Submissions Notice – August 2018 Issue Wild

Now open

Submissions may be, but are not limited to, writing (essays, short stories, micro stories, poetry—any forms of writing), photography, visual art (digital art included), and music. Submit through email at fingerscommatoes[at]gmail[dot]com. In your email, please include your age, geographical location, and what kind of piece you are submitting (writing, photography, art, music, etc.). If submitting multiple pieces, please condense them into a zipped (.zip) file with your name included in the file name.

We welcome previously published work. Simultaneous submissions are acceptable but we advise that the artist/author informs us if the submission is accepted or published elsewhere.

There are no limits as to the length of written submissions; we enjoy flash fiction, short stories, long stories, and poetry, but prose submissions under five thousand words are preferable (though exceptions may be made). Artists/authors may submit up to five pieces each. We encourage variety and international submissions.

Submission themes are not strict and may be interpreted freely. Any inquiries may be emailed directly to us.

About the August 2018 issue:

– Submission period: 22 June 2018 to 03 August 2018

– Theme: Wild

– Artists/authors will be notified in August 2018.

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January 2018 Issue: Unthemed

Contents:

Backfield Sunrise – Jaia Harris (age 10; Rarotonga, Cook Islands)
Divine – E Wen Wong (age 15; Christchurch, New Zealand)
[Untitled] – Bryn Hill (age 14; Christchurch, New Zealand)
Te Moana – Grace Newman Holt (age 09; Rarotonga, Cook Islands)
[Untitled] – Reva Hunter (age 09; Rarotonga, Cook Islands)
tiny things – Jack MacKay (age 10; Christchurch, New Zealand
[Untitled] – Graeme Campbell (age 14; Christchurch, New Zealand)
Eiffel at Dusk – Chloe van der Ree (age 13; Christchurch, New Zealand)
The Mountains of Moon – Tom Nalder (age 09; Christchurch, New Zealand)
An island at night on Jokijärvi – Elisa Holmstrom (age 05; Tanga, Tanzania)
Cry of the Lions – Hannah Withers (age 09; Christchurch, New Zealand)
[Untitled]  – Lila Collins (age 09; Sunshine Coast, Australia)
Italia! – Ava Deeley and Marina Haynes (ages 12 and 12; San Blas Islands, Panama and Secret Harbour, Grenada)
[Untitled] – Bethany Webb (age 10; Rarotonga, Cook Islands)
The Scrapyard – Harry Waddington (age 13; Christchurch, New Zealand)
[Untitled] – Griffin Wittwer (age 10; Rarotonga, Cook Islands)
Scouting Flanders Fields – Joshua Persico (age 13; Christchurch, New Zealand)
[Untitled] – Max Heuze (age 10; Rarotonga, Cook Islands)
The Onu – Theo Cooling (age 10; Rarotonga, Cook Islands)
Fȗr Beethoven – Sparsh Johri (age 13; San Jose, California, United States)
Entwined – Monica Koster (age 15; Christcurch, New Zealand)
[Untitled] – Maeva Fe’ao (age 09; Rarotonga, Cook Islands)
Fire in Winter – Xanthe McElroy (age 11; Christchurch, New Zealand)
Tree of Life – Jana Heise (age 13; Richards Bay, South Africa)
Though Sometimes We Burn – Kailani M. Clarke (age 17; Centreville, Maryland, United States)

Backfield Sunrise – Jaia Harris

Jaia Harris is ten years old, and lives in Rarotonga, Cook Islands.


Divine – E Wen Wong

Steam ascends into the air,
like the Hogwarts train
approaching platform 9 and 3/4.
Gazing at the chips,
we have the prying eyes
of seagulls.
Fireballs of impatience
linger in our stomachs,
our fingers shaking with temptation.
The edge of a chip grappled,
paper ripped,
gone in a millisecond.
Chips made to savour,
salt licked meticulously
from our hands.

E Wen Wong is fifteen years old, and lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


[Untitled] – Bryn Hill

Bryn Hill is fourteen years old, and lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


Te Moana – Grace Newman Holt

Fierce undertow
She calls me into her arms
I let her take me
The colossal waves
Draw me beneath the sea
I’m gasping for breath
The waves send me back
Smashing on the soft sand bed
I have been set free
Waves build before me
Mist like a thousand diamonds
One by one they fall
Te Moana’s beauty
Can hold you and let you go
The ocean calls me

Grace Newman Holt is nine years old, and lives in Rarotonga, Cook Islands.


[Untitled] – Reva Hunter

Reva Hunter is nine years old, and lives in Rarotonga, Cook Islands.


tiny things – Jack MacKay

ants creeping in between cracks
of an old house
cookie crumbs sticking
to stinky feet
clear lego spuds
sucked up by a vacuum cleaner
rattle, tap, ping
pins fallen on the ground
right side up
one letter words,
speck, spider, molecule

Jack MacKay is ten years old, and lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


[Untitled] – Graeme Campbell

Graeme Campbell is fourteen years old, and lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


Eiffel At Dusk – Chloe van der Ree

Chloe van der Ree is thirteen years old, and lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


The Mountains of Moon – Tom Nalder

The moon is protected
by layers of dusty rock.
When it is very dark
the moon comes into the sky
and shines like the sun.
You can’t buy the moon.
On the moon the telephone
is connected to earth
so I can call Mr Money.
Mr Money tells me
the earth is inside
a bottle. I pour
a glass of earth
so I can have
enough money to buy grapes.

Tom Nalder is nine years old, and lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


An island at night on Jokijärvi – Elisa Holmstrom

Elisa Holmstrom is five years old, and lives in Tanga, Tanzania.


