Posts Categorized: Online Feature

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Online Feature: “One More Artificial Organ” by Kate Birch


On a bookshelf next to my mother’s bed there was a prototype of the Jarvik 7 artificial heart. Sometimes when she was downstairs fixing dinner or folding laundry I would sit on her carpeted floor and tear that heart apart with a defiant rip of Velcro, balancing the meshy chambers in my upturned palms before I pieced them back together. Afterwards, I’d place the heart back inside its dusty outline and move on, shuffling through her dresser drawers, hungry for secrets.

In the bedside table there was a pack of Trojan condoms covered by a drawing that my father sketched of my mother’s “lovely foot” and under that was the perpetual calendar whose thin metal wheel I could spin like a fortune teller, predicting the future.

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Online Feature: “When All of My Cousins Are Married” by Aimee Nezhukumatathil


I read books about marriage customs in India,
trying to remember that I am above words like
arranged, dowry, Engineer. On page 28, it says to show

approval and happiness for the new couple, throw
dead-crispy spiders instead of rice or birdseed.
Female relatives will brush the corners of closets

for months, swipe under kitchen sinks with a dry cloth
to collect the basketfuls needed for the ceremony.
Four years ago, I was reading a glossy (Always

reading, chides my grandmother) in her living room
and a spider larger than my hand sidled out
from underneath a floor-length curtain

and left through the front door without saying
good-bye. No apologies for its size, its legs
only slightly thinner than a pencil. None

of my cousins thought anything was wrong.
But it didn’t bite you! It left, no? I know what they
are thinking: She is the oldest grandchild

and not married. Afraid of spiders. But it’s not
that I’m squeamish, it’s not that I need to stand
on a chair if I spy a bug scooting along

my baseboards—I just want someone to notice
things. Someone who gasps at a gigantic jackfruit
still dangling from a thin branch, thirty feet

in the air. Someone who can see a dark cluster
of spider eyes and our two tiny faces—
smashed cheek to cheek—reflected in each.


2015blue.nezhukumatathil (1)Aimee Nezhukumatathil is the author of three collections of poetry, most recently, Lucky Fish. With poet Ross Gay, she is the co-author of
the chapbook, Lace & Pyrite. Awards for her writing include an NEA Fellowship in poetry and the Pushcart Prize. She is the poetry editor of Orion magazine and her poems have appeared in the Best American Poetry series, American Poetry Review, New England Review, Poetry, and Tin House. She is professor of English at The State University of New York at Fredonia and in 2016-17, Nezhukumatathil will be the Grisham Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi’s MFA program.


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Online Feature: “Superstar” by Joseph Kim

“My film is not about Vietnam. It is Vietnam.”

— Francis Ford Coppola

Bruce is yelling about how good the sushi is, how it cost him $300 for the platter and how he can not believe the “shit” I’ve decided to pull right now.

I tell him it’s not shit. I tell him I’m fine with eating sushi, even a yucky eel roll, but that I can not eat it like he wants me to.

“Christ, Angie,” he says, then places his hand on top of his head. His eyes roll.

I breathe in deeply.

Bruce gets up from his director’s chair. He’s a pretty nondescript guy. Some days he’ll wear glasses. Today he’s got on contacts. His eyes are grayish and his hair is sandy brown. He’s in his late-thirties with a medium build. He looks so average, has such unremarkable, unmemorable features, that I often joke with him that he should rob a bank, be a full-time criminal because nobody could possibly remember what he looked like. What would they say to the sketch artist or the cops working the line-up? They’d say he was a white guy and not get much beyond that. Bruce is like electrical wiring. There but not seen. It’s hard to think anyone so “invisible” could be dangerous. Even now, as he’s picking up an M-16 whose barrel looks bigger and longer than I remember.

“What about this?” he says, holding it towards me. “You ready for this?”

And I reply in a voice calculated to be so nonchalant that it fools everyone, even myself:

“Yeah.” Read more…

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Online Feature: “Bucolic Calling” by Rebecca Lehmann


These were the times to fear. We were already falling. And had been. What we wanted were purple slugs, a slime to sing to. Give us the pretty girls, the pretty boys, the little child dead and mossy at the bottom of the well. Our hands against the stones were pounding, were pounding and bloody palmed. Look at us, at the bottom of the false wooden bottom, playing a joke on Mom. Look at her face, twisted with terror. But such was the age of us. We with our sunburned cheeks, with our frostbitten toes. We didn’t care if they fell off. We wanted them to. We begged for it: Please, please, God of the Toes, take ours as sacrifice and bring us a field of moist corn stalks and pig shit. In the apple orchard the sticks stung like meanies. We unzipped ourselves and climbed the stout trunks. I had an apple in my hand and it was bruising as I threw it, the air pushing its skin in. Yours was a rotten one, already bruised and flying apart in the apple leaves, depositing its brown and mushy flesh in splatters. This was the way we came and Mom was in the gravel road crying and we laughed at her. We laughed and we laughed at her silly poor-person jacket and we laughed at her face, and at her silly tears.

This poem appeared in Indiana Review 31.1, Summer 2009.


Rebecca Lehmann is the author of Between the Crackups (Salt, 2011). Her poems are published or forthcoming in Fence, Ploughshares, Boston Review, and other journals. She teaches creative writing at SUNY Potsdam.

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Online Feature: “Seeing Red” by Julie Hensley


I had my own little bedroom at Darla and Lincoln’s place, but usually I fell asleep on the couch where I watched movies long after they had gone to bed. The first month I worked at the Video House, I took home three, sometimes four, movies every shift. I must have thought somehow I could forget my own story. More often than not, I’d wake up when the credits were rolling on the last movie, and then I couldn’t fall back to sleep. Lincoln always turned off the air conditioner at night to save on electricity, so I would walk outside where there was at least a breeze. Read more…