January 15, 2018: “Aftershave and Soil”

We watch The Bachelor and then my husband buries me in the backyard. It’s just an ordinary Friday. My husband is a modern man—he does all the cooking and the cleaning—he whips up some burgers and mozzarella sticks and then he grabs the shovel and slaps my butt. I giggle like in our courtship days, … Continue reading Aftershave and Soil

January 8, 2018: “Lifeline”

Pia hides under the breakfast table while her mother hunches on the couch and scratches at her palm. Inside the house, acrid air. Leaves of Grass—her mother’s favorite, gifted from Pia’s father—long unopened. The slap-slapping of her mother’s sandal as she bobs her knee. The way her polyester pant leg flutters, the way her mouth … Continue reading Lifeline

January 1, 2018: “Sharp Sticks”

My boy is the beacon in the ache this land calls fields. He loses himself in the bush and the burrows. No man has been buried here since God dug us into the world, wanting us to spread out. I am laying seed far from the laps of my fathers. The valley is eager for … Continue reading Sharp Sticks

December 11, 2017: “חלב חם”

This story by Lea Klibanoff – Ron, in Hebrew, is part of SmokeLong Quarterly‘s Global Flash Series. To maintain the integrity of the Hebrew text, we are displaying the story as a pdf file. The English version, translated by guest editor Ilana Masad, is presented also as a pdf file. Simply click on the titles … Continue reading חלב חם

December 4, 2017: “I Thought I Knew the Answer For a Minute”

Endless Light Whenever I hear about hoarders and the truckfuls of malnourished animals or ancient newspapers carted out behind them, I think about these people in the incipience of their condition, and imagine the boundless hope that must have appeared before them.   Getting Coffee I don’t care how reserved you are. I do not … Continue reading I Thought I Knew the Answer For a Minute

November 27, 2017: “There Are Songs That Only Echo in the Belly of the Sea”

After the evacuation order lifts, we go back to see what is left. Peregrine drives, and when we pass over the bridge he invokes the name of every sea god he knows, living and extinct, because neither of us are sure the bridge will hold. On the island, water laps at the edges of route … Continue reading There Are Songs That Only Echo in the Belly of the Sea

November 20, 2017: “Princess Shipwreck”

Monsters have absconded with the lifeboats. Their frilled fins ruffle the ocean’s surface as they wheel and tug those punctured rafts into the depths. On the beach, we are a splayed catastrophe of waterlogged slippers and sand-streaked gowns. Nevertheless, we are polite. Pardon me, could I perhaps assist you in removing the seaweed from your … Continue reading Princess Shipwreck

November 13, 2017: “The Cartographers”

It’s a Friday when the beach house slips into the sea, unmoored by torrential rains and floating on who-knows-what—air pockets in the creosote-soaked timbers is her boyfriend’s theories; he’s always full of theories. “If it hasn’t sunk by now, it will float indefinitely,” Geoff says. “Plenty of time for the Coast Guard to find us.” … Continue reading The Cartographers

November 6, 2017: “The Heavy Things”

I got my period young, and heavy. Heavier than the health class pamphlet said it should be. When it came for the first time, I felt something prickling parts of me I’d never seen, and had been told never to touch. In the elementary school bathroom, I tried to clean myself up with all of … Continue reading The Heavy Things

October 30, 2017: “Nature.”

The women watch the clock on the wall of the factory where they sew cotton shirts and there’s an old woman over there, in the corner, bent over, and no one notices that her back is perpetually bent over like that, so much so that one day when the other women call her for lunch … Continue reading Nature.

October 23, 2017: “Our Father”

My sister Anne opens the door and stretches her arms around me. Behind her are cardboard boxes, taped up and bulging at the sides like dead bullfrogs, and a dim table lamp with dragonflies along its stained-glass shade. Anne says in my ear that it’s so nice to see me and tightens her embrace. Her … Continue reading Our Father

October 16, 2017: “Pastor Bob’s Picnic”

The beach pastor parked his twelve-year-old Chrysler on the street, windows and doors open, so that the squirrels had free run of the picnic items and Bibles inside. Sometimes a squirrel left the car dragging a whole package of hotdogs. Sometimes one caught the attention of a passing dog. Hence the car was a wreck, … Continue reading Pastor Bob’s Picnic

October 9, 2017: “Ueno Zoo”

