Tammy Ho Lai-Ming


First snow, reading lizard in the red chamber, is making love to me.

Is the moleskine daily diary for butterflies? A day is always another word, or
another door.

You came here to create me. In chalk.

AT A TYPICALLY UNCLEAN LONDON TRAIN STATION: Tiny mushrooms grow / Hoo /  of my ring binder book.

Love means love you. Not really.

My fingers tell me to smile. We are savages, you quite understand!

Other bad habits: Check if I am arousing. Pretending to make phone calls. The wind is southerly and I am sad.

Books – long for; Cloudberry flower; Homeward; Ice--first meeting with, white
reflection from; Moons!

Jargon, n. 1: The art of London spread out in the commonplace.

Perceptible eyes would probably see my blueberry pancakes. That someone is Chinese.

You emerge at six in print, twittering.

AT ANOTHER RANDOM TRAIN STATION: desire can be cultivated with the right kind of new year.

Thank you for breakfast and sharing my very own copy of the furious noon.

I saw the sink: Last night street hawkers sold hot mangoes, lizards and moons. Did you buy some grapes?

Now, the code, or perfume. Knock Knock Knock Knock Knock. Coffee-stained mad!

Marginalia, underlining – tell me about John Dryden. What can you find in a life of used books?

Glorious London. Even the moles on my legs sing. I'm not the code, or uncut diamonds. Are you really hard already?

Yes, I might even blossom, invisibly. No woman loves sitting alone or clearing your rooms. You are addicted to my favorite dresses and that audio book?

I behold, upon the Window onto the Humanities: How should I write this, write the

And I would challenge the untranslatable Virtuous Woman I cannot be.

I said: My beau is Spring. OUTDOORS. We can totally hear Henry James.

Watching my favorite dresses change the direction of the wind. May is in my flesh, or is it merely tattooed?

This is making me premier: Unexpected themes and strawberry muffins. And I find myself cut into a phone. I have the end of the morning. My poem is based on a London song.

You are now published. You can be made into a black miniskirt.

Tammy Ho Lai-Ming is a Hong Kong-born writer currently based in London, UK. She is a founding co-editor of Cha: An Asian Literary Journal. More at


Amy Benson

Without Attribution 

A car on the highway is a thought nurtured by the blurred landscape.  And you were moving swiftly inside of this thought with the stereo silent and your passengers asleep.  Part of your mind was tracking the lines of the road, the bumpers, the wind against the broadside of the car; part of it was in the backseat resting against a pillow, picking up pieces of the future and setting them back down again.  

Then you saw a cluster of towering spotlights in the highway median.  You immediately thought “art,” though you can’t say why.  They could simply have been floodlights for nighttime construction or even lights for a film crew shooting a road scene.  But the lights looked like descriptions of themselves, you thought, like you were supposed to notice that they were lights before seeing what they were lighting.  They were closer together than one would expect.  And there was a sense of a hand lingering about each spotlight’s placement, authorship.  As how, under a confluence of chiseled mountain, tree, and lake an atheist might slip and think God, it seemed as if a mind had thought these spotlights into being and so your mind reflexively thought of that mind. 

It was an invitation that mind issued, and you loved the feeling of responding to it.  Okay, let’s go, almost like a romance.  It was daylight and the lights were not on—or at least not visible—but before flashing by at a speed you hoped was not worth a trooper’s time, you saw that they were pointed not at the highway but at the land on the opposite side of the road.  It was a field of corn planted on a hill sloping gently up and flanked by trees.  The object of five magnificent spotlights was simply this: a field of corn.  

The richness made your breath catch.  Flying down the highway, the landscape like a radio between stations, you are on your way and movement feels famous—the eye, the camera follows you.  And then suddenly, For Your Consideration: corn as bully crop, corn as rows of nostalgia, corn as what is most fecund and simple and rabid about America.  The spotlights said, Here is celebrity, here is event.  You on the highway are the white noise. You could do worse than to wait and watch, the piece suggests, while knowing that you won’t, there is no pause.  And you will take along only a flash of this ordinary, famous highway.

You hoped this was a series and in a month, a year, you would look down and find a specimen dome over a weed coming up through the sidewalk.
It might, after all, have been construction floodlights. It was summer and every highway in the country was being chewed up and frosted smooth. But it was the best piece of art you’d seen in a long time.

