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After the Pause Volume 2, Issue 2 Summer 2015


What if this was the last thing you ever read? What if it was the first thing that made you feel alive?

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About After the Pause is an online literary journal based in the Midwest, featuring poetry, visual poetry, flash fiction, and artwork, published quarterly in March, June, September, and December. We look to feature the zaniest, most experimental work from new, emerging, and veteran writers. Find us online: afterthepause.com Twitter: @afterthepause Issuu: issuu.com/afterthepause

Purpose We believe art is a product of life experiences, from the joyful to the heartbreaking to the absolutely mundane. Life throws pauses at us. Art follows the pause. We want to share the best art we can find and bring hope through those artworks.

Founding Editor Michael Prihoda. When he isn’t writing, he eats animal crackers. Sometimes he combines the activities.

Thanks to All the dads on 1st Bergwall.

More Thanks To everyone who sent us work. Each of you matters. Your work matters. It is an honor to publish such astounding talent.

Cover Art Małgorzata Skałbania

Copyright 2015 All rights of the material within belong to the authors.

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…In This Issue… Poetry Simon Anton Nino Diego Baena Outro Jerrod Bohn Family Sitcom Melissa Burton Absurdity Answers the Sea Kate Busatto Certain Prophet Chloe Clark Things Found on the Recording We Analyzed for EVP Brian Clifton Apocalypse With Roasted Garlic Zoë Koenig february drift the diagnosis as furniture Laurie Kolp The Solipsist Tyler Kline Layover David Morgan O’Connor Nostalgic Sea Shanty Heather Mydosh Two Dead Under Old McTaggert’s Bridge Al Ortolani Sticks and Stones Carol Shillibeer Into and Out of the Rabbit Hole Jo Taylor Postcards AFTER THE PAUSE VOLUME 2 ISSUE 1

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Nic E. Turiano Surviving My [Gender] American Donald Welch Dem Bones Mark Young A Line From John Brunner

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Flash Fiction John Abbott Shorelines Jeff Dupuis The Brunch Place Nyoka Eden Contact Howie Good Jumper Love, Death, Etc. Soren James Testing Gwendolyn Kiste The Sea Monster Affair Robert Laughlin Men at Work #133 Alex Luft The Refills not the kind of guy who wouldn’t leave a note C.C. Russell Intermissions Act 1 Scene 3 (Or How I Saw You, How I Felt) Cartography, Or the Way Years Were Spent Cynthia Sample Forms of Defiance Racheal Walser The Poet & the Playwright

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Art/Visual Poetry Małgorzata Skałbania untitled untitled untitled untitled Thomas Snarsky Triptych After Francis Bacon David J. Thompson Wisconsin Cross and Hubcap As Is Whitney Walters Grimy Dirt Porch D.S. West Sehnsucht Tear This Out Abrasive Hedgehog & Bipolar Robot / My Last Relationship Mark Young Minus One Road Trip

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Editor’s Note Welcome to the June 2015 issue of After the Pause. With this being the summer issue, I got the idea of beginnings. This issue is full of beginnings and, naturally, endings. Each piece starts somewhere and takes you somewhere else, which is itself a type of beginning even as your eyes read the last words of a piece and finish glancing over a photograph. As with reading, so it is with editing. Once this issue goes live, work on the next issue must begin. Along the way, landmarks. Never endings. Just more landmarks. I hope, in reading this issue and all the other issues of the other magazines out there, that you will constantly find landmarks to an ever-greater beginning.

Editor’s Note #2 As always, editing this journal has been a blast. It’s a treat to read all the submissions and to package some of them into a cohesive issue. Enjoy the flow and happy reading.

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Begin here…

“In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.” -John 14:2 (New American Standard Bible)

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Carol Shillibeer

Into and Out of the Rabbit Hole the rabbit __ girl tumbling down inside the history of expectation so that in the gnitsiwt of roots in the dirt, it becomes clear that clarity is (importantly) (ytpme_____________still) a useful illusion capable of getting her out of many a __hole

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Kate Busatto

Certain Prophet i.

genesis in the beginninglight, sound, being but all we saw was each other begot by evolution i became with you and you became with me in the beginning, there was nothing but beginning ii. exodus you would leave me at midnight sleeping on the floor in your shirt you followed the commandments: lose track of time walk pigeon-toed wear a hat so that i ultraviolet could not hurt you we like egytians had forgotten the joys of plague iii. time passed books were written and we saw ourselves the happy couple reflected in all of them iv. malachi now prophecies of a miracle you are expecting laying all your gold at my feet AFTER THE PAUSE VOLUME 2 ISSUE 1

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knowing that someday you will lift up my wedding dress and call me by my given name uncertainty not knowing if i can make the same promises

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Nyoka Eden

Contact Michael. When we get to the beach, don't forget to leave your shoes in the car. You will go back and I will wait for you on the boardwalk and look at the moon and feel less human than in all my life. This will let them know. That I am open to their voices. They will turn me on, light up all the dim little rooms in my brain Aleister Crowley says are really gods. All it takes, he says. A sound, a smell, an image. To anoint the creases that may possess you. They will possess me and you will let them. Unknowing and mesmerized. You will never suspect, my voice soft and feminine. A mermaid sings as she becomes a siren. You will be there to witness it. When we sit down on the darker sand I will say the magic words THEY-ARE-IN-THERE while pointing to the ocean. Then they will leave it and come to the shore just as we realize we are in the thickest fog in all our life. We will feel danger because we cannot see. We will hold hands and walk blindly through this fog. I will see it first. A light, hovering, above the ground. Not quite a light, but a collection of tiny lights. I will ask if you see it, incredulous that it is visible in the fog. You will see it. Your body will slacken but you will remain in motion. Then we will see them. There they are. Two dark shapes. Smaller than us. Human, until one begins to move in such a way that its body separates itself. I will stop. You will look at me with your eyes stretching down onto your face. And we will run. Michael. When we get to the beach, don't forget to leave your shoes in the car. You will go back and I will wait for you and look at the moon and feel less human than in all my life.

