Issue One of Penny!

Page 1


THE ZINE OF ILLUSTRATED FLASH PROSE NO. Includes seventeen full-color illustrations | US $6.00


Taras Kharechko


Penny Includes seventeen full-color illustrations


Editors’ Note Welcome to Penny: the collaborative zine of illustrated flash prose. Inside, you’ll find 17 pieces of original illustrated flash fiction, creative nonfiction, and prose poetry. Our core mission in founding Penny was to bring more readers into the lit mag fold. That’s why we are available in print and as a free ebook. If you would like to help keep us free online, please conisder donating. Penny is essentially a curated dialogue between talented artists. This issue includes the first crop of shorts to come from our incubator for illustrated prose. We aim to broaden and deepen the wellspring of both illustration and literary writing, so we are huge fans of

open calls to submit, and this issue features established and emerging artists, alike. Don’t forget to check out the inspiration notes to learn how the writers and illustrators pursued their visions for the pieces you are about to read and, we hope, love!

Contents 8



Music Our Mothers Made

April, Quakes in Kathmandu

The Margin of Error






Birds Want to Kill You





Mike Doesn’t Seem to . . .

Ting’s Tale

Contents 35





Lucid Dreams




Anger Dragon

In Lost Time

Breaking the Hand . . .




The Weary Trichologist



Music Our Mothers Made (FICTION) written by Ani King illustrated by Haejin Park


ur mothers were wolves. They roamed the great, cold northern night in a pack, electric purple van screaming down county roads from party to party, where they caught boys named Jesse and Jason and James with their abundant thighs and sharp eyes and clever tongues. Our mothers were never afraid of anything. They teased their hair up in the bathroom and smoked cigarettes and lined their eyes in shades of blue as if preparing for battle, while Metallica or Quiet Riot or Joan Jett poured out of their tinny radio speakers. Our mothers were never careful. They drank Mohawk vodka and the Beast and Boone’s Farm out of plastic cups. They danced until dawn, howling their names at the moon: Tall One, Heartless One, Pretty

One. They knew the music and the boys and the trouble would follow them, and they bared their teeth at the darkness, ready to bite out chunks and swallow it mouthful by meaty mouthful. Our mothers were ferocious. They carried us in their round, swollen bodies and listened to Boston or Chicago or Journey while they built our cribs from the bones and fur of their enemies at Kmart. They snapped and snarled and ate their meals bloody and raw. Our mothers hunted together. They roamed the untrustworthy streets of daylight in Tall One’s tan minivan, or Heartless One’s wood-paneled station wagon, but rarely in Pretty One’s beefy black Chevelle, because it was too loud and we would wake up and howl with the engine.

Our mothers were never afraid of anything.

Music Our Mothers Made


Our mothers worried that we were too wild. They watched us jump from great heights, and bare our teeth at boys named Logan, Hunter, Chad. They chased us, afraid, when we ran through the night, windows open to the chill wind that called their names and ours: Dark One, Loud One, Vicious One. Our mothers grew careful. They drank decaf coffee and pale chablis and went to bed at reasonable hours, with men named Dan and Roger and Will, caught with their good sense and generous smiles. They cut their hair and combed it down and washed their faces. They tucked their teeth away. Tall, wooden speakers stood silent. We watch our mothers sleep, our mothers who were wolves, who never gave caution a sidelong glance. We see them twitch and dream in their sleep. We hear the usually silent howl escape in the dark after they’ve been out, and we know that we are our mothers’ daughters,

10 Music Our Mothers Made

and the night waits for us to travel the great, cold north in a pack, screaming down county roads, blaring the music our wolf mothers listened to.

April, Quakes in Kathmandu (CREATIVE NONFICTION) written by Anuja Ghimire illustrated by Jia Sung


ou announced you were coming with the roar of a supersonic motorbike revving. You had us at your first knock. The billows of dust clung to the windows, which had unlocked themselves. Still, the curtains danced, and the glass cracked. I remembered what I held. We were arrested without the cuffs. You clanked the plates together; we tumbled. Flowerpots on the balconies jumped to their deaths on the street. As the doors swung, the hinges clattered, and the floor crept away from our feet, we swung with the walls that shook. Our bones wouldn’t turn into shields just because we wished. Even the children’s fates were sealed with slabs of concrete. Cement would stay hardened where it would hit. Beaded saris and creased hats tangled under the fallen beams. We couldn’t move that which broke us. You took what you didn’t

need. What we leave behind remained. What you left untouched was odd. The couches were velveteen and pristine, but the guesthouses were slanted. The chandeliers still hung from the ceiling, but one story disappeared from the building. That one suede shoe slid from the slit with its unstained heel. The house smashed like a toppled vanilla cake, and the golden bangles on her supple wrist and jeweled fingers sparkled in the afternoon sun but no longer clawed their way out of the wall. The undoing came in jolts. I held my two little girls with rosy cheeks, trembling hearts, and throbbing temples. We huddled under the April sky. I kept remembering them with my cramped wrists near my ribcage. We stampeded in flocks. We moved with everything that rocked. I didn’t know if all the ones I loved were still whole. The wires were jammed;

The undoing came in jolts.

12 April, Quakes in Kathmandu

the poles were bent. The blood in our throbbing veins was already spent. You were everywhere, even in the words that had broken the air. You had punctured the ecosphere. Even the crows stopped their flights. The dogs suspended their howls. The roosters broke their songs and paused the clocks. The word came in crashing bursts. Not too far, the hills shed their amorphous rocks. The highways fractured with open jaws. When the roofs kissed the ground folding in, so many of us were late just around the block. We heard you plucked and crushed the domes, steeples, statues, temples, and stupa where we housed gods. Like a stale cracker, you broke Dharahara Tower. The warrant was centuries old. You were in every brick we cemented, every log we carved, and every metal we engraved. You were in every fall that we had planted blueprint after blueprint. We heard, with each aftershock, each loss we lost count of. We rattled; we swayed. We rattled; we

prayed. The path to escape the ground was nowhere to be found. We embraced the earth you were cracking because her doors were still open. I kept remembering the life I held in my palms near my ribcage. I remembered why I held.

April, Quakes in Kathmandu


The Margin of Error (FICTION) written by Jack Feerick illustrated by Mitucami Mituca


ove cannot be measured quantitatively, he told her.

I’m a scientist, she said. I can’t take anything on faith. And so measure she did. She counted the number of words in each love letter, the duration of every phone call and every kiss, counted each petal on each flower in each bouquet. She quantified the warmth of his hand on hers with an infrared thermometer. She tallied the expense of his gifts, accounted for every drink, every meal. She timed his eye contact. She measured the distance between them when they walked, when they sat, when they slept. She had to be sure.

I don’t have enough data yet, she said. I’ll show you, he said, his head disappearing beneath the duvet. She recorded the frequency of their lovemaking, the length and intensity of his orgasms and her own. Changes in respiration and heartbeat. Precise lengths of every swelling and protrusion, every dilation of eye or orifice, every goosebump measured to the micron with calipers. She collected and measured fluids and secretions in their picoliters; recorded how long it took for his sweat to dry to salt on her skin, how long it took for him to fall asleep afterward.

