Category: New Fiction

“Dear Subscribers”

Dear Subscribers: It’s been three years since the last “Gaming with Rosa” video went up on the channel. Though I’m sure you some of...

“Rabbit County”

Jeremy said that one of Marsha’s rabbits got away again.  He told me last night while we were sitting in Dino’s waiting for our...

“And They Were Sore Afraid”

At the time I was sure I was dying. My heart was erratic, my knees locked regularly, and my brain burned. This immediately following my...

“Catfish”

Catfish swim in a circle. They glide under the surface of the murky water, they gobble up mud, they exhale bubbles. Their slick bodies...

“Come and Gone”

I’ve got six hours of driving ahead of me, but I’m taking it easy with an iced coffee between my thighs. Cars rush by like they’ve...

“Fire’s Aftermath: Joan and the Pets”

After the fire, Joan received a post from Next Door about free kittens. Looking at the picture of the five kittens lying peacefully next to...

“The Only Song is the Song of the Self”

The aurora of fireworks over the Hudson has passed and New York’s Finest are cordially inviting everyone to move the fuck right along...

“Lazy Leonard’s Year-Round Fireworks and Tanning”

was, of course, open. When wasn’t this place ready to make a buck? After all, people might at any time need fireworks at noon on a Sunday...

“5 AM”

Jeremy says I’m a waste of weed because I can never pull anything into my lungs. Now he just smokes with his friends and I pretend like...

“Aimee’s Alibi”

Aimee Semple McPherson was kidnapped from Ocean Park Beach near Santa Monica on May 18, 1926 by two men and a woman, who hustled her into a...

“Love”

Bobby and his girlfriend had been going out for four years. They were inseparable through high school and got each other gifts for every...

“Unleaving”

The boy’s favorite smell was the smell of leaves burning, that mossy, earthy smoke, even though you weren’t supposed to burn them...

“Symptoms and Remedies”

I try to interpret the signs of my own body, and think back to a medieval literature class I took in which we discussed how, when Joan of...

“Tourists”

Coach unzips his blue tracksuit, zipper fizzling down the suede, as the wind carries the sound off the bluffs at the edge of the Pacific....

“Been Ingenious”

People called Ricky ingenious whether they thought it true or not. Most folks choose to remain blithely ignorant to the deeper intricacies...

“Bellwether”

Through the seventeenth century, Europeans believed ringing church bells would intimidate storm spirits, whether of thunder, hail, or wind....

“Seven Signatures”

I   Not his name or a first crush or even the harsh assertion of a cuss word but an arrow, carved into the desk to impress his...

“The Colors of Pain”

“Gut pain’s always the worst,” says the medic. I could tell him he’s right, but I want to keep my pain pure and white and...

“There is Always So Much”

What we did that summer: we hung around torn-down barns and took photos of each other with that old camera and screwed them up after, with...

“Two Chambers”

I. The boys go out for groceries but come home with matching rifles. “Antiques,” Sonny tells me once Ivan has disappeared behind his...

“Rabbit County”

Jeremy said that one of Marsha’s rabbits got away again.  He told me last night while we were sitting in Dino’s waiting for our...

“Gravitate”

I. They stand side by side facing a row of dining room cabinets. Audrey examines each one carefully, looking for details that distinguish...

“Fly Season”

In a room without furniture, the flies have nowhere to land. They flit from wall to wall, winged dirt, smearing the air around them. Alice...

“Deadbolt”

I work from a small room in our loft, and Alice is always after me to get out more. Sometimes in the middle of the night she will come to...

“Lowlands”

Alan asked me to meet him halfway between Brussels and Paris, at a restaurant around the corner from the Lille train station. I was the...

“Baby Lanes”

“Excuse me. I’m over here in the lane next to you and noticed you’re bowling very well tonight.” “That’s quite kind.” “I...

“The Undead”

Ryan said that he needed to call his girlfriend, and I wandered back to the living room and dropped into the recliner and pulled the wooden...

“160”

Not many people knew what I knew about my brother and his wife. I knew it all. The booze, the opioids, the fights—all of it. And here...

“There is Always So Much”

What we did that summer: we hung around torn-down barns and took photos of each other with that old camera and screwed them up after, with...

“A Rest”

There in the Carr Avenue house on an early spring evening in the year of the Great Shedding, the two youngest Corrigan brothers came to...

“Nebraska”

In 2014 tornadoes swept across the northeast corner of Nebraska, destroying the small town of Pilger. Families stood at the only...

“Joan Ponders Spit”

It was Christmas day, so Joan was bored. Her children had already opened their presents. Her daughter had cried because she hadn’t gotten...

“Master Craftsman”

Tom’s old guitar was falling apart. He asked friends for advice. “Take it to Sanderson,” they said. “He can fix anything.”...

“Shipping and Handling”

It was Mr. Murphy who taught us how to drown kittens in the lake. It started with three strays. The Murphy’s owned the lumberyard with...

“Story Dissection”

Here’s all that is needed to dissect the story: Thematic Elements 1) The man loves his wife, as in true to life. 2) He aligns himself as...

“If Table Legs Could Cheer”

Dogs are allowed in the bar and one night this sharp-tailed sharp-eared dog trotted in, went up to a table and carefully laid underneath. ...

“The Reckoning”

I was four years old the first time I beat my mother at Scrabble. She loved the game and fancied herself something of a master, goading my...

“Fugue of the Sunbathers”

A little girl of maybe four or five. You can tell by her Spongebob one-piece bathing suit, her sassy mouth, her messy hair. She runs down...

“The Funkmeister”

If you happen to meet my co-worker Maxwell Benz—unlikely—and the conversation turns to music, be prepared for your opinions, whatever...

“Pizza”

I asked Mae twice.  She squealed, we get a pizza party.  I didn’t respond.  Even the second time.  I think she felt the need to...

“Weehawken”

Okay: we are in Weehawken, atop our apartment building. The roof has no rim. It is a stupid idea to sleep here but we do it sometimes...

“Cold Shoulder”

He was still her living, breathing husband until that evening, when he came home late for the third time in a week, having never, not once,...

“The Dancer”

She had practiced the dance just once, and only then in the smallest of spaces, behind the basement stairwell where she was sure no one...

“Two Flash Pieces”

Linger The alien at the foot of my bed asks—telepathically—for a piece of fruit, preferably a banana. For the past five nights, the...

“Carve This Flesh From Off My Bones”

The woman stands at the edge of the firelight. We think of her as “the woman” now, since she is the only one left. The rest have died...

“Unhinged”

So how did I get here…well, okay, where do I start? The strippers. I’m going to start with the strippers. The strippers were the...

“Bluebird”

The bluebird perched on the fence facing the neighbors’ bedroom window. Ann relaxed, drinking her morning tea, watching the bird turn...

“Nectar”

We get high on the nectar of eternity.  We laugh with deep pleasure when our beloved gods, horny men, take us to bed and draw red roses on...

“A Hand for Scale”

I know from experience that there are beetles the size of my palm. The experience: a failed honeymoon in Brazil. Joe thought sweating on...

“Doc Oils”

  Bolinas Seventies – 48 clicks by ‘Nam talk but a time warp from civilization which refugees’re ravenous to avoid, hippies shot...

“Righteous Bliss”

Even after several weeks, Amos fell asleep in righteous bliss. He had struck back at them. A whole busload, over the guardrail, down the...

“Pictures At An Exhibition”

You won’t see the picture. It fell out of the box she carried from the house tonight. There’s a footprint on it. That should tell you...

“Doorkijkje”

Tess walks from the Met through Central Park. It is Saturday morning and the park is crowded with a fun run. The ground rumbles with...

“A Jack Daniels kind of Bullet”

It would have taken me a million years to kiss all her freckles. They were littered across her skin, poured on her shoulders, competing for...

