Volume 51


Cathy Linh Che | Lisa Youngblood | Nathan Alling Long | Emma Hodges | Holly Day | Marissa P. Clark | Tobi Alfier | Emma DePanise | William Rumelhart | Josh Brunetti | Richard Dinges, Jr. | Robert Boucheron | Zach Murphy | Jennifer Battisti | N.D. Rao | Linda Walters-Page | Blake Kilgore | Lisa L. Leibow

Online issue: volume 51


Midtown Empty – Tobi Alfier

Magnolia – Emma Hodges

Unrest | Early Winter – William Rumelhart

He with a Shirt Like Lemon Sorbet – Josh Brunetti

Under the Lights – Holly Day

Blizzard Fire – Richard Dinges, Jr.

Still Life – Linda Walters-Page

Becoming Ghost – Cathy Linh Che

Kitty Kitty – Nathan Alling Long

Man of Honor – Lisa Youngblood

the best first tree to climbbe nice to her branchestake every step with lovedo not be rough but holdstrong with a smooth sure handthen be still long enoughto feel the promise breatheinto your body: eachfavor you give to meI will return to youtenfold in the form ofsweet clean pink cream

I only know the best of you:dolphins that arch in the bay,clouds that turn water an achingblue, the smell of surf, the stingof salt, broad sidewalks and shinysilver parking meters. I know the half-hour wait for pancakesand the best bacon ever, the restaurantopen for breakfast only and all the peoplelining

that you and I went for a hike that felt like flyingand then at your house we made dinner with blue riceand outlandish vegetables You wrote back faster than ever           what do u mean a dream           you only left a couple hours

Martha soaped her washcloth then lifted her foot from the warm bath water. Her foot looked faded. She propped both her legs on the side of the tub and bent as far forward as she could to examine her feet in the steamy, lavender-scented air. The right foot was definitely

I lived in the cement houseI fed the chickensfrom my plate their claws scratchednew hash marksI carried my sonin a bucketmy daughterin anotherbalanced themon a pole mortar fire overheadthe German nuns took my newborn he wailed from colic I had no colostrum no pearl of milk he keened for somethingI could not givenow I thresheach grain of rice from its brown husk

Name’s Ari, which is short for Aristarchus. Aristarchus Archer. AA—ha! Can you believe it? Maybe I was supposed to be a living prompt for my momma or something. Anyhow, Pops was one of those weird dudes who wished they were back in Ancient History. He was too domineering to be

an acrid odor, a crunching of leaves:   a lumber truck lurches through the forest.   it stops in a clearing  covered with the stumps    and rotting trunks of felled oaks.    a chainsaw growls and the last oak standing   quivers, pleads.    a nearby willow, left for

She doesn’t remember liking the moviesof her youth: double features, all black and white,Humphrey Bogart, Spencer Tracy, “detective-typeshows,” but she enjoyed the event of getting to go.Cartoons came first—Bugs Bunny, Roadrunner— and these she liked, but not the newsreels,the politics, the wars. “Movies were my babysitter,”she says. For me, that

For a week after young Ruthie Rosenblum’s mom left, she and her dad holed up in their house—the small Victorian with wraparound porch and mezuzah on the doorpost. Neighbors stopped by with Jell-O molds and lasagnas, as if there had been a death or something. Members of the Congregation B’nai

Molly stood at the window and looked down at the ghostly street. Flowered gossamer swirled around her legs—that had barely seen a newborn sun for ages. Here and there a solitary walker, but no crowds waiting at lights, no city traffic. She lit a menthol cigarette with regular matches, the

He wore a shirt, some would say, Alike in color to lemon sorbet, And thus wore as a shell his interior’s pallor, Which exuded from him an acute sense of valor; Driven, was he, to convey effervescence, As if joy and light were his very essence— “So nice to share

sprawled rocks clutch the cliff edge,   white-knuckled, as a lone village   fades into the valley below.   an old church steeple blurs as its broken bells   toll the coming of the Unrest.   i leave the village square by the backroad   and ascend the mountainside.  

The law of 13 February 1790 suppressed all monasteries in France, and the revolutionary state confiscated their property. Former monks and nuns were now citizens. They shed their habits, abandoned their cloisters and narrow cells, married, and marveled at a world transformed from the one they had renounced. But the slogan of Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité rang hollow

an acrid odor, a crunching of leaves:     a lumber truck lurches through the forest.     it stops in a clearing covered with the stumps     and rotting trunks of felled oaks.     a chainsaw growls and the last oak standing     quivers, pleads.   

