The child is painfully thin. Her ribs poke against the taut skin of her back as she draws on the dusty floor with a stick. She crouches on toothpick legs, supported by hardened feet which rarely see shoes. The bottoms of her filthy white shorts graze the dirt floor.Continue reading “The Wait by Lisa Toner”
Today Leonardo comes home crying. When his father and mother hear what his school friend has told him, they understand that the day they have feared for a long time has come— the moment when they will have to start crushing his dreams. They speak to him, say that his friend is right; tell him I do not exist. But they are wrong.
I dream, therefore I am.Continue reading “The Lighthouse Keeper by Loredano Cafaro”
You can’t imagine how much I loved holidays. Especially Christmas. Getting out the Christmas records and playing them over and over on the stereo. There was a Bing Crosby one where he talked in soothing tones about Young Jethro unwrapping presents all done up with paper that looked like stained glass. Decorating the tree. I was a Christmas ornament. Miss Twitchell told us to bring our school photo and we cut it into a triangle and put popsicle sticks around the edge. She came around and put glue on them and we sprinkled dusty sparkles that looked like icicles all along the frame and it made us feel proud. We knew we’d be right there on the tree, front and center, and everyone would say “oooh” as the tinsel reflected off the sparkles that made our faces with smiles shine and our lips look like flower petals that would bloom in different colors in April. I’m still there, somewhere down inside a cardboard box under the stairs wrapped in newspaper that’s got 1950 and some other words on it. Once a year I come out and hang there smiling at everyone with sparkly popsicle frame.Continue reading “About 465 nm: A Chronology by Martin Agee”
He wanted to be a hero. He wanted to be a hero so badly he could hardly think of anything else.
The Parrot sighed, and thought. A lump the size of an orange had formed in his throat, and he wanted it gone. It felt suffocating.Continue reading “Perry by Dianne Willems”
There were eight candles on my birthday cake the year my sledgehammer mother shattered us like we were blown glass. I remember it specifically because when the ninth candle flickered at the last minute, I thought, with the force of gale force winds, oh, extra candle for good luck, please don’t go out on me.Continue reading “Bones by Jennifer Walkup”
In the still of night, I sneak into Dad’s Chevy Bel-Air. Slide into the front seat, the seat that was Mom’s. A seat that Dad has proclaimed will remain empty.Continue reading “Front Seat by Yash Seyedbagheri”
“I don’t know about you guys, but I just about started to drink that day Jason got caught in 6th grade.” I tipped back the coffee for the last dribble and put up a hand to see if Shirley, who was working the counter could get me another pour.Continue reading “A Strutting Rooster by Matthew McGuirk”
I slink across January ice. The sun shimmers over clear, cold icy sheen.
I look ahead, but still slip.
I flail, feeling the world tumbling. The sky leers, pale blue, puffed-up clouds surveying me. Frame houses line the street, staring with cheerful yellows and greens. Oak trees stare with naked arms.
I right myself, arms flailing. It’s a miracle, but relief evaporates, replaced by shadows of shame.Continue reading “Iceberg Theory by Yash Seyedbagheri”
Mom costs me friends. She shows up drunk to my high school functions. Double-fists Merlot at a parent teacher conference. And it happens again at my drama club production of Hamlet, set in a Burger King. Although this time she imbibes Pinot.
Friends’ parents suggest I’m not good company. It’s not me, they claim. They just have to be selective. This is high school, it’s a volatile time for everyone. People are easily influenced.Continue reading “Friend Request by Yash Seyedbagheri”
Yeah, I live on Scarlet Street all right, near the corner of Agamemnon and Chintz. You know it? There is a pool hall on the corner, where there was a stabbing last year. 1732 to be exact, apartment 2C, in the back. I used to have a Plymouth Valiant but now I drive a Malibu. I just finished a box of crackers and a hunk of Swiss. I’m all out of dough. Cashed my pension over a week ago, paid some bills, and haven’t a dime to my name.Continue reading “They Shot the Beave by David Lohrey”