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. 

Paul Myette ~ Day Drinking at the Harris Suites

2009-10-08 01.57.50c

from a nov­el in progress

The Harris Suites crum­bled slow­ly on the back strip of Virginia Beach. Alex paused and looked up at the bleached yel­low paint of the façade. In each room, save one, the win­dow blinds were drawn. Even in the bright sun of mid­day he could sense the dark­ness inside those rooms. 

Samuel Ligon ~ The Little Goat

There were once a girl and a boy who lay on a hill of grav­el kiss­ing until their lips were raw. Kissing was the best thing that had ever hap­pened to the boy and the girl, and so they rode their bicy­cles to the grav­el pit every Sunday in pur­suit of that sweet, sin­gu­lar pastime.

Karen Brennan

Home is Where the Heart Is

Mary Beth

Strictly speak­ing, as a licensed prac­ti­cal nurse (LPN), it is not my job to man­age the table décor, but I do it because I’m good at it.  Each res­i­dent gets a rose they are wel­come to pass on to their valen­tine-du-jour.   Though that’s kind of a sick joke, when you think about it.

Tamara Burross ~ Migraines for Hegel

You have never known love until your introduction to structuralism. You have never laughed as loudly as you laugh at Freud. You study for your literary theory class like you chew delicious morsels of food. You read about Hegel’s dialectic and Marxist ideology. Your migraines return from remission and you start having to give yourself triptan injections, missing classes. You write a cultural criticism paper using Jakobson’s paradigmatic and syntagmatic axes. You study postcolonialism. You begin having seizures. Your psychiatrist tells you they are psychosomatic. He asks you what you’re studying that could be causing existential dread. He gives you a seizure preventative that is also a mood stabilizer and triples as a migraine preventative. The thrill of studying becomes a little less intense; the blackness of your depression becomes a little less dark. Your neurologist approves, and adds a beta-blocker to lower your blood pressure and prevent headaches. You get dizzy when you rise from sitting. You don’t have a primary care physician, only specialists. The doctor at the campus clinic prescribes you opiates for your migraine pain. Foucault’s archeological method leaps from the pages in bright neons; you see certain words in certain colors.

Your boyfriend’s sis­ter is study­ing psy­chol­o­gy. She says any­one in the room who doesn’t yawn when some­one else yawns is a sociopath, so you fake your yawns when you notice oth­ers yawn­ing. You sneak into the bed­room while she’s over and swal­low –more

Mel Bosworth

What It Said

I texted my moth­er the night before that I’d be at the house not too late and not too ear­ly. Cut from the dark sky bled a pas­tel pink that seeped up and over the moun­tain around 6am, which was bet­ter than before we set the clocks back.

Elizabeth Hellstern

Two Pieces

The Space Between: A Meditation

My brain works in spurts: There are two hemi­spheres and a space between. The space between is filled with synaps­es, junc­tions that jump from nerve impulse to an unknown land­ing space. The space between is the vul­ner­a­ble sweet spot of juicy pos­si­bil­i­ty. The space between is a chasm, and beau­ti­ful, but how we land is entire­ly up to us.

Cari Scribner

My Father, The Fish, and The Rocking Chairs

No one had time to send greet­ing cards to William, my father, flow­ers meant for men, maybe an assort­ment of suc­cu­lents in a ceram­ic dish for his cof­fee table. In his room, the plas­tic pitch­er of hos­pi­tal water sits beside an emp­ty Styrofoam cup. A paper-wrapped straw lies aban­doned on the swing-around tray to hold orange Jell‑O snack packs, nev­er served.