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Capsule Stories Summer 2021 Edition: Starry Nights

Featuring poetry and prose, Capsule Stories Summer 2021 Edition revolves around the theme Starry Nights. Read summery writings that capture that feeling of wonder that comes from staring up at the stars. These stories and poems ponder new love and late-night conversations as writers explore desire, longing, and nostalgia. Capsule Stories Summer 2021 Edition is the perfect book to curl up with by the fire on a hot summer night.

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 Summer 2021 Edition, please email us at and we will send you a free PDF of the 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 bookstoresand Capsule Stories!

Letter from the Editors

We begin Capsule Stories Summer 2021 Edition with these words from Isabella J Mansfield’s poem “The Things We Know Are There Even When We Cannot See”:

sometimes we don’t say

the words, because

we already know them

So much has been written about the night sky over the millennia. We wanted to capture that feeling of awe and wonder that comes from staring up at the stars and exploring your deepest thoughts, and the world beyond yourself. In this edition, you’ll read about taking the long way home at night so you can gaze up at the night sky. Staring up at the stars and feeling a pang of longing in your chest for the person you love. Looking at the stars as a kid and thinking how big and exciting the universe was. Looking at the stars as a grownup and feeling small. The stories and poems in this edition give us the words for these feelings that we already know deeply but don’t always know how to say.

Starry Nights

You are lying on the beach, squinting up at the night sky. Voices sound close but feel far away. There are things you cannot control: the orbit of your rock around the sun, how the clouds cast shadows in the sand, how the sky lights up when the planet’s star disappears beyond the horizon. You think about yourself and how you are just a tiny organism who made a home on a floating rock in space. When you look across the water, you can see the stars shining back at you. You think about how weird it is that the stars have been there the whole day, invisible, hiding in plain sight. Sometimes, you imagine yourself in the middle of the ocean, lying on your back, staring up at the stars. You are alone, thinking of the people who have led you here, and your problems become insignificant. As the water wraps around you like a blanket, you realize you are not alone—the stars have been there all along.

Capsule Stories Summer 2021 Edition Contents and Contributors


“First Date Sonata” by Emily Polson

Emily Polson holds a BFA in creative writing from Belhaven University and has been published in Catfish Creek, FEED, 433 Magazine, and The Brogue. Originally from Central Iowa, she now lives in Brooklyn and works in book publishing. You can follow her on Twitter at @emilycpolson.

“Girls on TV” by Nova Wang

Nova Wang is probably thinking about ghosts. Her writing appears in publications including Gone LawnMilk Candy Review, and Okay Donkey Magazine, and she tweets @novawangwrites. You can find more of her work at

“In the Sweet By and By” by Alice Rogers

Alice Rogers is a Welsh writer recently graduated with an MSc in creative writing from The University of Edinburgh. They specialize in American historical fiction with LGBT+ themes.

“Honey(comb)” by Taylor Wyna Stewart

Taylor Wyna Stewart is a writer from Birmingham, Alabama, whose work has been featured in Cypress Press, Aura Literary Arts Review, and Reckon Women. Taylor serves as the founder and editor in chief of Camellias, a Southern regional magazine dedicated to the modern Southern woman. Say “hi” on Twitter and Instagram at @TayyWyna.

“The Speed of Things” by Thomas J. Misuraca

Thomas J. Misuraca studied writing, publishing, and literature at Emerson College in Boston before moving to Los Angeles. Over ninety-five of his short stories and two novels have been published. Most recently, his story “Giving Up the Ghosts” was published in Constellations and nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He is also a multi-award-winning playwright with over 135 short plays and eleven full-lengths produced globally. His musical Geeks! was produced off Broadway in May 2019.

“Sojourners” by Anna Caldwell

Anna Caldwell is a speculative fiction writer based in East Anglia, United Kingdom. She holds a BA in English and creative writing from Coventry University and is working on her first novel.

“Beach Night” 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.


“The Things We Know Are There Even When We Cannot See” by Isabella J Mansfield

Isabella J Mansfield writes about anxiety, grief, body image, intimacy, and the human condition. Mansfield has performed at The Oberon Theatre (Cambridge, Massachusetts), Nambucca (London, UK), and at various readings and open mics across the US. Her poems have been featured by The Wild Word, Sad Girl Review, Liminality, Capsule Stories, and East Jasmine Review, as well as in publications by Augie’s Bookshelf and Rebel Mountain Press. In 2017, she was a Brittany Noakes Award semifinalist. She won the 2018 Mark Ritzenhein New Author Award. Finishing Line Press published her Pushcart Prize-nominated chapbook, The Hollows of Bone, in 2019. She lives in Howell, Michigan, with her family.

