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Jove knew the rules.

He knew the upper limits.

BLIND FISH BY SAMUEL DAMON 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 103

The notes from Jove’s guitar zipped like daisy-cutters across the hairy back lawn. The Stratocaster’s strings writhed in his fingers, bluesy syrup, gospel in the throat of the leader of the choir rolling in the hay with God himself. Banks of leviathan amplifiers surrounded the rough-hewn rocker in which Jove crouched. Glasses with lenses a centimeter thick perched on his nose. A dainty French-tickler growing from his lower lip dangled merrily as he sang the lyrics. One leg, clad in hacked dungarees, twitched. While the other leg, a grass-stained sneaker worked the pedal of a phase shifter. With two string-callused fingers, he gently nudged the volume control. 

I feel more at home here than anywhere else on earth.

THE TRAGEDY OF THE ROSEMARKIE SEAL BY EMILY NEVES 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 103

I turn my back to the cave wall and look out. The slope of the hill and a little green bramble with a spray of yellow flowers partially obscures one side of the opening and on the other side I see the green-gray sea reaching to the horizon. I think, I could live here if I had to. 

This is perfect.


We found a truly perfect site. I parked the car near a picnic table, trees standing tall and straight with branches keeping the place cool, and there were no other campers between us and the lake. 

This being Irina’s first camping trip in the States, I was hoping, hoping, hoping all would go well. It was like living in an outdoor hotel. No rain—not even dew in the morning. No mosquitoes as well. We had toilets, water hydrants, and wi-fi. 

PERFECT BY JAMES MARTIN 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 103

Mistress of the woods

and keeper of what’s real.

MISTRESS OF THE WOODS BY RICH MOORE 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 103

Her hair spills down

over her broad shoulders

in long, soft wavey strands 

the color of dewy moist

coastal redwood bark.

There’s something up with this. It only does fifties.

SWEET NOTHING BY LINDSAY SMITH 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 103

“Fifties is good,” Harry says. He takes out a hundred, two fifties. He smiles goodbye to the woman, stuffing the fifties in his pocket.

Harry crosses the road swinging his re-usable plastic shopping bag. An old man lying on a bench raises his hand, “Can you spare fifty?” 

Harry drifts through a supermarket. They’re out of Vegemite.

At the checkout the blonde asks, “Did you watch the football at the weekend? That’s 14.85.”

Harry hands over a fifty. The checkout chick asks him, “You got anything smaller?”

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34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 103

MISTRESS OF THE WOODS BY RICH MOORE, PERFECT BY JAMES MARTIN, BLIND FISH BY SAMUEL DAMON, THE TRAGEDY OF THE ROSEMARKIE SEAL BY EMILY NEVES, SWEET NOTHING BY LINDSAY SMITH.

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She felt a dread of her shift at the ice cream shop.

DANIELLE BY ALEX BENTAYOU 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 102


But the truth was it usually went well for her. Danielle reminded herself that most people liked her, including her co-workers and customers. Her therapist had told her to remind herself of this.

Being the perfect mother isn’t all that hard.

THE PERFECT MOTHER BY KATHERINE BROWN 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 102


Books for new mothers will tell you that you need a ton of stuff. You can agonize over what brand diapers, cloth versus disposable, or whether to wear your newborn in a sling or let her cry it out in the crib, but none of that matters because you will be judged for whatever choices you make anyway. All you really need is a good bottle of wine.


Grandma makes egg mcmuffins 

and lets us watch R-rated movies.

SINGLE MOMS HAVE COZY APARTMENTS BY SE DIAMOND 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 99


Since Jennifer’s mom is a biker and goes out a lot, Jennifer usually stays at her grandmother’s house where she can have a more stable childhood. Her grandpa stays in his downstairs bedroom with the door locked. I’ve never seen him.  Everyone smokes, so the couches smell musty and cigarettey. Both bathtubs are stained brown around the drain. But I still love sleeping there because her grandma makes egg mcmuffins and lets us watch R-rated movies. I stay in my pajamas and watch TV for eight or nine hours at a time.  

He’s a beautiful, lovely boy. He’s welcome any time.