July 1945 Ueno, Japan Ueno Zoo housed exotic animals from around the world. The officers at war shipped them from faraway places. The handsomest leopards with shiny tassels arrived. The longest, most venomous snakes were shipped in woven baskets. Ueno Zoo overflowed with parades of 700-pound polar bears. The line to see the bears winded … Continue reading Ueno Zoo

October 2, 2017: “Starlings”

My therapist Leo says, “So how are the warts?” and I look down at my hand, the three little discs of salicylic acid on my pinky and ring finger, and tell him the medicine’s working, they’re slowly melting away. I tell him it’s my hip that’s been bothering me. I’ve got this tear in my … Continue reading Starlings

September 11, 2017: “What We Do for Work”

With a straight face, the client says he prefers we blow him because he’s worried our cunts have teeth. The name for this myth is vagina dentata. It’s obviously not real. What is real is eurotophobia: the fear of uteri, vaginas, labia. I guess that this is what he has. Or castration anxiety, Melanie says … Continue reading What We Do for Work

September 4, 2017: “Husking”

“It’s like husking corn,” he tells her. “See? Like this. Just rip, rip, rip, and it’s done.” Does he mean shucking? He must mean shucking. But corn doesn’t have a head and eyes, a flippy tail, a cluster of legs to be yanked off. Corn wasn’t gliding through the ocean on Thursday, perching on submerged, … Continue reading Husking

August 28, 2017: “San Miguel”

I went to Mexico with my mother when I was twenty-four. We were going to spend two weeks on a tour of churches and shrines, and she was paying for everything. I liked the religious angle of the deal. Because of the delicate ecosystem of uppers and downers that comprised my bloodstream, I was afraid … Continue reading San Miguel

August 21, 2017: “Sins of Omission”

My father records my transgressions in a large blue ledger with marbled edges. Dropped lumps of coal out of the scuttle whilst taking it to the living room fireplace. Punishment: Six slaps with the leather dog collar. Stealing money from Mam’s purse. Punishment: Fifteen slaps with the leather dog collar. Staring out the window for no … Continue reading Sins of Omission

August 14, 2017: “Good Boys”

The dog we had to get rid of was the same color as the dirt in the field. We carried it there and dropped it on the ground, and its fur matched the dirt just right. If we squinted our eyes, almost we couldn’t see it. On the way to the field it kept shaking … Continue reading Good Boys

August 7, 2017: “I’m Such a Slut and I Don’t Give a Fuck”

Hello, Spokane. You peer into the darkness. You could play your first album in your sleep, but you start with the new stuff. You didn’t promise anyone anything—even Brian Wilson doesn’t sing about t-shirts, cut-offs, and a pair of thongs anymore. Does he? They haven’t come for you. They came for 1994, when you and … Continue reading I’m Such a Slut and I Don’t Give a Fuck

July 30, 2017: “Still Life with Hairball”

A straightened hanger lay in the sink, one end pointing to the ceiling, the other weighted by a bolus of hair and muck, grease and gravy, sauces to make bland things palatable, bits of whatever was unwanted—mushy peas and slimy mushrooms—the final plum of sink fruit Beth had gathered from the pipes, then dissected, searching … Continue reading Still Life with Hairball

July 23, 2017: “All of us are in pieces”

A fire gutted the tire factory three streets from our old apartment, where he still lives. It burned for days. The suburb was covered with a thick, gray pall for a week. Tires contain particularly flammable components, he tells me. He lists them. I am slipping away, floating from the cafe and down the street. … Continue reading All of us are in pieces

July 17, 2017: “Manatees”

The channel was so narrow the manatees could only swim through in single file, and we took turns diving into the water, riding their backs for a few seconds before surfacing. Their skin was soothing to touch, the globs of creatures that they were. Their blubbery bodies galumphing through the water filled us with a … Continue reading Manatees

July 10, 2017: “Night Run”

I go out to the bodega at two a.m. when I know Fresh Garden is still selling booze until three. A month late on rent, I also know I can come up with some believable excuse to excuse my delinquency. Nine years living in this same digs, and if anything counts for anything, I have … Continue reading Night Run

July 3, 2017: “Floodplain”

After his divorce, Grant Costello moved from Raleigh, North Carolina to Billings, Montana. He rented an apartment above a dry cleaners and took a job at a grocery store. He told everyone at the Crow Bar his wife Tina drowned in a flash flood, even though Tina was very much alive and working as a … Continue reading Floodplain

