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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

Dream Baby

Max Hipp Shake your heart like a half-pint of milk, blow in it, put it back in. It’s another night of playing Lost Highway, Long Gone, I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry, waiting for her to stumble in to find you in your boxers with the cheap guitar, like something out of a sad movie, […]

Panache

T.L. Sherwood The thinness of the envelope puzzles me. Harris has sent a slender, white, unusual feather. Days later, an email explains he broke an international law to send a penguin’s feather. On his honeymoon, he thought of me. Among other places, T. L. Sherwood’s work has appeared in New World Writing, Jellyfish Review, Elm […]

selective focus photography of turned on black metal framed light sconce

Sweet, Sour, Bitter, Salt

Fiona J. Mackintosh In the crouch of twilight, he hums a single tuneless note under the droop of the rhododendrons. From beyond the hedge, the street air clags his throat with tar and rough metal. Her husband’s probably left for the pub by now and won’t be back till closing, but he has to be […]

Go-Go

Marie Gethins He shouted, ‘What the hell?’ filling his boot with beer as I headed towards the exit A first date at the South American Food Fest should have tipped me off. He promised square dancing and a deep-fry banquet. I starched my best blue gingham—fifteen-layers of net under the skirt with lacy bike shorts […]

gray and black galaxy wallpaper

Trent Lock

Rachael Smart The river is black and fast legging it. High up in the bones of the trees, spring comes, pinkly, and every now and then swallows scissor across tin skies. I order builder’s brew, two twists of sugar. Inside his van, the tea man chalks up the new season’s menu. Proper calligraphy, that, I […]

food man people woman

I Don’t Want Dentures

Anika Carpenter I’m saving for implants like delft pottery, porcelain painted with windmills and flowers; teeth I’ll show off at the Kings Head pub, where a young man, a famous photographer as it happens, will be captivated by my smile, beg to take my picture. My portrait, ten foot by eight, will be hung in […]

closeup photo of brown and black dog face

The Muse

Simon Lee-Price My dog takes no interest in other dogs or bones. But if I have to write poetry he sits in the corner with his eyes fixed on me. I hurl bottles and pens at him to drive him away, but he always skulks back to his post and takes up watch again. I […]

When the Scarves Fell

Katie Piper               Grandad sat in the chair he always retired to after Sunday dinner. It had slender, polished arms and his fingers would curl over the ends of them. He was always a little poised, as if he was on the verge of getting up – perhaps the war did that?               Mum and […]

close up photo of ring

Consumed

Sarah Green Gamber Sally looked from the cluttered sink to the window ledge where her sister’s diamond ring sat in a soap-dish. Outside, the setting sun flared like a solar blade and Sally stood on tip-toe to avoid its blinding glare. A ray lit the diamond solitaire and flashed a prism. That ring taunted Sally […]

Grief Is A Story I Was Told On Rosary Beads

Electra Rhodes Mam was laid out cotton-starched on the bed. The stillest I’d ever seen her. She’d not like to be known this way so I made a bit of busy noise at the door. As if I’d only just arrived. She struggled and gained no real purchase against the slip of the sheets, so […]

My Rooster Booster

Frances Gapper Skipping most stages of poultry production including death, he’d blagged a ride in the delivery truck. He was free-range organic, farm fresh. Howdy Ma’am! We often danced in the kitchen, a wild whirl we called Rooster Booster. Laughing our heads off. We cried cock-a-doodle-do! As he was pecking morsels of oat crunch from […]

The Light Falls Through

Jared Povanda With angular gaps in the branches. Light everywhere. In my hair, on my skin, claws of it and petals. A bullet went through a person last night, exit wound in the back, and as I walk the quarantine weight away day after day, I think of the fragility of bodies. I think of […]

Rama Lama Ding Dong

Sutton Strother On the album cover the Rock Star reaches out, so you take his hand and pull him free, out of the picture and into the rose glow of your bedroom. He coaxes you into a sloppy slow dance as he sings along to his own music in an off-key slur. His hair is […]

Running

Julia Kelly And we ran through the streets, stars like comets streaking the black sky, two girls  laughing,  pounding the concrete through the ugly beauty of the city, the arcing bridge over the black glitter of the river, breath cold and clear, painless, tireless, high above the pavement now from whatever drug we’d taken, we […]

Plastic

Nora Nadjarian I’ve spoken to thousands of art dealers listed in the yellow pages. I’ve turned the thin pages and made over a thousand calls asking for art made of plastic, which will keep for a thousand years. The art dealers call back and say the Ocean, the Ocean. I suppose they mean dive in […]

Star Fall

Joyce Wheatley There was the “fall.” “Dropped on her head as a baby,” Mama said. Nothing congenital. Nothing genetic. An accident. Story retold at every family gathering. “Dropped on my head as a baby,” Aunt Vivienne said, twanging like Loretta Lynn. “I don’t remember none of it.”  Her caramel voice melted, southern-refined as Blanche DuBois […]

The Hill We Die On

Sara Hills Daddy says it’s every man’s right to have a guru, and more’s the pity if you only have one. Used to be that gurus were just for show, perfect for scaring off a snake or rattling your enemy’s chain. Used to be that you had to be close enough to a man for […]

Revenge, Via Knitwear

David Cook The dog had been moulting again, but that was okay because it gave Lily more material to knit with. Click-clack went her needles, stitching strands of hair from Kevin, her bearded collie, to make a scarf for Kelvin, her bearded husband. Kelvin watched her from the sofa. He didn’t want a scarf made […]

River Mother

Emily Devane This river is a careless mother. She sets out with good intentions, singing The Hills Are Alive at the top of her bubbling, babbling voice. She tickles our feet as we play, pulls and tugs while we throw sticks from bridges, begs us to dance the time-step on summer evenings. When our feet […]

Daytrip

Jan Simpson The sandwiches would stink the car up long before they reached the seaside.  But it wasn’t a picnic without egg and salad cream sandwiches, apparently.  Gave Mhairi the boak.  She’d wanted to buy free-range eggs instead of the cheapest, the ones with ‘Eggs from caged hens’ on the box.  Caged hens.  So the […]

Chicken

Kinneson Lalor I’m about to click the shutter when Henry-Robert ruffles his feathers again, the ripple of something in the space where his skin stretches between man and chicken. My wife mused she wasn’t sure if it was sadder Henry-Robert dressed like a chicken to hide who he was or that people wanted to read […]