Liberation by Calvin Ahlgren

With blunt-tip snips I cut a long snake loose from the bird netting she’d got snagged in, hunting the mouse that wintered in my potting table. What a mess. The corner stank from mouse piss where the beastie gnawed the plastic tarp and my pruner’s nylon sheath, to line its nest. The gopher snake pursued…

Water Babies by Ashley-Elizabeth Best

Robyn’s swimming, she raises her hand to her face, feels the Oxy spill over the ridges of her veins and into the water. She’s leaving her name in the water, her well-meaning body, finally seeing this for what it is. She dives again at Shelley’s count of three, and they spin side by side in…

Catwoman: Unplugged by Meg Tuite

I heard over and over how glamorous and rocking Catwoman was, but I was the one that clipped her nose hair and whiskers from her chin before anyone got a look at her. I bound her in her girdle first and then her rubber suit. Believe me, it was no easy task. Her flesh was…

Beyond the Wheat Fields by Jamie Buell

August 1961, the summer of my seventeenth year. The gold moon rose gracefully that night, its silver light dancing on the ponds and pools that dotted my father’s guppy farm.  I was packing my bags, set to leave the next day to attend State U on a badminton scholarship.  My father had hoped that I…

The Bar Room Door by Robyn Ryle

It was September and someone left the bar door open. By early morning when the third shift arrived, the stale beer and cigarette stink was gone and it smelled like the forest after a rain. “Rob won’t like this. Rob doesn’t like the door open.” They nodded and breathed in deep, like it was their…

Pushcart Prize Nominees

We have our Pushcart Prize nominees! Thanks to the winners and our awesome CC staff for helping to narrow down the choices. It was super stiff competition. You’re all amazing! “Dear Lorenzo di Pier Francesco de’ Medici, I Think You’re Going to Like it Here” by Lauren Gordon “Hard Water” by Jill Holtz “Atavism” by…

Where the Storms Die by Varun Warrier

Up in the air, with hoots and wild calls he flies, chaddi [underwear] showing, dupatta [long, narrow shawl] wildly fluttering. “Anna [older brother], wait for meeee” screams the other, down, large black dupatta, larger than him, larger than life fluttering in the winds of Neelam. “Wait for me,” and the black dupatta, larger than him,…

Combinatorial Explosion by Axel Taiari

I understand before they can make me forget. First memory. Age unknown. Mom shackled to a hospital bed. A translucent snake crawled down her throat, its tail tethered to a beeping box. A mask hides one half of Mom’s face. Phantom Of The Opera. Reference 960 8131. No, not a mask. Correct invalid imagery, adjust…