Three Poems: Once We Were Kids, Moving Fear of Staying, Growl

Sage Ravenwood Writer’s Note: On writing these poems, ‘Once We Were Kids’ is based on an actual childhood memory. I wanted to capture the innocence of that time period yet show how the outside world creeps in no matter how safe and loved a child is, /the boy who commented on me liking chocolate ice […]

The Capris of Middle Age

Vicky Macdonald Harris No longer the resort capris of Laura Petrie dancing past her husband forever flat on the floor; she espousing her deception in the 1960’s trope of sly hoodwinking for gain, with luscious undercutting smiles of perfectly drawn lips, but now the capris of refuge and repair. Capitalizing on placement, the middle aged […]

Music Lesson

Anthony D’Aries Don’t tell your four-year-old son how Marvin Gaye died. Unless you want to answer questions about fathers and guns and hearts.  Why did the father shoot that man? Why did the father have a gun? How’s he singing if he’s dead? I wade through half-truths before sinking chest-deep into lies. Santa-Claus-Mall-Helper kind of […]

The best vintages have a distinctive character

Eleonora Balsano               Fresh blood is the colour of Pinot Noir, bright red and translucent.               I’ve never said this to the visitors. They all come just to get wasted.               I see it in their eyes as soon as they follow me down to the cellar, tiptoe on the stone steps. As the air […]

Covenant

Hattie Jean Hayes I finally dream of the cathedral. The air is stiff for a storm. I find you at the end of a cigarette streaming elegia into the dark. We are in the cellar. I can read music: inverted braille, pocked-wall vertebrae. You stroke a dog, belly-up in the dirt. The grit of penitence […]

The Deaths

Ann Gelder               At first there were three deaths: two big deaths and a small death. These deaths were well-mannered. They always called ahead before visiting, and they never talked too much or stayed too long. Their only annoying habit was a tendency to stare, but when asked if they needed something, they said no […]

The Ocean’s Only Word (cont’d)

Lee Potts I worked for your mother one summer digging. Setting roots tangled up in soil from some other place into holes about as deep and wide as a kettle. I relished disturbing stones and my sweat soaked into the heart roots of a dozen peach tree saplings. That island didn’t need an orchard and […]

However far she runs away from home

Rosie Garland               My mother lives in a house full of gravestones. Every morning, she vacuums around their beds and washes their faces clean of any lichen that bloomed overnight, until they look fresh as the day of their funerals.               I’m sure there are more each time I visit. As a peace offering, I’m […]

Ferris Wheel

Ashley Espinoza My dad shows me an entire photo album of my mom pregnant with me. It’s weird, my dad has never talked about his relationship with my mom. Only once when he told me she should have kept her legs shut. I was thirteen when he told me that, the same age my mom […]

Driving at Night in the Rain with the AC Broken

Tyler James Russell You tell yourself you aren’t doing anything, not really, nothing strictly wrong. This is just how things are, and the headlights in the other lane are blurry as stars but brighter and the rain is throbbing on the roof and a girl with thin legs in the passenger seat is looking out […]

Traffick for Miles

Tyler James Russell If you laid them out fingertip to fingertip like rows of paper dolls the girls would cover the lower half of Manhattan so you try it, you lay them out in a place where there are no city blocks, only fields forgetting if you are supposed to count the hair beehives, ponytails, […]

Grandmother’s Kitchen

Madeleine Pelletier Grandmother’s kitchen is a gathering place. Women turn their masks inside out, cluster round cooking pots, and offer prayers to birds. Mysterious acts create clarity. Crones wail like babes and babies give second chances. A shadow whispers secrets to the wind which swaddles us in warmth. In grandmother’s kitchen, power rises up on […]

cathechism with stone & ghost

Evelynn Black the artist: the first person to set out a boundary stone, or make a mark –Deleuze & Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus six stones standing who knows how long in the November air: notes to a path: where not to go: the gash of the land: ash of remembrance: ash in the fog: not […]

Lunch at café close to the water

Ailing Zhou She walks into a café by the lower end of the Hudson to check off a box the front is rustic but the girl who takes her order is almost Futuristic her speech the exact same inflection as she jumps from Thai name to Nigerian name to German name her beam on pause […]

Anderson Shelter

Edward Barnfield In the morning, there’s a hole where the house used to be. The kitchen, where we drank tea and talked about the day, is shreds and burned brick. A lifetime of things, decisions, and memories, taken while we slept underground. The terraces across the way have lost their roofs, their windows empty sockets. […]

When I wished my name was Anna

Emma Lee As the others settle into the end-of-term going-through-the-motions of set exercises, I’m marked as different. The maths teacher tells me at length about the character Emma Peel, although I’m too young to have seen the TV series. My relief at recognising words in the foreign-to-me language he speaks seems to encourage his view […]

