Issue Thirty-One

Executive Assistants

The markets are bullish, Bloomberg reports at the crack of dawn. We’re the only ones awake at this time, and we know. We made the markets bullish. Our apartments are tiny. We tiptoe around, getting ready for work, so we don’t wake our fast asleep partners and fast...

Postcard to X

Just Alice and Willy and Ben now. Dragging our bones across the city, hitting every red light but nothing slows us down. We streel over to Old Calton Burial Ground and dance, weave joy in and out of the gravestones, crackle and spark and sing our throats to ash. Our...

Privilege

Chicago, Illinois, 1981 The heroin addict has dishwater blonde hair, pinky-beige skin, and an impish grin. There’s a twinkle in his eye, a gleam in his pinpoint pupils as he peers through a crack in my kitchen door. Suddenly he’s nine again, sneaking a peek in our...

Breath

i. Airway. When you plunge into cold water there is a rising: heart rate, fear, darkness. The water, pushing down, surface tension dented by your body, until the water breaks over the top. A catch in your breath—no breath. Crushing pressure suddenly released; smile in...

Countdown

10… My yearning could have deforested Maine; it continued for days, ever since I saw her, open-faced like the books on display in the museum gift shop. 9… I spent my days at the gift shop mulling over the dictionary. I glared at words I would never use. They sprawled...

Tik Tok Dance Tutorial

1. Hands in front of you, sway hips x2. A woman with parts of her stomach injected into her ass is teaching us how to dance. 2. Draw heart on chest. She doesn’t ask us to adore her, she doesn’t have to. 3. Tap each wrist x4. I’ve lost whole years of my life watching...

The Saddest Music

Then, by a tree, we come to a stop. I think of impetus as a mysterious intrinsic property. The perseverance of things in themselves. How this tree, for example, persisting in its treeness, will eventually envelop this wrought iron railing. Will subsume all foreign...

Boston

Track 1In high school, we were masters of the one line song. Our greatest hit went like this: Another Saturday night 70’s loser,I myself and me, playing 45s on 33,wishing Ann would go crazy on me. Track 2As lyricists, we were uniquely qualified to recognize Boston's...

On Sunday

Presbyterian vegetarians saddle sea urchins and go for a roe. Wahoo yahoo holy water woo. Sushi sirens singsong seduction, spinach puffs are Jesus’ best wrapped gift. Crab rangoons goon naked crudités enticed by a slice of chanterelle mushroom toast. Devils ride...

The Annual Library Book Sale

The library was flooded with book donations. Mountains of cardboard boxes filled the basement, ferried from hatchback and truck-bed, down the elevator, to gather dust with their kin. Before they could be set on narrow tables at the annual book sale, the books needed...

A Date With Dermatillomania

Driving out of the city on I-376, my iPhone alerted me to a hazard ahead with an irony the device did not understand. Instead, the phone assured me I was still on the fastest route. But I hated the speed of I-376 and particularly the resulting car accidents, which...

Sinew

            after Fernando Velásquez’s untitled plexiglass print, #19 in the Mindscapes Series Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, you look at the skyline but not skyward. You don’t want to be drawn into the...

How to Stop a Cough

See a doctor if your cough persists for more than seven days. Tell him you wake up three, four times a night coughing, though you’re not sure if it’s your cough or the urge to pee that awakens you. Joke about childbirth and urinary stress incontinence. Chuckle with...

Guilt

I was seventeen and leaning over the handles of my bike. My friends were resting on bikes too, all of six of us, as a storm gathered in the West over the granite ledge of the ridge. I could feel the electricity and the choke of coming rain. It didn’t take long for...

hemianopia

one. i didn’t look in mirrors. glass refracts broken images that remind you of the way you shimmer shimmer unreal in your own mind. everything outside your head is in your head, still. one reality warping yet another. a gelatinous fragment of the passionate sun,...

