Foreign

Lisa Ferranti Editor’s note from Sudha Balagopal: I’ve enjoyed Lisa Ferranti’s fiction for the gentle intimacy her stories convey. In this tale, too, she draws us inside the lives of her characters with a quiet skill where we learn of their internal fears and uncertainties. She lures us into their relationship and into rooting for […]

Two Audio Poetry Performances: Toxic and You Are Music

Melinda Smith Editorial note from Janice Leagra: I don’t remember how I first connected to Melinda on Twitter, but I remember seeing one of her tweets where she shared a video of herself singing and playing her guitar and I became an instant fan. Then when she started sharing herself reading her poetry, set to […]

The Grapevine

Marcy Dilworth Editorial note from Sara Siddiqui: In her vivid and concise story, Marcy Dilworth describes the wisp of energy and enthusiasm a somber event like death brings to the tedium of small-town life. Imaginations run rampant, facts are distorted, and the truth lays buried alongside the dead under the versions of evolved falsities. Coming […]

Do You Remember the Secret We Share?

Jaya Wagle Editor’s Note from Sudha Balagopal: This CNF by Jaya Wagle drew me in from the very first sentence. This story of a brief relationship is drenched in memory and sprinkled with a charming honesty. It’s about train journeys, about motels, about a kiss and most importantly about the tenderness of a fledgling liaison. […]

How To Tame a Sea Parrot

Rachael Smart (words) and David Smith (photos) Editor’s note from Janice Leagra: This is a very special and exciting feature for me to publish, because it’s the marriage of creativity between two gifted people whose individual talent and work I so enjoy and respect. That Rachael and David are also friends who collaborated on this […]

Lorna

Johannah Simon Editorial note from Myna Chang: This story pulses with desolation and skewed hope, from the powerful narrative voice to the gritty details of the setting. I heard Johannah read this story at an open mic night a few months ago. I encouraged her to start submitting it then, but I admit I’m glad […]

The Devil You Know (TW: Abuse)

Ariel M. Goldenthal Editorial note from Sara Siddiqui: In very few words, Ariel shows us the day-to-day, minute-to-minute struggle of an almost-twelve-year-old girl, her early years split between two houses and two parents, one being domineering and physically abusive. In such an environment, each breath is a strain, each step a burden. I can only […]

I Want to Write About the Moon

Shiksha Dheda Editor’s Note from Sudha Balagopal: The moon and longing create the perfect mood in this poem by Shiksha Dheda. Images, words and the layout itself create the landscape for experiencing the cold distance she writes about. I love that Shiksha’s poem is both a sensory and an emotional treat, with yearning captured and […]

Journeys

Leanne Ncube Editor’s Note from Ian O’Brien: This evocative poem is from emerging writer, Leanne Ncube. I first heard this performed at an open-mic event and it blew me away. She drops us into a precarious journey and we rattle along with a car as it makes its way through a decaying city. It’s a […]

Two Poems: The Kindest Way and Heat

Jonny Rodgers Editor’s note from Ian O’Brien: I am so proud to be able to share these poems with Janus readers. The thing that I love about Jonny’s work is that it strikes that balance of crafting and accessibility, blending the cryptic and the conversational, and I think that makes for the best poetry. In […]

Two Micros: A Heart That Does Not Beat and You Will Never Need to Walk Again

Yunya Yang Editor’s Note from Sudha Balagopal: Yunya Yang delivers her signature punches in these two micros. There are descriptions of other worlds here, of distance and longing, of after-life and current tradition. Then, there is pain and hurt, physical and emotional, and the glimpses of deliverance. All this in tiny packages, word gifts we […]

Sommelier 2020

Stephen Smythe Editor’s Note from Ian O’Brien: I recently heard this poem recited at a live event and was immediately struck, as I always am with Stephen Smythe’s work, by the voice. There is that wonderful balance of wordplay, crafting and a deceptive simplicity that I love in poetry. The result is a powerful sense […]

