I met Ray in the summer of 2014 while I was visiting my father in Greece. My father had moved there six months prior, after his tumultuous divorce from my [...]
Two boarding passes and I’m sitting on a sofa in this airport, waiting for a plane again. I feel my fear in the palm of my hand. The old exhaustion. Familiar churning in my gut. It’s time to leave. I can’t wait. Outside’s a massive, swamplike heat. Humidity. I want to dip my head in acid. Clean myself out. Shake the dirt that’s all over me. It’s time to leave at last and I can’t wait, but I think something’s happened, this blinding flash of light.
My own mother wore the same handmade clothes until the day she never woke up. Try as I might, I am nowhere near the seamstress she was. So now I wear my daughter’s old clothes. She left a closet full of them, in perfect condition, after she moved out of the house. There are enough sweatshirts for me to live out my days in them.
Months after using my camera, I developed a roll of film and found you on it. I thought of Sontag writing, “The sense of the unattainable that can be evoked by photographs feeds directly into the erotic feelings of those for whom desirability is increased by distance.” I felt obvious and became embarrassed.
After rereading it you feel a weakness that draws out of you like a low tide until there are only raised boats in the mud and incredible want. Why didn’t the character in the story predict that? What did she know that you don’t?
Even when he doesn’t look as good, he still can’t quite look bad. Right after he broke up with you, he bought you a drink.
He reached into his briefcase, pulled out an apple, wiped it on his shirt, and took a large chomp. He watched himself chew in the rear-view mirror. He ate the apple’s core too because he had nowhere to dispose of it and he didn’t want to chuck it out the window in case the client pulled in at exactly that moment.
If you think I see Sibley, if you think I see Ruze, if you think I see Gran or my mom or Ms. K – sorry, you lose. In Gran’s town, the streets don’t care if you are desperate or sad – the streets, like the dark houses, like the faraway sky, like the trees, do what they’re gonna do. They keep quiet. They keep calm – each intersection on auto-light: red, green, yellow. Stop, go, slow. Green, yellow, red, green. Go slow, stop, go back…or go home.
Under her keyboard was a faint eeee. Feeble warble weakly insistent like a dog shut outside. The eeee was deep in her laptop’s guts. Her brother Mark was on video chat, her famous and handsome brother, mouth-breathing due to his rhinoplasty and making tattoo suggestions. But she could hear it between his sentences, the eeee.
There’s nothing wrong with your life, other than the obvious things. The other girl is rich, though, the kind of rich with soft hands and chauffeurs. You meet her outside her mansion, a baseball cap tipped over your face to hide it.
I also occasionally fell into a coma. I would dream of Las Vegas past, when I was a kid, when I flew down with my grandparents and we could still go to the Sands and the Silver Slipper and the Stardust. They would spend six weeks in the desert every winter in a motel two blocks off the Strip with a pool and a large Yiddish clientele.
Within a few minutes a woman in a red sweatshirt came to collect Tammy. Anisha left soon after, and then, to my consternation, so did Daniel Park. By lunchtime half the class had gone home. At the time I had a strange fondness for carrots dipped in ketchup, and it was this I was enjoying when my father appeared in the doorway.
The grandmothers walk through the front door, two and three at a time, bonding over talk of the weather. They lower their umbrellas, brush raindrops from their shawls and smooth their sheen grey hair, propped up in helmets or draped over grandmotherly shoulders. Cats and dogs, they say. Absolutely cats and dogs.
My room was just as messy as I remembered it, books and papers all over the floor, crushing the bed under their weight. This whole thing was getting farther and farther away from the story I’d written and I wasn’t sure how to get it back. Where was he anyway?
First of all the name of the creature who follows me around: Agvagvat. Watching my mouth in the mirror call her, “Hey, Agvagvat,” I can’t stand it—Agvagvat isn’t an attractive word to say. When my mouth makes those guppy sounds I look very middle aged.
In Marko and Ana’s living room in Astoria hung a framed piece of Paška čipka—Pag lace—attached to a piece of creased cerulean paper. Last year when they were packing their bags to leave Croatia, Marko told Ana not to put it in her suitcase but she was hurried and stuffed everything in.
From THE IMPOSSIBLE FAIRY TALE, by Han Yujoo. Copyright © 2017 by Han Yujoo. English translation copyright © 2017 by Janet Hong. Reproduced with the permission of Graywolf Press, [...]
