A Father’s Worry

by Khem K. Aryal

1.

Most boys in the town of Kalikanagar grew up into full-blown men at the age of fifteen or sixteen. But Chintamani Pandey found one day that his son—already eighteen—had stopped growing a couple of years before—not so much physically, but otherwise; the boy’s peers had left him behind.

Some of the boys drove public buses, and the drivers treated their assistants like ten-year-old kids—some of them really were ten years old. Some managed their fathers’ shops, and the customers called the boys sahuji, respected shopkeeper; some of the customers even called the teenage boys dai, older brother, although the customers might have grandchildren the shopkeepers’ age. Some boys helped the drivers wash their TATA buses and Mahindra jeeps in the nearby stream, and some repaired radios. One was even a painter who’d put a sign in front of his shop: Kanchan Arts, in English, cursive fonts—Kanchan being his wife’s name—and wrote signboards and banners for political parties. Some others who didn’t have such involvements—those unlucky souls—formed local gangs, readily waiting to call anyone a motherfucker for no reason and start a duel, and to sell themselves to political parties during elections. Continue reading

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Three Theories Concerning the Soul

by Robert N. Watson

1: The Bad Joke

“I’ll just tell them,” He laughs, “that the soul is mighty,
Because it might survive a summer breeze.
‘Eternal,’ sure, if it dies eternally.”
But, taking up some leaves with a little spring
And sap still in them, soul lodges in the eaves
Like a bird who is happier when nothing human remains,
When doors stay closed, and nobody admires
Its throaty little offspring as they learn
To turn worms into flight: into feathers
That taper off to nothing, but bend the air Continue reading

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The Wife of the Traveling Salesman

by Marcia Hurlow

When you have left again,
this day reduced to a thin
cinder of sunlight caught Continue reading

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Da Next Big Watevah

by Joe Balaz

Human nature no change
wen da time digits go by

so try dis battery-powered E-cig
wit induced vapors

and let me know wat you tink. Continue reading

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The Desire to Heal

by Drew A. Carmichael

The name of the woman lying next to me is Jennifer or Janine, I’m not sure which. We met at the grocery no more than two hours ago. She stood in line behind me and placed her items on the belt with mine without using the plastic divider. It wasn’t until the cashier confused our items that she stepped in to clarify. There was a time when such an innocuous act wouldn’t have drawn my attention. In the past a woman would’ve had to look me in the eyes and spell it out in no uncertain terms. Jennifer or Janine smiled at me and shrugged. That was all it took. She followed me back to my place and let me undress her. Continue reading

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