By Yash Seyedbagheri

I can’t pay my credit card because I used it to subsist on bare green TV dinners and Lays.

I can’t bring my bank account positive, because I got fired. No thank yous or false promises. Just talk of metrics and severance. Severance, a word that evoked someone’s head rolling around, like an unloved soccer ball.

 But before that, I needed to drink champagne, savor the verve, and feel like a royal. I drank nightly. And before that I needed sushi and lobster, after that first demotion. Not up to speed, they said. 

Now overdraft fees and bounced checks prey on me. Interest rates devour.

 I can’t explain, because no one wants explanations unless they involve being run over, fighting robbers, or losing a kidney. Even though once upon a time I marked calendars with colored highlighters, set clocks half an hour fast, and thought data crunching was sexy.

And I can’t speak contrition. Contrition’s insufficient. No kidneys lost.

                                                      *   *   *

Yash Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University’s MFA fiction program. His stories, “Soon,”  “How To Be A Good Episcopalian,”  “Tales From A Communion Line,” and “Community Time,” have been nominated for Pushcarts. Yash’s work  has been published in  SmokeLong Quarterly, The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Write City Magazine, and Ariel Chart, among others.

On Five Weeks in Liguria

By Ariel K. Moniz

At a mere whisper near the periphery of thought, I may suddenly find myself ankle deep in melancholy, my mind perched somewhere distant and alive, there again along the Italian coastline. Those memories remain so vibrant, while others, much more recent or meaningful perhaps, fade like laundry left too long in the sun—

The cast of midsummer light, the rinds of lemons pinched with flavor, the grasping roots of the olive trees, how they clung to the hillsides amid paths built of forgotten stone. Fingers blessed with dripping gelato and sand, baptized in the warm promise of the Atlantic sea. The hush of the siesta hour, that midday haze punctuated by the lethargic flight of pigeons and the foot falls of the beach bound. The smell of rosemary still lingers every time I hear distant church bells—

I imagine it is because a poet’s heart cannot help but to pine for the somber romance of nostalgia, particularly how it stings with the passage of time. I cannot ignore how these perfect wounds dressed as memories ache with the years. Or more honestly, it is because, looking back, I am terribly aware that those weeks were the last time I felt that my future, my life, could look like absolutely anything—

I still long for that freedom, that horizon. 

                                                                  *   *   *

Ariel K. Moniz (she/her) is a queer Black poetess and Hawaii local. She is the winner of the 2016 Droste Poetry Award and a Best of the Net nominee. Her writing has found homes with Blood Bath Literary Zine, Nymphs Publications, The Centifictionist, and Sunday Mornings at the River Press, among others. She is a Best of the Net nominee and currently serves as an editor and a co-founder of The Hyacinth Review. You can find her through her website at or staring out to sea.



By Madison Randolph

Mike fumbled the keys in his pocket. He forced a key into the lock. It wouldn’t turn. His tongue flicked out across his dry and cracked lips. He tried another and it worked. The door slammed into the wall and he stumbled across the entryway. 

The living room was flooded in searing bright light from floor to ceiling windows. He held his arm in front of his face and lurched into the kitchen. The silver sink faucet stood before him like a godsend. 

His calloused fingers snatched the two handles and yanked them forward. He ducked his head into the sink and his thick tongue reached for the refreshing drops of water. Nothing. The tip of his tongue rubbed against the faucet mouth to taste dry metal. 

He straightened and slammed his hand against the counter. A scream scraped against his dry and hoarse throat. There wasn’t enough water in him for tears. 

The silver fridge caught his eye and he ran to it. Please! Please! He slammed his fist against the water button and stuck his face under the spout. Two drips of stale water dribbled into his parched and puffy mouth. His tongue lapped them up greedily. His throat convulsed. I need more.

He opened the fridge and grabbed the edge of the icebox. Blessed sloshing. He forced himself to slow down and remove the box with care. Not one drop could be wasted. He brought the corner up to his lips and poured the water into his mouth. 

The hot water filled his mouth and eased his dry tongue. He swallowed. He couldn’t get enough. The water hit the bottom of his empty stomach with a satisfying thunk. Water sloshed down his front as he poured too quickly.

The water ran out and he held the plastic box above his head, his mouth wide open to catch the last few drops. Like a cat he licked the interior. He sat the box on the counter and felt his wet shirt clinging to his sweaty skin.

He yanked his shirt to his mouth and sucked all the moisture he could out. He let his shirt go. Slowly, he took deep breaths and closed his eyes. His hand rested on his stomach. A smile stretched his cracked lips. He tasted the metallic flavor of blood as his skin split. His smile widened.  

                                                       *   *   *

Madison Randolph is attending University of Texas Permian Basin to earn her Bachelor’s in English. Her works have appeared in Friday Flash Fiction, The Drabble, and Sandstorm Journal. She has also been published in 101 Words as Ryker Hayes. She can be found on Twitter @Madisonr1713 or Instagram madisonrandolph17

The Complaint of a Zalto Crystal Wine Glass

By Emily Macdonald

I expected a quiet life.  Kept in the dark clean cupboard, upright to the air. Brought out on special occasions. ‘High days and holidays’—is what they promised me—’for the very best wines.’ I assumed first growths, grand cru’s, the mature, rare, and collectable.

But it started with three to four times a week.  Cupping me, he polished, tender towel on my fragile neck, being careful to remove stains and traces of thumbprints.  

Now, I’m out every day.  I’m weak—so tired I might snap.  

He still never pours beyond the widest part of my bowl, but he pours so often, refills over and over. He starts with a swirl—I’m sick of the dizziness—and inhales.  I release perfume and wait for his satisfied grunts before takes me to his mouth. 

Sometimes, when he’s kept me out for hours—golden green whites, then bloody red tarnishing my rim, perhaps sweet too, glycerol tears, leaving me sticky and clammy—he grips my neck too hard or bangs me against the table.   I fear him most when he tilts my crystal to his lips, knowing there’s an aching in his teeth, knowing that one day soon he will bite.


                                                             *   *   *

Emily Macdonald was born in England but grew up in New Zealand.

Fascinated by wine as a student, she has worked in the UK wine trade ever since. Since going freelance at the start of 2020, she has started creative writing.

Emily has work published with Reflex Fiction, Retreat West, Virtual Zine, Globe Soup and Hammond House.

In writing and in wines she likes variety, persistent flavor, and enough acidity to add bite.