Cry of the Lions – Hannah Withers

 I stand here with my pride
And we’re all about to hide
With these new animals killing us
We must do what we can
I’m worried about what would happen if we all ran
We’re planning on what to do
But we need to think it through
I stand here with my pride
But we need to leave
We just need to heave our heavy hearts
And go

Hannah Withers is nine years old, and lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


[Untitled] – Lila Collins

Lila Collins is nine years old, and lives in Sunshine Coast, Australia.


Italia! – Ava Deeley and Marina Haynes

Ava Deeley is twelve years old, and lives in San Blas Islands, Panama. Marina Haynes is twelve years old, and lives in Secret Harbour, Grenada.


[Untitled] – Bethany Webb

Bethany Webb is ten years old, and lives in Rarotonga, Cook Islands.


The Scrapyard – Harry Waddington

An old desert road
Littered with stones
Thrown from the wheels of trucks long passed
The scrapyard rests
Silent and deserted
Sheets of metal
Their faces marred by time
Never to be used
Old chains lock the fence
Once as strong as granite
Now falling at a slight touch
An old office crouches in the corner
Its windows dusty
Its furniture crumbling
A car’s corpse sleeps
On a bed of old bolts
The paint destroyed
Replaced by the orange flakes of rust
An old water bowl
For a dog long gone
A splash of blue and green
Showing the visitors
Daryl Was Here

Harry Waddington is thirteen years old, and lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


[Untitled] – Griffin Wittwer

Griffin Wittwer is ten years old, and lives in Rarotonga, Cook Islands.


Scouting Flanders Fields – Joshua Persico

Because they strap a gas mask on him lined with rabbit fur
He believes he is going on a rabbit hunt
He believes he will run across Flanders Fields brushing by poppies
Barking down holes to first expose the furry enemy then attack
He imagines the fear in their glassy eyes
Instead he smells fear in the trenches in Flanders Fields
He hears the cocking of guns and the releasing of safety catches
He sees the fallen soldiers and smells the scent of fresh wounds
He’ll never forget their eyes

Joshua Persico is thirteen years old, and lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


[Untitled] – Max Heuze

Max Heuze is ten years old, and lives in Rarotonga, Cook Islands.


The Onu – Theo Cooling

Theo Cooling is ten years old, and lives in Rarotonga, Cook Islands.


Fȗr Beethoven – Sparsh Johri

The Sonata in E major echoed off the nondescript walls of the room, as Ludwig van Beethoven played in concentration. The hardwood floor was masked by a thick layer of dust, music notebooks, and papers. A glass chandelier hung low from the ceiling, swaying to the four-four time of the first movement.
I found myself thinking about what another great musician had prophesied. I remembered Mozart’s words like they were said yesterday: “He will give the world something worth listening to.” Certainly, as Beethoven’s favorite piano, I could attest to that. He was a musical genius, balancing his commitment to form with astonishing creativity.
My thoughts were interrupted as he abruptly took his fingers off my keys and rubbed his hair. With a dissatisfied expression, he muttered, “No, no, that’s not right.” Ludwig experimented with a different series of notes, shaking his head each time. Finally, the perfect melody came to him, and, brightening up, he wrote the correction over the previous notes, further smearing the already blackened paper. This was how our day functioned. Sometimes a patron would ask him to perform a symphony; sometimes his day was free. However he passed the day, music was the center of his life.
One day, Ludwig came down with a serious illness. It started with some coughing and headaches. However, it soon became severe. For several weeks, he was bedridden and weak. Fortunately, he recovered, and was able to resume his normal routine rather quickly.
A couple of months later, Ludwig came home with red eyes and an upset expression. After his performance, he had not heard the applause of the crowd and left abruptly. Later, his patron, the Count of Vienpolis, asked, “Why did you leave?”
“I compose for those who appreciate me and my music, not ungrateful cavemen in fancy attire,” retorted Ludwig in an icy tone.
Sparks of anger blazed from the count’s eyes. “How dare you speak like that to your betters! The applause was thunderous! Are you deaf? Leave this place immediately!”
Ludwig was too stunned to give a final scathing reply, or do anything except comply. As he signaled a carriage and rode home, he felt the words cut into him like a blade. Are you deaf? The next day, he called a doctor. The man was very tall and thin, and had short, black hair, a beaky nose, and a serious demeanor. After an examination, the doctor confirmed Ludwig’s worst suspicions.
“Your hearing is indeed subpar. At your present rate of deterioration, you shall become totally deaf in…”
By then, Ludwig had tuned out. He stared ahead, oblivious to almost all but the privacy of his own thoughts. Like a man in a daze, he paid the doctor and showed him out.
After that, he sat in a chair, facing me and his violin. “‘Are you deaf?’” he repeated, over and over again. With a sudden, bitter grin, he turned to the ceiling and screamed, “Yes, I am deaf! I shall lose all that I value!” Ludwig took the violin bow and hurled it across the room, then put his head into his arms and sobbed.
As the years passed, his deafness grew. At home, he played louder and louder. His violin, cello, and I needed to have our strings repaired every month. His anger and anguish found their way into several symphonies and sonatas, and his overall style became more emotional.
His temperament became suspicious and irritable. He distanced himself from his friends and family. Ludwig never shared his feelings, never let anyone else know how he felt inside. He let the feelings fester within him, fueling his resentment against the world. At times, Ludwig would cease playing altogether and leave. Melodies came into his mind more easily now, but it was so hard to project those notes into reality.
His practice time reduced to two hours. He barely spoke now. Finally, all of his depression and stress culminated, on a particularly bad day, when he made thirty big mistakes in as many minutes.
“That’s it!” he yelled. “I dedicate my life to music, and I am cursed with this affliction! Well, then, I shall stop music forever! I shall sell my instruments!” And with three ominous chords, he left.
Three days. Three horrible empty days passed. He didn’t come at all into the music room, even once. The entire mansion was filled with the nothingness of silence. Perhaps he is right, I found myself thinking. Perhaps he will stop creating music. The thought distressed me more than I could convey. We, his instruments, had failed.
On the fourth day, suddenly Ludwig came back, a smile on his face. He didn’t speak a word, but from his expression, I knew that he would never abandon music. It took me some time to understand, but I finally did. Over the three days, the loud absence of music must have made him realize the value of it. Music had been the guiding light through the storms of his father’s tyranny and the escape from the prison of early rejection. Before fame, music was all he had. How could he give it up?
Beethoven never did stop being surly; it was in his nature. However, he never stopped composing. Long after his death, the deaf musician left behind a legacy that changed music, paving the way for the emotion of Romanticism and setting a foundation for the future. He accomplished all this simply by triumphing over his inner demons. No, it went deeper: he changed his destiny instead of letting it define him. On some days, I wonder if it was his pain that made him strong. Was it his loss that added meaning to his life? Maybe. Maybe not. I cannot truly say. Today, I am so badly out of tune that my C sounds like an Ab. My wood is starting to rot, and my strings are almost gone. I have played my part in history, and I hope that I have played it well. I shall soon join Ludwig van Beethoven in the eternal orchestra that plays for all to hear, the music of hope and spirit, music that transcends the elementary restrictions life chooses to place.

