The Masters Review Blog

Nov 30

“Flight” by Jennifer Jacobson

Maura starts at the top of the balcony, the highest point in the theater. Every night, before the stage manager calls places and the hawk handlers settle in, she touches the first seat in each row, marking her territory. She knows the number of steps from the last row to the edge of the balcony; and in the small private boxes as well, the loges, she’s memorized the number of steps from the door to the seats and from the seats to the edge of the half-wall, built to allow patrons to view all the action on stage and to keep them—agents, press, family, lovers, producers—from falling into the audience.

The stage left loge is where the more experienced bird handler is stationed. Of course, Maura had to fight with the producers to include the Red-tailed hawks in the production. It costs a fortune to insure two wild birds in a Broadway house. But her instincts had paid off: once word got around about the hawks, the play had sold out and the producers had extended the run.

The loge door opens and a man in a knee-length, camel hair coat steps onto the private balcony. Maura recognizes his broad shoulders, takes stock of his large hands. She makes her way up the stairs to the nearest exit.

In the loge Pierce finds three seats covered in crushed red velvet, old world and elegant. The one next to the wall is marked reserved, but that’s not the seat he’s been assigned. His ticket places him closest to the balcony with a sweeping view of the stage. Below him is a wooden deck that juts into the audience. The deck has been stained to appear weathered, yet he can smell the tang of new pine. Across from him, she’s built a watchtower. Pierce puts on his glasses and grins when he reads the hand-painted sign, Poet’s Seat, a reference to a field trip in his English class, how exquisite to be included. He settles his expensive coat across the back of the seat, the cloth pooling out across the floor of the intimate space, its creamy silk lining exposed; a gift from a student that he only wears on important occasions.

The murmur of the audience floats up to him like starlings on a summer evening and when the door to the loge opens he feels his heart take flight. “This is a surprise,” he says. “I always considered you an experimental, counter-culture playwright. I thought Broadway was too bourgeois for you.” He’s been imagining this moment since her agent called.  He wants to put his hands on her shoulders, hold her close enough to kiss each cheek, inhale her.

“I wasn’t sure you’d come.” Maura squares the velvet seats between them. His hair, no longer chestnut, rumples over the damp crown of his head and his face is as round as a dinner plate. He’s wearing a white shirt and a tailored pinstriped suit, nothing like the corduroys and button downs he wore in the classroom. The word dapper might apply, but its old fashioned and void of malice.

“I hear there are rumors of a Tony Award,” he says.

She can’t reconcile this face with the one in her memory and the breach makes her unsteady. Only his voice is familiar: musical and self-assured. The sound is not comforting.

She is lithe, graceful. She wears her ginger hair short, sassy rather than turbulent, and it reminds him of crushed velvet.

“I like the way you force the audience to be part of the action with the watchtower and observation deck thrusting into the seats.”  Her lips press together and he hopes she might smile, pleased with his praise after all these years. “Your designer’s done an excellent job with the diamond-patterned arches of the French King’s Bridge, and the choice to use silk for the river really makes the water come alive.”

For the audience, the set establishes a sense of place and allows them to be grounded in the action of the play. For her, the bridge acts as a portal moving her from the present to the past, and though she’s become deft at this time travelling she has to be careful, especially tonight. But she can already smell the leafy wet ravine and the river brine from the first time he took her hiking. They passed under the French King’s Bridge, steel stretching from one side of the Connecticut River to the other and later, they stopped in the shade to watch a team of divers explore King Phillip’s Abyss, a buoy and red flag indicating the deep underwater hole. He settled his jacket over her shoulders. The wool smelled yeasty and wild. The memory raises bile in her throat.

“A bridge is full of possibilities: a liminal place, a threshold, a journey,” he says.

“The first time I saw someone die was jumping off that bridge,” Maura says. “We were drinking champagne on the observation deck, far enough away that I believed you when you told me the falling body was a bird. You were sure it was a hawk and you said October was the best time of year to see birds of prey because they take advantage of the avian migration. When we got back to the Academy and found out about Louise, I felt horrible. If you’d have told me the truth we might have gone to her.”

“A tragedy for the Academy.” Pierce resents being reminded of Louise. He wants tonight to be about pleasure—a private box at the theater, Maura’s success, and her acknowledgement of him. He’s imagined an interview with The New York Times, a conversation about her early life at school. That would be good for him, get his name back into circulation. He doesn’t want the impulsive Louise to threaten his evening. He’d rather focus on Maura in her black silk pants and flowing silver shirt. Her clothes hide the curves of her hips, but he can make out her delicate breasts.

