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Conscience Calls

In Issue 62 by Michael McQuillan

Jesus lived and died in vain if he did not teach us all to regulate the whole of life by the eternal law of love, the Mahatma Gandhi said. Solidarity with the poor set both men’s moral conduct beyond mortal norms, but we placed them on pedestals rust-crusted with age.

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Unforgettable

In Issue 62 by Richard McPherson

Today, near Washington, D.C.
Beth’s mind was almost gone but her beauty refused to abandon her. Kindness was unmistakable in her deep brown eyes, and a generous heart illuminated her smile. Her seventy-four years, over half of them married to him, were confused shadows, judging by her rambling. But Michael could easily remember Beth’s fearless intelligence, and he often sat by her bedside and closed his eyes to bask in the velvet voice which still soothed him.

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Onto the Bus

In Issue 62 by Louise Sidley

Every Sunday without fail, Matthew Volpatti left his apartment and rode the bus to the lake east of the city. It was a forested natural lake despite being surrounded by the metropolis. Between the parking lot and the lakeshore, stone picnic tables sat on concrete pads in an evenly spaced row along the strip of mowed lawn.

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Giving up the Ghost

In Issue 62 by Ernest Sadashige

Dani Braker stared, eyes transfixed, pupils focused on the vintage road map atop her bed. The map’s edges, once crisp as the past, were soft and smudged, reflecting the fragility of time preserved on paper; the folds ripping where arthritic cello tape had lost its grip. Dani’s fingers probed the map in the same way she picked loose threads off her school blazer.

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Listening

In Issue 62 by Malcolm Glass

The car swayed gently through easy curves as the car slid south down the two-lane highway. The engine whispered, even at seventy-five miles an hour. David glanced at the map on the passenger seat, but he knew by heart where he was going. He pressed Play on the CD player sitting on the seat, and the Brahms Third Violin Sonata swam through the still air.

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Soil

In Issue 62 by Andreea Sepi

When I sold the first piece of land, I didn’t even tell my old man. I forged his signature on the papers.

My older sister Maria had left the village ages ago, she had a husband and a two-bedroom apartment in town, with hot running water, she wanted for nothing, so I was sure my mother would cover for me. In fact, I was sure I’d have her blessing by default, after all, that lot had been part of her dowry and she was nowhere as obsessed with land as my old man.

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The Pomegranate

In Issue 62 by Anna West

I put a pomegranate in his hands. His hands once strong and brown, long fingered, now rested empty of life. Closed. Wrapped like torn paper around the red plumpness of the fruit. I could feel the seeds resting like jewels beneath the thickness of the pomegranate’s rind. Thirteen pink paper hearts cut from what felt like my flesh I put in the pocket of his jacket,…

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Sir Galahad’s Pasta and Cocktail Lounge

In Issue 62 by Roger Logan

Jason had thought about putting New York City as his location in the online dating profile. It would almost be justifiable, since he was always thinking about moving to the city now that he was divorced. There was, Jason felt, something pathetic about a single guy in his thirties living in the suburbs, especially in a town with a ridiculous name like Valhalla and he imagined any interesting woman would probably feel the same way. At least there was a big cemetery in Valhalla, so the name wasn’t completely inappropriate.

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Church-Sized Tarantulas and Other Realistic Threats

In Issue 62 by Chan Brady

First time I did it I was three and a half, complete with gold, bouncing curls and freckles from a summer spent in the sun. I went to daycare every day, and that night I went to daycare, too. I didn’t know what to call such a menial moment. Eventually settled on calling it a “blue-skadoo” like my favorite television show. Nobody believed me except my friends at the church.

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Baba Sasha

In Issue 62 by Etya Krichmar

A long time ago in Kotovsk, a small town in Ukraine, right before dusk, a little crowd of the neighborhood children gathered around the handmade, rough picnic table. The usually unruly kids sat quietly on the four wooden planks hastily attached to the table’s perimeter and waited for Baba Sasha’s arrival.

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Ascendance

In Issue 62 by Stan Werlin

Thayer drove. Joroff would not take the wheel. He said the sun bothered him on bright days, and his vision at night made him unsteady and fearful. Thayer would do all the driving. He didn’t mind. He liked the feeling of control.
It was outside Vermillion on highway 50 when they spotted the first sign, a few feet away from a “Vote Ford/Dole 1976” poster that somehow hadn’t been removed after the election months earlier.

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The Sea of Onosano

In Issue 62 by Lisa Voorhees

Kira Atsusuke, heir to the royal throne of Onosano, prostrated herself before the raised platform where her mother, Empress Sakura, sat. To Kira’s left, her younger sister the Princess Yuuki, also bowed in supplication. Their faces were pressed against the bamboo covering on the throne room floor, neither of them daring to move until her Imperial Eminence, the Divine Ruler of the five kingdoms of the Sunset Empire, commanded otherwise.

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