selected by Sommer Schafer

Squash

Every spring, I pollinate the squash. With a cotton swab, I transfer pollen from male flowers to female flowers. But when the first squash flowers bloom this M...

Legacy

Father went first. He lay down in bed one night and never woke up. Bored of mum talking nonsense, I think. Died on purpose to stop the noise. She slowed to a h...

Blue

I watch the woman in the car beside ours—flat-ish profile, red hair combed straight back. She’s talking with her hands, silver beads dangle from her big-boned ...

Anglerfish

There is an anglerfish in the diner. The anglerfish is much older than the diner, but it did not exist until the diner was built. This makes sense if you th...

The Dragon Slayer

To court the favor of pregnant women, the hospital began offering free pain relief during childbirth. But Elo would have none of it. In a dry dusty terrain wit...

Downwind

After Leon died, Loretta sold most of the farm away. Away, in different ways. The back fields, nearly 300 acres, went to two neighboring farms, the Rathmueller...

Subplot

My husband claims the thing that most “offends” him about my lover (“offends” is his word, versus something more predictable, like “upsets”) is that Adam’s fav...

The Four Stages of a Fire

1. Incipient The night before B’s twenty-third birthday, at the climax of the St. Louis summer heat, we come home drunk from the bar and fuck on his duvet-l...

Three Interludes

First Interlude: Signposts I search for the right word and feel the shape of it in my head, in my mouth, but the letters elude me. Sometimes you’ve got to l...