Read

Parents and Children

Issue 49 by Linda Heller

The twin sisters are fraternal to the sorrow of Peg, the eldest born just before midnight and therefore on an earlier day than Hillary. Their separate birthdays aren’t what riles her. When they were young, Hillary’s parties coming on the heels of Peg’s were forced reruns, neither child getting the celebration she wanted. The trouble is that Peg actually resembles a peg…

read more...

Read

The Leak

Issue 49 by Norbert Kovacs

The tank had worn thin with rust since no one maintained it and more was stored inside than it was designed to hold. Pressure had built high in the oversized vessel and now a jagged crack opened along its exterior. A purple liquid, the secret ingredient in a successful line of chemical preservatives, oozed from it with a noxious smell and pooled on the linoleum floor.

read more...

Read

Don’t Be Like Bluebeard’s Wife

Issue 49 by Carol Pierce

The Y is around the corner from his architectural firm, and I would see Les in the pool every weekday from 1:30-2:30 p.m. That’s why, this fall, I thought it odd when he wasn’t there for a whole week.
Eating in the middle of the day made him sleepy, he said, so he forfeited lunch for ten laps of freestyle followed by ten laps each of the back, breast, and sidestrokes.

read more...

Read

A Leaf Falls

Issue 49 by J. K. Marconi

Kevin sat alone in the dappled sunlight beneath a towering oak tree surrounded by gravestones. He gazed fondly at the sculpture of a young woman stricken with grief. Death, like love, obsessed him. The noonday sun etched deep shadows in the mourning bronze figure that knelt on one knee with her head bowed. Despite being covered with the patina of age, it was lovely in its depiction of sadness.

read more...

Read

Arrows

Issue 49 by Summer Hammond

“Can we do a drive-by?”
When Chris gets home from work, after he’s changed, but before they’ve eaten, Molly asks him. She clasps her hands under her chin, like she’s praying. She tries to keep her face from doing that grimace thing that Chris can’t stand. He says it’s her panic, her pain. It makes him want to curl up in a ball.

read more...

Read

Hunger

Issue 49 by Chiedozie Dike

The afternoon sun burned a seal on the floor, the single hung window casting a parallelogram shadow onto the cream vinyl sheets near the foot of Laifa’s hospital bed. A crosshatch of metal bars and the grid pattern of the mosquito net framed the window’s outline, an otherworldly manhole Laifa could fall through into an eternity of light where she’d float weightless in the air as if in space. At peace.

read more...

Read

To Be a Family

Issue 48 by Jan Jolly

The blood spatter covered his face and arms where the worn T-shirt left his skin exposed. Tiny red dots, slowly drying in the August heat. The infant in his arms gurgled happily while Phillip fed him in the back seat of his wife’s car, bloody fingerprints covering the sweating glass of the baby bottle.

read more...

Read

Black Creek

Issue 48 by Thomas Lovoy

She decided to take the tour of the Black Creek Indian Mounds because she thought it might be a good way to get out of the house. The divorce was over a year old, and her therapist said it would be a good idea to get out there—not “out there” in the sense of being a divorced woman who’s out there, but “out there” in the sense of not sitting around her living room watching old reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond or clicking through endless loops of pictures on social media sites.

read more...

Read

Casino

Issue 48 by Ruby Bosanquet

The village wraps its way around the hill and back down. At the top is a shack, wooden slats painted white and a window thick with condensation. Hanging in the centre is the sign. Casino. Fluorescent and too bright against the open trees and grey sky.

read more...

Read

Memory Care

Issue 48 by Jenni Dart

On the exit ramp, the cake slides off the back seat. The cakebox, now wedged on the floor, requires both hands and some wriggling to remove it from the car. Looking through the cellophane, now crinkled and dented, Lori sighs. The thick gelatin-like blue and yellow balloons piped along the cake’s edges have slithered and slid across the stiff white frosting into the number seventy.

read more...

Read

In Theory

Issue 48 by Charles Davis

The river was wide and moving at a brisk clip. Its dark, choppy surface ran past desolate sandy banks suggesting some barren shore. Sad trees with anemic branches could be seen reaching out desperately in all directions. In the distance low rolling hills seemed to wait listlessly for a defiant sprout of green to break through their hard, stubborn soil.

read more...

Read

Where Boys Play Baseball

Issue 47 by Thomas Weedman

All the cars are gone except for two. Fearing he’s been left behind or got the day wrong, the leggy Catholic-school boy with blue eyes and string-cheese hair limps up to the dirt lot in tattered Chuck Taylors and a sweaty panic. It’s Wednesday, August 13, 1975, and a hundred degrees.

read more...

Read

Unpacking Mother

Issue 47 by Margaret Sayers

Brigitte could not remember a time before the suitcase flanked the front door on the right, opposite the coat closet to the left. Just like the faded floral wallpaper, the yellowed silhouettes of the stair-step Schmidt sisters, and the frosted glass sconces in the foyer, no one even seemed to notice the weathered hard-shell Samsonite anymore.

read more...

Read

Living Memories

Issue 47 by Jamila Minnicks Gleason

“Start that over, Tiny Bit,” says Grandmama as she waves an unsnapped green bean at my laptop. “And turn it up for me.”
My finger is still hovering over the touchpad when a wave of crisp, staccato horns crests and crashes from the speakers, receding into violins cascading
down,
down,
into a churning drumroll before that voice smooths the way and invites us to meander a piece down a lazy river.

read more...

Read

Good With Birds

Issue 47 by E. Farrell

When we were young, my brother Jim once tried to mail a pigeon – a live pigeon, friends – to his girlfriend. There it is. A week or two before school resumed for what was to be his junior year, he had captured it under a laundry basket in an alley behind our house near where the garbage cans dwelt at the rear of the garage. Over much pecking and scratching, Jim had managed to band a love note around one of its legs

read more...

Read

The Book of Dragonflies and Nana-Wai’s Garden

Issue 47 by Alpheus Williams

The fat gibbous moon is hours away from dropping beneath the curved horizon. Under that fat moon Nana-Wai glides through her garden, ghostlike. She’s old and there’s not as much of her as there was when she was younger. Her cotton shift, thinned with age and wear, like gossamer wafts in the breeze. It’s as if she is floating. Stiff bones and muscles find grace.

read more...

Read

A Doctor in the House

Issue 47 by Jean Ende

My mother tucked the phone receiver between her shoulder and her ear, lit a cigarette and simultaneously dialed Aunt Rachel’s number.
I left home several years ago, but I’ve overheard enough of these phone calls to be able to recount this conversation. While they lived only two blocks apart and neither of them worked outside the home, my mother and my Aunt Rachel found enough drama in their lives to need to speak to each other every day.

read more...

Read

Ritual for a New Chief

Issue 46 by Miranda McPhee

Eight men stood in a loose group on the edge of the Nubava atoll swinging wide their arms and slapping their leathery brown torsos in the cool air as they waited for the first glimmer of the sun. Thirty feet out, a horseshoe of small boats bobbed up and down, weighted fishing nets strung down between them to create a barrier against the open sea.

read more...