Vena Amoris by Kathleen McKitty Harris

Photo of hand with wedding rings on ring finger
 

When he put this ring on my finger, my skin was smoother, and more supple. My hand was thinner, and less freckled than it is now. When he asked me to marry him, he got down on one knee in front of the London flat where he had once lived, and where our love had blossomed—when we were both study-abroad college students living on Dunhills and half-pints of lager and takeaway curry fries, and falling outrageously in love with each other. On the night we got engaged, we lay in a hotel bed after too … Continue reading Vena Amoris by Kathleen McKitty Harris

Hooligans and Lunatics by Alex Joyner

Paper plate with a tiny spot of light on it
 

“We’re walking to the midnight service?” my daughter asked. “With all the hooligans out there.” It was Christmas Eve. I looked out the window onto the streets of our Eastern Shore town. A mostly full moon moved in and out of backlit clouds. The Chinese were landing a rocket on its dark side and I kept singing a line in my head from Mulan—“mysterious as the dark side of the moon.” “Parksley doesn’t have hooligans,” I replied, smiling at her faux foreboding. “Come on.” We added layers of coats and hats and headed out into … Continue reading Hooligans and Lunatics by Alex Joyner

Garbage Pails by Terry Barr


 

“Haze opened the extra door, expecting it to be a closet. It opened out onto a drop of about thirty feet and looked down into a narrow bare back yard where the garbage was collected. There was a plank nailed across the door frame at knee level to keep anyone from falling out.” ( Flannery O’Connor, Wise Blood, 61)   In our family album there is a picture of me taken by my Dad using his Brownie camera. The date is March 1959. I am standing in our back yard, about twenty feet from a … Continue reading Garbage Pails by Terry Barr

Beaten by Victor Altshul

Color photo of green meadow looking up a mountain with wooden fence
 

A once resplendent roan lying on its side, legs flailing, as if it thought— as if, in its final moment it could think at all— that it was still running, wild and free. So disdainful, so high-spirited, breathing patrician defiance with its last sad wisps of breath… Could it have known that its kind master whose gentle sweetness I, a fourteen-year-old city boy, once had longed to emulate, had sought only to tame its wilder excesses, crashing the wooden club down on the very top of its skull, to oppose the highest point on the … Continue reading Beaten by Victor Altshul

Inhabiting Your Character by Deborah Prum

woman wearing Virtual Reality glasses
 

Have you ever used virtual reality goggles to watch a movie? Imagine that the film starts off in an African village. Ahead of you, you see a hut and can almost smell the smoke rising from a campfire. You hear laughter. On the left, two small boys run past. Behind you, mist rises from the river. On the right, men start arguing loudly. Within a few seconds, you are dropped into the middle of the story, exactly where the screenwriter wants you to be. Watching a movie this way reminds me of how I feel … Continue reading Inhabiting Your Character by Deborah Prum

Broken by Alison Thompson

Stairway in a teal hallway
 

On the third visit, they kicked his stomach and broke his thumbs. The bones cracked like an electrical charge shooting through his entire body, exiting via his skull, as if everything he knew, everything he had ever perceived, was wiped clean. For those few moments, the world flashed white, then just as quickly, his whole reality dumped back down on him, a furious writhing mess he could not make sense of. Then he blacked out. When he regained consciousness, he was lying in a pool of his own blood-tinged vomit. He had two thoughts; one … Continue reading Broken by Alison Thompson

Nightfall and Infra Dig, 2 poems by Todd Copeland

Color photo of clouded sunset with 1 bird flying through
 

Nightfall There are stories no one knows. High summer. The sound of tree frogs coming from all quarters.   Infra Dig You know how when the sky goes to hell in the west there’s inevitably a black dot of a bird moving slowly, often left to right, and you admit, although you know it’s something that shouldn’t be said, considering God granted us dominion, that, despite being small, such a bird possibly matters more to the world than yourself? Todd Copeland’s poems have appeared in The Journal, High Plains Literary Review, Southern Poetry Review, The … Continue reading Nightfall and Infra Dig, 2 poems by Todd Copeland

A Cottage by the Lake by Miles Fowler

Photo of a pond reflecting the sky
 

Most of the year while I was growing up, my family lived in a seven-room house in Worcester, Massachusetts. It had three bedrooms, one and a half bathrooms, and a two-car garage, although we didn’t have two cars yet. Every June, after school was out for the summer, we would pack the car and drive to our cottage by a lake in Rutland, Massachusetts, where we stayed until Labor Day. The drive seemed long when I was little, but it could not have been more than forty minutes. My father’s parents had given this cottage … Continue reading A Cottage by the Lake by Miles Fowler

Memento Mori by Melissa Knox

Photo of person by grave marked with rocks and teddy bear
 

To be no more; sad cure; for who would lose, Though full of pain, this intellectual being, Those thoughts that wander through Eternity, To perish rather, swallowed up and lost In the wide womb of uncreated night, Devoid of sense and motion? John Milton, Paradise Lost   In the middle of the night, my husband sat up; he’d been coughing too much and I’d been lying awake listening to his rasping breathing. His doctors understand as much as anyone about his little-known lung disease, but that’s not saying much. They’d ordered an oxygen tank which … Continue reading Memento Mori by Melissa Knox

Arrowhead, Melville’s Home, Pittsfield, Massachusetts by J.R. Solonche

Color photo of Herman Melville's home (yellow clapboard) in Pittsfield, MA
 

It’s hard to see him as a farmer, isn’t it? Bending over the rows of lettuce and corn, feeling the ears between his thumb and forefinger, all the while remembering breadfruit and mango? It’s hard to see him here at all this time of year. Pacing the oak planks of the writing room upstairs, sitting at the table, wearing these glasses, staring through the window out at Greylock, Greylock whose back reminded him of whales. It’s easier in winter. In winter when the five hemlocks in the yard are a five-masted bark. When the mountain … Continue reading Arrowhead, Melville’s Home, Pittsfield, Massachusetts by J.R. Solonche

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