“My brother is dying,” my mother tells me over the phone, her voice spilling down the line, a thin stream of water over the lip of a dam. My mother says the word dying like it’s a question. As if we have some input in the matter. I’ve been expecting this news for some time and yet still, I feel a click inside my head, the pinioning tooth of a clock gear grinding down into sudden, absolute stillness. My hand goes up to my forehead where the bone is surprisingly intact. Curved, warm, hard. It comes to me that silence is just a figment, a metaphor. What sounds like a barren expanse, if you listen harder, is actually a tidepool glinting with shape and movement. Like the man in the sound-proofed room who hears the storm of his breath, the wonder of his own heartbeat.
Featuring our 2016 spring contest winners: Annie Sheppard, Rochelle Hurt, Jacqueline Doyle; and our poetry finalists: Shonte Daniels, Alexandra Barylski, Kat Keller, Chelsea Dingman, Naima Woods, Jake Syersak, and Anne Barngrover
Jacqueline Doyle Manka curled up on her white linen couch with a glass of Pinot Noir and opened the new New Yorker to the fiction page. On the left there was an illustration of a snowy landscape, with dark
I was several blocks away, kicking a soccer ball against a cinder block wall. In the hospital that evening I stood alone in the fluorescent hall. I didn’t believe a bit of it. Was Gawk in the room behind the half-closed door? I pictured him in there eating chocolate ice cream, the TV turned up loud, Dad reading the sports and Mom hovering. I remembered I needed to pump more air into the soccer ball. I stared at the door refusing to enter.
The word “benign” has several meanings. It can mean kindly or harmless. Or gentle – which is nice. I thought it also meant “sitting around doing nothing,” but this incorrect.
If you are busy, it can be irksome to observe others doing nothing. “If you’re not doing anything…” my husband says. I would argue that reading is not “doing nothing;” nor is smoking.
I am of robust health. You may find this offensive, given the above. Perhaps you do not feel robust yourself, or must work at it. If so, you may be glad to know that I will get my comeuppance.
We blow our paper on toe rings & studded spandex, then go all-pennies-in on who’s first to leave the water undressed—
Not having a mouth is no joke!
Judge: Jericho Brown DEADLINE: April 9th! PRIZE: $500 and publication in Phoebe 45.2 (online issue) ENTRY FEE: $10 SUBMISSION SIZE: 3 to 5 poems per submission, totaling no more than 10 pages. Jericho Brown grew up in Shreveport, Louisiana, and worked as a speechwriter for
Judge: Joshua Ferris DEADLINE: April 9th! PRIZE: $500 and publication in Phoebe 45.2 (online issue) ENTRY FEE: $10 SUBMISSION SIZE: 1 piece per submission, up to 5,000 words. Joshua Ferris is the bestselling author of three novels, Then We Came to the End, The Unnamed and
Judge: Harrison Scott Key DEADLINE: April 9th! PRIZE: $500 and publication in Phoebe 45.2 (online issue) ENTRY FEE: $10 SUBMISSION SIZE: 1 piece per submission, up to 5,000 words. Harrison Scott Key is the author of the memoir The World’s Largest Man (HarperCollins), a true story about