Reviews, Notes, and Flash Fiction

Reviews - May 29, 2023

When Heartbreak is Legacy

“I think only substance abusers fall asleep in the bathtub. / When I was little my dad used to warn me / to be careful in the bathtub because a few times / my mom almost drowned,” reads the opening poem of Sarah Bridgins’ debut poetry collection Death and Exes. It prompts the reader to wonder why a collection ostensibly about “exes” opens with a poem about parental …

Flash - May 28, 2023

Three Minute Mile

Your eyes were a heat-shimmer even at night, like your last posted video, weaving up a quiet road, undulating in snow, breath fogging winter. You have three minutes on TikTok, and you run the mile that fast. One hundred thousand likes for your midnight lap of the city park and your oil slick pupils. Always proving something to a crowd, even invisible. We know your attachment style, don’t we …

Flash - May 27, 2023

Jew Baby

THINGS WERE GOING well — memories of Leo Frank fading, body parts of the lynched man hanging in an Ocilla hardware store window barely a rumour. Perhaps it was time to introduce the baby. Her grandfather sat in his rocker, snuff in hand. “Jew babies’re always pretty when they’re little,” he said, taking a dip. Leo Frank was an Atlanta factory superintendent from New …

Flash - May 18, 2023

Terms & Conditions

He swiped left across the smartphone screen, clearing the app icons until he got to the last page and his background picture came into view. His daughter at two: stringy hair, round cheeks, rosy in the heat of the kitchen, her shoulders clad in a pink winter coat, unzipped, hands clasping a bottle, milk sliding toward the tip, a limp-necked giraffe, and a plush cow crowded in her sticky fingers. …

Flash - May 13, 2023


What a rotten day. Not just a tad bit rotten, but curdled-milk, cow-shit rotten. There I was holding a gas nozzle, cursing the insanity of fuel prices, calculating how short I was on rent — the first of the month was only three days away — when I came face to face with Eve. Fuel stained my brown withered hands. At first, I didn’t recognize her in a canary yellow sundress.

Reviews - May 7, 2023

You Can Never Go Home Again

In Alexandra Chang’s short story, “Farewell, Hank,” a woman named Adrienne fumes over her neighbor’s collection of Orientalist kitsch: a print of a watercolored pagoda, zodiac figurines, a shower curtain depicting orchids and bamboo shoots. It doesn’t matter that her neighbor is from China, for Adrienne — herself the daughter of Chinese immigrants — the …

Flash - April 27, 2023

The Clock Museum

The children do not remember the Clock Museum. The Clock Museum was dull, boring, a snore. To visit there, as the children did more times than they realize, was something to be dreaded, like pop quizzes or the end of summer vacation. So who can blame the children if they can’t recall the permission slips they were required to ask their parents to sign, or the shuddering bus that ferried them …

Flash - April 27, 2023

A Good Swim

I was living outside Chicago with a man who was dying, okay. And it was my job to take care of the man: change his catheter, his tubes, his sterile water bags that looked like they were missing the goldfish. And look, the truth is that despite all his ailments, the dying man, honestly, needed very little from me. He spent his days catching Bluegill from the bridge that crossed over the spillway.

Reviews - April 7, 2023

Tress of the Emerald Sea

Tress of the Emerald Sea is a beautifully inspired fantasy adventure novel written by Brandon Sanderson that reignited my passion for reading and writing. The story follows the titular character of Tress in a reverse Princess Bride style quest to save her boyfriend Charlie from a powerful sorceress. To that end, she takes to the Emerald Sea and becomes a pirate sailing towards her destiny. The …

Reviews - April 4, 2023

Lucifer Was an Angel, Too: A Review of Madeline Cash’s Earth Angel

Teslas with Coexist stickers, school girls in plaid, adult slumber parties, group sex. Madeline Cash’s Earth Angel is a crescendo into chaos; a look into the absurdity of what it means to be human in this digital age. In fifteen lightly-intersecting short stories, Cash takes the objective goals of the American Dream — capitalism, CEOs, the “I’m going to be somebody!” …

Flash - March 24, 2023

The Ghost

The ghost is back, she said, when he entered the bedroom. How do you know? he said, sitting on the edge of the bed and picking up his book. The closet light was on. And the boxes were moved again. Exhaling like a weightlifter doing repetitions, he retraced his path to the door. Be kind, she said, but be firm. On the stairs the sounds came to him. The teapot being lifted from the kettle, metallic …

Flash - March 24, 2023

Generous Host

I used to read epic poems — like The Iliad or ad scripts for prescription medication side effects — but prolonged focus on one thing is detrimental to living like a mouse. When I go for evening scurries in the neighborhood, I point out to strangers how things have really changed, and that fear is the government’s tool to distract us from subterranean towns. They seem just as …