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Capsule Stories Summer 2019 Edition

The stories and poems in Capsule Stories Summer 2019 Edition center around the theme Summer Daze. It’s the perfect read for a hot summer day.

Summer Daze

The sun is making a long, grand exit, lighting up the atmosphere in pink, orange, red fires. You can feel the sweat on your skin sticking to the concrete below you. The air feels heavy, lingering in the air, dispelled by only a slight, warm breeze that blows every few moments. You breathe it in as it rushes by. From the distance you can hear a booming, constant and arbitrary, from all directions around you. It sounds like the world has gone to war, like there will only be endless destruction tomorrow morning—and maybe there will be. There will be burn marks on the sidewalk and profanities written in chalk on driveways. But today is a joyous day for everyone to partake in. You look up to the sky and see it explode, stars that are almost close enough to touch, smoke billowing away into our already tattered atmosphere. Fireworks glimmer in the heat, light bursting for a moment and then dissipating, as if it never existed. This is summer daze.

Capsule Stories Summer 2019 Edition Letters from the Editors

Summer for me has always been a race to finish as many books as possible. As I grew older, this became harder and harder, as spring simmered into summer, and summer melted into autumn. Seasons all start to feel the same. But as time passes, day by day, it becomes more and more important to acknowledge the present moment at hand. It becomes essential to know how to feel about your experiences, how to make decisions that will support your happiness, and how to sit down and reflect on both the past and the present. To realize that this summer isn’t like every other summer. To bring clarity to your timeline as it gets more and more mixed up. 

In these stories, I’ve found the immense pleasure of reading them and placing them carefully in a timeline that I’ve been given. To take back the power of time and make sure that I make life happen—that it doesn’t just happen on its own. And to give that power to other sensitive old souls. Those who write, create, and explore what it means to be alive. 
—Natasha Lioe, Founder and Publisher

When I was growing up, my summer plans revolved around summer reading programs. We’d go to multiple library locations, sometimes multiple times a week, and I’d check out as many books as I could carry. I’d carefully track my time spent reading or the number of books read and mark them off my reading program sheet. I would tape my library receipts to the side of my bookshelf and highlight each book that I managed to read before it was due back to the library. 

It’s hard as an adult—for me, at least—to chase that thrill of reading dozens of books each summer. Between chores and errands, work, forcing myself to exercise even though it’s way too hot out, and marriage, it can be tough to sit down and give myself the space and time to just read. But reading these stories and poems brought me back to that summer daze of reading I used to know—getting lost in the words of a poem, being transported to a story’s setting, reading a line and needing to share it with someone.

Each one of these stories and poems were selected because we read them and felt compelled to share them with someone—you, the reader. Happy summer reading!
—Carolina VonKampen, Publisher and Editor in Chief

Capsule Stories Summer 2019 Edition Contents and Contributors


“Rite of Spring” by Molly Murray

Molly Murray is the outdoor editor of Panorama: The Journal of Intelligent Travel and the author of Today, She Is (Wipf & Stock, 2014). One of her poems was nominated for a 2019 Pushcart Prize, and her work has appeared in anthologies and journals including Panorama, Litro, Ruminate, Fearsome Critters, The Quarterday Review, The Wayfarer, and The Windhover. Molly has an MLitt in creative writing from the University of Glasgow and a certificate in creative writing from the University of Oxford Summer School. She creates work that inspires empathy and posts poetry and creative inspiration on Instagram at @miss_diagnosis_.

“As Blue as Possible” by Salvatore Difalco

Salvatore Difalco lives in Toronto, Canada. His new collection of stories, Minotaur (Truth Serum Press), was published in May 2019.

“A Banana Adventure” by Natasha Lioe

Natasha Lioe graduated with a BA in narrative studies from University of Southern California. She’s always had an affinity for words and stories and emotions. Her work has appeared in Adsum Literary Magazine, and she won the Edward B. Moses Creative Writing Competition in 2016. Her greatest strength is finding and focusing the pathos in an otherwise cold world. She founded and runs Capsule Books as well as Capsule Stories, with the selfish desire to publish her own stories.

“Mercy, Hand to Hand” by Hannah Davis Madonna

Hannah Davis Madonna is an emerging writer with a master’s degree in library science. She works as a reference librarian in a public library. She has been telling stories for as long as she can remember. She loves her cats, puns, and the transformative power of words.


“July 23, 1990 to Present” by Marya Layth

Marya Layth’s poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Riggwelter, After the Pause, L’Éphémère Review, Introspective Collective, and more. The poem featured in this issue of Capsule Stories is from her upcoming autobiographical poetry collection, Hadal and the Daystar. When she is not writing, Marya is somewhere in New Jersey chronically procrastinating via her YouTube channel BANTER!forfree as a co-host with fantasy writer Dave Capp. You can find her living on the internet at @marya.layth.

“childlike wonders” by Ada Pelonia

Ada Pelonia is a writer from the Philippines. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in 101 Words, inQluded, Pulp Poets Press, and elsewhere. You may read some of her works on her website and find her on Twitter at @_adawrites.

“Like Late Summer” by Isabella J. Mansfield

Isabella J. Mansfield writes mostly free-verse poetry about intimacy, anxiety, and the human condition. She enjoys senryu and tanka but otherwise ignores traditional poetry “rules.” Mansfield’s poetry has been featured by Philosophical Idiot, The Wild Word, and Sad Girl Review. She won the 2018 Mark Ritzenhein New Author Award, and her winning chapbook, The Hollows of Bone, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2019.

