Category: New Fiction

“To The Pool”
John’s been dead two weeks and Haley, their oldest, wants to go to the pool. “All right,” Jean tells her, but she doesn’t like...
“To The Pool”
“The Apple Tree”
Two boys walk across a forgotten field towards a lone apple tree. The tree stands so wide and tall it can be seen from their homeroom...
“The Apple Tree”
“Ordinary Wishes”
In the morning when I wake, I pull on my cloak. The heavy material draws my shoulders down and back. I have no choice but to stand...
“Ordinary Wishes”
“Dying Unread”
I had always been forgetful, but I always forget the things I shouldn’t and remember the ones I should. I couldn’t remember why...
“Dying Unread”
“The Blue Maverick Crew”
Last night the Blue Maverick Crew smashed several windows at Deirdre Schenk’s house and fled to safety through the woods. Running after...
“The Blue Maverick Crew”
“Deliberate Act”
It was just easier to stay still on that bench, briefcase at my feet, than to make my way home. The snow had been coming down all day, tiny...
“Deliberate Act”
“Swing”
The house is too silent. Garland stands at the screen door staring across the dry, fallow front field. It’s hot outside. Hot enough for...
“Swing”
“A Compliment Can Change Your Life, Sometimes”
It was when I was leaning over the sticky packages of red meat that he came up to me and said, “You’re the most beautiful woman in the...
“A Compliment Can Change Your Life, Sometimes”
“Old Light”
This place goes on without him. The streets he walked down, the bars and rooms where he drank and slept, the big top where he worked his...
“Old Light”
“Karmic Repatterning”
We weren’t saying much on the drive.  She had just gotten through telling me that I had “boundary” issues, that the path of healing...
“Karmic Repatterning”
“Floor Twelve – Pediatric Psych. Unit”
In bed 1, Sumner is curled into the shape of a capital “C.” Next to her, in the bed by the window flanked with metal bars, Aubrey...
“Floor Twelve – Pediatric Psych. Unit”
“An Ark of Mimes”
Only those who were there during the storm have the understanding of what happened and why. —Tara Aleman, NOLA.com They spilled from two...
“An Ark of Mimes”
“Almost Perfect”
Flo called in sick that Friday. She waved off the bus that stopped near her house cleaning job, and instead hopped on one that went...
“Almost Perfect”
Why I Write: “A Hungry Squirrel in Autumn”
Writing gets me to the truth of things. I can’t fully speak the truth, like a poor waif from an old fashioned fairytale. In place of the...
Why I Write: “A Hungry Squirrel in Autumn”
“A Trail of No”
I like to tell my students about the worst rejection notice I ever received. I mailed a batch of poems to a west coast magazine; my...
“A Trail of No”
“Others”
Images before the crash—the gravelly craters of the dirt road under headlights, like the moon’s ghastly laughter, or a bedroom...
“Others”
“The Light on the Other Hill”
Against the mountain all the houses made little steps, like the staircase of a giant. All the walls were thin, woven from twigs, whistling...
“The Light on the Other Hill”
“Re-Up”
The phone calls were always in the middle of the night. I’d hear my mother’s cry, and carefully in the dark, I’d make my way to her...
“Re-Up”
“Beggars’ Night”
She arrives on my porch on Beggars’ Night, without a costume, and it takes me a minute to place her. Children scream and careen through...
“Beggars’ Night”
“Answers”
We couldn’t, for the life of us, describe him in any meaningful way. Not to each other and not even to ourselves. We’d seen the man...
“Answers”
“Frankenstein, Palmer, Michigan”
When my brother was little, he used to go everywhere with a mask of Frankenstein’s monster. It looked kind of real too. I remember him...
“Frankenstein, Palmer, Michigan”
“The Spine Falls Away”
You touch the bones, set as custard skin in the gray filth of the barn dust. Once large white cows stood in this stall, and now a small...
“The Spine Falls Away”
“Mirror Game”
The boy sitting next to you on the red-eye flight from Denver to Indianapolis can’t see you. When the flight attendant comes by to take...
“Mirror Game”
“Post-Apocalypse Postcard from an Appalachian Chalet”
I’ve got my head next to a granite-strewn stream that gurgles amid sunbeams as if the whole world never went wrong. As if nothing. I’ve...
“Post-Apocalypse Postcard from an Appalachian Chalet”
Interview with Steve Yates
So is this finally the sequel to Morkan’s Quarry? Yes, but really is five years wait all that long? I started both novels in 1993, so...
Interview with Steve Yates
“Grace, With the Red Shoes”
I am a story—a dark and stormy night once upon a time that is not now, in a land that is not here. I am tattered pages—stained with...
“Grace, With the Red Shoes”
“Totem”
There is a moment, now, the sky outside the funeral home alive with snow—a white world of commotion—that she is here beside me,...
“Totem”
“The Parade”
Kicking things off: A girl with drawn-on eyebrows. Purple lips, orange skin. Looks like Maggie Stodell got all coke skinny. Boxed mac n...
“The Parade”
“The Holy Notes of Symphony”
South of Chicago, past the Kankakee turnoff, the baby starts to cry. First several whimpers, then a shoulder-rolling set of sobs building...