Maura presses her fingers into the seat tracing the ruts made by the hawk’s cage strapped against the back of the chair during their extended rehearsals. The birds won’t be in their cages tonight; they’ll be with their handlers: John at the top of the house and Ebba, in the loge with Pierce. “Are you still teaching?” she asks.

Her nails are painted black and she wears a gold band on each finger like a pirate.  How he enjoys a good round of dress up. “Not for ten years,” he says.

“Did somebody find out you were fucking your students?”

He leans away from her, the back of his brown shoe knocks against the half-wall of the balcony and he has to steady himself. She must be nervous, she’s forgotten the rules of their game: no insults in the first round and certainly never any in a public place. She should take care of business: she’ll be more relaxed after the play. “I’m sure you have a million things to tend to,” he says.

“I do. But here you are. In the flesh.”

Flesh brings them back to the game. The first time she’d walked into his classroom she was wearing a black t-shirt with the collar ripped into a jagged v.  She had no visible tan lines and he’d imagined her topless at one of the beaches on the Canary Islands or Cannes. Most of his students were from Fortune 500 families, feted with care packages once a month, but for the most part left on their own. For their first assignment in freshman English she’d stood in front of the class and recited Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis: “Graze at my lips, and if those hills be dry,/ stray lower, where the pleasant fountains lie.”

She was fearless. That’s why he’d chosen her.

Across the theater, John takes his seat in the last row of the balcony. He handles the smaller bird, the one with a three-foot wingspan, rich brown feathers and a cinnamon-red tail. “When the play starts, we release two hawks. One’s trained to fly to a handler seated over there.” Pierce follows her gaze. “The hawks set the mood better than anything I could have written.”

“Can you count on the birds?” he asks.

Maura’s teeth are the color of bleached bones. “They’re trained, but they’re wild. Didn’t you drill into us that predictability is death? The hawks terrify the audience. They circle above and never fly the same pattern twice so every show is different. When they hunt they surprise their prey. ” There’s a confidence in her voice that’s vicious. Pierce wants to pull her close and kiss her.

“The other handler will be here.” She taps the velvet chair with the reserved sign.  He imagines Maura’s lips touching his skin. It’s been such a long time since he’s been with a woman he knows.

Now that she is used to his face, she sees his navy-blue eyes have not changed as much as the rest of him. They could applaud or disparage or dismiss you as quickly as a thin blade might cut your skin. “Do you remember the year I started at the Academy?”

“You’re asking me to recall ancient history.” Twenty Questions. Ah, back to games. He laughs and slaps the Playbill against the palm of his hand recalling the leather whip he hid in the back of his desk drawer. Had she ever asked for it?

“You said my writing wasn’t up to par, and if I didn’t want to fail your class I needed tutoring.”

“As I recall, the admissions department was concerned about your academics, Metta.”

Metta was his nickname for her: one more way to claim her. “It’s a wonder I survived,” she says.

The first time she’d read Louise’s journal she had to stop on the second page. In small, fierce lettering was written: P has given me a name. He calls me Lily and has sworn me to secrecy. With this name he has made a place for our love, so that we can be in the world and keep it a secret.

Maura looks at the stage and the iron colored bridge with its cantilevered arches extending from the front of the proscenium to the back of the theater. She’d asked the designer to paint lilies at the base of the stanchions closest to the audience. The set is breathtaking. All the clues are there. She wonders how long it will take him to put them together.

Fourteen years ago, Maura found Louise’s sister, Roxy, on Facebook and since they were both working in New York, Roxy agreed to meet her at a café on Bleecker Street. They drank espresso from tiny brown cups and spent the afternoon leaning across a marble table talking about Louise. They met again at the Metropolitan Museum and one more time at a dance party after a show at the Kitchen. Then, they started sleeping together. When Roxy gave Maura her sister’s diary she said, “My mother found the journal in a box of Louise’s things from the Academy. No one in my family can bear to read it.”

* * *

“Are you married?” He rests his knee on the seat to hide an erection that’s disrupting the crease in his pants. If he chose to, he could touch her cheek.

“We’re a family here.” She makes a sweeping gesture with her arm but she won’t tell him about Roxy and their beautiful eighteen-month old daughter. The play’s the thing. “We look after each other,” she says. “And you?”

“My ex lives in New Jersey with our daughter.”

“Do you see them?”

“The ex doesn’t want me involved,” he says.

“No. Of course not.”

Her comment is meant to hurt him. Oh, the game! Maybe he’ll take her for drinks afterwards. Maybe she’ll invite a friend.

Maura checks her watch. “Do you remember the Writer’s Cabin at school?”

The tenderness in her voice makes him courageous. “Metta, you were glorious and incomparable. There were times I thought I’d incinerate before I could touch you again. With you I had passion, intellect, creativity—everything I wanted.”

