Charting the DistanceMatthew King
In the dead of winter I deliver my child to a residential treatment center for substance use. It's over three hours from home, through a winding mountain pass. J is fourteen. I adopted him when he was eleven. Before this, our longest separation was a four-night summer camp stint but even then, he called each evening. Here, he cannot call for one week. I cannot visit for ten days.
Fireworks in Hong KongCarol Wilson
How can I forget the press of the crowd, the feeling of being swept up in history that lunar New Year in Hong Kong? Throngs packed the walkway by the city’s harbor, and we were snugly pressed in the midst of them. We had stopped in Hong Kong for a few days on our way to Shanghai for research on a book I was writing. And those few days coincided not only with the Chinese New Year, but also Hong Kong’s last New Year celebration under British rule.
Small Town Story: It’s not who you know, it’s who knows youMeaghan Katrak
They say the good thing about small towns is everybody knows you. They say the bad thing about small towns is everybody knows you. You've felt the weight of both of these truths in your life, in your small town. It's true, however, that as a very young Mum there was a certain protection, a certain safety in being known, of your family being known. Of being ‘someone’ in this place.
I Told My Lover to Sleep With His ExMary Maresca
Our first in-the-flesh meeting literally blew that chemistry test to smithereens.
Parading online dating sites since my husband's separation was a fascinating hobby of hope, which I entertained sporadically. This cyberspace, relationship, and reality series rarely seemed to meet my expectations. Having endured my fair share of disappointments, I was seeking a hibernation of sorts.
Water BabiesTara Giltner
The brisk steps of heeled boots beat rhythmically against the hum of engines and horns. Skyscrapers tower overhead, leaving little room for light other than the billboard screens of advertisements and PSAs. Her gaze remains fixed forward as she moves within with the mass of people who surround her. The street ends at Central Park. She turns right along the waist-high stone wall that borders the valley below. Glancing over, she sees winter finches flit about cement walkways and barren trees.
The NotaryZephaniah Sole
Eyague Ortiz de Toledo stood in the fresh white sand and squinted from the beating sun. It was very hot in this new place, this new place that did not feel so new, and Eyague mused on the favor granted by the Providence he liked to call... well… he did not like to call it Dios as his compatriots blithely pronounced with the tension of spittle between their teeth. No, in his mind, quietly and to himself, Eyague preferred to call it El Verdadero. The True.
In high school I was friends with two girls, Ida Kowalchuk and Fiona Petrowsky. Ida and Fiona had known each other since elementary, and shortly after I entered their lives the three of us became thick as thieves. Wherever we went, whatever we did, it was always as a trio. But Ida and I shared something undeniably special. We clicked from the get-go, as they say, while Fiona—a quiet, diffident girl, boringly polite—slowly moved from center stage to the darkened corners of the background.
The mere thought of a huge sailboat on land, propped up on stilts, was so unnatural that as hard as Felix tried to suppress revulsion, he couldn’t help but feel it rise.
He was fourteen and the only times he had seen sailboats were years earlier when they lived in America and he was in the backseat as his parents drove along the Hudson or within glimpsing distance of Long Island Sound. They were birds, that’s what sailboats were. Birds skimming the ripples of water. Complete unto themselves. Untethered. Free.
The Outcast LandFrancis Flavin
The old pickup sped through the night like a spaceship in the void. The only contact with reality was the faint whir of studs on frozen asphalt. Lake felt disembodied — a vagrant thought alone in the dark. He loved night travel when reality only occasionally interposed in the form of a long-haul trucker or startled moose.
The truck veered toward the shoulder as he passed through a dense bank of wind-swept snow.
Uncle Joe’s MuseMicah L. Thorp
Despite many legal infractions, Uncle Joe had only been arrested once. In the summer of 1987, Joe traveled to Eugene, parked his van in the middle of Autzen Stadium’s parking lot, laid out a large blanket and spent a couple hours fixated on a dragonfly that kept buzzing around his vehicle. The Grateful Dead were to play the next day, the weather was hot, and the stadium was the largest venue in the area.
To Be a FamilyJan Jolly
The blood spatter covered his face and arms where the worn T-shirt left his skin exposed. Tiny red dots, slowly drying in the August heat. The infant in his arms gurgled happily while Phillip fed him in the back seat of his wife’s car, bloody fingerprints covering the sweating glass of the baby bottle.
In TheoryCharles Davis
The river was wide and moving at a brisk clip. Its dark, choppy surface ran past desolate sandy banks suggesting some barren shore. Sad trees with anemic branches could be seen reaching out desperately in all directions. In the distance low rolling hills seemed to wait listlessly for a defiant sprout of green to break through their hard, stubborn soil.
Black CreekThomas Lovoy
She decided to take the tour of the Black Creek Indian Mounds because she thought it might be a good way to get out of the house. The divorce was over a year old, and her therapist said it would be a good idea to get out there—not “out there” in the sense of being a divorced woman who’s out there, but “out there” in the sense of not sitting around her living room watching old reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond or clicking through endless loops of pictures on social media sites.
The village wraps its way around the hill and back down. At the top is a shack, wooden slats painted white and a window thick with condensation. Hanging in the centre is the sign. Casino. Fluorescent and too bright against the open trees and grey sky.
Memory CareJenni Dart
On the exit ramp, the cake slides off the back seat. The cakebox, now wedged on the floor, requires both hands and some wriggling to remove it from the car. Looking through the cellophane, now crinkled and dented, Lori sighs. The thick gelatin-like blue and yellow balloons piped along the cake’s edges have slithered and slid across the stiff white frosting into the number seventy.
“Street Landscaping,” “Hoodie in the Wind” and “City Birds”Brian Kerr
On concrete, brick and asphalt, filth sits atop. It doesn’t sift into the ground. It runs into the sewers but first it spends days, weeks, months lingering in puddles that don’t evaporate. Too much building shade and east coast oceanside atmospheric overcast
“Magicians and Fortune Tellers,” “No Home-Maker Here” and “The One That Got Away”H. C. Phillips
pluck a single card from a shuffled deck
and there’s a one-in-fifty-two chance
that you now hold the two of hearts.
all our potential futures that we think exist somewhere
in maybe or one day
“Anatomy of a Honeycomb,” “Basket of Needles” and “Cabin on Detox Island”Monica Viera
After having lived a life
In and out of mental hospitals
For what could only have been simplified...
Of attacks acute sweetness or withdrawal thereof
An autopsy was performed on me,
And a honeycomb for a heart
“The Stranger in the Storm is My Brother”Michael McQuillan
Is it failing eyes or conscience
since we seem not to see how
Rodney stands alone exposed
to torrential rain in wind
teeming masses hurry past
umbrellas clash like swords
“Relativity: A Lithograph by M.C. Escher,” “Chores” and “Another Kind Man”Virginia Watts
In life, I bugged my brother relentlessly
about Escher’s impossible staircases,
his floors and doors, his figures with no faces.
It looks like a prison.
“Panhandle my marble heart,” “The Crankcase” and “lost dogs in foggy nites”Christopher Bruneaux
Panhandle my marble heart
Put my lips,
in a lonesome tomb
spread gossip of me on the shorelines of ecstasy
as I fall down the ladders
of your purgatory.
“Someone Else’s Stars,” “Hockey Night in Emmett County” and “Graceland”Andre F. Peltier
The sun is our center
bringing light and life.
Painted on the walls
of Lascaux caves,
the sun illuminates
and the Magdalenian
“Pangea,” “Blind” and “Self Portrait: Highjacked”A. Hayes
in the beginning
there were no delineations markers or boundaries shaping his from
quotation marks he said she said
rivers mapping theirs from ours