Issue Seventeen

Nocturnal

01:14 It’s a survival adaptation. A habitual practice. Or maybe I just prefer the milky light moon to the blare of the sun. The way the iridescent fog of my cigarette blurs out the blooming stars one by one by one. It’s easier to think in the dark. I’m hylocereus, I’m...

35 Variations

1. Alphabetically: AA B C D EEEEE F H J NN OOO RR SS T U W Y 2. Anagram: O, we seafarers enjoy techno dub. 3. Lipogram in d, g, i, k, l, m, p, q, v, x, z: We can bed heroes, just for one day. 4. Lipogram in a: We might be heroes, just for one sunrise. 5. Lipogram in...

The Fire Comes To Play A Song

Janice and I find a room at the Motor Derby Inn a few towns away. The fire is still coming  but we are safe for tonight at least. A thin woman with a fake tan and a tired face at the front desk frowns when she tells us they don’t normally allow pets but smiles when...

Vancouver Island (1990s Give & Take)

When I am nineteen, you let me go. Until then, you keep me in your rocky shores. I explore your roads on foot, on hitch-hiked rides with strangers, on bikes found in back alleys. You give me G and G gives me a plate he makes in pottery class with his beach-tanned...

Slap Shots

“Your lifeline is long” Leslie says, “but you have no fate.” She’s holding my palm in hers, tracing with her cold fingertip things I can’t see. My friend Maggie laughs, and then takes a shot of vodka, and then slaps herself in the face....

People Like Him

# Only runners and cyclists out early spot the first coyote in the middle of the street. Startled, they keep moving along the lakeside road, later not sure what they saw. Coyotes haven’t been reported around here for several years. It must have been a rangy stray,...

The Last Time I Spoke to Ma

I got the call in the middle of the night of my 30th birthday and knew it wasn’t good. Who calls to wish you happy birthday at three in the morning? I wished then that I’d married somebody so they could pick up the phone and say I wasn’t home.    “Hello?” I...

Beast and Bride

George’s widow lives inside the dragon he killed. The ceiling is its ribcage, the plates are rainbow scales, the knife she uses to cut steak a single white tooth. The house is full of corners, sharp, glistening, seductive. Some of them are still smeared with the blood...

Losing Mama

Mama took Little Lola to the Field Museum weekly. Two girls getting out, she said. We don’t need Papa. So Little Lola spent hours in the diorama hall drifting alongside arranged landscapes. Each nature display attracted her like a department store window, teeming with...

The Ghostbuster in Love with My Mother

Bill Murray, comedian, movie star, and man about town, breaks open his childhood piggy bank, the one he purchased under the name of Charlie Rivers at a Five-and-Dime while on vacation in one of the Carolinas. That he has a piggy bank large enough to contain the money...

A Real Catch

I’m wearing my lucky pants. Everybody at the post office knows me. Yesterday, when I walking to the liquor store, I noticed somebody peeping through the blinds. I’ve been trying to trick myself into being invisible, but so far, no luck.  For a while, I was thinking...

Lucky Little Girl

Is six a confusing time for everyone? I look at my children and think not. They may no longer like trains or construction vehicles but they go to sleep around the same time every night. Their friends range in age from 5-7. Not a single friend in their twenties or...

On Not Drinking for Dorothy Parker

Most people remember Dorothy Parker for “Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses.”     One of the lines that I remember her by is “All those writers who write about their childhood…if I wrote about mine you wouldn't sit in the same room...

Tree on Top of a Parking Garage

The elevators are all broken, so it’s climbed all five flights of stairs. Catching its breath, it stands by the railing and looks out across the highway to where the sun is turning orange between the clouds and the horizon. The passing drivers see it there and chuckle...

Stupid Girls

ONE. To collect our lost things, Forest drove us along the railway—the rain slowed, the lake calmed—and while Forest drove, he flirted, and teased us for not being stupid girls, and still that’s what I remember most, not the portages that hadn’t been cleared of...

The Favorite Child

Dad loved Remy best, the rest of us knew by the way he said his name: Rem-me, with the accent on the last syllable, like our brother belonged to him. As a toddler, Remy took the attention Dad gave him and swallowed it whole until he gagged and turned blue. We could...

When a House Becomes a Tome

your old house is occupied by another family & has been for years I run I pedal I rollerblade by & imagine you laughing with that high-volume draw & wheeze of yours the time your mom popped her head in the window & nearly scared you half to death I...

Sister Copper Hair

I. My sister tells me that if I stare too long at the clothes whirling around in the washer I will get cancer.A. It takes a while for me to figure out this is a lie. For years, I will glance at the washer’s soapy porthole and quickly look away.B. As we grow older, I...

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