Girija Tropp ~ 3 Fictions

HANGNAIL My ex came for three weeks and his leav­ing is over­due so I am going to move but […]

Glen Pourciau ~ Table

We’d planned to have din­ner with the Hardaways at a restau­rant we’d never been to, a pop­u­lar new fish place. […]

David Ryan ~ Barcarole

You worry about the eye, the micro­phone in it that gath­ers and trans­mits daugh­ter sounds. Her infant coos, […]

Jessica Alexander ~ The Bear at the Door

When the bell rings and the bear pulls Henry through the door and off the stoop, I know it is not me that has been taken because Henry and I don’t have that kind of rela­tion­ship. That’s not to say I don’t love Henry ten­derly, though I wouldn’t call it rap­ture exactly. I do things dif­fer­ently so he won’t leave. I select, for instance, genial shades of lip­stick, blouses with mol­li­fy­ing designs, slacks that say, “My husband’s at the ball game.” 

Kerri Quinn ~ Rico

I leave a note for my hus­band, Robert, on the kitchen counter next to the lat­est issue of his sub­scrip­tion to Popular Mechanics. The note says I know he’s been sleep­ing with my best friend, Michelle, and by the way, she’s also sleep­ing with Mark who lives two doors down. I also write that I’m tak­ing the espresso machine I gave him for his birth­day. It was really a gift for me. And p.s.: The Mustang we bought with our sav­ings, it wasn’t stolen. I took it. 

Merran Jones ~ Curls

Great hair!” “Thanks.” The stan­dard exchange between Carla and any health shop girl. Girls with names like Jasmine […]

Aaron Brand ~ Three Poems

Bus Poem 4   Just out of Cheyenne, a Greyhound keeps pace with a VW Bug, yel­low, this girl’s suit­case down below, […]

Gail Louise Siegel ~ Betrayed

The harp sits in the cor­ner gath­er­ing dust, ever since Petra’s dog Maisy got spooked by rustling in […]

Tiff Holland ~ Candy Striper

Mom had already signed me up to be a candy striper by the time she and O’Toole picked me up at Robinson Memorial.

You need to think about those less for­tu­nate,” she said, as I scratched at the stitches on my wrists. “You need to think of some­one other than your­self.”

I knew that what she actu­ally meant was that I needed to think about her. She didn’t know just how much I thought of her, her nightly calls dur­ing my depres­sion in which she pre­sented the­ory after the­ory regard­ing what was “wrong” with me. When I wasn’t study­ing, all I thought about was other peo­ple: peo­ple I’d let down, peo­ple who were sure I could do bet­ter, peo­ple who wanted me to dress, speak and act dif­fer­ently, my ex who wanted me to drop out of col­lege six months before grad­u­a­tion so we could buy a house for a fam­ily we wouldn’t end up hav­ing.

Pamela Painter ~ Off Stage

The first day of Playwriting 320, I open the door to the class­room and nod hello to four­teen stu­dents with expec­tant faces, weird garb, new tat­toos. Earlier today, I con­sid­ered ask­ing my TA to pass out my syl­labi, make intro­duc­tions, assign home­work.  I con­sid­ered not leav­ing my sister’s hos­pi­tal room where any day or week now she will surely die. But a pro­fes­sor her­self, she insisted that every­thing flows from a first class.  “Go. You need to be there,” she said. “Get the fuck out of my room and give them grief,” then she coughed a laugh I couldn’t echo.  When the meds again pulled her under, I made sure the nurse had my cell, then I headed to cam­pus three miles away, the mobile of glass birds for her birth­day next week chirp­ing in the back seat.  I’m think­ing of giv­ing it to her later today. 

Fae Dremock ~ The Flyover

Ann smelled the ele­phant before she saw it. Then a mud-grey foot swung past and just ahead, land­ing to her left. The drover passed, and the tail of the ele­phant whisked out in front of her, stink­ing of loose bow­els. Ann stopped beside the fruit ven­dor and watched as the ele­phant con­tin­ued up the street. Unusually for Cairo, the mar­ket silenced– fruit ven­dors and veiled maids, mouths gap­ing, hands extended toward apples, oranges, dates, melon. Then the moment passed, the ele­phant turned toward the Nile, and the bar­gain­ing resumed all around her.

Ann Colley ~ Seed-Time

Excerpt from The Odyssey and Dr. Novak

There are in our exis­tence spots of time,
Which with dis­tinct pre­em­i­nence retain
A ren­o­vat­ing Virtue …
(Wordsworth The Prelude)

ENGLAND 1946–1953

This is where the odyssey begins, or where I imag­ine it com­mences. The time is a warm English sum­mer after­noon in 1946. The place is the front gar­den of the Unitarian par­son­age sit­u­ated in a mod­est town barely six miles north of Manchester. Holding my six-year-old hand is Dr. Novak, the head of the Unitarian move­ment in Czechoslovakia. 

Jeff Ewing ~ The Ramp

Kepler made a deci­sion. He looked up from the side­walk and stepped directly on a crack. He was twenty-three years old and it was time to grow up. It felt good, a load off, until he got a call from the emer­gency room say­ing his mother had stepped on a slug on the back porch, fallen and bro­ken her back. A banana slug, fat and yel­low and flat­tened to the con­sis­tency of dis­carded gum. He won­dered if it was poisonous—wasn’t that what bright col­ors sig­ni­fied in the wild? Danger, tox­i­c­ity, fangs and stingers? Inside the house his mother was laid out on the couch, her glow­ing, flow­ered muumuu sig­ni­fy­ing some­thing else, though he didn’t know what. 

Mary Akers ~ Saying the Name

I spent sec­onds shar­ing the stage with him in my minor role, hours in the dark­ened wings watch­ing him per­form in the light. He came from Switzerland. He spoke at least three lan­guages. He was a worldly col­lege senior. I remem­ber his curly hair, his long body, his lop­ing stride, but not his name.