I can’t take anything on faith.

What about now? he asked with a grin, running a hand through her damp hair.

You don’t believe me, he said glumly. You’ll never

The Margin of Error


believe me. There’s a possibility of confirmation bias, she said. The evidence must be irrefutable. She graphed out the ratios of the space they each took up in bed; demarcated his area and hers, assessed each incursion from one zone to the other by distance and duration, both in absolute terms and as a percentage of the overall. All the while, she parsed. She averaged. She ran chi-square analyses. She felt she was closing in on something. She noted the duration of his silences, the frequency of avoidance, the volume of their screaming matches; plotted the violence and persistence of his weeping

16 The Margin of Error

against a timeline of his absences; collected his tears in pipettes for analysis. She kept a scrupulous log of every sleepless night, every cutting word, every small unkindness. When he finally left for good, he didn’t even pull the door entirely shut. She stared for a long time at the gap. It was about the width of two fingers. Two of his fingers. A micrometer would confirm for sure; but she wished she could hold his hand one last time, just to check.

Stones (CREATIVE NONFICTION) written by Kelly Dulaney illustrated by Christopher Park


onely tantrums. Eyelids. Adhesive bandages. Mother says that you have taken a course. Mother says that you can intubate a man and shake his stomach back into its sac. You sent her a copy of your stamped certificate. But your eyelid. I rapped it with a little stone. It broke and you bled. Before the roads were paved, before Animal Control seized the running dogs and feral cats, you came barefoot and laughing from out of our house and stepped on pinecones. You smelled faintly, as always in those days, of urine and watermelon rinds. You hit the swing with a stick and then the birdbath. Kelly, you said, and Kelly, Kelly. What are you doing? Nothing. I cracked a clod of dirt on a flagstone and picked out a worm from its wet center. I lay the wriggling thing out for a bird. You picked strawberries from their

18 Stones

spoiling vine and put them over it. Go away, I said. Our mother in our house poured brown beer for our father and for her own father and laughed. Their three faces moved behind the window screens. I pointed at them. You don’t want to go in? I can stay, Kelly. Tasseled Kaibab above us chattered at nuthatch and broke bark from the tree branches. They dropped it down on our heads and chuckled. Hit it, I said. What? Small basins of stones and clods spotted our yard. My fingers moved through soft thistle and wild violets and I picked up clots of them. Hit it, I said again. I aimed a little thing—a little clod—at your face and threw. You swung the thickest part of your stick and

broke the matted dirt in midair. Again? I threw another and you broke it, and then another. I got bored. I threw a stone. This you did not break. You turned—the stone snapped open your sniping eyelid and your eyebrow, and you put your filthy fingers to these things and said, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy. Your cheek pinkened. Your middle finger curled into your palm. Your opening hands rolled over like whitecaps. Our mother came out of our house for you. Don’t tell, I said, and I hid myself from her. But you ran into her frenzy and stained her shirt and she took you in to care for you. I stayed out and away: ashamed, collecting the bodies of dead bees and june bugs. Summers leeched into sleeping. You writhed in your skin and grew upwards so fast that your heart fell

I can’t forget: you asleep and shaking when I tickled you—what was the dream from which you would not wake?



into your foot and fluttered on the floor. I can’t forget: you asleep and shaking when I tickled you—what was the dream from which you would not wake? Here is my own: you, naked, eat an Afghani bullet, and teeth and tongue drop out from your smile. Your feet, each already fractured in four places, fill with shrapnel. Your lungs accordion ever outwards. You gave to friends your vest and boots. Both your hands open and give to the acres a gesture that I have known. There is no mother to butterfly your brow. There are no spare rags to put to your face. Precautionary paramedical training does not pack your organs back in. You die and leave us an inadequate ceremony: limbers and caissons; gunshot in three-volley; bugle song; lilies, white and few and funerary; a folded flag; post-mortem medals. Barracks are cramped; they put you three feet deep over top of another.

20 Stones

Grave keepers pat down the clods and clumsy sod. I take the shape of a bone and lay myself over you. Your face in your casket turns ever away, as if from a thrown stone.

For my brother.

Hypothetical (FICTION) written by Matt Tompkins illustrated by Rachel Lesser


o Colin asks me, “If you could have lunch with any one person living or dead who would it be?”

“Wouldn’t you have to choose someone dead,” I say, “because I mean come on wouldn’t that be amazing to bring someone back from the dead wouldn’t that be wicked but wait though would they still be dead but dug up and woken up like would they be all gross and worm-eaten and rotting or would they be at like the prime of their life and healthy ‘cause that makes a difference or wait what if you choose someone dead but you didn’t realize you have to die to have lunch with them and then it’s too late to change your mind because you already made your choice and it’s final and you’re dead now forever or wait how ‘bout this what if you choose someone historic like Winston Churchill or MLK or JFK or Gandhi but you don’t specify what age to bring them back and you find out you’re having

22 Hypothetical

lunch with them as a baby so really all you’re doing is spoon-feeding them pureed peas or like giving them a bottle and yeah sure it’s Gandhi or whatever but really it’s a baby so what’s the point right so maybe I should just have lunch with somebody living instead like a Victoria’s Secret model or Barack Obama but oh jeez how intimidating right I’d be too nervous to eat and probably embarrass myself what would we even talk about anyway so then maybe I’ll just choose you Colin that sounds pretty good I think yeah do you want to have lunch with me?” And Colin shrugs and shakes his head ‘cause I definitely missed the point but he’s like, “Okay sure yeah whatever Dewey let’s eat.”

Birds Want to Kill You (CREATIVE NONFICTION) written by Anna Lea Jancewicz illustrated by Mitucami Mituca


t’s easiest to slice a cow heart if it is still partially frozen. An aggressive band of feral cats can be driven off with a reliable spray bottle of water. Birds shit a lot, and given the slimmest chance they will try to kill you. These are things I learned working at the wildlife refuge. It’s best to wear a hardhat when feeding barred owls. There is always one asshole among them who will dive bomb your head. Maybe it is the same one each time and that fucker just has an attitude problem, or maybe they take turns. It’s hard to tell. Turkeys attack shoelaces. It hurts a lot. At any moment, an emu could hulk out and kick you. They break ribs. Pelicans swarm you in a nasty beaky mosh pit, but they are easily distracted by pitched fish. Go long. Don’t turn your back on a bald eagle. Their wing spans are wider than you are tall, and their talons are

24 Birds Want to Kill You

talons. Maybe you’ve never hung out with somebody who has talons. It’s scary as fuck. Eagles look angry. Eagles seem to be watching your neck, always. There are other things I learned working at the refuge. Be very careful with the pressure washer. It’s a big deal. Little birds in little cages are at your mercy. Blast away all the shit and sunflower shells, but take it easy. Go slow. Be thorough, but remember that one false move can snap a dove’s neck. It’s best to not let your coworkers see when you cry a little. The kitchen tent is a good place to hide, hacking into cow hearts and dismembering chickens. These actions are contemplative. Wipe your nose on your t-shirt. Birds want to kill you, but you are a killer too.

