Sententia 5 Contributors

S5coverJulian Berengaut is a retired international debt negotiator born in Poland and living currently in Bangkok, Thailand. He is the author of The Estate of Wormwood and Honey.

Sarah Bridgins’s work has appeared in Monkeybicycle, InDigest, Sink Review, Bluestem, Two Serious Ladies, and Bone Bouquet, among other journals. Her poetry chapbook, We Are Not Pilgrims, was recently published by Mondo Bummer.

Like nomadic Pericú natives before him, Matthew Dexter survives on a hunter-gatherer subsistence diet of shrimp tacos, smoked marlin, cold beer, and warm sunshine. He is the author of the novel, The Ritalin Orgy (Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing 2013). His short fiction and narrative nonfiction has been published in hundreds of literary journals and dozens of anthologies. He lives in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Born in Georgia (former USSR), Regina Edwards now lives in Brisbane, Australia, with her husband and son. She graduated from the University of Queensland with a degree in mathematics, and now works as a teacher, inflicting her enthusiasm for the subject upon high school students. When free time materializes, she writes.

Madeline ffitch was a founding member of the punk theater company The Missoula Oblongata with whom she wrote, performed, and toured to post offices, grocery stores, farms, and warehouses. Her work has appeared in The Chicago Review and on Chuckwagon Press. Her play, Debris Upon the Forest Floor, produced with the weaver Elspeth Vance and the musician Jordan O Jordan, was catalogued in the 2012 Emergency Index, a project of Ugly Duckling Presse. Originally from Portland, Oregon, she now lives and writes in Appalachian Ohio where she homesteads and raises ducks and her small son, Nector Vine Ballew. fitch’s collection of short stories, Valparaiso, Round the Horn, is forthcoming from Publishing Genius.

Diane Lefer’s most recent novel, The Fiery Alphabet, set in 18th-century Italy, Poland, and the Ottoman Empire, was published in September. Sixteen years ago, she was hired to write mitigation reports but the job evaporated before it began. She has, however, facilitated writing workshops for incarcerated youth and for men on parole. Her books include California Transit, which received the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction, and The Blessing Next to the Wound, nonfiction co-authored with Colombian exile and torture survivor Hector Aristizábal.

Josh Ostergaard is the author of The Devil’s Snake Curve, a book about baseball, published by Coffee House Press in 2014. He has been an urban anthropologist at the Field Museum and now works at Graywolf Press.

Joani Reese (JP) is the author of two poetry chapbooks: Final Notes and Dead Letters. Her poetry and fiction have been widely anthologized and featured in over seventy print and online venues. A senior poetry editor for Connotation Press—An Online Artifact and an annual fiction guest editor for Scissors and Spackle, Reese won the first Patricia McFarland Memorial Prize for her flash fiction and The Graduate School Creative Writing Award from The University of Memphis for her poetry, where she also earned her MFA. Reese lives and teaches in Texas.

Frank Roger was born in 1957 in Ghent, Belgium. His first story appeared in 1975. Since then his stories appear in an increasing number of languages in all sorts of magazines and anthologies, and since 2000, story collections are published, also in various languages. Apart from fiction, he also produces collages and graphic work in a surrealist and satirical tradition. They have appeared in various magazines and books. His work is a blend of genres and styles that can best be described as “frankrogerism,” an approach of which he is the main representative. By now he has a few hundred short stories to his credit, published in about 40 languages. In 2012 a story collection in English (The Burning Woman and Other Stories) was published by Evertype ( Find out more at

Shya Scanlon is the author of In This Alone Impulse, Forecast, and Border Run. His novel The Guild of St. Cooper will be published in 2015.

An Tran is a writer from the Washington, DC area. His fiction and non-fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in the Southern Humanities Review, Gargoyle Magazine, The Carolina Quarterly, The Good Men Project, and Big Lucks, among others, and has received a “Notable” distinction from the Best American series. He is pursuing an MFA candidate at Queens University of Charlotte and he curates the Waterbear Reading Series in Arlington, Virginia.

