The Permanent Ache by Gary J. Garrison
“Last week we put out cigarettes on our wrists…”
A Woman Should Have Legs by Robyn Goodwin
“The problem with Nancy’s suicide attempts was that nobody knew about them…”
Mostroferrato, Ancient Stronghold of the Briscoletti Family by Sam Martone
“Go south to a town with a tower towering beside it…”
Accidents by Ian Riggins
“Simple wooden things, painted white, with the usual assortment of bouquets and wreaths—the crosses stared up at me…”
Her Last Friday by Lucas Southworth
“Three months ago, the girl had three months to live…”
To the Wall by Holly M. Wendt
“The inside of her car bakes…”
Justice by Alyce Miller
“On a cold snowy Sunday afternoon, two days after Christmas in 2009…”
The Pine Tree by Joy Weitzel
“Pollen from the male pine cone will drift with the wind, hoping to reach a female pine cone…”
Mix-tape (#4) With the One I Still Haven’t Learned the Lyrics to by Mark Jay Brewin Jr.
“I couldn’t tell you how early I learned and lost the words…”
Jack Listens to the Language People Use by Kevin Brown
“When Wendy told us she had lost her…”
French Carousel by Susana H. Case
“Midnight in Paris, the party scene at the …”
Let there be spaces in your togetherness by Susana H. Case
“Let there be spaces in your togetherness…”
Imaginary Waltz with a Woman Wearing a Dress of Virga by Christopher Petruccelli
“Her silhouette is caught between windows and hanging …”
The Heron Rookery by Timothy Shea
“Now that the storm clouds have settled like sleeping dogs above the pasture…”
The Haircut by Timothy Shea
“While I know this road is not my river…”
Death Row Report by Dale M. Brumfield
“In 1992, my father toured Richmond, Virginia’s old Spring Street Penitentiary…”
Invalids. Girlfriends. Beer. by Brenna Horrocks
“I needed a change of tempo…”
Lights by Matthew Zanoni Mṻller
“On Saint Martin’s Day in Germany the children would go into the dark woods…”
Bret Hart & the Finished Dungeons of My Youth by Brian Oliu
“Legends are born here: of sweat soaked vinyl & broken bones…”
Bloom by Kate Bolton Bonnici
“I stepped on a dead squirrel…”
Afternoon Heat Wave, Northern California: Lament for the Gulf Coast by Kate Bolton Bonnici
“Here, heat steals in—no air conditioning…”
Afternoon Heat Wave, Northern California:
Lament for the Gulf Coast
Here, heat steals in—no air conditioning, no
centralized hollows snaking cold through the house. Dry air
scratches like shark skin rubbed wrong.
Late roses turn, flicker. Back home, I spilled water over the old table, droplets caught in grooves,
worm holes, hidden ruptures bloating wood, eating sealant.
Stuffed animals on the floor went sour. Water swelled us all.
Back home, it rained a beat-down rain, slapping fat clay hands. Here, cerulean above—windows wide,
fans and cross-currents, nothing broken-hearted, no howling
or slush of gutters flash-flooded, cars stalling, yelling
at the drive-thru order box with one window slit— hair, cheek, arm, shirt, wet like your body tongue-strummed.
Here, bright breathy birch-whisper, roses deadheaded before
they’ve come to moldy flush, snapped stalks cauterized
and peppery—no black spot, no aphids, no thumb-thick worms to mush, stretch, finger, snarl a stalk. None of the ugly
or the wanting, the hungry. Here, this clean garden.
Back home, you. Back home, the loss of you.
Here, no before or after. Bougainvillea froths across the fence, hydrangeas head-big and fuchsia.
I want to set a fire or pee brown spots
in the yard, passing through with the lug of another home
on these greedy ankles. It must be I am lonesome again for mosquitoes and other hellish creatures come up
from the primordial flames. I can only wait for water,
hold moisture like the cumulus clouds I can’t find here.
But here—home is a false front and dichotomy, no guide back. For everywhere I smell ocean. Everywhere, the salt layer.
Gulls eat bone-damp crumbs, bougainvillea thorns
out eyes, and everywhere—everywhere the dead cry.
How can I tell one from the other?