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”

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”

Tilt by Pat Foran

Can you put me on tilt? my leaning son asks. He can’t help this leaning, even though he’s seat-belted and secure in this wheelchair he’s been sitting in living in declining in the past dozen years. He can’t grip the chair’s controls he can’t control his grip he doesn’t have a grip not anymore. HisContinue reading “Tilt by Pat Foran”

Miss Patel’s Story Time Assessment Center by Sage Tyrtle

I walk through the snow, wearing my mask towards the Covid-19 Assessment Centre. Taped to the window are yellow construction paper ducks, fluffy clouds. The door is open. Miss Patel says hello and welcome. Are you here for Story Time Saturdays? We’re reading Granny’s Sari. My son waves his hands in the air. YES YES.Continue reading “Miss Patel’s Story Time Assessment Center by Sage Tyrtle”

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”

The Knife by Jay Parr

I know by the knife in my pocket that this is when I was in high school. I’m maybe seventeen here. Pocket full of scrounged change—stolen change—I’m out on the dark sidewalks of our crime-ridden neighborhood, seriously jonesing for a cigarette, walking down to Handi Mart before they close because the Save-X is already lockedContinue reading “The Knife by Jay Parr”

Seven Broken Ways by Joe Kapitan

  The fifth broken way a father loves his son is Drawn Line. In this way, a father grabs his son by the shirt collar and shoves him out the door, tells him not to come back. There is shouting. There is this: you can live in your car, your tent, your anger. This isContinue reading “Seven Broken Ways by Joe Kapitan”