Spring 2014


Check out these sample pieces from the Spring 2014 issue, guest-edited by Jean Thompson. For the complete Table of Contents, and to buy the issue, click here.


Read Jean Thompson’s Introduction:


“First the good news: In spite of every dour pronouncement I’ve heard over the four decades I’ve called myself a writer, and probably going even farther back, literature as we know it is not in crisis. Reading is not obsolete. Books are not doomed. Print is not archaic, nor is it likely to become so. Poetry is not dead. Short stories are not dead. Novels are not dead. They are not even sick.”




The Meat Place,” a story by Kim Chinquee:


“A week before I flew out, Harry called and said, “She drove into the mailbox. So I took her keys, and the next night, she walked a mile to Grand Central. I didn’t get a call from her until 8 a.m. The cops found her in the ditch and she was in the psych ward.” I still imagine her up on the ninth floor, in the same psych ward where my dad went.


The Sky in the Glass-Topped Table,” a story by Elizabeth Evans:


“Kelvyn tried not to mind. She loved Edward. She knew that keeping expectations in check led to fewer disappointments, and so she concentrated on the breeze that blew over the deck and tickled the modest amount of skin exposed by the blue skirt Edward had asked her to wear. Uncle Edward, she was to call him during the cruise.


Go-Between,” a story by Peter Rock:


“‘I followed her, just the other day, to the house where she lives. She didn’t know. She didn’t look back. I waited on her front porch, and then I opened the door. Yes, I went inside. Through the living room, past a wheelchair, into the kitchen. I could hear her singing, I could hear the screen door open and then slap shut. I stood there, and then I saw where she was—on the back deck, but I could only see her legs, her knees bent over the railing, her bare legs and the hem of her shorts. I took the bottle opener from the counter, and the note I gave you.’”




Nature Walk,” by Stephen Dau:


“It takes two cars to drive all the staff up into the hills, to a wooded spot close to the ski jump from the 1984 Winter Olympics. You keep forgetting that Sarajevo is a ski town. The steep, pine forest would be gorgeous except for two things: its selection as the picnic site was preceded by a lengthy discussion of whether or not any land mines remain in the area, a discussion that seems not to have been entirely concluded by the time you arrive; and, the amount of trash strewn in the woods makes it look and smell less like a picnic spot and more like a garbage heap.”




To One Waiting to Be Born,” by Malachi Black

Morning Song I,” by Jae Choi

At Kohl’s Department Store,” by Karyna McGlynn

The Monastery,” by Sarah Rose Nordgren

House of Wigs,” by Jonathan Wells




Welcome to Hell,” a Plan B essay by Jesse Lee Kercheval


The way my husband tells the story, I slipped on the ice, got a concussion, and when I woke up, said, ‘I want to learn to play the accordion.’ It is true that, after a concussion, I e-mailed my friends who were musical, asking if anyone had an accordion I could borrow. I wanted to try one out. I remember this process as being rather more logical than my husband’s story, but I could be wrong.”


Chessboard & Cornucopia: Forty Years of Invisible Cities,” a Look2 essay by John Domini


Amid this turmoil, Calvino’s folders began to reflect both the actual and the elsewhere. One collected places he’d known, ‘life-passages for me,’ while another held cities of the imagination. Together these ‘became a diary that traced [his] moods,’ now a metropolis like ‘a sky full of stars’ and now nothing but ‘garbage.’ Everything in his experience ended up in ‘images of cities,’ and ‘carried along behind,’ he sought to discern the tracery of a pattern.”




Alice Hoffman Prize Winner Elise Juska