The Pie Was a Final Draft: Scraps

by Michaella Thornton It’s a little before 5 a.m. and, instead of lying in bed and wondering why I cannot sleep, I get up. Maybe it’s my anxiety about Omicron and trying to keep my too-young-to-be-vaccinated child safe while navigating single-parent frugality (keep her home, but still pay preschool fees to keep her spot). Maybe […]

Secrets of Small Engine Repairmen, or The Genealogy of the Crows

Fiction by Timothy Boudreau “A crow craps on your head one fucking time,” Brie’s brother Blake tells her, “and you’re not friends with them ever again.” It’s October, chilly, raw, gray, 1994. They’re sitting on lawn chairs inside a semi-circle of snowblowers, and the crows are cawing, the blue jays crying at the tips of […]

The Last Refuge

A review of A Violent Gospel by Mark Westmoreland Reviewed by Well Read Beard “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.” – Isaac Asimov Living straight ain’t easy in the rural areas of this country. The industry and commerce have disappeared from the American small town. If you live in one of these places, […]


Fiction by Erin Calabria Did you know, I begin, though I can’t be sure I’ve reached you: you, hunched over headlines that must be read twice. Morning sun stitching the grey in your hair, frail and fine as threads of spider silk. And maybe if I’d fallen in love with someone else, they would tell […]

Parental Reckonings: Writing in the Silent and Loud Hours

by Amy Cipolla Barnes “Ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night, must you write?” – Rainer Maria Rilke When I was a kid, I didn’t know who Rilke was. I didn’t like sleeping and used my silent hours for reading and scratching down story ideas on paper scraps. It may have been […]

Movie Time

Fiction by Tom Weller The cool air of the theater settles into the Scrap Boys, hits their sunburned skin and sinks into their bones, banishes the heat of the summer, the sunlight and humidity they’ve absorbed wandering downtown streets. The harangues of shopkeepers, the too-cool stares of the high school boys leaning on their shit-box […]