Excerpt from Coil by Lou Pam Dick

If to start one step ahead, wrong step, the nix is a beginning. I wore my stairs around my neck, therefore I choke. Please be legible. What time is it? The door keeps opening. My protector gets all wet. I shout, I am my bodyguard! I whisper it inside me. Bare the neck of the... Read More

A Frenzy to the End by Erin Fleming

I walked down the street as it spiraled, ever tighter, ever darker, never reaching its center, until I was in complete black and traced my hand on the wall that lined my path. I felt that I was walking into the center of an enormous shell. Experience—biting; earth—taught me that something waited at the center... Read More

Excerpts from My Heart Laid Bare by Charles Baudelaire, translated from French by Rainer J. Hanshe

Love can be derived from a generous feeling: the taste for prostitution; but it is soon corrupted by the taste for property. Love wants to abandon itself, to confound itself with its victim, as the conqueror with the vanquished, & yet preserve the privileges of the conqueror... Read More

The Cave Solution by Janalyn Guo

I was told I would fight back at the greenhouse; I would struggle with letting go. At night, I can’t sleep, and even the mantras don’t help. My body burns, the same way it feels when I forget something important and it’s too late to go back. I am full of regrets... Read More

Porn by Fortunato Salazar

But now, in retrospect, ten looked like an infant garment. By noon, at this rate, I would close the last page on the book. I slowed myself down. The afternoon loomed with its frantic taxidermy errands... Read More

Three Cartoons by Kit Schluter

Walking along the Avenue of the Suicides, the cockroach takes the ant by the arm. “We’ve been spending too much time together,” she says. Leaves fall over them like circus tents. Intimacy, suddenly. “I know we have,” she says. “But it’s my birthday on Sunday, and I wanted to invite you... Read More

Excerpts from In This Room by Roberta Allen

Lea is his age now, the age he was when he took his own life on this day fifty years ago. As she sits at the white table, drinking coffee, she sees his death in the half-filled cup. His death lives in this room. His death lives in this silence... Read More

Pear of Anguish by Bridget Brewer

Into your body you clambered once more. The old wounds reopened. The old skin stretched tight. You barely fit into this form anymore. You closed your eyes. You held your breath. You counted to ten... Read More

Hi, I’m Carter by Chelsea Hogue

During the day our fathers lived in the woods where there was plenty to eat: grubs, clay-carrying water dripped from oak. Our fathers relaxed in shawls of dead leaves; there was proof in the pine straw, whorled by their bodies. While we slept in our warm beds, they collected leaves from our yards in black... Read More

Brenda by Johannah Rodgers

She stops to consider herself. Nor I. Could she just pretend it wasn’t happening? In Prospect Heights. Troops fighting for their own land. The neighbors. She won’t find the right word. No revelation per se. You can’t eat flowers she’ll say to the troops, when they’re stationed... Read More

Nature vs. Fertility, God vs. Science by Philippe Sollers, translated from French by Armine Kotin Mortimer

I have no choice but to think that I have been desired by the Dealer in Death, just as the very ugliest of the least of the believers can always tell herself, with satisfaction, that God so wished it. Death, as a result, becomes my natural and social contract, instead of being a tragedy... Read More

WINTERHATE by Greg Mulcahy

Ice cutting as an industry was dead. The ancient sledges had vanished decades ago, and if any draft horses survived, no one saw or heard them. There were other activities, but the general view, after years of accelerating decline, was stated in the last clergyman’s suicide note: Nothing works now... Read More