"Spider wondered if the story was real and what would happen if that curse were lifted. How would her descendants react if they stopped being spiders and had to be men?"
“To Braintree”, “To Bowdoin” and “To Lechmere”Julia Lattimer
If this train car were mine, I’d hang plants from the / metal bars. I’d stain the windows—blue, yellow, / pink, blue again, green. When I ride above this / Dorchester, the orange sky will pour onto my white / curtain lace, my stacks of books, my blushing skin.
“Potpourri”, “Capturing the Moment” and “City Bird Sounds”Michael DeMaranville
Days like blossoms
Some, green buds
Reluctant to push away
The wooden bed frame
On which they rest
“Dear Girl”, “Her Face” and “Yes I Am in High School”Davis Mathis
You anxious broken queer girl.
You waterfall you crystal ball your future bright and clear, Girl.
Lips painted red, head high and proud, they’ll tremble as you near, Girl.
“The Charter Boats”, “Changing Time” and “Peace”Edward Ahern
The boats string along the seam
of green and blue waters,
white mites on a fish vein,
trailing thin proboscides
that must be bitten to succeed.
“Vow”, “Three Variations” and “November”Tasha Cotter
The doves find a spot
Of shade under a bench
And sit together, quietly
Speaking about the world
Of people and rain.
“The Unliving Louis Jackson and Living Me”, “The Clouds Are Mountains” and “Shackles”Mallory Rader
He lived a long life—a normal span of / 9 to 5 and bright eviction notices on front doors. / He would tell his wife every night before bed, / “I will wake up tomorrow and do better.”
Me and the MilkmanPam Munter
Each morning at dawn, he would stealthily enter the house through the unlocked back door. In the early 1950s, no one in our neighborhood locked their doors. I was sometimes awakened by the tinkling noises of glass and the opening click of the refrigerator, but seldom by any human voice.
Negotiating the NarrowsMike Tuohy and Susan Zimmerman
Cold steel. I should have worn gloves. What I thought a shotgun blast turned out to be the massive metal hatch slammed shut by the wind. As I rose from the deck, another gust pushed me toward the edge like a hockey puck until I fell to my knees. When it passed, I forced myself to stand upright and join my friends. This was no place for a woman to look weak.
The Weight of the WordsSayword Eller
Three stories up from the rue Vielle-du-Temple is a tomb. It was never intended to be so still, so empty, but life has a way of changing in an instant and so, it seems, do apartments. There is no body interred here. Only memories. Only echoes of laughter and whispers from a life once lived.
AngelusPaula M. Rodriguez
Johnny gets up in the morning and goes straight to the bathroom that he shares with his mom, his two little sisters, an older brother that works at a bakery, and whoever else happens to be around on any given day. There is a stale smell to onions gone cold and greasy hamburger from Danny’s place that he ate last night. The leftovers are probably still somewhere in the room, but it is hard to tell with all the stuff lying around.
The Arachne GeneDarryl White
He had a pocketful of possibilities scribbled on napkin backs. The perfect recipe was like DNA, it held the answer to who he was and where he was supposed to be. He wasn’t found yet, he was on his way, and he’d get there, wherever there was, if the bus driver didn’t kill them first.
Praying to the Porcelain GodSteven Mayoff
Dani walks alongside M. Francoeur, who pushes his wheelchair, balancing on it as he would a walker. Today is her usual Saturday morning visit, and together they follow the oval footpath that surrounds the Mount Olive Senior’s Home, employing a pace similar to that of a wedding procession marching through molasses.
Every Silver Lining’s Got a Touch of GreyBenjamin Mast
Without knowing any of their music, I didn’t like Grateful Dead. Call it a mother’s instinct, call it blatant ignorance and close-mindedness, it must have played in my house for days, weeks, maybe months before I found the album cover under Second Daughter’s bed.
The Monsters of Our MindsNatasha Mileusnic
Kate concentrated on the jingling of the wind chimes. If she could hear the soft bell tones, their accidental melody, that meant she existed and was present on the solid earth, walking the pavement past the imposing Victorians. Alive in her body, here and now.
Simulation TheoryAaron Buchanan
“There is no permanent self,” he’d whispered louder than he’d intended. It was only in that moment he finally became aware of himself, what he was doing, and that he never meant to say anything out loud at all.
5 Rules for the Problem Dog OwnerJennifer Jarman
Small, dark, almond eyes blinking eagerly at me through the thin grid of fencing, a narrow head just reaching my knees, ears perked forward like twin radar dishes, his entire sleek, black body wobbling from side to side in an unthreatening display of welcome and happiness.
As a student at Northern Michigan University, I ran for hours on the wooded trails and the paved bike paths along the shores of Lake Superior in Marquette, Michigan, where driftwood accumulated on the sand. I wasn’t a collegiate athlete or even a competitive one. Running had nothing to do with school except for keeping me from studying.
Lonely in the CitySabrina Qiao
The first week I moved to Manhattan, I was so excited I couldn’t eat. I lost two pounds and gained a Metrocard, an apartment sublet, and a new internship. I was supposed to be living at home, working the same internship I’ve had since I was a college freshman—not out of loyalty, but out of love for my father.
Quilted NorthernTaylor Riley
Lying on a pile of blankets in my grandmother’s upstairs bedroom on a breezy, October night, I was feeling both chilly—the window was open to my left— and mentally exhausted after an eight-hour drive from our home in central Kentucky to western Pennsylvania. I rested beneath my grandmother’s patchwork quilt where my boyfriend Heath and I were bedded down. I clung to the warmth of the quilt, its scent a mix of musk and mothballs.
The Sandy Diary of Susu Aisin GioroSusanne Lee
In a flash, I went from living in a neighborhood of $15 grilled cheese sandwiches, $19 meatloafs and $400 skin creams to a developing country with cold water, no electricity and waiting in line at a public park for dry ice from the electric company and to charge my phone from a CNN truck. And I am one of the lucky ones. I have a roof and windows.
Summer Haze of Weston Days and Her EyesJulia Edinger
When I look back on that summer, I remember everything in a blue-tinted haze. Everything was blue. The sky was perpetually sapphire; I don't think it rained at all for three months. Even the murky water from the neighbor's pond was cerulean, or at least that's how it appears in my memories. But the bluest of all was in her eyes.