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 to be mine. Before you go to … Read more

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 … Read more

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 Always … Read more

Falling, Stairs, Fragments, Fire ~ by Micaela Seidel

1      It was summer. I was sweeping in the kitchen, facing south. There was that milling around feeling, children everywhere, my own and some others — that white-haired child from down the road. Hear the sound of hammering, one, two, three, pause, one, two, three — a husband somewhere, working. There is no … Read more

Biography for Mother’s Family Photos by Mishon A. Wooldridge

  I need a camera, to my eye, to my eye, reminding which lies I’ve been hiding                         -Wilco, “Kamera” There is profuse proof of my existence after age 10. My photographic life begins awkward, barely pre-teen.  Band concerts, summer camping, middle-school portraits of me with braces, family pets, all chronologically ordered into albums; a … Read more

On His Blindness by Lauren Bishop-Weidner

Doth God exact day-labour, light denied.  (John Milton, 1608-1674)  Everyone recognized Dr. Nelson.  A political science professor at Southern Illinois University, the man was a campus fixture, kind and gentlemanly, impeccably dressed.  We marveled at the dignity and ease with which he and his guide dog navigated the hilly, wooded campus.  He was exotic, intriguing, … Read more

Welcome to Egypt by Dawn-Michelle Baude

Algammah considers this urhent massge apologize to Allah from all soles which will be gone no way during this severe facing Oh God wi are sed   The call to jihad on the wall of Alexandria University of Egypt is a far cry from the fliers cheerfully exhorting, "Join Chess Club on Thursday!" or "Textbook … Read more

Juxtaposed by John Medeiros

Minnesota.  I am here, but how did that happen? Here is blue and green and white.  Song in the air: whippoorwill by day, cricket by night.             These are the things that matter most today.             And I’ve been here since some once-upon-a-time January, when the frost first performed its wintry dance on my lenses … Read more

Desolation by Patrick O’Neil

“Hi, welcome to Taco Bell. Hope you’re having a nice day,” said the girl standing behind the counter. Her monotone voice so void of emotion it could have been computerized. “Define nice,” I answered, and looked around at all the colored plastic and brushed aluminum and wondered why this was what fast food corporations thought … Read more

Blue by Loretta Williams

I still miss those pajamas — my hospital pajamas — white with blue roses and thin stripes.  My mother made the pajamas for me when I was seven. It was my first trip to the hospital to see if doctors could divine the odd sloshing rhythm that had made my heart unreliable since birth.  Whatever … Read more

Friend of the Devil by Tim Doody

I can’t tell you when I first began lusting after boys, but I do know that my parents converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints when I was four. I’m not saying the two things are related, just that they happened concurrently. I don’t recall liking, in any but the big brotherly … Read more

Haunted Memories in Three Movements by A.J. Tallman

   I. Snow: 1975   I am four, and my mother and I are walking at a clip down Franklin Street. It is late afternoon, and it has begun to snow. Thick flakes glide silently past us through the air while the daylight dissipates. My mother has my hand clenched in hers. She yells at … Read more

Lost by Dennis Vannatta

                        I’m a man “of a certain age”-curious phrase, meaningless on the face of it, yet resonant.  And the resonances are almost all bad.  Aches and pains and forgetfulness and failing vision.  Yesterday even with bifocals I couldn’t read the fine print on a bottle of Glucosamine.  I dug through the utility drawer until … Read more

The Magic of a Hardboiled Egg by Guixia Yin

I often looked forward to being sick as a little girl. There was a delicacy to be had only when I was sick. It was a hardboiled egg. My mom would put her palm on my forehead and announce, “Sweet Daughter, you have a fever. I’ll boil an egg for you.” I touched my forehead, … Read more

Sunshine Falls by Kyle Torke

On a cellular level, we die every day, but we are also reborn—a minute by minute trick where our hair grows longer and follicles pop and fail to regenerate.  We seem to enter the world fresh and full of pink promise, pushing into the vigorousness of youth and young adulthood before teetering into middle age, … Read more

Mourning Becomes Electra by Gilda Haber

  “I was recommended to you by the Special Events department at Nordstrom,” said the breathless Voice on the telephone. “I need a black hat for a funeral. My husband died yesterday.”                                                                                  “I’m terribly sorry,” I said, “please come in, and I’ll help you. If you don’t see anything you like among the ready-made hats, I’ll … Read more

Marabous by Lauren Markham

The Marabou storks rule Kampala from above. Like hunched guardsmen they stalk along the rims of buildings, the weight of their dangling neck sacks and bladed beaks pulling their gaze downward. They are ugly and four feet tall and I love to watch them. They watch back

Blood Money by Vivian Wagner

When I got the MetLife Total Control Account checkbook with my share of the life insurance proceeds after my mother’s death, I spent a long time looking at it, with its light yellow cover, the white rays of the sun

Retirement by Jennifer Hubbard

My dog and I sit together on the front porch and watch leaves fall from the trees. The leaves are gold, the light is gold, everything, it seems, is gold in these early days of November just after the big election. We are quiet girls,

Insomnia by Melanie Masters

I can’t sleep because of a word beginning with e or i. Enigmatic? Iridescent? No.

“You’re _____,” he said, reducing me to a single word and I, sleepless and dulled by wine, forget. Irresistible? I wish. Impossible.

Mama Said, Mama Said, Said, Said By Cheryl Armon

You’re special, so you’ll need to do great things; never wear pink; never depend on a man; learn the table manners of the highest class. I don’t use them but I can; never wear flats; think before you speak and be ready to back it up; put on lipstick; you look like a ghost without it; … Read more

Freaks by E. Keene

  Freaks   To our right bearded men in turbans cajole the curious to buy a tee shirt, a Frisbee, balloons. To our left in the far distance stretches the Pacific Ocean, then closer a band of California sand, and finally grass abutting the boardwalk where freaks have unpacked their wares. Short-haired, dread-locked or bald, … Read more

Drinking With Hemingway By David O’Neal

     The day before we met Hemingway the skiing was good. It was snowing and the going was sometimes hard. But we were young and strong and had skied well in spite of the snowstorm. The snow was soft and the falling down was part of it and the skiing was good.      Doug … Read more

Vientiane, Laos: Staring at You By Daniel Hudon

      Why bathe your dream in space’s icy field why never turn around go back and find your home behind the incandescent solar shield fare homeward to life’s treasured loam? — Harry Martinson, Swedish Nobel Laureate   For breakfast, I drop into the nearby Scandinavian Bakery and images of American Independence Day celebrations … Read more

The Lovely Supermarket by Peter Donald

Dry refrigerated air. Warm bright light. Colors, vivid and organic. Symmetrical stacks of oranges(3 kinds), grapefruit(2 kinds), lemons, limes, apples (5 kinds) and vegetables: lettuce (4 kinds); squash(3 kinds); tomatoes (2 kinds), green onions and scallions. Bushels of carrots, glistening with moisture, in open cooler cases looking as if they had just been plucked from … Read more