by Thomas Cochran of West Fork
The songs weren’t enough to keep them from starving. So she left with nothing but a pack of cigarettes and a tattoo of a heart with "Forever" scrawled across her shoulder in midnight ink. Back to her frozen friends and the diner that serves the best pancakes north of Utica; she waits for another half-assed prince in a flannel shirt who’ll make her believe she matters.
by Alicia Bishop Drumgoole of Harpers Ferry
of S. Rachmaninov
spilling from clouds
to tap each bead of mist
as Concerto No. 2
fills the plains
like the hum of a box fan.
by Adam Gianforcaro of Glassboro
Innocent, you. No matter. They blamed you for the fire. You blamed them. You punched then pulled back with a bullet fist that hot wind through the broken window's face, dripped red to the carpet. The field burned away fast. Firebug, they said. Fuck you, you said. It was your hide peeled back from the knuckle. Not theirs. They even blamed you for bleeding.
by Sheldon Lee Compton of Virgie
She thinks of endless days baby-talking the Yorkies, then updates her status, uncaps the Xanax, and pours a glass of chilled Viognier. Later, the Yorkies make a fuss. It's almost midnight and they need to go outside, go potty real bad.
by Barry Basden of Llano
I am a bag lady. I have no shoulders. My name is Thelma. My name is Mary. I don’t remember.
I don’t remember if I’m a virgin born in Carál or Monte Carmelo. I wear black braids. I wear a halo--a halo of staples and memorandums I don’t remember. I don’t remember if I’m a clerk or a virgin born in Carál.
My name is Mary. My name is Thelma. My name means nothing. Nails are my bed.
By mignon ledgard of Lima
With enough guts,
the basics made sense:
flight, the absolute option.
You thought it.
by Joshua Otto of Portland