The Forestiera

By Cynthia Blake Thompson

It was winter, nearly carnival time, and I went to Fatebenefratelli to visit Alberto’s father nearly every day. Fatebenefratelli was not the main hospital in Venice, but one filled with old and dying patients. Some of them screamed from morning until night, some believed they were children again, and some, who just could not be managed at home anymore, expressed anger at the betrayal that had brought them there by staring off in a sullen, accusing silence. The hospital was located in the Cannaregio quarter, far from the main tourist routes and the shops that sold masks, blown glass objects, and gondolier hats. …

that voice

By Guillermo Filice Castro
 

 

on the brink of

 

 

diminuendo

 

 

with a touch of
rage

 

 

that voice

 

 

nameless
genderless

 

 

using blindness as a guide

 

 

that voice

 

 

ethereal
and
taut

 

 

at the edge of
a dreamed death-

 

 

bed

 

 

that voice

 

 

kindled
by
the mind

 

 

signing off

 

 

write a song
write a song
you can sing in heaven

In the Beginning

By Victoria Brown

For their fourth date Aneeta decided to move her relationship with Phillip forward, a step. They’d gone the first night to Vanderbilt, a low-pressure, after-work cocktail spot where Phillip teased Aneeta over how long she took to finish her one prosecco. Second, he had taken her to a ball game, and though she told him she didn’t understand baseball, she cheered his team, ate hotdogs, and took a sip from Phillip’s flask. A week later they rode bikes over the bumpy dirt trails the park, stopping by the lake for huaraches and bottled beer from the Latin American vendors. They ate sitting among the wildflowers …

Gray Area

By Krista Madsen

By twilight, I could organize the time that remains in the way of my wife: maintaining her coupon system on the dining room table – one pile for the expired, another expiring soon, the third expiring further off, but never exceeding year’s end, that’s as far as they ever go. I could check the dates, perhaps weekly, and shift more of the discounts for things I’d never buy anyway into the expired pile.

Or, I could organize time in the way of oncologists: Two years ago, they gave me only months to live. The malignancy had spread beyond their ability to target it locally; chemo would …

Solitude

By Seni Seneviratne

Let me assume a pose that is suitably uncomfortable. There’s no obvious way to shift me from a life of necessary solitude, though I sometimes miss the joy of slipping from the warm side of a sleeping lover to watch the moon through cold curtains. Life is a stolen word from someone else’s lines, but can it harm if it’s surrounded by my own?

Into the nearest cafe, miss out main course, bite into blueberry sponge. And who would say yes to that last bit of overheard chat? Not me. I’m wondering which way to go after all this time of take what life brings, …

At the End

By Nathan McClain

there’s a bluebird, asleep,
in the pokeweed, and we argue still—

what’s pinched in its beak—
a thread of red string, perhaps

what’s left of picking apart its nest?
Though I like to think of the thread as once

woven to some larger piece of cloth,
maybe your scarf.

Albuquerque, NM

By Cathy Linh Che

In the car, phantom shadows.

The moon was a sliver.
The sun blared orange over the canyon,
and I caught myself awkward and nervous.

In the woods, I constructed for us
a makeshift shelter––tent with broken poles,
hands that intertwined in restless sleep.

In Flagstaff, the huevos rancheros
smothered in pork and chile verde.
A circular bruise on each knee.

I’d never seen anything like this.
Stacked mesas with their red
and sandstone striations.

Dusk striped violet and blue,
diffusing into golden light.
Scratch deep red on your arm.

What if love meant marking a body?
The red insignia a testament
to blood beneath the skin.

The soundtrack to a road trip played
on an uncertain loop. A blaze of time zones.
The spinning …

Back Home

By Ben Tanzer

There was this boy with his head in your lap.

Which is not exactly what it sounds like, though depending on how that sounds to you, it isn’t exactly not that either.

Which is to say that he isn’t a little boy, you have those now and you know what they look like, he was more like a young man, as were you, it’s just that you just weren’t as young as he was, with his boyish face, pale skin, and light, near translucent scruff.

But you’re getting ahead of yourself, that is the present, or that present anyway, and this doesn’t work without knowing the past and …

A Handbook for Single Mothers

By Jen Knox

The girls crash into each other and then the wall. A jumble of screams and giggles traverse the hallway as Cassandra’s neighbors, kids themselves, bang something blunt against their side of the wall. Concentrating to steady her hand, she squints, painting her nails a dark purple that is almost black; dark nails signify control over one’s domain, the willingness to fight. Red means an all-out battle for dominance, and she doesn’t want to go that far.

“Shut! Up!” The neighbors’ voices are muffled by thick plaster. Control today, Cassandra reminds herself. There is a brief moment of silence before another loud scream and another muffled yell.

“Stop …

In the Making

By Kari Nguyen

It is October 2013. Quintessential New England fall. Our afternoon walk is slow as we pass under trees already turned for the season. There is hardly a breeze, and the leaves above us hang suspended, not quite ready to descend save for the few scattered on the sides of the road. The sunlight, lengthening but still warm, casts us: a band at peace. My daughter’s purple sneakers keep up easily over the pavement and her warm hand fits familiarly into mine. I snake the retriever’s worn leash through my opposite hand, repositioning the grip, and he seems to understand. There is a break in my …

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