Substitute Teacher

by Susana H. Case I was nineteen in Ohio. Mornings, the phone rang with my assignment. I’d run down the hill to catch the bus— a different school most mornings— clutching a bag of M&M’s for lunch. Principals said, just keep the students quiet. Poor Maurice—same size as me, but mentally a six-year-old—all deficits and

Wisteria and Weeds

by Pamela L. Laskin Going to grow a gorgeous garden with wisteria blooming between begonias and roses ripe with longing. I had the seeds, the soil. All was ripe for blossoming. even the way I measured the distance between where the seeds were planted. How could I have known the heat was venomous, the waters

Everywhere But Here

by John Reed You and I are everywhere but here. Down on Gansevoort at the swanky bar, the cherrystone clams are ready for us, on ice on a platter, on the half shell– and the sprinklers time-on at the great lawn– and an orange skirt is somewhere walking– and drivers are adjusting their mirrors. We’re

Narcissus Distracted

by Barry Wallenstein Passing by a mirror, he pays no attention and gazes in the other direction. He pushes forward without looking back. It’s enough to know it’s there he thinks; placing one small thought behind another, he banishes envy, spite, rancor and courts a breeze on its way across a field of heather. Well

Wrong Son

by Jeff Hardin The wrong son died, my mother hissed. So many days I’ve tried to live to let go of who I might have been if I had stayed. My brother has no grave, no age. There were families I didn’t belong to, still don’t. Much I don’t want was never offered anyway. There


by CL Bledsoe I’ve died here before. I’ve died here and kept stumbling toward that place where everyone is safe. I’ve seen it on tee-shirts. I hear helicopters, but they aren’t for me. You were the only way I could rise. Don’t leave me with the moon for my only friend. It’s cold and they

The Crawlspace

by Cameron Morse Thunder creaks in the crawlspace. The house speaks to me nights I have trouble sleeping, its tongue pierced by nails. Lightning haunts my window, lightning without rain. If only I could sleep and be healed, sleep without dreams. Breathe without dread. But I am on my hands and my knees always in