“The Holy Notes of Symphony”
“Answers”
We couldn’t, for the life of us, describe him in any meaningful way. Not to each other and not even to ourselves. We’d seen the man...
“Answers”
“Before The Rush”
It would be evening, before the rush, when the sun was no longer sweltering but still hot, a ball of fire halfway down the sky. I never saw...
“Before The Rush”
“Opening Night”
1996 The parents had been fighting, but the daughter had a play that night and as always with their fighting the children aligned them,...
“Opening Night”
“Why I’ll Never Buy Another Peacock”
The Solution Center was one of those places that sold everything–though solutions were its specialty. The checkout line went single file...
“Why I’ll Never Buy Another Peacock”
“On the Eighth Day, God Created Golf”
The foursome stands on a desert mesa, an elevated tee in southeast Utah. God the Father, Moses, Jesus, Elijah. Angels descend as caddies,...
“On the Eighth Day, God Created Golf”
Interview with Les Standiford
In 2012, I began my academic job search as most aspiring English professors do—with a series of interviews in cramped hotel rooms at the...
Interview with Les Standiford
“Fork Play”
There is a fork here. I consider lifting it and placing it against my husband’s right temple then applying pressure. Gentle at first then...
“Fork Play”
“Zebra Skin”
Linda hated Norman’s floor for its zebra skin rug. If it’d been hers, she’d never have let it touch the ground, but instead...
“Zebra Skin”
“On a Bridge, At Night”
They stand on the bridge above the dark river.  They agree this is the spot from which she jumped.  One of them thinks she dove with...
“On a Bridge, At Night”
“Enough for Now”
Annie listened to the June bugs ping against the porch light. She reclined on the porch stairs so that one of the steps pressed into the...
“Enough for Now”
“We Can Go Faster”
We go 95 on the road out of Ephrata because Alicia’s dad left and her mom didn’t hide the keys. The Amber Alerts have our plate number...
“We Can Go Faster”
640
This is how Jane finds out Charley, her ex-lover, is sick: when Marybeth, the department secretary, sends an email to “humfac,” all the...
640
“Fall On Your Knees”
We met at the public library across a scratched wooden table. He asked “What are you reading?” At thirteen, I was thrilled to be...
“Fall On Your Knees”
“If You Recognized Me”
I feel her laugh in the slick tooth dragging under my navel, in the quick humid press of her breath. The tip of her tongue traces the...
“If You Recognized Me”
“What to Do About a Sinkhole”
It hadn’t been there yesterday. Shelly was sure because she’d sat on one of the now-missing patio chairs while listening to the game....
“What to Do About a Sinkhole”
“For the Dachshund Enthusiast”
This is a message for the dachshund enthusiast that lives across the airshaft. It is the case, here in Manhattan, that we live in close...
“For the Dachshund Enthusiast”
“A Player’s Guide to Spring Training, Pt. 5: Hitting”
Go to the batting cage daily. Practice two hundred balls a morning, get used to that feeling of the bat humming against your gloves. Forget...
“A Player’s Guide to Spring Training, Pt. 5: Hitting”
“What We Take, What We Leave Behind”
  There is no furniture in my father’s house, although we unearth a pink crushed velvet sofa the third or fourth day of sifting...
“What We Take, What We Leave Behind”
“Mildred”
Her body formed a tiny ripple under the vast sea of bedding. A quilt she had sewn thirty years ago lay folded and undisturbed at the foot...
“Mildred”
“The Parking Adamastor”
Herb works in a building made for cars: on every floor of this building – and there are five, so that it is nearly a high-rise,...
“The Parking Adamastor”
“Rainpainting”
The summer we lived with Dad, there was a neighbor whose voice we never heard. We’d see him walking through the woods, fingers brushing...
“Rainpainting”
“The Butcher’s Vines”
One year I got a summer gig managing the vineyard of a family friend.  He had been a surgeon since the eighties but things had taken a...
“The Butcher’s Vines”
“Take Your Boots off Before the Storm”
It hadn’t been on course for us, but when Rem got excited, I got excited, and then it hit. That was, and has been, the course of events....
“Take Your Boots off Before the Storm”
“Picasso Painting”
Obese. The word loomed over Helen’s consciousness like a thunder cloud. Since she was 12, her life had been a constant diet, but she...
“Picasso Painting”
“Beheaded”
An American is beheaded. We have so many ways to kill one another but even the word beheaded beckons to another time. I cannot recall the...
“Beheaded”
“Mom’s Goodbye”
Once inside Hospice I walked to Dad’s room, his door ajar, and saw him no longer tubed up and Mom atop him, fancy, in one of her party...
“Mom’s Goodbye”
Interview with Sherrie Flick, author of Whiskey, etc.
  Sherrie Flick’s new collection Whiskey, Etc.—flash, micros, short-shorts—has been getting rave reviews. Kim Chinquee calls her...
Interview with Sherrie Flick, author of Whiskey, etc.
“Repeatable Sequence #3”
Catch a glimpse in the track windows. Push, push, push. Catch reflections in the weight-room mirrors. Push, push, push. An old,...
“Repeatable Sequence #3”
“The Light Like A Stain”
It’s not that she’d expected them to form a cohesive whole for the rest of time, but she’d anticipated they’d distract each other...
