THE FALL by Sara Lippmann

Last night I passed out as you fucked me for 100 hours for 18 years on the living room floor. The mood was right: kids out, throw pillows deftly arranged, fire doing its snap crackle pop, flames licking the grate. There was wine and weed—an empty house!—so it could’ve been

Read More »

NEGOTIATIONS by Adrienne Marie Barrios

Mar∙riage, /merij/, noun: a series of negotiations.  At least, inside her head, it was. She had these little rhythmic mantras to keep from fucking it up, like my plate is on the left, or the left tray goes on top. She’d repeat it to herself, over and over again, like

Read More »

MY PERSONAL BRAND by Matt Leibel

My personal brand is integrity. My personal brand is fresh, innovative thinking, and a commitment to excellence. My personal brand sets me apart, in the sense that many people refuse to stand within 50 feet of me, as if my personal brand stinks or something; my personal brand does not

Read More »

LIFE, AS OF NOW by Kamil Ahsan

The courtship practices of Shalimar Gardens spiked on Pakistan Day. His breath is raggedy. The trees brush the air with heart-shaped leaves, a reminder that the world is passing him by without noticing him sink—the cars that move too fast, the motorcycles that almost run him over, the people, oh

Read More »

ALL THE THINGS WE’LL NEVER HAVE by Christopher DeWan

I remember, there was going to be a birthday party for Michael. He was turning ten. Michael was always interrupting, saying things that weren’t funny or important, because he couldn’t stand not being the center of attention. My mom said it was because he didn’t have a dad. But Michael’s

Read More »

MY TORNADO by Joshua Bohnsack

While I could reach outside my tornado, it was still difficult to hug my date at the end of the night. He never asked me specifically about the tornado, but he did keep asking if I was okay. I said, “Yeah. Sure. Thanks for asking,” and knocked the saltshaker over. 

Read More »

VIEWS LIKE WHITE ELEPHANTS by Frank Jackson

The couple found a spot on a beach with no one in front of them. Sunset was an hour away. She pulled out her phone and scanned the view. He grabbed a couple of beers, opened his own and started chugging.  “Hey Babe, how’s it looking?” “Oh my God, it’s

Read More »

LENA by Divya Iyer

I want this to be honest in a way that makes empires shake. I need to text Lena back, and if I do text Lena back with the right words, the ones that hum and whimper and shake and do not cajole (under any circumstances), I know what I would

Read More »

COVER by Benjamin Kessler

The father is accompanying the daughter to the mall. The daughter wants very much to get her ears pierced, and while the father thinks she is too young, he has consented. Though only after making the daughter pull weeds from between the spaces in the driveway concrete. The father doesn’t

Read More »

GIRLS OF THE ARBORETUM by Brianne M. Kohl

The girls of the arboretum are just girls. Nothing more, nothing less. They do not speak to one another. Why would they? The wind blows through their branches. Everything that must be said has already been said. The world is over four billion years old.  When no one is watching,

Read More »

PICTURES by Andrew C. Miller

Lauren watched her father saw through the apple pie with a butter knife.  “Want a piece?” He scooped out a chunk, slid it into a cereal bowl. “Got eggs if you’d rather, but no bacon.” He poured coffee into a brown mug, dribbling on the counter. Lauren shook her head,

Read More »

“MAGIC SHOW” by Michael Seymour Blake

Michael Seymour Blake is the author of the art book 12 Days of Santa Crying. Shirts featuring his art can be seen on hot bodies around the world. He eats, sleeps, doodles, writes, lives in Queens, NY. He easily gets lost. Instagram: @michaelseymourblake Fabulous (It’s True!) Website: MichaelSeymourBlake.com

Read More »

FOREVER by Jennifer London

Clara sat on the edge of the tub, smoothing the hem of her dress compulsively. Forever was an awfully long time, she thought. Forever was endless, sprawling, impossible. It was unnatural and unlikely. But maybe. Perhaps. Forever could be parties and dinners and clinking wine glasses. It could be laughter

Read More »

STUMBLING ON CONCRETE by Mileva Anastasiadou

I was overweight when I started the diet, but eating less didn’t help much. I lost some weight, yet I still feel heavy. I told him last night. My husband eyed me up and down, checking for excess fat, then said I look fine, but I don’t feel fine at

