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Cleaver Magazine is thwacking-proud to announce its TOP 13 most popular items from 2013: a chopping-fresh remix of stories, poetry, essays, flash and art! You’ll notice that our most-read pieces are from earlier issues. That’s the beauty of an online magazine: months after publication our stories, poems, and essays are still being enjoyed right alongside more recently published work. Be sure to check out these favorites alongside our new Wintry Mix, Issue No. 4!

Deb-Burnham-by-Cara-Crosby#1. “Albino” by Deborah Burnham, POETRY, Issue No. 1

We slung harsh words like stones:
we spat at the white-haired boy
and called him freak.

(…read full poem)

Darlene-Campos1#2. “And We Slept in a Wigwam” by Darlene P. Campos, FICTION, Issue No. 1

Getting kicked out of my house wasn’t a surprise. It happened to my ancestors, my parents, and to me several times. I lost count pretty quick. The landlord left minutes before Javier came back from his latest job search. He saw me standing in the middle of the street with everything I could carry from our former place.

(…read full story)

Leah-Koontz#3. “BiProduct” by Leah Koontz, ART, Issue No. 2

…BiProduct features sculpture and performance, created from nylon, spandex, foam, digital media, and plastic…Over the past two decades, drag has transformed tremendously. What exactly is drag in 2013?

(…read full essay)

Blake Martin#4. “The Rise of the Selfie in the 21st Century” by Blake Martin, ART, Preview Issue

…For the longest time I felt shame for this urge to see myself through my lens. Blame it on the Christian ethos of original sin that shaped my early life, but this habit of posing for my own camera felt like an exercise in vanity. Up until the Instagram era, I rarely, if ever, shared my self-portraits with others….

(…read full essay)

#5. Michelle E. Crouch“Free Coffee For Atheists” by Michelle E. Crouch, FICTION, Issue No. 1

…Our house was on the side of the road, and on the other side there was a field where my father had once pastured his dairy cows. The cows died of old age decades ago and the wire fence rusted away. I had stood in this field and thought about what would give comfort to people like me who weren’t proud of their faithlessness, whose own mistrustful brains had locked us out of the kingdom. I wanted simplicity, purity, a place to go be still. After we erected the church, I nailed a plank of wood to a tree on the side of the road, and on it I painted an arrow pointing towards the structure and the word ATHEISTS….

(…read full story)

John-Timpane#6. “In a Dry Month” by John Timpane, POETRY, Issue No. 1

Time says have to, time says go to a green place, a space,
a peace beyond the outskirts of earshot and streetlight…

(…read full poem)

Ann-de-Forest4#7. “Closing the Curtains” by Ann de Forest, Flash Fiction, Issue No. 1

…The really old stories, the fairy tales, start with a mother’s craving. She is expecting her firstborn. Her belly swells with potential. She strains from the weight of her own unknown, much-wished-for creation. Except now, suddenly, she wants something else. Something forbidden, inaccessible, problematic. She makes her husband scale the garden wall to steal the lettuce growing on the other side. She is overwhelmed by her appetite. And that is her undoing…

(…read full story)

Lawrence-Eby#8. From Flight of August by Lawrence Eby, POETRY, Issue No. 1

A desk melts into the tile floor, the windows
cracked and browning. A forest of homes

caught fire to dry cold,
lightning struck
Joshua tree…

(…read full poem)

Daniel-Torday#9. “Air Conditioner” by Daniel Torday, FLASH, Issue No. 2

…I speculated it meant the opposite—to turn up the air conditioner’s powers was to make the room cooler. Not turn up the thermostat. Turn the machine up. My aunt was indignant. What kind of feckless legerdemain was this? What kind of crap did they teach in college when I went—Gender studies? African handclapping? What kind of bullshit semantics was I getting into? After all, with my collared shirt and those two-hundred dollar jeans I was wearing, who did I think I was?

(…read full story)

sarah-buttenweiser#10. “The Oldest Mom in the Room” by Sarah Buttenwieser, ESSAYS, Issue No. 1

The other day, I took my antsy four-year-old, Saskia, to the Y for Tumble and Play. The gym, outfitted with toddler-friendly stations—a gently sloping soft ramp here, another odd-shaped cushion-slash-mat there, a low, wide balance beam, and some hula hoops on the floor offered cute smalls the chance to toddle or crawl or run about. Their adults hovered or chased or basically ignored, depending. Saskia is on the cusp of outgrowing Tumble and Play. And at 48, maybe I have outgrown Tumble and Play, too.

(…read full essay)

Rachel-B.-Glaser-rose#11. “In Heaven” by Rachel B. Glaser, POETRY, Issue No. 1

they could have lived in clouds
but so missed houses that they actually built some
they missed roads
though in life, roads hadn’t really appealed to them

(…read full poem)

Anna-Strong#12. From Apostrophes by Anna Strong, POETRY, Issue No. 2

This poem will be mostly about force. With one finger on my knee my science teacher tells me I can
skate better than half the guys on varsity and I should really try out for the team. In class I’m called on
(caught doodling) and asked which muscle group is most responsible for the slapshot and all I want to
know is what happens when you give a poet a stick of gum, twenty cents, and point to the cigarette
burn on your wrist?

(…read full poem)

Rebecca-Entel#13. “Perfect Companion” by Rebecca Entel, FICTION, Issue No. 1

…It was like the old joke about the grimy Schulkyll River, Hollie told people:  if you fall in, don’t bother getting out. The car that hit her husband’s amid the Schulkyll Expressway’s slick March traffic had plummeted into the water below. The ‘other guy’ never bothered getting out until the cops dragged the river, and him. Dana was still half here. Half full, they remembered to remind each other….

(…read full story)