“Sitting with Aunt Laverne” By Lyndy Berryhill

I always wanted to go to a summer camp like kids did in the movies. The thought of lacrosse in some New England landscape was alien to every summer I endured. This was southwestern Mississippi in the 2000s; we walked upstream in our creek looking for crawfish, the stream cooling us feet-upward. The sun’s oppressive …

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“Falling in Love with Teeth and Coral” By Penny Senanarong

The merchant was taught—ever since she was old enough to fear anything—that monsters could walk in daylight and nightmares could wear the skin of normalcy for a short time before slipping back into the depths below, shedding their masks as night falls again. So, when she was roused awake by a stranger knocking on the …

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“Recursion” By Jacqueline Donofrio

It was a summer of lemons and cherry pits. Desire set ablaze with firefly circuits, Crushed garlic hands that never pulled back. The heat was so heavy that it all melted, Blood orange sunsets and watermelon clouds smudged together and there you were holding bolts of lightning between your teeth. You were a secret language …

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“The Quiet, The Fisherman, The Mud” By Yasmeen Mughal

I always liked the quiet. The dull roar of an AC, pumping air that circles my body, a table, a sweating beer. I close my eyes and meditate on the noise, slowing time until it becomes my own, something that I can catch between my thumb and forefinger, like the wings of a bee—my mind …

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“Dog People” By Emma Jane Van Dinter

I’m rubbing the dimples of the backside of a paragraph, feeling the remains of your tone. Summer sweat is now replaced with damp skin under quilts. Growling within the baseboard heater is an echo resembling the sound of kids sloshing about pool water. I watch the Shih Tzu figurine sitting on my typewriter and listen …

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“These Things” By Alexis Draut

These things I tell you,you will never regret: Love the speed of that cloud in frontof the moon and you will never take forgranted the color of a clear day.Talk kindly to not only animals but alsoto flowers and weeds.Learn to compost.Understand how everything effectseverything. Be humble enoughto pick up the shit of your ownfriendly …

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“Ruger 10/22” By Kevin McMahon

They’re regulars at Gray’s Sporting Goods, and not the regulars you’d expect—–fishermen, marksmen, student athletes—no, they’re an ancient man in a wheelchair and his equally old, but able-bodied wife. New-hires soon learn that they’ll never buy anything and let them be. A department head or manager will approach and say, “How are my favorite customers …

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