“The Light Like A Stain”
“The Ride Home”
The thing I remember as I stand in the back and shift my weight and check my watch is the way my finger felt when I used to press that M.C....
“The Ride Home”
“Together”
Together, we go down to the lake. It is well past midnight, and the illuminated cradle of the moon hangs high in the sky. Our mother is...
“Together”
“Away”
It’s a warm breezy spring morning and she feels an awakening, a flood of energy, alive, freshened, and decides to clean the house, and so...
“Away”
“Basement Love Story”
You lost your virginity to her, went steady spring semester at the University of Wisconsin, lived most of the summer with her and her...
“Basement Love Story”
“Move Fast and Break Things”
Marty had said to her: “It sounds like you can’t accept your fate,” and while meant as a reproach it resonated with sufficient...
“Move Fast and Break Things”
“Last Match Fires”
The sky is metal and gold behind ragged clouds. Word of God type stuff, he says, crouching on his knees. Beneath his hands are piles of...
“Last Match Fires”
“Not Wired Right”
Blame it on incorrect wiring. That for some genetic reason I am unable to pick up on social cues. Most people don’t observe this about...
“Not Wired Right”
“Old Light”
This place goes on without him. The streets he walked down, the bars and rooms where he drank and slept, the big top where he worked his...
“Old Light”
“Dino”
He sees the world through the maw of his T-Rex costume like Plato inside his cave used sometimes to peek outside. Fangs standing for...
“Dino”
“In The Shape Of A Small Bird”
I dream my brother sold me a shack by a river that ran too quick to the sea, but he’s been dead all my life. They say I carry...
“In The Shape Of A Small Bird”
“A Reckoning in the Woods”
The words he tossed into the river were salty and brazen. Ancient, holy carcasses that often strangled him in his sleep. He let them drift...
“A Reckoning in the Woods”
“Mea Culpa”
One time, I lied about being a vegetarian. Jan, the office manager, had seen me with a grilled cheese sandwich on my first day at Carton...
“Mea Culpa”
“The Detroit Ruin Porn Photographer Speaks”
I’m a ghost. I pass though broken windows without a scratch.  I duck under fallen beams and glide over half-collapsed floors without...
“The Detroit Ruin Porn Photographer Speaks”
“Be Proud, Be Brave, Aspire!”
Explaining how I was waiting for a break with my writing career, my therapist responded by making a convincing case for why I should learn...
“Be Proud, Be Brave, Aspire!”
“The Kidnapper’s Journal”
             Sketched on page 1, her route home from school, cross-streets shaded: Dutch – Kelfry – Cable. I show...
“The Kidnapper’s Journal”
“What My Mother Fell For”
My mother ran. She kept on running with plantar fasciitis. It’s a condition that causes stabbing heel pain and is common in runners....
“What My Mother Fell For”
“The Garden of a Thousand Suns”
After I’ve signed the papers and the thing is finished, Tess makes coffee and asks me to leave. “I want to see Aimee,” I say,...
“The Garden of a Thousand Suns”
“Radiance”
Mother cannot bear to throw out books donated to the library under her watch. Stored in our attic, dozens of boxes filled with paperbacks...
“Radiance”
“The Amazing Halved-Man”
Stan had never seen a funeral parlor before, let alone a dead body. As his parents whispered to a line of sniffling visitors, he wandered...
“The Amazing Halved-Man”
“(there’s no telling what would have become of me in the real world, but in the one we’ve created I live as a single in Hof teaching English)”
I didn’t have much else to do, so I tailed me. I wasn’t a difficult tail until I sensed the hairy guerrilla breathing down my...
“(there’s no telling what would have become of me in the real world,  but in the one we’ve created I live as a single in Hof teaching English)”
“The Atlas of Winds”
They told us the winds were dying. We sat on rooftops and watched the cloud rush. I tried to catch gusts in my hands. She said she wanted...
“The Atlas of Winds”
“The Baseness of Nature”
As the bomb fell she inexplicably thought of the kiwi she hadn’t picked, the one just out of reach. The small brown fruit had hung over...
“The Baseness of Nature”
“Milk”
Most houses are dark this time of night, and most dogs are barking. I don’t expect trouble, or maybe I do.  I slide my wallet between...
“Milk”
“Things We Knew Would Never Work Out but Had to Try Anyway”
Do you know that if your baby brother dies Christmas night, the medical examiner doesn’t look at his body until after the new year, and...
“Things We Knew Would Never Work Out but Had to Try Anyway”
“Aroo in the Night”
Your dog—which is soon to be my dog—is looking at us in bed together when the girl stops me. “Wait,” she says, laughing and putting...
“Aroo in the Night”
“Thunder”
The soft shuffle of her feet on the hall carpet surprises him. He barely gets the door to the master bath closed before she peeks around...
“Thunder”
“A Boy Named Death”
Death at the hospital. Death on his first carride. Death at the park, on the swings, in the restroom. Death at dinner. Death praying,...
“A Boy Named Death”
“Sour Breath Doesn’t Vanish in a Day”
The cruelest thing my sister ever did was convince me that I had a place in this world.  I don’t, that’s the truth, and I never have....
“Sour Breath Doesn’t Vanish in a Day”
“School Bags”
They were selected for practicality, not color, or brand or cool factor. They were selected for practicality, nothing else, because they...
