String, Too Short

String, Too Short

We are a house of notes. My husband, a night-owl artist, writes to me in the dark of the quiet house as I fall into dreams. I awake to fluorescent sticky squares, legal pads, and junk mail envelopes on which he has jotted doodles and reminders, jokes and nicknames, references...
The Domestic Apologies

The Domestic Apologies

Apology to the Fish If I’d known how poorly I keep fish, I’d never have allowed such a large tank. Apology to the Dog You have a dog bed in nearly every room, and I’m not sure what you think we are trying to tell you. I will try to...
Chronology of the Body

Chronology of the Body

Five Years My hair is never brushed, and I always forget to sit with my legs crossed, ladylike, and for the longest time my only friend is Matthew Bickle. On the first day of school, he wears a red t-shirt, which sparks a heated debate amongst my classmates. “Matthew’s wearing...
The Alchemist

The Alchemist

Here is the dilapidated residence of Dr. Anthony Galante who retired from teaching chemistry at Nauset high school to work on his experiments to turn one thing into another, with the goal of getting rich. He fails, year after year, to turn foil into silver, water into fuel, fabric into...
Identity Theft (Side B)

Identity Theft (Side B)

Origin Story Smoke-thin memories penciled fast as you can while your mother breathes ghosts from the end of a line you can feel cannot touch the words on the paper reaching like seeds seeking like roots for who you are who she was and why you left your left ear...
An Indian in Yoga Class: Finding Imbalance

An Indian in Yoga Class: Finding Imbalance

Sukhasana My intent for the day’s practice: become more Indian. As an Indian from Indiana who has never been to India, I want to get in touch with my roots, and doing yoga seems like a fun way to do that. Ommmmmm As we flutter our eyelids open, Brittany, the...
We Are Children and Cowards and Frauds

We Are Children and Cowards and Frauds

You Are a Child, a Coward, and a Fraud After you left, I wrote an essay called “You Are a Child, a Coward, and a Fraud.” The essay had three paragraphs: one about your childishness, one about your cowardice, and one about your fraudulence. It seemed self-serving, so I added...
Neighborhood Walk, Halloween Week

Neighborhood Walk, Halloween Week

From her seat on the red wheelchair, Mother points There, and now There, to the plastic gravestones haunting the perfectly edged lawns, and—Look there, she calls as we pass a skeleton fastened to a child’s tree swing as if waiting for a grown-up to send it sailing. Nearby, it’s recess...
Bewildered Passengers

Bewildered Passengers

Although no adult had declared it off-limits, the trainyard gave off the creosote smell of the forbidden. The place felt dangerous, with grass tall as our thighs, insects buzzing, grasshoppers springing this way and that in the brittle summer heat. It was the kind of place where I always seemed...
A Black Hairstory Lesson

A Black Hairstory Lesson

There was the year micro-braided, brokenhearted girls sang Ashanti in prayer circles, their sopranos trapped in their sinuses, the incantation to be unfoolish neutralized by the next shape-up with a pair of Butters. Then the year triple-X-tee’d boys-will-be-boys broke down the name of Osama bin Laden into call-and-response, pounding the...
Dear Editor, Who Made the Remarks About Not Wanting Walmart Poems

Dear Editor, Who Made the Remarks About Not Wanting Walmart Poems

The first thing I thought of was writing an Ode to an LOL, these little dolls that come in ovals that you open to find a different one (surprise!) that my six-year-old daughter is obsessed with and that my wife sneaks off to Walmart to find in the check-out line...
Midnight Baseball

Midnight Baseball

Mrs. Dufek says if people could travel at the speed of light we could go from one side of Earth to the other in the time it takes to snap our fingers, and even though I’ve never left Wisconsin and I’m no Jeannie saved from a bottle on a deserted...
Main Street Revisited (Minnesota, 1989)

Main Street Revisited (Minnesota, 1989)

Walleye and sweet corn. Five Star and Pepsi on my father’s breath. That summer Lizzie and I waited tables at the breakfast and chicken joint while Emily, the preacher’s kid, worked the cafe down the street. Pastor Dan wasn’t out of the closet yet.  We walked booth to booth with...
Daddy Vérité

Daddy Vérité

The way I remember it, my dad rests his elbow on the rolled-down window. He smokes a Pall Mall. But when my husband tracks down a DVD of the film, the 1969 documentary on Simon & Garfunkel called Songs of America, I fast forward to my father and there’s no...
Constellations

Constellations

1. Dr. A, my mother’s handsome Bolivian neurosurgeon, lost his father on Everest. I pictured whorls of snow, a worthless compass and a man, stepping out into thin air. I was slightly in love with Dr. A, and so was my mother. Her first appointment, she said, “I know you’re...
Latest Issue
Issue 60, January 2019

Issue 60, January 2019

Our 60th issue features searing, honest, powerful essays from Abby Mims, Dustin Parsons, Susan Jackson Rodgers, Rajpreet Heir, Sam Kiss, Amy Stonestrom, Rebecca McClanahan, John Skoyles, Richard Hoffman, Sean Thomas Dougherty, Bryn Chancellor, Niya Marie, Jennifer Wortman, Lisa Fay Coutley, and Harrison Candelaria Fletcher. You’ll never look at yoga, string, or constellations the same again....
Craft Essays

Craft Essays

In our Craft Section, Nicole Breit reveals the power of the literary diptych (with writing prompts), Susan Bruns Rowe considers the elusiveness of voice, and Michael Downs shows how “a single sentence or detail or image – even a particular word – can act as a ‘vein of jade’ that makes the whole work glisten. “...
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.