Short

YOU MET DEATH ON LEX by Vi Khi Nao + Jessica Alexander

and asked her to meet you at a hotel in Brooklyn You would not meet her in Vegas where the sounds of your mother’s movements came through the walls between your rooms Meanwhile, in another state Death courted our brothers on Uber and Grinder As you removed one blind eye from the invisible pocket of your black bra You realized that your memory of your brother had an invisible purse With its zipper sewn on its side and its contents were pennies or wishes So when they hit the surface of your eye the world you knew rippled Back then

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KERNEL PANIC by Rebecca Rubenstein

When his mind went blank, Benno walked to the water store. Smack-dab in the middle of a strip mall a block downhill from his apartment, it was the kind of place that didn’t pull punches. It sold water, and vessels with which to hold water, and that was it.  Water cooler jugs lined the walls on one side, and empty aquariums formed a barricade on the other, and the floors teemed with pallets of imported bottled water—glacier runoff from Iceland and Switzerland and all the lands. Metallic shelving flanked each side of the store, and on those shelves sat sturdy,

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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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I LIKE PICKUP TRUCKS by Kayla Soyer-Stein

Here is what I am doing this summer: 1) Drinking. 2) Riding around in the backs of pickup trucks. There’s not much else to do on this island. Tonight me and Kate think we are the drunkest we’ve ever been. We are outside the bowling alley and looking up at the sky at this one star, which is chasing us all over the place and about to fall on Kate’s head. LOOK OUT, I scream and Kate covers her face and falls all over me, knocking me down, and we both lie in the wet grass and laugh like witches. 

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COLLEGIATE GOTHIC by Daniel Felsenthal

Summer I met Miles on move-in day after my advising troop finished doing icebreakers and trust falls. Actually, I met his dad first.  “Herman Kahn,” said a man wearing a fleece embroidered with the mascot of our university on the breast, and beneath it, the words Class of ‘72. He extended his hand as though he were a freshman himself, but looked at his son, and their dance gave the impression of a family whose dynamics were more important than people outside of the family.  “Miles! Care enough about someone other than yourself to meet your neighbor?”  “I told you

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LOVEBIRD by Tex Gresham

Most people have no idea what goes on in retirement communities. They don’t care to know. When your kids dropped you off at Del Largo Sueño a few years go, they made tearful promises to visit, but you never saw a tear fall. They faked guilt to hide the happiness that they wouldn’t have to watch you die. Your son, Clifford, and his new wife didn’t stay long enough for you to unpack and hang your sweaters. Your daughter waited around, and then she asked for “gas money.” She’d been biting her cheek all day, her eyes sunken like little

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JUST GIVE ME A FUNERAL by Greg Gerke

On Thanksgiving, the southbound 1 train stopped at 96th Street and, to the surprise of the few people in the last car, an older woman with a sunbaked face in a big-brimmed gardening hat blocked the doors with a fold-up shopping cart and started to load four large bags of possessions into the space. She balanced the rectangular cart front wheels in and back out, over the gap between the car and platform, to jam the doors while hefting the bags around it and safely inside. Where did this  rail-thin woman, probably 5’4”, get the strength? a young man on

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THROUGH THE LAUNDROMAT WINDOW by Rachel L.E. Klammer

Jane watches the world from across the laundromat. Her apartment window affords a view of the parking lot and inside the laundromat. Jane watches a plump and elderly man wash horse blankets for the third time that month. A sign near his machine says ‘please do not wash horse blankets.’ Jane has been watching the laundromat for three months, ever since she first moved to town during the ever-clinging winter. It is April now, and still snow and melting icicles crawl over building roofs. There will be snow lumped in the edges of some valleys and higher altitudes of the

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BOY CRAZY by Lauren Barbato

The young married women at the conference upstate agree that it’s nice to be around someone so boy crazy. That’s how they say it: boy crazy.  The young married women help you flirt with Ben, the writer from Seattle via Georgia. They accompany you to the pricey cocktail bar downtown and conveniently leave early. Ben walks you down a sleepy street with few lights to your tiny cabin rental. You show each other your tattoos as mosquitos nibble your ankles.  In three years, you’ll be married, the young married women say. We want to come to the wedding. *** Lawrence

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CRISP EDGES by Helena Pantsis

Bud reached into the chip bag. It crinkled, loud and coarse by the cheap, jagged foil. He dug his hand around the salt-covered potatoes, angling for the perfect one. You never want to start too big. You have to aim for those mid-range chips, the ones the size of a beer bottle’s bottom. He pulled one out, smacked his lips around it, and sucked on the tips of his fingers before going in for another. He couldn’t stop. That’s how they get you, the chip companies, the corporate potato pigs, by drowning their spuds in moreish delicacies that rot your

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