My Bodhisattva

My Bodhisattva

I was doing my daily meditation but also aware I was hungry and craving a hamburger and thinking about getting takeout from the bar down the street with its gruff bartender who always writes up the order, which last time and the time before and, yes, the time before that...
The Farmers’ Almanac Best Days for Breeding

The Farmers’ Almanac Best Days for Breeding

The Farmers’ Almanac was not the first book to which we turned—there were stacks, volumes, before it. So many more up-to-date sages willing to show us the best way to make a baby. Best is the wrong word; the most successful way to make a baby. It was only after...
Ace of Spades

Ace of Spades

Oscar Wilde wrote in The Picture of Dorian Gray, “It is a sad truth, but we have lost the faculty of giving lovely names to things. The man who could call a spade a spade should be compelled to use one. It is the only thing he is fit for.”...
The Cremation

The Cremation

In the cremation chamber, a solid wall blocked us from the furnace. This was new, I heard, as it used to be that the furnace was in plain view. Perhaps the sheer horror of watching a loved one turning into ashes had led to the change. On the wall, a...
On the Eve of My Mother’s Dying

On the Eve of My Mother’s Dying

What hospice people do is coordinate. They coordinate my mother’s move from the hospital where she was taken unresponsive to the assisted living facility where she remains unresponsive. They coordinate the ambulance personnel who transfer her from the stretcher to the hospital bed whose rental and delivery they have also...
If You Find a Mouse on a Glue Trap

If You Find a Mouse on a Glue Trap

If you find a mouse on a glue trap, he’ll eyeball you with one black shiny eye while breathing in and out faster than you have ever seen anything breathe. You will panic, though you know the mouse is panicking harder. When your husband points out that the mouse is...
On the Elliptical Machine, You Ask Your Mom How Her Week Went

On the Elliptical Machine, You Ask Your Mom How Her Week Went

She’ll consider it a good week if it ends without any of you getting influenza. It’s so bad, she says to you on the phone, all the schools have closed. Besides the flu, news has spread on the farm that one of your dad’s best employees, Brad (Traci’s husband, Brad—remember...
A Murder of Crows

A Murder of Crows

Once upon a time in a summer camp as far north and left as you might go from here, there was not just one crow, but many. There always had been crows in that place. There was also a hired groundskeeper who watched after the summer camp cabins, repaired sheds...
Simple

Simple

When I was seventeen, I spent a lot of time in another family’s home. We slept on futon mattresses back then, covered in flannel, with thick dark fabric over the windows. The beige carpet was scorched and melted dark where the frying pan of cigarette butts had tipped over to...
Katy Perry Is Crooning and Won’t Stop Just Because I Did

Katy Perry Is Crooning and Won’t Stop Just Because I Did

Because this is a small village and people tell other people’s news, I already know when I walk past your mother’s house, and the garage door is flung open wide as if it got stopped mid-scream, and you are lining up the contents on the lawn (an artificial Christmas tree, boards...
Our Bodies and Blood

Our Bodies and Blood

There is blood on the pool deck. Coach points and we stare: blood, in the small grooves between tiles; blood, barreling towards the nearest drain like it’s being chased. “Oh no. No, no no. Did someone start—” his voice trails off. “Is someone on their—” We lift our butts and...
Sardina and the Dream

Sardina and the Dream

My brother was in a motorcycle accident. I learned about it in a dream. I tried to change it to a car because he’d just learned to drive, and it would have made more sense, but the dream wouldn’t budge. It was so intense that I woke up and went...
Blood and Whiskey

Blood and Whiskey

There’s an old photograph of me and my dad, taken one day during hunting season. Daddy stands tall in the picture, his legs apart, the butt of his shotgun braced between them. The barrel points toward the wintry gray sky. He’s wearing his red-and-black plaid hunting jacket and a hat...
Twofold

Twofold

“The world is twofold for man in accordance with his twofold attitude.” — Martin Buber, from I and Thou One thing my grandfather did when he was alive: he wrote commentaries on the Bible. Another thing he did was fall asleep sitting up in a chair. Sometimes these two activities...
Ha Ling

Ha Ling

I live away from him, in Canmore, Alberta, a small town at the base of the towering Canadian Rockies and along the shores of the Bow River. My job is to take tourists on vacation in national parks like Banff and Jasper. I cater to the whims of the wealthy....
Latest Issue
Issue 59, September 2018

Issue 59, September 2018

Brevity’s 59th issue contains crisp flash essays from Steven Schwartz, Fleming Meeks, Rachael Peckham, Alysia Sawchyn, Xujun Eberlein, Julie Marie Wade, Shuly Xóchitl Cawood, John A. McDermott, Austyn Gaffney, Jan Priddy, Suzanne Farrell Smith, Gabe Montesanti, Renée Branum, Sondra Kline, and Peggy Duffy. With haunting photos from Therese Brown.
Craft Essays

Craft Essays

In our September 2018 Craft Section, Elizabeth Robinson offers a pattern sampler, because non-linear narratives “realign our attentions … (and) drench us in unknowing,” while Beth Kephart explores the interplay of language and visual arts (and marriage), and Rebecca Fish Ewan offers an illustrated crash course on graphic memoir.
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.