“You started fucking me when I was fifteen.”

The lights in the theater dim and shadows darken in the box. She says, “I’ll be curious to know what you think of the Writer’s Cabin we’ve built for the show.”

Pierce suffers his first hint of fear. “How much of your play should I expect to recognize?”

She laughs.

The balcony door opens and a woman steps into the loge. She’s close to six feet tall. Her head is shaved except for a line of black curls running down the center. Above each ear is a tattoo of a blue wing. Silver gauges decorate her earlobes. “Ebba. This is Professor Pierce.”

The hawk handler looks at Pierce and then at Maura.  She says, “The hawks are in place.”

“Thank you,” Maura says.

Ebba drags a wooden box from under the chair with the reserved sign. She withdraws a piece of leather that fits over her forearm like armor.

“How are the girls tonight?” Maura asks.

“Twitchy. Hungry,” Ebba says.

Maura helps Ebba latch the buckles of the arm-piece; the small brass prongs jingle as she works. “Do you know the difference between a hawk and a falcon, Pierce?”

“I haven’t the slightest,” he says. The leather is well worn with deep gashes from elbow to wrist.

Maura says, “The falcon’s beak is notched to break the neck of her victim. The hawk’s is smooth and like the eagle, she uses talons to rip her prey apart.”

“How did you come up with the idea of hawks?” He feels a phantom stabbing in his chest and takes short, shallow breathes.

“They’re perfect killers,” she says. “They focus and strike. There’s no suffering. That’s the mercy of their kill, the grace of it.” She steps towards the door.

Pierce is not eager to be left alone with the hawk handler. “Your agent said there would be other people from the Academy tonight. Where is everyone?”

She turns to him, steps over his pretentious coat and, for the first time in nineteen years, she touches him. Taking hold of his elbow she leans over the balcony. “See the woman in the white scarf?” She points to the orchestra and Pierce raises one hand to shield his eyes from the stage lights. “That’s Jackie Sloan and next to her is Ronny Witsom, class of ’79 and ‘80. Then Tara VanMure, class of ‘85. I’m not sure where the others are seated.”

She leaves him there to discover each of the thirty-seven women he’s assaulted.

“Break a leg, Ebba.”

“Break a leg, Maura.”

Pierce hears the door’s metal latch slip into the groove as it closes behind Maura. He imagines her taking the stairs two at a time to the stage where someone with a flashlight will escort her behind the curtains. She won’t know if he leaves now. He tries the handle, but the door is locked.

“Professor.” Ebba points to the crushed velvet seat.

The lights fade to black and a pin spot shines on the bridge. Three tenor gongs ring the way they did for Morning Song at the Academy. The bells are interrupted by a hoarse scream that is answered by a scolding call, high pitched and inhuman; the cries make the hair on Pierce’s neck stand on end.

“Take your seat. The hawks are in the air.”

Pierce thrusts the door handle up and down but the lock holds fast. In the dark theater the hawks scream again and he hears the beat of the birds’ wings as if it is his own heart. He lunges towards the safety of his seat and trips on his coat. Ebba raises her forearm for the bird. Pierce reaches for her to steady himself and the hawk, sensing confusion and fear, strikes Pierce in the chest, knocking him to the ground.

The hawk settles on Ebba’s arm as Pierce crouches on all fours, breathless.  On stage a figure rises from the blue silk river. Her wet, black hair stains the canvas body bag that’s gathered around her shoulders.

The figure lifts her face to the balcony.  “You once said a woman was a bird and I believed you. I believed so many things about the world—my dizzy language and inadequate skills, my tidal desires and ignorant heart—because you pronounced them so.” The figure wriggles out of the body bag and lets it disappear under the river.  “Fear is a weakness palpable to men and birds. Watch out, or it will be your undoing.”

As light floods the stage, Ebba sends the hawk up one more time and Pierce peers over the balcony, frantic for some way out.


Jennifer Jacobson was born in Zomba, Malawi and grew up in New York City. She is the Associate Director of the MFA for Poets and Writers at UMass Amherst where she directs the Juniper Summer Writing Institute and the Juniper Institute for Young Writers. Jennifer also teaches at Smith College’s Young Women’s Writing Workshop. She is completing a novel about forbidden love between an American and a Chinese artist on the eve of the bloody crackdown in Tiananmen Square. The novel is set in Hangzhou, China, where Jennifer taught in 1989 and witnessed the pro-democracy efforts and protests that brought the city to a standstill. Her poems, short stories, and essays have appeared in Chronogram, jubilat, MotherWriter! and in other journals.

