Captain Haines sheds his rain-pressed coat and hat in the entryway of the railcar diner. Laughter from 3 a.m. troublemakers, snores from booth-ridden sleepwalkers, snaps from slow-moving line cooks cut through the smoke-festooned air in the same whirling loops.
Dark-haired, gum-popping Dina points her pen at the large central booth with only two place settings. Haines nods as he retires his trench and cap on the sharp wall hook over a bouquet of tired umbrellas.
The Keeper of the KeysJessica Simpkiss
Torn clouds scuttled across the sky with the beginnings of the moon’s light dancing behind them as they chased their own broken shadows. The yellow glow and low hum of the city street lamps fluttered and shook, not quite sure if it was their time to shine in the waning daylight. The air had turned cool in the evenings, keeping the large crowds of lookie loos inside the bars or coffee shops up the street from the bridge, only giving them reason to venture out for necessity instead of pleasure walks. The faint sound of moving water purred underneath him, as he sat on a bench near the end of the bridge, waiting and watching out of the corner of his eye. Without fail, he always managed to find one.
The Girl with the White BicycleCelia Hameury
When I first met the girl with the white bicycle, it was early spring. The tulips were only just beginning to bloom. I had often seen her, riding that overly large bicycle which had been painted entirely white, from the frame to the tires.
Then one morning, as I sat alone in the garden, she rode up to the front gate, in a plain white summer dress, and dismounted. She came to stand in front of me and stuck out her hand.
Dr. Levine, the psychiatrist, seems perfectly comfortable with long stretches of silence. Long stretches of silence are the story of my life. This is my third visit with the doctor. Mom is mad at him because he doesn’t prescribe anything for me. She wants me fixed. My mind needs mending in her opinion. He’s asked me why I’m here. I don’t answer. Looking out the window I watch a squirrel climbing up an oak tree. He loses his balance, landing on the lawn below where all the acorns are anyway but he ignores them and jumps right back onto the trunk and tries again. Stretching out to reach a limb he falls onto the grass once again. The acorns are right there. What is he really after, I wonder. I just want to hear the truth. That’s what I’m after. I think about the day I told my mom I know the truth.
At the time, I lived on the 31st floor of a modern apartment complex for middle-income households. I loved the large grounds and being a fitness freak, the easy access to a pool and a gymnasium. I loved having a shopping mall and a multiplex cinema a stone’s throw away.
It was 4 am and I exited my Uber, teary-eyed, inebriated and nauseous. I had just ended things with Dee, the love of my life. It had been the most amazing relationship for eight years. We were two hippies who floated through life like synchronized swimmers too lazy to collect their gold medals at the Olympics.
A Very Fine TimeDaniel Bartkowiak
They were sitting alone on the white sand. Everyone else had gone to bed. The night was cool and calm and the waves collapsed peacefully on the shore. The rods were still standing in the sand with their lines in the water. It was said to be bad luck to take them out after sundown. “Why’s the sand white?” asked Marjorie. “I don’t know,” said Nick. “Why is anything the way it is.”
“Man of the City”Horia Pop
Man of the City Put red crosses all over my calendar jam my luggage til ‘tis too heavy to heave I wanna be sure I won’t leave Prepare hot meals anything warm for our factory-stomachs let us first lounge & rest in the shade of our jungle-lounge hidden away from the omnipotent eyes of our western lives.
“I Am My Own Savior” and “Lady Saturn”Wanda Deglane
I Am My Own Savior Somedays I take my pills gladly, with hope and juice to wash it down, and other days I glare at them until they get caught in my throat and I hate myself for feeling like they’ve failed me already. Somedays it’s 85 degrees in Phoenix but I’m caught under feet of suffocating snow with no one to pour salt on my flailing body, like drowning all over again, but so weighted and cold I’m dragged to the earth’s core.
“Golden Shiraz” and “You Killed My Mother”Amy Pugsley
Golden Shiraz Everyone here lives in the past In a golden age of bliss Living in our own versions of the past Living in a version of what it all meant Ghosts of what once was Before the revolution Before the loss Before we packed our bags and left Before, before, before When we were all made of gold....
“Forest Nocturne”, “Lunar Light” and “Superposition: Love on a Quantum Level”stephanie roberts
Forest Nocturne this drama hums birched, blue, and pine behind winter-closed doors where raccoons and rabbits still. i remember the evening's autumn cathedral when amber light massed in prayer above. i played over the under of your body. don't think Nietzsche would be angry because under i explored this penumbra'd path round a temporary pond jewelled with drake and hen lusty in spring swell—winter's death finding level.
“Exhuming Luigi”, “Father” and “On the Beach Wall: St. Malo”Stuart Gunter
Exhuming Luigi God, we were drunk the night we exhumed your ferret from the dirt in the grounds of your old school. We drank mudslides and white russians until the bartender dimmed the lights and put all the stools but ours on the bar, the chairs on the tables. Stumbling into the cold, on a chorus of “Life’s Been Good” and “Marian the Librarian,” thinking what a good idea it would be to dig some bones from the dirt.
“Beloved Mother”, “Decolonial Inventory: Impressionism to indocumentados” and “The Blueprint of the Land”Édgar J. Ulloa Luján
Beloved Mother What I want to write is that I am and I can not stop being I want to give back everything you have given me, mother. And thanks to you I am far away again in New York But I'll be fine. Do not worry A poem for you, mother is the least I can do turning my love into words. Here's a bit of me and you It rained in your day today for you mother. I am ashamed I can not give you more.