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Jeff Dupuis

The Brunch Place Isn't this unreal? You and I have adult lives, nine-to-fives, we pay taxes, have mortgages, use birth control. Fifteen minutes away, by streetcar, you text me to make sure I'll be there. Gwen rests her head on my shoulder, her eyes focused out the window. She's an adult now too, a long way from the girl she was in college, your roommate, who could never say no to Jello shooters, keg stands, and supers. That's my wife, I say in my head, looking down at her brown hair with blond highlights, and I hardly believe it. She misses you too, I think, albeit in a different way. Five minutes out, we’re getting off the streetcar, near a massive, open grave that'll be just another condo in the gentrified jungle that was once a textile district. You live in one of these glass towers that grow upward like stalagmites. I know which one is yours close up, but from here they all look the same. The brunch place is in the foreground, cement and steel, tall windows, an industrial showroom with boutique trappings. Lars, Sean, Matty, Cam and Jen, all of our people are there, already in line, one name given to the hostess to secure a table. Loads of hugs and handshakes. It's nice, we don't get together enough. Life gets in the way. Now, I don't remember loving you so much that it hurt, as if you held a barbed knife in me and when you’d pull away it'd tear out something vital. When I think of you, it's like lying on a beach with the tide rising, warm ocean waves covering my skin. The 2 a.m. phone calls, the confessions, the screaming, that time the cops came; it has all melted into the background. A few things stick out like sitting on my bed when you told me you’d finally been with someone else, what it was like, how good he was. As if you didn’t give a shit. But then you said, “I’m a little afraid,” letting the blouse slip off your shoulders. “We’ve been here before,” I said. “But what if my body’s changed?” So long ago. Everything’s changed. The washrooms of the brunch place are individual unisex rooms with an audio track from Air Canada playing an airline safety message in both English and French. The music playing in the hallway topped the charts when we were in high school. We have become the target demographic. You are waiting in the hall between the restrooms and the dining room, pacing. "Can we talk?" you ask. The answer is always yes. We push through the crowd at the door. "The wait is going to be about an hour," the hostess tells a group of four as we brush past. Brunch was busy every Sunday, today it’s worse, with a third of the restaurant closed off for a bridal shower. Thirty-somethings, all blonde, carry gift bags, smile and hug, kisses on both cheeks. The wind matches the concrete, cold and hard. The smell of your hair reaches out to me. I am baptized in it. It feels like a victory lap for the two of us. AFTER THE PAUSE VOLUME 2 ISSUE 1

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“So…I found out I’m pregnant.” I am the food-crusted pot at the bottom of the sink, the faucet is running, I am overflowing. "Wow, Julian must be freaking out," I say. “I mean, like over the moon.” "He doesn't know,” you say. "You're going to make the best mom in the history of childbirth." A tear rolls down your cheek and I kiss it before it makes it as far as your jaw. The bat symbol tattoo on your stomach, on the decline below your navel and to the left will stretch and spread and cradle the life growing inside. I feel blessed to be the first to know. Back at the table, my food awaits. Julian ordered the huevos Monty and he slides the white dish of ghost pepper sauce toward me. "Try this," he says. Gwen looks on as I dip a fork into the hot sauce, then brush it across my tongue. “Do you want to watch the Manchester game at your place or ours?” Matty asks Julian. Jen leans in to be seen past Cam and Lars. The front of her sweater drapes down, dangerously close to skimming the buttered surface of her currant scone. She parts strands of hair out of her face and behind her ear and says to you, “so anything new?” “Could I get a refill, please?” Gwen asks the waitress, pointing her perfect finger to her waiting cup. I've never felt closer to Julian. My granola is dry, flavourless, a serving too small for the price I’m paying. For the first time in my life I want to be a father.

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Donald Welch

Dem Bones Toe bone connected to the: friend who lost his big toe mowing the lawn in flip-flops. He got a fake implant and everyone called him Gold Toe like an Austin Powers villain. Foot bone connected to the: make believe mine fields I set in my grandparent’s back yard. My grandfather was in the army corps of engineers and dismantling minefields was one of his responsibilities. I think he lived with a lot of guilt. Heel bone connected to the: lessons in mythology I received from a catholic school. Ankle bone connected to the: break dance practices my brother held in our basement that left scuff mark art on the walls. Shin bone connected to the: first time I heard my dad cry. It was the night my brother decided to quit playing soccer so that he could skateboard with his friends Knee bone connected to the: scrapes I didn’t get because my mom is a nurse. I would call her over-protective and get upset, but she let me get those cuts in the first place and just wanted to be there for what came after. Thigh bone connected to the: sweat pants I wore to elementary school every day because the bagginess made me feel more secure about my size. Hip bone connected to the: first magic show I went to where a pretty assistant got sawed in half. I closed my eyes and lied about watching the trick. Back bone connected to the: way a cardinal in a white birch tree looks like a heart in a skeleton. AFTER THE PAUSE VOLUME 2 ISSUE 1

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Shoulder bone connected to the: drive-thrus I didn’t go to because my father’s football injuries limit his upper body’s extension and rotation so he can’t hold out his arm or turn his wrist. Neck bone connected to the: winter mornings I disobeyed my parents, took a shower before going to the bus, and learned I could make my neck pop when I roll it. Head bone connected to the: silly song my mom would embarrass me with so I’d brush my teeth—Oh those shark bites, oh those pearly whites.

