David Franklin

STRINGBEAN, ROOK AND HITLER His name was Ed, but nobody called him that, except maybe his wife, Trudell. To all who knew him his name was “Stringbean” although he was mostly called “Strang,” the southern Middle Tennessee derivative of “String.” He was a sharecropper and worked the fields and milked the cows of Billy O’Neal,…

Lexi Covalsen

Notes from the Free Clinic In Kentucky, I was blue and selfish like a child. We had lost our gloves on the river bank; along with the money and the meth, the memory: a brick house and a basement, must and lights and crying, cars and chairs and very nice ladies. I know we were…

Mickey Dubrow

Cult of Nancy “Nolan Smiles. We make it precious,” read the words painted on the glass front door. “Maybe if they weren’t so busy making it precious, they wouldn’t have screwed up,” Nancy said under her breath as she propelled herself through the door and into the lobby of the photo studio. On the walls…

Judy Ryan Hall

Glücklich Danny walked along the dirt path up to the guard shack, his red box under one arm and a tattered copy of Paradise Lost under the other. A small notebook with a pencil through the spiral stuck out of the back pocket of his fatigues which hung loosely on his thin hips.  At nineteen,…

Salvatore Difalco

THE FOREST The new forest had just opened to the public. As had been the case with prior such installations, reactions were mixed. Some people said they found it relaxing or stimulating, an excellent locus to hone or pacify the thoughts, or simply a good place to open up the lungs and breathe. Others complained…

Robert Gwaltney

The Deep Down A storm was coming. Way off in the distance, its inky edges began to spoil the late morning sky. A low roll of thunder grumbled from the ground tickling the bottom of my bare feet. “How many more?” Etta Mae said, holding the front of her dress out before her like a…

Lori D’Angelo

The Things We Don’t Say   I always kinda knew this, but, nonetheless, I was surprised to come home to a sign above the garage that said, “You are not the favorite daughter.” I pulled into the garage, waited, checked, and five minutes after I got home, the sign was gone. Either I imagined it,…

Leslie Doyle

Acme   Veronica hadn’t meant anything at the start. She’d been sitting in her car in the Acme parking lot. The greenhouse effect had been in full effect, and even with the windows cranked down, the air was stifling. She’d turned the key several times and gotten that sharp uh…uh…uh and nothing else. Last year…

Sandra Gail Lambert

The Edges of Things   A canoe width of water traced a tentative path into a field of water hyacinth. The sun glittered off thousands of wind-ruffled leaves and squat stalk supported clusters of tight buds.  Ivy paddled the trail until it ended among a scattering of peat blows. All she remembered from a long-ago…

Bradley Sides

Peaches’ Menagerie   Peaches sat alone on her front porch. Although the rain splattered against her face and onto her thick, gray-rimmed glasses, she didn’t go inside. She insisted on greeting the child. There had been no phone calls or letters announcing the arrival. Still, she knew, so she waited. Her oak rocker moved with…