“The War Rages On” By Brittanie Maccarone

The war rages on. The moon and stars are obscured by the Thick, black smoke. A rancid, gray haze, Like a cloak covering the forest floor. The riverbed is full of nature’s inhabitants, The river itself, rushing with the violence of the moment, Presenting a second, powerful danger. They are trapped, shaking, and terrified. The …

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“Better Reasons” By Molly Fessler

What I didn’t say was: Stop. What I didn’t say flew out of my palms like bats, dark words with wings and thirst. What I didn’t say drove up from my abdomen, filled my nose with bile, though they unzipped my gallbladder months ago. What I didn’t say was: No. Syllables much longer, cadences much …

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“To My 9-Year-Old Self” By Shenali Wijesinghe

I remember you dancing. a tangle of slender limbs twisting and curving— the melody swirling out of idle heart strings eyes closed succumbing wild fantasies. I still dance. I'm dancing on shattered glass as I let it cut my soul and I bleed the rain that falls from these skies. I remember you, scribbling on …

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“Death for You – Remarkably Supple” By Indiana Rich

the corpse is Diplomatic, pickled in a Walnut womb, garnished with Pomegranate petals. eyes like a donut glazed with confection the focus is a vacuum. pallor of affection Now you smile, rusty gums and candy teeth you’ve left a cavity a wormhole I am consumed diving into your straw hair and your stale perfume six …

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“Question #3: Soft Drink Focus Group” By Paul Sevigny

What childhood recollection does this drink elicit? I was seated near the end of the conference table still clutching my clear communion cup, effervescing froth dwindling on the sidewalls, when the other taste testers began to talk of reminiscent summertime picnics, ballgames and barbeques and family vacations. Sir, do you have anything you’d like to add? …

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“Standing in Pine Grove Cemetery” By John Robinson

In the woods above Cornstalk Lake, a light, April wind moves through pine trees that encircle this clearing. From one edge of the graveyard spring grass swells at my feet, at lichen-covered stones. A veteran flag stands erect before mottled rock. The first flowers have erupted like scattered seeds beneath maple and oak. Clusters of …

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“Klarman, Mclean: Postmortem” By Emily Duggan

The river drinks me eyelids down, slurps me up ears-first, then my gaping lips, then neck, shoulders lickety-split, rickety-soft, gullet, gut, then what remains of my spider- web hips. Spits out the bones, porous, pinpricked. Then leans in and swallows me again. — I let it. — The patients left behind go, eventually, our separate …

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