June 12, 2017: “Encuentro Nocturno”

“Encuentro Nocturno” is part of the Global Flash Series at SmokeLong Quarterly. The English translation follows the story in its original language, Spanish.   Está lloviendo. Jesús va tan rápido como puede, con el cuello del abrigo alto y el sombrero bien calado, el viejo maletín de piel apretado sobre el pecho, la cabeza embistiendo … Continue reading Encuentro Nocturno

June 5, 2017: “Forks”

There were five forks on the sidewalk. They weren’t arranged in any discernable pattern, but three of the forks were bent back at ninety degree angles and the other two weren’t bent at all. It was a sunny day and the sun glinted on the tips of the tines and the bent points in the … Continue reading Forks

May 28, 2017: “After the Third Notice, the City Shuts Off Our Power”

John and I pace the house by candlelight to keep our feet from going numb. The kids hug each other in our bed, which is too tall for them to reach easily. They have to stand on tip-toes, grab handfuls of sheets, and pull themselves up. Normally I say, “You can do it,” and let … Continue reading After the Third Notice, the City Shuts Off Our Power

May 22, 2017: “How to be Another Person in Five Days”

1 You will begin by letting go. Lie down and open your mouth. Can you feel them? The air particles are moving in and out, alighting on your tongue and residing in your being. The secret is in the kind of particles. If you taste yellow, stand up. This yellow is sweet like the melancholy … Continue reading How to be Another Person in Five Days

May 15, 2017: “Pulpo”

Her papa’s hands tremble as he opens the olives—something she can do but asks for help with anyway. It is the same sort of lid the octopus she is studying in her lab opens to dig for shrimp while she clicks the buttons on her stopwatch. In a race, Papa would shake into second, the … Continue reading Pulpo

May 8, 2017: “Geology”

We are all of us born with a collection of stones. Perhaps this is not how it has always been, but this is how it is now. Little, perfect, smooth stones and jagged pieces of granite that live in the pockets of our jackets and jean pants. These stones range in size from miniscule pebbles … Continue reading Geology

May 1, 2017: “Lucky Number Six”

The lady in apartment 5G, her name is Rose, is one of those black widows—a woman who, for whatever reason, keeps having husbands die on her. She’s working on number six right now, and everybody’s keeping a close eye on the situation. All of the neighbors agree that Steve, the new guy, seems nice enough. … Continue reading Lucky Number Six

April 24, 2017: “Dream Barbie”

He keeps her in the bedroom, hands in her lap, face straight ahead. Or either she’s doing the splits, like a cheerleader. After work, they watch television together. She straddles the recliner’s arm. He keeps the remote. Despite her big hair and blue eyeliner, he realizes she’s probably a liberal. But he doesn’t let it … Continue reading Dream Barbie

April 17, 2017: “Where the Words Go”

Sometimes her words simply fell away unnoticed, like pearls through a careless queen’s fingers. But one was as good as the other, and she had too many to miss a few. When she came across them again, glinting in the shag carpet her children kept telling her to upgrade, she would dig them up from … Continue reading Where the Words Go

April 13, 2017: “Three Ways of Getting Lost”

1. For a moment, I truly believed that the war had come home. People ran from the streets. Missiles, directed and released by an invisible enemy, exploded whole city blocks. Trees disintegrated. Angels beyond the clouds finally sang for us. Families, friends, and total strangers clung to each other with no concern for body odors, … Continue reading Three Ways of Getting Lost

April 3, 2017: “Hunger”

You know those little cities I told you about last night. Those tiny little cities. They’re the size of pins or smaller, they’re long and thin like pins. They rise up on each of our discarded hairs, our forsaken hairs, skyscrapers growing from our abandoned hairs. You with your giant workboots and your giant, clodding … Continue reading Hunger

March 13, 2017: “i utide”

Editor’s Note: “i utide”–in Danish–is part of the Global Flash series at SmokeLong Quarterly. The English translation follows below. Ingen ved, hvor gammel jeg er, men jeg prøver at følge med. Min krop kan, min sjæl kan ikke. Tankerne spænder ben for hinanden, søger omveje og overlap, går i ring og fletter ind i flere … Continue reading i utide