If You Were the Last Man on Earth

Dara Thomas Higgins Editor’s Note from Janice Leagra: I’m drawn to Dara’s writing, in part, for its sly, deadpan wit and strong voice. Dara’s sharp observations of human foibles make for entertaining reading. His stories can often be dark in subject, yet somehow life-affirming – the reader sees him or herself in Dara’s characters. I […]

Three Poems: Three Months Old Today, Coloring with My Daughter…, and Foundation

Brian Wallace Baker Editor’s Note from Ian O’Brien: I first discovered Brian’s poetry through a prose poem he had published in the Lindenwood Review earlier this year. I was instantly struck by his voice and his imagery: he not only takes us to interesting places, but he often comes to them from a side-angle. He […]

You Can’t Always Get What You Don’t Even Want

Cheryl Markosky Editor’s Note from Jan Kaneen: I came across the first version of this flash in a Retreat West workshop that Cheryl and I were attending, and was immediately struck by its sassy, quick-witted, playful voice and the changing pace of the narration. I liked the comedic take on the idea of unwanted things […]

Insolubles

Ali McGrane Editor’s Note from Jan Kaneen: I’ve been an admirer of Ali’s writing for ages. I love her use of lyrical and often startling language, her musical timbre and strange combinations; but I chose this piece because it opens with what might be called a cliche, or an often-used phrase that teachers of flash […]

Alien in the Garden

Gillian Walker Editor’s Note from Sudha Balagopal: Gillian Walker’s stories are layered and dense, the pace of her words allowing for a rich read. Alien in the Garden starts with a mystery―a skeleton that is found in the garden. Yes, this story is about the skeleton, and it’s also not about the skeleton. It’s about […]

Photography by Rudri Patel

Rudri Patel Editor’s Note by Sudha Balagopal: Rudri Patel is both a writer and a photographer. Nature tells us stories, and in the hands of a skilled photographer like Rudri, these tales can sing, they can dance, they can transmit moods. Here are some fabulous pictures–a lonely cactus, an orange sky boasting a ruby pink […]

Bee Costume

Dan Sanders Editor’s Note from Janice Leagra: I’m drawn to Dan’s stories because they are intelligent and entertaining, told from a singular slant. He has a rich imagination, as evidenced by the story below, and an ability to find the humor in a poignant situation. His characters are quirky, but believable. I appreciate his mastery […]

Violently Bashful

Melanie Tomkins Editor’s Note from Ian O’Brien: I heard this poem performed at the Coalition open-mic event, which Mel is co-founder of. I love her poetry – the imagery, the word play, the strong character voices she creates. This poem showcases Mel’s talent with imagery and her love of nature. I love the ambivalence, the […]

A Percussion of Bones

Victoria Buitron Editor’s Note from Janice Leagra: I asked Victoria if she had any pieces to submit because I am drawn to the honesty and tenderness in her work. She writes openly of emotional topics, such as the one featured here today, crafting sentiment without sentimentality.               She tries to hide her fingers’ decline so […]

So Much In Between

Ellen Weeren Editor’s Note from Sara Siddiqui: Ellen Weeren gives us the story of a woman who’s birthing a baby right after the man, the baby’s father, walks out on her. A story that isn’t new but needs to be told again and again for the emotional and physical trauma women are subject to as […]

That Doggie in the Window

Stephanie Austin Editor’s note from Sudha Balagopal: Stephanie Austin’s creative non-fiction is at once poignant and loving. In That Doggie in the Window, Stephanie tells us about her grandmother, Sis, who lived in a group home, a lady with definite opinions and a colorful personality. As is the case with Stephanie’s other work, we come […]

The Red Dress

Gina Harlow Editorial note from Sara Siddiqui: Sometimes, after the death of a loved one, you might hear things about them from others, things that might cast a sliver of doubt in your mind—whether you really knew the person you are grieving for. With time, you accept it’s impossible to know everything about a person, […]

