Yunhee-dong

The rain tapped against the window intermittently for days, hypothetical ellipses leading nowhere, until noon today, suddenly intensifying into staccato exclamation points. Monsoon season arrived during the bus ride back from the clinic at Hannam ogeri. Not impossible to get an abortion in Korea, despite what the first doctor said, immediately offering to perform an ultrasound in his neat, contraction-free …

The Return

It was evening. We were standing near a line of trees that looked like conifers; the sky was darkening behind the trees. It was time to go back. This was the last crossing: our damaged equipment would permit no more. We had seen things that were almost impossible to believe. Ahead of us, our scientist turned a dial as her …

Aurora

The last night I slept soundly was the night before my wheezing father announced the succession.  He named me – his daughter – as his heir.  He hoped aloud that my brother would advise me faithfully.  The pulsing vein in Damian’s forehead suggested otherwise.  With one word my father had severed our fraternal connection more effectually than any witch’s curse. …

Old Whitworth

Old Whitworth, a seventy-year-old dentist who should have retired a decade ago, endured in the practiced removal of ailing choppers. Yet his fees were a pittance in post-war years, offering irresistible rates – if you weren’t too particular about the origin of his dubious credentials. Whitworth, white-haired, save for rounded bald spot, reddened by anger from a patient who didn’t …

The Interview

Tell us about your scar. Does it hurt? Only when I smile. I suppose it has a story? Yes, but not a very interesting one. I have another. Another scar? No. Another story. Would you like to hear it? Please. Our readers would be most interested. I was nine. There had been an accident. An accident? Nothing serious, I hope? …

Flotsam

“This started when I moved to Amy’s house,” Judy said, as she and James set out for their evening stroll. It was the same stretch of the East Coast Park that they had walked every evening, for the last forty-seven years. James was still in his work clothes, a navy-blue Coast Guard uniform. Judy wore a beige top over black …

Rebecca Buller

Azalea Martine’s Daily Schedule   Every morning at 6:30, Azalea Martine wakes up and throws back the covers. She opens the blinds and windows before freshening up in a bathroom with walls the color of sun-bleached grass. At 7:10 John Martine watches his wife, Azalea, make oatmeal and bacon for breakfast while he taps his fingers on the tabletop and …

Seventh Grade

Every day Amanda Treese would draw hearts on her math warm-up when she finished it, and finally Matthew Taylor, who sat next to her, couldn’t take it anymore and he said, “What do you love?” “What?” “What are you saying that you love with all these hearts?” She looked at her paper. “It means love.” “I know it means love. But …

Twirling

  Miss Jeanette Theresa picks up a fallen branch from the water oak. Ozeal Autin watches her march around the front year. He thumps, thumps, thumps the top of his head. Miss Jeannette Theresa slams her feet into peat moss, an earthy sponge. Her hand dances around alligator bark. Her wrist rotates in perfect circles. She twirls. She twirls and …

Trombone

When I was a child, my father’s trombone hung from a hook in the utility room in the basement. It was the color of dull brass, with a few greenish patches. It was an unremarkable piece of household flotsam among the extra furnace filters, metal folding chairs, and boxes of old clothes to give to charity. He played it a …

A Rural Life

When the birds and bees die off because of chemical misuse, where will procreation be, who will make love? Only the Doomsday Clock will keep moving and gasping. Every field is being stripped. Big Dude tractors, and grain hoppers the size of two car garages. Harvest is part of mid-America; it’s what we do; it’s how we feed the world. …

The Martyr

Who are you? You don’t know? No. I’ll come closer. Your face.  What happened to your face? You don’t remember? No. Are you sure?  Look. It’s horrible.  The holes in your face.  Your chest.  Your stomach. Yes.  So many. Why are you laughing? Children laugh.  Don’t you know children laugh? Stop.  Stop it, please.  The sound. It hurts. Yes.  It’s …