Coyotes

by Terri Leker
Winner of the 2019 New Ohio Review Fiction Contest, selected by Claire Vaye Watkins. Originally published in New Ohio Review Issue 26

The coyotes moved into the woods behind my house just after I learned I was pregnant. On a quiet June morning, while my husband slept, I pulled on my running shoes and grabbed a leash from a hook at the back door. Jute danced around my feet on her pipe-cleaner legs, whining with impatience. It would have taken more than this to wake Matt, but I hushed her complaints with a raised finger and we slipped outside. A light breeze blew the native grasses into brown and golden waves as we wandered, camouflaging Jute’s compact frame. She sniffed the dirt, ears telescoping as though she were asking a question. When we reached a shady thicket of red madrones and live oaks, I unclipped the leash and wound it around my wrist.

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Revising Bosch’s Hell Panel for the 21st Century

by Kelly Michels

“Hundreds of couples toting AR-15 rifles packed a Unification church in Pennsylvania on Wednesday to have their marriages blessed and their weapons celebrated as ‘rods of iron’ that could have saved lives in a recent Florida school shooting.” Reuters, Feb. 28th 2018

 

They come wearing crowns of gold bullets in their hair, bodies drenched

in white satin, white lace, tulle, lining the pews on a weekday morning,

 

AR-15s in their hands, calling on god to save them. There is no

such thing as salvation, only the chosen and too few are chosen.

 

Children are told to stay inside, schools locked shut, swings hushed,

even the wind says, quiet, as the guns are blessed, dark O of mouths

 

waiting to exhale a ribbon of smoke. The children are told to crouch

in the closet, to stay still as butterflies on butcher knives

 

while the men take their brides and iron rods, saluting the book

of revelation, its scribbled last words, the coming of a new kingdom.

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American Bachelor Party

by Conor Bracken

Featured Art: Star and Flag Design Quilt by Fred Hassebrock
Read by the author.

Here I am inside a firing range.

Loading and holding and aiming a pistol

the way America has taught me.

 

Hitting the paper target in

the neck the mullet the arm the arm.

The old-growth pines inside me

 

do not burst into orange choruses of flame.

I am disappointed I’m not making

a tidy cluster center mass.

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