Moving to Maine by Pamela Stutch

One morning, my atheist mother walked into her assisted living facility’s church service irate and naked. The attendees gasped. The reverend summoned a nurse’s assistant who quickly escorted my mother back to her room. When the head nurse called me to report the incident, she did not need to give me details: I could clearly picture my mother charging into a room full of people, oblivious to her surroundings, her sharp chin out, her hunched back exposed, her bare breasts swaying, and yelling, “What the fuck’s going on? Why can’t I get any help around here?” “She couldn’t locate her…

What My Mother Remembers by Krista Varela Posell

  “So what classes are you teaching this year?” my mother asks. I take a breath, my hands gripping the steering wheel. “Actually,” I say, “I’m not teaching anymore.” “Oh,” she says, with a hint of disappointment in her voice that any daughter could recognize. She was so proud when I told her five years ago that I’d be teaching college writing. That I’d be a professor, straight out of graduate school, barely twenty-four years old. It seemed to her that I had achieved an incredible status for someone my age. “So what are you doing now?” “I still work…

Starter Marriage by Chelsey Drysdale

    “I love that you can’t remember to turn the light off in the garage, but you can remember what Hamlet said. I love that I can’t beat you at Scrabble. I love that you have enough college degrees to make you a true scholar, and yet you’ll dress like a skater kid and listen to punk music until you’re 80,” I said, facing Troy, holding a microphone, wearing a layered ivory gown and beige leather flip flops. I recounted the reasons I’d loved him for three years, the majority of which we’d lived together. It was July 31,…

The Pilot by Catherine Johnson

    The Pilot noun: 1. a person who operates the flying controls of an aircraft 2. a television program made to test audience reaction with a view to the production of a series adjective: done as an experiment or test before introducing something more widely     It wasn’t until I had sex with the pilot that I learned how to ask for what I wanted in bed. I realized that what I really wanted couldn’t be asked for, or found there, especially if I kept lying to myself.   I met the pilot at the beginning of 2019…

Satin Wrap for Sale. Never Worn. by Shelley Berg

  A pandemic is a good time to clean out your closet, especially if you baked and drank your way through it and are five (ten?) pounds farther away from ever wearing that black skirt again. Closets are also good places to hide from your husband and children under the guise of being productive and busy. And while you’re in there, look into the secret passage to your past that is The Bin of Clothes You’ll Never Wear Again. My Bin is extra large and airtight, which ensures that the clothes I’ll never wear again stay wearable. If anything is…

Paper Houses by Marina Flores

By Marina Flores My mother and I are fascinated by natural disasters and geologic phenomenon. From the comfort of our couch, we watch television shows and documentaries about people who chase storms for a living, putting their lives in danger for a thrill, or for the sake of research and entertainment. Other days, we watch Deadline to Disaster, a television series that tells minute-by-minute stories of individuals who survived disastrous weather. How, for example, one woman hid in a Starbucks restroom from a tornado, the entire building blown over as if the walls were made of paper. Or the two…

Divinations By Will Cordeiro 

By Will Cordeiro  I study the atlas. Our GPS has lost its signal. Glare along the dash. My partner at the wheel. A rush of green. We swerve the mountain roads, a valley sweeps below us. The summer morning, a palpable expanse, comes bracing in our bones. We must have taken a wrong turn at Springerville, near the border with New Mexico. We don’t realize this until we reach Alpine, about thirty miles on, where a man watering flowers in cattle-rustler duds redirects us to make a left at Reserve and another left at Apache Creek. I ask him if…

A Coyote in the Midst by Andrea A. Firth

By Andrea A. Firth Realtors describe my town as semi-rural, a suburb, ten miles from the San Francisco Bay, sort of country but not quite. The highway exit leads four miles down a winding, two-lane road to the center of the town and an aging shopping center. Once a vast ranch owned by a man named Joaquin and his cousin Juan, the town’s land has long been parceled off and populated with clusters of one and two-story houses. The original pear orchards grow untended, a couple of small ranches carry on, and the cows that are left march back and…

Oyster Virgin

by Tom  Zompakos The oyster is the world’s ugliest treat. It’s a chipped up and dirty seashell shaped like a human ear. Inside the shell lies a phlegm-yellow lump. I’m gigging as a fixer (a driver and local guide) for an effervescent editor of Physiocrat magazine named Rosie. Oysters can clean and filter two gallons of seawater in an hour, she tells me. I love slurping down a heavily-used Brita filter, I answer. I’m a journalism major, and Rosie is incredible at my least favorite part of the job: pulling strangers aside to talk to them. We’ve been rustling up…

The Day I Learned I Could No Longer Jump

BY JAY ARMSTRONG

Six months after being diagnosed with cerebellar degeneration, six months after a neurologist examined an MRI of my brain, leveled his eyes, cleared his throat and said to me, “you should be dead or in a hospital bed,” I’m staring at my physical therapist, Denise, and she’s daring me to jump.

“Jay, I want you to jump.”

“Like up and down?”

“Yes, like jump up and down.”

I smile and look around the St. Lawrence Rehabilitation Center. There are three other patients in the activity center with me. Two women, both walking on a treadmill, and Bill, a former Navy captain, who is the proud owner of a new titanium hip. Bill is pedaling a stationary bike and, according to St. Lawrence lore, Bill has never smiled. Ever.