photo of nighttime rocket launch

Umbilicus by Dino Parenti

May I reminisce about life ’til now, dear sister? Sprinkle mementos of youth and folly and all the disquiets without shape or name? After you left the world, I became convinced you took with you the organ I lack, the one that demystifies the great paradoxes. Perhaps I may call upon you to now solve…

Disappearer by Vincent Poturica

The father wanted to simplify his life. He was watching an investigative program on television about the effects of meditation. Cognitive scientists studied the brains of monks using powerful machines. These machines detected fewer pulsing squiggles in the monk brains compared to the brains of non-monks. The father was intrigued; he wanted less squiggles in…

Neon outline of an alien

Crude Oil by Isobel O’Hare

They came to Earth seeking a bride for their dying king. Bottles of moisturizer were sent to Earth’s women so we could beautify ourselves for the choosing ceremony. On use, the strangers’ ship received a signal that translated roughly to: this flesh is complicit. Behind on the news, not having watched television or listened to…

photo of falling bullets

Dillinger Days by Michael Fumai

I keep thinking about those other two while I look at her. Famous lovers. Tired and on the road a long time. Heard they killed twelve or thirteen people. Maybe more. Cops shot up their Ford. Over fifty bullets on a dirt road down in Louisiana. It was a hot spring day. A goddam shame.…

close-up picture of tapeworm

Want by Katherine Marzinsky

Life had always come to Taenia. Abundantly. Effortlessly. As if she were the center of all things, a god firmly anchored in the sea of totality. Jawless, spineless, when Taenia wished to eat, food bathed her. Every inch of her skin would illuminate with satisfaction. All Taenia had to do was grasp the wall and keep from being…

photo of teddy bear in a c-clamp

Rightsize by Louis Wenzlow

Raymond had a confession to make. For the last six months he’d been sheltering them with various financial maneuvers, hopeful that someone from his LinkedIn network would come through with a decent job opportunity, but nothing had materialized, and the latest conventional wisdom was that those jobs were just plain lost, lost for good, forever…