Music Lesson

Anthony D’Aries Don’t tell your four-year-old son how Marvin Gaye died. Unless you want to answer questions about fathers and guns and hearts.  Why did the father shoot that man? Why did the father have a gun? How’s he singing if he’s dead? I wade through half-truths before sinking chest-deep into lies. Santa-Claus-Mall-Helper kind of […]

The Deaths

Ann Gelder               At first there were three deaths: two big deaths and a small death. These deaths were well-mannered. They always called ahead before visiting, and they never talked too much or stayed too long. Their only annoying habit was a tendency to stare, but when asked if they needed something, they said no […]

Ferris Wheel

Ashley Espinoza My dad shows me an entire photo album of my mom pregnant with me. It’s weird, my dad has never talked about his relationship with my mom. Only once when he told me she should have kept her legs shut. I was thirteen when he told me that, the same age my mom […]

Grandmother’s Kitchen

Madeleine Pelletier Grandmother’s kitchen is a gathering place. Women turn their masks inside out, cluster round cooking pots, and offer prayers to birds. Mysterious acts create clarity. Crones wail like babes and babies give second chances. A shadow whispers secrets to the wind which swaddles us in warmth. In grandmother’s kitchen, power rises up on […]

Anderson Shelter

Edward Barnfield In the morning, there’s a hole where the house used to be. The kitchen, where we drank tea and talked about the day, is shreds and burned brick. A lifetime of things, decisions, and memories, taken while we slept underground. The terraces across the way have lost their roofs, their windows empty sockets. […]

Countess Herzinga’s Alchemy

Janna Miller               Countess Herzinga was the first to study the transmutable properties of eggshells as applied to light and sound. Her early laboratory, just long rows of heat lamps and fresh, twiggy nests.               With adjustments to moonlight and whistling arias, she learned to hatch jays from speckled robins’ eggs and leggy flamingos from […]

No Matter How Much Time Has Passed, Some Houses Don’t Die

Janna Miller Nazi ghost houses roam the countryside, setting up bars and brothels. Come in, come in, they say. You do not know us, you do not remember, we have been here before. This door your grandmother passed through. Your great uncle. We have good beer. Nazi ghost houses are not cold, but warm to […]

Homecoming

Anne Daly A turlough blooms each winter at the bottom of our road. It used to be my road, when I was a child. A stone-chipped, meandering strait that brought me from the clamour of the main road, up the craggy hill to home. Now home is not that home anymore but still I return, […]

Cold Comfort

Laura Pike               I lie in bed, shivering in cold sheets, waiting for the nightly crumb of her affections in an otherwise barren house; waiting for the press of lips upon a willing forehead, a ritual as welcome as sleep, itself.               I lie patiently until her absence tastes like fear and I go to […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]