Submissions Notice – August 2019 Issue Space

Now open 

About the August 2019 issue:

  • Submission period: 27 May 2019 to 31 July 2019
  • Theme: Space
  • Artists/authors notified in July and August 2019

Submission guidelines:

  • What to submit:
    • Submissions may be any form of creative art. That includes writing (essays, short stories, micro stories, poetry—any forms of writing), photography, visual art (digital art included), music, et cetera.
    • We welcome previously published work, and 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, but prose submissions under five thousand words are preferable (though exceptions may be made).
    • Artists/authors may submit up to five pieces each.
  • How to submit: Submit through email at fingerscommatoes[at]gmail[dot]com. In your email submission, please include the following:
    • Your age
    • Your geographical location
    • A brief bio (approximately 50 words, or three sentences)

Please send written submissions as downloadable .txt.rtf, or .docx documents. Please do not send documents via Google Documents or other online sharing platforms, as these are private and can be restricted for us.

  • Who can submit: There is no strict age limit for submitters. We are a youth journal, and our submitters currently range in age from four to twenty-six years old. We encourage international and diverse submissions. As a general guide to what we’re looking for, our previous issues can be found here.

Submission themes are not strict and may be interpreted freely. We are always excited to receive a variety of submissions and experience how different perspectives respond to an overarching idea: some pieces may relate to a theme in a concrete manner, using it to convey a message in a new way, while others may be more abstract, making the audience work a little harder to see the connection. There is never one way to respond to a theme. In every case, we encourage you to have fun with it and push your boundaries—be creative, and see what you can do.

Any inquiries may be emailed directly to us.


Contact: fingerscommatoes[at]gmail[dot]com

Fingers comma Toes Logo Final

Call for Submissions: Flash Frontier (NZ)

April 2019: Special Call for Submissions


For April 2019, the editors of Flash Frontier will collect words and art by New Zealand and international writers who choose to maintain art and beauty in the face of tragedy. We call this issue:

love | ἀγάπη | mehr | mettā | محبة  | aroha 

Note this is an international call, and word count is extended to 500 for this special issue. Along with flash fiction we will also include poetry, creative nonfiction and art.


Send submissions by April 10 to flashfrontier[at[gmail[dot]com.

The issue will be published in late April.

Flash Frontier: An Adventure in Short Fiction is a international literary journal based in New Zealand. The journal is edited by Michelle Elvy, James Norcliffe, Gail Ingram, Sam Averis & Vaughan Rapatahana, and can be found at flash-frontier.com.

January 2019 Issue Forest

Guest Edited by Russell Boey

Contents:

Light – Sophie Yu (age 20; Auckland, New Zealand) 
Stars in the forest – Coco Brady (age 10; Christchurch, New Zealand)
The Kiwi – Evelyn King (age 12; Christchurch, New Zealand)
Leaves – Tom Nalder (age 10; Christchurch, New Zealand)
[Untitled] – Margaret O. Spainhour (age 17; Mount Airy, North Carolina, United States)
behind the apartment block – Harry Waddington (age 14; Christchurch, New Zealand)
Broken – Sophie Schneideman (age 11; Christchurch, New Zealand)
Warrior Wolf – Leela Kingsnorth (age 11; County Galway, Ireland)
the whispering forest – Johanna Holzenkampfer (age 10; Christchurch, New Zealand)
Forest Riddle – Tom Nalder (age 10; Christchurch, New Zealand)
No Trees – Lachlan Foulds (age 11; Christchurch, New Zealand)
Forest Moths – Samantha Lascelles (age 11; Christchurch, New Zealand)
Forest – Sophie Yu (age 20; Auckland, New Zealand)
The Great Wall Of Leaves – Rebecca Howard (age 10; Christchurch, New Zealand)
[Untitled] – Rosie Allen (age 09; Christchurch, New Zealand)
Lost – Sophie Baynes (age 08; Christchurch, New Zealand)
Red – Millie Sarjeant (age 12; Christchurch, New Zealand)
The Forest Speaks – Sylvie King (age 12; Christchurch, New Zealand)
Lamia Cinus: novella excerpt – Max Deeley and Justine Lang (ages 14 and 18; Panama City, Panama and North Carolina, United States)
Dark – Sophie Yu (age 20; Christchurch, New Zealand) 
Postcards to the Rain Forest – Tom Nalder (age 10; Christchurch, New Zealand) 
Belladonna – Harry Waddington (age 14; Christchurch, New Zealand)

Light – Sophie Yu

Sophie Yu is twenty years old, and lives in Auckland, New Zealand.


