And so he began. And for the first time saw
the boy whose bicycle sped by his porch,
then the yellowing leaf on the back step.
Silence won’t stand
for itself. It won’t
We could get away by ourselves when we turned twelve,
could necktie beach towels, corsage the octagonal badge, the
get-away made on flip-flops if we lived closed enough.
where all their lost, original songs
squeeze the bellows of death,
sing with mouths of sun & flint
such lullabies of dread
The markings of the world:
disc of desert blur,
concentric sphere imagining itself
divided and conquered.
A man’s rusted compass,
a woman’s hint of blue shadow.
After the wedding, as bride
and groom depart, you muddle
your legends and turn yourself
into a pillar of salt. A glimpse
An impact of two black holes is said to produce more energy
than all of the suns in the universe. And we may observe
in tender onyx,
the sun spits
it’s splits onto
the ship that
You are either alive or dead
one or the other
there is a clear boundary
distinct like the River Styx
She’s away from home,
but won’t say for how
long. Her husband is out
Daphne’s left rib glistened with aquasoft, a thin layer over her fresh tattoo, an outline of a maple tree.
Isn’t this what we all do, sooner or later,
try to take back the mistakes, the words said
in anger, the sins that haunt our dreams?
The first thing on Jane’s mother’s list was the UPS store. There was always something to send back. Not all items passed muster. “Too yellow,” Margaret had said, handing the opened box to Jane. “And I sincerely doubt there is one natural fiber in that blouse. Silk, indeed!” Jane printed out the return form, bundled… Read more »
as they link in
70s raincoat logic
Love is a melody
that in the silence
Deep fried everything, buttered biscuits, hot grits with syrup,
black-eyed peas, corn bread,
bacon drippings collected in coffee cans
The child never stood a chance, born in a thunderstorm in the back seat of a mid-sized sedan.
It was hot the day my wife came back to me from the dead.
Yousef Allouzi is a short story and public policy author who grew up in Texarkana, AR but currently lives in the Pacific Northwest. He holds a BS in Economics from Oregon State University and is currently working on his Master of Public Policy from the same institution. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter… Read more »
We never spoke of my father. Nobody did. Her first marriage was strictly off limits. When I finally did build up the nerve to ask about him, she abruptly told me that her current husband was my father.
They fly in flocks at dusk,
shrill caws of mourning
echoing through the still sky.
First, thank you to Sam Snoek-Brown and Chuck Rybak. Without the two of you as editors there wouldn’t have been an Issue 10. Also, thank you to our new editorial assistants who volunteered to read for the issue. Finally, thank you to the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation for supporting creative writing in the community.
I’ve had the words, “shelter in place” as a backdrop to other thoughts.
Jessica Barksdale’s fourteenth novel, The Burning Hour, was published by Urban Farmhouse Press in April 2016. Her novels include the best-selling Her Daughter’s Eyes, The Matter of Grace, and When You Believe. A Pushcart Prize and Best-of-the-Net nominee, her short stories, poems, and essays have appeared in or are forthcoming in the Waccamaw Journal, Salt… Read more »
Carter Vance is a student and aspiring poet originally from Cobourg, Ontario, currently studying at Carleton University in Ottawa. His work has appeared in such publications as The Vehicle, (parenthetical) and F(r)iction, amongst others. He received an Honourable Mention from Contemporary Verse 2’s Young Buck Poetry Awards in 2015. His work also appears on his… Read more »
Michael Putnam grew up in Ohio and received his BA from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He has an MA from Cleveland State University and is currently in the MFA program at Georgia State University in Atlanta. He has been previously published in Fiction 365, Flyover Country Review, The Bookends Review, and New World Writing…. Read more »
Joey R. Poole lives in Florence, South Carolina. His work has previously appeared in print and online in places like Bull: Men’s Fiction, Southeast Review, Molotov Cocktail Lit Zine, and Moon City Review. He has a collection of short stories, I Have Always Been Here Before, and a novel, Twenty Thousand Roads, ready for publication. He… Read more »
January Pearson lives in Southern California with her husband and two daughters. She teaches in the English department at Kaplan University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Gargoyle Magazine, Timberline Review, The Lake, Four Chambers Press, Calliope, The Chiron, The Galway Review, Capstone Literary Journal, Modern Haiku, Haikuniverse, Darling Magazine, and Logia Theological Journal.
Jude Brewer is an author, actor, and emcee. He’s finishing a novel and a memoir while serving as an Executive Producer and Director for Productions Inc., a team of filmmakers in Portland, OR.
