genre: Fiction

Your Head is Older than Your Feet

Your Head is Older than Your Feet

By S.K. Brownell   

Technically, she says, our heads are always moving faster than our feet. Technically. Unless you’re walking on your hands, says Julia, and she flips herself upwards into a handstand to demonstrate. She’s never been stable enough to actually walk, actually pick up one hand and put it down in a new place, even for one… Read more »


Blindside

Blindside

By Diane C. Kessler   

I didn’t like my sister very much, but I didn’t mean to kill her. It happened this way.  The garage of my Back Bay townhouse was too narrow for a passenger to get into my old Mercedes, so I told Nancy to stand in the driveway by the viburnum.  She was at an angle I… Read more »


Chuligáni

Chuligáni

By Kevin St. Jarre   

We sat at a long table and didn’t take much notice of them, nor of any of the other people in the well-lit bar. We were just back to Prague after a weekend camping trip in the Brdy mountains, the four of us, and we decided to go out for a drink. I was the… Read more »


Migration

Migration

By Kari Middleton   

When my brother-in-law came back from Tanzania, Jack and I picked him up at the airport. He was wearing jeans and a faded green t-shirt, and he looked this way and that along the terminal. I had told Jack I thought we should meet him at baggage claim, but Jack said that Paul preferred this,… Read more »


Expiring Candles

By Jesus Francisco Sierra   

Everyone calls him Manteca, which means lard in Spanish. The moniker implies fat and he may be slightly overweight, even a little thick around the waist, but it’s the slippery quality of lard that earns him the nickname.  It doesn’t help that his lips retract when he smiles, with the top lip often disappearing behind… Read more »


Turn-off at Bargny

By Tej Rae   

Blame the touba coffee, poured after a platter of djebou djem they stopped for on the way, in melting plastic cups. With cardamom and black pepper, slipped out of the adult world into tiny cups by waiters who assume every tenth grader finishes lunch this way. They are big people: fifteen-year-olds. Tall. With shadows of… Read more »


Excerpt from Between Light and Earth

By Anjali Mitter Duva   

An introductory note: It is 1856 in Lucknow, India. Malika is a dancer in one of the city’s most famed kothas, or courtesan houses. On this day, exactly one year after the death of her young daughter, she receives an unexpected visit from her patron, a French engineer named François, and their adolescent son, Etienne. In

Taming Wild Things

Taming Wild Things

By April Bo Wang   

At night she could trace the pitter-patter of their feet in the ceiling. They were most active between eleven o’clock and two in the morning. Nikka stopped going to bed. She put on her robe and meandered about the dark house, following the sound of their footsteps. She didn’t sleep well these days anyway, between… Read more »


Mother and Child credit:  Emily Holtzman

The House at the End of the World

By Michael Holtzman   

  The little girl presses her face through the blown flap of mesh in the porch door and looks out past the tawny clumps of dead grass that lay scattered across the spare dirt plot, down to the wood where the first gusts reach in to rock the loblollies along the riverbank. Storm’s coming baby… Read more »


Gridlock

By Ellen Meeropol   

My sister Ruth showed up on day four of the blackout, the day we began to suspect this wasn’t an ordinary grid failure. There had been no blizzard, no major wind event. It wasn’t even that cold, though the early November air already held the crisp-edged fragility of the coming western Massachusetts winter. The utility… Read more »


The Cafeteria Strut

By Alan Davis   

Chuck Larson, all-state in three sports but particularly potent on the football field, was the most popular boy in high school despite his guess in history that the Rosetta Stone was a ski mountain in Colorado.  He was so popular girls actually fainted—this is no joke—at the sight of him each day as he strutted… Read more »


No Crying

By J.D. Scrimgeour   

Who designed these benches? Wooden slats that imprint your back, the rest of you slipping through. It’s like they wanted to remind you that you’re uncomfortable, that there’s as much emptiness as wood, that if one slat breaks everything becomes more dangerous. And this is a bench, something that’s supposed to be a place to… Read more »


American Lottery

American Lottery

By Gazmend Kapllani   

This piece is part of our Fall 2019 print issue.


Snow

Snow

By Michele Cacho-Negrete   

This piece is part of our Fall 2019 print issue.


