Andrew Stancek ~ The Sting on the Skin

The day after my thir­teenth birth­day chunks of ice bounced off the roofs, off the cars, off the side­walk and I watched, over­joyed with the world. When I ran past emp­ty thorn bush­es to share my joy, I saw Dad walk­ing up to our front door, talk­ing to him­self, point­ing a forefin­ger at our car and at the door, chuck­ling and for a sec­ond I thought his excite­ment was about the hail.

Isn’t –more

John Mancini ~ Not Expecting a Miracle

The hos­pi­tal lob­by was all cool air and I was sweat­ing. Orderlies nipped by with bod­ies on gur­neys, nurs­es behind, sneak­ers squeaking. Everyone but me knew just where to go. I took a dou­ble-wide hall­way and did a half-dozen turns before I was back where I start­ed. This time I asked at the desk. Wrong build­ing, it turned out. Shock Trauma was across the way. 

The flu­o­res­cents –more

Thomas Cook ~ Four Micro Essays

PLENTY

All night the shops on the 16th Street Promenade fill with neo­phyte prom­e­naders. The dogs curl up on the green sleep­ing bags of their own­ers, and I can’t find a pet store. My heart aches for the dogs while I go to buy King Crab. A thou­sand miles from every ocean, my mind is a wash.

One guest at the din­ner I know, hard­ly, and the oth­er is from a town in New Jersey. I ascent to his ori­gin, –more

DS Levy ~ Talisman

When we first got mar­ried, some­one gave us a plas­tic pink flamin­go as a joke. We plant­ed it in the front yard next to the bar­ber­ry bush­es. For a while, every time I pulled into the dri­ve-way I’d see it and laugh: Hahaha. Or at least my lips would curl into a smile. Later, I’d pull in and not even notice.

Teddy did all the mow­ing, and by the end of sum­mer he was com­plain­ing about how the flamin­go –more

Joseph Grantham ~ Pharmacy

Kurt Vonnegut was read­ing Journey to the End of the Night when he wrote Slaughterhouse-Five. I’m on the bed, watch­ing base­ball. I think I have throat can­cer. I shined a light on the back of my throat and there’s a yel­low bump back there and I don’t know what it could be. All of the blood ves­sels look inflamed. I’m not a doc­tor. I work at a phar­ma­cy but I’m a cashier. –more

Eric Pankey ~ Two Poems

LANDSCAPE AS ELEGY

Beneath the iron truss bridge,
Shadows over­lap and merge,
Ride the deep creek’s mov­ing sur­face.

Sioux quartzite spires rise
As pal­isades on either side
Somewhere in South Dakota

Forty-odd years ago.
My friend —I just learned he died
A few days back—

Is the first to jump.
Then two oth­er friends
I have not seen in twen­ty years.

They each take anoth­er turn
Before I get up –more

Please Note

For the summer months, beginning at midnight tonight (CST) we won’t accept submissions over 500 words. Manuscripts with a greater word count will be discarded. Why? We don’t know. Something. We anticipate further review of the magazine’s format and content in the months to come.  Many thanks for your patience and interest.

Eds.

Pui Ying Wong ~ Three Poems

SCULPTURE COURTYARD

The sun came out and dried
the grass. I sat under a tree,
eat­ing an apple. “Time to be healed”
the poet wrote. Stillness around me.
Language of met­al and clay,
mal­leable as mem­o­ry.
Cities were far.
Not much there I remem­bered.
September was only hint­ed at
by a few falling leaves.
Still, I didn’t know about silence.
–more

Meg Tuite ~ There’s No Tomorrow the Same As Yesterday

Mothers and fathers lean in door­ways to keep any­one from for­get­ting them. What hap­pens when a per­son­al­i­ty can’t find its way back? Let’s say I promise to look for myself in the con­cerned or dep­re­cat­ing glances of oth­ers. Dread fil­ters through the clipped words lost in dwin­dling lung space. A whirlpool of defi­ant air is rav­en­ous and ter­ror­izes the mind which wears the fab­ric of the intestines –more

Gary Percesepe ~ Another Crisis

Lester was lament­ing the state of things we’d got­ten our­selves into. “We’ve missed too many boats.” I could see his brain work­ing over­time in there, like his skull was full of pant­i­ng egrets. He wor­ried about any­thing, like the recent hole in Canada. This was how life had become. “You know some­thing,” Lester said, “I don’t care,” mov­ing his lips like the wings of a small but­ter­fly. –more

Katrina Denza ~ In These Dark Woods

The woman has walked this path cir­cling the reser­voir many times. She stays in a sim­ple but stur­dy cab­in near the base of the moun­tain when she’s up from the city. Today feels like autumn, and when she pulled into the park­ing lot off the high­way, there were only two oth­er cars: a green sedan and a white truck. To get to the head of the path, she had to hike uphill for a mile and a half. The dirt –more

Heather Sager ~ The Cool and the Lonely

I am writ­ing about a man. When I check in on him, he is stand­ing under an old-timey sign that reads LIQUOR. I won­der if he should wear his hair long, and then sud­den­ly he does. He wears a suit and has a dim­pled cheek.

He goes to the desert and strums his gui­tar among the cac­ti. The Joshua trees uproot them­selves, march over to him, and cir­cle him in a fun­ny walk. Stars whiz through the night. He –more

Michael Credico ~ Cataclysm

I am in a state of dis­ap­pear­ance, back inside Ohio. I drove all night. The car stalled before I could ram it through the perime­ter fence. The Great Lakes have been cor­doned off. The last of the world’s drink­able water. I can­not see it through the dark, but I can smell it: fishgut, bleach, and exhaust. I have hon­ey­comb welts from press­ing against the perime­ter fence, a bruise on my arm swirling –more

Sheldon Lee Compton ~ Almost Alone in Dark Valleys

The Mark IV sits behind and just to the right of the Lodge Pin Hotel. I’m in the park­ing lot between the two, sway­ing a step to the right and then a step to the left. It’s nice the way alcohol’s been work­ing on me faster since I went back to drink­ing a few weeks ago. I used to buy a thir­ty pack of beer a day. Within a month, my tongue went yel­low and had a lay­er of yeast buildup about a half –more

Claire Guyton ~ SAT Question: The Moon

Four friends and co-work­ers, Jenny, Elissa, Mira, and Fran, are sup­posed to attend an impor­tant con­fer­ence, which takes place in a town rough­ly a three-hour dri­ving dis­tance from where they live. To save on gas mon­ey, they nat­u­ral­ly decide to ride togeth­er. The route they must take is made up pri­mar­i­ly of one long stretch of high­way. At 5:00 AM, they pile into an old, mus­tard-col­ored sta­tion wag­on –more