by Esteban Rodriguez

I stole a green ball from the ball pit at Peter Piper Pizza. When my mother asked me where I’d got it, I said at my cousin’s birthday party, that it was under our table when we—cousins, aunts, uncles, friends—all gathered at the table after eating and playing and gossiping and sang to my cousin Eloy, wished him another happy year on earth.

My mother bent over with the ball in her hand, thrust it in my face and asked again where I got it, and although I didn’t have a thorough understanding of lying, I knew that the green ball would no longer be mine if I told her I took it from the pit, that while Eloy and his brother Eddie were starting a side war that required at least three ball hits to the face, I saw the roundest and shiniest ball in that pit and stuffed it in my pocket. How no one saw it on me at the table or play area or in the car on the ride back home with the ball bulging from my shorts was nothing short of a miracle. Continue reading

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A Gleam of Peace at Last

by Abdulmueed Balogun

There’s nothing in my heart, tonight,
seeking revenge or forgiveness: absolute
absence of eerie voices & grievous echoes…

No anxiety, whatsoever, on the windowsill
of my battered heart agitating for a chance
to breathe as a storm on my street of thoughts. Continue reading

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Hawk Notes

by Robert W. Cording

After my brother died, my mother, the most rational person in our family, noticed red-tailed and red-shouldered hawks everywhere. Of the eighteen species in North America, these two are most common. Still, they arrived when she seemed to need them, unexpected gifts. Over the last four years, she has filled notebooks describing flight angles, call sounds, and, what I have the hardest time understanding, how these sightings helped her through her grief. Continue reading

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When You Got Out of Prison, Did It Take a While to Adjust?

by Ace Boggess

Question asked by Sarena Fox.


At night, I can
turn the world
to darkness
with a twist,
no having to
tie a sock
around my eyes.

Friday, I walked a lap
of the yard. Just one.
It wasn’t the same. Continue reading

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After Leaving

by Shannon McLeod

There’s a surrender and ease in being told what to do. It was something I never would have anticipated missing after leaving him.

Once I’ve settled in at the Best Western, I think of calling my sister, Astrid. I’d hate to disturb her, though. She’s recently given birth to twins. I don’t want to burden her. I’ll wait to talk until she asks me for help, I think. She may want a babysitter soon.

I decide I’ll take myself out for dinner. It’s been so many months since I’ve been out to a restaurant. Date nights dwindled after the early stage of our relationship. I suspect he didn’t feel proud of me anymore, didn’t feel I was worth showing off or spending money on. Continue reading

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Filed under Fiction