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 […]

The Obligatory Alligator

Jesse Millner Last night I dreamed I drove through an army base I’d never been to before. It was huge and filled with movie theatres, shopping malls, apartments, a main street with all the various army departments like War, Peace, Punditry, and Speedskating. The army bases of sleep are indeed strange places. In some Western […]

The Galactic Well at the Edge of Existence

Riley Cross Eo stirred the well with a silver spoon. The waters of space and time rippled in response. He waited for them to calm, watching patiently as galactic stars beaded across the now placid surface. A myriad of tools lay before him, spread across a linen cloth. Using tweezers, he extracted each bright star […]

Statistically Speaking

Daniel Guy Baldwin               There is a fifty-one percent chance of being born a boy, forty-nine percent chance of being born a girl and a much lower one of actually being born at all. On top of that, the odds of intelligent life developing were three to two. This is higher for unintelligent life; you […]

Star Guard

Todd Clay Stuart               On the first night of the comet, Beth looks up between the austere poplar trees in their back yard and pretends to see what Jake sees, but the sky—star-smeared and wondrous—is just black gesso to her. Jake puts his arm around her. You’re looking in the wrong place, he says.               […]

Little Limbs

Leonie Rowland               He came to me on his seventy-fifth birthday, when his hands were soft enough to save. They had kept him alive for a lifetime, laying bricks that grew into buildings, cooking food that grew into flesh. He used to say we had that in common, but my skin was smooth like porcelain, […]

Laughing Tiger Buckles Slowly: A T’ai Chi Lesson

Tom Walsh T’ai chi is going slowly. The instructor’s cat died and we spent a lot of time talking about that. He brought the new kitten to class on Tuesday. There are four of us in the class and I am (by far) the youngest. I love it. # During High Pat on Horse, I […]

Dentata Non Grata

Kate Doughty               The first tooth came, and the rest of them followed. This would not have been an issue if I didn’t already have a full set to begin with.               It was innocuous enough; a late-season wisdom tooth emerging in the back of my gums. “It’s crooked,” my boyfriend said. “Shows how badly […]

Brand-new Blue Sponge to Clean Up After a Memorable Dinner for Two

S.A. Greene The man is sitting facing the window. The woman sits down, facing the man. The man has assembled the salad. The woman has cooked the steaks. The man pours the wine. The woman butters the baguette. The man straightens his placemat, carefully aligning its bottom edge with the margin of the table. The […]

In the City of Philandering Flowerpots

Tara Campbell               How, exactly, does a flowerpot make love? And how does a flowerpot betray? Technically, a pot is a vessel, able to receive more than one seed at a time. But there is more to philandering than that. There is also an act of seduction, a promise made that this union is special, […]

Illumination

Sarah McPherson When I am fired, I take the angle-poise lamp from the edge of the desk. I am not sure why I do it, perhaps out of spite or some sense of entitlement. I have given the place so much of myself that I want to take something back. I spin open the clamp […]

Convenience Store Babies

Rosaleen Lynch               Convenience store babies were all the rage back then. Came with pipettes the size of turkey basters. Advertised in windows, posters, zines and on family meals. Cartoon diagrams, a mix of science and wonder, like describing how to grow sea monkeys. The sign below it told customers to read the label carefully. […]

Amicable

Nathan Willis               Say that you need some time alone. It’ll be easier this way. Suggest that your partner visit her friends up north. Call it a vacation even though the kids know better. They’ll say there’s no pool, and no ocean, and they’ll be back before the weekend is even over. That’s not […]

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 […]