‘The Seamus’

by Tara Ison

I always sensed beast in the house. From the time I could sense anything, I knew I could reach for and grip onto a shaggy coat, pull myself up to lean against a beastly wall of muscle. I knew the scent of tartar breath, the scalloped air of a swinging tail, the sponge of a

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Phone call

by Cynthia Zarin

Caroline is standing by the north ball fields in Central Park in the snow. It is February. There is some kind of construction going on—or it was going on—the big yellow trucks have stalled, but still, she has had to circumvent them. She is walking southeast, toward Seventy-Ninth Street, through the park. It is freezing.

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‘Good News’

by Hannah Kingsley-Ma

Like a dog, I walked in through the back door and sniffed the air attentively. A rich, woody scent met me. Before I had a chance to call her name, Kira’s head poked out from behind the open refrigerator door. She stooped down again, her hands rooting around, rattling the various jars of mustard that lined the shelves. Julia, she said brightly. You’re early. Hi Kiki, I replied. What’s cooking? You’ll never guess, she said. She pushed herself up with her hands on her knees so she was standing tall. I have no idea, I told her. I’m trying. I […]

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‘Moldova’

by Ruth Madievsky

Sasha and I landed in Kishinev as the sun was rising and took a bus from the tarmac to our terminal. I hadn’t slept on either of the flights and felt the edges of reality ungluing. The bus was stuffed to the windows with blue-eyed children waving American coloring books, women in sweatsuits carrying knockoff

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The Bus

by Nishanth Injam

The bus has a bathroom. Other buses that leave Bengaluru for my hometown don’t have bathrooms. They pull over on the highway when you have to pee, or they stop at a dhaba and the driver asks passengers to go so he won’t have to make extra stops along the way. The bus is a

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Down a hole : ‘Kappa,’ by Ryunosuke Akutagawa

by Charlie Barton

A writer’s last work, the mere fact of it, ineluctably changes its meaning. Ryunosuke Akutagawa’s Kappa (96 pages; New Directions; translated by Lisa Hofmann-Kuroda and Allison Markin Powell), is one such finale, the coda of a brief yet prolific career, a novella first published in 1927, months before this acclaimed author would kill himself. What does this book divulge about his psyche? Can this most condemned act be made legible? And it’s even more grotesque—but unavoidable—that one wonders if this work, written by the namesake of Japan’s foremost literary prize, is significant only because it’s his last. Akutagawa’s narrator, No. […]

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After Dark

by Rhoda Huffey

When the pigeon first appeared in my front yard, I noticed because he didn’t fly off immediately. He walked over to the jade plant by my front porch and contemplated the leaves of the succulent. My mind was full of other things at that moment: what to wear to that evening, did a man named

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May 17th, 1974

by Dagoberto Gilb

“Slauson,” Sherry said. “Doesn’t that sound…maybe Watts, like that, to you?” “What?” Danny said making the word shorter than it already was. “It’s kind of a ghetto name, right?” Danny might have looked up and away irritated if he wasn’t driving her car. Slauson was the name of the street they were on, wide and

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The Murmuring Killed Me

by Peter Orner

Every few years or so I go to visit my dead at Beth El Cemetery in Fall River, Massachusetts. It’s across the street from a Cumberland Farms. My grandfather always said that being dead didn’t seem so bad if he could run over and grab a pack of cigarettes and the Fall River Herald. On

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Part of a Deer

by Lucy Corin

Here it was suddenly ninety degrees, and across the country it was suddenly frozen. I’d been texting about it with Basil all morning, getting my stuff together for running errands. In the car, I swapped into my sunglasses, setting everything up to follow the driving instructions I’d texted to myself by trying to balance the

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The Bully of Columbus

by Tom Barbash

“You’re gonna get your ass kicked,” the greasy haired bully said. He said it every time I saw him, which was once or twice a week when I was coming back from therapy, or on my way back from school. I was 16 then. “Ass kicked,” he called out once I’d passed him on Columbus Avenue,

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The Third Daughter

by Vanessa Hua

The Chairman is dead. Outside, the people of Chinatown are cheering. They light firecrackers and beat pots and pans, chanting as they march three floors below the window of my apartment. Their signs say, “Smash the Emperor!” Drips of paint spoil the sweep and curve of the calligraphy, the characters bleeding as if shot. Shouts

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