Build, Now, a Monument

Matthew Olzmann No longer satisfied by the way time slips through his life’s work, the maker of hourglasses yearns for a change. He elects to construct a staircase instead. Rather than grains of sand, he’ll manufacture one stair after another to lament every transient second. Look at it now! It rockets upward, almost vertical, beginning… More


Elyse Fenton Let’s be a little less brave together say the zinnias to each other, heads like olive frittatas sliding unbroken across the pan. Down the block it’s chickens chickens and a ruminant wind bringing autumn back into the equation. Choose instead the tractor’s absence, bankruptcy of hives, the universe bending down to pull a… More

Black Blossom, or Dueling Landscapes

Nikki-Lee Birdsey Gorse brambles, wood ridges arranged in slant on both shed doors, v-shaped to the deck, green in corner and mist rising around small horses. I bicycle down hilled paddock; so few people, none. What is lit in other places I’ve been. Cinderblocks on the roof of a rusted-out car with overgrown, shattered windshield––could… More


Janet Chalmers Coming into his study from the bedroom suite (to adjust the thermostat) Janetwifeandmother from Connecticut (predictably) can’t make the mind-body connection, doesn’t let the funky 1940’s man’s acetate robe she bought at a Hollywood thrift shop just yesterday fall open, doesn’t flaunt (voluptuous) bosom and pubic hair like an art deco stylized Klimt… More

Level Entries

Michael Tyrell Casual Fridays I’m promoted to a ghost desk to type in figures in computer grids. Required fields. Expenses. Hewlett Packard. Hellwit Packet. To hell with slim pickings, pack it in son, you backpack bastard. It’s not the heat it’s the stupidity. Leavings, really, no better than condiments, and only when I can get… More

On the Eve of the Next War

Howie Good Hear that? you ask. Both of us look, but only you see the fuzzy gray silhouette of a bombed building. Nothing matters and nothing connects. The torn gum wrappers are one small hint. Elderly tourists covered in cameras are another. It isn’t until later, while I’m still shaking my head at your question,… More

“Erie”, 1841

Cindy Hunter Morgan Lake Erie In August, they left Buffalo on a steamboat full of immigrants. Homeless and groundless, passengers floated in beds or hovered over game tables or gripped deck railings, steadying themselves. Everyone wobbled, queasy and uncertain. On the deck, two demijohns of turpentine pitched and rolled like dice. When the boilers exploded,… More

Women & Children

Michael Tyrell The tedium of six-hour drives to a summer house at Lake Hopatcong with the sister-in-law who hates you— no conversation, sometimes music— a song called ‘Satisfaction’ about not getting any, the baby, the niece, cutting teeth in the backseat— the test cry, nothing sustained, no tears. The brother who lives at the office… More

Son & Heir

Michael Tyrell The heirs will not consent—from an 1853 English telegraphing guide, called The Traveler’s Vade Mecum; or Instantaneous Letter Writer. The day I stop wishing for his money—cut myself From his unwritten will—rub out the rainy-day faces From the piggybank riches that can only be mine— Then I’ll be alone with my body—my disinherited… More