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Capsule Stories Spring 2021 Edition: In Bloom

The poetry and prose in Capsule Stories Spring 2021 Edition: In Bloom explore the rebirth and renewal that comes with spring. Read about flowers growing and blooming, about you growing and blooming. Read about plants growing where they shouldn’t. Read about blossoming new love, budding after a cold winter. Featuring writings by both established and emerging writers, Capsule Stories Spring 2021 Edition is the perfect book to pick up on a bright spring day.

We want to support marginalized writers and work to make publishing more accessible. If you are a marginalized writer and would like to read Capsule Stories Spring 2021 Edition, please email us at and we will send you a free PDF of the edition.

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Letter from the Editors

And maybe spring will come gently

Maybe it will all come gently

We begin Capsule Stories Spring 2021 Edition with these words from Rae Rozman’s poem “An Almost Prayer.” After such a long, dark winter, with an unrelenting pandemic taking more and more lives every day and political unrest sparking fear and division, spring didn’t seem certain this year. It was hard to imagine the world blossoming again; it was hard to remember that such beauty is possible. But it is. Within the pages of this edition, you’ll find prose and poetry bursting with life as our contributors explore the theme In Bloom. Spring is here, and with it comes growth, new life, and hope. Maybe it will all come gently.

Capsule Stories Spring 2021 Edition: In Bloom

You are walking down a sidewalk in a park you haven’t visited in years. There are too many people, kids running up and down a small grassy hill playing tag with their siblings, adults standing on the pavement. From the top of the hill you look down at the playground, monkey bars with paint barely hanging on. There are too many fingerprints, too many places that were meant to be touched, too many kids sliding down a plastic staticky slide. You take a few steps, and before you realize where you are, you’re on the swing set, swinging back and forth through the air, your hands gripped tightly around the metal chains. You throw your head back and let the wind take you. You jump and stick the landing on the rubber floor. Your partner waves at you from the top of the hill. He knows that you’re smiling.

As you run back to him, you hold out your hands. Sanitize them. You refuse to touch anything until you can wash your hands at home. But the swing reminds you of something you’ve been missing. Something you forgot existed, after such a cold winter, a seemingly endless expanse of time with your thoughts. The fog is lifting. The sun is peeking through the clouds. The flowers are starting to bloom. 

Capsule Stories Spring 2021 Edition Contents and Contributors


“In Florence” by Emma Bider

Emma Bider is a writer and PhD student living in Ottawa. She is currently fixated on identifying trees in her neighborhood. Emma’s collection of short stories We Animals was published in December 2020. You can follow her on Twitter at @ebider.

“Family Tree” by K-Ming Chang

K-Ming Chang / 張欣明 is a Kundiman fellow, a Lambda Literary Award finalist, and a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree. Her debut novel Bestiary (One World/Random House, 2020) was longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and named a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. More of her writing can be found at

“In April, After I’m Twelve” by Christine M. Estel

Christine M. Estel lives and writes in the Philadelphia area. She tweets from @EstellingAStory.

“In Loco Parentis” by Sue Hann

Sue Hann lives in London. Her work was longlisted for the Spread the Word Life Writing Prize 2020. She won the Diana Woods Memorial Award in 2020. Her work has been published in journals such as Popshot Quarterly, Longleaf Review, Multiplicity Magazine, Lunch Ticket, One Hand Clapping, Lunate, Ellipsis Zine, Fewer Than 500, Funny Pearls, and Litro Online, as well as various flash fiction anthologies.

“Rebirth” by Katie Oliver

Katie Oliver writes flash fiction, poetry, and short stories. She has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize and the Bath Flash Fiction Award and was awarded an honorable mention in the Reflex Fiction Winter 2019 competition. She has further work published in various places, including Popshot Quarterly, Molotov Cocktail, perhappened, and Ellipsis Zine, and is a first reader for The Forge Literary Magazine. She can be found on Twitter at @katie_rose_o.

“A Coffin Is Not a Cocoon” by E. E. Rhodes

E. E. Rhodes is an archaeologist who accidentally lives in a castle in England, with her partner, many books, and a lot of mice in the wainscoting. She writes CNF, flash, and prose poetry to try to make sense of it all.

