Issue Thirty

What Binds

I become things. Today I become a staple stuck in a telephone pole, chewing its corner of paper. Tastes like missing puppy flier, honeyed with a crust of sadness. Not like the bitter root of ads for the neighborhood watch. Or the starchy invitation to a show by The...

Last Names

HughesMy mother doesn’t know who her father is; her mother refuses to tell her—said she’d take it to her grave—but, her step-father legally adopted her and gave her his last name. GilmoreBefore she met my father, my mother was married. I called him “the Gilmore guy.”...

Kokoschka’s doll

Sometimes Kokoschka tells me I don’t exist. He whispers, you’re a transitionary object, dear doll, an illusionary surface, an overpriced representation of absence, and he groans into the feathery folds in my thighs and throws me to the floor. I was wrapped in tissue...

Undeveloped

Before I leave you, I clean out my desk drawers. I no longer want to hold onto these things: Mr. & Mrs. rubber address stamp, sushi erasers you bought me even though I dislike seafood, unopened ovulation tracker. A film cartridge, black and white Kodak, 35 mm....

Window Dolls

I see other girls like me, breathing their breath, their heads against the back seat windows, greasy imprints on the glass, their gaze on blurring buildings, boys on bikes, other cars. Chevy. Chrysler. Cutlass Supreme. We are behind our parents’ heads. For the moment,...

Ballad of Him

He rented a room on F Street, three days a week washing dishes at a local restaurant. The building he was in was broken. Small rooms split into smaller rooms by cheap drywall.Her room was down the hall. Someone he realized he knew. After work he stood outside her...

Archie and I. Alone. Together

Archie's coat smells of old man and cat pee. You like to dip your nose down the sagging collar and inhale the earthy scent in the playground line. Others pinch their sensitive noses and make noises that tighten his fish-hooked jaw and turn his ears pink, but you find...

Screaming Ourselves Horse

At first, the men didn’t understand. Sometimes the change would happen at midnight, and other times it’d sweep through at midday. They’d wake to a bed frozen over, or they’d frown upon entering the kitchen, finding lunch absent from the table. Within the house, at...

There’s a cabin in the woods in your suburb

Taxidermied gimmicks on the inside, pretty little necklaces hanging from jackalope antlers, jewels like glass eyes. The corpse in the armchair, he’s very handsome. But the HOA must define “death” before you approach him so the body never leaves. Growing even more...

When I Came Back Later, the Book Was Gone

It belonged in a curiosity cabinet, between a homunculus skull and philosopher’s stone, not on abottom shelf of the school library. It was blue, untitled, and full of cryptozoological sketches ofdeep-sea creatures. It was, I thought, the most important discovery I’d...

Ash Tree Elegy

Calamity is a fire that obliterates everything but itself. Explodes you out of accustomed waysof being, your accustomed ways of seeing. Home will be home again some day. But how to go back when I go back? To the cocoon of a condo on Calimyrna Ave, named for the Valley...

Mark My Words

You can dump mein the general waste bin,or the lost & found box of a hospital.You can bury me undera nameless gravestoneat someone’s abandonedbackyard. You cantreat me like a pub toilet,write dirty words all overmy walls, scrape them,and vomit on my tired vinyl...

Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler

We are heat cranky, though we try not to be.  We sit in this hot room, hot because it’s South Louisiana, hot because it’s summer, hot because the air conditioner broke down. My mother carries a tray of sweet, iced tea into the enclosed side porch, usually...

You Know I Love You, Right?

Another word for superstitious is misguided. Grandma Josephine made a promise, “when I die, I’m coming back.” Mom is obedient enough to believe her but she assumes she’ll return as a haunting apparition, something out of A Christmas Carol, rolling over in to death...

The Abandoned Hydrolic Maintenance of the Archipelago

The halo didn't work as scientists expected then, the crown of thorns did not pierce the star as intended, its insides did not spill out like a slit belly and dim its brightness.Awoken from its slumber, uncontained it reached octopus-like light tendrils around the...

BANG!