Sparsh Johri is thirteen years old, and lives in San Jose, California, United States.


Entwined – Monica Koster

Monica Koster is fifteen years old, and lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


[Untitled] – Maeva Fe’ao

Maeva Fe’ao is nine years old, and lives in Rarotonga, Cook Islands.


Fire in Winter – Xanthe McElroy

the thin arms of pines
are covered in a blanket of white
a lynx attempts a useless camouflage
a flare dances in the reflection of his lustrous eyes
he prances through the thicket
and out into the eyesight of the fiery dancer
that turns
and tumbles
he returns
hysterical to the winter desert
and into the night sky
he limps away

Xanthe McElroy is eleven years old, and lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


Tree of Life – Jana Heise

Jana Heise is thirteen years old, and lives in Richards Bay, South Africa.


Though Sometimes We Burn – Kailani M. Clarke

For Chester Bennington

There are days I would give anything
to be changed.
These are the days when all I see are ghosts.
I swallow them.
I catch myself on the nooses
they hang from the ceiling.
These are the days there is broken glass under my palms
and I think I put it there.
But then, harsh and brightly,
my mind is a mirror, reflecting the times before
when I kept my head above the water
and kept myself above my head
and I am grateful to have limbs
a long neck
a loved heart
so I may do it again.
Grateful too for the darkness.
Those flint teeth in me, against whom
I spark fire
which gives me words and colors
which makes the ghosts in my belly scream
and lets those screams come out
as songs

Kailani M. Clarke is seventeen years old, and lives in Centreville, Maryland, United States.


Submissions Notice – January 2018 Issue Unthemed

Recently closed

Submissions may be, but are not limited to, writing (essays, short stories, micro stories, poetry—any forms of writing), photography, visual art (digital art included), and music. Submit through email at fingerscommatoes[at]gmail[dot]com. In your email, please include your age, geographical location, and what kind of piece you are submitting (writing, photography, art, music, etc.). If submitting multiple pieces, please condense them into a zipped (.zip) file with your name included in the file name.

We welcome previously published work. Simultaneous submissions are acceptable but we advise that the artist/author informs us if the submission is accepted or published elsewhere.

There are no limits as to the length of written submissions; we enjoy flash fiction, short stories, long stories, and poetry, but prose submissions under five thousand words are preferable (though exceptions may be made). Artists/authors may submit up to five pieces each. We encourage variety and international submissions.

Submission themes are not strict and may be interpreted freely. Any inquiries may be emailed directly to us.

About the January 2018 issue:

– Submission period: 18 September 2017 to 30 November 2017

– Theme: Unthemed – The January 2018 issue is our first unthemed issue. We look forward to seeing your work!

– Artists/authors will be notified by 31 December 2017.

Fingers comma Toes Logo Final

January 2017 Issue Snow

Contents:

[Untitled] – Eleanor Bennett (age 20; Manchester, England)
The Changing Snow – Peyton Vernon (age 09; Christchurch, New Zealand)
Snow – Henry Russell (age 13; Christchurch, New Zealand)
The Painting – Xanthe McElroy (age 10; Christchurch, New Zealand)
Snow filled – Hazel Harris (age 13; Christchurch, New Zealand)
Memories – Mel Leatherland (age 10; Christchurch, New Zealand)
Clouds – Sophie Yu (age 18; Auckland, New Zealand)
Snow – William Foulds (age 09; Christchurch, New Zealand)
fox with fear – Bella Rose (age 14; Christchurch, New Zealand)
Snow story – Lizzie Jessep (age 11; Christchurch, New Zealand)
The Super Snowdog – Sophie McKague (age 09; Canada)
The Leaving Of Snow – Emma Cawood (age 11; New Zealand)
Ice – Sophie Yu (age 18; Auckland, New Zealand)
[Untitled] Fergus Barnard (age 09; Christchurch, New Zealand)
Snow in Spain – Emma Espino (age 09; Christchurch, New Zealand)
Where have all the children gone? – Erica Taylor (age 13; Christchurch, New Zealand)
My friend is melting – Imogen Twiss (age 15; Christchurch, New Zealand)
no eyes – Ryan Tuzyk (age 26; Toronto, Canada)
Snow – Sophie Yu (age 18; Auckland, New Zealand)
Snow – Frances Stanley (age 09; Christchurch, New Zealand)
The Snow Fisher – Joshua Persico (age 12; Christchurch, New Zealand)

[Untitled] – Eleanor Bennett

p1150668

Eleanor Bennett is twenty years old. She lives in Manchester, England.