Sparks (FICTION) written by Nadine Darling illustrated by Kim Herbst


randma died, you know. No surprises there. She was an old broad. Soon the family will divvy up her things, grabbing at scarves and candleholders and picture frames like it’s the last round in some Japanese game-show. There’s going to be some big shindig in Idaho, sure. Everyone will be there, with their hams, their stories, their JELL-O with fruit. And all of this is fine, fine — the old bloated snatch-and-grab buffet of matriarchal death. But what to do with Jane? “I’ll stay by myself,” says Jane. “I’m sixteen.” Mother packs in the bedroom, a cigarette dangling, hair slanted over one eye like a vamp or a pony. “Three days of Hot Pockets and barely scrambled porn?” she says. “God forgive us, you’ll stay with the Sparks.” The Sparks live at 665. They call themselves “the neighbors of the beast.” They’re artists. Mrs. Sparks writes; Mr. Sparks

26 Sparks

makes huge convoluted collages out of garbage, fire engines out of Monopoly money and cigarette butts, churches out of milk crates and orange peels. Once he set fire to a trailer in the center of town and danced around it with his shirt off screaming, “You can learn to love me!” and “You’ll never take me alive, Mr. Trump!” “I don’t want to stay with the Sparks,” says Jane. “I’ll go with you.” “You’ve missed enough school,” says Mother. “And, it’s just going to be boring, adult things.” She closes her suitcase and takes Jane by the arm. “Remember,” she says, “we’re Catholic. Don’t let those Sparks give you any crazy religion. And only drink from the tap. And keep your eye out for funny-smelling plants.” “Why?” “Well,” says Mother, “hippies.”

The Sparks’ home smells of nicotine and Hawaiian Tropic oil and newsprint and lacy, lemony bundt cake. And something gone over, something souring gently at the edges. The lights are never on. Mrs. Sparks is delighted to have Jane; she is a clapper, things delight her frequently. She covers her mouth with her hand when she laughs, like an anime schoolgirl or a raccoon washing its food. “Do you like video games?” she asks. “Do you like Beck?” “It’s not a slumber party, dear heart,” says Mr. Sparks. He’s small and stoic. He carries a drink like a prop, and his cigarette points out, all Liza Minnelli. To Jane, he says, “So, what do you do?” “Sorry?” says Jane. “For a living. What do you do?” “I’m a kid.” “When I was your age I had two jobs and one of

them was the mayor.” “Don’t lie to her,” says Mrs. Sparks. The Sparks insist upon walking Jane to school. In costume. Mrs. Sparks is a zombie social worker; Mr. Sparks is a sea captain. “Mother hasn’t walked me to school since kindergarten,” says Jane, who is dressed as Jane. “That’s insane!” says Mrs. Sparks. “You could be killed by marauding ninjas or rabid squirrels.” “Life’ll kill you,” says Mr. Sparks. “I learned that at sea. Stick that in the front of one of your high-fallutin’ novels, right beneath the Johnny Cash quote and the praise to Allah.” “Duly noted, my love.” She holds Jane’s hand as they walk, and tightly. “What do you write?” asks Jane. “Oh, lies,” says Mrs. Sparks. “Lies in a lovely font.”



Very late on her final night with the Sparks, Jane gets out of bed and goes into the living room. Mrs. Sparks is already there, on the sofa in her white nightgown, watching an infomercial about a big chicken that spins in a remarkable rotisserie. She smiles when she sees Jane, and mutes the television. “Would you like to talk about your grandmother?” she asks. “No,” says Jane, and then, “I’m not supposed to talk about religion with you.” “Oh,” says Mrs. Sparks. “Where’s Mr. Sparks?” Jane asks. Mrs. Sparks mimes chugging a beer. Then she mimes chugging another. “Oh,” says Jane. She watches Mrs. Sparks there, long and pale in the mosaic TV light and she misses her home, her bed. “You know what I would say to God if He were

28 Sparks

right here, right this minute?” says Mrs. Sparks. “I’m not supposed to talk about religion with you,” says Jane. She tilts her head against Mrs. Sparks’ arm. Mrs. Sparks smells like coconut and peroxide. Her hair is wet. “Oh, right.” “Tell me,” says Jane. “I’d say — I’d look right into His face — and I’d say, ‘what, are you kidding me?’” Jane nods. “I would say, ‘how are you doing?’” “Yeah?” says Mrs. Sparks. “Sure,” says Jane. “Because, I’ll bet no one ever thinks to ask.” On the television, that chicken, man. It just spins and spins.

Mike Doesn’t Seem to Want to Join the Other Dogs (FICTION) written by Luke Tennis illustrated by Jacopo Degl’innocenti


he looks ordinary, though she has terrific posture because she’s a dancer. She has wavy brown hair and thin lips and isn’t afraid to lock eyes with me; then she begins to look better and better, telling me all about her meditation, that she meditates every morning, though she’s never had any instruction. When I ask her how she knows she’s meditating, she says she just knows. Then she reveals that she dances, dances around her apartment, it’s part of her meditation, she dances every morning. I try to picture her dancing, dancing nude, doing twirls, and I ask her does she twirl. She says sometimes, but mostly she moves, just moves, listening to a tape of what she calls her spiritual music. I ask how she feels afterward, and she says clean. I tell her I’m jealous, that I want to feel clean. It’s one of those blind dates off the computer, a place called the Vanguard. I tell her I’d like to come

30 Mike Doesn’t Seem to Want to Join the Other Dogs

over some morning and dance with her, but she answers, emphatically, “It’s something I do by myself.” I didn’t mean anything by it, didn’t really expect her to let me come over, but perhaps she thinks I’m giving her a hard time. Though we change the subject, the conversation goes cold and we don’t stay much longer. I feel bad afterward and a couple days later decide to call her, if only to tell her I had no intention of actually coming over one morning to horn in on her meditation. But instead I tell her I’ve been looking into it, into meditation, she made me curious. I tell her I’ve actually gotten some books out of the library on it, which of course isn’t true, but I plan to. I also say I enjoyed meeting her the other night. The next evening, I meet her in a parking lot, and we shake hands. She seems slightly wary, keeps a couple feet away and won’t look directly at me this time,

which worries me. We’re there to take a walk in the park, and she’s brought her dog, only it’s a wiener dog, long and orange and waddling, and I think we’re never going to make it around the loop. The wiener dog doesn’t seem interested. She actually has to tug him out of her car. We start out, but I begin to feel sorry for Mike, which is the wiener dog’s name, and when she starts talking about past lives I wonder to myself if Mike had a past life. Maybe he was cruel to dogs at one time, and I think of mentioning this to her as a joke, but I don’t even feel like it, and then I want to leave. “How long have you had Mike?” I ask. We’re barely a third of the way around the loop. “Mike’s been with our family for a long time. He’s my mother’s. I’m just keeping him for the time being.” I nod. “What do you feed him?” “Well . . . dog food. Right, Mike?” she says, stoop-

ing to take off his leash. Mike doesn’t seem to want to join the other dogs inside the loop. She tells me he’s old. The walk takes about a half hour, and in the parking lot we shake hands once more. For some reason I say I’ll call her, but she doesn’t say anything. Mike’s eyes look sad, beleaguered. “C’mon, Mike,” she says, opening her car door.

