Isadora’s Sandálias

Robin Heald

“Isa, this package came for you.” Mamãe sets a box in front of my cereal bowl.

“It’s from Vó Ziza,” I say. My granny, Ziza, lives in Brazil, far away from our family in Miami.

Things Like These

Eric Berlin

The day my dad came back to get his stuff,
he brought a guy I’d never met, some goon
named Dirk who whispered (when my dad was off
yanking shirts from hangers in his old room)
how hard these things can be…

The Evil Eye

John Hough Jr.

Sidewinder, the kids called her, because of the way she walked, dragging her left leg, swinging herself along half sideways. A witch, they said. Boils cats and puppies to make her soup. No one knew where she lived, or how, or where she’d come from, or if she’d been born here.

The Relative Nature of Things

1 roomful of antique white wicker furniture. 3 crystal vases, Waterford. 1 hollow-base chrome sailing cleat, never used. 1 Afghan rifle, circa 1900. 1 unopened condom, packaged to look like a matchbook, circa 1947. “We have to stop,” Margaret says. “Why?” “Because I haven’t gotten anything I’ve wanted.” It’s the autumn after our father’s death,… Continue reading The Relative Nature of Things


I knew about birth that it happens unbidden
by us, the born, the living.

Opening Day

Nancy K. Pearson

…My father is a lime green leaf that gets up

and walks away when you touch it
because he’s really a katydid. I can’t remember the name for this kind

of camouflage.

Red Line Stories

C.L. Patterson

The overcast skies split to allow a few pale rays of sunlight to bleed through the seemingly solid clouds. Below, an Assistant Professor of English sits on the platform bench. She is alternately grading the stack of papers in her lap and contemplating the advent of her thirty-fourth birthday tomorrow—the end of her “Jesus Year,” as her friends in the Department of Theology call it. She is not certain she ought to be evaluating her students’ work along with her life, but she sallies forth nonetheless.

The Speed of Sound

Elizabeth Gonzalez

A new moon and a clear, cold Michigan night, the sky dead black and loaded with stars, so clear you could see the tendrils in the Milky Way dust—things were aligning, and Arthur Reel was prepared. He called the two neighbors across the road, who were kind enough to turn off their automatic lights whenever Arthur said he would be skywatching. Three a.m. found him perched in his rooftop observatory, sitting in his padded folding chair next to a telescope that was almost as big around as a basketball, waiting.

The Ghosts of Takahiro Ōkyo

Donald Quist

Daisuke would find them in varying levels of decomposition, bleeding out into the snow or scattered over hiking trails, half eaten. Most would be hanging from the trees, the trunks so close and tight that in the perpetual twilight of Mount Fuji’s shadow their limbs looked like strange branches sprouting from the shaggy moss. They were businessmen or star-crossed lovers, victims of incest and criminals. They came from all over.

The Office:

Delali Ayivor

It’s 4:15 am
and I have woken (again)
to read a chapter
of Lolita and the Metamorphosis, two books
that were never meant
to be read together


Rachel Thomas

Ninjaboy is not Japanese. Ninjaboy is not even Korean. Ninjaboy is white. His mother is white. His father is white. Perhaps somewhere far up the line, as his mother claims, there is noble Cherokee blood, but it doesn’t show in Ninjaboy. Ninjaboy is pasty white, the color of Wonderbread, which is one of the few things he allows himself to eat. You can never be too careful when you have enemies like Ninjaboy’s.

Rumor Has It in Winthrop

Lin King

I live in a town called Winthrop in Suffolk, Massachusetts. Population: 18,303.

I attend Winthrop Senior High School along with every teenager in my block, aside from Ashleigh Brown, whose dad took her out of school after she got her front tooth knocked out in Gym in the sixth grade.

The Harm in Knowing

Beth Miles

He gives me a soft punch in the shoulder. “It’s only high school, Tullin. Try not to look so scared.”

I swallow. “R-r-right,” I say out loud, just to prove I’m tougher than I look.

The Paper Lantern

Ruvanee Pietersz Vilhauer

It was Gaga, my grandpa, who told me about Vesak lanterns.

Vesak is a holiday. People celebrate it in Sri Lanka, Gaga said, but not here in the United States. Vesak is for remembering Lord Buddha, a teacher who lived a long time ago. Lord Buddha was very wise, and he understood the truth about everything.

A Skeleton Story

Val Howlett

A young girl has a dream about a monster. The monster is gray. It enters her window at night, just pulls it open and slides through, facing her, sagging and infinitely wrinkled, with rotting teeth. It reaches its long shadow-arms into her parted lips and down her throat to grab her life, to take it from her. She wakes up screaming.

Covered Up Our Names

Jackie Lea Sommers

And so the four of them stole through the dark grounds, Mack and Ty holding hands like absconding lovers leading the way—Mack a little ahead of Ty, tugging on his hand in excitement—and Jonas behind them, with Caleb on his back. It was exhausting, and he never would have imagined he’d have the strength to do it, except that Caleb weighed about eighty-five pounds, and Jonas was high from rule-breaking and night air.

There Was a War On

Erin Hagar

In the winter of 1917, Helen Stevens was a college girl living in New York City. She’d never held a hoe or milked a cow. And she’d certainly never worn men’s overalls.

The Mapmaker’s Boy

Christina Soontornvat

Anyone walking down Feltwhip Road early that morning would have noticed the light in the shop window. The clouds were heavy with water scooped up from the sea, and they threatened to dump it all at once onto the dark streets of Graves. Even so, the golden flicker of that lone candle in the window might make someone stop and linger for a moment.