Stars in the forest – Coco Brady

Wind gushes through
the narrow trees as
the mist whispers to the
cold damp forest floor
the ferns hold down
the dying leaves as they
wish to be blown away by
the flowing wind
as the stars shine the
forest settles for night
the gushing wind stops
the mist settles down
and the ferns loosen their grip
but the stars don’t rest till
night time is dawn

Coco Brady is ten years old, and lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


The Kiwi – Evelyn King

The forest was broken by the chaffinch’s morning call
A dew filled morning predicting a sunny day
Like a tiger nestling in a prey filled nest
The forest was broken by the chaffinch’s morning call
Pine and honeysuckle embrace the forest culture
Nestling, hunting, awaiting
Behind me
A kiwi scuttles to its safe place
His beak weighing him down
And his foot
Dragging along a hunters trap
He pauses, sticking his beak into the ground
Then falls and lies still
Broken by the chaffinch’s morning call

Evelyn King is twelve years old, and lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


Leaves – Tom Nalder

Yellow leaves
diamond leaves
have been found
by the woodcutter.
He takes them
off the trees
and puts them
on the top
of his Christmas tree.
He makes wishes
for them.
He wishes those leaves
would have the power
to fly again
all the way to the moon.
Sometimes at night
when the woodcutter
looks up at the stars
he sees a portal
of leaves.

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


[Untitled]  Margaret O. Spainhour

Margaret O. Spainhour is seventeen years old, and lives in Mount Airy, North Carolina, United States.


behind the apartment block – Harry Waddington

the jungle lies hot and steamy
where washing lines become jungle vines
where hanging socks become poisonous fruits
the apes sprawl over the front stairs
hooting and causing trouble
their eyes bloodshot
from chemicals bred in a jungle
not too different from this
metal sheets rust
but when the wind floats by
topple like mighty brazil-nut trees
the city hums
like a giant beehive
full of insects monotonously floating
through life
a homeless man lifts the lid of a dumpster
an anteater flips mounds of earth
scrabbling through the roots
to find a morsel for the next day
an elephant rolls by
picking up today’s rubbish
with its mechanical metal trunk
mosquitoes hum past
sucking the blood from society
to earn their bright red gang colours
preying on innocent creatures
robbing their bank of blood
tall buildings coat the skyline
as a canopy to the creatures below
blocking the sun from scraping the ground
the thrum of the city is ceaseless
when the tired workers come home to rest
from a long day hunting
the humming still continues

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


Broken – Sophie Schneideman

Leaves crunch under my feet
The tears of Tane ripple the creek
Autumn spins into winter
Rocks as sharp as the whisking wind
Leaves crunch under my feet
The smell of the pine not so fresh
Whisking, whirling, crashing, falling, broken
Behind me stumps and a single trail
My footprint engraved the mud
Leaves crunch under my feet
One footfall into the creek
One sharp stab into a soft crease
A creek that is now a bloodstream
A cold abandoned daughter
An endangered heart takes a rest

Sophie Schneideman is eleven years old, and lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


