Category: Current Issue

Playing House by Jen OConnor

My dollhouse was in the basement where she and I played with our tiny dolls, some articulated, some stiff, unyielding. Girl dolls always wore dresses usually painted on. My favorite wore a red dress. Her favorite wore blue polka dots. One day, when my mother was preoccupied with laundry, I held up my girl doll…

Selfie with a U-Haul by Lisa Summe

You come to me in a dream, with a U-Haul [insert lesbian joke], and so does that waiter from the gyro place on McMillan, but in the dream the guy is your brother and translator, and the only way I can talk to you is to talk to him first, tell him everything I want…

Coming Out by Lisa Summe

I drive an hour to your apartment, having only met you twice, wondering what a girl like you, 25, a Master’s degree, wants to do with me. I’m 20, been out of my parents’ house a month, out of the closet a week, and I go to college but don’t know why. I shook your…

Theoretical You by Lisa Summe

Back before you existed to me, before I kissed you up against a wall in winter, and our knees touched for the first time, before we took off our socks— most intimate of intimate— you existed to me in theory, in childhood games where I was the prince and you needed rescue, in my journals—drawings…

Madagascar by James Cagney

I never felt as lonely as the night I was standing in the Paramount lobby an hour before Morrissey. I wasn’t the only black person in the theater but I was certainly the only person to come alone. As even Morrissey himself later told us mid-set, “You came all this way, in the rain, just…

Humanization by Rosemarie Dombrowski

An owl in the shape of Ben Franklin. A red-tailed fox with its head in the snow.   We careen into the median as though it’s an attack against disruptions, the hoarse croak and shrill whistle of a continental drift, the lemming pierced with a talon, struck in the fatty tissues of a globally ironic…

Creatures of Sleep by Colin Dodds

The man on the beach is another of us creatures of sleep Fed on sleep made of sleep humming half-hostile lullabies on the shores of sleep Traveling only from one night’s sleep to the next forever burying himself in sleep Perhaps intermittently enthralled by the release and realization of some dream of wakefulness But when…

Can I Keep You? by Melissa Grunow

“If you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.” ―Friedrich Nietzsche  He had been speaking for ten minutes about a girl named Maureen, whom he also referred to as Mo, also referred to as “my girlfriend.” She was a residence life director in Indiana, he said, and he continued on…

The Devil Loves Karaoke by James Blevins

The Devil licks its fingers clean from the breaking of hearts. Fingers wiped on the walls of a karaoke bar. The bar top is wet, but not from what you think. She looked me up and down. Her hair was black like a nest of shadows, all tangled together. She picked up my beer by…

To Fisheyes Who Collected Old Songs by Benjamin Mueller

  If you yell air raid he’ll drop and give you twenty.   His wires they say are all fucked up. His eyes glazed as he reels   his way to the library most days. Some say he was in   Vietnam, others say he hasn’t come back yet. I always   see him by…

Garden Lyric 2 by Anne Babson

I swam every morning in a lagoon. My long hair never tangled as it dried. The sun combed and curled it for me back then. Leeches kept to their own side of the bog. Jasmine petals fell around me as I dove. The man sometimes came to watch me backstroke. The man never noticed I…

Last Night in Helsinki by Kirby Wright

The first snow falls on the city. An ancient Desoto with a pearl roof parks at the curb. Face it, we’re the couple marked for tragedy. You bump into me window shopping — your stiletto heel stabbing my big toe through sneakers. You envision me as a minor actor in a cartoon world, throwing your…

Hot Dad by David E.J. Berger

“Tomorrow’s fucked anyway! So why give a shit if you die tonight!” I growl into the mic. “I never liked you anyway, that’s why I fucked your dad in the pale moonlight!” It’s the chorus to our song “Hot Dad,” which was inspired by our ex-friend Shelley. She broke up our friend Daria’s family by…

Tall Tony’s Poem by Brian Fanelli

In workshop, Tall Tony rises, bites his bottom lip, confesses, Every night, I dream of living in a house. We listen to him recall the day his dad left, how the thud of the front door rattled kitchen plates. He then raises his gaze, looks at us through smudged glasses, shuffles to his seat in…

American Literature with Tyrone by Brian Fanelli

Tyrone has a walk, a don’t-fuck-with-me gait. Second day of class, he calls Wheatley an Uncle Tom. That poet just followed those aristocrats who enslaved her, adopted their social order, he says. By mid-semester, he dismisses Woolf, rolls his eyes at Plath. Those writers and their suicides, he says. He praises Hansberry, digs A Raisin…

The Spilsbury Curse by Martina Reisz Newberry

The engraver and cartographer, John Spilsbury, of London, is believed to have produced the firstjigsaw puzzle around 1760, using a marquetry saw.  I learned the world as I sat, still as a stone while the sky broke into puzzle pieces and fell on me. “There it is,” I thought, “just waiting for me to put…

Help Line by Martina Reisz Newberry

I have craved and coveted until my throat closed with the exhaustion of it. The same   goes for waiting. I foresaw a certain future which did not take place so I waited   until another future rose up, brought lessons cruising through the bedrooms of my days   like a Continental Town Car (circa…

Ah-DAH! A Literary Education by J. A. Hijiya

“Jeemy says, ‘Ah-DAH!’” This was the observation of my cousin Dave, six months older than I and infinitely more articulate. Either he was fast in learning to talk, or I was slow. He reported my utterance to my mother, brother, and sister, and they laughingly repeated it for years to come. My first recorded attempt…

Vacation by Joan E. Cashin

Remembering that morning, as father stood wavering on the beach, his toe writing about mother in the sand, while the sea and sky converged on his figure like two blades. Remember that afternoon, as he paced by the collapsing waves, and the gulls broke the blank hotel silence, circling over the field of palm stubble…

Manifest by Joan E. Cashin

Regarding the traffic spilling down the streets at dusk, slow pleasure, as the brakes are pressed, released, and pressed again. Regarding the canvas flag in the plaza giving way in the wind, folding up, framing a triangle of sky and snapping to attention again. Regarding the pale stones lining the dark paths in the park,…

Saturday Night by Joan E. Cashin

Twlight in a small town, the boys prowling the street, driving around helpless and full of longing. Two children burst from the shadows and run into a doorway, quivering like moths, their torches arched with joy, as they shout, “S’prised you!” Grandmother steps onto the porch and calls in a level voice, “Home now.”