The Changing Snow – Peyton Vernon

On a cold night,
Where the world never speaks
And when you dream
You always seem
To fade into a nightmare
The only shadows there are ran away, never found
Cold is cold,
Like stones, smashing you down
But then there is change,
Snowman, sleighs, snowball fights, ice skating
Which make you smile
A warm smile
And laugh.

Peyton Vernon is nine years old. She lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


Snow – Henry Russell

I come from a world no one else lives in
I’m stranded in the thick snow no one in sight
Nothing to see but long white clouds of snow
It’s like I’m a boat in the middle of the ocean
Nowhere to go
But to just slowly melt with the snow
And wave goodbye to the world I was in
Now I’m back
In my house
Snuggling close to the fire
Remembering the wonderful world I was in

Henry Russell is thirteen years old. He lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


The Painting – Xanthe McElroy

The blue strokes danced across the canvas
Spots of yellow swam through the deep blue
Reflections swayed in the milky water
The boat was thrust along the rough harbour
Snow fell around their steps hiding them under layers
They huddled close and dragged their tired feet along the cold icy ground
The once awake city slept under watch of the lights above
All frozen in the interpretation of an artist

Xanthe McElroy is ten years old. She lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


Snow filled – Hazel Harris

Seeing
snow-mountains
outside my window
where we danced
in the garden
all afternoon.
then the look
of wonder
filled her eyes
the light snow
filled her arms
a wide smile
grew across her face
now I just
sit staring
at snow

Hazel Harris is thirteen years old. She lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


Memories – Mel Leatherland

I sit in front of the cliff
My old wooden house behind me
I remember when my parents were here
How happy they were with me
How the weather used to change so quickly to hail
I remember we all ran and dodged the snow
I sit with the eagle
As sad as ever
As black as the eagle’s eye

Mel Leatherland is ten years old. She lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


Clouds – Sophie Yu

clouds

Sophie Yu is eighteen years old. She lives in Auckland, New Zealand.


Snow – William Foulds

I see snow out the window on this isolated mountain.
I would go skiing but the winds are rough and thick.
Snow piles up foot by foot to make an abominable snowman.
It clatters on the door and all the pots fall down in a bang.
I get a bat and open the door and swish, he breaks into thousands of pieces.
I stare out the window and see the sun, I think I’m wanting to go skiing.

William Foulds is nine years old. He lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


fox with fear – Bella Rose

long grass
once covered the land
no longer seen
hot nights, sunny days
were once a dream
winter nights are now a reality
a fox creeps through ancient trees
which stand above
the forest floor like burning rocks
the fox who is not wanting to touch danger
dodging bullets as the fox climbs
over trees avoiding evil
dead, broken trunks which have
fallen on the harsh ground are pathways
to freedom
they don’t go forever, they face the end
stuck
lost
his footprints now
thick sheets of snow

Bella Rose is fourteen years old. She lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


Snow story – Lizzie Jessep

The snow falls softly in the blue sky
As the snowman
Dreams of a warm day.
The sun shining bright
And the glistening grass
With little water droplets
Shimmering
The snowman opens his eyes
And cries but they turn into ice
Plink plink plink
Then he sees the soft cold snow
So delicate
So beautiful
He realises that winter is a time for
Fun, warmth and love
And winter is done.

Lizzie Jessep is eleven years old. She lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


The Super Snowdog – Sophie McKague

It is a cold snowy day and all the snowdogs are playing outside in the snow. Snowflakes the snowdog is building a snowman with his mate Frost. Everyone is having fun. After some time, Snowflakes gets cold and decides to go inside. So he leaves Frost alone to play in the snow and heads into the den. Snowflakes has no idea what is about to happen.
Just then disaster strikes. A snowstorm has come out of nowhere. All the snowdogs run inside to the safety of the den except one – Frost! As Frost stays to play in the snow a little bit longer the snowstorm gets closer…and closer… until…Ahh! Frost is covered in snow.
Snowflakes hears Frost call and dashes out into the pearl-white snow. The snow becomes deeper and feels colder. Snowflakes cannot find Frost. Frost is buried under the snow. Frost breathes in the crisp air, shivering.With the last of his energy Frost shouts ‘Help!’ Snowflakes’ ears perk up as he reaches to grab his friend. The two friends return home safe and sound. They cuddle up to the fire to have some hot chocolate with marshmallows.

Sophie McKague is nine years old. She lives in Canada.


The Leaving Of Snow – Emma Cawood

The hissing of wind
as it threw the snow into the air.
The crackling fire
as it spread throughout the house
lay only in a broken picture frame.
The burning sun now reflects off the broken glass.
The heat now covers the earth banishing any snow.
The only snow left trickles out of a crack in the picture frame.

Emma Cawood is eleven years old. She lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


Ice – Sophie Yu

ice

Sophie Yu is eighteen years old. She lives in Auckland, New Zealand.


[Untitled] – Fergus Barnard

Light snowflakes falling
Raging snowballs flying
Stiff glaciers crumbling

Fergus Barnard is nine years old. He lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


Snow in Spain – Emma Espino

It’s Christmas time
Snow is falling
It is cold in Spain
The Olentzero is coming
To all the good kids
The hidden toy cake and the devil cakes are on the table
Waiting to be eaten
Everyone is playing outside
Making snowmen
Making angels
Time to come in,
Let’s have some hot chocolate!!