“The Nature of Trees”

Acorns. Smallness. Roundness. Small brown oval things. Spherical objects. Anything small, anything round. Friends with leaves and twigs and...

“So Small a Spark”

It is not simply that the tree is going to snap its hinge and kill him.  There is such a rich history here.  The tree is a ponderosa pine...

“The Stairs”

They are right there as soon as you open the door to your mother’s house, in an almost too close for comfort way. She says it’s a...

“Highball”

He’s in the soft green center of the fourteenth fairway when the shouting starts. Steve cranes his head back toward the tee box, a couple...

“Cake”

Eustace carries Rooney’s liver in a jar tied to her belt with a rope made of discarded dental floss. She lets her hang onto it,...

“The Crush”

Here the Girl has come to find solace. In the aisle, crouching, the Girl savors the Boy’s smile, the incision of its warmth a line cut to...

“A Trip to the Museum”

Alan was alone in the Gund Gallery, save for the solid docent who looked like his regular job was coaching Pop Warner football. He was on a...

“A LIttle Turtle”

A woman on a first date is given a gift, just a trinket, but it’s awkward being given a gift on a first date, especially from a man met...

“Marital Counseling”

“We’re out of sync. I need more than talk to prove that you love me,” said the wife. The degree of brain activation on the...

“The October I Am Sixteen”

The October I am sixteen I tiptoe out of my mom’s small pink kitchen and meet a smiling, middle-aged man in a park, only a broken swing...

“My Apologies”

I will start by saying that I do not have to explain myself to you.  Then I will go on to explain myself, out of some misplaced sense of...

“Alpha Bravo Charlie”

Alpha, he says, as we lie on the mattress one morning during the days I want to know everything about him. Beta? I guess, but no, he says,...

“When Gravity Lets Go”

For the better part of two hours, as you’ve sat at his bedside, your father has made perfect sense, each complaint reasonable enough,...

“Tweaking Personhood”

“How many of you are interested in volunteering for algorithm-tweaking?” asked Jim, the division manager. “And let me be perfectly...

“Barracuda”

“Goddamn cuda keep cutting our baits in two,” my father said, lighting a Salem with the lit butt of another. The cherry loosened and...

“The Hunted”

The small doe came into the clearing that Randy’s father had made with a chain saw and stopped, picking her head up from the trail. The...

“After Drinking It Up”

Who’s to say the dead whale wasn’t seeking what it swallowed? The necropsy revealed 64 pounds of trash in its intestines —...

“Light On”

I am meeting a man at 307 Lockland Ave. A sanctioned stranger, someone told me has a warm and easy laugh and a house on the East Side, in...

“Whited-Out”

A smear of wite-out blotched the space just beneath the signature of the Murphy’s Christmas card. I already knew what had been...

“Impossible Love”

The first time he sees her she is plummeting to the ground, a stream of chiffon and chantilly lace. His heart leaps into his throat as he...

“The Gathering Before the Storm”

Against her better judgment, Gladys takes a moment to notice that the sky looks deceptively banal through the kitchen window of her ground...

“The October I Am Sixteen”

The October I am sixteen I tiptoe out of my mom’s small pink kitchen and meet a smiling, middle-aged man in a park, only a broken swing...

“Two Chambers”

I. The boys go out for groceries but come home with matching rifles. “Antiques,” Sonny tells me once Ivan has disappeared behind his...

“God and the Unicorn”

At the fork in the road between here and there, the elderly professor ran smack into a unicorn. “Sorry, I wasn’t paying attention to...

“The Imitation”

They had just finished making love, a rousing session, and Sullivan worried that his fiancé had been so loud that their neighbors in the...

“There is a Man on the Escalator”

There is a man on the escalator going the wrong way. He has been walking, step after step, for over five hours now. People squeeze by him...

Why I Write: George Choundas

Few things are better than writing. Writing is sitting with coffee and hatching plans. Many things are worse than not writing. But not...

“To Know”

Double-hung window, plantation shutters the color of ripe mangoes drawn open. On the street below: the new fire hydrant (red, not yellow...

“The Mission Inn”

There’s a place I rarely consider home, tucked neatly in the middle of other places that matter more: my birthplace, concealed...

“On The Ferry”

“Sorry,” the young woman whispers to the man on her left. “Yeah?” he replies. Both shielded behind their sunglasses. Late...

“Limbo”

You’ve been in traffic for two hours. It’s been rain the whole way. Your wife is probably waiting in the kitchen. She’s probably...

“No Access Beyond This Point”

I was fine heading into work, but then the excruciating, as I once thought of it, happened when I stopped in at my favorite central Los...

The Daily Comics: an Essay in Frames

 Monday i. When I see my son drawing, I think of my father, crafting a comic at the kitchen table. I remember the smell of cigarette...

“A Miscarriage of Sorts”

Lucia and I had broken up a few months before, and I was still mourning the loss of her, my best friend. We used to do this thing together,...

“Running for Avocados and Writing from Bears”

Chad Lutz Alice Walker Graduate Workshop October 17, 2016 Grad school is an enigma, the lofty leap writers often take to push their crafts...

Why I Write: Hillary Shepherd

I write because I have so many outrageous true stories to tell. I write because everyone in my immediate family but my way younger brother...

“Poison Snail Fight”

When I was a kid of seven, we lived in a place infested with soft shell snails. It was common knowledge those little monsters were...

“Ablution”

I’d spent the last hour at work heaving fifty-pound sacks of flour from the truck onto pallets, which ought to have bulged my biceps...

“Highball”

He’s in the soft green center of the fourteenth fairway when the shouting starts. Steve cranes his head back toward the tee box, a couple...

“Sudden Romance”

As Megan ran for the #77 bus Thursday morning, she skidded on a patch of ice outside Starbucks, hit the pavement, and blacked out. She woke...

“She Waits”

The setting sun casts long shadows across the woods, turning the trees, the road in front of them, black. At the hill’s crest her father...

“If You Can Make It Across”

If you can just make it across 35th Street to Sixth Avenue, then you can meet Emily. How long has it been? Did you ever really know her, or...

“Ribber”

Bare-knuckled, itchy-assed, sweating the sweat of twenty-four beers. In bad need of taking a stinky dump and dreading a trip to the...

“The Pond”

Mr. Bushnell died a long time ago. Don’t know when exactly. We weren’t born yet. But Mrs. Bushnell kept up the old place on Martin....

“The Nothingness”

Below the clouds was the Mountain, and below the Mountain was the Pit, a massive shadowy place dug deep into the earth. The boy had spent...

“Flesh”

The ranger pulled into Patcher Woods, parked on the shady side, and wrote the time into his notebook. 1102 hours. Immediately, two healthy...

“Girl in Doubt”

I might be in trouble. I might be about to die. I might be in trouble, serious trouble. I can’t tell if I’ve been abducted or not....

“The Living”

Let somebody else do the living. We have been doing all of it and we are tired. All that living and all that dying – that was us. Who...

“Six Beers and a Sandwich

He was a kind man. A surfer, tall and thin. He made the most of every atom. The type of guy who would show up with a six-pack of beer and a...

“Chekhov’s Rule”

When I first met Walker, he had a job at the tackle shop on the river and a classic early-seventies Chevy Nova, competition orange. Still...

“Somebody Who Knows Somebody”

I spot George at the airport bar in Chicago, waiting for his potato skins to arrive. Our planes on the way to Connecticut have been...

“Heavy Bucket Heart”

His presence was like an oar displacing water: never quite coming back the same way when he did come back, finally, at three of the clock,...

“One Thousand Words”

“When I return to Alaska,” Casey says, “I don’t want to forget this view.” “Take a picture then,” I say, not trying to sound...

“Symptoms and Remedies”

I try to interpret the signs of my own body, and think back to a medieval literature class I took in which we discussed how, when Joan of...