“That’s a beautiful cat,” she said. “He’s got a lot of personality. He comes and visits me up on my deck.”

“Yeah, he’s a great guy. I rescued him from an alley when we were living in San Francisco.”

“Maybe you can help me haul some boxes from the basement into my car. Jeffrey said he’d do it, but—” She tipped her head. 

“Sure, any time.”

“How about now?”

CHRISTOPHER FINDS HOME BY KEVIN LAVEY 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 99

Y’all ladies cooking crockpot chili with the door locked.

LAW AND LITERACY IN LULANOCCA BY PAMELA SUMNERS 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 98


They’ve took prayers out of school and our girls get themselves pregnant and then this ACLU crowd wants us to teach kids how to avoid the consequences with what they call sex ed. 

Run, I beg the girl in the frame. 

RUN BY TESS LIEGEOIS 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 98


Run, I beg the girl in the frame. She’s black and white and squared in silver. The danger is coming—It will be there soon, at your door. 

Pick the ending you want.

DEAD CAT BY MELVIN STERNE 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 96


What’s the most likely ending? What’s the worst-case scenario? What’s the best ending? There’s a billion potential endings. Pick one.

I made it through. 

On my own.

MACHINE GIRL BY REBECCA EGAN 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 96


I want a signal that screams I made it through. On my own. I found a way out. 

She was never the kind of sister their father thought she was.

A GOOD SISTER BY WENDY TATLONGHARI BURG 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 95


“Has she talked to you at all?” Her father often assumed his children were conspiring against him, or protecting each other in some way, which to Nina was absurd. “Why would Pia talk to me about any of it?” she asked, tone dry, expression bored.  “You’re her sister,” he said.

Some days Cole could go for hours forgetting Collette.

NO SMOEKING BY S LEE BENNETT 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 95


She did not exist in his head any more. Nor had she for years. The name did not anger him as it once did, but it still saddened him. And more than anything confused him. Collette was no longer a person he recognized himself to be.

The only person who’s got your back is you.

 

Salem Rose, you can’t trust any motherfucker. You can talk with people, and be cool with them, but people are ruthless and disgusting, and the only person who’s got your back is you. Nobody got you like you got yourself, Salem Rose. You have to take care of yourself and tell everyone to go fuck themselves.  “I know dad,” I would tell him, giggling because I knew he would get mad at me if I swore.

FROM HUMBLE EYES BY SALEM ROSE 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 94

Whatever happens 

happens for the good.


Bean whispered, you could place your hand in a ripe fruit and withdraw a beautiful afternoon. He said, “Whatever happens happens for the good.”

A SCUT OF EARTH BY ELIZABETH KIRSCHNER 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 93

 You wore my hat and laughed as 

 we walked home hand in hand.

LOVE AND PHILODENDRON BY PATRICK SEAMAN 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 83




It was a quick walk down to the little creek that ran through your father’s backyard. We would kick off our shoes and ball our socks into our pockets and feel which rocks were the slimiest and search for crayfish with our toes. I remember you wore my hat and laughed as we walked home hand in hand and I told you to keep it and you did.


It only mattered that I was beautiful.

I can’t figure out whether he’s not texting me today because he’s finally gotten tired of me or if he’s just busy. 

POCKETS FULL OF PROMISES BY BLUE KIRKPATRICK 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 90

Listen to the surf. I could lie here, lie here with you forever.

STARTING AGAIN BY LINDSAY SMITH 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 89


Do you think we could do things together always? I mean, like we could be these archaeologists sifting the sand for the remains of ancient civilisations, and together all the time, sharing everything.

 Everything, she thought, is 

 an accident of where you are.

STEALING HOME BY KAY BONTEMPO 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 78


Two bell peppers, Muenster cheese. Cauliflower, a pack of Newports, Tampax. Martinelli’s apple juice. Paper towels two-ply. English Breakfast tea. Boil-in-a-bag rice, paper clips, ramen noodles. Maybe some ice cream if there was money left over. America’s Choice vanilla, eaten straight from the carton. It wouldn’t be bad. With an uncomfortable pop, he pulled out of her and lay beside her, breathing hard. It was 11.52pm. She wondered if the Shop’n’Save would even be open. 



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