch less, parent less, we’d explore for hours. In old quarries, up meadows and in the bombed out ruins.   Joe’s Mum never packed him a lunch. She struggled to feed the triplets let alone Joe, her eldest child. The triplets had been an “unwanted leaving present from the G. I’s,”   I’d heard Mum telling Mrs Jakes, the next door neighbour.   There was no holding Joe back. He climbed, ran, jumped the highest, fastest and furthest of us kids at St Edmunds. He’d have been head boy too or so said popular opinion, if it hadn’t been for his family ‘background.’   It was night-times when we had our greatest adventures. After midnight, while our families slept, we’d climb out of our bedroom windows and meet up by Beckett’s Pond. In summer we’d build a tree house in the woods. But winter