“Miscarriage”

After I died, my mother lit herself on fire. Not a large fire. Not her whole body, although I know that’s how she imagined it, the flames...

“Joey and the Snowman”

Hello? Hi there. My name is Joseph, and I’m calling from the credit investigation office. Can you hear me okay? Yes…. Good. How are you...

“The Artichoke Dinner”

Her father had slapped her twice already. Her face is still red from the blows. Tears run down her cheeks. She is obstinately silent. They...

“Levitation”

My daughter goes belly first down the slide, the skin below her shorts squeaking against the hot plastic.  She arcs high in the swings,...

“Short Sheeting”

I was standing in the returns line at Macy’s when a little girl, probably no older than four, pointed at me and said to her caretaker,...

“Creatives Wanted”

The first time Alice encountered Muriel’s online presence, she stood out as the most interesting-looking person in a group photo posted...

“Women Without No Bottoms”

New Orleans, 1975 The woman slid from an open door in the Quarter, the darkest doorway in the darkest street that Little Benny had yet...

“What We Don’t Say Out Loud”

Maharishi doesn’t speak to me anymore. Neither does God.  But sometimes, the bald guy behind the counter at the Video Den listens to me....

“Butter”

Jerry worked late again last night, so this morning, to show him how much I care, I make him waffles with a plate of bacon, cooked chewy,...

“Ghosts In The Garden”

I placed the tent between the cornrows and tomato vines. The Virgin Mary sat behind the tent, arms outstretched, eyes gazing down to the...

“Rush Hour”

We’ve waited, three full metro trains come and gone. When doors open on the fourth, we’ve regressed, become primal—pushing, craning...

“Marital Counseling”

“We’re out of sync. I need more than talk to prove that you love me,” said the wife. The degree of brain activation on the...

“64 Colors”

I had 64 of you before I could even count to 20. Offerings from my mother. Waxy and earthy columns of color clackity-clacked across the...

“Maternal Instinct”

Mostly I remember fragments. Flashes. The feel of my right shoe slipping, losing my foothold, my spine arching, then a rush of concrete and...

“In-spiration”

Last week, I went to a writers’ workshop, expecting to read my new story for fertile feedback. Instead, I learned they were there to...

Why I Write : Alexander Nachaj

In “The Cat Who Walks through Walls,” Robert A. Heinlein’s 1985 sci-fi classic (or yarn, depending on how you feel about...

“Summer, Connecticut, 1986”

It was the damp we remember best, the sour smell of wet skin, the webs of moisture that crisscrossed the backs of our necks. We remember...

“The Smuggler”

I’d been waiting for a man on Carondelet St., and then I saw the puppet man. He gesticulated at the sun with an earnest...

“A Miscarriage of Sorts”

Lucia and I had broken up a few months before, and I was still mourning the loss of her, my best friend. We used to do this thing together,...

“The Shedding”

The year Milo Corrigan turned twelve was the freak year of the Great Shedding when all over Westchester County spring leaves fell and lay...

“RoboPupperTM”

Item Description He walks! He talks! He learns from you! New RoboPupperä is a scientific breakthrough in the world of fun. Through the...

“A Change of Course”

What do you want to be when you grow up?  It is a question that we get asked almost as soon as we can speak.  Without having to spend 40...

“The Laundry Room Comes First”

If you believe that the key events in a man’s life should be recounted in their order of occurrence, then the laundry room comes first,...

“God and the Unicorn”

At the fork in the road between here and there, the elderly professor ran smack into a unicorn. “Sorry, I wasn’t paying attention to...

A Brief Talk Near the End

The professor was dying. His wife had preceded him three years before, and now he had less than one month. During the mornings, he worked...

“This Our Daily Bread”

There’s a veneer of antiquity over the small mining town that makes me doubt it runs on our time, if it runs on time at all. The...

“Unfaithful Writer”

I’ll admit it, I have problems committing. When I first met my current “amor” I swore I had never seen an idea so sexy,...

“The Gathering Before the Storm”

Against her better judgment, Gladys takes a moment to notice that the sky looks deceptively banal through the kitchen window of her ground...

“The Limoges Vase

Amanda thought the Limoges vase should go to her. After all, it had been her wedding gift to Robert and Anise. She had let that drop...

The Fire

The fire wasn’t the problem; the problem was that Brad was being unreasonable. When I suggested we turn back he said no, let’s wait it...

“Free: Poisoned Apple, Gently Used”

The flawless skin possesses not a single bruise or freckled spot. No bumps or scars or dimples to see. My gnarled hands cradle the fruit,...

“His Mother Said No Five Years Straight”

His mother said No five years straight. No to pee-wee, No to youth club, No to 6th grade, No to 7th grade, and No to 8th grade. He played...

“Ordinary Wishes”

In the morning when I wake, I pull on my cloak. The heavy material draws my shoulders down and back. I have no choice but to stand...

“A Writer’s Secret”

For the past few years, I’ve had a secret lover. The object of my affection goes by one instantly recognizable name. Think Sting,...

“Tweaking Personhood”

“How many of you are interested in volunteering for algorithm-tweaking?” asked Jim, the division manager. “And let me be perfectly...

“Tea Hour”

There is something about that Bud Mason, Ardith says, and watches him sternly from the kitchen window. He is not right. Bud Mason is my...

“Little Roy’s Roving Reptile Zoo”

Little Roy is not so little, never slim like us serpents, and bigger in the britches since the Reptile Zoo pulled up stakes from...

“Nadine’s Broken Heart”

Nadine could barely roll out of bed in the morning and had to brace herself against the wall to push her shoulders back and straighten her...

“Self-Portrait with Windmill”

When the windmill’s blades slice the air, the rotors in my joints chuff and work out the rusted exhaustion in my wrist gears. My steel...

“Plastic Teeth”

“Give me your teeth,” Mom says. Grandma ignores her, leans on an elbow tucked in the tray of her wheelchair, and stares at a calendar...

“Tres Leches”

Norm, I need to tell you some things, because the cancer is running like one of those little white rats in a maze. The rat’s not getting...

“Gilson’s Ex”

We’d been drinking and talking for an hour or so, on a Saturday night in the Dundee Brauhaus, when Lindy Gilson reached across our...

“Summer, Connecticut, 1986”

It was the damp we remember best, the sour smell of wet skin, the webs of moisture that crisscrossed the backs of our necks. We remember...

“Xavier”

The last time I saw Xavier was on my tenth birthday. He proposed to me that day, with a ring fashioned from a twisted branch and adorned...

“The Laundromat”

“Because sunshine warmed the backyard during some holiday cookout,” I said. The lawn was an impossible green. Someone sweetened...

“After the Aliens”

We felt a great looming. We told ourselves stories. We wrote books and made movies, blockbusters full of explosions and glory. We believed...

“Red Alert”

On the day of their deportation, the Family raised the terror alert to red. They left quietly, with just a suitcase each, and boarded a bus...

“Plan B”

It’s not like I don’t know what Trent and I are in for. We’re both still single, both back in Philly, both drunk on multiple...

“Ships In The Night”

I Lalita breathed in the cold air as it swirled around her and licked her cheeks raw with a stinging finality. As it entered her chest and...

“Relocation”

Our men gathered what could not be replaced. Closed businesses, sold houses and surveyed the streets for soldiers. Our women dressed the...

“If You Can Make It Across”

If you can just make it across 35th Street to Sixth Avenue, then you can meet Emily. How long has it been? Did you ever really know her, or...

“Colt”

The horse was born skinny. Its legs were flimsy poles ready to collapse at any moment, its body a thin coat of fur covering an oversized...

“Playing House”

Liz had been asleep for a few hours by the time I arrived at her home. The night was young by my standards so I read a book for a while on...

