Kathy Fish ~ The Once Mighty Fergusons

One rocked him­self to sleep every night, bang­ing his head again­st the wall. One who’d been beat­en for clog­ging the toi­let, took to shit­ting behind the garage. The youngest one had night ter­rors. Once he dreamed he was being chased and tore through the snow in his bare feet to the neigh­bors’ and broke a win­dow with his fist. They all wet the bed. They suf­fered all the com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­eases, the­se

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Greg Bottoms ~ Skittles

1

At a Wawa gas sta­tion and min­i­mart in Newport News, Virginia, a land­scap­er named Scott stood in line to buy a bot­tle of Gatorade. He had been work­ing for the city, weed­ing and replant­i­ng a wide medi­an strip and a flowerbed at the mouth of an off ramp, which sur­round­ed a sign cel­e­brat­ing the incor­po­ra­tion of the munic­i­pal­i­ty from one of the orig­i­nal Virginia colony shires in 1896. The job—half

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Michelle Ross ~ Fish Story

Mrs. Lark is dying. I think it’s the chil­dren. They’re like an algal bloom pol­lut­ing her water. What I know is that when I lived with her all those years in her yel­low-walled apart­ment, Mrs. Lark seemed healthy. Then in August, she scooped me into a plas­tic bag and brought me here. She said to me, “I’ll bet you didn’t know I used to teach. That was long before your time. It’s been fif­teen

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Mary Lynn Reed ~ How to Let It All Go

You imag­ine a life in a small Midwestern town where you teach Calculus at the com­mu­ni­ty col­lege and buy sweet corn at the Farmer’s Market on Thursdays in the town square. Your big yel­low dog named Jethro chas­es squir­rels up trees in your fenced back­yard and it’s all fine because you don’t trav­el any­more and the days are long but not so gru­el­ing that you wake in the mid­dle of the night with a cin­der

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Christopher James ~ Merapi Volcano

Americans, Meg thought, under­stood earth­quakes. The earth moved. Los Angeles. Bridges col­lapsed. San Andreas. Your best China falling, stand­ing between door jambs, dam­age to the Sam Kee Laundry. The Nimitz free­way.

Volcanoes, she’d assumed, would be sim­i­lar, except with added lava. But this was so dif­fer­ent.

She and Greg were in Jogjakarta, Indonesia, near Merapi vol­cano when it blew. News reports

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Lisa Levchuk ~ No Man’s Land

The first group of wom­en who invit­ed me into their reg­u­lar game were from the B team. The club had two com­pet­i­tive teams, but they stayed very sep­a­rate. The B team play­ers were nev­er includ­ed in the games of the bet­ter play­ers. Sure, some of them were quite weak, but, in my opin­ion, the line between A and B was murkier than any­one liked to think. I played with them because I knew that, soon­er or

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Lydia Copeland Gwyn ~ Four New Stories

Tiny Doors

I stand with mos­qui­toes in my veil in the evening sun and speak words from some oth­er time: of cathe­drals and dances at the spring house, green cam­pus quads. The air is heavy with the smell of over­turned fields. I drop your ring on the lawn, but it still finds your fin­ger.

You have me sharp­en­ing knives. Petal thin again­st a wet stone kept black in a cook­ie tin in our pantry. The damp suck of

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Elizabeth Schmidt ~ Wrists

He traces my wrists with his hands like he doesn’t know I’m afraid of wrists. I’ve told him. They feel sen­si­tive while his hands hov­er there before I’m able to move them down to mine. Wrists are just a thin lay­er of skin and then vein.

I had acci­den­tal­ly cut my wrist on a met­al fence when I was lit­tle, not deep, but my friend told me I was lucky it wasn’t deep­er. Wrists are just a thin

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Parker Tettleton ~ Four Pieces

I’ll Always Hear From Me

On the blue line today I was try­ing to feel every one of the fifty-nine degrees—I took turns look­ing at the stop-start free­way, at a bill­board cov­ered in graf­fi­ti that read “fuck can­cer,” & at my feet—the lat­ter of which I’m still think­ing about. I want them to know they’re good to me, that they’ve car­ried me & they’ve nev­er said a word. I want to be like that—kind &amp

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Avital Gad-Cykman ~ Babies

When the par­rot went miss­ing, I put my hat on, took my father-in-law’s Peruvian cane with the carved par­rot, asked my hus­band to come home, placed his skates by the gate, and head­ed out, leav­ing the entrance door unlocked. The par­rot, Torrap, had long dis­cov­ered how to unlock the cage door with a com­bined action of nails and beak, and how to open our bed­room door, by call­ing the dog’s name (God

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Eric Pankey ~ Four Poems

MEDITATION AT RIO DEVA

How to dis­tin­guish a trick
Of the eye
From wind in a chest­nut

Or wak­ing from dream
Where bound­aries
Dissolve and give way

The body strapped
To its shad­ow
Weighs no more

The alphanu­mer­i­cal
Values of let­ters
Do not make the name

Of God any more say-able
All knowl­edge is arcane
And thus pre­vents

Easy access
To the imma­nent beyond
It’s hard to get used to

As when detained By

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Jeff Friedman ~ Three Prose Poems

Elijah

I leave my aro­ma, strong enough to put out the lights or clear a room, to Cassie, my veg­an lover, who can use it to pro­tect her patch of veg­eta­bles and plants. I leave a pile of hair to my pil­low, to the many dust bun­nies leap­ing from room to room, to the finch­es look­ing for fur to line their nests. I leave all my best insults to Sri Lanka, for­mer­ly Louis, who has stolen most of them any­way

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Claire Polders ~ Four Micro Fictions

Specialties

On the ter­race across the street below the elms in fick­le light, you eat dish­es that are nei­ther here nor there. Facing the canal, you low­er your spoon into your bowl of soupçon and come up emp­ty, as though the dash of salt is just an idea. You stab your fork into a gen­er­ous cut of some­thing dark, wait­ing for the blood to sprout, and instead meet the resis­tance of a slice of toast­ed

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Edward Hardy ~ Apology #9: Not About The Toaster

I’m typ­ing here because Larry the elec­tri­cian has just—and I know it’s Larry because can I see his lean beard­ed fig­ure through the upstairs office win­dow as he stands before the front door hold­ing that green cell phone, which near­ly glows in the length­en­ing shad­ows, and Larry is look­ing more worn than usu­al because it’s 5:30 in the evening and he’s on our thresh­old but he’s miss­ing

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