John F. Buckley ~ Notes at the End of the Thirteenth Baktun

I need to speak out about death and human­i­ty,
don’t I? The world ends in three hours. All
I have is you, a limp car­rot, and a change buck­et
on the kitchen counter. The flesh on my elbow
is ragged and hood­ed. I can almost pull it
over my head like a wim­ple. I don’t want to see
the aliens land. I don’t want to watch any
rabid vol­ca­noes emerge by the gar­den shed.

Survival’s no longer a giv­en, –more

Susan Thornton ~ Full Partner

Leslie squint­ed at the menu and willed her stom­ach to coöper­ate. She’d done her reg­u­lar half hour on the stair mas­ter, and sat in the steam room for a good 20 min­utes. That had always worked before to sweat out a hang­over. Maybe she was get­ting old. Thirty and change was when things caught up to you, she’d always heard, but didn’t want to believe. The over­head light caught on the heavy sil­ver –more

Rob Roensch ~ Come to Me and I Will Give You Rest

In the Carl’s Jr. park­ing lot across the street, two teenage boys in hang­ing-open red Carl’s Jr. shirts were argu­ing with a square woman who was stand­ing in the dri­ve-through lane. Parked at the pick-up win­dow was a dingy white mini­van with a punched-out head­light. The woman stabbed a fin­ger into the air between her and the teenagers. One of the teenagers clutched his belt with a fist as if –more

Lucinda Kempe ~ Jeanne d’Arc

I woke up miss­ing my big toe, my hair in a mul­let, and with a half-eat­en donut on the bed­side com­mode. A shep­herd preached in the court­yard and the witch had parked her broom in the mid­dle of the dri­ve. Some kids were smack­ing each oth­er sil­ly with its fun­ny end.

I clam­bered up from the linens, grabbed the donut and head­ed to the yard.

The kids point­ed at my hair and the ooz­ing stump of toe.

I had –more

Karen Craigo ~ Lighter Than Water or Lighter Than Air

One of the men men­tions buoy­an­cy, and that’s when I know: they’re talk­ing about me.

I had sus­pect­ed. This is our third day in the same hotel, the third day I’ve ven­tured down to the pool in ear­ly evening to catch what gold remained from the day, and the third time four bespec­ta­cled Australian men pulled lounge chairs up pool­side to face me and talk togeth­er while I swam.

It’s a small –more

James Chapin ~ Deafness

        in mem­o­ry of José Saramago

I don’t remem­ber when I stopped being able to hear. That makes it worse. There’s no moment I can hold up and point to and say Look. It hap­pened to me also.

I know the day that it hap­pened, I do. When the whole audi­ble world is replaced by a dull shush, that’s a mile­stone. You mark the date. For me: work­week, Tuesday, at the bank. Sometime after lunch I –more

Michael Hammerle ~ The Horse Did Not Always Go Home

Jethrob Macromanni’s only real friend was a name­less horse. He would take the horse on long walks to the town lake and that was nor­mal. He would also ride the horse to and from the bar—because of that the horse had a rep­u­ta­tion around town.

Jethrob would tie the horse to the hitch­ing rail out front of the bar and drink all night; he, noto­ri­ous­ly, would get black­out drunk, so the peo­ple there –more

Alan Hines ~ Oak Cliff, Summer 1963

Nell hung up the phone and turned to her sis­ter. “I need you to dri­ve me down there.”

You still haven’t learned how to dri­ve?” Agnes had just come in from the storm. She had an umbrel­la, but she was still soak­ing wet.  “Where did they take him?”


Nizwa Knox-Jones ~ Or Best Offer

I did too much for her, but Pnina emailed to say the lamps would be ten dol­lars for the pair and she had to have them.  Small, steel, bed­side lamps with cat-print shades.  Pnina had asked me to exe­cute the deal, because she wasn’t very hap­py about dri­ving, even on cool, calm, sun­ny Sunday morn­ings.

Imagine it, Pnina,” I said, “Having a big fat ice cream sand­wich for break­fast, a –more

Karen Alpha ~ Al-Q.

Everyone just calls me Al.  Well, not every­one, exact­ly, as I do not have that many friends here in this coun­try, but all those who do call me Al.  You can call me Al.

It makes me laugh how mixed up you Americans are.  You get every­thing so com­plete­ly wrong that I am laugh­ing so hard!  For instance, I read that you think we com­mu­ni­cate among our­selves by plac­ing notices in those huge­ly thick –more

Clara Spars ~ Domino

There’s noth­ing quite like the Chinese edu­ca­tion­al sys­tem, where by the very same for­mu­las that are drilled in the stu­dents’ heads day in and day out, con­crete “this-is-the-answer” study­ing is added and mul­ti­plied to com­pose a sin­gle adolescent’s entire life. I’d walk the hall­ways of Beijing Number 80 High School mar­veling at the head in front of me. It was always craned over a book, rich with –more

Simon Perchik ~ Five Poems

Each night this neck­lace cools
till its fever smells from silk
cov­ers the dirt with but­tons

and sleeves help­ing you reach
for a stone small enough to swal­low
though it’s her mouth that’s lift­ed

that stakes every­thing on a sin­gle rock
for shore­line –just like that! a tiny pill
tak­en with water and you find your­self

Jordan Castro ~ Like an Animal Running

Standing, hunched, in his bed­room, he would plan to pack the bare essentials—one pair each of under­wear and socks, one t-shirt for each day, one pair of jeans, a col­lared shirt—but would end up frus­trat­ed, con­fused.

Which under­wear, for exam­ple, looked best on him? Which fit in such a way, or were made from such mate­ri­als, that caused his gen­i­tals to sweat the least? And which, of these, might –more

Tommy Dean ~ Cotton Candy

Gavin, a mid­dle school his­to­ry teacher, stood in line at the super­mar­ket, duck­ing his head, try­ing to go unno­ticed. Though he only had a few items, he hat­ed the self-check machines, afraid he’d make a mis­take or the price wouldn’t ring up right. Some of the employ­ees were his for­mer stu­dents: con­ver­sa­tions like scripts from bad com­mer­cials he couldn’t suf­fer through again. So he wait­ed in the express –more

Kim Magowan ~ Daisy Chain

Gently, Dr. Sukimoto sug­gests it is time for Sharon to get her affairs in order. Dr. Sukimoto is her favorite oncol­o­gist. The flaps of hair on either side of his face remind her of the soft ears of a bea­gle. When he says these words, Sharon, whose dis­ser­ta­tion chair a dozen years ago com­plained she had an undis­ci­plined mind, has an errant thought. She imag­ines not a will, but a daisy chain of names. –more