We are a small magazine with large ambitions.
Issue 43, May 2013

Issue 43, May 2013

Issue 43 features sharp, challenging new work from Hope Edelman, Brian Doyle, Marcia Aldrich, Sarah Wells, Laurie Lynn Drummond, Robert Vivian, David J. Lawrence, Sonya Huber, Sheryl St. Germain, Randall Albers, Cheryl Diane Kidder, Kim Adrian, Melissa Ferrone, Jia Tolentino, & Patricia Park.
Old Habits

Old Habits

Almost midnight at ToyJoy, a funky, noisy, toy store swathed in twinkly lights and geometric neon in Austin, Texas. Leila, Burke, and I wander the aisles, shuffling sideways past other late-night wanderers and finger glow-in-the-dark armadillos, hula girls with cowboy boots and tattoos, oversized spiders that hiss and spit. Two men argue near the front...
Field Guide to Resisting Temptation

Field Guide to Resisting Temptation

Do not send song lyrics to Facebook or post YouTube music videos or listen to any songs about love gone wrong or one-night stands or anything on country music radio. Okay, no music at all. Tell him no more, you are done, you are disappearing, removing him from your phone and from your Facebook and...
How to Leave a Room

How to Leave a Room

When you leave a room, my mother taught me, leave no trace behind. She trained me to be in a room without making it dirty. And yet, to my confusion, she wore lipstick, applied in a thick style that changed little from year to year, a signature of sorts. In the bathroom she had her...
Alouicious

Alouicious

“That, son, is the unluckiest man in the world.” Bill nodded toward the foreman passing down the shop floor for the fiftieth time that day. The summer before starting grad school, I’d landed a factory job where he and I spent all day rolling towering racks of plywood in and out of a kiln hotter...
All-American Dread

All-American Dread

Somewhere out across the roads and highways of America there’s a pair of headlights trying to run and track me down, headlights that know me better than I know myself which will one day light me up and scatter me into a thousand drifting dust motes. I’ve felt them coming for years now across this...
Cut

Cut

Baby’s crying again. I know the baby’s crying again. Maybe if I had a little help, maybe if he’d stick around after the sun goes down, maybe if I was somebody else in another body this would be easier. The baby’s been crying for two weeks and nothing I do helps. All I want is...
Sachiel the Tailor

Sachiel the Tailor

Another time I was talking to Sachiel, the tailor in Boston whose shop on Chauncy Street was essentially a door with a vast and impenetrable space behind it, a wilderness known only to Sachiel, who never moved from his stool by the door during working hours, and we got to talking all metaphysical, as he...
I Wish I Could Write Like Russell Edson

I Wish I Could Write Like Russell Edson

I wish I could write like Russell Edson because then I could show my husband standing in the kitchen like a tree that lost its leaves all at once. Or like a rock in the living room that doesn’t notice the lichen. And my daughter would be a bird in the tree, and my son...
A Day in the Grammar of Disease

A Day in the Grammar of Disease

If pain is a language, I have the accent on my tongue. I do not yet dream in pain, but a three-year immersion has stripped my skeleton’s previous fluency. Now I am a child in this land without good parking spaces. (10:30) Today my husband and I talked about my calcified hip and aching hands,...
Interviewing Emily Dickinson

Interviewing Emily Dickinson

It’s not that I thought She might really be there, behind the tilting tombstone: Emily Dickinson December 10, 1830 Called Back May 15, 1886, not that I thought touching the stone might make up for something missing in me, some lack I might get back through this pilgrimage—ok, I’m lying—I wanted to touch her, wanted...
Five from Kyrgyzstan

Five from Kyrgyzstan

One: At sunrise I’ve packed myself onto a tiny rumbling minibus headed for the capital. Outside the ground is frozen and the sky casts the mountains in pale pink and gold. In the back, a live goat stuffed into a plastic bag bleats gently. It’s Halloween weekend. I’m wearing a school uniform that I borrowed...
An Unusual Thing

An Unusual Thing

When the roommate called, telling me he’d found an unusual thing, I was in Pittsburgh, buying pumpkins with my boyfriend. He described, to me, the bitter melon: a vegetable, green and wrinkly, like a rotted-through cucumber—its marrow filled with bright red seeds. The roommate speaks six languages and enjoys spending Saturday afternoons with a cup...
Strong Men

Strong Men

The men: craggy and weathered, in rumpled flannel shirts and work pants, arms crossed tight in the static haze of unfiltered cigarette smoke. These were East Tennessee men, loud and back-slapping, teeth stained tobacco gold. Sometimes they spit brown bullets into Styrofoam cups. Often, they cried. They were stunning. I could have listened to them...
The Laws of Physics and Good Common Sense

The Laws of Physics and Good Common Sense

A half dozen officers gathered to swap stories in the tent that housed the one hundred or so military personnel headed to Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan. The six of us had met just forty-eight hours earlier outside the gate area at Baltimore Washington International—our country’s main portal to violence. Our only apparent bonds were our...
Cheekbones

Cheekbones

A beautiful woman once told me she thought she’d do well here, in America, since no one back there appreciated her strong, distinct features. This woman had deep-set eyes, high cheekbones, and a pronounced jaw; she looked like a younger version of my mother, right down to the over steamed dumpling of a nose. She...

About the Artist: Issue 43

Paul Bilger is a photographer and a lecturer in Philosophy at Penn State. His photography has appeared on the cover of music releases by Dead Voices on Air, Autistici, and Brian, and has been featured at qarrtsiluni, Kompresja, Smokelong Quarterly, and will also appear in a forthcoming artist book accompanied by the poetry of Sheila...