I followed the sound of champagne music. The door was open and the radio on, and then the room spun like the cylinder of a revolver. Most had come dressed as who they were--stickup men in black ski masks, burnouts with gray ponytails. Those who hadn’t were ordered to stand on the rain-snow line. The last time I saw Fat Nancy her double chin was trembling. If we can’t be honest, I told her, we can still be truthful.
by Howie Good of Highlands
swing back and forth
in the ignition
as a half-empty bottle
of Jack Daniels
by Fern G. Z. Carr of Kelowna
Small boats sit by Aveiro’s river mouth, bows scattered as compass points, small scoops on an interminably huge sea rising to the ever-imagined line of sight where the gallant Genovese fell off the known world. They are not deserted, though faintly cold for oarsmen who walk down this beach behind me, stomachs piqued and perched with wine, salted hands still warm with women, mouths rich with memory and signals.
by Tom Sheehan of Saugus
It's hard to be torn from your book as a page in the library, hard to discard the silk that you've woven, hard to be Cordelia or an open tomb, it's hard to leave father, hard to hold onto what little is firm, the grasp is weak, the tidal shifts, one never knows who whispers into the ear of a madman, black-tongued, raspy and cotton-mouthed, the hard words choked, "Leave this place, there's no longer anything for you."
by Ethan Milner of Ann Arbor
Our mother never taught us Tagalog, so we gobbled our father’s English up like hot dogs and hash browns, donuts and pie. Through the dining room window, we’d watch him pull into the driveway and raise his pale chin, smelling our mother’s meat loaf before she slid it from the oven. Then we’d bury our noses in spelling homework and grammar, in time for him to press against her and whisper in her ear, "Mahal kita."
by Josef Lemoine of West Covina
when he said, But Dad,
there's so much playing I must do.
by Hal O'Leary of Wheeling
Nothing pleased my mother more than the joy of salvage after a cataclysmic domestic happening. Fires. Tornados. Piss on the toilet seat. Spoiled dumplings. She needed to be, in one moment, destruction and restoration. My father tried to explain it. "Her family has good teeth," he said one night while frying up some catfish on the grill. He was so fat that he’d forgotten that my brother probably wasn’t his.
by Christopher C. Vola of New York