Erika T. Wurth’s novel, Crazyhorse’s Girlfriend, has been accepted for publication by Curbside Splendor. Her collection of poetry, Indian Trains, was published by The University of New Mexico’s West End Press. A writer of both fiction and poetry, she teaches creative writing at Western Illinois University and has been a guest writer at the Institute of American Indian Arts. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous journals including Boulevard, Fiction, Pembroke, Florida Review, Stand, Cimarron Review, The Cape Rock, Southern California Review, and Drunken Boat. She is Apache/Chickasaw/Cherokee and was raised outside of Denver.

from What Wants to Be Shot by Madeline ffitch

S5coverEven now, no one knows what it was like for Thomas J. Jefferson and Flip. J. Jones to be best friends. No one knows what it was like for them that summer, though each day, Hayworth watched their long involved preference for each other. They tried to attract the attention of the songbirds in the ash trees, and they used outdated slurs such as “bulldagger.” They used outdated slurs when they stubbed their toes, or when they couldn’t get the attention of the songbirds in the ash trees. They hadn’t killed anything. They wore matching red trunks, and nothing else. They had turned brown all over their bodies (this was from never going inside) and their legs were impossibly long. Hayworth was Thomas J. Jefferson’s girl-cousin, five years younger, and she loved those two young men as if she herself wasn’t even real.

They all three of them believed in feats of strength, and so they left the city, and for two days they walked through the long low spindly woods. First, they came through rows of thin white tree trunks, and then they came through leaves like light coins, and finally they came to a four way intersection, arid and still. Here, there were four empty storefronts facing each other, and nothing going on, not even a cat going on, only some raccoons back in the alley, raccoons with dexterous black gloves, like they all have. Each storefront had a stoop, and each stoop was baked hot in the afternoon sun the day they came to the intersection. They all noticed how quiet it was, as quiet as if they’d drawn the place with a crayon as they came along. So they decided to stay there all summer, and the summer was hot. Thomas J. Jefferson and Flip J. Jones had a pair of .22 rifles between them.

“What are we going to shoot with those rifles?” asked Hayworth. She had looped embroidery floss through the holes in her ears, three strands, orange, mandarin orange, and blood orange. Hayworth had occasionally asked for privacy, but when she got it, it was only a coincidence.

“We’ll shoot bottles, and we’ll throw my old boots up across the telephone wire, and we’ll shoot at them, and we’ll shoot anything that bothers us,” said Thomas J.

“We don’t want a thing to bother us,” said Flip J. “You can share my ammunition box, Hayworth.”

“You’d better not shoot any of that raccoon family,” said Hayworth.

“We’ll shoot anything that bothers us,” repeated Flip J. He was kind, and he showed his large teeth like blocks of ice, and Hayworth loved him.

Hayworth stepped up onto the stoop behind her so that she was eye level with Flip J. Behind her, the Green River Soda marquee was empty, and the screen door hung open, and they didn’t know what could be inside.

“It’ll stay much quieter here if you don’t go galloping around shooting those raccoons for no reason,” said Hayworth.

“See, this is what I mean, goddammit, Hayworth,” said Thomas J. “We let you come through the woods with us, we let you drink rum and water with us, and by the way, you’ve given me no reason to regret that. I like having you here, and Flip J. likes having you here.”

“I like you a lot, Hayworth,” said Flip J.

“But goddammit,” said Thomas J, “if you don’t sometimes act just like a seventeen-year-old girl.”

“Thomas J, all I’m saying is that we could stay here the whole summer, and there would never be any need to shoot a raccoon,” said Hayworth.

“Is that a rule you’re making?” asked Thomas J. He cut his eyes down away from her. He practiced proper gun safety.

“I’m not afraid to make it a rule, if you want it like that,” said Hayworth.

“What’s the rule?” asked Flip J.

No one knows what it’s like for two boys to be best friends, but we know a few things, gleaned over the years. We know, for example, that when Flip J. Jones and Thomas J. Jefferson were teenagers, they rode out together one night on a pair of junked bikes, through the city that they came from. Thomas J. pulled ahead, and Flip J. fell behind, though he pushed hard to keep up. We know that Flip J’s wheel skidded out. He went over the handlebars, and crunched his head right against the asphalt. It slid, it shaved like a bar of soap. Thomas J. circled back, and when he lifted Flip J. it was bad, it was a stranger he found. Thomas J. taught Flip J. to walk again, and Flip J. learned it good-naturedly and well. Flip J. was rangey and true, and if he didn’t like you, you knew it was no use thinking you were any good. Hayworth wanted Flip J. to touch her, and he had never touched her. Yet her cousin, Thomas J. had never protected her from anything.

“The rule is that you can shoot what wants to be shot,” said Hayworth.

To read the rest of the story by Madeline ffitch, check out Sententia 5.

