By Suzanne Richardson

I am a cardiac arrest and I am a surgeon reaching, plunging, into the depths of my heart and asking it to do more work, watching my blood pressure bottom out, and locating the bleeding, I am performing surgery on myself, clutching a ten blade I cut into my chest, calling out as my heart stops I roll out the defibrillator cart to revive myself, I am not revivable, I die as I scream out my death in military time, I put my fingers to my ventricles, mop up my blood in silence, I am my own hardest case; I am my miracle; I am demoted for poor technique and then win a prestigious medical award, I am fired and then go hiking in winter on a snowy mountain, I fall off a cliff, and rescue myself, I helicopter down and air-lift my own hypothermic broken body out of the forest and turn to myself and say, “We still have a pulse,” and I cry and I am fucking myself in the on-call room, I am lifting my scrubs, throwing myself against a wall, thrashing my tongue against my tongue; if I break something, I am there to splint it, if I am diagnosed, I am reading the charts, I am a cancer-riddled patient and the only doctor that can see my rare cancer, I am getting coffee for myself, and I am avoiding myself in the hallway, I am driving the ambulance and I am the accident I arrive at, I am quiet but determined to give birth to myself, there to catch me, is me, on the OBGYN floor and I am the old, but tough, but fair, doctor and the young, unreasonable, cavalier doctor who puts myself at risk and I am the brand new innovative doctor, with techniques never before seen and I am the doctor who refuses to try anything new and I am in the cafeteria pushing peas around on a plate when I see myself for the first time and I am an intern and do not know much, but I am about to learn, about to learn how I really am the only person who can break me, sick me, cancer me, kill me, open me, teach me, explore me, save me, heal me, cut into me, my truth.



Suzanne Richardson (M.F.A. from UNM) currently lives in Binghamton, New York where she's a Ph.D. student in creative writing at SUNY Binghamton; she is the writer of Three Things @nocontactmag and more about Suzanne and her writing can be found here: https://www-suzannerichardsonwrites.tumblr.com/and here: @oozannesay.


Art by Jamie Santos.

By Jessica Dawn

The banner smears blue and yellow and white across the grey sky, snaps in the gusts that rip through the streets, that catch the last leaves clinging to the trees, to the wiry little limbs, the spindly fingers waving—stop stop, they say—too small to slow the wind, too small because they are young, because everything here is young, everything has sprung up in the places where almonds and asparagus used to grow, where grass and grains grew before that, where the bowling alley was, the bar that smelled like cigarettes and feet but not in that order, the theater with the sticky floors, layers of spilled Coke and crushed Junior Mints like tree rings, carve a slice and read the history, count the first dates and last dates and sloppy hand jobs under jackets and soggy kisses over broken armrests, measure all the drinking and smoking and regret and exhilaration, all of it messy, sticky, pungent, filthy, forgotten, wiped away, wiped clean, buildings flattened, fields leveled, big old oaks ripped out to smooth the sidewalks, to make room for rows of neat, boring boxes of stucco and carpet and cabinets, for the kind of decay that turns everything beige, for a ghost town that doesn’t know it’s dead, worse than haunted, blank, no history, no memory, no ghosts left, everything new but the cemetery, but the headstones sinking into the dirt while the new roads and homes and trees grow, but don’t grow fast enough to slow the gusts, to keep the banner from whipping in the wind, so fast it’s impossible to read until it’s in the rear view mirror, plots available it says, big black letters on the white and yellow and blue, plots available like everything hasn’t been buried already.



Jessica Dawn lives on an island in the San Francisco Bay, she has been published in HAD, No Contact, Autofocus, Rejection Letters and more, she tweets @JuskaJames, she tries her best.


Photo by Jessica Dawn.

By Michaella Thornton

No one ever tells the young that sex gets better with age, that what you give up in effortless flexibility and perky breasts and firm skin and endless erections are replaced with humans who finally know what they’re doing in bed, who growl in guttural pleasure, who take their time as they whisper hot, heavy secrets into your ear as they encircle the burning demands of your desire in the fat folds of your flesh—that one day you’ll be humming The Cars’ “Just What I Needed” while you season wild-caught salmon and roast potatoes in a hot oven with olive oil and fresh thyme and kosher salt and cracked black pepper, or that you no longer care about your pleated forehead or the grey at your temples or how your bare feet are so very calloused despite pedicures and miracle creams and moisture-trapping socks you never want to wear to bed again: there is a softness in you yet, and he is coming over and kissing you in the kitchen like he’s back from war, like you wrote to him every single day for a year, and there is no rush, no need to meet the parents, to make this official, to bow to the sad grind of obligation; there are his hands on your hips and your palms on his chest, and the slow dance of two middle-aged bodies across the floor.



Michaella Thornton writes her best work in bed or on the couch, but her back reminds her this is not a great idea; you can find her dreaming and procrastinating @kellathornton and read more of her writing at https://www.michaellathornton.com.


Art by Laurie Marshall.