Catalogers of the Galaxy by M.X. Wang


 

Later, when asked to speak about what happened for the second time, Harlen recalled that it was in fact a single object, faint and blurry one second, close and vibrant the next. It hovered overhead: two blazing parallel rods, about a hundred feet across, connected by a transparent, egg-shaped disk that expanded and collapsed like an inflating and deflating balloon. There was a lot of pressure, as if giant hands were pushing down on his shoulders and scalp. “As soon as my knees gave, the pressure left and what I saw changed. I mean, I … Continue reading Catalogers of the Galaxy by M.X. Wang

Sam Abell: Cuba Up Close


 

Photographer Sam Abell is a seeker, camera in hand. A National Geographic staff photographer for 33 years, Abell has traveled from Japan to Newfoundland, from Australia to Russia discovering and shooting life’s “staying” moments. He continues to explore and photograph destinations of his own choosing. Most recently, he joined a dozen photographers on an invitation trip to Cuba honoring the 81st anniversary of Walker Evans’ photographing in Havana. Here too, Abell found dramatic scenarios, vibrant colors and easy camraderie. “I would say the number one ethos, sensation or emotion that you feel on the streets … Continue reading Sam Abell: Cuba Up Close

The Hairy Man by Laurie Billman

salmon
 

It was midnight of our last night in the cannery, and all twelve of us who had been assigned the fish house had been working since seven that morning. All day and into the light-filled night, we had been cleaning fat salmon as they slithered out of the tin chutes directly from the salmon boats. White fish bellies were burned on my lids when I closed my eyes, and my ears sang with an exhausted hum. When the warning bell rang, down slid silver salmon, spilling, wet and shiny, onto the long, wooden tables. We … Continue reading The Hairy Man by Laurie Billman

Lunchero by Larry Strauss

tacos truck
 

I used to think the school at which I taught should have been named Rodney Dangerfield High because nobody got any respect. Oppressive rules treated students like babies. Weapons checks regarded them as criminals. Teachers faced overcrowded classrooms with shamefully inadequate resources and endured blatant—and often profane—rudeness from students and endless interruptions from everyone. We—the teachers—disregarded administrative rules as a matter of course. Other high schools and the district as a whole disdained us because we were small and had no football team, because our basketball team had a reputation for fighting and mayhem (because … Continue reading Lunchero by Larry Strauss

Phoenix by Juditha Dowd


 

“So, what do you think?” said Don. He’d hoped Alison might bring it up this time but she was staring out the big windows toward the marina, one of several on Venice Island where they were staying. He followed her gaze to anchored boats bobbing in the onshore breeze. Alison came to, shifted her attention back to him. “I guess that little Cape had possibilities.” She took another sip of the Sangiovese the waiter recommended, surprisingly good for such a well-priced wine. “Cape?” Don wasn’t versed in architectural styles. Curb appeal, price point—this was language … Continue reading Phoenix by Juditha Dowd

The Yellow House by Judy Longley

tiger swallowtail butterfly
 

Sleep bears me to the farmhouse slanted on a steep hill, commanding the highway below. Yellow clapboard and fieldstone constructed after the Civil War, the first floor a single room of stone, fireplace centering it. I warm my hands at the stone hearth—a rosemary bush flames silver-blue tongues, new stems uncoiling as fast as they burn. Through pungent smoke shades appear: my children young again, interrupted in their play, John, my professor husband with his eternal scatter of books, friends, just passing through and the ghost we all tolerated. A woman we agreed, wearing white … Continue reading The Yellow House by Judy Longley

It’s Been a Long Time by Lawrence F. Farrar


 

Wisps of early evening fog had begun to push in by the time Rachel parked her Volvo in the hotel parking lot. She switched off the ignition, leaned back in the seat, and sighed. A dark eyed woman with an almost pretty face, she checked her makeup in the rear view mirror and touched her hair with her hands. Her brown hair had been longer then; now she wore it short. Would he notice? Since taking the university job at Irvine, she had driven to San Diego perhaps a half dozen times—but had set foot … Continue reading It’s Been a Long Time by Lawrence F. Farrar

Home Sick by Erika Raskin


 

The room was humid with the scent of pine cleanser and Tierney, already sick with nerves, nearly gagged. She dropped her purse on the bed and went to the window that hadn’t budged since she checked in. Putting all of her weight into it she strained so hard a grunt escaped, leaving her feeling stupid with effort. The admonishment to try, try again was neatly countered by the definition of insanity. Another dueling dictum. The acrid stench triggered a particularly nasty childhood memory. She’d used the disinfectant to clean the dining room rug as a … Continue reading Home Sick by Erika Raskin

Her Apron Full of Crinkle Root by Roselyn Elliot

crinkle root leaf and root
 

Make yourself useful! Rock the baby, feed the baby. Move away from that radio, before I pull both your ears and unplug the thing forever. Today, I’ll teach you how to make pickles. First, go to the garden and pick enough cucumbers to fill this pan. Then I’ll show you how to wash them and make the pickling juice. Go, before your mother comes back. Do this for me. My father supported his widowed mother. Dad was Grandma’s baby, her youngest of seven, and he brought her to live with him and my mother on … Continue reading Her Apron Full of Crinkle Root by Roselyn Elliot

Dear Johnny… by Margaret Thacker

Non-Fiction
 

I read your obituary in the paper today. It said you were 49 years old when you died. You left to mourn a wife, three children, one grandchild, a sister, and foster parents who steered you in the right direction. You worked for a construction company and were a volunteer fireman. It had been so long since I’d seen you. I was nine and you were ten. You came to school mid-year, after everyone had been assigned a desk and knew their place on the bus. I was in third grade and you were in … Continue reading Dear Johnny… by Margaret Thacker