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Fiction: 2020s

Fiction of the Day

The Puppet Theater

By György Dragomán

Olgi says she’s going to take me somewhere and show me something I’ve never seen before. We walk through a door into an inner courtyard, then from there into another one, then into a third one, where there is a wire fence. Olgi knows where the fence can be lifted, she picks it up, holds it, I slip through, then I hold it up while she slips through the fence.

A Supernatural Landscape of Love and Grief Not Unlike Your Own

By Peyton Burgess

Sometimes PB to my students, Sack to my friends, and always Pete to my family, my name is Peter Burgundy and I worry that death has been my only inspiration to be a better person—that death has had a way of making life understandable. And oh whoa, how I worry that this will be the case till kingdom come—walking through every day to the quiet beat of grief ’s unfinished heart.

Somebody shouldn’t always have to die, right?

Uhtceare

By John Jeremiah Sullivan

CHAIR

 

When I was small my parents would host a lot of parties. I don’t know if they had more friends then or were just, as people say, “at a more social place in their lives,” but at least once a month there would be a bunch of adults in our apartment, drinking crappy wine and trying to play our untunable piano. There is something powerful for a child about your parents having people over. It’s not anything that happens at the parties but the evidence they give you that people feel safe where you live. That must go back to the savanna. Sometimes things happened at the parties that I was probably too young to see, but nothing scarring, just grown-up scenes. The air was bluish with different kinds of smoke. I have a memory of my father giving me a sip of wine on a sofa shortly after I turned four. Or one of the guests might say something inappropriate—for me cryptically so—and then at a look from my mother turn red and apologize. They had accidentally given me a glimpse of the darker and more serious world that otherwise lay unthink- able miles ahead. Guests would start to show up at around eight, meaning that I was allowed up for only the first hour or so. In reality I would lie awake much longer than that, listening to the chatter through the walls. My mother used to sit beside me for a few seconds.

Hive

By Mary Kuryla

The thing about the shape of a bee, which might be why it is often drawn curved around a flower with the black head bowed over the thorax and the knees tucked in lovely and benign as a comma, lucent wings arching from stripes furred to catch pollen blurring with light, is that the shape of the bee is like the honey it makes, sweet, healing, golden-lit from within such that a bee fallen dead on the rug or balled along the base of a window frame still holds the comma shape, and while it may be that