Gentleman Caller

Published in Deep South Magazine

Opal Pratt didn’t recognize the old pickup truck that turned off the main road onto the dusty lane to her house. She was sitting in the front porch rocker as was her late afternoon habit, particularly now when the Mississippi summer settled in and she could catch a breeze out there.

A tall, lanky man stepped out of the truck when it stopped near her porch. There was a familiar look to him, but Opal couldn’t place him. He approached the bottom porch step and tipped his hat.

“I’m Lemuel Parker, and I come to court.”

The Children’s Hour


Turning, twisting, and wrenching away,
Dissolve, then reappear.
Not in Chalot or a viper pit,
Your room, top floor, in the rear.

A place bereft of childish joy,
A place that’s filled with tears.
Where ice cream tastes like castor oil
And probity disappears.

Your very private kinder-hell,
A too-exclusive club.
No dogs or girls may enter here.
No laughter and no love.

You’ve built a wall with anger boards
Nailed in place with fear.
You slip inside that secret space
And then you disappear.

I climb the stairs.
I speak your name.
But no trace can  I find
Of the child I once called happiness,
Of the boy who once was mine.

Big Muddy


My friend the river never fit their mold either.
He’d carry their barges and pleasure boats, then
Reclaim a field that once had been his or hold
A swimmer too close, not giving up what he took.

I tried the carnival balls and white gloves prescribed
For proper Southern girls, but was more Southern
Than prim, understanding the sameness of the
River’s currents and mine pushing against our banks.

No corsets for him or me; I stole his dogwoods
For a gown while matrons clucked at my shame and
Their regret – still needing us to validate
The tight patterns of life ordained for gentle folk.

So I threw away hats and teas and ritual crap
For a beach, typewriter and me, succeeding
At my grandest failure in conformity.
My river egged me on and reclaimed a whole street.



Ghosts and Goblins and Spooks, Oh My

It’s the spooky season of October, so I’ve re-posted an appropriate story I wrote a year ago this month for Deep South Magazine. Read Kith and Kin at —

Kith and Kin


3:22 P.M., March 12 and
The messenger’s nearly here
With this year’s diagnosis.
The package will be gaily wrapped.
Sometimes they add balloons.
In the following procession
The addendums march in
Gilded with the newest rules
Tossing current practice
Like multi-colored confetti into the air.
Gentle reprisals in white lab coats
Complete the cortege with brooms in hand
To sweep up leftover instructions.
And with a grand huzzah
They toast their cleverness,
Present the gift,
And leave.
3:25 p.m., March 12 and
Nothing’s changed.

Cassie’s Chair

Finalist in the Nivalis 2016 Short Fiction Competition
Included in the Nivalis 2016 Anthology now available at

When Cassie sat down, it was for sure a serious sit. It didn’t matter if she sat on the front steps, the back yard swing, a dining room chair pulled to a window or the corner of her classroom. She just sat.

Dad blamed Mom. Mom hovered and coaxed. First, second and third grade teachers warned and suggested that Cassie see a doctor, maybe several kinds of doctors. Dad dismissed their concerns and continued to avoid Cassie. In his opinion, Mom should just do a better job. She could pull Cassie out of this if she only tried. Most of the time, Cassie just pretended that she didn’t hear them argue. Other times, she would sit motionless for hours. No one knew why she seemed to go away when she entered her fugue state. Mom had secretly taken Cassie to the family doctor who found nothing out of the ordinary. He thought, however, that it would be useful to refer her to a neurologist, but Mom declined. Her husband would find out and be angry.

… Continue reading

Nivalis 2016

Diane Thomas-Plunk’s story, “Cassie’s Chair,” has been chosen as a finalist in the prestigious, annual short fiction competition sponsored by Fabula Press. As such, it will be included in an anthology available later this summer on When the book becomes available, a copy of the story will be posted here.

‘Sole’ Selected

Steel Toe Review, an online literary journal, annually publishes a print issue and selects that content from the short stories published throughout the year. I was notified this morning that my story, ‘Sole,’ will be included in this year’s print issue. Great news! You can read “Sole’ online by following this link.

“Sole” by Diane Thomas-Plunk


First published here

Mom’s head tilted toward the sound from the living room. She peeked around the door from the kitchen and saw five-year-old Priscilla tip-toeing, nearly to the front door.

“Priscilla, where are you going?”

“Away. I’m running away.”

“I see.” Mom walked into the brightly colored living room and sat on the sofa. “You weren’t going to tell me? That makes me sad.”


“So, where are you going?”

“Mimi’s. She loves me. She’s not mean to me.”

… Continue reading