Sorry Kid—

“Sorry Kid.” That’s what Carrie on Season 5 Episode 23 of Kids Baking Championship says to Kyle before she steals his cinnamon during a speed challenge. This ten year old has her own cream cheese frosting recipe and I can’t stop praying long enough to get off the...

Verdant Hope

I longed for spring, and it came, not sun and crocuses but frigid rains, drifts drowned away in a day, and undying winds. Restless, Spring moved to my living room. What to do with Grandmother’s once prized rug, these sodden cushions? Vines laced through our new...

Rabbit Hole

I Mom hires a magician for my eighth birthday party/ We have it at the Red Room at the Officers Club in Mcguire Air Force Base/Somehow a lot of friends appear/There is a rabbit[There is always a rabbit] & a man in a white suit rolls out an extra-large sheet cake...

Ash Darlings

During a commercial break I notice the six boxes in the corner of my room. They contain all the drafts of my third collection of unpublished stories, rose petal words, withered. I look out of the window at the cloudless night sky. So, it's time. I pile the boxes in...

Instead

This was my first Father’s Day Without my Father. As the son of a workaholic, I don’t know if working on this expired holiday honored him or distanced myself from him. Every dad entering with his kids to buy them something... bittersweet like aspartame, a sugar...

Tagged

By two in the afternoon, we’d stolen four t-shirts, three baseball caps, and twelve packs of Spearmint gum, all while making friends with the cashiers—flirting if they were girls, talking sports if they were guys—and leaving each place with our pockets stuffed and the...

Santa Fe

Lost in Holy Faith City not directionally but existentially in a hotel just off downtown so can still walk in and get a gin and tonic with quinine to prevent malaria and not have to drive though once the sun goes down I feel dumb wearing my new stetson, the black one...

Six Minutes At 4 AM

I have six minutes left before the boy I used to know as a child comes out to skate the performance of his life. I go downstairs to make instant oatmeal and the water takes ages to boil. I compose a list of things you can do in six minutes – it might well not include...

Executive Assistants

The markets are bullish, Bloomberg reports at the crack of dawn. We’re the only ones awake at this time, and we know. We made the markets bullish. Our apartments are tiny. We tiptoe around, getting ready for work, so we don’t wake our fast asleep partners and fast...

Postcard to X

Just Alice and Willy and Ben now. Dragging our bones across the city, hitting every red light but nothing slows us down. We streel over to Old Calton Burial Ground and dance, weave joy in and out of the gravestones, crackle and spark and sing our throats to ash. Our...

Privilege

Chicago, Illinois, 1981 The heroin addict has dishwater blonde hair, pinky-beige skin, and an impish grin. There’s a twinkle in his eye, a gleam in his pinpoint pupils as he peers through a crack in my kitchen door. Suddenly he’s nine again, sneaking a peek in our...

Breath

i. Airway. When you plunge into cold water there is a rising: heart rate, fear, darkness. The water, pushing down, surface tension dented by your body, until the water breaks over the top. A catch in your breath—no breath. Crushing pressure suddenly released; smile in...

Countdown

10… My yearning could have deforested Maine; it continued for days, ever since I saw her, open-faced like the books on display in the museum gift shop. 9… I spent my days at the gift shop mulling over the dictionary. I glared at words I would never use. They sprawled...

Tik Tok Dance Tutorial

1. Hands in front of you, sway hips x2. A woman with parts of her stomach injected into her ass is teaching us how to dance. 2. Draw heart on chest. She doesn’t ask us to adore her, she doesn’t have to. 3. Tap each wrist x4. I’ve lost whole years of my life watching...

The Saddest Music

Then, by a tree, we come to a stop. I think of impetus as a mysterious intrinsic property. The perseverance of things in themselves. How this tree, for example, persisting in its treeness, will eventually envelop this wrought iron railing. Will subsume all foreign...

