Embezzeled Emotion

Catherine O’Brien If I say ‘I love you’ and you don’t say ‘I don’t love you’, I cry fraudulence, have we even had an argument? Have you failed to fire my heart out of a circus cannon? In this surrealness, I walk a slanted tightrope back to you Falling backwards only to the sigh of […]

False Flat

Caroline Gonda It’s a thing in cycling, apparently, an incline you don’t recognise as one because it’s not that steep so you carry on pedalling, not understanding why you’re getting more and more exhausted when it’s not like it’s hard but your legs are tired and your back hurts and everything is heavier and slower […]

Welcome to the Pixel Exhibition

Paul Thompson On screen you are an abstract masterpiece. I secretly take screenshots as we talk, print and rearrange them on my walls. In a gallery I would label them – laughing, frowning, embarrassed, quizzical, and so on. My exhibition title would be something profound, something only you would understand. Something about friendships and the […]

The Things Sally Hardesty’s Best Friend, Pam, Never Speaks Of (CW: body horror)

Jan Stinchcomb               What it’s like to be the first, instead of the final, girl.               How it feels when your ass, immortalized in the dolly shot, is more famous than you are.               How she chose the clothes she died in, red shorts with a black belt over a swimsuit.               Where she learned […]

This Seagull

Richard Barr This seagull was bigger than my cat. Noticeably so. It was rush hour. All at once the people, so many people, emerged from their buildings and out onto the street. Up and down that long industrious stretch, tall, glass-fronted, non-descript buildings haemorrhaging…people…like a mass evacuation of ants from their anthills. People filled the […]

Osmosis

Shannon Frost Greenstein It doesn’t taste as bad as you would expect. I thought it would be like swallowing a mouthful of salt, but eventually, it goes down like regular water. # Did you know, if you’re ever lost at sea, you can buy your life back from Poseidon with a black pearl? There was […]

I’m a Corpse Flower, and I’ve Got a Bone(r) to Pick with You, Botany

Shannon Frost Greenstein So. Botany. Let me just say it, right out loud, because it’s what everyone is already thinking, anyway. I’m essentially a giant penis. I mean, sure. I’m more. I’m more than just my enormous stamen. I know. I am my absolute uselessness for years on end, for example, before I finally bloom. […]

The Vanishing

Jared Beloff 1. The house went without a sound during Mrs. Thompson’s daily trip to the mailbox last fall, her back turned from the crater where the front porch had been. When she looked up from a fistful of circulars and credit offers, the absence announced itself in a plume of smoke, the crumpled paper […]

Sirens

Jennifer Furner               Whenever I hear sirens, I think of Sister Liska, the older-than-dirt nun from my childhood parish (may she rest in peace). She’d tell us, “Whenever you hear sirens, say a prayer for whoever is in trouble.” And for a long time, that’s exactly what I did. But then I moved to the […]

The Side Show of Birth

Amy Barnes               I give birth to the longest baby ever on the longest day of the year. 144 inches. A gross of a baby. A gross baby. Six hundred people pay a nickel to feel my still-distended belly and listen to me grunt and strain so they can take a closer look at this […]

Clothesline Number 9

Amy Barnes               The sun dries my paintings where Mama can’t see me. I’m supposed to be doing chores but instead I’m painting bedsheets with no-name cheese puff dust, with day-glo orange fingers because brushes cost money.               For once, it’s not our underwear hung there for the whole neighborhood to see and point and […]

My Boyfriend’s Wife

Iona Rule When I’m with my boyfriend, who is also her husband, he serves me spaghetti in their pond green bowls. I lick them clean, imagining her tongue. My boyfriend laughs and wipes the red stains from my chin.  My boyfriend’s wife is away a lot. She is a paediatrician, working shifts or headlining conferences, […]

Untied

Al Kratz Skitter scattering critters of the ceiling, we’re trying to sleep around here. I guess boundaries and borders. I guess party time for the nocturnal. Siri, what is the opposite of nocturnal? Oh, that makes sense. Let’s take a moment here. A sleep prayer for the diurnal. Our cat likes to party day and […]

Babydoll

Sarah Jones               A moment of silence, please, for my missing left breast. For the spreading lumps bubbling through me. Ripping me up from the inside.               I was my own once. Mine alone to throw about, to shred into pieces, to soak in gin and set alight on warm summer nights. I used to […]

God knows what to do with our bed

Kik Lodge Down in Grignan, a man called Didier has a comfortable clic-clac. He’s a self-diagnosed poet and truffle-hunter, says all treasure lies beneath. What I find confusing is that he calls out Mother! in his sleep and his boar is also called Mother. — I spent last Monday night on a bunkbed. It’s ridiculous, […]

Long After the Long Ride into the Sunset

Marvin Shackelford First thing in the morning I draw a blue mark in the shallow dimple of my cheek, so near my mouth I sometimes taste it. The air is curious just before sunrise, darker and cooler, and I dress a little too warm, too safe. My hands shake, pulling wool from the hanger. The […]

