FOOTNOTES by Erin Cork

Stopped at a red light, Malfunction Junction. A seventies model Chevy pickup ahead of me, bull balls dangle from the trailer hitch and a faded bumper sticker that was probably added when the truck was new, “Disco Sucks”.  There’s a man-child anywhere between the ages of 18 and 30 in the driver’s seat. It could be a hand me down, his father’s rig. I’ll never share the memory of peeling the backside from that sentiment and slapping it on the tailgate in front of me. But I do have a scrapbook full of goose bump gospel moments in the fellowship…

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THE HARVEST SEASON by Brian Morse

Henry had to abandon his car. It was clear that the winter storm had curbed all travel, as massive snow serpents slid across the vacant highway. Had he hit a deer, or was it a person? Either way, any visible evidence had disappeared, and the car wouldn’t start. He was on the highway miles from civilization, but the county’s landfill loomed close like a craggy white mountain, where a single soft green light pulsed. He fled for help. Snow quickly filled Henry’s boots as he plowed through a deer run toward the dump. Before squeezing through a small hole in…

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DIRTY SHIRLEY by Sophie Jennis

I have a rash on my neck and it must be because I wear my short necklace to bed every night and it tries to choke me in my sleep. I look over to my left at the wine bottle left over from my time with A. I think I wear the necklace to bed because I miss him. His hands did what I wanted them to and he wore the same sneakers as my dead grandpa. For the first time, I wonder what shoes my grandpa was buried in. I strongly consider asking my grandma and then decide against…

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EXCERPTS FROM THE MEMOIR I NEVER WANT TO WRITE ABOUT MY BLINDNESS by Zack Peercy

Me, Myself, and Eye My earliest memory is my mother’s panicked expression as she grabbed my face and told me to look at her. I assured her, as best a three-year-old could, that I was looking at her. I had developed a lazy eye, but that wasn’t my first foray into the world of eye troubles. When I was thirteen months old, I was a quiet baby who didn’t cry, but whose eyes darted back and forth and watered continuously. I’m told my eye pressure at the time was 40, which is extremely high. I was diagnosed with open-angle juvenile…

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SO COME BACK, I AM WAITING by Marston Hefner

“You won’t see me again.” I thought she was wrong. This is such a small city. I thought I saw her at the farmer’s market. I thought I saw her at my yoga studio. She is everywhere I go. Her name is Leah. She is the woman who causes me mental pain. If you asked me if I loved her, I’d say of course. I wouldn’t even make exaggerated hand motions. It is her, driving my car down the 101 after a weekend in San Francisco. I’m in the passenger seat listening to my iPod. She puts her hand on…

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THE LIGHT AND STARS by Ashleigh Bryant Phillips

A couple of days ago somehow I wrangled an OK Cupid date to drive down an hour from Virginia to come sit with me on my porch. And he read me Merwin like he’d never read Merwin out loud to anyone before. If you don’t know who Merwin is, that’s okay. It doesn’t mean you ain’t as smart as me- I just went to writing school. But Merwin is an old ass prolific poet who lives in Hawaii and likes to translate other languages and talk about “light” and “stars”. And while this OK Cupid date was reading ol Merwin…

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I AM SPACE MAN by Amanda Tu

I used to think my greatest challenge as a writer was identifying, in the most precise possible terms, how I feel. Most of the time, though, I know what I feel. This is palpable when I am stricken by an emotion I’ve lived through before. No matter how traumatic the sensation—the icy terror of being found cheating on a sixth grade reading quiz calling to mind the chilling shame three years earlier when my dad caught me illicitly scratching off a lottery ticket—there is comfort in believing that feelings are drawn from a massive, but ultimately finite, palette. Perhaps the…

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BUS PORTRAITS by Kai Ming McKenzie

A man on a bus is writing in his day planner There is a slender man who spends every morning bus ride one winter scratching out notes to himself in a little day planner. He looks so busy that we who are seated near him are tempted to try to read over his shoulder to see what he is writing about. He has tiny and meticulous handwriting, and he writes straight through the delineated intervals of his days with a fine-tipped pen. Everything is done with quick and efficient motions, which paradoxically give the impression that there is something wrong,…

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THE 11 SIGNS OF BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER by Carey Cecelia Shook

(According to the National Institute of Mental Health, and also Me) 1) Impulsive and often dangerous behaviors, such as spending sprees, unsafe sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, and binge eating.  When I was five, I’d sneak sandwich meat, pudding, cereal—anything quick and easy to snack on—into my room and hide it so my parents wouldn’t find out how much I was eating. I did this until I was nine when my mom cleaned my room and found moldy bologna under the bed. Since then, I mindlessly eat almost every time I eat. I can’t control myself. I’ve been doing it…

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SALT by Zachary Kennedy-Lopez

You’ve come to cherish the fragility of snails, come to love them in a small sort of way. When you see one attempting to cross the sidewalk, you pick it up—and it shrinks from you—and you move it to the other side. When it rains, you become more careful, you walk home with the light on your phone on. When you step on a snail in the dark, the shape and timbre of that sound taps something deep within you, and you imagine paying someone to take a needle and ink and carve colored lines into you, marking your own…

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