Learn more about the 150th celebration

CURRENT ISSUE: Spring 2016

FICTION

Season's Greetings from the Moon

Dad has been dead for at least fifteen minutes, and all I have done during this time is sit on the other side of the room from his chilling corpse, repeating to myself, at least with him gone, no one can call me Junior. Excuse the vanity, but pain brings out the worst in me, like the pulsating acne I can already feel swelling around my lips. As a child I often tumbled unexpectedly, leaving my thin body covered in bruises, with magenta pimples to arrive within minutes of the accident. While I have less experience with direct emotional pain, I can only assume that in trying moments of the heart, my skin will blossom as expected.

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FEATURES

Meet Your Grandparents

Your first memory is upside down. The skyline hangs in the air like a mangled overbite. Spires drip downward toward the sky. Your back curves around the arm of the chair, and you slide, moving toward the floor, until you lose sight of the window, and bang your head against the firm carpet. You’ll learn later that this is called a concierge lounge, or a club floor. That hotels stock bibles and other books in their bedside tables. Some will charge you if you steal their robes, but the two in your closet managed to arrive unknown, uncharged. A rollaway bed sometimes costs extra, but happens to be less comfortable than sharing a bed with your younger brother, even though he kicks at night. When you’re on a beach vacation, the sand finds its way to the bottom of the covers. A smoking room will smell. And never sleep by the window; Dad thinks you’ll roll off and fall out, or something like that.

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POETRY

between beat 3 and beat 1 (waltz)

there is no approaching
infinity, nothing
                 taught

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FROM THE BLOG

Summer Reads: Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

I like to apply metaphors of digestion to reading: indigestion, malnutrition, excretion, rumination. Word salad goes down like real salad. When we were kids most of us wanted to be the carnivorous animals that stalked our prey, sprinted in for the kill, ripped limb from limb and swallowed whole. Russian has a single adverb that encompasses the notion of consuming something's entirety with a single gulp. Satisfaction is implied. This is how I wanted to read: to salivate, devour, and then laze around not thinking about my stomach until the next gazelle turned up. Yet as much as I eye ungulates, I'm really just a large hunk of cow flesh chewing on the grass. The grass where I am always tastes like shit but the foliage over there looks damn fine. I move over there. It's not. I need six hours a day to pick up a measly twenty-four pounds of grass.

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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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