Mike Doesn’t Seem to Want to Join the Other Dogs


Ting’s Tale (CREATIVE NONFICTION) written by Jerome Charyn illustrated by Jago


hate cats. At least I thought I did. I was in the midst of a whirlwind a couple of years ago, writing a book about Emily Dickinson, who also hated cats. Seems her kid sister, Lavinia, had a whole kingdom of cats, and the poet found Lavinia and her cats as vindictive as King Saul. I had other reasons to look at cats a little aslant. I disliked the idea of litter boxes, of living around a little island of filthy sand. And then my companion, Lenore, who had her own small kingdom of cats in her downtown office-apartment, had to bring a litter box uptown together with Ting, a pure-bred charcoal gray Abyssinian, to board with us awhile, since she had boarders of her own—and one cat too many. Lenore tried to reassure me. I would never catch

a glimpse of Ting, who was a loner and would hide from me as best she could. And she did. Ting shot through my front door in a great blur and found a secret hideaway behind an unopened box of my own books. She hid there for three days, coming out for food and water after midnight, I suppose. Ting and I existed in some neutral no-man’s land. It was Lenore who emptied the litter box. And then, one afternoon, this Abyssinian queen appeared in her silky gray coat, with her luminous yellow eyes. She caught me working at my desk, stared at me as if I was the intruder in her domain. And she disappeared with the same majesty. This went on for a week. Then I woke one morning and discovered Ting lying in a pinch of space between my body and the

I hate cats. At least I thought I did.

Ting’s Tale


border of the bed. I was troubled at first, until I realized that the Abyssinian loner had decided to adopt me. She would sit dutifully near my desk while I worked on Emily Dickinson. Without rhyme or reason, I now had a pet—a queen who was devoted to me. She’d found a male consort. She must have been thirteen at the time, a very old age for an Abyssinian. But we found our contours together, and I fell in love with Ting, I who had been indifferent to cats and their mysterious ways all my life. Love didn’t last. One afternoon, I heard a crashing sound from the kitchen. Then Ting appeared. She couldn’t catch her breath. She must have had an “attack”—a cerebral hemorrhage of some sort—and had tumbled off the window ledge. She kept gasping for air. There was fright and confusion in her royal yellow eyes. I called Lenore. It was near midnight. Ting sat near us, with that 34 Ting’s Tale

terrible wheeze. I cradled her in my arms, and the wheezing stopped. I knew she wouldn’t survive. But somehow I had calmed her. And at least for a few moments, the queen’s fright was gone.

Susquehanna (FICTION) written by Kevin Hyde illustrated by Christopher Wilson


hat the river and nothing other took my brother stayed stuck with me. River water can whorl brown and sharp into waves, little pyramids of water raised like hackles on the back of the river when it’s up. Drowned. Return to dust, per the priest, but how my brother went wet, into mud, to sponge up the silt with his skin. My mourning seeped for four days out of my body and evaporated into the household air and coated the walls of my room with a slick, gelid gloss before I put my senses right. I would wring him out like a rag, I thought, wring out the wet and in with the new. And out of the ground with a spade, out of the casket with a knife and a bar, into my arms, he went, hard and heavy and dead. I said my penance beforehand in the church before the monstrance with my hands taloned down on the creaking pew’s brown wood, but You should help me who helps himself, to Lazarize my brother

36 Susquehanna

back and for good into the air of this world. And by flashlight I brought him dragging his feet to the mill to be torqued. Stiff as a board he lay in the sawdust, alongside my spade, his suit lending him the look of a fresh-faced man-about-town. Reverse the sawdust through the mechanism of the mill and yield a tree again, reverse the course of water through drowned lungs and yield a man again, thus my faith in the constancy of matter suggested to me. He was at rest and would stay at rest, but I thought, in the attitude of affirmation, I will put him in motion and he will stay in motion. Bathed and desecrated by the tea-brown river water, my own brother will be waked into movement fully dry and wrung out by a machine of my own arrangement. I levered the smooth iron clamps down upon his thin wrists as though I were trapping him in the stocks. His body slumped in the attitude of desperate worship,

head hung between his shoulders, legs in disarrayed genuflection beneath the dead weight of his torso. There were possible worlds where he did not fall into the river and continued to thrive, or did fall, but survived, or did fall upon a river miraculously frozen by an arctic wind, or did fall into water that was not water as wet as our water, but dry brown powder, or did fall and fell through the river, past the river, to its antipode on the other side, to land safely upon firm banks, or did fall to run with the river its path to the ocean and settle, finally, on the grainy hump of a sand bar’s sill. But praise this world where my brother’s legs spin slowly on the back end of the machine then blur together like the blades of a plane’s propeller just before take-off.

But praise this world where my brother’s legs spin slowly on the back end of the machine then blur together like the blades of a plane’s propeller just before take-off. Susquehanna


Gotham (FICTION) written by KJ Hannah Greenberg illustrated by Joe Walton


otham’s buildings are sometimes mere feet apart. They block light. They create curious familiarities. I work on the twentieth floor of the Sun, Moon and Mother Building, editing copy for Dads Count, Too. My window, proof of seniority, doesn’t frame the skyline, Central Park, or the Harlem River, but the twentieth floor of the Egalitarian Building, which headquarters Watch Out for Women. My view’s a graphic artist’s office. I’ve waved at her. Initially, I posted window signs reading, “Hi, my name is Dave,” and “Nice weather for pigeons,” but got no response. I’m not hitting on the gal. I have a great family: wife, kids, a few random cats, and a pot-bellied pig. I’m just bored. There are only so many ways to express the joys of fatherhood after writing “From Macho Man to Diaper Man,” “Fifteen Reasons to Convert Your Man Cave to a Playroom,” and “Clubbing’s Overrated;

Teething’s Hot.” Once, she came to her window, made eye contact with me, and gave me the finger. I’m sure if I told my wife about the scene, she’d demand I leave the other lady alone, and threaten to pack my suitcase. If I told my co-workers, they’d laugh, insist I stalk her on social media, and shove one of their yet unpublished manhood quizzes at me. So, in the name of peace, mostly inner, one day, when her window was open, I raced to the lobby toy store and bought twenty balloons. I released them hoping my nameless friend would catch them and read the notes I placed inside. A pigeon pierced one. Another got tangled in the other building’s radio antennae. The rest floated away to who-knows-where. My would-be friend, though, finally posted a window note; she was calling the police.



