What Happens When You Drown

What Happens When You Drown

A month after your suicide, when I’ve quit fearing a return to routine would mean I never loved you, I restart my daily swims at the university aquatic facility.  The facility has two pools. Fitness, eleven-feet deep, where recent high school swim stars flash down cool-water lanes, chlorine-bleached hair tucked...
Whenever Men Think I’m Smiling

Whenever Men Think I’m Smiling

I’m on the elevator alone for one floor before the man gets on.  He stands in one corner, staring at his phone. I drink my coffee. At the next floor, two more men get on. They flank me, laughing and talking about some game somewhere. I pull my arms in...
Two Septembers

Two Septembers

1. Blink We forgot to drop off the gas bill until 4 am, but that was just an excuse. Really, we drove out because we wanted to be in the storm. The usual thunderstorm things happened: rain blowing in on us, which was a refreshment at first, then a call...
Three Angels

Three Angels

I. The first angel arrives dressed in yellow. I can’t stop looking at her face. She rises from the sidewalk at the crest of Sacramento and Buchanan grinning, mouth cracked open, upturned to the sky. She’s around my age, it looks like, which means she is more old than young....
The Club from Nowhere

The Club from Nowhere

The oil sizzles, a spray of bubbles rippling across the pan, then the flour-coated chicken dropped in, first a thigh, then a leg, a breast, a wing, another leg, the hiss and sputter of crisping, edges ruffling, browning, the juices drawn in as a hand deftly turns and shifts the...
Butchering

Butchering

I. “Butcher” has nearly disappeared from public use. Customers prefer “meat cutter” because they associate “butcher” with “slaughter” and therefore “cruelty.” My father was not a certified butcher. He learned the trade working with his brother in grocery stores when they were young. My father’s job consisted of cutting steaks...
Ten Things You Need to Know About Listicles

Ten Things You Need to Know About Listicles

1.  It’s easy to disparage the listicle, that pseudo-article in the form of a list, that caterer to our tweeting, text-messaging, sound-biting, multitasking culture.  Listicles can’t develop an argument, complicate it, revise and refine it.  It’s the mode not of cause-and-effect but of oh-and-another-thing. It flouts consequences and elects slogans...
Postcards from My Current Self: Faith Evangelical Church, Summer 1975, Billings, Montana

Postcards from My Current Self: Faith Evangelical Church, Summer 1975, Billings, Montana

You walked to the front of the sanctuary to pick up your award—a Snoopy bank.  The pastor thanked you for recruiting the most friends to attend Vacation Bible School, a week of stories and songs about Jesus interspersed with games of Red Rover and Duck, Duck, Goose.  Which part thrilled...
A Legacy of Falling

A Legacy of Falling

In the last few months of her life, when she could no longer get out of bed without falling, my mother told her nighttime caretaker that she had contemplated throwing herself from the subway platform into an oncoming train. The confession didn’t surprise me, just the scenario. I recalled that...
Numismatic

Numismatic

I was a child once, and had no concern for cash but did, and still do, have a compulsion towards coins. The curve, the jangle, the shine. A coin is kind of magic, how any circle charms the human eye: halo, hollow, sun. We scraped circles on rocks before we...
Threeplay: A Real-Life Micro Drama

Threeplay: A Real-Life Micro Drama

Characters Me: Divorced Him: Interested Her: Uninterested Act 1  Over tequila shots in my triangle shaped house Her: Zzzzzzz Him: She made a list. People I can sleep with. Me: That’s insane. Me: Am I on it? Waving a lit wand of incense for her altar Her: How’re the kids?...
There Will Be Falling

There Will Be Falling

In my dreams, I catch her before she falls, the first fall in her apartment down the road from our house, when I’m a thousand miles away at a residency and have to rush home on the desert freeway, smoking a hundred Kools on the way. The second fall on...
My One, My Only

My One, My Only

Invariably, at the grocery store where I buy avocados, clementines, and Lucinda’s beloved pork breakfast sausage, some stranger will ask, “Is she your only child?”    I wonder what gives us away. Is it the way I narrate our grocery trip, the questions I pose about the ripeness of bananas,...
Dance Me to the End

Dance Me to the End

Four o’clock on a Friday afternoon. My grandmother slumps against the arm of the sofa, eyes half-closed, sinking down, down, down. The tips of her fingers graze the floor, and she moves them about, grasping at some hidden thing she keeps secret. Today is no different. She has just turned...
What I Do on My Terrace Is None of Your Business

What I Do on My Terrace Is None of Your Business

The woman in the apartment on my left has her head drooped low and an arm weighed down by a yellow watering can spouting all over the clay pots that line the metal bars of her terrace.  If she had fuchsia pink hair, she would look exactly like the hibiscus...
Latest Issue
Our May 2019 Issue

Our May 2019 Issue

Issue 61 features a range of startling, melancholy, angry, and funny flash from Och Gonzalez, Gordon Grice, David L. Ulin, Sheree Winslow, Patricia Foster, Jeff Newberry, Liza Porter, Sarah Beth Childers, Megan Pillow Davis, Jenny Apostol, Deborah Thompson, Caroline Crew, Suzanne LaFetra Collier, Jennifer Anderson, and Michaella A. Thornton. With photos by Elizabeth Fackler.
Craft Essays

Craft Essays

In our Craft Section, Joy Castro explores the slow-dancing, inseparable relationship between fiction and nonfiction, while Randon Billings Noble defends “themelessness” in assembling an essay collection.
Book Reviews

Book Reviews

Watch our book review section for regular updates on the best in new nonfiction. We publish our reviews year-round. Grab your reading glasses.
The Brevity Archives

The Brevity Archives

Readers, writers, teachers, and students can 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.