The Forms I Took to Escape From You

Sharon Telfer Eel … you, all slippery sweetness baiting your trap, me, gliding sliding straight in, wriggling slithering bumping those curving lips closing in writhing the edges curling in those grappling fingers the turning back, impossible … Bear I roared. You muzzled my jaw and set hot metal under my feet, clapped as I danced […]

Assembly Instructions For a Love Triangle

Raima Larter LoveTriangle.com Thank you for completing our online questionnaire. See below for your personalized LoveTriangle kit instructions! Materials included in your personalized LoveTriangle kit:Item H: One (1) 58-year-old grocery clerk (female, Helen), inheritance recipientItem A: One (1) 59-year-old geologist (male, Alan), recently widowedItem B: One (1) former high school boyfriend (Bentley), rancherItem F: Two […]

Pale Urn for Hydras

Haolun Xu i.   Am I so bad? All I ever wanted was to simply transcend all things.   But life as a whole will abandon me for this. It has been decided upon arrival that we should live and die as trees. But we eat trees too, don’t we.   My special talent. What […]

The Other Side of Me

Helen Chambers               A confident stranger with newly-cropped hair stares back at me in the mirror. Does she feel lucky, I wonder? She tosses a coin, we both watch it spinning in a low slant of sunlight which elbows its way through the shuttered windows of this closed-up house. Heads means leave tonight: so I […]

Un, Deux, Trois

Helen Chambers ‘Morning all – hope you’re wide awake, cheerful and ready to work hard. Don’t yawn, George, or you’ll set me off again. Hello Mrs Smithson, I can’t talk now as I’ve already started the lesson as you can see, so why don’t you come in after school? You can’t? Tomorrow morning at 8.15 […]

The Counselors of Stelita Tero

Mike Keller-Wilson The counselors of sleepaway camp Stelita Tero are beasts, uncaged till morning. By now, we’ve shed our counselor skins, stripped off first-aid fanny packs and letter-bead bracelets. We’ve unclipped our nametags and go nameless, feral. I am not Shamrock, not until the breakfast bell rings at seven thirty. That’s not Bonsai and Choo-Choo […]

You Never Do

Daniele Nunziata Even God had a day off. Even machines need a day off. Even the moon, once a month, takes an evening off. But you never do. // Do you remember that week when we first saw Rome? I would trade in the sum of the Sistine Chapel and the Parthenon just for you […]

A Horse Named Kairos

Marissa Hoffmann When Dad isn’t reading, he’s talking, and there’s no stopping him when he’s in a good mood. Mum is on a work trip, and Dad hasn’t noticed I haven’t brushed my hair. He’s buttering bread, chatting on about the Ancient Greeks—a special moment they called Kairos. He says it’s when someone does something […]

A Girl Broken Down

Heather Shaw Sixteen fingers and four malicious thumbs hold me to the bed, Then they get to work. Stretch out my arms till S N A P   The cartilage churns up into a thousand pieces A splitting of my atoms, bone into confetti The party pieces float, trapped in the vacuum of human space. […]

In Carini

J. Kenny each afternoon on that ancient dusty hill in a square of smooth slippery stone a crowd gathers in front of a church for a funeral or wedding. the only difference is how the crowd greet the man in the suit at the top of the marble steps worn by the footsteps of mourners […]

While It Snowed

J. Kenny on a Sunday we walked through a cemetery while it snowedand the flowers left at Christmas were now frozen on the tombstones.the snow crunched under our feet and everything else was silentand I watched a single flake fall and melt on your lip. we stopped in a brick archway by a fir tree […]

It Pulls You Under

Laila Amado The season of the fogs brings heat and languor to this island lost in the middle of the sea. Everything sticks. The fabric of my dress, the man I’ve met at the bar the other day. “Where is your husband?” he says, eyes roaming over my left hand. Bed linens cling to my […]

Thistle

Ives Phillips I let the bud poke my palette,Bitter up my tongue,Because I’d rather that thanGrin a grin you don’t deserve. I reserve my honey and blushOnly for those that were thereTo tie a balloon to my wristAnd feed the light in my eyes. I blew a dandelion back thenWishing us all well, only toWatch […]

