Hip-deep in crystal clear water, they posed every morning. Two, three, sometimes as many as five men silently casting their lines soon after the sun appeared on the horizon. Whether they spoke before or after, she never knew. By the time she passed, they were already in position, each facing a unique direction, intent on casting their line with graceful precision, reeling in with stoic optimism.
Before 9/11, cars were allowed to drive over the dam on the Western side of the reservoir. After the terrorist act, cement blocks were deposited on both ends of the …Read article
Brian Phillip Whalen
This poem was originally published in The Cardiff Review.
When I eat pepperoni pizza late at night, I have nightmares. I’m 35 years old, the same age my father was when he slept nights inside a bottle of Boone’s Farm wine. [My father was 13 when his mother warned him:“Boys like you end up in jail or Vietnam.”] When I was 13, I read the morning comic strips: Garfield ate a pepperoni pizza late at night and had a ghastly nightmare. He woke Jon and Jon took on his monsters. [I was 7 when my father …Read article
Reliable as a courier pigeon, I did my job: i.e. I bought things. I lurched into the theater dressed in my fatigues to cry before the Jesuses. I listened to far off disco planets, crooned to the carpet, carried my satchel. But my religious conversion was the God-given equivalent of wax paper. Nothing ever stuck. So I’m running from the government down tilt and tumble alleys looking for a place to stow my snow globe collection.
Most of my life has consisted of longing and probably most lives are like this I suppose it to be the fundamental human substance well why not one’s life has to consist of something the mind is just a big empty space and must needs be filled with something and so longing is the most readily available filler I can tell you I’ve clung to longing like a shipwrecked man clinging to a piece of floating wreckage it has given my life and by extension my identity what little structure and coherence it has had so I …Read article
my brother Dean crawled
through the bathroom window
and carved a path to the door.
Later, while father dug for the tractor
and loader, we cut channels so high
through the white,
that from the house to the barn
and to the pig pens and beyond,
birds winged through them
as daylight reveled,
marbling the maze’s walls.
The goodwill of neighbors
after such a storm
brushed not only us but the spirit
of the cattle and hogs—
the horses as well—though,
if any livestock
we never saw it. Yet time and again
they leaned in, …
starts to hum
this way when my belly
full of glass
The grey wrens fly
fast into the near-
est dark hole
& your pretty mirror
dissolves into a float-
ing pile of wet sand.
The only way
to make me stop
is to nail a pencil
to my hand. The sky
starts to crack
when I lick my lips.
Quick, the hammer.
WINNER OF THE 2015 “CITIES GONE WRONG” FICTION CONTEST
Catherine Flora Con
The night Luke first disappointed his father, the house looked formidable despite its peeling yellow paint. Already there were sandbags against the door in case the hurricane hit, though it wasn’t supposed to come until Thursday and even then it would just be rain. He turned the key in the latch and the first thing his father said was, “Lock the door.”
Luke did, and his father jiggled the knob to check it himself. In the living room, Luke sat on the couch with his elbows on …Read article
Readers, we’re excited to open the submission gates for a special themed issue arriving September 2018. We want your ghost stories, your phobia stories, your psychological creepers — basically anything about fear, whether from external or internal sources. As always, we want stories, essays, and poems that challenge the boundaries of genre and transcend their forms with stunning writing. Check out our Submittable page and submit your best scary stories today! Because we need time to assemble the issue, we’ll be reading for this issue until mid-August. We can’t wait to read what you’ve got!…Read article
by Kat Delghingaro
Listen to the piece below:
You’re walking on a beach with your friend Ed and a stranger but she’s not really a stranger, she goes to the same school as you and you know she’s a nursing student, you know because she told you when you helped pass out condoms to freshmen at the HIV testing both and they flirted with her, complementing her nursing uniform. You never thought you’d be friends with a nurse, you tend to run with artist and actors but she has a cool tattoo of a lion on her …Read article
by L. Ward Abel
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L. Ward Abel, poet, composer and performer of music, teacher, retired lawyer, lives in rural Georgia, has been published hundreds of times in print and online, and is the author of one full collection and nine chapbooks of poetry, including Jonesing For Byzantium (UK Authors Press, 2006), American Bruise (Parallel Press, 2012), Little Town gods (Folded Word Press, 2016), and Digby Roundabout (Kelsay Books, 2017). “The Tao of Barbour County” is from Digby Roundabout.