Excerpt: Karen Paul Holmes


From Untying the Knot Prelude In her head, she practices diligently, ideas brewing like a Brahms symphony but creativity often misses its cue. It breaks out in short Prokofiev notes (now sonorous, now dissonant), then fades like the harmonics of a chord. She senses overtones of something triumphant: the heralding of Mahler’s French horns or … Continue reading

Excerpt: Sandra Marchetti


From Confluence Peninsula A washed ring of sounds, rocks glazed with boat music. Clouds soot the forests in delicate black salt. A dead fish—bass or bluegill— is half-gone back to the rocks and beyond, lies no-eyed on the shoreline. Its extant others—us in canoes and kayaks— merge to the white strait horizon and wish to … Continue reading

Excerpt: Jen Karetnick


From Brie Season Farm Share “I remember breaking beans,” says Theresa, come to collect her portion of organically raised agriculture – Chinese kale this week, and Japanese shiitake mushrooms. Ruth recalls peeling apples as she tucks away her just-laid eggs; Anne-Britt cracked nuts In her native Sweden; Colleen hulled strawberries and picked mint. For myself, … Continue reading

Excerpt: Alan Bray


From The Puppet’s Tattered Clothes ON THE NORTH SIDE of Chicago, a young man named Kevin dreamed about Istanbul, a city he heard about in stories told by his employer, the old tailor Constantius. It was a place that smelled of spice, filled with tents, painted dolls, and camels. But no—Constantius’ voice would speak inside … Continue reading

Excerpt: John Michael Cummings


From Don’t Forget Me, Bro I was off for West Virginia in a purple Mercury Grand Marquis, apparently the only rental car left in south Park Slope late on a Saturday in spring. As I pulled down Sixth Avenue, the sun was falling between the black rooftops, casting an omen on my journey home. Was … Continue reading

Excerpt: Merie Kirby


From The Dog Runs On Ashes, ashes She comes into the kitchen, top-knotted hair, chocolate-marked shirt, and pulls at my hands until we circle. She chants ring rosie, ring rosie, until I start to sing the rhyme she wants to hear. A posy is a small bunch of flowers, meant to protect you. They don’t … Continue reading

Excerpt: Meg Johnson


From Inappropriate Sleepover Timber!* I’m a Victorian cowgirl with a clicking jaw. I don’t wear sweatpants with the word TROUBLE printed on the ass because that would be redundant. This is where I up the ante by writing something even more offensive like I’m so hot I could impregnate myself. Somehow, even without the TROUBLE … Continue reading

Excerpt: Meg Eden


From A Week with Beijing Beijing and I Meet For the First Time When I first met Beijing, she said, What’re you doing here? It’s not the Olympics yet. I tried to tell her I was here to see her country, to get away from my home, but she tried to sell me bootleg plushes … Continue reading

Excerpt: Michelle Bailat-Jones


From Fog Island Mountains The day ticks along, morning has passed on into afternoon, and now we are moving closer to evening and somewhere out over the ocean the winds have started pressing the storm toward us, we can feel it if we pay attention, a thickening in the air, a smell of heavy rain, … Continue reading

Excerpt: Lisa Mangini


From Bird Watching at the End of the World Bird Watching at the End of the World (ii) It starts with a certain stillness — a wing held up at a right angle, head cocked as if the grackle is watching me back. It is hard to see clearly from here, but perhaps he holds … Continue reading


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