Fiction

LIKE NIGHTSHADE AND PERIODONTOLOGY by Rebekah Bergman

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?

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HYDROGEN AND HELIUM by Peter Krumbach

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

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THE ROAD 2 NOWHERE by KKUURRTT

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

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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

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A VIEW FROM THE CITY by Elliot Alpern

I see the backs of your shoulders—there you are, right there—on a bench by the harbor, where it’s windy, and where there’s a nice clear view of the monster ambling toward the city.  “Hello,” I call out. You look each way, left and then right and then left again, but not behind, and so I jog lightly to your bench, take the seat beside you.  “Hello,” I say again, this time a bit breathlessly.  “Oh,” you say, “hey, I thought I heard your voice.”  You look the same. And that’s with some years, a different haircut, a sort of quiet

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SONATA by Daisuke Shen

For a long time now, all sound has been damp. Wrapped in mildew, white-fleeced, everyone’s voices turned to mist. I am the only one not contained within this quiet—me, who has always wished to be, more so than anyone else; me, the girl who could never stop singing. I had tried all of the tricks, of course: stuffed my mouth with lagan scrounged from sea beds, weaned off of proteins and greens, hoping to become weaker. Yet the avalanche of notes poured out of my mouth like sludge; my crazed melodies frenetic and pinched as sand fleas. The silence started

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SOMETHING IS KNOCKING by Sean Ennis

Grace and Gabe, after saying something very cutting—Grace, not Gabe—have gone to visit her parents and I am home with the dogs, in the shower, flooded with the memory of a woman I once slept with who kept demanding, “Look at me! Look at me!” It’s not, like, eudaemonic.  Then the dogs are going crazy. Something is knocking. They get very protective of the house when I’m in the shower. I don’t hurry. And let’s be real clear: the dogs we rescued from the shelter? Did not rescue us. We do the nice, expensive things, and they basically hang out

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LIZARD BLOOD by Alisha Wexler 

Tuesday I wake up damp with a clenched jaw. Dirty towels on the ground reeking of mildew. Why do people record their dreams? Dreams are trout in bare hands—let them slip free! Mine are so generic anyway. I pluck out my teeth one-by-one like daisy petals. He loves me, I say with blood pouring down my hand, he loves me not. I move on. I weasel out of New York lease. I get out of bed. I go into the bathroom. I put on the clammy moist bikini hanging over the shower rod. I lay by the kidney-shaped pool in

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TWO-IN-ONE by Genta Nishku

That summer, the water in that city ruined my hair. After every wash, the same refrain: clumping and matting. A whole bottle of hair conditioner later, and I was at the dim-lit bar. A man gestured something at me with his eyes, while outside, the awkward artist typed his number in my phone. We’ll meet for lunch, he promised. The warm air made disassociation easier, even if the drinks were weak and the conversation hard to follow. I’d get drunk at home, I decided. Then the traces of the day would fade, present and future melting together, like the sky

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HAZARD by Nicholas Rall

Ethel and Edith tried to keep their eyes open, resting in a square of brownish dying grass; an empty lot. There used to be a family who lived there, and I could see the kids play in the driveway from our window, until men with big, yellow machines tore it down and it stayed like that until the girls took me with them. They’d been in the neighborhood for a few hours, walking through about half the state of Florida, staying close to the interstate. Usually they could get a ride but not that night, and it was time to

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