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RITUALS by Lynn Bey

1. Our mother calls me to come and look at her. That is how we begin. “Say something,” she says. She tries to sound petulant, but her image in the full-length mirror makes her smile. “A sheath,” I offer, cross-legged on the floor. I hold a pillow on my lap despite the heat. Our mother … Read more

Bread & Tablecloths by Sergio Ortiz

                                                       for Lawrence King, 1992-2007 Teens bully deans, bash desks like Queens christen ships, graduation gowns break out in a gospel song, to heal neglected punched lips; boys grow … Read more

Soul’s Call by Jonathan Emrys

A Poem of Premonition: Wednesday, July 16, 2008 The crows collect in front of my window. They call for souls to make a widow. Alerting me, the signs are near. Their caws and claws and passing fears. I stir, I wake, I feel un-right. The souls have lost another fight. I sway and drop at … Read more

Childless by Eugenie Theall

  We were seventeen when I paid for my best friend’s abortion, helped answer the doctor’s questions, drove her to my house, lay by her side while she slept.  A coworker had her tubes tied after her second C-section, said her husband always wanted girls. The janitor no longer says my name, only: So, are … Read more

Avoiding Her Art by Eugenie Theall

We celebrate New Year’s Eve in San Salvador, city of hammocks, where streets are littered with firecrackers, wicks, and ash. Dogs run loose, no collar or tag. Isabel tries to control her hair, twist it into rows, slick with gel, bobby-pinned, but one strand betrays her in every picture, defies her hand. Free to pace … Read more

FAMILY OWNED by R. Neal Bonser

I was right in the middle of a late-night rush in the deli when Jeffers, one of our regulars, came slamming in like a lion late for a feeding. Most of our regulars are a pain to be sure, but Jeffers is in his own category. He’s hairy all over with this crazy-looking, giant beard … Read more

Are They Real? by Virginia Silverman

“Are they real, Mommy?” My daughter was staring at my bare breasts one morning last month as I got dressed for work. The incisions from my double mastectomy were quiet now, having faded to a mildly aggravated pink over the past six years since my surgeries. “Well, baby, in a way,” I answered. “Remember when … Read more

BLOCK by Darby Bailey

//www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCZ-fX-JDX0 Visit www.darbybailey.com/ for more information about BLOCK. About Darby Bailey: Voluntarily removed from parochial school in the 4th grade over sexual content in a book she was publishing for friends, Darby Bailey eventually went from downtown Salt Lake City to Santa Cruz to L.A., where she is pursing her B.A. degree at Antioch University. … Read more

Forever 18 by Casey Cohen

            July 2nd, 2008. Truth be told, I’ve never been much good at remembering what the date is. Of course this affliction is exacerbated in L.A., where the seasons are vague at best, and I’m hard pressed to know what month it is let alone one of its numbers. In fact, at 78 degrees and … Read more

Mulling Spices by Jennifer Bradpiece

A little of this, a dab that, we dish out our frustrations through asthmatic breaths. Mine are served up lightly seared with mint garnish of leafy discontent in a raspberry coulisse of delicate rage. Yours boil and pop in a single constant earthen pot, simmering silently most of the time, now and then bubbling up … Read more

A Letter Not Sent by Kristine Ong Muslim

“The thing is that if you form bubbles, then you are liable to come up with more than one bubble. And these bubbles are likely to collide. And this will give rise to inhomogeneous universe. And that is not consistent with what we observe today.” – Stephen Hawking And I watch the summer people in … Read more

Without Words by Philip C. Barragan, II

              The sound of our footsteps echoed through the hall. Dozens of faces too ill to smile stared at us as we tried not to look into their rooms. Hushed conversations mingled with the odors of Lysol, bleach and fresh flowers. We arrived at our destination.  My mother asked for my handkerchief to dry … Read more

Dead Man’s Nail by Dennis Fulgoni

You’re waiting for your best friend, Pablo Perez, to call. His father’s recently put in a pool, and you’re hoping for an invite. It’s already past noon, and no call, so the Poor Man’s Jacuzzi becomes your sanctuary, your oasis, on a hot afternoon. The best way to get inside the Poor Man’s Jacuzzi, once … Read more

Time to Repaint the Barn by Darby Bailey

Shielded from a westward sun that could burn Through ripply glass circa 1899 Mandy the puppy buried open, no urn Covered above in sweet pea vine The shadows of Cottonwood trickle and turn White soft stars of dandelion Fall in the shade of the big red barn Next to a Kern’s jar filled with turpentine … Read more

Dining Alone by Darby Bailey

Single. Female. Dine alone. Free tea. Free cookie. Your guilt. Still nice. My solitude. Cookie. – Fried Egg. One not two. With yolk. Eat alone. One toast. …No butter. Pan holds two, Table seats two. Double yolk egg. Lucky day About the Author: Voluntarily removed from parochial school in the 4th grade over sexual content … Read more

The Queen’s Greens by Darby Bailey

As a dandelion In Her Majesty’s lawn   I cannot bow I was born erect   My use a child’s butter chin game Whether Prince or gardener’s daughter   My fate is of the ruler of the green   In age I grow gray And shatter in the wind   May my greens Taste good … Read more

Crawl, Toddle, Walk, Run by Darby Bailey

  I am scared to step over the edge of the pier I tell myself      When I get there I will be happier      When I get there I won’t remember feeling bad      When I get there I’ll have more control   I tell myself to not look back   … Read more

Nobody Thought It Would Rain At God’s Funeral by Mike Rosen

They were too overwhelmed by the sight of decaled media vans and fiending paparazzi rising up the hillside, one cocked elbow at a time. A man from Hong Kong, along with a woman from Denmark and a teenager from Paramus, New Jersey all watched the spectacle from their cell phones as they each spent one … Read more

Untitled by Kurt Bloom

See the crane sleeping It’s neck sways when the wind blows Please don’t fall on me Homeless Jack mines gems Paris Hilton is his love Their genie said so Sidewalk weed grows tall See the green leaves reach for sun I stomp it down flat About the Author: Born Seattle 1968. There really isn’t much … Read more

Bugs By Morgan W. Strauss

            Instead of thinking about Sonny, his traveling companion wishes she were in Spain.  How far of a drive is it from Granada to Barcelona?             Twenty miles south of Fresno a sign says Visalia 24 miles. Sonny pilots the car with dirty hands, a torn shirt, an unintentional beard, last … Read more

Absorption by Robert D. Montoya

This is the sound             of losing myself: the drips of continuous rain as it             disperses itself             along the wet ground, *** Where Costa Rican vines, like syringes, suck the water (tender roots like a child *** sucking upon a nipple, absorbing the minerals, the liquid of … Read more

Melanie L. McNair: The End of the Affair

The End of the Affair *** Community In Shock at Vicious Murder; Vigil Tonight There will be a vigil tonight beginning at 7PM at the site of the slaying of Sally Green, 111 Great Heights Place, in Echo Park. Friends and neighbors are gathering to remember Green, 35, who had only recently moved into the … Read more

Petra by Robert D. Montoya

I’d watch you cook with your manteca in your brown-tiled kitchen fuzzy chanclas, paisley-printed muumuu dress. *** We found that curly black wig in the hall closet You started crying We were just pretending. *** We’d sort the gravel from beans Eat potatoes, skin-on Raw and sandy We never talked. *** We didn’t need to. … Read more