The Man With the Moon

Sabina Wong               Little Ramon Huang was in love. His child’s mind too small for him to process this particular complexity, all he could do was lay on his back, stare at the stars he longed for, and cry.               The older he grew, the more his passion consumed him. He read about space at […]

My Mother Was Once a Story

Sally Badawi Hijab wears my mother. Her jaw pinned smooth with pearls: convex mirrors refract evil blue eye. This is to orient a west in love with detonating stone, in love with hollowing caves to fill hungry gaze. My mother once lived hair on display until she picked the rubble from her scalp, shucking shrapnel […]

Two Needles, One Dog

Kev Thomas I asked to see the vet. I was holding Gaia in my arms. She was wrapped in my school coat, which was now soaked from the heavy rain. The receptionist chatted loudly with an elderly woman. The elderly woman wasn’t wet. She had two small white cotton ball dogs on her lap. I […]

The Other Mothers

Kelle Clarke               The early morning train passes swiftly through the thick trees below, sending her coffee mug jittering across the counter. She wonders what time they’ll arrive. The noon train rattles her teeth. They are fastened tight to her jaw with industrial epoxy, though they are all her own. Sharp little fuckers, they used […]

When the Organ Player from Schmitt Music Stops You After Your Shift on Holy Saturday to Say You’re Terribly Beautiful

Elizabeth Fletcher               You’re on the second-floor concourse when it happens. It’s one level up from the music store and neighboring one-hour photo place where you stuff Kodak and Fuji film canisters into envelopes and occasionally sell a camera.               True, Schmitt Music employs a bullpen of organists—bland, sweatered men that you and your co-workers […]

How to visit an Irish peninsula in the 1970s

Mary Byrne Take the long way around a coastal promontory on a Sunday afternoon. Floor the accelerator in vain when the clutch cable snaps. Get out of the car and wait a while in the hope that another vehicle will appear, then realise that no one else has any reason to take this road. Recall, […]

Nobody Will Hear Them

David Hartley             Craig knows other Craig sneaks into his shed with his girlfriends. Craig knows other Craig thinks nobody will hear them, going at it, but Craig doesn’t have to hear, he just knows. Craig knows what sounds those walls of his shed hear: every whoop and squeal, every groan and gasp of other […]

Post Modern

A. Joseph Black Christ, he’s still there. I lean back out of view and catch the curtain with my shoulder. It sways out across the window but thankfully he’s looking the other way. He just keeps walking backwards and forwards: cupping his hand to the window, checking if I’m here, and then knocking my door. […]

Wolf Song

Lisa DeCastro I am an onyx pearl Inside your shell Rolling on your tongue Swallowed Implanted A stone in the underbelly In a jeweled state of unrest Waiting to be released Uninhibited On the waves Of your most guttural Howl Lisa De Castro has published three books: Margot (novella), The Beauty of Decay (poetry), and […]

This is what happens when you go places:

Sidney Dritz In my head I’m still standing on that curb, night time in May, and my lips on your lips, airplanes racing overhead, taller than you for once, your feet in that gutter, my feet on that curb, my hair in your eyes, your lips on my lips, and it is hard, but it […]

With Nothing to Lose (Not Even Her Body)

Mandira Pattnaik               Adori wasn’t always a shadow. When her husband confined her to a window-less room immediately after her twins were born, she remembers sliding into a numbed state, too garbled to comprehend it wasn’t her, it was him.                             As she stretched her body over the branch of the banyan this morning, […]

They Were Boiling Their Clothes

Rodrigo Duran               They were boiling their clothes.               They were in the kitchen wearing raincoats, but the true outfits swirled in a bubbling broth in the pot itself. Every so often they looked inside, but met by the tremendous smell, they put the lid back on, only glimpsing a loose sleeve waving back from […]

The During is a Deep, Wide Pit

Lindsey Neely               I knew last night that today would suck but I watched the testimony anyway because you have to know the whole truth and nothing but the truth before you can turn the page of the book you’re reading and begin the last chapter which I pray is titled The Bad Guys Get […]

The Copyeditor’s Lament

JP Seabright             I dream in the margins. My head full of black marks on a page. Several small underlinings; here and there square, curved and pointed brackets; a specific squiggle; a line of dots. I stet in my sleep, indicating that the marked alteration should be ignored. Stet, from the Latin stare, let it […]

Out to the Rain

Lauren Cortese We think we stopped crying on a Thursday. Those of us who were at funerals or who gave birth that day remember it best for the troubling absence of tears. The rest of us only have faint memories of pride for that day when we didn’t cry in the middle of a fight, […]

Night Fishers

Merridawn Duckler Water against the pier like a throat click. The churned blanket of our childhood bed. Lines curve back and fly into dark. We walked down because you wanted to see a super moon over water. On the way we pass a child struggling to keep up with his fast walking father. Father, turn […]

Seed, Root, Shoot

James Montgomery Soon enough, there’ll be time for twelve red roses. A carnation wrist corsage. Homemade Christmas wreaths hung from her own front door. Mason jars and glass vases crowded with tulips, just because – she’d have whole bathtubs full if she could. Flowers for fresh starts, fresh homes, fresh jobs. An ivory bouquet. Blossom-brimming […]

How Do You Recognize a Good Man?

