Issue Eighteen

The Boy of Summer

Skin hot, still smelling of coconut long after the sun went down, bronze and golden with youth and the certainty that nothing will change. Walking like no one was looking, but sure that everyone was mesmerized by our hips; the men driving slowly in cars, the boys on...

Teeth Fragments

A father and son were once in my mouth at the same time with a hammer and chisel. My mouth is too small for my teeth, and their task was to make space. There was no pain, but the hits scolded my eardrums. I caught a glimpse of the shattered tooth when it was over,...

Domesticated Violence

I, a once broken girl, once broke a man. He was, himself, without a father and uncertain in the ways of a man. Handsome, but without respect or the tools to garner it-always half in work, half in schemes, and never in sentences drawn from literate sources. Yet he was...

Beginnings

In the beginning, dad left and mom hung herself from the rafters.  And even though he was gone and she was gone, he was not really gone and she was not really gone. And as I bounced from home to home and school to school and family to family, he was always...

Writer’s Jeopardy

Alex, out of the hospital with his cancer diagnosis, was standing holding the IV pole with one hand and maybe questions and answers in the other. I was one of three writers and back for my second day as returning champion. My mother was sitting in a chair off to the...

“Swipe Right”

I was picking a therapist. Sue slid a chair close to mine and looked at the screen with me. “Ooh, it’s like dating,” she said. The therapists have headshots you click on. “Very funny.”  Sue had caught me pouring  bourbon into coffee.  “Really? It’s nine...

The Gift Economy

1. Recently I’ve written my last will and testament. Well, truth be told, I just filled in some blanks on a boilerplate. My partner, Megan, and I took it to her bank to get it notarized along with a medical form our doctor gave us entitled “5 Wishes” about end-of-life...

Return Journey

Two a.m. and the wheels crunching the gravel comfort me. I sink into the pillow and savour the soothing rhythmic rolling of the stones.            Six days ago I called the cops. Again the next day. They were not...

About The Types

I This part of the story should be set in Times New Roman, a typeface designed by the draftsman Victor Lardent, under the direction of the typographer Stanley Morison and named after The Times newspaper, for which it was commissioned. Matilde had never heard of...

Rope

I learned of Josh’s suicide from a comment on someone else’s post. Shane and I were in bed watching that Hitchcock film with no cuts.“What?” Shane said.“My ex killed himself.”I went outside before he could respond and called Dignan, the mutual friend I still had with...

We knew she’d become a stranger

by the way she’d twirl in that new dress with the colors of a lost sunset across the shimmering corn fields. We knew she’d become a stranger by the way she’d look right at the camera, never smiling, but her eyes danced on the molten flash, a secret slowly revealed....

Two Dogs

i. as of tomorrow as of today as of right now we are lost in the woods’ brown leaves parchment paper grateful for the perpetual churning beneath our feet well aware of tonight’s frost warning more signs pointing to us maybe getting past all this ii. the larger issues...

Walk on the Wild Side

The small house where I once lived and no longer visited had a fire ant problem. Instead of calling an exterminator or buying Raid like normal human beings, my progressive family decided the most viable solution was to purchase an anteater off the internet. After much...

Razing, Scrubbing

Razing Unease like black smoke imploding at dusk. All things like a calendar or a game of hopscotch. Everything meaning something else how I remember watching a boy burn insects in the parking lot after church. His eyes like love always shattering—as if caught in that...

Alternate Holidays and Weekends

The gingerbread house sat upon the dining room table, the only vestige of holiday cheer. Without her children for Christmas this year, Elf on the Shelf and Treetop Angel remained boxed away in the attic. Sometimes she could hear them through the air vents whispering...

Letters to Mike Tyson, Number 2, Number 18, and Number 22

Letter Number 2 (Bald Patch) Dear Mr. Tyson, I noticed the prominent, out of place bald patch near your right forehead while watching vintage footage of the 1987 heavyweight title match against Tyrell Biggs. Easy to spot because it looked too polished with carnauba...

The Promise

Tongue my dress like goddess whisper. Lick the milk lazy or lie in rust still panting delirious petals—tell me the incubator we live in has blown a fuse or that tomorrow, my daughter will wake up inside the canyon walls I secreted her inside until the world’s oxygen...

The Year the North Pole Finally Cracked

In early 2020, temperatures over the Arctic spiked, and Santa Claus finally relocated to Lower Manhattan. He rented an apartment in a neighborhood he called SoHo-Ho, along with Ms. Claus and several elves, and when springtime hit, he came out onto the balcony...

Interstellar

exhausted by the enormity of everythingmy eyes refuse to focusand what is there to see?//so i surrender let them closeeven though there's so much ofnothing important to do//somewhere on another plane a bell rings and a small birdstartleddrops a pebble into the pond of...

Instructions for Grieving

1. Try to get back to a routine as soon as possible. 7:00 A.M.  7:15 A.M.  7:30 A.M. 8:00 A.M.   8:15 A.M. 9:00 A.M.        10:15 A.M.   Fuck it. Cloudy with a chance of torrential downpour. Remove makeup....

The Dance

1.  The slice is a rectangle. I can feel the part of my stomach where the mesh has been sewn in. It’s a patch. I’ve been put back together like a toy; a bundle of haphazard stitches, murdered to stay alive.   Back from the other side, it’s me: a zombie...

Strawberry Jackknife

Our car gasps, slows, oozes to a stop.  Twenty years ago, at least. My mom was driving me to school when we saw an 18-wheeler sprawled across the highway. We were either on the 210 or the 134. It looked like everyone in the state had emptied their veins onto the...

The Wild Gold Things

Can we stop evil better? Turn slag to days? With each fresh beginning, purpose falls flat against the wall of discovery. If only we knew how easily a life can go wrong or how far to push the love. If only we could fix it all. These back roads are endless. Below a...

Clam Girl

When her girlfriend breaks up with her, the little necks are still alive in the fridge. For three weeks they'd failed at shucking. They must be magic, she thinks, her mind dizzy with grief, throws them into her lunch cooler on her way out....

Genius Zebra

            Bandits came to an abandoned coal mine with roses in their teeth.  I don’t know what they were running from, but they sure came a long way by moonlight.  They set up camp outside the old shaft and laughed and hooted with their whiskey stories, clapping and...

Night Swimming

I was standing naked and cold the night the sea took my friend Tom. While Isabelle and I were ankle deep in foamy sea water, her arms folded around me, shivering and blanketed in goose bumps, we watched Marguerite, stagger out of the waves, alone, the moon...

The Guy Who Always Felt Like He Was About to Throw Up

During college I worked at CVS with a guy named Joe who always felt like he was about to throw up. Since he was too scared to go to the doctor to get himself checked out, Joe worked each shift with a nauseous grimace plastered to his thin face, with rivulets of shiny...

Mean Men Behind

He went up the embankment on the side of the road where he could see for a mile or two in every direction. The Big House smoked beyond the hill. He climbed back down and found her where he’d left her, leaning against the rusted teal Ford Taurus Station Wagon. She’ll...

Influence

I am watching a re-tweeted video of a writer I don’t know or follow opening a Fed-Ex package, a conscious glance at the camera, nervous side-smile. She sits on her made bed’s white comforter in a red dress, hair straight from the stylist, red lipstick. She removes the...

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