Issue Seven

Gran’s Return

“Don’t worry, Gran. We’ll get you back,” my sister said as the doctor reviewed the medical records. We hardly recognized the woman who had come to live with us. Her once-tailored clothes sagged on her petite frame, making her recent 15-pound weight loss look even...

In Deep

It’s evening in the desert and we’re moving against the current toward a building with a cheap buffet. Before we make it to the door, you’re holding your breath, shutting your eyes because my brother’s children won’t walk with you as grandkids do; they move like a...

Overdue Elegy

For Manon You wouldn’t know how often I think of you. We didn’t see each other during the last years of your life. Not because of differences or hard feelings: Our lives had simply forked like two roads and somewhere among us flowed a river. We wrote to each other...

Dwyer

Dwyer is tall and lean, with a mop of white hair, blue eyes, brown skin from a life outside, and hollow cheeks. He follows a vegan diet. He is near seventy, a retired carpenter who reads the Bible every day, the King James Version. Met by chance on the street, we...

Reply Hazy, Try Again

“Meet me at the Red Lobster.” I looked at the clock; it was just after five. I brushed my hair and teeth, put on clean underwear. There was a half-empty glass of orange juice in the kitchen sink. I swigged it. My jaw clenched: Tropicana and Colgate. It was pitch dark...

The Bandit’s Voice

I haven’t done it for a while but if I lie very still God strokes my hair. God’s voice sounds like Burt Reynolds' in Smokey and the Bandit. He doesn’t actually say the Bandit’s lines but his attitude is, What’s there to lose? Everything’s simple actually, take the...

A Brief History

There were letters, written from a father to a mother, professing his love, wanting her to return to New Orleans from California. A photograph, a mother on the beach in Santa Monica, a man’s arm draped over her shoulders. “He was just a friend,” she says. A secret...

Not Because They Hate Us

—after Tao Te Ching   I spent prom night In the school’s handball courts playing Pachuco with my friends— Boys trained like dogs to look down,   Hands on their head, legs spread— Ricocheting the tiny, atomic-blue Rubber racquetball as hard As our budding...

Habibi

Habibi is what your face looks like in the morning Moving through me quietly and before me then When you kiss me good night and fall asleep first To the blaring news of death from far and near   Kismat is locking eyes at that meeting we were both asked Not to...

DAMAGED GOODS

Months went by since I was liberated from the labor camp in Northern Russia. Behind were dozens of blood transfusions, dental tortures, and scary talks with a bunch of cardiologists. I’ve got my so-so bill of health and was waiting patiently for the Soviet Immigration...

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