Warrior Wolf – Leela Kingsnorth

Ragnar pushed forwards with his back legs, his heart pounding from beneath his furry chest. He’d almost lost it when…there! Just a glimpse, but yes. He was the fastest runner in his pack, but this year the bracken had stayed up longer, and so had the meagre plants underfoot, so deer like this one had places to hide. ‘It will cause the downfall of us wolves,’ the leader of his pack had prophesied. And truly the wolves were weaker and more hungry by the second.
So he had to catch this one.
Yes…he was gaining on it…he could see it properly now…weaving in and out through the trees…closer…closer…now it was clearly in sight…its dappled back…muzzle flecked with sweat…tense, desperate legs… Now! He was right behind it…his only chance to spring now. He leapt, his strong back legs pushing off from the tightly packed leaf litter. Now he was soaring through the air… But! His teeth met on thin air, his outstretched claws fell back to earth!
He had missed. Missed. Never, not once, had a deer evaded him in such a time of need. The pack had relied on him, trusted him, fallen back to let him catch it for them. There was no chance of him catching anything now. He had truly and utterly let them down. How, how, could go back to them now, empty handed as he was, and tell them that he had failed? He couldn’t. He just couldn’t.
It would be too shameful to endure.
He had to leave, go further into the forest, become a loner, a hermit, a vagabond. It was, to him, the only option. So he ran on, thoughts of failure crashing in his head. Here, the trees were more deciduous than anything else, not with smatterings of conifers like where he had come from, but were spaced slightly more sparsely. He kept on going, to where the dappled sunlight shone through the boughs of the huge trees, to where the fallen leaves crackled pleasantly underfoot. He began to forget his worries, to enjoy the afternoon-evening.
Then…! There was a growl and a snap behind him, he felt his neck gripped by strong sharp teeth, and he was flung to the ground.
‘Trespasser!” snarled a throaty, anger -filled voice.
Ragnar painfully rolled over to his back and saw a huge, muscular wolf with squinting, pig-like eyes scowling down at him.
‘Now, now,’ said a smooth, untrustworthy-sounding voice behind him.
A sleek, dark wolf padded into Ragnar’s sight.
‘Let’s not be unnecessarily violent. I haven’t seen him before, so he’s not” – she spat the words – “a Gumachu. Even though…” She stared curiously at Ragnar’s left ear. “…he has the marking. However, this is our territory, and, especially since he has the marking, he should leave. Right now.’
She glared at Ragnar.
Surprised, he got up and limped away as fast as he could, still hurting from being thrown down, and puzzling over the strange conversation. What marking? Did he have a marking? Who were the Gumachus? Why did that wolf hate them?
Then, a little way off, he saw an amazing sight. Another pack of wolves, big and busy. Little pups frolicked in the dust, mothers licked their young clean, fathers chatted casually. But they all stopped when they saw Ragnar. The stared and whispered:
‘He’s not one of us!’
‘But he’s got the marking!’
‘Where?’
‘He can’t have!’
‘He does, look!’
‘He really does!’
‘What?!’
‘Yes!’
‘But how?!’
Then: ‘Quiet!’ An old, white wolf stepped out from the crowd. ‘Quiet, wolves!’ she barked. Then, more softly, ‘Let us see what this young stranger has to say for himself.’ She then addressed Ragnar. ‘ I am Adole, pack leader. What is your name, and for what reason do you come here?’
‘I,’ said Ragnar, ‘am Ragnar, of the pack of Elfesto.’
And he told his story.
‘Well, I can tell you that the pack that caught you were the Omachos, our deadly enemy,’ said Adole. ‘But what is strange is the mark you have. Our pack, the Gumachus, bite our young on the ear at birth to mark them, so we know that they belong to our pack, and so we can beware of the unmarked ones. We, you see, are a pack of warriors, fierce, fighting warriors. And you have definitely got the marking.’
That would explain my conversation with the Omachos, thought Ragnar.
‘And yet you are so clearly from a completely different pack. I cannot understand it.’
‘Often I feel the thrill of fighting and wish to fight all the more,’ offered Ragnar eagerly, ‘I truly believe that I am a warrior.’
‘Then…I suggest that you go back to your home pack,’ said Adole, ‘and ask them where you really came from.’
——-* * *
At last he came to the glade he knew so well. The wolves were surprised to see him. Some treated him with delight, some with contempt, but most were glad that he was back.
Panting and breathless, he poured out the tale of what had happened to him.
‘I think, wolves,’ said Edaer, his pack leader, ‘it is high time we tell this brave young wolf where he really came from.’
There were murmurs of heartfelt agreement.
‘Good. Well, then,’ said Edaer, relieved.
‘Tell him!’
‘Yes, tell him!’
‘Come on, tell him!’
‘Well,’ began Edaer, ‘less than a year ago, when I, too, was a feisty young wolf, there was a great battle. The Omachos, even though it was against the law of the gallant warrior wolf, invaded the Gumachus in their home glade, taking them unawares. What followed was a terrible massacre. Most of the Gumachu were killed, and the rest ran, as far and fast as they could. When both packs had left, I went to survey the battleground. It was a terrible sight. I thought to myself, there is not a living soul in this terrible place.
‘But I was wrong. A tiny wolf pup, shielded from the battle by a tree stump, lay there, abandoned and whimpering. I brought it home, gave it a name, had the pack care for it with me. It was you, of course. I was sure that you were one of us, that you always would be. But,’ he said rather sadly, ‘it seems that it was not to be.
‘As I’m sure we all agree, the path of Ragnar’s life that he has been faithfully following for so long has split into two, and it is up to him and no other to choose which one he takes.
‘So, you have a choice: stay with us and live in this part of the forest, or become a warrior wolf and a Gumachu. Ragnar, tell us, which do you choose?’
—-* * *
Ragnar pushed forwards with his back legs, his heart pounding from beneath his furry chest.
He kept on going, to where the dappled sunlight shone through the boughs of the huge trees, to where the fallen leaves crackled pleasantly underfoot.
—-He felt a new wolf.
—-——-A warrior wolf.

