Read

Fireworks in Hong Kong

Issue 48 by Carol 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.

read more...

Read

Charting the Distance

Issue 48 by Matthew 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.

read more...

Read

Small Town Story: It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you

Issue 48 by Meaghan 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.

read more...

Read

I Told My Lover to Sleep With His Ex

Issue 48 by Mary 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.

read more...

Read

Six Sleep Stories

Issue 47 by Diane Forman

My former mother-in-law complained of insomnia. Incessantly. She had a small army of pill bottles lined up on the kitchen counter: Tylenol PM. Tramadol. Valium. Klonopin. Sleep aids. Little helpers.

read more...

Read

The Missing Years

Issue 47 by Suzanne E. Korges

There are empty spaces in my photo album, gaps in time that float like apparitions in their possibility. Just out of reach, hazy and transparent, like smoke from a Cuban cigar that was there and then, suddenly, gone. I turn the pages, searching for the missing years, but find no trace.

read more...

Read

Hidden Hurt in the Dirt

Issue 47 by Suzanne Eaton

Red-rock shelves that looked like they were sliced away and neatly tiered by an enormous X-Acto knife in an ambitious, yet unsteady hand stood before me. The wall of rusty-red stretched between me and a creek I thought I could hear rushing by on the other side.

read more...

Read

Breathing

Issue 46 by Charlotte Evans

“It’s never really over between us, is it?”

He looked at me, smoothing the hair back from my forehead. My cheeks flushed as soon as the words left my lips. I hadn’t meant to say it out loud, but that’s what had been running through my head.

read more...

Read

Called Home

Issue 46 by Diane S. Jarrett

Screened doors slamming and the calls of “Can you play now?” echoed between the houses on Rose Lane during Raleigh summers in the late 1950s and early ‘60s. Sometimes it was hard to tell which child lived in which house.

read more...

Read

Why I Couldn’t Embrace the Catholic Church

Issue 46 by Michael McQuillan

Childhood trauma and immoral exemplars in teen years pushed me from the Catholicism that meant much to my mother. The above-altar crucifix with blood dripping from the tortured body of Christ at the Church of Saints Philip and James in the Bronx where I often spent Sundays lies vivid in memory.

read more...

Read

To Where We Came From

Issue 46 by Richard Lin

I realize that Jacqué is probably not the best influence. Troy likely is. Despite being whitebread, Troy is as wholesome as multigrain. However, there is an edge to Jacqué that I enjoy. With him, I am Rick, cool and tough. As my first nonwhite friend, Jacqué innately understands what it is like to grow up amongst those that do not look like me or understand the culture of my parents. True, he and I look nothing alike, and the cultures of our people are vastly different. However, the experience of immigrants’ sons is near universal.

read more...

Read

The Heater

Issue 44 by Micaela Edelson

It’s late October and the cold has begun. Normally, the winter comes, the world freezes, and by the Spring, the frigidity of dormancy melts and the earth is reborn again.

read more...

Read

Lightbulb

Issue 44 by Jon Shorr

It was during one of those Rockford Files car chases on TV that Mrs. Leonard Y. Silver knocked on my door. I didn’t hear it at first because Mrs. Silver’s three knocks coincided perfectly with that three-chord banjo stinger…

read more...

Read

Where is Love?

Issue 44 by Michael McQuillan

An aspirational God is manifest in an infant’s birth, the sun’s warmth, a shoreline’s rippling waves. It appeals to conscience, evokes compassion, succumbs to the primal force of base behavior. Order and chaos, hope and longing, love and indifference recycle themselves.

read more...

Read

The Playlist

Issue 44 by M. Betsy Smith

I knelt in front of the oak cabinets, the knees of my jeans instantly saturated by the soaking wet carpet. I was so tired, but I had to get his record albums out.

read more...

Read

Birdsong

Issue 44 by Jennifer Fox

I had never heard anything quite like it before, yet there was something familiar about it. It was almost songlike, this noise, punctuated with agony and mournfulness.

read more...

Read

Learning German in Central Pennsylvania

Issue 43 by Valerie Little

“I thought of you last night,” Professor H says nonchalantly, studying me as I drape my houndstooth printed coat over his office loveseat. A Tetris of stacked papers, folders, and CDs make sitting on said loveseat impossible. Except for that one time when he cleared it off so I could sleep while he worked on his book about Schumann and Brahms. Even after the innumerable hours we’ve prized in this office, I still don’t always know how to read his particular kind of strange. Taking my usual seat across from H, I feel a flash self-consciousness, wanting to hide the shape of my body.

read more...

Read

The Sum of Our Differences Equals Mom

Issue 43 by Andrew Sarewitz

Just as a person may have unexpected contradictions to his temperament, two very different men can each mirror an individual they know well. My oldest sibling told me he sees himself as being a lot like our mother. It’s not that I didn’t believe him, I simply thought I was the one who wore the analogous traits. Since my brother and I practically live opposing lives, I hadn’t thought we both could carry on Mom’s personality. Mom died in 2014.

read more...