Workshops and Retreats

Issue Eleven

Successful Worry

Bills. Piles of paper on the desk. Loads of paper in the box at the back of the closet. Unopened mail. Taxes. Health insurance. Ringing phones, calls not returned. Over sleeping, missing class, missing appointments, missing the plane. Lost wallet, stolen credit cards,...

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The Need for Neighbors

When I was ten years old, my divorced father fantasized about fleeing the prying eyes of neighbors. He talked about the Amazon rain forest or a beach in Mexico, but the only place my mother let him take me and my brothers was the Uintah Mountains in Utah where our...

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SOA’s

He says I'll have to lean on my faith. But I'm standing near the coffee machine trying to get a solid grip on the scent of burnt plastic. My head hurts, my name is Eloise Latham, and I'm a Survivor Of Adultery. At church, they call us SOAs since there’s more to...

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I’ll Get the Bad Guy

The carpet smelled like cat pee and rust. Jakki exhaled and little black hairs wafted up from the floor, dancing in the rays of sunlight that shone through the dusty window over her head.             “Why are you...

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Biography of a Cousin

Aubrey ate sixteen biscuits that first night. The coolest cousin I had, he scarfed down forty doughnuts on a bet he made with my daddy. Thing is, everybody thought Aubrey was a blue-eyed, lamppost-skinny eunuch who mantraed in the pastures of Fayette County, I need to...

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Sweet Affton

I wait in the alley while he wriggles gracelessly through his window – it’s easier than he lets on – and we start walking. I gotta get out of this dump life, he says, like he knows. Ain’t no way, I say, because I do. He has his uses, as long as he doesn’t talk too...

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Palate Cleanser

See this postcard of a hotel, this window circled in blue ink? That’s the room in which I realized I would leave your father. You were there with me, in fact, though I’m sure you don’t remember. You couldn’t have been more than three. Your father was in Chicago for...

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You Had Me At Blue Hair

What first caught my eye was her hair. She was sitting a few tables down from me at a late night McDonald’s. You couldn’t miss the hair. Screaming, neon, electric blue. I didn’t think you could get that color outside of a cartoon. I stared. You would have too. She...

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HOMES BLOWN APART

The roof took off long ago. So did the south wall. Doctors in muddy white pace and shiver. Nobody starts a fire from wood in the rubble. The tallest guy stalks about with a quivering stick, dowsing for a buried trickle of fresh water. Only weeds bubble from cracked...

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What Not To Choke On

About a curious joke, a dare this fisherman in his yellow slicker, him drunken just a few drinks, ho ho ho and a bottle of, but still he climbs aboard the trawler and turns the key or whatever starting the motor, a simple rumble and diesel fume, stay above water,...

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Counting On

I am watching the TLC show about the Duggar family and groaning because purity culture is so damaging but I can't stop watching another courtship another wedding another baby and did you know that Derick got kicked off the show because he said something transphobic on...

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Confessions of a UFO Tracking Station Employee

1. In my spare time I take sandpaper to a spaceship. The flour sack holds geraniums. A solar system of silverware dines uncloned. The quarks I’ve placated, credit card decals on a store-window universe. 2. The phenomenon is churches de-paneled of stained glass....

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An artist’s impression

It all started as a defence mechanism when confronted by doorstep charity fundraisers. Drawing a portrait seemed like the best way to counter unflinching positivity and an earnest moral compass. If they proved unwilling to buy the finished picture, then Matthew felt...

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Just Another Armchair Meteorologist

The dust comes over from the Sahara, sings nightly in an Arabic that cloaks             red the sunset. It’s hope in dispersal, refraction an antique ruby set in Gulfcoast gold. Between it and the wildfire...

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As She Left The Earth

Understandably, it was her husband she left first. She had known him the longest and she was surprised by how easy it was to walk away. She simply didn’t return from the lab one Friday night and that was that. Her phone was easy enough to silence and it’s not like she...

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The Bear and the Weed Whacker

     Jeremy Jackson was the landscaper for Stream Valley Townhouses in Baltimore, MD. He was lazy and incompetent. For example, he would mow the parking lot. However, two years remained on a three-year contract so the apartment complex was stuck...

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Building an Avatar During the Apocalypse

My eyes disappear first, leaving a swath of pale skin, a gap between ghostly eyebrows and muted cheekbones, a blindness that invites onlookers’ gazes to wander–towards lips cracked like sunscalded trees, the two moles that I once tried to pluck out of my skin with a...

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The God Damn Pothole Out Front

“Could you imagine,” said Mary, “being a bird, flying around the globe grazing on berries and garbage.” The dogs followed her off the front porch and drooled on the concrete, leaving silver lines of slobber –Pollock style– all over the beige sidewalk canvas. Rain-wet...

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I Listen For A Sound

Long past the windmill turning night and the empty teeth of harrows I listen for a sound out beyond the fields and country roads almost adrift in late summer heat, a sound like sighing or the wind’s first stirring so central hushed and eyelash still no feather falling...

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Death of a Nostalgist

Time after time, my father cornered his tools. His hands sweated; he palmed his dreams That cash would roll from his pockets to a sock In a bureau:  he did not trust banks. He would shake in frantic poses poles He cut from Beaver Dam, bamboo he rigged With...

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Embowelling the Season

Bloated by a meal I didn’t want, I ripple like a hippo in mud. You once claimed that life was a custard pie, but now have demonstrated that it’s a roast fowl of any variety, slogged down with squash, beans, carrots, and mashed potatoes. Stuffing, of course. The...

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Concertina

She is walking through the green. She might smell the wood of the piano and the polish applied to its surface — she might smell the man sitting down at the piano — but she pauses when he begins to play Bach for her in the middle of an open field in Thailand. And it...

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Patron saint of lost bagels/ Please pardon our appearance

patron saint of lost bagels for evan (#86 most popular boy’s name) you know who you are i stiffen :: is it wrong that : thomas rhett gave me light crabs : charlie puth made that choking noise : nick jonas said to cover my face : is it right that you are my :: war with...

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Driving to Endanger

There wasn’t much room in our Volkswagen Super Beetle, but Mama said we could make everything fit if we used our brains and a little bit of rope. It was the first year without Daddy. We were afraid there wasn’t going to be a vacation that year. No motel pool with a...

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Quack Up

    I watch Drake whip it to the rock band Devo. Twenty years out of high school, he still looks the same, a duck of a man, wide and squat with a bill of a face. The truth is, I can’t remember him looking like anything other than a duck, except for the time...

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First Brush With Death, If Every Footstep Made a Sound

First Brush with Death I was four when your grandmother died. We made the trip from Florida to Pennsylvania. It was snowing when we got there; that’s one of my earliest memories, the flakes falling down from the sky, easy on the breeze, melting in my hands. I was...

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Slowly

There was a slim man writing in Prague. He was folded up into an envelope and placed underground in a grave. His writing continued to grow like a dried sponge filling with water, and it started to bounce on typewriter keys and splash letters onto a long scroll. Giant...

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Please, More

My father begged me to come home.  He told me that he had closed the cellar door, locked it, and thrown away the key.  “It’s over now, it won’t happen again,” he kept repeating over the phone.  There was something in his voice that sounded more...

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