“Still, Life (With Avocados)” by Claire Taylor

Claire Taylor (she/her) lives in Baltimore, Maryland, and online at Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best American Short Stories and has appeared in a variety of print and online publications. She is the creator of Little Thoughts, a monthly newsletter of original writing for kids.


“Stone and Sky,” “bird of paradise,” and “dandelion” by Makaila Aarin

Makaila Aarin works as an academic librarian in Mississippi where she lives with her three rescue dogs. She holds degrees in English, library science, and education. She is pursuing an MFA in creative writing. Her poetry has appeared in Prismatica Magazine, Stone of Madness Press, Poetically Magazine, Dwelling Literary, and other magazines. Her work is forthcoming in Versification and Sinister Wisdom. Find her on Twitter at @makaila_aarin.

“The Sun Will Rise” by Purnima Bala

Purnima Bala (she/they) is a writer and artist from India. Her poetry and fiction can be found in Kahini Quarterly, Ellipsis Zine, MoonPark Review, mineral lit, Walled Women Magazine, and others. Connect with her on Twitter and Instagram at @purnimabala.

“Early Spring,” “Morning Rituals,” and “Hope Abundant” by Sarah W. Bartlett

Sarah W. Bartlett has authored two poetry chapbooks with Finishing Line Press, Slow Blooming Gratitudes (New Women’s Voices Finalist #130, 2017) and Into the Great Blue (2011). Word-midwife, grandmother, and gardener, she celebrates nature’s healing wisdom and the human spirit’s landscapes. Additional work appears in Adanna, Ars Medica, The Aurorean, Chrysalis, Colere, Lilipoh, Minerva Rising, Mom Egg Review, PMS poemmemoirstory, Women’s Review of Books, and numerous anthologies, including the award-winning Women on Poetry (McFarland & Co. Inc., 2012).

“I Told You It Takes Me Hours to Water My Houseplants,” “Phoebe Bridgers,” and “Crown Shyness” by AJ Buckle

AJ Buckle is a poet and teacher living in and writing from his apartment in Ottawa, Canada. He holds an honors BA in literature from the University of Ottawa. He enjoys listening to records and tending to his houseplants when not having an existential crisis. His work has previously appeared in The Broken City and Joypuke. You can find him at @ajbuckle1985 on Instagram.

“Present Tense,” “Effloresce,” and “Meteors” by Kersten Christianson

Kersten Christianson is a raven-watching, moon-gazing, high school English-teaching Alaskan. She serves as poetry editor of the quarterly journal Alaska Women Speak. Her latest collection of poetry is Curating the House of Nostalgia (Sheila-Na-Gig Editions, 2020). Kersten holds an MFA from the University of Alaska. Visit

“Camano Island Sunrise” by Emily Iris Degn

Emily Iris Degn is an ecofeminist and published artist, poet, travel writer, sustainability writer, photographer, fiction writer, and essayist. Her creative work can be found in many places, including Coffee People Zine, Lunch Ticket, About Place Journal, For Women Who Roar Issue 3, Beyond Words, and Coffin Bell. She is from the San Juan Islands in the Pacific Northwest but currently lives in the middle of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

“Arriving” and “Spring’s Daughter” by Q. Gibson

Q. (Quanishia) Gibson is a writer whose work centers womanhood, healing, and transcendence. She is the self-published author of The Flowering Woman: Becoming and Being, as well as other books of poetry. Gibson hosts a monthly writing community for women called TEND, and she is cofounder of the nonprofit intergenerational healing space The Daughters Den. She lives and writes in Ohio.

“Watching Grass Grow,” “Stewart Mineral Springs,” and “Off-Green Thumb” by Madi Giovina

Madi Giovina writes poems and stories. She is a coeditor for Backslash Lit, submissions coordinator for What Are Birds? Journal, and the founder of Perennial Press. Madi lives in Philadelphia with her feisty cat, Shrimp. You can find her on Instagram at @cyberinsecurity.

