THE BULLETby Neil Carpathios
Periodically, Marcus would stick his hand in his pocket and finger the bullet, stroking it as if it were a tiny pet. All through school that day, nobody suspected that he had a pet bullet.
THREE FICTIONSby Katie Cortese
I’m thumbing through The Corrections when he returns with a wine bottle under his stump, glasses in his hand. “Hope you like red,” he says. Before I can offer to open it, he’s got the bottle between his knees, white-knuckled hand drilling and slow-dragging a corkscrew to a sensual pop.
TWO FICTIONSby Ashley Farmer
He arrived in a manger. His metal body crashed through the barn roof like a satellite fed up with the task of observation. So he was born, a solid-body machine—LED eyes backlit —resistant to rusting and denting.
RESURRECTIONby Joshua Fischer
The floor below us folded. Our floor became a furnace. I sprinted to the stairs, but I could only go up, up, up. Carl was burnt bad from the waist down. He wasn’t going to make it, so I didn’t stop for Carl either.
BAD DONE TO HIS GOOD HANDby Gene Kwak
Indian summer and it never gets this hot in autumn. It’s a rare humid-heat that forces everyone to grab tubes, seek out the nearest river to laze on. You think: this is it. Get your gun. Trot to the vantage point; wait.
TWO FICTIONSby Carmen Lau
You knew that nowadays the Indians owned places like Eagle Mountain. You knew this because every day after school your father picked you up in his old white Chevy and you drove up the winding mountain road so he could play out the unending battle of him against the house cards.
LAUREL COUNTY, KYby Justine McNulty
It was Tuesday and Penny needed to get a few things to tide her over until next week when she was taking one of the wolves, Bartholomew, to a lodge an hour or so away. She would be showing him to a group of Girl Scouts that would be camping there over the weekend.
WATSON'S GIRLby Gwendolyn Joyce Mintz
That, Reed took as cue to pose the question he’d been wrestling with inside his head since they’d arrived. He shoved his hands into his jeans pockets, the right one fidgeting with the diamond ring pushed deep inside. He’d been carrying it around for days. He took a breath and spoke. What Reed had not expected was for his cousin to laugh in response.
A BLACK LABEL MANby Jared Yates Sexton
Jim picked up the bottle and felt its heft. He meant to throw it against the wall. He meant to watch it bust and bleed a mess of glass and liquor onto the floor. He wanted Laura to come home, smelling like the bakery she worked in, the breads, the flour, and he wanted her to see. He wanted her to take one look and know what he'd been through. For her.
RAYS (7) and HOW TO USE THE COMMODOREby Annette C. Boehm
I spread our large bright-striped beach / the beach, the incoming cool, damp / swirling girlfriends
GREETINGS FROM MY INNER WEREBAT and DREAMS OF BABIESby Anya Groner
Is there a word more terrifying / than housewife? More shameful / than panties? Is premeditation / a good idea?
LOGJAM HYDRODYNAMICSby Michael G. Smith
Inhaling, I forget / where I came from / as a hidden fulcrum / seesaws ...
EARLY SPRINGby Chelsey Weber-Smith
If we sped up the blooming of flowers / we'd be seeing fireworks everywhere now, / The pop from a bud, then the wide stretch of petals, / the going limp, the falling and fading to nothing.
EASE DOWN THE ROAD and THE DEPARTMENT PARTYby Adam Day
The professor dribbles, “The children / of Peter Pan would go on / to die in the trenches of Ypres ..."
STILL LIFE WITH GAME BIRD AND DICE (OIL)by Alisa Golden
Bring your own apron. Bring your own / gloves. Don't bring your upbringing into it.
TRAPPING SEASONby Joanna Englert
My father is a falconer. / Hawks caught young / among falling leaves. / Branchers, they're called.
SPECULATION ABOUT THE FUTURE and AN OLD-FASHIONED COMEDYby Christopher Kennedy
If I stand still long enough, I can feel my skin turn to bone. There's a clarity to my thoughts. The wind feels like silk against my body.
THE DETECTIVESby Greg McClure
Dawn sforzandos a brass-swelling / 70s detective-show theme, / while in bed I catch the fanfare / as it bleeds through a window.
PHILADELPHIA 76ERSby Brian Oliu
There is an ownership when playing videogames—you are simultaneously outside of the game, but also within. When we die when gaming, we claim the deaths as our own—we do not often say that our character has died, instead we say that we have died: I’ve been hit. I fell in the lava.
ENTS COUNCIL and THE POISONERby Dan Lerner
FOREVER AND ALWAYSby Cori Hills
FLICK and PIVOTby William Beasley
OKAY YORICK and POUND FOOLISHby Ryan Daly