Madonna of the Brassiere

Do it! Do it! The mandate hissed in my head like air escaping from a deflating tire. The truth of the matter was: I didn’t want to Do it! The idea of it terrified me. They terrified me. Yet, here I was goaded on by a couple of horny teenage boys. Robin was in my…

Three Cats on Their Own

This was our first vacation in over ten years. We were gone a week. We didn’t know what to expect when we arrived home. Secretly, I hoped they would have noticed our absence. Truthfully, I didn’t expect them to even care. But when we opened the door to our apartment, the reception was mixed. Our…

Borderline

Embedded essay. Word count: 1,350. The bullet-riddled walls of our house were a reminder that our rented property lay on the boundary between two rival gangs, embattled in a property war, each claiming this territory as their own. These walls were also a reminder that our beds were a luxury best enjoyed in the middle…

Dog Days

“Dog, where are you going?” “Home,” the dog replies. “Come down. You are home,” the child cries. “Please.” “I won’t be coming down. I go back whence I came.” “Then I shall be alone.” “You are a child,” he responds. “You have yet to live a full life. My days have been long and Sirius,…

Rain

Looks like rain again. She pauses from her task to look out the kitchen window. Tears distort the view of the clouds. It’ll rain forever, she fears. It’s an excuse to justify the blade gliding across her arm. Blood flows. He has no umbrella, she worries. But he won’t be back this time. Anger fills…

A New Year’s Kiss

A kiss can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. Marilyn Monroe sang about a kiss on the hand being quite continental. Julia Roberts’ hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold in Pretty Woman refused to even kiss her Johns on the lips. In Chekhov’s short story “The Kiss,” it led the protagonist to question its significance and…

Autumn Haiku in Winter

A burst of sunlight A tree consumed by fire Ignites the Autumn I’m from Southern California, so watching the seasons change is a new thing to me. I moved to Oregon in August just in time to watch the trees turn from green to an array of browns, yellows, and reds. This tree pictured above…

A Guide to Masturbation

Embedded essay. Word count: 2,937. Avoid your parents today. Even though you told them over the phone last night that you’d stop for a short visit. You haven’t seen them since the first part of December and now it has been two weeks since New Year’s (Chinese New Year’s, to be precise). More accurately, it’s…