Issue Thirty-Two

Apr 11, 2023

Getting Even On The Flushing Express

The ladies don’t do lunch. They ride the train during rush hour on Mondays instead. They’re not looking for a gentleman to give up his seat. They’re looking for some muscles to rub against, for asses to grab. This week, there isn’t the usual crush of passengers...

Sex

In the backseat, we fumble. “Like this?” “How about there?” “Will it fit?” “Maybe this angle?” Finally, success! The carseat’s installed. **** Elbow under the bathtub faucet Temperature just warmer than my skin I flip the drain switch, add organic bubbles And look at...

Men Who Write Women

Even though Suburbia, experiencing her brand-new S-CarGo, had called Valery to say she was stuck in slow traffic, she arrived at Burger Place right on her heels. The place to have lunch in Chicago, Michigan, they used the Downsize Me option to buy a cheeseburger to...

Of Course

My father taught me how to surf fish on a conventional. “Fuck a spinner. That’s for bait and for pansy ass amateurs,” father said. Spot heads. Bait for red drum. Every October, Father would camp out at the Virginia state line on the beach in his ’95 Dodge Dakota. I...

A Difference in Temperature

It’s a hot day. The heat fires down and sweats the sunblock right out. Tourists fight for seats in the cabin, but politely, so they can claim they’re not fighting. I’m stuck on deck in a polo and a prison-logo cap. Last summer, my ex-wife visited one weekend. A...

The Woman in the Chest

*Some of the imagery deals with violent subject matter* The head came disembodied, wrapped in a few of my grandmother’s wool scarves and buried in the crook of a cedar chest good for keeping moths out but more of a relic than anything—an attestation to the abundance...

Ernst’s House

Ernst sees, shaking the blind hands of sleep, the son who will never be Jesus Christ again. And this has been going on every night for six months now. Sometimes, in addition to a boyish smile, he dreams of shovels without holes and flowers without...

The Social Worker Says I’m Hallucinating, But . . .

the pattern of empty footsteps creaking the floorboards outside the hallway of my bedroom door? my son screams even when he’s not home? When I open all the doors, and let in the cold, for the cat that keeps singing, what no-thing am I inviting? Once, I saw what looked...

The Girl Who Was Afraid She Might Float Away

He stood up and walked to the bathroom, stepping over his suit in a pile on the carpet. She wondered if they’d taken her clothes off in the living room or in here. It had gone so fast. She propped herself on her elbows and looked around the bedroom. One faux oil...

I Don’t Even Know Who You Are

When I booted up my computer and opened the web browser, the last thing I expected to see was a Facebook friend request from my estranged father. It’s been 13 years since I rubbed my eyes and witnessed him dash out of my life, his silhouette sneaking across the...

Fountains of a Birthday

He discovered // what Ponce pondered // it scared him the scars // without use-of blade // he had whittled to core // found some time // this modern-day's discoverer looked within // now sat unafraid // pain slowing hard his hands no younger, smaller, but those hands...

Divorce Conditionals

If you were here I would tell you the story of my life since we split up and hope we both could find forgiveness. If you were here I would show you where I threw my ring, the birch and aspen trees that watch over it, the raven that picks at snow trying to find it. If...

Broken Pools

i. a warm hand open. two eyes night-shaped. fingers or feet having waved aside the tidal comforter. frogs had their feat last night. the way they started slowly with the first drop and built it up, note by note, like a slow sea rising. ii. you could tell the world had...

Game Over

Volunteering at the nursing home was the boy’s mother’s idea. She said over dinner one night that spending his afternoons in the arcade did not an impressive, productive young man make. Also, that all he ever did was take, take, take. Then she added that he’d look...

Somnolent

When the fatigue began again, I welcomed it like an old friend, like the one who stopped calling right after we shared an expensive meal. After that, I told someone how I was tired; right in my soul, which I felt, was a feathery thing. I pointed to my sunken...

Six Degrees of Trauma Bacon

My dreams are disappointingly unoriginal. I have this recurring one where I need to leave my holiday at the last minute but I don’t have enough time to pack and it won’t all fit in my suitcase. Yes, I get it. I have a lot of baggage that I need to get rid of but my...

He’s Not Bothering Anyone

Father was the first to spot the crumpled black mass in the corner of the living room. “Up there,” he told Mother, pointing to the ceiling. The blue light from the television illuminated their pinched faces as they searched through the shadows, the whites of their...

Wet Grass

I rake leaves into a black garbage bag under moonlight. I hear Jean tell me about the benefits of leaving a few leaves in the yard. “It’s good for the soil. Don’t you care about the soil?” I don’t know what’s come over me, but I need the leaves gone. I need the grass...

The Magic of Witch Hazel

I’m Hazel, and I have known you forever. Maybe you think you can harness my power? For years, your hands have held my forks, waiting for magic, for me to twitch. Dowsing, divining, or water witching. I’ll dance, ‘wyche’, or bend in a ‘wicke’  if I feel the life...

Invasive Species

I tucked diet plans away in the back of my mind in case my hair started to thin out. I didn't think I could handle being fat and bald, not with my accent. I was hell-bent on being one or the other but didn't have the dedication to be neither. When I talked, it always...

Quicksand

Lorri dares walk out on the estuary to where the red-shanks strut on long legs. She dares climb the tall twisted oak where she says she can see her apartment block three hundred miles away in the city. She crosses the fast-flowing stream on a slick and mossy log. She...

5 pm in Kyiv

5 pm in Kyiv is when you call me from Beijing. It is 6 pm where I am standing in my living room in beautiful Rome, sweaty from a walk, holding the phone to my ear. You are at the other end of the line. Sometimes when we are like this, I imagine a string made of our...

I Try Not to Place a Brow in

This is the fourth season—counting backwards, that I haven’t heard from her. I’d met Madeleine in September, and left her there, too, eight years later by the Salines, red-brown and ribbed as her hair in rain. It’s difficult to tell apart what the heart remembers, and...

Play Pretend

Fiona has a pretend family no one can snatch out of her hands. She has an older brother, Kojo who once drove them all the way to Aburi for a picnic in the botanical gardens; and this other time Fiona made believe he gave her a piggy back ride up Mount Afadjato. Her...

Intimacy with Death is its Own Kind of Freedom

The scope of Kay’s knowledge gave her vicious pleasure. She had seen plenty. Jasper the tabby cat was first. A gift from her stepmother, a peace offering. The stupid thing leapt into traffic during a day of spring cleaning. She went outside and stared at the matted...

Indigo

Memory lane picks up on a slow Wednesday afternoon and I melt into an acrid puddle. The sobs stuck within my ribs press against my heart, almost as icy as the blade… in my fingers, in your hands, in the tangle of our limbs and in the weariness of your furrowed brow....

Mourning Dove

As she drifts into sleep a sound escapes her. A gentle sigh, like the cooing of a dove. Like she was releasing all that was the day before. Like letting go of something.   •   Early morning light falls soft through the window. It casts a cool hue over...

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