UNFINISHED by David Osgood

My wife brushes her teeth in the shower and doesn’t spit, so the toothpaste foams around her mouth and drips down her chin onto her breasts. It reminds me of the two people I fear the most: my mother and my dentist. Tonya oversleeps again. She is starting to look like her mother. I burn my wife’s sprouted grains toast because I hate her new Vegan diet. She doesn’t notice because it is covered with half-ripe avocado. I crisp up a whole package of uncured maple bacon to give her something to complain about.  Tonya yells at her mom like…

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MY LAST DINNER WITH THE CARPENTERS by Alyssa Asquith

The dinner invitation had not come at a convenient time. In any event, I wasn’t dressed; I couldn’t remember when I’d last been dressed. Most of my clothing had been eaten by moths or rats years ago, and the stuff that remained—leather, mostly—was brittle and dry, like old toast. Besides, my teeth had begun to fall out. I’d lost one the day before, and two more by the morning. I think I must have swallowed them. But I couldn’t refuse the Carpenters. The fact of the matter was that Mr. Carpenter had been looking forward to the evening all week,…

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MY BROTHER, MY MOTHER, MY FATHER, AND I by C. Beston

My brother asks if, when he is older, he will grow as big as our father. I tell him the best thing to steal from the supermarket is a glass pint of milk. You drink the milk, then return the bottle for two dollars. My mother asks me to stack plates and glasses in our high cabinets. Reach for vinegar at the store. Every year she shrinks. I wonder when she won’t be able to push a shopping cart. If I will set her in the child’s seat and hand her tomatoes and oranges to inspect, one by one, before…

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SHOPPING AT TARGET WITH MY E̶X̶-̶L̶O̶V̶E̶R̶ FRIEND by Cat Dixon

You say you need to find an ointment that your father asked for, so we’re in the pharmacy department: shelves full of pain relief, allergy relief, gas relief, dietary supplements. Last year I heard that big brand companies pay more for eye-level shelf space; someone had studied how we shop, and then schemed and plotted for that cough syrup and nose spray’s spot. You’re searching the shelves closest to the floor, and I keep getting in the way. The aisles are crowded with carts and gray-haired ladies—excuse me—so I wander to the end-cap filled with bandages and Neosporin. I select…

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AT A LEMON-COLORED HOUSE ON CALLE D by Ray Ball

The day before Myradis Guzmán died, the tropical sun boiled off some of the rainwater that shrouded and smoothed the cracks in Havana’s sidewalks. She sorted grains of rice and hung out laundry under the watchful eye of a statuette of Yemayá. She chatted with neighbors on her way to ETECSA. When she arrived, she secured her place as la última and slipped into a wisp of shade to wait her turn. After her heart suddenly stopped, her body remained in her house for over a week, while her brother Yordani navigated bureaucratic tapestries of red tape. Waiting was so…

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HUNGER PAINS by Lindy Biller

Eating nacho-flavored cauliflower chips is like eating the crisp skeletons of dead leaves. Still, there are far worse things I could be doing with my mouth. I sit at a drop-leaf table, grinding the so-called chips between my teeth, and you streak around our apartment, rabbit-like. You’re terrible at acting cool, aloof, whatever you want to call it, and I will always love this about you. You are tender to the bone. “Why am I doing this, what if I fuck the whole thing up?” you say, although you’re not really asking. I stand up, ignoring the subtle aftertaste of…

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SOUR by Wilson Koewing

To escape the midsummer heat, I ducked inside a bar specializing in sour beers on the fringes of Five Points in Denver. I ordered from the happy hour menu, drank sour pours then had my debit card declined. “I tried it nine times,” the shaggy hair bartender said. “Try it again.” “Won’t go through.” “I don’t know what to tell you.” Another bartender, one of those effortlessly beautiful women who always seem marooned in restaurants, came over. “Nice ink,” I said, noticing an eight ball on her wrist. “Do you have another card?” she asked. “I don’t,” I said. “Where…

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THE SOUND OF VIOLENCE by Ryan Norman

Usually the orchard was all light, sunburn cooled by a welcome breeze, but not that day. Fog crept up from the river and swallowed every tree in its path, whetting its appetite for the too short grass that cut like blades, soaking the cicadas’ song. I sat on a cold cinder block and watched my boyfriend wash his car, questioning why he would shine it on such a gloomy day, but daring not to say it aloud. His phone rang and I looked at myself in the shiny apple red door. Winked. Shot some finger guns. Fell to the floor….

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REWIND by Amy Wang

This is before the bed at my new apartment feels especially wide and I wake up crying over things I barely remember; before the two years during which every night I hear the tell-tale groaning of a broken stairway as it is about to collapse under the weight of ashes and a leaping fire in the second after I fall asleep; this is before I have to start going to therapy in order to keep from crying every time I pass the cafe where you used to buy me peppermint lattes, before I begin reminding myself that it is my…

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A DAUGHTER NEEDS A NAME LIKE AN AMULET by Sara Comito

She wakes up laughing at her dream that she is a chest of drawers with a single knob in the middle. She wakes to find her belly button has popped like a Butterball turkey thermometer. She dreams she is eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. She wakes and makes a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. She drinks from the milk carton and guzzles down half its contents. She dreams she is a milk carton. She wakes to find her nightgown is wet with her first milk. Mmmmmm she breathes. It smells delicious. She dreams she is weighing grapefruits in…

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