The Skateboarders

The Skateboarders

By Perle Besserman   

This piece is part of our Fall 2019 print issue.


Betta

Betta

By Joanna Kim   

Our lunch break is only half an hour long, but today, Hayeon wants to buy a pet fish, so we close the store early and head to downtown Seoul on a bus. She stares out the window the entire ride, so I don’t tell her that I think fish are dumb and they’ll likely die… Read more »


Medals

Medals

By Sally Lipton Derringer   

On October 13, 2016, the Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded, amid great controversy, to Bob Dylan “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”     1 the night before Dylan gets the Nobel Prize, Hayden’s fortune cookie forecasts a change of mind. the morning brings his nightly slew of… Read more »


Paper Dolls of the East

Paper Dolls of the East

By Michael Holtzman   

The boy runs along the pitted dirt road behind the leaping tire. The tire is almost as tall as the boy and when it lands it wobbles because the steel belt stabs through the sidewall into a cankerous bubble.  The boy releases the tire with one last push and he leans his hands on his… Read more »


The Pious Man

The Pious Man

By Lindsay Oldham   

I lived with my dad until he died in his bed, and now that it’s happened, I’m not praying about it. He had a face like a chalk you drew hopscotch games in playgrounds with, those last few weeks when he was too weak for anything except believing, and when he coughed, only a sound… Read more »


Beyond their time

Beyond their time

By Tristan Marajh   

The fossils caused a variety of speculation: was it a parent with a child, was it a pair of star-crossed lovers, was it two siblings or cousins, even? The speculation, as expected, were from lay-people, people who did not know about anthropology yet had no difficulty anthropomorphizing. Which was not to say that the bones… Read more »


Excerpt from <br /><em>Oak Cliff: A Novel</em>

Excerpt from
Oak Cliff: A Novel

By Ginger McKnight-Chavers   

“The gate’s open?” Joy gasped.  She slammed her sneakered foot hard against the brake pedal of the old Rover.  Her torso lurched forward against the tight strictures of the seatbelt. “Jesus, mom! What the hell’s wrong with you?” “What the hell’s wrong with your mouth, Brooke?” Joy snapped at her teenage daughter without turning her

The Witch

The Witch

By Michael Pritchett   

The best thing that could ever possibly happen happened that summer. He was forced to go live with people he didn’t know, people with reasons to try and undo him.  Also, these people scared him because they lived in utter squalor.  At first, he had no earthly idea why it happened. Though maybe that isn’t… Read more »


Novel Excerpt: <br/>The Bohemians of Telegraph Hill

Novel Excerpt:
The Bohemians of Telegraph Hill

By Jasmin Darznik   

This is an excerpt from The Bohemians of Telegraph Hill, a novel based on the life of the photographer Dorothea Lange and her Chinese assistant, Caroline Lee.   Until she was five years old, she had neither a mother nor a name. It was 1906. Early spring, chilly and damp. All year the Chinatown papers

The Old Man of The Promised Land

The Old Man of The Promised Land

By Ilan Mochari   

Donald heard a mermaid sing, Susy spied an elf, But all the magic I have known I’ve had to make myself. – Shel Silverstein, “Magic”   The forty-two-year-old waiter reached for the lone utensil with his flabby right arm. His elbow was one inch from the left breast of a coed who reminded him of… Read more »


Gambling with Nana

Gambling with Nana

By Lynne Griffin   

Her grandmother stands expectantly outside the apartment complex, positioned under an awning-covered walkway awaiting her ride. Every time Joyce phones Nana to make arrangements for their once-a-month Friday night bridge game, she urges her to please wait inside. There’s no way to predict how long it will take her to get from the city to… Read more »


A Letter For Kashi

A Letter For Kashi

By Anie Onaiza   

The first time Kashi ran away, we thanked the saints and said, good riddance. Quietly of course. Then, like good neighbors, we went to the Burneys to commiserate. The women sat down with Mrs. Burney on her bed, below the long-stemmed ceiling fan, and were shaking their heads and touching their ear lobes. Allah, Allah,… Read more »


