The Uber Diaries

By Kyle Minor

Indianapolis, Indiana. Somewhere near Keystone Avenue and 62nd Street my iPhone pings. A college student from Hyderabad, India. He is pleased when I tell him he’s my first customer. He tips me two dollars.

*

I pick up my second customer in front of a bar in Broad Ripple. He gets in the front seat. His hair is grown to thigh length, and he is on some kind of party drug that makes him want to touch things.

“Please stop rubbing my arm,” I say.

He apologizes.

Near Rocky Ripple, he takes off his shoes and socks and rubs his bare feet
on the windshield.

His feet leave little rabbit marks. He is a large man with very tiny feet. When
I drop him off at the donut shop, he doesn’t leave a tip.

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Leaf Blower

By Alan Shapiro

Featured Art: The Poet’s Garden by Vincent van Gogh

Swept up so suddenly in parabolic
spasms like a starling flock
or curtain swelling, billowing out
while all along the edges
this or that leaf frays
from the pack the force
keeps driving forward
over the courtyard bricks—

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Hole in One

By Alan Shapiro

Since my dad was blind by then,
when David and I led him from his apartment
to the tee of the shrunken one hole
golf course that served as kitschy
courtyard for the complex
of retirees only well-off
enough for this unironic
aping of the rich, it was by habit
only that he looked down
at the ball he couldn’t see,
then up and out into the void
of stunted fairway and green
while first this foot then that
foot patted the fake grass, almost
kneading it cat-like till the tight
swing arced the ball up high

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Closer

By Alan Shapiro

Featured Art by William A. Harper

How the great closer—when the batter lunged
and swung through the curve for strike three—
turned his back to the plate as if there were no batter,
and his one concession to the moment
(that there even was a moment) was
to hitch one shoulder as if to shrug off
a slight annoyance while his face unbothered
by expression measured its mastery by what
it wouldn’t feel, or show, was like and not like us,
our faces, lips, how, when I tried to kiss yours,
they shut tight against what up to then, it seemed,
they’d opened to so eagerly I never thought

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Bay Sunday

By W.J. Herbert

Featured Art: Boys in a Dory by Winslow Homer

1.

Wind hits the cliff face and climbs the palisade
as three men at a slatted table play cards.
Two wear hats. A third faces the sun and smokes.
All three are gray-haired, but none is my father.
He wouldn’t have played without scotch
on a Sunday or sat on a park bench, anyway.

2.

A man holding a child speaks to her in Mandarin
as he touches a small seat attached to the back of a bike.
He pats handlebars and points to spokes, saying bike
every twenty words or so, then taps the front wheel gently,
the way you would touch the shoulder of an old friend.

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Stateline Lake

By Arlyce Menzies

Featured Art by William Guy Wall

Slipping through the shadow of trees
at dusk to the old strip mine, we took off
our clothes under the wide catalpa’s
strung slender pods. The lake
shone with the last evening light,
cicadas casting their long call over the water.

We both dove and you didn’t come up
for a while. Then, you broke out, fist first,
and shouted for me to come look.
I sheared the dim surface with dark strokes
and found you gripping a watersnake
that curled and whipped your wrist.

You were delighted, and I tried to imagine
the impulse, impossible for me, that made you
grab the slither against your ribs
underwater. And the jolt you rose with,
the triumph of your quick hands,
and the body with which you felt the world.


Arlyce Menzies was raised in the Rust Belt, educated in the Bluegrass, and has taught ESL and creative writing in New England. She recently completed an MFA at Boston University, where she fell in love with translating Russian poetry. She will soon improve her translations, because she and her family are (voluntarily) moving to Siberia.

Real Things

By Nicole Hebdon

Lorna tells her fiancé that we met in the cemetery. “Chloe was writing a paper on the War of 1812 graves,” she says. “And I was taking photos for my photography class. It’s a haunted site. Paranormal investigators have looked into it and everything.” This is partially true.

The Riverside Cemetery is known for disappearing children and hovering orbs, but I wasn’t writing a paper. I was writing an article for the supernatural edition of the school magazine.

And we didn’t meet there.

Lorna’s fiancé, Caleb, tells us how he and Lorna met, and she folds her hands in her lap, like a child at Sunday school. Whenever one of Lorna’s roommates stands to get a wine cooler, or giggles purposelessly, he starts his sentence over, so I’ve heard his story approximately three-and-a-half times when he finally lets someone else talk.

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The Petrified Man


By Pamela Davis

Featured Art by William Trost Richards

It’s dead August, a go nowhere night, and I take
Mom’s Chevy Monza, pick up a girlfriend,
head down to the Nu-Pike amusement park
at the shore. We’re sixteen and sunburnt,
peasant blouses, short-shorts, ready.

