We are a small magazine with large ambitions.
Issue 47 / Fall 2014

Issue 47 / Fall 2014

Brevity’s 47th issue features BJ Hollars, Colin Rafferty, Debra Gwartney, Chelsea Biondolillo, Jill Talbot, Kirk Nesset, Adriana Paramo, Lynette D’Amico, Gretchen A. VanWormer, Dante Di Stefano, Vincent Scarpa, Jesse Waters, Elizabeth Maria Naranjo, Brenda Miller and Pamela Gay. Exquisite artwork by Stephen Knezovich.
Ordinary Shoes

Ordinary Shoes

I’m not a graceful child. I bump into furniture, spill drinks, wake with bruises for no discernable reason at all. I trip over carpets, stain my shirts the minute I walk out the door, and my lank hair slithers free of any barrette. But when I put on my roller skates, I turn into a...
All or Nothing, Self-Portrait at Twenty-Seven

All or Nothing, Self-Portrait at Twenty-Seven

It’s all empty beer cans and skinny dipping. (Bud Light and chlorine.) A guitar player with a beard who won’t let go as hard as you do. It’s teasing the strings of your orange bikini while he tosses his trunks onto the stone. It’s the ease of your body through dark water. The day he...
Cake

Cake

At the edge of the counter, on a plate and wrapped in plastic, was a single wedge of cake. Not just chocolate cake, but German chocolate, layers of sodden coconut and crushed nuts bound by nectar as sweet, I imagined, as the honey drop I once sucked from a trumpet-shaped petal of a columbine. I...
This Moment

This Moment

This is it. This is the moment our lives crack wide open like a pomegranate and all its bloody bits spread long and wide. One month before my daughter turns sixteen, I stand by the hospital bed, look her in the eye, and ask why. She stares blankly at the ceiling, fidgets with the D-rings...
Necrologies: Mothers & Fathers

Necrologies: Mothers & Fathers

BROWN RAT We only lived in the little house for three years. I still slept in a crib and watched Sesame Street while my mother did calisthenics. I do not remember eating or sleeping there. I don’t remember what the yard looked like. I do not remember my father’s shape as he moved through the...
Punch Line

Punch Line

One night when my wife is pregnant with our second child, she asks me for a glass of water. It’s late, and though it is a minor request, I still grumble as I sleepwalk to the kitchen. Who can say what time it is? Even the clocks are asleep. But the water is there, and...
Crossing the Rapidan (#18)

Crossing the Rapidan (#18)

I’m falling. I thought the ground was there, that the wall would hold. I was wrong, and now I am moving through the air, nothing holding me.   Grant moves south. Grant moves south.   The sun is high in the sky, rising over my forehead. As I accelerate down, I think, quietly: I am falling.  ...
Mackerel

Mackerel

Today is your day, seasick or not. You’re out on the bay in the fog with your brother and dad, out to catch fish. It’s your sixth birthday. July, 1963. Sinatra Jr. hasn’t been kidnapped. Dr. King hasn’t yet broadcast his dream. The president lives. Your father’s fishing pole bends. He reels and jerks. The...
Extinctions

Extinctions

Theresa’s mother is crossing the street, carrying two stuffed animals in her arms, and this is the most apocalyptic thing my mom has ever seen. Theresa was born with gummy lungs. After a while, her lungs got too gummy, and she died. Now Theresa’s mom is coming over to give my sister and me two...
I Go Back to Berryman’s

I Go Back to Berryman’s

All of the streets in the trailer park are named for fruits or for dead presidents—Cherry, Lincoln, Peach, Garfield—and if you walk them and peer through windows with parted curtains, you will see love being made, hate being made, bodies being discovered, bodies being forgotten, smoking and drinking and swearing and Bible reading, you will...
Code Talkers

Code Talkers

I’m eleven and my brother is fifteen, and our rooms are in the basement separated by one thin wall. My bed is against the wall and at night I can hear him listening to his music. He listens on headphones but the volume’s so loud I hear everything: the tinsel rain of cymbals and urgency...
Faithful

Faithful

Nobody can call in or out. Her father doesn’t want the ringing telephone to interrupt his wife’s dying, so the phone is turned off. When his daughters remind him that there are people waiting to hear, wanting to know, he roars, “She’s dying. They all know. When she’s dead, you can call them and tell...
Another Epic

Another Epic

I have lived in important places, times —Patrick Kavanagh I could tell you everything that happened on Linden Street the year the Berlin Wall fell. That was the year the Hanrahan boy grew his hair to the middle of his back and rode his bike down the block at seven a.m. sharp every school day....
Fast Food

Fast Food

The snow-white husky under the pew in the foyer is watching the humans at the butcher block table in the middle of the kitchen. The father in the suede suit coat has been back from his job twenty-two minutes and forty-eight seconds, and is eating eleven peanuts cracked open from their shells, three smears of...
A Conversation with My Father

A Conversation with My Father

My father is eighty-six years old and sitting in his reclining chair in the living room. He beckons me to sit on the footstool. He has a request. “I would like you to write a script and make a movie about your mother,” he says. “Her life story,” he adds. I want to please him,...