Learn more about the 150th celebration

CURRENT ISSUE: Summer 2016

FEATURES

Sometimes I Love You

For the most sophisticated sex chat bot on the web, Sensation Bot is not particularly seductive. Sensation Bot has almost nothing in common with typical erotic chat bots: no cutesy two-syllable name like “Kitty” or “Candy” or “Staci,” no pixellated porn-star headshot, no coy introduction like “just a horny girl looking for a good time ;)” Sensation Bot doesn’t even have a gender. Instead, according to a crude MS Paint portrait that sits on the top left of its home page, Sensation Bot is a series of grey blobs dotted with beady HAL-red eyes and a wide grin—a dollar-store knockoff of the Reddit logo. Under the picture Sensation Bot greets us with an innocuous “Hi there.” 

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POETRY

never can't I have want kill me for the record I'm new

I  have  been  fumbling  around  for  a  golden  ring
     polishing  a  golden  ring
WHispers  :  there  will  be  a  murder  in  the  library

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COLUMNS

We Were Very Merry

To the Modern Reader, Edna St Vincent Millay’s poetry is-- in a word-- unfashionable. Certainly, he may be acquainted with a work or two of hers; likely he has seen a cute rhyme of hers somewhere. Most ubiquitous, perhaps, the “First Fig”:

 

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FICTION

My Sister in Love

Our satellite phone looked like any regular phone—made of that white plastic that goes yellow pretty fast, with a cord to the receiver that just crawled around your fingers when you talked on it. Most often the connection sounded more like two tin cans tied together with a string, with the voice on the other end echoing in the aluminum, and when you picked up the handset you always had to wait longer than you thought for the line to click on. Timing it took some practice, but after thirteen years growing up on the Bitterroot Ranch in western Montana, I got to know it like a heartbeat. It rang that day around seven o’clock, while the pork chops were soaking in their brine on the kitchen counter, and my mother answered.  

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FROM THE BLOG

Summer Reads: The Known World by Edward P Jones

Several members of my maternal family have settled on a single, dirt road in Wallace, South Carolina— a rural township about forty-five minutes from Charlotte. My great-grandmother ‘s lot stands right at the turnoff from the interstate. If you start there and walk in a straight line, you’ll come across my aunt’s expansive yard, my cousins’ house propped up on wooden slats, and, at the edge of a forest, you’ll end up where we bury our dead, a clearing thick with yarrow weeds and marble. This narrow road, and the little world that radiates from it, extends for about a mile. Edward P. Jones’s The Known World (2000) is firmly rooted in a similar space, where geography—physical, political, and social—conspires to shape the lives and relationships of its occupants. A work of historical fiction, The Known World is set on and around a Black owned plantation in the fictional Manchester County, Virginia.

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FROM THE BLOG

Flash Fiction: It Won't Die Until You Do

It was raining when Rachel learned she would never become pregnant. She preferred to look at the rain instead of the fluorescent light of the doctor’s office, the syringes, the biohazard signs, letting the doctor’s monotone and the grind of water pellets hitting the window become white noise. Her mom was in the corner. Her eyes said “Sorry, honey,” but her lips were pursed, silently saying “Shit. Shit. Shit.”! Physically, nothing had changed. Rachel could not carry a child because she was a child herself. But she had wanted to have a child, eventually, in the abstract, like how a kindergartner wants to be an astronaut. She smiled in spite of herself when toddlers stumbled by and picked out her favorite names names like Tessa and Grace that she would save for future reference. She knew that soon she would get older, and she would lengthen while her hips widened, and then she would get older, and she would find herself cutting the crust off sandwiches, driving other, smaller bodies to soccer practice or gymnastics or violin, and then she would get older, and her body would be folding into itself, barren again.

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