Emma Espino is nine years old. She lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


Where have all the children gone? – Erica Taylor

Alone in an abandoned park,
Whispers of the past behind me, tickling my ears.
The future calling me,
Cold, damp, crying, concrete.
Memories flicker in my eyes,
Bars, Ladder, Slide,
Sleety raindrops start falling,
And the children slowly come back from the shadows,
Their smiles cause a chain reaction in everyone around.
Blizzarding down, the snow stealing the children.
Until only I am left,
And my smile fades into the white coat,
The quiescent surroundings bringing peace to me.

Erica Taylor is thirteen years old. She lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


My friend is melting – Imogen Twiss

She is ashamed to admit
she puts butter and icing sugar
on her popcorn
her breath blows avalanches
she hides in the clouds
she makes
she is my flower
etiolated
she cowers in the shadows
of broad oaks
she is my early crocus
purple, blooming out beneath her eyes
over her skim milk face
her winter cheeks
too thin, too fat
she is melting away from this world
I see her through cataracts
like frosted glass
too quiet
taunting
dancing at the corners of my eyes
she appears, disappears
my arctic fox in the tundra
she lies in the mist
I think I missed
her life is spilling from her mouth
her throat is burning
she is dripping away
like an icicle in the sun
she is destroyed
my friend, why don’t you know
you are beautiful
you are my snow angel

Imogen Twiss is fifteen years old. She lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


no eyes – Ryan Tuzyk

you have no eyes
snow eyes, waterfalls
tangled in, uncover you
always a brother, you
hid it, gave it, took it
i read your book, but only pages
you have no arms
bare skin, thin lines
torn skin, broken bones
soft spoken, paper folded
i couldn’t wait, i
never did it right
i used to watch fireworks
then we started getting tense
i used to go to the beach
used to flow to it
scars heal
words freeze and thaw
the next time it snows
i’ll go, i’ll say i’m sorry
tongue out, catch the glistens
hope you listen

Ryan Tuzyk is twenty-six years old. He lives in Toronto, Canada.


Snow – Sophie Yu

snow

Sophie Yu is eighteen years old. She lives in Auckland, New Zealand.


Snow – Frances Stanley

The sun is rising
And white crystals are everywhere
My boots crunch on the ground
This time it is snow, not leaves
Now all I can see is a layer of white, inches tall
Painting the valleys of crops and grass
White.

Frances Stanley is nine years old. He lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


The Snow Fisher – Joshua Persico

The leaves collapse.
The first snowflakes cling onto my oars.
The thick smell of a salty sea comforts me.
My line twitches.
Behind me a flax kete with two blue cod.
Pacific
Ocean
Sunset
Reflection
Shells
The waves collapse.
The clouds start to soften.
Snow is the promise of water.

Joshua Persico is twelve years old. He lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


Fingers comma Toes Logo Final

Submissions Notice – January 2017 Issue Snow

Recently closed

Submissions may be, but are not limited to, writing (essays, short stories, micro stories, poetry—any forms of writing), photography, visual art (digital art included), and music. Submit through email at fingerscommatoes[at]gmail[dot]com. In your email, please include your age, geographical location, and what kind of piece you are submitting (writing, photography, art, music, etc.). If submitting multiple pieces, please condense them into a zipped (.zip) file with your name included in the file name.

We welcome previously published work. Simultaneous submissions are acceptable but we advise that the artist/author informs us if the submission is accepted or published elsewhere.

There are no limits as to the length of written submissions; we enjoy flash fiction, short stories, long stories, and poetry, but prose submissions under five thousand words are preferable (though exceptions may be made). Artists/authors may submit up to five pieces each. We encourage variety and international submissions.

Submission themes are not strict and may be interpreted freely. Any inquiries may be emailed directly to us.

About the January 2017 issue:

– Submission period: 28 October 2016 to 16 December 2016

– Theme: Snow

– Artists/authors will be notified by 31 December 2016.

Fingers comma Toes Logo Final

August 2016 Issue Rust

Contents:

Memento Mori – Sophie Yu (age 17; New Zealand)
The Trophy Has Rusted – Maddy Horton (age 10; Christchurch, New Zealand)
Rust – Harry Knight (age 11; Christchurch, New Zealand)
the night – Lottie Heywood (age 12; Christchurch, New Zealand)
I’ll Be Watching You – Jana Heise (age 11; Lamu, Kenya)
Rusty – Maya Wylie (age 08; Christchurch, New Zealand)
Rust – Daisy Aaron (age 09; Christchurch, New Zealand)
Ant – Maia Cardew (age 10; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States)
Summer Freckles – Kristine Brown (age 25; United States)
Piano – Monica Koster (age 14; Christchurch, New Zealand)
The Rust Maker – Hugh Ryan (age 09; Christchurch, New Zealand)
Rust – Xanthe McElroy (age 09; Christchurch, New Zealand)
Rust – Millie Murray (age 04; Mount Maunganui, New Zealand)
Rust flower – Amelien Fox (age 10; Christchurch, New Zealand)
A Night in Madrid – Ellarose Riddle (age 14; Maryland, United States)
The Ladder – Jana Heise (age 11; Lamu, Kenya)
Sunflowers – Sophie Yu (age 17; New Zealand)
To a Broken Sky – Russell Boey (age 15; Christchurch, New Zealand)
He Digs with a Suit – E Wen Wong (age 13; Christchurch, New Zealand)

Memento Mori – Sophie Yu

01 - Sophie Yu - Memento Mori

Sophie Yu is seventeen years old. She lives in New Zealand.


