Scoundrel Time

Anna,

Here’s Schubert at 17, short and thick, nickname Schwämmerl, “little mushroom,” deep in his cups at the Hunter’s Horn, a dingy beer hall in Vienna, with the after-opera crowd, poetasters and brainy pundits...

Blessing for the Lice Check

Miss Rosier, who was childless, had us bow our heads to our fifth-grade desks on the appointed day, as though for prayer. She slowly ran the side of a pencil from the nape of each neck to the top of each head...

From A Series of Portraits of the Most Dominant Possessions in Rap Music

#1 A Portrait of a Gold-link Chain Great material of this kind requires mastery, requires great digging, yes, a great digger, and a heavy, well-stropped shovel. It purports the need for a good licking, a...

People have started Saying, “Nip it in the Butt”

Is this a mishearing of “bud” or a mash-up with “Come back to bite one in the ass,” the desire to breed a new expression from established ones, the way my daughter’s science class imagined mating superheroes...

Taking The Service Road

Ice on asphalt, fog on wing mirrors, land flat, a yardstick, a bad tire, dry rot on the sidewall, the map of where I’ve been— Iowa, Indiana, Ohio, the mechanic tells me, hard times lurk, bad news ahead. On to...

Two Poems by Hussein Ahmed

Suppose it Rained in Harmattan Suppose everything beneath this sky wasn’t dying of loneliness – or hunger. Suppose we sought a new God that cannot stand the sight of blood. Suppose there’s a new God in town, and nothing edible goes on...

Listicle

the man with the hidden camera at the nude beach the man online who said i must not post the photo of the license plate of the car of the man with the hidden camera at the nude beach The Most Lemony of Lemon Muffins the women shocked by the man...

Voyeurs

In Brooklyn, the sky is too small to fly kites, so we flew paper planes instead, hoping our futures went as far as they did before falling. We’d watch the wind catch and carry them along, but we’d look away before they fell, turning our heads from...

Two Poems by Andrew Shields

Accident The witness alleged that the tram was run down by an excited horse whose rider found he’d lost control too late to prevent the collision.   _____   Crossing When you cross the river, look up if you can. There’s always...

Gig Economy

I am a person you can pay to outsource the in-person trolling of your long-distance nemeses. On Monday, I got paid enough to buy a sandwich for side-eyeing someone at a coffee shop.  Yesterday, it was knocking someone’s ice cream onto the sidewalk...

A Trio of Erasures by Erin Murphy

HR Erasure: Policy on Clarity   Use                                          euphemisms. Be                    ambiguous. Choose                        your                 own     definitions for                   words, your...

Circuitous

A great & maybe pensive blue heron in this black-glass office park stalks chill captive water solar -electric fountained to prevent stagnation & green blooms of lawn -rich algal slime the ponds rimmed meanderingly by asphalt walks &...

What’s Brittle

That place where it breaks—the faint hairline crack that snakes its spider web lines out in all directions, jigsawing sharp pieces out of what was once just a single thing: a window I have looked through forgetting the glass. The oak seen for weeks...

Sunshine and Sea Air

The water is yellow today, so Becca chooses the marigold placemats and beige dishes to coordinate, finishing with linen napkins and silver flatware (her pattern is Grand Baroque). She adjusts the place settings on the patio table overlooking the...

Damaged Goods

I Like eggs with brief craters, starburst damage masked, often, with plastic packaging, faults caused by mishandling, manipulated nature graded; any given woman. Oh, to be rogue, to know, to feel deep in the marrow’s soil that cracks do not equal...