Leela Kingsnorth is eleven years old, and lives in County Galway, Ireland.


the whispering forest – Johanna Holzenkampfer

Johanna Holzenkampfer is ten years old, and lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


Forest Riddle – Tom Nalder

I live in dreams.
I sing in tree tops.
I wear rings.
I dig deep to find food.
I write rain spells.
I never created fire.
I never built an axe.
I never invited the flood.
I never invited the earthquake.
I’ve forgotten who I am.

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


No Trees – Lachlan Foulds

The sound of a rusty diesel engine starting up
A frosty crisp day
A disturbed feeling like a family member who passed away
The smell of too much insect repellent
Chopping, sleeping, working, eating, living
A dirty forest clearing with no trees for what seems like miles
The sound of a rusty diesel engine starting up
A low paid worker
Another colony of birds lost.

Lachlan Foulds is eleven years old, and lives in Christchurch, New Zealand


Forest Moths – Samantha Lascelles

They rise from
rosy blossoms
their eyes glow like
fluro lamp lights.
At bath time
colours spread
through their bodies
red, blue, green.
At daylight, they disappear
like they weren’t there.

Samantha Lascelles is eleven years old, and lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


Forest – Sophie Yu

Sophie Yu is twenty years old, and lives in Auckland, New Zealand.


The Great Wall Of Leaves – Rebecca Howard

Crunch I hear a stick snapping underneath me
Fallen autumn leaves block my path
Like a wall in the way of a galloping horse
Crunch I hear a stick snapping underneath me
The leaves give off a fragrance so breathtaking
Ducking crawling dodging weaving thrusting
Behind me the rushing rapids falling down the waterfall
Crunch I hear a stick snapping underneath me
A koala throwing leaves and sticks
A monkey in an all black disguise
Misbehaving like a dog without its lead
Ducking crawling dodging weaving thrusting
Pushing through the leaves
As if I were an owl flying in the dark
Maybe next time I go adventuring
I will be building Noah’s Ark

Rebecca Howard is ten years old, and lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


[Untitled] – Rosie Allen

I’d like a garden
dark as a forest
with trees bigger than the Eiffel Tower
swaying in the storm
oak as strong as steel
a forest in my garden
with kiwis from the forest
running around
like a wild ocean
swimming away
through the trees.

Rosie Allen is nine years old, and lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


Lost – Sophie Baynes

The sound of trees clashing together
Frost on vibrant green grass on a cold day
Wind like a strong sand storm
Dirt flying around the grass
The smell of minty plants
Trees crying screaming cut down into paper dying bleeding
Behind me a shadow as big as a horse, a big gorilla standing and staring
I am a scared girl in an old room
The room is creepy, a broken light is hanging
Glass is shattered everywhere across the floor
Transparent dangerous broken pieces
Soon I will get out

Sophie Baynes is eight years old, and lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