March 6, 2017: “Story with a Gallinule’s Wing in It”

for Margriet The sea was also in the story, just beyond dark playa trees like ironworks, the umbels of a wild carrot.  This was December, near the village of Santa Teresa. There was a girl, too, not a character but an actual person, who really did say, “I want to be lost in the heat … Continue reading Story with a Gallinule’s Wing in It

February 26, 2017: “The Life Cycle of Salmon”

The priest comes to the house to bless Beatrice, and I have to step out of the room the way I do when the hospice nurses come in to change her bedpan: I’m not allowed to be there. Not that I want to see that, but Beatrice cracks really funny jokes about bowel movements and … Continue reading The Life Cycle of Salmon

February 20, 2017: “Straight Lines”

My little sister moved into the chandelier in our dining room. She had a pillow and some jars of food and hopefully something for a bathroom. When our mother came to talk at her—about the party tomorrow, about safety, about lots of things—something fell on her head. I picked it up and it was one … Continue reading Straight Lines

February 13, 2017: “Wolves”

Some wolves were driven from the forest where they lived and hunted. Their forest was destroyed and made into a mall with a J. Crew and an Apple Store, so the wolves found another forest. But before too long, that forest was torn down too and made into a golf course. The wolves were completely … Continue reading Wolves

February 6, 2017: “Txaj – A Prayer”

Dream Bird For two days I lay awake thinking of death. I blamed the election first, but time on Facebook had a hand in it. I was alone. Then he visited me. A Dream Bird usually brings herbs. That is how you know you have been chosen to be a medicine man. This one brought … Continue reading Txaj – A Prayer

January 30, 2017: “Gravity, Reduced”

We noticed the coins first. The night before, a Tuesday, we drifted off to sleep in the ordinary world, and sometime in the night, the earth loosened its hold on us. We woke to floating disks of copper and nickel above the nightstand where we’d emptied our pockets, yesterday’s change suspended in the air like … Continue reading Gravity, Reduced

January 23, 2017: “A Smooth, Shallow Cut”

Hadley knew she wasn’t supposed to be out there. But nobody had said much of anything about what she did or didn’t do for quite some time, certainly not since her mother left forty-two days ago. The night was quiet. The low hum of staticky country and western music floated across the garage, eclipsed every … Continue reading A Smooth, Shallow Cut

January 16, 2017: “Missed Connections”

I was driving southbound on Clementine towards the Whole Foods. December fifteenth and I was stopped at a red light. You were in the lane beside me with your friends in a powder blue Toyota and as you pulled up I noticed you were looking in at me. You were in a blue dress, red … Continue reading Missed Connections

January 9, 2017: “Postage”

Without warning, the price of stamps began to drop. After inching up and up her whole life. Few others noticed right away, since everyone was looking at their phones, even at the post office. Still, forever, which she’d never bought anyway, came to mean something slightly different, and each day after there was a little … Continue reading Postage

January 2, 2017: “Shit Cassandra Saw That She Didn’t Tell the Trojans Because at that Point Fuck Them Anyway”

Lightbulbs. Penguins. Velcro. Claymation. The moon made out of cheese. Tap dancing. Yoga. Twizzlers. Mountain Dew. Jello. Colors she can eat with her eyes. Methamphetamine. Bud Lite. T-shirts. Thin and soft, they pass from person to person, men to women, each owner slipping into a team—Yankees, Warriors—and out again with no bloodshed, no thought to … Continue reading Shit Cassandra Saw That She Didn’t Tell the Trojans Because at that Point Fuck Them Anyway

December 12, 2016: “Accident”

La lune est couverte d’un voile de gaze. Le froid pénètre mes muscles. Je suis couché dans l’herbe, au bord de l’autoroute, quelque part entre Douala et Bafoussam. Où suis-je exactement ? Je ne sais pas. Je regarde la lune, les étoiles aussi, dont l’éclat est terne. Quelle heure est-il ? Je ne sais pas. Il y … Continue reading Accident

December 5, 2016: “A Place You Know”

We visited the City of the Dead every year. Our mother bundled us into the car early—the sun barely having crested the sky. She told us we’d get there in time for pancakes. She always promised this, even though it didn’t matter what time we got there as we could have pancakes all day long … Continue reading A Place You Know

November 28, 2016: “The Enchantment”

