TRIPTYCH OF FALLING STARS by Wayland Tracy

Every night I hear the screams of myself far away. I beg for help but I will not help. In a ditch by the tracks, full of golf balls and bones of careless creatures. White quartz set in circles. I lie down and I am falling. Can’t find the earth. The noises of town rattle like deathbed confessions. Trains hurtle past. The stars encroach. We once had lights that prolonged days. I scrounge for bones with meat clinging on. I once had a table. Pictures of people stuffed into cracked walls, maps that do not help me. No children anymore….

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THE LIFE CYCLE OF TEMPORAL BIOMATTER ATTACHMENTS by Jemimah Wei

This is completely unsexual, but ever since the ex left, Jennie has gotten into the habit of sticking her hand down her pajama pants and cupping herself to sleep. It started in week five or six of the lockdown. One day, she woke up and her hands were in her pants. Both hands, under her pants, resting on top of her underwear. This happened occasionally, even before the ex moved out. Usually around the middle of the month, when she could feel her body beginning to slush. Whenever it happened, Jennie would periodically stick her finger into the folds of…

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THE MOON IS SAD by Kyra Baldwin

It’s raining in Seattle. I catch sight of my face in the drop-spattered glass of the bus stop. It’s lit by a phone-screen. The moon is out. It’s lit by a phone-screen. No one is texting either one of us.  See, the sun fucked the moon and the moon is sad now. The moon is already a depressive character because the moon is Vitamin-D deficient. The moon wanted to get a SAD lamp to remedy this, but the impassive physical laws of our universe said nuh-uh moon, because a SAD lamp in the sky would just look like another moon….

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ILLUMINATION by Audra Kerr Brown

Three weeks after her miscarriage, Guinevere fell in love with the lightbulb. A 40-watt incandescent globe from the dining room wall sconce. She removed the lampshade in order to stare at the glow of its tungsten filaments, the bare harp sitting above the bulb as a halo. You are beautiful, Guinevere would say. Absolutely beautiful. The light had an electrical heartbeat, a faint buzzing, as if bees were trapped inside. She liked to unscrew the bulb from its socket, marvel at how perfectly it fit in her palm. How warm it felt. How round, how small. Audra Kerr Brown lives…

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SAN ANTONIO by Saul Lemerond

The piglet was pink, but not the regular pink that you expect piglets to be. This was the sort of glowing, warm pink that only exists in Disney movies. God, the little animal was so cute Yancy wanted to squeeze the thing to death. Wanted to squeeze it ‘til its head popped off its precious little body.  Yancy’s friends Tim and John think this too. He is so lucky, they think as they stand beside him wishing they could also have one. They’d all been on their way to the Riverwalk but now no longer care.   Yancy reaches out a…

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TENDERNESS by Anthony Sabourin

The Doomsayer is at work.  He takes a sip of black coffee from a styrofoam cup. He mumbles to himself and barks like a dog and screams into his elbow as one would muffle a cough. He takes another sip of coffee, gargling it and spitting it into the street; wipes his mouth with the back of his hand. Across the street the train is stopping, and soon the morning rush will be streaming by on the stretch of street before him, walking in their harried steps, a tension in the inconvenience of being a person around other people, already…

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SCARAB by Jihoon Park

I see a scarab beetle on the sidewalk on my walk home from the bar. Instead of stepping on it, I scoop it up with the Yellow Pages on the driveway and place it on the ficus tree next to the garage door.  I’m very nice when I’m drunk. I fall into bed next to Janine. She is awake but she does not want to talk to me. She probably wants me to shower and get the whisky smell off, but I still have some dignity left. I am my own man and tonight I want to sleep in my jacket and jeans.    In the morning,…

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AMERICAN LAKE by Aaron Burch

Did you grow up near water? What did you think of when I asked that—lake, river, ocean, pool, other? Do you like to swim? Do you remember learning how? Did your grandmother live not on a lake, but near? Walking distance? Do you have fond memories of going to your grandmother’s house, getting one of the large towels she kept for you in the bathroom, one of the inner tubes she kept in her garage? Do you remember being little and using actual inner tubes on the water, not an inflatable pool float or tube like you might buy from…

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THE BEEP by Jason Schwartzman

I am his tutor and he is trying to tell me about an unknown variable. About X. But he has forgotten that it’s called X.  “The mysterious thing,” he says, laughing.  I love him for this. I will tell everyone I know about the mysterious thing.  During one session we’re in his apartment and I hear a beep. Just one beep. The microwave, probably.  “I’m really sorry,” he tells me, tensing up.   Sorry for what? It feels like I’m missing something.  “Totally fine!”  On the walk home I wonder why he was so on edge. Then I forget about it,…

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SPREE by Meg Tuite

Mom has an entire fortress of pillows that she readjusts around her body.  “Barricading my skin against bedsores. Stay in one place for too long and you’ll have to order another ass from Walgreens.” Amber prescription bottles layer her bedside table. She marks the empties with a black X, doesn’t throw them away until a refill has been secured.  Rustling toes mow through bed sheets as Mom drags up another mini-vodka with her feet. The bottomless cascade of that clear liquid is her Niagara Falls. She is queen of the mini-island. Bottles are stashed away in pockets, beds, pillows, shoes,…

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