Archive for February, 2011

Storm by Jordan Okumura

Feb 24 2011 Published by under Stories

He was my first archivist, my father.  Tossing editions of dark and light into our piles of ember.  He made our backs broad throwing us headlong into pools to splash in rectangles beneath summer sun, stretching our wings to pin us to walls, release us to flutter under water.  We became swimmers, athletes dreaming of wet feathers and fire.

In dreams he harvests my skin with each rising of anger, not meanness but a soft rage.  It bending inside him like the warped wood he tortured in the tool shed making benches to structure corners into something tangible.  I record his human apparatus in pages and years.  I have his rage, and he writes my existence in his eyes.  Revives my desire for the strings of our family, attching always at the backs of pews and the bindings of bibles.  I have fixed my body into stuttering rage as still and threatening as television static.  It creeps like summer storms, like underground rivers rising out of the hip of a continent.

These fingers we print with each others’ stories.

Jordan Okumura is a recent graduate from the CSUS MA program in Creative Writing.  She has been published in Calaveras Station Literary Journal, Gargoyle #55 and later this year will be included in Jaded Ibis Press’ Dirty Fabulous. She loves writing on her body and being underwater.

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Delilah’s Daughter by Robert Louis Henry

Feb 17 2011 Published by under Stories

I placed my left hand on the Holy Bible. Her hands flew forward in frustration, like she might choke me, or wanted to throw a hot iron at me.

“Don’t turn this into a joke,” she scowled.

I took her hand. She gave me a soft look, ran her free hand through my hair, and twisted. She yanked my face close to hers. Another tug, and she held a chunk of my hair. I let go of her hand, and wiped the moisture from my eyes. She stuck the hair inside her lip like a wad of Skoal. I kissed the left side of her nose. I kissed the right side of her nose.

“Your majesty,” I curtsied, and climbed into bed to watch her leave.

Robert Louis Henry writes poetry, prose, and songs in Tennessee. He’s editor-in-chief at Leaf Garden Press ( He’s working on a few limited edition multimedia projects, and his first collection of poetry, God loves rich kids and we smoke off the same cigarette, is currently available as a free download from Bygawd Books. Find more at his blog:

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Learning Quick Goodbyes by Story Boyle

Feb 10 2011 Published by under Stories

I don’t sleep with the window open anymore.  I can’t listen to it again.  Sometimes I wonder if it would be a mercy to use all those plastic Walmart bags and drown them, a litter at a time.

I feed them: all the feral cats who live around the abandoned farm.  I made the mistake once of rushing out after I heard the sound, half yelp, half scream, and then the screech of the car rounding the bend too quickly.

It was the splotched one I named Paint.  He was laid open, flank split wide and belly empty, his intestines trailing to the road.

I wish I’d had the courage to get the .22.  Instead, I sat still as he dragged himself half into my lap and rumbled a purr.  I petted him until morning, when I shooed away the flies and took his corpse out to the garden to bury.

Story Boyle is a graduate of New College of Florida, and is Executive Director of the Peace River Center for Writers.  She freelances for local publications, and counts among her passions coffee, cats, and abandoned buildings.  She keeps a blog full of odd narratives at

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Seafood by Stephen Graham Jones

Feb 03 2011 Published by under Stories

After examining the facts for eight-odd years, in which both his wife and his job fell away like a second, unnecessary skin he’d never even known he had, Rick finally decided that it had been obvious, really, and, being not just rational but bound by the smallest of indicators, he had no choice but to admit that that day he’d taken his four-year old son to the beach it had, yes, been almost solely to have him dragged out by a shark. If there had been a painting of that day, he knew, then he and Danny would have been at the center of it, every brushstroke radiating out from them. But there had been no painting, and he hadn’t even known then to be looking for the brushstrokes—the way the car only started on the third try, the way the red light at the second intersection had buzzed. The hundreds of reflections of themselves smearing by in all the windows they passed. How Danny had asked if his friend down the street could come, and Rick had said no. It was like, at some level, a Rick inside of Rick—the one who had to keep living, maybe—had been able to read all this, but had gone ahead to the beach anyway. Had made the decision to go ahead to the beach. Because of stubborness, Rick thought. Because it felt cavalier to buck fate, and win. To risk Danny’s life. What he’d had for breakfast that morning was two slices of bread around some leftover meatloaf, still cold in the middle. That alone, he was pretty sure, should have been enough to keep him away from the water that day. It was like the world was warning him. Wouldn’t the snooze on his alarm have worked better if he’d really been meant to take Danny to the beach? But it went back farther, too, to the day before, the way his creamer had hung in his afternoon coffee instead of mixing in, and the week before, a cloud he remembered seeing on the way home from work, and, before that, January, when he’d been flipping through the channels and seen the ocean for about five seconds. And it even went back to when Danny was born—maybe Rick had been planning the shark then, in his fatherly way. He didn’t doubt it. He was capable of anything, he knew, even eight more years of studying what he’d started calling The Prelude, teasing apart the facts layer after layer to get to the real truth of what had happened. Maybe even somewhere in there he would find the time to visit the empty grave, and say goodbye. But not today. When he was done, he told himself. When he’d figured it all out, when he understood why, and could explain it to Danny, and apologize for not having paid proper attention to the way the rearview mirror that morning had been angled down at the passenger seat. In the reflection, just for a moment, Danny had been looking away, out his window. Rick, though, killer that he was, just creaked it back to see behind him instead, like that was more important.

Stephen Graham Jones has seven novels and two collections on the shelves, with two more novels coming (from Dzanc). The most recent two books are “It Came from Del Rio” and “The Ones that Got Away,” each horror. Stephen teaches in the MFA program at the University of Colorado at Boulder. More at

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