The Hairdresser’s Daughter

Jennifer Baldino Bonett

Larger-than-life beauty shops may occupy the Hollywood set, but in South Philadelphia , it’s all about getting real. And there’s no better place to get real than in the beauty shop mirror.

The Prettiest Lie

Curt Smith

Your life is going to change – how many times was that prediction offered in one form or another during my wife’s pregnancy? Mothers often spoke with a bliss-touched smile; fathers, with a smirk that was both sardonic and conspiratorial, and a distinct, cross-gendered handful uttered the words with an unblinking intensity that rattled me more than any of the bloody videos we watched in our childbirth classes.

Not Even Thanksgiving

Peter Cunniffe

You and Peggy don’t agree on many things, but the communication strategy for this whole mess might just be the worst of it. Waiting for the gray of dawn to fall into your bedroom you are having tough time with all of it. And you want to cry, cry like a baby without having to pretend everything will work out. But you cannot risk Damian hearing you.

My Life as an Abomination

Marc Schuster

There was nothing wrong with where we lived, except that the neighborhood was radioactive and the house was pitched at a sharp angle. When I was in high school and obsessed with my body, I used to lay my dumbbells on the floor, and they’d roll to the wall of their own accord.

How Is This My Story

Kathleen Donnelly

It’s very hot here. Hotter than I’ve ever liked. Even when I was a kid. Growing up, summer was only good for me because school was out. Swimming’s okay but I don’t go crazy for it. I like camping to get out into the woods where it’s a little bit cool, ‘cause those nights when you can’t sleep for being all sticky sweaty, that’s not for me.

What I especially don’t appreciate is being able to see the heat.

Home on the Range

Louis Greenstein

The Glock has one bullet in the chamber and fifteen in the magazine. Roy’s got it cocked and ready. He bets me twenty bucks he can fire all sixteen while the target’s coming at him, but that’s not all. He says: “I’ll alternate – head shot, body shot, head shot, body shot, squeeze out all sixteen, and make fourteen, before the target’s five yards out.”

Midsummer Afternoon

Maria Ligos

Two doors down
Tom Doyle mulches his garden
Two doors down
Tom Doyle mulches his garden
his wife works inside
dusting and vacuuming. His motorcycle
sits silent. In imagination
I take the bike for a ride.

The White Tree Peony

Maria Ligos

Like waves lapping the surf,
ruffled white petals
of brush strokes converge
at the core, where luminous
lavender radiates outward.