The Answers

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By Ali Grimshaw

They call me adult.
I have learned to apologize, drive a car
mastered spell check to avoid embarrassment.
Yet my days of fevered creation
and re-imagining myself, remain inadequate.
Knowing I know less with each ring of curiosity around my trunk.
Like paint peeling off an old house I am more than one color.
I live as a revolving door to exit and enter,
each time with a different view.
Growing up I believed adults lived in sureness.
Shocked disappointment crashed down
when the truth broke through
with no answers in its hands for me.
Why didn’t mom tell me?

 

 

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Morning

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By D. Bankson

Martha visits me every Sunday, as she has for seven years. Today is that anniversary.
Rain is engraving rivulets in her makeup, scarring her face, a break in a mask so well constructed. She carries flowers, but they droop with her bearing.

She huddles her shoulders into her jacket. I see her green eyes buried there. Too much fabric, too much mask.

She knows where I stay. The walkway is slick, and she can’t see through the tears. But her footing is solid, experienced.

“Hello, Dad,” she whispers as she places primrose on my grave.

     
David Bankson’s work can be found in concis, (b)oink, Anti-Heroin Chic, Artifact Nouveau, Riggwelter Press, Antinarrative Journal, among others.

My Camera Never Lies

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By Kelvin M. Knight

Where my camera looks, I look, into the tangle-wood of other’s lives. Snapping their misfortunes, photoshopping their mistrust, airbrushing beauty into their moments of ugliness – this is my life.

My camera never lies, only me. What would I sell if I turned my lens around? This pocketful of patience. This flask of cold forgiveness. This plastic bag of humility scrunched around my fist.

These things aren’t newsworthy, yet I wrestle with my camera everyday. One day I’ll flash its light into my soul. One day I’ll discover who I really am.

But not today. Today the rent is due.

Spent

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By Navidad Thelamour

She’d had four of them.

All at various stages in gestational aging, one as far as thirty weeks. Four losses, four casualties, four periods of grieving that felt like death itself. Knives to her stomach, ripping at her hair, her heart rung dry. But then she’d snap out of it and realize she was just sitting, alone, no knife in hand, no hair in hand, just sitting, spent. Four before she stopped, before she let the idea fall away, before she tucked it away like an old, beloved sweater that no longer fit but she couldn’t bear to toss out.

Second Person

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By Laurence Raphael Brothers

You hate second-person narration, can’t stand it really. So when you start reading a story and find that you have been addressed by the author and coerced into some stance, some belief, some identity that you do not possess in your own being, you become infuriated and never read past the first paragraph.

But if you hadn’t put down the book or closed the tab in disgust, if you’d just kept reading, perhaps you’d have found that the author had empowered you. Perhaps even given you the gift of apotheosis, of absolute freedom.

If only you’d read the whole thing.

Coda

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By Dwayne Allen Thomas

It was a fight I couldn’t win. She used a cheat code and unlocked a fifty-foot wave of emotion that knocked the cool out of me for months. I countered. Blocked. Absorbed. She adjusted, summoning a set of logical surgical tools to pick apart my arguments at every turn. I conceded. We went our separate ways. She never spoke to me again.

It was her first time standing up for herself.

It made me love her even more.