“On Birds,” “Tristan” and “My Loneliness as Kafka’s Diaries”Nadine Klassen
Papa nearly kills a pigeon
with a rock.
That means, your own name
can be used
& that is the way a mother can carry hope
without its burden. Then,
my flawless cheeks like salt. She drafts
“Circe,” “Andromeda” and “Lot’s Wife”Everett Roberts
Have you ever seen a man,
made into a beast?
Have you ever watched men
change into something else—
Entirely at Desire’s goad,
Did you know any woman
Can transform a man
“Leda,” “Mary Magdalene is” and “Aeaea”Virginia Laurie
Leda carries so many
inside her body.
Wife, she was made sturdy
“Bone Marrow Biopsy Reverberations” and “Return to Gamble Garden”Robert Rubino
The oncologist instructs you to lie face down
like you’re going to get a massage
except you’re not going to get a massage.
And you think of the thousands of dollars
you spent while hooked on erotic massage
during the final years of your third marriage.
“and yes there is no happy ending,” “and that’s just life” and ‘“it’s not a big deal”’Dakotah Jennifer
there is always
the sea parting like a zipper,
unveiling this vulnerable heart.
it might've started at the first sign of trouble but also might've never started.
“And If She Dies Before I Wake” and “My Cat Always Hears My Writer’s Block”Jenny Keto
Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my Soul to keep,
and if I die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my Soul to take.
Mother changed the last words
of my nightly prayer in attempt
to stave me from the futility of
how we all end—in an attempt
to save me from her.
Golden SeagullsMegan Monforte
Elizabeth Boyd was staring at the big yellow M beyond the windshield of her car. She’d been doing this for so long it had gone blurry and distorted, becoming a pair of small hills, a set of rabbit ears, a golden seagull the way her daughter, Caroline, used to draw them. Every single picture that child drew had birds of some kind, plus trees, flowers, a ragged strip of turquoise sky along the top.
How Ordinary Yet How Perfectly SublimeMieke Leenders
In May of 1889, Vincent van Gogh checks himself into an insane asylum after cutting off his left ear. At the same time very close by, a girl starts a diary.
The EngineerEverett Roberts
There’s no place on this ship where I can find complete dark. The floor panels light up beneath our feet as we walk. Overheads immediately come on when we enter a room. It took some getting used to, but once my eyes adjusted to the constant blue-white of the glowing floors, it’s become second nature, like living with a constant low-grade hangover
Don’t Be Such a DragAndi Van den Berge
The sound of the crowd reverberated backstage like a mallet roll on a timpani drum. Wim tried to calm his heartbeat with large gulps of air, but the sweat that slid down his spine let him know there was no calming this frazzle. Stage time was in less than ten minutes.
Seven JournalsDaniel Laing
While visiting a city filled with canals, the name of which I forget, a gentleman thrust a copy of this slender pamphlet into my hands. He made off into the night. Strangers are often handing me bizarre objects and making off into the night. Perhaps they sense I am waiting for an event, that I am perched here with my binoculars, scanning for noteworthy material.
A Cat’s TaleMarvin Cheiten
I was born by the shore. Or, rather, I was assembled by the shore. The lady who put all my pieces together was an excellent doll maker, commissioned by an artist who knew exactly what he wanted: a toy cat for his son. My fur and eyes and ears were all there, as well as my long, fluffy tail, but the artist wanted me to look like the captain of a 17th-century sailing ship...
Long Short Story
Witnesses, or, Who Will Take Out The Trash?Michele Suzann
For a while I had friends who used phrases like “holding space,” and “I had to get really quiet in order to receive guidance,” and “it just is,” and “so I allowed him his feelings.” They’d say “I’m not religious, I’m spiritual,” in a way that implied persons who might claim membership in the former camp were clearly more benighted than those of the latter, but hey, “we each have our own path [mine just happens to be more evolved].”
Surface TensionNicholas LaMendola
I started with the globe, then zoomed in. I narrowed my focus over one city, over one neighborhood, onto one block, onto one man. That was a long time ago.
I’ve watched him for decades now. I watched him start small, and rise into himself. Now that you’re here, we’ll watch him together. He’s finally started to come together. He’s finally started to come apart.
Keepers of the LightBrittany van der Merwe
“Hurry.” She spoke softly, her demeanor quiet yet emphatic as she stared into the horizon. He slipped on his remaining boot and stood, joining her in the doorway, eyes squinting towards the focal point. A winter storm loomed portentously.
“Well, let’s get moving then.” Warm breath and a quiet fear chased his words and hung in the late October air for a fleeting moment before dissipating.
A Gift of FireLaura Walker
When you first drive into Riverside, it has as much distinction as any other town in this smear of Southern California cities—that is to say, virtually none. But if you look closer, through the haze of pollution that browns the summertime air, beyond the stark graffiti that coats the concrete surfaces, past the drooping palms and withered storefronts lining the freeways, you’ll start to see some character.
The 23rd HeroRebecca Anne Nguyen
Sloane Burrows was racing down the train station steps, holding her bicycle by the handlebars, trying to keep a birthday cake from flying out of the basket as the doors began to close on the northbound line to Downtown Vancouver. “Hold the doors!” she called as she reached the bottom of the steps. Of the ten or so passengers she could see through the glass, a few looked up, but nobody budged.
Dogs, Post-Polio and the Poetry of Living and DyingAlpheus Williams
You have to wonder what it was like when the L’Esperance and La Recherche came into these uncharted waters. The young ensign Jacques-Bertrand Le Grand high in the rigging of the frigate’s mast, pitching and yawing precariously in big swells and rough seas, guiding ships and crews through the treacherous waters of the archipelago. Here they were thousands of miles from their homeland.
The Man Can DanceAlyssa Katz
My father, George Katz, was drafted into the U.S. military in 1942. Life in the military began in Roosevelt Field, Long Island, where he received a physical examination. The exam revealed flat feet and a high IQ. Owing to the high IQ, he was not sent overseas for combat. Rather, he stayed on the mainland in the U.S. Army Air Corps (today the Air Force) working on airplanes.
Climbing in VainStuart Baker Hawk
I was sitting in a poolside chair nursing some mixed concoction at Bally’s Las Vegas. Two days earlier, I stood atop Mt. Whitney via the Mountaineer’s Route, the same route first climbed by John Muir in 1873.
I had several more peaks to grab on my list. Denali in Alaska at 20,237 feet was next up, the highest peak in all fifty states.
Carry On BaggageErin Conway
The flight wasn’t long from Guatemala City to Dallas, two hours. It wasn’t long from Texas to Wisconsin either, two and a half hours more. Finding something to do for that timespan was nothing compared to the twenty-four plus hours it took to visit my brother and his family in Tel Aviv.