Madeline ffitch was a founding member of the punk theater company The Missoula Oblongata with whom she wrote, performed, and toured to post offices, grocery stores, farms, and warehouses. Her work has appeared in The Chicago Review and on Chuckwagon Press. Originally from Portland, Oregon, she now lives and writes in Appalachian Ohio where she homesteads and raises ducks and her small son, Nector Vine Ballew. fitch’s collection of short stories, Valparaiso, Round the Horn, is forthcoming from Publishing Genius.

Sententia 5: Longer Work

S5coverSententia 5: Short Fiction After 5k The new issue of Sententia: The Journal is 245 pages and is currently available as an eBook. The print version will be on sale starting July 8. This issue features brilliant long stories by:

  • Julian Berengaut
  • Sarah Bridgins
  • Matthew Dexter
  • Regina Edwards
  • Madeline ffitch
  • Diane Lefer
  • Josh Ostergaard
  • JP Reese
  • Frank Roger
  • Shya Scanlon
  • An Tran
  • Erika T. Wurth
  • With cover art by Jonathan Allen
  • View contributor bios here

Edited by Paula Bomer and Adam Robinson

The eBook is now available! Click here to purchase.
Start reading a sample story by clicking here and

PREORDER the PRINT Version and get S4 for free!


Also check out the latest from Sententia, The Weaklings (XL) by Dennis Cooper

Sententia 4: What She Says

What She Says: The All Women Writers Issue
164 pages
edited by Paula Bomer, Amy King and Jen Michalski
$10 (+$2 shipping)


Including work by:
Betsy Boyd, Ana Bozicevic, Mikita Brottman, Megan Calhoun, Ching-In Chen, Andrea DeAngelis, Kathy Flann, Sherrie Flick, Heather Fowler, Ana Garcia Bergua, Rachel Eliza Griffiths, Jen Grow, Toshiya Kamei, Elise Levine, Sara Lippmann, Khadijah Queen, Treasure Shields Redmond, Metta Sama, Ellen McGrath Smith, Sara Jane Stoner, Meg Tuite, Carolyn Zaikowski, Darija Zilic

About the editors of Sententia 4:

Amy King’s most recent book, I Want to Make You Safe, is forthcoming from Litmus Press. She is currently preparing a book of interviews with the poet Ron Padgett, works with VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, and teaches English and Creative Writing at SUNY Nassau Community College. Please visit for more.

Jen Michalski‘s first collection of fiction, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, is available from So New (2007), her second is forthcoming from Dzanc (2013), and her novella MAY-SEPTEMBER (2010) was published by Press 53 as part of the Press 53 Open Awards. Her chapbook CROSS SECTIONS (2008) is available from Publishing Genius. She also is the editor of the anthology CITY SAGES: BALTIMORE (CityLit Press 2010), which won a 2010 “Best of Baltimore” award from Baltimore Magazine. She is the founding editor of the literary quarterly jmww, and is co-host of the monthly reading series The 510 Readings in Baltimore.

Sententia 3

The “Pitch” issue, curated by Shya Scanlon includes novel excerpts from Nick Bredie, Hosho McCreesh, Kevin Spaide, Nora Jean Lang, Samuel Snoek-Brown, Michael Hickins, Abeer Hoque, and Fred Skolnik

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Sententia 2

Sententia #2 features poetry, fiction, and essays by Gregory Sherl, Peter Schwartz, Brad Green, Pacze Moj, Samantha Ducas, Howard C. Mueller IV, Ali Abdolrezaei, b.l. pawelek, Shaindel Beers, Neila Mezynski, Amanda Deo, Andrew Roe, Nathan Graziano, Jessica Anya Blau, Ethel Rohan, Josh Goller, Janey Smith, Meg Tuite, Timmy Waldron, Michael Pollock, Claire Foster, Nate House, Scott McClanahan, Ken Sparling, Robert Lopez, Christian TeBordo, Roxane Gay, and Barry Graham.

Sententia 1

Sententia #1 contains poetry and fiction from Lindsay Ahl, Keith Nathan Brown, Charlotte DeAth, Elizabeth Ellen, Meg Files, Roxane Gay, Howie Good, Rose Hunter, Drew Kalbach, Jen Michalski, Mary Miller, Mark Mirsky, Geoffrey Nutter, B.L. Pawelek, Sam Pink, Adam Robinson, Shya Scanlon, Fariel Shafee, J.J. Steinfeld, Robert Swartwood, Serena Tome, Steven Trull, Brian Wilkins, and Scott Wrobel