Countess Herzinga’s Alchemy

Janna Miller               Countess Herzinga was the first to study the transmutable properties of eggshells as applied to light and sound. Her early laboratory, just long rows of heat lamps and fresh, twiggy nests.               With adjustments to moonlight and whistling arias, she learned to hatch jays from speckled robins’ eggs and leggy flamingos from […]

No Matter How Much Time Has Passed, Some Houses Don’t Die

Janna Miller Nazi ghost houses roam the countryside, setting up bars and brothels. Come in, come in, they say. You do not know us, you do not remember, we have been here before. This door your grandmother passed through. Your great uncle. We have good beer. Nazi ghost houses are not cold, but warm to […]

Dinner Hour, Miami

Maeve Reilly We all have to eat Mr Buzzard we all have to twist sideways, eyes down, hovering to get the best drop on our prey, tonight you soar as high as the 17th floor of this condo- minium while down below at tables and bars humans home in with knives & tines and white […]

Homecoming

Anne Daly A turlough blooms each winter at the bottom of our road. It used to be my road, when I was a child. A stone-chipped, meandering strait that brought me from the clamour of the main road, up the craggy hill to home. Now home is not that home anymore but still I return, […]

the herb garret

Kate Hargreaves in pelting sop-footed rain on the South Bank belly warm with jackfruit & espresso I held the rope railing & climbed stairs that were ladders to bundles of crisp nettle & ground poppyheads hanging over glass cases of forceps & rusty urethral sounds dusty stuffed caimans & floors creaking despite sawdust under boards […]

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Kate Hargreaves 1. Unroll foxes, hares, and long-tailed birds from foliage in unintrusive neutrals. Mark with pencil, pattern repeat ensuring an excess of feathers and waste of feet. 2. Teeter on a stool with one loose leg. Fashion a plumb from a silver pendant and leftover holiday ribbon. 3. Reach crackling shoulders overhead & click. […]

She Remembers it Like This

Emily Devane               Always, the sun shines and the black telephone dangles from its cloister wall like a stricken beetle.               Always, the skipping rope circles and the dust rises and the Pujarnol air is thick.               And always, Ruby sits on a tree stump, watching the girls. The younger ones play a skipping game. […]

Rock Song

Mary Ford Neal It’s a small stretch of sea, but it boils with anger. Still, it will be the colour of my family’s eyes, so however much it rants, it can put no fear in me. And the journey will take no time at all, and I will be the only passenger, and unafraid of […]

I took my skeleton for a walk today

K.A. Nielsen               My skeleton tilted their skull up, stretched their bones wide in the cool, crisp sun. We stood in the sun until they turned to me. Ready for whatever came next I suppose, and so we walked. Little golden leaves clung to most of the trees, but one was completely bare. My skeleton […]

Yours,

Kate Crowcroft the letters are there, they are ink holding patterns multi-cursive hand at the door late in suit and tie round and cored, the dun clot with the sweet before before before

Alien

Kate Crowcroft A few months before the crashyou slid chicken skin down the vegetable shoot. How you get here, girl? She ran two boyfriends: Hunter & Chase, so you knowI’ve got a Remington RP in the nightstand & you asked to borrow the hairdryer. Till then, the closestyou’d come to technologies of death were your […]

Cold Comfort

Laura Pike               I lie in bed, shivering in cold sheets, waiting for the nightly crumb of her affections in an otherwise barren house; waiting for the press of lips upon a willing forehead, a ritual as welcome as sleep, itself.               I lie patiently until her absence tastes like fear and I go to […]

A Fable of Two Halves

David Luntz Writer’s Note: Myths and fables have long interested me. So, I tried writing a quirky fable that shows how we lie to ourselves so easily. Originally, the story came to me as kind of thought experiment where I wondered: what if a person had a chance to live two separate lives at the […]

Seed of a Rainbow

David Luntz Writer’s Note: Seed of a Rainbow is the third flash in a series I’ve written about a fictional uncle (“Uncle Kev”). I’m not sure where he comes from, but he’s been visiting a teen version of myself over the last year or so. He’s annoying. He demands to be heard. He’s trying to stop […]

On Amoxicillin

Adrian Dallas Frandle Writer’s Note: The title of the piece “On Amoxicillin” invokes the dual sense of “on” as both a polemic (“On Beauty…”; “On Grief and Grieving…” etc) and the state of treatment, of “being on” a course of amoxicillin. The poem falls toward the end of my collection in progress, Acoustic Ecologies and […]

The Psychic Plays Dress-Up

Chelsea Stickle Writer’s note: The psychic snuck up on me one day. She tapped me on the shoulder and introduced herself as someone I already knew. That’s the unusual thing about writing a novel in flash. You get piece after piece but never the whole picture at once. She showed up when I finished the […]