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Cynthia Sample

Forms of Defiance Inane Promises Made to the Reader/Viewer/Other Ignored, Broken or Abandoned But which Evidently Are Irrelevant to the Course of Life Rule: Be nice. Defiance: Oops … alternatively Prayer upon Awakening: Ok God, whatever… Prayer upon Retiring: Oh well…

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Nic E. Turiano

Surviving My [Gender] American

Term: Chinese Syndrome

A YouTube video of a baby monkey Swimming the bath water That bathes a little boy

The way we use the word naked And identify with Betrayal The way it predisposes us

Indecent

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A scandal

If you're a woman A word that also means a garden tool When I'm naked I too dig And weed

I too Plant seeds in neat little rows and Grow life From layers of my organic speech Enjoyed between Conversation that stomps Politic-gutter mouths Like fragile leaves of an unearthed AFTER THE PAUSE VOLUME 2 ISSUE 1

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Choke vine The untangled swim

Laceration of my hoe

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Brian Clifton

Apocalypse With Roasted Garlic then I was a father

then an emptied leg

I didn’t know

to cook

an aluminum bulb I know what it is to slide

a shining red mother to grow soft from my skin

then the truth garlic inside that’s all I was and rounded with heated oil

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Laurie Kolp

The Solipsist1 Pathos: a sketchy caricature he fondles in the woods, his self-absorbed world an implosion of loneliness. Bathos: a pathetic flashback of impotence, a shrunken wreck in the compost tomb above time’s narrow wedge.

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Found poem in David Foster Wallace’s essay that appeared in The New York Observer, October 13, “1997, John Updike, Champion Literary Phallocrat, Drops One; Is This Finally the End for Magnificent Narcissists?” AFTER THE PAUSE VOLUME 2 ISSUE 1

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C.C. Russell

Act 1 Scene 3 (Or How I Saw You, How I Felt) Last night. 1 A.M. 43 degrees. 21 degree wind chill factor. (The details are important here.) He was wearing long tight blue jeans and a green jacket over black nondescript shirt, his head hatless, short hair shockingly blonde and only receding a little – hardly noticeable. The two of you were in the middle of the street. He had stepped out to cross before you and in one move, one film noir movie move, you smiled, pulled with one hand on each side of your unbuttoned classic black long coat to close it against body and stepped quickly to catch up, your legs half the length of his. The bounce of your walk, your dark pants bunched slightly above the slick cleanliness of your boots above the crunch of asphalt, the yellow lines under you a blur of speed, as you grabbed him by the arm. It has been one month since I felt your hand that way on me. The half responsive, half hopeful way you grab more the material around the arm than the arm itself. The way you’re unsure. The way you reach for auras, for the melodrama of soul against soul. I could see that behind the smile while he said something to you, his head having to turn down slightly to push his words into you. I know the idea of Mary, becoming pregnant by the word. I know the idea of potency, the ascending order of language. What history can do. These things I know. And I saw the way the words, immediate as a gasoline bomb, changed the landscape of your face. How you smiled. The details of teeth, the two of you turning the corner finally on sidewalk after I watched you cross the street. After the years it took you to cross the street, the years it took me, face turned in a gravitational pull towards you, to drive past, my hands on the wheel like I never allowed myself to touch you – so tight.

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C.C. Russell

Cartography or the Way Years Were Spent Stop here – the voice disembodied, the voice broken, one sentence beyond where the conversation could have ended. Stop here, the lips slightly blued, air not quite ready to leave the throat. Stop here, where the words have stolen breath. Stop here, before it returns in one rushed exhalation, one crushed question. Stop here. Midnights in her bed. The autopsy of any life starts at the most recent point of entry, but skin only tells the most basic points of the story. History can be hinted at, but for the most part, lies deeper. We spent most of our time only concerned with mapping each other’s skin. Midnights in her bed. Floor strewn with evidence. Calendars, magazines, the books that outlined lives we believed we were a part of. Days accumulated, days multiplying themselves into years. This is how we spent a lifetime. And this is where it ended. In her bed, the conversation starting with a simple laugh. How promises end. Leave this, your laughter that second at some stupid joke I had told you. Laughter that led into the unraveling of secrets. One minute and the voice turns from the crinkling of laughter into the crack of conversation. “Listen, there’s something I need to tell you….” The ellipses of all the things unsaid for two years. The past spilling over the rim of the present, its cascading scald steaming the air between us. Over her shoulder, a muted television set broken by the interference of a passenger jet overhead, the words slipping out of her mouth braking up too, voices over a crossed line. Pieces of a life ending. Stop here before the rhetorical question is poised. Stop here, before the definitions of “lie” and “time” are passed back and forth, before language is taken apart, studied, and laid to rest. Stop here, before devastation – before the possibilities of reconstruction are even considered, before history is weighed against love. Stop here, the lips opening half in shock, half expectant. Stop here, her fingers tracking lines across my arm, saying, “Please understand.” Stop. Just stop here.

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C.C. Russell

Intermissions 1. -- (Or there is no such thing. What has happened has been created. On the bottom of the photo, it is inscribed “There are never enough words.” Sentimentality. How many books did we fill? Now it seems the plot takes a back seat to dialogue. This is how I desperately wanted it then. This begins in April. This is how it begins.) 2. -- (All of the memoirs are ludicrous. Volumes of poetry written in that shaky script. I would burn it all now if I could. You know my stories well. As you do my excuses. The song’s glow lighting the equalizer of the stereo in my bedroom. You sang along to every word. We were memorization, repetition. We were the same words, the same words, the same words.) 3. -- (Do you remember when we caught him watching? Do you remember the things we paid him not to tell?) 4. – (Circular logic. Somewhere, there have to be moments of genius. Somewhere, there have to be moments of beauty. Story as connected series of minutes – and the minutes that followed, unexpected. Story as slideshow. Story as ellipses. I told you about the breaking of seconds and waves against your waist. I told you of the floating dock where we would talk days away, where I made up my mind and then changed it. I told you about the dedication that I had erased.) 5. – (I told you about my girlfriend that year in college who made me hold your photo over the sink and light your face on fire, holding that heat between my fingers, how this happened two months before you and I wound up sleeping together on that beach. I told you about the insipid pop songs that hit like a wall of heat for a while, “Boys of Summer” on the radio and I would melt. Stupid. There were so many things that neither one of us could bring ourselves to say. And there were lies – of omission and straight out. From both of us. For the sake of simultaneity. For the sake of preserving a certain record.) 6. – (When asked, you said that you were reminded of the color yellow when you thought of me, though you couldn’t say why.) 7. – (Story as art installation. Even years later, occasionally I catch myself. Staring.)

