Issue Fourteen

This Boy Can Never Do Anything Right

This boy sends paper airplanes skyward, hoping to touch the moon. They’re fast-devoured by air, dirt, momentum carrying them to crumple. This boy says he’s sorry to people in Walmart before he’s had a chance to brush against them. This boy knocks everything down—full...

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To Make A Mountain

She’s planted grass again, your mother. Now she’s lying out there, making angels in bright, green springiness. So you go out too since she’s laughing, since maybe this time she won’t narrow her eyes. It’s warm. Ground under your back, sun behind a cloud so you can...

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Still Life with PTSD and Geese

A nurse shoves some papers onto my lap. “These give your permission —” The gurney is surrounded by doctors and nurses wearing pale blue scrubs and masks. I try to sit up. “If…cancer…lymph nodes…permission to remove…” The words brand my brain. The first time I...

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Monarch

Let me tell you about loose women, girls on high, groupie runaways and the immaculate mother. In a city of old convents they walk silent in white dresses, the crowd parts, no one asks questions or takes photos but evil tourists like me write poetry. A park with orange...

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The Mime Offers His Services

In the spring of 1977, the State Champion Mime receives his trophy. After the applause dwindles he removes most of his make up with Noxzema and tissue. He slips out of his costume, striped-shirt, black pants and bowler into bellbottoms, paisley and platforms. He tucks...

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Fruit Fly

A fruit fly has been hovering around my face for days, though maybe it isn’t the same fruit fly, since I’ve been told that fruit flies only live for twenty-four hours, yet there it is, for the third day in a row, just out of my peripheral vision, circling my ear as if...

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The Vista Inn

A black-and-white blowup of the Vista Inn hangs off the Jury Room wall. Few jurors notice this rural hotel offering adventurers rooms and meals. Eucalyptus accent a two-story with chimney and porch. Axes have swung. Stumps flank a cement walkway up to the double...

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Travel Notes

GOOD NEWS All those hours spent in a tree are now lost to me. THE ARGUMENT AGAINST SWIMMING Any fish in the world can do it better than you. The difficulty of eating a pizza in a polite way while swimming the butterfly. THE ARGUMENT AGAINST THE CHARLESTON Dated;...

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1945 Surrealism

Everything was useful-a wire to lace shoes, paper to weave a pad to insulate a jacket. Cups were fabricated from the empty coffee cans.These precious crafted utensils were squirreled into jacket pockets, slept on and inventoried every morning.  Mac listed what he...

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There are Many Fun Alternatives to Suicide

Do you have a plan? the hotline asked. Is that how it works? I imagine Virginia’s matted mind cross-thread  with equations and buoyancy. Sylvia testing the dials on a live chicken. I’ve only focused on their second-most famous act:  their work. They should...

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Terrine

Terrine. I saw Charlotte’s mother make this once, a sublime cold dish, lovingly layered with puréed meats and vegetables and then somehow gelled together. I don’t think I’d ever have eaten terrine if I hadn’t seen the ingredients and how Ms. Mason assembled them. It...

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A Long-Waiting Wednesday; Optimism

A Long-Waiting Wednesday I sat in the car, in the back edge of the strip-mall parking lot, with the radio turned off, so the battery wouldn’t run down, leaving me stuck in the car-roof cave-sounding rain even longer than the hour-and-a-half I’d already been waiting...

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Found Fist and Foot

Take the hand in Basquiat’s Profit I, each finger has two joints— so shall we chill at yours or mine? That’s a Mafia trick, lopping a digit. This is memory, an accident waiting to happen again and again. Dude blows off finger with fireworks and you watch it on You...

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The Grocery Store

            “How’s the President?” I asked.             My brother shrugged.  “Not good.  He was shot three times, twice in the chest.  They...

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Instructions for Committing Murder

Mustache. The kid sadly invisible gets kudos from the hippie chick every 4th Street Starbucks employee wanted to bang, or hand-feed gluten-free grain—Nice ‘stache!—you’d have thought I’d shot heroin, patrons staring. Seeing a far cooler me. Had it been actual heroin,...

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Birch and Dead Rabbits

I ask you if everything looks the same, now that we’ve crossed the border, and you say well, there are more birch trees and dead rabbits. There’s also more sea but we don’t mention this, as this part is obvious. I watch while the water licks the land and think...

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Eddie

I don’t remember how Eddie came to live with us. I know he came into our lives by way of three hundred dollars cash pressed between the yellowing pages of a women’s devotional that he gave to our mom. I know he was cousins with some of my friends from the Pentecostal...

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Stuff We Do to Make a Living

Mother washes the dishes and looks like she is too old to wash them, like the sponge is aging her, and the plates are too heavy for her hands-like-bones. I step towards her but it’s just steam. She’s not there. She is on the couch, coughing and looking for her...

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Underfoot

It would have been an unremarkable workday, gray and chilly and endless, on a rickety bus headed for east transfer station, if it also hadn’t happened to be the day that a sturdy man vaguely smelling of soup lost his balance, stumbled backwards in an attempt to regain...

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Dead Animal Pick Up

In the beam of headlights, we found the massive heap on the shoulder of the highway, a half-dead bull elk pawing at the moon, eyes like river stones and a rack that could gouge holes in the porous, starlit sky. Shoot, Papa said, coming to a stop. He’s still alive, and...

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Home Invasion

I saw a huge spider web with a horsefly trapped, unable to get away. I called my friends to come over and see it just above the kitchen window. I dragged a chair over so we could take turns looking at it through my magnifying glass. Mom says the horseflies are...

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Some Things Lost

My grandfather gave me a set of monogrammed handkerchiefs for Christmas—I didn’t know what to make of the present, but I loved it. I was six, seven, eight years old. One of those ages from when my memories themselves are clear but unanchored to time. I never used...

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Unexpected Guest

When we get back from church, the living room curtains are closed. A vampire is sitting on the couch with the remote, checking out the different channels like he’s never seen cable before. Mámi asks who invited him in. “Not me, it must have been Emily!” Junior says....

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Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

I’m glaring at you in the middle of pine-scented nowhere. Did you know I won this trip by memorizing the most Bible verses? I thought one of my prayers had finally been answered. My family wanted to vacation with the Steubens. Their son Kyle was my first gay...

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Where Stories Come From

I am trying to think of a story. I do this in a sitting room off our kitchen where a Macbook is on my lap and moving boxes of various sizes lean against the wall. Through the window, I see what my wife calls a fond, a made up word from fake pond, one of those...

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White Van, Rolling

The phone velcroed to the van’s dashboard vibrates twice and the screen lights up.  Where?  Peco taps back 14th, 57th.  He punches down the accelerator with a foot wrapped in a battered moccasin and the van scoots across the Avenue as a wall of oncoming...

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to peace

The fringe and the middle meet when somebody like Emmett Kelly sweeps light into a dustpan.                            Kelly is a frowning...

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Untitled

This coffee is still learning, spills sweetens night after night the way fireflies flavor their legs then wait for the rippling hum that’s not a bat –you teach this cup smoke, emptiness and what it’s like to lean across as come right in let you sip from the black...

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