Micro

CUL-DE-SAC by Christopher Linforth

In the backyard, firecrackers fizz in our hands. We dare each other to throw first. We draw the firecrackers to our mouths, chomp on them like cigars. Watch the fuses burn. Blue smoke drifts up our noses, down our throats. We hold the smoke inside of us, blackening our lungs, exhaling when we feel sick. Then we hear the gruff voice of our neighbor and the bark of his dog. He threatens to call our parents, CPS, the police. As we withdraw the firecrackers from our mouths, they bang. Fine gray powder coats our still-intact fingers. We laugh and throw

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GLORIA TIPENE by Kaye Gilhooley

Really? Is it? Gloria Tipene in layers of dirty designer dresses? Gloria Tipene with hay-thatch hair and farmer’s cheeks? Gloria Tipene who is watched and wondered about aloud, shuffles along the street stopping at each bin and lamppost and shop window that catches her magpie eye; carries her life in a performance of plastic bags, string-tied parcels, pull-behind and push-forward trolleys; whispering harshly and sometimes shouting her lines. Is that Gloria Tipene, dazzled by the display of gold and rubies and pearls and diamonds, dreamily tracing the circles of engagement rings, wedding rings and earrings with her skinny dirt-encrusted fingernail.

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BODY OF BLOOD by Sarah E. Harris

The average adult carries seven percent of their weight in blood. Number of wonders and of sins.  Blood is a sacrifice and so is a woman, which I suppose explains some things. Like: the scar at the top of my head, from the hospital machinery when I was born. Like: loving the taste of a copper penny, acid and hard and bright on the tongue. Like: the vertigo that comes even now, standing suddenly. How hard it is to hold this ground.  When the pain started they said it was nothing, then they said to seek therapy, then they said

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SNAPSHOT BEFORE THE INCIDENT by Brian Brunson

With no foreboding of the approaching cataclysm, an orange brown finch, pecking at fallen crumbs, is startled by a fat gray pigeon flying down; a nervous young man watches the barista behind the cart in the courtyard; the barista clears the moist used espresso grounds from the filter with two loud thwacks against the rubber bar as her phone chimes in a text message from that boy listed under her contacts as ‘tinydicpic’; the sun hits the four story glass building reflecting the five story concrete building opposite; a broad shouldered well-suited man holds the hand of his elderly father,

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TO MY SON AND ONLY CHILD: YOUR MOTHER IS CLOSE TO FADING by Nathan Elias

This may come as a shock, but since my death I’ve spent copious hours (each hour a lifetime) relearning the laws of the living. I rediscovered what it means to mourn when you wept capriciously at the side of my casket. I’ve also reimagined gravity as the weight of my sorrows sifts through the sieve of time’s welcoming hands. But now, my boy, my final hour is upon me. The hourglass drains, and so I must transmit, as well as the dead are able, these lessons I’ve procured since the time we spoke last: The dead’s days, too, are numbered.

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AT NIGHT by Craig Rodgers

The clock reads 2:04.  The bedroom door is closed.  He stares. He closes his eyes. He opens his eyes.  The clock reads 2:09.  The bedroom door is open.  He closes his eyes. He opens them.  He stands and reaches out and he closes the door.  He gets back into bed. The clock reads 2:11. He closes his eyes.   He opens his eyes.  The clock reads 2:36.  The bedroom door is open.  He stands and pads his slow way through blue dark to a bathroom at hall’s end.  He urinates with eyes closed. He returns to the bedroom, one hand

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TO CUT A WIDE SWATH by Therese White

I smell ammonia. Old people. We visit Great Aunt Alma for no reason. It’s Sunday, reason enough. Her room: a single cell, a single window. The bed backs into a corner. Her white bedspread, a canvas. Little blocks, cut from her underwear, lay stacked: pastel patches. Her arthritic finger points to them. Her mouth opens; no words exit. Tan knee-highs choke her calves. Her strap slips off her shoulder. Her feet are firmly planted in sturdy, black loafers. My grandparents are not surprised; they are blasé. I stand mute, wondering what language Alma is forgetting: French or English. My plain

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CONNECTICUT VAMPIRE by Adrian Belmes

This is what we burn. The dead. Our ghosts. And illness, like a brand, held long above the fire. Our misunderstandings do become our monsters we admire, for fear is nothing if not love of sorts, obsession. The village men below this home implore upon my grief and seek solution, save their wives, forgetting mine, your sister, and my dying son. You are not a killer, my unrested child, but these men do not know you as I did: a daughter and a weeping lung upon a bed that lies an empty tomb. What sins do we exhume for peace

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TROUT by Kaye Gilhooley

I took up fishing late in life. My husband says I fish too much. The smooth length of the rod in my hand is powerful. Did you know my Daiwa carbon 9ft rod is rated to 15 kg? 15kg! That’s the weight of a small child. I fish in the fast stream that borders the south of our farm. It’s the closest boundary to the house. It flows under the bridge and soon feeds into the river, wide and deep. I took up fishing when my daughter went missing. Trout. My brother called her that because when she was a

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ARMILUSTRIUM by Rebecca Otter

My dad plays chess like a mathematician. Each of his turns stretch on while he contemplates the board from every angle and I forget my grand strategy. To entertain myself in these gaps, I look where his gaze falls. When he mutters to himself, is he frustrated with my playing? Or is that another tactic meant to confuse me further? When he finally chooses one lucky piece with a heavy sigh, how that piece gleams in the TV light as he lifts it—slowly, as he does most things. My dad is okay at defense. But he’s ruthless at offense, felling

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