Dr. Michael Vincent Montgomery has been a professor at Life University in Atlanta for twenty-one years. He is the author of several collections of poetry and fiction and also writes screenplays. His author site is https://mvmontgomery.wordpress.com/
Alan Montes is a poet living in San Antonio TX. His poetry has appeared at bitterzoet magazine and at burnt pine magazine. He has more poetry forthcoming at bitterzoet magazine.
Claire Scott is an award winning poet who has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize. Her work has been accepted by the Atlanta Review, Bellevue Literary Review, Healing Muse and Vine Leaves Literary Journal among others. Her first book of poetry, Waiting to be Called, was published in 2015. She is the co-author of… Read more »
It’s been five years since Scintilla launched. What started out as a conversation on a sunporch in St. Louis continues as a thriving online literary magazine.
Here’s a woman hired to write proverbs
Must be creative, inspired, concise
he who climbs a ladder begins at the first step
Claire Scott is an award-winning poet who has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize (2013 and 2014). She was also a semi-finalist for both the 2014 Pangaea Prize and the 2014 Atlantis Award. Claire was the grand prize winner of The Maine Review’s 2015 White Pine Writing Contest. Her first book of poetry, Waiting to be Called, was published in 2015. She is the co-author of Unfolding in Light: A Sisters’ Journey in Photography and Poetry.
Publisher and Managing Editor: Tim Lepczyk
Senior Fiction Editor: Daniel Grear
Fiction Editorial Assistant: Lyndy Wibking
Poetry Editorial Assistant: Adam Nick
Special thanks to Hendrix College and the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation for their support of language and literature.
The reality of his immediate circumstances was something he felt keenly aware of, and it came to him instantly. He was a middle-aged man, urgently summoned to a house he had not stepped into for six years.
Before returning to his home state of Pennsylvania, where he teaches writing at Shippensburg University, Neil Connelly directed the MFA program at McNeese State in Lake Charles, Louisiana. He’s the author of over a dozen short stories and five novels, including The Midlife Crisis of Commander Invincible (LSU Press) and The Pocket Guide to Divorce: A Self-help Work of Fiction (Gorsky Press).
The first thing you need is a friend or family member who gets sentenced to prison.
Optimism One’s work is forthcoming from In Fact Books and has been published in Crab Creek Review, The Blotter Magazine, Sassafras Literary Magazine, The Matador Network, I-Magazine, and In the Grove: California Poets and Writers. He earned his MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Sierra Nevada College and teaches at Modesto Junior College. He’s currently working on a memoir called Goodbye, Suicide.
The storm didn’t knock out our power,
but left twigs and leaves scattered.
Floyd’s memory was like a hornet caught in a Mason jar. He stood in the hallway after lunch, still in his pajamas, staring at the residue of his former self.
A Colorado native, Deanne Gertner is a graduate from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She works for Denver-based art consulting firm, NINE dot ARTS, where she helps companies tell their stories through art. Deanne also serves as a board member for Lighthouse Writer’s Workshop, Denver’s premiere literary center. Her fiction has appeared in Quaint Magazine and her art criticism has appeared in Daily Serving.
In the summer of 2012, in my hometown in south Louisiana, I rolled burritos while waiting for college to begin. Just as my restaurant job neatly framed those three summer months, so did the search for Mickey Shunick, the big sister who never showed up to her brother’s high school graduation.
Claire Comeaux is from Lafayette, LA, and is a senior at Hendrix College, where she serves as Poetry Genre Editor for the Aonian. Her poetry was published in the 2015 Southern Literary Festival anthology.
Sometimes I imagine life as a sprawl of disjointed of photographs, a series of still-lifes in sepia that preserve some kind of timeline.
Brian Matthew Pietrus is a recent graduate of Columbia College Chicago’s MFA program in Nonfiction, where he also taught in the First Year Writing program. He is currently living and working in Los Angeles. His work has appeared in Elm Leaves Journal and r.kv.r.y. Quarterly, and he is the Nonfiction Editor for The Sonder Review.
I remember the moment it clicked: The realization that everything I thought I knew, all my memories, represented a fantasy interpretation of events; untrue.
Dr. Amanda Morris teaches writing and rhetoric at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania and also teaches creative nonfiction workshops for Murphy Writing of Stockton University.
She didn’t carry a gym bag, yoga mat or even reusable bags for groceries. He would follow her home.
Gilmore Tamny is a writer, musician and artist living in Somerville, MA. She is a committed artist, feminist, rawker, lover of old paintings and audiobook junkie.
When I kissed
your clavicle, gooseflesh
popped like tiny
naked chicks peeping
Ted Millar has been teaching English for fifteen years at middle and high school levels as well as at the college level, courses ranging from freshman composition to Shakespeare, poetry, and creative writing.