Embezzeled Emotion

Catherine O’Brien If I say ‘I love you’ and you don’t say ‘I don’t love you’, I cry fraudulence, have we even had an argument? Have you failed to fire my heart out of a circus cannon? In this surrealness, I walk a slanted tightrope back to you Falling backwards only to the sigh of […]

False Flat

Caroline Gonda It’s a thing in cycling, apparently, an incline you don’t recognise as one because it’s not that steep so you carry on pedalling, not understanding why you’re getting more and more exhausted when it’s not like it’s hard but your legs are tired and your back hurts and everything is heavier and slower […]

Welcome to the Pixel Exhibition

Paul Thompson On screen you are an abstract masterpiece. I secretly take screenshots as we talk, print and rearrange them on my walls. In a gallery I would label them – laughing, frowning, embarrassed, quizzical, and so on. My exhibition title would be something profound, something only you would understand. Something about friendships and the […]

The Things Sally Hardesty’s Best Friend, Pam, Never Speaks Of (CW: body horror)

Jan Stinchcomb               What it’s like to be the first, instead of the final, girl.               How it feels when your ass, immortalized in the dolly shot, is more famous than you are.               How she chose the clothes she died in, red shorts with a black belt over a swimsuit.               Where she learned […]

This Seagull

Richard Barr This seagull was bigger than my cat. Noticeably so. It was rush hour. All at once the people, so many people, emerged from their buildings and out onto the street. Up and down that long industrious stretch, tall, glass-fronted, non-descript buildings haemorrhaging…people…like a mass evacuation of ants from their anthills. People filled the […]

Osmosis

Shannon Frost Greenstein It doesn’t taste as bad as you would expect. I thought it would be like swallowing a mouthful of salt, but eventually, it goes down like regular water. # Did you know, if you’re ever lost at sea, you can buy your life back from Poseidon with a black pearl? There was […]

I’m a Corpse Flower, and I’ve Got a Bone(r) to Pick with You, Botany

Shannon Frost Greenstein So. Botany. Let me just say it, right out loud, because it’s what everyone is already thinking, anyway. I’m essentially a giant penis. I mean, sure. I’m more. I’m more than just my enormous stamen. I know. I am my absolute uselessness for years on end, for example, before I finally bloom. […]

The Vanishing

Jared Beloff 1. The house went without a sound during Mrs. Thompson’s daily trip to the mailbox last fall, her back turned from the crater where the front porch had been. When she looked up from a fistful of circulars and credit offers, the absence announced itself in a plume of smoke, the crumpled paper […]

Sirens

Jennifer Furner               Whenever I hear sirens, I think of Sister Liska, the older-than-dirt nun from my childhood parish (may she rest in peace). She’d tell us, “Whenever you hear sirens, say a prayer for whoever is in trouble.” And for a long time, that’s exactly what I did. But then I moved to the […]

The Side Show of Birth

Amy Barnes               I give birth to the longest baby ever on the longest day of the year. 144 inches. A gross of a baby. A gross baby. Six hundred people pay a nickel to feel my still-distended belly and listen to me grunt and strain so they can take a closer look at this […]

Clothesline Number 9

Amy Barnes               The sun dries my paintings where Mama can’t see me. I’m supposed to be doing chores but instead I’m painting bedsheets with no-name cheese puff dust, with day-glo orange fingers because brushes cost money.               For once, it’s not our underwear hung there for the whole neighborhood to see and point and […]

My Boyfriend’s Wife

Iona Rule When I’m with my boyfriend, who is also her husband, he serves me spaghetti in their pond green bowls. I lick them clean, imagining her tongue. My boyfriend laughs and wipes the red stains from my chin.  My boyfriend’s wife is away a lot. She is a paediatrician, working shifts or headlining conferences, […]

Untied

Al Kratz Skitter scattering critters of the ceiling, we’re trying to sleep around here. I guess boundaries and borders. I guess party time for the nocturnal. Siri, what is the opposite of nocturnal? Oh, that makes sense. Let’s take a moment here. A sleep prayer for the diurnal. Our cat likes to party day and […]

Babydoll

Sarah Jones               A moment of silence, please, for my missing left breast. For the spreading lumps bubbling through me. Ripping me up from the inside.               I was my own once. Mine alone to throw about, to shred into pieces, to soak in gin and set alight on warm summer nights. I used to […]

God knows what to do with our bed

Kik Lodge Down in Grignan, a man called Didier has a comfortable clic-clac. He’s a self-diagnosed poet and truffle-hunter, says all treasure lies beneath. What I find confusing is that he calls out Mother! in his sleep and his boar is also called Mother. — I spent last Monday night on a bunkbed. It’s ridiculous, […]

Long After the Long Ride into the Sunset

Marvin Shackelford First thing in the morning I draw a blue mark in the shallow dimple of my cheek, so near my mouth I sometimes taste it. The air is curious just before sunrise, darker and cooler, and I dress a little too warm, too safe. My hands shake, pulling wool from the hanger. The […]