HUMANS ARE CRAZY ANIMALS, and the fiction in this issue explores the idea that, as Susan Sontag once wrote, “sanity is a cozy lie.”
We’ve got M. M. Kaufman’s “Burials” and Janet Olsonbaker’s “Gloria Road,” both of which explore a form of insanity familiar to most of us: that of a broken heart. We’ve got Amanda Pauley’s “Diapers,” which concerns a librarian who is herself a pillar of sanity—until she isn’t, and “Before America,” Martha Anne Toll’s haunting story about a young boy subjected to the forced insanity of Nazi-era Germany. We’ve got Jason Vaughn’s “The Fog,” whose protagonist is lost in both a literal and psychological fog, and Andrés Cruciani’s “Ronald Yang,” about a guidance counselor who might be a touch off his rocker—or just very good at his job.
As a nice counterpoint, the poetry this issue is marching to the beat of its own drum with some lovely and evocative scenic verses... (read more)
I LEAVE HIS APARTMENT the day of what would have been our wedding. With my mom’s help, it only took me two days to pack up all my things.
“You look better in black anyway,” Mom says. She picks a piece of lint off of my sweatshirt.
We’re hauling the last load of boxes to the moving truck... (read more)
EXCEPT FOR ONE WIDE bend, the Gloria Road lay clean and straight through Oregon's Mennonite farm country. On either side of the road, flat fields stretched clear to the horizon. In the distance a field of black, scorched earth from last summer’s burning lay in wait. Along the road a sign attached to a barbed wire fence read, “Ryegrass,” but the fields next to the fence were a rich brown, even in color, smooth in texture. It was 1981... (read more)
BRING ME THREE GOLDEN hairs from the head of the demon of the Black Forest. Bring me a feather from the Griffin's tail. Bring a man who can drink up a whole cellar of wine. Bring me a ship that can sail on land or on water. Bring home the most beautiful... (read more)
MUTTER JUMPED OFF THE TRAIN holding little Max. She landed a meter away, her skin showing through the elbows of her coat, a remaining button hanging by a thread.
In place of air, a smoky stench. In place of sound, shouting soldiers. Mutter, Max, and Janko clustered with the women and children. The ground was scuffed with ice. Men were ordered into single file... (read more)
“I LIVE HERE,” he tells her.
She’s a dark-haired woman with fear in her eyes and fire in her cheeks, but no matter what pity he feels for her, she’s got no business in his house. “This is my place,” he says. “A man don’t just forget something like that.”
“There’s a stranger in my kitchen,” the woman pleads into a cordless. “He’s got blood all over his face, and he thinks he lives here. I’m really scared of—no, I’m not joking. This is forty-two-twenty Garrison Street..." (read more)
THIRSTY APOLLONIAN DRAFT HORSES drag me,
interrupt the short grasses, the water pump,
the woman working it, Wichita mounds, poxes
on wool, poxes on animals, a settler child’s... (read more)
OUT OUR WINDOW four loons
weave through rippling sun
to reach the opposite shore.
There, pine trees grip rocks... (read more)
DONNA TREBOR (ONCE DONNA Marsh, always the star of any stage) was Citrus County's sweetheart. She had been discovered by Trudy Bigelowski three years ago, when Trudy cast her as Maria in The Manatee Playhouse's production of The Sound of Music... (read more)
YO SO LIKE I’M IN YANG’S office or whatever for cuttin fuckin Garcia’s class—she’s such a bitch yo, I hate that lady. Can’t even teach. She was like, “Take notes,” and I was like, “No that’s stupid I know this already,” and she’s like, “Well you don’t have a choice,” and I’m like, “Fuck you I don’t have a choice,” and walked out cuz fuck her know what I’m sayin? Hell yeah I walked out! Woulda punched her in her ugly ass head too if she wasn’t a teacher... (read more)
OLIVIA HEARD LABORED BREATHING from one aisle over. She stopped flipping through the pages of a well-worn copy of Deliverance in search of the infamous scene, and looked up. Martin was watching her through the shelves of fiction. His look was not unkind, only interested, like a cat watching a bug. Three months of working at the public library had introduced Olivia to a strange crowd. Someone peering through the shelves at her on a Saturday morning was not that unusual... (read more)
ROEHREKE IS A GERMAN/JAPANESE artist and illustrator born and raised in Tokyo. She used to create commercial illustrations and animations for fashion brands and the music industry, but after living in Tokyo, London, and New York, she wearied of city life and her commercial work. She left New York in summer 2014 and has since lived on Orcas island, an apartment in Berlin, a van traveling across Japan, a village in India, and the Peruvian Amazon.
She now views her art as a tool for social change and peaceful activism. She enjoys working on projects that connect humans and nature.