Flash

EXCERPT FROM “DRIFT” by Chris Campanioni

Born Under Punches The things I recall, I recall in zip pan, POV, a pullback shot without mise-en-scène. Or in darting moments, a brief flash, a passing scent, transposing and unblinking, and utterly distinct. Yet the whole of history favors similarities and slight anachronisms. The schism of time is in a class all its own, and even now I am racing through hallways of my subconscious without taking notice of the hall itself. The lino. A railing. Reverse angles by which you see your own self speaking. Everyday details. Everything passes. As a rule, I strive for lucidity in loneliness,

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BURGLARS by Francine Witte

I used to wish my parents were burglars. That would have been more honest. Instead, we had to live in a shadow. It looked like a house, but it was a shadow. All dark and hushed and Daddy about to lose it anyway. Always about to lose everything on some bad business deal. Some neighbor or something would tell him a mountain of lies, and Daddy would climb it like a stupid goat. One night, I woke up to my mother screaming. Daddy started pounding the piano keys. When that didn’t stop her, he pulled the vacuum out of the

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SHE HAS DISCOVERED COSTCO by Shannon McLeod

It’s Friday the thirteenth and day number four of your leave. You’re taking some time off work since “the incident.” You’re at the DMV because you’ve been meaning to go for months but you’re always working when it’s open. You’re afraid of seeing your students’ parents in the waiting area. You’re wearing the same Alf T-shirt and stretched-out underwear you’ve had on for the past two days. You’re pretty sure you stink. You glance at the people sitting beside you and determine they are too old or too young to have children in middle school. You may never return to

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troy james weaver

HOOKS by Troy James Weaver

A few days after I heard the news, that he’d tried to carve a hole for himself inside the earth, I wondered if it were possible for a man to rip out his own vocal chords. One night, I actually Googled it, came up with a bunch of misleads. Wouldn’t have mattered anyway—I’d just get a little black board and hang it around my neck and write it all down for him with chalk. The things I saw, the thoughts I had. Voices still exist, even if you can’t hear them. Maybe it all came down to selfishness. For a

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WE CLEAN UGGS by JP Sortland

Yes. No. Hand washed. No machine. He was the only man who shined shoes at George’s Shoe Repair. The tiny refuge was located below ground at the 51st and Lexington subway station. Yes. Hand. Wash. Personally. You’ll like. There were two or three ladies of an implacable foreign origin who also shined shoes in silence. Customers predicted the mystery women came from Bolivia to Tajikistan and everywhere in between. Buddy’s origin was clear as mud too. But wherever he’d come from before ending up at George’s had made him an amicable fellow. Unlike the shoeshine girls, the patrons of George’s

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HEAD TO TOE by Molly Montgomery

One day, Penny woke up with her consciousness in her feet. She could still feel her head, blink her eyes, watch the procession of sunlight from her shutters ripple onto her bed, but it all felt very far away. Closer to her, the flannel blankets cushioned her arches and as she flexed— her feet that is, but it felt like she was stretching a larger muscle, like her back— her toes popped out of the warmth of the blanket, giddy like bright-eyed children, singing at last, at last it’s our turn now. They waved, creating a breeze in the rumpled

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KILL YOUR DARLING COUNTRY by Gregg Williard

You live two blocks from a city park that hosts the Fourth of July parade, carnival and fireworks. Once a year your sleepy neighborhood will be taken over. Hoards emboldened strange by the holiday license to drink in public and be stupid with explosives will arrive bearing lawn chairs, blankets, coolers, flags, transistor radios and cherry bombs. They blithely make your yards their parking lots, trespass and trample and choke sidewalks and streets in lit processions of flash lights and aluminum sparklers. Their orange cigarette tips will bob ahead like lures. Soon their blankets will cover the fields all the

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SOMETIMES HEROES CAN’T WEAR BROWN SKIN by Delvon Mattingly

In times of life-and-death, nobody quite grasped the concept of “be quiet.” But for us, it didn’t matter. My peers panicked, whimpered, some nearly hyperventilated—but nothing outclassed the tormenting screams coming from an adjacent room. Nothing could abolish the cackling gunfire, bullets penetrating walls and possibly bodies. Nothing stopped the killer from heading to our room next, glaring at us with a face of apathy, drawing our attention to boast about his body count, and how we were going to add to it. Nobody could do a thing, except for me. I wouldn’t consider my actions gallant. I charged the

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rob mclennan

THE NAMES OF THINGS, by rob mclennan

I gave my attention to the pause. Angela Carr, Here in There 1. I am downsizing, for practical reasons. I gift my belongings before the choice is no longer mine. Ending six months of aggressive treatment, some small strength returns. Moving through boxes and bins and shelves, I name items as I release them into the world. I name you, glass figurines I salvaged from my grandmother’s possessions, as her quiet death ended the decades they sat in her sitting room. I name you, pilfered coffee mugs, each adorned with a different company logo. That summer we drove through the

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nikolas slackman

SHAVER by Nikolas Slackman

“All of my hair is leaving me.” But I was the one who’d shaved it all away. To say it left me was a compulsion to attract that rich melancholy self-lovers look for. I knew within mundane choices was the opportunity to feel abandoned. I’d electric razored the whole thing top-down and looked like a flesh pear. I ran it against the arms, down the back, around the tits. A little cut up shaving the neck, but the cuts from nerve damage jitters don’t count, I’d said. Tweeze the brow, but you always tweeze the brow. I could feel George’s

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