Podcast: Left at home. A short story performed by Joe Guay. Read the story online: Diluted by Jaime Balboa Follow us!
When I was five years old my stepdad, Bill, found Precious as a stray kitten in the parking lot of his office and brought him/her home. We had him/her fixed at the appropriate time, but later, no one could remember which surgery had been performed. Was the cat spayed or neutered? We decided Precious was a girl—why else would we have named her Precious? And besides, don’t all cats seem inherently female? She was “precious” indeed. Solid white but for a black patch on top of her head between her ears, so little she slept … Continue reading Precious by Sarah Dickerson
You Held My Hand And Walked Me Out Of The Water Sometimes I look at the photos of my parents before they were sick to try and find clues of the diseases to come. There’s one of them courtside at a Providence Friars basketball game, three days after Valentine’s Day. It’s a Thursday, a school night, timestamped 9:25 p.m. Mom must have skipped Survivor. It’s almost a year to the day before Dad’s official diagnosis. They look bold and bright. They belong together, they’re soulmates. And I cry. Mom chose “Grace” as her … Continue reading Room For Grace by Daniel Kenner
I hate the scent of imitation lemon in dish soap. It’s too concentrated to be authentic. But the scent will lose potency once I dilute it in water. That’s always the trick. Dilute what’s unpleasant. Dilute what hurts you, what keeps you up at night and, even though it’s still there, you can bear it, even accept it. The pyramid of dishes starts with a foundation from yesterday and leads, like an archeological excavation of dried food bits, through memories of breakfast and lunch to the dinner we just ate. Dirty mugs and glasses clutter … Continue reading Diluted by Jaime Balboa
California Girls was the lyric that bumped the bass held together by a woman’s sweet, altered, voice that tasted like vanilla but left a burn like bottom shelf vodka; and Elsie Malabago loved to hear this sort of tune on 93.5 POP! Radio, cruising with the windows down in her Mother’s old ’99 Corolla—before her Mother’s heart gave out and she died in that car cursing Papa in Tagalog and staring Elsie in the eye to say “putang ina,” whore, with her dying breath—but Elsie forgot that morning because it wasn’t Mother’s car anymore, it … Continue reading Vanilla Music for Sinister Women Coming of Age by Mark Galarrita
Being disowned by your family is often an integral part of the queer experience. It’s a common story that I find is meticulously avoided in popular, escapist/pulp media—an effect of heterosexism that erases and denies the reality of gay lives: “No kween, make us laugh!” Sometimes I wonder how different my life would be if my father and mother had disowned me. It would be revealing to watch a movie of my life without my father’s influence—a twisted version of It’s a Wonderful Life. My family didn’t disown me. However, they also have never been … Continue reading Placeholder Son by Spriggan Radfae
Dear Dhriti, You’re 4 months old now and have learned how to lie on your stomach and roll over again. You’re reaching for teethers and toys, your mom proudly declares when I badger her for baby deets. She says this is fast, but all I want to scream is “Motor, you slowpoke!” Can’t you grow a little faster? Can’t you see that I’m waiting for you to start reading? I want to buy you your first book and hopefully, all the books in your future bookshelf. I’ll start you on fairytales and then bring … Continue reading A Letter to My 4-Month Old-Niece by Shruti Ramanujam
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