Kristin DeMarco Wagner

Maintenance Entropy. Sheer entropy. The idea that everything naturally wants to devolve into chaos and decay, and that the very best you can do is to slow the rate at which it devolves. Bodies. Households. Families. There are millions of threats to peace and stability and order, to predictability and consistency and comfort. The fight…

Jamie Cattanach

Brioche I took the bowl out of the cabinet for my yogurt, paused for a moment, put it back again. I poured a cup of coffee. I didn’t put any food into my pack. I knew what I was doing. There’s something about moving without eating. Something about making the ask of your body without…

Tom McAllister

1987 I have this incredibly vivid memory of being young and walking with my grandmother and my parents along Main Street in Manayunk, the Philly neighborhood where both my parents grew up. It’s a warm summer day and we’re going to Overbrook Water Ice, one of my favorite places in the world (someone later told…

Abigail Thomas

Experiment (COVID Dream) There was a new process by which something could be created from a man and a woman which might turn into a baby.  It looked like a bit of fluff no bigger than a fingernail, and you had to find its mouth and feed it. The process was very expensive, a hundred thousand…

Judy Bolton-Fasman

Blessings I was recently driving home from the dry cleaners when I saw my first boyfriend’s number light up on my dashboard. It was the middle of the day. In the semi-annual calls he’s placed to me over the years, my ex hardly calls during daylight hours. I knew something was very wrong. We have…

Thomas Trest

Flying and Falling My father first introduced me to flying through Super Mario when I was around five or six. I sent the pixelated plumber running from the left side of the screen as though it were a bad memory, and marveled as he soared through the air with his yellow cape. My father eventually…

Jennifer Niesslein

HOW TO BUY A CAR My dad didn’t set out to be in the car-selling business, but when the steel industry in western Pennsylvania died, that’s where he found himself at thirty-four years old. He’d been working as a machinist, a job that supported the steel industry, which in turn supported the car manufacturing industry….

Suzanne Paola Antonetta

The Small Psychoses: Erasure My mother, as her dementia grew, never forgot me, but she did erase me. She recognized my physical presence until the end. She erased me from her memories, with a conviction that was far-reaching and unshakeable, though her long-ago was otherwise intact. I disappeared from trips, from events, from holidays. She…

Melissa Ballard

Still, Life I cradle a container of urine between my thighs. I am twenty-four, a senior in college, and I have been accepted to graduate school with a generous financial aid package. I am on the pill, but my period is late; it is 1977, and home pregnancy tests are not yet readily available. My…