“Morning People”

I wish there were a word for when you go to bed too early and wake up in the middle of the night because your body thought it was a nap....

“How to Heal a Family in Three Easy Steps”

Step One Gather in the room no one goes into anymore. Yes, that one. The one you try not to look at when you walk down the hallway. The one...

“Murder Ballad”

Granny Dee, breast cancer. Tisha, lung cancer. Uncle Rick, stomach cancer. Old Mr. Harlan, bone cancer. So many others. Well over half of...

“Morning People”

I wish there were a word for when you go to bed too early and wake up in the middle of the night because your body thought it was a nap....

“Her Song”

Perched on my rock, slippery and smooth beneath me, I can see them coming. A hazy mirage, blurry but massive, turned real in the distance....

“Play Me Out, Jack Hopke”

Saturdays I listen to “Saturday Night Jazz” on WWNO. Jack Hopke spins records from places I’ve never seen—Spain, Brazil, Japan, New...

Why I Write: Jenny Ferguson

I write because I can’t stop. And, yes, I’ve tried quitting. More than once. The longest time I managed to quit writing was for a...

“Last Words”

Vinh, Thanks for the comics and pictures you sent. Man, you’re getting fat. What do you want for Christmas? This guy from the platoon...

“Animal Wife”

The swans follow the restless wind. It fattens in spring, rolls over fields and between mountains, and fasts in winter until it is lean and...

“Hands”

The weather’s changing, getting hotter, so we’ve got two men at the house to give our AC system its annual checkup. Dennis is in the...

“Joe the Indian”

When I was 17, I went with some guys to an Indian’s house. He was a real Native American Indian. His name was Joe. He worked in a plant...

“objects/people/spaces”

Shotguns The kids from my neighborhood would come outside to watch bats at dusk. I remember thinking the bats were actually birds, but...

“Contest Results”

A woman on the phone congratulated him and said he could choose between two prizes: a half-crate of blood oranges imported from Spain or a...

“Deep Clean”

I never considered myself the pressure washer type until my neighbor said buying a pressure washer was the best decision he ever made. He...

“Broken Beneath”

We were racing over to our youngest daughter’s place to talk her into going to rehab instead of jail after she violated her probation...

“When the Boys Went”

I ask Meri to pass me the binoculars. “Just one more minute,” she says. I see the clouds starting to blow in and know my chance will...

“Guilt and Matter”

The man cries then vomits. It starts with a foamy leak down his T-shirt, followed by a stream of color and guts. He is embarrassed. This is...

“Murder Ballad”

Granny Dee, breast cancer. Tisha, lung cancer. Uncle Rick, stomach cancer. Old Mr. Harlan, bone cancer. So many others. Well over half of...

“Writing as a Painter”

My father was trained as a painter, and my earliest memories are filled with the smell of turpentine and oil paints, the sound of a brush...

“Plain Pine Desk”

He bought a plain pine desk. Actually, it was a plain pine table, but he planned to use it as a desk, so it was a desk. He admired the...

“Pulse”

Birth: The girl has waited a year for the boy to kiss her. Now it’s close to midnight and they’re outside of a university library. The...

“Date”

In bed, I can do anything: fly a rocket ship to Alpha Centauri, buy the Koh-I-Noor diamond, or make love to you in a hundred different...

“Solstice Means Stillness”

A decade ago, I promised myself I’d spend summer solstice in the brightest part of the world. It wasn’t so much a bucket-list...

“The Squall”

Celeste stood at the ocean’s edge, toes in the tepid water, her gaze stretching to the horizon where a collection of dark clouds held...

“The Tree Near Calliope”

  The moon had been practicing its abracadabra in the back corner of itself during both its waxing and waning phases. The dark is a...

“In Your Honor”

We planted a tree in your honor on the curve of the narrow road.  A seagull cried on his journey to the sea and in the fields the cows...

“Gail”

I’m always woken up by the sun baking my legs inside my duvet. We don’t have curtains in our bedroom, me and Alan, because Alan gets...

“The Blue Maverick Crew”

Last night the Blue Maverick Crew smashed several windows at Deirdre Schenk’s house and fled to safety through the woods.  Running after...

“My Amanuensis”

Like a lot of people who write, I teach. This gives me a couple of free months each year when I can rededicate myself to writing. During...

“Void”

The ATM asks whether you would like your money in $10 bills or $50s, but you take a moment to consider whether you should be withdrawing...

“Floor Twelve – Pediatric Psych. Unit”

In bed 1, Sumner is curled into the shape of a capital “C.” Next to her, in the bed by the window flanked with metal bars, Aubrey...

“To The Pool”

John’s been dead two weeks and Haley, their oldest, wants to go to the pool. “All right,” Jean tells her, but she doesn’t like...

“In the Cutting Room”

The comparison of an edit suite with a closet is a natural one. Omar would say his is larger than a linen, but smaller than a proper...

“The Apple Tree”

Two boys walk across a forgotten field towards a lone apple tree. The tree stands so wide and tall it can be seen from their homeroom...

“Ordinary Wishes”

In the morning when I wake, I pull on my cloak. The heavy material draws my shoulders down and back. I have no choice but to stand...

“Dying Unread”

I had always been forgetful, but I always forget the things I shouldn’t and remember the ones I should. I couldn’t remember why...

“Deliberate Act”

It was just easier to stay still on that bench, briefcase at my feet, than to make my way home. The snow had been coming down all day, tiny...

“Swing”

The house is too silent. Garland stands at the screen door staring across the dry, fallow front field. It’s hot outside. Hot enough for...

“A Compliment Can Change Your Life, Sometimes”

It was when I was leaning over the sticky packages of red meat that he came up to me and said, “You’re the most beautiful woman in the...

“Old Light”

This place goes on without him. The streets he walked down, the bars and rooms where he drank and slept, the big top where he worked his...

“Karmic Repatterning”

We weren’t saying much on the drive.  She had just gotten through telling me that I had “boundary” issues, that the path of healing...

“Floor Twelve – Pediatric Psych. Unit”

In bed 1, Sumner is curled into the shape of a capital “C.” Next to her, in the bed by the window flanked with metal bars, Aubrey...

“An Ark of Mimes”

Only those who were there during the storm have the understanding of what happened and why. —Tara Aleman, NOLA.com They spilled from two...

“Almost Perfect”

Flo called in sick that Friday. She waved off the bus that stopped near her house cleaning job, and instead hopped on one that went...

Why I Write: “A Hungry Squirrel in Autumn”

Writing gets me to the truth of things. I can’t fully speak the truth, like a poor waif from an old fashioned fairytale. In place of the...

“A Trail of No”

I like to tell my students about the worst rejection notice I ever received. I mailed a batch of poems to a west coast magazine; my...

“Others”

Images before the crash—the gravelly craters of the dirt road under headlights, like the moon’s ghastly laughter, or a bedroom...

“The Light on the Other Hill”

Against the mountain all the houses made little steps, like the staircase of a giant. All the walls were thin, woven from twigs, whistling...

“Re-Up”

The phone calls were always in the middle of the night. I’d hear my mother’s cry, and carefully in the dark, I’d make my way to her...

“Beggars’ Night”

She arrives on my porch on Beggars’ Night, without a costume, and it takes me a minute to place her. Children scream and careen through...

“Answers”

We couldn’t, for the life of us, describe him in any meaningful way. Not to each other and not even to ourselves. We’d seen the man...

“Frankenstein, Palmer, Michigan”

When my brother was little, he used to go everywhere with a mask of Frankenstein’s monster. It looked kind of real too. I remember him...

“The Spine Falls Away”

You touch the bones, set as custard skin in the gray filth of the barn dust. Once large white cows stood in this stall, and now a small...

“Mirror Game”

The boy sitting next to you on the red-eye flight from Denver to Indianapolis can’t see you. When the flight attendant comes by to take...