Amy Benson is the author of The Sparkling-Eyed Boy (Houghton Mifflin 2004) and teaches writing at Columbia University.  New work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in journals such as diagram, Seneca Review, Hotel Amerika, Black Warrior Review, and Pleiades


Cheryl Quimba

Baltimore, You Are a Pocket Full of Copper Nails
A lot of the time I want to push people
into giant manholes then fly down
to save them, introduce myself as their
long-lost sister who has finally sold everything
to come home. They would be confused but then
so happy for having found something they didn’t know
was lost, and it would feel like a piano playing
beams of colored light against the wall.
In your poems I’m always sad and saying
sad things but in real life I say I am the mountain
sitting on this park bench, so small a microscope needs
binoculars to find me. Baltimore is filled with dirty bathrooms
but no one cares because fun is happening.
Where I live the places where
people die are marked with stuffed animals tied
to lamp posts. There is a store called Hair Strategies
and little kids push strollers filled with
cans of soda up and down the medians.
I like to cross the street like
I’m walking through a casino.
The bells are ringing and ringing
and ringing goodbye.

Cheryl Quimba is a recent graduate of the MFA program in creative writing at Purdue University.  Poems of hers have appeared in Dusie, Phoebe, Tinfish, and 1913.  She lives in Baltimore with no pets and works as a publications assistant at Johns Hopkins University.


Jacqueline Doyle

Crossing the River Lethe
It's a cool night, cold when the wind blows across the water, and she forgot to bring a jacket. At least she thinks she forgot to bring a jacket.  She can't remember preparing for this trip at all, or where she is headed. The stars reel slowly in the vast firmament above her in forgotten constellations. She knew them once, traced them on a large, folding map of the night sky when she was a child: Cassiopeia, Orion, Andromeda, the Big Dipper. She's never seen such a profusion of stars. It should be possible to orient herself by the North Star. Isn't that the brightest? But she can't locate it, and can't recall how to navigate by the North Star, though she used to know. The black water gleams, reflecting the starshine. The rushing current on the sides of the boat looks treacherous and icy cold. She can't remember the name of the river. It's a cool night, cold when the wind blows, and she can't remember where she's going exactly. The sky is so vast. She feels infinitesimally small. She's having trouble remembering her own name.

Jacqueline Doyle enjoys flash, and she has pieces published and forthcoming in DOGZPLOT, LITnIMAGE, Monkeybicycle, Staccato Fiction, flashquake, blossombones, elimae, 5_trope, and many other online journals. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she teaches at California State University, East Bay.


Mark Gurarie

Resistant Is Futile Learns a Few Important Lessons About Show Business

In time, the camera work you do for us
will boldly explain your tentacled desires. 

This vacuous is insufficiently lit.
What arc can you build of such fibers? 

The dialogue is superficially molded to find quality.
Did you not too find the characters unlikable?

Days of our foam operas display at least excessive emotion,  
broadcast throughout the greater metropolitan hive. 

You mistake us for your favorite segment,
your favorite jazz fuses to this elevator of licks. 

We expose an uglier violence should photographs 
be shaken of us. What happens in Valhalla stays  

in Valhalla. Your King shall lose
150 lbs. and still be considered fat.

Mark Gurarie is a recent graduate of the New School's MFA program and resides in Brooklyn, New York. His poems have appeared in Spot Lit, The 16th & Mission Review, and The Case Reserve Review. In addition, he has a blog:


Chris McCreary

Suburban Station

There have always been singers underground. There’s the young, hermaphroditic violinist who spends mornings hunched and moaning above its splayed-open violin case, bony limbs flailing beneath layers of silken scarves and a shock of jet-black hair hanging to its chin. There’s the blind couple, both obese and almost entirely toothless, him extending a cut-open milk jug for donations as they harmonize on Christmas carols year-round, her guide dog curled obediently at her feet. And, after all these weeks, I see that he still comes, too, singing in the same space between the Walgreens and the Juan Valdez coffee kiosk. Today his hair is cropped close to his skull, his khakis are faded but well pressed, and his blue-and-black striped tie is only slightly loosened at the neck of his worn white Oxford, crescents of sweat fanning out from beneath his exuberant arms.

It was, surely, the singer’s appearance that drew me to him in the first place, looking as he did as if he’d just come from behind a spreadsheet himself. His delivery was as crisp as his attire, yes, but it was the yearning beneath it, the slightest of scratches in his voice that pulled me into his renditions of The Beatles, old-school Philly Motown, the occasional Everly Brothers classic. And as he sang he would take a step or two toward me with a look of such passion, such transport on his face that I pretended not to care if he was always staring at some transcendent point above my head. It was as if he was saying, “We are all better than this, these days of drudgery in the cubicles that corral us. There is something above us that I can see, and I see – and sing – it for all of us.”