Nov 30

New Voices: “Flight” by Jennifer Jacobson

A budding playwright has made waves with her newest Broadway production. There are rumors of a Tony. Maura extends an invitation to a former schoolteacher, whom she has not seen in nearly 20 years. A story of calculated revenge, Jennifer Jacobson’s “Flight” unfolds with commanding skill.

 

“They’re perfect killers,” she says. “They focus and strike. There’s no suffering. That’s the mercy of their kill, the grace of it.”

Maura starts at the top of the balcony, the highest point in the theater. Every night, before the stage manager calls places and the hawk handlers settle in, she touches the first seat in each row, marking her territory. She knows the number of steps from the last row to the edge of the balcony; and in the small private boxes as well, the loges, she’s memorized the number of steps from the door to the seats and from the seats to the edge of the half-wall, built to allow patrons to view all the action on stage and to keep them—agents, press, family, lovers, producers—from falling into the audience.

The stage left loge is where the more experienced bird handler is stationed. Of course, Maura had to fight with the producers to include the Red-tailed hawks in the production. It costs a fortune to insure two wild birds in a Broadway house. But her instincts had paid off: once word got around about the hawks, the play had sold out and the producers had extended the run.

The loge door opens and a man in a knee-length, camel hair coat steps onto the private balcony. Maura recognizes his broad shoulders, takes stock of his large hands. She makes her way up the stairs to the nearest exit.

In the loge Pierce finds three seats covered in crushed red velvet, old world and elegant. The one next to the wall is marked reserved, but that’s not the seat he’s been assigned. His ticket places him closest to the balcony with a sweeping view of the stage. Below him is a wooden deck that juts into the audience. The deck has been stained to appear weathered, yet he can smell the tang of new pine. Across from him, she’s built a watchtower. Pierce puts on his glasses and grins when he reads the hand-painted sign, Poet’s Seat, a reference to a field trip in his English class, how exquisite to be included. He settles his expensive coat across the back of the seat, the cloth pooling out across the floor of the intimate space, its creamy silk lining exposed; a gift from a student that he only wears on important occasions.

 

To read the rest of “Flight” click here.

Dec 19

A Year in Review

2018 is coming to a close. What better time to reflect on the remarkable work we’ve published on The Masters Review this past year? From playwrights to mock patrols, from slaves to “Spies,” from “Birth Stories” to stories about death. This year, we covered it all. We are so excited for the careers ahead of these emerging authors. Join us today for a look back through our 2018.

The Front Line by James Walley (December 2018)

Flight by Jennifer Jacobson (November 2018)

The Road to Damascus by Michael Broida (November 2018)

Ebenezer, Ebenezer by Ariel Chu (November 2018 – Spring Flash Fiction Winner!)

Out of the Fields by Bryna Cofrin-Shaw (October 2018 – Spring Flash Fiction Winner!)

Spies by Timothy Schirmer (October 2018 – Spring Flash Fiction Winner!)

Heitor by Chaya Bhuvaneswar (October 2018 – Featured Fiction)

You-You by Grayson Morley (September 2018)

Edged by Casey Guerin (September 2018)

Trash by Lindsay Reid Fitzgerald (August 2018)

The Dumpling Makers by Kristina Ten (July 2018)

The Art of Ending by Olivia Parkes (July 2018)

My History With Careless People, and Other Stories by Christian Winn (June 2018)

Luces by Ran O’Wain (June 2018)

The Visible Spectrum by Carlee Jensen (June 2018)

Drop Zone Summer by Nick Fuller Googins (May 2018 – Winter Short Story Award Winner!)

A History That Brings Me to You by Katie M. Flynn (May 2018 – Winter Short Story Award Winner!)

Birth Stories by Sarah Harris Wallman (May 2018 – Winter Short Story Award Winner!)

The Deca-life Crisis by Jessi Lewis (April 2018)

The Monsters by Paul Crenshaw (April 2018)

Last Bridge Burned by Ron Rash (March 2018 – Featured Fiction)

If I Could Have Anything, I’d Only Choose This by Jill Rosenberg (March 2018 – Fall Fiction Contest Winner!)

Lepidomancy by Maria Lioutaia (March 2018 – Fall Fiction Contest Winner!)

Together, Maureen by Amanda Emil Anderson (February 2018 – Fall Fiction Contest Winner!)