“Post-Apocalypse Postcard from an Appalachian Chalet”

I’ve got my head next to a granite-strewn stream that gurgles amid sunbeams as if the whole world never went wrong. As if nothing. I’ve...

Interview with Steve Yates

So is this finally the sequel to Morkan’s Quarry? Yes, but really is five years wait all that long? I started both novels in 1993, so...

“Grace, With the Red Shoes”

I am a story—a dark and stormy night once upon a time that is not now, in a land that is not here. I am tattered pages—stained with...

“Totem”

There is a moment, now, the sky outside the funeral home alive with snow—a white world of commotion—that she is here beside me,...

“The Parade”

Kicking things off: A girl with drawn-on eyebrows. Purple lips, orange skin. Looks like Maggie Stodell got all coke skinny. Boxed mac n...

“The Holy Notes of Symphony”

South of Chicago, past the Kankakee turnoff, the baby starts to cry. First several whimpers, then a shoulder-rolling set of sobs building...

“Before The Rush”

It would be evening, before the rush, when the sun was no longer sweltering but still hot, a ball of fire halfway down the sky. I never saw...

“Opening Night”

1996 The parents had been fighting, but the daughter had a play that night and as always with their fighting the children aligned them,...

“Why I’ll Never Buy Another Peacock”

The Solution Center was one of those places that sold everything–though solutions were its specialty. The checkout line went single file...

“On the Eighth Day, God Created Golf”

The foursome stands on a desert mesa, an elevated tee in southeast Utah. God the Father, Moses, Jesus, Elijah. Angels descend as caddies,...

Interview with Les Standiford

In 2012, I began my academic job search as most aspiring English professors do—with a series of interviews in cramped hotel rooms at the...

“Fork Play”

There is a fork here. I consider lifting it and placing it against my husband’s right temple then applying pressure. Gentle at first then...

“Zebra Skin”

Linda hated Norman’s floor for its zebra skin rug. If it’d been hers, she’d never have let it touch the ground, but instead...

“On a Bridge, At Night”

They stand on the bridge above the dark river.  They agree this is the spot from which she jumped.  One of them thinks she dove with...

“Enough for Now”

Annie listened to the June bugs ping against the porch light. She reclined on the porch stairs so that one of the steps pressed into the...

“We Can Go Faster”

We go 95 on the road out of Ephrata because Alicia’s dad left and her mom didn’t hide the keys. The Amber Alerts have our plate number...

640

This is how Jane finds out Charley, her ex-lover, is sick: when Marybeth, the department secretary, sends an email to “humfac,” all the...

“Fall On Your Knees”

We met at the public library across a scratched wooden table. He asked “What are you reading?” At thirteen, I was thrilled to be...

“If You Recognized Me”

I feel her laugh in the slick tooth dragging under my navel, in the quick humid press of her breath. The tip of her tongue traces the...

“What to Do About a Sinkhole”

It hadn’t been there yesterday. Shelly was sure because she’d sat on one of the now-missing patio chairs while listening to the game....

“For the Dachshund Enthusiast”

This is a message for the dachshund enthusiast that lives across the airshaft. It is the case, here in Manhattan, that we live in close...

“A Player’s Guide to Spring Training, Pt. 5: Hitting”

Go to the batting cage daily. Practice two hundred balls a morning, get used to that feeling of the bat humming against your gloves. Forget...

“What We Take, What We Leave Behind”

  There is no furniture in my father’s house, although we unearth a pink crushed velvet sofa the third or fourth day of sifting...

“Mildred”

Her body formed a tiny ripple under the vast sea of bedding. A quilt she had sewn thirty years ago lay folded and undisturbed at the foot...

“The Parking Adamastor”

Herb works in a building made for cars: on every floor of this building – and there are five, so that it is nearly a high-rise,...

“Rainpainting”

The summer we lived with Dad, there was a neighbor whose voice we never heard. We’d see him walking through the woods, fingers brushing...

“The Butcher’s Vines”

One year I got a summer gig managing the vineyard of a family friend.  He had been a surgeon since the eighties but things had taken a...

“Take Your Boots off Before the Storm”

It hadn’t been on course for us, but when Rem got excited, I got excited, and then it hit. That was, and has been, the course of events....

“Picasso Painting”

Obese. The word loomed over Helen’s consciousness like a thunder cloud. Since she was 12, her life had been a constant diet, but she...

“Beheaded”

An American is beheaded. We have so many ways to kill one another but even the word beheaded beckons to another time. I cannot recall the...

“Mom’s Goodbye”

Once inside Hospice I walked to Dad’s room, his door ajar, and saw him no longer tubed up and Mom atop him, fancy, in one of her party...

Interview with Sherrie Flick, author of Whiskey, etc.

  Sherrie Flick’s new collection Whiskey, Etc.—flash, micros, short-shorts—has been getting rave reviews. Kim Chinquee calls her...

“Repeatable Sequence #3”

Catch a glimpse in the track windows. Push, push, push. Catch reflections in the weight-room mirrors. Push, push, push. An old,...

“The Light Like A Stain”

It’s not that she’d expected them to form a cohesive whole for the rest of time, but she’d anticipated they’d distract each other...

“The Ride Home”

The thing I remember as I stand in the back and shift my weight and check my watch is the way my finger felt when I used to press that M.C....

“Together”

Together, we go down to the lake. It is well past midnight, and the illuminated cradle of the moon hangs high in the sky. Our mother is...

“Away”

It’s a warm breezy spring morning and she feels an awakening, a flood of energy, alive, freshened, and decides to clean the house, and so...

“Basement Love Story”

You lost your virginity to her, went steady spring semester at the University of Wisconsin, lived most of the summer with her and her...

“Move Fast and Break Things”

Marty had said to her: “It sounds like you can’t accept your fate,” and while meant as a reproach it resonated with sufficient...

“Last Match Fires”

The sky is metal and gold behind ragged clouds. Word of God type stuff, he says, crouching on his knees. Beneath his hands are piles of...

“Not Wired Right”

Blame it on incorrect wiring. That for some genetic reason I am unable to pick up on social cues. Most people don’t observe this about...

“Old Light”

This place goes on without him. The streets he walked down, the bars and rooms where he drank and slept, the big top where he worked his...

“Dino”

He sees the world through the maw of his T-Rex costume like Plato inside his cave used sometimes to peek outside. Fangs standing for...

“In The Shape Of A Small Bird”

I dream my brother sold me a shack by a river that ran too quick to the sea, but he’s been dead all my life. They say I carry...

“A Reckoning in the Woods”

The words he tossed into the river were salty and brazen. Ancient, holy carcasses that often strangled him in his sleep. He let them drift...

“Mea Culpa”

One time, I lied about being a vegetarian. Jan, the office manager, had seen me with a grilled cheese sandwich on my first day at Carton...

“The Detroit Ruin Porn Photographer Speaks”

I’m a ghost. I pass though broken windows without a scratch.  I duck under fallen beams and glide over half-collapsed floors without...

“Be Proud, Be Brave, Aspire!”

Explaining how I was waiting for a break with my writing career, my therapist responded by making a convincing case for why I should learn...

“The Kidnapper’s Journal”

             Sketched on page 1, her route home from school, cross-streets shaded: Dutch – Kelfry – Cable. I show...

“What My Mother Fell For”

My mother ran. She kept on running with plantar fasciitis. It’s a condition that causes stabbing heel pain and is common in runners....

“The Garden of a Thousand Suns”

After I’ve signed the papers and the thing is finished, Tess makes coffee and asks me to leave. “I want to see Aimee,” I say,...

“Radiance”

Mother cannot bear to throw out books donated to the library under her watch. Stored in our attic, dozens of boxes filled with paperbacks...

