• Nadia Kalman ~ The Optical Illusions Eye Shop

    My moth­er was an opti­mist, my father was an optometrist. They opened up the shop at a time in Brooklyn when you did­n’t have to be so seri­ous about a thing like that.  You could have a lit­tle fun, you could put some of your­self –more

  • Gerri Brightwell ~ A Vaster World

    When I was young, bed­time meant shrink­ing beneath the cov­ers in case the Devil found me. My par­ents said you could tell he was there by a sud­den sense of dread, and the smell of excre­ment on the air. The small cru­ci­fix they –more

  • Andrew Cusick ~ Star Wars and Subway Surfers

    X lives over the USA Fried Chicken and Pizza Halal on Hancock Street. He goes by X because he doesn’t have a name and the peo­ple at the boys’ home in Williamsburg said that he was wear­ing a raggedy Star Wars t‑shirt –more

  • Michael Howard ~ Paint a Pretty Picture

    A small light­ed cruise boat crawls around a bend in the canal. The murky brown water is shal­low today and much of the garbage that’s nor­mal­ly con­cealed is vis­i­ble. It floats here and there. Some is stuck to the mud­dy bank.

    The –more

  • Julie Benesh ~ How to be it

    These are the first days of spring. The breeze at dawn
    pumps pet­ri­chor to the tune of birds chirp­ing relent­less cheer;
    that gap between pound­ing heart and slug­gish mind. A woman
    and cat lie in bed, wait­ing for the day to begin.

    The cat says let’s eat –more

  • Myles Zavelo ~ Broken, Clown, Smell

    The dream starts, stops, picks itself up. Suppose I breathe some­times. So what! Not easy! Never was. To relax. Do noth­ing. And breathe. Well, it must be nice: all that noth­ing, all that breath. Anyway, here’s what –more

  • Richie Zaborowske ~ In the Offing

    This morn­ing, the doctor’s nose twitched along, trapped in a web of spi­der veins, as he used jar­gon and acronyms. As he said can­cer of the breast, instead of just say­ing breast can­cer. As you sat there, wear­ing that damned –more

  • Julian George ~ Everyone Loves Heroin

    Heroin is a moth­er drug. It puts you in the warm safe­ty of the womb where everything’s fine.           – Tom Verlaine

    Everyone loves hero­in. Opium, mor­phine, lau­danum (those were days), methadone, codeine, Robitussin, –more

  • Rachel Becker ~ Four Poems

    Juvenile Delinquency

    I swear the boy at the bus stop
    will nev­er get away with
    what­ev­er he thinks I am,
    fuck­ing cunt he says,
    kick­ing a spray of rocks and gravel
    that peck like roost­ers at my bare shins.

    Because I’m fif­teen, I fork his lawn,
    white plas­tic prongs –more

  • Steve Gergley ~ House Sitting

    The day after I fin­ished my first semes­ter of col­lege, I drove up to Utica to house-sit for my aunt and uncle. Having near­ly failed out of my com­put­er sci­ence pro­gram three times in less than a year, I decid­ed to ditch the –more

  • Greg Sanders ~ Le Flâneur

    Under more typ­i­cal cir­cum­stances I’d show up at your place wear­ing my stir­rups, car­ry­ing a bot­tle of chardonnay.

    But not today. Don’t ask me to come around.

    I would love to “drop in,” as I used to do, sport­ing a fez –more

  • NWWQ ~ JANUARY 2023

    We thank every­one who sub­mit­ted to this issue. Special thanks to Senior Editors Kim Chinquee and Elizabeth Wagner. The next issue will be April 2023, accept­ing sub­mis­sions April 1–14. Meanwhile, we hope you enjoy the readings.

  • Kathleen Ma ~ Four Poems

    Don’t sleep on the wormup!

    Don’t sleep on the wormup!
    You’ll nev­er make it out if you try.
    On Long Island we saw a dead eel,
    Stomach leak­ing in terror.

    It looked like a sausage.
    No one ever tells you life is going to be so inspir­ing.

  • J. G. Steen ~ Triptych

    1. We Become Death

    We watched the first explo­sion from our lab­o­ra­to­ry and it freaked us all out. I looked at Ed, his big thick framed glass­es reflect­ing the mush­room cloud: a tow­er­ing mon­stros­i­ty, a hand of des­o­la­tion reach­ing up from the desert, –more

  • Candace Hartsuyker ~ 3 Linked Flashes

    When You’re The Actress

    You and he will star in 140 episodes. You will be a damsel and a were­wolf, an opera star and a jeal­ous clown, a dom­i­na­trix and a detec­tive. You will nick­name the cam­era Gregory, from the Latin word Gregorious, mean­ing watch­ful. –more

  • Michelle Reale ~ Two Pieces


    There may be a grand­moth­er some­where who would be will­ing to care­ful­ly col­lect a drop or two of your tears and mix them with a sprig of rue and a lock of your hair. At this point you can for­get all of the advan­tages that you –more

  • Gary Fincke ~ Tractors

    Once, in May, a trac­tor near where the teacher lived in Western New York van­ished beneath the earth when a farmer drove too ear­ly into the onion fields. The teacher, a month from fin­ish­ing his first year of instruct­ing teenagers, –more

  • J. Alan Nelson ~ Hat on a peg

    This life splits you apart like a for­tune cook­ie. Bear with me while I have this Proustian moment the year I was twelve and live on Martha Avenue with a fire down the street. Fire trucks and fire men.

    The house was once a small lend­ing –more

  • Sophie Panzer ~ Estate Planning

    My friends and I are talk­ing about what comes after we die. Nothing about souls or the after­life – the only one who believes in that stuff is Cassie, and we all know that’s her Pisces moon talk­ing – but we are con­cerned about our bod­ies. Burial, –more

  • Dan Shiffman ~ Marginal Comments from My English Teacher During Covid

    Avoid sen­tence fragments. 

    My school days are not frag­ments, they are one big blur. The too-early–in-the-morning garbage trucks that sound like dying whales.  My mother’s bowls of healthy, taste­less oat­meal.  Which –more