Featured Essay

Explaining Black Lives

by Janel George

I’m taking the shortcut in the underground tunnels that lead from the train station to an exit that opens a couple of blocks from my home. I see them before I hear them. About five people. Red hats with white lettering, camouflage fatigues. I’m always aware of walking in these tunnels alone—particularly on the weekends when the usual weekday influx of federal workers dashing for a morning coffee, a quick stop at the drugstore, or a pickup at the cleaners has quieted. But the afternoon is warm because the DC summer refuses to relent, so I take the tunnels.

Featured Fiction

Objects in Space

by Emily Davis

Eighteen years. The entirety of a lifespan. That’s how long Abigail has lived in the fifth-floor walk-up with her mother and older brother, Ben. A two-room apartment with a tiny kitchen that doubles as a living room, and a bathroom so cramped she can almost touch opposite walls just by stretching out her arms. Outside isn’t much better, the roads choked with cars and the sidewalks so pressed with bodies that it’s like an algal bloom: a red tide, that can blanket an entire coastal line with organisms. Getting caught up in the wave of bodies is inevitable, swarming behavior, like gravity, pulled towards center mass.

Creative Nonfiction

Those You Neglect

by Randy William Santiago

Cocotazos were the symbol of our relationship. For those of you who aren’t Hispanic Caribbean, un cocotazo is a rap to the head with the knuckles. That shit don’t feel nice, in case y’all were wondering. Bucky hit me with them often, raising his hand above my head like a hammer before rocking me. They came my way for various reasons: I didn’t eat fast enough; I spoke too low; I gave him a look; I walked too close. My crime was existing within his boundaries.

Writing for Young People

Lazarus and the Rich

Ryan Kim

“It’s hot as hell,” Danny said when he and Jay finally got to the playground. Michael had watched them slowly approaching from under the pointed canopy connected to the slide. He slid down to greet Danny, who was smacking a pack of cigarettes against the palm of his hand.

“Should’ve brought some Gatorade.” Danny held out a cigarette to Jay.

Featured Poetry

Neighbor

by Matt Vekakis

the dying Italian mother of seven
raps the ceiling with a wood cane
as we make love in silence—no
less eager than a mother scolding

her children for horseplay at the
public pool. if she has the energy,
she’ll stamp out Debussy or the
Berlin Underground with her

Flash Prose

By Morning

by Colette Parris

By now, you will have smoothed out all the rough edges.

You were initially taken aback when your eyes swallowed the scene before you. The woman looked bewildered, defenseless, as the mall security guards swarmed her.

You and the woman were in the same aisle, separated by approximately thirty feet of whimsical jewelry (think copper cuff bracelets engraved with the words “Earth Girl”), refrigerator magnets featuring llamas and/or unicorns, and other fanciful items favored by a certain demographic. You know the demographic well. You are part of the demographic.

Featured Translation

Four Short Stories from Soulfood Equatoriale

by Léonora Miano, translated by Margaret Morrison

Grinding Stone

There are days like this, when a craving for the shore takes hold of me. In the blink of an eye, I see it. Here it is. Here, under my searching hands, in the kitchen cupboard, the big flat slab and its small round stone. A dense and solid stone. It’s used for crushing the ingredients on the slab for the sauce that will take me home. I fit it perfectly in the palm of my hand.

Lunch Special

Piotr Florczyk

interviewed by Amanda Woodard

Piotr Florczyk is a poet, essayist, translator, and a guest professor at Antioch University Los Angeles.

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