Read More »

CRACKED by Nick Farriella

Someone who was once very famous, but not so much anymore, said, “Every whole person has ambitions, initiatives, goals,” about a boy who was very particular and wanted to press his lips to every square inch of his own body. This is not about said boy, but a different boy,

Read More »

DCUQ ANGRUQ by Hugh Behm-Steinberg

A discussion in one of my classes, about metafiction, memory and torment, led me to bring up Chuck Jones’s classic cartoon, Duck Amuck. None of my students had heard of it, but that’s typical: they’re students. Still, before showing it in my next class I wanted to see the actual

Read More »

A HOME by Sasha Tandlich

Don’t look at me. Don’t look at me! She covers her face. There’s nobody there but the cat. The cat yells, jumps at something. See, it’s not just the cat. There are also the ants crawling in a line, stampeding through the too-big crack under the front door. She leans

Read More »

FOR A MOMENT by Dixon Speaker

Noelle was a response to Sophia. He learned relationships in a high school science class, each action creating an opposite reaction.  He peeked at the Yankees score while having sex with Sophia and it changed the atomic properties of rooms they shared going forward. Hives appeared on his back like

Read More »

SOMEPLACE ELSE by Emma Stough

I am here now. Wide unexplained sky. How did I get here? Wait. Let’s stop. No, let’s start. We are here now. Again, I think.  Purple wallpaper. My family huddled around the TV watching Seinfeld re-runs. I am squeezed between Aggressive Older Brother and Sensitive Younger Brother—I am boiling with

Read More »

AT HOME WITH THE MARTINIS by Joel Allegretti

4 p.m., Sunday, July 16, 1978 The white house with the gray trim at 33 Harper Road is the home of Elizabeth and Edward Martini. They were newlyweds when they moved to East Bedford, a Central New Jersey township, in 1957. They are both forty-four years old. Liz Martini, née

Read More »

ENERGY FROM LIVING THINGS by Laura Eppinger

I examine the head of lettuce because he tells me to, but I don’t know what he wants me to see. Broad romaine leaves the color of spring rest outside his canvas shopping bag, sure. Just a few minutes ago, John shouted at me for putting my slicker on the

Read More »

THE PUDDLE BOYS AT NIGHT by Hadiyyah Kuma

Though dripping a little, the puddle boys are no longer melting. It is late nighttime. They don’t have to sleep because there is nowhere they have to be for now. They hope they never have to sleep again, but of course this is idealistic. The puddle boys know this too,

Read More »

HEADLESS HORSEMAN by Liz Fyne

Years ago I had a terrible dream that my cat was guillotined. Afterward she rolled her eyes this way and that, and it came to me that as a head you have no options. Questions spin through your mind on their way out forever and you want to cry and

Read More »

WHAT IT HAD IN ITS MOUTH by Arielle Burgdorf

What can make viewing it so memorable is the fact that as each day passes, the rock changes colour depending on the light and atmospheric conditions, and never remains the exact same permanent hue. Red, the only color that stays with you. A massive red rock, rising out of a

Read More »

LITTLE DISTRACTIONS by Sherry Morris

Maybe because I’m bored, I agree to see Barry’s fish tank. I’d just returned from three months in Europe where travelling with a circus through France or catching live octopus to grill for lunch while house-sitting on a Spanish island was just how some weeks played out.  I was back

Read More »

LUCY by Paul Nevin

Lucy saw me first, so I didn’t have a chance to avoid her this time.  We were standing on opposite sides of the narrow road that ran along the beach, her by the sea and me in front of the shops. She had one hand at her hip, thumb up

Read More »

BABES by Ian Anderson

She wants to know how it works.  It’s easy, he tells her. You create a profile on the Babes app, upload a couple pictures of your baby, fill out the profile, and then people can start Holding. Thirty dollars for the first hour; five dollars for each additional fifteen minutes. 

