Volunteer Garden by Amy Bernstein

Held in my dirty hands, the uprooted black-eyed Susan stalks stick straight up from their root balls, the flowers catching in my hair. If only they hadn’t chosen to grow up in the middle of my driveway, I could have left them alone. Instead, I had to dig them up gently to save them, and…

My Grandfather’s Pre-Death Funeral by Owen Vince

It was a difficult sell. “I want my funeral now.” He said it matter-of-factly, like he was ordering food, his bony chest rising and falling perceptibly beneath his starched shirt. “I want my funeral before I’m dead.” My mother, his daughter, sighed and, placing her cup down in its saucer, told him exactly how unpleasant…

Closet Aubade by Donna Vorreyer

I drop the dark slip of night and step into morning one leg at a time. This routine of vestments calms the stutter of leftover ghosts, smooths the caul covering my face. Clothed this way, no one knows I am crawling with sorrow’s calligraphy, its ink trailing on my skin, your name in the small…

Danny Boy by Rie Sheridan Rose

She cradled Danny in her arms, crooning wordlessly. He was such a good baby. He never cried, never fussed. He was all she had left. The world no longer made sense. The beautiful life she had carved out for herself—house with a lovely view of the sea, two-car garage, handsome husband with his Johnny Depp…

Human Palimpsest by Hannah E. Phinney

He wanted her to scrape off and write over the years of accumulated pain that tattooed his body in violent, lacy abstractions. She told him that that was not her job. “That’s not my job,” said Alice Winterman. “I’m an acupuncturist; I stick you with needles. My penmanship is terrible, in any case.” So he…

photo of a cube on fire

Romo Promo 2: Winning in February is Like Doubling Your Fun!

Remember February? It’s the one with Valentine’s Day. Maybe you complained online about commercialization or being single or something? That’s the tradition, I think. That or making out with someone who smells nice, but, you know. We can’t all win. Speaking of which! February was also when we did our second Romo Promo, or, as…

Grammer Police* by Adam Sonstegard

The mayor and his elk balked at the town council’s plans. The red ink pen came to hover over that line. The fingernails scratched at the sideburns. The brow furrowed. I doubted the mayor in the novel that the kid was describing to me hunted elk. The mayor and his elk balked? I looked at…