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THE WHOLE FLOW by Angie McCullagh

I try to become liquid like she told me. I pour myself into heavy-bottomed glasses and over nubby sofas and down rucked, tan chests. I puddle onto the floor and sometimes throw myself into the wind only to splash back on bug-splattered windshields. To survive, she said, you have to

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DRIVING THROUGH by Bojana Stojcic

We drove through the city today. We didn’t stop. We just drove through. We didn’t want to get out of the truck and grabbed take-away coffee with ground cinnamon in a drive-thru shared by a coffee shop and a bank, which was super convenient so while sipping it we made

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D-O-D-E-C-A-P-H-O-N-I-C by Bryce Jones

The composer used his Guggenheim and several other grants for the purchase of twelve children. Pitching for conditioned octave he specified three teens with tinsel, flinty, and flintiest timbres, five prepubescent boys whose vocal chords had rashes of uniquely layered crackle, and four soprano toddlers of separately valued screech. His

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CHANCES by Conor McNamara

I’ve been exchanging letters with an inmate at Downstate Correctional Facility, the friend of a friend. In my letters I talk about my work, the woods and the hours. Even though I scoff at Lena’s “attracting happiness” theories, I encourage my friend’s friend to “keep his head up” and I

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B.C. by Patrick Reid

I am running as a conservative in the primaries. My name is a big one, recognizable throughout most of the world. Last month I was on a cruise with my wife and her family. There were two formal nights. My belly. My belly heaved and burst over my belt, and

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WE ETERNAL BEINGS by Jody Sperling

Mary died earlier this week: went into the hospital for routine foot ulcer debridement—common with diabetics—developed a staph infection, went under for a lung treatment and never woke from the anesthesia. We knew Mary from back in the day. I’d moved to Omaha to live with my grandparents, found Jesus

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LIES ABOUT THE WORST WAY TO DIE by Dawson Kiser

There are a lot of shitty ways to die. A quick Google search of the worst ways to die will lead you down a not so wonderful rabbit hole of people drowning, burning, being eaten by animals, even falling in volcanoes. Not that I’m an expert on dying, but I’m

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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?

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PARLIAMENT OF DRUNKARDS by Mbizo Chirasha

In previous years, the Mandozas hosted the New Years’ parties. They reared sheep and goats, and they invited the whole village to enjoy roast mutton. There was beer for the elders, but the young ones were relegated to raspberry and fizzy beverages. I learned about balloons and tissues at the

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LEPIDOPTERA by Shelby Colburn

She told me she caught a moth in her throat. We sat in a roadhouse munching on fried pickles as snow fell past the window. She reached into her mouth with a finger and pulled her right cheek to the side like a hooked fish. I leaned closer to her

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IDROT by Levi Rumata

[ WALL LIFE  ] In the new curved shapes to come, how we’d imagined the arrival at a monument – something we’d rehearsed many times in anticipation of a disillusionment we’d known then only as some vague, signless desire – it was not as we could have guessed. There weren’t accompanying

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TIME PASSES FASTER AT SEA by Graham Irvin

In Korea everyone called my grandfather Pete because they didn’t know he was going to be a grandfather some day. When my parents got married Pete punched me in the face. He wanted me to grow up tough. My mom won’t forget the stories Pete told her about working radar

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AJAR by Ankita Banerjee

He was at the counter flirting with a pixie cut. My eyes followed him the whole evening and I didn’t know what to do with myself. So I ordered my fifth gin and tonic, and when Sofie asked, “Why don’t you go talk to him?” I sniggered. It started raining

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D1NAH BREAKS THE SET LIST by Anna O’Brien

G1rl on the Road If, and this is an astronomically huge if, D1nah makes it through this song without her throaty howl cracking during the third refrain, Fage the drummer owes her $27.39. This is the cost of a soy caramel latte plus interest compounded weekly, the frequency of every

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PRINCIPAL ALPACA by Richard Leise

Interim Principal Gregory Jenne has Alopecia universalis.  But he is accustomed to this; has dealt with the condition all of his life; survived the childhood taunts; rationalized the rejections; no longer dreams of eyebrows and eyelashes.  Having recently celebrated his thirty-fourth birthday, he assesses his present position. He finds that

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THE PROBLEM WAS STARTING by Alex Behr

The problem was coming up with reasons to scoop rice on the plate one more night. The stove worked. She could boil water. Pasta. Rice. Pasta. Rice. Boil and pour and scoop and swallow. The problem was the streetlight. The streetlight leaked through the blinds, and she could put the extra

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ROBOT MOTHER by Brittany Weeks

How is Raptor.  Who is Raptor. I forgot your boyfriend’s name. Raptor sent me an article about the water temple in Ocarina of Time. The article is from 2007.  Everly’s warmth is calculated. In her eyes I might be God too. Everly is asking for help strategically, she is earning love.

