Tiphanie Yanique

Papa’s hands are in my mouth. The pliers are frigging deep. He always starts at the back. That makes it worse at the end, which is the front. All confusing, but he’s that kind of bastard, my Papa. He twists the pliers.

Ryūnosuke Akutagawa
Translated by Ryan C. K. Choi

Duck Hunting

The last time I saw Professor Keigetsu Ōmachi was in 1924, on New Year’s Day, when we went duck hunting in Shinagawa Bay with a group of friends, Misei Kosugi, Taneaki Shindai, and Torayoshi Ichikawa.

Sergio Troncoso

Isidoro Acevedo has not been back to Olive Street in decades. The first thing he notices is that the tabby lingering by the front door of Apartment 1 floats in the air in the recessed alcove of a small patio.

Virginie Despentes
Translated by Emma Ramadan

Pauline is sitting at the kitchen table.

            She’d opened the shoe closet, nothing flat.

            At twenty-five years old, she has never thought to put on high heels .  .  .

Donald Hall

David Bardo was driving his wife, Beverly, to the hairdresser in Georgetown when he took a wrong turn. He apologized.

Joan Silber

My high school girlfriend wanted me to marry her. Who gets married in high school?

            “My mother isn’t even married,” I said.

Terese Svoboda

I lived in twelve houses in 1932. The Depression was all opportunity for my father, one house on the prairie foreclosed after another, the more for my father to fix up and resell. People had to live somewhere while they slid into poverty.

Kate Walbert

Maggie suggests they play the game the Obamas used to play in the White House at dinner. (She read it.) Roses and Thorns, she explains to Peter and Grace; the good things of the day the roses and the bad things of the day the thorns.

Ellen Wilbur

Every breath you take is critical and every heartbeat in your chest is crucial. The state of all your organs is important, like a chorus where no voice can stand apart or overwhelm the rest or fail.

Hanne Ørstavik
Translated from the Norwegian by Martin Aitken

When I grow old, we’ll go away on the train. As far away as we can. We’ll look out through the windows, at fells and towns and lakes, and talk to people from foreign lands.