editor's note

Haunted by Stacy Wennstrom
Disappearances are haunting. Whether you lose a loved one or your sense of purpose, you are left with the sense that nothing will be the same again. While this feels like an end, sometimes, this is where the best of stories begin.


Desert Weeds by Chris Crittenden
caricatures on stalks,
slothful as the chi
of a tarantula
Eurydice's version by Carol Shillibeer
He turned, and I pricked the thumb of Darkness.
When He let go to stick it in his mouth, I was gone,
the music of lost men by Carol Shillibeer
Now, sleeping 13 floors down
from the sky, the fragile
scent of his acacia hides,
There Are Facts I Cannot Recite by Jacqueline Markowski
Once they exist they are forever
connected to the fact of having
existed, to the act of affecting something.
I Still Live In Your House by Jacqueline Markowski
I was one of many walls within which you fell apart or burned.
Attached to this ceiling I craved a truth I did not yet realize


Horn Scars by Sven Toorvald
I grew up in a fighting family. My father, his father and all the men going back over two hundred years. It’s what we do. It’s all I’ve ever known. Even though my grandfather died in the ring, my father still wanted to fight, and he would have, except he had a bad knee. He was born with it. It’s the only thing that kept him out.
In the Middle of the Night by Milena Nigam
In the early morning, Antoine pulls his family’s foam mattress through the open doorframe of their hut, the ribboned trail in the dirt following behind him like the shadow of a topi carcass wrestled and tested between the novice jaws of a lion cub. His pajama bottoms stick to his inner thighs, and he shakes his left leg while he drags the mattress to the well, trying to loosen the grip between wet cotton and skin. The ground beneath his bare feet is cracked and liver red.
Stepping Into Dan's Shoes by Anne Goodwin
They called me in for an interview on the day Dan was deported. It was rotten timing but, as Karen said, he’d left a vacancy and it was her job to fill it.
Songs of Sons by Shae Krispinsky
This is my life now, he thinks as he peers across the playground to his family, his wife laughing as she pushes their son in a swing. The day is tepid, the sky the color of a once white jersey now grizzled from over-wear. Weather like this reminds him of childhood summers vacationing in the countryside, but also of the day she left, so he thought at the time, for good. Back to California, to her music, to her favorite coffee house that served Thai iced tea, to her life Before Him.
An Old Man Walks Up A Road by Rebecca Burns
The questions began when his daughter became pregnant. He had initially welcomed the symmetry of such an event; his child having a child, life continuing to be replenished. In one of his poems he likened the motion to that of a needle, diving through fabric, in and out, weaving one soul to the next.
Gone by William Cass
It was a morning like any other at work in the tool room when the owner of the diner called to tell Leonard that Marge had collapsed to the floor carrying a plate of eggs and toast and had been taken by ambulance to the hospital.  Leonard rushed there in his car, but arrived too late.  She’d already passed.  There was nothing they could do, the doctor told him.  Her heart just failed, he said.
Absence by Laura Stout
Kate stared at where the rug had been. The one with the burgundy and green geometrical shapes she’d bought just last week to place beneath Ollie’s bowls. Ollie, her sweet, stubborn, terrier-mix. He’d been found in an alley of rotting trash bins and doors with metal bars, whimpering and shivering, fending off an onslaught of black hooded kids hurling beer bottles at his emaciated body. That’s what she’d been told and the story had gripped at her heart, left her weeping.  She’d brought him straight home. And now the rug was gone.
Differential Success of Better Boy Tomatoes by Daniel Coble
Upon reflection it seemed to Marcus that mailing himself might not have been the best idea ever. He was used to realizing things way too late and feeling epically stupid, but not specifically accustomed to this violent level of cold. It crushed his head with Himalayan brutality, even through two hats and a heavy parka hood. It tore into his chest, yanking choke-flavored gasps from his core.
Meatloaf Wednesday by Alyssa D. Ross
Eira sat in the Cadillac, keys in her lap. The heat was turning her skin to pools. No, she wasn’t feeling quite solid these days. She couldn't decide whether to stay or go.
Mr Parish by Sherri Miller
John Credulo fell asleep watching television in the family room once again as he waited for his wife to come home from bingo, shopping, the hair salon, or wherever it was she said she went that Friday evening. During their fifteen years of marriage, Marie had never gone out at night without John, until two months ago when her best friend Angie became divorced. Now all of a sudden Marie was going out not one, but two or three nights every week. Just with Angie. Or so she said.


Yours for the Distance by Tamara Adelman
My friends want me to get a real boyfriend: a boyfriend who is available. My therapist and I discuss the nature of the relationship in our sessions. We agree on one thing: He is the kind of guy who will swim, bike, and run with you, but that’s it. It turns out the Ironman has his limits. I wonder if I have an addiction. I read self-help books. The harder I try to control him, the more he pulls away.
The Land of Totuaba by Rachel Dacus
There's something wrong with my family and it's not just because my father blows up rockets for a living. If we're normal, why are we driving down a road for a week of Christmas vacation on some Mexican beach I never heard of? Have we been bad children? Santa left plenty of presents, but I know my father has it in for Christmas. Our new Hanukkah menorah was huge, while the Christmas tree was reduced to a tabletop twig. As soon as we stop, I'm going to write in my diary about my plan to get away and find my real parents.
Tears by E.M. Parsons
You could forgive me, I’m sure, for having kicked seat-backs in theaters, because everyone does it at least once when they are very young. You might even give me a second chance if you knew I was the annoying teenager giving the play-by-play commentary in the back row of Snow White and the Huntsman, or that I also accidentally spilled all the popcorn on the person directly in front of me on the same occasion. You might let me off with nothing but a disapproving glance if you know I was the nerd who complained throughout Desolation of Smaug that Smaug should have been a fire drake, not a wyvern.
A Shadow of a Doubt by Whit Young
I had been a real estate broker for a quarter of a century when I met James W. Rouse after a planning and zoning meeting in Easton, Maryland. The meeting had adjourned, and I had been told to look for the most disreputable leather briefcase, probably with a broken handle.


Assault on Nature by Gary Beck by Roxanna Bennett
Gary Beck’s fourth book of poetry Assault on Nature is a rumination on the swift erosion of the natural world at the hands of industry and apathy. A bleak portrayal of a world ravaged by greed, Beck moves seamlessly from cityscape to landscape, from dirty alleys to dark clouds. There are some beautiful images juxtaposed with great brutality.