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

October 12, 2015: “To Hold But Not Have”

The unannounced plummet of her heart that day in Galway when she saw newlyweds taking a victory lap around the town, dragging tin cans behind their chauffeured car. The sedan was a vintage Buick-looking thing: curvy with chrome details arcing down its powder-blue body like eyeliner. Her tears dripped in time with the cans’ rat-a-tat-tat-tat. … Continue reading To Hold But Not Have

October 5, 2015: “Grains and Names”

In twenty or more colors, sand artists capture slivers of the Painted Canyon in twisted vases at the fair. I honeymooned in the Painted Canyon. It was hot. It was dry. It was filled with grit. Last week, I imagined my husband’s head in a giant glass jar, the one we keep our wine corks … Continue reading Grains and Names

September 14, 2015: “Recurring Dreams Inspired by David Foster Wallace’s Post-Modern Classic Infinite Jest

1. Today is the final for a class I’ve never actually attended and I realize, as I open the door to Georgetown’s multi-winged LXR Building (Loyola-Xavier-Ryder), that I don’t even know which classroom I belong in. The halls are empty. I have a few friends in the class—Natalie Lescroart, Walker Loetscher—and I poke my head … Continue reading Recurring Dreams Inspired by David Foster Wallace’s Post-Modern Classic Infinite Jest

September 7, 2015: “Bait”

A man knows what he knows. Call it gut. Instinct or what have you. First thing I think when I see him coming up the lane: He ain’t no count. Could tell by his walk. Number two, he’s ran hisself outta gas. His shifting gait says he never learnt it’s as easy to drive off … Continue reading Bait

August 31, 2015: “Hi”

I was reading Goodnight Moon to my son when my brother called. But it was only after James was asleep––a major tell being his partially open little mouth––that I put the book down and left his room. My brother, as always, hadn’t left me a message. As far as I knew he never left anyone … Continue reading Hi

August 24, 2015: “Stone, Well, Girl”

The girl would kick it on the way home from school, some fallen thing on the ground. Perhaps a stone, squarish, leaping small across other stones. I think it must have been a stone. The path of her punt was a lazy line, a gentle skid, the stone hopping in short dusty zags a foot … Continue reading Stone, Well, Girl

August 17, 2015: “Of All the Animals in the Aquarium”

Mama loves the sea jellies best. “See the way the bell goes blub blub?” she says to Robby, pointing to the opaque body of one of the moon jellies. “They pull the water in and push it out, just like pumping blood. Water is their blood. It’s how jellies get oxygen and other nutrients.” Mama … Continue reading Of All the Animals in the Aquarium

August 10, 2015: “The 12 Steps (Of Making Amends To A Dog)”

1. Admit life has become unmanageable. Do you even own a dog? You’re not sure, but there is definitely one in your house. He looks down at you with sad eyes when you wake up on the floor. It’s not clear whether it was him or you who wet the bed. 2. Come to believe … Continue reading The 12 Steps (Of Making Amends To A Dog)

August 3, 2015: “Glint”

You kept your milk teeth in a prescription bottle for cough medicine; the whole thing pushed unceremoniously in the back of a cupboard drawer. When the light came in through your window each morning it blessed the bed from head to foot. Your bleached blonde hair was a light. Your mother a premonition. You drank … Continue reading Glint

July 27, 2015: “The Moon is a Wasteland”

At night, Thomas climbed up onto the roof of his house carrying a lasso. He threw it out, and it fell, limp and coiled. He tried again, and again, and on the seventh try, Goddamnit, he really did put that bastard right around the moon. He pulled it down and it wasn’t as big as … Continue reading The Moon is a Wasteland

July 20, 2015: “Egg Alien”

She dreamt of aliens with eggs for heads and when she told him at dinner, he told her that was normal. “Just a stress dream,” he said over their steaks. She’d asked for medium, but it was still bleeding when she cut into it. “It looked like their faces were drawn on with a sharpie,” … Continue reading Egg Alien

July 13, 2015: “Eighty-Eight Minutes at Sea”

Five drinks into the night, Ben decides that the movie is shit. Loud enough for the whole party to hear. Ocean Man pulls Ben into their marble white kitchen and points out that nobody’s forcing Ben to watch. Ben pours himself another, what was it, Earl Grey and vodka, and says that it’s the spear-fishing … Continue reading Eighty-Eight Minutes at Sea

July 6, 2015: “Natural Disaster”

