Creative Nonfiction

Featured image for “A Father’s Arms”

A Father’s Arms
by Su Cummings

The thermonuclear bomb and I practically share a birthday—that was the first hydrogen fusion device with the power of 800 Hiroshima bombs. They called it the superbomb, the “city killer.” Physicist Enrico Fermi said its “practical effect is almost one of genocide.” I always knew the fear-begotten arms race and I grew up together. Read more.

Featured image for “Antidote to Truth”

Antidote to Truth
by Carol Ann Wilson

Standing in Tiananmen Square that autumn day in 1998, I marveled at its vastness. The few people populating its more than fifty-three acres seemed like ants on an enormous sidewalk. The square could hold many, many more. Multitudes. Read more.

Featured image for “Born Still”

Born Still
by Anna West

I was watching a gothic tableau play out from the corner of a hospital room. A pale girl lay on the bed below. Dark hair on white pillows. White sheets between her legs stained with blood. I felt compassion for the pale girl and the three people bending over her. Two nurses and a young doctor. A cry caught in his throat. “We’re losing her!” Read more.

Featured image for “Hope”

Hope
by Madelaine Zadik

Hope is what filled Helga’s letters, in fact, they were overflowing with hope. Hard to imagine so much hope inside a prison cell. That first year awaiting trial moved slowly, with little to do inside that cell. Helga was in solitary confinement for over eight months.
My mother and her sister, Helga, were part of the resistance in Nazi Germany. As teenagers they worked as couriers, smuggling anti-Hitler newspapers across the mountains from Czechoslovakia into Germany. Read more.

Featured image for “Bobby’s Irish Goodbye”

Bobby’s Irish Goodbye
by Joyce McKenna

It’s always been remarked upon in my family — by family I include all my cousins — that whenever there’s a large gathering, my brother Bobby, youngest of all the twenty-one cousins, will slip away unnoticed, thus aptly demonstrating the “Irish Goodbye.” He began his disappearing act at the age of two and a half. Read more.

Featured image for “Durango”

Durango
by Jeff Schnader

Back in the seventies, J-Bee drove a cab in New York. Tips were in nickels and dimes. When he’d saved enough, he hitched across the country. He arrived in Berkeley in summertime, land of eucalyptus trees and soup kitchens where the sun sets backwards, over the vast, sleepy, amnesic Pacific. Read more.

Featured image for “The Other in Paris”

The Other in Paris
by N. M. Campbell

Marianne paced as she walked around the space praying. It was a lull between the movements, so she took a moment to stretch her legs. Fourteen years ago and a month, she did not remember this being so hard.
“Mama!” Marianne ran back to her daughter’s side and squatted down next to her. Read more.

Featured image for “Lost And Found”

Lost And Found
by Aida Bode

The decade of childhood – 1981
The little girl’s red hair looked like a splash of sunrise on the white pillowcase. She moved her head to the edge of the bed and then opened her hazel eyes that shone like two big pieces of amber that had just started to cool down. Read more.

Featured image for “Who Do You Trust?”

Who Do You Trust?
by Bridget Verhaaren

The baja sauce zings my tastebuds with fire from the ancho chili peppers. The light, flaky sauteed mahi mahi and fresh guacamole with lime make for fish taco perfection. Digging my toes deeper into the sand, I take another bite – a Chronic Taco party in my mouth. Gary and I sit on the warm sand and watch the waves crash onto the beach. Read more.

Featured image for “Men Will Be Men”

Men Will Be Men
by Andrew Sarewitz

We haven’t spoken in years, but I almost always remember George’s birthday. The first day of summer. This year, it landed on Father’s Day. Without a message attached, he texted me a photograph of his family. Not the one that raised him when he and I were growing up. This is of him, his wife and three kids. Read more.

Featured image for “A Run Home”

A Run Home
by Jennifer VanIwarden

It is important that you know that I am a very sensitive person. So much so I have worked really hard to not be. I have found it too difficult to feel all the world’s problems on top of my own. I have worked to build walls so as not to feel it all. Read more.

Featured image for “Oubliette”

Oubliette
by David Kennedy

New York City had never seen such dreadful weather. The rain poured on Sunday with such ferocity as to relieve wavering worshippers from attending services, for it suggested that the heavenly deity would rather that they stay at home. No sooner had night fallen, however, than a bitter cold set in, first freezing the remnants of the day’s precipitation upon the streets, then turning the rain into heavy snow. Read more.

