Current Issue

An Hourglass Full of Snowflakes

It’s rare for a man to have true peace of mind. Or maybe that’s too negative. Maybe a man has peace of mind the majority of his life, but only notices it once it’s gone, when turmoil is magnified, during times of stress when one looks back enviously on calmer waters. These were the thoughts [...]

When the Leaf Bug Bites I’ll Be Looking Out the Window at You Smoking in the Rain

On the hotel room balcony, Luke stood smoking cigarette after cigarette as I put the kids to bed. Their excitement at being in a hotel, at sharing a room with us, had them popping up like the moles in that arcade game where you hit ‘em with a mallet. I can’t deal with this, he [...]

Grace

We met in a shadowed hallway, both of us discarded on a wooden bench outside of Doctor Langdon’s office, white knuckles clasped on our laps, skirts bunched about our cold feet. As the doctor had asked to speak first with my parents, I’d taken the seat next to a woman who immediately turned to me. [...]

When the City Fell From the Sky

I was standing in the town square staring up at trees spiraling down on their bulky heads and landing with their roots thrust up like errant toes or fingers from a grave. I heard the houses bellow as they gave up, as their shoulders sagged and snagged star by star like the back of a [...]

Canopy

1. greasepaint buffalo twirling dishes  gravity creep children pull turtleneck wonder through the mad herd 2. the neighbor’s dog is barking invisibly it’s about to rain the trees are dropping their knots you remember yourself 3. kitchen sink full of cotton candy a lampshade sky the measured mind all the clown feet Dan Elman’s work [...]

When The Harpsichord of Watercolors

I hung them out of the location, but was worried about rain. Awareness on canvas, Monday in the South Philly kill zone. I’ll be on your arm, but these are not the only words we have in common. As easy as it is to get a slice of pizza, the sooner you know that the [...]

Why I Be Writin’ Stuff

Because I never learned a damn thing in school, since D.A.R.E. came long after truth. Because maps don’t work here, and there is oil, but “The Rainbow isn’t Enuf.” Because ain’t no nigga playing Spider-Man Or James Bond. Because it’s raining right now in Antigua, but North Philly is lovely this time of year. Because [...]

Sounds

Sounds within a house change when the last of the dead are taken; echoes of dust settling air drying, cracking: emptiness has a resonance. That is why we point mutely at paintings, lamps, furniture, small things favored by memory; whisper when we must speak: the brass mortar and pestle, the painting, cows grazing, the cut [...]

On the Divine Lorraine and Falling in Love

We lived in the ethereal shadow of the Divine Lorraine only for a year, but it stands out in my head, still as bright as the neon lights dancing underneath its towering signage. An abandoned, graffitied, majestic husk of a hotel, it dominated the skyline where we lived at 15th and Fairmount. In particular, I [...]

Robin Black Interview

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. The book earned Black rave [...]

The Pep Talk

My mother bought tickets to a book luncheon the other day. I’d never heard of that, but it’s a place where a lot of women wearing Chico’s mix-and-match outfits spend to eat chicken while listening to an author speak about his or her books. The author in this case was a very nice man [...]

Splendor

By Emily Bludworth de Barrios (H_NGM_N BKS, 2015)* Emily Bludworth de Barrios’ poem “All Souls’” was selected as an editor’s choice in the 2013 Sandy Crimmins National Prize for Poetry In her 2015 full-length poetry collection Splendor, Emily Bludworth de Barrios grapples with morality and virtue as qualities at odds with a contemporary, consumerist lifestyle. She [...]

A Secret of Long Life: Familial Heartache & Happiness in Elegant, Timeless Fashion

Poet Liz Dolan paints the ordinary in passionate hues in A Secret of Long Life, a collection of poems that move across the page with the sweet, haunting ache of memory. From now distant da