Dad taught me to swim in the park’s domed pool,
ankles glitter-kicking past mosaic tile,
but only the Cyclone Racer’s left now,
a tattoo booth, dime-toss swindles, some freak shows.
Mary Lee says the senior boys hang out by the roller coaster

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Ode on a Midlife VW

By Craig van Rooyen

Featured Art by Edouard Baldus

—After Matthew Dickman


Parked next to its German cousins,
the van’s a message to the office bourgeoisie:
Hey look, not me. I’ve got a 4-cylinder pop-top
escape pod back to 1983 with a picnic table in back,
motherfuckers. I could be a tortoise, tent in shell,
ambling away from a mortgage.
The kind of tortoise that shows up in Tallahassee
after ten years of grazing on roadside dandelions.
Driving home, I keep an eye out for Gandalf
like maybe he’ll have his thumb out at the city limit sign.

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Interstate 5 Ode


By Craig van Rooyen

To adopt a highway, say
between Kettleman City and Coalinga,
you don’t need to love
the shorn stockyards or the Holsteins
drowsing in the haze of their own stink. But it helps.

You don’t have to sing
to the rows of uprooted almond trees
next to the angry sign about the “Dust Bowl”
Congress has created.
You don’t even have to believe
“Jesus Saves.”

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Ode to My Backyard Gopher


By Craig van Rooyen

Featured Art by Thomas Cole

Oh blind digger, furred borer,
miner of nothing at the end of a tunnel
to nowhere. My nocturnal brother,
I can report up top
the screech owl sounds like
he’s ripping holes in a paper sky.
Tonight’s scent salad:
honeysuckle-jasmine served under
a thin glaze of starlight. Nothing
between me and Venus
but goosebumps. What gets you
through the long hours down there?
Now and then when I go inside
to pour coffee or smash graham crackers
in warm milk, I read a few lines
of William Carlos Williams

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Costco Ode

By Craig van Rooyen

Featured Art by Joachim Beuckelaer

—After Marie Howe’s “The Star Market”

And they did all eat,
and were filled: and they took
up the fragments that remained,
twelve baskets full.
Matthew 14:20


Today, my people—the people Jesus loves—
are shopping at Costco.
Membership checked, we’ve entered
the light-drenched Kingdom of More.
We’re sampling Finger Lake
Champaign Cheddar morsels nested
in tiny paper cups. We’re watching golden
chicken carcasses ride a Ferris wheel to nowhere.
Our carts are full to overflowing
with applesauce squeezes and shrink-wrapped
Siamese twin Nutella jars. Take. Eat.
Take some more. But it’s not enough.
Here you can buy a theme park
for your master bath, on credit.
You can buy buckets of pain
killers, boxed sets of princesses, a
Rebel 4-Pack of Star Wars Bobbleheads.

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Weanie Tender, PO

By Jennifer Christman

Like the dry, hot winds of Santa Ana itself, the sound came in waves. Pop-pop- pop-pop-pop. Weanie Tender didn’t know from where. Weanie Tender didn’t know from what. Staccato bursts of varying lengths and speed, then brief re- spites. Now, however, is a different story. There’s a constant vibrato. Take any moment—take this moment—Weanie can hear it, by God. Pop-pop-pop-pop- pop. He can feel it. He need only focus his mind to detect what’s on the order of a cosmic palpitation. Pop-pop-pop-pop-pop. Weanie is a low-level PO. He wants to be a detective someday.

“Force’s under attack,” says his partner, Dom, wolfing Chick-n-Minis from his own private 20-tray, steaming up the cruiser. Bag-of-bones Weanie is crum- pled in the passenger seat.

“You hear it now?” says Weanie, drawing in a sharp, short breath.

He and Dom are on break outside the Chick-fil-A on Bristol. Weanie can’t sit still lately. He jiggles his legs and wrings his hands, listening, deeply, to what he’s now thinking must be an engine running—that’s it, an engine running rough, like an outboard motor, and snappy, pop-pop-pop-pop-pop. But that would require a boat, and water. And the city, the entire county, is landlocked. And the seismic index is low. Weanie checks daily.

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Naked, Fierce, Yelling Stone Age Grannies

By Lisa Bellamy

Featured Art by Evelyn De Morgan

I shudder when I think of the giant beavers—
tiny-brained, squinting Pleistocene thugs—
they bared rotting incisors longer than a human arm,
they infested ponds and rivers, smothered
gasping sh with their acid-spiked, toxic urine,
they slapped their murderous tails—bleating,
they dragged themselves up the riverbank,
spied sweetgrass; they charged the crawling babies,
the tiny baby bones, trampling, they didn’t care—
hurray for the naked, fierce, yelling Stone Age grannies—
they dropped their hammer stones, they grabbed
sharp sticks. Who can forget their skinny, bouncing breasts?
They beat the giant beavers, they speared; they smeared
hot, thick beaver blood over each other’s faces,
their bony, serviceable buttocks—who can forget the grannies—


Lisa Bellamy teaches at The Writers Studio and studies with Philip Schultz. Her poetry collection, The Northway, is forthcoming from Terrapin Books. Her chapbook, Nectar, won The Aurorean chapbook prize in 2011. Bellamy’s writing has appeared in The Southern Review, TriQuarterly, Massachusetts Review, Hotel Amerika, Asimov’s Science Fiction, and The Sun, among other publications. She received a Pushcart Prize Special Mention and a Fugue Poetry Prize. She lives in Brooklyn and the Adirondacks.