Lucid Dreams (FICTION) written by R J Murray illustrated by Taras Kharechko


hen I was eight, I rode my bike through labyrinths, willing adventure to pull me in and take me to imagined worlds. My sisters and I devoured books like chocolate, and our bedroom was a haven in the clouds where we could re-enact every story. Invisible people would appear from ladders with tales of other places. Cupboards led to Narnia, and nobody told us otherwise. We hid there and basked in the exotic smells of faraway lands, perfume and old fur coats. We lived at the top of a cul-de-sac where houses were merely boxes to open inside lucid dreams. We knew everyone, and everyone knew us. We knew not to tread far like the older boys did.

“He ran away to the woods,” they’d say, and we listened, wide-eyed, hoping to go there ourselves one day. When it rained, we’d hide away inside cubby holes, setting up home with likeable rodents and monsters. When it was dry, we perched on pavements, collecting grit and discarded junk, waiting for scrambles. We’d gather together, pouncing on dirty coppers to buy penny chews with. We made dens under moist earth and sticks, exchanging kisses and touches whilst searching for lost treasure we never found. In the summer, we lived in the garden, stealing bed sheets to make tents along the freshly painted wooden fence. We plucked buttercups and lit up

Cupboards led to Narnia, and nobody told us otherwise.

Lucid Dreams


each other’s faces. I’d pretend to sunbathe as I combed the grass, desperate to find a four-leaf clover. In my dreams, I’d meet those faces on the pavement, fresh and brazen, under the sinking tunnel. Roller skates and boom boxes. The smell of Sunday roast. I’d search for secrets in hidden rooms, then learn to fly, over the dirt and the concrete and into the green fields forever. Afterwards, the house seemed lost and abandoned, like an old toy I’d thrown out. Everything was smaller than I remembered. Insignificant. In the garden were overgrown weeds and broken toys, and the wind was battering a plastic bag against the shed where we used to dream of impossible futures. The lace curtains were gone, replaced with rusty metal sheets. As the wind blew through my dreams, I thought 42 Lucid Dreams

I saw a four-leaf clover flapping on the side of the rotten fence. The rain was beating every breath from it until it suddenly flew up, higher and higher, and disappeared into the sky.

Anger Dragon (PROSE POETRY) written by Susan Rowe illustrated by Jacopo Degl’innocenti


’m sorry I yelled at you that time for knocking the picture off the wall. You with your gangly ten-year-old’s body, bounding down the stairs, arms outstretched in hopeful flight, like an albatross before its body lifts. Your fingers read the walls like Braille as you flew down those stairs, unaware of everything but the sensation of floating. And then, I heard the craaack it made, saw the ugly “V” in the molding below. I held the picture loose in its frame and shouted at you for such mindless coming and going, my voice growing louder as anger revved. Your face flushed shame, then pain, then a mask slipped over your features, hiding you in plain sight. I’m sorry I didn’t stop myself, that I didn’t want to. That for those moments it felt good to yell, a dragon unleashed inside me. I gave it free reign, even fanned

44 Anger Dragon

the flames. I wonder, all these years later, what I was yelling at. Not your flailing limbs, perfectly formed when I prayed you’d have ten fingers and ten toes, a body that leapt into air. Not your exuberance, those inviting campfires in your eyes. What enraged me so had nothing to do with you. I know that now, and I’m sorry. Sorry, too, I didn’t see then what I see now, that I taught you to fear feeling, to take the edge off by donning a mask of “I don’t care.” As you grew older, you refused to say how you felt, refused to share emotion with me at all, and I longed for those days of preternatural flight, for one small smile from childhood.

Now you are grown and away. For years I remembered that night, and light dimmed inside me. Not long ago, your sister, missing you, recalled it, and something else, too. Your father and you playing chess. Later, quietly, as he brought you back into the fold, filling the gash I made, mending the seams, bit by bit returning you to whole. I’m sorry I yelled at you that time for knocking the picture off the wall.

I’m sorry I didn’t stop myself, that I didn’t want to. That for those moments it felt good to yell, a dragon unleashed inside me. Anger Dragon


In Lost Time (FICTION) written by Matthew Daddona illustrated by Kali Gregan


he first thing you hear your father do after your mother leaves is laugh so uncontrollably it hurts your insides. He’s a large, large man, and you think of all his blood hitting fast food joints on its way through the capillaries. When the laughter comes out of his tight-lipped mouth, it sounds choked, and then, as if lifted by wind, hovers like thunderous thought clouds above the TV room. The TV is off. First time it has been in a while, so if he’s not laughing at that, then he’s laughing at the dog performing dizzy tricks on the floor. But the dog is outside. You sent him out there after your baby sister had a crying fit because of the barking. Whose barking? Your dad’s started right after the dog’s, which sent the baby into further pandemonium, at which point you cursed the dog, and then your father, and then the baby (though you can’t fault the baby for her youth).

He’s a large, large man, and you think of all his blood hitting fast food joints on its way through the capillaries.

In Lost Time


What to do with your father, you think. If he’s that round, he should roll out—maybe a considerable push through the door, maybe a pin that will deflate him a bit. Shouldn’t be too hard. But first to stop the laughing. You walk into the TV room. Even though it’s off, the images stay permanently plastered across the wall. Bright flashes of Edith Bunker and Al Bundy and, wouldn’t you know it, Louie DePalma played by Danny DeVito, who so reminds your father of himself he’s never had trouble accepting his fate as a fat, nevertheless funny, dude. Except you’ve never heard your father make a joke, at least not in the last six months. Instead, he laughs, and when you finally realize the best thing to do to control this laugh is to tie down his unwieldy arms and then stuff cloth into his mouth, he stops.

48 In Lost Time

He stops because he sees two lights approaching the house from outside. The perforated screen door makes them look infinite, but furtive. “Headlights,” you say and turn toward them, then back to him. You pause and watch the weight of his belly ride through time, and if it has only been a moment, it’s been a long, static moment. A sharp ‘hello’ sails through the screen door. It sounds nothing and then everything like your mother’s voice. You find it funny that you give these spaces hope.

Breaking the Hand That Feeds You (CREATIVE NONFICTION) written by Vita Lusty illustrated by Carlos Brito


hen I moved to Joshua Tree last year, I carried a dream of pounding out the remaining chapters to my book. The desert would give me time, silence and provide infinite space.

hand was still in a cast. Three weeks went by, then four. My bone wasn’t healing. I was still working at a pizza shop, still drinking and still smoking. I couldn’t bathe, cook or dress myself. It was the first time I was forced to ask for help as an adult.

There was a block that came with the desert rain. The sand smelled like cinnamon. The mountains hid behind clouds. My computer was left untouched.

My computer sat there on my desk. Quiet. Sad. Blank.

My finger snapped under a dog collar while breaking up a dogfight. I required surgery; two pins put my bone back together. A few weeks and I would be back to writing.

Some suggested voice-to-text software. “I don’t write that way,” I explained. They shrugged their shoulders as if it were an excuse. Words come out of my fingers differently than my throat. Sentences surprise me. Ideas are more organized. Words flow instead of spilling over each other.