“Night Dive,” “Evening in the Shadow of Mount Diablo,” “Buoyancy,” and “Sheltering California” by Emily L. Pate

Emily L. Pate is a writer, avid traveler, and collector/oversharer of bizarre facts. Born and raised in California, she holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of British Columbia. Her poetry and travel writing have appeared in The Rising Phoenix Review, Funicular Magazine, and Willawaw Journal, among others. She can be found at

“i listen, still, for the sound of the train in the summer” and “no point in keeping secrets” by Vic Nogay

Vic Nogay is a proud Ohioan writing to explore her traumas and misremembrances. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Lost Balloon, Emerge Literary Journal, perhappened, Little Engines, Ellipsis Zine, and others. She tweets at @vicnogay. Read more at

“.soft .process” 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 and enjoys listening to records and tending to his houseplants when not having an existential crisis. His work has previously appeared in The Broken City, Joypuke, and Capsule Stories Spring 2021 Edition. You can read his dumb tweets at @buckle_aj or find him on Instagram at @ajbuckle1985.

“Stranger Lights” and “After Oysters and Jazz @ 2 a.m.” by Pamela Nocerino

Pamela Nocerino’s life is full of creative play. She writes, acts, teaches, and once helped build a giant troll in the Rocky Mountains. Armed with a BA in theater arts and an MA in communication, Pamela enjoyed a brief career on stage in Denver until she needed health insurance. Then she taught in public schools for over twenty years and raised two sons. One of her new short plays will be staged at The Grand Theatre in 2021, and another was performed online with Denver’s Theater 29. Her poems were selected recently for Plum Tree Tavern and Splintered Disordered Press, and her ghostwriting income is a lifeline in these need-so-much-chocolate times.

“I Love Your Sonnet” by Diana Raab

Diana Raab, PhD, is an award-winning memoirist, poet, blogger, speaker, and author of ten books and over 1,000 articles and poems. She’s also editor of two anthologies, Writers on the Edge: 22 Writers Speak about Addiction and Dependency and Writers and Their Notebooks. Raab’s two memoirs are Regina’s Closet: Finding My Grandmother’s Secret Journal and Healing with Words: A Writer’s Cancer Journey. She blogs for Psychology Today, Thrive Global, Sixty and Me, and Wisdom Daily and is a frequent guest blogger for other sites. Her two latest books are Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life and Writing for Bliss: A Companion Journal. Visit

“Taking My Own Life” by Jessica Rapisarda

Jessica Rapisarda earned her MFA from Hollins University. Her poetry, essays, and literary reviews have been published in jubilat, The Potomac Review, Grace and Gravity, The Establishment, Huff Post, and more. She teaches writing at Northern Virginia Community College, where she is on the editorial board of The Northern Virginia Review.

“Your Ceiling, Covered in Glow-in-the-Dark Constellations,” “Lying on My Back, Looking Up,” “Bouquet,” and “west-northwest” 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, Sylvia Magazine, Underland Arcana, Funicular Magazine, From the Farther Trees, dreams walking, Floresta Magazine, and others. She loves baking cookies, watching rocket launches, and listening to music too loud. She can be found at @writeruvinsky.

“Conflagrant” by Sher Ting

Sher Ting has lived in Singapore for most of her life before moving to Australia for medical school. She has work published or forthcoming in anthologies, including Byline Legacies and Pages Penned in Pandemic, and literary magazines, including Eunoia Review, opia, Overheard, and Interstellar Literary Review. She is currently an editor of The Aurora Journal and a poetry reader for Farside Review. She tweets at @sherttt and writes at

“Pinpricks” and “The Archive” by Sarah Ernestine

Sarah Ernestine was raised in the southern United States but currently lives in London, where she is studying to get her MA in publishing. She loves finding the juncture of art and literature, writing mostly poetry and creative nonfiction. Her writing has previously been featured in Inverted Syntax and Better than Starbucks.

“The Night’s Stars,” “Firefly Songs,” “Evanescence,” “Summer Starlight,” and “Going Home” by Natalie Marino

Natalie Marino is a poet, physician, and mother. Her work appears in Barren Magazine, Capsule Stories, Dust Poetry Magazine, Literary Mama, MORIA, Re-Side, and elsewhere. She also reads poetry submissions for Bracken Magazine. She lives in Thousand Oaks, California, with her husband and two daughters.

“Should We Stay Up Late on Independence Day” by Matthew Miller

Matthew Miller teaches social studies, swings tennis rackets, and writes poetry—all hoping to create home. He and his wife live beside a dilapidated orchard in Indiana, where he tries to shape dead trees into playhouses for his four boys. His poetry has been featured in River Mouth Review, Club Plum, and Ekstasis Magazine. Find him online at

“In the Light of Wonder” by Jakky Bankong-Obi

Jakky Bankong-Obi writes from Abuja, Nigeria. Jakky is co-editor at Ice Floe Press, and her work is forthcoming or published in London Grip, The Kalahari Review, patchwork lit mag, Gutter Magazine, Hobart Pulp, Pidgeonholes, Memento: An Anthology of Contemporary Nigerian Poetry, and elsewhere. Jakky enjoys long walks and yoga and dabbles in nature photography. Jakky is on Twitter at @jakkybeefive.

