The Woman Who Is Smoking

Laurie Stone

  1.  I met a woman who moved in a zigzag pattern, as if something were wrong with her steering. She was beautiful and very lean, and I was surprised by the way she sat behind her plate, piled with quinoa, salmon, and a sauté of vegetables, and brought the fork…

Love Birds

Rachel Bullock

  Dear Caleb, When I woke up this morning, I found Martha dead in her cage. I’m sorry I killed your birds. Melanie   Dear Caleb, My therapist says I need to elaborate. I also realized you probably think Martha died the day George did….

The Happy Moment

Arthur Boatin

  Yesterday’s had been their final quarrel, that much was sure. During the night Jacek had died—just like that—and what was more final than death? When he didn’t appear in the morning and failed to answer her calls, Elza had struggled to her feet, leaning…


MK Roney
  Reg stood in the kitchen, pouring the last of the GlenDronach into a mug. He swirled it around, watching it circle the coffee rings stained into the white porcelain. Roberta Flack sang in the other room. He’d heard this song twice already but he...


Zak Salih

1. The Shaft Scene 17,000 B.C.E., mineral pigment on stone Sebastian Mote is ten years old. He’s in his father’s basement with Ozzy Plott, a friend from school. Sebastian sits in an old wingback chair, flipping through an enormous book on the history of Western…

Carrot Man

Emily Woodworth

  You see the most unaccountable things riding public transit. Any average joe or josephine from every walk of life could be in that metal tube with you. Store clerks and serial killers. Waiters and wives and winsome wine connoisseurs who’ve had their limit at…

Twelve Brief Anecdotes about the King of Birds

Chris Schahfer

  I Ray sometimes wondered if his classmates in college wanted him to become a bird. Once, he had been just another engineering student, poring over diagrams of airplane wings. Whenever he emerged from his dorm, which his classmates called his “nest,” people asked if…

Hell’s Heresiarch

Chris Quinn

  “I am locked out of Heaven. But even if it were laid bare before me, and all the angels sung my praises, and God the Lord Jesus kissed my forehead and bade me enter that place, I would deny Him three times and three…


Steven Mayoff

  She wears denim cut-offs and a man’s tuxedo shirt knotted at the midriff. Arms and legs are mere bones covered by veined, leathery skin. Greasy blonde hair is pulled back into a ponytail. You can’t help staring at the purple bruise on her face,…

Pistol Gets New Stars

Dawn Abeita

  The reason Tina didn’t have a bed anymore was that she’d left the house for an hour and a half in the middle of the day. Generally, she didn’t leave at all, except sometimes to take Pistol to preschool. Pistol’s name was Petal, but…

The Star

Jose Francisco Fonseca

  The stars and full moon whistle. The whistle from the speaker stops over the outdoor yellow light. Rosa and Ellena stand outside under the light, next to a bright open side-door of the grey maquiladora. They pass a cigarette, letting the droning of sewing…

Emergency Preparedness

Lizzie Martin

  These are the ways the world ends: biological weapons, gene mutations, epidemics, plagues.  Blisters and blood and vomit and pus, horrible oozing words.  The way you shiver under the sweat of a fever.  Or something nuclear.  An accident, a war between two nuclear weapons…