Wings

Wings

It is the early eighties, the start of the civil war in El Salvador, and Maira is a child of the raindrops that come early in the summer. Thousands of raindrops. Maybe millions. Las lluvias. Desperate raindrops that smash into the mountains and the treetops, prod the soil and also the...
The Lunch Lady and Her Three-Headed Dogs

The Lunch Lady and Her Three-Headed Dogs

I raise my arm to write on the chalkboard, and the skin draped over bone and muscle swings in contrapuntal melody. I am ashamed to be caught in the act of living in skin. I hope my students are not hypnotized by the distracting motion. I hope no one sees...
Toledo, Ohio 1977

Toledo, Ohio 1977

Fried chicken and sweet potato pie. Blatz beer on our father’s breath. That autumn Michael and I bagged leaves and burned weed with Anthony, walking house to house with a rake, ringing the doorbell and not running. He taught us how to ask for what we would be owed. We...
Salvage

Salvage

Tommy’s parents wave from the porch as our minivan pulls up. His dad smiles, and that’s when I see he’s missing about half of his teeth. Before retiring a few years back, Gerald had been a mechanic. During high school, he’d apprenticed at his uncle’s garage, then serviced army vehicles...
Symbolum Apostolorum: The Apostles’ Creed

Symbolum Apostolorum: The Apostles’ Creed

In my high school, where God was king and country and girls were not, everything teetered on the tightrope of treason. We knelt like mendicants while nuns used their wooden rules to measure the distance between the immaculate floor and the hems of our box-pleated mini-skirts. Because length and sexual...
Are Now All That Remain

Are Now All That Remain

The way he slid Dylan from its cover and fingered the vinyl onto the platter. The way he picked up the needle, more than once, to make sure we heard the sizzle before the song. The way he shuffled into the kitchen in his socks. The hardwood floor of his...
Typos

Typos

“Maybe we’ll go wind tasting” Perhaps, but only if there’s time. We’ll sample many varietals: breeze, whisper, gale. Winds assume the flavor of the land in which they originate—a terroir—and vary by how long they’ve aged. Cup them first in your palms. Take your time (though I know your time...
Letter to Jim Harrison

Letter to Jim Harrison

So here’s this semester’s news: I jump the fence and run the track madly at night, in some fear of university police. The bushes and trees sigh in the wind. Inky blurred figures. At the pond, in the glow of streetlight, I see a grass carp the size of a...
Holy

Holy

My mother worries about my soul. She tells me so at her kitchen table, 6 a.m. We’re making nut-roll, even though it’s not a holiday, nothing to celebrate. My mother believes bread rises only in the morning. I’m not good with mornings. Last night I stayed up late, reading, worrying....
Misinformation

Misinformation

When I was young I dressed like a boy, though I became irate when misidentified as such. Even now I am sometimes called sir. I object less. When I was young, the boys I loved wore their hair in the style of a bowl cut. I enjoyed the mushroom shape...
Backstitch

Backstitch

On the bus from LaGuardia Airport to Grand Central Station I’m thinking about the night, thirty years ago, with the boy who lived in Hell’s Kitchen. On 57th Street, in an apartment on the 57th floor, with a view of the Empire State Building. He was Cuban, this boy, with...
Like This

Like This

“That’s the sound,” Lucie says. “Like this.” She makes her hand thin and rigid in the white-blue computer glow. She stares at the hand, vibrates it in a stiff palsy before her face. Lucie’s on the far side of the couch, half-reclined on the oversized throw pillow an ex-girlfriend made...
The Salmon

The Salmon

Before today, I’ve been my sister’s helper. Last summer, I’d helped Cindy clean the Leggett Motel cabins scattered in the redwood grove just off the highway. The buildings are run down, porches sag, and the floors inside not exactly plumb. While the cleaning solutions burned our eyes, we’d scoured the...
Dear Bad One

Dear Bad One

I hate anybody’s bad dream. My newest, right now, the size of a walnut, is the complex cystic structure on my left ovary, which my doctor said has grown larger since last time. It could be nothing. Could be nothing. I hate the pain everyone is in, at least sometimes,...
Beauty and Youth

Beauty and Youth

It begins with a man, an older man, and he is nothing like your father. He is tall and kind and has soft hands and a lot of money. He waits for you to grow up. You are his housekeeper, his running partner, his intern. He is the bank president,...
Field Guide to the Weather

Field Guide to the Weather

Occluded Fronts (Accelerando) In yoga class on Saturday morning, resting in dead man’s pose, I felt time move through me: not a cobra slithering, not a fish gliding on the bottom of a river. A storm wave, flash flood, catastrophe. Like it or not, our bodies are clocks: left foot...
A Nice Person

A Nice Person

Steven’s father couldn’t stop talking that day about the weather (windy, cold) and the Lennon Sisters who’d stolen his wife’s singing career. At one point, he clutched my hand with his own cold bone fingers. A wadded wet tissue passed between us. Steven was there, of course, it was his...
American Professionals

American Professionals

When I think of how much I don’t know about infidelity, I think of that summer we all got hot and horny for people outside our marriages, how in love everyone was with the notion of someone with whom they wouldn’t have to really get naked, physically or linguistically, how...
Latest Issue
Issue 54 / January 2017

Issue 54 / January 2017

Our January 2017 issue features flash nonfiction from Brenda Miller, Daisy Hernández, Sonya Huber, Sean Lovelace, Beth Ann Fennelly, Lucinda Roy, Jill Talbot, Sean Thomas Dougherty, Lori Jakiela, Elizabeth K. Brown, Paula Cisewski, Charlotte Gullick, Eleanor Stanford, Allegra Hyde, Michele Morano, David Naimon, Staci Greason, and Maya Jewell Zeller. Original artwork by Allison Dalton.
Craft Essays

Craft Essays

In our January 2017 issue, Brandon R. Schrand considers our ability to equivocate artfully in the essay, Peter Selgin examines the need to resist total seduction by sounds and surfaces,  and Rachel Tolliver and M. Sausun discuss nonfiction and social justice in the new political era.
Book Reviews

Book Reviews

Watch our book review section for regular updates on the best new nonfiction titles. We now publish reviews year-round, not only when new issues arrive.
The New Brevity Archives

The New Brevity Archives

Readers, writers, teachers, and students can now find essays and craft-focused discussions under a number of different headings: traditional subjects, such as aging or nature; varying modes and subgenres, such as the profile or meditation; as well as various techniques and literary conventions, such as dialogue and diction.