“School Bags”
“‘Every Barleycorn a King'”
—Frank R. Stockton On the other side of the blind we have a dog that wants the duck because there is something in its dogginess that...
“‘Every Barleycorn a King'”
“Visceral”
It started as a small slit: just a little opening in the skin, right at the dead-center of my sternum. I spotted it in the mirror—I was...
“Visceral”
“Waiting is the Hardest Part”
Before the red planet was tamed, when it still carried some mystery as it rose in the west, twinkling and desolate. Before I watched your...
“Waiting is the Hardest Part”
What We Were When We Drew What We Drew
I think Gabe must have been about fourteen when he lost his face, right before Christmas, body pinned in the back seat of the accordioned...
What We Were When We Drew What We Drew
“Lucky Strikes”
I bring them each a Coca-Cola, pink straw for the little girl in her lace dress, a wedge of lemon for the mom. The first 20 minutes...
“Lucky Strikes”
“The Hole”
We lie clothed together in my bed, her head resting gently on my stomach, when she tells me she doesn’t like the hole. The one in my...
“The Hole”
“Women in Cheap Jeans”
They come to the family health clinic on walk in days. Some come in pajamas. The line starts early—maybe seven a.m.—and slithers around...
“Women in Cheap Jeans”
“The Carriage House”
The boys wanted a race to see who could transform from male to female first. Each contestant got an assistant, so naturally I was my friend...
“The Carriage House”
“Dead Horses”
We were about to throw tractor wheels when we found something better. Doing anything with these dead horses, he asked. He had his little...
“Dead Horses”
“If Only This Once”
Once the storm came we started listening to the warnings on the radio. Don’t let the pipes freeze, don’t operate vehicles, don’t even...
“If Only This Once”
“Be Good”
Verb, imperative form. First known usage: said to him in the foyer, his hair still wet from the shower, his suitcase in hand, on his way to...
“Be Good”
“Things We Knew Would Never Work Out but Had to Try Anyway”
Do you know that if your baby brother dies Christmas night, the medical examiner doesn’t look at his body until after the new year, and...
“Things We Knew Would Never Work Out but Had to Try Anyway”
“This is His Wife”
This is his wife in the bed. She is as pale as a piece of paper. He holds her hand, and your hand. He draws you closer. You can see her...
“This is His Wife”
“Enormous Women”
On Friday evenings, enormous women in polka dot dresses alight on the Bainbridge Ferry sundeck, heading to Seattle. Young boys push off...
“Enormous Women”
“The King”
I once believed my father was a tree. At first he was a man; his gun rested on the carpet where we found him. It glistened between our...
“The King”
“Rainpainting”
The summer we lived with Dad, there was a neighbor whose voice we never heard. We’d see him walking through the woods, fingers brushing...
“Rainpainting”
“Story”
sto•ry noun. 1. how to fill silence: a. when the coffee is gone, I play with the mug handle, flip my glasses, tell a story about leaving...
“Story”
“On Butchers”
As the first child, my brother came ripping out of our Mother, turning her insides out, but there he was red-faced, streaked in vernix....
“On Butchers”
“Demonstrator”
The fight started right after the bars closed. I was thirteen, sleeping alone in a new travel trailer, on the Tompkins Street side of the...
“Demonstrator”
“What’s Your Book About? How to Make a Pitch”
When my first novel was complete, I sent it to an academic press. (You could do that then.) The editor liked the book, but decided it would...
“What’s Your Book About? How to Make a Pitch”
“Beggars’ Night”
She arrives on my porch on Beggars’ Night, without a costume, and it takes me a minute to place her. Children scream and careen...
“Beggars’ Night”
“Our Local Pharmacist”
He records his conversations. He’s collected years and years of audio correspondence with us. Lately he doles out placebos because...
“Our Local Pharmacist”
“I Hove the Wreck”
Baton Rouge to Oxford, MS, the sunset a blast of orangey-red, trees sparse against the brittle clouds, I questioned the decision to travel...
“I Hove the Wreck”
“Albino Roommate”
I had an albino college roommate in the 1980s in New Brunswick, NJ, when the city was dirty, dingy and Johnson and Johnson was...
“Albino Roommate”
“The Last Story I Cared About”
My first story, I was six, was about my cat, the cat I had until it contracted feline leukemia. Its breath at the end smelled of rancid...
“The Last Story I Cared About”
“Dead Man Dressing”
I’m wearing a dead man’s clothes, and I feel fine. I spend fifteen minutes or more each day knotting his tie. Just so. Snug against my...
“Dead Man Dressing”
“Faces”
Momma’s Face Momma’s got pink eyes, always wet and dribbling like the leaky sink. Drip. Virginia taught me a song once about Minnie Ha...
“Faces”
“Dig a Sheet-Rag a Hole”
Training with dead men sucks. Lewis lost his right arm in a factory and can’t do a pushup, while Carlos won’t stop vomiting up his last...
“Dig a Sheet-Rag a Hole”
“Meteorite”
We were asleep when the meteorite hit. Horrible rumble, cindery smell. Everyone ran downstairs in rumpled states of slumbered dress. There...
“Meteorite”
“School Bags”
They were selected for practicality, not color, or brand or cool factor. They were selected for practicality, nothing else, because they...
