Front Matter


My inspiration for The Patterns of Place: Seeking Shelter; Finding Home came from the refugee crisis in the Middle East and across the Mediterranean Sea, specifically, the image of Alan Kurdi, a three-year-old boy who drowned and whose body washed ashore.


This issue was barely published in 2012. It’s been a momentous year. A year in which I married my wonderful wife, relocated to Arkansas, where we bought our first house, and started a new job. 2012 was packed. Life changes filled the months and Scintilla (and my own writing) languished. That will change in 2013,… Read more »


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.


When I think of fall, I remember warm, sugared donuts and fresh cider from a farm in Michigan. Fall brings a sense of renewal as my life remains rooted in the world of education. A new school year, a new beginning, and in that way Fall trades on the goodwill of Spring.


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.


In the sprint to publish the issue, writing the introduction is the step I look forward to the least. Not because I dislike writing it, but because I can’t wait to get the issue online and in front of readers’ eyes. As a result, my introductions are short and fail at the task of communicating… Read more »


When I signed on to curate a fiction-exclusive issue, I was a bit worried that I might encounter some monotony; I couldn’t have been more wrong. Each of these stories is brimming with life in a different kind of way.


What matters are the writers and their work, without their dedication and creativity, Scintilla, wouldn’t exist.  The inspiration for the magazine came from my love of writing and a desire to work with writers.  I looked around at publications I loved and thought, I wish I could be involved.  It’s easy to put up barriers and… Read more »


I’ve been working hard to get the second issue designed and published. Finally, it’s here. I’ll work on the introduction more, but for now, please turn your attention to the wonderful poets and writers.


“Literature of War: At Home and Abroad” is the best issue we’ve published. It is also the most challenging issue we’ve published.


Tim Lepczyk: Publisher and Editor
Mark Barr: Fiction Editor
Zoe Calhoun: Editorial Assistant
Daniel Grear: Editorial Assistant


Tim Lepczyk: Publisher and Editor
Mark Barr: Fiction Editor

Ryan Bry: Editorial Assistant
Zoe Calhoun: Editorial Assistant
Taylor Foremon: Editorial Assistant
Daniel Grear: Editorial Assistant
Lindsay Lloyd: Editorial Assistant


Publisher and Managing Editor: Tim Lepczyk
Senior Fiction Editor: Daniel Grear
Fiction Editorial Assistant: Lyndy Wibking
Poetry Editorial Assistant: Adam Nick


Tim Lepczyk: Publisher and Poetry Editor
Mark Barr: Fiction Editor
Zoe Calhoun: Editorial Assistant
Daniel Grear: Editorial Assistant


Claire Comeaux

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.


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.

Funeral for a Childhood

I remember the moment it clicked: The realization that everything I thought I knew, all my memories, represented a fantasy interpretation of events; untrue.

Girl on the Screen

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.

Inside a Whisper

How to find a home inside a whisper and take up residence there like a monk in an earthen corner with his tin cup of rose water and his hands scraped raw from gardening…

Karaoke Blues

Then the door parts.  If this is a western, he’s the lone cowboy drifting in on a gritty breeze.

Naming the Stars

When I was little, I used to think that when the sun went down it would take the clouds with it, clearing the sky for the stars.

Some Things I Used To Remember

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.

Tea Bags from Shaw’s

The habit started in Maine, the tea drinking, I mean. Massachusetts, where I live mostly, is more of a coffee kind of place – busy lives, kids, jobs. But on a wintry Saturday afternoon in Owls Head, when I’m alone in the house and writing, or supposed to be writing, the act of sitting with… Read more »


About a Mean One

I was sitting on the sofa with a mean frown on my face and my lower lip stuck out. I was pouting, but not in that sad cry baby girl way. I was a tomboy, so I pouted mean.

After the Rainbow

Colors. Imogene heard colors, or rather, she saw them—little bursts of bright yellows, pea greens, and aquamarines. With every sound that filtered through her eardrum, Imogene saw a color to match. She first noticed her power as a little girl: With the back and forth, sway and repeat of the wooden swing in the backyard,… Read more »

An Old Song

It’s hard to come down without being seen from a flight through the clouds on the back of an albino dragon.


A loud rumble drew Marisol Flores to the window of the second floor apartment. Her chest tightened when she peeked between drawn curtains to see a steel gray armored truck stopped directly in front of the building in which she had lived for the past two years.

Biscotti and Wedding Bands

Soon we were dancing and then we were embracing and I was touching his body with all the pent up desire of our almost twenty-year affair of the heart.


The road rolled out flat and endlessly into the barren landscape. The parched ground coughed up sagebrush and broken rock, an unforgiving comfort you had to look for. Beauty, as they say out here, plays hard to get.