“The Amazing Halved-Man”

Stan had never seen a funeral parlor before, let alone a dead body. As his parents whispered to a line of sniffling visitors, he wandered...

“(there’s no telling what would have become of me in the real world, but in the one we’ve created I live as a single in Hof teaching English)”

I didn’t have much else to do, so I tailed me. I wasn’t a difficult tail until I sensed the hairy guerrilla breathing down my...

“The Atlas of Winds”

They told us the winds were dying. We sat on rooftops and watched the cloud rush. I tried to catch gusts in my hands. She said she wanted...

“The Baseness of Nature”

As the bomb fell she inexplicably thought of the kiwi she hadn’t picked, the one just out of reach. The small brown fruit had hung over...

“Milk”

Most houses are dark this time of night, and most dogs are barking. I don’t expect trouble, or maybe I do.  I slide my wallet between...

“Things We Knew Would Never Work Out but Had to Try Anyway”

Do you know that if your baby brother dies Christmas night, the medical examiner doesn’t look at his body until after the new year, and...

“Aroo in the Night”

Your dog—which is soon to be my dog—is looking at us in bed together when the girl stops me. “Wait,” she says, laughing and putting...

“Thunder”

The soft shuffle of her feet on the hall carpet surprises him. He barely gets the door to the master bath closed before she peeks around...

“A Boy Named Death”

Death at the hospital. Death on his first carride. Death at the park, on the swings, in the restroom. Death at dinner. Death praying,...

“Sour Breath Doesn’t Vanish in a Day”

The cruelest thing my sister ever did was convince me that I had a place in this world.  I don’t, that’s the truth, and I never have....

“School Bags”

They were selected for practicality, not color, or brand or cool factor. They were selected for practicality, nothing else, because they...

“‘Every Barleycorn a King'”

—Frank R. Stockton On the other side of the blind we have a dog that wants the duck because there is something in its dogginess that...

“Visceral”

It started as a small slit: just a little opening in the skin, right at the dead-center of my sternum. I spotted it in the mirror—I was...

“Waiting is the Hardest Part”

Before the red planet was tamed, when it still carried some mystery as it rose in the west, twinkling and desolate. Before I watched your...

What We Were When We Drew What We Drew

I think Gabe must have been about fourteen when he lost his face, right before Christmas, body pinned in the back seat of the accordioned...

“Lucky Strikes”

I bring them each a Coca-Cola, pink straw for the little girl in her lace dress, a wedge of lemon for the mom. The first 20 minutes...

“The Hole”

We lie clothed together in my bed, her head resting gently on my stomach, when she tells me she doesn’t like the hole. The one in my...

“Women in Cheap Jeans”

They come to the family health clinic on walk in days. Some come in pajamas. The line starts early—maybe seven a.m.—and slithers around...

“The Carriage House”

The boys wanted a race to see who could transform from male to female first. Each contestant got an assistant, so naturally I was my friend...

“Dead Horses”

We were about to throw tractor wheels when we found something better. Doing anything with these dead horses, he asked. He had his little...

“If Only This Once”

Once the storm came we started listening to the warnings on the radio. Don’t let the pipes freeze, don’t operate vehicles, don’t even...

“Be Good”

Verb, imperative form. First known usage: said to him in the foyer, his hair still wet from the shower, his suitcase in hand, on his way to...

“Things We Knew Would Never Work Out but Had to Try Anyway”

Do you know that if your baby brother dies Christmas night, the medical examiner doesn’t look at his body until after the new year, and...

“This is His Wife”

This is his wife in the bed. She is as pale as a piece of paper. He holds her hand, and your hand. He draws you closer. You can see her...

“Enormous Women”

On Friday evenings, enormous women in polka dot dresses alight on the Bainbridge Ferry sundeck, heading to Seattle. Young boys push off...

“The King”

I once believed my father was a tree. At first he was a man; his gun rested on the carpet where we found him. It glistened between our...

“Story”

sto•ry noun. 1. how to fill silence: a. when the coffee is gone, I play with the mug handle, flip my glasses, tell a story about leaving...

“On Butchers”

As the first child, my brother came ripping out of our Mother, turning her insides out, but there he was red-faced, streaked in vernix....

“Demonstrator”

The fight started right after the bars closed. I was thirteen, sleeping alone in a new travel trailer, on the Tompkins Street side of the...

“What’s Your Book About? How to Make a Pitch”

When my first novel was complete, I sent it to an academic press. (You could do that then.) The editor liked the book, but decided it would...

“Beggars’ Night”

She arrives on my porch on Beggars’ Night, without a costume, and it takes me a minute to place her. Children scream and careen...

“Our Local Pharmacist”

He records his conversations. He’s collected years and years of audio correspondence with us. Lately he doles out placebos because...

“I Hove the Wreck”

Baton Rouge to Oxford, MS, the sunset a blast of orangey-red, trees sparse against the brittle clouds, I questioned the decision to travel...

“Albino Roommate”

I had an albino college roommate in the 1980s in New Brunswick, NJ, when the city was dirty, dingy and Johnson and Johnson was...

“The Last Story I Cared About”

My first story, I was six, was about my cat, the cat I had until it contracted feline leukemia. Its breath at the end smelled of rancid...

“Dead Man Dressing”

I’m wearing a dead man’s clothes, and I feel fine. I spend fifteen minutes or more each day knotting his tie. Just so. Snug against my...

“Faces”

Momma’s Face Momma’s got pink eyes, always wet and dribbling like the leaky sink. Drip. Virginia taught me a song once about Minnie Ha...

“Dig a Sheet-Rag a Hole”

Training with dead men sucks. Lewis lost his right arm in a factory and can’t do a pushup, while Carlos won’t stop vomiting up his last...

“Meteorite”

We were asleep when the meteorite hit. Horrible rumble, cindery smell. Everyone ran downstairs in rumpled states of slumbered dress. There...

“School Bags”

They were selected for practicality, not color, or brand or cool factor. They were selected for practicality, nothing else, because they...

“Branding Day”

The skin sizzled and spat, grains of flesh melting beneath the hot iron. The cow roared and bellowed, throwing its hind quarters upwards...

“On the Importance of Growing”

Before his liver failed, Pop tended to the garden. I tend to it now. I did what Pop would’ve done. I started seeds under lights, turned...

“The Second Most Important Explosion of 1986”

Austin, TX USA 01/28/86: 10:25 AM (CDT) Time does seem to pass. The world unfolds not in moments but in frames, images compressed into...

What Do You See When You Shave (Upon Sitting Next To A Stranger At The DMV)

If you stand behind me, as I face a mirror, and peer around — apart from your own eyes, the top bit of your head, and maybe an ear or...

“The Abandoned Millworks”

When the abandoned millworks caught fire, distant sirens woke the town. The cutting and drying sheds, reduced to spent, black timber,...

“Gods ‘n Dolls”

Stacy hasn’t had her period for two months now and we’re all convinced she’s preggo with a child of God. Brenda wants to host the...

“Coming Round”

I am the product of my imagination. I imagine him imagining me in a red-striped bikini top and jean shorts, lounging on the grey deck chair...

“Oscar’s Texas”

It’s cooler up there where Oscar works, Houston melting into the pavement seventeen stories below. He moves lithely, walking the beams,...

“Unidentified Flying Objects”

One winter night, a long time ago, a bright light was seen up in the foothills, darting back and forth just above the tree-line for hours,...

“Caterpillar”

When my baby was born, I told everyone he looked like a caterpillar. My friends and even my husband thought it was funny at first, but I...

“The Sowder Sisters”

Ruby was fine until she gassed herself. I must of told her a hundred times, “If you don’t keep that stove lit, Sister, you’re going...

“Seeing Marcella”

I accidentally bump into her grocery cart and that’s when I recognize her. It’s Marcella, from the old neighborhood. She looks...