Red – Millie Sarjeant

Owls hoot in the distance, barely audible over the screaming of wetas.
A cold, sour wind seeps through the fog and lashes against my face.
The fog is mysterious like seeing a shadow in a dark alley, but no owner.
Owls hoot in the distance, barely audible over the screaming of wetas.
The smell of plant oils crawls along the ground and onto the trees.
Clawing, crying, heart beating, running, watching.
I look behind me: no one, just the silver, white moon.
I see a dark shadow run across the path ahead, the footsteps clawing the earth.
Owls hoot in the distance, barely audible over the screaming of wetas.
Crying birds flee from a tree and flock into the dark, starry sky.
Heart beating, my red cape sticks close to me.
Owls hoot in the distance, barely audible over the sound of a wolf howling.
Now running, a biscuit falls from my kete.
Beady and bloodshot eyes are watching from steady haunches.
I scramble forward up the gorse path and fall into the house of my sick grandma.

Millie Sarjeant is twelve years old, and lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


The Forest Speaks – Sylvie King

Cold metallic grass wraps around my feet
Frail sun casts ghostly shadows of trees
Strangely warm bark cuts deep into my hands
No pattern ever the same
Soft fur of a hibernating hare
Insects crunch in the lining of my boots
Rugged socks hold my heat
No wind can extinguish my fire
Flax whips and ties up my wrists
Sharp wind scratches my icy back
My bare head nods then turns
To face the axe

Sylvie King is twelve years old, and lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


Lamia Cinus: novella excerpt – Max Deeley and Justine Lang

East of the kingdom of Aurora, west of the old realms, south of the northern wilds and north of the harsh desert lies the feudal land of Caligo. This region is dominated by the extensive forest of Umbra—a forest capable of hiding many things. Thieves and bandits are prevalent, but they are far from the worst things the people in this country fear. Creatures of myth and magic hide in the darkness, out of sight of those that hate and fear them. If a person does meet another being away from the main road, then he or she should pray that the being only strayed too far from the path, for those that intentionally walk in the shadows of the trees only do so if they have something to hide. 
——-* * *
The girl has a walking stick in her hand, a cloak on her back, and beautiful, sparkling emerald eyes framed by black locks. She’s leaning against the pines with a sense of ease that suggests she is more at home here than the well-frequented trail. Just before I ask her who she is, she fires the question at me. “Who are you?” she asks bluntly.
Something pulses in my brain. Danger. Something is wrong. This girl emanates power, but I can’t tell how. Shake it away, Lamia.
“I was about to ask the same thing of you,” I calmly respond. The girl stands up straighter, in a defensive stance. Furtive flickers of green behind her half-closed eyelids suggest she is trying not to be seen. That is something that can be said for anyone straying from the path, even me.
I decide to act kind rather than defensive. I pull the cowl back from my face and tip my head courteously. “Lamia, at your service.”
The girl looks taken aback, her eyes now focused on me. Even though she tries to hide it, she can’t stop staring at my violet eyes. My statement must have piqued her surprise—and curiosity as well.
“Cass—no, Cassandra. I’m Cassandra.”
I chuckle at her stumbling over her words. “Well, Cass, where are you off to? I’m making my way to my family myself. They live not far from the Shadewell Marketplace.”
The girl seems even more surprised by every comment I make. I suppose she’s not used to meeting many people in this area of the woods. Her mouth opens and closes slightly several times before she speaks, bewildered at my address to her.
“Cass? No, that’s not…never mind. I, uh…I guess I’m going the same way.”
She looks similar to Myra. Didn’t think I would find another person that looked like her. I wonder if she is the same as us? Surely not. I ask her, “Well, how would you, Cassandra, like to accompany me to this wonderful town? I may not know you, but it would be far worse not to have someone accompany me.”
She does not lower her walking stick, seemingly wary of me. If anything, her grip has shifted, as if she means to brandish it, and I wonder briefly what other weapons she has concealed.
I am broken from such musings by Cassandra saying, “The journey is dangerous. Not many people travel this way.” She pauses before continuing. “Another companion could make it…different.”
I smile at her declaration. She is so cautious; I can tell just by looking at her. What does she have to be so worried about? Again, she reminds me of Myra, always serious. I chuckle to myself and reply lightheartedly, “So serious. People don’t go the way I’m going, or we’re going, I guess. Thieves and bandits don’t hide in the woods; no one goes by to rob. Those that do go by—well, they’re not the kind to mess with. Besides, I happen to know a shortcut if you don’t mind getting wet.”
I then gently move Cassandra’s stick down, away from where the edge threatens to poke my eye, and pull her insistently by the hand as we march.
My new walking companion yanks her hand away, quickly. “I can walk myself. I will accompany you but I don’t like being touched.”
So now she is acting exactly like my dear little Wendy. She hated me hugging her without her knowing first.
A raven croaks from the sky, breaking my thoughts. Its sound penetrates the dark clouds, even while its form is hidden behind them. Hidden even from my vision. Wait, rain clouds? The blue sky has turned grey, almost instantly, it seems. Unless Cassandra and I have been standing for longer than I thought.
“We should look for shelter along the way. I don’t know about you, but I’m not really suited to walking in the darkness,” Cassandra pronounces.
I nod in agreement and then resume walking, keeping my hand away from hers. In the ensuing awkward silence, I respond to her statement. “Strange, I don’t remember it being gray before. We should hurry; I can feel droplets already.”
With that, I continue walking through the Umbra Forest, my tall steps keeping my boots from tripping on thick oak roots. “So, the adventure begins,” I declare, my eyes fixed on the uneven ground. “The path that never ends begins.”

