Duffie Taylor

Six Pieces 

LYDIA

He pushed the flow­ers into the folds of my apron. Keep walk­ing, he said. Keep walk­ing. So I walked. Then he said, You will lose all your ros­es walk­ing like that, dear girl.

Sandra Kolankiewicz

Skating at Mill Pond

  Sometimes we don’t want to know, fre­quen­cy so low we can’t arrive.  Gratitude is a stone in the pock­et to remind you to smile, and also a rock that drags you down into the black of the glacial pond to see the lit­tle boy at the bot­tom in his skates, still hold­ing his hock­ey stick, look­ing just as sur­prised as you.  We had a rope

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Beth Alvarado

Maldiciones

  When I opened my front door to let the detec­tive in, I saw them imme­di­ate­ly. They were hang­ing around her, some right there on the front step and oth­ers, a few feet off in the yard as if they weren’t sure they were wel­come. There were at least eight of them, some fad­ing in, some fad­ing out. My Tommy was not among them. And that man they’d found dead, that Dr. Fremont, he did not

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Michele Maron

Fortune Cookie

 
Portions of her mem­o­ry slipped through a dark hole. She knew who I was, but just ran­dom facts about our his­to­ry togeth­er. She knew we were mar­ried, but she did not know for how long, or any­thing about Elvis in the white leather pants who sang Jail House Rock after­wards when we laughed till we cried.

Alex McElroy

People Inside of People

Hamburg

Martin didn’t want to leave home. But his wife had asked for divorce. He con­sid­ered the end of his mar­riage as proof that he had grown timid and dull. He need­ed to blow up his life, to impul­sive­ly live—to become the man he had been before he was mar­ried.

Becky Hagenston

Priscilla

  Both of their hearts were bro­ken, and they had the same scars slic­ing their chests in per­fect halves. They met in the car­diac ward. Lana had a bypass at thir­ty-two; Mitch had a trans­plant at fifty that almost didn’t take and then did. Later, lying togeth­er in bed, they pressed their chests togeth­er and mar­veled at the sym­me­try. He put his ear against her left breast and then leaned

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P.J. Underwood

Waterfront

 
Gorillahead hates his name, calls it an aber­ra­tion, but says the sit­u­a­tion is too far gone, a nick­name that sticks, giv­en by idiots. He walks, knuck­les to ground, the way I’ve seen goril­las walk in old pic­tures, holoflim­sy, and long, stut­ter­ing reels of Twentieth cen­tu­ry film. I tell him I think his name is fit­ting, min­i­mal­ist, that it’s a fine descrip­tor.

Lydia Copeland Gwyn

All the Baby’s Air

 
In our Family Life class we’d all shared a table and watched Ms. Felton from Planned Parenthood unroll a con­dom onto a wood­en dil­do. She talked about sin­gle par­ent­hood, how hard it was, how no one helps like they say they will. She was preg­nant with her sec­ond and con­stant­ly pat­ting her tum­my. The whole class want­ed to be her sit­ter.

Ed Taylor

Rumplestiltskin

 
Someone here to see you, an intern had said, rais­ing his eye­brows and lift­ing his arms to make a shark mouth, bit­ing.  Now that they’re “interns,” instead of appren­tices, they do what they want—like chil­dren, Giorgio thought, shrug­ging and mov­ing from the bench toward the door sud­den­ly filled with a shad­ow.  Il grande squa­lo bian­co.

Kevin McIlvoy

All of the stones all at the same time

 
The client scratched at paste clot­ted in his hair.

The client was in a car. The client’s car was in a car space between new­ly paint­ed gold­en lines.

A sign: Mini Bob’s Mart.

We are quite lost,” said Deer Food.

Susan Hubbard

You Who Never Arrived

 
And some­times, in a shop, the mir­rors
were still dizzy with your pres­ence and, star­tled,
gave back my too-sud­den image .…

–from “You Who Never Arrived,” Rainer Maria Rilke

I’m back in my home­town vis­it­ing friends for a wed­ding, and I stop at the super­mar­ket to pick up avo­ca­dos and limes, and I see–there across the pro­duce sec­tion rum­mag­ing among the lettuces–myself. I’m buy­ing

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Robley Wilson

Three Stories

 
TERRORISM

The first time she has the dream, it seems per­fect­ly plausible—substantial and fac­tu­al, with all its details consistent—but because she real­izes she is dream­ing she is not deceived; she is a well-off, edu­cat­ed young woman with a white-col­lar hus­band and a new pink baby, and she knows this is not hap­pen­ing in the real world she will even­tu­al­ly wake up to:

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Jana Martin

Your Sunny Day

  My smart food­ie boyfriend Hans and I were work­ing side by side in his uncle’s Williamsburg restau­rant — Das Lokal with a k — a Euro-Southwestern farm to table nou­velle thing. And I real­ly thought I had it pret­ty good: a sweet lit­tle apart­ment, a lit­tle life. I admit it, at that point six months ago, I was enter­tain­ing thoughts: on my 27th birth­day we would decide to

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Kevin Canty

The Whore of Manzanita

  Spring is hard in Manzanita. The sun comes out, the flow­ers bloom, the grass turns bright green, then a storm blows in off the Pacific and stays a week. We’ve been here all win­ter, lis­ten­ing to the water splash from the gut­ters at the cor­ners of our hous­es. The ocean heaves and sobs at the shore. We make soup. We walk the dogs on the wet beach or through the drip­ping woods, the green

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