“School Bags”
“Branding Day”
The skin sizzled and spat, grains of flesh melting beneath the hot iron. The cow roared and bellowed, throwing its hind quarters upwards...
“Branding Day”
“On the Importance of Growing”
Before his liver failed, Pop tended to the garden. I tend to it now. I did what Pop would’ve done. I started seeds under lights, turned...
“On the Importance of Growing”
“The Second Most Important Explosion of 1986”
Austin, TX USA 01/28/86: 10:25 AM (CDT) Time does seem to pass. The world unfolds not in moments but in frames, images compressed into...
“The Second Most Important Explosion of 1986”
What Do You See When You Shave (Upon Sitting Next To A Stranger At The DMV)
If you stand behind me, as I face a mirror, and peer around — apart from your own eyes, the top bit of your head, and maybe an ear or...
What Do You See When You Shave (Upon Sitting Next To A Stranger At The DMV)
“Together”
Together, we go down to the lake. It is well past midnight, and the illuminated cradle of the moon hangs high in the sky. Our mother is...
“Together”
“The Abandoned Millworks”
When the abandoned millworks caught fire, distant sirens woke the town. The cutting and drying sheds, reduced to spent, black timber,...
“The Abandoned Millworks”
“Gods ‘n Dolls”
Stacy hasn’t had her period for two months now and we’re all convinced she’s preggo with a child of God. Brenda wants to host the...
“Gods ‘n Dolls”
“Coming Round”
I am the product of my imagination. I imagine him imagining me in a red-striped bikini top and jean shorts, lounging on the grey deck chair...
“Coming Round”
“Oscar’s Texas”
It’s cooler up there where Oscar works, Houston melting into the pavement seventeen stories below. He moves lithely, walking the beams,...
“Oscar’s Texas”
“Unidentified Flying Objects”
One winter night, a long time ago, a bright light was seen up in the foothills, darting back and forth just above the tree-line for hours,...
“Unidentified Flying Objects”
“Caterpillar”
When my baby was born, I told everyone he looked like a caterpillar. My friends and even my husband thought it was funny at first, but I...
“Caterpillar”
“The Sowder Sisters”
Ruby was fine until she gassed herself. I must of told her a hundred times, “If you don’t keep that stove lit, Sister, you’re going...
“The Sowder Sisters”
“Seeing Marcella”
I accidentally bump into her grocery cart and that’s when I recognize her. It’s Marcella, from the old neighborhood. She looks...
“Seeing Marcella”
“This Is What We Do”
We ride in vans. We knock on doors. We sell subscriptions to magazines. You’ve heard of these magazines. Would you like to buy a...
“This Is What We Do”
“Therapy Dance”
Agitated Pessimism, wearing a pink sweater, a push-up bra, and one hoop earring leans against the wall, listening, to Frustrated Empathy...
“Therapy Dance”
“In the Dark”
In the movies at the ten o’clock late show showing something with Bruce Willis, I don’t really know the name, Clay huffed and puffed...
“In the Dark”
“Grapefruits and Oranges”
The ultrasound reveals a pooling of fluid along my C-section scar. There is a golf ball-sized polyp in my uterus, as well as a second...
“Grapefruits and Oranges”
“I’ll Take Your Boots off Before the Storm”
It hadn’t been on course for us, but when Rem got excited, I got excited, and then it hit. That was, and has been, the course of events....
“I’ll Take Your Boots off Before the Storm”
“Spider Webs”
Brad is so tall he walks into spider webs. Sometimes, he kneels down in front of me and asks me to pick the sticky white thread out of his...
“Spider Webs”
“Belief”
be•lief noun. 1. how to trust: a. my beliefs don’t include hell, but you tell me on your futon, in front of friends that your belief is...
“Belief”
“Raw”
Think of an egg: how it cracks. It’s hard: hard meaning brittle, brittle meaning breakable, breakable meaning not-hard. It’s not-hard...
“Raw”
“The Urgent Delay”
Dear Mr. Fellows: I informed you a month ago the novel is due at the printer’s this week and as I mentioned yesterday in our abortive...
“The Urgent Delay”
“The Atlas of Winds”
They told us the winds were dying. We sat on rooftops and watched the cloud rush. I tried to catch gusts in my hands. She said she wanted...
“The Atlas of Winds”
“From Adam”
We end up at Ryan’s house, because there are six of us, and it is practically summer, and Ryan’s perverted step-dad is rich and always...
“From Adam”
“We Get Ready”
Molly says Meg Ryan is the gold standard. We can identify the traits of an ideal woman by watching her old movies. “Some of these are...
“Fingers Hooked”
I wanted a fuck and he wouldn’t give it to me because his wife was home sick with the baby and he was worried. They had vacationed in...
“Fingers Hooked”
“Alstromerias”
In the shopping cart, she found a grocery list. The handwriting was pleasant. A bit slanted. Curvy. Flowers. She never bought fresh...
“Alstromerias”
“Italian Alps”
She approached me on the train, slipping beside me, to say in broken English it was okay that I’d been watching her. We had a view of the...
“Italian Alps”
“Lena Keeps Her Secret”
The scar ran like spilt wax down her shoulder and arm. Her face changed as she spread lotion over the ruined flesh, eyes pooling with...