There is a loud explosion outside on the street. My little brother moved out this morning, but the mother inside of me still expects the worst. I drop the pretzel that’s halfway to my mouth and sprint out the door in my underwear. Smoke billows and balloons between...

Unsettling

Thrown for a loop(another failed romance)left uneasy I’d planned to retire early anyway(I hadn’t planned to move)but 30 years in California I thought, just go That I went in the direction of the failure was coincidencefew dared ask if I moved to Austin because of...

You, Drawing and Drunk Michigan Mermaids Sing to the Dead

You, DrawingUrgent and hawkish,savage man strokesskirr from your pen;determined lineschase skeletons,gouge the eye socketsof decayed Frida Kahlobursting with flowers,the Dance of the Dead.You are the pen and paperwithout pause or breath.Thick lines glide from...

E Kanawai Moaka’aka

The night sky is full of ghosts. Altarf, the orange giant anchoring the left claw of the constellation Cancer, was dead by the night I was born. Didn't stop it from shining, though. My Pictish ancestors followed it to Alba. It drew the first Hawaiians out of the...

Like My Grandmother’s China

You would be so surprised, I know, to learn the real reason I stayed with you far too long. One brisk October day a decade ago, walking up the steep slope of Eugenia Street, we passed a house with well-tended planter boxes. You glanced at the fuchsia nestled there and...

Imaging Results

Reason for Imaging:  r/o Hopelessness Comparison:  The Past, What Else? Findings: There are so many things that remain unremarkable besides the heart.  The landscape of days is the same as ever.  The children grow. I walk the dogs down...

The Hole in the Wall

“When your world abruptly falls apart, inaction is a powerful counteract,” said the voice, once leaving the man to his empty room.The man walked the empty room, pacing its area as though studying it. The man did so until he became fatigued, ultimately falling asleep....

Standing around the Hearts

In first period health class, all twenty of us stood around the cow’s heart Miss Hutchings unwrapped on her desk. “Inside and out,” she said, “we need to know ourselves,” halving that heart with a scalpel to show us auricles, ventricles, valves, and the wall...

The Narrow Path of Totality

When mom would get tipsy, she’d tell this story. She had only one; beautifully embellished, wild with gestures, impeccable timing, and heart dropping punchiness.“It was a brutal labour.” She’d look around the living room and declare “You guys couldn’t begin to...

Idea

The writer had an idea for a story and took out his spiral pad and pencil nub from inside his ear and began to write about the phone call he received from a late-night TV host who said he was referred to him, read his collections of flash fiction and would like to...

Constricted

On the day that a rehabilitated boa constrictor accidentally asphyxiates his owner in rural Pennsylvania, I walk to Walgreens, foggy from another night of insomnia. The woman in front of me is buying bags of candy and she tells the cashier, whose nametag identifies...

Portraits of Fowl Women

~ Swans and geese hail from the same branch off the duck family. Over time, they, too, drifted apart. Lynne’s father said they could trace ancestors all the way back to the Mayflower. Fishermen and servants leaving an old land for a new land where they became...

An Evening With

I found Momma’s wig and green formal in her old trunk. She’d worn them to her last birthday party at DiFranco’s. After looking in the bathroom mirror, I imagined myself on a New York stage singing her favorite numbers. I performed “My Man” and voiced every word with...

His Confession

He uncorks a 2017 bottle of Caymus Cabernet and pours out a story twice as old. Six words filter through. Six I want to unhear. Knife, nightArgument. Slashed, severedFled So many questions to ask once my thoughts unscramble, and stomach untwists. Only one makes it...

On the third night without

sleep, I’m a fogged mirror. On the fourth night, I’m a snake, a lizard sliding legless. On the fifth night, I’m a puddle, a flat tire, a melted iron lung somehow still breathing. On the sixth night, I’m you, who you were, the you I knew before this...

At Night They Sang “The Yellow Rose of Texas”

And it was still hot. The air conditioner dripped from what must have been a window over the alley. Humidity poured in through the front window, the one she broke by throwing a book at the tree roach climbing up the slats of the blinds. Pissed off at the roach and the...

Pin It on Pinterest