Sibling Rivalry

Kelly Pedro
I’m thirteen wearing my sister’s Happiness is a State of Mind t-shirt scooped from her bedroom floor, and a belt she’ll later wrap around my neck and threaten to tighten loop by loop. But our parents, the questions.

Stable Epiphany

Michelle Bitting
You wonder about unconditional love, if you're even capable, the grace of a baby left on the border of night and day, smallest voice in the void, in a dark world divided.

A Dirty Moss of Green

Karen Crawford
After daddy slinks out, suitcase in hand, mama patches and paints cracks on the eggshell walls. Outside, the sun is struggling behind the bruised clouds.

The Thought That Counts

Molly Giles
She sent him two dozen long-stemmed red roses for Valentine’s Day. Why? He was a guy. He didn’t own a vase.

Stunned

Gary Fincke
Sometimes, he has learned, the eyes of birds weigh more than their brains.

After the Shooting

Andrea Marcusa
I leave the hospital, happy to be rid of the dying, past imposing grey buildings with institutional windows, neon blue, showing patient rooms and neglected, thirsty plants.

The Carnival Ride Isn’t Over

By Kristin Tenor
It’s late. We sprawl on the back porch with a couple beers, while you reminisce about that time you and an Army buddy drove his cousin’s Duster straight through the night all the way to Coney Island ...

Tell Me a Story

By Dustin Hodge
Mom drove a faded blue AMC Pacer. The fabric seats were torn, and all the vinyl had huge cracks from the Texas heat.

Circadian Rhythms

By Dominique Zino
They selected me because I was an experienced spelunker, placing electrodes on my temples, cheek bones, and chest to monitor my vitals underground, tracking my time waking and sleeping.

Vandals

By Chuck Augello
And the vandals spray-painted the clouds with gang symbols. No, they were corporate logos, familiar brands, the symbolic faces of aggregated capital leering from the sky ...

Twigs

By Meg Pokrass
For the past few years their sheets remained straight when he tried to court her. When did you get that perfume? he’d say but she wasn't wearing any or maybe she was and he didn't know it.

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?