Best of the Net nominations 2021

2021, Announcements

We’re pleased to announce our 2021 Best of the Net nominations!


Halleluyah by Mónica Gomery
Sonnet Near Zyzzyx by Chelsea Harlan
Gualmar Kevin Madrigal
Souls Side by Side by Dustin Pearson
The Other Kids Use Their Hands by Jaz Sufi
Indictment Film by Fargo Nissim Tbakhi


Swallower by K-Ming Chang
Ballad II by L.M. Davenport


A Fiction More Real by Miah Jeffra
Trees, Monsters, Witches: Fragments of Being a Girl by Kat Moore

2020 Best of the Net nominees

2020, Announcements

We’re pleased to share our nominees for this year’s Best of the Net! You can read the nominated pieces here.


“Herstory of Pink” by Kiran Bath
“Why Scarred and Scared Sound So Alike” by Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach
“Sister’s Ghazal” by Tatiana M.R. Johnson
“Hotel” by Gabriella R. Tallmadge
“Vox Populi, Vox Dei” by Victoria C. Flanagan
“Boyhood” by S. Yarberry


“Isn’t This What You Wanted?” by Hadley Franklin
“Buena Vista Bonded” by Mckenzie Zalopany

“Not Inside or Outside, but Quietly There” by Erin Marie Lynch

“Photographs of Your Tías” by Brenda Venezia

Pushcart Prize Nominees for 2019

2019, Announcements

We’re pleased to announce our Pushcart Prize Nominees for 2019


Threa Almontaser, “Ablution With Zem Zem Water” (Summer, 30)
Michelle Donahue, “Preservation” (Winter, 29)


Jackie Chhieng. “Sabrina Nguyen At The 7-Eleven On Lombard” (Summer, 30)
Sarah E. Ruhlen, “Open Water” Summer, 30)


Rowan Lucas, “Water of the Womb” Summer, 30)
Aram Mrjoian, “Animal Kingdom” (Winter, 29)


2019, Announcements


Three Encounters with No One” by Elisa Gonzalez

The Wounded Deer” by Krysten Hill

Elegy” by Michael Marberry

We Ran Rapturous” by Shannon Sankey

Clack” by Janelle Tan

Everything You’ve Been Told About [Being a Partner] Is a Lie” by Kevin West


Green Eternity” by Raina K. Puels

Two Stars, Burning Sun” by Claire Robbins


Animal Kingdom” by Aram Mrjoian

Blue Raspberry” by Robert James Russell

Pushcart Nominations

2015, Announcements, Blog

We’re happy to announce our nominations for the Pushcart Prize!!

Read our nominees below and cross out fingers with us as we await the results!


April Michelle Bratten, “Where We Live” – Fall, issue 17, 2015
Anna B. Sutton, “Friday Mass” – Summer, issue 16, 2015
Caitlin Thomson, “Tithe” – Spring, issue 15, 2015
Claire Wahmanholm, “Sirius” – Summer, issue 16, 2015


Monique McIntosh, “Bug” – Fall, issue 17, 2015


Annalise Mabe, “Space Taker” – Fall, issue 17, 2015

Best of the Net Nominations 2015

2015, Announcements, Blog

We’re pleased to announce this year’s nominations for Best of the Net 2015!!


Rachel Eliza Griffiths, “My Dress Hangs There
Jenny Molberg, “Phosphene
Paige Quiñones, “Summer, Or Daughters I Haven’t Met
Greg Solano, “Light in the Mountains
Caitlin Thomson, “Tithe
Claire Wahmanholm, “My Life As A Nightjar


Petrina Crockford, “Birth
Zach VandeZande, “A Necessary Fiction


Heidi Czerwiec, “My Son’s Brother
Lori White, “Zanies

With each year of our existence, we continue to be both astonished and devastated by the talent and work of our authors that we publish. Each year grows to be even more difficult when it comes to choosing our best of. 

In selecting these, we hope you enjoy not only our nominees, but go back and read our archives to find some of our other amazingly talented writers. 

Our first ever live reading!

Announcements, Blog

Below is the announcement for our first ever live reading celebrating our two years online and our readers!

If you’re in the NY area, do come!

November 20, 2013
7PM at Cake Shop.

Featuring past contributors: Anthony Cappo, Natalie Eilbert, Beth Morgan, and Marina Rubin.forgedreadingseries

We’re happy to announce our first ever event for The Boiler. We hope to make this a sort of mobile reading series. We’re not sure how often we’ll do this or where it will be next, but we hope to see you there if you can make it!
Plus, we’re celebrating two years of publishing online! We started way back in Dec. 2011 and have been growing strong ever since.

Timothy Kenny



Of the three old men in the locker room only one is wearing pants, no shirt. The other two, also gravity’s victims, sit hunched and naked on a low wooden bench, towels raped.

The man wearing pants is listening, waiting his turn.

“He told me his wife died a few months ago and he still couldn’t get over it,” says one of the naked men, probably in his seventies. He sits like a younger man, with his forearms across his knees, head down. “He said he was just lonely all the time now.”

Locker rooms morph into different places as the athletes who use them age. When the supply of close friends dwindles, the locker room gives rise to stories of loss, blurted secrets, tales of illness and army service, never war. Old men take long showers and dress without hurry. They talk like young men but have dropped the pretense of invincibility. They say things they would not have mentioned when their bodies still made testosterone.

