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”
I outline payment schedules. Credit card bills, student loans, power, utilities. I draw up grocery budgets and lists, in my elegant cursive, something I’ve relearned in recent months. More onions, less TV dinners, and Diet-Pepsi, containing more late-night sleeplessness. A tomato or two, if possible. Some granola bars, even.
No beer, save for the occasional six-pack of Coors Light.Continue reading “American Nightmare by Yash Seyedbagheri”
The sheet snaps crisply in the wind, perfectly white, a blank canvas hanging on a line. A woman, neither young nor particularly old, bends over a large, wicker basket. Her hands are large and red, prematurely knotted from the harsh, unceasing wind. She is a good-sized woman. An old floral print dress clings to generous haunches as she efficiently plucks each item from the line and places it in the basket. She is one of an unbroken line of generations past, hardened and forged by life on the plains.Continue reading “Dust to Dust by A. Elizabeth Herting”
Nick stares at pennies glimmering in the fountain by City Hall. Watches the shadows and sun mingle with water, a turquoise dream.
They seem to beckon him, these neat metal circles with Lincoln’s face. People throw them in all the time, trying to fulfill wishes, so his sister Nan says. She says they wish for stupidity but Nick can’t blame them, even if wishing seems like a waste.
He reaches in, slowly picks up a small handful of pennies, feels their weight. People hate pennies, but they add up to so many things.Continue reading “Desperate Cents by Yash Seyedbagheri”
Pa decided to join the Bonus Expeditionary Force. After dropping Ma and the youngsters off at Uncle Vernon’s, he let me ride the rails with him from our home in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, all the way to the Washington Freight Yard.
The cobbled streets bloat, filled with petrol fumes, birds’ droppings, and old receipts discarded by office workers returning home. A clock chimes seven times.
The grass was wet round the back of the job centre; ten am here was a damp ass and frozen toes. Stella pulled a 70cl bottle of Gordon’s Sloe Gin that she didn’t pay for out of her bag, slotted it between her thighs, and rolled a cigarette she didn’t plan to smoke.