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Woman-Child, Empty Your Bag! by Jonell Pangle-Merriweather

YOUR HEAVY BAG is making you weary, not to mention sore. Why, your shoulders even appear uneven! This is a professionally packed suitcase whose contents have accumulated over the years. Finally you decide to end the mystery, saying to yourself, “What’s making this bag so heavy?” Tossing out its contents like wilted lettuce, you think, “It’s such a relief,” right? Because now the suitcase is so very empty.
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The moments in which I love you are too numerous but here are some of them. by Erin Riley

  • That time, not long after we met, when I complained that my baby pink sweatshirt had stains on it, despite my furious washing, that just wouldn’t come out. I came home from work and you told me to close my eyes and into my outstretched palms you placed the baby pink sweatshirt minus all its grotty stains. Perfectly folded. It was one of the most beautiful things anyone had ever done for me.

Mark’s Maladies by Eli S. Evans

Intending to shave the upper part of his upper lip, Mark instead drags the razor across the inside of his nostril, slicing the thin layer of flesh stretched across the septum. Blood flows like water from an open faucet, most of it pooling up in the sink (appropriately enough). After recovering his bearings, he crumples up a piece of toilet paper and stuffs it into the wounded nostril to stanch the flow; there it stays during breakfast and while he dresses himself for the day. When he removes it, damp and the color of drool from the mouth of a halfwit sucking a strawberry candy, the bleeding has subsided but an angry red line is visible where the blade inflicted its damage, and each time he sniffles the upward current of air is like salt in the wound. 

You Are in the Dark by Rue Baldry

You open your eyes but all you can see is a red line, like light but at a strange angle. It flickers as you blink. You’re not sure whether it’s outside or in your eyeballs. Your head lolls. Pain pierces through it. A rumbling noise. It’s too much. You bury yourself back into sleep. You wake again because your shoulder is jarring against something, try to shift an arm to steady yourself, but it won’t move. Your wrists are together, behind your back. Something cuts into them. You tense your neck to try to keep at least your head still. That faint line of red is definitely outside you, beyond your reach.

Bio-pic/Bare Life. by Josie/Jocelyn Deane

Scarlett Johansson is starring 
as Chelsea Manning. It’s
a passion play. Audiences 
unfamiliar with solitary confinement are
broken; during the Super Bowl ad 

Fuskan Annuri. by Rabiu Muhammad Shuaib

At a moonless lightless night
Appears the lightening light 

To lighten the balls on a delightful face 
Just like a Luminary to the dark Space

The Me of Me. by Joey Lew

My mother believes, I think,
in a cellular illuminati, one that plots my downfall
first by unrelated incidents (though the dry skin winks 
at the inflamed gum) and then one by one the organs
sink into sepsis—this is the only logical progression—

This Morning Kiss. by Juanita Rey

Out of the instability of waking,
the chaos of light and eyes,
sounds and breath,
comes the inevitability.

I Am not Lonely. by Richard-Yves Sitoski

I built a mansion on real estate 
between catching Z's and washing dishes.
I am not lonely here
though it's on a hobo's unshaven chin of hill