“constellations // .” by Holly Ruskin

Holly Ruskin (she/her) has been a writer all her life but started exploring the poetic form after the birth of her daughter in 2019. She graduated with a BA in English literature and film and went on to complete an MA in film, specializing in feminism and the representation of women. As a lecturer and freelance writer, she has edited screenplays and written short stories and academic essays. But it is writing poems about motherhood that has brought her the most creative joy. She cofounded blood moon poetry, an inclusive and welcoming place for female poets to submit their work for publication. A selection of her work is published in an anthology of stories about postnatal depression titled Not the Only One, and her poems have been published in various zines, anthologies, and journals. She also writes for Harness Magazine and is a Motherscope contributor. Holly lives in Bristol, United Kingdom. She can be found on Instagram at

“The Summer Before I Turn Fifty” by Kristin Van Tassel

Kristin Van Tassel teaches writing and American literature at Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas. She writes essays and poetry about place, teaching, motherhood, and travel. Her work has appeared in literary, academic, and travel publications, including The Chronicle of Higher Education, World Hum, ISLE, The Journal of Ecocriticism, Los Angeles Review of Books, Wraparound South, Temenos, Burningword Literary Journal, and About Place.

“it must be nice not to believe in god” by June Lin

June Lin is a young poet. She loves practical fruits, like clementines and bananas.

“The Desecrated Wood,” “Instead of Sleeping,” and “A Dirt-Red Star Shaped Like Mars” by Mallory Pearson

Mallory Pearson is an artist and writer living in Queens, New York. She writes about themes of folklore, femininity, and loss, and how these elements interact with the Southern United States.

“painting” by Aral L.

Aral L. is a nineteen-year-old nonbinary latinx poet living in Canada. They are currently a student and have dreamed of being a writer since they were young. They have released a chapbook titled 17.

“Honeymooners” by Victoria Schofield Dobbs

Victoria Schofield Dobbs is an MFA candidate at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and the Young Voices Editor for Chautauqua.

“The Starfish Is Also a Star” by Ismim Putera

Ismim Putera is a poet and writer from Sarawak, Malaysia. His works have appeared in Ghostheart Literary Journal, Ayaskala, Prismatica Magazine, Orris Root Science and Art Literary Magazine, Eksentrika, and elsewhere.

“that sea, that salvation” by Madison Zehmer

Madison Zehmer is a poet and wannabe historian from North Carolina with published and forthcoming work in Déraciné Magazine, Drunk Monkeys, Gone Lawn, LandLocked Magazine, and elsewhere. She is editor in chief of Mineral Lit Mag and a reader for Lily Poetry Review. Her first chapbook, Unhaunting, will be released by Kelsay Books in 2021.

“Cloak of Night” by David Milley

David Milley (he/him) has written and published verse since the 1970s, while working at a career as a technical writer and web applications developer. His work has appeared in Painted Bride Quarterly, Christopher Street, and Bay Windows. Retired now, David lives in southern New Jersey with his husband of four decades, Warren Davy, who’s made his living as a farmer, woodcutter, nurseryman, beekeeper, and cook. These days, Warren tends his garden and keeps honeybees, while David walks and writes.

“Across the World,” “The State of Things Is This,” and “Late-Night Drives” by Eileen Lynch

Eileen Lynch is a writer, yarn hoarder, and the author of a handful of short stories in various zines and anthologies. If you’re interested in seeing where her writing ends up next, you can find her online at @eileenpdf on Twitter.

“Memory > Sleep” and “This Sonnet’s Label Was Peeled Off an 8-Track” by Courtney Moody

Courtney Moody is an honor medallion graduate of the University of Central Florida with a BA in creative writing. In 2018, she was awarded the Promising Scholar Award by UCF’s English Department. Her poetry can be found or is forthcoming in the YellowJacket Press anthology Chasing Light, The Cypress Dome, and Bridge. Her prose can be found online in Bridge Eight.

“Days of 2019,” “Late Nights at Susan’s Roadhouse,” and “Time Capsule” by Shira Haus

Shira Haus is a student at Allegheny College studying English, Spanish, and political science. Her work has been published in The Albion Review, Snapdragon Journal, and Oakland Arts Review. In her free time, she likes to read, cook, and knit while daydreaming about herding sheep in the mountains. You can find her on Instagram at @goldenapplepoems.

“I Remember Us,” “Est. 2005,” and “Kinetic Kindling” by Jaime Dill

Jaime Dill is an accomplished book coach, founder of Polish & Pitch editorial agency, and editor-in-chief of Cardigan Press who uses her precious downtime to pour her lesser-known self into free verse poetry. Jaime’s writing reflects her professional interest in language while also ripping apart the rules to show the world the raw beauty of emotion and femininity. This is best seen in her debut I Remember Us, praised as “a time capsule of a relationship’s most precious and sometimes painful moments.” Learn more about Jaime and her various literary worlds at

“Stars and Needles” and “Small World” by Ben von Jagow

Ben von Jagow is a writer and poet from Ottawa who lives in Cape Town, South Africa. His work has been featured in literary journals such as Amsterdam Quarterly, Marathon Literary Review, The Stockholm Review of Literature, Newfoundland Quarterly, and Literary Review of Canada, among others. For more of Ben’s work, visit

Publication Credits

Book Designer: Carolina VonKampen
Ebook Designer: Lorie DeWorken
Cover Artist: Darius Serebrova
Photographer: Hannah Fortna
Photography Location: Three Story Coffee in Columbia, MO

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!