Issue 18 / October 2018

"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?"
THE ARACHNE GENE by Darryl White

Issue 18

Me and the Milkman

Pam 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.

Issue 18

Negotiating the Narrows

Mike 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.

Issue 18

The Weight of the Words

Sayword 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.

Issue 18

Angelus

Paula 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.

Issue 18

The Arachne Gene

Darryl 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.

Issue 18

Praying to the Porcelain God

Steven 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.

Issue 18

The Monsters of Our Minds

Natasha 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.

Issue 18

Simulation Theory

Aaron 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.

Issue 18

Driftwood

Keith Wilson

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.

Issue 18

Lonely in the City

Sabrina 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.

Issue 18

Quilted Northern

Taylor 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.

Issue 18

The Sandy Diary of Susu Aisin Gioro

Susanne 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.

Issue 18

Summer Haze of Weston Days and Her Eyes

Julia 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.