Cleaver Magazine starts the hype about their brand new publication with a preview issue, all focused on “flash.” This gives you a hint of the magazine’s style in short bites. But it doesn’t just include flash fiction; there are also micro essays, short poems, and even a section called “tiny art”—where Blake Martin writes about Instagram and self-portraits.
In the micro essay section, Kathryn J. Allwine Bacasmot writes about the simple act of humming and the power of music, Elizabeth Mosier writes of yard sales and letting things go (“When something comes in, something must go. Still, we want our stuff to count.”), and Beth Kephart writes about being overwhelmed in thoughts.
As you read Rebecca Entel’s “Onyx,” you feel as uncomfortable and awkward as the guests do in her story when the host and hostess get in an argument upstairs:
Raised voices hush a room, lower eyes. But the sound of skin hitting skin. But a slap.
The sound, an air-thickening sponge, slogged from one room to the next. It stilled the action in each. Heads looked away from the TV; hands paused lining the table with silverware; mouths at the door stopped saying hello.
In Lynn Levin’s “The Ask Sandwich,” Josie, a thirty-three-year-old woman who studies pressure sores, pulls off something I’ve always wanted to try—she makes up a fictional life for herself and tells a stranger all the details. “When he asked her what she did for a living, she told him she booked models for fashion ads. With a light heart, she fibbed her way through a conversation about beauty, dieting, and divas.” But Josie’s web of playful fabrications only leave her lonely again.
Anna Strong contributes a prose poem, “Dear Couch.” Written with wonderful imagery, it is almost a love poem to that comfortable place we can always call home. It starts, “I want to zip myself in a pocket and watch baseball,” and ends: “When you’re asleep on my knees and it’s just me and the crushed end of chips and the street below wide awake, I remember my first god was my mother, my second, the light switch.”
Be sure to check out the other handful of writers featured in the flash fiction and short poetry sections. I can certainly see why Cleaver has put forward a preview issue; with a solid design and an already established style with crisp writing, it has me licking my lips in anticipation for the first full issue (due out next month).