“Landlord” By Frances Mac

No fair treaty can be reached with this leech of a man He mans a window seat, leers from a walker with Dunlop feet A feat for his age, still making us prey We pray to escape his lens, we endure his sins But sense always that we are reluctant idols We idle, eyes downcast, …

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“Nod Brook” By Cynthia Anderson

The narrow brook below our hill was a place of dreams where nothing ever happened—sleepy remnant of another time, murky water barely moving—deeper after winter snows, ebbing as lady slippers bloomed pink under pines planted as a watershed. Old oaks stood close by, and a swamp where I picked wild grapes, holding my nose against …

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“The Circle We Share” By S. Michael Kozubek

Onward to knighthood, gold, and glory, glittering in the armor of Armani suits, Rolex and tanned bodies reflecting the sun. They find amusement in lance and parry, trampling others under their steeds, these 1 percent, aligning with the 5, conquest and dominion their thrill in being alive. The throng beneath the glitter is gifted with …

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“Too swift,” By Melissa Atkinson Mercer

Too swift, she says, too insatiable. Don’t you know these things take planning? Father was salt-skinned and whiskey; built coffins in the mustard plants, in the hard mud. Chopped boards from the porch. From my bed-wall, my exorbitant spine. Back to river, bones to fish: perfect thief, I started small: sticks of butter from the …

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“My Three Other Fathers” By Jeffrey MacLachlan

Vietnam Draft Father: My father born exactly one week later is drafted. He leaves the repair shop at Kimbers and smooches Miss July goodbye for jungle brothels and napalm. One night he strips naked because the bullwhips of heat julienne his skin forged in rural frost. A ripple of gunfire whistles across his mouth like …

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“The Night of Broken Glass” By Daniel Beilman

A reflection of stars, smoke, and clouds of red. They ripped my father’s prayer book. Men with square chins, freshly shaven faces contorted and red, shouting “Juden!” The clocks in my father’s shop, smashed like cockroaches. They dragged him out to the stone streets, laid him on his back, encircled by screaming people who had …

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