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Rest your eyes… and if they get tired, zoom in.

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Małgorzata Skałbania

Untitled

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Małgorzata Skałbania

Untitled

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Małgorzata Skałbania

Untitled

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Małgorzata Skałbania

Untitled

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D.S. West

Tear This Out

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D.S. West

Sehnsucht

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D.S. West

Abrasive Hedgehog & Bipolar Robot / My Last Relationship

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Mark Young

Minus One

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Mark Young

Road Trip

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Thomas Snarsky

Triptych After Francis Bacon

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Whitney Walters

Grimy Dirt Porch

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David J. Thompson

Cross and Hubcap

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David J. Thompson

Wisconsin

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David J. Thompson

As Is

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Begin again…

“How are things on the west coast? / I hear you're moving real fine / You wear those shoes like a dove / Now strut those shoes we go roaming in the night” -“Heinrich Maneuver” by Interpol

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John Abbott

Shorelines He dreams of taking a girl to where it happened. I held his hand and sat with him until the end, he would say. The look of surprise. The pity. Hopefully enough to win her over for a night, perhaps right there on the beach, a blanket spread out so they wouldn’t get too sandy. Love and death. Beginning and ending. Would they be tender? Or would they rut violently, as if to take something from the other? And then he would wade out among the lilies and cattails. Dive down – once, twice – stay down until his lungs ached, burned, and his mind blanked. But in his flight of fancy he can’t decide if he would look back to shore (would she be concerned?) or stay in the water. And would either choice show him what kind of man he wanted to be?

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Melissa Burton

Absurdity Answers the Sea A morning ends and we react to it. A wave ripples into a composition and excites itself. To be placed against the window and then form wings. To go on for years. The storm spreads, its calm vapor writing dead names on the edges of our homes. A streetlight. A bridge. A shadow and no figure forming it. To observe Winter’s webbed icicles. The dog’s tongue tattooed with black. Shards of gold stuck beneath the sea. I mourn the resulting yellowed sand stones. To excite was impractical. To familiarize oneself with reeds and the afterlife. To be a dancer finding insignificance in each behavior. A crown of velvet moss. A bird’s darkened bones. To decay with talent. To be conceived without responsibility. To know you are easily watched.

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Tyler Kline

Layover October night brings too many effects that pass for myths: crickets chirp by rubbing their legs, sparks that don’t end here will eventually flatline somewhere else. Between the sidewalk and haloed by oaklight, a couple yells into what is left of Autumn. Their conversation keeps me honest believing there isn’t anything this whiskey moon can’t keep beautiful. Funny though – she never tries to save anything – locked high as a barn owl in cosmic rafters, deciding what is fair to lose and necessary to keep. By the time I’ve unfolded, shifted the curtain to its side – things have already lifted. Shudder of throttle, cigarette burning on the grass – still a kiss of some kind. Second. Second. Then crickets start again.

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Gwendolyn Kiste

The Sea Monster Affair My husband left me for a sea monster. We were on vacation at Myrtle Beach when it happened. Trying to save our marriage on one of those couples’ getaways. As if that was going to work. The whole time, I was worried some little coed on spring break might catch his eye. Instead, it was six feet of scales emerging from the Atlantic Ocean, seaweed in strategic places to cover her unmentionables. Like you could see anything under all that algae and slime anyhow. With the wide eyes of a kid who just found a cache of nudie magazines, my husband sidled up beside her on the sand. “What’s your name?” I almost puked—as much from his ham-handed seduction technique as from the fishy stench. Turns out you can smell sea monsters way before you can see them. All the way back to the hotel, he went on and on about her. “Did you notice how tall she was? She looks like a supermodel.” I scoffed. “Somehow, I doubt Sports Illustrated will call her anytime soon.” “Of course not. There are no phones underwater.” I ought to have slugged him then and drove us the twelve hours home. But I figured it was a phase. After all, she was quite the novelty. The other men in our group were enamored too. “Do you think she has a boyfriend?” one of the guys asked once his wife was out of earshot. Another shook his head. “I bet she’s not enough of a fool to get herself into a monogamous relationship.” I wondered how I could be such a fool myself. The ten-day vacation stretched into a millennium. By the third afternoon, my husband was sneaking off between tennis matches and cocktails, hoping to catch a glimpse. On the fifth evening he didn’t come back to the room at all. The following morning, he stumbled through the door, drenched and wild-eyed, with sea urchins hiding in the cuffs of his salt-stained pants. Not much different than how he looked the first time I woke up next to him after a frat party. “Do you and that water-logged hussy even have the proper parts to make it work?” I asked. He grinned. “Wouldn’t you like to know?” I went to the spa while I decided what to do. The staff was genial about the whole thing. “Happens a couple times a season,” the masseuse said as she worked the tight muscles across my shoulders. “Some guy sees one of them and boom! It’s love at first swim.” She glanced around and whispered, “For what it’s worth, those creatures are real gold diggers.” AFTER THE PAUSE VOLUME 2 ISSUE 1

