Tell Me I Can’t Say That

David P. Kozinski

My advanced placement was bourbon poured in a cough syrup bottle I kept in my locker – amber in amber.   He said it first – spooktacular. How spooky life became as big men were shot down. Conjugate a six ounce verb.   Conjugate this: our troubles come in tribes.   I expected it but […]

Regrets

Wes Ward

When we didn’t move to Philadelphia, we didn’t buy the hanging flower basket for the front stoop in Old City. We didn’t ride bicycles to the market and fill your basket with Roma tomatoes and eggplant. You don’t like eggplant. And you thought Philadelphia would lose its lure if we had a mailbox, a sconce […]

Light Rings

Bernadette McBride

I point 6-year-old Joey’s attention to the lime-green baby caterpillar curling itself along the sidewalk in front of our homes, and before I take a second breath, he lifts his miniature Nike and stamps the poor thing to goo,   spreads it from the bottom of his shoe to the curb, scraping and scraping it […]

I See You

Claire Scott

Time folds back and back on itself like my uncle’s accordion           in our airless attic pleated patterns create shortcuts to the future           I tumble through trap doors & silent tunnels at the speed of light, arriving           breathless in a world where our […]

End Run

Joe Bisicchia

They cut the fog like ghosts amidst ghosts. Their lives are lived too fast to accurately photograph. The list of  “also ran” grows.   And soon almost new, the almost men, barely teens, are men in the least, men soon at the most like ghosts.   This, the earthly mist knows, and even the end […]

Found Wanting

Charlie Watts

Prelude Billy ends his marriage with a note that says it’s me, not you; you’re great, I’m not. He leaves it on the counter under a vanilla-scented candle along with his last paycheck. Then he waits across the street in his Dodge Dart until she comes home. When she spots him, he presses his palm […]

How to Make a Baseball Player Cry

Dana De Greff

First, tell the gringo baseball player how your husband, Roberto, always knew he was going to die young. If he has no reaction, tell him about what was on the plane: fresh water, plantains, rolls of gauze, baby shoes, powdered milk. Hundreds and hundreds of chancletas. And even if he doesn’t ask, tell him those […]

The Hot House Lounge – 1st Place

Kate Blakinger

My chest tightens as fire grazes Sam’s skin, but finally he tosses the match he’s let burn down in his fingers, and the pile of brush jumps into flames. Pockets of damp sap crackle and hiss. We retrieve an armful each of empty aerosol cans from the silo, cans Sam stockpiled over many summers spent […]

An Interview with Robin Black: Writing What She Wants to Write

Julia MacDonnell

Robin Black, this year’s final judge for the Marguerite McGlinn Prize for Fiction, and keynote speaker for Philadelphia Stories’ 2016 Push to Publish conference, seemed to burst, fully formed, upon the national literary scene with the publication of her story collection, If I loved You, I Would Tell You This.

Standing In The Stand

Cameron Conaway

He didn’t know the thrill of the kill, but he knew   he didn’t want to kill the thrill for his father.   Everything in him felt scared, told him not to do it—   words he could not echo. He sat in the tree stand   with his coloring books, glanced up if something […]