by María Alejandra Barrios
While locked in my boyfriend’s closet I think about what the bruja told me earlier this year. “Nena linda,” she said, in that particular cartagena accent of hers, her tongue fixed to her palate. She was standing up straight, and her uncovered black shiny shoulders looked imposing under the sunlight that entered from the window. “Baby girl,” she said, “that smile is going to be your downfall.”
by Justin Maurer
When I was 16 years old I had my dad thrown in jail for physically assaulting my sister. I fell completely out of touch with him until he heard that my career as a touring punk rock musician had fallen on its face.
“Son, your uncle and I want to retire. I’m offering you a unique opportunity to run the family business.”
Murder on Beach Road
by Sam Axelrod
Last week we were in Kaikoura, a small town on the South Island. There’s one main strip that runs through it, just off the coast––Beach Road. We went to dinner there––me, Zach, and Soren, the core group of dudes––at Black Rabbit Pizza, which shares a doorway with the sensibly named Kaikoura Indian Restaurant.
by Efrén Ordóñez
Come back and make up a goodbye, at least. Let’s pretend we had one.
A woman on a staircase
The wall is about twenty inches high. The construction worker and I didn’t talk before he started this morning. We locked eyes a few times as if he understood my situation and his role in this story: making a few extra pesos out of my misery. Nothing more. We didn’t say a word, but the CNN en Español anchors helped break the tension between us. I hadn’t turned the TV on before he came in. She’d left it on this morning before going out to run some errands that probably didn’t exist. Argentinian, Venezuelan, Costa Rican, and Mexican reporters have all been talking about Mr. Toupee’s inauguration, dissecting the implications of every decision made since he was sworn in as president. All week I’ve been hearing about bans, tweets, and plans for building a much bigger wall; a greater, more expensive wall than this one being built in front of me, a wall that’s supposed to separate two countries and keep out a horde of bad men and women who could very well be brown monsters with a thirst for white patrimony. Bad hombres, the President called them. I usually keep my distance from politics and avoid such discussions, but even I knew they were absurd—all these ideas, all the theories being tossed around by the Latino anchors. Was the project even realistic? Might it be idiotic as this wall in our apartment, this fake-cardboard attempt to send me away, to lock me up in my own space?
by Andreas Trolf
We were having drinks one night, Dan and me, at the old Sweetwater, which if you remember that place was maybe the last real bar on Brooklyn’s north side before the assholes moved in and fucked it all up. Before the machine shops and meatpacking places closed down and the boutiques and Thai restaurants moved in and all the old families went God knows where. Dan’s in Jersey City now, if you can believe that.
Cinnamon From Pakistan
by Francis Sanzaro
Spices are nature’s tantra, Caitlynn would say.
On a typical Sunday morning, Caitlynn, naked and barefoot, would tip-toe around their kitchen floor. She would dab fennel pollen or crushed fenugreek on her chest, then wait for Jon to take notice and lick it off, which he did, and which she would pretend to be bothered by, but wasn’t really.
The Last Migration
by Keziah Weir
Alvaro Sáez grew up in the pink and gold dust motes of San Pedro de Atacama. He built houses with his father, and then hotels and roadways after his father’s death. He married a red haired American woman named Sandy who came to his town seeking some other God than the one she’d known in Western Massachusetts but found, instead, a husband.
by Brandon Sargent
“What are you going to do if I tell my daughter you’re smoking cigarettes around me?” Ethel stared into my soul, and I stared at the East River.
“What are you going to do if I tell your daughter that I found an empty Dunkin’ Donuts box under your bed?” I asked, taking a drag of my cigarette.