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Chelsea Werner-Jatzke reading at tNY Press 2016 AWP Pre-Show

Chelsea Werner-JatzkeOne of our editors, Chelsea Werner-Jatzke, will be performing at the tNY Press “Totally Unofficial AWP Pre-Show.” This event takes place at The Last Bookstore, located on 453 S Spring St in Los Angeles (the main entrance is actually around the corner on 5th), Tuesday, March 29th from 7:30pm to 9:00pm.

The event will feature MadLibs, readings, lessons in oral composition, stand up comedy, and mystery panels.

Other performers/readers include Vivian Martinez, Zachary Cosby, Elizeya Quate, Kait Heacock, Douglas Wood, Mike Crossley, Bridget Dooley, Chris Tarry, Jamie Mortara, Brenna Kischuk, Breeann Kirby, and Uzodinma Okehi.

“Excavations,” by Emily Kiernan

ridiculous dog

In the news today was an article about a dog in Yuba City who dug up human bones in the backyard. There was a jaw bone and a skull. The police suspected religious rituals. My dog too has been digging. There is a spot up against the fence that is shady, where the grass never grew in thick, and he has been worrying at this for a week now. After he has loosened the dirt and cleared away the weeds, he will lie down for a minute or two, so maybe he is only trying to make a cool spot for himself, like flipping from one side of a pillow to another. But there is something frantic and mindless in the way he digs, and I don’t like it. He’s four years old, and he’s never done this before.

He woke up last night, growling and barking into the darkness. There was laughter out in the alley. Ryan got up and went through the house, flipping on lights and checking locks. He took a long time to return to bed, and the noises from the street sounded like they were coming from the kitchen. Really, it wasn’t the dog that woke me at all, but Ryan standing there beside the bed, looking and listening for something.

The owner of that dog in Yuba City was named Mr. Kind. In the quotes he gave to reporters, he said the word “kind” again and again. “It went from kind of cool to kind of serious,” he said, and I wondered what it must feel like, to say your own name so often. I had a boyfriend once named Rich. He was an asshole, and we wouldn’t be friends if I met him today, but sometimes I still see him on Facebook, and he lives in Yuba City, and he always has the same nice-teeth smirk, and he’s almost never wearing a shirt, and he always looks like he owns the place, wherever he is.

It occurs to me that the dog has been sticking close lately, subtly insinuating himself into my space. At night he jumps between Ryan and I, settles in slightly to one side. Ryan says, “Why does he only love you?”

Sometimes, when I take the dog for his walk in the evening, I will feel him shrinking away from some object or another that seems strange to him—bending into a c shape, crab-walking into my legs. Usually, I do not understand what it is that scares him, and I pull him along. Sometimes he will growl at the men who approach, and he does not show his teeth then, but his lips are pulled back tight. It is the same look he wears when he is digging: a look that says, “I don’t know what else I could do.”

About the Author:

Emily Kiernan is the author of a novel, Great Divide (Unsolicited Press, 2014). Her short fiction has appeared in PANK, The Collagist, Monkeybicycle, Redivider, JMWW, and other journals. She resides in Berkeley, California, with her man and her dog. More information can be found at emilykiernan.com.

Special Note:

This story was a finalist in The Conium Review‘s 2015 Flash Fiction Contest, judged by Laura Ellen Joyce.

Image Credit: © asmakar / Dollar Photo Club

“Transplant,” by Megan Magers

woman with the suitcases sketch

I am just a suitcase. The kind with two wheels that has to be pulled. Packed with blood and ribs. A liver. Heavy, impossible for one person to zip closed. There will be an extra fee at the airport.

The least essential organs are the ones that come in pairs. Kidneys and lungs. We think we need each other.

It’s easy to discard the weight of wanting. That vestigial feeling. Let it atrophy. Without it I am fifty pounds exactly. No additional charge.

They say you won’t even notice I’m gone.

Megan Magers is a creative writer in the Los Angeles area working on her debut novel. Her fiction has won The Lesley Johnstone Memorial Award twice and has been published by Monkeybicycle and Cleaver Magazine. Find her on Twitter @megmagers.

Image Credit: © asmakar / Dollar Photo Club

Contributor News: Tigh Rickman to read at this month’s “Stories on Stage Sacramento”

Tigh Rickman (contributor to The Conium Review: Vol. 1, No. 2) will be reading at “Stories on Stage Sacramento” on February 27th, 2015.  The event takes place at the Sacramento Poetry Center, 1719 25th Street, (25th and R Arts Complex,) Sacramento.  Doors open at 7:00.  Reading starts at 7:30.  $5 suggested donation.  Full details available at the “Stories on Stage Sacramento” website.

Tigh Rickman’s is a graduate of the Stonecoast MFA at the University of Southern Maine.  Along with The Conium Review, his writing has also appeared in The Bradford ReView, The Farallon Review, Celebrities in Disgrace and The Salty Beatnik.

He will be reading alongside Cynthia Mitchell Speakman, Eric Baldwin, and featured reader Elena Mauli Shapiro.