Jersey City

Emily O. Wittman

The projector’s charm is Cary Grant’s
tan. Although James says Hitchcock
was a little weird with colors.
Grant wears an antiseptic suit
in cobalt (weird) that shouts:
This is the fifties, we are mannered,
my waist is trim and strong

Field Trip

Greg Downs

As soon as the bus driver pulls the door shut, I drop into an empty seat, pressing my head against the glass, closing my eyes so I can’t see the girls waving their arms out the windows, muffling my ears so I can’t hear the boys chewing gum. Mrs. Harden and Shanna are standing in the aisle, delivering their speech about good behavior but I’m thinking about bad behavior, about Shanna’s body, which I can see even though my eyes are closed.

Violets

carol brill

My father closes the refrigerator door and takes seven steps, so I know he is halfway through the dining room when he lets out one of those long-winded farts to beat the band. The shuffling sound of socks on tired linoleum tells me he is doing the victory dance he always does when he thinks he has outdone himself.

My friend Debbie mouths, “Yuck, gross.” She knows better than to make a sound.

Restoration

Robin Parks

I’m sitting at a small rickety table by the window of this nondescript cafe, its only sign a half-shattered plastic square that reads “Breakfast.” No name, just what it serves. What I serve. Remarkably, Angel manages to keep this place open. I don’t know why he picked this location, this dingy block of downtown Long Beach , so empty of hope the only life on the sidewalks are the alcoholics ditching into the Algiers Bar across the street. I’m on my break, trying to read a moldy paperback copy of The Stranger, drinking coffee I’ve laced with whiskey from the flask I keep in my apron pocket. The awning of the bar reflects the sun in glaring hot swaths across the asphalt. I lift my cup to drink and in she walks, predictable as the heat of the California sun.

Local Author Profile: Damian McNicholl

Philadelphia Stories

Damian McNicholl’s successful novel, A Son Called Gabriel, tells the poignant story of a boy coming to terms with his sexuality within the bosom of a family that’s hiding a dark secret from him in conservative Northern Ireland.

Along The Way

David Floyd

Like the way religion gets in the way
of the spiritual, and the habit
of honesty gets in the way of truth,
I have gotten in the way of myself.

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.