Due Process

By Tim Craig
The young couple left the ball early to make love in the grounds of the villa. But before they had even removed their gloves, they were mauled to death by the host’s four guard dogs.

Family Drive

By Michael Czyzniejewski
My son says, “Wouldn’t it be funny if a business called itself ‘The Pumpkin Patch,’ but instead of you picking pumpkins from a field, they patch your carved pumpkins? Like, you bring in your jack-o-lantern and they put the eyes and stuff back in.”

A Particular Kind of Ruin

By Tommy Dean
After the fire, I walk among the ruins, shudder away from the creaking beams, and I think of your body whole and unscarred.

Ditch Dog

By Gordon W. Mennenga
That dog is metaphor heading west. That dog in the sandy ditch forty miles from Albuquerque is a smoldering secret you’ve kept too long ...

Her Own Long Gown

By Stephen D. Gibson
Although she was a poor person in a poor time, my grandmother played the violin.

Barbara and Gerald

By Joshua Michael Stewart
He asks for forgiveness; she hands him sin. Their marriage: a traveling circus caravanning toward tornado-green sky.

Photo Story: Earth Day

By Emily Rivers
Your pencil snaps halfway through the SAT. Hand up, you stare at the Earth Day poster above the proctor’s head. It says: We Are The Future!

The Magician Creates Their Own Destiny

By Jesse Bradley-Amore
I let you do your job as a gorgeous distraction, spotlight dazzling the audience when it hits your sequins.

The Worm Bitch-Whispers in My Ear as I Lie Six Feet Under in a Plain Pine Box

By Mikki Aronoff
Remember me? My tensile strength, my thrashing will to survive the barb? Your father’s insistent fingers as they twisted to undo my spiral dance around the steel hook’s throat, how he pinched to grab any section of me that wasn’t curling and gripping the shank?

The Frog Pond

Abby Manzella
The rain’s moisture seeps into my car, smelling like the pond where my brother and I hopped across rocks, catching frogs to show to each other and then release.

Dark Wood

By Leonard Kress
We realize that we are lost in the dark woods. Then we encounter familiar voices and faces, ones we’ve met before on the outside.

Flemish Tavern

By Phillip Sterling
He tells me that if you were a sniper in Belgium during the war, you wanted to be in the Ardennes when the rations ran out—there were still rabbits and squirrels in the mountains ...

Berol #1

By Guy Biederman
She loved substantial paper, paper with purchase, and Berol pencils #1. Thin paper reminded her of Sunday School, her husband’s Baptist side, a side he never truly lost; with that blank check beauty of forgiveness came permission to stray.

A Life Lesson from My Father

By Jonathan Odell
Dad tended chickens, thousands at a time. They were housed in long narrow buildings that looked like barracks.

The Counting Game

By Roberta Beary
The time she was too hungover and the security guard found her son asleep on the playground bench his backpack a pillow the time they counted fireflies in the backyard the time she missed his science project for drinks with the guys ...

Chocolate Cake

By Jennifer Wortman
My dad’s student from the college, who’d come over for dinner, looked at me and said, “You can’t have any chocolate cake!” I was one. He thought he was making a pretty good joke.

How My Mother Posed Me

By Gary Fincke
The photographer instructs my mother to hide under the dark maroon blanket to hold her infant still. “It takes time and quiet for your darling to be perfect,” he says.

The Swedish Word for Joy

By Brett Ann Stanciu
I begged off 2000 Census training and rushed up the windowless stairs of the cheap-paneled church basement.

Sister

By Eliot Li
With wild eyes, my sister presses her small body’s weight against the oven door. The iron stove bucks and knocks around, before going still.

Teaching English in the Biology Lab

By Gary Fincke
Sea life charts are props for Melville, the mounted cat a visual aid for Poe. Leaves are displayed like a nod to Thoreau.