The children huddled in kernels, the yellowing husks of their former lives like an incubator for the new harvest. After the gut flora was destroyed, the pre and pro biotic army was no match for genetic engineers, glowing in their Jolly Green Giant getups. Parents waitlisted offspring for the  Monsanto

There was a certain love she had for him. It was strong: stinging at times, flowy and uplifting during others. But that’s just how love is, isn’t it? Lorraine was a firm believer that love was an effort, rewarded only to those who worked for it, earned it. That’s why

The wildflowers wilt over their own feet as I trudge through the dusty, jaded soil. One of my legs is broken. My mouth is parched. And my stripes burn.  I wonder if the workers before me dealt with this kind of heat. I wonder if the workers after me will suffer

When I told my husband that our cat was missing, perhaps for weeks, it now seemed to me, he said blankly, “What cat?” We were in the living room, doing very little living other than working out a crossword puzzle and reading a poorly researched novel about the civil war.

I open my mouth and imagine butterflies are going to fly out that inside me are flocks of brilliant monarchs that have struggled to hatch and pupate and transform into brilliance for years.  I command these butterflies to fly out of me, through my open mouth, to burst through my

My eyelids bowed to daylight and rose  with the evening moon to the sounds  of your absence. Hunger fills itself    with contracting groans, the ability to feel a different ache. Cars cascade over flatlined   roads, their rumbling fades in and out  of my window—a remnant of coordinates  passed.

Andrew sat in his leather chair at the center of his meticulous den and studied Jessica, who stood only an arm’s length away. The child frowned and pulled at the scalloped hem of her dress, which was two sizes too small although she refused to yield it. “It is time

The trucks came at noon, a solemn procession of enormous, closed moving vans with great empty stomachs and deep tinted windows to shield the desert sun. There were three, identical and shiny black, with no lettering. But now, against the long empty gray-white distance, they seemed no more than flickers, a little parade of glittery bugs. At the old farmhouse (which was the main building), Albert Bremer and seven other men

I. Carousel A carousel of objects, that’s what we’d called it.  I didn’t much get to know the man my wife had sent to rescue me from psycho-digital limbo beyond our brief conversation on the train home from Mexico. I never even learned his name. After he pulled me from

Wind’s roar swallows sirens shriek. Bright red fire engines  emerge from snow billows, rush by  on whitened highway, vanish into white. I watch them pass,  unable to see  where they go. Smoke,  snow, and clouds merge as one. Wood stove fire contained for now, emergency still  a distant alarm,  to

After fifty years, The Coe Review has finally gone digital. If you are reading this, you have found the new home of the review, launched with a special issue 51. The editors and staff have worked hard over the long pandemic year to prepare this issue. It features poetry and

This movie follows the lives of two gay men in their unrequited love in the simple and cute styles of most rom-coms. The plot is uncomplicated and full of moments that might have people cringe or laugh depending on how you react to normal hallmark movies about lovers and miscommunication,

Set on earth in a sort of alternate future wherein there exists a new type of human called Burnish, the story explores tropes of segregation, dehumanization, and what makes a hero. On the other hand, though, the story itself was very simple, in that it ends in the normal way

Alex always wanted to play catch with his father.  They never did for several reasons, one of which being that his father was always so busy and another being that Alex didn’t have any experience playing baseball. That didn’t matter in his opinion.  He knew plenty of boys that weren’t

The Hidden Machinery by Margot Livesey was the first craft book that I have read (besides the one that we read parts of in Fiction I, Narrative Design). One thing I liked about her essays was that when she would describe something, she would share an example from a famous

In coping with the COVID-19 pandemic, people all across the United States are staying at home to stop the spread of the virus. One way many of us are coping is going back to the comforting media of our childhood. For me, Marissa Meyer’s Cinder is my book of choice.