The Trophy Has Rusted – Maddy Horton

Squeak said the mouse
Squeak said the cheese
the trophy has rusted
the moon has turned blue!
Use fire said the mouse
Use water said the cheese
the trophy has rusted
the dog said meow!
Wash the rust said the mouse
colour the moon green said the cheese
the trophy has rusted
a statue came to life!
So they talked and they whispered,
and they shouted and they yelled.
The trophy has rusted
and we know what to do!
So they all took the trophy
and said the secret words,
and the trophy became silver
shining red and gold.
Now the trophy stands
proud and tall
until…
Squeak said the mouse
Squeak said the cheese.

Maddy Horton is ten years old. She lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


Rust – Harry Knight

My old house was as neglected
as a wheel barrow outside in the rain
the colour of burnt toast
like a bronze Olympic medal
smelted like old golden syrup
rusty, rickety crumbly bricks

Harry Knight is eleven years old. He lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


the night – Lottie Heywood

the vivid outline of the fascinating moon
strengthens the hope around me
the misty night sends some thoughts
shuddering down my spine
the wall between reality and dreams
never opening
the black cat creeps on the rusty board
the light of this magnificent moon
blinds me
as strong as it will ever be
the black cat creeps on the rusty board
the rusty surge comes whispering
the piercing water eddies and swirls
the black cat creeps on the rusty board

Lottie Heywood is twelve years old. She lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


I’ll Be Watching You – Jana Heise

I'll Be Watching You

Jana Heise is eleven years old. She lives in Lamu, Kenya.


Rusty – Maya Wylie

Rust covers the window sill
Blocking the view of the whale.
The dog scratches at the door,
I open it.
The cold air brushes my hair
I see the whale stranded
His eye is rusty blood.
His back, hot and dry,
Burning in the sun.
I have a wish
On all stars falling
May the world of whales
Stay safe.

Maya Wylie is eight years old. She lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


Rust – Daisy Aaron

Today is my 9th birthday!!! And I got… oh. A
screwdriver. I’ll leave it in the garage. To be old, to be
forgotten, to be nothing.
Today is my 10th birthday! My dad told me to look in
the garage for my present!!! I got a new bike and—oh. A
rusty screwdriver. I find some sandpaper. I scrape the
rust off and it falls like morning rain. Underneath, the
screwdriver is gold. Solid gold.

Daisy Aaron is nine years old. She lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


Ant – Maia Cardew

My instincts tell me not to move,
But I find myself under hoof.
While tigers, grizzlies, and polar bears
Find their bodies sold at fairs,
I tumble forever on the ground,
My body spinning, ‘round and ‘round.
I’m just a silly, blank, old bug,
To humans unworthy of a rug.
Eventually, I’m ground to dust
My destiny to die in rust.

Maia Cardew is ten years old. She lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States.


Summer Freckles – Kristine Brown

Summer Freckles - Kristine Brown

Kristine Brown is twenty-five years old. She lives in the United States.


Piano – Monica Koster

rustic music
___glides from yellowed keys
crooked legs sway to the beat
____pedals clunk, burnt stardust sifted
___________over metallic shapes
paint peels, plastering
___the ground with shards of age
a legato lullaby drifts… a melodic trill,
___a few staccato riffs
___________TWANG
_______________THUNK
my fingers fumble,
frustration
the piano is rusty,
and so am I

Monica Koster is fourteen years old. She lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


The Rust Maker – Hugh Ryan

A clear blue sea making grains of solid rust,
a gold for fools,
a sign of intelligence and age.
A wise rusty anchor,
a rusty pipe,
the skeleton of a sunken ship.

Hugh Ryan is nine years old. He lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


Rust – Xanthe McElroy

like a painting
dancing upon the old metal car
complaining as the engine tried
to put itself to use
like the one that must decide
when something is too old
when something must be forgotten
the rust enjoys taking over
eating up the goodness
until it simply has destroyed
and taken all beauty

Xanthe McElroy is nine years old. She lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


Rust – Millie Murray

RUST_A3_LowRes

Millie Murray is four years old. She lives in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand.


Rust flower – Amelien Fox

The land where the water flows in rusty shades of brown
the trees sing whispers to the once green leaves
the galloping horse’s shining brown back
glowing in the light of the sun
the forest of the copper winged birds
there falls the night sky where the stars don’t shine
the bodies of the fallen
the colour of the world is lost
rust grows over the remains
except for the red poppy that brings hope

Amelien Fox is ten years old. She lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


A Night in Madrid – Performed by Ellarose Riddle

Ellarose Riddle is fourteen years old. She lives in Maryland, United States.


The Ladder – Jana Heise

——I am not of the hard scales and fire of dragons, nor the soft, tough armor of a fish.
——I am not of the shiny, hard metal of a flashy watch, nor the over polished chrome on a power boat, hardly used.
——I still feel myself dissolve and melt in the arms of the not-so-blue salty water that chips away all my defenses. My muscles unclench, spin out and stretch. And then they seem to disappear, and I feel like exhaling. I want to sink, deeper, deeper, deeper, then below the sand and rock and coral, dead just because we like the flavor of king prawns and caviar. I will become one with it all. I will be like the ladder on the raft. The one that turned red, and flaked over the holey wood planks and then finally gave out, falling into the water, slipping down, coming to settle in the mud.
——I am not iron. Steel? Nope. Just me. A human, capable of rusting, capable of recovering, capable of disappearing beneath the waves when the water finally distorts me to the point of failing. To the point where fingers can’t cling to the surface, where lungs can’t generate enough to float, where eyelids can’t open, where no amount of WD-40 will breathe movement back into my stiff joints.
——I will reach that point. And then exceed it.

Jana Heise is eleven years old. She lives in Lamu, Kenya.


Sunflowers – Sophie Yu

Sophie Yu - Rust [Photograph; Untitled]

Sophie Yu is seventeen years old. She lives in New Zealand.


