Stephen Delaney ~ How to Tell a Word

When the old­er boys lob it, jeer it in the hall­way between classes—voices that say “I’m jok­ing” … “We get it” … “I’m untouch­able” …

When you type it and your dumb old Mac responds: a red under­score.

When, on the soc­cer field, Chad’s not using it when Scott’s talk­ing back, he’s spout­ing oth­er words, flaunt­ing an impres­sive store, his face pink, his shirt soaked, until –more

Andy Plattner ~ Selection

Julia needs a few things. It’s a Sunday morn­ing and she’s been up for a few hours. Sugar, baguette, Chapstick. Her hus­band Bobby, who is clos­er to her father’s age than her own, sits in the liv­ing room, watch­ing polit­i­cal talk shows. He’s already said to the TV, “This guy’s nev­er told the truth in his whole life.” Then, “Oh, my god, I knew this was going to hap­pen.” They’ve been –more

Fiona Foster ~ Most Don’t, Then Some Do

The source of the accu­sa­tion was a stu­dent who claimed the man had stolen her ideas for his last, most suc­cess­ful nov­el, stole them right out of her com­put­er, hack­ing in, she said, even after she bought a new com­put­er, care­ful­ly pro­tect­ed it, did not con­nect it to the inter­net, changed her name. Still he bore in and stole, wip­ing her words, leav­ing oth­ers in their place, vio­lent images, cod­ed threats –more

Chelsea Voulgares ~ Hotbox

The tough girls stand in the bath­room, apply­ing Lee press-on nails. Simone’s their leader, and she leans against the grey cin­der block and hot­box­es a slim men­thol cig­a­rette. Her bangs fan up toward the ceil­ing, stiff and shin­ing with extra-hold hair­spray. They are epic. I shrink into my stall and hide behind the scent of glue and smoke and the iron of the trash bin where we throw our used pads. –more

Jeff Friedman ~ Bombs

Months ago, the bombs arrived in for­ma­tion, hov­er­ing like blimps. At first, we thought they were par­tic­i­pat­ing in a mil­i­tary exer­cise, that they would be leav­ing soon, but they remained in place, silent except for a bare­ly audi­ble buzzing that dis­rupt­ed our cell­phone sig­nals and our cable recep­tion. “You’re block­ing our sun,” we shout­ed at the bombs. “Our gar­dens are dying,” but there –more

Peter Leight ~ Four Poems

Reciprocal

We stay in the same room togeth­er, Vivien and I, even though the oth­er rooms are emp­ty.  I sit at the table, and she sits across from me, we change places when we feel like it—we don’t need to turn on the lights in order to see each oth­er.  Sometimes I agree, oth­er times Vivien does.  If one of us turns away the oth­er has already turned away.  When one of us drops some­thing one –more

John Mancini ~ No Future in Oysters

My father was an oys­ter­man just like his father before him—and just like I would have become had things not turned out the way they did. By the end of the six­ties, the Bay was in poor shape, and the men who worked the water and drank at the bars at the mari­na could see the writ­ing was on the wall. Action groups were start­ing to form around the idea of “sav­ing” the Bay—whatever that meant—and –more

Parker Tettleton ~ Five Poems

RINF

I’m open­ing anoth­er before I’m fin­ish­ing, with no reli­able inter­net, with a paper­clip to up & down the zip­per on my green coat, with you except you’re not you & you’re wher­ev­er you are, in an apart­ment full of me & my qui­ets, in a city full of the kind of air that will leave you behind. I wake up full of win­dows & flowers—I did not dream of the thing we talked about –more

Reilly Cundiff ~ Five Poems

Self-Portrait as a Turkey Vulture

Must be some kind of man’s ver­ti­go-
I’m Judy, I’m Madeleine, I’m Marilyn
Monroe in a black bobbed wig.
O Periphas, I’ve been your wife in bed,
a sign as pure as dove’s feath­ers, pur­er
than bat­tery acid. But this is what pity
from the gods will do-I’m a red bal­loon
filled with rocks. Cotton my ivory mouth
with your vit­ri­ol, your anthrax-and, smil­ing,
I will swal­low on the count of ten.

A Sign of Summer

A month from –more

Gary Percesepe ~ Another Poem That’s Not About You

Carpenters ham­mer below the shad­ed win­dow. I rise from bed, light a cig­a­rette, and walk to the win­dow. The stony street dis­plays the still­ness on which build­ings stand. It isn’t pos­si­ble to be young again, yet a com­mon light bathes the cob­ble­stones. Time is the fire in which we all burn. See this win­dowsill? It shines with its lip of snow. White pieces drift past the cold pane, the small­est col­or of the small hours. Early morn­ing has begun with­out us, and yet we are here. What am I now that I was not then? Somewhere down the street a car coughs, stut­ters, ignites. The day will fall of its own weight. The mys­tery of begin­ning, resumes.

Karen Alpha ~ Kung Fu Love

My moth­er got me start­ed on t’ai chi when I was a lit­tle kid, no more than five or six, I think.  We used to go togeth­er to her class on Thursday nights at the ele­men­tary school gym.  She sort of dragged me along.

The man who taught us was grace­ful, because of his bal­ance, but it wasn’t a dancer’s grace, it was ani­mal-like, con­trolled.  When he put his foot down some­where, you felt noth­ing –more

Gary Percesepe ~ The Bench

Everything could have been dif­fer­ent, yet all remains the same. For years Batgirl cir­cled the globe, her eyes pud­dled with tears. Euripides, I’m told, despite his fame, clipped toe­nails in soli­tude. What I mean to say is, be patient with me, I’m lolling on the banks of a thought. I wait­ed while she applied mois­tur­iz­er to her legs. She resem­bled in those days a lake of gravy into which I was –more

Michelle Ross ~ High Ground

A moth­er whose chil­dren go to my child’s school mes­saged me and four oth­er moth­ers from the school because she was in a quandary. Corinne is her name. As most of us knew, Corinne said, she didn’t have a good rela­tion­ship with her sis­ter, who could be con­trol­ling and nar­cis­sis­tic.

The truth is, she wrote, she’d been get­ting along with her sis­ter fair­ly well these last few months. Then, out of –more

Tiff Holland ~ Ending Up in the Ditch

All that sum­mer my broth­er, Kevin, padded around the house in the Pink Panther cos­tume my aunt had made him for his birth­day: pink paja­mas for the body and a match­ing tie for the tail. The paja­mas were thick and sort of vel­veteen. Despite the fact he was pre­pu­bes­cent, after about a week, he began to stink. He didn’t care. Our wash­er was bro­ken, and he was unwill­ing to give up the out­fit long enough –more

Bram Riddlebarger ~ The Fisherman and the Tires

Yep, just fish­ing for some tires,” said the fish­er­man. “I only need four. I’ll catch one, one day, and then I’ll only need three more. I’ll catch them, as well. Tires, they float by like glac­i­ers. Like worn, rub­ber glac­i­ers, and I only need four to get me to where I need to go.”

The fish­er­man cast his line from the bridge into the churn­ing water of the riv­er. The hub­cap struck the –more