Karis Lee
Alone at Passing Period

Karis Lee - Alone at Passing Period

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 »
John Odell
Brother Buddy’s Gift

John Odell - Brother Buddy’s Gift

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

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 »
Bonnie Heather Bartos

Bonnie 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

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)

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

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

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

Hilal Isler - Scorpion

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

Elizabeth J. Coleman - Stratagem

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

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

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 »


Bonnie Heather Bartos

We lived in that gray, abandoned tower of an apartment complex, in a neighborhood haunted by sirens and infested with crack cocaine. There were echoes of random gunfire. There were bullet holes in the slide at the park. Two “ladies of the evening” lived upstairs. We told you they were teaching their furniture to dance.

Your dad drove a bus, taking tourists to restaurants where they dined at tables decorated with sweet-smelling roses. He came home to the stench of mold and sewage, the sneers of boys who thought they were men, the scratching of rats in the walls.

One day he came home holding a clear plastic bag. Inside was a glimmer of gold, the orange sunshine of California poppies.

“Look!” he said. “It’s for you, sweetie!”

You named your goldfish Johnny Cash. You sang to him and tried to teach him the alphabet. You drew pictures and held them up to his glass tank. When we had a freak blizzard, you dumped some snow in his tank so he could play. You wanted to give him a kiss so he would turn into a handsome prince.

One morning, Johnny Cash floated on the surface, belly up.

“Great,” I… Read more »