Entries by Lisa Croce

Looking Toward My Reflection

My words held up a mirror and exhibited the same qualities she’d always instilled in me, one last time. Two weeks later, she let go. She found that bravery I’d asked her to, our bravery. Her last lesson to me was how to love myself again […]

Issac Bailey, Author

I was first introduced to Issac Bailey at the Chicago Tribune Printers Row Lit Fest last June, where he spoke about his book My Brother Moochie: Regaining Dignity in the Face of Crime, Poverty, and Racism in the American South. My Brother Moochie is a powerful, personal exploration of race and racism and of the […]

Lessons in Language

In the middle of an IKEA showroom, I agonized over the transition between two sentences. I was wrestling with a second-grade assignment on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. While I knew any seven-year-old could cobble together two statements about Dr. King, bridging together two thoughts about his achievements with one seamless transition proved to be […]

A Compendium of Earthquakes

[creative nonfiction] The first one was in the egg shop. I was a baby, strapped to my mother’s back in a blue nylon carrier while she wandered Kotwali bazaar. Shelves of eggs, a single room with three walls and a pull-over aluminum door. All of the eggs broke. After the shaking stopped, the street dogs […]

When Light Is Put Away

Mr. Edwards calls me out tonight. He found another first-calf heifer in distress. The third one in as many years, bleeding and panting, eyes rolled back to whites under his flashlight. I sit on the porch steps putting on my mudders, cursing my stubborn joints, already knowing the likely outcome. Even so, I don’t dally. […]


[fiction] When we were kids, Elliott and I could read each other’s minds. It wasn’t like it is in movies, where one twin thinks in complete sentences and the other receives a live stream to their brain. We didn’t need words. When I played catcher, I always knew exactly how Elliott would throw. When my […]

A Definition

mother 1. noun. presence, as in constant ex: “the mother is here.” see also: mama, mommy see the child cry out in fear, in loneliness see the presence quiet the child see presence beyond himself   2. verb. to rear, as in to create ex: she mothers and mothers and mothers until she is no […]

On the Importance of Young Adult Fiction

I only have five minutes to make my flight. I rush to the gate, slip into my cramped seat, still breathing hard from the mad dash to the gate. I pull out my journal to write. Writing settles my nerves. It’s my safe haven. It’s my security blanket. The well-meaning stranger next to me spots […]

Saturn’s Return

The February I am twenty-six, on the day before I’m supposed to fly to Portland to rent a house, I come down with the most brutal and short-lived flu I’ve ever had. My body aches so badly, I can’t move. When I say this, I don’t just mean that it hurts to move—I worry, when […]

Seven Confessions

1. My childhood ended when the dog arrived. *     *     * 2. It was late August. The stream of freedom inspired by the beginning of summer had mellowed to a trickle, and we stuck our tongues out in hopes to catch a drop. My younger sisters and I would wallow in the shallow end of […]


[fiction] The dead body of a sunfish lies on the sands of Monomoy Wildlife Refuge. More than any other ocean dweller, sunfish are mistaken for sea monsters. It’s why two dozen tourists ring its pulpy white body, nearly a perfect circle with twin fins on top and bottom, stomach pecked crimson by hungry gulls. The […]

Making Reubens

In the tiny pop-up trailer we have two toaster ovens, a roaster full of meat, and a cooler with the rest of the sandwich fixings. It’s just enough to keep up with the line of customers. Mama has been wanting to make Reubens for the rodeo and powwow for three years, offering something different than […]

Elegy, yet again

Not a pyre, but a chimney, a beetle shaking mercilessly on top of my doormat to the sound of its own catharsis a tongue my neck both hands shaking exactly the same. My teeth as antenna & my cords wings Sing I watched a beetle die today; not a crate not a crypt not a […]


[fiction] January 1 Liz: Happy new year!!! Alyssa: Not yet here ☹ What’s the future like? Liz: Wild. People are leaving this party in hovercars. Pretty sure we just achieved world peace. We all have teleportation bracelets now. Alyssa: Great! So you can come celebrate with me? Liz: I wish! “Lyyyssaaa.” Isaac drops onto the […]

Walking Down the Grain

The Bretspars lived in a tumbledown Cape Cod, but they were a long way from Massachusetts. The sky was the color of faded denim, not New England grey. The land green and yielding, not hard and unforgiving. The blood red and pumping, not Brahmin blue. A shelterbelt screened the Bretspars’ home from the road, spared […]

Spotlight: my sister-wife

chews on the strange stillness of his quiet unravel. she knows the undoing—like thread—will be slow & always. same as when he first moved inside of me—i remember. the both of us wide open, one exhale after the other scrawled between my legs. the ground sweats against my foot, familiar with the work. all things […]