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Biter

In Issue 68 by Emma Wells

Teethmarks protrude, even now, from the skirting boards of his childhood home. Gnawed memories and pitfalls of what once was, yet persists now only in peripheral reaches, dusty nooks and edges. He’s learnt to resist the urge, or the medication has straight-laced him to perform as wider society deems fit…

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Duck & Cover Season

In Issue 68 by Larry Thacker

I was looking at the guitar amps in the Cumberland Street Pawn when Janie Sizemore crashed her car into the front of the shop. She’d struck two American Pekin ducks waddling through the main intersection. She’d tried swerving to miss them but ended up running them over anyway and hopping the curb and smashing the pawn shop’s only front window.

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The Voiceless

In Issue 68 by Ashley Goodwin

Tommy looked in all directions before confirming they were completely alone on their hidden path in the woods. They had never done something so risky in public before. They knew getting caught for Public Display of Affection would have consequences. But due to his mother’s recent shift change, he couldn’t hide his relationship behind closed doors anymore. Regardless, they were sixteen, in love, and couldn’t fathom being separated.

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Flesh and Ghost

In Issue 68 by Adam Cheshire

Ghosts have terrible memories. Turns out that the physical body is integral to particular recollections. Mass, matter, moving through space, imprinting on the world; being imprinted upon. Art has helped me bridge that gap (of not having a body); allowed me an entry point. Music, movies—literature especially—flesh things out. The imaginative world anchors me. Still. There’s always something a little slant to my impressions of the past. My young moments among the living.

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The Rubicon

In Issue 68 by Mark Williams

Spring semester, my senior year of college, I won Jenny Muller in a game of Trivial Pursuit. The winning question was, What Native American tribe assisted the Corps of Discovery through the winter of 1804–1805? I couldn’t believe my luck. With the question or the prize.

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Just Be Nice

In Issue 68 by Aisha West

I was still stoned when I got back home that Saturday – the first Saturday we had a family dinner planned since I’d gotten my license the previous year. We, well, my mom planned this dinner to welcome my dad back from his first tour of duty as a trucker. I was late. And my mom told me so.

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A Cypress Tree Has No Shadow: Chapters Three and Four

In Issue 68 by Kevin Gerard Neill

SYBILLA steered Justina by the arm out of the office and down a hallway of high, dulled walls that looked shadowy even in daytime despite the frail radiance of bulbs in widely spaced, brass chandeliers. There were few people around; mostly Palestinian staff with UN identity badges around their necks going from office to office. Others – Justina took them to be refugees – appeared to be drifting aimlessly.

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Dismantling Rollo Bay

In Issue 68 by Karin Doucette

Here, in a wallpapered room under a dark mansard roof, the voice of the wind outside lifts and twirls memories in me of the humble farmhouse that I once called home. Still my heart’s home.
It’s in Rollo Bay, only thirty miles down the road. But a lifetime away. Tomorrow I will go there.

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Lowlands

In Issue 68 by Patti Witten

Cynthia had withdrawn, wrapped in a shroud of bedsheets, exhausted by weeping. In the darkened room, sounds were somehow louder — the rain, a car swishing by on the street, the faint barking of a neighbor’s dog. Water dripping from the eaves and mumbling in the downspout beside the open window. Six days since Maylin drowned. Tomorrow they would bury her.

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Baseball and Ballet

In Issue 68 by Andrew Sarewitz

Parents want the best for their children, unless they’re psychopaths (the adults, I mean). But sometimes what a parent wants is what they believe is best, without recognizing where a child’s head and heart really are.

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Autobiography of the Bomb: Chapter Eight

In Issue 68 by Jim Shankman

He was at a gathering in Berkeley at the spartan home of a man named Peters. The cigarette smoke was mixed with alcohol and the hot breath of conversation. Peters was a physician who had escaped from Dachau. He had seen things. He chose not to speak of it unless someone was being particularly pigheaded or willfully ignorant or smugly uncaring, and then he spoke in such detail that he commanded the room with the authority of a Greek messenger. “I am come from Thebes with news I dare not speak.” “Speak, man, and you shall not be harmed, I vow.”

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Praise Orb

In Issue 68 by Gloria Nixon-John

We watched things change everywhere else in the world, but we never expected the whirlwind of change that showed up one day on our doorstep. (In our case, me, Mom, and Dad). The change came in the form of a little Rumpelstiltskin of a man carrying a black valise and a clipboard. (Odd, I thought, that he didn’t have a computer or smart phone.) He said he was from the Census Guard of The New Order, and that I was obliged to answer honestly. I didn’t dare ask who was doing the obliging, mostly because of the elephant-gray vehicle moving slowly down the street.

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Aquarium Life

In Issue 67 by Troy Ernest Hill

I score my first soccer goal ever. It’s only practice, but still. Coach claps and shouts, “Way to go, Henry!” A couple of teammates jog by in these knee-high, stretchy blue socks we have to wear, saying, “Good job, Gollum,” and “Finally,” and kind of laughing.
My parents made me play because they said I spend too much time on my aquarium. I made it like how the ocean was before, with colored reefs and glowing fish and huge whales.

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Sold in Saigon

In Issue 67 by Anthony Nguyen

Adorned with snaring water lilies, her blood-red dress dripped down to her ankles, conservatively hiding her nearly porcelain-white skin; the only skin revealed were her perfectly slender hands and her bisected head—she had no nose, no eyes, no ears, no brain, and no consciousness.
Although her head ended right below her eyes, like the top half was sliced off clean, she still stood taller than all the Vietnamese women in the shop.

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A Cypress Tree Has No Shadow: Chapter Two

In Issue 67 by Kevin Gerard Neill

ALLENBY had originally been designed by an Ottoman Empire army engineer to impress the future. At first glance, the barracks looked magnificent: a pile of chiseled stone comprising two tall upper stories stacked above a main floor, each of the wings spreading at least two city blocks to form a massive, four-sided citadel. Justina knew from old photographs seen in Vienna that the wings enclosed a vast courtyard, a setting for military parades or a bloody last stand.

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The Poison Hill

In Issue 67 by Laura Canon

The photograph was square, with white edges, taken with their father’s camera last summer at the lake. Gertrude remembered it well: Louis had posed in his swimsuit, one hand on his hip.
But since then, someone had scribbled all over the picture. Large, crude loops of rough blue ink elaborated her brother’s swimsuit, flaring his trunks into a skirt and blotted his head with frizzy curls, flapper-short.

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The Snitch

In Issue 67 by M.D. Semel

When Javan was around ten years old, his parents took him and his brother to Orchard Beach. It was Javan’s first trip to the beach. The night before the trip, he couldn’t fall asleep. He crawled into bed with his parents and asked them questions. He asked his parents to explain how the beach was made and if it was safe to go there. He asked them why people said the sand at the beach was white when it was really tan.

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