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ETYMON STREET VIEW by Mike Corrao

She (subject) receives a note which says, “I am without past.” On the backside is a photograph of a street sign: Roberta Ave. The crossroad is obscured. What used to be green is now dull and graying. Its metal spine curves to the left. Backgrounds are warped by time. The

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NAKED STEW by Michael Graves

Today is Saturday, another date with my kitchen floor. While Gram’s famous hot dog stew simmers, I admire the double-mopped laminate that has already been host to four veteran potlucks.      Kurt’s pickup bleats, turning into the driveway. Spears of oak and birch fill the sagging bed. Kurt sees me

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BUMMING by Chelsea Harris

We’re outside the corner store bumming smokes off each other. He’s a redhead, says he’s got a bad habit of picking his face. The whole thing covered in craters. Our friend shows up, Andy. He’s got something to show us. We take a drive. Up the road there’s a car.

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SARAH W. by T.S.J. Harling

There is not yet a ghost in this place, but there will be.   A long time ago there was a school, then another school, and then different offices. I lived in a house with an upstairs and a downstairs, a basement and an attic. We were a family. I was

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BLOOD! by Oliver Zarandi

The elderly lady bleeds every day in my favourite cafe. The owner accommodates this and surrounds her with buckets. He mops it up. Sometimes he puts her in a bathtub, right there in the centre of the café, and she fills it up, laughing and bleeding. People applaud and remark

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MOTHERS by Melanie Czerwinski

Liv’s mother called, but Liv’s mother always called. I imagined her eggshell sheets on what would soon be her deathbed, the waxy fake ferns in the corner of the nursing home room. I imagined her bloated face on her dead body, as waxy as the fake plants. Disgusting. The aides

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DEAD MOTHER’S CORN OIL by Diane Payne

Long Distance Lover was happy I finally agreed to spend time at his dead mother’s cottage in the middle of nowhere.  I already lived in the middle of nowhere. After making the 850-mile drive to spend a week or two with him at his house in a real town, with

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IN COMMON by Chance Dibben

Our heads were a perfect match for each other. Inside mine, a wasp that wriggled in and built a nest. It leaves periodically to get pollen, do wasp things, and then returns to the cavern of my ears. Initially, I couldn’t handle the itchy sensation the wasp made when it

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THE FIRST TIME I PERFORMED by Benjamin Niespodziany

1. The first time I performed in Russia was under the direction of the king. His daughter’s best friend’s wedding was held in a refurbished factory that once made statues of the great whirling dervishes. I was the third piece of the matryoshka at the wedding, jumping out of a

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dear the eartH by JP Vallières

dear    the eartH sendar saying maybe the earth help sendaR   sendar in quest of the earth habitatioN sendar from nodaN   nodians now gone inexplicably removed from galaxY   dear   the eartH maybe help sendaR   sendar last one current in nodaN   big day of reckoninG only sendar livinG    dear   the

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THE SWANS WHO SAY MOM by Amanda Claire Buckley

The mother punches a mouth in the wall, and we climb through it. The mother punches a throat in the wall and the father puts a picture of daisies over it. We walk along the linings of the lungs and whisper we love our mother quietly to ourselves. We walk

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SPORES by Łukasz Drobnik

The superhero needs to save the city, but there’s a drunk man in her kitchen. He’s eating a banana. The way he snaps off the stem and peels the whole thing in one brutal movement is all too familiar. She closes her eyes, just for a bit, and thinks of

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IN PATIENT by Jenn Stroud Rossmann

When the IV pump pings to warn of an occlusion, she no longer waits for someone in scrubs to respond; she unkinks the tubing herself. In the hierarchy of beeps the IV occlusion alert is low, outranked by the chirping pulse-Ox monitor and the angry squawk of the bedside fall

