by Paul Sohar The future is tucked under her skirt and not in the leaves that curl in her hands as the gypsy girl unravels your palm and grieves for your sins. Nothing succeeds like a succession of lies paving the way to a dramatic climax where she ties your lifelines in a knot, for she knows the tracks don’t just speed off for no good reason at all; when they hit the wall of tomorrow her grin is always there, soft and cold like dusty snow, and if you try to look for tealeaves among the fast folds of … Continue reading THE FORTUNE TELLER’S ELUSIVE CHARM


by Paul Sohar The black-padded bench has quit its post by the glass-topped coffee table in an executive anteroom to wander out to the corridor, and it’s slowly ambling through the icy frenzy of a business day. The black imitation leather of the padding seems to mourn something never born yet able to power the four slender steel legs without even moving them, and now the bench crawls unstoppably in the glass-lined corridor of shapeless fears and hopes, slithering over memos, project plans, and the toes of carefully guarded memories, the tongues of crippled dreams; nothing can stop the bench, … Continue reading THE OFFICE BENCH

Measure of a Man

by Joshua Mattern Rick Stanley had an aisle seat.  He hated aisle seats.  He hated them, and he suspected that the airline companies knew this, and that they took great delight in having their pilots call over the intercom and say, “Those of you on the left side of the plane,” and insert your chosen majestic image here.  He took to his aisle seat with silent contempt, and hoped that when they flew over the Rockies the sky would be buried under a heavy cloud cover.                  Shortly after getting situated, a young woman sat down in the window seat … Continue reading Measure of a Man


by  Amanda Skjeveland Propped against the willow tree, she wanted you long before you came; her dirty summer hands raised the plastic version of you to her still-awkward chest to offer her essence before it was time. For years she must have known you were coming as she planted footprints for you to fill and danced, brave and irresistible, like the willow’s branches. She would not have believed her heart would fail her, the umbilical cord having made its transfer but not yet fallen from you, its strong core barely shriveled. § Author bio: Amanda Skjeveland’s work is currently in, … Continue reading Jenni

Secret Chord

by  Amanda Skjeveland My friend leans close, eyes sparkling and tidy fingers, slightly puffed with age and weight, melting the cloudy chill on her wine glass.  When you make love, she says, Do you ever pretend you’re someone else? About to say no, I remember last week, how I slipped away from our master bedroom to that old apartment of yours with stairs to the roof, the one that kept the moon captive for us as we sat on camping chairs and I held your guitar, my fingertips on strings still warm from you, You leaned in, smiling, to place … Continue reading Secret Chord

At the Metropolitan Opera

by Peter Weltner 1. How pleasant still to lounge in bed when she is no longer ill at all, her appetite appeased by sweet nut cakes her mother bakes for her, the crumbs pressed flat as petals by an old book’s pages. Ra-ta-plan, the soldiers sing. Beneath cotton puff mountain peaks, Marie waves the tri-color and sings the Marseillaise with the prettiest boys, the regiment dressed in tinsel-tassel uniforms as flashy as those adorning the toy warriors in the window of Dorinda’s favorite Christmas store. Marie’s no foundling after all but daughter of nobility betrothed to a handsome, shy Tyrolean … Continue reading At the Metropolitan Opera