Kendall Klym
A Professional Male Ballet Dancer in Twelve Steps

Kendall Klym - A Professional Male Ballet Dancer in Twelve Steps

Contest - 2nd Place
Featured as one of “the greatest up-and-coming fiction writers today” in the Amazon description of Best Short Stories from The… Read more »
Shonté Daniels
Alligator Mississippiensis

Shonté Daniels - Alligator Mississippiensis

Poetry
Shonté Daniels is a poet and games journalist. She is currently an editorial associate at Rewire. Her poetry has appeared… Read more »
Michele Leavitt
Ash Box

Michele Leavitt - Ash Box

Poetry
Michele Leavitt, a poet and essayist, is also a high school dropout, hepatitis C survivor, and former trial attorney. Recent… Read more »
Laura Donnelly
Birding

Laura Donnelly - Birding

Poetry
Laura Donnelly’s first book, Watershed, won the 2013 Cider Press Review Editors’ Prize. Her poetry has appeared recently in Passages… Read more »
Richard Schmitt
Living Among Strangers

Richard Schmitt - Living Among Strangers

Fiction
Richard Schmitt is the author of The Aerialist, a novel (Harcourt 2001). He has published fiction and nonfiction in many… Read more »
Mason Boyles
Lucid

Mason Boyles - Lucid

Contest - 1st Place
Mason Boyles works at Pizza Hut. His fiction has appeared in publications such as Cutthroat, the Chariton Review, the Worcester… Read more »
James English
My Hope Level

James English - My Hope Level

Contest - 3rd Place
James English’s short fiction has appeared in The Magnolia Review, Hobart, The Tishman Review, Liars’ League (London), The Drum, and… Read more »
Andrew Siegrist
Nightmare Prayers

Andrew Siegrist - Nightmare Prayers

Fiction
Andrew Siegrist is a graduate of the Creative Writing Workshop at the University of New Orleans. His work has appeared,… Read more »
Laura Jean Schneider
No Sunshine When She’s Gone

Laura Jean Schneider - No Sunshine When She’s Gone

Fiction
Laura Jean Schneider has an MFA in Fiction Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her fiction and non-fiction has… Read more »
Philip Schaefer
Portrait for the Anti-Refugee Campaign in Ravalli County, MT

Philip Schaefer - Portrait for the Anti-Refugee Campaign in Ravalli County, MT

Poetry
Philip Schaefer’s debut collection Bad Summon won the Agha Shahid Ali Poetry Prize from the University of Utah Press and… Read more »
Hilary Schaper
Re-cognitions

Hilary Schaper - Re-cognitions

Creative Nonfiction
Hilary Schaper’s essays have been nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize, earned Honorable Mention in New Letters’ nonfiction contest, and… Read more »
Joy Ellison
Sitti’s Scars

Joy Ellison - Sitti’s Scars

Fiction
J.M. Ellison is a writer, scholar, and grassroots activist. They are interested in using stories, both fictional and true, to… Read more »
Alice Lowe
The Idea of North

Alice Lowe - The Idea of North

Creative Nonfiction
Alice Lowe reads and writes about life and literature, food and family. Her personal essays have appeared in numerous literary… Read more »
Roy Bentley
The Keno Caller at the Oxford Cafe in Missoula

Roy Bentley - The Keno Caller at the Oxford Cafe in Missoula

Poetry
Roy Bentley is the author of four collections of poetry, including Starlight Taxi (Lynx House: 2013), which won the 2012… Read more »
Alexandra Renwick
The Monsieur

Alexandra Renwick - The Monsieur

Fiction
Alexandra Renwick is a dual US & Canadian author whose short fiction has been translated into nine languages and performed… Read more »

Living Among Strangers

Richard Schmitt

Dump trucks rattle up where the asphalt ends. Men in boots go afoot into the woods carrying tripods and tool boxes. They shove wooden stakes into the sand and tie ribbons around trees. Yellow steel-jawed contraptions mouth longleaf pines and tear them roots-and-all from the earth. Palmetto bushes are bulldozed into piles and burned. Frightened displaced critters, snakes and rodents, their burrows crushed, their lives upended, scoot down tire-tread ruts into this upscale neighborhood south of Sarasota. Kids ravage the building site, finding tiger skulls, elephant tusks, bear claws. They run through the streets screaming “Dinosaur bones!”

“No,” I tell them. “No prehistoric land carnivores lived in Florida. I know, children, I was a school teacher.” They take a step back. “Seawater,” I say, “sharks and crustaceans lived here before us.”

Dewy mornings I don my Nikes and powerwalk the wide looping streets quiet before the sun clears the trees and starts the Spanish-tile rooftops steaming. I stride unstained sidewalks, skip over crisp-edged curbstones. Fat SUVs roll by, men in suits, moms seeing kids off to school. “Morning” everyone says. “Good morning, Mrs. Beamons!” I wave and say it back as if I know these people. As if I… Read more »