Max Deeley is fourteen years old, and lives in Panama City, Panama. Justine Lang is eighteen years old, and lives in North Carolina, United States.


Dark – Sophie Yu

Sophie Yu is twenty years old, and lives in Auckland, New Zealand.


Postcards to the Rain Forest – Tom Nalder

Postcards to the Rain Forest
Dear Rain Forest,
The bamboo I eat is becoming
hard to find because I need more
to feed my babies. I also need space
to hide from the hunters.
Love Panda.
Dear Rain Forest,
My family is growing smaller.
I don’t want my babies to be scared
or hurt by the big trucks
that have begun to come into our
forest to steal our trees.
Love White Tiger.
Dear Rain Forest,
I am afraid, for many of my family
are chased by hunters for their
valuable ivory tusks.
We need many more trees
to build shelters to survive.
Love Elephant.
Dear Rain Forest,
We need trees and water so we
can live in peace.
When we hear the loud saws,
we know we are in danger.
Love Tree Frog.

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


Belladonna – Harry Waddington

extending from undergrowth
she lounges in a gap
nestled between the shadows
purple buds breathe frosty wind
that runs through icy woods
her black eyes move through fog-filled pines
broken light through the trees
casts a patch of light on her
she flicks her green leaves against undulating saplings
embedded near her in cool soil
her magenta flowers open into cold morning air
spiralling around towering pines
she pirouettes to echoing bird song
a wandering child exhales a warm wheeze
he plucks her with numb fingers
her roots dance in winter
for the last time
he replants her in his book
she breathes no more

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


About the guest editor:
Russell Boey is a student in his final year of studies at St. Andrew’s College, Christchurch, New Zealand. He has an avid love for science and math, but despite this maintains that he will fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming a struggling author. He has been published in fingers comma toes in the 2016 Issue Rust, as well as New Zealand’s national newspaper The Sunday Star Times for winning their short story competition. He likes stars, quasars, black holes, and all the places in-between. Unlike Lola and Tristan, if he ever leaves dry land again, it will have been far too soon.

Submissions Notice – January 2019 Issue Forest

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, what kind of piece you are submitting (writing, photography, art, music, etc.), and, if you wish one to be published, a short biography of 50 words or so. 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 is no strict age limit for submitters. We are a youth journal, and our submitters currently range in age from four to twenty-six years old. As a general guide to what we’re looking for, our previous issues can be found here.

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 2019 issue:

– Submission period: 29 October 2018 to 07 December 2018

– Theme: Forest

– Artists/authors will be notified from December 2018 to January 2019.

Guest editor

For the first time, fingers comma toes is having a guest editor. Russell Boey, from Christchurch, New Zealand, will be guest editing the January 2019 issue.

About the guest editor:

Russell is a student in his final year of studies at St. Andrew’s College, Christchurch, New Zealand. He has an avid love for science and math, but despite this maintains that he will fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming a struggling author. He has been published in fingers comma toes in the 2016 Issue Rust, as well as New Zealand’s national newspaper The Sunday Star Times for winning their short story competition. He likes stars, quasars, black holes, and all the places in-between. Unlike Lola and Tristan, if he ever leaves dry land again, it will have been far too soon.