Driven Home

Rob McIvor Alice stops the car in a quiet spot, a service road behind the Multiplex. The last film ended an hour ago and there won’t be any deliveries to the catering franchises on a Sunday morning. She switches off the lights but leaves the engine ticking over, to keep the heating going for a […]

Cornered

Liz Churchill He’s racing to catch up with his mum when he spots leopard skin between the wheelie-bins. It’s well past his bedtime, well into the meat of the evening but curiosity stops him dead. The shape is roaring softly, red talons scuffing against the plastic. He looks down, sees toes trapped, heels raked up […]

Domestic Blindings

Jenny Wong After my thirty-seventh birthday, I begin to wander the house at night with the lights off, and wonder if this is how it will feel to become like the other women in my family.  10 steps down. A carpeted landing. 3 steps down. Ground floor.  A formula my will body remember long after […]

Brought to Bed with a Good Book

Jacqueline Saville Kerry agreed to be my birth partner eventually. She’d been in greater denial than me about my expanding waist and ballooning ankles. It was the cravings that convinced her, the night I was wearing out her living room carpet, crossing back and forth in front of EastEnders till she had to give up […]

Instructions for Maintaining the Fabric of Your Universe

Karen Jones and soft touches in those first few hours of the honeymoon. Slow caresses, case still full of dresses, this room the only world, his touch all the covering you need. his scent from your skin. Sweat-mingled, salt-taste to tongue, you never want to be clean again. if you have to. But do it […]

The Language of Flowers

Grace Palmer “Dearest,” he began, but as he hesitated over the next word his pen dribbled ink onto the paper and blotter.  Harry tore the draft letter in two and fed it into the grate with fire tongs. The embers coughed up a meagre flame.  How could she? But The Times announcement left no room for […]

He May Be Human, But I Am Not Divine

Rachel O’Cleary He still wants me to finish first, like before. Sometimes he stops himself so that I can. Sidles up to the brink, and then goes still. Retraces his steps right to the very beginning and starts over. Once more, with feeling. I used to encourage him. Lavishly, loudly. His name a series of […]

Double universe

Francine Witte There are forests, there are planets, there is the moon. In this universe, you are nothing but a speckity spec. *** There is another universe inside you. A double universe. Made of blood and bone and goo.  *** On a night of fullest moon, the two universes meet. Ooh, says the inner universe, […]

My Body of Work

Hannah Storm When I was little, my favourite season was autumn. It was when the trees turned the colour of my hair. My dad told me the dancing leaves were celebrating me. My parents never worried about losing me in a crowd, but I hated how my hair made me stand out. Later, it was […]

Papier Mâché

Elizabeth M. Castillo                                            I hate papier mâché the stodge, the sticky remains of the glue the way it gets everywhere, and is always far more effort than whatever activity I promised we’d do. I see through its thickness once the mask is shaped and set, and decorated in all bright, appropriate colours, though the […]

Remediation

Kate Gehan Her son Jonah noticed gray pellets of scat on the roofline leading up to a displaced board under a soffit and suddenly all the midnight rummaging sounds in the attic above Julia’s bedroom returned to her, an aural tilt-shift of something she had been trying to forget. “Probably a squirrel,” said Jonah.  Julia […]

The Soft Th

Rosaleen Lynch My English teacher counted my ‘you knows’ during a debate and the soft ‘th’ that made ‘dis’ out of ‘this’ and ‘dat’ out of ‘that’, that not even elocution lessons purged but now I don’t mind if ‘we three’ sounds like ‘we tree’ or that when I say the letter ‘r’ I think […]

Missing Person Sign at a Rest Stop on the Pennsylvania Turnpike

Kate Deimling A blue line of highway snakes across the map.Alongside, a girl named Jean is enshrinedin image on the screen. It’s unmistakably a school picture:heavy blond bangs, face framed by ponytails,wide smile asking to be liked. Here’s her birth date,and I calculate she’d be 59.Contact state police if you have information. Is there any […]