Read More »

I KNOW ALL ABOUT COMBUSTION by Allie Marini

On the night of your funeral, I stand in front of a raging bonfire licking its way up to the blacked-out stars hidden in the sky above & let the snowstorm the radio says is on its way whip oily lashes of my hair across my cheeks. Drag them like

Read More »

FILLING THE GOYA ROOM by Beth Gilstrap

One wouldn’t think my hands would sweat the way they do walking adjacent to you, with your khakis, too short and wrinkled, but here we are. Since day two of the retreat, your various states of beard have complicated my hair and makeup routine, my mind equally untidy. By day

Read More »

WE COULD BE ANYONE by Alicia Bones

I knew I should feel sympathy for Laura, but her fire-bright face in the Abernathy-Smythe backyard unsettled me. She was telling me the details of her life, the really private, personal ones, though we’d only met a few times at parties hosted by shared acquaintances. “My father is a drunk,

Read More »

THE PENCIL TEST by Grace Loh Prasad

I once dated a Famous Author—someone you might have heard of. He’d written half a dozen nonfiction books by the time I met him at a writers conference, and had recently published a surprise bestseller that was made into a movie. He’d lived and traveled all over the world as

Read More »

THE DUMPSTER GAME by Rachel Mans McKenny

The Hu Palace had a classy buffet, with slippery chopsticks that went into the dishwasher not the break-apart kind. Baxter raised himself on the lid of Hu’s dumpster, hanging off it with forearms and elbows as anchor. The graying cabbage landscape and jagged Styrofoam iceberg looked the same as yesterday.

Read More »

A CIRCULAR SCAR by Shannon St. Hilaire

A guy I dated briefly once asked about my mother of pearl ring. Everyone knows a ring has a story.  “I won’t tell you,” I said before I could stop myself. Then I corrected, saying I bought it off Etsy, but it was too late. I would never tell him

Read More »

FAIR NIGHT NUMBER ONE by Tom Weller

Scrap Boys have each other. Scrap Boy 1, Scrap Boy 2, Scrap Boy 3, three prepubescent bodies lean and sharp as barbed wire, three backyard haircuts, three thunder-clap voices, three tornado spirits joined like the three chambers of a rattler’s heart. And tonight the Scrap Boys have the fair. Tonight

Read More »

THE DAY THE MUSIC DIED by Sandra Arnold

We called him the Music Man because while he cleaned the headstones he liked singing along to the opera playing on his radio. Sometimes he threw his head back and let his voice soar to the sky, scattering the crows. His singing was so beautiful it softened the fears that

Read More »

CHAMP by Emma Hodson

The man smells like smoke. He is moving into a new apartment on a street that used to be a bustling thoroughfare, but now is just another grey road. That is, the apartment is new to him, but not to this world. It’s close to his old spot, just a

Read More »

I TOLD HIM I WOULD by Steve Chang

Before his accident, he’d called to ask if I’d go drinking with him. I told him, No, not tonight. I’d started writing again. Wow, he said. That’s cool! I guess, I said. We both listened a little longer on the phone.  * I would tell myself—in the months to come—that

Read More »

PROBLEM CHILD by Ellen Huang

Ariel often got in trouble for trying to escape. That was how he saw it, anyway. He spent much of his time enigmatically testing the limits of his body, such as a current frustrating inability to become liquid. “If cats can do it, why can’t I?” he’d grumble. He’d try

Read More »

JUMP by Neil McDonald

Arlene had felt like a criminal the first time. You’re thirty-seven, she thought to herself.   Don’t remind me, she’d say in jest, whenever her age came up in conversation. But here she was again, sneaking into the back yard in the dark. The first time she had done it on

Read More »

GIVING SPEECHES IN YOUR UNDERWEAR by Emily Painton

You are stirring onions, slowly caramelizing them. You can’t believe you’re married again. He’s in the other room, well not the other room. The long galley kitchen you’re standing in is attached to the living room. You can see him, sitting on the couch with his football game on, the

Read More »

THE COAT by Sheldon Birnie

“Hell yes,” Dave answered when his cousin Lisa asked if he’d like to see something weird. Dave followed Lisa off the deck and back to where the cars were parked as the sun was sinking in the west, cutting through the trees in brilliant bars of gold. Down by the

Read More »

IN A SMALL TOWN (CALLED AMERICA) by Christian Fennell

It’s getting worse, and Jake finished his beer, and together they listened to the rain on the tin roof of the drive-shed; the receptiveness of its falling; the comfort within its echoing.  Things are lookin up, said Jake.  Damn straight, said Jared.  I mean, now that things are great again,