Mistakes of Thought by Youmi Park (February 2018)

Night Vision by Glori Simmons (January 2018)

Private Affair by D.S. Englander (January 2018)

Feb 15

New Voices Story Archive

19th century engraving of a wooly mammoth

NV HeaderENJOY OUR FULL ARCHIVE BY CLICKING ON THE STORY LINK TO READ

Carve by Kaushika Suresh (May 2022)

Picture This by Alicia Marshall (May 2022)

The Virgins of San Nicolás by Nicole Simonsen (May 2022)

Snow Angels by Noah Codega (April 2022)

The Rains by Rona S. Fernandez (April 2022)

a work of art by aureleo sans (April 2022)

An Essential Service by Joy Guo (March 2022)

Night Stencils by Sherine Elbanhawy (March 2022 – Summer Short Story Award Winner!)

Wish You Were Here by Carlee Jensen (March 2022 – Summer Short Story Award Winner!)

All This is Yours to Lose by Marcus Tan (March 2022 – Summer Short Story Award Winner!)

Degenerate Matter by Jennifer Galvão (February 2022)

Don’t Move by C.M. Lindley (February 2022)

I Walked the Dogs by Ai Jiang (February 2022)

SAGA by Joshua Nagle (January 2022)

If I Plant You by Brian Franklin (January 2022)

The Getaway by Natalie Storey (January 2022)

Move Along, You by Snigdha Roy (January 2022)

The Tomb of Monsieur de Saint Colombe by A. Mauricio Ruiz (January 2022)

A Banana by Taylor Craven (December 2021)

Aprovecha by Mason Boyles (December 2021)

Humboldt Park Blues by Randy William Santiago (November 2021)

Agora é Sempre by Tanya Perks (November 2021 – Flash Fiction Contest Winner!)

Play That Again by John Glowney (November 2021 – Flash Fiction Contest Winner!)

How to Develop (Film) by Candice May (October 2021 – Flash Fiction Contest Winner!)

Everywhere, All at Once by Emily Roth (October 2021)

Peer Melvin by Lily Meyer (October 2021)

Imagine This, Thaddeus by Brad Aaron Modlin (October 2021)

My Life Partner by Jack Cubria (October 2021)

Jackpot by Mike Nees (September 2021)

Lucky Elephant by Lynn Mundell (September 2021)

Masterplans by Nick Almeida (August 2021 – 2020 Chapbook Winner Preview!)

Trick by Vanessa Chan (August 2021)

Straight to My Heart by Dean Jamieson (August 2021 – Winter Short Story Award Winner!)

Collection of the Artist by Corey Flintoff (August 2021 – Winter Short Story Award Winner!)

You’re Not the Only One by William Hawkins (July 2021 – Winter Short Story Award Winner!)

Celestial Navigation by Heather Marshall (July 2021)

Psalms of a Charred Summer by Monica Brashears (July 2021)

Husband, Lover, He by Shastri Akella (June 2021)

A Taste of the Silence by Ajay Kumar Nair (June 2021)

What Made You This Way by Enyinna Nnabuihe (June 2021)

Fight, Bag, Option, Run by Jiaming Tang (June 2021)

The Men by Hayley Boyd (May 2021)

Maria Makiling Off the Mountain by Anna Cabe (May 2021)

The Rounds at Blanding by Tom Sokolowski (May 2021)

Isabel by Rachel Duboff (May 2021)

Pearl by Kwan Ann Tan (May 2021)

Paper Fan by Dinah Cox (April 2021)

Inheritance by Mary Mandeville (April 2021)

Rip Your Throat Out by Will Ejzak (April 2021)

Smith by Rob Franklin (April 2021)

Early Roman Kings by Rocco DeBonis (March 2021)

Burning by Adeline Lovell (March 2021 – Summer Short Story Award Winner!)

Matchbox by Nancy Ludmerer (March 2021 – Summer Short Story Award Winner!)

Como La Flor by Dayna Cobarrubias (March 2021 – Summer Short Story Award Winner!)

Petrified by Clare Howdle (February 2021)

Gone Already by Kendra Y. Mims-Applewhite (February 2021)

47 by Shereen Akhtar (February 2021)

On the Verge by Andrea Malin (February 2021)

Sing Me a Happy Song by Tara Isabel Zambrano (January 2021)

Hungry Souls by Andrea Gregory (January 2021)

The Analyst by Jennifer Marquardt (January 2021)

Master Guns by Kyle Seibel (January 2021)

An Ordinary Ache by Bikram Sharma (December 2020)

Love is Such a Morphing Thing by Ugochukwu Damian Okpara (December 2020)

That Kind of Girl by Stephanie Wheeler (November 2020)

Shootout in Prospect Park by Chuck Nwoke (November 2020)

Crocodile by Ashleigh Pedersen (November 2020 – Flash Fiction Contest Winner!)

Consider the Shape of Your Fist by Leah Dawdy (November 2020 – Flash Fiction Contest Winner!)

