Creative Nonfiction

TANKERS by Mackenzie Moore

I thought my grief would come out like my mother dumps out her purse.  If you’ve ever seen that woman turn over her tote bag, it’s like the Niagara of tidbits. You need a poncho just to block the crumbs. Everything comes spilling out into a big old pile: Armani lipstick that costs more than my phone bill; floss picks, Altoids, crinkled napkins with phone numbers of networking colleagues; one wooden “eco spork” used, but wiped clean on one of the aforementioned crinkled napkins.  It’s an absolute mess but my god what a sight to see.  That’s not what happened.

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MOZZARELLA by Megan Navarro Conley

After they drown and bloat with water, white people look like mozzarella cheese. Not the shredded kind in resealable bags, but the smooth spherical cheese in the little wet bags near the deli counter. Sometimes I buy this cheese from Trader Joe’s because plucking it off the refrigerated shelf makes me feel fancy. I like to turn it over in my hands, cup it in my palm while waiting in line. I learn this fact about white people and cheese while standing in a river. I am nineteen, and I still think I’m going to be a doctor. The director

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TELOGEN EFFLUVIUM by Brooke Middlebrook

Is when your hair falls out from stress. Your hair’s heading for the exits but the name rolls off the tongue.  Perhaps it’s because I take scalding showers, or I eat too much Annie’s Macaroni & Cheese. Sure, it’s organic, but nothing good for you comes as a powder. The best part is the bunny tail you press to open the box. External forces cause follicles to enter a sleep cycle. Hair loss, when inherited, is called alopecia. The old nature vs. nurture question, like we’re not all tired of that debate.  Someone I know is laying in an ICU

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HOW TO PRONOUNCE BON IVER by Holden Tyler Wright

The day after New Year’s, my neighbor—who strummed his guitar at 2 in the morning singing tone-deaf Beatles covers—asked me for a ride. My other neighbor, Isaac, kept the TV on 24/7, just loud enough to be heard in the corner I pressed my bed into, peppering my nights with laugh tracks. Beyond him, Ruth stayed up knitting. I knew this because she made me an endearingly hideous hat and a too-short scarf. We were all insomniacs. I was the only student among us, and saw my living situation as a stepping stone into something greater. I wondered how the

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YOU WANT TO HEAR A LOVE STORY by Ashton Russell

He flirted with you at work. You were 16 and he was 23. He would hold his hands behind his back to mimic how you walked away from the server board in the kitchen. Because you were uncomfortable in your own body. Your ass felt too big, the way you walked too bouncy. Sitting at the bar at work eating before the doors opened, he sat down beside you and pushed his hand up your thigh not saying anything. He followed you out to the parking lot up the hill where staff parked. He asked if he could drive your

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BEAN HEADS by Mila Jaroniec

In the little free library was a hand-sewn chapbook with poems from all the poets who had read at Bean Heads. The open mic was every Friday and gray men would shuffle in to crinkle coffee-stained pages at the microphone. It was an Event. There were gasps and snaps and silence. I didn’t understand it. Here I was, fifteen years old and crafting big papers about The Count of Monte Cristo, and someone had written this: Amoral Amnesty A parliament of stalking butlers Deafening silence over the telephone The Pope flows like running water Calligraphy makes the Queen go blind.

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TO RIDER STRONG by Jade Hidle

You won’t remember me. It’s been twenty-nine years since my last letter.  I always did my homework alone, because my mother didn’t know enough English to help. I always finished it early, so that I could watch you on Boy Meets World. Your gapped-tooth mischievous grin, your chokers, your hair-flipping. I knew bad boys at school, but we didn’t have any like you. You were a white bad boy, which is a good bad boy. And you made being wounded look so cool.  I thought you would understand and that you would then elevate me to your level, turn my

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I THINK ABOUT YOUR COCK DURING TIMES OF CRISIS by Lexi Kent-Monning

The first thing I thought of during the coup was your cock. I think of it when I need comfort, and what I wanted to remember was the first time it saved me. We were on your bed, a Friday afternoon, both skipping work. I’d been bent over in the shower, but you know I faint easily so you moved us out of the hot water. Our just shampooed hair made dark blotches and streaks on your grey sheets, while stars encroached on my vision and echoes rolled through my ears, the two telltale symptoms I’m about to pass out.

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HAUNTING by Edee James

A ghost is a boy who always comes back to you. We were kissing in his car, which he’d initially parked by the side of the road so we could volley insults at each other responsibly. With his breath sweet and warm on my neck, and his tongue darting in and out of my ear, it was easy to momentarily forget why we were fighting. It was about another girl. I grew up learning that a man will stray. You shouldn’t kill yourself just because your man is a community penis, my aunt said. All I had to do was pray he

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SHOPPING AT TARGET WITH MY E̶X̶-̶L̶O̶V̶E̶R̶ FRIEND by Cat Dixon

You say you need to find an ointment that your father asked for, so we’re in the pharmacy department: shelves full of pain relief, allergy relief, gas relief, dietary supplements. Last year I heard that big brand companies pay more for eye-level shelf space; someone had studied how we shop, and then schemed and plotted for that cough syrup and nose spray’s spot. You’re searching the shelves closest to the floor, and I keep getting in the way. The aisles are crowded with carts and gray-haired ladies—excuse me—so I wander to the end-cap filled with bandages and Neosporin. I select

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