online magazine for short, good writing

Month: August, 2014

Five Lies I Tell Myself Every Day

by a contributor

from Lena Gluck, author of When Asked Why there was Pain in the World, Minimum Wage, and Dalliance:

  1. I’m not going to die, ever. And even if I did for some unfathomable reason, it would be absolutely impossible for it to happen anytime soon. The same goes for anyone I’ve ever met.

  2. I am happiest in life when I am out in nature, at one with the earth. Certainly not when I am eating oversized sandwiches. That would disappoint anyone who ever viewed me highly.

  3. In the infinities of time and space, I’m significant. I’m sure someone saved my post on an internet forum two months ago and returns to it in their darkest moments of doubt.

  4. The reality that most of my thoughts have already been explored by countless other people is a good enough reason to procrastinate writing.

  5. I found the fountain of youth. It tastes like wet peaches and involves ignoring the calendar.


by a contributor

Lena Gluck

I might see her,
so I wear big earrings, bright colors.

It doesn’t matter whether she likes them,
only that they give her something to say
or touch.

All morning wet air sweetens the world
on my lips, and by the time I see her
it’s raining.

Just inside the doorway, with her,
I am safe like a tent in the woods.

But she doesn’t notice me;
my coat covers my clothes.

I call, spring buds opening in my throat,
tongue covered in pollen and lily petals.

I wrap my arms around her like a blanket,
and she holds me close like a campfire.
This crowded building is a wide wilderness
that the rest of our lives can’t touch.

She smiles, says,
why did you hug me with that wet coat on?

then walks out into the rain.

Lena Gluck’s writing has appeared in the Great Lake Review. She is an assistant librarian and teaches the Young Authors Academy at the Downtown Writer’s Center in Syracuse. Her writing can be found on the

See Lena’s list of 5 Things tomorrow.

Minimum Wage

by a contributor

Lena Gluck

Finding employment is difficult for Death

because after an entire existence
learning how to deal with dying,
he hears it’s not a valuable skill

in today’s world.

He feels a little unfulfilled,
but things are okay.

In his free time, He’s often alone
in rooms of extinguishing candles,
tending to the smoke.

Lena Gluck’s writing has appeared in the Great Lake Review. She is an assistant librarian and teaches the Young Authors Academy at the Downtown Writer’s Center in Syracuse. Her writing can be found on the

See more poetry from Lena tomorrow.

When Asked Why there was Pain in the World

by a contributor

Lena Gluck

God did not hear the question,
for He knew only sound without pattern,
light without shape, chemicals without consciousness,
without mortality or meaning—

His creations, atoms,
were all doing just fine.

Lena Gluck’s writing has appeared in the Great Lake Review. She is an assistant librarian and teaches the Young Authors Academy at the Downtown Writer’s Center in Syracuse. Her writing can be found on the

See more poetry from Lena tomorrow.

Five Reasons to Read “Billy Budd, Sailor” by Herman Melville

by a contributor

from Donna Vorreyer, author of this week’s Brief Encounter:

  1. Billy. Never has there been a more innocent and likable character undone by an antagonist’s bullying and one fatal flaw: his emotional stutter. Even teenage readers I’ve taught have felt sorry for him, and that’s saying a lot.

  2. Claggart. Evil and jealous and spiteful and vain and morally bankrupt and conflicted and multi-dimensional. But mostly evil, driven nearly mad by Billy’s goodness and attractiveness, both things he can never have.

  3. Melville’s tangents. If you are familiar with Moby Dick, you know these well. In Billy Budd, Sailor, we get an education in mutiny on British ships, the machinery and politics of war (including the contradiction of placing chaplains on warships), naval values, the beauty of old ships, Admiral Nelson’s victories at Trafalgar and in the Nile, and metaphorical ruminations about sanity and insanity using rainbows.

  4. Melville’s long, lovely sentences. Sentences like this, at the moment of Billy’s demise: “At the same moment it chanced that the vapory fleece hanging low in the East was shot through with a soft glory as of the fleece of the Lamb of God seen in mystical vision, and simultaneously therewith, watched by the wedged mass of upturned faces, Billy ascended; and ascending, took the full rose of the dawn.” Sigh.

  5. The phrase “the handsome sailor,” which refers to a person who is ethical, virtuous, upright, beautiful, strong, full of good humor, and adored by others around him. It is rare to find one of these people in the world and, if I do, I always think of this phrase.

Brief Encounter: Refrigerator Magnets

by a contributor

Donna Vorreyer

All alphabet and apostle,
baby, I believe best.

I bite back, black and blue,
my body a brick. I dance

the dark day different.
Eight elements of geometry

and gender – get it, girl.
High, hot and hungry,

I invite inside a just king:
kiss me, lichen – I mean,

liebschen – your luscious
limbs looking magic.

I miss the mountains,
the music, my name. Napkin,

newspaper next to me at night:
no notebook. Once I raced

the rain. I remember,
I said. I saw, I say. I see

seven summers. I take.
I tell that your truths are

under used. I want what
water will – wind, windows,

and wings. I wish. You yell.
Yes, yesterday. You.

Donna Vorreyer is the author of A House of Many Windows (Sundress Publications, 2013). Her work has appeared in many journals including Rhino, Linebreak, Cider Press Review, Stirring, Sweet, wicked alice, and Weave. Her fifth chapbook, We Build Houses of Our Bodies was released in late 2013 by Dancing Girl Press, and her second poetry collection is forthcoming from Sundress Publications in 2016.

See Donna’s list of “5 Reasons You Should Read Billy Bud, Sailor by Herman Melville” in our ongoing contributors’ series.

Five words I like for their sonic quality but dislike in actuality

by a contributor

from Rebecca Hanssens-Reed, author of Sunday, In the past we wore stiff linens and That time I was in Australia and we pretended I was a film producer:

  1. Haptodysphoria  (noun) an unpleasant sensation felt by some people in response to certain tactile sensations. When you rub velvet the wrong way. Chalk on your fingers. When you accidentally brush against gum on the underside of a table.

  2. Susurrous  (adjective) whispering, murmuring. When I was a child my parents had a friend that always liked to lean in and whisper jokes to me, often while chewing on his food, which was usually something like hummus or pesto. I can’t help but think of that whenever I say this word: that chilling feeling of someone uttering soft, disgusting sounds into your ear.

  3. Oubliette  (noun) a secret dungeon with access only through a trapdoor in its ceiling. A word that sounds like it could be something cute but is actually the creepiest thing imaginable.

  4. Prosopagnosia  (noun) an inability to recognize familiar faces, often referred to as ‘face blindness.’ I kid you not, I think I suffer from this. It can be somewhat frustrating, very awkward.

  5. Elsewhere  (adverb) in, at, or to some other place or other places. I like the sound of faraway places but the distance between any of us is most often heartbreaking.