THE KRASNERS by Aaron Kreuter

When I think back to those days it is fear that I remember, fear that I keep returning to, fear that I cannot get away from. First there’s the free-floating, general fear of adolescence: the fear of fitting in, the fear of saying the right thing, the fear of a body under revolt. And, for the most part, it wasn’t on the school playground or the mall food court, but at Kol B’Seder, the Reform synagogue my parents joined when I was twelve, where the major battles against these fears were waged. I fell in love in those hallways, made



In real life, the girl on the toilet is named KAY. Another girl, Vada, walks in and silently holds a gun to Kay’s head. Without making any demands. She turns to Kay and automatically offers one key to her. Vada takes a look at the key and contemplates whether to kill her or not. Vada pulls the trigger and Kay drops to the ground. She turns to the bathroom door and realizes that there is a key already in the lock. Vada walks towards the bar after exiting the bathroom. And, turns to the bartender and says, “My sex drive



She scheduled all her overdue appointments for the same week. She went to the doctor, the dentist, and the gynecologist. She came back with three minor diagnoses and referrals for two other specialists. It was right around this time that all science started feeling like pseudoscience, modern medicine especially. It began with the nightshade. She could no longer sleep through the night for the itching. A rash that looked like raspberry jam had formed on the back of her neck.  The allergist told her to stop eating nightshade. She was unsure if she had been eating nightshade. What was nightshade?



I misspell people’s faces. Cup them in my palms, kiss some, give a playful tug on the jowls of others. Good evening. Never better. Burghers of landfills and oak-lined boardrooms, white-collar criminals and donors of kidneys. Calculated together, they equal a mean designed to obscure the edges. I apologize, parties do this to me. The low ceiling track lights, the shag underfoot, the heads bobbing like olives in brine. I could have sworn it was Frank. Dressed as Biff. I bend to greet the elders collapsed in mid-century chairs. Boredom, meet urgency. I bend to your aunt Wilma, who turns



My friend Brian joined a cult. He was always doing stupid shit like that. This one time when we were fifteen he jumped off a bridge cause fucking Mike Langer dared him to. He broke his shinbone when he hit the water and spent the rest of summer in a cast. It wasn’t all bad though. Langer sold weed and gave him a half-ounce for free because he felt terrible about daring him to do it even though we were playing Truth or Dare on a bridge which was dumb on everybody’s part. Honestly, we’re lucky it came up as


FROG CIGARETTES by Brendan Gillen

Two at a time, take the steps ’til I’m out of breath. Mom doesn’t know. Attic stiff with heat. Cobwebs like lightning. Know I’m after something important, just haven’t found it yet. Up here there’s a tool chest by the mannequin. Been around long as I’ve been sneaking up. Since I was seven maybe. The years feel like gym class. Around and around and leave me dizzy. The dust is thick and my eyes itch.  Not supposed to be up here because it’s where Dad used to come and hide. Maybe Mom thinks part of him is still up here

Creative Nonfiction

COME HOME NOW by Danielle Chelosky

When apologizing to you for fucking up, I’d buy you flowers. The first ones were blue—not like the sky, but abrasive and ethereal like from a video game. I broke the stems so they would fit in my bag without peeking out, and the color dripped onto my palms and stained them for days. If it were red, it would have felt accusatory; this ultramarine was comforting, safe. * The risk for fucking up was lethal. Not for me, but for you. * I was seventeen. I fell in love fast, curled up against you while we watched movies. My

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