photo of Scrabble letters that spell out "cold sore"

Two Poems by Justin Karcher

The Last Time I Was Really Happy, Emilio Estevez Was Coaching Peewee Hockey Yesterday, while I was on my usual midnight pilgrimage, I was suavely walking down Richmond Ave. When I heard the quacking of ducks.   I looked all around and didn’t see anything – And yet, the quacking persisted. I assumed there was…

photo of pink roses

Bloom by Kathy Stevenson

She had been waiting nearly a year for her pass to the Repository, or the Repo as most people called it. The line was long, as all lines were now, but it was moving. Her senses yearned toward the building itself, as it housed so much that she had almost forgotten. People her daughter’s age…

photo of discarded grocery list on the ground

Two Poems by Jim Zola

Missing I ignore the peeling trim, bare spots on the lawn. A grocery list: beer, detergent. No warm dinner waits. I eat two bowls of Cheerios, drink the last beer, step outside to smoke. Stars blink. The dog paws the dirt and barks at nothing. By morning, I practice concern. Should I shave? What to…

photo of messy porch

Living Rooms by Laroo Jack

Everything had its place. She ran a finger along the edge of the mantle and examined each thing in its turn—the ceramic frogs, the strange vase that had belonged to her aunt, a small landscape of the sea. They each had respect for their proper place, and if anything got out of line—deviated—it was removed.…

photo of window with exterior view of snowdrifts at night

Ministry of Winter by Daniel Smart

At the mercy of such pristine majesty, everything manmade simplifies, like some haphazard fraction. No terrific, mottled Appaloosas—only the innocent infinity of their barnyards everywhere; simultaneous lengths of all time and roads compacted, creaking, and anonymously on display. Even at the bracing smokewhite of daybreak, all seems equally dazzling and incidental, slowed to a dead…

photo of chocolate cupcake with white icing and lit candle on top

Two Years, Ablative by Michael Fertik

There are still spots on the carpet where you dripped blood My Dupont textured Saxony cut pile carpet, Off-white, like clotted cream oxygenated for an hour. Three spots left, of the seven You scrubbed vigorously. You see? you said. Abluted! You were shaking, cackling. I can see three when I bend my neck, And the…

photo of lit candles

The Big One by Ashley Hermsmeier

Day 1 It’s hot, even at night. We sleep on top of our duvets and sweat under rattling ceiling fans. We live too close to the sea to be an air-conditioned city—that’s what we tell ourselves. Most of us are asleep when it happens. We roll over and some of us sigh a little and…