Karis Lee
Alone at Passing Period

Karis Lee - Alone at Passing Period

Poetry
Karis Lee is a middle-school teacher. Her work can be found in MudRoom Magazine and is forthcoming in Rogue Agent. She lives and writes in Washington, DC. Read more »
Christopher Notarnicola
Available in Standard Sizes

Christopher Notarnicola - Available in Standard Sizes

Contest - 2nd Place
Christopher Notarnicola is a US Marine Corps veteran and an MFA graduate of Florida Atlantic University. His work has been published with American Short Fiction, Bellevue Literary Review, Best… Read more »
Jonathan Odell
Brother Buddy’s Gift

Jonathan Odell - Brother Buddy’s Gift

Creative Nonfiction
Jonathan Odell is the author of three novels. The View from Delphi, (Macadam Cage, 2004) deals with the struggle for equality in pre-civil rights Mississippi, his home state. In 2012, Random House… Read more »
Jennifer Saunders
Deep Freeze

Jennifer Saunders - Deep Freeze

Poetry
Jennifer Saunders is the author of Self-Portrait with Housewife (Tebot Bach, 2019) and a Pushcart, Best of the Net, and Orison Anthology nominee. Her work has appeared in The Georgia Review, Grist,… Read more »
Rachael Lyon
For the Hole in My Heart

Rachael Lyon - For the Hole in My Heart

Creative Nonfiction
Rachael Lyon is a poet, essayist, and translator. Her chapbook, The Normal Heart and How It Works (2011), chronicles her experience with a congenital heart defect. She received a Fulbright grant to… Read more »
Heather Bartos
Goldfish

Heather Bartos - Goldfish

Contest - 1st Place
Heather Bartos writes both fiction and nonfiction. Her essays have appeared in Fatal Flaw, Stoneboat Literary Journal, HerStry, and elsewhere. Her flash fiction and short stories have appeared in… Read more »
Garrett Candrea
Just Fly

Garrett Candrea - Just Fly

Fiction
Garrett Candrea lives and writes in New York City. His work has appeared in Carve and various issues of Sunspot Literary Journal. Find him at www.garrettcandrea.com. Read more »
Joshua Jones Lofflin
Manny’s Gone Missing (Again)

Joshua Jones Lofflin - Manny’s Gone Missing (Again)

Fiction
Joshua Jones Lofflin’s writing has appeared in The Best Microfictions 2020, The Best Small Fictions 2019, The Cincinnati Review, CRAFT, Fractured Lit, SmokeLong Quarterly, Split Lip Magazine, and… Read more »
Abby E. Murray
Plans for the Afterlife

Abby E. Murray - Plans for the Afterlife

Poetry
Abby E. Murray is the editor of Collateral, a literary journal concerned with the impact of violent conflict and military service beyond the combat zone. Her first book, Hail and Farewell, won the… Read more »
Garret Keizer
Raymond's Bar

Garret Keizer - Raymond's Bar

Fiction
Garret Keizer is the author, most recently, of The World Pushes Back (poetry) and Getting Schooled (nonfiction) and is a contributing editor of Harper’s Magazine and Virginia Quarterly Review. His… Read more »
Hilal Isler
Scorpion

Hilal Isler - Scorpion

Fiction
Hilal Isler lives in the Twin Cities. Her work has appeared in The Paris Review, The Brooklyn Review, and Los Angeles Review of Books online. She edits the Hennepin Review. Read more »
Elizabeth J. Coleman
Stratagem

Elizabeth J. Coleman - Stratagem

Poetry
Elizabeth J. Coleman is editor of Here: Poems for the Planet (Copper Canyon Press, 2019), author of two poetry collections from Spuyten Duyvil Press (Proof, finalist for the University of Wisconsin… Read more »
Jill Witty
The Unraveling

Jill Witty - The Unraveling

Fiction
Jill Witty writes novels, short stories and nonfiction from Richmond, Virginia. She received her MBA from UCLA and her BA in English from Yale. Her writing appears in Catapult, Pithead Chapel, New… Read more »
Andy Young
We Bury My Mother a Second Time

Andy Young - We Bury My Mother a Second Time

Contest - 3rd Place
Andy Young's second full-length collection, Museum of the Soon Departed, was chosen for the inaugural Patricia Spears Jones Award and will be published by Camperdown NYC. She is also the author of All… Read more »
Alison Zheng
What I Remember

Alison Zheng - What I Remember

Poetry
Alison Zheng's work has been published in Jacket2, Hobart After Dark, Honey Literary, Pidgeonholes, The Offing, and more. She's pursuing her MFA in Poetry at University of San Francisco as a Lawrence… Read more »

For the Hole in My Heart

Rachael Lyon

I have a hole in my heart. Again. Most people who say they have holes in their hearts are speaking metaphorically. They’ve put down a beloved dog or they’ve been dumped or they’ve lost a mother or a friend to breast cancer. All of these things and millions more leave holes in our emotional centers. I have my own holes—my own spaces that are empty of the people who once filled them.

But I’m not speaking metaphorically here. I have a hole in the wall of my heart, the septum, that divides my two atria, the uppermost chambers of the heart, the receivers of blood—one from the body, the other from the lungs. This hole, fittingly, is called an atrial septal defect. I’ve had this hole in my heart for most of my life.

What happens, physiologically speaking, when a heart has a hole like this one, is that the blood in these two chambers gets mixed up. The blue blood that’s returning from the body—where the muscles and organs have drained it of its oxygen—sloshes over into the red blood that’s returning from the lungs. And then it’s sent, along with the red blood, back out into the body,… Read more »