“Kafka’s Writing Group” by Jenn Ashton

“I once knew a man who was inside out, though he wore his hat in the usual way.”            “This is you that I am referring to Franz,” said Max, pointing to the page he was reading from.                       “Don’t be absurd!” Franz replied, pulling his insides more closely towards him with both arms lest they touch …

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“Firsts” by Ruth Joffre

My first kiss: on a playground in first grade, our bodies curved inside a tunnel like plaque clogging the arteries of a heart. No one could crawl through us. While we kissed, we could hear a boy climb up onto the roof and lie down. He poked his head over the edge, his upside-down neck …

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“The Warrior” by Yunya Yang

When she takes off her shoes and steps into the Dojo; when she sheds her dress, the soft shell peels off her skin; when she winds a long, white band around her breasts before slipping into the Keikogi, its wide sleeves cut at her elbows; when she pulls the Hakama up her legs, tying the …

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“Inner Thief” by CLaire Polders

Her husband says they have enough. He folds his hand over hers, the one wielding the knife, and she stops slicing the breakfast bread. Their eyes meet. The word “enough” sounds foreign to her, as though it has lost all meaning. They eat one lightly buttered sandwich each and drink substitute coffee. All day long, …

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“The Only Hope of The Jews” by Paul Beckman

You’re sitting on your stoop thinking how much you hate the stoop, the building you live in with six side-by-side apartments (now called townhouses) and the neighborhood. You hate the neighborhood because all of the stoops in all of the buildings and all of the wire fenced-in tiny yards smaller than a jail cell look …

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“Split” by Francine Witte

The day is slowing to a shiver now, slowing and blacking into night and that’s when your father comes home, hole in his soul, and says things like supper and bitch, and your mother slams back you’re late, you’re late. And you, you are standing there, not knowing which way to turn, and the anger …

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“Fat Man” By Andrew Stancek

Tonight I am in the park alone. Ma has been slamming cupboards, sweeping, scrubbing the small fridge, muttering.  She used to work six days in Friesen’s Bake-o-Rama, and was never around. But when she did come home, she’d open a beer, give me a sip, and tell stories about Lin and Manuela and Crazy Carmen …

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“In My Dreams We Meet At The Opera” By Damhnait Monaghan

When I reach the bus stop, my mother’s gone. Is she lying in that puddle outside the Opera House? Or did I lose her in the lobby, distracted by the man wearing one red glove and clutching a bible? Retracing my steps, I find her under the twinkling chandelier, crooning a childhood lullaby. I approach, …

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“Dead Mother’s Corn Oil” by Diane Payne

Long Distance Lover was happy I finally agreed to spend time at his dead mother’s cottage in the middle of nowhere.  I already lived in the middle of nowhere.  After making the 850-mile drive to spend a week or two with him at his house in a real town, with real things to do, I …

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“Meat” by Donna L. Greenwood

At the dinner table, his mother’s flesh spreads like warm, pale jelly over her chair. His father sits at the head of the table; he is simmering and sour. Tom covers his ears to drown out the fat, wet noises erupting from the mouths of his parents as they eat. He looks at the grey …

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“In The Shape Of A Small Bird” by Julia Strayer

I dream my brother sold me a shack by a river that ran too quick to the sea, but he’s been dead all my life. They say I carry what’s left of him. A ball of DNA in my abdomen where he fused into me long before we were born.  My brother is angry he …

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“Teeth” by Andrea Marcusa

I notice before he does. My husband of fifteen years has turned bearish. His nails are suddenly hard, black and sharp. His arm hair is darker. Coarse tufts have sprouted on his back. When I met him, I immediately noticed his strong back as he hoisted himself up on the side of our local pool. …

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