Best of the Net 2018  


Krys Malcolm Belc’s “Check My ID” from The Adroit Journal

"Confusing people, people like me, must be lying about something. Keystone: a species on which other species in an ecosystem largely depend, so much so that, if removed, the entire ecosystem would collapse."

Brian Broome’s “God Don't Like Ugly” from Hippocampus Magazine
"In America, the darker you are, the uglier you are. So, I took every opportunity to point out Queeta’s dark blackness to take the shine off my own midnight complexion."

Jessie Van Eerden’s “What I Want Your Voice to Do” from Blackbird
"The voice uncrushes the head that was beginning to crush, unblocks the man’s nerves, unstiffens his rigor mortis, and browns the blued skin. This is not the ethereal, misty rise the soul was after—no, it is flaccid cock and coiled chest hair and eyes rewetted, skin smelling like the split, white root of skunk cabbage. The soul is sucked back into the familiar embarrassment of flesh, but, upon reentry, it understands something is indeed different, unfamiliar."

Marcos Gonsalez’s “Pedro Full of Grace” from Black Warrior Review
"My father doesn't know I am on this train. He thinks I am sleeping peacefully in my New York City apartment. He thinks I am living the life of the upwardly mobile son of an illiterate and undocumented farm-worker. He thinks I am the American dream. He doesn't know I hear voices. He doesn't know I am floundering in my PHD program. He doesn't know I am not heterosexual. But I just want my father."

T.S. Mendola’s “Rivers of Babylon: The Story of a Third-Trimester Abortion” from The Rumpus
"That’s the thing, about the pro-life discourse. It steals my right to say without fear of legal reprisal targeted at women like me that what happened next did feel like dismemberment, it did feel like desecration, like mutilation, that I did want his body intact, that I desperately, beyond reason, wanted an intact body for burial. I wanted it viscerally, animally, the way your body wakes up in the night looking for a newborn, the way you feel a physical connection to your children even when you cannot see them, the way you want something when everything else has been taken from you. It is the same reason I buried him; I wanted to know where he had gone from me and how. "

Abby Minor’s “Rooms” from Contrary Magazine
"In a very small way, in a way that was certainly swallowed by history and the heat of July, I tried once to refuse to abide by that law and its precarious contradictions. I tried to live as a woman neither evil nor fecund."

Carley Moore’s “My Big Gay Essay” from Aster(ix) Journal
"There’s something very silly about coming out at 45. I mean, like, who cares? I find myself back in my state school town, like Paul in Lawlor’s novel, feeling nostalgic for all my gay best boyfriends and their coming out to me. My response was often, “I know and it’s great and I love you.” But I shouldn’t have said “I know,” because it takes away the drama of it, the declaration, the announcement that felt so important in the 90s and maybe still does."