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 ...

Photo Story: Seasonal Monogamy

By Rachel Cain
At the park we watch the sunset turn muddled purple, like a bruise. He says, “Did you know ducks are only partners for a season?”

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 ...

Photo Story: Declarations

By Erika Ng
Her voice is swallowed by the sound of a dozen languages cutting across your ears. You ask her to repeat the question and she says, more annoyed this time, “Do you have anything to declare?”

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.


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.

Photo Story: Warm and Alive

By Andrea Daniels
A careful undertaker from Sheepshead Bay. We met via personal ad, his exactly three lines long. A tidy accounting of loneliness.