• Girija Tropp ~ 3 Fictions

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    HANGNAIL

    My ex came for three weeks and his leav­ing is over­due so I am going to move but I plan to look out for him and maybe keep my name on this lease if our boys can­not find a ground floor with lots of light and walk­er acces­si­ble. His folks –more

  • Andrew James Weatherhead ~ Shipping and Handling

    Charlotte doesn’t speak Spanish. She took two years of French in high school and, because she thought it would be fun­ny, a year of Latvian in col­lege to sat­is­fy a lan­guage require­ment, but it wasn’t fun­ny and she got a C. The pro­fes­sor looked at –more

  • Glen Pourciau ~ Table

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    We’d planned to have din­ner with the Hardaways at a restau­rant we’d nev­er been to, a pop­u­lar new fish place.  They had been there a num­ber of times already, enough to be con­sid­ered reg­u­lars and to know which table to ask for, so they made –more

  • Stefanie Freele ~ Well-Dressed Executives

    Around the white table­cloth: men in suits with cuf­flinks. They order Up Olive, Dry, On the rocks. The wait­ers, many of them stu­dents, keep to the periph­ery, watch­ing signs of low scotch, the tin­kle of ice. Food is eat­en or ignored. It is the drink –more

  • Maddie Clevenstine ~ There Was Something Growing

    The woman learned she couldn’t have chil­dren. Her doc­tor said he was very sor­ry to tell her this, and pat­ted her knee, and looked at her thought­ful­ly, like her inabil­i­ty to have chil­dren was a puz­zle, or her con­di­tion was an inter­est­ing bit of infor­ma­tion he could tell the oth­er doctor’s staffed at the hos­pi­tal, and they could all have a laugh over the poor woman and her poor, ill-formed uterus. 

  • David Ryan ~ Barcarole

    You wor­ry about the eye, the micro­phone in it that gath­ers and trans­mits daugh­ter sounds. Her infant coos, the soft rus­tle, cry, unre­cov­er­able gasp—the dread deep still­ness. Every day with her in your new life is a scratch of light in some future –more

  • Susan Henderson ~ Fish with Bent Fins

    I’ve been on the front porch look­ing for my son since the first dark clouds moved in. Mikey’s always been afraid of storms. And now here he comes, mak­ing the squeaky sound I know is fear, run­ning all the way with his hands cupped togeth­er. Not –more

  • Jessica Alexander ~ The Bear at the Door

    When the bell rings and the bear pulls Henry through the door and off the stoop, I know it is not me that has been tak­en because Henry and I don’t have that kind of rela­tion­ship. That’s not to say I don’t love Henry ten­der­ly, though I wouldn’t call it rap­ture exact­ly. I do things dif­fer­ent­ly so he won’t leave. I select, for instance, genial shades of lip­stick, blous­es with mol­li­fy­ing designs, slacks that say, “My husband’s at the ball game.”

  • Kerri Quinn ~ Rico

    I leave a note for my hus­band, Robert, on the kitchen counter next to the lat­est issue of his sub­scrip­tion to Popular Mechanics. The note says I know he’s been sleep­ing with my best friend, Michelle, and by the way, she’s also sleep­ing with Mark who lives two doors down. I also write that I’m tak­ing the espres­so machine I gave him for his birth­day. It was real­ly a gift for me. And p.s.: The Mustang we bought with our sav­ings, it wasn’t stolen. I took it.

  • Merran Jones ~ Curls

    Great hair!”
    “Thanks.”
    The stan­dard exchange between Carla and any health shop girl. Girls with names like Jasmine or Skye or Willow. Girls who munched chick­peas and trot­ted around the globe in an absent-mind­ed way.
    “You –more

  • Lydia Copeland Gwyn ~ Half Moon

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    It was morn­ing, and the day was white and soft with a low fog that had start­ed the night before in the tree­tops and slow­ly shrugged to the ground. Our water line had frozen, which hap­pened a lot in the win­ter. So many days we walked behind our –more

  • Aaron Brand ~ Three Poems

    Bus Poem 4
     

    Just out of Cheyenne, a Greyhound keeps pace
    with a VW Bug, yel­low, this girl’s suitcase
    down below, full of match­es, bubblegum,
    pink socks, cigarettes
    and stud­ded leather belts.

