• On the Train to Chicago by Alec Clayton

         I was eighteen and thought I was a man. What eighteen-year-old doesn’t? I had joined the Navy Reserve and was headed to Chicago for boot camp at Great Lakes Training Center on a train from New Orleans. Just a country boy from Podunk, Mississippi, I had never been on a train. I’d never even been out of Mississippi except for a couple of fishing trips with my old man, one to Louisiana and one to Florida.      I ordered pancakes for breakfast, not knowing if breakfast was included with the ticket—provided by good old Uncle Sam—or if I’d have to pay. I didn’t want to ask for fear of seeming gauche.…

  • VanCity Blues by Lory French

         I swatted his hand away when he pointed at the woman’s purple bra. I didn’t mean to hurt him but I forgot, in my haste, that I had a pen in my hand.      “Fuck!” Dave screamed loudly. “That stabbed me right between my fingers! What the fuck, Olivia?”      Several shocked Canadian heads swiveled toward us, expressions varying from confusion to disapproval. Among them was the curly blonde lady with the purple bra peeking over her sweater’s neckline. She colored, definitely noticing us now, and tugged her shoulders to fully cover her cleavage.      “I’m sorry,” I hissed, “but you were pointing!”      “That really hurt, Olivia.”      “I said I was sorry. But…

  • The Poets by Jennifer Chushcoff

    Written after attending a lecture by Professor Robert Hass, the former U.S. poet laureate. We mouth the words, we chant, we rise and fall in rhythm as we drink the verse together. Our tongues in chorus curl, unfurl, wrapping measures in our mouth humming life back into language.