A young woman moved into our house. She rented a spare room for a couple hundred a month, and we bonded over cinnamon whisky, LSD and mutual flirtation. My mind was back on track, but my whole

50 Breaking the Hand That Feeds You

Five weeks and then six. I stopped working. I stopped smoking and regularly took prenatal supplements and Vitamin D to encourage bone growth. The ideas

weren’t draining from my cerebral pipeline. They were backing up, creaking and groaning like a broken bathroom sink. Buzzing into my shaggy head of hair and fleeing out of open windows like a nagging fly. The depression thickened. My ex-boyfriend was arrested and jailed while trying to find money to cover rent. The young woman moved out after our first kiss and our first fight. I was alone.

Yesterday, two people wrote me on Facebook. The first, a mutual Jim Morrison admirer in a secret fan club. We’ve never met. He bought me a painting in exchange for the promise that I keep writing. The second, a peer from my graduate writing program. “Live up to that great name of yours. Every day is precious and gone forever once that sun dips below the ridge,” he wrote. Then I wrote this.

Seven weeks then eight. The pins were pulled out. The cast removed. I could finally write. I picked at the crisp, ugly, plastic layer of skin on my hand. The words were so backed up inside of me, I still couldn’t write. I stared at my computer, and nothing came. I slept. I watched TV. I cried for no reason.

Breaking the Hand That Feeds You


The Weary Trichologist (CREATIVE NONFICTION) written by Matt Jones illustrated by Vladimir Milosavljevic


he weary trichologist stands in front of the mirror and parts her hair. She threads her fingers along the seams of her scalp feeling for the places where she might be coming apart. Hand settled atop her head, pulling back her thick brown curls so the lines on her forehead go smooth, she squints into the mirror and says, “Here! Look here.” I put my hands on her shoulders and turn her around. “What am I looking for?” She sighs. “For hair, Matt, for lack of hair. I don’t know. I think I’m going bald.” The weary trichologist is my wife and she’s as much a trichologist as my sixteen-year-old self was an erotologist. Still, she takes an obsessive interest in the health of her hair and scalp. Before we were together,

She threads her fingers along the seams of her scalp feeling for the places where she might be coming apart.

The Weary Trichologist


she was married to someone else, someone who made her hair fall out, who made her scalp itch with yeasty red rashes. Had she shaved her head at that time, I believe those rashes would have spelled out in perfect, wraparound and dandruffy script, “Get out now!” A message from the body’s internal control center. She’s not always the weary trichologist. Sometimes she’s the angry trichologist. Other times she is the sexy one, the bright-eyed one. Like two love-bound bonobos, we spend inordinate amounts of time grooming one another. I look closely at her hairline and tell her, “No, you are most definitely not balding.” She examines my part, pries at my scalp and tells me that I’m not washing well enough. “Show me,” she says, “show me how you shampoo your hair.” So I show her. I show her how my hands make

54 The Weary Trichologist

invisible suds and she shakes her head disapprovingly, spreads a towel on the bathtub’s edge, and has me lean my head over the side. She turns on the water, pours a warm cupful over my head so it streaks down the back of my neck, wetting the collar of my shirt. She works her fingers deep into the skin and says, “When you’re washing your hair, you’re not really washing your hair. You’re washing your scalp. It’s where all of the oils collect.” I feel like a child, a patient in the way she explains how I’ve been inadequately cleaning myself all these years. The sense of doubt that wells up in me is almost enough to make me ask her about how to properly do other things—wipe, boil an egg—but I hold back because the sensation of her scrubbing fingers behind my ears feels so right. When she was married before, she developed something called Telogen Effluvium, literally an

“outflow” of hair in such an amount that, everywhere she walked, the bottoms of her dainty feet were covered with the keratin-bulbed reminders of her shedding. It is a fully reversible condition that is often caused by an intensely stressful event or period in a person’s life. So now, whenever the house is dirty, whenever there is a big deadline approaching, she compulsively examines her hair, afraid that a stack of ungraded student papers is going to make her go bald again. She worries that the hardest parts of life will repeat themselves and I know that in her worry is more than just a fear of balding.

lean against the wall, shoulder blades biting into the towel rack, while she inspects the integrity of every follicle. Then, when she’s finished and weary and her hair still hasn’t fallen out, I can be close by to tell her that, just because it happened once, doesn’t mean it’ll happen again.

I can do little to comfort her anxiety. After all, I am no doctor, no trichologist. In fact, I recently discovered that I’d been improperly washing my hair for the last quarter century. Really, I can only stand by her in the overwhelming fluorescence of our bathroom. I can

The Weary Trichologist


Better (CREATIVE NONFICTION) written by Debbie Urbanski illustrated by Brandon Reese


hen K. was a baby, he did not laugh at us, or smile, or look into my eyes. In many ways we appeared unnecessary to him even then, except to take care of his immediate and physical needs, such as the changing of his diapers, and his feedings. The only thing he laughed at was a plastic fan we bought from Ace Hardware on clearance because that summer was blistering. We moved the fan into his bedroom where it ran all day and all night. The fan made him flap his arms as if he believed he were a bird. We hoped the existence of this fan would be proof that we could, someday, be good parents to this strange child. That’s the story we told ourselves. While running over some exposed roots near a pond by my house, I fell and fractured the fifth finger of my left hand. “You will need a better story than that,” the doctor told me as he stroked my broken pinkie.

“Better to say that you punched someone incorrectly.” So that is what I began to tell people. The first week of wearing a cast, I became obsessed with thinking that the casting technician, a girl barely out of high school, had molded my hand wrong, with the fourth and fifth fingers angled down, and I wondered whether my hand would emerge from its cast permanently deformed. I began to see casting as a means of change, a means to hold the body in certain contortions until the body became something new. Uncomfortable images resulted from this line of thought: the technician, very clearly, casting someone’s once beautiful body into grotesque positions, breaking their bones first so they could be more easily bent. Or did she take a grotesque body and turn it beautiful? The technician spoke using only calming tones, and she used gentle touches to comfort the person whose body she was either ruining or remaking.



Certain doctors insist my son can change if I can throw away who I am and become a different mother—a better mother?—a mother who, in any case, is willing to cast her son into a different child. A better child? The wind whips around the outside of the house. More specifically, the wind seizes the branches of trees on my neighbor’s property and forces them to move in ways they wouldn’t on their own. We are told to secure any loose objects outside. My husband used to take care of such tasks. There is a chance our deck umbrella might lift into the air and take flight. K. certainly would like to see that. He keeps asking when Mary Poppins will fly up clutching at her umbrella. I wouldn’t mind watching a woman fly into the air.

58 Better

There is a chance our deck umbrella might lift into the air and take flight. K. certainly would like to see that.

Inspirations We asked our contributors about what inspired them in their work for this issue. Here are some of our favorite responses: Music Our Mothers Made

April, Quakes in Kathmandu

Ani King: As I get older, I find myself sympathizing with, rather than wondering at, the moments where “wild” women start to choose safety rather than jumping headlong into adventure. In particular, I was thinking about mother/daughter relationships, and how at times it feels as if we’ve never been on the same page, but then I find myself making the same choices.