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Since our bank account was as empty as our marriage, at least the scaly Cindy Crawford couldn’t backstroke into the sunset with my life savings. But that wasn’t much comfort when my husband didn’t come home again on the sixth night. The next day, he told me he loved her. “I didn’t mean for it to happen,” he said. “I want some time to think.” I started for the door. “Will you be here in an hour so we can talk?” He nodded. “Anything you need.” What I needed was a husband who didn’t cavort with mythical beasts. I opted for the next best thing and strolled to the counter of a local seafood market. “A quart of clam chowder, please.” Back at the room, I told him all I wanted after five years of marriage was one last meal together. “I understand,” he said, like a parent consoling a child. The urge to slug him nearly boiled over, but I managed to hand him a spoon instead. After his first slurp—my husband always slurped his soup—I said I hoped he enjoyed his new girlfriend now that she was in his digestive tract. He retched and cradled the soup container in his arms. “It’s murder!” I smiled. “No, darling. It’s lunch.” He cried and cried, his tears overflowing into the foam bowl. I couldn’t stop laughing. Then she showed up following her afternoon swim. It was brazen of her to ride up in the hotel elevator, all naked and dripping and harboring lascivious intentions. But I resented her most for ruining the gag. My husband was so mad he tossed his soup in my face. Fortunately, by then, his tears had cooled it down, and the chowder was lukewarm. Tasty too. “I don’t know why you’re so upset,” I said before finishing his meal. They left together to look for oceanfront properties. “She makes me happy in ways you couldn’t understand,” he said on the way out. I was grateful certain things were beyond my comprehension. On the last night, there was a knock at my hotel door. It was another sea monster. Only this one was clearly male. I soon learned, through a series of flails and otherworldly howls, he was also a jilted spouse. Turns out some marine creatures do count on monogamy. Though I didn’t speak sea monster, he seemed sweet enough. His big eyes watered a lot—maybe from crying or maybe from allergies—but either way, I kept handing him tissues. He used so many I had to call room service for more. Before dawn, I walked him back to the ocean, and he gave me the cutest kiss on the cheek. Must just be the females that give off that strange odor because he smelled of sandcastles and sea foam. I decided to stay another week. We have a date tonight. Pizza on the beach. I didn’t know sea monsters liked Italian, but anchovies must translate across species. AFTER THE PAUSE VOLUME 2 ISSUE 1

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I’ve got the perfect outfit ready. After all, there’s never been a better opportunity to wear a green satin mermaid dress. I just hope we won’t look like one of those couples that coordinate matching clothes. Because what would be more embarrassing than that?

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Jo Taylor

Postcards I once was sweet, on a Saturday in May, 1974, but not too many times since then. Naive disappeared along with my favorite pink cable sweater and the cousin who came to dinner. Thoughtful I can muster, but it comes out like worry and flutters around my feet. Dramatic still serves me well, when I tell a story or light up the room with a laugh that echoes over every sweet, naive, thoughtful thing I’ve ever said and pins them to the wall like postcards of places I once was and would like to go to again.

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ZoĂŤ Koenig

february this afternoon i crushed oranges into the carpet stood on them with my bare feet until they split into mouths watched the juice pool on the floor i do not name the reason i have a throat full of blame and nothing to spit on but my own hands and a loose bull of a diagnosis look how i waver and snap like a red cape look how i never leave the bed how i cannot think of a good metaphor for the suicide attempts how silence is always the easiest habit until you are alone in a room of bleeding fruit

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Zoë Koenig

drift “the winter or me,” i say you look startled i cannot stop kissing your forehead my hands have been cut loose, are feral dogs running the length of you, biting at your neck “i will never last,” i say and i last, only in the way a body lasts when just bone is left

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ZoĂŤ Koenig

the diagnosis as furniture a metal couch in a velvet room they will carry you to it with the quietest arms your body will begin to ache of it you must remind yourself of floor and wall that they are the same floor and wall and when the visitors tell you it softens with time that soon you will fall asleep here scream until the roof caves in

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Jerrod Bohn

Family Sitcom In the matrimony light we begin to let our bodies grow out of our nakedness a puzzle whose pieces no longer interlock, a fish dead in the nightstand bowl. If we get fat we get funny; if we get kids we can moralize driving the sedan through the garage door is okay baking your brother into a brioche is okay here’s a picture in front of “Welcome to the State” that proves it so. Remember when I got dark, asked you to erase my cartoon dad, lager cans all drinking the same. I was raised by my two uncles who for laughs had careers in comedy & modeling it’s a wonder I roll over reach for you, a dog secretly desiring the last time we wore pajamas.

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Alex Luft

The Refills MERCHANT COPY Judy’s Diner 2952 W. Pine St. 618-230-9851 Date: 12/05/2012 3:47 p.m. Check #: 00168 Server: Katy Guests: 1 Card Number: XXXXXXXXXXXX7749 Account Name: Timothy Frederick Authorization: 076895 Trans Type: Swipe TOTAL Charge TIP

9.74 9.74

50 TOTAL 59.74

this was the first place I ever went with my wife thank you for all the refills

OPEN 24 HOURS TRY OUR APPLE PIE MERCHANT COPY

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Alex Luft

not the kind of guy who wouldn’t leave a note sorry. looks like your car got dinged a little when pulling out this morning. scratch doesn’t look too bad, maybe only needs some new paint. no car insurance, so can’t leave info. in between jobs right now, so not able to pay out-of-pocket either. affordable place over on Providence and Walnut will get you fixed right up. not too expensive, want to ask for Rick, does good work. none of the neighbors saw anything, so wouldn’t waste any time asking around. just wanted you to know that the scratch wasn’t there yesterday, in case you are wondering if your eyes are playing tricks on you. not the kind of guy who wouldn’t leave a note. sorry

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David Morgan O’Connor

Nostalgic Sea Shanty The arriving ships are full departing almost empty. Maybe I should make that trip again, stick the thumb out, then go to Synge’s Chair, where you never had to wait for friends you knew where they’d be there was no Let’ s get in touch. A rehabilitated fisherman addicted to the catch leaves his wife and child with a barrel of cash. My father did. So will I. End my days alone shivering in the sea remembering your warm pillow. “Does anyone know where the love of God goes when the waves turn the minutes to hours?”2

2

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald: Gordon Lightfoot AFTER THE PAUSE VOLUME 2 ISSUE 1

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Begin once more…

“There is whiskey in the water / And there is death upon the vine / There is fear in the eyes of your father / And there is ‘Yours’ and there is ‘Mine’” -“Black Sun” by Death Cab For Cutie

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Soren James

Testing Testing, testing. One, two. One, two. Can you read me? Is the print coming out okay? . . . It is, but the meaning is indistinct? Can we get someone in here to have a look at that? . . . There’s no one available? Who the fuck invented this language? Get someone on the phone right now! I want this shit sorted out before anything goes to print. . . . What’s that? Everyone has problems with the ambiguities of language and self expression? Well I don’t subscribe to that point of view! Problems are there to be solved, not shrugged off. . . . It’s an unending problem? An interplay of culture and the individual - a necessary balancing act between the two? Well I don’t do balancing acts! I get things done! Now get someone down here to sort out this self-expression crap right now! . . . No one can do it for me? Why the fuck not? Am I surrounded by incompetents? If I don’t see some self expression in the next couple of phrases, I’m gonna come down there and transform my desire to dominate everyone I meet, into the realisation that I’m too frightened of the uncertainties in my own nature to want to understand other humans. That’s better! You see what you can achieve when someone pushes you?

