View Post

Kelly

by Andy Betz

Looking back, she was my first love. She had the strength of character and the courage of her convictions to endure any hardship life could throw her way. On my second day as a firefighter, my captain ordered me to accompany him across the street to the local gas station on a call about “a cat stuck in a tree.” I did as I was told, donned my gear, and walked to the tree to ponder how I could climb it without scaring the small feline to higher elevations or encouraging it to confront my face with its claws. These are the decisions for officers, not rookie firefighters.

read more...

View Post

Parris Enflames

by Daniel Eastman

You are here. Darkness surrounds you now, both literal and figurative. You sit hunched over against the wall of the crowded bus, pantomiming meditation in a defecatory posture, eyes wide-open stealing glimpses of your crusted New Balance sneakers with the occasional passing of city lights. Maybe somehow there’ll be a reflection, a final glimpse of your thick brown hair. Instead, green edge of a road sign that passes too quickly. You know that you are somewhere in South Carolina. That’s where the plane landed.

read more...

View Post

How to Be a Wall

by Hannah Rials

No. 1 – Already Be a Wall

Become a wall before it is necessary. I can’t instruct you on this because I was naïve. I thought, Let pain come; it’s a part of life. I thought being a wall was cold-hearted, and that I am not. But please learn from my mistakes. Being a wall isn’t being heartless. It’s just the smart thing to do.

No. 2 – Remember the Pain

This is the worst step—I’m sorry. But I have a feeling that if you’re reading this, you’re like me; you absorb words.

read more...

View Post

Platform 5

by Leta 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.

read more...

View Post

An Anthropologist “Storms Heaven”

by 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.’

read more...

View Post

The Skin We’re In

by Karen 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.

read more...

View Post

Wonderland

by Leilani Squire

With courage and honesty, Leilani Squire writes of a life-changing event in her stunning piece “Wonderland” – “I can’t go back to that place before I was married. That part of my life is dead and buried, and covered with too much shame and grief.” The narrative grabs you and the raw emotion and truth revealed lingers.

read more...

View Post

A Story I Know By Heart

by Glenn Schiffman

“I’m going to tell you a story, parts of which I’ve kept in my heart for nearly fifty years, and other parts I’ve been silent about for seventeen years, and have not written about until today, December 31, 2017.” This is the introduction to Glenn Schiffman’s piece “A Story I Know By Heart” – an odyssey of personal decisions, truth, and action that began in 1968. It is an intense and intriguing journey, for both writer and reader.

read more...