Mike Berger is an MFA, PhD. He is a retired and writes poetry and short stories full time. He has been writing poetry for less than two years. His work appear in seventy-one journals. He has published two books of short stories and seven poetry chapbooks, He is a member of The Academy of American Poets. poetry chapbooks, He is a member of The Academy of American Poets.


Sock Gremlin 

I am a scientist and have an inquisitive mind.

I decided to investigate a problem voiced

by my wife.


Often, when she washes clothes, one

of the sock she put in the laundry turns up

missing. She puts in ten socks and only

comes out with nine.


I tried an experiment. I carefully counted

ten socks and put them into the washer.

When the wash was finished, I found only

nine socks.


I searched carefully, but the tenth sock

was gone. I hypothesized it was taken

by a gremlin with a fetish for socks. I

searched everywhere for his trove.


Try as I might, I couldn’t find his cashe.

There is only one conclusion I can draw.

That cunning little imp eats those socks

for lunch.

Green Thing

Sky bright as a noon day.

Thunderous crash.


Awakened my old dog.

Took my 12gauge.

Old Rex didn’t understand

can’t hunt at night.


Making our way,

prickly shrubs,

blistered soil,



Endless expanses;

flashing green lights.

Shucked in a shotgun shell;

old Rex barked.


Little green man;

sci-fi stories got it wrong.

Creature was uglier

than my mother-in-law.


Sensing our approach;


Staccato mechanical voice.


“I come in peace, take me

to your leader, but take me

to your restroom first.



The Big Event


There isn’t much to do. Promptly

at 10 o’clock they roll up the sidewalks.

You can travel to the next city and

attend  the high school football games..


There is one exception to this blaw

homogenized place. Town folks look

forward to it like a kid looks forward to

Christmas. They don’t use calendars;

they mark time by the big event. It’s

when the only store in town holds its

annual sock sale.


The sale is the chance for the townsfolk

to strip off the thin veneer of civility.

The sale lasts for four hours and it’s

catch as catch can. The only rule is

no lethal weapons allowed. Two hundred

people jammed in the 40 x 40 room,

bashing and thrashing each other over

pairs of socks.


The sox are just an excuse to let down their

hair. You have bragging rights when you’ve

been bashed by an old lady’s purse. You

grab and armload of socks and tuck it tightly

under your arm. With the other arm you fight

off the would be sock bandits. You really

haven’t arrived until you’ve spilt a little blood.

The frenzy lasts until noon


When the clock strikes twelve,

the sox all go off sale and there is no

excuse to bludgeon your neighbor.

Everyone smiles and are friends again

until they do it again next year.

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