Heirlooms by Amanda Jean Akers (October 2020 – Flash Fiction Contest Winner!)

Fire Season by Vincent Chavez (October 2020)

Trucker’s Notebook by Nicole Roché (October 2020)

Not Dead. Yet, (Golem Father) by Nathan Szajnberg (October 2020)

Escaping by Tom Lakin (September 2020)

Catch and Release by Grace Holtzclaw (September 2020)

The Lake Isle of Innisfree by Rosemary Harp (September 2020)

Running From Blackness by Allen M. Price (September 2020)

Inheritance by Adam Byko (August 2020)

Different by Sindya Bhanoo (August 2020)

The Photograph on the Wall by Ope Adedeji (August 2020)

The Driver by Samantha Xiao Cody (August 2020 – Winter Short Story Award Winner!)

Joe Blake by Raeden Richardson (July 2020 – Winter Short Story Award Winner!)

The Easiest Thing in the World by Taylor Grieshober (July 2020 – Winter Short Story Award Winner!)

Rapture by Chloe Chun Seim (July 2020 – Winter Short Story Award Winner!)

Compound Fractures by Alice Hatcher (July 2020)

Sorry About Your Bird by Kathryn M. Barber (June 2020)

The Road Takes the Shape of the Earth Beneath It by Jeremy Packert Burke (June 2020)

You Can’t Take it With You by Jami Kimbrell (June 2020)

This is for My Auntie Penzi Who— by Idza Luhumyo (June 2020)

The Monster in Back Bruly by Kailyn McCord (June 2020)

Taking Mr. Itopa by Caleb Ozovehe Ajinomoh (May 2020)

Rereading Stephen King on the Eve of My MFA by Steph Grossman (May 2020)

Salt-Sea by Zeeva Bukai (April 2020 – Fall Fiction Contest Winner!)

Shenzhen by Willa Zhang (April 2020 – Fall Fiction Contest Winner!)

It Could Happen To You by Trent England (April 2020 – Fall Fiction Contest Winner!)

Genealogy by Nancy London (April 2020)

And Then? by Sara Brody (March 2020)

Skin Hunger by Melissa Goode (March 2020)

Obscure Sorrows by Ndinda Kioko (March 2020)

Jessica’s Body by Catherine Mitchell (February 2020)

Russian Roulette by Lauren Green (February 2020)

Adult Education by Laura Maylene Walter (February 2020)

Ghost Story by Becca Anderson (January 2020 – Summer Short Story Award Winner!)

Escape Velocity by Karisa Tell (January 2020 – Summer Short Story Award Winner!)

Mutts by Shane Page (January 2020 – Summer Short Story Award Winner!)

Terraforming Mars by Emmett Knowlton (January 2020)

The Basement Beneath the Basement by Dale Gregory Anderson (December 2019)

What More Do You Want? by Michael Ruby (December 2019)

Homecoming by Kathryn Phelan (November 2019 – Flash Fiction Contest Winner!)

The Remains by Felicity Fenton (November 2019 – Flash Fiction Contest Winner!)

Simple Physics by Kevin Leahy (October 2019 – Flash Fiction Contest Winner!)

Observation Tube—McMurdo Station, Antarctica by Justin Herrmann (October 2019)

It’s All Perfectly Natural by Emily Chiles (September 2019)

The Danbury Firebirds by Andrew Erkkila (September 2019)

Premonition by Emily Dyer Barker (September 2019)

1961 by Laura Demers (September 2019)

Lost in Transformation by Nicole Burdge (September 2019)

Big Red Nation by Brett Biebel (August 2019)

The Engagement by Stacey Wang (August 2019)

Century Women by Maura Lammers (July 2019)

To Kill the Second by Di Bei (July 2019)

Another Life by Olivia Parkes (July 2019)

Damico by Joe Bond (July 2019 – Winter Short Story Award Winner!)

Caretaker Needed by Meghan Daniels (July 2019 – Winter Short Story Award Winner!)

Narada’s Ears by Sanjena Sathien (June 2019 – Winter Short Story Award Winner!)

At This Late Hour by Rebecca Turkewitz (June 2019)

IED by Neville F. Dastoor (June 2019)

Tropical Fascism by Gabriella Monico (June 2019)

Euphoria by Heather De Bell (May 2019)

Lessy by Jeremy T. Wilson (May 2019)

Seraglios of Night by Greg Sendi (May 2019)

The Plight of the Red-Feathered Austrian Goose by E. Y. Smith (April 2019)

Holocaust Jokes by Sarah Snider (April 2019)

A Sick Child by Dustin M. Hoffman (March 2019)

Year of the Snake by A.J. Bermudez (March 2019)

All the White People by Sue Granzella (March 2019)

How to Spot a Whale by Jacqui Reiko Teruya (March 2019 – Summer Flash Fiction Contest Winner!)

