Issue 26

2020 Summer Contest

Charles Humes Jr Miami Arena
Charles Humes Jr Miami Arena


Dark Summer

by Natalie Satakovski This summer, news of the death of George Floyd reverberated from speakers all around the world, while COVID-19 took its toll around us. Here in Miami, protestors chorused “Black lives matter,” “No justice, no peace,” and “Defund the police.” These events formed the backdrop of our 2020 Summer Contest, the winners and finalists…



by Zebulon Huset The poem below won 1st prize in our 2020 Summer Contest in poetry. Here’s a statement from judge Ashley M. Jones. This is a poem that took me by the most spectacular surprise⁠—I’m a poet who loves to play with form, and I think this form illuminates the content beautifully. How can…

I Attend a Pool Party at Some Guy’s L.A. Mansion

by Alaina Bainbridge I try to keep my eyes open. I watch sunlight rippleover blue-gold water. Light shadows jump, make menauseous. A few years ago, all the Tumblr girls were obsessed with Ophelia.They’d lie down on muddy banks, flower crownsglowing against dark, green marsh, stare blankly into the camera, glossed lips parted sensuously,eyes absent as…

I’ve Been Waiting for Hate to Die (In memory of John Lewis) the way deciduous trees let go their leaveswhen the air becomes chilled, leaving trunkand bough and branches naked in winter. I thought somehow hate would have its springand summer but give way with time.Now, I see that hate is an heirloom pressed in…

Creative nonfiction

And the Men Like Gods

by Natalie Beisner This essay won 1st prize in our 2020 Summer Contest in creative nonfiction. Here’s what judge Dawn Davies had to say about it. This essay is a switchblade. You first look at it and think it is a cell phone, or a comb. Or maybe a candy bar or coupon booklet, but…

Bayou Oysters, Bayou Oil

by Albert Leftwich shuck/SHək/ (in French, écailler) Noun. 1. An outer covering, such as the shell of an oyster (French: coquille d’une huitre). 2. A person or thing regarded as useless, worthless or contemptible, something of little value—usually used in plural, as in Ain’t worth shucks or They don’t care shucks about us. Verb. 3.…


by Patrick Pawlowski “You write about your parents a lot.” –Helaina I have an idea for a fiction piece—everyone is disabled. Or maybe just everyone in America. Maybe they aren’t disabled; maybe it’s a weakened arm or leg. I imagine the hindering that disables them, a fog that slows in—it doesn’t kill anyone, unless they…


Sex-O-Rama, 1993

by Jenny Robertson This story won 1st prize in our 2020 Summer Contest in fiction, judged by Alex Segura. Cher Bebe was supposed to be a dentist. Or a minister. His parents couldn’t agree, so they kept both possibilities in mind as he grew older and taller, his body flowering far above them, his mouth…

A Lamentation of Swans

by Marlene Olin A lock and a key. A nut and a bolt. A child and its mother. Alone they’re nothing, their bearings unmoored, their future adrift. It was Nettie’s greatest fear that they’d be separated. And once the pandemic hit, her fears came true.  She and Henry were fixtures in their South Miami neighborhood,…

Wonga Beach

by Katie O’Donnell Wonga Beach 1. Night “The thing is,” says Jan. She pauses, sucking on the joint. It’s their last one. Cath waits, but there is no thing. No joint-passing either. The silence slides down to the waves whispering on the shoreline of the mangrove-fringed beach they have found at the edge of the…


Dawn Davies on the Fourth Genre, Writing Humor, and her Personal Essay Wishlist

by Kristin Gallagher Dawn Davies is an author, mother, and founder of the Whistle Tree Writers program. While the pandemic made an in-person meeting impossible this summer, Dawn and our Assistant Managing Editor Kristin Gallagher connected over email.  You earned your MFA from FIU. When you started the program, what ideas did you have about…

Gulf Stream Magazine stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Learn more at our about page.

Faculty Advisor
Denise Duhamel

Managing Editor
Natalie Satakovski

Assistant Managing Editor
Kristin Gallagher

Poetry Judge
Ashley M. Jones

Creative Nonfiction Judge
Dawn Davies

Fiction Judge
Alex Segura

Brittany Owens, Jaden Gongaware, Susan Falco, Yael Aldana, Jordan Hill, Michael Garcia, Camila Saavedra, Michael Sheriff, Von Wise, Madison Whatley, Lissa Batista, Nicole Mestre & Halsey Hyer.

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Cover artist

Charles E. Humes, Jr. has been a professional fine artist for over forty years. He’s a recipient of multiple grants and fellowships, including the State of Florida’s Individual Artist Grant in painting, and a Smithsonian Southern Arts Federation Print-making Fellow. His paintings and drawings have been exhibited in major galleries and universities, and have received numerous awards and honors throughout the USA.