"I was there when this started, and neither of us could fix it."

DISTANCE by Amanda Doran

A viewing for a twenty-something isn’t normal and everyone knows it. People struggle with the proper facial expression, whom to greet, where to look, when to move, how long to stare at each picture, whether to hang up a coat or drape it over an arm. It can be a forty-five-minute utterly self-centered struggle over […]

"But the essayist would rather you do some work, some digging for metaphors, some comparison-shopping for yourself."


  When I look at things, I always see the space they occupy. —Andy Warhol Under the heading “Yes, commas DO save lives,” are three items—T-shirt, sweatshirt, and 7” x 12” plaque, all in a color described as Chocolate—bearing two lines: Let’s Eat Grandma and Let’s Eat, Grandma. This is exactly the type of gift […]

"and then angels will help me to my feet, I guess."

SLOUCH by Gale Acuff

In Sunday School today I thought I died and went to Heaven but it was only a dream so I’d only fallen asleep and when I woke I saw Miss Hooker, my Sunday School teacher, standing over me the way I guess God will when I wake up dead in Heaven, for just a while […]

"we could not chew the snow"

STRONTIUM-90 by Jeff Burt

My mother wore a scarf and scolded us to warm our ears: we could not chew the snow for soot and strontium-90 lurked in every lick, upper atmosphere churning chimney bits and atomic testing isotopes. My dad laughed how the ash could strengthen bones and the isotope deplete them so if they worked as pulleys […]

"This mess only grew bigger as I searched."

ACADREAMIA by M.V. Montgomery

a violation An official-looking envelope arrived for me through intercampus mail labeled, “Your Ticket Package.” We had recently outsourced security to a private firm—although no one yet, to my knowledge, had observed a new presence on campus. I opened the package and several forms spilled out. One appeared to be a survey; another, a list […]

After all, truth is fiction's strange bedfellow.

3QR: FREE TO PASS by Joanne Cavanaugh Simpson

LIBERO IL PASSO: FREE TO STEP OR PASS Consider, for a moment, the concept of the Three Quarter True Story: No censorship for writers. No betrayal for readers. No locked doors with mixed messages. When teaching fiction and nonfiction to university students, I’ve found that the question invariably comes up: What is True? We discuss […]