Two Kinds of Neighborhoods by Neil Cooney (February 2019 – Summer Flash Fiction Contest Winner!)

Rieb Kear (to Marry) by Adam Joseph Nazaroff (February 2019 – Summer Flash Fiction Contest Winner!)

Tilting at Windmills by Debbie Vance (February 2019)

Mercy by Carla Diaz (February 2019)

Casino Night by Gabriel Welsch (January 2019)

Confirmation by Alina Grabowski (January 2019 – Summer Short Story Award Winner!)

A Portrait of a Virgin by Rachel Cochran (January 2019 – Summer Short Story Award Winner!)

A Country Where I Am Beautiful by Patricia Smith (January 2019 – Summer Short Story Award Winner!)

A New River by Dominic Desmond (January 2019)

The Front Line by James Walley (December 2018)

Flight by Jennifer Jacobson (November 2018)

The Road to Damascus by Michael Broida (November 2018)

Ebenezer, Ebenezer by Ariel Chu (November 2018 – Spring Flash Fiction Winner!)

Out of the Fields by Bryna Cofrin-Shaw (October 2018 – Spring Flash Fiction Winner!)

Spies by Timothy Schirmer (October 2018 – Spring Flash Fiction Winner!)

You-You by Grayson Morley (September 2018)

Edged by Casey Guerin (September 2018)

Trash by Lindsay Reid Fitzgerald (August 2018)

The Dumpling Makers by Kristina Ten (July 2018)

The Art of Ending by Olivia Parkes (July 2018)

My History With Careless People, and Other Stories by Christian Winn (June 2018)

Luces by Ran O’Wain (June 2018)

The Visible Spectrum by Carlee Jensen (June 2018)

Drop Zone Summer by Nick Fuller Googins (May 2018 – Winter Short Story Award Winner!)

A History That Brings Me to You by Katie M. Flynn (May 2018 – Winter Short Story Award Winner!)

Birth Stories by Sarah Harris Wallman (May 2018 – Winter Short Story Award Winner!)

The Deca-life Crisis by Jessi Lewis (April 2018)

The Monsters by Paul Crenshaw (April 2018)

If I Could Have Anything, I’d Only Choose This by Jill Rosenberg (March 2018 – Fall Fiction Contest Winner!)

Lepidomancy by Maria Lioutaia (March 2018 – Fall Fiction Contest Winner!)

Together, Maureen by Amanda Emil Anderson (February 2018 – Fall Fiction Contest Winner!)

Mistakes of Thought by Youmi Park (February 2018)

Night Vision by Glori Simmons (January 2018)

Private Affair by D.S. Englander (January 2018)

Demonman by Julialicia Case (December 2017 – Summer Short Story Award Winner!)

The Devil is a Liar by Nana Nkweti (December 2017 – Summer Short Story Award Winner!)

Iron Boy Kills the Devil by Sheldon Costa (November 2017 – Summer Short Story Award Winner!)

A Pack a Day by Betty Jo Buro (November 2017)

Katie Flew Again Tonight by Trent England (October 2017)

Out and Out by Latifa Ayad (September 2017 – Flash Fiction Contest Winner!)

Lions in the House by Beejay Silcox (September 2017 – Flash Fiction Contest Winner!)

The Wheelchair by Mahreen Sohail (September 2017 – Flash Fiction Contest Winner!)

The Cock in Cadwalader Heights by Ariel Delgado Dixon (August 2017)

Balter Cafe by Elle Flythe (August 2017)

Road Trip by Rachel Attias (July 2017)

For Danny, Twelve Years Old by Lucas Loredo (June 2017)

Longshore Drift by Scott Broker (June 2017)

Operation by Scott Gloden (May 2017 – Winter Short Story Award Winner!)

White Out by Caitlin O’Neil (May 2017 – Winter Short Story Award Winner!)

Malheur Refuge by Rick Attig (May 2017 – Winter Short Story Award Winner!)

Everything is Fine by Alissa Johnson (April 2017)

According to Their Kinds by Kit Haggard (April 2017)

Night Beast by Ruth Joffre (March 2017 – Fall Fiction Contest Winner!)

Family, Family by Jeannine Ouellette (March 2017 – Fall Fiction Contest Winner!)

Good Creatures, Small Things by Cate Fricke (February 2017 – Fall Fiction Contest Winner!)