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Chloe Clark

Things Found on the Recording We Analyzed for EVP Doors open and close. Footsteps. Girl’s Voice: I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Sound of someone from downstairs. Door opens and closes. Man’s Voice: Leave me alone. I’m dreaming. Clock ticks. Footsteps. Woman’s Voice: When I think about it, I wonder if I was right after all. Minutes of silence. Clock ticks. Man’s Voice: As a child, we—my brother and I—we used to go fishing at this creek that ran near the rail tracks on the other side of town. One time, I caught a salamander. It had blue spots on black skin. It glist------------Crackling. Some kind of interference. Girl’s Voice: --ened. I was only three when we moved. I don’t remember much. I don’t remember much. I’m sorry. I’m so-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Interference. Woman’s Voice: ---ry. Her name was Mary. She was beautiful. In that way some girls are, where they look beautiful despite their features. Does that make sense? Am I making sense? A door closes. Footsteps. Ten minutes of silence. Man’s Voice: Sometimes I think about how beautiful that salamander was, glistening in the sunlight. It was like it belonged to the water and to the light. I----------------------------------------------------------------------Woman’s Voice: --wish I could have seen her again, you know. It was the time. That’s what I-------------------------------------------Girl’s Voice:--tell myself over and over. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. That’s not enough but it has to be enough. I’m sorry. I am---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Tape cuts off.

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Mark Young

A Line From John Brunner I'm liking the communications protocols used in Starbucks: eight dancers to guard against terrorist attacks. Still, little by little the air grows charged. Jove was forced to throw a lightning bolt in an act of ozone purification. The State itself. Even Grandma, a dramaturge & theologian inspired by the Amazon rainforest, unexpectedly exited the frame. Timeless art. Not one of the baristas noticed her leave.

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Al Ortolani

Sticks and Stones I do not attend the theater without my bomb sniffing dog. I purchase a second ticket, offer him popcorn, his own box of jujubes. Together, we spring for a laugh in the safe darkness. I scratch behind his ears. He presses his nose for disaster into the palm of my hand. There are other men and women in the rows ahead. Some have dogs, some wear Kevlar. All are trained in broken bones.

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Robert Laughlin

Men at Work #133 Neil, a taxidermist I’ve had people tell me this is the best time to practice my craft, ‘cause there are so many materials we didn’t have before: glass eyes you can’t tell from the real thing, poly mannequins, artificial beaks and tongues, and so forth. They’re all wrong; I was born too late and I know it. For years and years, I’ve lived with the vision of an eagle opening its mighty wings, breaking its descent while it reaches its talons for a branch. But it hasn’t been legal to shoot raptors since I was a kid, and how am I supposed to get the same effect with a blue jay? I don’t have the materials I need; can you imagine the great Renaissance sculptors working in paper mâché because Carrara passed a law against quarrying marble?

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Lorraine Jeffery

Cottonwood Seeds Floating filaments arabesque in shafts of sunlight. Spring blizzard of warm wind and soft white-cotton pirouettes A jete, a fouette rond en tournant. Now a glissando, slowing touching Ending in patches of dirty wool huddled by the roadside.

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Racheal Walser

The Poet & the Playwright Scene: It is a busy gluten-free cafe serving vegan spring rolls and locally brewed beer. It is alive with the chatter of the local art scene who is gathered for a poetry slam. The PLAYWRIGHT enters stage left, weary from her day on set. She takes a seat in the middle of the second row, and waves to someone she knows. The POET stands at the mic. The lights go down, and the room quiets. (poet:) She’d proposed a writing session. A meeting of minds. Of tongues rippling over goose-bumped skin. And reliving it now, it isn’t clear where the chemistry, or maybe I should call it the trauma, begins. Scene: The POET stands patiently at the counter, eyeing the local craft beer and googling it for reviews on her iPhone when no one is looking. The PLAYWRIGHT approaches them, smiling. No one really talks like hooking up would be an act self harm: of self-degradation, of me, as a proud slut, disarmed. Like, still letting the enticement of her carefully selected words turn into more than they are. Scene: The PLAYWRIGHT and the POET are leaving together. The Playwright holds the door and, as she passes, the POET, slyly smiling, takes her hand. No one warned me that her individual diction would burn like acid But the playwright... I did as she scripted, and wrote her into my poem. Scene: The PLAYWRIGHT and the POET are sitting on a park bench, curled up together. They are kissing, punch drunk. The chemistry is tangible. The Poet starts slowly kissing the PLAYWRIGHT’s neck. Because, AFTER THE PAUSE VOLUME 2 ISSUE 1

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at the end of the night we’d both gone home, our convalescent minds working, and alone. It was a strange mating ritual. Too honest to be fictional. Discussed over stale coffees and later through sparing texts. “There are things,” she’d whispered to me that night. “The rest of the world couldn’t handle us experiencing yet.”

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Heather Mydosh

Two Dead Under Old McTaggert’s Bridge I had a doll once, which I drug through mud puddles by one limp arm up and down the gravel drive until all the paint flaked off the face. It never really dried out, was never the same. I imagine it was something like that.