Novel Excerpt: <br/>My Name Is Sweet Thing

Novel Excerpt:
My Name Is Sweet Thing

By Wandeka Gayle   

Part 1: Whose Little Girl Am I? The night I turned sixteen – in 1979 – I dreamt I swallowed all of my teeth, and Aunt Winnie said it meant disgrace was coming to the family. I forced a laugh but exchanged a concerned look with my cousin, Bernice, as a feeling like ice spread

Consolation

Consolation

By Franny Zhang   

A woman came up to me on the sidewalk and told me she knew what my secret was. Which one? I asked. The woman said her name was Harriet. She’d lived on my street when I was a child, but she didn’t expect me to remember her. I didn’t contradict this claim, choosing instead to… Read more »


Debts

Debts

By Adeola Adeniyi   

You walk to Ricky’s on Rockaway and Lavonia Avenue and see Quincy Baker through the window sitting at the bar drinking a Coke. You wish you had worn your leather jacket ’cause the switchblade in your pocket would fit better in its secret inside pocket. You’re carrying a serious bankroll and know folks here will… Read more »


Salvation Is a Joke with no Punchline

Salvation Is a Joke with no Punchline

By Brett Riley   

As the sand blew over the mountains, my sixteen-year-old son and I drove west on Tropicana Avenue. I wore a Who t-shirt. Lucien sported sunglasses and headphones that blasted some godawful horrorcore act like Twiztid or Insane Clown Posse, no real melody, a singer gargling scrap iron. I turned up Led Zep, the’66 Dodge Charger’s… Read more »


Looking Out

Looking Out

By José Skinner   

This piece is part of our Fall 2018 print issue.


Sin Eater

Sin Eater

By Marianne Leone   

This piece is part of our Fall 2018 print issue.


Retrieval

Retrieval

By Thomas Benz   

Whit was going back to the camp, retracing the accustomed path from years ago, straight north to recover the doll. Cleaning out the lost and found where it had fallen behind a cabinet, someone had seen it tagged with the old reservation, called to tell him the mermaid was still there. Hanging up, he’d become… Read more »


The House of Correction

The House of Correction

By Jendi Reiter   

“I am going to this wedding,” Zebatinsky declared to Carla. His middling daughter. Middle. But the switched word lodged in his brain, as happened more and more these days, branching out tendrils of other words, a not unpleasant process until he was obliged to backtrack its meanderings to the conversation he’d left hanging. Carla in… Read more »


Theme and Variations

Theme and Variations

By Dominic Lim   

tempo giusto You’re told what to do from the very beginning. You might enjoy the brief illusion that you’re free to do as you wish, that you have some sort of artistic license, but the command is there in black and white. You have to be steady, consistent. Exact. The instructions guide you through everything.… Read more »


Agua de beber

Agua de beber

By Estela González   

Chepo Menard ate and talked at impressive speed. He finished the caviar appetizer, chased a few stray eggs on the tablecloth with a moist finger and licked them. A wine stain grew on the linen tablecloth next to his napkin. Adrián Landeros listened, his thoughts hidden beneath his smile. Behind him the breeze entered through… Read more »


Tsunami

Tsunami

By Gail Wallace Bozzano   

You said you were on the beach with your wife that morning. You might have lounged in one of those wood and canvas beach chairs, or you might have been lying on your stomach on an oversized striped towel from Land’s End. It might have happened like this: You would have been engrossed in the… Read more »


Between Light and Earth <br/>(Novel Excerpt)

Between Light and Earth
(Novel Excerpt)

By Anjali Mitter Duva   

January 15, 1856 ~ We cannot afford rumors In her mind Malika was an ibis taking flight from the windowsill, rising above the rumble and jumble of old Lucknow. Leaving behind the labyrinthine alleys and bustling Chauk Bazaar, she swooped through the still, mid-morning air along the languid Gomti, following the river’s silt-laden course east,

Kiss Me Hard

Kiss Me Hard

By AN Block   

  I suspected Madeleine had been lying, although I wasn’t totally sure. How could I have been, and maybe, given the circumstances, I didn’t really care to know, maybe I just wanted to keep telling myself this fairy tale about The Amazing Summer of Love, or more accurately The Perfect Six Weeks, that ground to… Read more »