Creative Non-Fiction

Fledgling by Gabriela Frank

Saturdays were piano days. Each week, Mom eased our maroon ’79 Grand Prix into the Southwestern faux-paradise of Sun City, Arizona, its streets lined with palm trees and tidy beds of gravel. Inside the white barrier walls, lazy herds of Continentals, Cadillacs, and golf carts grazed between the lush grass medians and strip shopping centers…

Of Shapes and Shocks by Sarah White

Dr. Z.P., the distinguished psychologist, likes adages. He cites them in Latin, French, English, and his native Polish. He quotes them from ancient authors and from himself. AFFECT LEADS, INTELLECT FOLLOWS is the motto I find spelled out under the image of a Rorschach inkblot, rendered in needlepoint, and hung on his stairway. It is…

How It Slips Away by Emily Brisse

First position: Your feet behind your mother’s waist, dangling. Music is playing. Your body rests in her arms, your head on her shoulder, your eyes closed. You sway and spin, breathing in and out of gentle pirouettes, dreaming toward the eventual dip into deeper sleep, adagio, adagio, where you remain elevated, where your ankles have…

Misty by Kathryn Brown

I balanced a cup of strong coffee on the dashboard of my patrol car and watched the transgender woman I knew as “Misty” leave the free medical clinic in the Tenderloin. She walked with a dignified, stiff posture that I admired considering she was 6’2” and wearing a flower print dress with little puffy sleeves…

A Vacant Lot by Ron Ballard

On an early Friday morning in June of 1946, I started walking down to Mount Pleasant Cemetery with Sonny and Jimmy. My parents were still asleep and I knew my mother wouldn’t like to know her nine year old son was walking all the way down to the end of Seattle’s bus line. We walked…

Feeling My Age by Jessica Allen

Shortly before my 37th birthday, my husband, Garrett, and I decided to go to Nicaragua, also known as the land of volcanoes and lakes. We built our trip around a two-day, 20-mile hike up a volcano called El Hoyo in order to see as much of the former as possible. To prepare, we wiped cobwebs…

Naked by a Five-Dollar Bill by Kanak Kapur

“Everything from here on out is a rat race—” I write on my grad school application, in the words of my late brother. He isn’t really dead, but his career may be. It’s so far gone that he talks of settling down and having children. Just a year ago, he told me that he could…

Left Turns by Marcia Bradley

You are not the enemy. You’ve told yourself this many times but still can’t help but feel that you have been miscast, that this role of ombudswoman and authoritarian is very contrary to the wild girl you carry inside you. “Watch the road,” you tell your daughter and grip the armrest on the passenger’s side…

My Year with Mr. Elser by Constanze Frei

Mr. Elser’s fourth grade class in the little town school included the four of us, a band of orphanage misfits. In addition to me, the three other eleven-year-olds were boys: Emil, Roman, and, Albert. When the sun touched Emil’s hair it looked like he had shiny golden reddish stripes in his thick curls. Emil—a sweet…

Drive Safely by Holly Alderman

“I’m really mad at you right now.” “Why?” I mumbled. We were sitting in her car in the darkness of her garage. Her temperament had oscillated between dissociated and hypomanic all night. Now she seemed to have settled on conscious hypomanic dissociation. Between my previous tour in treatment and two decades of therapy, I was…

The Raven and The Crane by Julie Hill Barton

You are sitting in couples therapy. It’s 10:00 a.m. on a Tuesday and nothing is out of the ordinary. You and your husband have been seeing this therapist for almost five years and your marriage is solid. Still, you’re talking about how you wish he cared more about the upkeep of the house. As you…

Teaching in 8 Parts by Julie Gard

1. Someone has to drive What would I do without students, their cans of Jolt and indiscernible needs, their wept-on poems and muddled brilliance? Twitching with meth, slumped in sweatshirts, numb from grandmothers’ slow deaths and boyfriends’ quick suicides, they crash into college like cars into phone poles. With one of my hands, I grade…

The Ghost in the Book by Tanyo Ravicz

When I open a book I am always in a position to find something—information, a thrill, a moral insight, a happy turn of words—but to find an actual something in a book, an object I wasn’t looking for, stirs up an awareness, often an uncanny one, that somebody was there before me. An unexpected channel…

Buttercup in Wonderland by Holly Alderman

The freshly painted green gate doors swing out. The slow drive up the windy hill. Eternity. Where the hell am I. Top. A middle-aged man is standing in front of what seems to be the office. Mom pops open the trunk so I can get my duffel bag. My lack of upper body strength doesn’t…

The Pattern Makers by Lisa Lepore

Jesse Hauk Shera was a librarian and a prolific beautiful writer who has been dead quite a few years and with whom I am newly in love. Completely smitten. I often fall in love with the dead. In fact, I often wait for people to die before falling in love with them.

Involuntary Reflexes, or How I Ruin Art

Andrea Danowski   I was going to start off with the story my dad always tells about how he almost knocked over a Giacometti once. I don't know if it was the one that recently sold for just over a hundred million dollars, but it was one of the Walking Man bronze sculptures. My dad…

The Worry Dolls

Shannon George                          Inside a small, oval-shaped wooden box festively adorned with yellow, green, and red paint lay six little dolls made of wire, paper, resin and tiny bits of cloth. Worry Dolls is how the store described them, and once I read the instructions for their use, they had…

Containment by Jessica Karbowiak

At nineteen years old, I become confused in my body and have to leave college. I walk in padded slippers and ratty bathrobe down the front hall of my childhood home. I avoid my mother and father, and my younger brother visiting from college who seems to be avoiding me, too. I work hard to…

Back to Normal

Robert Fox   Mother’s Day 2011. I have finished my laundry, vacuumed the apartment and am mopping the floors. To keep up my cleaning mood, to do these domestic things I have learned over the years, I’ve got to have the radio blasting. Tom Schnabel has just started his Sunday show with The Intruders, “I’ll…