Niky Roehreke



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)

LOSING HASSANA by Ayesha Harruna Attah

A LIST OF NOISY THINGS: lizards, dogs, donkeys, hyenas, chickens and guinea fowl, birds in general, flies and mosquitoes, geckos mating, frogs, Wofa Sarpong during the day, Wofa Sarpong talking to his wives, Wofa Sarpong fighting with his wives, Wofa Sarpong’s wives fighting with each other, Wofa Sarpong’s wives pounding dried leaves or fufu, Hassana having her hair braided (by me), heavy rain patter on our thatch roof, the bracelets clinking up and down Wofa Sarpong’s first wife’s arms, Wofa Sarpong’s second wife’s singing, Wofa Sarpong’s third wife’s children yowling...  (read more)

TORNADO VISION by Janice Northerns

YOU NEVER BOTHERED TO STEER your way through love or the weather, just twisted down to Texas, storm speed clearing a path. On first sight, I loved how I had no choice, how your whirling force pulled me into the tangle of the funnel cloud. Even now, you persist in seeing every sky  gone green, your rusted tongue hinged on danger’s copper twang as you wait for twisters to rip you off course, set you down on new ground, everything open again. ...  (read more)

Niky Roehreke

LOT'S WIFE by Claire Scott

SHE WHO WRAPPED WHAT LITTLE she had in a worn scarf
walked for two days and two nights
under the glare of the sun
the skull of the moon

she who loved the city with its red spirals,
clay dwellings, its desert dust and grit...  (read more)


THE FIRST MONTHS OF YOUR LIFE, I was hungover all the time.
Familiar words eluded me: imminent, proclivity, paucity, autocrat.
Like a perpetual drunk, this new self was awkward, clumsy, unpredictable.  She scattered grains of uncooked rice across the kitchen floor, then forgot to sweep them up.  She opened cupboard doors
and did not shut them... (read more)

Niky Roehreke

GIRLS by Chaya Bhuvaneswar

LATA VAIDYANATH, AGE EIGHTEEN, sister of Meena, stands willowy, unseen by passersby, behind a tree outside of the American College on a July day in 1988. The place has a golden sepia tint, is a Victorian painting come to life, and, like any other place back in the late nineteenth-century, Lata has no hope... (read more)

MARTINGALE by William Auten

FIRST THING SHE STARTS IN ABOUT after the two of them break away from the others—her calling out his name, telling him good morning and how happy she is to see him again and then rubbing the soft slopes of his neck and leaning over his right ear, whispering, her voice’s volume rising when she’s close, falling when she pulls away and has to acknowledge the others circling...  (read more)

SUPERHEROES by Mathea Morais

NINE-YEAR OLD OCTAVIAN didn’t know how to take care of a dying woman, but he learned.

         “Breast cancer,” his father Cyrus said.

         She’s only thirty-four, thought Octavian. Is that even possible?

Cyrus had asked the doctor the same question and was answered only with a soft nod. There were more words later like “fast-moving,” “clusters,” “irrevocable,” and “succumbed.” Words that Cordelia would hold onto...  (read more)


Niky Roehreke

DO YOU REMEMBER our last garden?
All greens and gold, the spears of lavender,
strawberries pale before the frost?
And the dragonflies when a mist settled
on their wings! Sometimes you’d brush
your hand through the apple-mint... (read more)

TWO POEMS by James Grabill

and the sun’s descending
on empire. This time the weight
has been sinking in, pitching
shadows in lengthening dark
pools that gradually overflow
with night. So the spired nucleus
sprouts...  (read more)


IT STARTS LIKE ANY TUESDAY: Dr. Emmanuel Lapado arrives at 6:30 in the morning, stabs the illuminated numbers of the alarm code to disarm the building, and hustles through the foyer in semi-darkness. He does not get coffee or reset any chairs left askew by the cleaning crew. He doesn’t put his lunch in the break room fridge or adjust the arctic cold of the overnight air conditioning. Puffing for breath, he works himself up to a trot wending through the labyrinthine interior... (read more)


ADI GOODRICH IS A LOS ANGLES-BASED artist and designer best known for her colorful, graphic set designs. Her work aims for the viewer to look further into commercial imagery to see the craftsmanship and historical reference that is prevalent in all her projects. Attending The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and La Sorbonne in Paris Goodrich's work is consistently inspired by the history of art, color theory & architecture. Adi's portfolio is a range of multi-media work which includes large-scale set design for advertising and film, site specific murals, tour visuals...  (read more)