The first reason the Mistress chose you from all the rest when she discovered you abandoned like a seed lost in the rye was because you were beautiful. That your [...]
Born landlocked, the animal trainer had been plagued all his life by whale thoughts. It made no sense. He had never seen one, would never, still his dreams brimmed [...]
Sheri shakes me awake. She’s half out of her sleeping bag, a flashlight pressed under her chin. It’s spreading shadows across her fleshy face. Most of her sleepover had [...]
Two weeks ago, we packed our bags and left the civilized world. We moved into an Office Max. One with trouble maintaining full lighting. Downtown. Though it is the [...]
Her parents had moved to a retirement community with low humidity and warm sun. There was tennis and golf, indoor calisthenics and shuffleboard on outdoor courts. There were daily walks [...]
Charlie breaks up with you over the phone but later you fly to Seattle and insist he do it in person. The initial conversation had gone something like this: You [...]
I. On the first day it rains, we smoke in Arif’s basement. The table between us looks like it should be caving under the weight of the elaborate metal-and-clay hookah [...]
Before anything else, he realizes he is a person. He has somehow reached this point in his success to consider the question of what is a good person? He is [...]
Alex, suddenly cold and awkward in own his skin, clicked play on Jolene. Once Dolly was well into her desperate plea, he moved away from his desk through the leaning [...]
From THE GRINGO CHAMPION, by Aura Xilonen. Copyright © 2015 Aura Xilonen Arroyo Oviedo. English translation copyright © 2016 by Europa Editions, translated by Andrea Rosenberg. First publication 2017 by [...]
In the Retreat Club Diner, Bud Howard drank his second morning coffee while watching the morning news on a small television set secured in the corner. The other regulars had [...]
Excerpt from Jesse Ruddock's story collection Shot Blue, out February 20, 2017 from Coach House Books. Available for order now here. Her mother tried to show her how to pack a [...]
After dusk in Seattle, look for the moon. Sometimes it burns pale fire over the tree line, other times it hangs crookedly nailed to the sky; a slivered hangnail bitten [...]
Listen, I know I said I'd go to meetings. I know I said I'd get a sponsor. But I'm busy. My work is my meetings. My work is my [...]
There was once a man who had a love. And this love lived somewhere far away from his small corner of the world (a place called Pilgrim’s Paradise, Demoines City). [...]
Sitting in the chair means the mouth of it swallows your ass. You don’t take to the chair, it takes to your body and keeps parts after you’ve risen from [...]
Future Vision I take myself to a movie because I think I deserve it. I go to one of those big chain cinemas downtown, the kind with the reclining vinyl [...]
Gutting a pale fish with my father, the strongman. He turns it in his hands once, twice, plops it on the chopping block, belly up. Swallows the air. The thing [...]
. Excerpt from Edie Meidav's story collection Kingdom of the Young, out April 11, 2017 from Sarabande Books. Available for pre-order now here. Don’t worry, I didn’t take all the soaps. I [...]
They don’t do it small in India. Even a regular thundershower is mounted on the scale of a Hollywood disaster movie, shot on 70 mm on the coast of Iceland [...]
Since Ray got sprung from Bellamy Creek Correctional, it’s been better and worse and the same. Delia, for better or worse. And the same all-night radio show tiding him over, [...]
The girl is dead. Is she a girl? She’s old enough for shimmer lipgloss, for a boyfriend. There she is in photographs, her brother’s arm large on her shoulders, grinning [...]
Roland was a Marxist—probably the only Marxist in Lagos or even the whole country, he was sure. He believed that there was a “ruling class” in Nigeria and he was [...]
Excerpt from Gabe Bump‘s forthcoming novel Get Down, Claude. July before I started 8th grade, Paul had this scare. A fuzzy blemish on an x-ray. After tests and hours of [...]
At the Meet-Up event, most of the women wore sexy tribal costumes, but I dressed up as Pumba from the Lion King. The elastic snout kept falling down over my [...]
It was April again, and the feet were getting ripe. They hung from our large tree’s lower branches, emitting a scent similar to an old, damp rag, swinging back and [...]
Moths died in daylight, nocturnal no longer. That summer. It was always one hundred and two degrees. The moths and their noon wing death. That summer. It was hard for [...]
