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 […]

The Ousterbout

E.E. Rhodes The day is spike-sprackled and winter-glorious, the neighbours are primed, and Gran is squawking fit to burst her way out of the prison of the bailiff’s arms. He is new. Worried by the gutterings of the charm-sparse audience.  Every quarter the landlord lickspittles his rent book and sends an ousterbout bailiff after the […]

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 […]

Underworld

Cate West It is morning, early. Sunk on a mattress. The tube isn’t running or she’d feel the joists shaking. If she was home. She’s not home. She opens her eyes. Furrowed mattress, damp with cold. Fag-scarred carpet. An ashtray, half empty, a bottle, rolling. Smirnoff. How did she get here? Swam through the usual […]

Polyamory

Elle Shim He loved me the way an orange peeled in the next room permeates the universe for a night. In the morning   I drove back from Chicago still stinging, trying to scan ditches for deer in the dark, the glint off every mile marker mimicking the eyeshine of a shaking creature ready to […]

Three Poems: Between Two Mouths, Harm, and The Kiss of Judas

Lisa DeCastro Editor’s note: I’m drawn to Lisa’s poetry because it’s both intricate and accessible. Her poems are filled with desire, ache, love, loss and written with control and skill. They are richly written and felt. — Janice Leagra Between Two Mouths Between two mouthsAn exchange of eternityWords utteredSilently at firstWithout baring teeth Lips apart, […]

Three Poems: Lessons in Alchemy, Name Your Poison, Behold, The Universal Uterus

Seanín Hughes Editor’s Note: These poems are taken from Seanín’s debut full collection-in-progress, Reasons for Admission, wherein each poem corresponds to a reason for admission to lunatic asylums during the nineteenth century. In this selection, ‘Lessons in Alchemy’ toys with ‘hard study’, ‘Name Your Poison’ answers to ‘opium habit’, and ‘Behold, the Universal Uterus’ responds […]

So That Light Carries Through

Chris Panatier Editor’s Note: Chris has a talent for writing the uncanny, to which I am very drawn, because of how it reflects the dark mysteries of real-life. Things don’t add up. Humans and the world around us are rife with contradictions. We think we know so much, when, in fact, we know so little […]

Our Last Night (tw: abuse)

Travis Cravey Editor’s note: I am drawn to Travis’s writing because his stories are honest and memorable. He features characters the reader sees, knows, and interacts with often in real-life. These people have dreams, but their choices, misjudgments, or lack of insight can bring on their own disasters, which rings true for this reader. There […]

Between The Nail and The Skin

Hema Nataraju Editorial note from Janus Literary reader, Myna Chang, who asked Hema to submit her work: I love the way humor can heighten the emotional complexity of a story. A touch of levity, or an unexpected quirk, can capture a reader’s attention and lend more power to those poignant “gut punch” moments. “Between The […]

yellow train

Lost Property

Lynda Cowles 13:44 The last train leaves the station. Rails hiss. Cables buzz. Pigeons flap then float back down. On the platform, a suitcase waits. Ludo drags it into the station office; lugs it onto the desk with a thump. It’s old and leathery, like him. Agnes the ticket seller shuffles over, pokes it with […]

writings in a planner

Accommodation

Kim Murdock Her husband worked late and her daughter was made of clothes and music so Miranda decided to arrange the calendar to accommodate herself. That grid of numbers in a sea of unremarkable white space.  On Monday, she locked the bathroom door and ran a bath. Taps full open until musky bubbles crept up […]

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Speech and Language Milestones

Kathryn Aldridge-Morris Between 0-6 months babies should coo, begin babbling and mimic sounds                        Heart rate dipping, something about the umbilical cord around your neck twice, a canula’s pumping pitocin into my hand to restart contractions, but all that’s contracting is my calf with a cramp Manuel says he’s seen grown footballers cry with. When you’re […]

food plate healthy restaurant

Sunshine Sugar

Amy Stone I smile. I can hear those paws in the snow, padding over to where I stand. Sure enough, he’s at my feet. He sits. The pads of his feet are thick but still, it makes me shudder to think of him out in this. Mammy says I’m not to give him the bones, […]

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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 […]

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Little Miss Buford

Edie Meade I spend a lot of time on the floor behind the deli counter at Buford’s Grocery, watching the top of the case where the heads of customers emerge between big jars to talk to Momma. Most of the jars hold bologna ropes, pickled pigs feet, snouts, ears, liver, giblet slop that old men […]

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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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A Paranormal Dialogue

Constance Malloy He’s dead. Frozen in time. Etched forever in charcoal, posing with his arm on a chair back. But every time I sit down to watch TV, I feel his gaze. Somehow, I sense he’s letting me know She sits on the sofa, all smug, acting like this is her house. this is his […]

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Halo

Meagan Johanson Your mother was in love with you. Enchanted—everyone was, she says, pulling the hair color box from the bag. Those cherub cheeks, Shirley Temple grins—as she sits you down, drapes your shoulders with a tattered old bath towel. You were born with a head full of black hair. Straight and as thick as […]

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Pam’s Pantry

Shawn Van Horn I read that they’re finally tearing it down.   It has always been there, way before I moved here, way before Ike’s interstate changed everything. It was a place of brief respite for others but for me, the battered and withering staggered shake siding, with its cherry paint peeling like a sunburn,  […]

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Biblion

Shawn Van Horn I’ve broken up with the world. Words are my new mistress. You’re my way out of here. Doors open inside you, snapping shut when I look away. Black ink fit along the page, lines like mountains hanging off the face of a bound world. I create my own worlds there, building my […]

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Vanitas

Jared Beloff Stare hard enough and still edges will followthe lines of your eyes as you move away,a burst of color revealing absence in silhouette:my grandfather’s watch, tulip stalks candle thinalready loosening their skirts, glass luminousas a lit wick, shadows rimming a skull’s sockets. Tonight, my daughter sleeps still enough––I hesitate to check her breath, […]

Matisse’s Bouquet de Fleurs pour le Quatorze Juillet, 1919

Jared Beloff That summer pink flowers gave the least promise,their heads bowed down out of the vase’s slender rimrevealing green stalks shivering to expandbefore we registered the shock of purple pushing upward,crowded by sweet williams’ and asters’ stilled propellers;before we halted at the blue salvia still standing at attention,their cobalt swelling up from the porcelain […]

white and black moon with black skies and body of water photography during night time

The Man in the Moon

Joel LeBlanc The man in the moon sat down on my bed and started smoking a twisted cigarette between yellowing teeth and fingertips, while murmuring wild stories to the dark. Of men who prayed to find themselves, and turned into stags, into dogs, into owls. Of wandering salesmen who gave their hearts to the moon […]

The Business of Witches

Joel LeBlanc The business of witches is one of harvesting truths like plants of predicting babies and midwifing divorces, taking midnight phone calls from love haunted sisters and keeping omens of death to ourselves. We are not of our parents; the land made us, and cats and rats and rabbits dance in our footsteps. Young […]

Horseshoe Crabs

Joel LeBlanc I opened my mouth to say something sweet, but you may notice the briny sea that lives beneath my throat,   and all the sea monsters swimming off-map inside my belly. I wanted to say that I love you, but what comes out is horseshoe crabs in their full moon mating, thumping and […]

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Lesson in Survival

Jamy Bond             I’d lost my lover to heroin: lips like small blue balloons, skin like frosted glass. I needed a new life. A purpose. So I quit my job and volunteered to teach English at a boys’ school in Mozambique.  I boarded at the school in a small room at the end of narrow hallway […]