Best of the Net 2011  



Michelle Cacho-Negrete's "Stealing" from Solstice: A Magazine of Diverse Voices

The day I decided to again steal food I instituted three simple rules: Steal only essentials, only from big chains, never brag.
Sarah Einstein's "Self Portrait in Apologies" from Fringe Magazine
I'm sorry for telling you I was a virgin that night in the back of your car. In your parents' basement. In my dorm room. As you may have guessed years ago, I wasn't.
Sari Fordham's "Ugandan Psalm" from Cerise Press
It is a bright day, and then it isn't. A canopy of leaves mutes the sun and though it is the dry season, the air is cool and damp. The ground holds its own moisture and gives off a loamy scent of here and home that I will carry with me like a puzzle piece. It is the smell of crushed leaves, lemon grass, pods, and earth and something else.
Manda Frederick's "Relative Effort" from White Whale Review
I go to help her because the veterinarian had told my sister: You'll know it's parvo if the dogs are vomiting blood and it smells like death. I go to help her because there is blood, and because it smells like death. I go because if she can't get the virus out of the puppies, maybe she can, at least, get it out of her house.
Carrie Murphy's "Somewhere Your Father Is Shaking His Head" from Bluestem Quarterly *
This is your birth control, three months worth, and a pack of hairthings. You are feeling the increasing need to wear your hair higher and higher on top of your head—the heat oppressive, the curls abundant.
Joel Peckham's "Flight" from Referential Magazine
I have read how Tibetan monks, having carried the dead to the green valleys on a mountainside will strip a body of flesh, cut skin and muscle to fragments; then praying, take hammer to bone, crushing the last bits to powder. In the evening, these are left on the valley floor, offerings for gathering vultures. So in time, body and spirit, piece by shattered piece will rise on the wind.
Michael Royce's "Mississippi Freedom Summer in Eight Vignettes" from Fringe Magazine
I was 18 and on my way to volunteer with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in the second Mississippi Freedom Summer in 1965. Was I scared? Yes, certainly; but also excited at the prospect of adventure, of acting on principle and the belief that my actions might make a difference.

* Selected by T.A. Noonan as our 2011 Editor's Choice