Fingers comma Toes Logo Final

August 2018 Issue Wild

Contents:

[Untitled] – Georg Schreiber and Jonathan Plachetka (ages 18 and 17; Igling, Germany)
Wild river – Phoebe James (age 10; Christchurch, New Zealand)
Bells are chiming in the jungle – Sophie Schneideman (age 11; Christchurch, New Zealand)
The Garden in Summer – Nika Fredrickson (age 08; Rarotonga, Cook Islands)
Squishies – Jana Heise (age 13; Annapolis, Maryland, United States)
The Wild Garden – Cara Birch (age 12; Christchurch, New Zealand)
Wild Barrier – Tom Nalder (age 09; Christchurch, New Zealand)
Howl – Srinika Guha (age 08; Auckland, New Zealand)
Wild Moon – Xanthe Pearce (age 11; Christchurch, New Zealand)
Wild West – Adele Sherborne (age 08; Christchurch, New Zealand)
[Untitled] – Jana Heise (age 13; Annapolis, Maryland, United States)
Thunder – Lily O’Halloran (age 08; Christchurch, New Zealand)
Insect City – Pierre Montelle (age 15; Christchurch, New Zealand)
Wild – Khadija Sheikh (age 11; Christchurch, New Zealand)
[Untitled] – Jana Heise (age 13; Annapolis, Maryland, United States)
The Fire That Killed Everything – Greta Jenkins (age 10; Christchurch, New Zealand)
When I Walk into the Jungle – Robbie de Groot-Tsuji (age 10; Christchurch, New Zealand)
[Untitled] – Cosmina Werneke (age 17; Igling, Germany)
Wild – Lizzie Jessep (age 12; Christchurch, New Zealand)
Before the light fades – Sophie Riggall (age 11; Christchurch, New Zealand)

[Untitled] – Georg Schreiber and Jonathan Plachetka

Schlange

Georg Schreiber is eighteen years old, and lives in Igling, Germany. Jonathan Plachetka is seventeen years old, and lives in Igling, Germany.


Wild river – Phoebe James

The angry river charges like a bull
out of a paddock.
It smashes the rocks
as if they were in a boxing match.
It throws itself over the
dam, wanting to be free.
Weeping willow branches
tackle the wild ride,
while they are thrown under
the wild river.

Phoebe James is ten years old, and lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


Bells are chiming in the jungle – Sophie Schneideman

Danger steaming all around.
King of the forest unawakened.
Not looking up to see the trees.
The outside world hunting our homes.
Me in the last unharmed tree.
I look down on my rested blue-feathered friends,
Looking back on what used to be home.
The memories of macaws soon fading,
Extinction in my eyes.
The wilderness inside me grows,
The axe takes a hit –
No time to spread my wings and fly,
I’m gone in no time.

Sophie Schneideman is eleven years old, and lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


The Garden in Summer – Nika Fredrickson

The garden in summer is sweet
Like chocolate
It shines like a diamond in a dream
But when it’s winter
My garden is the opposite
It has tall shadows
And it rains
With the wind blowing hard
Like I am in a forest
Leaves falling from the trees
Then it’s summer again
My garden turns as delightful as before

Nika Fredrickson is eight years old, and lives in Rarotonga, Cook Islands.


Squishies – Jana Heise

20180809_162953

Jana Heise is thirteen years old, and lives in Annapolis, Maryland, United States.


The Wild Garden – Cara Birch

The vine climbs the fence
Each leaf a new hand
Steadying his wavy stem
As the butterfly swoops over the dandelion
Her antennae brush the stamens
Contagious fairies
Pirouette down
Plant their feet into the group
Land in first position
For a creature so minuscule
She is so daring
For wings so delicate
She is so strong

Cara Birch is twelve years old, and lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


Wild Barrier – Tom Nalder

The wild barrier
is a wall
that only opens
for the wild ones.
To be wild is to be fearless
brave
determined.
An unknown man
was determined.
A bear was fearless
and brave.
Together they walked
to the wild barrier,
to the golden city door.
The unknown man
looked determined.
The bear looked fearless and brave.
The wall cracked open
and the man and the bear
looked happy.

