All posts by Erika Raskin

Tooth by Jennifer Coffeen

Teeth lined up on a table

  She felt the first loose tooth at 5am on Tuesday. A back tooth on the lower left side, her wisdom tooth? She felt it the moment she woke up, lying in bed while the monitor screamed in her ear. She pushed her tongue against it and the tooth moved, like a rock rolling around in mud. Nearly painless, she found herself pushing her tongue against it over and over to the tune of the screaming monitor. It reminded her of picking a scab, how the little wince kinda felt nice. “You should do something … Continue reading Tooth by Jennifer Coffeen

Nancy Christie Interviews Our Fiction Editor

purple typewriter

Full disclosure: I didn’t ask Erika Raskin* to be this month’s interviewee until after she had decided on the story I had submitted. That being said, once she had reached her decision (a yes, by the way!), I followed up with an invitation to be on my Focus On Fiction blog, and she agreed. —Nancy Christie What is your role at Streetlight Magazine? I’ve been the fiction editor of the (beautiful) online arts journal for a year and a half. As an editor, what do you look for when deciding which piece to publish? I … Continue reading Nancy Christie Interviews Our Fiction Editor

The Upside of Being an Airhead

Long line of stopped cars with drivers standing around

Here are the things I’ve always found challenging: Organization Instructions (written, spoken and pictorial) Maps (obviously) Sciencey things Paying attention The good news about these long-standing issues is that now that I am of a certain age I’m not overly concerned when I find I have accidentally sent the uneaten slab of a dinner ham in my husband’s lunch box–instead of the thinly sliced sandwich I made for him. Or that I’ve zoned out while driving and missed my exit by many, many digits. Or misplaced the Costco receipt somewhere after the cash register and … Continue reading The Upside of Being an Airhead

The Joplin Room by Anne-Marie Yerks


The woman walking into the lobby wore a brown skirt, white tights, and a pair of clogs. Her name was Shellay—she-lay—and she had a Polish last name that was hard to pronounce. She said she was a librarian and had a nerdy, unkempt look about her: Stringy hair that was dry on the ends, a pasty complexion, and a long thin nose. She wore glasses, of course. All librarians should wear glasses. Hers were a pale shade of rose. She wasn’t from Ohio, as Darcy was guessing, but from Oregon. “I’d like to stay in … Continue reading The Joplin Room by Anne-Marie Yerks

Street Poetry by Katie Davis

Creek running through woods

  After training as a journalist and spending years covering stories all over the world, I returned to my family home in the Adams-Morgan neighborhood in Washington, D.C. and began to listen in a deeper way to the stories of the people who live here. For 15 years now I have been writing short audio monologues in the voice of my neighbors, focusing deeply on place. When these disparate stories are gathered together, a chronicle of a single neighborhood will emerge. The three boys who were 12 and 13 when I wrote the following poem … Continue reading Street Poetry by Katie Davis

Memo to Right Brain by Will Conway

ink doodles on notepad

TO: Right Brain FROM: Me SUBJECT: Annual Evaluation Your full Annual Evaluation Report will be sent shortly but I want to go over some of the highlights briefly. First of all, thank you for finally returning the questionnaire. Frankly, Corporate was getting a little peeved at the delay and hadn’t bought your excuse that it spontaneously burst into flames. Chumsworth said he saw you rummaging through the piles of clutter on your desk muttering, “It was just here…” Be that as it may, we’re glad you returned it although some of the executive team didn’t … Continue reading Memo to Right Brain by Will Conway

Encounter by Lori Franklin

Neon lights reflected in teacup

Her car was still sprinkled with debris from her recent move to the city. A misshapen yoga mat, tea towels, her boyfriend’s guitar pedals, a bedside lamp; the persisting clutter of merging lives. Wishing she’d taken off her cardigan, she baked in the afternoon sun. The air-conditioner was broken, pushing a current of hot air around the interior, and making the berry-scented freshener tap softly against the windscreen in the artificial breeze. Checking her mirrors, she signaled to change lanes. She always felt better—more insulated—driving in the middle lane in the city. The traffic was … Continue reading Encounter by Lori Franklin

Belle Isle Aquarium by Amy Kenyon

Belle Isle aquarium interior

“Mother?” Plump, magnified, younger lips open and close. “Mother?” How many years must she hear it? Mother Mother Mother. How many years already? The lips are those of a luminous fish suspended in water when it ceases to swim back and forth. A fish that hangs in eerie silence, mouth dropping open and then locking upward as it takes in water before pumping it back through the gills. Breathing. Once, as a child, she visited the aquarium at Belle Isle. Nina held her hand as they moved slowly through the large gallery beneath an arched … Continue reading Belle Isle Aquarium by Amy Kenyon

The Peninsula by Christi Craig

campground with RV

Bobbie Ellen leaned against the wall of the arcade at Minnow Lake Campground and squinted at Nick Baker. The first wave of a thick Oklahoma summer had sent her inside with the rest of the gang, where the dark room and A/C kept them all from drowning in the heat. Not that being inside offered much relief, since Nick hogged every inch of cool with his seventeen-year-old self as he stood in front of the air conditioner and worked his usual game, Primal Rage. He dropped fifty cents into the coin slot and played another … Continue reading The Peninsula by Christi Craig

Thinking About the Bologna Train Station by Stefanie Newman

Bologna massacre memorial

“I passed through Bologna once on the way to…” That’s how my favorite Italian city is usually featured in travel narratives. Tourists know its train station, a surprisingly modest building considering how many travelers are propelled through it and on to the rest of Europe. It is a squat two-story rectangle with an unfussy columned entrance. Its design is bereft of allusions to the excitement of rail travel. The architect might have had a post office in mind. Italian train stations always combine hurry and lassitude; waiting punctuated by last-minute alterations in the track assignments. … Continue reading Thinking About the Bologna Train Station by Stefanie Newman