Anita Olivia Koester
Absence Archive

Anita Olivia Koester - Absence Archive

Contest - Prose Poem
Anita Olivia Koester is a poet, writer, educator, and author of four chapbooks. She holds an MFA from the University of Virginia. Her poems have won the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award for Emerging… Read more »
Ellie Roscher
Kept Miniature in Size

Ellie Roscher - Kept Miniature in Size

Contest - Flash Creative Nonfiction
Ellie Roscher is the author of 12 Tiny Things (forthcoming), Play Like a Girl and How Coffee Saved My Life and hosts the Unlikely Conversations podcast. She teaches writing at The Loft Literary… Read more »
Cara Lynn Albert

Cara Lynn Albert - Telephone

Contest - Flash Fiction
Cara Lynn Albert is a writer and educator originally from Florida, and she is currently embracing the Rocky Mountains while she completes her MFA degree at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her work… Read more »

Kept Miniature in Size - Flash Creative Nonfiction

Ellie Roscher

Each autumn, blooming chrysanthemums offer a final burst of color before the cold. China introduced the flower to Japan in the 8th century CE. The chrysanthemum, or kiku in Japanese, has since become a venerable flower synonymous with the essence and art of Japan, appearing on the crest of the imperial family and treated with a great sense of ceremony. Japanese gardeners cultivate young chrysanthemums, tediously training a single flower to become a manicured arrangement.


My teammates and I lined up along the back wall of the gym. We lay on the floor, legs up the wall, arms straight out to our sides, palms up. Shimmying our legs into a deep straddle, we settled in. The girl on my right strapped weights to her ankles. A coach sat at the head of another, pushing the balls of his feet into her thighs to straighten her legs. Eventually, with the help of gravity, my heels rested on the cold cement floor. I wiggled my toes and watched the muscles in my legs undulate. We differentiated pain that injures from pain necessary for progress. After several minutes, our coaches were satisfied. Some girls moaned and worked their legs back… Read more »