Twenty is a bit of a landmark. Two whole tens! If we had been clever, we would have celebrated with ten stories and ten poems. Instead you get nine and eight. Seventeen is good! These seventeen are great, as a matter of fact. A bit of a mish-mash of things we love, per usual. Maybe a little more to the fantasy end of things this time around. Of course, all writing is a bit magic in the way it takes you away. And don’t we all just want to be away right now? We hope you find your time and place here in our digital pages.
Twenty issues and five years of publishing under our belt. Something not all online magazines achieve. It’s been rocky, and sometimes it’s been hard. We’re not stopping, though we are taking a bit of a pause. When Sarah and I started Devilfish Review, we were just out of grad school and feeling a bit, “What comes next?” Hamilton fans may find themselves humming, “You’ve been freed. Do you know how hard it is to lead?” Spoiler: We did not. Awesome, wow. (Sorry, I’m not trying to make this a Hamilton themed post.) When we started, our guiding principles were that we would publish things we liked, and that we wouldn’t be jerks. We’ve inadvertently been jerks. Things have languished in our queue as submissions got overwhelming. Issues have been late. It’s not a great feeling for our submitters and contributors, and it’s not a great feeling for us. Also, the nebulous idea of publishing things we like also hasn’t worked out great. We need a little more focus. To that end, we are currently closed to submissions while we re-group. Submissions will re-open sometime this summer, with our next issue coming in the fall.
Fat with Berries, Full of Life by Brigitte N. McCray – The day after the witch turned my wife into a bear, I took my usual path to collect dandelion greens, nettles, and mayapples. I didn’t take the other path, the one that would avoid my wife.
That Day, Our Treehouse by Elspeth Jensen – That day our treehouse was not how it always was. That day there was a door in our treehouse that had not been there before. A red door glinting like blood, like hypnotic beckoning.
I’m Ok/Please Help Me by Leigh Harlen – That feeling when the librarian is the only person who has seemed happy to see you all day and you realize she’s so happy because you’re the only person in your school who knows what a book is.
More Light Than Dark by Erin Cole – Libby and her twin sister, Jenna, stood at the crossroads behind the old, red-bricked Freemason’s building eyeing a stagnant puddle crusted with scum and spongy debris. Beneath it swam things unnatural to the earth, black-eyed, slick-bodied beings with an insatiable hunger for more light than dark.
Gods of the F Train by Brianne M. Kohl – I meet a god on the F train on the way to the doctor’s office. Not an important god; a lesser deity. I won’t say which one but he’s well known for his love of westerly winds and acting like a jealous fool.
Lodestar by Rachel Unger – Maybe she should just take a blowtorch to the entire thing. Emily strode along the sidewalk, deliberating over her sculpture as she walked.
Don’t Lie to Me by Margery Bayne – Eddie tended to drift into whatever jobs were available that would pay the rent. He was restless at office jobs, at customer service, at doing the same thing daily. He liked quick jobs, big money, selling things, and schemes. Evie misinterpreted this as ambition.
Courtesans Tell Tales by Andrea Tang – Lyle sometimes wondered what the galaxy would have done with him, if he hadn’t been born pretty – pretty, and more importantly, good at performing pretty. You could have the right bone structure and bodily proportions to please the standardized tastes of a planetside noble, but if you walked or spoke or acted wrong, the game was up.
The Blessing by Jesse Weiner – The Dream Culler knew hunger. It was a gnashing beast, forever prowling the cage of her ribs, a fist forever twisting her insides. Hunger was her constant companion, her earliest memory.
We Are Seduced by Wizards by Elizabeth O’Brien – Let us record how they seduced us/ one by one/ how they whispered only you/ in our ears/ they were like fractured ships/ all arms and hairline cracks
Birds by Maguerite Floyd – Sometimes I imagine the brilliant red cardinal preening on my deck is my grandmother, come back to check on me. Counting my many sins and tucking them into a contour feather for later condemnation.
Lamia Reposes on the Porch, Georgia, 1955 by Robyn Groth – Eastward her house faced, and the afternoons were/ spent out back where siding was showing bald spots,/ window panes smudged here where a child’s smooshed face had/ stared at the henhouse.
Medea Teaches Grade School, Alabama, 1936 by Robyn Groth – Slender as a chalk stick, Medea draws breath./ Standing straight, breasts gathering gazes, she calls/ roll and smiles. Her glistening teeth and sharp eyes/ graze on their youthful/ arms and fingers
It Took Some Time by David C. Kopaska-Merkel and Ann K. Schwader – It took some time to realize the storm/ had beached us on some time-lost shore unmarred/ by human tracks. A race with birdlike feet/ had been here since the last high tide had ebbed:
Mother Gothel Recovers by Sandi Leibowitz – It’s taken a few hundred years/ to get over the loss./ A siren’s wail one day awakens her,/ reminds her she is more than/ cruel crone.
If You Condense It All Tightly by Elizabeth O’Brien – Down to one microcosmic scape, the world wide/ becomes the size of an apartment building,/ one middling brick and ivy strangle-/hold.
Cataclysm Days: Colorado Goes Its Own Way As It Often Does by Chuck Von Nordheim – Daddy doesn’t hear the voices and Mommy hasn’t spoken since the sun became a star/ Johnny covers my mouth with his small hand when I talk about people in the ice