“Secondhand Grief” By Madison Block

Halmeoni          The English language has more than a million total words, but somehow it is still not sufficient. There is no English word to describe the feeling of missing or grieving for a person you have never met. There is no word to describe how I feel about my grandparents in Korea, whose names I …

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“Evacuation” By Howard Shipley

Tap. Tap. Tap. The curtains, pulled tight on the front door of the small one-bedroom home, muffle the early morning knocking. Martha closes the lid on a bottle of hand sanitizer, returning it to the circular glass-topped end table beside her leather recliner—leather cracked from years of being massaged by her alcohol laden hands. Trailing …

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“Standing in Pine Grove Cemetery” By John Robinson

In the woods above Cornstalk Lake, a light, April wind moves through pine trees that encircle this clearing. From one edge of the graveyard spring grass swells at my feet, at lichen-covered stones. A veteran flag stands erect before mottled rock. The first flowers have erupted like scattered seeds beneath maple and oak. Clusters of …

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“Gone Are the Guncles” By Brianna J. L. Smyk

Most are gone, but I remember them all. My guncles, the men of my childhood, pride parading into our home and through my life. Oohing and aahing as my sister and I performed The Nutcracker for our holiday guests, their twinkling eyes outshining yet mingling with the family crowd. Their presence, a rush of energy, …

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“Rendezvous” By Joan McNerney

That was the name of a paint can from J&M Hardware. With sweat lingering on her face, she colored her room. Tinted now like insides of ripe plums, like perfect grapes. When the sizzling lemon sun dropped from heaven...night became moist and black. Her fan whirled thick air stained with cigarettes coffee, turpentine, white wine. …

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“The Scent of Gardenias” By Michael Anthony

Standing in the maroon bathrobe that is his daily outfit since the oncologist told him the chemo wasn’t working anymore, Alberto Bartholdi stares out the screen door, waiting for that nice real estate woman who will arrange the sale of the place he has called home for three decades and at a price she said …

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