Fiction

  • A portrait painting of a humanoid figure with a ferret's head in a fur-lined jacket
       By Sadaa al-Daas
    Portrait number four from Second Skins Collection, photography by Miguel Vallinas Prieto In this Kafkaesque story, two startling discoveries follow the transformation of a man’s e...
  • Black and white photograph of a rustic building with a padlock on the door. A scythe leans against the wall just to the left of the door
       By Christa Reinig
    Photo: Mark Gunn / Flickr Papa received a scythe from a co-worker as a present. Mama is horrified. “A scythe in our house?” Papa wants to reassure her: “I’ve set it in the cellar.”  “For god’s...
  • A closeup photograph of a feather, caught in a chainlink fence
       By Etan Nechin
    Photo: Oxa Roxa / Unsplash The students noticed an opening at the bottom of the fence, a tear in the wires. On the other side of the fence was the outside, which they only saw from the bus...
  • A close up photograph of a Nicoise salad
    Photo: cyclonebill / Flickr In this political satire, an innocent meal becomes a bureaucratic nightmare. The maître d’, who was called over by the waiter, asked: “Is there a problem,...
  • A photograph taken from directly behind a white vehicle as it travels on a wilderness landscape
    Photo: Rachel Lees / Unsplash A couple in their kitchen. Either the man or the woman speaks first. We should make sure they’ve inspected the car. I guess they probably only r...
  • A photograph of a staircase spiraling downward
       By Peter Sheehy
    Photo: Zhenyu Luo / Unsplash Down the first twist of stairs and Josie hears she is not alone, like hearing a tree in the wind beyond her bedroom window. The old man: splay-legged before his do...
  • A grey sea shrouded in clouds
    Photo: Mark Eder / Unsplash Margherita was tiny and hunched. She had light eyes, and always—summer or winter—wore a shawl she kept closed on her chest with her hand, as if clutching a necklace...
  • An impressionistic watercolor and ink piece with a human-like figure inside an egg
    Painting by Sara Jimenez In this story by an indigenous writer from the southern Philippines, a crime continues to haunt a local’s thoughts. It had been some time since Lolo Bebe pass...
  • A pile of freshly chopped parsley on a knife-scarred cutting board
       By Bel Olid
    Photo: Sarah C / Flickr She makes the little balls with extreme care, as if for a sphericity contest, and then she puts each one next to the other. This order, which she must disturb to fr...
  • A digitally altered photo of a woman through a window with scenes of the street outside projected on to her face
       By Bibiana Camacho
    Photo:  Omid Armin / Unsplash A stalled train and shifting visage make for an eerie commute. I could’ve stayed in bed a little longer, but what for? Surely that would only make things...
  • Grafiitti on the side of an off-ramp, dominated by a repeating figure of a man in a suit, sporting a halo like Byzantine iconography
       By Miguel Gomes
    Photo: Cory Doctorow / Flickr What a world. In life we have to make choices, face the most loathsome decisions; and, there up ahead, all you see are forks in the road. Hang a left, or maybe a...
  • A close up of a white horse's head
    Photo: Victor Grabarczyk / Unsplash An encounter between a tonga driver and the “cruelty folks” seizes a university student’s attention on his way to class. Sometimes I remember stran...
  • A silhouette of a coyote against a rose-tinted dawn sky
       By Zsuzsa Selyem
    Photo:  Ray Hennessy / Unsplash In May 1974, in New York’s René Block Gallery at 409 West Broadway, Joseph Beuys (1921–1986) carried out his performance “I Like America and America Likes M...
  • A long exposure photograph of the moon in eclipse
    Photo: Zoltan Tasi / Unsplash A mother’s conflict with her daughter causes her to reflect on Khawnaa, a mathematician-astrologer and light of the Bengali medieval court.  When my daughter...
  • Many round objects, painted like bird's eye are mounted to poles and illuminated at night
       By Alberto Chimal
    Birds Watching, by Jenny Kendler, part of Indicators: Artists on Climate Change at Storm King Art Center, depicts one hundred eyes of bird species threatened or endangered by cl...
  • The empty seats of a soccer stadium as soon while looking down toward the field (which is not in the panel)
       By Sepideh Zamani
    Photo: Philipp Bock/Flickr Banned from entering soccer stadiums since Iran’s 1979 revolution, the young women in this story hatch a risky plan to get inside the stadium on game day. ...
  • A pair of childish legs stand perched on a mossy rock in a brook
       By Mika Seifert
    Photo: Jordan Whitt/Unsplash In this coming-of-age tale with a dark twist, two brothers engage in a deathly game. MY BROTHER LEMMY taught me how to die. I was then ei...
  • A photograph of a white rose all but enveloped in darkness
       By Myronn Hardy
    Photo: Annie Pratt/Unsplash While on a pilgrimage to the site of Mohamed Bouazizi’s self-immolation in Tunisia, which sparked the Arab Spring, the narrator meditates on revolution, death,...
  • A hole cut out of a piece of black matte card stock, revealing black matte card stock beneath
       By Clelia Farris
    Un Uovo Vuoto, illustration by Damiano Cenderelli Italian sci-fi master Clelia Farris conjures a solitary egglike being and the company eager to provide a piercing solution. ...
  • A half-ripe mango, tipped in pink on top gradating toward green at the bottom
    Photo: Bishnu Sarangi A girl is forced to reexamine the myths surrounding her aunt when her aunt moves in with the family in Texas after leaving her husband in India. Is she more goddess, more...
  • A close-up of green lichen
       By Asja Bakić
    Photo: NettPix/Pixabay In this story from Asja Bakić’s debut collection, Mars, two women exist in a dangerous symbiosis. Lichen: nature’s chaos. A body of algae and mushroom, the...
  • Lumps of worked dough, covered in flour
    Photo: Wine Dharma/UNsplash In his bildungsroman, the “People’s Poet of Azerbaijan” describes a time when “all the world smelled of bread.” I’d taken off my clothes and climbed into bed. B...
  • Playfully illustrated figures swim in an abstract sea
    “Gravity” by Dani Montesinos Feet to Feet   My wife and I have a way of sleeping that might seem a bit bizarre: neither face-to-face nor back-to-back, but with the soles of our feet pressed togethe...
  • A watercolor illustration of an elephant, dominated by red and orange hues
       By Sonya Chyu
    llustration by Shanti Sparrow A nine-year-old wonders whether her story of a publicly shamed elephant is responsible for her immigrant mother’s mysterious condition. O nce upon a recent ti...
  • A hallway in a hospital with an door open just before a window lit by the sun
       By Michael Mattes
    Photo: Erkan Utu/Pexels What I see upon entering a hospital room in St. Paul at dawn. My nieces asleep, one on a cot against the wall, the other in a chair beside the bed, holding my sister’...

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