    The punch of sun­rise wipes
    the guy in black jeans, –more

  • Gail Louise Siegel ~ Betrayed

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    The harp sits in the cor­ner gath­er­ing dust, ever since Petra’s dog Maisy got spooked by rustling in the corn­field. A pos­sum? A snake? Petra had reached down to calm the mar­ble-eyed wolf-shep­ard mix she’d cod­dled from a pup, and lost of a chunk –more

  • Tiff Holland ~ Candy Striper

    Mom had already signed me up to be a can­dy striper by the time she and O’Toole picked me up at Robinson Memorial.

    You need to think about those less for­tu­nate,” she said, as I scratched at the stitch­es on my wrists. “You need to think of some­one oth­er than yourself.”

    I knew that what she actu­al­ly meant was that I need­ed to think about her. She didn’t know just how much I thought of her, her night­ly calls dur­ing my depres­sion in which she pre­sent­ed the­o­ry after the­o­ry regard­ing what was “wrong” with me. When I wasn’t study­ing, all I thought about was oth­er peo­ple: peo­ple I’d let down, peo­ple who were sure I could do bet­ter, peo­ple who want­ed me to dress, speak and act dif­fer­ent­ly, my ex who want­ed me to drop out of col­lege six months before grad­u­a­tion so we could buy a house for a fam­i­ly we wouldn’t end up having.

  • Pamela Painter ~ Off Stage

    The first day of Playwriting 320, I open the door to the class­room and nod hel­lo to four­teen stu­dents with expec­tant faces, weird garb, new tat­toos. Earlier today, I con­sid­ered ask­ing my TA to pass out my syl­labi, make intro­duc­tions, assign home­work.  I con­sid­ered not leav­ing my sister’s hos­pi­tal room where any day or week now she will sure­ly die. But a pro­fes­sor her­self, she insist­ed that every­thing flows from a first class.  “Go. You need to be there,” she said. “Get the fuck out of my room and give them grief,” then she coughed a laugh I couldn’t echo.  When the meds again pulled her under, I made sure the nurse had my cell, then I head­ed to cam­pus three miles away, the mobile of glass birds for her birth­day next week chirp­ing in the back seat.  I’m think­ing of giv­ing it to her lat­er today.

  • Fae Dremock ~ The Flyover

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    Ann smelled the ele­phant before she saw it. Then a mud-grey foot swung past and just ahead, land­ing to her left. The drover passed, and the tail of the ele­phant whisked out in front of her, stink­ing of loose bow­els. Ann stopped beside the fruit –more

  • Ann Colley ~ Seed-Time

    Excerpt from The Odyssey and Dr. Novak

    There are in our exis­tence spots of time,
    Which with dis­tinct pre­em­i­nence retain
    A ren­o­vat­ing Virtue …
    (Wordsworth The Prelude)

    ENGLAND 1946–1953

    This is where the odyssey begins, or where I imag­ine it com­mences. The time is a warm English sum­mer after­noon in 1946. The place is the front gar­den of the Unitarian par­son­age sit­u­at­ed in a mod­est town bare­ly six miles north of Manchester. Holding my six-year-old hand is Dr. Novak, the head of the Unitarian move­ment in Czechoslovakia. 

  • Jeff Ewing ~ The Ramp

    Kepler made a deci­sion. He looked up from the side­walk and stepped direct­ly on a crack. He was twen­ty-three years old and it was time to grow up. It felt good, a load off, until he got a call from the emer­gency room say­ing his moth­er had stepped on a slug on the back porch, fall­en and bro­ken her back. A banana slug, fat and yel­low and flat­tened to the con­sis­ten­cy of dis­card­ed gum. He won­dered if it was poisonous—wasn’t that what bright col­ors sig­ni­fied in the wild? Danger, tox­i­c­i­ty, fangs and stingers? Inside the house his moth­er was laid out on the couch, her glow­ing, flow­ered muumuu sig­ni­fy­ing some­thing else, though he didn’t know what.

  • Mary Akers ~ Saying the Name

    I spent sec­onds shar­ing the stage with him in my minor role, hours in the dark­ened wings watch­ing him per­form in the light. He came from Switzerland. He spoke at least three lan­guages. He was a world­ly col­lege senior. I remem­ber his curly hair, his long body, his lop­ing stride, but not his name.

  • Emily Pettit ~ Dear Cousin

    Dear Cousin ,
    I miss you very much. My life now has pur­pose, but your absence con­tin­ues to be so very hard to accept. I know things are just like the song says “you’ve got go to prison for your cousin / you’ve got to / you’ve got to / you’ve got to” but this truth does not delete my beat­ing heart for you.