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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,

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WHO LET THE DOGS OUT? by Josh Olsen

Instead of buying a new costume for Kelso, our 7-year-old Aussie/Collie mix, we repurposed an easy one from years before, and strapped a small rubber jockey to his harness. All of the puppy parents at the doggy daycare costume party kept referring to Kelso as a jockey, although technically he

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WAKE, ZIPLINE by Angelo Maneage

The waters are synchronized. There is a decanter of coffee fuming. Grandma is sad. Eating pizza, strangely. Songs are playing, strangely, and I catch one directly above the table we are at in this separate room (but all the doors were open, so it was more like a section of

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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

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THE HEART OF MORALITY by Austin Ross

Daddy’s monster is back. That slightly musky scent of sawgrass wafts in across the Everglades as he slides a single bullet into the revolver. This is what I remember, all these years later. This incident with the revolver is familiar to me, a nightly ritual to cap off our evenings

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WOODEN SKY by Max Halper

She has beautiful veins. Like stained glass, he thinks. But everything is stained glass when he’s this high. Everything is one big hallowed tableau. This is what church endeavors to be, he thinks, on his back. If church and heroin did a collaboration, he’d be the Pope of that shit.

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DAY JOB by Jon Conley

She was a big rottweiler who had had cancer for a time now. She was very big and sad and unable to move well so I went with Dr. Highmore to the house. I brought along a large contractor’s garbage bag and I don’t think I said anything the whole

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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

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THE VAMPIRE BOYFRIEND by Jessica Drake-Thomas

I started ghost writing romance because it was under the table. I make good money, people are reading my work, and best of all, no one has to know where I am. These days, paranormal romance seems to be the big thing with humans. Specifically, Vampire Boyfriends. I don’t mind

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THE GHOST OF 623 LAMPLIGHTER SQUARE by Alex S. French

“Good morning,” she says, coffee buzzing in her grip. “How’s it going,” Mike states, doesn’t ask. “Living the dream,” Dave quips. Sarcastic? Who can tell. “Do anything interesting over the weekend?” she tries. Mike staggers to the bathroom. Door thud her only reply. Dave surveys the break room awkwardly: ceiling

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SHARP PAIN by Andrew Ciaccio

You can get by just fine being dull. You can actually do very well for yourself. My husband was an accountant in suburban Oklahoma at an office above an Applebee’s. He made six figures and drank from a coffee mug with Mount Rushmore engraved on it. He did this every

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GENTLY USED by Olivia Holbrook

I sit outside on the hard concrete, feeling the cold seep through the fabric against my thighs, then through my skin, then to my bones. I hold the mug in my hands, they’re shaking. The warmth feels like something distant, warming my palms, making them sweat, while the air numbs

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WHITE GRAVY by Marcus Pactor

Mother said the old man had never been touched. I didn’t know what she meant by “touched,” but I had heard enough. That afternoon, I leaned over the fence and grated cheese into the old man’s backyard. His cat licked every cheddar shred from the weeds. Its intestines must have

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PEOPLE I WISH I WAS by Socrates Adams

ONE He writes a song a day. He keeps a diary next to his bed and every night, without fail, using his guitar, he transcribes thoughts into the book. The tunes are repetitive folk melodies. They are circular, looping reminders of the pattern of his days, weeks, months. He works

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LIKE A FIRE DRILL by Gary Duncan

1 They found him in the stairwell, two days later. Wedged behind the door, his hand still clutching his chest. We had to evacuate the building and wait in the car park like it was a fire drill. All in our designated places, like we’d practiced. Editorial near the gates,

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TOPPLED by Julie Zuckerman

The crowds coursing the streets below Marjorie’s apartment cheer and chant, and she hurries downstairs. Withered wives and working girls, wheelchair-bound and beach-bronzed beauties, one of the most spectacular sights she’s seen in her 68 years. They beckon to Marjorie, but she hesitates, grounded in place. Her uneasiness hovers around

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RELATIONSHIP MONTAGE by Derek Andersen