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Howie Good

Jumper The technician wears a Joan of Arc haircut. She says, “Just do what the machine says.” The machine is a tube with rotating lights. He is lying on his back inside it, pants down around his ankles. The machine says, “Breathe in and hold your breath.” The machine says, “Breathe.” And then, quick as that, he is out and pulling up his pants, and the technician is saying something casually impersonal to ease the situation, something about snow being on the way. A couple of hours later, his car is found abandoned on the bridge, still running. There is no longer a near and a far.

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Howie Good

Love, Death, Etc. A man in his late fifties, carrying what looks like a dead woman, the exhausted body of Garbo, uses one hand to splay her sex. I have the same questions about love, death, etc., that everyone else does. Can funeral expenses be claimed on taxes? How do they say “fellatio� in French? Is this even real? Life is not a stain. Here there are stains; there you find the trace of the human touch. But even if I could find a pretty accomplice to slip over the border with me, the border has probably already been unpinned, repositioned, and pinned again.

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Simon Anton Nino Diego Baena

Outro I see gulls. I hear flatlines. Silence.

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…Contributors… The Poets Simon Anton Nino Diego Baena Simon Anton Nino Diego Baena lives in Bais City, Philippines. He spends most of the time on the road. Some of his works have already been published in The Blue Hour magazine, Off the Coast, The Philippines Free Press, Philippines Graphic Magazine, The Camel Saloon, Mascara Literary Review, Red River Review, Eastlit, Kabisdak, the forthcoming issue of Kartika Review, The Fox Chase Review, The Bitter Oleander, and The James Franco Review. Jerrod Bohn Jerrod E. Bohn finished his MFA in poetry in 2010 at Colorado State University. His work has appeared in or is soon forthcoming in Phoebe, The Montreal Review, alice blue, FRiGG, Cleaver, SPECS, Word For/Word, Smoking Glue Gun, Watershed Review and elsewhere. He currently lives in Seattle where he teaches yoga. Melissa Burton Melissa Burton, the co-founder and website developer for LitBridge lives in Sydney, Australia. She has an M.S. in Human Computer Interaction from Iowa State University (ISU). She has work featured in Atticus Books, Prism Review, Fiction Southeast, The Commonline Journal and elsewhere. Kate Busatto Kate Busatto's favorite poem is "Bride and Groom Lie Hidden for Three Days" by Ted Hughes. She hopes to someday write someone else's favorite poem. Chloe Clark Chloe N. Clark is an MFA candidate, teaching instructor, and extreme fangirl. Her work has appeared in Booth. Wyvern Lit, The Stoneslide Corrective, and more. She can be followed on Twitter @PintsNCupcakes Brian Clifton Brian Clifton will be moving to Seattle in the fall. He co-edits Bear Review. His work has appeared in: The Pinch, CutBank, Whiskey Island, The Portland Review, and other such magazines. Lorraine Jeffrey Lorraine Jeffery earned her MLIS in library science, and managed public libraries in Texas, Ohio and Utah for over twenty years. She has published over fifty poems in various publications, including Clockhouse, Kindred, Calliope, Ibbetson Street,and Rockhurst Review. Her mystery novel will be released in May of 2015. Zoë Koenig Zoë Koenig is currently a student at Beloit College in Beloit, Wisconsin intending to major in Critical Identity Studies and Literary Studies. She has recently had work featured in Electric Cereal and Eunoia Review. Laurie Kolp Laurie Kolp, author of Upon the Blue Couch (Winter Goose Publishing, 2014), serves as president of Texas Gulf Coast Writers and gathers monthly with local members of the Poetry Society of Texas. Among Laurie’s publications-- 2015 Poet’s Market, The Crafty Poet, Blue Fifth Review, Pirene’s Fountain. http://lauriekolp.com. Tyler Kline AFTER THE PAUSE VOLUME 2 ISSUE 1

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Tyler Kline balances his time between working on an organic vegetable farm and studying English at The University of Delaware. A Pushcart Prize nominee, his work has appeared or is forthcoming in Saint Katherine Review, Rust + Moth, and Ohio Edit. David Morgan O’Connor David Morgan O'Connor is from a small village on Lake Huron and now keeps home in Rio de Janeiro, where a first novel progresses...Writing has been published in: The Write Practice, Collective Exiles, Bohemia Journal, BlueStem, The Story Shack, The Literary Yard, Fiction Magazine, StrayLight Magazine, Electric Windmill Press, The New Quarterly and The Guardian. Heather Mydosh Heather Mydosh teaches composition and literature at Independence Community College in Kansas. She is the 2014 Kansas Voices poet and has pieces forthcoming in Inscape Magazine, Velvet-Tail, and From the Depths. She holds her Masters of Literature from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland in Comparative Literature and Thought. Al Ortolani Al Ortolani has published six books of poetry, His newest collection, Francis Shoots Pool at Chubb’s Bar, was just released by Spartan Press in Kansas City. Currently, he is teaching English in the Kansas City area and serves on the Board of Directors of the Kansas City Writers Place. Carol Shillibeer After a wildly productive life as an alchemist, Carol Shillibeer retired to read tarot, stalk Hierocholoë odorata in the lands west of the Pacific cordillera, and consider the implications of post-human materialism. Marginally more information (including her publication list) can be found at carolshillibeer.com. Jo Taylor Jo Taylor is a Nurse, Writer who is working on becoming a Writer, Nurse. She started writing poetry to improve her prose and found she liked poetry more. She's had a short story published in Rose Red Review so evidently writing poetry worked. Nic E. Turiano Nic E. Turiano is an editor, writer, and art enthusiast. She is the founder of Snapping Twig, a diverse art & literary magazine; fiction editor for Stepping Stones Magazine, and from time-to-time has been known to produce a few of her own poems that have been published in the pages of a few online literary journals. She has also previously contributed as co-editor for Poetry Victims, and continues to find a passion for assisting other writers in finding a home for their work. When she isn’t writing or editing one of her current projects, she is usually found reading poetry over a plate of blueberry pancakes. Often in the company of her Border Collie, Bridget. Donald Welch Donald C. Welch III lives in Brooklyn, NY. His current project @SocialLit (https://twitter.com/SocialLit) explores new forms of poetry and collaborative writing derived from Social Media. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in PASSAGES NORTH, SOUTH85 JOURNAL, GRAVEL, WAR, LITERATURE, & THE ARTS, HOWLROUND, INKY NEEDLES, THE EMERSON REVIEW, and elsewhere. His collection of children’s poetry WHO GAVE THESE FLAMINGOS THOSE TUXEDOS? was published by Wilde Press in 2013.