“Lena Keeps Her Secret”
“Burning Bridges”
I wondered if she thought of me while she was falling; sails unfurled, velocity stripping the feathers from her wings. I didn't know...
“Burning Bridges”
“The Impersonator”
Ray lopes through the sunlit street, the heavy wooden cross burying splinters all over his back. The crown, which took him two days to...
“The Impersonator”
“Collisions in Broad Daylight”
When accidents happen, there’s a hesitation before the impact, like a syncopation in music. The heart hesitates, the pulse is disturbed,...
“Collisions in Broad Daylight”
“Self as Coffee Shop”
I ask to speak with the manager, but he’s on his break. The baristas keep giving me tea with not enough water. They have big tits, so...
“Self as Coffee Shop”
“Before She Was a Memory”
I didn’t recognize her without her head. The policeman took me to the morgue. He told me to look. I looked. There was an expanse of...
“Before She Was a Memory”
“Sashimi Bear”
On the television screen: a man eating the yet-beating heart of his enemy, chin red and wet with hot blood. We gagged in delight, in mock...
“Sashimi Bear”
“The Closer”
Dr. Morris Klozer had to tell another patient that he was dying.  It was his third of the afternoon. About a year earlier, an orderly had...
“The Closer”
“Wind”
A storm is coming. Mr. Crosby, the Scout Master, turns up the radio and yells over the weatherman for everyone to start packing up. His son...
“Wind”
“Monkeyshines”
It’s hard to say when we realized our son had monkeyshines. My wife always claims she was the first to notice, and I guess that’s true,...
“Monkeyshines”
“Silence, Pushing”
Their daughter Elizabeth wanted a dog, had wanted one for quite some time. Now that she hid away in her room most days, it seemed like the...
“Silence, Pushing”
“The Summer of Whooping Cough”
Up and down our street, coughs pepper the night, soft gunfire from scattered positions. Our ability to fall into a deep sleep is...
“The Summer of Whooping Cough”
“Early Morning Landing in Newark”
Dropping from heaven and looking out the window, the clouds thin and lights wink through the whistling dark where tail lights are drifting...
“Early Morning Landing in Newark”
“Amerika Street”
Slovenia (from Flash Fiction International) It’s been quiet in the apartment for a week with Daddy and Mama not talking. Today, they are...
“Amerika Street”
“A Late Appointment”
Everyone who comes in here changes the molecules just a little.  They bring their energies, their problems, their jealousies and their...
“A Late Appointment”
“Thieving Magpie”
Her ex-husband was stealing from her. She had followed him from Italy to America, raised his three children, cleaned his house, ironed his...
“Thieving Magpie”
“Hard Reset”
The battery icon on my forearm steadily blinks. One bar left. On my wrist below the recently replaced steel joint is a single LED bulb...
“Hard Reset”
“Volcanic Fireflies”
Mexico (from Flash Fiction International) Adapted to Popocatépetl’s sulfurous crater, this species of Coleoptera is endemic to the...
“Volcanic Fireflies”
“Steps Taken towards Breakdown”
1. When the young Husband returns from the lot with a black SUV that can only be described as compact. How the Wife holds her palm to the...
“Steps Taken towards Breakdown”
"Even Toy Swords"
When the boy next door knocked on mine and pronounced himself dead, he had a gun and I had a sword. Because, after all, I was the girl. He...
"Even Toy Swords"
“Please Hold Me the Forgotten Way”
United States (from Flash Fiction International) His hair was dark and soft and curled a little because it was getting long. He must have...
“Please Hold Me the Forgotten Way”
“Mrs. White in the Ballroom with the Lead Pipe”
What you do is text, text, text. We’re playing Clue with the girls. You can’t be bothered to help Ruby hold her cards in a fan because...
“Mrs. White in the Ballroom with the Lead Pipe”
“Hot Yoga”
    He comes in late and unfurls his mat too close to mine. During Salutation I hear his every breath. During Noose I see the sweat...
“Hot Yoga”
“Prisoner of War”
Iraq (from Flash Fiction International) For Marcia Lynx Sahira was standing in the doorframe, watching her father grow transparent as the...
“Prisoner of War”
“A Break Up in Stages”
  After three and a half months, which winds up being the halfway point in your relationship, this is the first time Mia wanted to...
“A Break Up in Stages”
“Marital Tip #79”
When out of town on a business trip, do not get caught up in the moment. Remain emotionally-neutral whenever possible. For example, it is...
“Marital Tip #79”
“The Tiger”
Afghanistan (from Flash Fiction International) It was market day. I had loaded a dozen sacks of potatoes onto a truck and we were taking...
“The Tiger”
“The Baseness of Nature”
As the bomb fell she inexplicably thought of the kiwi she hadn’t picked, the one just out of reach. The small brown fruit had hung over...
“The Baseness of Nature”
“Later I Find Out My Mother Has Read On WebMD That Antioxidants Can Prevent Cancer”
It was just a cheap fold-up lawnchair—retro style, wide white-and-green plastic straps woven over a lightweight metal...
“Later I Find Out My Mother Has Read On WebMD That Antioxidants Can Prevent Cancer”
Novel Flash: Far Beyond the Pale
As long as I can remember everyone’s always called me Honey Boy. It wasn’t Mama who gave me that name, she just mostly called...
