• “Poached Egg” by Carl “Papa” Palmer

    Part of Larry’s 200 hours of community service was to help relocate the Henry County Museum. On his third trip he helped himself by relocating a fossilized egg from the dinosaur exhibit. He planned to sell the artifact at his brother Matt’s yard sale that weekend at the Kitty Ranch on Old Mill Road. What didn’t sell on Matt’s table of garage and attic clutter, to include Larry’s egg, was advertised on eBay. The egg sold immediately as an ostrich egg to an Oklahoma emu rancher hoping to create a new breed of the other white meat. Ronnie, the emu rancher, realized this was not an ostrich immediately upon hatching.…

  • “A Companion for the Journey” by Tyrean Martinson

    Cayeth can’t understand, really, but I speak to her anyway, into the long night of endless stars beyond the windows. We travel together for twenty-seven years, four hours, twelve minutes, and two seconds. Cayeth helps me pass the time. When I wake from my endless streams of near-sleep, brain fogged from mundane tasks, Cayeth is there, her eyes half-lidded, her head tilted partly down, focused on me with something between sorrow, pleading, and annoyance. I wonder if she’s truly been programmed correctly, but she loves me and she listens to me, just like any real dog would. I lean over and scratch her ears with my fingers, then I run…

  • “Lost in Thought” by Megan Brandes

                Argos Train Station is quiet for eight minutes as it waits for the rumble of a coming train. Stop, open, shut, onwards, silence. The arrival, the departure, all witnessed by those whose minds are preoccupied by pesky memories or future possibilities. Some people pace back and forth with hands aggressively hidden in their pockets while others sink into their shoes already lulled by the rhythm of a day so similar to the day before. The rectangular screen above their heads accurately calculates the minutes while the people count the seconds. Late or on time or the very rare, early. The day starts and ends here, missing or catching the…

  • “Watercolor Umbrellas” by Carrie Barrett

    I was with my best friend, who had flown in from Alabama after the death of her mother.  For months, Ms. Susan fought a cancer that ate her alive without killing her. We watched that lovely woman shrivel day-by-day, and suffer in awful, devastating ways that no child should ever have to witness. While walking the shops in Pike’s Place Market we lost ourselves among the people and were able to forget the grief and sadness, finding peace in the crowd for a few hours.  There, I came across a print that has embedded itself into my unconsciousness. When I see bright colors, I think of that print. If I…

  • “19th and Alameda/Traveling Back” by Elisa Peterson

    On the paved road                                                                       with the yellow line I fly out and up from my electric car descending, through exhaust and honking horns. I’ve traveled here before Many times. I am, again, the Native Princess the cowgirl flying her pretend pony through dust beneath the concrete. I kneel in the gentle dirt where I was nurse, pat, pat, patting the legs of wounded soldier boys, fix, fix, fix I said as I made them whole, as I healed them as I loved them That stretch of road childhood, printed there in the earth my blossoming womanhood, too where nighttime held us, me and my lovely boy, till the cruiser came…

  • “The Nineteenth Floor” by Alexander Perry

    “Mr. Smith,” the doctor said over the car’s speakers. “I’m afraid I have some bad news.” Joe listened to the hum of the tires over the road. “Are you there, Mr. Smith?” “Yeah. Here,” Joe said. His voice filled the cabin. “What’s it now?” He squinted and focused on the headlights’ path. Why must he always invite doctors to deliver him news? Use your words, he wanted to scream. I can take it. “Well, sir,” the doctor said, “I’m afraid she’s escaped.”  Joe’s stomach knotted. The back of his tongue salivated; nausea not far behind. “How is this possible? She’s on the nineteenth floor of the hospital.” The doctor agreed…

  • “Catching Falling Orphans” by Paul Barach

    I didn’t expect to see anyone in that empty park on a late Saturday evening, let alone them. A young mother beneath the streetlights bouncing a small, sullen girl on her shoulders as she weaved down the trail, her arms stretched out like airplane wings. I knew why I was there. My dispensary closed late and I worked early on weekends. There was nothing else to do that balmy summer night but go jogging around Washington Park. Exercise was always a good distraction, especially with the anniversary of my girlfriend’s death approaching. I’d finished the two-mile dirt loop and was heading towards the pull-up bars near the entrance when I…

  • “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…