The bear will knock on your door on a night deep in winter. It will smell of ice and the secret corners of the forest. Its fur will gleam whiter than the blue-tinged snow sloping away to the larches and birches that shelter your cottage. You’ve always suspected-dreaded-hoped that a bear would someday arrive on … Continue reading The Enchantment

November 21, 2016: “The Body’s Amen”

In these southern mountains, men cleanse spirits with prayer spit—tobacco water, vinegar—while women swallow dust. Daddy and his men hunt snakes beyond the holler; they carry snake hooks that they slip inside rattler dens; they tail the snakes and push them around with those hooks before dumping them in a bag of God. Daddy forces … Continue reading The Body’s Amen

November 14, 2016: “Independence Day”

Last year on the Fourth of July this town had record drought; this year, they have record rains.  But the good people here go on blowing things up in spite of everything.  From my spot on the porch I listen to the whistles and blasts of their rockets. The rain falls in sheets off the … Continue reading Independence Day

November 7, 2016: “The Way of Things Now”

An alligator swam past my window and that’s when Mama said it was time to leave. He stopped and turned, looked in with a forever smile. Like he knows we can’t last. Like he’s out there waiting. Mama says we can’t keep waiting. River’s gonna rise before it falls. But still we don’t go. Ain’t … Continue reading The Way of Things Now

October 31, 2016: “The Father’s Story”

In a hotel room out west, a man writes his children a letter. He begins by saying I’m sorry—sorry for leaving when they were young, sorry for never coming home to visit. He stops here and pictures their faces: Joanne with pigtails and a crooked mouth. Tim with wispy blonde hair and chubby cheeks. They … Continue reading The Father’s Story

October 24, 2016: “Softening”

I used to tell people that my first kiss was on a December night, under a pine tree, when a boy I sort-of liked kissed me after a dance recital; but actually my first kiss was older, and with a woman. In this memory, I’m twelve (it’s seventh grade), and I wake up one day … Continue reading Softening

October 17, 2016: “Dear Fiction Editor:”

The following submission is titled “Dear Fiction Editor,” a story in the form of a letter to a fictional fiction editor of a fictional literary journal. I hope to relieve any confusion that the fictional letter might pose since this letter to you is also addressed “Dear Fiction Editor.” You could say that is a … Continue reading Dear Fiction Editor:

October 10, 2016: “Quiet Hours”

Linda did not call the police that night, did not wake her husband when she felt more than heard the vibration of the back door closing, and even before she sat up in bed she knew it was Cody, her younger son. She did not move, not for minutes, not until she was sure she … Continue reading Quiet Hours

October 3, 2016: “That Sun, Struggling Down”

One night I found that Cal’s left nipple had turned luminescent, milky-pale. The skin over the bottom knob of his spine developed the sheen of spilled gasoline. He quit soccer when the moon-colored skin hardening over his knees made it difficult for him to walk, much less run or kick. When I cried, Cal grinned. … Continue reading That Sun, Struggling Down

September 12, 2016: “Aufgaben: ein Triptychon”

Hunger Nach meinem Horoskop, das ich in der Nacht gelesen habe, steht mir in etwa einer Woche eine Hungerperiode bevor. Ich mag Hunger eigentlich ganz gern, weil einem dann besonders Fleischgerichte gut schmecken. Aber gleich eine ganze Periode? Gerate ich vielleicht bei meinem nächsten Versuch, in den Eurotunnel zu gelangen, in Polizeigewahrsam, und den Behörden … Continue reading Aufgaben: ein Triptychon

September 5, 2016: “Safety”

Heidi Sutherton disappeared from Lumitown in the summer of 1973. She was seventeen years old—seven years older than my best friend Margaret and I—and lived right across the street from me. Our next-door neighbor told us the news—Mrs. Carmichael, with her chin mole shaped like a pencil eraser. Snatched right in front of the house, … Continue reading Safety

August 29, 2016: “Gun”

“I’m working on a theory of art supplies. Come down to the basement and I’ll tell you about it.” “What’s downstairs?” “Grandaddy’s gun. Working on that too.” “Man, I don’t like guns.” “Of course you like guns. You just haven’t met the right one yet.” “I think I don’t want to.” “Come on. You’ll thank … Continue reading Gun

August 22, 2016: “House of Mirrors”

The woman who works at House of Mirrors must see herself more clearly than she cares to: her image always reflected back at her from every angle, always catching herself looking at herself and herself and herself, repeated to infinity. I suppose we could take the long view and say the hallway behind her never … Continue reading House of Mirrors