My Sam and I by Nick Fuller Googins (February 2017)

The Drownings by Brenda Peynado (January 2017)

Babyland by Steve Edwards (January 2017)

The Harshest Landscape We Know by Lindsay Tigue (December 2016)

Rattlesnake Valley by Sorrel Westbrook (December 2016)

Mix and Match by Katherine Rooks (November 2016)

New Shadows by Kaj Tanaka (November 2016)

The Boomslang Coup by Joel Hans (October 2016)

Red by Katie Knoll (October 2016 – Short Story Award Winner!)

Ledgers by Claire Boyles (September 2016 – Short Story Award Winner!)

The First Location by Molly Reid (September 2016 – Short Story Award Winner!)

Friendly Crossroads by Lydia Conklin (August 2016)

The Cultural Ambassador of North Beach by Ezra Carlsen (August 2016)

Living Things by Landon Houle (July 2016)

At The Dog Park by Yasmina Madden (July 2016)

Summer, 2002 by Nancy Ludmerer (June 2016)

The Kingdom of Amateur Gods by Brad Eddy (June 2016)

Miracle Factory by Carmen Petaccio (April 2016)

The Split by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam (April 2016)

A Particular Woman by Molly Jean Bennett (March 2016)

When You Lived Inside The Walls by Krishan Coupland (March 2016)

Linger Longer by Vincent Masterson (February 2016 – Fall Fiction Contest Winner!)

Pool People by Jen Neale (February 2016 – Fall Fiction Contest Winner!)

Animalizing by Marisela Navarro (January 2016 – Fall Fiction Contest Winner!)

Sarajevo by Samuel Jensen (January 2016)

Bay Rhum Christmas by Frances Key Phillips (December 2015)

That Was Me Once by Megan Cummins (December 2015)

A Suggestion by Lee Conell (November 2015)

Illumination by Denise Schiavone (November 2015)

Clean Hunters by Lena Valencia (October 2015)

Double Exposure by Megan Giddings (October 2015)

Hildy by Tom Howard (September 2015 – Short Story Award Winner!)

The Golden Arowana by William Pei Shih (September 2015 – Short Story Award Winner!)

Do You Believe? By Tina Egnoski (September 2015 – Short Story Award Winner!)

The Uncanny Valley by Matthew Pitt (August 2015)

Trespassing by Emily Wortman-Wunder (June 2015)

The Light of Jackie Onuma Kennedy by Johnny Day (June 2015)

House Hunt by Jessica Lee Richardson (May 2015)

Some People Belong Inside by Shannon Peavey (April 2015)

Shine by Ron A. Austin (March 2015)

Someone to Listen by Phil Quam (February 2015)

A Thing of Little Consequence by Torrey Crim (January 2015)

Calculus BC: Final Exam by Abigail Hodge (January 2015)

Tierkling by Justine McNulty (December 2014)

Here on Out by Jesse Hassenger (November 2014)

Midlife Crisis by Angie Pelekidis (September 2014)

O Fortuna by JT Townley (September 2014)

Twelve in the Black by John Thornton Williams (August 2014)

The Mothers by Amy Scharmann (August 2014)

Pete Macaroni by Justin Thurman (July 2014)

Instruments – by Zana Previti (July 2014)

Raw – by Alex McElroy (June 2014)

Wasted Wishes – by Tara Campbell (June 2014)

The Orchard – by Matthew McKenzie Davis (May 2014 – Short Story Month)

Goose – by Theodora Zilokowski (May 2014 – Short Story Month, magical realism)

Unabomber for President – by Logan Murphy (May 2014 -Short Story Month, genre)

The Boy and The Bear – by Blake Kimzey (May 2014 – Short Story Month, flash fiction)

Linda Peterson Sounds Like A Reasonable Name – by Jennifer Dupree (May 2014 – Short Story Month)

Vegetables – by John Oliver Hodges (April 2014)

Outside The Window, The Savage Rain – by EC Belli (April 2014)

Stay – by Zachary Amendt (February 2014)

The Brothers Wham! – by Megan Giddings (February 2014)

Cousin – by Rolli (January 2014)

A River, Breaking – by Brianne Kohl (January 2014)

Plenty of Room With Nowhere To Go – by Nicholas Teeter (November 2013)

The Funeral – by Rinat Harel (November 2013)

Life After Men – by Dale Bridges (October 2013)

NUT Junction – by Davis Slater (August 2013)

Killing Jessica – by Brian Foster (July 2013)

Whiskey Over Barbed Wire – by Kiik AK (June 2013)

Roadside Cotton – by Alayna Palmer Hanneken (May 2013)

The Writer Who Slept for A Hundred Years: A True Story – by Hunter Liguore (April 2013)

Patron of the Arts – by Kate Finlinson (March 2013)