Night Visitor
by Carrie Conners

night visitor

A giant cactus knocked on my door with one of its spiny arms.
It’s three o’clock in the morning, I said.
It begged me to use my shower or at least to draw a bath and soak its veiny roots.
But you’ll drown, I said, and I can’t be an accomplice to a suicide. It’ll keep me up at night.
But the bats keep nibbling at me, it cried, and I can’t stand the pain of these open sores.
They’re pollinating, I said, making cactus children.
I have children? it asked and wept until it drowned on my welcome mat.


by Jason Marak

creating-a-programming-crossword-puzzle-6Intrepid, Happy Days, oxymoron. Jimmy worked the crossword. A master. An artist. He worked in ballpoint. Blue. Never a puzzle too complicated, clue too clever, answer too obscure. Completion was inevitable. This puzzle (from an inflight magazine taken because he liked the font) was, for Jimmy, no easier or more difficult than the Sunday Times. He closed his eyes. Cylindrical popped into his head. Jimmy filled eleven spaces with neat capitals. Next, he filled the blank spaces around Saul Leiter with alternating lowercase ps and qs. The only thing Jimmy liked more than p and q together were rows of d and b, so he filled in a large block with the pair. In some squares he inked tiny designs. Other squares became circles. Once the space was full and ripe, he shaded the border with an orange crayon and stuck it to the wall with the rest.


by Nicole Hebdon

last imageDanny’s grandmother made him watch a documentary about escaped pet snakes that slithered through the Florida sewers to emerge in toilets. “You’ll be dead before you pull your pants up,” she said, pinching his arm. When they finally did see a snake it wasn’t in the toilet, but in the pool.

It reminded Danny of the pale worms he used to pick out of puddles before he knew about germs.

He listed off all the snake types he knew (Python, Cobra and Cottonmouth) as grandmother lifted the snake from the pool with a rake.

“He’s not poison,” grandma said. “He’s just a drowned garden snake.”

When she flicked the snake into the weeds, scales floated from its body, as orange as popcorn kernels. Danny thought of fireflies. Later, when he was alone, he picked one up, cupping his hands to create darkness, but the snake bit did not glow.


Carrie Conners, originally from West Virginia, lives in Brooklyn and teaches at LaGuardia CC-CUNY. Her poetry has appeared in Cider Press Review, Steel Toe Review, RHINO, and The Monarch Review, among other publications. 

Jason M. Marak’s work has appeared in a number of print and online journals including Raritan, The Paris Review, 100 word story, and matchbook. More online at smokeandotherindications.blogspot.com and Twitter at @jasonmmarak.


Nicole Hebdon’s work has appeared in The Southampton Review, Smokelong Quarterly, Lumina, The Whale, FAE: Faeries and Enchantment, Auxiliary Magazine and DoNorth Magazine. She is currently working on a YA novel about obsessions.


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