Burn It Down by Kevin Wood
The Los Angeles Review
by McKenna
11h ago
Tony is driving straight at the flames we can see a mile away. Grinding the gears, clutching too rough. He’s not saying anything, and I don’t ask. He’s gripping the wheel with his hairy knuckles like it’s gonna fall off. We spin around the corner to a street where houses so close they can touch each other duck down beside one shooting colors into the dark sky. The heat. You can feel it—like someone’s dank-ass morning breath is blowing into the car. Tony should be taking me home. It’s late. Sunday. He knows fifth grade starts early. But he slams it into park next to these massive trucks. I can ..read more
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The Atlas of Remedies by Paul Jaskunas Review by Molly McGinnis
The Los Angeles Review
by McKenna
2d ago
The Atlas of Remedies by Paul Jaskunas Review by Molly McGinnis Publisher: Stillhouse Press Publication Date: March 1, 2024 ISBN: 9781945233241 Pages: 233 More Than Even God Can Know: On Paul Jaskunas’s The Atlas of Remedies How many sacrifices would we be willing to make to protect the people we love? It’s a question many of us have at least considered in recent years. Would we stay inside for months on end, would we participate in a vaccine trial, would we care for an ailing – and perhaps contagious – relative or friend? Would we, like the family in Paul Jaskunas’s second novel, The Atlas of ..read more
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2 poems by Pamela Proietti Translated by Stephen Eric Berry and Donna Mancusi-Ungaro Hart
The Los Angeles Review
by McKenna
3d ago
STANZA 37 Accende il fuoco: la legna dell’estate scalda la stanza. Tra le fiamme un ricordo scintilla sulla mano. ROOM 37 The fire blazes: summer wood heats up the room. Among the flames a memory is the spark on my hand. IL MESE DEL PRIMO CIELO Bianca di neve, la memoria del pino s’apre alla luce. Il becco di un picchio dà voce all’inverno. MONTH OF THE FIRST SKY White of snow, memory of the pine tree opens to the light. The woodpecker’s tap-tap-tap gives voice to winter. Pamela Proietti’s first book of poetry, il nome bianco, was published by Gattomerlino Edizioni (Rome, Italy) in 2021 ..read more
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Concessions by Elizabeth Stix
The Los Angeles Review
by McKenna
1w ago
The movie is post-apocalyptic. A desolate army outpost sits in the shadow of a giant, rusted-out Ferris Wheel in a barren wasteland.  “No one would ride on that,” my mother leans over and whispers in my ear. “It’s a bulls-eye target for the enemy!”  “Shh,” I tell her. “It’s a fantasy.” “It still has to make sense,” she says. She straightens her back against her seat, sniffs, then a minute later says, “I’m going to get some popcorn.” She stands up and sidles past the high school kids that line our row, then feels her way down the steps, waving her arm for a railing that isn’t there. I ..read more
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Bamboo and Mirror by Alan Barstow
The Los Angeles Review
by McKenna
1w ago
I was building a bicycle frame out of bamboo when Maya phoned. She said mirrors had shattered on our sons. She said she couldn’t find the boys at first. When she did, they were covered in blood. Her voice was choked, garbled. “It’s ok it’s ok,” she said, the words running together, “it’s my blood.”    I remember standing before pale bamboo shafts, my cell phone pinned between shoulder and ear. I’d been measuring the poles, sawing, mitering, and sanding. I remember the gritty smell of cut bamboo, the electric feeling when the tubes fit together just right, when a bicycle began to ..read more
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2 Poems by Grant Chemidlin
The Los Angeles Review
by McKenna
1w ago
Amy My whole life I’ve had a gay aunt  & never knew it.  So obvious—went to Smith, no kids,  joked to us: “I forgot to get married!”  There was the lore of boyfriend Doug  from so long ago yet always brought up.  When I came out,  she called. Her voice was full  of wingless doves as she said, I sort of  had a feeling, at least, it’s what I hoped. Even in our liberal, lefty family  we spent my whole life staring at each other  through a two-way mirror.  I could only see myself. She could see me, but say nothing, only watch ..read more
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Secret Storm by Sally West
The Los Angeles Review
by McKenna
1w ago
He calls me when he’s fucked up. It can have a cinematic flare, like when he climbed to the top of a hill somewhere out in Arkansas to get phone service, but it’s usually when he’s driving and trying to stay between the ditches. He talks to himself then: I’m so fucked up. I’m so fucked up, and then he pulls into the Circle K to get a six-pack and some cigarettes. How you doin’ tonight? I tried to save his phone messages but they disappeared. There was one – Jesus, it was beautiful. I sent him a photo of my breast a while back. Okay. Both breasts. But on different occasions. It wasn’t like send ..read more
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Excerpt From Llego con tres heridas by Violeta Gil Translated by Kelsi Vanada
The Los Angeles Review
by McKenna
2w ago
I Come With Three Wounds The funeral parlor in my village opened four years ago. My grandfather showed it to me proudly, finally this town is joining the modern world. We’re through with holding wakes for the dead in our homes, it’s outdated, it’s dangerous, he said. I get to Cheles by car from Madrid with my mom, we park outside my uncle’s house where lots of people are hovering around. I’m in a daze and a bit carsick, I get out of the car and a woman I don’t recognize grabs me by the arm and pulls me into the house. I’m not sure where my mom is, I lose sight of her for a long while. The woma ..read more
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Temporary Organ by Lauren Slaughter
The Los Angeles Review
by McKenna
3w ago
After our mother died, Gemma, my brother’s girlfriend, moved in. Her situation at home was even more fucked than ours, so I agreed to it, though it’s not like I could really refuse. Mostly, I couldn’t hear the two of them trying to be quiet on the other side of the bedroom wall. Was my ear very hot to the very cool stucco? I couldn’t sleep; sleep was our mother’s gaping fish jaw when they turned off the machine. Gemma suffered a similar restlessness, and sometimes, late, with the owls outside pitching their singular cries through the night of our rural property, she’d leave my brother’s bed an ..read more
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The Death of the Firstborn by Julie Marie Wade
The Los Angeles Review
by McKenna
3w ago
The fact of being no longer is how the denotation begins. If you stop there, the word that surfaces is death. The end of being. The end of life, at least as we have known it. But if you continue—the fact of being no longer part of a given family, community, or social space—the word you’re looking for may still be death.  The end of inclusion. The end of being welcome as you are. Many students start their papers this way: “[Big abstraction], according to Merriam-Webster, means…” I have never met an English teacher who approves, myself included, though I have grown empathy for the impulse o ..read more
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