• “Closing Argument for The Defense in a Woodland Civil Suit” by Paul Richter

    Your Honor. Members of the Jury. Mr. Hare’s attorney, Mr. Fox would have you believe that his client is a misunderstood, but ultimately well-meaning member of society. Mr. Fox will tell you that Hare has learned his lesson and that he has been humbled by his loss at the big race. This is simply not the case. Hare may indeed have learned something, but it is certainly not the lesson Mr. Fox would have you think it is. We’ve all heard the phrase Mr. Fox invented to summarize the events of that afternoon: “Slow and steady wins the race.” I will admit, it is a catchy phrase. I certainly remember…

  • “Empty Plates” by Andrea K. Capere

    I remember eating grass from the lawn strategizing which blades would be clean or covered in dog piss. Eating raw potatoes with the neighbor boys when WIC ran out   My sister and I wove fairy tales around our hunger certain we could pretend our way out of it how much water could we fill ourselves with? a novel feeling of waiting to burst We smeared half-ripened berries onto thorny leaves smashed expired nuts with Webster’s ninth unabridged Our ingenuity unmatched when hungry   It was marginally easier for a child to be starving in the heat of summer sleep becomes a welcome reprieve I absconded with expired buttermilk, granola,…

  • “When Befriending Spiders” by Tomm McCarthy

    When befriending spiders first get Comfortable with corpses for Little flea cadavers, vampirized Mosquitoes, husks of butterflies With echoed airless wings litter.   Give permission to be poisoned Because it’s just a bit— Not ever noteworthy for Each drip grants twin itches On the ankle that feel so Good to scratch at. Slippery, sweet, poisonous, Changing between movement and stillness Too suddenly—birds mistaken for Faeries with the same regularity As the days that rent’s late.   Third become aware of being watched And imitated in your roommate’s Spinnings—don’t be afraid. Behave gently with externalized egos And the angry music that they Play. Most spiders, you will Come to know, emotionally…

  • “At Midnight, We Kiss (Goodbye)” by Samuel Snoek-Brown

    A year ago we were on the rocks and over iced whiskey at midnight we made a resolution to stick together into the future. But we didn’t   look to the future—we started looking to the past, back through the history of our shared lives, all the fights and the sex and the candlelight   dinners and the flirting and the uncertainty—how would this ever work out? We looked back through the history of our respective families—   all the divorces, all the long miserable great- grandparents, all the separations beyond trial. On one side, three suicides; on the other an old murder,   strychnine in a bowl of soup.…

  • “Changing of (A) Dream” by Nikita Nelen

    I woke with all my dreams on loan in a lucid state of revolution.   I woke up in this country with simulacra fantasies of an all-American Dream. I woke up in a Hopper painting, overweight and lonely with Sinatra screaming at me because he too was lonely.   I woke up with a language that transgressed against daunting plans and my vision was a sense siphoned off of the mouth of a Klein bottle that I kept secret in the interview for This American Life because the best dreams, the ones that keep time going, are deranged.   I woke up in this land with dreams of revision, praying…

  • “Whitehouse-Greenhouse” by Sammy Vickstein and Anonymous

    An exercise in ekphrasis    Gifts wrapped, tight arranged under the shapely tree Candles in every window, Waving, as if in special invitation “Here!” They say Here is peace, joy, harmony at last   A table laid out in wedding china set exactly once a year Glistening fatted birds Stuffed, roasted, stuffed again and splitting with abundance   Cedar and holy hung, just so Framing each scene as if blocked for a performance It’s impossible to imagine anything askew   It’s hard to picture love here too Any human feeling: fingers sticky, floors muddy with melting snow, mouths loud and happy.  Instead, opinions left at the door nothing disagreeable, nothing…

  • “Voices Through the Floor” by Mishon Wooldridge

    At 5 pm, the neighborhood is comfortably in its bed of darkness. Porch lights cast out nets–only catch a person or pair, squinting. It reminds me of a middle-aged man who admitted darkened neighborhoods frighten him, then tried to convince me of his wealthy connections and begged me to clean his apartment for 12 bucks an hour. My boots squash soggy leaves. Lately, it seems I see more figures in the shadows. A hunched man exposes his body to be simply rhododendron limbs in front of a dim window, I scold myself for paranoia but keep my eye on him as I approach home’s doorway. Inside, voices through the floor…

  • “Shades of Green” by Chas Wilson

    In his eighty-first spring, Jerome realized he’d never seen so many shades of green.  They were arranged in front of him, on one-by-one inch squares, six squares to a card, on nearly twenty cards.  That was over a hundred!  As he stood in front of the display, the paint salesman sidled over to him.  “Looking for a particular color, sir?” Jerome answered, “Green,” but it sounded more like “Gurun.”  Since his stroke, he had been having difficulty pronouncing words and writing.  He took one of each of the color sample cards and ambled outside into the bright, warm, Southern California morning.  He eased himself down onto the curbside bench and…

  • “The Death of R&J” by Alec Clayton

    The phone call came around 7 p.m. He almost didn’t answer because the caller ID said unknown, and it was from Connecticut. He didn’t know anyone in Connecticut. But with cell phones nowadays it could be from anywhere. So, uncharacteristically, he picked up. “Hi, J. This is Gilbert, your brother, R’s stepson.” “Hi, Gilbert,” J answered with a catch of premonition in his throat. “I don’t know how to say this, so I guess I just have to say it. R passed away. He died in his sleep.” J’s initial response was, “I didn’t see this coming.” “None of us saw it coming.” “But I should have. I… ” And…

  • “You Need to Grieve” by Morf Morford

    I need to grieve. It was my first time teaching at a tribal college. I was new to the community and had a ton of prep work to do for my classes. We had about week of prep time before the school year began. I was learning my way around campus, meeting other teachers and staff and a few local tribal leaders and trying to get ready for several classes I had never taught before. In the midst of this, I got notice of a mandatory meeting for all non-Native staff and faculty. I already had more to do than I could get done in just a few days. I went…