by Steven Armstrong


Marlene entered the world with no blood in her veins. Nearly translucid, covered in fluids, her parents could barely make out her face. They huddled together holding their wailing child, noticing she weighed almost nothing. Surprising, given her healthy size.

When her father and nurses attempted to clean her, the girl slipped away from them, slowly floating in the room as if gravity did not exist.

None believed what they saw. Marlene’s mother noticed the fluorescent lights shining through her baby’s body as she reached out to catch her. She shared a curious look with her husband. A nurse fainted.

Steven Armstrong lives in the Silicon Valley, San Jose, California, where he mainly works as a staff writer for an entertainment website.

photo by Mo.


by Jon Bennett


Everyone thought
it was so cute
the little girl, 2 or 3,
kept running, squirming
hollering, bouncing, the dad
would retrieve her
an armful of earthworm
she’d escape, holler, run.
I watched this go on for hours
the dad’s arms becoming limp.
There was something wrong
what she needed was a jungle
to learn about thorn trees
to learn to fear
without those lifeless arms
reining her back in,
or a field of daisies,
a field so large
running across it
would finally exhaust her.
It seemed
the only solution.


Jon Bennett is a San Francisco poet. His work has appeared in 13 Myna Birds, The Blue Hour and Horror Sleaze Trash.

photo by Ben McLeod

Surprise, Surprise

by Donal Mahoney


The mother’s dead.
Thirty years later
you meet the daughter
and realize the daughter
is the mother again,
poking her finger
in your chest half an hour
after her plane lands.
The same laugh knocks
folks in the elevator
back a bit.

Every time the daughter
grabs your arm
to emphasize a point
the way the mother did,
you want a ticket
to the Maldives
or maybe Bulgaria.
Sofia in the summer
might be nice.

This time, however,
you stay put.
She found you
on the Internet.
You must admit
the freckles
across her nose
scream she’s right:
You are her father.
Surprise, Surprise.
Her mother never said.


Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis Missouri. Some of his earliest work can be found at

photo by Switchology