Lizzie sits in a room because everything is a room. Right now, the room is a field and the field is corn. The sun is slow and turning the wheat, [...]
It is 6:56am PST, and I watch a car drive across a bridge. The passenger, who for this record I will call Child, presses her face against the window. The [...]
Bound to the earth ten paces from the willow, Frankie calls to her mother. A dream of what she might have been appears solid, white hem dragging through the dust. [...]
One day, when they were giving the dog a bath, he proposed. He swished his arm around in the tub and produced a ring that winked its white glaucomic eye. [...]
We weren’t in a barbershop. He sat in a wooden slat-back chair on our mother’s kitchen floor and looked up at me. His face was upside down from my view [...]
1. The neighbor had upwards of eighty succulents laced around the wood beams of his staircase. You saw him every day watering the plants, sometimes in nothing more than a [...]
When I was a kid, you were an idiot if you wore shorts in this city. The only times I remember having them on were during soccer games (for practice [...]
I am Seth Rogen’s Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and I’m obsessed with the words “harlequin” and “inquiline.” The caryatid stops by our table one morning and asks if she can [...]
Early on in the summer, my mother, my father and I ran out of adjectives to describe exactly how hot we were feeling. Then my mother caught depression. Also from [...]
Excerpt from Michelle Tea‘s novel Black Wave, released in September from Feminist Press. Michelle wasn’t sure when everyone started hanging out at the Albion. She had managed to pass the corner dive [...]
INAUGURAL COSMONAUTS AVENUE FICTION PRIZE WINNER After much thought, Pam and I decide to fix our faces. We save up until we can afford what we want and get a [...]
No one should ever speak to anyone else if they aren’t willing to risk total exposure. Alex had a nasty habit of twirling her hair, twisting it into beetle-dense knots, [...]
We used to come here for driftwood. That was when Sidney first took me in, when I wasn’t sure yet whether or not he was a perv. He kept his [...]
Pamir roared from the bottom of his stomach, clapped loudly, pounded his feet on the ground and screeched, “Keeeeeeek! Keeeeeeek!” But the crows lined up on the power line didn’t [...]
Ben blows through a stop sign and I say You’re a goddamn jackass Ben. Two states from home and he’s already giving the cops excuses. Turn signals and speed limits [...]
There were no flowers near the house, no decorative plants. Just grass, cut short enough to kill it in some places and several trees. The grass was edged cleanly along [...]
Excerpts from Meredith Alling's story collection Sing the Song, out November 18, 2016 from Future Tense Books. Available for pre-order now at futuretensebooks.com Symbiosis I was in a brightly lit [...]
Charlie really wasn't stalking her. Really. It took daily talking-to-self to convince Charlie of that, but Charlie knew. This wasn't stalking. This wasn't the first time they'd had this conversation. [...]
Do you know what is boring? Do you know what is really fucking boring? Watching your high school boyfriend practice with his hardcore band in the basement of his mother’s [...]
She planted a single seed in each of his ears while he slept, tweezing in the first, then waiting patiently for him to turn. They weren’t seeds she could readily [...]
Out where we’re from, anything unpredictable is female. Countries, weather, the sea. “She’s gonna be some hot,” Henry would say when we climbed aboard in the wee hours. Or [...]
"A morbid streak runs through the whole of my family, but for you I could put it to rest." — Vampire Weekend Survive Low hums of machines tell you that you [...]
Reeking of pond scum and cedar smoke, the alien asks for divorce. He looks like Alexander, yes. Squat, bow-legged, with a low centre of gravity useful for turning life’s sharp [...]
When it’s hot, I think of Michelle. Usually, when she crosses my mind, I’m filled with a regret that makes my pores sizzle with dread. For that reason, I try [...]
When I wake up my eyes are crusted shut. When I wake up under a cotton candy sky my eyes are crusted shut. When I wake up to a cotton [...]
The sound wakes me. A dull thud. I pop up in bed like one of those inflatable air dancers, the kind used to advertise blowouts at furniture warehouses and car [...]
When we came upon Number 15 the last time, he’d already been killed, having been shot fatally by local law enforcement in a Northwest Georgia carpet-manufacturing city, which had been [...]