August 15, 2016: “My Husband Is Made of Ash”

My husband is made of ash. He likes to smear himself into my tears when he can’t get them to stop. “Don’t do that,” I say, disliking the way he raccoons up my eyes with his darkness. The way he blows around me when I’m trying to pull myself together. Was it the scar over his … Continue reading My Husband Is Made of Ash

August 8, 2016: “At Sea”

My first love was my last love because I married it. Three months after my grandfather died, I met the kid who became my husband, and eventually we became adults. Somewhere in there we had four kids. Grandpa was in the Navy a long time ago and had traveled a few places. He’d take me … Continue reading At Sea

August 1, 2016: “The Farmers’ Market”

There were booths and stalls selling soaps and granola and candles and jewelry rings bangles earrings necklaces chokers with chunky stones and ropes and beads performers juggling rainbow colored balls or tossing rings that disappeared. I had the boys with me and I told them to stay close and they did they were close the … Continue reading The Farmers’ Market

July 25, 2016: “Little Plum”

“You love me so much you can hardly stand it,” says the mother, who is also a monolith, toppling. Her body is long and broad and her female child has a difficult time looking at it directly. Instead she looks at the microwave, which blinks in a way that seems both friendly and aggressive. It … Continue reading Little Plum

July 18, 2016: “The Sound and the Song”

The baby was asleep. The news report was over and the channel had moved on to commercials, which surprised the mother, who had stood up at the end of the newscast to do something, but what? She pressed her hands against her eyes: wet. She’d been crying. Her eyes were puffy, her stomach hollow-feeling, as … Continue reading The Sound and the Song

July 11, 2016: “Egg Baby”

We’ve had Addison and her egg all week. She named it Molly and drew its face with permanent marker: two gaping eyes and a mouth like a sideways capital D. It’s for a kindergarten class project on parenthood. At night Molly sleeps in a cardboard bassinet in the refrigerator. “How does that teach her about … Continue reading Egg Baby

July 5, 2016: “The Nest”

In the meantime, they would stay in the house. They loved it and it was theirs; neither would leave it. But they had run out of money and the work had stopped and they could not do any more or live alongside each other any longer. Nick went to the basement where the boxes were … Continue reading The Nest

June 13, 2016: “Storage”

Tammy couldn’t believe no one else wanted him. She only had to knock over three milk jars with this ping-pong ball and he’d be hers. She squinted again at the oversized hot pink teddy bear. Its rainbow heart beat loudly calling to her, but Tammy couldn’t be swayed. On a stool next to the teddy … Continue reading Storage

June 6, 2016: “Little Harlot”

Clatter of chopsticks, rice bowls, smacking lips of aunties and uncles seated at wobbly folding tables we’d draped in our best linens, greedily eating our best food: roasted pig pieces, oily duck chunks—tender, pink. The baby, hidden under a heart-print blanket Lin had strung around her chest with a shoelace, makes kissing sounds like the … Continue reading Little Harlot

May 31, 2016: “Surge and Recede”

We were on 45th and Rosa and I watched a plane fall from the sky like a toy from the hands of some celestial child. At first, I thought, it must be landing, and then I said, it must be landing on some rural strip somewhere we don’t know about. Somewhere miles away. But no. … Continue reading Surge and Recede

May 23, 2016: “Summer Baby”

The seventeen-year cicadas punched out in May and throttled through June. On porch evenings, sitting with my Apollos, we discerned three calls. One with four distinct parts, one with two crescendos, and a third went skeedle-dee-boppity-doobop-deedleeeeee. I couldn’t decode cricket, noise looping excitedly all around in the night, in the trees: labor pains. What are … Continue reading Summer Baby

May 16, 2016: “My Friend Diane”

My friend Diane once had sex with this guy and went home from his place the next morning wearing his roommate’s contact lenses instead of her own. She’d gotten wasted like always and was so hungover she didn’t even notice. The roommate was not happy. Diane tried to laugh it off but the dude never … Continue reading My Friend Diane

May 9, 2016: “I’d Botch Data for You”

Today, we’re scientists. We flip over our horseshoe crabs and try to find where their souls latch on, somewhere among their many slowly moving legs, their layers of shell. With syringes, we poke between their abdominal plates, puncture a soft tissue spot, and draw their blue blood. It looks like cleaning chemicals, like if you … Continue reading I’d Botch Data for You