Convoy Operations

Vehicle is approaching from rear on the left, friendly forces. Passes, takes lead position in convoy. We fall in behind and set proper interval for this portion of the Main Supply Route – MSR Knight.

Corben Dennis’s Dad’s Gone Mad

Eyes are elsewhere. So no-one sees the child at loose in the street, dodging bin and lamppost and striking the pavement with stinging feet. A phantom manifesting; thunder through open windows, as a flash of colour, sudden, in the doors of shops and houses. No stopping for traffic as he cuts across a car park,… Read more »

Cycle Class

He was sitting next to me when he fell off his bike. We were out of our seats, pushing up a hill, and the music was so loud I didn’t hear anything.


You know what it is, said his friend, with all the gravitas of an EMS worker at an accident scene: It’s because she has a father. She loves her father too much.


I left, I was hunted.

I clung to comfort, I was hunted.

I returned and was eaten.

In Sickness and in Health

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.

Meeting with My Editor

I am meeting with my editor, right now, as you read this story, a meeting about this story that I first submitted to her rather prestigious literary journal, a literary journal that will remain nameless, but one that has published three of my stories before, two of which won Pushcarts.

My Lost One

“Surprised to see me again?” Kim says. I hesitate at the door. Paper wasps had built a nest in the corner of the brick underpass leading to my ground floor apartment in Levittown. Anyone standing at the door stirs them up, so I part my threshold and invite her to follow. Kim slips into the… Read more »

No Milk Would Come

The other night I stopped for orange juice at the Pico station on the north side of Boerne, and I picked up this men’s magazine just to browse it, and then I wound up buying it because of this article about sex dolls so realistic you could dress them up and no one would know… Read more »

Old Cadillac People

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 »

Pizza Western

As a marketing copywriter, my greatest talent is my ability to uncover my client’s story and communicate it in a compelling manner, no matter how boring.

Runnels County, TX

The gem seemed at first to be a kind of mirage. It stuck out of the ground, the size of a sleeping mule, and Nehemiah and his son stood over it, tilting their heads to see the infinite varieties of iridescence.


It was not unusual at that manifest turn of the century for a child to spend the entire wind-driven day alone in front of the mercantile. Odd thing was, the child was white as the vanishing snow, white and left to fend the spring wind alone with nothing but the clothes on his back and a dog at his feet.


Jeannie wished Walker would share his thoughts more. He’d abandoned college teaching. He didn’t write, didn’t even read. Why? He said Socrates hadn’t read or written anything, Jesus either, and Homer was blind, though hardly illiterate. Since Walker wasn’t Socrates, Jesus, or Homer, Jeannie struggled to see the relevance.


In the photograph, the woman holds a laughing baby over her head staring and smiling at her intensely.

Sweet Cheeks

“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.

Tandy’s Tournament

After years of working in the dime store, Mother bought a honky-tonk tavern.  She rented a room upstairs to one of her customers and then she married him.  Alton Grainger, Mother’s fifth husband, was just Mother’s height and the age of my oldest sister.  He was from North Carolina.  He’d boxed in the army, said… Read more »

The Church of Universal Entropy

Our office has reviewed, with careful attention, your recent fifty-seven page e-mail regarding the adverse determination made by the IRS Office with respect to your Application for Recognition of Exemption on behalf of the Church of Universal Entropy, of which you are sole founder.

The Dog Tag

Jim now wore the dog tag he had given his mother after returning from his first deployment. He wore the standard metal-beaded chain around his neck, but the tag itself was atypical.

The Exhibits

There are four in the car: Bridget and Jack, who have been cuddling in the backseat the whole way; Anita, who is driving; and Shane, her all-but-fiancé, who is navigating. Anita and Shane have been together so long that they don’t hold hands in public much anymore, or cuddle in backseats. And for the whole drive, they’ve been watching the other two snuggling in the rearview with smiles that are indulgent, if a little strained.

The Subtle Ghost

But the haunting continued to be steadfastly understated, the ghost unerringly subtle. A polite poltergeist. A polterguest.

This Wasn’t Supposed to Happen

We were the infantry, the sons of Odin, the winged gods of war fighting for freedom and the American way of life. Now we’re dying in the streets of America. We survived war; it was the peace that killed us.

Through the Woven Door

As she wakes Linka feels the hopeless weight of failure at the discovery of another month’s flow seeping from her body. The flush glazed her thighs and stained the snow-white linen of her nightgown a fierce geranium red. Linka has longed for a child since she was a child.  Even her daydreams are filled with… Read more »

Trials of Isaiah

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.

What Happened to Brad

I was scrolling Facebook when I came across a friend’s post expressing their condolences for a friend who recently died. I wasn’t friends with the deceased, but a link to his Facebook page was in the post. His name was Brad.