She grips the handle of her suitcase hard, so hard her fingers begin to cramp. The wave of passengers buoys her toward Arrivals. A sudden intestinal twist in the corridor [...]
I woke up this morning thinking about David. I woke up this morning, next to Graham, my sleeping husband, thinking about David. I woke up this morning, next to Graham, [...]
Marla was a polite woman. If a man wanted to sleep with her she never refused. With each new man, she adopted a cat—Fluffers McGee for John, Marion for Paul, [...]
These are the things that have changed about Toronto since I left it. There are about 239 new identical 25-floor condos, where young urban dwellers buy overpriced apartments called ‘cubes,’ [...]
He was the winner of everything in the universe. With a glorious head of hair coiffed into a state of perfection, and a magnificent tan that in no way looked [...]
In her last days, when they no longer try to lure her from her narrow bed, she hears singing, lullabies like those her mother sang to her in Ladino or [...]
I hurry down the sloping street towards dealers who stand like raptors, eyes glowing in the half light of nightfall. The wall behind them is covered in gang graffiti; gold [...]
I had an aunt and uncle whose lives were perfect. They sent the most beautiful Christmas cards every year. They came in thick envelopes with stamps from foreign countries. It [...]
After I moved to Oregon, away from California for the first time, Granny came up for a visit. This was a few years ago and I was still living [...]
The girls had heard from the boys that the boys were looking for the girls. Outside English, History, Spanish class. Inside the gyms, stables, dormitories. For one week only, they [...]
The bark of the apple tree is black; alone in the garden, black. It cuts into the winter like calligraphy. The winter paints white dogs yellow and makes the [...]
Bronson invites everyone to a drag bbq on Saturday night. Mada and Kalale are not really that down but they’ll go. Paul wants us all to have amazing looks. I [...]
In a distant future in which humankind has colonized the universe, Dr. Jan Sangan, a veterinarian specializing in extremely large alien organisms, goes spelunking in the bowels of a creature [...]
Jane lives with her mother and a stranger in a white house by the sea. Red roses with blossoms the size of a baby’s head grow wild over the [...]
A recently-divorced 70-something took 20 minutes of my 23rd year. First, he called me an idiot savant with regards to my schoolwork. Then his eyes met my ears: “If [...]
Four days in Goa nearly killed me. It started the morning my bus arrived in Mapusa and I didn't see my uncle Quinton waiting for me. A swarm of [...]
Mom and I pick him up from T.F. Green in Warwick. He’d left us at 195 pounds but now he’s around 165, face skinny and honed, chest puffed up [...]
She wanted to see the sea lions fed, but when they arrived it was just past noon and the trainers were leaving the ring with empty buckets. The air [...]
I was in line at Trader Joe’s, waiting to pay for my groceries. My headphones were on and I felt disconnected from my surroundings. I watched people interacting around [...]
This is the way he walks: north on Grace to College, east on College to Manning, south on Manning to Dundas, then west on Dundas back to Grace. It’s [...]
At the top of her journey, Johanna cracked a lager. She was thirteen and thinking of the beautiful sea. The smothering western sea. The concrete stoop leading down to [...]
It wasn’t assault, exactly. Or maybe it was. Either way it happened quickly. It stopped. Tree-scales scraped barkily against the cotton of her tee-shirt. The boy was walking away. [...]
One drink in and she was laughing. It felt like she hadn’t laughed in a long time, but she was always laughing one drink in, and she drank more than [...]
My mother was a haenyo: she dove into cold waters for seaweed, abalone, sea urchin, and other things. My fifth year of elementary school holds my first memory of [...]
The summer after my first year at the new school was homage to the skateboard. Girls walked right up to the edge of the wooden ramps to watch us. [...]
“The world don’t want you to do that.” Cheese Watkins’ daddy says this through two inches of Plexiglas, holding a sawed-off up to the small gap where the money is [...]
Ines was worried if she got a flat tire now or if she ran out of gas she would never make it from Sicily, useless island, to Argentina, the [...]
“O, Lord, help me to be pure, but not yet.” –Augustine of Hippo I cut through the field behind Joey and Shannon’s house. Ice lined the creek, splintering off, [...]
The donkeys are eating the barn. They’re bored, poor things. They are eating out the shape of a donkey, of a dull, sulking herd of donkeys, until at last, [...]