Just as the conventionally attractive couple locks eyes, igniting a passion that burns with the fury of a thousand supernovas, “I’m a Believer” begins to play. / Cut to a long shot of the conventionally attractive couple skipping through an idyllic meadow, chuckling as they pursue a yellow butterfly. /

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HAVE YOU HEARD THE GOOD NEWS? by Darren DeFrain

In spite of my better judgment, I remain on Facebook for that awkward blurring of my professional, personal, and public lives. In that domain, I recently received a friend request from an older relative. Just a glance at this request and I knew it was the same advance-fee scam I’ve

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A BIRDWATCHER’S JOURNAL by Alexander Perez

Snowy egret overhead. First sighting of spring. A circular flight performed for a mate hidden deep in dead river reeds. He drops out of sight. Nothing except gray sky. (My script walks across the page like sandpiper prints in wet sand.) A fisherman floats by in his canoe, through the

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THE INENARRABLE HEAVINESS OF SEEMING by Will Bernardara Jr.

“Perception of a state is not the state.” M. John Harrison A teetering bulb of dread and dream referred to – sometimes, by some – as Wes Boolean walks into a hardware store, his/its synapses scintillating with composite images of saw-teeth and conceptions of disjoining girl-parts. (Interjection: The “bulb” of

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ELSA LANCHESTER’S ABORTION by J. Edward Kruft

Her own parents never married – an intentional thumbing of the nose to Victorian-era London – and she wondered, as she watched her husband padding off toward the pool, leaving his statuette on the piano, if she hadn’t best done the same. She loved Charles, and she was relatively certain

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THE PASSENGER by Anthony Dragonetti

When I can’t think of what to do, I have no choice but to go fast. I grab my car keys from under a pile of crumpled receipts by the door. I’d throw them out, but what if I need them someday? I could be audited. I could need an

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LOOK WHERE WE’RE GOING by Anna Vangala Jones

Nina had informed him of the unplanned pregnancy that morning, as casually as she was now asking him to admire her appearance. She spun away from enjoying her reflection in the mirror to face him. She spread her arms and twitched her hips. “How do I look?” Amol observed his

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INHERITANCE by Cavin Gonzalez

When she came hopping out of the bathroom holding an instrument that I mistook as a thermometer I was appalled that someone could be so happy about running a fever. She threw her arms around me and squeezed, squeezed like she hated me. But she didn’t hate me. She loved

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GOOD BOY by Kailash Srinivasan

It was a mistake trusting your parents will come back to get you. It was a mistake turning your back to them, clapping idiot-like at the spinning top that lit up red in the dark. They left for Bombay, leaving you behind in Delhi with your grandma, your paati. Its

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MY DAYS by Emily James

We hold hands and listen to him read our vows, grey mustache puffing above his breath. I picture him sucking a cigarette outside, a Bible tucked to his body, white robe blowing in the wind. Behind us, my mother’s arms hang from the hospital gown, her limp limbs our altar. Her eyes

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NOW HE SEES SHADOWS by Gregg Williard

“Painting has been real eye opening for me. I mean, now I see shadows.” -George W. Bush I wanted to serve as an advisor to President Bush and his cabinet. I was 60 and had no qualifications. It would have taken years to move through academia and politics before I

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MEALS OF OUR CHILDREN by Will Gilmer

I put chicken breasts next to the eggs to thaw and wonder if these eggs were born from the birds whose bodies will become my dinner. I pull out oil from olives that will never become trees and baby bean sprouts who will never know pods of their own. I

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NILSSON SCHMILSSON by Anthony Sabourin

I was outside on my street watching an apartment building on fire. I was watching it with the people who lived in that building, the people who’d left it. At three floors, it wasn’t a big apartment building, but it was a big fire. It was crackling, and flames were

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HOLD YOUR BREATH by Spencer Litman

Meet your wife in the hallway. Do not make the door handle click by turning it with too much force. Avoid kicking the toys scattered like landmines on the carpet. You do not want to wake your daughter, but you need to see her breathing. Walk to the crib rail

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NIGHTHAWK by Zach VandeZande

There’s a yellowy light. It’s not fluorescent. This is not the IHOP. It’s the other one. The local diner. Yellowed sign, yellowed menus, yellow, yellowy light. _________ Nothing that happens here is important. Important is elsewhere is the point of a place like this. This place is meant for in-between.

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