Crabcake Charlie

Sally Derby

Old Crabcake Charlie was a sun-wrinkled man, with a face like a shriveled raisin. His jaws bristled with stubby white whiskers (for he only shaved on Sundays) and his eyes danced blue as chicory by the roadside.

In Your Head

ZP Heller

Batshit crazy. That’s what Mikey would call anyone who predicted he would run for senior class president, in an election that would nearly kill him. But aside from his best friend Smiles, Mikey doesn’t talk to many other students, let alone anyone clairvoyant enough to see one batshit crazy week into the future.

The Flood

Kathleen Forrester

You waded in knee deep, toes reading the slimy uneven stones, skin crawling through weeds. Pushed off. Boogie board slapping the stillness. You were tempted to lift your knees and feet and hands and arms out and above the murky unknown, balance on your belly and hold the monsters at bay…


Heather Smith Meloche

I’m in a stranger’s bed

a college guy from the cigar shop at the mall. He smells like

tobacco, tastes like mints. He pulls my shirt over my head, weaves his fingers

through mine to pull me down. And I get the same thought.

Every time. The same. I shouldn’t be here.


Betty Yee

Rosa woke up long before Jose, the old one-eyed rooster, began his morning crows. Today was January 17th, the Feast of St. Anthony the Abbot. For years, she’d watched her brother Daniel take his pet turtle out of its cage, wipe its shell carefully with oil until it shined, and put it into a new… Continue reading Cesar

Betty Yee

The Ugliest Dog in the World

Marcia Popp

Maybe it was some kind of Christmas spirit that trailed along after me from Vandalia when I joined up as a drummer with an Illinois regiment in ’63. Or maybe I was just following in Pa’s footsteps, when it come to playing Santa Claus. It was surely something other than good sense that prompted me to deliver a Christmas gift to a Reb camp, in the dead of winter. In secret, almost.

Chasing Shadows

S. E. Sinkhorn

They committed her again.

Kay’s seventy-two-hour hold ends today. She called me to come get her. I guess the doc put her on suicide watch, but now that she’s sober they decided she’s not a risk. I wish they’d just fix her already.

South Omaha From the F Street Exit, JFK Freeway

Lee Reilly

We stop at the red light even though we don’t really have to.  There’re no cars coming; a few, maybe, if it were Saturday when the little men and ladies sally from their wooden houses, making their way to vigil mass at St. Bridget’s, a semi truck maybe lumbering up the hill from the warehouses… Continue reading South Omaha From the F Street Exit, JFK Freeway

Lee Reilly

I Got So Much Love, I Don’t Know Where to Put it

David LeGault

Taken from the ancient city of Pompeii (In the basilica): Let everyone one in love come and see.  I want to break Venus’ ribs with clubs and cripple the goddess’ loins.  If she can strike through my soft chest, then why can’t I smash her head with a club?—Anonymous  (On the walls of a tomb):… Continue reading I Got So Much Love, I Don’t Know Where to Put it

David LeGault

How the Film Flint Distorts the Truth

Mojie Crigler

We smoked crack, not heroin. Jeter Flint bought crack on 16th and Mission and brought it back to the loft (which was on 19th and Bryant, not 23rd and Shotwell) where we cut the crack with cigarette ash, packed it in a pipe and smoked it, exhaling into someone else’s mouth to make the crack last as long as possible. The film gets Jeter’s basic facts right, though: a painter, from Laredo, Texas via Las Vegas, New Mexico.

What You Can Tell from My Childhood Heroes

Sophie Haigney

I thumb through a pocket-sized pink book, rediscovered amongst multiplication tables and half-finished watercolor still-lifes from art class in fourth grade. I can see that it used to have a lock but doesn’t anymore, this dime-store diary that must have been a party favor. I turn the pages slowly, mesmerized by the loops of my h’s and my cursive b’s, by handwriting that is both mine and not mine simultaneously.

Fefe Naa Efe

Delali Ayivor

The sound of this country is the cowbell. That same five beat refrain:

ding ding ding DING DING,

The background for beer as well as church, the pulse underneath the red earth. Everything is in the dirt here, the body, the blood and the Holy Ghost.

First Kiss

Rachel Furey

Mom always said my first kiss would make my scalp tingle—make it light up like a summer field filled with fireflies. My first kiss wasn’t like that at all. My legs dangled from a chair in Nurse Jenkins’ office. I had a roll of gauze twisted into my right nostril.

The Breaking Wheel

Sarah Elizabeth Schantz

Miss Pratt and Miss Avery come all the way from Kansas City. They’re part of a volunteer program aiming to bring charm to rural Kansas. Gran calls it “Social Education,” a term she lifted from the brochure. When Gran drops me at her church, where the classes are held, she says, “I pulled a lot of strings to get you in.”

The Power of Butterflies

Kristin Lenz

I flopped in the orthodontist chair and stared up at Dr. Randall’s nose. I hoped to be back at school in time for music class. It was our final practice for the 3rd grade concert. Dr. Randall switched on the light and blinded me.

The White House

Jennifer Wolf Kam

Amarilla Sarah Weathersby was not one to have her feathers ruffled. The grown-ups in her life said this time and again and so most of them steered clear of her feathers. The girls, however, did not—those dreadful girls at The Preakney School, Julianna Mattheson, Gwendolyn Goddfrey and the rest, with their whispers and giggles and sideways glances at the lunch table.