Best of the Net 2016  


Claire Lombardosquo’s “I Only Want to Talk About Nice Things” from Little Fiction

Love, so much love, so many more different kinds of love than she ever knew existed, so many different ways to love someone that sometimes thinking about all of it makes her want to fall right asleep. Instead she will go to shower alone and think of them both, Carla and George: complete opposites, dissimilar in just about every fundamental way save for their mutual love of Evie Nash, their mom-voiced frayed wire with a growing-out blonde bob who doesn't mind the scrotum, really, who holds her girlfriend's hand sometimes while they jog clumsily along the lakefront, who sleeps each night in a thematically complicated pair of boxers.
Thirii Myo Kyaw Myint’s “Love, Blue Glass, the Sky, Mine” from Quarterly West
She was gone a week after Johnnie died. Probably hitchhiked to the next town and the town after that and kept going until she forgot about the railroads and the neon lights and the broken glass in parking lots. And she wanted to forget about Johnnie too, I guess, because they found the remains of her baby in a shallow grave two towns over. A baby boy. They buried him in Johnnie's grave because everyone in town wanted to believe he was the father. Besides, no one could pay for another plot of land. I like to think the baby had mahogany eyes.
Joanna Pearson’s “For the Dead Who Travel Fast” from Memorious
She laughs madly, a super-villain in a comic book movie, pulling me toward her by my shirt collar. I get this weird prickling on the back of my neck. She's cute, this girl, but there's something off—the way she smells, damp and mossy, the faintest hint of mold. And her skin is cold against my hands—maybe it's the evening air, but I swear to God she's cool to the touch, her skin like lake water.
Becky Tuch’s “An Inside-Out Thing” from Barrelhouse
Then he kissed me. And all at once I became an inside-out thing. Skin as tender and quivering as a tongue. Body as damp and reaching as the first petal of a tulip opening toward the sun on the very first day of spring inside the first field that was ever planted on this earth.
Jenny Xie’s “Bone Meal” from The Adriot Journal
Eyes unfocused, Meredith feeds herself Cheetos with meditative calm, mincing each chip into a red pulp. These are all things Shana has taught her—to macerate your food; to drown it in water; to start with something colorful so that later, when it curdles in the toilet bowl, you'll know that you are nearing empty. Shana is not a corruptive influence. Far from it—Shana is the longhaired wraith who reveals to Meredith the perfect bone that she must aspire to be.