Novel Flash: Far Beyond the Pale
“Sanctuary”
Excerpt from in-progress book of linked stories Calvin found God at the bottom of a dried up storm ditch ankle deep in dying minnows,...
“Sanctuary”
“Small Talk”
“Guard the house, Panda,” my stepmom says. She’s talking to our three-legged dog.   A car hit him when he was a...
“Small Talk”
“The Baby’s Hunger”
Da's stagger did less damage than his swing. He rolled about the kitchen like a boat with a keel hole scattering dishes and clanging...
“The Baby’s Hunger”
“Sleeping”
The phone rings. I flush the toilet. I hurry up and wash my hands. I grab the cordless from the bedroom, as not to wake the sleeping baby....
“Sleeping”
“Blanched”
As an infant, Penelope spent a few nights in Saxon County hospital.  Her mother, Janice, feared mold like the plague, filling the country...
“Blanched”
“Lamplit by Shirley Temple’s Late Films”
With midnight gone are your dance numbers with butlers and windmills, your lollipop song sung up and down the aisle of a silver plane, the...
“Lamplit by Shirley Temple’s Late Films”
“Milk Teeth”
So now she knew and it was done, and as the curves in the road rocked her in and out of the same bad dream she thought of him: of how...
“Milk Teeth”
“Second Wave”
Later that afternoon, at the head of River Road, I was trying to explain the situation to the deputy. After the first wave of the storm...
“Second Wave”
“Nest”
He began hearing, at night, occasional noises his new wife made while she was sleeping. It was like something at the back of a throat,...
“Nest”
“Anticipation”
There is a ledge near the Ponte degli Scalzi and that is where I sit on my last night in Venice, smoking cigarettes and watching lovers on...
“Anticipation”
“The Music Man”
I play a bad hand, with a bad face and an empty wallet, and when they take down my high stack, I feel those hideous blue lights on the...
“The Music Man”
“Mother-In-Law Collection”
I’m no Mata Hari but I’m good at what it takes to get a mother-in-law. Not good at the marriages or the swindle of supper and spouses,...
“Mother-In-Law Collection”
“What We Talk About When We Talk About Lisa Frank”
The door was shut and we were locked inside. This was not by choice. There were three of us equipment managers. Steven had one leg longer...
“What We Talk About When We Talk About Lisa Frank”
“Blood Stained Snow”
The white snow, spotted with blood, moved. It trembled under Kenny Howard’s boots as he stomped toward me “Get up, boy,” he said to...
“Blood Stained Snow”
“Frayed”
We couldn’t look. We saw, but we couldn’t look. We saw: the yellow police tape around the bridge, the frayed swinging rope, the...
“Frayed”
“Kinetic Theory”
In college, my only friend was a long-limbed boy named Kaleb. He had a habit of rearranging other people’s things. Sometimes I caught him...
“Kinetic Theory”
“Blue Meat”
When Beth started the paleo diet, her stomach burned like a smoldering fire. Paleo because her fit and high-performing friends leapt...
“Blue Meat”
“A Late Appointment”
Everyone who comes in here changes the molecules just a little. They bring their energies, their problems, their jealousies and their tears...
“A Late Appointment”
“The First Humans”
They must be sitting or maybe squatting by the meager fire, primitive smoke lifting into air, mingling with the fog that surrounds the...
“The First Humans”
“Sadie Says We Have To Leave”
Sadie says we have to leave, take off, get the fuck out, to somewhere, anywhere, the beach maybe. “We just have to leave,” she says to...
“Sadie Says We Have To Leave”
“Bear”
After his girls went to bed, Tyler stayed up late, flipping through magazines and finishing his six pack. Early August in the UP and the...
“Bear”
“Nothing but Rust”
He tells her she doesn’t need to come all the way out there. Though all the way out there is no further than the clothesline where once...
“Nothing but Rust”
“Quinces”
I never thought so years ago when I was only an apprentice clown in Hackensack, but stay in this business long enough, and you come to...
“Quinces”
“Winter”
There’s a small spot in the woods where it was done. Your family swept away the leaves and dropped you when the cold swiveled in like the...
“Winter”
“Wolf or Deer”
When it rained, we played Would You Rather on the cabin floor. It was a game of tough choices. Would you rather eat sand or ash? Snakes in...
“Wolf or Deer”
“Six to Win”
The day after Marie left, I had to put my dog down. Poor thing could barely walk anymore. That damn mutt was ugly as sin — a Beagle...
“Six to Win”
“Grow Grow Grow”
I don’t need anybody to tell me what I was thinking when I went outside in my boots that day. My gloves, I put on gingerly, picking up...
“Grow Grow Grow”
“Remains”
The mortuary slip stated clearly what was to be done: “At the expense of the Bereaved.” There was nothing but acronyms bouncing in...
“Remains”
“What We Talk About When We Talk About Lisa Frank”
The door was shut and we were locked inside. This was not by choice. There were three equipment managers. Steven had one leg longer than...
“What We Talk About When We Talk About Lisa Frank”
“Transactions”
My mother stands outside the extended stay hotel with her enormous dog as I pull into the parking lot. She’s short on rent. Eight hundred...
“Transactions”
“Black Out”
With your ear to the pillow you listen to the sirens and its foam harden as you bury your face, a pillow as hard as the sandbags tossed...