My mother wore the broken back of the house inside her. She made us grey dinners and lifted her face to see our faces when our lips moved. “Hello,” was all her face said, even if we made her angry, even if I yelled at my brother for taking the last piece of breast meat … Continue reading Natural Disaster

June 15, 2015: “Bird of Paradise”

After the Kravian flu laid waste to the suburbs of Denver in only a matter of weeks, we go to work. I—an undertaker born of a family of undertakers descended from griffins who guarded the mysteries of life and death—dutifully consume the dead all over the city. Yet, because we’ve arrived on the tails of … Continue reading Bird of Paradise

June 8, 2015: “Puberty”

It has been three days since my fourteenth birthday, since my dad unexpectedly picked me up after track practice and told me he was taking me on what he called a mystery ride. I’d never left Cleveland, never been on a plane and, despite all that, twenty-two hours later I found myself wearing the same … Continue reading Puberty

June 1, 2015: “Drone”

Cari awoke deep in the night to a low buzz that reminded her of a chainsaw. Dennis slept beside her, his snoring steady, the hair on the back of his neck a tickle on her nose. She rolled onto her back, listening. When the buzzing continued, she swung out of bed, unable to sleep. She’d … Continue reading Drone

May 25, 2015: “The Sadness of Spirits”

The spirits gather around the Ouija board. They never know which one of them will be called, but they are hopeful. They have messages, words of advice, theories on life they have spent thousands of years perfecting. They are still working towards spiritual actualization, but that is a long process, often involving the silent voice … Continue reading The Sadness of Spirits

May 18, 2015: “The Easy Arm of Adam”

They left the nunnery, where they’d been renting a room, already upset. On the day of their visit to the Sistine Chapel, the weather was hotter than expected and muggy. Emma was anxious to get to their destination. Charlotte complained about the new, stiff sandals she’d purchased at the market and the way her fine … Continue reading The Easy Arm of Adam

May 11, 2015: “Ghosht Korma”

I dream about Ghosht Korma. Onion and garlic crescents shriveling in the fuming oil alongside turmeric and pepper-smeared chops. The old Hindi music swirling like gossip in the street. I wake up and see a stranger glancing at my naked thighs. The heat is gathering and so are clients. Our mustard-colored room lined with nylon … Continue reading Ghosht Korma

May 4, 2015: “Old Man Falling Off of Stool”

There were no seats left at any of the tables, so the old man stepped over to an empty high stool at the counter, sliding in with his hands full—a plate (gruyere and pastrami on sourdough) jittering in his right hand, and a novel (a spy-thriller) clutched in his left—and lowered one haunch down toward … Continue reading Old Man Falling Off of Stool

April 27, 2015: “Any Friend of My Friend”

An Irish friend told me that her German friend, a frequent traveling companion and fellow fan of Leonard Cohen, had called. I wasn’t sure why but Leonard Cohen was a big hit with the Irish and also with the Germans. “Do you want to come to Berlin and see the Leonard Cohen concert?” her German … Continue reading Any Friend of My Friend

April 20, 2015: “Broken Bird”

It was unusually, uncomfortably warm for October. The air seemed to become thicker the further south I drove; it bled into the car and pressed me down. It didn’t take long to get there. It was over six hours to my parents’ house, but the dread of visiting always stole the time away. Every time … Continue reading Broken Bird

March 31, 2015: “Fall”

My wife and I were lying in our backyard, staring at the sky. It was ten or ten-thirty, and we were halfway through our second pack of cigarettes. It was a clear night, but the smoke from our cigarettes seemed, somehow, to dirty up the sky. I’d just taken a new one from the pack … Continue reading Fall

March 16, 2015: “The Pool Guy”

It was not a separation. Not what you’d call a conventional marriage to begin with. More like I was alone experiencing an emotion and then I was alone experiencing a different emotion. And everyday the pool guy came. And I ordered the pool guy to drink with me. I said sit with me. I said … Continue reading The Pool Guy

March 9, 2015: “Two Truths and One Lie About Marian ‘Lady Tyger’ Trimiar, Former Women’s Lightweight Champion of the World”

1. Lady Tyger trained seven days a week in the months leading up to her unofficial debut match at Washington Heights’ Audubon Ballroom in 1974. The fight wasn’t legal—not with two women in the ring—but she sparred anyway. When she trained, she boxed with whoever showed up at the gym. The men who challenged her … Continue reading Two Truths and One Lie About Marian ‘Lady Tyger’ Trimiar, Former Women’s Lightweight Champion of the World


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