“This Is What We Do”

We ride in vans. We knock on doors. We sell subscriptions to magazines. You’ve heard of these magazines. Would you like to buy a...

“Therapy Dance”

Agitated Pessimism, wearing a pink sweater, a push-up bra, and one hoop earring leans against the wall, listening, to Frustrated Empathy...

“In the Dark”

In the movies at the ten o’clock late show showing something with Bruce Willis, I don’t really know the name, Clay huffed and puffed...

“Grapefruits and Oranges”

The ultrasound reveals a pooling of fluid along my C-section scar. There is a golf ball-sized polyp in my uterus, as well as a second...

“I’ll Take Your Boots off Before the Storm”

It hadn’t been on course for us, but when Rem got excited, I got excited, and then it hit. That was, and has been, the course of events....

“Spider Webs”

Brad is so tall he walks into spider webs. Sometimes, he kneels down in front of me and asks me to pick the sticky white thread out of his...

“Belief”

be•lief noun. 1. how to trust: a. my beliefs don’t include hell, but you tell me on your futon, in front of friends that your belief is...

“Raw”

Think of an egg: how it cracks. It’s hard: hard meaning brittle, brittle meaning breakable, breakable meaning not-hard. It’s not-hard...

“The Urgent Delay”

Dear Mr. Fellows: I informed you a month ago the novel is due at the printer’s this week and as I mentioned yesterday in our abortive...

“The Atlas of Winds”

They told us the winds were dying. We sat on rooftops and watched the cloud rush. I tried to catch gusts in my hands. She said she wanted...

“From Adam”

We end up at Ryan’s house, because there are six of us, and it is practically summer, and Ryan’s perverted step-dad is rich and always...

“We Get Ready”

Molly says Meg Ryan is the gold standard. We can identify the traits of an ideal woman by watching her old movies. “Some of these are...

“Fingers Hooked”

I wanted a fuck and he wouldn’t give it to me because his wife was home sick with the baby and he was worried. They had vacationed in...

“Alstromerias”

In the shopping cart, she found a grocery list. The handwriting was pleasant. A bit slanted. Curvy. Flowers. She never bought fresh...

“Italian Alps”

She approached me on the train, slipping beside me, to say in broken English it was okay that I’d been watching her. We had a view of the...

“Lena Keeps Her Secret”

The scar ran like spilt wax down her shoulder and arm. Her face changed as she spread lotion over the ruined flesh, eyes pooling with...

“Burning Bridges”

I wondered if she thought of me while she was falling; sails unfurled, velocity stripping the feathers from her wings. I didn't know...

“The Impersonator”

Ray lopes through the sunlit street, the heavy wooden cross burying splinters all over his back. The crown, which took him two days to...

“Collisions in Broad Daylight”

When accidents happen, there’s a hesitation before the impact, like a syncopation in music. The heart hesitates, the pulse is disturbed,...

“Self as Coffee Shop”

I ask to speak with the manager, but he’s on his break. The baristas keep giving me tea with not enough water. They have big tits, so...

“Before She Was a Memory”

I didn’t recognize her without her head. The policeman took me to the morgue. He told me to look. I looked. There was an expanse of...

“Sashimi Bear”

On the television screen: a man eating the yet-beating heart of his enemy, chin red and wet with hot blood. We gagged in delight, in mock...

“The Closer”

Dr. Morris Klozer had to tell another patient that he was dying.  It was his third of the afternoon. About a year earlier, an orderly had...

“Wind”

A storm is coming. Mr. Crosby, the Scout Master, turns up the radio and yells over the weatherman for everyone to start packing up. His son...

“Monkeyshines”

It’s hard to say when we realized our son had monkeyshines. My wife always claims she was the first to notice, and I guess that’s true,...

“Silence, Pushing”

Their daughter Elizabeth wanted a dog, had wanted one for quite some time. Now that she hid away in her room most days, it seemed like the...

“The Summer of Whooping Cough”

Up and down our street, coughs pepper the night, soft gunfire from scattered positions. Our ability to fall into a deep sleep is...

“Early Morning Landing in Newark”

Dropping from heaven and looking out the window, the clouds thin and lights wink through the whistling dark where tail lights are drifting...

“Amerika Street”

Slovenia (from Flash Fiction International) It’s been quiet in the apartment for a week with Daddy and Mama not talking. Today, they are...

“A Late Appointment”

Everyone who comes in here changes the molecules just a little.  They bring their energies, their problems, their jealousies and their...

“Thieving Magpie”

Her ex-husband was stealing from her. She had followed him from Italy to America, raised his three children, cleaned his house, ironed his...

“Hard Reset”

The battery icon on my forearm steadily blinks. One bar left. On my wrist below the recently replaced steel joint is a single LED bulb...

“Volcanic Fireflies”

Mexico (from Flash Fiction International) Adapted to Popocatépetl’s sulfurous crater, this species of Coleoptera is endemic to the...

“Steps Taken towards Breakdown”

1. When the young Husband returns from the lot with a black SUV that can only be described as compact. How the Wife holds her palm to the...

"Even Toy Swords"

When the boy next door knocked on mine and pronounced himself dead, he had a gun and I had a sword. Because, after all, I was the girl. He...

“Please Hold Me the Forgotten Way”

United States (from Flash Fiction International) His hair was dark and soft and curled a little because it was getting long. He must have...

“Mrs. White in the Ballroom with the Lead Pipe”

What you do is text, text, text. We’re playing Clue with the girls. You can’t be bothered to help Ruby hold her cards in a fan because...

“Hot Yoga”

    He comes in late and unfurls his mat too close to mine. During Salutation I hear his every breath. During Noose I see the sweat...

“Prisoner of War”

Iraq (from Flash Fiction International) For Marcia Lynx Sahira was standing in the doorframe, watching her father grow transparent as the...

“A Break Up in Stages”

  After three and a half months, which winds up being the halfway point in your relationship, this is the first time Mia wanted to...

“Marital Tip #79”

When out of town on a business trip, do not get caught up in the moment. Remain emotionally-neutral whenever possible. For example, it is...

“The Tiger”

Afghanistan (from Flash Fiction International) It was market day. I had loaded a dozen sacks of potatoes onto a truck and we were taking...

“The Baseness of Nature”

As the bomb fell she inexplicably thought of the kiwi she hadn’t picked, the one just out of reach. The small brown fruit had hung over...

“Later I Find Out My Mother Has Read On WebMD That Antioxidants Can Prevent Cancer”

It was just a cheap fold-up lawnchair—retro style, wide white-and-green plastic straps woven over a lightweight metal...

Novel Flash: Far Beyond the Pale

As long as I can remember everyone’s always called me Honey Boy. It wasn’t Mama who gave me that name, she just mostly called...

“Sanctuary”

Excerpt from in-progress book of linked stories Calvin found God at the bottom of a dried up storm ditch ankle deep in dying minnows,...

“Small Talk”

“Guard the house, Panda,” my stepmom says. She’s talking to our three-legged dog.   A car hit him when he was a...

“The Baby’s Hunger”

Da's stagger did less damage than his swing. He rolled about the kitchen like a boat with a keel hole scattering dishes and clanging...

“Sleeping”

The phone rings. I flush the toilet. I hurry up and wash my hands. I grab the cordless from the bedroom, as not to wake the sleeping baby....

“Blanched”

As an infant, Penelope spent a few nights in Saxon County hospital.  Her mother, Janice, feared mold like the plague, filling the country...

“Lamplit by Shirley Temple’s Late Films”

With midnight gone are your dance numbers with butlers and windmills, your lollipop song sung up and down the aisle of a silver plane, the...

“Milk Teeth”

So now she knew and it was done, and as the curves in the road rocked her in and out of the same bad dream she thought of him: of how...