“streetlight tango” by Michael Prihoda 

Michael Prihoda lives in central Indiana. He is the founding editor of After the Pause, an experimental literary magazine and small press. His work has received nominations for the Pushcart Prize and the Best of the Net Anthology, and he is the author of nine poetry collections, most recently Out of the Sky (Hester Glock, 2019).

“Smoke Tree” by Naika Mujkic

Naida Mujkić (1984) is a Bosnian poetess. She has published six books of poetry and has participated in several international poetry festivals.

“After Time” by Lynn White 

Lynn White lives in North Wales and is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy, and reality. She was shortlisted in the Theatre Cloud War Poetry for Today competition and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a Rhysling Award. Find Lynn at and on Facebook under Lynn White Poetry.

“The Well,” “Summertime,” “When my daughter asks me how we got rights, I will tell her it was not biblical but it was righteous,” and “Where did you come from?” by Morgan Russell

Morgan Russell is a graduate of Georgia College & State University in rhetoric. When she’s not writing poetry, she’s curating the perfect playlist (ad infinitum) or watching period dramas. For the non-poetic thoughts, you can find her on most social media at @conniptionns.

“Doggoned,” “Useless,” and “Wake” by Gale Acuff

Gale Acuff has had hundreds of poems published and is the author of three books of poetry. He has taught university English in the US, China, and Palestine, where he teaches at Arab American University.

“Lucky or Lovely” and “Origin poem I didn’t want.” by Natalie Illum

Natalie E. Illum is a poet, singer, and disability activist living in Washington, DC. She loves Tori Amos, Joni Mitchell, whiskey, and giraffes. You can follow her at @poetryrox.

“My Mama’s Nurse Lucille Practices Tonglen,” “I Wouldn’t Want to Take a Pill,” and “Endless Embrace” by Adrian Ernesto Cepeda

Adrian Ernesto Cepeda is the author of the full-length poetry collection Flashes & Verses . . . Becoming Attractions from Unsolicited Press and the poetry chapbook So Many Flowers, So Little Time from Red Mare Press. His latest work, Between the Spine, is a collection of erotic love poems that was published in 2019 with Picture Show Press. Adrian has a BA from the University of Texas at San Antonio and is a graduate of the MFA program at Antioch University in Los Angeles, where he lives with his wife and their cat, Woody Gold. You can connect with Adrian at

“Ambien Haze,” “Gray and Bone,” and “Down the Bottle with You” by Danielle Miksza

Danielle Miksza is a writer and visual artist in her hometown of Jersey City. She graduated from NJCU with her degree in creative writing and is pursuing her master’s in clinical mental health. She has been a guest blogger for and was a contributing author of the online serialized novel, Ho-Springs. Her photography was featured in the Eye Write exhibit, part of Jersey City’s 2012 Artists Studio Tour, and her drawings were featured in NJCU’s Self-Reimagined exhibit. Past publications include Instigatorzine and PATHS. Danielle is working on a book-length memoir project and several visual art pieces. Her goal with writing is to encourage others to find their voices, empowerment, and unique healing processes.

“there’s more out there” and “a free bird” by Linda M. Crate

Linda M. Crate’s poetry, short stories, articles, and reviews have been published in a myriad of magazines both online and in print. She has five published chapbooks, A Mermaid Crashing into Dawn (Fowlpox Press, 2013), Less Than a Man (The Camel Saloon, 2014), If Tomorrow Never Comes (Scars Publications, 2016), My Wings Were Made to Fly (Flutter Press, 2017), and splintered with terror (Scars Publications, 2018), and one micro-chapbook Heaven Instead (Origami Poems Project, 2018). She is the author of the novel Phoenix Tears (Czykmate Books, 2018).

“Wild Flower” by Huda Tariq

Huda Tariq is a twenty-eight-year-old employed woman from Pakistan. She graduated with a degree in botany from Government College University, Lahore and is dedicated to serving in the field of education. She absolutely loves to write, all day every day, irrespective of genres or platforms, and she loves to surround herself with infinite emotions and feelings.

“Tightening the Come Along” by Bruce McRae

Bruce McRae, a Canadian musician currently residing on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, is a multiple Pushcart nominee with over 1,400 poems published internationally in magazines such as Poetry, Rattle, and North American Review. His books are The So-Called Sonnets (Silenced Press), An Unbecoming Fit of Frenzy (Cawing Crow Press), Like As If (Pski’s Porch), and Hearsay (The Poet’s Haven).

“At the burrow’s mouth, the storm,” “Remembering Nora,” “Growing pains in your legs at age thirteen,” and “Love is a crutch” by DS Maolalai

DS Maolalai is a poet from Ireland who has been writing and publishing poetry for almost ten years. His first collection, Love Is Breaking Plates in the Garden, was published in 2016 by Encircle Publications, and his second collection, Sad Havoc Among the Birds, was published by Turas Press in 2019. He has been nominated for Best of the Web and twice for the Pushcart Prize.

“Counting Her Ways” and “Tempus Fugit” by Jack Granath

Jack Granath is a librarian in Kansas. His poems have appeared in Poetry East, Rattle, and North American Review, among other publications. More information about his writing is available at