May 2, 2016: “The Tale End”

My boyfriend doesn’t like fish.  He is Asian, Chinese-American to be exact, so I find this funny.  I am Asian, Korean-American, to be exact, so I feel free to tell him so. Well, you don’t like ginger, he says. True, but being Asian and not liking fish is like, well, not liking rice! He grins.  … Continue reading The Tale End

April 25, 2016: “Several Repurposed Pictorials”

Earth pig At first light: what you are being offered is not made plain. You are going to have to dig. Go to it. The book is open. There will be a test. At your death, which will likely be violent, men will come. They will prise your teeth from your skull and string them … Continue reading Several Repurposed Pictorials

April 18, 2016: “Cravat”

I hang my jacket in the closet and then turn on my mother’s answering machine, hoping there’s a message from my Uncle Jack with his flight times. He’s in California now. He and my mother were never close but I’d called him, wanting him to know that his sister was in the hospital, that the … Continue reading Cravat

April 11, 2016: “Prismatic”

2. Sheepie. Bubba. Nappy. Mummy-sit. Book. Good-girl, girl-I-am, Molly-girl. Audie. Hot. No, Audie, no-no-no. 3. I. Don’t. Like. Audie. I bite Audie. I sit in the corner. Bad Molly, mad-bad-sad Molly. 8. Audrey stole my words. When I was two, and Audrey was six. My mouth wide open, the screams running through me like a … Continue reading Prismatic

April 4, 2016: “Sometimes My Father Comes Back from the Dead”

He’s forgotten something again—an umbrella, or his hat and gloves, his lunchbox—and comes charging through the front door and into our kitchen, muttering, mad at himself. It’s all deeply unsettling to my wife and young son, who never knew him when he was alive. “He’s probably forgotten he’s dead,” I joke after the fifth or … Continue reading Sometimes My Father Comes Back from the Dead

April 1, 2016: “Steep”

It was the kind of day that made Everett want to curl up like a three-banded armadillo. Before work, a parking lot seagull missed pooping on his head by a centimeter, a semi-truck splashed water on his pants at lunch time, and worst of all, by 3 PM every coffee shop in town was somehow, mysteriously out … Continue reading Steep

March 14, 2016: “The Brittle Man”

Keith’s Han-D-Fill was a speck of nothing off I-90 somewhere between Flintlock and Raxton, Montana. Half a day of white, roadside crosses, and we were ready to be whole again. Where that happened didn’t matter. Driving for days on such broken sleep—it felt like we were speeding through a kitchen, knocking over cups and saucers. … Continue reading The Brittle Man

March 7, 2016: “Foresight”

Foresight arrives in an Amazon box. The woman thinks of the man she has stopped loving and the job she hates. She is tired of life lessons. They bring her no closer to figuring out what she wants. Foresight tastes like liquid cotton candy. She lies back on the couch with her eyes closed. She … Continue reading Foresight

February 29, 2016: “The Girl with the Egg”

The girl takes the egg everywhere. She washes it at school because the water at home does not get hot. She washes it with a toothbrush that her Math teacher threw away. Sometimes, the other students stare at her as she brushes the egg. They gargle and spit in the sink next to hers, and … Continue reading The Girl with the Egg

February 22, 2016: “The Final Problem”

The seven detectives lived together in a rented house. Two shared a bedroom, four had their own rooms, and one slept on the screened-in back porch, where it was darkest. All were men. All answered the advertisement for rooms and were not surprised to see the others. All had origins they did not share and, … Continue reading The Final Problem

February 15, 2016: “Determining the Gull Bone Index”

We’ve been freefalling for months according to Becky’s day planner. An expanse of mountainous crags stretches beneath us, endless and unmoving. Perspective lines do not shift. Daniel insists we move closer to the ground each day—he has developed a method of squinting and measuring distances with his fingers. The rush of constant velocity had been … Continue reading Determining the Gull Bone Index

February 8, 2016: “Sea of Love”

My husband said something very clever once. I had sliced my wrist—this was only an accident—and we were sitting in an emergency room. A nurse had wrapped my arm in bandages and then left to take care of other people, some of whom were also bleeding. People don’t know how much blood there is in … Continue reading Sea of Love

February 1, 2016: “Scooter”

