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Analeah Loschiavo

As it happened: You were hired to attend to a dinner party held in a lakeside cabin on a foggy night. You arrived alone and were instructed to bring your own cleaning supplies. For this inconvenience, you will be reimbursed.

Jack Kirne

‘Two quarter-pounders, no patty,’ a small man behind the counter shouted. I almost let out a sigh of relief. Then, I remembered that one of the meatless burgers was mine and felt even more depressed.

Jena Vallina

I have seen the hearts of most creatures set upon the table, but never the heart of the wolf. The mottled purple thumbprint of the fish, the soft apple of the black bear, the pulp of the deer and the rabbits and the squirrels indistinguishable when slickened onto the canvas of my palm. But the fruit of the wolves we have always been denied. When we hear their howls, Papa locks the door and bars the windows. There is much I wish to ask him, but the truth of the wolves will never be mine to know. I am learning to accept this. 

Stefania Gomez

Nothing’s changed here in fifty years and it won’t in another. If Gregory comes with me, even after four years it’ll still be true that the bottoms are empty, the Hill is tall, doctors are liars and men are swine. Save for, I’ll have a degree and he’ll have a little exposure.

Kaj Tanaka

Everyone in my town is a man, and every one of them has those gorgeous muscles you see on television. They are sometimes on television themselves, the men of my town. Our town is not known for much beyond its strong, beautiful men. If you visit the public spaces of my town, you will find men flexing for one another. You will find men checking out one another’s biceps and triceps and quadriceps for tone and mass. It is lonely, being a weak and ugly man in my town. 

Maryam Kazeem

He is the one to break the silence. He tells her about his childhood and the stories his mother used to tell him. How much he misses her now that she’s passed. How he misses his family far from home, but also feels detached. How it feels impossible for him to return.

David Joez Villaverde

How sometimes our bodies grow and our minds don’t follow. And what was his overwhelmed aunt to do but move in with his Pentecostal mother. What was left to be done but pray. What could he do but sleep. His never-photographed cousin babbling lullabies to lull him to the dull dark of slumber. 

Patrick Dundon

You remember your parents in the driveway, the way your mother unnecessarily adjusted her skirt at the moment you had expected applause. You think it is all your parents fault, this artlessness you carry with you. You start to hate them.

Nicanor Milan

At that moment, Brix felt the ship a bubble; disjointed from everything else, its float was a rebellion, an expulsion. But the world hadn’t expelled the ship like a black sheep or a bad egg, rather the ship had expelled the world, rejecting its force, pulling away, leaving it one limb the less.

Zach Powers

The audience members exit toward the other arena. It must be getting near time to announce the grand champion, the doggiest of dogs. I’ve already experienced the epitome of dogdom, though, in my perfect Border Collie. I don’t need a panel of judges to tell me anything.

Jen Soong

One ordinary autumn day, when I was ten, I fell out of a tree. Not a particularly large tree. An oak, maybe. The kind with solid branches outstretched like arms, perfect for climbing. Playing with my friend, I lost my balance and forgot my grip. For a brief second, I was flying, flapping my wings like a fledgling. The next I was lying on the ground on a damp bed of glowing leaves, my arm twisted askew and looking up at cotton ball clouds across the expanding sky.

Kendra Guidolin 

“You’re even more beautiful in person,” he tells her, and she wonders if this means she doesn’t look good in photos, a fact that her sister’s former modelling agent should have noticed since Sonja usually looked better in photos than in real life, mostly because of her smile, which she knew to whip out for the big bucks.

Aruni Kashyap

I was talking about 2011, when peace had returned to the state after the long insurgency, but we didn’t really know if it would stay for long and I had to take a decision regarding my life: to leave the state to study in Delhi, or stay in the city, study here, pursue a career here. You know, peace in this state is like weather. Really unpredictable. 

Nirushan Sivagnanasuntharam

A little later that night, as I was packing to leave, my mom stopped by my room on the way to hers. “You are a disgrace to your family,” she said. “Look what you’ve done. Now your dad doesn’t have a job anymore. What is he supposed to do? Ever since you were a child, we tried to teach you the importance of studying hard so that you can get a good job. All for what? For nothing. You have ruined us. I hope you’re happy.”