“Again, Spring” by Darcy Greenwood

Darcy Greenwood is a writer and editor for Brilliant Star, an award-winning children’s magazine, and loves writing novels. She lives on a little farm in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, twin sister, and two poodle puppies.

“To Wilt” by Raihana Haynes-Venerable

Raihana Jacqueline Haynes-Venerable is an artist, a photographer, a poet, and a scholar. She received her BA in critical theory and social justice at Occidental College in Los Angeles and her MFA in poetry at Mills College in Oakland, California. Her work focuses on the issue of what it means to exist in America as a queer Black femme, and she is specifically interested in interrogations of institutions and patriotism. You can access her poetry and photo series “Places to Find the american Flag in Arizona” in Granada Issue 1 and her poem “College Football” in Penumbra Online.

“March” by Ai Jiang

Ai Jiang is a Chinese-Canadian writer and poet who graduated with a BA in English literature from the University of Toronto and is a student at the Humber School for Writers. Her work has appeared in Maudlin House and is forthcoming in Beyond Words, Star 82 Review, and elsewhere.

“In which your toddler deserves a home without yelling.” “Elegy in Spring,” and “Landscape Hymn” by L. Kardon

L. Kardon is a poet and parent residing in Philadelphia. Look for them in upcoming issues of Wizards in Space and Gyroscope Review.

“three bodies,” “springtide,” “the cherished body,” “trill,” and “admittance” by BEE LB

BEE LB is a writer creating delicate connections. They have been published in Crooked Arrow Press, Red Queen Literary Magazine, Badlung Press, Capsule Stories, and Local Honey Midwest. They can be found, on occasion, posting excerpts of their poems on Instagram at @twinbrights.

“I Pray and I Deceive” by Hila Messer

Hila Messer is a high school student who’s been writing ever since kindergarten (and never stopped). She is constantly inspired by her Jewish, Latin American, and Middle Eastern family, and her roots drive her to write from a place of awareness and reflection.

“How to Get Home” by Emily Rose Miller

Emily Rose Miller is a graduate of Saint Leo University, where she received her BA in English with a specialization in creative writing. Her work has been published in The Dollhouse Magazine, Parhelion Literary Magazine, Red Cedar Review, and Inklette, among others. Find her online at, on Instagram at @actualprincessemily, or in real life cuddling with her five cats.

“Flora Universe” by Will Neuenfeldt

Will Neuenfeldt graduated in 2017 with an English degree from Gustavus Adolphus College, and his poems have been published in Firethorne and Razor Literary Magazine. He lives in Cottage Grove, Minnesota, making the most of quarantine in a quiet town by reading and sleeping.

“If Flowers Could Speak” by Lia Nizen

Lia Nizen (she/they) is an ambitious spoken word poet out of Wilmington, North Carolina. Locally known by their stage name, The Pierian Poet, they are often found hosting and performing at open mic events or teaching their writing workshop! Check out some of their work on Instagram at @thepierianpoet and their workshop @metanoia_workshops.

“chrysanthemums” by Ernest O. Ògúnyẹmí

Ernest O. Ògúnyẹmí is a writer from Nigeria. His works have appeared or are forthcoming in Tinderbox, Yemassee, The Indianapolis Review, Down River Road Review, The Lit Quarterly, The Dark Magazine, 20.35 Africa: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry III, 34 Orchard, Erotic Africa: The Sex Anthology, Acumen, Glass, Lucent Dreaming, Memento: An Anthology of Contemporary Nigerian Poetry, Litro Magazine, and elsewhere. He is the curator of The Fire That Is Dreamed Of: The Young African Poets Anthology. His tiny book of poems, my mother died & I became _______, is forthcoming from Ghost City Press. He is a reader at The Masters Review and Palette Poetry and an assistant editor at COUNTERCLOCK Journal.