Austin was the first to accompany me. Baby brother back when I was barely three Couldn’t wait for him to meet me.   Doug, a great father and I, called his favorite daughter Erika, a stepmother and friend who I’ve always cherished and felt so much love Forever holding on

The Giver is a young adult dystopian novel and also classified as a science fiction novel. It’s written by Lois Lowry and was published in 1993. Lois Lowry highlights nationalist propaganda by using emotional appeals and dualistic morality to shut down her readers minds. The book revolves around children and

When I die the bell shan’t toll, instead only distant whispers will wisp and for thee it will be like any other day that I am dead.   When I die no one will speak of loss, nor will the air twist with empty platitudes and the absence of absence

Kalik sat patiently and sipped his cup of coffee, it was slightly more bitter than he liked, but not enough that he could be bothered with complaining. He slipped in and out of conscious thought, periodically glancing at his time-dial. His companion was late, they were supposed to meet here

I spent the past week in Arizona, visiting my aging grandparents in their retirement community. As I think back on my trip, my mind is flooded with pictures of red rock, abandoned Spanish missions, rotary club meetings, and cacti. Among these mundane objects and experiences, one in particular has been

A man awoke in his flat, two streets north of the deli and one street south of the red line bus. His night shirt was damp with sweat and it clung to his heaving chest as he collected himself from his unconsciousness. He could not recall what it was that

After reading Mulberry Child by Jian Ping I was reminded of Night by Elie Wiesel through the broad message it was sending. Both are marketed as memoirs, so they are rooted in truth in some regard, and both have subjects that face impossible inhumane events in their lives and overcome

Taking the young-adult fantasy world by storm, The Throne of Glass series is one of the most well-known books in this genre. Everyone who keeps up with young adult fiction has either read or heard of this story that Sarah J. Maas has created. With the first book, Throne of

CHARACTERS DR. LIZ VICIOUS: CEO of Machinations, Inc. Eccentric, evil, and just a tiny little bit unhinged. Pronounces “evil” incorrectly. BEN THE INTERN: Machinations, Inc.’s newest employee. Fresh out of college with a BA in English, just looking for something to pay the bills. YEETBOT: DR. VICIOUS’s trusty robotic assistant.

When I first picked up John Green’s Turtles All the Way Down, it was for two reasons. First, turtles are my favorite animal, and no book with them in the title could do them wrong, right? And second, out of a sense of fairness, I supposed I’d give John another

I was supposed to be the heir to a new world, and I had no say in the matter. From the moment of my birth, I was destined for greatness. My very existence signaled the end of Berktraz’s reign over my people, and with it the beginning of a continental

I’d driven fifteen hours, things broken back there   or refusing to break—not the things with which I’d stocked the converted carport where I fried rice & cooked coffee,    no—things: Love, Work, Money, Innocence (that stubborn  fucker most of all). I was home again, nowhere to stay,  mother dead,

I am writing to you in the moments you’re missing Wondering if I miss you   You’ve been absent since I was young – The difference now is permanence   I wonder if you knew What you were becoming If you were as scared as I am Of becoming you

Hiding a body is easy.    First—silence the still-small voice  with the butt of your cigarette.   Tuck the teeth into a cellophane sack. Invert the remainder into a lucky charm  in the pack of 19 numbly remembered moments.    You will let them bum it off you, give it

It happens so quickly, the men smoking in the tea shop have only moments to stub out their Turkish cigarettes.   A mother squeezes her fussing son  against her breast, his whimpering inaudible  beneath the bombs’ sizzle and thud.   Tracers thread the slightly cloudy sky as scooters and sputtering

Lately, they have been crawling into my brain. They burrow deeply into its warm moist rot.   What does it feel like, the doctors ask? Well, like someone whispering a secret   in a language I don’t understand, or like wind at the end of the pier on a cold

Tiny figures in a landscape: the world rendered in code.   A broken vessel: a stupid- looking shepherd fingering   a potsherd. My family crest: three golden storks hanging    by the neck on a background of burgundy. Eros shot   with his own errant arrow.  The Madonna asleep  

Cat’s silken gears propel shoulders, hips as smooth as oil; his velvet fur rip- ples, across his body as he slips into the laps of singing girls who kiss his mouth.  He purrs against their petal lips.

over the coast road cranes turn slowly, mechanical as the legs of wasps. once in canada one of them got in through an open window; landed right  in my wineglass.    I fished her out and put her on the table, then got up and grabbed another glass to place

The slouch man waits, smoke fat and crackle heavy, verged electric, always jangling.  He appears anywhere  waddle belly into bursting,  forcing fight in what his gut spills.    A man for the ages, roiling beneath his sweat crust shell, always scratching that part,  boil prober, itch tender,  thinking he’s the