Suspicion

editor's note

Suspicion by Milena Nigam
Why am I so fearful and untrusting in this quiet time of solitude? My husband cautions me to not run the woodsy park trails in the dark. “Because of the psycho killers?” I ask. “Because you could twist your ankle,” he replies, unamused. I’m not trying to amuse. I wish I could worry about twisted ankles, but to me, it’s not worth it. Ankles heal, whereas the scenarios I imagine end with me dead under a pile of logs.
Halfway Down the Stairs seeks Poetry Editor by the editorial staff
Halfway Down the Stairs is currently looking for a new poetry editor. Duties will include reading and voting on submissions, sending acceptances and diplomatic rejections, and also editing and formatting accepted poems for publication.

poetry

Odradek as a Wandering Eye by Jennifer Met
I knew you weren’t a family
man—domestic—all mine—here

we have no secrets—
I knew the way you made love
to her
Terrorism by Jennifer Met
don’t fear the green and grassy
knoll—my father laughed—
always laughed—fear the people
shadowed deep behind
Two Poems by Mantz Yorke
Who is this other,
and why is the earth
yearning for rain? Deep
in the ocean’s bed,
a shifting.  Imperceptible

fiction

Kansas by Rebecca Burns
They parked up and trudged across the carpark, their ears blocked by wind and winter. The nursing home, a smart modern building, seemed a nub of silence in the gathering snow and Meg bit back on an urge to shout out, to cut through the stillness. The manager met them at the door. A smell of boiled cabbage and disinfectant slid out.
Such Delicate Things by Rudy Koshar
Roger was six or seven years older than we were, and he’d done two tours in Vietnam, in army intelligence, he said, but he’d also learned something about explosives. He taught us all the places in our building where you could put an explosive charge and bring the three-story structure to the ground in a matter of minutes. We found the information exciting and almost intoxicating: we possessed arcane knowledge that was subversive to the powers that be.
Unreal by Katherine Forbes Riley
The next day we cross the border and enter yet another Africa. Each place we’ve been so far bears a passing resemblance to the image I carried across the ocean with me, along with more foreignness than I’ll ever comprehend. This isn’t the tropical manicure of northern Johannesburg, or the alabaster dust of Letlhakane; here in Bulawayo I drive our tent spikes into blood red dirt while purple flowers drop around us like silent rain.
I Never Liked Him by Richard John Davis
I never liked him. Even before I met him, I detested him. I felt a visceral, solid hatred that overwhelmed me when I was first asked to deal with him, which was also the first time I’d heard his name. I hated him before I’d heard of him.
Home Front by Mary Ann McGuigan
Living with Moira was anything but routine in the beginning, She had no frame of reference for normal. Mealtime came when she was hungry. The linen closet held her books and CDs. She danced on the lawn to R.E.M. when Macy’s delivered the first new couch she ever owned. Ken loved her then in a way that frightened him, as if he had value only because she loved him back. He doesn’t miss that.
Out of Her Element by Anne Goodwin
Down she went and down, hand under hand on the guide rope. Where it petered out, she nudged the dial on her buoyancy vest and waited for her husband to emerge from the fog of churned-up sand.
Hopeless by B.P. Greenbaum
The coffee had been made, so she stepped quickly into the galley kitchen, poured herself a cup, and came back to the living room. She sat back down, mug in hand, tucking her long, narrow legs underneath her, trying to look unflappable. Her heart pounded.
My Biological Father by Simon Barker
The first time Mum mentioned him I was so upset I ran to our church and hid in the crypt for the rest of the afternoon. “Dad," she’d informed me, wasn’t my real father. He’d wanted to be my real father. But there was something wrong. My real father was a strange man who’d donated into a test tube. She explained this to me as if it was something titillating.
Small Acts by Susan Knox
The following morning Olisia made a cup of Nescafé and settled into her window seat to people-watch. It was a soft fall day with gauzy light floating through wispy fog, and the locals seemed relaxed after navigating crowds of summer tourists. Olisia spotted some regulars; she called them friends, though they’d never met.
A Pillar of Salt by Rachel Cohen
I hefted my flowers, white chrysanthemums, thirty-four of them. One for every year of Gene’s life.  You never give even-numbered bouquets for happy occasions.  Even is for funerals.  Their superstitions are the one thing Russians are fastidious about.