Odd | by Frederick Foote

First Sighting

     We’re a small town. A very close community. There’re 3,570 people in town and about that many within five miles of town. We’re not bigoted. We are champions of diversity. We have an Arab, Muslim family, several black families, two Asian families, and three mixed race/ethnicity couples. We have gay couples and a score of gay individuals.

     I’m Jewish, married to a Catholic. We own the Country Store.

     We’re forward-looking and forward-thinking.

     In the last election, we voted fifty-eight percent Democratic.

     You need this background to understand. I hope you do understand. Continue reading “Odd | by Frederick Foote”

The Medium’s Daughter | by Jan Stinchcomb

     They call your mother a witch, a prostitute, a con artist. The kids at school have a lot of questions for you. At recess there is no shortage of palms to read and even the teachers think you have something valuable to tell them. Your sister, skinny and dark-eyed like you, is your only friend. Those years when she moves ahead to another campus without you are torture.

     You don’t like lying to people or stealing their money, but that doesn’t stop the steady stream of spirits from entering your life. Dead siblings and lost pets flock to you. You are at your most vulnerable whenever intimacy is possible. A cold breeze blows up your skirt at a family barbecue. A ghost boy, his tux bloody, begs for a dance at the prom. A cat slides its claws through that liminal space where she can’t scratch but can still make you cry with her silent meow.

     Your sister laughs when you say you just want to be normal. What do you mean?, she asks. Would you like to shake off unbidden spirits or would you rather evade Child Protective Services? The questions pile up over the years. Can you have an affair with someone from beyond the grave? Can a ghost be prosecuted? Is there a statute of limitations on emotional manipulation?
Continue reading “The Medium’s Daughter | by Jan Stinchcomb”

Undrowned | by Alyssa Ciamp

A shadow lives in my shower
standing still and
still standing in the dark
           born from the drain—
           whole and imperfect
she is
a septic Venus de Milo

        I’ve seen her,
black like the fog
of retinal detachment,
in dreams, nightmares
            fantasies, behind
the mildewed curtain Continue reading “Undrowned | by Alyssa Ciamp”

The Lost City of What | by Joe Milazzo

The sides of the volcano poured themselves upon us.

The sky, every shade of tumescence. It began with our looking at pictures, one thrown up after the other but in no discernible sequence, with no lucidity. Everything slid like the dusty melt of August (if only we had known that incalescence thus then) streets, our fair traffic overcome. Flanks of pumice, ash, great fissured slurries of acacia and other, even more ravishing names. Because their heads were covered, the women were the first to feel the rain, spotting, arrow-tipped.

 

In the augury of one picture, a serpent wound about itself yet stretched as long still as a century. Continue reading “The Lost City of What | by Joe Milazzo”

Foundations | by Stephen Thom

     Yourself

     The automatic doors snark an impatient hiss and he rushes out. Clots of rain thrum the sidewalks. He ducks into a phone box and it is a muddier, submerged rattle.

     She is croaky and detached through the line, as if the elements traverse the circuits to wash her away.

     It’s just dying a slow death, she says.

     It would be a terrible shame if we stopped speaking or spending time together, though.

     It would be, he agrees.
Continue reading “Foundations | by Stephen Thom”

Bled | by Spencer Lucas Oakes

     My sister jumped and I did not see her oily head resurface.

     I walked away from friends and deeper into the forest. I looked for a place suitable to take a minute, as they say. I was barefoot. I left my sandals on the rocky cliff where everyone was launching themselves into the air and into the lake’s water.

     The glass positioned itself past my skin’s surface and softly clinked one of the twenty-six bones living among a hundred muscles and tendons and ligaments.
Continue reading “Bled | by Spencer Lucas Oakes”

Two Micros | by Jason Teal

Expiration

TIME has to let Marjorie go. They are very sorry, they tell her, but she’s trapped inside the minute—and possibly, very soon, she could fall prey to the second. She is infinite in the dogless dog park.

History repeats itself, Marjorie counters, but TIME, uncaring, has vanished already. Dogs expire all around her, in sister cities, slumped dead onto lawns, one of them smiling. Later, their humans mourn privately in bed, fantasizing about lost puppies or lovers. TIME, of one mind, lay waste indiscriminately. Continue reading “Two Micros | by Jason Teal”