Anuja Ghimire: I wrote “April, Quakes in Kathmandu” after my experiences in the earthquakes and the aftershocks of 2015. It is a creative nonfiction piece that reflects my true recollection of tragic, now historic events that my daughters, my family and I, and all the Nepalis faced. It is a narrative of real life.

Haejin Park: I was inspired by the aggressive and wild descriptions of mothers as wolves. I wanted to show their brave, hunter image with sharp eyes and tongues. Also give all three slightly different features to show varied personalities.

Jia Sung: I was drawn to the sense of normality coming undone in “Quakes”—the crumpling up and folding in of the houses, the tower, roads, hills; the almost absurd frailty of our soft bodies tucked up and tumbling among the debris.


The Margin of Error Jack Feerick: It simply came out of my response to Yolanda’s illustration. I was looking through the illustrations on the Penny Engine, rolling them around in my head without thinking too hard about it, and the story simply dropped into my head fully-formed, which is very different from my usual process. Mitucami Mituca: Penny stories breathe different moods and tones. Some are subtle and delicate, nostalgic and surreal, others faded memories or old wives’ tales. Mostly all together they challenge your perception of reality. When this happens illustrations directly spring out from any pen or pencil you may have at hand.

Stones Kelly Dulaney: “Stones” was written in response to rumors of my brother’s deployment. I felt guilt for being unable to take his

60 Inspirations

place; I felt unable to confront my fears about what would happen. In linking moments of remembered guilt and writing them out to their speculative end, I could situate guilt and inability within an aesthetic—and thus manageable—context. Christopher Park: Having a bit of mystery behind each image is important. With illustrated fiction, I like the idea of the image keeping the reader curious enough to ask questions and the accompanying story to answer those questions. When you force feed any information to someone they tend to get bored and annoyed.

Hypothetical Matt Tompkins: “Hypothetical” began as an exercise in writing dialogue—specifically, an attempt to write circuitous, run-on dialogue mimicking the speech pattern of a nervous adolescent (close to my heart because I was once one myself ). The result, I hope, is a palpable energy, and a clear sense of a character, accomplished in a compact space.

Birds Want to Kill You Anna Lea Jancewicz: In 2001, I got divorced and moved to Florida without any real plan. The first job I found was at a bird refuge in the wetlands north of Jacksonville. I was thinking recently that the average person probably hasn’t been attacked by birds that much, and so I started writing this flash. My mother taunted me about killing that dove. She thought it was hilarious.

Mike Doesn’t Seem to Want to Join the Other Dogs Luke Tennis: This piece actually came from a longer story that it wouldn’t fit into. I’ve always loved the sort of narrator who tells not just a story, but who skewers it with some sort of “off” point of view, a voice out of the ordinary, say, the more extreme the better. Jacopo Degl’innocenti: When I finished the reading I imag-

ined a couple trying to approach each other but with insecurity, I drew the leaves falling behind them to make an atmosphere a little sad, like Mike the Dog, who does not want to play with other dogs. I drew the couple faceless, to represent their apathy in the meeting.

Ting’s Tale Jerome Charyn: I never intended to write a cat story. But I fell in love with a cat who had fallen in love with me. She was almost feral in her independence. But my own wildness must have charmed her. And after she died, I wrote a little mourner’s tale for Ting.

Gotham KJ Hannah Greenberg: I was contemplating literal and figurative social transparency. All of us have had moments when we look out windows toward people we don’t know. Likewise, we



often confront the fact that we think we know the people in our lives with whom we interact.

Lucid Dreams R J Murray: This was inspired by my childhood and from the sense of freedom and adventure I felt then. I moved to another town when I was ten, and when I went back many years later I remember feeling detached and cold as I tried to connect to the surroundings.

Susquehanna Kevin Hyde: “Susquehanna” is one of several stories I’ve written about the coal-mining region in Pennsylvania where my maternal grandfather grew up. The big inspiration for the tone of the story was Smog’s bleak and cinematic song “Rock Bottom Riser,” which also features a rough river, though there’s a much less tragic outcome.

62 Inspirations

Christopher Wilson: The inspiration behind “Susquehanna” came from the feelings and thoughts the story Kevin Hyde told, which absolutely set a look and dark mood while I was in process of the drawing.

Anger Dragon Susan Rowe: On a visit to my children’s school, pictures of colorful dragons lined the walls. Each one had a story about a time when the artist’s “anger dragon” got loose and did bad things. So when I started writing about a time I lost my temper with my son, “Anger Dragon” seemed the perfect title and metaphor. The poem let me express that brief moment of losing control and the regret that lasts and lasts. Jacopo Degl’innocenti: I love dragons, this was one of the first strong impulses to realize this illustration. Also it takes me back to my mind, when my mother got very angry with me and then maybe she felt guilty. I realized this illustration from the point of view of the son who sees this anger dragon/mother waiting for

him at the end of the stairs. I used strong and bright colors in a house without furniture to give more craze and aggressivity.

I sought to show this laughter as something uncomfortable and inescapable.

In Lost Time

Breaking the Hand That Feeds You

Matthew Daddona: I had my childhood house in mind—my house with all of its doors and corners and family inside of it. I wondered what it would be like to live in a house with a TV on all the time, with the TV graphics reflecting off the windows and other areas of the house. Would we somehow inhabit the lives of the characters of the TV show? Would they somehow inhabit our lives? My dad is fat as your dad is fat as material consumption is round and juicy and smeared in butter. Kali Gregan: As an illustrator I focus on particular moments that feel unsettling or even out of place. I am inspired by Cubism and Collage and I try to let those stylistic qualities accentuate the strange moments in a narrative. In “In Lost Time” I was attracted to the conceptual pairing of laughter and loneliness.

Vita Lusty: My left hand was in a cast. It was impossible to write the way I was accustomed to. I kept pounding wrong letters. Each day I didn’t write, I grew sick and more depressed. Two friends encouraged me. They knew I had to write or I would fade away.

The Weary Trichologist Matt Jones: My wife and I met when she was already married. I don’t like the word affair, but I guess that’s what we had in the beginning. We had other things too: love and hope and hair problems. It was an emotional time, so it felt easier to take a more scientific or sterile approach. It felt safer to talk about trichology and scalp rash as opposed to heartbreak and hurt.



Better Debbie Urbanski: This story draws from the following: my readings about neurodiversity (highly recommended: the book Neurotribes by Steve Silberman); the long slog of trying to learn to be the parent my autistic son needs; and my somewhat irrational anxiety when I had a cast on for the first time in my life last year. I was neither a good nor calm patient. Brandon Reese: Being a father was the source of inspiration for my illustration of “Better.” I know well the want of influencing and shaping your child. They are an extension of ourselves . . . a reflection, right? We do our best to lovingly direct but in the end they are individuals—unique in their interests and pursuits.

