"Play" is in the new issue of The Collagist, out now.

Here's a bit, from the section entitled "Odds":

"The Marks and David would have a decided numerical advantage-- obviously-- should the conflict, despite the participants' particular reticence, come to the taking up of pistols or swords. However, two of the marks are up in arms against each other, a result of their confusion as to the true paternity of a supposed filiation begat upon one of the Jeans' sisters, Marie. Marie's sister, Jeanne, intends to make her decision as to whether to come forward with certain uncertainties regarding the parentage of her own child based on the outcome of the present conflict, and, bearing that in mind, David⎯who has already been named the child’s godfather, owing to his position in the town⎯might then be placed in opposition to one of the Marks, as the man may well be forced to abandon his godchild’s mother, causing David great shame and, possibly, considerable expense, should his side fail in finding satisfaction. The force of the Jeans’ private armies is, of course, at the Jeans’ ready disposal, a combined force more than equal to the might of the Marks if so constituted. But each Jean is determined that the other should lose, as this will mean that his own sisters will be met at the altar by their rightful husbands, leaving the opposite Jean’s sisters unmarried, betrayed by all, still gravid."

There are also really terrific stories from Tina May Hall, Alan Michael Parker and Gabe Durham, as well as an excerpt from Louis Paul Boon's novel, My Little War (Dalkey Archive) and a story from Padgett Powell, "Scarliotti and the Sinkhole," introduced by one of his former students, Jeff Parker (I like this feature: this particular introduction was great).

That doesn't even scratch the surface: there's also poetry from Emily Kendal Frey, Reginald Dwayne Betts, Mary Jo Firth Gillet, and Doug Ramspeck, and a great essay by Jennifer S. Cheng, not to mention Anna Clark's video review of Fariba Vafi's My Bird (Syracuse University Press), and reviews from John Madera, Angela Stubbs (Blake Butler's Ever (Calamari), which I really enjoyed) and Stacy Muszynski.

The Collagist is a truly admirable literary journal. Between the issues themselves (which aren't exactly slim, for a monthly) and the blog, Matt Bell (along with poetry editor Matthew Olzmann and the rest of their great staff) puts a lot of fantastic stuff out there every single month. Take the time to dig around in the archives while you're over there; Matt's taste is pretty spot-on.