“Second Wave”

Later that afternoon, at the head of River Road, I was trying to explain the situation to the deputy. After the first wave of the storm...

“Nest”

He began hearing, at night, occasional noises his new wife made while she was sleeping. It was like something at the back of a throat,...

“Anticipation”

There is a ledge near the Ponte degli Scalzi and that is where I sit on my last night in Venice, smoking cigarettes and watching lovers on...

“The Music Man”

I play a bad hand, with a bad face and an empty wallet, and when they take down my high stack, I feel those hideous blue lights on the...

“Mother-In-Law Collection”

I’m no Mata Hari but I’m good at what it takes to get a mother-in-law. Not good at the marriages or the swindle of supper and spouses,...

“What We Talk About When We Talk About Lisa Frank”

The door was shut and we were locked inside. This was not by choice. There were three of us equipment managers. Steven had one leg longer...

“Blood Stained Snow”

The white snow, spotted with blood, moved. It trembled under Kenny Howard’s boots as he stomped toward me “Get up, boy,” he said to...

“Frayed”

We couldn’t look. We saw, but we couldn’t look. We saw: the yellow police tape around the bridge, the frayed swinging rope, the...

“Kinetic Theory”

In college, my only friend was a long-limbed boy named Kaleb. He had a habit of rearranging other people’s things. Sometimes I caught him...

“Blue Meat”

When Beth started the paleo diet, her stomach burned like a smoldering fire. Paleo because her fit and high-performing friends leapt...

“A Late Appointment”

Everyone who comes in here changes the molecules just a little. They bring their energies, their problems, their jealousies and their tears...

“The First Humans”

They must be sitting or maybe squatting by the meager fire, primitive smoke lifting into air, mingling with the fog that surrounds the...

“Sadie Says We Have To Leave”

Sadie says we have to leave, take off, get the fuck out, to somewhere, anywhere, the beach maybe. “We just have to leave,” she says to...

“Bear”

After his girls went to bed, Tyler stayed up late, flipping through magazines and finishing his six pack. Early August in the UP and the...

“Nothing but Rust”

He tells her she doesn’t need to come all the way out there. Though all the way out there is no further than the clothesline where once...

“Quinces”

I never thought so years ago when I was only an apprentice clown in Hackensack, but stay in this business long enough, and you come to...

“Winter”

There’s a small spot in the woods where it was done. Your family swept away the leaves and dropped you when the cold swiveled in like the...

“Wolf or Deer”

When it rained, we played Would You Rather on the cabin floor. It was a game of tough choices. Would you rather eat sand or ash? Snakes in...

“Six to Win”

The day after Marie left, I had to put my dog down. Poor thing could barely walk anymore. That damn mutt was ugly as sin — a Beagle...

“Grow Grow Grow”

I don’t need anybody to tell me what I was thinking when I went outside in my boots that day. My gloves, I put on gingerly, picking up...

“Remains”

The mortuary slip stated clearly what was to be done: “At the expense of the Bereaved.” There was nothing but acronyms bouncing in...

“What We Talk About When We Talk About Lisa Frank”

The door was shut and we were locked inside. This was not by choice. There were three equipment managers. Steven had one leg longer than...

“Transactions”

My mother stands outside the extended stay hotel with her enormous dog as I pull into the parking lot. She’s short on rent. Eight hundred...

“Black Out”

With your ear to the pillow you listen to the sirens and its foam harden as you bury your face, a pillow as hard as the sandbags tossed...

“One Time In-Between”

“One time I set fire to a mattress,” Jill says. “What is, why you’re not allowed within 500 feet of any...

“Demolitions”

–English translation by Wendell Ricketts When I got to Max’s house, the door was open. He was stretched out on the sofa, that...

“The Impersonator”

Ray lopes through the sunlit street, the heavy wooden cross burying splinters all over his back. The crown, which took him two days to...

“Burial”

On Tuesday, Mark’s mother died. I found her on the couch crumpled in a blanket like a threadbare cushion. Framed by ash colored braids,...

“We Were Older”

We were old, the two of us. We were old in chairs, our hunched bodies stooped over. We were old standing. Leaning on canes, against walls...

“Outer Life”

While coming back to his home, the man had stopped off at a store and picked up a place mat of the solar system. It had all the moons, the...

“Waiting is the Hardest Part”

Before the red planet was tamed, when it still carried some mystery as it rose in the West, twinkling and desolate. Before I watched your...

“Charms”

The sound of quarters dropping into the washing machine at the Laundromat. Things would be clean. The click of my mother’s pocketbook...

“About Future”

When our mother asks why I had my brother put down, I don’t lie, not over the phone. “I had to,” I say. “It was time.” I expect...

“Okay But Will You Anyway”

He’d thought back to growing up and raising sheep. How he’d had to help his old man yank testicles from a fresh batch of baby rams...

“High Dive”

Jenny climbed the first rung of the ladder, bare skin against abrasive grip. An older girl, two boys from her class, and some fat kid were...

“Christmas on Easter Island”

Here’s the worst vacation idea I’ve ever had. Why not spend Christmas on Easter Island with my ice-cold, estranged wife and her...

“Young Love”

They dug for pesos in their pockets. The pesos were round and shiny and heavy. The man took the money from their outstretched hands without...

“How To Restring a Guitar”

There was a red-bearded man on the airplane playing a guitar. His hips were gyrating in the seat which later caused a female passenger to...

“Expect”

ex•pect verb. 1. to assume: a. when a mother expects that her daughter is pregnant because her belt is twisted from lying down next to a...

“Sharing a Smoke after Work”

Her red lipstick lips stretch like dilation when she smiles, their wideness between coughs a birthing of something he wishes to hold, to...

“Restless Days”

Adele thought about Elizabeth Hardwick, how she moved from Lexington, Kentucky to New York City, going back south for family visits, never...

“Dinner”

Dinner is braised rabbit with fennel and mustard. The rabbit meat, Dad says, reminds him of Iowa in the winter. He removes his glasses and...

“Small Talk”

Paulie decided, as a joke, to buy a gorgeous, formerly handfed Scarlet Macaw. She put the parrot in a tall gilt birdcage in the corner of...

“Cribs”

Summit Ave. Raffa comes to live with you in December, during school break. You and Jess have a two-bedroom on a quiet street. You’ve...

“Letter to a Certain Dr. Bill”

Dear Dr. Bill, I received your message. I’ve been meaning to call you back yesterday, but I did not want to talk to you over the phone....

“How To Get Goth Girls Hot”

My roommates are gone for the weekend so I snort one of my mom’s blood clotting pills and invite Lindsay over. When she gets there I...

“What Should Not Matter”

A thimble. This is what she had picked—with great care he was sure—to give him for their first anniversary. I wanted to do something,...

“Treacherous”

When the towers fell, I was seeing two women: Angela and Barb. One wanted to get married. One wanted to have sex in public parking lots and...

“A Stringless Violin”

Emptiness spreads. He sits on a wooden silence. She lies on a damp mat. ‘Nimisha’, they call her. She looks fair in her layette. She is...

“At the Wood Pile”

The first sound he heard in the morning was a sharp cry. He thought he was dreaming, but he looked to the foot of the bed and saw the old...

“A Real Kicker”

He is there, Caitlin’s father, on the burnt brown summer grass, pulling weeds by the sidewalk and I do not know this is the last day I...

“Marvelous, South Dakota”

On my birthday, my wife read from a paper scroll to announce our divorce. She decreed that she and her boyfriend, a champion jouster at...

“He Waits, Wants”

He shows her the calendar: it’s Day Fourteen, so they must have sex. Doctor’s orders. His cycle changes each month, but this morning...

JoAnna Novak

Skin She was Darlene Connor pretty, with dark hair and stubby fingers decorated with plain silver bands.  She kept her college nose...