“All My Exes Hate Me”, “You Invited Me to a House Show But You Know I Cant Do This” and “He Died Listening to Lo-Fi Hip-Hop”Miss Macross
All My Exes Hate Me it’s a big gross world and i don’t know what it wants from me close my eyes listen to lo-fi remixes of brazilian disco hits beats hit like waves and everything smells so salty i am so damn salty
“Akashic Archives”, “Quest/Vision” and “Ode Et. Al.”Jose Trejo Maya
Ode Et. Al. We still pray to the old gods changing of the guard: deity in that solemn face of the ancestors. Help me through [the moon light] We still pray in Quechua, Aymara, Lacandon, et. Al. Affinity –see the shoulder width of those keloids scars on the backs of African slaves [marks the above fight]
The Skin We’re InKaren Rollins
In late 1969, when I was an impressionable four-year old, someone shot Mr. Easter’s dog Runt. Mr. Easter put his dying dog into the back of his pickup truck, and booked. He feared once the drunkard started thinking about it, he might come back and shoot him too—knowing there was no heavy justification needed to shoot a black man.
Platform 5Leta Cunningham
Prague is cold. I stand on the train platform shivering in my wool coat, tighten my scarf around my neck, and close my eyes. I picture myself sitting on the front steps of my university library back in Texas, the feeling of the Texas sun in the summer, its angry heat. Despite living in Europe for four months, most of it spent in Northern England, I’m not used to the cold. I check the time on my phone, making sure I’m still on schedule for making my flight.
An Anthropologist “Storms Heaven”Nathaniel Wander
As the urban traveller ticks off cross streets—Van Ness, Filmore, Divisedero, Presidio—in the Peruvian lowlands where travel is chiefly by water, it’s confluent rivers: Huallaga, Chambira, Tigre, Ucayali. And every arrival, if the locals are to be believed, is only tres vueltas mas, ‘three more bends.’
The MessageRichard Friedman
Thanksgiving Day, November 27, 2025 “Mr. Bookman, time for dinner!” Simon Bookman roused, groggily, and studied the nurse. He didn’t recognize the nurse that took care of him for the last two years. Josephine Lucas rolled Mr. Bookman in his wheelchair to the dining room for today’s feast consisting of a dry piece of turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, and a little cup of vanilla flavored ice cream. If Simon Bookman could remember the old days, he’d recall the smell of baked apples wafting up the staircase and hypnotizing his three boys, Winston, seventeen, Sebastian, fourteen, and Wellington, age ten, respectively, dropped in the lap of Simon and his wife Margaret after Simon’s brother and sister-in-law died in 2000, courtesy of a drunk driver. The older boys retreated into the safety net of their deceased father’s transportation company. Wellington chose the sciences and graduated from Stanford, and celebrated his thirty-fifth birthday, a shared celebration with his beloved uncle.
Root That Mountain Down: Chapter OneEvan Balkan
It’s an unspeakable smell. The smell of death. The ripping open of animal to let out the demons, loosing the jumble of organ and bone and tissue and exposing it to open air where microbe and maggot and mosquito can do their work. Black piles of waste swarming with insects fill clearings in the woods, just beyond the demarcated perimeter where decrepit buildings totter in the heat. Two scraggly roosters barely muster up the energy to chase each other in languid circles amidst food wrappers and beer cans. Muddy men wearing flip-flops cradle tattered playing cards and AK-47s. A voice booms from inside the long, flat building: “Hey! Hey! Hey!” over and over like a wicked hymn. A shirtless man emerges. Stretching from his right shoulder to his belly button is a long purple scar. The belly button protrudes like a tiny appendage. His arms are outstretched, and unlike the other men, he has a nice potbelly.
Land of the FreePeter Hoppock
For the first 20 years of Douglas Williams’ life, his grandmother Mary had been tightlipped about her past—what had brought her to America, what and who she had left behind. During the last week of his last semester of college, Douglas’ father Llewelyn Williams Jr., fearing a downturn in Mary’s health, insisted Douglas join the family at the nursing home that had housed her for the last five years. That evening, after a short visit from a priest during which she insisted she was healthy as ever, she asked about Douglas’ upcoming Army service and if he still expected to be stationed in Europe for a time. When Douglas answered yes, she made this request of him: Please look up my brother-in-law Joseph, who might or might not still be living in Wales. She gave Douglas a photograph of her long-dead husband Llewelyn Williams Sr., noting that she had none of Joseph, but that the two brothers, born a few years apart in age, shared enough features for the photo to be useful. Promise you will do this for me, she insisted. Douglas kissed her on the forehead and promised he would. Mary’s request took everyone by surprise, especially Douglas’ father, himself equally tightlipped about his origins—as if it were a family obligation to bury the past.
See Table 1Chris Espenshade
It is argued that it is time to classify the compulsive need to hoard military-grade weapons and ammunition as a mental health issue that would preclude the said hoarding (see Table 1).
Economy As IntimacyEric Peter
During a previous artistic project of mine, I explored various one-person endeavours into positive change through dialogue against the backdrop of worldwide geopolitical issues. We would engage in a range of topics—from gender equality to environmental awareness—all with a focus on “the small-scale” and with forward-looking attitude. But afterwards, I was left thinking ideas/opinions on economics or finances were left unspoken.