Picture my wife waiting at the dinner table, my son alone in a darkened parking lot an hour after soccer practice had ended. Instead I would find myself still crouched, unmoving, as he finally stopped singing at exactly 9:00 p.m. and scooped his earnings into a battered old laptop case, never pausing to count all that I had bestowed upon him, my piles of fives and tens, my Fossil watch, my BlackBerry, my favorite Kenneth Cole tie. Never once did he pause to look me in the eye, always pulling his sleeve from between my fingers with just the slightest tug.

Today is a muggy August Monday, my first day back in the office after a week spent in Sea Isle City with my family, and I find myself returning to the vast catacombs of Suburban Station. Each time I dozed off beneath the scorching Jersey sun I would dream of him, the hitch in his voice, the grace in even his most spontaneous gestures. Today as I approach, not even a solitary commuter pauses to toss a nickel or hear a snatch of song, and I imagine that his eyes finally flicker across mine for the first time. I have this fist full of coins, I realize, quarters left from Skee-Ball with my son at the shore, and in that moment I’m unsure if I want to drop them at his feet or smash them into his euphoric face.

Chris McCreary is the author of three books of poems, most recently Undone : A Fakebook (Furniture Press), and he co-edits ixnay press (, a tiny Philadelphia-based poetry press. His recent story, "Kid Cyclone & The Birdman of Avalon," was just published in BlazeVOX 11. In addition, he has reviewed fiction and poetry for venues such as Rain Taxi and The Poetry Project Newsletter.


Russ Woods


This whole town smells like beef. It smells like a thousand cows accidentally stepped into a thousand barbecue pits at once and it started raining sauce. The mayor has left because he is too hungry. He left a note and the note says coleslaw.

Russ Woods once saw a gang fight on his commute home. He has been published in New Wave Vomit, Dinosaur Bees and Pangur Ban Party and has work forthcoming in LIES/ISLE. He co-edits Red Lightbulbs with Meghan Lamb. He recently lied about his favorite movie to the Mayor of Homewood, Illinois on television. His first chapbook, Welcome to Introduction pt. 1, is forthcoming from NAP books.


Sally Molini


I know summer's bacchanalian weave is all
quarks and leptons, though even the shadows
look green in early evening's holographic drift. 
Like most creatures on this orphaned planet
I'm an evolving past with a parallel life or two
yet no matter how solid I feel I'm just part of
Earth's roadside pointillism, every fall-away

edge and molecular wave out of range, thanks
to the eye's agoraphobic hold. How real is this
world? Maybe the senses decide too much --
not sure what to think, sitting here by the coiled
hose while night blindfolds another horizon,
the present looking rough and bumpy as usual,
sparkle flaking from the stucco's pokey stars.

Sally Molini co-edits Cerise Press ( Her work appears or will appear in Barrow Street, American Letters & Commentary, Denver Quarterly, Cimarron Review, Diagram, and other journals. She lives in Nebraska.


Scott Abels

New City
A Cardinal
amid scandal

is said to leave.
We shave


The City

has a ban
on sports

for sexual

The people drove

Monsanto out

they didn’t help.
Tree number

eight fifty four
has a fungus.

Let’s loop
our rope

a natural crotch.

Don’t be 

in a 
new city.

The recent work of Scott Abels can be found (or is forthcoming) in Forklift Ohio, H_ngm_n, Sink Review, Juked, DIAGRAM, Lo-Ball, and others. He currently lives and teaches in Honolulu, where he edits the online poetry journal Country Music (


Christine Fadden

Humorless Bastard

Nothing’s funny about Mummy with her tits half out.
She’ll turn my smooth cool cheek to suckle and suckle again and again and 
she’ll mouth there there, Bozo, there there,
but nothing soothes me less than mime, 
and Mummy’s animated.
My lullaby is a drum roll please and the sound of feral Appaloosas running tight
circles balancing 
ballerinas on their backs. 
I don’t fidget much, but I’m fussy. 
My harlequin collar catches milk Mummy makes by slapping my porcelain 
white palms against her inverted purple nipples. 
It’s sad, I know, to suffocate in folds of sour.
I stare off; Mummy stares harder, baring 
just a few of her teeth. 
There are three men here whose sole task is to tame her.
When she coos, “You suck just like the Guess Your Weight Man,” 
my overly arched eyebrow twitches and I reach to clutch the beads 
of her necklace— 
twist them into a choker until her tongue sticks out. 
Now that’s what I call funny.

