“Wrapped Up in Skin, Hidden behind Eyes” by Gina Troisi
My stepmother, Brenda, picks out a movie for us to watch: Fatal Attraction. Sitting on the sectional couch with her feet propped up on the coffee table, Brenda says, “Makes you think twice about where to put your dick.”
“The Way of Wood” by Mary Alice Hostetter
It all started with the floor loom. My friend Robin said her mother was downsizing and wanted to sell hers. I had taken a basic weaving class at the local art center the year before, and the place mats I had made for Christmas gifts on a very simple table loom—only a step up from a Playskool toy—had impressed the recipients.
“The Problem of Light” by Susanne Antonetta
The problem of light is, what could it be? A wave? Or a particle? A shimmy, or a stick tracing o’s in the mud?
“Blue Rain” by Daniel Doen Silberberg
During the day, I taught English to junkie kids at Morris High, deep in the East Bronx. At night, I wrote and played music at a Soho recording studio way downtown in Manhattan. After that I would stay up late drinking cheap Scotch from sea-green bottles and watching old movies. I liked the Marx Brothers’ free-floating insanity and W. C. Fields’s misanthropic grace. It was both entertainment and avoidance.
“Power Play” by Cynthia Dockrell
Dad is still next to the phone, looking at the place where Mom was just standing. Normally he would follow her into the other room and say something like, “Now wait just a goddamn minute,” but nothing has been normal lately. Instead he turns to me—I have been setting the table with the good silver and linen—and raises his eyebrows. I almost feel sorry for him. . . .
“Bad Birds” by John Nelson
Some superstitions have persisted into modern times. There are still Amazonian farmers who think that nightjars are messengers of malign spirits, while in my birding travels in Asia and Africa, I have been taken aback by the number of locals passionate in their fear and hatred of owls. To call a belief, or feeling, a superstition is not to say it has no ground in reality.
“Displaced” by Norma Marder
I have lost my place, transplanted from a tiny island to the mainland, from a
village where my roots lie forty years deep to a village of friendly strangers, from
the open sea to a river, from wild forests and surf to a nature preserve of mowed
meadows and manicured trails. From a place where nature rules to a place where
the human hand lies on everything.
“Deviled Eggs” by Jill Noel Kandel
Since the autopsy showed no wound present—this was not always the case;
previously in similar murders there had been wounds—the death was reportedly
caused by the bewitched smoke emitted from the gun. The evidence, deemed
credible by the Kalabo District Court, created no real commotion, and the judge
accepted it into court documentation.
“Complexion” by Amy Leach
“To whom, then, does the earth belong?” said the dragon as he was being slain. “Sometimes it seems to belong to dragons; at other times to dragon gaggers. Sometimes it seems to belong to the hot harmattan wind . . . then to the descuernadragones, the wind that dehorns
dragons . . . and then to the doldrums. Sometimes it seems to belong to the slaves, when the sea parts to let them through, and sometimes to the sea when the sea does not part.
“Did Not Speak” by Steven Coughlin
I wanted my brother to die, or I wanted the wires stuck into his arms to wrap around his twenty-one-year-old body and never let go, the white hospital sheets enough to finally make him good.