Jaguar Self

by L. Jo Trostle In the valley, I look down at my index finger. There is a deep crevasse on the tip, just below the edge of the nail. There is a tab of skin there, bloodied. I ignore it for as long as I can, but the pain and color of it cannot be ignored. I know I should ignore it; it will heal if I give it time. But, when I’m alone, my mind is unoccupied and returns to the cut again and again. I can’t give it time; I must act. I grasp the skin, yank it … Continue reading Jaguar Self

My Soul

by Heather Dorn I like to pretend I have a soul and that my soul drinks with Charles Darwin’s soul on a train ride while outside the rain pounds the grass down and makes the world soggy and rainbow bright ready for a new mutation. My soul would sneak into the library after closing and make a bed of paperbacks, piled like fall leaves she would slip between the pages while she dreamed. Maybe she would walk through the mud with Elizabeth Bennett. Maybe she would go drinking in London with Karim Amir. She might go to Lowood with Jane, … Continue reading My Soul


by Dina Honour Passion sat in a dirty tavern, a belly full of drink. On a dare coughed from the sky, an Orion or an Ursa, a Major or a Minor, she cloaked herself in burglar guise and wrapped herself in the madness of a moment. She drew the flimsy evening around her shoulders and set out in search of Love. Love was in, soaking tired feet. It had been a long day of unrequitedness, of missed opportunities and chance mistakes, of ships passing un-noticed and over-shot slings and arrows. Another Tuesday evening in a unbroken line of evenings. Outside … Continue reading Appetite

See Through Girls

by Sara Backer When second-grade Brendan told her he could see through her underpants with his cardboard X-ray Spex, she said she didn’t care. Her bones wouldn’t tell how she really felt about pink-sweater Carol and go-go boots Joan, who made her unpopular in ten cafeteria seconds by mocking her clumsiness with the tray. She’d seen real X-rays, her private ulna ghosts in a gray nebula, and the darkness of the crack where all the pain spilled out. She was no see-through girl. Neither illusion nor technology could reveal the scribbled secrets in her diary. Sara Backer teaches writing at … Continue reading See Through Girls

Sumo Chicken

by Brenda Anderson Nate turned down Aisle 22b of the Library’s Medieval Collection, knelt and reached for a book. Shiny red droplets spattered the floor below Out-of-Print Arcana. He stood up. Help. The dragon librarian disliked so many things: interruptions, voices, breathing. If the droplets turned out to be blood, she’d have his head for it. Help. The air shimmered. A giant, ten-foot-high chicken materialized in front of him, its feathered, sumo-sized girth supported by massive legs and feet disproportionately large for its height. In addition, it sported ten wings. Nate swallowed. Finger Lickin’ Chicken, yes. Medieval marginalia, no. The … Continue reading Sumo Chicken

How to Fall in Love with a Straight Woman

by Heather Dorn Close your eyes. You don’t have to try to think of her, she just appears, across the table in Composition Theory on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Try to get into her group. Sit at the outskirts quietly while a curtain of brown hair lets in the sun and then covers her face. Try not to make her mad, she gets mad and gorgeous easily. Stalk her on MySpace. She loves Texas. You don’t. You can work through this. She loves Jesus. You really don’t. You can work through this. She likes “Men.” You are not men. When she … Continue reading How to Fall in Love with a Straight Woman


by Anjoli Roy “Put your nerd hat on,” Keawe says, swinging open the front door of Gecko Books & Comics. A blast of AC cuts the wet May air. The trade winds slam the door behind us like they’d never left Oʻahu, like it was silly that the week prior, when the air had been so hot, so still, I felt like I’d been abandoned in New York City’s muggiest subway car. A cowbell clangs, announcing our arrival. I drift over glossy covers of so many unworldly women wielding powerful weapons. A version of feminism. Or not. I wonder if … Continue reading Stranded

The Curious Companionship of Carla and Balo

by T. Kent Balo asked Carla to move in three times before she finally caved. They were curled up on his couch watching a Golden Girls rerun—Balo was obsessed with eighties sitcoms—when he raised the subject again. “Come on baby, we can make this work. I need you. Just think, you won’t have to lug clothes back and forth, and we’ll save a ton of money on rent.” The fact that Balo was a vampire and Carla, a healthy red-blooded human weighed heavily on her mind, and she said as much. “I don’t know that it’s a good idea Balo. … Continue reading The Curious Companionship of Carla and Balo


by Audrey El-Osta I hope your daughter can forgive you, for letting her in all her perfection, be so vulnerable to the most malicious, unkind plagues to befoul humanity simply because of your ignorance. I hope your daughter can forgive you when she returns the permission slip to school expressly saying “No, you won’t get my daughter, you won’t make her complicit in your pharmaceutical conspiracy.” Her teacher will look at her, concerned and horrified on behalf of this child for whom she is, in effect, a temporary mother by day. Her friends will ask her “why aren’t you getting … Continue reading Gardasil