From Issue 18: The Blue Minute

    Kirby Wright

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Kirby Wright won the 2018 Las Vegas Screenplay contest and also received first place at the 2018 Script & Storyboard Showcase in Hollywood for his treatment of an animated series.…

    From Issue 18: The Count

    Christine Holmstrom

    My first masturbator was a young inmate—standing at the front of his cell, jeans crumpled around his ankles, boxers sagging below his knees. His hand moved up and down the shaft of his penis. Looking directly at me, he pulled harder, his racing breath audible through the cell bars inches from me. 

    I backed away, unable to speak.

    What was I expecting anyway? The men here were rapists, robbers, and murderers. This was San Quentin, a men’s maximum-security prison, and I was a new female correctional officer—a prison guard—conducting my first institutional count. But here in West Block, …

    From Issue 18: Waste

    Rich Furman

    I have watched so much rot before me, and here now, two potential disasters. The pickled Korean cucumbers, the more serious of the two; I will need to build courage.     

    I reach toward the back of the refrigerator, and remove a translucent-blue container. Cheese I brought home some months before from Mercado Latino. Queso Oaxaca, half of the strings stripped and eaten, the rest, a disconsolate off-white moon with a glowing, yellow haze. I may be too late. I open the lid, breath in, and am pleased–only mildly pungent–not far from its original form. 

    I peel a small …

    From Issue 18: Picking up the Pieces

    Mary Ann Presman

    Deep in a daydream, Janet almost launched into “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” instead of “Lamb of God” at Communion. That would have been embarrassing. As it was, she saw Father John glance up at her in the choir loft—he heard that first errant note before she recovered, remembered where she was.

    Which was at the organ for eight o’clock Mass at St. Seraphina’s Catholic Church, just hours away from her shift as a Guest Services Ambassador at Wrigley Field. These two occupations were not to be confused, although both were performed in what Janet regarded …

    From Issue 18: My Parents’ Hands

    Ellen Stone

     

    I saw the way she pushed them –
    flickering like river –
    into the mound, turning what
    was almost weightless
    into substance, flour of air,
    pinch of sea, sludge of yeast
    she drained, slight foam
    from the narrow bowl,
    hard plane of her wide palm
    pressing on counter, leaning
    with her urgent weight, making
    something live that was static.
    The way her brain flew, fingers
    turning dough into baby, white
    dusting cabinets, floor, her face
    a studied countenance of care.

    The manner in which he held a hoe
    as if it were a loved thing, what
    can …

    From Issue 18: Learning How Not To

    Paul Ilechko

    The sweet susurration of tires continues
    as cars drift ruefully past my house.
    It’s a constant stream, day and night,
    and by now I no longer hear them.
    Except, there are fewer after midnight,
    which means that the extra ones in morning
    act as a gentle kind of alarm clock,
    drawing me out, hauling me up
    from the deep, still waters of sleep.

    Long ago, I learned to draw. In order to draw
    well you need to learn not to think
    too much. Afterwards, I learned to paint,
    which to my surprise involved forgetting
    how to draw. The …

    From Issue 18: All of it Returns

    Charlene Langfur

    All we have now is caring for each other.
    Most days now I do piecemeal work on the computer
    as long as I can stand it. That’s my job and after it
    my dog and I go out walking as far as we can go in the desert sun.
    She knows how to lead us through the deep sand
    where the rabbits go and the roadrunners
    with their opal feathers look for paradise the same
    we do. Today we see on TV the president has the ego
    of a cartoon character, oblivious to everything
    but his own image …

    From Issue 18: Echo of Myself

    Rebecca Beardsall

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Rebecca Beardsall received her BA from DeSales University and her MA in English from Lehigh University. She is in the MFA program at Western Washington University. Her poetry has been published in various literary journals, and she co-edited three books. Originally from Pennsylvania but considers Washington and New Zealand home.…

    Featured: Free Surge

    Ross Hargreaves

     

    Right before lunch in the West Junior High band room when the overhead tells us about the Surge truck parked by the cafeteria ready and waiting to give us all free Surge. “Hurry up,” the overhead said. “Because it’s first come first served.”

    No way was this ending civil.

    Surge was all the caffeinated rage. On the news parents were saying that it had too much caffeine, that along with Marilyn Manson CD’s it was driving kids crazy. And these parents hadn’t had to deal with Red Bull or Monster yet. Surge actually had less caffeine than …

    Featured: The answers are written in the book you wrote over

    Kennedy Sievers

    in purple and blue crayon leaving messages for me that resonate within my head your messages of love overlaid with the text of The Confederacy of Dunces I’ve never read the book on its own but now it’s in conjunction with your sweet nothings you filled the pages with your heart and dinosaur stickers and now that your beating chambers belong to someone else my book sits on the shelf collecting dust alongside my memories of you remember that time we walked to get candy and lay in the grass staring at clouds eating Werther’s caramels or the …