“Through the Eyes of a Three-Year-Old” by Karen Ulm Rettig

Karen Ulm Rettig earned a fine arts degree in college but discovered in her thirties that she was also a writer. She is a member of Cincinnati Writers Project and has published one book, Finding God: Our Quest for a Deity and the Dragons We Meet on the Way. You can find her online at

“An Almost Prayer” by Rae Rozman

Rae Rozman (she/her) is a poet and educator in Texas. Her poetry often explores themes of queer love (romantic and platonic), loss, and education and has been published in several literary magazines and anthologies. An avid reader, Rae is often curled up in a sunny corner with a mug of coffee, a big white bunny, and a novel. You can find her on Instagram sharing poems, book reviews, and pictures of her two adorable rescue bunnies at @mistress_of_mnemosyne.

“To Be in Bloom” by Liz Russell

Liz Russell is a disaster recovery consultant by day and a writer and podcaster by night. She lives in upstate New York with her boyfriend, her pup, and three chickens that all look alike. Her work has been featured in Kindred and Peach Velvet Mag.

“Brilliant Blue” by Rebecca Ruvinsky

Rebecca Ruvinsky is a student, poet, and emerging writer in Orlando, Florida. She has kept a streak of writing a poem every day since 2016, with work published or forthcoming in Wizards in Space, Prospectus, Sylvia Magazine, Underland Arcana, From the Farther Trees, and others. She loves baking cookies, watching rocket launches, and listening to music too loud. She can be found at @writeruvinsky.

“Bittersweet” by Eileen Sateriale

Eileen Sateriale is a retired federal government analyst who writes in her spare time. She lives with her husband in Methuen, Massachusetts, and is the mother of two grown daughters who live in New York and London. She has had poetry, short stories, and travel articles published in print and online media.

“Persephone Practices Social Distancing in the Underworld,” “today your twenty-year-old self reminds you home is beautiful,” and “I Think It’s Spring, Can You Look It Up?” by Natalia A. Pagán Serrano

Natalia A. Pagán Serrano is a poet from Puerto Rico. She resides in Oregon drenched in tree-magic and rain. She adores her fiancé, Daniel, and her cat, Esteban. Natalia’s poems have been published in PANK Magazine, Portland Review, and The Journal of Latina Critical Feminism, among others.

“I Am Where I Am Going” and “Become” by Melissa Sussens

Melissa Sussens (she/her) is a queer South African veterinarian and poet. Her work has appeared in Germ Magazine, Ja. Magazine, Odd Magazine, and The Sock Drawer, among others. She is a small animal vet by day and by night a poet and editor involved in Megan Falley’s Poems That Don’t Suck online writing courses. She lives in Cape Town with her girlfriend and their two dogs. Find her on Instagram at @melissasussens.

“this spring” by Lotte van der Krol

Lotte van der Krol’s favorite color is the green-blue of the sky on a clear day about an hour after the sun has set. Her short fiction has appeared in Popshot Quarterly and The Cabinet of Heed, and you can find more of her stories on She’s also way too much on Twitter at @lottevdkrol.

“Crickets in the Bathroom,” “Appalachian Symphony,” and “Lover as Leviathan” by Eli Vandell

Eli Vandell (they/them/theirs) is a poet and writer based in Washington, D.C. They are the recipient of the 2020 Joseph A. Lohman III Poetry Prize from George Mason University and the Academy of American Poets. Their work is featured in The Forge, Pussy Magic, Entropy, Feral, The Temz Review,, and Capsule Stories Autumn 2020 Edition.

“The Dawn of Spring” and “The Gatherers” by Katherine Wiles

Katherine Wiles is a creative writing major at Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee. Her poem “Speak Not to Me” was published in the American High School Poets’ My World anthology in October 2019. Her favorite parts of spring are being warm again and seeing everything turn green.

Publication Credits

Reader: April Bayer
Reader: Hannah Fortna
Ebook Designer: Lorie DeWorken
Cover Artist: Darius Serebrova
Photographer: Ellie Middendorf
Model: Mytien @m_th4i
Location: Steinbrinks Greenhouse in Kearney, NE

Buy Capsule Stories Spring 2021 Edition

Disclosure: Capsule Stories is an affiliate of and Amazon, and we will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Please consider buying your books through to support independent bookstores—and Capsule Stories!