Penny stories breathe different moods and tones. Some are subtle and delicate, nostalgic and surreal, others faded memories or old wives’ tales. Mostly all together they challenge your perception of reality. — Mitucami Mituca

64 Inspirations

Contributors Jago has produced illustrations for over 40 books, a couple of TV shows and a few magazines. He has recently finished a book called Always Remember by Cece Meng published by Philomel Books (an imprint of Penguin Random House). Carlos Brito is an award-winning Brazilian artist, painter, graphic and pattern designer and children’s book illustrator. He is also an author of a book of images, published by Editora Moderna. Jerome Charyn’s most recent book is A Loaded Gun: Emily Dickinson for the 21st Century. Matthew Daddona is a writer, reviewer, and editor who resides in Brooklyn. His most recent writings have appeared in Tin House, Gigantic, The Southampton Review, and The Rumpus, among others. He is currently finishing his first novel.

Nadine Darling lives in Boston, MA with her husband and family. Her debut novel SHE CAME FROM BEYOND! was released in 2015 on The Overlook Press. Jacopo Degl’innocenti is from Florence, Italy, where he studied fine arts. He moved to New York City, where he participated in the School of Visual Arts Continuing Education Program. He works as a freelance illustrator and artist. Kelly Dulaney’s writing has appeared ​in ​or is forthcoming ​from Fairy Tale Review, The Best Experimental Writing Anthology (BAX) ​ of ​2015, The Collagist, Caketrain, and elsewhere. Her novel Ash is available from Urban Farmhouse Press. She lives in Colorado and edits the Cupboard Pamphlet. Jack Feerick lives and works in western New York with his family,


two cats, and a neurotic Husky. His short fiction has previously appeared in KYSO Flash. He is critic-at-large for Popdose. Anuja Ghimire is from Kathmandu, Nepal. A Pushcart-nominee in 2015, she is published in over 30 journals. She lives in Dallas, TX with her husband and two little girls. KJ Hannah Greenberg eats oatmeal and keeps company with a prickle of (sometimes rabid) imaginary hedgehogs. Her newest books are Word Citizen, and Cryptids. Kali Gregan is an illustrator from Richmond, Virginia. In her work, she likes taking things apart and finding new ways to put them back together. And making a mess. Kim Herbst is a half-Chinese freelance illustrator who spent time in Taipei, Tokyo, New Jersey, Baltimore, and Brooklyn before heading out to reside in San Francisco. Her work has been featured in newspapers, magazines, children’s educational materials, and gallery shows.

66 Contributors

Kevin Hyde’s fiction has appeared in Parcel and Big Fiction and online at Gigantic and McSweeney’s, among other places. He lives in Oakland, CA. Anna Lea Jancewicz’s flash fiction “Marriage” was chosen for The Best Small Fictions 2015. Say it: Yahnt-SEV-ich. Matt Jones is a graduate of the University of Alabama MFA program. His essays have appeared in Slice Magazine, Okey-Panky, The Journal, and various other publications. Taras Kharechko is an illustrator from Ukraine. He currently lives and works in Lviv spending his time drawing monsters and listening to music. Ani King is the Editor in Chief for Syntax & Salt: Stories. She lives in Lansing, Michigan and has work published at Every Day Fiction, Rose Red Review, Strange Horizons, and other really marvelous places.

Rachel Lesser is an illustrator, painter & graphic designer in the Jersey/NYC area. She loves comics, pizza and getting free stuff. She graduated from UNIVERSITY OF THE ARTS and is currently continuing her studies at SVA in Illustration. Vita Lusty graduated from Antioch University’s Creative Writing program in 2014. She is now hiding in the Joshua Tree desert, finishing her first book and working as a teacher. Vladimir Milosavljevic is an artist with a degree in Book Design and Illustration from the National Academy of Arts in Sofia. R J Murray is a writer and musician from Scotland. She recently began publishing her short stories and is also writing a children’s fantasy novel. Yolanda Oreiro aka Mitucami Mituca is an Spanish illustrator, currently based in Barcelona. She is actively involved with the Zines culture and currently collaborates with different magazines like proyecto-kahlo and Shameless Magazine.

Christopher Park is a multi-media, interactive illustrator living in Los Angeles. While classically trained in traditional illustration, his combined knowledge of art and front-end code have breathed life and movement into his work and allowed it to become unique, interactive and dynamic. Haejin Park is a New York-based freelance illustrator. She graduated from Rhode Island School of Design with a B.F.A. Illustration in 2015. Brandon Reese likes to draw pictures. He likes to write stories too. Sometimes he does both together. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and son. On rare occasions, he leaves his studio and says hello to them. Susan Rowe lives in Boise, Idaho, and teaches memoir at the Log Cabin Literary Center. She has a degree in philosophy, politics, and economics from Oxford and a master’s degree in creative writing. Jia Sung is a painter and illustrator, born in Minnesota, bred in Singapore, now based in Brooklyn. In her spare time, she is a monkey.



Luke Tennis has published short stories in Connecticut Review, Puerto del Sol, Word Riot, and other literary magazines. Awards include two fiction writing grants from the Maryland Arts Council (2016, 2010), first place in the 2014 Tucson Book Festival literary competition, and the Herbert Wilner Creative Writing Award, as well as scholarships to attend Bread Loaf and other writers’ conferences. His novella, Bernardo the Daredevil, is published by St. Andrews Press. Matt Tompkins has an e-book, Studies in Hybrid Morphology, available from tNY Press. A chapbook, Souvenirs and Other Stories, is forthcoming from Conium Press. Matt lives in New York with his wife, daughter, and cat. Debbie Urbanski is a writer living in Syracuse, New York. Her stories have been published in The Sun, Nature, and The Kenyon Review. Currently she’s at work on a linked story collection concerning aliens and cults. Joe Walton is a SCAD illustration alumni who doodles stuff for a living. He currently works as a card designer for American

68 Contributors

Greetings’ alternative humor studio in Cleveland, OH and illustrates for magazines in his free time. Also, his three favorite things are dinosaurs, robots, and pizza. Christopher Wilson is an illustrator/cartoonist who takes inspiration from many underground comics, punk/hardcore imagery, and his surroundings of NYC. (We were introduced to Christopher through a collaboration with his SVA instructor, Steve Brodner, who gave his students “Susquehanna” as an illustration prompt. Christopher’s illustration was our favorite. —Eds.)


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Jago, Carlos Brito, Jerome Charyn, Matthew Daddona, Nadine Darling, Jacopo Degl’innocenti, Kelly Dulaney, Jack Feerick, Anuja Ghimire, KJ Hannah Greenberg, Kali Gregan, Kim Herbst, Kevin Hyde, Anna Lea Jancewicz, Matt Jones, Taras Kharechko, Ani King, Rachel Lesser, Vita Lusty, Vladimir Milosavljevic, Mitucami Mituca, R J Murray, Christopher Park, Haejin Park, Brandon Reese, Susan Rowe, Jia Sung, Luke Tennis, Matt Tompkins, Debbie Urbanski, Joe Walton, and Christopher Wilson

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