Read More »

THE YEAR I WAS MOST HUNGRY by Shane Cashman

When I wear my long, dark peacoat, I look like I’m about to betray my country; I instigate assassinations; I have affairs in 1964; I fly first class.  When ex-presidents die, the whole nation wears peacoats and flags at half-mast. We all of a sudden show a strange love for

Read More »

MANLESSNESS by Meg Pokrass

The pizza delivery boy stumbles at the front door. He’s a bit shy. Me and Mom order pizza five nights a week. I serve her slices in bed, this is where she eats. When I open the door to him, I’m like a puddle of a girl, not a woman

Read More »

HAPPINESS by Matthew Licht

My father wasn’t a traveling salesman, just a guy who never seemed to be where he was. A look crossed his face if someone came into the room where he was thinking or dreaming or scheming or whatever he was pretending to do, or spoke to him directly when he

Read More »

PISS SHORTS by Doug Ross

Kyle got his piss shorts ready. They were his last pair, he would have to wear jeans for rafting. He took the bag that held his snacks. Dumped them onto his sleeping bag. Stuffed the shorts in. He couldn’t do knots so he spun it until the handles wrapped around

Read More »

CHEATER by Norris Eppes

I go there to ask why I go there. I go there to pick up trash from the sand. In the sand, I draw a heart with my toe. My initial. My wife’s initial. The initial of our shared last name. Then, I make two footprints beside it and let

Read More »

WOODED LOTS by Amanda Baldeneaux

Bess’s grandmother leans a sharp elbow into the worn armrest of her recliner, her chin pointed away from the kitchen chair where Bess sits, signing the contract for Ray, the homecare aid. Her grandmother has lived in the cottage at the nursing home for five years. The cottage lets retirees

Read More »

“WHAT? NO.” by Scott Bryan

One time, at least, an elephant ate a bat.  It wasn’t a mistake, either. Nothing is. It wasn’t like the bat was flying around, all willy-nilly, and the elephant was yawning, as pachyderms have a tendency to do, and the bat just, like, zigged when it should have zagged, and

Read More »

THE FLIGHT OF LIU XIAN by Matt Zbrog

He stared out at the world through paneled glass. At his fingertips lay a suite of controls. Switches. Buttons. Joysticks. HUD. Chrome. Glass. Metal. All that blinking light. But Liu Xian focused on the world beyond, gazing out from the cockpit at a domed sky. He breathed in pressurized oxygen

Read More »

SUBFLOOR by Jason Fox

Your refrigerator is yawning. It spills an egg-yellow rectangle on the floor. A ticking clock somewhere beyond. Then the fridge door closes and seals itself with a magnetic kiss. Plum dawn darkness washes in. You barefoot-shuffle through a current of cold air. Past your trash can and over some spilled

Read More »

REYKJAVIK by Jane Snyder

We took the kids on a tour of Iceland for winter break last year. It was Carrie’s first year of college, Tad’s third, and I wanted to do something as a family while we still could. The sun didn’t rise the whole time we were there but everybody seemed to

Read More »

CRY BUG by Gregg Wiliard

CRYBUG!!! CRYBUG SAY WE IN DANGER AGAIN!!! CRYBUG SPEAK FOR WHITE RACE PEOPLE, ‘CAUSE THEY IN DANGER AGAIN!!! CRYBUG CRY, WE IN DANGER AGAIN!!!! AGAIN!!!!!! CRYBUG GOT HOT BLACK TEARS AND SUCK CUP FEET!!!!! CRYBUG CRY, WHITE PEEPS, WE IN DANGER AGAIN!!!!!!! HOT BLACK TEARS CRY COLD WHITE FEARS, SAY,

Read More »

ABOUT DINNER by Veronica Klash

You know what it means to have dinner. The meal that satiates before slumber. After the sky is drained of fire and flooded with ink. But what does it mean to have dinner with a man? To sit across from each other at that Thai place that just opened. To

Read More »

GHOST by Alexandra M. Matthews

I rode the roller coasters again today. I called out sick from work, ate a small breakfast. I pulled my hair back in a tight braid so it wouldn’t whip me in the face on sharp turns. The park was empty. As long as I didn’t faint or vomit, there

