A WEB, A TREE by Eileen Tomarchio

Up close, they were groves, nebulae, Medusa’s head of snakes. Two ragged thatches, one on each of my mother’s outer thighs, a Rorschach pair. Seen in full only when I lifted her covers as she snored and lay beside her. By day, she had her ways of hiding them, fooling the eye. Let-out hems lengthened with ribbon, ricrac, lace. Concealer sticks and opaque hose in rainbows of flesh tones. Napkins over-draped on her lap at barbeques. Napkins that slid off after too many daiquiris like a magician’s reveal, my mother’s cue to rise by an invisible thread and tango with…

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THE MOON IS SAD by Kyra Baldwin

It’s raining in Seattle. I catch sight of my face in the drop-spattered glass of the bus stop. It’s lit by a phone-screen. The moon is out. It’s lit by a phone-screen. No one is texting either one of us.  See, the sun fucked the moon and the moon is sad now. The moon is already a depressive character because the moon is Vitamin-D deficient. The moon wanted to get a SAD lamp to remedy this, but the impassive physical laws of our universe said nuh-uh moon, because a SAD lamp in the sky would just look like another moon….

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HIGHWAY 25 by Lindsey Heatherly

I remember that night we parked at the drive-in on Highway 25 and steamed up the windows before static on the AM station switched over to previews. Previews came before a raunchy, college-age comedy, alternating between raindrop rivers and lip-locked intermissions that cut through windshield fog. Foggy windows were smeared by my gray cotton jacket through your steady hand. The hand that sat on my knee during a panic attack on the drive back. The drive through dark and rain and a flooded road too immersed for good traction on those too-old tires. Tires that skidded across water when you…

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I AM NOT AN ACTRESS by Ashley Jeffalone

The man who will later steal from me is directing a short film. Today, in this moment, we’re still friends, so I pick up when he calls.  On the grounds of his apartment complex, he leads me to a Bradford pear tree, puts me underneath, and I kneel along the roots to thieve shards of glass from the green. There are other people with us, laden with cameras and lights, and they lean over me, commit my idling to film. They come close enough for me to remember their sugared breath but not their faces, not their voices—I’ve lost years…

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ILLUMINATION by Audra Kerr Brown

Three weeks after her miscarriage, Guinevere fell in love with the lightbulb. A 40-watt incandescent globe from the dining room wall sconce. She removed the lampshade in order to stare at the glow of its tungsten filaments, the bare harp sitting above the bulb as a halo. You are beautiful, Guinevere would say. Absolutely beautiful. The light had an electrical heartbeat, a faint buzzing, as if bees were trapped inside. She liked to unscrew the bulb from its socket, marvel at how perfectly it fit in her palm. How warm it felt. How round, how small. Audra Kerr Brown lives…

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OBIT by Jesse Salvo

Published Wed, Jan 13, 11:53 p.m. ET Jersey City, NJ This item is dedicated to the living memory of David Graff, a friend of this paper, who passed away this week in a manner very much unexpected to those who knew him well. David, who died Thursday, was born in Michigan to a family of middle income, attended the University of Chicago under dubious circumstances, failed out under less dubious ones, spent two years writing grants for legal nonprofits, discovered no dignity in the work, detested labor, detested snobbery, moved back to Detroit, fell in love, became engaged, took a…

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WHEN THE FIRST HUSBAND DIES YOUNG by Dan Brotzel

When your first husband dies young, you feel shock, you feel sick. You hurt, you bruise, you ache, you sting. You feel nothing at all but also everything, way too much. Reality has been swept from under you. There’s a big hole, a gap, where your life should be. Nothing makes sense. You’re trapped in a nightmare that can’t possibly be yours. Everything is panic, anxiety.  You keep running up against the hope that this is all an illusion, that soon you’ll be able to get your head round it, feel differently about it, send it away. You keep thinking…

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SAN ANTONIO by Saul Lemerond

The piglet was pink, but not the regular pink that you expect piglets to be. This was the sort of glowing, warm pink that only exists in Disney movies. God, the little animal was so cute Yancy wanted to squeeze the thing to death. Wanted to squeeze it ‘til its head popped off its precious little body.  Yancy’s friends Tim and John think this too. He is so lucky, they think as they stand beside him wishing they could also have one. They’d all been on their way to the Riverwalk but now no longer care.   Yancy reaches out a…

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DARLING by Suzanne Grove

We were fifteen, our bodies slick with baby oil, as we tanned on her lawn in old beach chairs rusting at the edges. I was pouring flavored sugar down my throat when Julia told me the devil seduced my parents. The candy’s raspberry tang hit my soft palate, and I coughed a fine blue dust that tasted like medicine. I knew her parents were evangelicals or born again or fundamentalists, all words I could say but didn’t understand. Her father wore jeans to church. The faded denim Wranglers rode high up his waist and tugged at his crotch.  His leather…

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PENNY-UP by Daniel Fraser

On Tuesday afternoons I would go down to the garages with Sam and Jason to throw coins at a wall. Derek would come and bring a twelve-pack or a slab and we’d stay there past dark. Penny-up can’t be explained, you just have to play it. Like life. The summers were the best. Big sun falling behind the tower block, kids running under the washing lines, screaming and fighting on the open grass, the chimneys and smoke-blackened brick stretching back into the hills, and us with nothing to do but roll.   “Watch me,” said Derek. We watched him land a…

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