In order to see it, the women rise before dawn. They fry eggs for sleepy-eyed children, make the beds, brew coffee for husbands. Too excited to eat, the women scrub their faces, pin up their hair, and lace into corsets. They kiss sons and daughters goodbye. This morning, their children will stay with a neighbor. This morning, the women board streetcars into the city, like their men. The lines into DC, usually drab with dark suits, are bright spots of color. Lacy handkerchiefs flutter; gloved hands wave; women cry out to greet one another. “Today!” they shout. “Today
» Continue reading The State of Women: August 26, 1920 by Tara Gilboy…
Virginia asks my name and who my people are. For the third time in ten minutes. With each leaden blink she forgets my story, and opening her eyes is again surprised to find a strange young woman beside her bed.
If Virginia would only sleep peacefully, I’d gladly stare out the window at car bumpers, the occasional cat’s ass, and various trashcans stacked askew.
Virginia’s bedcovers rustle. I hold my breath and try to disappear into the burnt orange hospital chair. Virginia plucks and pecks at the bedspread. Capturing a chunk, she brings it to her eyes. Surprised. Like a
» Continue reading This Lingering by Kelly Miller…
Listen to a reading of “My Hour Was Up” by Michelle Ephraim.
A year ago, while walking past a tattoo parlor in downtown Boston, I had a sudden urge to get my first tattoo. This was no youthful lark. I was 42, married, with three little kids and a full-time job. I’d been en route to Whole Foods (grapes, crackers, hummus) and The Gap (swimsuit for toddler). But in an instant I was rooted on the sidewalk, envisioning a wiry, goateed man in a leather vest happily etching out my request—the word lieben, the German infinitive to love, in black
» Continue reading My Hour Was Up by Michelle Ephraim…
Listen to a reading of “Try Not to Kill Anybody” by Sean Finucane Toner. The MP3 will give readers some insight into how Sean, who has been sightless since 1995, works. From Sean: “About the MP3 — it is one of the voices I hear when I write. One or two words might not come through to the untrained ear, but it may give a sense of my world.”
All along, I thought it was the Vodka speaking. I assumed my Canadian friend Roger’s “We are going to get you behind the wheel of a car again,” was jest, or
» Continue reading Try Not to Kill Anybody by Sean Finucane Toner…
I begin to undress, let the night taste me piece by piece. I have brought you to the shore, to the place you loved most. The water is cold as it drinks in my toes. I open the urn, feel the crunch of ash trapped in the seal. The wind whips me, takes some of you; I pour you into my palm. The ash is softer than I expected, yet coarse with specks of bone. I cover myself in you, spread you across my nakedness. Down my arms, legs, across my stomach and breasts, into my hair. I drop the
» Continue reading Ocean of Ash by Kirsten Perry…
The other day I stepped into a church to attend mass. The small congregation in the city centre church, St. Francis, was well spread, all eyes on the priest illuminated by light from a cupola above the altar. The interior of the dome was plastered with mosaics of saints gathered around the central figure of Our Lord. There were even saints flying around in the air. St. Patrick was very prominent standing there on a grassy knoll, crozier in hand and a lovely green cap upon his flowing, white locks. Christ himself had a long, lean face with a neatly
» Continue reading After Mass by Edward Mc Whinney…
I say light-years. You blink. I say the word: light-years. You look at me, and blink. What I mean when I say light-years is the distance a photon travels in the time it takes the Earth to orbit its burning, dying cinder of a star. You look at me, and because this means nothing within the four-foot space between us, you blink. I say, “It feels like we are light-years apart.” I’m standing in the doorway. You’re lying on the bed, facing me. Your knees are pulled up to your chin, hugged into you. In the dark,
» Continue reading Starry Night by Matthew Robinson…
Listen to a reading of “Suggestions for a Better Life” by Tom McAllister.
Student emails to tell me she hasn’t gotten into any of the MFA programs to which she applied, so now she has a question: I’m trying to figure out what to do with my life. Any suggestions? I respond that I do have suggestions, I have many suggestions, I’ve been waiting years for someone to finally ask for my suggestions, that I have considered nailing a list of suggestions to neighbors’ doors, that sometimes I can convince myself I have it more figured out than others; it’s
» Continue reading Suggestions for a Better Life by Tom McAllister…
Read “The Soul of Boiling” by Steven Matthew Brown [PDF]
About the author:
Steven Matthew Brown is from Michigan and lives in East Germany, which both does and does not exist. His writing appears in publications like Black Warrior Review, DIAGRAM, Public Art Dialogue, the German magazine DUMMY and anthology Frühstück mit Axt. He is fortunate, but often thwarted.
The four fingers of both my hands crimp the edge of the narrow writing table between me and the prisoner. We tuck our knees in close to avoid touching each other. It’s been five minutes, and already my sweaty legs are cramping up. I ask Rico to tell me about his mother. He snorts, then clops his chair around sideways, angling himself askew. Everything is clouded in the dirty light of the jail’s attorney conference room. The sheen playing off the shaven scalp on Rico’s profile—one of the shooters had a big, bald head, according to police reports—seems
» Continue reading Escape by Jesse Cheng…