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


Howl – Srinika Guha

howl

Srinika Guha is eight years old, and lives in Auckland, New Zealand.


Wild Moon – Xanthe Pearce

The moon shines down on the lit pathway
Playing with the shadows
Confusing the wind as she makes her way in the sky.
During the day, she can still be seen faintly, not wanting to miss out.
She teases the clouds then hides behind them.
She breaks away then pops up full
Like lightning from the ashes.
Wilder than the wind.
Wilder than the darkness.
She fills the sky
With her wild glow.

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


Wild West – Adele Sherborne

The Wild West with a cowboy
And a bandit. Clock ticking,
Waiting, waiting, sweating, sweating,
Bang! Bang! Bang! Cowboy shoots
Faster than his own shadow.

Adele Sherborne is eight years old, and lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


[Untitled] – Jana Heise

Jana Heise is thirteen years old, and lives in Annapolis, Maryland, United States.


Thunder – Lily O’Halloran

Thunder sounds like the clouds
are banging together and
fighting.
Thunder sounds like
drumming monkeys.
When I hear thunder
I hide
under my blanket.

Lily O’Halloran is eight years old, and lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


Insect City – Pierre Montelle

The crackle of the bushes in the wind –
Do you wonder what that is?
The wind?
No
It’s an insect city
Deep in the gorse
A young man, inhaling death, walked past
Careless
Justice patrols the park
The young man discards his cigarette
He runs
Death spreads her burden over the insects
A wild flame engulfs the park
The crackle of insects

Pierre Montelle is fifteen years old, and lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


Wild – Khadija Sheikh

skin, silky smooth skin
venomous teeth sharp as knives
eyes pitch black
it slides through bladed grass
waiting for its prey

Khadija Sheikh is eleven years old, and lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


[Untitled] – Jana Heise

Jana Heise is thirteen years old, and lives in Annapolis, Maryland, United States.


The Fire That Killed Everything – Greta Jenkins

As the fire grew
and the forest fell,
the birds flew and foxes yelped.
People fled for their lives.
Houses burned down.
Firefighters fought the angry flames
but they grew and grew.
They danced with the wind
and fell with the trees.

Greta Jenkins is ten years old, and lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


When I Walk into the Jungle – Robbie de Groot-Tsuji

When I walk into the jungle,
thick vines block my way.
Tall trees climbing to get to the sun.
Snakes striking
at the sneakiest possible moment.
The cassowary is fast, but
when you turn to look at him
he’s gone.
When I walk into the jungle,
I taste the sweet, sweet air
and smell the smell of rain.
The birds sound like
The Puppy Concerto
on the piano.
When I walk into the jungle,
I feel calm
like a sloth.

Robbie de Groot-Tsuji is ten years old, and lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


[Untitled] – Cosmina Werneke

Mann_Frau_2

Cosmina Werneke is seventeen years old, and lives in Igling, Germany.


Wild – Lizzie Jessep

Waves crash down like footsteps
Squishing sandcastles
Black and green seaweed lines the shore
Crabs scuttle out of the storm
Into warm crab caves
Engraved in the rock
Broken nests
Dragged into the sea
Eggshells and jagged rocks
Seals retreat down to the depths
Camouflaged in their glossy backs
A cupboard with a broken handle
Damp with sea water
The wind howls

Lizzie Jessep is twelve years old, and lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


Before the light fades – Sophie Riggall

I hear her soft breathing
Tinkling almost like a lullaby
Soft breath turning rapid
Her braid whipping as she runs
Hoofs bright as stars flashing past
Disappearing into the wind
All good things are wild and free
Just because her path is different
Doesn’t mean she’s lost
The colours of the wind
Swirl with the mountains
Wildness floats around her
Chasing the stars until daybreak
Swooping through clouds
Only to find her again

Sophie Riggall is eleven years old, and lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.


Submissions Notice – August 2018 Issue Wild

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 August 2018 issue:

– Submission period: 22 June 2018 to 03 August 2018

– Theme: Wild

– Artists/authors will be notified in August 2018.

Fingers comma Toes Logo Final

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.