Max Taxe

I have been barred from my local nursery, even from looking at the cute little succulents that are supposed to require less maintenance. I had to create multiple fake Reddit usernames to post pictures of withering plants and find out what ailed them so no intrepid internet sleuth could pin the mass genocide of local fauna on one person.

K-Ming Chang

That’s why I told my daughter not to marry a man whose mother is alive. Best if the mother is a goat or dead. That’s the only requirement I have: don’t marry a man unless his family’s on fire.

Meher Manda

Faiz and I broke up a week after my mother’s death. It wasn’t a painful conversation. It was what it was. I hadn’t loved him for a long time and I was too passive to break up with him, he said. I had become monosyllabic around him, hadn’t even bothered to invite him to my mother’s funeral. Yes, he used the word invite. 

Kiley McLaughlin

The third mother will be sent for by a man on the mainland who is seeking a wife. After she arrives, she will imagine getting into a bathtub and pulling a mattress over herself, and then she will do it. Two weeks before this, when she meets her smiling white in-laws for the first time, the sky will turn to bruised green, and they will usher her down into their basement.

J.P. Moran

I know you may not believe me, since I’ve already admitted to lying, but the very true kernel of this story is that my father has, or, before his death from prostate cancer, had, a collection of clown art.

Matthew Torralba Andrews

Father Cleary was fully robed. He leant against the rear counter, facing the sacristy entrance with his arms folded across his chest, as if waiting for Benjie. Benjie knew he must have heard the sound. He averted his eyes and held the cracked chalice at his side, away from Father’s view.

Namrata Verghese

Once, my mother dropped a Roomba on my head

and said, “I wish you were a boy.” A decade later,

I respond, in a whisper: “I wish I were a boy, too.”

Miracle Thornton

Cat shit on the floor this morning. Mom stepped in it. Mom held Cat her by the neck, gripped the saggy skin meant for a mother’s mouth and ripped her off the couch. My stomach shattered as Cat screamed something low and feral, like the time a gopher got caught in Stranger’s lawn mower. The whole block heard; a patch of his grass was dead for weeks, stripped with ammonia. It took four boys to get out the blood.

D. Arthur

I wonder if the stain judges me when I flop onto my drenched mattress and set my Tinder to everyone. I only swipe right on couples bold enough to look for a third, but shy enough to only post photos of their torsos, no heads. I swipe right on chests that remind me of Noah.

Terra Travis

Mia didn’t recognize her own body. She only knew it was her own body because of the familiar abrasion. She identified this scraping as soul against skull. Mia believed in the soul since no one had ever told her otherwise.

Carson Faust

I was born in Ridgeville, South Carolina, in the house that my mother was raised in, but there were never any pictures of her on the walls. Grandma took them all down when my mama walked out on us. Grandma said she burned them all too, but I don’t know if I believed that. She must have kept a picture of her only daughter. I never looked for it though.

Kyle Raymond Fitzpatrick

The You men are for the end-end of a night, when B’s hand is between his legs. He stares at them and squeezes himself. He thinks about the You he can be with. He imagines himself on the You. He touches himself and imagines that the You is touching his body. He imagines his own hand is another hand. He feels himself become someone else, as if he is watching himself and the You enjoying each other.

Hana Mason

Remember the way you’d tell the story differently every time, how you couldn’t remember the first thing he ever said to you, so you’d make it up. The easy version: he had you at hello. The soppy version: did he know you? He felt like he’d seen you before. Maybe in his dreams. The funny version: did it hurt, you know, when you fell from heaven? 

Dinkinish O’Connor

She stood face forward in front of the hole, those carpenter ants now drumming fire through her body, her mouth slightly parted, the pinkness of her tongue peeking out, her eyes slanted, her heavy lids hiding machetes she wanted to cut Jackson, Junior’s soul with.

Rebecca Hannigan

I miss a lot of things. I miss people as soon as I leave them. This happened today, when this friend of mine—the one with his head bent over his fourth taco—and I met for coffee, during which I found myself wanting to be alone.

a

Color me happy

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Party hard

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a

Distinctive colors

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d

Let’s get funky!

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Enshia Li

Consider the way snow fell on the Western Front: feathered & /
indecisive, droplets sprung flat like parachutes & the opposite / of death.