I saw a man holding a gun to a dog’s head and another man taking their picture so I stepped back and assessed like number one what is going on number two do I want to see it if this man blows this dog’s head off number three what is the other possibility here. The … Continue reading Scooter

January 25, 2016: “Some Cool Heaven”

I learned that I was sick again on a Wednesday. The following Saturday, I took my five-year-old son to the county fair. I planned for us to ride the Ferris wheel together, eat corndogs, pet baby animals. I wanted to give him memories that would stick: cotton candy shrinking and sweet on his tongue, a … Continue reading Some Cool Heaven

January 18, 2016: “Daddy’s Boy”

1. Open your mouth. Sing, boy. Rise up from your pew and praise Him. Take your hands off your hips. Don’t dance, don’t smile, just clap. Firm up those wrists and sing. Your mouth is His. Those lips? That voice? Speaking of voice: make yours deep. No one likes a boy who sounds like a … Continue reading Daddy’s Boy

January 11, 2016: “The Favorite Person”

Leeasha went in with all her clothes on because it seemed like a good idea but now she’s more uncomfortable than before. “Put your nose down to the bottom,” says Leeasha’s brother, Will. “Smell it.” Drowning is interesting and can happen when people smell the floors of things filled with water. Leeasha kicks Will in … Continue reading The Favorite Person

January 4, 2016: “Dollhead”

I was up in the plum tree when I saw him climbing over the piles of trash—plywood with rusted nails jutting out at weird angles, tires and license plates, bushes that pushed through all that trash. His face was twisted in concentration as he stepped gingerly over the hypodermic needles. I wondered how he’d learned … Continue reading Dollhead

December 7, 2015: “Not to Scale”

The Snake Lady disappoints us. We waited in line for half an hour, weaving through the queues of curious gawkers. Some kids in front of us kick the cage, clang their steel-toed boots against the bars. What we see when we finally reach the cage: a plaster coiled snake body, a woman’s poorly painted head … Continue reading Not to Scale

November 30, 2015: “The Kindest Cut”

My little girl regularly relays just how little she is, and isn’t. No longer so little to need to clutch toys in bed, still little enough to need to clutch something. That something is, for now, my hair. She will only drift to sleep with the mess of it clutched in her fingers. It provides … Continue reading The Kindest Cut

November 23, 2015: “He Called Me Honeybunch”

He called me Honeybunch and I called him Sweetheart. He came over when I totaled my Nana’s car. I wrote him a poem on sage-scented paper for the anniversary of his brother’s death, and gave it to him before a pink sunrise. He held me close as our hearts pounded in shock over the blue … Continue reading He Called Me Honeybunch

November 16, 2015: “Parting”

They split the chattels in two. Half an eggplant sat in a half Tupperware container in what was left of the refrigerator. Half a television perched on half a cabinet. Half a Siamese spread itself over the semi-circle of the felted rug. My mother cut towelling lengthwise, sawed the dining table on a diagonal. It … Continue reading Parting

November 9, 2015: “Memory”

Me? I remember it was the spring I got my breasts (my breasts are two ringing anvils, basically perfectly loud) and James Franco in front of the class and staggering on about something, I forget, most likely a charity involving fire swallowers, something to do with inadequate health care in an environment of very great … Continue reading Memory

November 2, 2015: “When They Say Share the Road They Don’t Know What I’ve Already Given”

My most recent ex-lover’s dick fell off. One day, just like that, he emerged from the shower in a cloud of steam, feet red from the hot water, and there was nothing left but a little nub. “What the fuck is that,” I asked. “What am I supposed to do with that?” “I don’t know,” … Continue reading When They Say Share the Road They Don’t Know What I’ve Already Given

October 26, 2015: “The Butterfly Effect”

“Thirty years I’ve been in San Francisco,” she said, her watery old eyes finding memories beneath the rain-pelted, sodium-yellow streetlights outside, “and I can tell you the tram’s never gone down Powell. No, it hasn’t gone that way at all since I’ve been here. This’s the first time, honey. Always used to be California Street.” … Continue reading The Butterfly Effect

October 19, 2015: “Things You Won’t Tell Your Therapist”

The reason you have panic attacks at school is because things move too fast, there are too many people in the hallways, and the bells are too loud. The reason you get confused and have to think for a really long time before you answer a question, any question, is because you are only getting … Continue reading Things You Won’t Tell Your Therapist