FICTION

NEVER REALLY OVER by Kate Shapiro

1. My resort in Thailand is a beautiful picture ringed with spider eggs. I angle the phone so the fat cockroaches with long wandering antennae are not within the frame of my selfie, but the beach is. I know I look beautiful because beaches make you beautiful. They make you shimmer. I am shimmering now, like an iridescent fish. Two weeks before Thailand, Charles put my face between his two palms and told me he met someone named Suzanne at a live sitar show and he could not deny their attraction any longer. He said that he loved me and

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FICTION

BAD SEEDS by Tanya Zilinskas

You were supposed to turn them over to the Department of Agriculture if you received them. Packages without return addresses showed up in mailboxes all over the country, each one containing a single packet of seeds. The official line was inconsistent but grim: they were from China, they were from Russia, they would kill the crops, they would release pests, they were a Sino-Russian hybrid that would release pests that would kill the crops. When I received the seeds, I planted them. I planted them because I wanted to see what would happen. I planted them because I didn’t trust

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CNF

ARE YOU MY MOTHER? by Allie Zenwirth

A I used to get these pangs of want, filled with unnamable desires. You would find me jumping. You would find me erratic. I want to make something. I want to dance with somebody… I want to feel the heat with somebody… yeah… With somebody who loves me. Я хочу. I want… I want… I want… I don’t know… I want…  If you were that stranger at the bar you would ask me, “How do you have so much energy?” and I would say, “I don’t know,” and then  jeté away.  Now I’m drained, all my juice is gone. Instead

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FICTION

NEW THING KISSES by Robin Zlotnick

They breathed each other in for ten years before they married, and then they were married for forty years, and the whole time, they needed to know every bit of each other, not just know but suck in and taste, so they had this thing, a sort of game: any time she noticed something new about him, a wrinkle on his forehead or a mole on his wrist, she would kiss it and vice versa, like when a pie-baking burn bubbled on her hand, he kissed each blistered bump, and when her chin grew a hair he kissed that too,

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CNF

THE COLLAPSE OF A STAR by Jamie Etheridge

We sit in the van parked on the railroad tracks not knowing if the train is coming, or if you are going. You want to die. You said so and we believe you. Momma cries out, “Bill, please,” over and over and we wait, inhale then hold, for you to decide.  It was always like that. Random moments of drama; life or death, on the side of the road. That time in Texas in the middle of the worst blizzard in thirty years. The truck’s engine exploded and we were stuck, freezing, as semis whooshed past on the highway and

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FICTION

EILEEN GETS A LITTLE BIT DRUNK by Natalie Warther

My sons were watching a movie in the living room and I was upstairs, rummaging through their bathroom. I’m not really sure why, I almost never go in there, but there I was, and I’d had some wine, and we hadn’t left the house for twelve days, for Christ’s sake, so what else was I supposed to do?  I looked in the drawers, looked in the shower, looked in the trash can, looked in the mirror and I looked old.  I stuck my finger out like a cane, pointed it at the mirror, furrowed my eyebrows, and whispered at my

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FICTION

WHITEBOARD by James Kramer

Jon scowled at the wall. Chaotic and pastel Post-it notes fluttered like some mad lepidopterist’s daydream. Glue gave way and they fell slowly enough that it made him angry, in a vague and indefinable sort of way. The wall had become an armadillo. Bristled and cold.  Jon came down the stairs in a flurry. He found Lu in the kitchen. His chest inexplicably hurt. He drank water. Held onto the sink. His wrists grew pale and cod-like. Lu studied her phone. Her toes played with the edges of the kitchen table. They explored crumbs and spidery calyces on a finished

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