Motherhood (Or Lack Thereof) by Maegan Gwaltney

My two small nephews and tiny niece climbed out of the couch cushion fortress on the bedroom floor. As the first sliver of sunlight whispered through the blinds, they jumped around me on the bed, shouting the details of their dreams. I was in my early twenties and loved my older sister’s kids- the weaselsContinue reading “Motherhood (Or Lack Thereof) by Maegan Gwaltney”

Driving & Crying by Steve Edwards

There I am, 24, crying my eyes out at the stoplight at 9th & Main, crossing the Tapawingo Bridge and beating the steering wheel. There’s my car — a gold Saturn. The one the salesman kneed hard to prove its side-panels wouldn’t dent. As I remember it, the problem was that I wanted everything backContinue reading “Driving & Crying by Steve Edwards”

The Last Six Cookies in the Package by Hannah Grieco

For the middle of the night, sneaking out of your bed, wide awake and hungry: a peach, leftover spaghetti, the last six cookies in the package. Eat fast, before your parents wake up, before the furnace kicks in downstairs, before monsters creep toward you from the shadows. Slink back to your room, bursting but notContinue reading “The Last Six Cookies in the Package by Hannah Grieco”

Two Essays by William Woolfitt

W Is for Wet Concrete   In the corner of the graveyard, not far from his church, Father Wernerus builds a concrete altar with niches. Before the concrete dries, he embellishes it with crushed purple glass, golden tiles. He sees in his designs clusters of grapes, ears of wheat. He imagines visitors who will come, and see, and beContinue reading “Two Essays by William Woolfitt”

Dial-Up Days by Kathryn Kulpa

  Once there was a Blockbuster on every corner, and from every radio Kurt Cobain sang about teen spirit. But Kurt was not a teenager anymore, and neither was I. We were a generation waiting to be named, a weak signal of discontent arcing our way across analog airwaves into a digital wilderness. In those daysContinue reading “Dial-Up Days by Kathryn Kulpa”

Pet Negotiations by Hema Nataraju

My six-year-old daughter wants a pet. No, she needs a pet –her words, not mine. As much as I love dogs, I’m not a pet person. Not at this point in my life. This almost-40, perpetually exhausted mother of two (including an extremely active toddler) has no energy left to take care of one moreContinue reading “Pet Negotiations by Hema Nataraju”

Parenting in the Wild by Carmen Kinniburgh

Seconds after I began swaying in a lakeside hammock with my baby cradled in my arms, my 3- and 5-year- olds began to wander out of my sight into the thick of the nearby woods. Barefoot and bathing-suited, they were armed with sticks and their imaginations; peals of laughter and the crack of dry woodContinue reading “Parenting in the Wild by Carmen Kinniburgh”

Blood Linguistics by Evan Sheldon

I have a friend who used to call me in the middle of the night. I would answer and could barely make out his words. He was most likely in a bar when he would call. We were all most likely in bars at the time, really anytime. Even though he now lives several statesContinue reading “Blood Linguistics by Evan Sheldon”

A BLACK MAMA’S BREATHWORK, OR, THE FIRST TIME I HAD “THE TALK” WITH MY DAUGHTER BY DW MCKINNEY

I (inhaled, then) exhaled pain into my daughter’s hair. It wasn’t my plan. My husband was supposed to be sitting in my place, his legs open, a red plastic chair squeezed between them with our four year-old sitting atop the seat. And while he moisturized and detangled her curly puff ponytail, I was going toContinue reading “A BLACK MAMA’S BREATHWORK, OR, THE FIRST TIME I HAD “THE TALK” WITH MY DAUGHTER BY DW MCKINNEY”

My Mother’s Only Reader by Jillian Luft

The remnants of my mother’s life fit neatly into the corner of a walk-in closet. They’re a modest inventory: five-mini cassettes, thirty-plus photo albums, a jewelry box containing a frustrated tangle of 14 karat gold chains and tennis bracelets, a couple of high school yearbooks, some salvaged Christmas ornaments and snow globes, a slim blackContinue reading “My Mother’s Only Reader by Jillian Luft”