Square Black Key

Margo Berdeshevsky

The Norman coast woman, no longer in her middle American housecoat as she remembers it, now naked under fuchsia silk, recalls the old robe on its peg in once-upon Akron. Was it called a housecoat? Yes. A thing to knot and tie. Oui. …

A Brief Sexual History and Its Catalyst

Jason Nemec

I had sex for the first time when I was fourteen. I can sum it up nice and neat for you like they do at the end of that game Clue: Jimmy Mendelson. In the shed behind his house. With a rubber I stole from one of my dad’s tackle boxes.…

The Mother Warns the Tornado; On the Origins of the Tornado

Catherine Pierce

The Mother Warns the Tornado

Scene: a bathtub, dry. The noise outside inaudible
behind the baby’s wails.

I know I’ve already had more than I deserve.
These lungs that rise and fall without effort,
the husband who sets free house lizards,
this red-doored ranch, my mother on the phone,
the fact that I can eat anything—gouda, popcorn,
massaman curry—without worry.


Kent Nelson

The lynx steps from the forest and scratches down the snowy bank onto the lake ice blown clean by wind. The animal is as gray as the low clouds that…

The Last Four Seasons

Meghan Kenny

Autumn In Hakusan-cho, the maple leaves turned red and orange and yellow. Hiro Tanaguchi thought of many places other than where he was and of many people whom he’d left…

weekend-reads On East-West Dialogue

Adania Shibli

I arrive at Lydd airport. At passport control, I present my passport through a small opening in the glass panel to the officer sitting behind it. We wait a little until first three security personnel arrive, then four others—two policemen and a policewoman, …

Ducks on the Pond: Chad Harbach’s The Art of Fielding

Jesse Donaldson

In the late 1990s, I moonlighted as a slap-hitting second baseman for the Kenyon College Lords, one of the most historically inept sports teams in NCAA history. I came into Chad Harbach’s The Art of Fielding, a first novel about baseball at a liberal arts college, with suspicion.…

weekend-readsWild Birds Unlimited

Lucia Perillo

Because the old feeder feeds nothing
but squirrels, who are crafty and have learned
how to hang so it swings sideways until
gravity takes the seed—I bumble down


Karin Lin-Greenberg

You’re a bus driver now. And tonight is Halloween, which means drunk college students riding the bus to and from parties. Eventually someone will make a mess—vomit, vampire makeup smeared…

My Brother, My Gastroenterologist

W. M. Lobko

When it comes to roaches my pug isn’t fussy,
her eyes as black as their glossy shells which
as she roams she erases, slurps as in some
awful Reverse Connect-The-Dots, think Icky
Ms. Pac-Man, as thanks I’ll order her a pink bow
whereas I am the empty blue box in the center
where treats like cherries should glisten.…

The Beautiful Line

W. Scott Olsen

Tell me about the beginning of desire. We hear a story, or a question, or a challenge, someone else’s adventure—someone we know or someone so deep in a history even…

The Purple Suit

John Kinsella

It was two years since Solomon’s father’s accident. Two years to the day when the invitation to the harvest ball arrived. The ball was to be a formal affair—one sponsored…

Winter in the Park

John Frederick Nims

Lagoons are shrunk and walkable as concrete,
The little islands accessible now
That in June were a green secret the sunburnt lovers
Bumped with their rented prow.

Racial Profiling: Three First Books by Latino Poets

Craig Santos Perez

Arizona law SB 1070 makes it a state crime to be in the U.S. illegally and requires immigrants to carry documents proving they legally reside in the United States. Not only will SB 1070 lead to racial profiling and violate many citizens’ civil rights, the law is also an inhumane response to the causes of immigration and the violent situation of the U.S.-Mexico border. …

Come On, Pilgrim

Elizabeth Lopatto

Listen to a reading of this piece by the author: Download the audio. The Harry Ransom Center, home of David Foster Wallace’s papers, is quiet and smells like air conditioning;…

Anywhere Could Be Somewhere; Not to Miss The Great Thing weekend-reads

Mark Strand

Anywhere Could Be Somewhere

I might have come from the high country, or maybe the low country, I don’t recall which. I might have come from the city, but what city in what country is beyond me. I might have come from the outskirts of a city from which others have come or maybe a city from which only I have come.

Grandfather’s Wake

Stephen Haynie

This story does not begin with Uncle George losing two of his fingers, though it does end with Grandmother telling us that we are all out of our minds. She…

Memory in the Wine

Hope Maxwell Snyder

After Terrance Hayes This trip. This seat. This wine. This bottle. This wine. This sleep. This empty heart. This love, quickly crawling, light floating outside the window of the plane.…


Fan Li

2011 Kenyon Review Short Fiction Contest Winner I call my son in Baltimore and a bird picks up. It turns out the bird is a girl. “I’m Trevor’s mother,” I…


Anna Kovatcheva

2011 Kenyon Review Short Fiction Contest Runner-up They catch sight of each other at four hundred sixty-six miles per hour, or at the speed where four hundred sixty-six suddenly turns…

The Boy in the Lake

Nichols Ford Malick

2011 Kenyon Review Short Fiction Contest Runner-up There was a boy in the lake. Men in boats were searching, dragging lines. A son and his father watched from the end…

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