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Steven Breyak

Netflix and Chill We used to know the best restaurants and everybody in them. We knew every party and everyone knew our names. Now we sit and watch the newborn as if his crib were a TV we can reach into and feel the warm pressure of new stories grabbing hold. And just that is so much bigger than anything until now. That me before this is someone I know, I remember, but not me. I expected to grow into this role. Instead a moment ticked by and the software had changed. Every thought is now a father’s thought. And this is just a tease to what it must have been for you. Thread by thread building in you, tearing through you while all I could do was wait, absorbed in all I couldn’t do. And now this little creature plugs into you, feeds from you. Our lives’ spin-off. Months later, while I video his first bites of mashed banana, as you hold him in your arms you’ll cry for this beginning, this end. When I ask, looking through my screen, if you’re crying, I’ll hear that I’m
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John Riley

A Hundred Thousand Rivers He went to sleep in a dream seventy years from The War sleep walked like a stranger into the swamp dead he swelters behind the rusted screen door watching the dunes change shape in the half-light before the storm disorders them and tomorrow arrives with nothing to persuade no arguments to make sweet bourbon the only solace cold water showers and palmetto bugs leaving eggs in his mouth The Atlantic Ocean had not been decisive bouncing over the waves in transport last girl's squeeze a song hidden from the water thinking of where his mother hid the silver the solid gold chain she wore entertaining guests with their lifeless murmurings good times will return for us good people she said preparing him for war he wants that silver now he'll turn his back on the prancing ocean walk the soft sun-battered road to the city trading salutes with the dinghy captains the trumpet player the chronicler wearing the new white shoes John Riley

Howie Good

Flash Bang Boom With the encouragement of family and friends, I adopted a retired bomb-sniffing dog. I called him “Flash” – after the flashing lights of a migraine, I would joke to anyone who asked. One day he discovered under the couch the severed head of a doll I didn’t even know I had. Next the piano stopped making sounds when I sat down to play it. Then the tree outside my window appeared suspended like an astronaut in space. Now I often catch the dog lying on the couch studying me with cold, squinty eyes as if calculating exactly how much a person can bear. Howie Good is the author of THE DEATH ROW SHUFFLE, a poetry collection forthcoming from Finishing Line Press.

Steven Croft

Day One After the roller-coaster dive out of the sky I remember that step off the C-130 ramp, jogging under generator lights, with the staccato of gunfire going like a movie soundtrack:  Baghdad International Airport Under Attack .  Waking, head on duffel bag, dawn’s light painting the mud brick building beside me, the major tells us thirty insurgents are dead just beyond the building I’ve spent my first night against.  Soon after, “prepare to move,” and we walk into this country, the weight of a year in my chest. KIA “Sergeant Edwards is dead,” As I awake before dawn, in the long tent’s double line of metal beds, I hear two soldiers already up and in uniform say it, “Sergeant Edwards is dead.”  I know it’s true.  He had just come to me to talk, but that was before I slept.  I don’t want to rise up, dress, walk down as they move along the aisle, to find the details.  And blessedly, in this moment I cannot rise – my body won’t move.  Hours later, I read, “

Scott Ferry

Grammomancy: by writing individual letters Letters, left alone, like bare numerals, infarct, sew chords into themselves as a symptom of hunger. No phone, no internet, almost as tragic as no family. A sea squirt can rewrite its entire body with just a fragment of blood vessel, a long vowel, maybe oo, or even oui. A Ouija board only points to one letter at a time. Then it becomes possible to piece together meaning from a string of swift stops. But I never ask the planchette specifically when I will die. And I have been warned to never touch the plastic disk alone. They can take over. There have been isolated instances of plates and shoes streaking across rooms to strike doors. Who are they? Are there theys watching behind a screen for a single fingerpad to graze the small sliding heart? And why would they be honest with my future? Would they see a slideshow of isolated strokes, peppermint chocolate spilled on the cracked dashboard, sunscreen smeared after t

Bart Solarczyk

Tami Every inch a mile & every clock eternity I miss you, I stay drunk I’m on my way.  Three Months Now The side of my neighbor’s house looks like a yellow brick skull with a green hedge beard & dirty window eyes  it watches past the driveway watches me drink backyard beer watches while I kiss  the silver pipe watches like it knows something  I don’t but I do gone three months now she’s not coming back.  Purple Hair & Podcasts                        (for Ne’Cole) Pain shapes our paths  in ways we’d rather not walk  yet we arrive voices breaking air still sexy. Bart Solarczyk lives in Pittsburgh

Matt Dennison

Ferlinghetti Spoke Twenty years old, sitting on the sidewalk in front of City Lights Bookstore after many days of Greyhound and train, an oldish-even-then man in that beard and cap said, "We don't open 'till ten," as he stepped past me and closed the door. And I waited a while but eventually left. What's a journey of two thousand miles when hunger is everywhere? Matt Dennison is the author of Kind Surgery , from Urtica Press (Fr.) His work has appeared in Rattle, Bayou Magazine, Redivider, Natural Bridge, The Spoon River Poetry Review and Cider Press Review, among others. He has also made short films with Michael Dickes , Swoon , Marie Craven and Jutta Pryor .