Bijou by Darcy L. Wood

Biological reproduction was passé.

Elma, a wide-eyed brunette, and June, a knockout blonde, waited for their little package. Their surroundings were white and clinical, conveying a sense of purity. Beyond the glass was a sea of cots, each with a blue or pink pupa tucked inside. It was the age of human synthesis, but the imitation of cultural conventions — the gendered colours of the blankets and the hospital aesthetic — were designed to provide comfort for visitors.

Jail, Institutions, or Death by Shannon Frost Greenstein

“I miss my mother,” I admit aloud, nearly in tears.

I am in jail again.

In NA, they say you have three possible futures on heroin:  Jails, institutions, or death. But I quit going to NA after ninety days, once my court-ordered ninety meetings were up. I quit after I was free to go, but before I learned how to avoid those three possibilities.

My Favorite Student by Carl Tait

I was wondering how you’d address a Christmas card to Jeffrey Dahmer.

Addressing envelopes always required more thought than you’d imagine. Older people preferred “Mr. and Mrs. John Smith,” like my mama had taught me when I was little. But folks my age favored “John and Lizzie Smith.” Or maybe just “The Smith Family.” So how about “Mr. and Mrs. Jeffrey Dahmer”? Wait, he never got married. Plus he was a serial killer. Oh, and he was gay, so if he’d been married, I’d have to figure out the correct form of “Mr. and Mr.”

Space Mysteries Decoded by Leland Neville

Their destinies crossed in the Dreams and Mysteries section of the public library when Mia realized that Jimmy was a fellow traveler through space and time. She had captured and decoded an errant brainwave; his mind was a coil of feuding inner-psychic processes. Jimmy, a cute sophomore at Brooklyn’s FDR High School, was an unmoored extraterrestrial either unwilling or incapable of embracing his distant roots. He also harbored a latent desire to bond with an unpretentious, approachable, and reasonably attractive alien. An extraterrestrial who didn’t know he was an extraterrestrial was definitely (despite his existential uncertainty) excellent boyfriend material

To Forget & Not Forget in a Bathtub by Danae Younge

It has been seventy-three years 
& she must swallow night, now, like her caplets,
when daylight is a dearth inside her peeling stomach. 
The days are nameless & dirtied, those

that secrete from her skin come nightfall — 
that she feels dust her creases mauve 
& defuse through turbid water — 
her throat takes them back through steam 
pasting moon crescents to the tiles.