by Adam Conner
I first had the father I never met sawed in half. Then I had him stand against a wooden board and outlined him with daggers. Then I fed him swords on fire. For the grand finale, I stuffed him inside a wooden box and hung him in the air. The box exploded, and my father disappeared yet again. Later, when people asked how I did it, all I could tell them was, “Magic.”
Give me more space to be me, maybe a baby—just not his. Waited for the right timing and changed my address and quit my job! Planned what to take. No inkling to friends or family. Weren’t we the couple that had it all? I contained everyone’s shock. Consoled their concern. But my failings and flailings still travelled with me. Bills to pay, graduate school to finish, job to unquit. I wasn’t lonely but felt disloyal to our ‘til death do us part’. I relinquished owning porcelain china and Waterford crystal for ten. To become a single tenant of me.
Things that Evaporate in Fog
The summer I turned nine, while other kids barged in and out of friends’ houses and tore around the neighborhood, I visited my grandparents in the Smoky Mountains. No argument here. An anxious book nerd who didn’t understand the noise of other children, I looked forward to three bully-free months.
We arrived too late and exhausted to explore. Early next morning, I stepped off the tiny porch into the dew-kissed lawn. The mountains scratched the edges of dawn and hoisted the sky on its hazy shoulders. I shrunk under their immense silence, my childhood problems smaller than a June bug.
by G. Lynn Brown
She slips under the covers. A fan sits on the floor and blows a breeze on her face.
He hates the fan. The draft chills him, the sound disturbs him, and he hates her for having it on.
She doesn’t care. She needs its white noise to drown out the midnight silence. So, she ignores his gripes and closes her eyes and thinks of someone else.
While awake, hopes abound. But slumber brings dreams. Now she’s in between, just as much awake as asleep, where hopes marry dreams, the ideal place to visit her someone else, and she dozes off.
by James Rasco
A promise of escape dangles from a nail above a white ceramic cookie jar. A keychain; a faded yellow oval of foam. Tiny fingers pick at the peeling vinyl advertisement. It smells of lake water and chemicals. The car is packed: fishing gear, food, clothes. We take everything we need, which means Father stays behind. For the weekend we can play pretend that our family is more whole than fractured. Hours later and past the gate, a key attached to a faded yellow oval of foam opens the metal door. Inside, it smells of stale air, old dust, and freedom.