The Landmine

Jack Shamash

When I was sixteen, I discovered a simple truth. If you want to make friends—friends who will stay with you for life—all you need is a landmine.

It is a rite of passage that Jewish children, when they turn sixteen, go on an Israel tour. They spend a few weeks there, hanging out with other Jewish children, discovering their roots, getting closer to their co-religionists and, although this is rarely made explicit, meeting Jews of the opposite sex, so that they are more likely to marry someone of their […]

The Landmine2022-01-19T23:06:39+00:00

Song of My Guts

Juan de Dios Sanchez Jurado

  1. Now that the sun burns my eyelashes, now that the sea salts my hips, I simply let them. The city behind me is a hot, melted shore. I’m here flirting with what this sea could give me. The sea pushes and pulls me. He tells me go and melt yourself in those streets under the sun. He tells me, come, dive a little deeper until the tide weighs on your neck, a necklace that forces me to continue, that drowns me. The sea […]
Song of My Guts2022-01-19T23:06:45+00:00

So Zoo Me

Mark Blickley

I didn’t want to go on this Bronx Zoo outing. I’ve lived nearly 67 years without ever visiting. Never had any interest watching poor trapped souls ache for the freedom of their visitors. When the Seniors Housing Commission organized this trip for my building, I ignored it, as I have every year. Why I jumped on the chartered bus right before it took off this morning was a mystery to me. But now the mystery is solved.

Thank you, Joey, for guiding me to that bus seat. God forgive […]

So Zoo Me2022-01-19T23:06:51+00:00

Sleeping Badly Became Time Travel

T. Barnes

Or something like that. At first, we woke up constantly and bleary, wondering if the world had changed or if it was us.

We sat through every mood we’d ever felt, one after another, on a creaky conveyor belt of memory—but not the kind of carousel in swanky sushi restaurants where you can choose not to lift something off the moving rubber panels. We had to order everything on the menu. It was horrendous, and we felt sick.

Perhaps importantly, it all happened very quickly. We went from […]

Sleeping Badly Became Time Travel2022-01-19T23:06:56+00:00

His Hands Washing Rice

Lynnette Li

Abby leans over the kitchen sink. She pours three cups of long-grain jasmine rice into a rice cooker bowl. It’s enough for dinner for her family of four tonight, for fried rice tomorrow. She runs cool water over the grains, swirls the rice and water with her hand. She tilts the bowl, letting foggy water spill over the edge. As she washes the rice, her mother’s voice from years ago brushes her shoulder and lands like a palm firm against her back.

You must not allow boys to touch […]

His Hands Washing Rice2022-01-19T23:07:04+00:00


Chris Belden

When I was young, my parents employed a housekeeper who worked five days a week. Cora washed laundry, cleaned the house, and, during the summer, often cooked lunch for me and my brother Richie. She made a grilled cheese sandwich that no one else could duplicate, though we all tried. She said the secret was in the butter, but we didn’t know what that meant. We closely watched her make the grilled cheese sandwiches but never noticed anything unusual about how she used the butter. It was a delightful mystery.


Connection Lost

Richard Collins

Was it good for you?

I thought I told you to stop asking that.

I’m sorry.

And I thought I told you to stop apologising.

That’s better. I’m going to have to send another email to customer service, aren’t I? You’d think by now they’d have you figured out. By now.

I am aware of my shortcomings and have logged this piece of feedback. I wish to please you. Cigarette?

I thought you’d never ask.

Your silence and the absent look […]

Connection Lost2022-01-19T23:09:46+00:00


Timothy Dodd

Magda smoothed back a wild strand of her hair and crossed the vestibule at the Baltimore Museum of Art for the first time, stuffing the twelve o’clock entry ticket into her jeans’ pocket. On loan, Albert Bierstadt’s The Blue Grotto hung on the wall in front of her as she entered the first gallery of the exhibition thinking of her mother again—wrinkled and gnarly-thumbed, pouring tea for her daughter in the dark at their small kitchen table covered with bread and goat cheese and freshly-made cherry jam. Who would lock arms with her […]


Think Warm Thoughts

Allison Whittenberg

The world burns.  The sun stalks.

Can life be sustained off a windowsill’s moisture, a lead pipe’s sweat?  Someone spills the orange juice we’ve been rationing.  It spread more sunshine across the room.  We splintered our tongues lapping it off the wooden floor.

In the white glow of night, a man bursts in and steals thirty-three ounces of water.

I should have shot him, we’re all going to die anyway this way.

As want drips into need, it’s a good news bad news sort of thing.  My once optimistic roommates have long […]

Think Warm Thoughts2021-06-06T17:42:50+00:00

Once the Trees Danced Beneath the Stars

Maureen Sherbondy

One night when the trees danced circles beneath the stars, townspeople wandered toward the beat. When they arrived in the forest and discovered elms and oaks in their joyful twirling, the people ecstatically began to dance. Nature and man swirled and swayed side by side until a clumsy trunk stomped on a man and flattened him.

“We shouldn’t dance together,” the townspeople said in unison.

The forest of trees bent down in sadness. One tree voiced apology by swishing its branches and bowing. Another tree spilled tears of sap onto the […]

Once the Trees Danced Beneath the Stars2021-06-06T17:42:58+00:00
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