Our regular and occasional Amuse-Bouche series offer little bites each week to keep you satiated between issues. Dig in!
Spotlight is a regular series published every other Monday throughout the year, showcasing an individual writer or artist. Writers Read is an occasional series showcasing craft-based reviews of published works of fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and translation. À La Carte is a curated occasional series featuring short pieces by writers from underrepresented or historically misrepresented communities and/or writing that engages with issues of social, economic, and environmental justice. Litdish is an occasional series of interviews with writers and artists in conversation with our staff about literature, art, social justice, and community activism.
Imagine a world in which removing your lover’s eye is normal.
You don’t come from this world, but at a house party in New Jersey, in an apartment across the street from an A & P, you meet someone who does. You’re sitting on someone’s bed, half-drunk and navigating a potential threesome, when they walk in, sunglasses on indoors at 11pm, holding a bottle of beer in a way that judges you.
Twenty three from you, my mother
half my body/mind
for sure my blue eyes
but not my right-handedness
which has made my life easier
I have always hated writing about myself
I’m not photogenic
And I am afraid that my horniness
Would get in the way
But this is where we’re at
They were in the car, Lee concentrating on pulling out of the driveway when Zack announced he was moving to California.
“All the best skaters are there.”
“Your family’s here.”
“I’ll visit. Once a year.”
“Ah, you’ve got it all figured out.”
Vic acts like the world is ending when he discovers my computer has been infected by malware that has deployed a Bitcoin miner to consume over 50% of my CPU and a size-able chunk of my electricity bill, but I shrug because I hardly notice my computer grinding to a halt, and even though I believe cryptocurrency and blockchain will only ever amount to vehicles of Ponzi profits and social harm
Our daughter has put herself
in hospital again.
I spend the day beside her,
talking, laughing, abiding silence
At the beginning of my professional career, after graduating Yale University’s School of Arts MFA program, my artists soul was torn between Flemish painting of the 15th-16th century and the ideas imbedded in the 20th century DADA art movement. Specifically I was drawn to the Apocalyptic visions of artists like Van Eyck, Bruegel and Bosch and simultaneously to the anti-art of Marcel Duchamp and Francis Picabia.
Hi Dad, When you died, I figured there wasn’t any point in writing to you. But since the world broke down last year, everything has shifted, including how I want to communicate with you. I know it’s been a while since I last wrote to you. Yes, I know—15 years. You value precision. You were devout about following the news, but has it all been too much, or what?
my neighbor drapes the strings the first weekday in december,
neon gold cords for inflatable mickey, santa, & snowman
melted simulacra until sunset when the front lawn descends
into a madness of bright blue icicles, rainbow garland
across the garage, pink orbs of love encircle a glittering present,
My art is mostly inspired by Haitian artists or memories of my country as well as the Impressionist era. You’ll find that most of my artwork is faceless because I associate them with my fading memories. I’ve always found it hard to remember faces and features. My other creations come to me in flashes or my dreams.
I cocoon myself
from memory’s chill
layer upon layer around
heart and bones; flesh upon flesh. . .
Water is the first mother
but thunder roams in my body
for days before it
cracks me open:
You blue cat
you’re just waiting
for your moontrane
you feel anonymous
I like to know what to anticipate
little tacks . . . thinking about
what I didn’t know I
needed to worry about
I didn’t know you then. . .
I have in mind a kind of time
That can’t be measured by clock
Or monitored by calendar;
Time that isn’t tucked away
In packages of seconds, days or centuries,
on the evening, later,
at the second we realize the sun still falls.
At the mercy of the name
we will give it when language
turns brittle to touch. Later,
Don’t let go
Let go of what?
I cast her a look.
Thalassa was born at sea, on the waves of a storm. Because of this, she loved the ocean. Sometimes, it felt as though her veins were full of seawater instead of blood. […]
Gonzalo de la Peña, a forty-year-old schoolteacher from our village, kept crickets in little bamboo cages that he purchased from a roving vendor while visiting the Capitol. He kept the crickets as a hobby, though he had little time for anything but teaching (he was very conscientious) and running an orange juice stand at the market, a tiring job he performed day after day to earn extra money for his family and tedious in-laws [. . .]
I walk the cradle to the grave.
The bassinet soaks my hair like hot foam
Like a drowning dance, my toes are pointed in my shoes. [. . .]
You are digging a hole. You’re not sure why, but it suits you. It makes it easier that you like the people you do it with. Not that there’s ever more than one person to a hole—a hole is a completely solitary thing—but the ones digging nearby, you think they make good conversation. […]
Do not go to a birthday party the night your grandmother dies. Do not pick up a six-pack of White Claws (black cherry) on the way and then drink four of them while you look into your partner’s eyes defiantly, a challenge. Do not ask him if he will stop you, if he will nudge you toward considering the line between grief and excess [. . .]
We call him Hugo Apollo
a science fictional name
perfect for the first space
he inhabits after birth, [. . .]
The earth has washed its lovely hands of us. Enough!
so sayeth the world. Knock it off. Sit still and think
hard about all that you have done. […]
“The year when grandma turned one hundred, we
could not see her. Our pandemic eyes not
I wake up in the middle of the night. A single star winks at me. Photons fired out thousands, maybe millions of years ago, skimming space, slipping solar systems, sneaking past planets—one true beam sometimes bent by the gulp of gravity,mbut always adhering to its lucky destination.
I made a new email to be professional—obviously I couldn’t go around applying for jobs as , and my cousin wasn’t going to keep paying for that domain name anyway. So I picked something regular. I tried my first initial + last name as my username, but bholman was taken. So then I put my first two initials, and presto, I became blholman, employable person. […]
The plunging water, the plunging light: replenished, stupefied and serene. It is so wide-open that what looks and feels like endless light shines through, then a glinting truth that looks like madness, the bald white hemorrhage of a gravity moving through the moon. . .
The salon burned down just before they moved in, and Shimmery would always associate the stench of burning plastic with the summer they lived on that hill. Her mom said it was arson, but Shimmery didn’t know who Arson was or what he had against manicures and perms.
After her husband dies, and the children have helped reshuffle the house, moved out his worn cardigans, his weathered golf bag, his collection of bird skulls, she feels acutely alone. Mornings now, she reads thrillers in the shade of an elm as light dapples the grass. Sometimes his ghost putters around the yard, bending slowly, tracing the ground for signs of tulips. The ghost is a marginal gardener, perhaps something in the afterlife impairs your spatial reasoning.