I’m not staying to witness (Marilyn Duarte)

you pour the Ralph Lauren Polo Cologne gift set I gave you for your birthday down the bathroom sink in your basement apartment, while I inhale the combined scents of leather mixed with wood, and sage laced with spicy basil from the Eau de Toilettes’ medley dribbling down the drain and into the rusty pipes, […]

It’s A Small Town (Kevin Bonfield)

Alcohol leaks from me. A hangover like breaking rocks in prison. Not that I’d know. Daylight is punishing me. Every few strides I pause to squint. An attempt to ration my eyes’ exposure. Fingers inside my head are trying to push my eyeballs out. The more I’d showered, the drier my skin had felt. Recollection […]

Broken Kaleidoscope (Mason Parker)

On Monday, somewhere in the vast space between my moments of focus, a stargazer bloomed from the green shoots of an amaryllis—it’s blossom came two months later than expected. I placed the plant on the red-brick wall around the porch and tended to it faithfully. On Friday, the stargazer died. The week felt endless. I […]

Suspension (Shelley Johansson)

We spend the day touring the Great Wall and Tiananmen Square, where a McDonald’s crouches within sight of Mao’s mausoleum. Back at the hotel my husband and I float in the hot tub but it’s tepid at best. Giggling like teenagers, we run up to our floor. My mother appears, ashen-faced, and pulls us into […]

Academia: The Board Game (Cecilia Kennedy)

Neatly sectioned off, precise squares line up before you, each one holding promise in cool, mint green. All of the pretty tokens are yours to choose, in silver—any one. And the rules are constant, blocked off in dark, straight lines. They never change: Move back at least two spaces to start grad school. Land on […]

One Day, Disaster (Will McMillan)

Likely, the finch built its nest in the sprawling depths of a hemlock. Or spruce. Both are overly abundant in Oregon. Probably, the bird’s day began long before sunrise, scouring nearby shrubs and grasses for seeds, taking wing that late June afternoon, slicing through warm, coastal updrafts, then gliding its way over the narrow road […]

Things They Don’t Tell You About Surviving a Suicide Attempt (Nick Olson)

Everything will become, for lack of a better term, unreal. For at least a little while, but possibly forever. Moments you’ll feel like you’re experiencing human life through the eyes of an alien lifeform, others like you’re two sizes too large for your skull. You will take the Seroquel and/or the Benadryl, just try to […]

Becoming Fireflies (Kirsten Reneau)

I want you to make me a promise that after we say our final goodbyes and our time together has begun to go dark around the edges of your memory, you will start committing petty crimes. Bike in the wrong lane and flip off the cars that honk at you. Jaywalk at every opportunity. Steal […]

Into the Forest Dark and Green (Laila Amado)

Whenever I need to come up with a childhood memory, I end up in a Modigliani painting—a landscape of blind faces and distended shapes. “Breathe, breathe deeper. You won’t be sick.” I’m sick in every mode of transport. The bus lurches around a turn on the outskirts of the city. It smells of diesel fuel. […]

The Arsonists (Mary-Pat Buss)

I’ve known you for years, but I only met you the night we slept together. In the midst of the sparks that kindled between our bodies, I realized I was only seeing you for the first time. As the friction built, I watched your face become all angles and pain and consume the you I […]

Unofficial Train Boycott, 1997 – ? (T.L. States)

D.C. to Gallup, New Mexico, and numerous points in between. On a train at 19, to an unknown future. One of those points in between, maybe Cleveland, I switch trains. I find a car that’s nearly empty, except for one couple. They look excited to be together. Riding the rails. Maybe in their mid-20s. Always […]

Elegy with Handkerchief Mask (B. Tyler Lee)

An addict I know has died. Coughing, sputtering, flushed face directed skyward, and no one can say in which column to tally her body. They don’t swab your sinus cavity in America if you’ve more than once lay awake in an icebox bedroom with your light bill long past due, won’t intubate you if anyone […]

I suck. I love you. Call me back. (Megan Cannella)

You called the other day. I was about to go into a meeting. I almost answered anyway, but it didn’t seem worth it. You’d just guilt me for having to hang up right away. You left a message saying you’re sorry you’re a bad friend. I think the thing to say was happy belated birthday, […]

Christmas Day, 2014 (W.A. Hawkins)

None of us like tequila, but that’s what we’re drinking. Momma walked in and looked around a few minutes ago. Mumbled something about a brother we never had and shuffled out. Dad raised an eyebrow and filled souvenir shot glasses. Cancun, Gulf Shores, the Southernmost Point in Key West. Some places we’d visited with them, […]

Never (Pat Foran)

Dear Son, I’m watching a baseball game. The Dodgers are leading the Brewers, 5-2. It’s the seventh inning. When you were little, you didn’t like watching baseball games. You said baseball was boring. Endless. Every time a game was on, you said it’s never going to be the seventh inning. When I was little, I […]

Linger (Jaya Wagle)

On winter weekend mornings, my sister and I hauled four woolen razais, bound in white muslin—our backs bent with the weight and the breadth and the length—out to the balcony of our house. We spread them on the wrought iron railing to warm in the sun. In a corner of that balcony, Papa hung a […]

God (Danielle Chelosky)

I wait for you to come to the door. I used to count how many seconds it took for you to get to the bottom of the stairs. It was around 36, or maybe half of that, I don’t know. I envisioned this moment for the past two days: Smoking a cigarette, meeting your eyes […]

All my son wanted for his birthday was a toilet piñata (Sheldon Birnie)

Sure, he also had “sword (a real one)” and “bb gun” on the list, but come on. He’s five. I suppose we probably shouldn’t be encouraging such crudity. But fuck it, 2020 right? Couldn’t throw him a real birthday party, anyways. On account of the virus. So toilet piñata it was. Fuckin rights. In preparation, […]

You Got Beasted Last Night (Kath Gerobin)

So, you smashed your head right into your phone, hoping you’d remember to pull up your defenses. It was a gun game, you get shot. Hide behind a wall, car, a dumpster. Yes, run into the church in the Frigid Wetlands. Have faith, dear child. Pray for a miracle, a head glitch. But no, you […]


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