Our Fathers

By Lisa Bellamy

Our fathers never spoke to us of their wars.
Each morning, they girded their loins with tool belt
and slide rule, according to their appointed trades.
In the summer, as they backed out
our driveways, we ran after them. In the winter,
they left, whistling, as we slept.
They created Japanese–style goldfish ponds,
built backyard gazebos, sang barbershop harmony
and strummed the ukulele, but they refused
to call themselves makers of beauty.
They woke us at midnight to see
the Aurora Borealis, carried us out
to the rose and white light-waves streaming,
named for the goddess of dawn who brings life,
and the god of the north wind who brings death.

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Moo

By Chrys Tobey

Featured Art by Vincent van Gogh

Woman is not yet capable of friendship: women
are still cats and birds. Or, at best, cows.
—Nietzsche

Love, I’m sorry for the time we were walking home with groceries in our
arms—you carried the chicken and potatoes and I held the chocolate. As we

laughed about something I can’t remember, our dog barked
at someone, and I just bolted, ran off. Also, love, there were all

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Cockadoodledoo

By Chrys Tobey

Our parson to the old women’s faces
That are cold and folded, like plucked dead hens’ arses.
—Ted Hughes

An old woman thought her face was a dead
hen’s arse. Maybe it was all the years
of plucking and waxing. The woman had no idea
what would make her think her face
was a dead hen’s arse and not a live hen’s
arse, and why the arse and not the beak, but
she did. It couldn’t be my age, the woman thought.

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Coach O

By Robert Hinderliter

Featured Art by Owen Jones

Coach Oberman watched from his office window as a group of students prepared the bonfire by the south end zone. Two kids stacked tinder while another knelt beside a papier-mâché buffalo they would throw on the fire at the end of the pep rally. Oberman couldn’t wait to watch it burn.

He’d just gotten off the phone with Mike Treadwell—coach of the Ashland Buffaloes—who’d called to wish him luck in tomorrow’s game. Mike had been Oberman’s assistant for three years before taking the job at Ashland High. And now, after back-to-back state titles in his first two years, he’d been offered the defensive coordinator position at Emporia State University. This would be the last time they’d face off.

“I’ll miss seeing you across the field,” Mike had said. “Although I sure won’t miss trying to stop that Oberman offense.”

This was pandering bullshit. In their two head-to-head contests, Mike’s Buffaloes had routed Oberman’s Hornets by at least four touchdowns.

“I just wanted to say thanks,” Mike had said. “I couldn’t have gotten this far without you.”

He’d said it like he meant it, with no hint of sarcasm, but Oberman knew there was venom behind those words. In Mike’s two years as assistant, Oberman had treated him badly. Mike had a good mind for the game, there was no denying that, but he was a scrawny wuss with thick glasses and a girlish laugh. He didn’t belong on a football field. Oberman had banished him to working with the punter and made him the butt of jokes in front of the players. When Mike’s brother-in-law be- came superintendent at Ashland and handed Mike the coaching job, Oberman had scoffed. And now Mike was moving on to a Division II college while he was stuck muddling through another losing season with an eight-man team in Haskerville. He knew the irony wasn’t lost on either of them.

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Women in Treatment

By Theresa Burns

Featured Art by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Why had I not noticed them
before? The women in treatment
on every block, it seems, leaving
the library, walking their dogs.
Once they hid themselves
beneath wigs, fashionable hats
in the city, or entered softly
in Birkenstocks and baseball caps,
stayed out of the way. Now they
show up, unannounced.

In offices, in waiting rooms,
in aisle seats with legs outstretched,
the women in treatment
flip the pages, reach the end,
bald, emboldened. One
outside a florist today arranges
lantana in time for evening
rush. A bright silk scarf
around her pale round head
calls attention to her Supermoon.
And one woman my own age,
in my own town, takes up a table
right in front. She nurses a chai latte
in a purple jacket, her hair
making its gentle comeback.

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My Babysitter Karen B Who Was Sent to Willard Asylum

Winner, New Ohio Review Poetry Contest
selected by Kevin Prufer

By Jessica Cuello

There are only two photos of me as a child.
She took them, she had no child.

She had Kool Cigarettes and a job at the drugstore.
She gave me the Crayola box with the built-in sharpener.

Four hundred suitcases were stored in the attic
of Willard Asylum for the Chronic Insane.

She joined her twin brother there.
She wore her black hair down.

A child could admire it.
She bought me an Easter basket,

a stuffed rabbit whose fur rubbed off.
She walked everywhere.

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