Read More »

UNCLE CHARLIE’S BICYCLE by Rick White

Esther lived in corners. And behind the backs of armchairs. In the black and white shadows cast by the TV which Ma sat in front of all day. Saturday afternoons was wrestling—Ma’s favourite—and the other kids, the other ‘no-hoper-kids’ the ‘wargs of the state’ all gathered round to watch. ‘That’s

Read More »

THE SWADDLE by Janelle Bassett

I am at the sink, rinsing a food processor blade, when I hear the cry of a tiny baby. Carrot bits go down the drain, easy, but the insistent wailing isn’t going anywhere. I assume the sound is some sort of inner-ear repercussion from the electronic-tornado buzzing of the food

Read More »

LAST WORDS by Jayne Martin

There’s usually two of us, but it’s Christmas Eve and I got nowhere to be. Anyway, she’s just a little bit of a thing, barely 90 pounds from the looks of her. I can roll her onto the gurney.  The Super found her after complaints about the smell. I don’t

Read More »

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,

Read More »

I FIRST MET ZAC SMITH IN A BARN by Giacomo Pope

I was 250 miles from the nearest streetlight, and my shoes were covered in horse shit. In the centre of the barn was this dude standing on the stacked hay. He was foaming at the mouth and shouting at overfed livestock. Zac was watching these chickens try to kill each

Read More »

MOLD ON THE CEILING by Katherine Tweedle

Sophie had never thought twice about the décor in her mind palace. That was, until her counselor barged into her secret space and perched in her favorite armchair.  One moment, the women sat in an office tinted a chi-centering blue; the next, the room had transformed into a dim sitting

Read More »

IMAGINE WHAT MY BODY WOULD SOUND LIKE by Hannah Grieco

Twenty-year-old me had biceps. Back from a year away, rock climbing and waiting tables, fucking women for the first time. I walked differently. Strutting in my baggy cargo pants, flirting with those baby butch Oberlin girls. A new me.  In the college library lounge, short-haired, smooth-skinned girlfriends ran their fingertips

Read More »

GOD AT 60 by Bill Merklee

We started as marginal Catholics, going though the motions. Now I was having dinner with Kenny, the only one of us who’d stuck with it. Father Postlewaite to his parish. It’d been too long. “Andre still an atheist?” he said. “Yup. In Oregon. Found himself a nice godless girl.” “And

Read More »

MURMURATION by Daniel Fraser

Chip Disco hated chips, and disco. He only ever danced alone. Chip worked the skeletons in the Blackpool Ghost House and had done for three years. Four rooms in, the skeletons crept out from a false cupboard that looked like it wasn’t part of the house at all. Everyone said

Read More »

DROSOPHILA MELANOGASTER by Hannah Storm

The fruit fly shares the same genes as a human. Its Latin name is “Drosophila Melanogaster,” which sounds awfully fancy for something attracted to rotten fruit and vegetable. I think about the time you told me I smelt ripe when you forced me onto my back in that room with

Read More »

CINNAMON by Gina Marie Bernard

“Your mother should have had them tear you from her womb,” my stepmom says. “For the wicked shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” I flinch but know better than to reply.  “What the hell, Darlene? You can’t say that shit,” my dad says from his recliner in the living

Read More »

WHOSE HUNGER by Kristen Estabrook

In the hours prior to dinner, she studied her reflection in the mirror, checking and rechecking the flaws in her complexion, adjusting and readjusting the height of her hair, while thinking about sex. On their second date, he had asked about sex. He had asked if she was ready. She

Read More »

FISH GHOST by Kevin Richard White

My sister spoke of a fish ghost that occupies a nearby river. She raised her voice as if her sentences had a weight. But in reality, she’s timid. “It has bones and fins,” she said, “but it is poor at cutting through the water.” “Amanda,” I said as she swayed,

Read More »

GLOVES by Robert Stuart Powers

He had a dream, he says, about the rest of their lives on another planet rich with tech indistinguishable from magic. On his back, he holds his hands toward the ceiling, the cusp of dawn filling their disheveled bedroom, and describes jazz hands-ing away the deep gulf of scar tissue

Read More »