Stay Inside and Live Forever by Matthew Chabe

Christopher’s crying in the stairwell. He’s been at it for hours. I’m concerned about what the neighbors will think, but also I don’t care, so I shut the door and fall back into bed. I turn and press my head into the pillow. I bury it so far, it’ll never be found, and just when I’ve reached the lowest point, the door across the landing opens then shuts, and there’s a knock. “Samuel.” It’s a mirage. I pull the blanket over my head. “Sam.” Fitch stands outside the door in his tighty-whities. I can see more than I want. “What,…

Two Poems by Chris Anderson

Mr. B When I asked Mr. B about solar wind, he said  there was no such thing, in front of the whole class.  I was pretty sure he was wrong, and he was:   solar wind is a stream of charged particles, mostly  protons, released from the upper atmosphere  of the sun and permeating the whole solar system.   You can harness it, like these kids in a story  I’d read about a regatta in space.  Their sail unfurled  for half a mile, glittering in the blackness.   But I don’t blame Mr. B.  The universe is vast  and beautiful and full of…

Who Hates Acapella by Eric Rasmussen

For most of a minute, the tenor splits his stare between his phone and the lake view framed by the minivan’s windshield. Then he sets the device in the cupholder. The other three members of the group wait in silence. Finally, from the back seat, the bass speaks. “What’s it say?” The tenor swallows. “It was all a joke.” “That doesn’t make sense,” says the baritone from behind the steering wheel. “They sent the down payment. The money’s already in our accounts.” “The groom hates acapella,” explains the tenor. “When he found out the best man hired us, he made…

The Front Yard by Keally L. Cieslik

This year, the front yard is a garden gone wild. An unruly thing. A bobbing field of bitter arugula. The herbage is higher than my waist. The sunflowers are already taller than me, and the bushy hop vine reached the top of its pole weeks ago. The intersection, an offset, four-way stop, is surrounded on three corners by mature trees: maple, birch, a giant conifer. Their leaves flutter in the breeze. When I look out at the whole scene and let my eyes soften, it becomes a placid green blur. I love the yard untamed. The plum tree, still young,…

For all the Sylvias by Alison Lubar

Sink into your parents’ plastic pool,  painted mosaics on polypropylene liner,  PVC flamingo floats, neon orange rafts  turn your skin whiter (exsanguinate eyelids,  cheekbones keen), cherry stone freckles sit– mistaken unsinkable seeds.   For all of the Sylvias shivering away  ventricle remnants of nostrum– (remember  when you went around the world?) please  don’t end here. Come out from under– water, wherever–   transmute mystical to untroubled duck– firm every hollow bone  from wonder bread, quaggy reeds,  iridescent fishes– I write you back to life,  wish you wings– take to the unchlorinated air, resist gravity, rise downside-up, and sprout  to sky–…

OKAY, WALT WHITMAN. By Gianfranco Lentini

Gianfranco Lentini is an NYC-based queer playwright, teacher, journalist, and First Generation Italian American. Gianfranco’s work has been developed and produced by Torrent Theatre, UNDER St. Marks Theatre, A Night of Play, Theatrical Response Team, Burlington County Footlighters, and the inspiraTO Festival (Canada’s largest short play festival). His work has been published by Molecule Literary Magazine and The Coachella Review. He is currently an Adjunct Professor for New York University’s New Studio on Broadway’s Summer Program and a Teaching Representative for the Theatre Development Fund’s Wendy Wasserstein Project. You can learn more about Gianfranco’s work at heygianfranco.com and on Instagram at @HeyGianfranco.

Redlands, CA by Aja Vasquez

“The University of Redlands held a commencement ceremony Monday to honor its ailing mascot Thurber following his cancer diagnosis, which was made public last week… Those close to the pup, including handler Beth Doolittle, praised the dog’s contributions to the university. Thurber was then presented with a diploma representing his degrees in math and psychology, and a minor in theater and human-animal studies.” ~Kristina Hernandez, Redlands Daily Facts, November 13, 2017 The glow of Madison’s phone lit the tears that ran down her face as she sat in the dark. It was always like this with her. A mixture of…

Concrete and Cabbages by Joshua Barnhart

Have you ever seen the sun set  through the grip of a palm frond? The way tangerine and lavender cuts through the leaves? The way  the leaves cut through  flesh if pressed? A young frond  emerges folded, the area called the cabbage. The city  skyline is littered with sharp  cabbages tilting their heads. I once saw  an overgrown palm drop  with a sigh. The serrated  green landed on the hood  of a parked car. I’ve seen them  come and go, another season another family of owls nesting  in the highest tuft, their quiet life like a poem, pollen hanging  on…

Permission by Mark Clemens

Out at the barbecue, Abel puts everything he has into commandeering tri-tips around the grill, flipping one steak, sliding to the next, elbows akimbo, spatula flashing, trying to lose himself in the sizzle and burn. Then the heat sears too close and he pulls back, squeezing his watering eyes shut. He can’t shut out what he just learned, though, one more thing he didn’t know about his father’s secret life. “Come on honey, party’s on.”  His wife’s voice lilts across the yard. Abel opens his eyes to find Jodie waving at him from the deck where she’s serving a gang…