To a Broken Sky – Russell Boey

There was deathliness in the air.
This was not so simple as the stench of rot, or the colour of blood. This was a deathliness of a darker kind, one which originated from absence rather than destruction, one spawned from a vast abyss that seemed to cover this land. Ashe sighed. This was air that would chill the blood, more than any cold of the Long Night.
He stepped forward, holding his lantern high. It felt remarkably clumsy, traversing the junk with only one hand. One false step would bury him in a rain of bronzed iron. He was not built for such terrain – this was a place meant for the lithe and the fearless, not for one scrawny and exhausted.
His lantern illuminated great heaps of rubbish all around him – metal pipes, astrolabes, telescopes – all cast away in hatred or frustration. The only thing that seemed relatively stable was a toppled statue of some saint, his crossed shield providing some sort of footing for Ashe’s feet. He made for it, clambering up until he reached its melted face. One jump took him over, skidding down with the clattering harmony of iron as his accompaniment.
She certainly would not fail to notice him now.
Having crossed over the initial barriers, Ashe took a moment to look around himself. This place was not at all pleasant – the miasma that hung over it seemed stronger now that he was within. But at least some kind of pathway existed, lined by the remnants of rusted solar systems. He threw a bronze Earth away from his feet into the piles around him, listening to it clatter in steady rhythm until it struck the ground.
“Knock, knock,” a voice breathed beside him.
Ashe whirled around, hand at the dagger that was never far from him. But he did not draw it as he saw the speaker.
Nothing about her had changed, it seemed, but her voice, now hoarser – she still wore her girlish innocence, so out of place against her strangely sad eyes. “Finally decided to pay me a visit, Ashe? I’ve been brilliant, thanks. So why are you here?”
Ashe watched his old friend sadly. Perhaps something of her had changed after all. “You were not always so direct, Raina.”
“Well, I appear to have tired of you already,” she retorted. “Why are you here?”
Ashe sighed. No point in arguing with her – he had never won any of those before. “I thought you ought to hear something.”
“Did you? Out with it, then.”
“Must we remain on such bad terms—”
“Really?” she interrupted. “After all this time, you want to try to befriend me again?”
“No. But I would prefer not to tell this to a girl who hates me.”
“Just get on with it,” she hissed, and he would not argue with that voice.
“Ari’s dead.” The words fell out of his mouth with strange simplicity – her voice had surpassed all the emotions that came with saying them.
For a moment Raina stared at him blankly. He did not break the gaze.
Finally, she shook her head. “Damned fool,” she said, but her voice did not contain any vehemence. “He and you both. Idiots. Goodbye, Ashe.”
She turned, and he did not bother to call for her. She would not even pretend to act as if she cared.
He sighed again, and turned away, but for a moment his dead friend’s words played once more in his ear. My sister is not as strong as she seems.
He paused, looking back, and then up towards the heavens. The stars were out for now, taunting as ever. But all seemed safe.
“You will torment me even in death,” he muttered, and followed Raina’s trail.
For all the torment you caused me in life, he seemed to reply, laughing.
She seemed to notice him at some point, turning. “I don’t need comfort from you, Ashe!” she yelled across the plain.
Stubborn girl. He ignored her, following after her swift silhouette. Where had that girl who had run along the shores with him gone?
He supposed that no one had remained, really, after the Long Night.
A few more steps, and she had disappeared from sight. Still he stepped forward – she was no ghost, and she could not simply vanish.
His lantern was guttering. Too late to turn back now, whatever else.
But his search proved fruitless – only the dirt greeted him every step of the way. The lantern turned black.
Finally, a little fear set in. If he had only one flaw, he decided, that would have been it. Fear found its way to him far too late for it to be of any use.
Still he walked, until his legs ached and he had to sit. He had failed Ari in all else – he would ——-not fail him in this. Even if it was only for the sake of a forgotten friendship.
He could not deny that he missed their days of running in the sand.
A small smile crossed his face. The three of them had made good children together. Yet one of them lay forgotten in the dust, and Ashe seemed soon to join him. There would be no more light – morning was as far away as it had ever been, despite his best efforts. Raina was right – he was a fool, more so for bringing another into his foolery.
“God, you really are persistent.”
Ashe jumped again, but still treasured the little relief in his heart. How the girl could see him in this darkness was a mystery, but one that he did not need an answer to.
“I won’t have you and my brother both dead. Come on.” Her voice was frigid as it had ever been, but at least there was no underlying fury now. Perhaps grief had driven it away.
She was moving again, but loudly enough for him to hear. He hastened to his feet.
“How can you stand it here?” he called out, as much for her location as the answer. “It is so—”
“Deathly, I know. You get used to it. Do you know why?”
“It is empty,” he replied with little thought.
“But why is that?” At his silence, she continued. “It is failure, Ashe.” He heard her stop, and could imagine her face – tragic, in that way it had been when he had first met her. “The legacy of man lies dead here.”
They walked on in silence for a while longer, until at last a flickering light came into view. Ashe marvelled as he drew closer – it was electric, no doubt. It had been years since he had seen anything of the like.
“You’ve done well for yourself,” he commented. “Surviving here for three years.”
“Well, we both know that I can handle myself. And there are a few treasures here. More than anywhere else on this half, I think.”
As she ducked beneath the bulb, her hair was the brilliant red that it had been when they were children, and the sun had still shone. He could not stem the stream of memories that that sheen brought back, but only one among the torrent appeared in all vividness – a smaller girl, then, carried in the arms of her bloodied brother.
