“the tarnish beneath the gold” By Sam Kaspar

The table was the size of a majestic west-coast hardwood trunk, and for £110,000 it was all the more intriguing, what powerful consequential people must have dined at such a massive table historically, or now if some wealthy person bought it as a trophy for a near-vacant mansion. It was my first and only time …

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“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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“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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“Counters and Booths” By Susan Dashiell

Fleets of buses and trucks jockeyed for position along Northern Boulevard, but Gayl stared ahead looking at nothing in particular. Shoulder pressed against the vertical box of sealed-off space, her cupped hands cradled the phone like she was whispering in someone’s ear. Red panels enclosed the base of the phone booth, providing coverage from her …

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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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“The Sex Puzzle” By Kevin Freeman

"Do it!" whispered Jon. I glanced up the aisle, shelves filled with trinkets and toys. The local stationary store resembled a carnival midway, with colorful concessions as far as the eye could see. For months we had shoplifted here; small tokens of bravery from Matchbox cars to key chains. None had any real value to …

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“Bring Me Your Dead, Your Dying” By Shilo Niziolek

I want all buildings to be old buildings. I want brick walls or older than brick walls. Caves underneath the base of the houses that the houses were built on, walls creased in limestone or granite or ash. Walls that speak when you touch them. I want old lantern lights that illuminate only a small …

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