Water ButterflyBy Sylwia Siedlecka, translated from the Polish by Jennifer Croft
No one knows when exactly he became the thing I fed upon, the thing whose body works for my body, day and night.
A Bunch of SavagesBy Sofi Stambo, 2015 Dzanc Books / Disquiet International Literary Program Award winner, selected by Aimee Bender
I have a birthmark above my butt, which is undeniable proof of gypsiness.
Hell KettleBy Mary O’Donoghue
Boundaries of Nature: Water is always at work. We don’t even know that it’s eating the very ground from under us.
The Last of His KindBy Nick White
Boundaries of Nature: In books, he has read about boys and animals, how they form a connection, and then the animal dies. And the boy learns something about the harshness of the world.
QuicksandAn excerpt from the novel by Steve Toltz
It’s an open secret that every officer, regardless of rank, is allowed to step in and ask for special consideration for one fuck-up.
The Boy from PetrópolisBy Nuala O’Connor
I look at his face; the green eyes, the wet mouth. I still feel the dream-softness of his hair under my hands; I feel like a grandmother, like a mother, like a lover.
TrainBy Rebecca Entel
Now that she had shared a story, the Mother said, he must tell her one of his own. Something that had happened to him. He could tell that she meant something terrible.
The VaseBy Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi
I didn’t tell my husband, but there was a part of me that could have lived like that: eating cockroaches in the dirt, catching flies.
The Sum of Small ActsBy Gabriel Urza
They agreed to unspoken rules. Broken windows were OK. Broken bones were fair game. Graffiti was acceptable, as were rubber bullets and tear gas.
The Boy JihadiBy Youssef Rakha
For a year or more before the six months that we spent preoccupied with our strange visitor, counterterrorism was our spiritual life.
Let Me Explain YouAn excerpt from the novel by Annie Liontas
Stavros Stavros was fat and full at the end of the night. All he needed now was to deflower a virgin.
The AmericanistBy Andrew Malan Milward
“I’m celebrating my country! Stop hating my freedom, you terrorist.”
InscapeBy Yaa Gyasi
Boundaries of Taste: And as I parted my lips and then, later, my legs, watching the last clouds of smoke slip upward, I kept hearing my mother’s voice say, “Jesus is a fire.”
Canticle for Gigi SauvageauBy Jennifer Sears
Boundaries of Taste: Where we saw shape, line, and shadow—a nude—he saw a naked overweight woman.
Our Lady of ZeitounBy Iman Saleh
Firas rested his head on the back of the sofa, lost in the smoke. He wondered what that meant: a world where you can run wild.
Pretty IsBy Maggie Mitchell, excerpted from her debut novel
Only then can you forgive a girl for being pretty: if she’s an idiot or a liar.
The EdgeBy Barbara Mhangami-Ruwende
She studied her face, looking for any change. A bad person. A cheat. A lesbian. A cheating, barren lesbian.
A Boy My Sister Dated in High SchoolBy Emily Mitchell
When the boy she was dating hit my sister, it made a sharp cracking sound, just like it does in the movies.
I’ll Die and Be Right ThereBy Anna Matveeva, translated from the Russian by Ellen Litman
He told them about the Internet, Steam, Apple, and Microsoft, which were the other names of Satan.
The BabyBy D. Foy, an excerpt from the unpublished Patricide: A Novel of Memory
“I hope you pathetic little boys are proud of yourselves!” she cried. “I honestly do!”
Only SonBy Patrick Dacey
“Some are really crazy,” the nurse said. “Others are just pretending.”
Long ForgottenBy Ariel Dorfman
He did not want her to think what might possibly be true: that he was going mad.
Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One BeforeBy Lillian Li
Tanya was not surprised to find no one hiding behind the hedges when she looked out her window, but she was disappointed.
In the Dim BelowBy Teresa Milbrodt
Our parents were too busy launching bombs over the river to notice missing fingers.
WildlifeBy Carter Sickels
Boundaries of Gender: He smiled, shyly, and then came toward Evan, and although in the red light the scars on Evan’s chest were not visible, Billy found them and kissed them.
SubcorticalBy Lee Conell
Boundaries of Gender: In the early seventies, I began sleeping with a married doctor who wanted to cure homosexuality.
Red BrickBy Danny Lorberbaum
Sam wants to see the Mississippi River at night. He has heard of Tom Sawyer and he looks for him in the faces of boys they pass.
My Dreams Would Seem So CloseBy Stephen O’Connor
“They’re back!” we hissed over our kitchen fences. “Someone’s got to stop them! Something must be done!”
Afternoon CowboysBy Jonathan Crowl
“Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum. Straight out of a Western movie.” He handed it over to Brady, who gripped the black rubber handle and ran a finger on the sleek, cold metal barrel.
StormbringerBy Jennifer Haigh
I met Tracy Pasco in the spring of 1980—in my Pennsylvania hometown, a time of relative optimism and ease.