Her abode was similar to the rest of this place, albeit a little more structured. The walls were even, but no roof existed – though it was not as if one was needed anymore. She sat down, leaning against the old metal with a quiet sigh. “Why did you do it, Ashe, really?”
“What?” He stood uncertainly, fidgeting under her gaze.
“Come on. You’re not an idiot. When the world gets ripped in half, you begin to realise that there’s nothing much to do about it.”
“There was.”
“Temporary, we all knew that, and ridiculously dangerous. You knew that someone would die.”
“But to give up on all hope—”
“The stars themselves tore the world in two!” she cried, with a passion that she had hidden for years. Even their parting had not been so violent, despite him ignoring all that she had implored. “If there is a god in heaven, Ashe, then you are trying to fight against him. When the Earth gets halved and refuses to spin, you begin to realise that some things are beyond man.”
“You were not always so cynical,” he said.
“The world was not always like this. Sit down.”
Cautiously, he did. “How did he die?” she asked, after a moment.
“Fell. Struck the burning rocks.” Ashe laughed sadly. “How else do our kind die?”
“Our kind?” Raina sounded as if she had failed to even smile for a long time when she laughed at his words. “Do you consider yourself something different to me?”
“Noble, first. And foolish. You are right. One does not fight against gravity.”
Raina nodded, as if such a thing had never been in question. But at the sadness in his voice, she spoke. “Hell, Ashe. If you weren’t so noble, I might’ve died as a child.”
“If I weren’t so noble, your brother would be alive now.”
She changed the subject. “So why do you carry that dagger? I’ve never seen you use it before, and I doubt it would help against the Earth’s molten core.”
“Your brother gave it to me. For luck. Because he wanted to keep me safe, repay me for what he thought he owed, or something. I see that now – no one ever believed in hope but me.”
Ashe bowed his head. He’d already shed tears for this death, well and long, but the grief did not stop. It was his doing, after all – his mistake.
“I hope you are wiser now,” Raina said. “Ashe, you ought to have listened to me. That was what hurt most of all, you know – after everything, you still thought that I did not have your best in mind.”
Ashe leaned his head against the wall. “I never doubted you had my best. Only that my best was not enough.”
“Nothing’s enough, Ashe,” she replied. “You’ve travelled far to get here. You must be tired.”
“Are you trying to be rid of me?”
“No. Go to sleep. There is no point in blaming you for this.”
“Then you forgive me?”
“No. But I’m not angry with you, not anymore. Just go to sleep.”
As he lay down, he realised that his eyes had been yearning to close ever since he had stepped within. And it was safe here. Far away from the broken edge of space, from the wild, unfathomable gravity that drew them day by day further from the sun, and from the memories of his dead friend.
In a moment the sun shone in the sky above him, and he squinted against its glare. Raina’s hair glowed red in the light, as she dashed down the beach and yelled out for her brother to join her in the waves. Ari smiled his cockish smile, pushing his windswept brown hair out of his eyes as he turned to Ashe.
“I appreciate this, you know,” he said.
Ashe smiled up at him. “You do what you can, don’t you?”
His eyes followed Raina’s wild path across the sea. Hard to believe that only a few days ago he and Ari had carried her limp form to a doctor – she seemed as well as any other child.
“I don’t want to go back home,” Ari said suddenly, watching her. “I don’t know if I’ll be able to help her next time.”
Ashe grinned a little and punched him on the shoulder. “Well, you know where to find me.”
Ari watched him severely. “Do you mean that?”
“Of course,” Ashe replied.
Ari turned around with a disbelieving shake of his head. “Perhaps the world has some hope after all.”
When he awoke, Raina stood with her back to him, head bowed low.
The ground at her feet was wet, and Ashe made no comment on it as he rolled up. He was fairly sure of what he would see, but it still jarred him to see his friend’s corpse. The fall had distorted his face terribly, so that only a sliver of his brown hair still existed, and all else was unrecognisable. But Raina’s tears were confirmation enough.
“I was waiting for you,” she said, as she hefted something from the ground. He did not bother asking how she had got all this so fast – she had her own ways, now, ways far beyond him.
It was the shield, he realised, which he had clambered on earlier. The cross emblazoned on it was red with rust.
She thrust it hard into the ground above Ari’s head, her hands shaking as she released it.
“Do you have a shovel?” Ashe asked.
“Don’t need one,” she muttered. “It does not do, for him to be like this.”
So saying, she withdrew a flask of oil. This scrapyard truly seemed to hold everything. Pouring it over the corpse quietly, she turned her forlorn gaze to Ashe. “Don’t you dare go back,” she said. “I hated my parents, but then you know that well. In all my life I cared only for my brother and my dearest friend, and I won’t lose both of you.”
She raised her glass high, in some sort of mad toast. “To a broken sky and an endless night.”
Ashe looked at her blankly. “You know that I can’t agree with that.”
“Even now?” She wrapped her hand in cloth. “Don’t you see that there is no way to end them? Let it be, Ashe. We won’t be the ones to die.”
She grabbed the lightbulb, still hot.
“When your brother met me,” Ashe said, “he told me that the world still had some hope in it.”
Raina laughed. “Lot of good that did you two.” She hurled the bulb towards the corpse. It went alight in spectacular fashion as she came to stand by him.
“Raina, I—”
“Just watch,” she said.
And he did. The smoke filled the air, but he did not turn aside from the smell. Instead, he watched it rise, deep into the starry sky, far from the failed legacy of man.

Russell Boey is fifteen years old. He lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


He Digs With a Suit – E Wen Wong

He digs with a rusting spade
its face coated in cinnamon,
playing its card
as the cosmic tree of life.
He digs out a crimson heart
speckled with beads of sand,
playing its card
as hope, warmth and light.
He digs out a shard
of raw, tinted glass,
Replacing a stolen diamond
A club will follow suit.

E Wen Wong is thirteen years old, and lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


Fingers comma Toes Logo Final