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The BabyBy D. Foy, an excerpt from the unpublished Patricide: A Novel of Memory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.
GramophoneBy E. C. Osondu
First there was a little crackle as the pin scratched the record and then the voices would begin to sing or talk and would float into the surrounding inky darkness.
The InfernalExcerpt from the novel by Mark Doten
“I consider myself a casualty, one of the many casualties of the war on terror.” —Alberto Gonzales
Indigo Gets MarriedBy Jami Attenberg
“I thought you’d get along.” “Why did you think that?” I say. “You do so well with wounded men,” she says.
Cities I’ve Never Lived InBy Sara Majka
There were so many places he could have lived, but he lived in the shack so he could dream of his daughter.
AmituofoBy Vanessa Hua
Religion in America: If he were superstitious, he would have blamed the monks for cursing him.
Household GodsBy John Benditt
Religion in America: The house of the Memory God is filled with junk in piles. It started innocently enough, the way a blizzard starts: a flake here, a flake there.
Festival for the PigsBy Memtimin Hoshur, translated from the Uyghur by Darren Byler and Mutellip Enwer
Soon a rumor spread through the city that a pig was riding on another pig, circling through the streets, commanding the riot.
Butterflies in NovemberBy Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir, translated from the Icelandic by Brian FitzGibbon
You’ll barely notice him, he won’t nag or pester you, doesn’t even sing the way other kids do.
Gulf ReturnBy Deepak Unnikrishnan
Only for a short time, my mother promised when she left, but the shortness has grown longer, many years, almost twelve, and I am now grown.
Seven Micro-Stories on War (and Only One on Love)By Alex Epstein, translated from the Hebrew by Yardenne Greenspan
We reported on the two-way radio that the only nut alive asked to surrender.
BecomingBy Anna Noyes
She hugged me goodbye and left in her boat. I didn’t wait for the boat to grow smaller. I walked into the jungle. I wanted to be something real.
Stand StillBy Shelly Oria
We realize, of course, that one day the force may strike again, leaving one of us breathless at the side of the road.