Excerpt from the novel When Love Was Clean Underwear

Susan Barr-Toman

Lucy took the oxygen tubes out of her mother’s nose and turned off the tank so they could share a last cigarette together. Marge’s last cigarette. It was October 30, Mischief Night, the day her mother Marge had chosen in the hope of being buried on All Souls’ Day.


J.A. Klemens

It was inevitable, but all the same he hadn’t thought they would get there so soon. Not one lid would match up with one receptacle. They had reached perfect Tupperware entropy.

Goodbye Apollo

Mary Kate O’Donnell

I went to the beach in a blindfold today, because once you asked me to. I wore the scarf you chose for me by touch: the one I wore often. The same one I told you I loved, and never mentioned the garish pattern made me cringe. Tied around my eyes, I could not see the pattern any more than you could when you chose it. It was a fitting penance.

Leap Year

Tracy Shields

He used earth words and planted gardens and liked going down south and road trips to nowhere. He had tattoos of the Devil on his forearm, and looked like God, with big gentle blue eyes, open, steady and true, able to see beyond the simple human spirit. He was a great kisser. Like me. But quiet.


DJ Kinney

They woke together at a rest stop on the interstate, car windows dimmed by frozen breath and through the glass, anemic blue dawn swelling over Wyoming.

She struggled out of the sleeping bag, wrestled with the nest of blankets and pulled at the door. She poured herself out into the empty lot and shuffled a few paces from the car before she buckled over a strip of grass and vomited. It slapped the ground and steam rose from it. The man got out of the car and went to her and put his hands on her shoulders to steady her, to hold her. She heaved again, just water and foam.

Excerpt from the novel LOVE Park

Jim Zervanos

[img_assist|nid=880|title=Love Park|desc=|link=node|align=left|width=130|height=195]On the night before I drove Daisy Diamond home, I picked up my parents at the hospital, where they’d been visiting with a parishioner whose wife was dying of cancer. As the man walked with my parents to the curb, his glistening bald head shone. He wore a wrinkled corduroy sport coat, despite the heat, and loosely tied sneakers that shuffled like slippers on the concrete. He was hunched over, less from old age, it seemed, than from grief. But when he came into the light of the streetlamp overhead, I could see that he was smiling gloriously.

The Robbery

Christina Delia

Todd steals things. He takes tips off wet diner tables, jerks the bills from underneath the water glass you purposefully placed over them.


L. M. Asta

I found the two carbonless message slips on my desk after the last patient. The first was the transplant team wanting me back to consult on Carl Lawson’s fevers. The second was an email address for


Peter Dabbene

If you asked me ten years ago if I thought my life would be like this, of course I would have said no. Most likely, I’d have shown great disdain toward the idea of playing in what I would have then referred to as a “glorified cover band.”

Life is just a series of little decisions, though, and it goes from just trying to keep the dream alive until you get that legendary big break, to one day waking up and realizing that the only reason you’re still able to get paying gigs is that you’re playing someone else’s songs the exact same way they did three decades before.