Jess Lacher

Three months after our house burned down, I bought Morgan a grocery store cake that said WELCOME HOME in green frosting. A candle was taped in the box lid and I slid that into my back pocket while I sliced…

On Roy Kesey’s Pacazo

Christian TeBordo

Dzanc Books: Westland, MI, 2011. 530 pages. $22.00. If you’ve spent significant time outside of your home country, you know it changes you—not just the way you talk, but the way you think. John Segovia, the California-born, Peruvian-emigrant narrator of…

Tuesday Night Rehearsal

Anne Kaier

I’m sitting in a metal chair, getting ready to sing Joseph Haydn’s lovely Saint Nicholas Mass with my community choir on the night the DC sniper is scheduled to die by lethal injection. Staring at the knotty pine walls of…

The Consolidation of Spaces

Chelsea Bolan

Snow.  The first of the year.  I pull on my boots and coat, walk through the streets made suddenly unfamiliar and find, with my toes, that particular edge where the road gives way to path.  The path leads up from…

weekend-readsThe Merchandise Mart

Inara Cedrins

I. Returning to Chicago after fourteen years, I sleep on the concrete floor of the studio at the Merchandise Mart with my sketch pad under me, drawings of yucca and orchids. The next day I walk, the smell of caramel…


Christa Romanosky

Pyramids don’t share their mew, and no more
bridges can get me to you. Lost

without National Geographic, cubes of azaleas
set up shop, assassins drop by for iced coffee and read

daily horoscopes. We all complain too much
about the mist. What we’ve wanted, we’ve taken

Blind, in the Museum

Kathy Torma West

There was an accident in the photo lab behind the art studio and Livy went blind. The voice she heard when she woke up to the dark was Eli’s, the hand that slipped into hers, his. He told her the…


Colette Sartor

Every Sunday during Mass, Grace stared at little Noreen Baransky—at her swollen joints and wasted limbs, her bulging, watery eyes, the discolored fingernails. Grace wondered what was wrong with her. Maybe a rare chromosomal disorder with a complicated Latin name.…

Notes on Texture Notes by Sawako Nakayasu

Caryl Pagel

Letter Machine Editions: Tucson, AZ, 2010. 136 pages. $14.00. 9.15.11 Suppose the prose struck a pose—its figure held still until you tiled the mind’s interior with the objects of a mined field: a “field of flowers, field of gold, field…


Judy Labensohn

House A. My upstairs neighbor heard voices in the walls. The voices called her at night, but she didn’t get their language. A light fixture fell in the hallway. She was told to shake sage in the corners, to open…

On James L. White’s The Salt Ecstasies

David Bartone

Graywolf Press: Minneapolis, MN, 2010. 96 pages. $15.00. James L. White’s last poems, The Salt Ecstasies, breathe so lonesome. They have the weight of elegiac gaze and the slow heat of youthful longing. “Salt me down where love was /…

Warrior’s Day

Connor Wroe Southard

Thin Lips wore the deathly charcoal green uniform of the People’s Army of Korea, and he boasted the vein-blood dark epaulets of an officer. If this were Seoul or Chicago, or a village in Devonshire or Saskatchewan instead of the…

weekend-readsStreet Scene

Sejal Shah

Parisians call this neighborhood mixed. Mixed is code; it means immigrants. Think Brooklyn, Caitlin says. We are in the 20th Arrondissement, near Père Lachaise. I am here to see the Louvre and the Turkish Baths; I am here to visit…

weekend-readsThe Wheel of History

Phong Nguyen

The wheel of history will run you over. —Khmer Rouge slogan Map History begins at 2:10 p.m. The chairs are attached to their desks, arranged in jagged rows from a full day’s use. The walls are blocks of peach stucco,…


Kevin McLellan

The fire. It is a matter
of time. I belong

to the knives. And I

must have already.
My body will need

to surrender. Like spills…

Two Lungs

David Kutz-Marks

Outside the mine, I met a superb lyrebird.
He was bound to a slave and his song was the chain,

wind and glasses clinking in the dark.

Then a Russian girl from the Rathmines
came up and whispered her name, which I have forgotten,

long black hair locking hands with the tail of the bird.…

A Sestina for a Cannibal

Jeffrey Greene

How do you teach a cannibal
to speak when he has no tongue?
Draw a picture first—a house or a ship—
and then guide his fingers
to form the letters
and slowly pronounce the word.…

On Shann Ray’s American Masculine

Adam Parker Cogbill

Graywolf Press: Minneapolis, MN, 2011. 182 Pages. $15.00. Shann Ray’s first book, American Masculine, winner of the 2010 Bakeless Prize for Fiction, is a short story collection following in the Western tradition of writers like Cormac McCarthy and Annie Proulx.…

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