Once a man with his left hand bandaged asked me how I was doing. We often used the locker room at the same time but had never spoken. “I’m good. How’re you doing?” I said, gesturing toward his hand.“Oh, I’m fine. This is nothing.” He paused. Then he said, “I’ve been in the hospital before. One time I had to have a couple of feet of my colon removed.

“The doctors put me in a coma for four days. When I came out of it I had terrible dreams, hallucinations. Bad stuff. Really evil stuff.” He is buttoning a shirt and says this in flat, emotionless voice.

“It’s surprising what my mind can come up with. Sometimes,” he adds, “they still happen. The dreams. Once in a while.”

He is a fit man with sandy hair who might be sixty. He shuts his locker door and looks at me. “I guess now I know what it’s like to be crazy,” he says, and walks away.

Old men in locker rooms talk about time, the ways in which it has brushed past them and the inevitability of its sudden withdrawal, which they anticipate but ignore.

The second man on the bench, also naked and probably seventy-five, leans against the locker behind him.

“When I was a boy,” he says, “my brother and I were sitting near the edge of my father’s bed. He was in the hospital. He was dying. My brother is older than I am. I was maybe seven or eight. I’m not sure.

“I remember my mother kept saying, over and over, ‘George, don’t leave me. Please don’t leave me.’ George was my father. That’s about all she said. But he did. He died right after she said that.”

His back pulls away from the metal locker when he sits up; it sounds like a kiss. He tugs a sock onto his right foot and leans back again.

The guy wearing pants, now fully dressed and about to leave, stops packing his gear. He’s holding a tee shirt in one hand.

“My father, he was a pretty strange guy,” he says. He knows we are listening but he’s not looking at anyone; he’s staring, unfocused, in the neighborhood of the showers a few feet away. I guess he’s in his middle eighties, with a crazy flourish of curly hair that is dark and white and sprouts along the sides of his head but skips the top. I have seen him walking slowly around the elevated track above the basketball court, usually wearing light blue jeans that look pressed and are pulled tight at the waist by a belt.

“My mother died first. She had cancer. I was 16. My father remarried, which I was glad he did. I always wanted him to be happy. I think he was. He was a pretty young man then, I guess. I always got along with my stepmother.

His story arrives oddly, in detached, disjointed sentences that sound unrehearsed, as if he had never told this tale out loud. He reaches down and stuffs his tee shirt into the bag and zips it, transferring it to his left hand.

“He always thought he would go first. He told me that a lot. But he didn’t. My mother did. So he got remarried and then he had a stroke. It wasn’t long after he got remarried he had this stroke. Which was a few months I guess after my mother died. I thought it was fine, really. I wanted him to be happy.

“My father had a stroke and he got better but not all the way. He never really got like he was before. He never recovered, really. He got some better, but he wasn’t the same after that.

“That’s when he started trying to kill himself.”

He turns around and opens the door to his locker, checking that it’s empty, giving the rest of us time to absorb what he has said. The three of us look at each other, startled.

“He tried different ways. He tried pills and poison, I think. I don’t remember all the ways he tried.

“Finally,” says the man, clearly the oldest person in the room, “he jumped off the second story balcony of our apartment. We lived in an apartment then. I guess he cut off the electricity to half of Tel Aviv. He hit a power line on the way down. That broke his fall. He didn’t die right away. He broke his hip and that’s what did it. That’s what killed him. He died a little while later because he broke his hip.

“But he didn’t want to burden her. That was what he said all the time. My stepmother. That’s what he told me, that he didn’t want her to have to take care of him. I guess he was a pretty strange guy.”

He’s done now and checks his locker once more to see if he has everything. “Well,” he says, “I’ll see you later” and leaves.

One of the naked guys looks up. “Geez,” he says, a whisper.


Timothy Kenny is a former newspaper foreign editor, non-profit foundation executive and journalism professor. His narrative non-fiction has appeared in The Louisville Review, The Gettysburg Review, The Kenyon Review Online, Irish Pages  and the Green Mountains Review, among others.

James Valvis



Collecting fireflies in mason jars,
you heard the ice cream truck,
its jingle music like a song,
and the kids scattered, ran indoors
for money, and on good days your
parents gave you cash for:
a banana split for Dad, sundae for Mom,
enough left over to get yourself a cone,
little sugar sprinkles on your tongue–
while fireflies danced and blinked
and July seemed to last years
though it didn’t because nothing does–
and one by one, while you ate your cone
and flicked the jar with your finger,
making lightning bugs flash,
your parents, the neighborhood,
Mr. Softee and his vanilla turban,
blinked out like fireflies,
melted like a lick of ice cream,
something sweet and easily forgotten.


James Valvis is the author of HOW TO SAY GOODBYE (Aortic Books, 2011). His writing can be found in many journals, including Anderbo, Arts & Letters, Baltimore Review, Barrow Street, Hanging Loose, Juked, LA Review, Nimrod, Pedestal Magazine, Rattle, River Styx, and Superstition Review. His poetry has been featured at Verse Daily and the Best American Poetry website. His fiction has twice been a Million Writers Notable Story. He lives near Seattle.