Boston

Track 1In high school, we were masters of the one line song. Our greatest hit went like this: Another Saturday night 70’s loser,I myself and me, playing 45s on 33,wishing Ann would go crazy on me. Track 2As lyricists, we were uniquely qualified to recognize Boston's...

On Sunday

Presbyterian vegetarians saddle sea urchins and go for a roe. Wahoo yahoo holy water woo. Sushi sirens singsong seduction, spinach puffs are Jesus’ best wrapped gift. Crab rangoons goon naked crudités enticed by a slice of chanterelle mushroom toast. Devils ride...

The Annual Library Book Sale

The library was flooded with book donations. Mountains of cardboard boxes filled the basement, ferried from hatchback and truck-bed, down the elevator, to gather dust with their kin. Before they could be set on narrow tables at the annual book sale, the books needed...

A Date With Dermatillomania

Driving out of the city on I-376, my iPhone alerted me to a hazard ahead with an irony the device did not understand. Instead, the phone assured me I was still on the fastest route. But I hated the speed of I-376 and particularly the resulting car accidents, which...

Sinew

            after Fernando Velásquez’s untitled plexiglass print, #19 in the Mindscapes Series Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, you look at the skyline but not skyward. You don’t want to be drawn into the...

How to Stop a Cough

See a doctor if your cough persists for more than seven days. Tell him you wake up three, four times a night coughing, though you’re not sure if it’s your cough or the urge to pee that awakens you. Joke about childbirth and urinary stress incontinence. Chuckle with...

Guilt

I was seventeen and leaning over the handles of my bike. My friends were resting on bikes too, all of six of us, as a storm gathered in the West over the granite ledge of the ridge. I could feel the electricity and the choke of coming rain. It didn’t take long for...

hemianopia

one. i didn’t look in mirrors. glass refracts broken images that remind you of the way you shimmer shimmer unreal in your own mind. everything outside your head is in your head, still. one reality warping yet another. a gelatinous fragment of the passionate sun,...

Sorry Kid—

“Sorry Kid.” That’s what Carrie on Season 5 Episode 23 of Kids Baking Championship says to Kyle before she steals his cinnamon during a speed challenge. This ten year old has her own cream cheese frosting recipe and I can’t stop praying long enough to get off the...

Verdant Hope

I longed for spring, and it came, not sun and crocuses but frigid rains, drifts drowned away in a day, and undying winds. Restless, Spring moved to my living room. What to do with Grandmother’s once prized rug, these sodden cushions? Vines laced through our new...

Rabbit Hole

I Mom hires a magician for my eighth birthday party/ We have it at the Red Room at the Officers Club in Mcguire Air Force Base/Somehow a lot of friends appear/There is a rabbit[There is always a rabbit] & a man in a white suit rolls out an extra-large sheet cake...

Ash Darlings

During a commercial break I notice the six boxes in the corner of my room. They contain all the drafts of my third collection of unpublished stories, rose petal words, withered. I look out of the window at the cloudless night sky. So, it's time. I pile the boxes in...

Instead

This was my first Father’s Day Without my Father. As the son of a workaholic, I don’t know if working on this expired holiday honored him or distanced myself from him. Every dad entering with his kids to buy them something... bittersweet like aspartame, a sugar...

Tagged

By two in the afternoon, we’d stolen four t-shirts, three baseball caps, and twelve packs of Spearmint gum, all while making friends with the cashiers—flirting if they were girls, talking sports if they were guys—and leaving each place with our pockets stuffed and the...

Santa Fe

Lost in Holy Faith City not directionally but existentially in a hotel just off downtown so can still walk in and get a gin and tonic with quinine to prevent malaria and not have to drive though once the sun goes down I feel dumb wearing my new stetson, the black one...

Six Minutes At 4 AM

I have six minutes left before the boy I used to know as a child comes out to skate the performance of his life. I go downstairs to make instant oatmeal and the water takes ages to boil. I compose a list of things you can do in six minutes – it might well not include...

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