Shielding Her Ugly

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By Meg Tuite

Every day braveness seeps out of her. It puddles around her feet. What sits inside is a virus. It is plump and saturates the middle regions that cannot be excised out. It comes from one of those holes in the net of childhood. She has one photo with her dad. Her tiny face harbors a whole fleet of shoes making secrets out of their steps. He clutches her twisting ten-year-old body in a snapshot encompassing all the shapeless ‘nos’ and grisly silences that smack of war when a closed door is a weapon. Her mom wrings the absence of wind.

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Meg Tuite is author of a novel-in-stories, Domestic Apparition, a short story collection, Bound By Blue, and won the Twin Antlers Collaborative Poetry award for her poetry collection, Bare Bulbs Swinging. She is a senior editor at Connotation Press, an associate editor at Narrative Magazine, fiction editor at Bending Genres Journal, and editor of eight anthologies. Her work has appeared in numerous literary magazines, over fifteen anthologies, nominated nine times for the Pushcart Prize, five-time Glimmer Train finalist, placed 3rd in Bristol Prize, and Gertrude Stein award finalist.

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Threats

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By Eva Rivers

The couple are getting older and the threats are everywhere. The fire. The gas. The stairs. Burglars. The weather. And the vast green space that encroaches upon their house.
“We should move,” says the woman.
“Where to?” asks the man.
“To a place where we can cope,” says the woman.
“I don’t know,” says the man.
Every day they make new lists: Reasons to Leave and Reasons to Stay. And every day they feel defeated. They’d like to move but for nothing to change (except for the threats). Which means that now, there’s nowhere for them to go.

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Eva Rivers lives and works in London. Her fiction has appeared in Fictive Dream, Sick Lit Magazine, Penny Shorts, The Drabble, 101 Words, Firefly Magazine, Storgy and Scribble Magazine.

Place of Purpose

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By M. Stone

I climb the ridge to tend the family burial plot just like you taught me, while trains rattle along the tracks below, hauling coal. I never wanted you to work in the mines, but now five states and a vast river separate us. Mama counts off the weeks till your next visit, and I pass evenings alone on the front porch watching the sky turn violet.

Truth is, I miss you something terrible, but I can’t take your money for bus fare: We both know I won’t leave the single place where the living and the dead still need me.

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M. Stone’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in San Pedro River Review, Star 82 Review, UCity Review, and numerous other journals.

What Attaches to Me Today

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By Cathryn Shea

My sister’s Doc Martens leapt at me and teased until I slid my feet into them. Nancy attaches to me today, her malapropisms and silly jokes. The last air she breathed has moved into my living room. Her Docs cast a spell.

Now her famous potato salad has attached itself to the middle shelf of my refrigerator, the same recipe she used to make every day at Don’s Sandwich Shop when her loyal lunch crowd craved more. Her bits and pieces have attached to me. It’s like a new report from 23andMe.

What percentage of me is Nancy?

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Cathryn Shea’s latest chapbook, It’s Raining Lullabies, is available from Dancing Girl Press, 2017.

Page 2, Paragraph 25

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By Jeff

Google’s suggestions for opening a speech: “With a question, with a statistic, with a quote.”

“That’s it,” Chris thought, “a quote!” And he knew just the type—Mr. Hall’s room was covered in Poe posters. Poe was the ticket.

The next day Chris stood in front of the class. “As the great Edgar Allan wrote in “The Cask of Amontillado …’” Chris surveyed the room, then took a great breath and shouted: “Ugh! ugh! ugh!—ugh! ugh! ugh!—ugh! ugh! ugh!—ugh! ugh! ugh!—ugh! ugh! ugh!”

Mr. Hall was impressed. Chris’s final grade: nine out of ten tell-tale hearts.

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Jeff is a high school English teacher

The Mug

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By Monica Dickson

He loved his mug. It was bought by his best mate at Uni with the proceeds of the electricity meter at their shared digs. It was the kind you got from a card shop and showed his star sign, Aquarius. He wasn’t one for horoscopes but he liked the description of the type of person he was: ‘unpredictable,” with an “animal magnetism;” “a real dynamo.” The mug was now faded to dirty pink; scratched, chipped, the handle long broken. But he kept his fletches in it and thought often about the boy in the bedsit, full of hope and promise.

      
Monica Dickson has recent work published in Firewords, Salomé and online in The Cabinet of Heed.