“Black Out”
“One Time In-Between”
“One time I set fire to a mattress,” Jill says. “What is, why you’re not allowed within 500 feet of any...
“One Time In-Between”
“Demolitions”
–English translation by Wendell Ricketts When I got to Max’s house, the door was open. He was stretched out on the sofa, that...
“Demolitions”
“The Impersonator”
Ray lopes through the sunlit street, the heavy wooden cross burying splinters all over his back. The crown, which took him two days to...
“The Impersonator”
“Burial”
On Tuesday, Mark’s mother died. I found her on the couch crumpled in a blanket like a threadbare cushion. Framed by ash colored braids,...
“Burial”
“We Were Older”
We were old, the two of us. We were old in chairs, our hunched bodies stooped over. We were old standing. Leaning on canes, against walls...
“We Were Older”
“Outer Life”
While coming back to his home, the man had stopped off at a store and picked up a place mat of the solar system. It had all the moons, the...
“Outer Life”
“Waiting is the Hardest Part”
Before the red planet was tamed, when it still carried some mystery as it rose in the West, twinkling and desolate. Before I watched your...
“Waiting is the Hardest Part”
“Charms”
The sound of quarters dropping into the washing machine at the Laundromat. Things would be clean. The click of my mother’s pocketbook...
“Charms”
“About Future”
When our mother asks why I had my brother put down, I don’t lie, not over the phone. “I had to,” I say. “It was time.” I expect...
“About Future”
“Okay But Will You Anyway”
He’d thought back to growing up and raising sheep. How he’d had to help his old man yank testicles from a fresh batch of baby rams...
“Okay But Will You Anyway”
“High Dive”
Jenny climbed the first rung of the ladder, bare skin against abrasive grip. An older girl, two boys from her class, and some fat kid were...
“High Dive”
“Christmas on Easter Island”
Here’s the worst vacation idea I’ve ever had. Why not spend Christmas on Easter Island with my ice-cold, estranged wife and her...
“Christmas on Easter Island”
“Young Love”
They dug for pesos in their pockets. The pesos were round and shiny and heavy. The man took the money from their outstretched hands without...
“Young Love”
“How To Restring a Guitar”
There was a red-bearded man on the airplane playing a guitar. His hips were gyrating in the seat which later caused a female passenger to...
“How To Restring a Guitar”
“Expect”
ex•pect verb. 1. to assume: a. when a mother expects that her daughter is pregnant because her belt is twisted from lying down next to a...
“Expect”
“Sharing a Smoke after Work”
Her red lipstick lips stretch like dilation when she smiles, their wideness between coughs a birthing of something he wishes to hold, to...
“Sharing a Smoke after Work”
“Restless Days”
Adele thought about Elizabeth Hardwick, how she moved from Lexington, Kentucky to New York City, going back south for family visits, never...
“Restless Days”
“Dinner”
Dinner is braised rabbit with fennel and mustard. The rabbit meat, Dad says, reminds him of Iowa in the winter. He removes his glasses and...
“Dinner”
“Small Talk”
Paulie decided, as a joke, to buy a gorgeous, formerly handfed Scarlet Macaw. She put the parrot in a tall gilt birdcage in the corner of...
“Small Talk”
“Cribs”
Summit Ave. Raffa comes to live with you in December, during school break. You and Jess have a two-bedroom on a quiet street. You’ve...
“Cribs”
“Letter to a Certain Dr. Bill”
Dear Dr. Bill, I received your message. I’ve been meaning to call you back yesterday, but I did not want to talk to you over the phone....
“Letter to a Certain Dr. Bill”
“How To Get Goth Girls Hot”
My roommates are gone for the weekend so I snort one of my mom’s blood clotting pills and invite Lindsay over. When she gets there I...
“How To Get Goth Girls Hot”
“What Should Not Matter”
A thimble. This is what she had picked—with great care he was sure—to give him for their first anniversary. I wanted to do something,...
“What Should Not Matter”
“Treacherous”
When the towers fell, I was seeing two women: Angela and Barb. One wanted to get married. One wanted to have sex in public parking lots and...
“Treacherous”
“A Stringless Violin”
Emptiness spreads. He sits on a wooden silence. She lies on a damp mat. ‘Nimisha’, they call her. She looks fair in her layette. She is...
“A Stringless Violin”
“At the Wood Pile”
The first sound he heard in the morning was a sharp cry. He thought he was dreaming, but he looked to the foot of the bed and saw the old...
“At the Wood Pile”
“A Real Kicker”
He is there, Caitlin’s father, on the burnt brown summer grass, pulling weeds by the sidewalk and I do not know this is the last day I...
“A Real Kicker”
“Marvelous, South Dakota”
On my birthday, my wife read from a paper scroll to announce our divorce. She decreed that she and her boyfriend, a champion jouster at...
“Marvelous, South Dakota”
“He Waits, Wants”
He shows her the calendar: it’s Day Fourteen, so they must have sex. Doctor’s orders. His cycle changes each month, but this morning...
“He Waits, Wants”
JoAnna Novak
Skin She was Darlene Connor pretty, with dark hair and stubby fingers decorated with plain silver bands.  She kept her college nose...
JoAnna Novak