MOONLIGHTERS by Charlotte Dantzer

I breathed in the piss scent of the alleyway through the black knit. Then my face emerged from beyond the shirt, and I stood facing the dead end of the alley holding my breasts with one forearm.

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ROAD BLOCKADE PART ONE by Harrison Kim

She rode her pony here and he stinks like old socksβ€”there’s no bond better than between a woman and her pony. I note she wears striped leotards right up to her loincloth.

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COBRA by Marcus Ong

At two in the afternoon, she hears a bang like a gunshot. Eugenia peeks out her bedroom window. What’s visible to her: the Tangs’ barbecue pit, their garden shed, their kidney-shaped pool. She counts dead oval leaves trapped on the water.Β  Must be the Tang brothers lighting firecrackers behind the shed again, she thinks. They’re always plotting to give the birds a heart attack. Forefingers stuffed in her ears, she wonders why the brothers aren’t studying, and from where do they get their sadistic toys? But if the Gohs across the street managed to smuggle in flamingos to chain to…

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NOT TO BE by Mars Girolimon

I’m in class reading Hamlet and contemplating suicide on a cliffside. Reciting poetic verses about family curses and hiding behind a curtain with a knife. My phone buzzes, and I lean forward to read something out of a Shakespearean tragedy. She killed someone. The words glow like the flame of a lit match and I spring from my desk chair, repelled by their heat. Faces swivel toward me, judgement radiating from their eyes. I’m an injured animal at the center of a swarm about to be mauled by my own pack. My heartbeat radiates in my ears: glove to a…

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THE COCKROACH by Christine Arroyo

She woke up in a classroom. Chalkboard at her head, corkboard at her feet. As she adjusted to the dusk lightβ€”was it 5 a.m. or 5 p.m.?β€”she discovered she wasn’t in the setting of a recurring dream she’d been having. The β€˜I fell asleep at the desk and missed the most important test of a lifetime’ dream. No, she was in a hotel room. The Eaton. The card pinned to the corkboard wall held her personalized key to the rooftop gym.Β  As she pressed her body against the hotel room window, the humidity moved through the glass and brushed up…

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POSSUM STORY by Kayla Jean

We were going to scrape that possum off the road because somebody had to do it. That’s what our Dads said, trucks rattling in neighboring driveways, complaining about the borough workers, asking nobody in particular where their taxes went, if not to cleaning up a dead possum right in the middle of the intersection. The Biology teacher had even joked about dissecting it for class, because it was the intersection right next to the high school and so every student and every teacher saw it, curled up and still in the mornings then somehow more freshly dead in the afternoons….

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PASSION by Melissa Ostrom

Passion turned thirteen in the middle of July, and when the first light of this day, this special day, woke her and sweetened the darkness like milk stirred into coffee, Passion divided like a cell, turned into two Passions, a watching Passion, a watched Passion. Passion sensed Passion, keenly and with great interest. Herself. Her self.Β  Passion thought, Here curls Passion on her side, under a worn sheet, her gaze turned to the paling window. The curve of her hip is slight. The arm hugging the pillow is slim. And there rises the sun. Pay attention, Passion, Passion ordered. Smell…

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THEY CAN LIVE WITHOUT FLIES by Michael Seymour Blake

She lay huddled and naked in bed, her skin a grayish black. Her brittle hair broke off at the slightest touch. I rested my head on her rigid body, hearing nothing. I inhaledβ€”a dull, mossy smell. I called Dad.   He came over right away. He tapped Mom a few times, then knocked on her like he was knocking on a door. He placed his ear against her open lips. β€œGet me a flashlight.” I brought him one. He shined light into her mouth. β€œWhat do you see?” He grabbed a cigarette from the pack in his back pocket. He…

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