“In the Heat of the Moon” and “Dark Matter”Vincent Casaregola
Late summer days, relentless sun
heating the morning city, turning
afternoon to a concrete sauna
during the searing days of August,
when, even at night, the asphalt steams.
“The Special Relativity of Consciousness,” “Ecstatic Acquiescence” and “Diogenes Spotted in Humboldt Park”Dominic Blanco
There is a man falling from the sky.
I am serious. He is carrying a photon clock
and the light inside is stretching
the duration of a second. The speed of light.
“Grandma’s Generation,” “Maybe Someday” and “Corkboard Mind”Maranda Barry
The days of lone children
riding atop handlebars
through cookie-cutter neighborhoods
are memories of yesteryear.
They’re sepia photographs
in an attic-ridden album
blanketed in a thick film of dust.
“Teacher Poet: Advice Upon Visiting Her Classroom,” “Back to the Roots” and “Sunrise”Karen Carter
Framed diploma and teacher’s license,
taped on the institutional wall,
these credentials face the stars.
The star-struck welcome board posts a message:
But will these stars fade, fall into the waste basket?
“Patina”, “Onward Snow” and “On chord progressions”Esme Allen Creighton
One corner brick
100 year old black blossom stained across
Northeast soot fading
to raw pink orange southwest
Checks the force of two walls
20 bricks under
100 press down from above
“Origin,” “Felicity” and “Badwater Basin”Richard Long
I looked through the window of the dead
bar. Marantha was slow dancing
with the semblance of Rāfe. They were
shape shifting like shadows on a wall—
The barkeep said, ‘Anders, it’s time.
A great blond vista of daffodils rose before us. They looked like stubble, the 5 P.M. stubble on the great big beard of Father Earth. Spring is here, each of them insisted. I was free.
Barker and the Big StormPhilip Gallos
When Billy Stang, four days on the road from upstate New York, forsook Interstate 80 for the two-lane at Ogallala and changed his trajectory from west to north, he was looking for failure. He found it twenty miles east of Alliance; but, since failure was his goal, he saw it as success.
Broken StemsMelissa LaDuc
At eighteen, she had changed her name to Persephone and tattooed a blooming flower with a leafy stem just below her collarbone, above the location of her heart. It was the size of an apple or a pomegranate, which was slightly too big for the location on her slender frame, but she had done it anyway.
Doreen’s son Alex wants to move back in with her. He’s in a bad way. He’s lost his job. He’s broken off with his girlfriend. Or she’s broken off with him. Whichever. He’s single now and temporarily unemployed. He needs a place to stay. He’s thirty-five years old.
The Ossian Giant’s Second InterviewJones DeRitter
Where would you like me to start?
I was born in 1836. I have an older brother, a younger sister, and a younger brother. Another sister passed away very young of the scarlet fever. We were all of us born on the farm that is now Henry’s, over by Ossian Corners.
The Long Sprint HomeCory Essey
It had to be nearly midnight by now. James couldn’t see his watch between the pouring rain and darkness, but he knew as he ran to Violet’s house that he was close to breaking his promise. Yet again.
Long Short Story
Balcony SceneBruce Meyer
Our town is laid out like a chessboard. Two powerful families who dominated the place for almost two centuries, the Cassavoys and the Farradays, have fought for control. First they fought over lumber rights. Then it was land. Then the battleground shifted to public opinion. Each had a newspaper of different political stripes. Each had a radio station playing different kinds of music.
The Tennessee hills are tattered green curtains longing for the first frost to replace the well-worn testament of summer with a golden raiment. Even the aggressive Kudzu crowding the edge of the highway seems tired of reaching, always reaching for tomorrow. We've been on the road for a long time now and the tiredness we carry has settled inside.
When she approached me in the hotel lobby, I was reviewing my notes for the presentation I would be giving the next day. My laptop was open on the glass-topped coffee table and twenty-three PowerPoint slides alternated on the screen as I clicked through them repeatedly. I had given this presentation before, many times, but now I was nervous for some inexplicable reason. I was prepared, but on the other hand, I was skeptical of how my talk would be received.
A man gave me this knife for protection. The government is watching me. My every move is being watched. The CIA is watching me through my truck, my phone, my stove, my microwave, and probably this knife. I trust no one. Don’t be surprised if a government sniper shoots me dead—right through the head.
A Civil WarFaraaz Mahomed
The streets around here empty out in December, until there are just the lazy summertime sounds of a few people walking their dogs or hosing their plants. Neighbourhoods are blanketed under a mostly placid silence, but sometimes there’s also a pall that covers those of us that haven’t escaped to the seaside.
Laurie arrived at work fifteen minutes early on her first day of work.
"We don't want to overwork you on your first day," Dan said. "C'mon across the street, I'll buy you a cup of coffee."
Charlie's Coffee Shop was packed with men between the ages of about twenty and sixty.
On A DimeMelissa McKay
As my husband and I sped along the interstate, trying to keep up with the police car leading the way, I thought, This is some other family’s story, not ours. How the hell did we get here? We thought home was the one place we could relax and let our guard down. We thought wrong.
His Crystallized FingernailsScott Vander Ploeg
Forced by family duty, cousin Greg and I sat with an older couple, from the good ole’ USA, in a music hall on the Champs Élyéese. I was taking a break from graduate school and imposing on my kin. My Greg-kin was working and living in Paris.
2020 Was the YearJoanne Jagoda
2020 was the year we will always remember but not with photos or mementos. It will be forever marked by pages left blank in photo albums and online collections which used to chronicle our most important life cycle events and the mundane ones as well.
Privilege on ParadeCourtney Elizabeth Young
When my alarm sounds at 5:30 a.m., I am already awake. I lie staring at the ceiling, reaching over to pop the snooze button into silence. I have one hour to go running, then shower before you get here, before Liz wakes up and comes with us to the next round of appointments at the hospital.