“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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“Self-Preservation” By Kevin Brown

Cars usually worked well. Joey or Alan would decide which way to go, and I would run away, try to angle a path to my house, hoping I would outrun them at least to my yard, believing I would be safe there. Getting beaten up felt like a hobby I had taken on, not of …

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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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“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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“A Matter of Course” By Tyler Julian

I always dream of Oregon. Trees, so many trees, unbroken until suddenly they open onto choppy black ocean, enormous and filled with enormous things. And, I stand on the edge of a cliff, arms outstretched like I’m trying to embrace the whole of the salty air, but I’m small, so small compared to the trees, …

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“i think of you in terms of hysteria” By Weasel

the moon hangs empty tonight leaving tall buildings and sharp sins to shelter us under busted street lights you lure me closer lips cinching tongue plucking teeth leaving the taste of maraschino cigs the taste of tobacco with class my fingers climb the stairway of your back but you have eaten too many thorns your …

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“Wasted? So is Your Life” By Jacqueline Kirkpatrick

The first time I did cocaine was off Billy Joel’s face. My boyfriend, Shawn, lined a row over Billy’s mouth on the cover of Piano Man. I remember leaning down with the dollar bill in my fingers, locking eyes with Billy, wondering why his eyes were sad, and wondering if I was going to do …

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