• “Other People Ruin Everything” by Leah Mueller

    I rarely go to the Blue Moon anymore. Too many of my bar friends have died. The remaining ones have turned into pudgy old vampires. They press their asses against stools and drink beer and shots while they watch the Mariners game on the pockmarked overhead television. Just looking at the place makes my liver hurt. I’d much rather stay home, sip a glass or two of wine, and carefully monitor my intake. Last night, I felt a strange desire to visit my old hangout. After parking on a side street three blocks away, I trudged towards the bar. A cluster of men leaned against the outside wall, puffing on…

  • “In the Morning My Body” by Abby E. Murray

    In the morning my body wants to go out so I take her. I tell my body to be good because she knows what I mean: don’t leave me. And the day opens up to her like a pond, shivering, reveals a smudge of herons commuting toward the reservoir. She is delighted — but when is she otherwise? To her, even a broken bone is a kind of magic trick: the splintered beginning of new wholeness.

  • “Stuffed Monkey” by James K. Smith

    “The Miami Conference is different than other conferences,” Dr. Hines told me one day, when he came to my dental parlor for a new crown on his second molar. “The heat just gets into your pores. Everybody goes a little crazy. I saw a well-respected oral surgeon from Ohio run off with some woman’s Pomeranian. I guess he took it back to his hotel room and fed it an entire pizza.” “Pomeranians aren’t supposed to eat pizza,” I said. “Not that one, anyway.” I first became acquainted with Dr. Hines in the fall of 1934, at the North Dakota School of Dentistry. I do not know whether it was luck…

  • “Origin Story” by Jamie Pederson

    I waited at the back of the courtroom wearing a pastel flower print dress made of cotton-Lycra blend, my favorite because the flowers reminded me of fireworks. A scrunchie with a yellow star held my red hair off my face in a loose ponytail. The high-backed oak benches, polyurethane wearing through to the raw wood beneath, were full. So I stood, clutching my canvas Omni Boy backpack by the top loop with both hands. I needed to pee, but I was scared that they’d call my name while I was gone, that I’d miss my chance. Becky and Reed had seats on a bench. Becky glared at me above the…

  • Roots by Shon Dhi

    We are just stewards without the earth we are naked to place value on land is to affront the sacred and make it something to be subjugated and used to put a price on what’s priceless and sell it on the news If radical means root and the true seed is greed. then regulating profits just trims the tops off a weed. For-profit prisons just a representation of a slave bearing system in a more profit nation where a paycheck means payment of the interest on a debt that insurmountable scope creates an un-traversable step up the pyramid hierarchy

  • A Very Talented Amateur Detective by John Carlson

    “Police report a library employee was found dead at the city library this morning,” the radio announcer said. “His death appears to be a homicide. We’ll keep you up-to-date on this story. And now we’ll play you a great oldie from 2000!” Maybe it was a great oldie for the twenty-year-old announcer. I thought it was just a bunch of racket. I turned the radio off. Besides, I was about to have company. I could see Jeff Connors, our police chief, turning into my rain-slicked driveway. Good timing. The coffee pot was almost done brewing, and Chief Connors would be just in time for the first cup. Always the best…

  • Perry and Sparrow/A Love Story by Elisa Peterson

    My father Perry was a very good-looking stuttering man. His stutter was so profound that it would sometimes take a whole minute to get a word out. “Let’s go to the b…b…b…b…b…b, long pause, stuttering of breath…b…b…b…silence (count about 10 seconds) beach!” That stutter didn’t hold him back, though. Women loved him. Even my childhood friends had crushes on him. Perry was a man of the 50s, a breadwinner, a guy handy with tools, a golfer, a drinker, a skier, a smoker. A very handsome man. And charming, despite the stutter, maybe because of it. But for all his personal charisma, there was a disconnected quality about him in his…

  • Running by Nirvan Hope

    The seafront is deserted except for a bedraggled stray dog and an icy wind that whips cold spray across my face. With a hollow boom, waves pound the crumbling seawall, fling white droplets into the air and suck back before the next assault. I run, avoiding pebbles washed along the desolate promenade. I run, not from anything, not to anything. I run because I must. I run on emotions that punch at me like the swell of the tide.  I run to light the fire of transformation, to warm a cold and turbulent inner sea to steam, to burn away the clinging scent of death. I run to uncover hidden…

  • “The Alchemy of Self-Love” by Sumer Cave

    If I am an Alchemist Let me press my palms into the dirt Let me conjure love By burying my toes underneath waxy Rain dropped rose petals That make love to the worms And let me set my ear to the earth And listen as she coos sweetly to the winds Who in time Caresses the mountains as they crumble to dust Creating space for my beating heart On this celestial plane of reality Sumer Cave recently moved to Tacoma Washington from West Virginia and continually seeks out creative opportunities that she feels will nourish her soul.  Cave has always harnessed an affinity and passion for written words, specifically poetry,…