The Shine

by Pui Ying Wong

On the day when nothing happens
windmills nod in the haze,
cars sprint to the ramp
like mice on running wheels.
In the geometric space between two
arching branches, the sun broods. Continue reading

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Soap

by Joseph Han

I’ll start when I still had the blue car. Karen, these are all the things I wish I told you before you broke up with me because maybe it would’ve changed something at least.

The parties I went to. At first it was just to be away from all those people I went to high school with. Even now when I run into them, these ghosts in new clothes, it’s a game of seeing how long you can ignore or avoid that person until courtesy gives. I’d hang on the walls leaning like a crooked painting, going whole nights not saying anything, just sipping on my beer with my mouth and words getting dry. Me not actually talking to other people, especially girls.

You know about how I totaled the car my parents bought me for my eighteenth birthday. We met sometime after that.

All about numbers. For every girl that turns you down, there’s her friend. There’s the girl that believes the fiction you make up about yourself and buys into the new name that you wear in your smile. I couldn’t be myself when I tried to hook up with girls. That guy got rejected, got scowled at, had to listen to giggles over turned shoulders. Sobs on drives home. One time a vodka-Red Bull splashed on his shirt. Being someone else, it was like cursive and I was perfecting the signature that I’d use for every transaction the rest of my life. You just keep signing.

But Karen, I thought you should know why you were important. It’s been a while since I’ve seen you in person.

Got better at expressing myself in that kind of way, unlocked a new me. When I went out with groups, I ordered whiskey straight instead of getting beers like everyone else. I wasn’t on the wall anymore. I drank because every drink became keys.

When I went out with a girl, I’d leave my phone in the car somewhere for her to notice, for her to ask “Aren’t you going to take this?” Then I’d tell her I didn’t want any interruptions. Continue reading

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June in the Badlands

by Rachel Jamison Webster

Submerged in sun, white
as from a flashbulb—

a faded Ford truck blue on gray road,
a driftwood barn splintering horizon.

We are not the blindly enduring, we are
those who won’t lay down our burdens Continue reading

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The Beaches Of

by Johnathan Harper

In the divide of pavement and sand stands a sign with a stick-figure drowning under white waves, the words: “Beware of Riptides.” Parents keep their children close, distract them with scarping shells from the strand, the salt grime wrapped to their fingers. Two brothers sit in ankle deep water, the one that’s seven has his arms wrapped around the waist of the younger to anchor him. They try to tug against the tide, where the ocean sucks them in, inch by heaving inch. Continue reading

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The Man Steps into Nettles on the Way to Mass

by Tobi Cogswell

Dressed in his “church pants”, he cuts through a field
like a rabbit on skates. Late as he often is, he’ll get “the eye”

from some chuntering old usher—get nothing but grief
from postman to pub to his mother and wife,

who left ahead of him–early–gently walking the road,
the sway of her contentment like a velvet metronome. Continue reading

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