• Tommy Dean ~ Temporary Housing

    On those nights when our par­ents fought, we crawled into their clos­et and closed the door. The muf­fled sen­sa­tion of dart­ed-words ham­mered at our backs as we dug through the rem­nants of our par­ents’ past lives. Yearbooks, and melt­ed can­dles, track batons with sharpied time tri­als, baby blan­kets wrin­kled with mildew. Love let­ters and class rings, old foot­ball stats. The sheet music for “Somewhere –more

  • Phebe Jewell ~ Dept. of Imagination

    Don’t tell your father,” Mom would say, fold­ing a lot­tery tick­et and slip­ping it into her purse. Poor people’s tax, Dad scoffed every time he spot­ted the Washington State Lottery’s “Dept. of Imagination” logo. He nev­er bought a tick­et, but Mom stopped by the counter under the four-leaf-clover ban­ner when it was just the two of us. Another of our lit­tle –more

  • Sean Lovelace ~ A Conversation with My Father by Grace Paley

    Back when, I remem­ber com­ing across this sto­ry all the time (most like­ly the same year I found The Smiths and quit the entire state of Mississippi [and all I knew there] and moved to Denver to work as a hos­pi­tal order­ly like my hero, Denis Johnson) in fic­tion antholo­gies, short sto­ry text­books, etcetera, books bought for fifty cents or one dol­lar (at most) in cramped and musty book­stores (this was –more

  • J.D. Hosemann ~ Equipment

    Shiny things hung from the young man’s belt­loops, most notice­ably a sil­ver tape mea­sure, which he stretched between my door­ways. I love these coun­try homes, he said.

    Walter laid the brick him­self, I announced. Walter cared for the lawn all those years, too. Paid off the home just three months before he died. I said all of this to excuse the Christmas dec­o­ra­tions bleached by the August sun, the –more

  • Karen Craigo ~ Four Poems

    Dandelion

    Every year about this time
    I thumb through a Rolodex
    of names—my names, all
    the pos­si­ble ones, every­thing
    I’ve heard whis­pered or shout­ed
    my way, in love or in pan­ic,
    in anger. There are nick­names,
    like the one a kid gave me
    in sixth grade: Birdlegs,
    and real­ly, yet today I’m shaped
    like a ball of cook­ie dough
    bal­anced –more

  • Gary Percesepe ~ Where We Are Now

    Daniel Berrigan tells a sto­ry about a con­queror who comes into our city. He is a huge, super­hu­man fig­ure, and is pre­ced­ed by rumors of invin­ci­bil­i­ty. He has con­quered every­where and our city is next. We are afraid and there is noth­ing to be done except make peace with him; he is all pre­vail­ing. He comes clos­er and clos­er, and we begin to notice that he has no army; he is all alone. Yet we know that –more

  • Joseph Young ~ How to Write Flash Fiction

    Begin

    Begin with a thing. Make it a spar­row. A spar­row cling­ing to the stem of an Easter Lily. Make the spar­row silent. We don’t want too many voic­es this ear­ly on. Let the lily speak for itself.

    Enter

    Now, enter. This is how things get going. You need a dog. This dog is red but the top of its head is blonde, bleached by the sun. The dog swims every day. Get that dog mov­ing! Don’t for­get about –more

  • N. Minnick ~ Four Poems

    COWBOY BOOTS

    Sometimes an urge takes hold of us and pulls us onto the dance floor
    even though we only want to sip our drink and observe.

    I don’t mean one of those sud­den, fleet­ing urges
    like pee­ing off the back of the boat

    or kiss­ing the girl you’ve been stam­mer­ing before
    under a porch light that is being pecked by moths,

    but an urge that leads to a life no one saw com­ing;

    like leav­ing your com­fort­able –more

  • Christopher Linforth ~ Belief

    On the day we flee town, we will want the neigh­bor­hood to know what hap­pened. We will tell sto­ries about our step­fa­ther to the kind and not-so-kind men on our street, to the cops who size us up to see if we are under­age, turn­ing tricks, will turn a trick with them. We will run door-to-door and con­fess to the rumors cir­cu­lat­ing in town. We will bypass the church­es, the mosque and syn­a­gogue, and the –more

  • Gary Percesepe ~ Philosophy

    The para­troop­ers fall and as they fall
    They mow the lawn. –Wallace Stevens

    Everyone was talk­ing about a phi­los­o­phy of life. It seemed impor­tant and the kind of thing that could stand one in good stead for years to come. Things were falling apart. The ex: mon­ey again. No news there. My best friend Flipper was freak­ing out on me again. Two kids in need of school clothes and new footwear. And I had –more

  • Tommy Dean ~ Here

                We all live poor­ly here. Use mail-in rebates at the hard­wood store, get drunk at Sammy’s on Friday nights, and let our chil­dren run around in their under­wear in our front yards. They wave flags, swords, and guns, prac­tic­ing for the com­ing days when sol­dier is the only job that comes with ben­e­fits. 

                We –more

  • Jay Merill ~ A Cousin from Leicester

    Late but not quite mid­night. Marina Melba stands on the com­mu­nal bal­cony of the flats. She pulls a cig­a­rette with ele­gance from a pack­et. Lights it with­out look­ing, eyes fixed on the balustrade and fog­gy sky. 31st December is the date.

                Tess on her way to meet friends stops by the ele­va­tor. Pops out to the bal­cony for a sec­ond, –more

  • Jules Archer ~ From the Slumbarave Hotel on Broadway

    The hotel key was ours. A rec­tan­gu­lar piece of hard plas­tic with the words PLAY SLEEP REPEAT on the front. New York City. That humid sum­mer day when it rained frogs and peo­ple shield­ed them­selves with their umbrel­las, only to be pelt­ed any­way. Four con­cus­sions. One death. And us? We were snug in our suite. Plush pil­lows, silk sheets, turn­down ser­vice. A mini bar we emp­tied. We filled that hotel –more

  • Mason Binkley ~ Whoa Golly

    We’re togeth­er again, three old buds stand­ing in a dark clos­et at our thir­ti­eth high school reunion. We can hear the eight­ies music from the audi­to­ri­um one floor below us. What are we doing? I’d let Larry tell you, but he’s wor­ried he’s hav­ing a heart attack. And Justin, he thinks the police will barge in any sec­ond. He’s already prepar­ing a legal defense. 

    We’re still best friends, –more

  • David Dodd Lee ~ Two Bronze Figures Near the Ocean

    Her hair some­times sailed on her. She was a point in the dis­tance, as if the entire uni­verse had poured from a con­ver­gence. She thought, It’s just as well.

         Hardwick under­stood her, if he were also some­times spar­tan in the extreme, bare pots stored in bare unpa­pered cab­i­nets. Once again, he watched as she was absorbed, turned to vapor in some oth­er sphere. Her hair, tak­en –more