“Take your father home,”
says the gravedigger, holding out
a sack of bones. In Mexico City
Charles O’Hay is the author of two poetry collections—Far from Luck (2011) and Smoking in Elevators (2014)—both from Lucky Bat Books. His work has appeared in over 125 literary publications, including New York Quarterly, Gargoyle, and Cortland Review.
The tree detritus falls,
dry and oblique, into piles
on the road that from a distance
look like armadillos, possums, feral cats,
Jen Karetnick is the author of four poetry chapbooks and three full-length collections, including American Sentencing (Winter Goose Publishing, May 2016) and The Treasures That Prevail (Whitepoint Press, September 2016). She has also edited two anthologies and authored several cookbooks, including the award-winning Mango (University Press of Florida, 2014).
coyote, Cooper’s hawk, flattened feathers
lifting in the breeze. But now, just ahead
in a loud gale of traffic at next tight turn,
I left, I was hunted.
I clung to comfort, I was hunted.
I returned and was eaten.
Sarah Shields lives in Surf City, USA. Her written work has appeared or is forthcoming in Berfrois, Cheap Pop, Hermeneutic Chaos, Commonthought, and Spider.
But the haunting continued to be steadfastly understated, the ghost unerringly subtle. A polite poltergeist. A polterguest.
Emma Wortley is based in Sydney and has a PhD in English from The University of New South Wales. Her reviews, fiction and poetry have appeared in Voiceworks, Southerly, Going Down Swinging, Paper Crown Magazine and text Litmag.
“I’m lovely,” she says and pulls a jewelry box from under the coffee table. From the box she takes out a needle, a spoon, and a baggie filled with a dull white powder.
Michael Burns Haggerty is a novelist and short story writer who lives with his wife in downtown Buffalo, NY and in Wilson, NY located on the shores of Lake Ontario.
Every day since that report,
I’ve ordered a fritter
and sat by the window
The kids nowadays spend twelve hundred easy
dressing their robots for the senior prom.
All May and June, ballrooms shake as these lumbering
robots dance and cavort, flirt, sneak booze, and,
Armin Tolentino received his MFA at Rutgers University in Newark, NJ. His poetry has appeared, or is forthcoming, in The Bear Deluxe, Blue Earth Review, and New Millennium Writings.
Do we really need
another Liam, Noah, or Mason?
Emma, Charlotte, or Harper?
(I could go on…)
I stepped out, dripping wet in my fist-
cinched towel, and everybody was gone.
Opened the window: silent streets, cars
idling at stoplights, lonely blowing breeze.
My deodorant boasts
“all day protection”
but it can’t halt a bullet,
Larry O. Dean was born and raised in Flint, Michigan. His numerous books include Activities of Daily Living (forthcoming, 2017), Brief Nudity (2013), Basic Cable Couplets (2012), abbrev (2011), About the Author (2011), and I Am Spam (2004).
Young misfortunes won’t sustain the narrative
of history. The why of it doesn’t matter,
just the waking up with clothes torn,
blood drying like heavy paint on legs, palms,
Ace Boggess is the author of two books of poetry: The Prisoners (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2014) and The Beautiful Girl Whose Wish Was Not Fulfilled (Highwire Press, 2003).
First, thank you, Daniel, for taking on the issue, owning it, and creating something with your own editorial sense.
Finally, after our successful crowdfunding campaign to keep Scintilla going another year, I’ve sat down with Anton Chekhov and we’ve written two zombie mashups.
It was said that a new zombie had appeared on the sea-front: a lady with a little dog.
Anton Chekhov, as you should know, was a famous writer. So famous he has a Wikipedia page. He’d probably wouldn’t be happy that his story, “At Christmas Time” was invaded by zombies and in the public domain.
… we counsel you take up the rifle against the undead which plague our town. Clawing up from the muddy ground in Spring, these ravaged men, women, and alas, children, have overrun the churchyard…
Michele Micklewright is a Minnesota-based writer.
I am becoming immune to body-counts, to the number of people who have been maimed or killed by bombings and drone attacks in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen.
This issue of Scintilla reminds me of a cactus. Not because of the writing, though Chuck Rybak’s poem Blackbox may give one prickly sensations along the back of the neck. No, it reminds me of a cactus, because cacti are hardy plants. I did not give this issue the care and attention it deserved, the care and attention your writing deserved.
Tim Lepczyk: Publisher and Editor
Mark Barr: Fiction Editor
Zoe Calhoun: Editorial Assistant
Daniel Grear: Editorial Assistant