Christine Fadden roams around. Her fiction appears or is forthcoming in Bluestem, New South, decomP, Staccato Fiction, Storyglossia, On Earth as it is, and elsewhere. Christine's piece was inspired by a contest at Moon Milk Review.


Lancaster Cooney

The Chicken’s Severed Head

Plastic shrouds promote anonymity. Those zipped away inside, nothing more than faint blurred flesh. In all I count seven mountainous bodies, sexual orientation, no doubt, swallowed in a lugubrious assortment of belly and inner thigh. Never before had I seen so many heavy dead. Perhaps someone poisoned the buffet, or a maddened gunman had walked the perimeter of the drive-thru snapping rounds past the windshields of sadly sunken vehicles. Nevertheless, seventeen-year-old Cynthia Toomey is not a hard spy.

I avoid jokes directly involving weight--know your audience--and instead speak of the weather and Cincinnati’s inability to deliver with runners in scoring position. Casually, though not in actuality, I am asked the time. “Let’s see,” I say, staring at the digital bones on my wrist watch. “Three twenty-seven a.m. good friend!”

Working alongside the dead had stirred within an unruly inclination toward strange theory and afterlife debate. In the vein of the chicken’s severed head arose a sort of playful speculation regarding feelings of abandonment and that suffocated depravation for movement and objection.

Once alone, instruments aligned on a sterile drape, controlled breath within the hollow dome of a surgical mask, I guide the zipper down its track and have a look at Cynthia Toomey. She is beautiful, pale, more so than usual, hair locked back in the beak of a red barrette. There is no evidence of overeating. And from the corners of her mouth an array of smile-lines jettison and blend.

I open the shroud like a cornhusk. Suicide wrists. She had gone by way of butterfly knife following The Late Late Show. She was the third I have dealt with to die in such a way. The first, a young Asian who hadn’t the gall to pull the trigger, but instead chose to present the barrel to five officers who had cornered him in a neighbor’s garage. They filled him up, twenty-seven holes in all, crescent moons and misplaced bellybuttons.

“Oh honey, what was so terrible?” I ask, swabbing the surrounding areas aseptic and brown. Covering her, leaving only a single circular opening where the applied eyelid retractor ensures she stares wide-eyed and painless. On a small rolling table a cup of coffee smolders. When younger I had taken it black, viewed it as a rugged code of manhood, only to realize well into my twenties that a splash of milk brought the severity down. My mind lolls through a slipstream of thought (family, childhood, pending transactions) as I gently snip and separate tissue. The conjunctivae rolling back like burning cellophane, until releasing the eye and allowing it to buoy just beyond the surface of the socket. I have a need to take a drink, but focus instead on steadying the forceps and assuring my grip on the lateral muscle. “Shhh. Shh. Shh,” I say, severing the optic nerve and slowly removing the eye from the shallow valley of the skull. “It will all be over soon.”

Lancaster Cooney lives with his wife, a sweet baby girl, and a puppy in Kentucky. He currently works at a non-profit agency serving individuals with special needs. His most recent work appeared in Red Fez.


William Merricle

Postcard from Purgatory

Ayn Rand and the Buddha agree
there is no such thing as others.
Carnivores ask who’s in control.
Wistfulness is a high point
in the evolution of bone.
Loss of clarity
is sexually transmitted.
You learn something new every day
by kicking the glass out of the window.
The coffee’s abysmal.
The moonlight mottles with mortality
purely for laughs.
God will excuse yesterday
if we’ll excuse tomorrow.
I am felled by falling expectations.

William Merricle lives in Lima, Ohio. He once was the assistant manager of a porn theater and would open the little window panel in his office and throw paper airplanes with quotes from Heidegger at the patrons below. His latest chapbook, Heimlich the Donut, is available from Pudding House Publications.