The Fictioners John Abbott AFTER THE PAUSE VOLUME 2 ISSUE 1

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John Abbott is a writer, musician, and English instructor who lives with his wife and daughter in Kalamazoo, Michigan. His first story collection is forthcoming in July from Underground Voices. For more information about his writing, please visit www.johnabbottauthor.com Jeff Dupuis Jeff Dupuis writes fiction, poetry and satire. He is madly in love with baseball and still daydreams that he can become a world-class athlete from the comfort of his basement. His work has been published on The Barnstormer and in magazines and journals such as Valve, Foliate Oak Magazine and University of Toronto Magazine. Nyoka Eden Nyoka Eden is an emerging writer and moth enthusiast. She has been featured in Potluck Magazine, Visual Verse, Hermeneutic Chaos and has work forthcoming in Apocrypha and Abstractions. She was also selected to contribute to a crowdsourced poem by NPR’s Code Switch. Please keep tabs on her via twitter @bbybardot. Howie Good Howie Good is the author of more than a dozen poetry collections, including most recently Beautiful Decay from Another New Calligraphy and Fugitive Pieces from Right Hand Pointing Press. Soren James Soren James is a writer and visual artist - more of his work can be seen here: http://sorenjames.moonfruit.com/ Gwendolyn Kiste Gwendolyn Kiste is a horror and fantasy writer based in Pennsylvania. Her short stories have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, including Strangely Funny II, History and Horror, Oh My! and Whispers from the Past: Fright and Fear. You can find her at www.gwendolynkiste.com and on Twitter (@GwendolynKiste). Robert Laughlin Robert Laughlin lives in Chico, California, and received his BA from California State University, Sacramento. His “Men at Work” stories will be collected for book publication at a later date. Apart from the “Men at Work” series, Mr. Laughlin has published over 100 short stories, two of which are storySouth Million Writers Award Notable Stories. His website is at www.pw.org/content/robert_laughlin. Alex Luft Alex Luft’s fiction has been published in The Adirondack Review, Midwestern Gothic, Sequestrum, The Coachella Review and elsewhere. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Illinois-Chicago. C.C. Russell C.C. Russell currently lives in Wyoming with his wife, daughter, and two cats. His poetry and fiction have appeared in the New York Quarterly, Rattle, Pearl, The Meadow, and Whiskey Island among others. He has held jobs in a wide range of vocations – everything from graveyard shift convenience store clerk to retail management with stops along the way as dive bar dj and swimming pool maintenance. He has also lived in New York and Ohio. His short fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and for inclusion in The Best Small Fictions. Cynthia Sample Cynthia Sample received her MFA from in fiction Vermont College of Fine Arts. She also holds a Ph. D. in finance from the University of Texas at Dallas. Her fiction has appeared in Numero Cinq, SLAB, Steel Toe Review, Summerset Review, Sleet, Love After 70, and elsewhere. Racheal Walser AFTER THE PAUSE VOLUME 2 ISSUE 1

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Racheal Walser is a literary short fiction author, poet and spoken word artist living in Southern Ontario. Her work has appeared on stages, under streetlights and in literary journals across North America.

The Artists Małgorzata Skałbania Małgorzata Skałbania was born in 1965 in Tychy, Poland. Diploma at the Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow. Exhibited at Poland, Netherland, Slovakia. She has published two books of poetry "Naleciałości", "Szmuctytuł". Her poems are published in Polish literary almanacs, in a Polish, Italian, American literary magazines: "Twórczość", "Fundacja Karpowicza", "Latarnia Morska", "Aspekty", "Akcent", "Indiana Voice", "Deltona High School Book Reviews", "RALPH- The Review of Arts, Literature, Philosophy and Humanities". Her works will appear in "Ink Dot", "Nomads' Choir", "Mothers Always Write". She works in the Osterwa Theater in Lublin as an upholsterer. Thomas Snarsky Tom Snarsky is a Noyce Teaching Fellow at Tufts University in Medford, MA. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Shadowtrain, Otoliths, Cricket Online Review, and elsewhere. He lives in Braintree, MA. David J. Thompson David J. Thompson is a former prep school teacher and coach who has been traveling since October 2013. His interests include film, jazz, and minor league baseball. His latest poetry/photography chapbook, And Thou Upon Earth, is available from Nerve Cowboy in Austin, Texas. Whitney Walters Whitney Walters is an Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota—Duluth. Her poetry and creative nonfiction have been published in Red Weather. She balances her life between composing and interpreting thoughts on paper, experimenting in the kitchen, molding young minds, merging with nature, and engaging with the world. D.S. West D.S. West is a writer, artist, and imaginary escape artist currently operating out of Boulder, CO. His visual art has appeared in Star 82, Maudlin House, and Crack the Spine. A complete list of his publishing credits is available at http://icexv.wordpress.com. Mark Young Born in Hokitika, New Zealand, & now living in North Queensland in Australia, Mark Young has been publishing poetry for over fifty-five years. His work has been widely anthologized, & his essays & poetry translated into a number of languages. He is the author of more than twenty-five books, primarily poetry but also including speculative fiction & art history. His most recent books are a chapbook of visual poems, Arachnid Nebula, from Luna Bisonte Prods, HOTUS POTUS from Meritage Press in California, & the ebook A Small Compendium of Bats, from Swirl books in Sweden.

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Editor’s Note #3 Thanks for reading. Please do come back.

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After the Pause: Summer 2015