Dying Dahlia Review: Summer 2017

flash fiction, poems

It’s finally here! We are so happy to present the Summer 2017 edition of Dying Dahlia Review!  We are featuring some amazing flash fiction and poetry by some awesome women writers!  And check out that beautiful cover art by Ashley Parker Owens!  Make sure to snag yourself a copy today! Follow the links below to purchase the ebook at your retailer of choice.



Barnes and Noble


Apple iBooks (Search for “Dying Dahlia Review”)


This Shit is Ripe – Elisabeth Horan


This Shit is Ripe

Ready to play tag with poems in the night?
Open up I’ve got something nice

Some part of me lay dormant
it might have been my smile
it took a while to find it’s teeth, lost in the back of that van
where we met over seafood and smack and weed
you laid me down on a dirty sheet

I hid that away for so many days wasn’t gonna let it play out –
No neediness.

Just propped on a shelf, fine wine or a puppet.
I’m Bonnie you’re Clyde – made out like a bandit.

Cixous, what she do – only got me confused.
But damn, she was right on a hot summer night –
there’s steam coming out my ears
No pants can hold me –
I’ma bad fire.
I’ma​ cauldron.

Go ahead, take a sip – what I be brewing is good for your bones –
what I be needing, I left alone.
Watch out for me, Medusa’s back, I guess she gets the last laugh.

Ain’t no knockoff, Baby. This shit is ripe.
And I’m just started yelling.

Elisabeth Horan is a stay at home mom in Vermont, caring for her two young boys, feeding the animals and writing her heart out. Her poetry has appeared in The Feminist Wire, The Fox Poetry Box and Walking is Still Honest Press. She was recently featured at Anti-Heroin Chic and Swimming With Elephants. Meet her at http://ejfhoran.weebly.com/ and @ehoranpoet on twitter

The Edge of Middle Age – Kathryn Knudson


The Edge of Middle Age

In the cul-de-sac culture
snippets of vulnerability
mar the illusion of harmony

I’ve always preferred to leave
the snags in my sweaters

I’m not letting invisibility
lock me into listlessness
Someone has to tell the stories

Kathryn Knudson’s short fiction was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and featured in a 2017 podcast of Pushcart nominations. She works at a utility, writing poetry and fiction on her lunch hour, and lives in Minneapolis with her husband and their sheep dog.

2 Poems – Deborah Chava Singer



well, isn’t this grotesque
me crying
and your mouth all wet


Woman, Fractured

a woman, broken
fractures fused
if not stronger
more complicated
than before

Deborah Chava Singer is a product of San Diego, California, the Mesa College Theatre Company, Queer Players, and other “stuff.”  She currently resides in Washington state.  Recently her writing has appeared in The Human Touch, MUSE, Jonathan, Cirque, Chaffin, Heart & Mind Zine, Snapdragon, and Twisted Vine. Her website is www.latenightawake.com.

For Unwanted Truths – Kara Dorris


For Unwanted Truths

Just to let you know, my brother says, “tattoo”
in Samoan means open wound, 

life is a regression to the mean, the clear pocket of air
in an ice cube that heat releases

Just to let you know, my lover says, when fire ripples
so violently wood splits from itself,

experts call it “alligatoring”
Just to let you know, I say, I like to mirror fire

Just to let you know, my mother says, car, star,
stonepit—we are all made of carbon,

we end the way we came
Just to let you know, my grandmother says, it’s time

to travel to that foreign country,
to be carried by Saint Menas across the flooded river

Just to let you know, I say, “have a nice journey”
doesn’t mean “may you walk in beauty”

& “may you rest in peace” really means “may your ghost
not haunt the living

Kara Dorris earned a PhD in literature and poetry at the University of North Texas where she teaches writing. Her poetry has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Southword, The Tusculum Review, Harpur Palate, Cutbank, Tinderbox, The Tulane Review, and Crazyhorse, among others literary journals, as well as the anthology Beauty is a Verb (Cinco Puntos Press, 2011). Her stories have appeared in Wordgathering and the anthology The Right Way to be Crippled and Naked (Cinco Puntos Press, 2016).  She has published two chapbooks: Elective Affinities (Dancing Girl Press, 2011) and Night Ride Home (Finishing Line Press, 2012). She is also the editor of Lingerpost, an online poetry journal.

A Love Poem from London – Margot DeSalvo


A Love Poem from London

I ask about your work,
the house, the flowers
and I miss your feet.

Margot DeSalvo has been teaching college composition in NYC for over a decade. Drawn to poetry from the very beginning, Margot’s poetry aims to illustrate the artifacts of intimacy, the complexities of depression, the nuances of introspection, and highlight the beauty in the mundane. Margot’s poetry has been published in the academic journal TETYCWriting Raw, and she is currently the poetry editor and co-editor of Flatbush Review.

By the Bayou – Valerie Westmark


By the Bayou

You turned up the music until we became
porous and leaked into each other,
in your car, by the bayou.

It was all sound and heat,
one of those nights the earth breathes,
and skin is all you need; potent
heard again and again.

I’m sure you don’t know
that when that song plays now,
I pause. Not for sentimentality,
no, too small. But instead
for what it is like to feel
something so large and infinite
that I cannot touch it.

Valerie Westmark graduated from Samford University with a concentration in creative writing. She currently adores the work of Mary Oliver & Rainer Maria Rilke and often wonders if she has consumed too much hot tea. Her poetry has been published in numerous journals and she is the current recipient of the 2016 Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper Award from the Door is A Jar Magazine.

Deferred – RaShell Smith-Spears



She wanted to be a mermaid when she grew up.
But there are no swimming pools
in the Foote Homes Projects Apartments
and besides
Black people can’t swim
her flaxen-haired teacher told her
which was better than the deluge of words
from her mother’s mouth
Girl, that’s just stupid!  You dumb
just like your daddy!
And when she thought about it
Ariel’s hair was like a flame
too hot to really touch
and she had never seen a black mermaid
so she damned up her dreams
of swimming
or even taking swimming lessons.
They sat stagnant,
muddied with mosquitoes and silt.
When she grew up she got a job
on a stage.
Her body rippled
like the waves in the water
she was now too frightened
to enter;
Her hips swerved and turned
like a river around immovable
land masses;
her bottom flopped effortlessly against the air
like a giant fin.
And when she wore her emerald
suit with the iridescent pasties,
sometimes she remembered
her flighty little girl dreams
then she dipped to the floor in an
earth-scrubbing split
and drowned herself in the music.

RaShell Smith-Spears is an associate professor at Jackson State University where she teaches literature and creative writing.  Her creative works have been published in several journals and anthologies, including Short Story, Black Magnolias, A Lime Jewel: An Anthology for Haiti, and Mississippi Noir.