Featured image for “The Man Can Dance”

The Man Can Dance
by Alyssa Katz

My father, George Katz, was drafted into the U.S. military in 1942. Life in the military began in Roosevelt Field, Long Island, where he received a physical examination. The exam revealed flat feet and a high IQ. Owing to the high IQ, he was not sent overseas for combat. Rather, he stayed on the mainland in the U.S. Army Air Corps (today the Air Force) working on airplanes. Read more.

Featured image for “Carry On Baggage”

Carry On Baggage
by Erin Conway

The flight wasn’t long from Guatemala City to Dallas, two hours. It wasn’t long from Texas to Wisconsin either, two and a half hours more. Finding something to do for that timespan was nothing compared to the twenty-four plus hours it took to visit my brother and his family in Tel Aviv. Read more.

Featured image for “Climbing in Vain”

Climbing in Vain
by Stuart Baker Hawk

I was sitting in a poolside chair nursing some mixed concoction at Bally’s Las Vegas. Two days earlier, I stood atop Mt. Whitney via the Mountaineer’s Route, the same route first climbed by John Muir in 1873.
I had several more peaks to grab on my list. Denali in Alaska at 20,237 feet was next up, the highest peak in all fifty states. Read more.

Featured image for “Why We Should Synchronize With the Sea”

Why We Should Synchronize With the Sea
by Michael McQuillan

We can delve into pictures as we would with a text. This one shares insights. To find them I shed sneakers, drag toes through moist sand and breathe deeply. Eyes face the horizon. On a weekday there is no one else here. I drink in the air, sights and sounds, a healing balm for the chaos of our so-called civilized world. Read more.

Featured image for “The Lost Room and Everyday Objects”

The Lost Room and Everyday Objects
by Debbie Robson

Now that I have finished watching The Lost Room mini-series on catchup tv (actually catching up with a show first screened in 2006), I have a new respect for objects. You know, they are not as simple as they appear to be. They sit quietly minding their own business. But in an indefinable way, they do have lives of their own — as I will try to demonstrate. Read more.

Featured image for “Misfits of the Animal Kingdom: Butterflies”

Misfits of the Animal Kingdom: Butterflies
by Susan Abercrombie

Forewing: I acquired a fear of butterflies the same way I acquired a favoritism of the color blue. One day, I simply decided. I’d cringe when they flew near, drawing my arms close to my chest to reduce their chance of using me as a landing pad. I’d stare at pictures of them on Google, examining their paper-thin wings and furry faces. Read more.

Featured image for “The Sphinx”

The Sphinx
by David Kennedy

Paris could rightfully be said to be home to the diplomatic arts, but not all lay fully within its ken. Not every secret is pried open when men conduct their affairs with threats, intimidation, and hints of violence; for the more delicate questions of international intrigue, a softer touch is required. Read more.

Featured image for “His Crystallized Fingernails”

His Crystallized Fingernails
by Scott Vander Ploeg

Forced by family duty, cousin Greg and I sat with an older couple, from the good ole’ USA, in a music hall on the Champs Élyéese. I was taking a break from graduate school and imposing on my kin. My Greg-kin was working and living in Paris. Read more.

Featured image for “On A Dime”

On A Dime
by Melissa McKay

As my husband and I sped along the interstate, trying to keep up with the police car leading the way, I thought, This is some other family’s story, not ours. How the hell did we get here? We thought home was the one place we could relax and let our guard down. We thought wrong. Read more.

Featured image for “2020 Was the Year”

2020 Was the Year
by Joanne Jagoda

2020 was the year we will always remember but not with photos or mementos. It will be forever marked by pages left blank in photo albums and online collections which used to chronicle our most important life cycle events and the mundane ones as well. Read more.

Featured image for “Privilege on Parade”

Privilege on Parade
by Courtney Elizabeth Young

When my alarm sounds at 5:30 a.m., I am already awake. I lie staring at the ceiling, reaching over to pop the snooze button into silence. I have one hour to go running, then shower before you get here, before Liz wakes up and comes with us to the next round of appointments at the hospital. Read more.

Featured image for “The Fog”

The Fog
by Wayne Bizer

I couldn’t see. The night fog was thick, and I was driving too fast. My guts screamed at me to stop, but I was more frightened of slowing down, knowing that somewhere behind me they were racing to catch us.
I searched for the edge of the road, the line in the middle, anything that would keep me from going off into the dark forest. Read more.