by Dylan A. Smith
Newly alone I found work in a small café that also sold flowers. Or, as I preferred then, a small flower shop that also sold coffee. Framed this way I felt more like a florist, like my father, which I liked. It was important to me the café was small because this meant I worked alone.
All winter I’d had nothing to do. He’d left in late autumn, after the colors of the season had yellowed and faded. Alone I’d wake late and disoriented to the hollow sound of the city and have food delivered to the apartment, eating just enough before lying down for the rest of the day to think. Weeks drifted like this, the light unchanging in the room.
After the Apocalypse There Will Be Memory Poems
by Julie C. Day
Some memories are like scars—
A knife-sharp Mobius strip in the brain
Peter and his Raiders of the Lost Sharks t-shirt
That mixture of citrus and musky end-of-day sweat
“It’s a dishwasher lemon-meringue pie, not a disaster”
Peter had laughed
As the foam flowed across the kitchen floor
And of course he was right
Disasters saved for another night
That apartment in Lawrence was almost ten years ago. These days there were no arms, with their scattering of dark hair and honey-brown skin, twirling Kiara above a soap-slicked kitchen floor. No dirty dinner dishes and bottles of Free State IPA. Instead, Kiara’s new life involved standing on a narrow platform supported by five stories of scaffolding next to an enormous self-sustaining dome. Kiara was one of the lucky ones. The height of the five-story-high entrance was meant to deter strays from getting in.
by William Hawkins
The bronzes were her idea. Or, maybe his. She can’t remember. It came up early in the morning, when they were still bodies, warm and unobserved inside the bedsheets, and the quiet sounds of waking had turned—too quickly—to talk, talk of the day, as in, what are we going to do today? And just like that they were people again. She hates being people. Because being people requires people to see you being people. So they agreed on the Getty. The new exhibit, The Bronzes. But which of them brought it up? She needs to remember because if she brought it up—if it was her idea—that means, at the end of this, he’ll be the one to praise her for it. Or blame her for it. But, however it goes, he will be the judge. Unless it was his idea. And if it was his idea, then she has the power of praise or blame, and if that’s so then she must decide which it will be—she must articulate these recovered bodies. Judgement is the price of being seen.
by Zak Salih
They have no idea we, the dead, still watch them. On their wooden benches, in their wooden rockers marked up for $114.99. The old mountain men tickle banjos, breathe into harmonicas, slap their thighs to the rhythm of folk songs first sung by fur trappers and horse traders. The tourists guzzle vintage pop, toss empty glass bottles of Royal Crown Cola, Cheerwine, and Bubble Up into a metal trashcan. Two bottles, five bottles, eight bottles. So many bottles, making so much noise. Only one bottle for us, however. Plastic, not glass.
Hot Black Bubbles
by Zeke River Perkins
Imagine calculating your per diem in the Days Inn park lot in Herkimer, New York as sleet falls on the windshield of your government issued burgundy Malibu. Imagine that you should’ve calculated your per diem over continental breakfast in the warmth of the central heating but you forgot so now you have a calculator and a stack of paper in your lap as you’d prefer not to go back inside the motel because its sleeting outside of the car; and also because it embarrasses you to imagine the clerks thinking, “Oh lord, he’s back. This ought to be rich,” as you walk back through the automated doors.
by Rosamund Lannin
Shani worked in the morning and went to school at night and at the end of most days she felt like a slowly deflating balloon. Especially when Caroline talked. Caroline was talking right now.
“And then he pulled it out and I was like what is that,” Caroline flipped her long, red-gold hair, a sure sign that she was coming up on the punchline: “We got going and I was like is that it, is it even in?”
by Jasper Diamond Nathaniel
Elliot lay awake, his cheeks burning as the sun crept in through the mangled curtains and came to rest on his face. “Let’s get up,” he said, “don’t you want to have a real morning?” Maxine, her eyes closed, rolled over to face the wall and squeezed the pillow over her ears. He knew what was coming next but he touched her shoulder anyway.
“Stop it,” she said, “I’m serious,” and then she pulled the covers over her shoulder and inched closer to the wall.
The Shorebirds and The Shaman
by Kelly Fordon
Corinne’s husband, Ethan, died in his sleep. Right before bed, they’d had one of their rote conversations—the same one they had every night.
“What time should I get up?” Ethan was sitting on his side of the bed with his back to Corinne, fumbling with the alarm clock on his ancient phone. “Should I get up for yoga or sleep in?”
“Blah, blah, blah,” Corinne said. “Why do you ask me that every single night as if I actually care when you get up?” Though it sounded awful in the retelling, she’d said this in a playful tone. They chided each other. That was their shtick.