Kristina Thornton Friday night freedom hangs in the air as she follows him through the packed street. Shouts and laughs surround them. Legs in stumbling short skirts and puffy peacock chests. It could be Benidorm but it’s Barnsley. He says he knows her. She’s seen his smile at work, at the call-centre. Until he galloped […]

Hot Girl Summer For Nerds Who Love Too Hard

Avery Nguyen You don’t know how to hook up with me and I don’t know how to hook up with you. Just look at us: two idiots gazing moon-eyed at each other in the midst of implacable rain, standing in an empty parking lot, both of our mouths working around the same words. You say […]

Scarlett’s Got a Gun

Fiona McKay Scarlett’s got a gun. Moves on alcohol-soft legs through a glass room, louring shadows, candlestick-high. Feels no pain, plant-pot rammed, skittering away broken-sharded. Scarlett’s got a gun, those bitches don’t even know it, heads together, bending peacock feathers, white skin blaring in the candlelight. Scarlett’s got a gun tight-strapped to her milk-thighs that […]

yellow jacket wasp macro photography

Autumn Wasp

Harriet MacMillan You have made of me an autumn wasp.The last yellow gasp of summer was utteredand the air crisped around me, solidifying intoacorns. A quirky carpet for the forest floor,pebble-dashing the places where leaves willsoon leave epitaphs upon the dying grass. See the stripes you have painted upon me,the fluttered slits on my thorax where […]

Growing Season

Katie Hunter Last summer my tomatoes Swept the garden. Downy tendrils swaddled jalapeños and My soiled hands Arrested dreams of eggplant Crept past my whispered pleas. Slow. Down. I pruned visions and Sacrificed limbs. Their heads bowed canary blossoms in A rain prayer Unanswered. Still they grew. I lopped green Sucklings into my palms. They […]

Museum Piece

Becky May They’d hung Monet’s ‘Reflections of Clouds on the Water-Lily Pond’ across the white expanse of wall in the end room, benches at regular intervals in front of it on the polished wooden floor. Helen imagined herself removing her shoes, dipping her feet in the nymph-like blue, stems trailing across her ankles, cool after […]

Mortuary Science

Terri Linn Davis (read Terri’s interview about this poem with our Poetry Editor, Ian O’Brien, here) Terri Linn Davis has an MFA in poetry from Southern Connecticut State University, and her work has most recently been published in Emerge Literary Journal, Neologism Poetry Journal, Belletrist, and Ghost City Review. She lives in Connecticut with her […]

Robbie was here

Adele Rickerby Robbie was here ‘84 Flick of a thin folded foreskin, a ring of rubber peeled, turning, curving, splaying and spraying a stream of steaming urine to splash like flax against the foothills of grimy snow, stacked and compacted along the long sides of the never ending highway to nowhere, as ‘Jesus, kid! Hurry […]

close up of hand feeding on tree trunk

When Pigs Fly

Kyla Houbolt The President identifies as an alien shill. He has trouble falling down stairs. And up them. I mean, he forgot how to fly.  All the other Presidents laugh at him behind their hands. Hands turning into skillets full of hot grease they sip with pleasure. We always thought they were something else, something […]

Interview With Poet, Terri Linn Davis

Ian O’Brien 1) ‘Mortuary Science’ is part of a wider project you are working on. Tell us a little about that. “Mortuary Science” is a poem that’s a part of my full-length poetry manuscript where the speaker attempts to explore or “name” the concept of loss with all its nuance: loss caught in the act, […]

postpartum rage

Vic Nogay in a vision, i hit her. her giggles go silent, her lights short out, the synapses fold as the twinkle stars drown in the swollen spaces between blood and brain and skull. she wobbles on her knees in a kitchen chair, two grapes half-chewed in her little mouth, and i study the pupils […]

macro photo of black fly

The Weeping Woman

Claire Hampton               I watch the man at the table gnawing his dirty fingernails, pungent sweat darkening the underarms of his denim shirt. There’s no air, no oxygen penetrating the thick reinforced glass of the small window.               A fly circles.               A woman enters clutching an envelope, a cold breath rushing in before the […]

retro lamp hanging from tent during camping in nature in evening

Sorry For What I Said When We Were Putting Up the Tent

Helen Gordon It was the smell, shaken out with the crisped corpses of last summer’s earwigs; musty, with a tang of mould that will creep into the clothes that also act as my pillow – because polyester is for pussies; weak, and so left in plump perfection on the bed, in favour of fleece, which […]

Workaholic

Katja Sass It’s 9.45 pm. Everyone’s gone except a 30-something woman sitting alone in her 2m2 office cubicle, finishing off the last of the audits in time for the 9.45 am meeting tomorrow. She closes the folder and places it on top of the other folders, smiles at the mountain of completed work. She switches […]

The Registrar

Abi Hennig He tucks a stray curl behind her ear. She leans into him, rests her head on his shoulder as he picks up the pen. ‘You ok if I…?’ She nods, shifts her weight, places elbows on desk, twiddles the ring on her finger. On the other side of the table, I touch my […]