ONE OF MY FAVORITE PIECES in this issue I found, like so many of my favorite things in life, on Craigslist. The author did not intend it for Slush Pile. Indeed, I have let my imagination run away with itself trying to devise what the author did intend it for. It was posted to Missed Connections but, as you will see, it doesn’t seem to be trying to reach anyone; it seems simply to be a beautiful meditation on the passing of time and fleeting nature of human lives and relationships. Was it, in fact, inspired by the author’s inability to work up the nerve to talk to a girl on the Manhattan-bound Q train? You decide.

I think this piece sets exactly the right tone for this pared-down, fiction-only issue. And might I just begin by saying: this issue definitely ranks among my favorites. In it, we have a lovely story from Catherine Shukle about love, marriage, miscalculations and regret; one from James Pate about love, addiction, betrayal and regret; and one from Marion Bright about love, backyard bird feeders, prison and — you guessed it — regret.... (read more)

m4w - BROOKLYN by Anonymous

I SAW YOU ON THE Manhattan-bound Brooklyn Q train.

I was wearing a blue-striped t-shirt and a pair of maroon pants. You were wearing a vintage red skirt and a smart white blouse. We both wore glasses. I guess we still do. You got on at DeKalb and sat across from me and we made eye contact, briefly. I fell in love with you a little bit, in that stupid way where you completely make up a fictional version... (read more)

CONQUER, BATTLE by Marion Bright

THE DREAD MORNING COMES, and Mathilde lies naked on the bed. She has heard Jess walking through the house, in and out of the bedroom, since early. Silver light filters between gaps of the dense tapestry curtains, and birds outside have... (read more)

THE CAROLINES by Douglas Hill

SEND THAT TO KAY? KAY? It made no sense. Kay was pleasant, but pedestrian.

It was for her birthday and theirs, the next Friday, and was meant to cut her free. For a week Caroline had watched the crystal travel from New Orleans to the Mountain: a shipping store, warehouses and truck terminals, the big truck hauling...(read more)

INTO THE FOLD by Laura Hitt

MOVE FROM NEW MEXICO to New York City. You leave Albuquerque in December when the weather there is chilly but pleasant. The ice-breaking cold of New York City is shocking, to your baby as well as yourself. There is something about the city, the way sunlight rarely reaches the streets, the way that people avoid eye contact and jaywalk... (read more)

CULLEN FARM by Chris O'Brien

All I HAVE TO DO is tell Mag about the plum tree and Jac’s gig is up. I watch him walk up the drive, suitcase in hand. Deep down Mag must know, but she’s grieving and I don’t want to take anything else away from her. We’d come here every summer, Jac and me. It’s so different like this... (read more)


MOODY LIMPS FROM PARKING LOT to main entrance, and before he can recall taking his daily doses of Cholester-Awl and Osteo-Butresss, swish go the doors, a little wet smooch trailing. He stops, waits, looks about, thinks the doors stand agape for someone else, then realizes they stand gaping for him... (read more)


JUNE 1997. A BAG. A gun. A terrible deed planned.

Greta watches Michael come into the room holding the paper bag. He places the bag on the coffee table. He sits next to her on the sofa and places a hand on her knee. She places her hand... (read more)

THREE GREEN PEARS by Catherine Shukle   

THEY'D BUSTED THE WINDOW with three big green pears. Shards scattered over the cherry floors, rattled under the silver racks, settled into the nap of the North Face jackets—fleecy olives and taupes and teals pricked with kernels of glass. The window painting of the backpacking bear, an extinct California grizzly, the mascot of Mont Pierre’s Mountain Retail, remained intact...(read more)

THE ANNIVERSARY by Kimberlee Smith

BRENDA PEELS BACK THE STIFF black wipers that are fused to the old Honda’s windshield under a sheath of ice. She squints through her dead husband Martin’s glasses—they’re not her prescription, they’re just a hair off–and the world is distorted in a trippy, fun-house kind of way, without the fun part...(read more)

Ekaterina Panikanova

“I ONCE FOUND A 700 PAGE manuscript and was struck by the difference between its original purpose and how it had ended up. I bought it and used it as the base for a painting. Paper, card and books have a fundamental value in my work. I see them as a body of rules, dogmas, traditions, religious beliefs and scientific discoveries which, right or wrong for their time, free human beings yet, simultaneously, enclose them in a cage.”