Sabrina Stoessinger

My Father, the Bumblebee

Five-year-olds do not understand death. They understand sadness and tears and ask why everyone wears black now when it is summer and everyone is supposed to wear shorts and t-shirts. There is no marked passing of time for five-year-olds, only the blink of eyelashes and light cotton pajamas and endless episodes of their favorite cartoons while everyone else sits in the kitchen. Five-year-olds do not understand funerals and wonder why Uncle Mac is here when he’s only supposed to be here at Christmas. And who are all these other people? And why is everyone so quiet all the time? When five-year-olds hear about cremation they cry because they’re scared that the great big fire that everyone talks about will hurt their father like it hurts their little fingers when they touch the stove. Five-year-olds do not understand heaven and wonder constantly where it is and ask questions over and over again and want to know why their father had to go there and why he can’t stay here.

Five-year-olds will do things that make complete sense to other five-year-olds but adults won’t understand at all. Five-year-olds will find something dead, like a frog or a minnow or a bumblebee and they’ll want to make a funeral for it. The adults will say no, you are not burning this bumblebee, but I will help you bury it. The five-year-old will ask if the bumblebee can still go to heaven if there is no fire and the adults will sigh and say yes. The five-year-old will find a tiny box and a spoon to dig the hole and a harmonica to play some music and the adult will have to stop all the important stuff they are doing to have a bumblebee funeral.  And an hour later the five-year-old will dig up the bumblebee to see if it’s gone to heaven and cry harder than they’ve ever cried before to find the bumblebee still there.

Sabrina Stoessinger's fiction and poetry have appeared in numerous journals, both online and in print. Most recently she's been published in Corium, White Rabbit Quarterly, DOGZPLOT, Filling Station and Contemporary Verse 2. Her story "Black Summer" was included in Wigleaf's Top 50 (Very) Short Fictions 2011.


M Thompson

How I Nearly Felt (Marginalia after Markson*)

How I nearly felt: 
2. The world being everything that is the case naturally
    a. Though I am very likely now contradicting myself
3. Most things generally being a good deal of both,
4. Fundamental
6. Inconsequential -
7. Ah, me.
8. This is not that complicated.
8a. (though it may seem to be)
9. One can hardly imagine so wishing
10. Or even begin to begin with
11. These lists
    keep growing,
    are saddening,
11. One's head. Doubtless.
12. The sign must have said:
    a. To the castle
    b. To the town
    c. Madness
13. Run.

*From Wittgenstein’s Mistress by David Markson

M Thompson lives in Seattle. His fiction, book reviews, and interviews have appeared in places like Unsaid, elimae, Monkeybicycle, The Collagist, Used Furniture Review, jmww, and Spork, among others. He is concerned primarily with fiction writing and running long distances.


Kirk Pinho

Kirk Pinho is made in Kirk Pinho’s image.

Kirk Pinho is made in Kirk Pinho’s image. 
On the fifth & sixth days, he created the chameleon & its stereoscopic vision.
He told the dinosaurs to piss off. He created the porous ribs, the thorax, the      anterior, the bicuspid valve of the muscle Kirk Pinho once called the heart. 
Kirk Pinho is a good substitute for angioplasty. 

His heart is wide for you like a nail bomb. His heart is wide for you like a nail
            bomb. His heart is wide for you like a nail bomb. His heart is
            wide for you like a nail bomb. His heart is wide for you like a nail
            bomb. His heart is wide for you like a nail bomb. His heart is
            wide for you like a nail bomb. His heart is wide for you like a nail bomb.  

He would love to shove his tongue between the gaps in your teeth. 
He would love to pull your pants down to your knees & fuck you in an alley,
syncopated to a soundtrack of cats yowling. 
The carrion stuck to their gums.  

He would love to have the memory of math. 
He would love to be the thumbprint of himself on a loaded semiautomatic. 
He would love to snort coke from the stretch marks on your stomach, baby. 
He would love to see how much light the stars can rain. 
Kirk Pinho speaks for no one but himself. 

He would love you in an alley. He would love you like artillery. 
He would create you, & you would create him back. 

Kirk Pinho received his MFA in poetry from the University of Alabama (2010) and is the assistant editor of a newspaper in Michigan and teaches English at a local community college. His work has also appeared in Tuscaloosa Runs This: An eBook of Tuscaloosa Writers, The Offending Adam, Comstock Review, Hot Metal Bridge, and Copperfield Review, among others.


Joanna Penn Cooper

Dear Upstairs Neighbor,

There seems to be someone with a heavy tread who walks back and forth with shoes on, purposefully, in the mornings and in the evenings.  Unfortunately, given our thin floors, we can hear this.  It sounds very loud to us.  We wish it weren’t so. 

