Eye of the Hummingbird

by Hillary Leftwich

Gwen

by Richard Hartshorn

Little More Than Flesh

by Cole Meyer

How to Survive in the Woods

by Christopher Mohar

Protect and Serve

by Ilana Masad

Civil Engineering

by J. Bradley

Check-in Out

by Christine Baerbock

Cavalry

by Anne Weisgerber

Brace Against the Noise

by Wyl Villacres

FUK the Police

by Christopher Allen

Hitler vs. the Clown

by Wayne McMahon

Animal Kingdom

by Len Kuntz

It’s a Man’s World

by Maureen Langloss

Here We Are Now

by Al Kratz

Our Descent

by Jessica Mehta

Diagramming the Flood

by Anhvu Buchanan & Brent Piller

In the Kitchen

by Brian Flynn

What is the most interesting/strange/wild statement/question someone has made in your presence?

(Thanks to Meg Tuite for posing this question!)

Maybe 20 years ago, early one morning, one of our neighbors wandered into our apartment after I left the door open to run back-in. He looked like hell and said he worried that the door was open. I later learned he was an alcoholic. Debbie and I once ran into him lying in the street when he was so drunk he couldn’t stand-up. About 12 years ago, Myles and I were walking home from the bookstore, the sidewalk was packed with people, and there he was in the middle of the crowd, head-up, eyes closed, facing the sun that was slicing between the buildings, his arms raised in the air, and un-speaking. He suddenly opened his eyes, saw me approaching, and yelled, “You throw your life in my face.”

Ben Tanzer

I recently injured my knee, and the other day, I had to carry groceries up two flights of stairs. At the top, my five-year old daughter turned and saw me and said, “You look gray, like dead plants in the garden.”

CL Bledsoe

Question: But, what if someone wants to kill you and has a gun to your head? What would you do, Momma?

(Long silence)

Answer: Honey, the one thing I can tell you in all honesty, the one thing I know for sure, is that I would do every single thing I could to survive. 

Emily Stern

An ex-girlfriend’s daughter, age 6, said to me: “I’m so sorry when you were a kid everything was in black and white. Now you can see color, right?”

Ken McPherson

When my daughter was maybe 3 or 4 she asked me, “Can a person lose their shadow?”

Sara Lippmann

Although it doesn’t happen frequently, I’ve been known to sleepwalk or conduct conversations and behave as if I’m awake. Sometimes, I’m on the cusp of lucidity, but it’s a strange experience. When I was a student in Britain, I accompanied my husband, Peter, to a college dinner after a nap and told the Associate Dean I was terribly sorry to hear that all four of his children had been jailed. His children, by the way, were all at the time, quite young. When the conversation became silent, Peter asked what was I talking about, my response was “Dear God, I think I’m still asleep and dreaming.”

I once dreamed that my grandfather’s life was in peril. I called so late, around 2am, and warned him to stay home the next day. The next day, he was attacked by a man with an axe. I worried all weekend because no one said anything to me until my sister mentioned, “That was crazy what happened to Pepaw and that man with the axe after your dream.”

April Bradley

I attended a reading many years ago by the poet Mark Doty, who had published a book about two dogs he had shared with his partner who had ultimately died of AIDS. The dogs helped them both through the illness and Mark’s grief and then later, both dogs died. During the Q&A, a member of the audience said, “Here’s what I don’t get about dog owners. You get a dog. You love the dog dearly. The dog dies. You grieve the dog. Then what do you do? You get another dog and go through the whole process again.” Doty paused just a beat and said, “The agreement to participate in this life is a pact with grief.”

Dale Wisely

In typical ‘sitting at a bar’ fashion, I sat at a bar waiting for a few friends to show up and someone sat next to me and, clearly drunk and lonely, asked me–“If I killed you right now, like, hey hey, I mean not like I’m going to–I’m no killer, I mean look at my cardigan?–but if I killed you right now, what the fuck would you think, say, and do? Me: I fucking don’t know. I like don’t know what I’d do. At all.” I replied, “I’d finish this drink, mumble, ‘well, fuck…,’ and probably just die. Done deal. No glamour, no spectacle.”

Michael Seidlinger

My sterling quote is from my Mom. She was a psychologist back when LSD was trendy and legal among psychologists but Mom declined all invitations to trip, saying, “I already know all those things about myself that I don’t want to find out.”

Sally Reno

A few days before my Mom died she opened her eyes and yelled, “Whose in charge of spirit control?”

Meg Tuite

Last summer, while my brother and I were cleaning out our father’s cluttered Dallas garage, I pulled from a liquor box the horsewhip our grandmother had punished my father and his brother with after their father died—tight knots and frayed tassels of musty leather—and when I asked our father, limping into the garage, “Did your mother really hit you with this thing?” he said, “You’re damn right she did. And it was the best goddamn thing that ever happened to me!” My brother and I just stared at each other as if the answer to a question we’d been asking ourselves all our lives had finally shown itself like a breech birth, shriveled red fetus’s feet poking out from our grandmother’s widowed womb.

Lex Williford