When this building was first erected, it was envisioned as an uptown utopia where middle class New Yorkers could live amidst a resort like atmosphere. In fact, a 1924 advertisement published in the New York Times promised a doctor, dentist, valet, barber, beauty salon and taxi stand all on premises.  There was to be a bus to drive residents up the hill from the subway stop.  The courtyard must have been lovely then, the fountain in working order, the plot of dirt around it planted with roses and vines.  Now, as we know, the walkways are crumbling and certain areas have recently been marked off with yellow caution tape.  Men from the former Yugoslavia call out to each other in the mornings as they fill in the courtyard cracks with cement.  When I go down to do laundry in the afternoon, they are all taking a break on the stoop, not eating, not smoking, just lounging on the stairs and talking, and they give me a half-smirking, half-friendly smile and don’t quite meet my eyes when I say hello.  

(I don’t know about you, but living in the city sometimes makes me feel like a clown, sort of like Giulietta Masina in Fellini’s Nights of Cabiria, but less scrappy, bobby-socked Roman hooker, and more tired-out, underemployed humanities Ph.D.  I imagine, though, that, as happened to Cabiria, the more pious, the more jaded, and the more wealthy city dwellers are looking at me and wondering about my funny walk, my ineffectual defenses, my strange combination of pertness and defeat, the vulnerability I can’t hide from anyone.)

Do you think the floors of this building were always so thin?  Did you hear the fight I had with my boyfriend last week about how offended I was that he hid the Newman-O cookies from me because I tend to eat most of them before he gets to them?  Have you ever seen a ghost in here? The other night, I woke up at around 3 a.m. to a sickly toxic smell of radiator paint—it was the first night the radiators had come on this fall—and for a moment, I thought a young woman with straight dark brown hair was sitting cross-legged by my bed.  (Do people still say “Indian-style”?) Then my eyes adjusted, and it was nothing, just a large mirror I have propped against the wall.  It isn’t that I saw myself in the mirror, just that suddenly the woman was gone, and the mirror was in her place.  She was more of a girl really, but I tend to use the word “woman” for anyone above the age of 17, mostly due to my distaste for the way the word girl has been misapplied to women for so long.  Was she a ghost girl or a dream or a trick of the eyes?  I don’t expect you to know, dear neighbor.  But please ask your friend wearing soccer cleats to take them off and to find a new location in which to train miniature llamas to jump through hoops.  Feel free to play your violin anytime, though.  Perhaps the girl will like that.  

Sincerely yours,

Joanna Penn Cooper’s poems and micro-fictions have appeared in elimae, Opium, Pindeldyboz, and Supermachine, and a chapbook of poems and prose pieces, Mesmer, was published by Dancing Girl Press in 2010. Her piece "Andy" appeared on the Wigleaf 2011 Longlist of best pieces of very short fiction from the previous year.


Joel Dailey

A Drug Named Charlie Sheen
for Mel Tormé

Mentally undressing the furniture I
First had to grasp the cucumber
Green in color, watery
Reminiscent of hi-grade alien porn ingested thusly
Triggering heroics (one forward somersault) obscured by self inflation
"Law or no law," proclaimed o'er Seas of Tranquility
Mindset akin to suggestion box
Waitress on waitress
Dong over schlong
Small craft advisory     up your antenna

Everyone's a robot but Joel Dailey. Contractions (don't) are very illegal. His motto: Shiver me pundits...mentally, not manually. Like "Hi! I'm Perry from Perry." Here's looking at your disabled Elvis.


Danielle Davis


There was a girl on a train.

There was a boy across the aisle.

She ate an apple.

He ate a pear.

She wore the tangerine sundress her mother forced over her shoulders.

He wore a shirt boasting “You’ve got a friend in Pennsylvania” his mother forbade him to pack.

She noticed the boy wore the same shoes she did, black, white laces, blue star.

He noticed the downy fuzz on her cheek as she chewed, the spray of sweet with each bite.

She looked through the window at the sky.

He looked through the sky at the hills.

She thought about summer camp and her cat who had died.

He tallied after school earnings and his parents’ grievances with one another.

She imagined meeting the boy in the dining car and ordering sparkling waters.

He imagined holding her hand in the bright sun. 

She laughed at how his voice cracked when he ordered.

He smiled about the clamminess of her palm and the sweat dripping down to where her breasts would be.

She put her earbuds in.

And so did he.

Because it would be a long way and they knew they were going to the same place.

Danielle Davis lives in Los Angeles. Her most recent stories are at Metazen and >kill author.  Her website is