Beyond Words Literary Magazine, Issue 2, April 2020

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Cover ar t: Kel ly Em m r i ch

Beyond Words Issue2 April 2020


Bey on d W or d s ? I n ter n ati on al L i ter ar y M agazi n e I ssu e 2, A p r i l 20 20 L i ter ar y ed i tor : Gal Sl on i m A r tw or k ed i tor & d esi gn : Ser gi o O r d on ez

from the editors A l l of a su d d en , th e w or l d h as com p l etely ch an ged . Bi l l i on s of p eop l e ar e soci al ly i sol ated at th ei r h om es, an d can n ot m eet even th ei r cl ose ci r cl e of f am i ly an d f r i en d s, w h i l e oth er s, w h o ar e l ess l u ck y, ar e su f f er i n g at th e h osp i tal . W e al l f ace a com m on m y ster i ou s an d con f u si n g en em y w i th a f u n n y n am e: Cov i d . N obod y k n ow s h ow th ese str essf u l d ay s w i l l en d ; n obod y k n ow s w h at ou r l i f e w i l l l ook l i ke u n ti l th en an d af ter w e w i n th e f i gh t. W e h ave d eci d ed to d ed i cate a sp eci al secti on of th i s A p r i l ed i ti on of Bey on d W or d s to m i cr of i cti on th at y ou w r ote con cer n i n g th e v i r u s. I n th ese d i f f i cu l t m om en ts, p oetr y, p r ose an d v i su al ar t gi ve u s a l i ttl e com f or t. T h ey br i n g con f i d en ce an d stabi l i ty. H op e. O u r cr eati ve w or k s, u n l i ke ou r bod i es, ar e str on g an d i m m or tal . T h ey w er e alw ay s th er e, th ey ar e p r esen t an d w i l l ex i st f or ever . W e w i sh al l ou r r ead er s a h eal th y an d r el axed ti m e. Stay saf e an d take car e of y ou r sel f . Get con n ected to y ou r sou l , to a u n i qu e i n ti m acy th at m i gh t n ot be as r each abl e w h en l i f e f i n al ly gets back to r ou ti n e.

Si n cer ely, Gal & Ser gi o


T i d es Joh n D r u d ge

Bou n d A n d gr ou n d d ow n By th e sl ow str u ggl e O f w al k i n g u n d er w ater Ben eath tear s O f gr i ef A n d th e soar i n g M ou n tai n s of sor r ow Stan d i n g m oti on l ess U n d er a p ar ti al m oon A s th e ti d e l on gs For a beati n g l ove O n r eced i n g w aves W i th th e f r agm en ted Ech oes O f a si l en t h ear t Br eak i n g on th e h or i zon

A r tw or k : A r i en Reed

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T h e Yar d Ben eath T h e O n ly Bu ckey e T r ee I ?ve Ever Seen Sy d n ee Sm ai l es

I w an ted to bel i eve i n str aw ber r y f i el d s d i p p ed i n d ew w i th sm al l ch i l d r en h ol d i n g h an d s r em i n i scen t of Ad am an d Eve running i n a gar d en of ap p l e tr ees bu t he took aw ay th ei r eter n i ty. M y m oth er n ever bel i eved i n eter n i ty or him bu t sh e d i d bel i eve i n th e p ow er of h er ow n w or d s an d th e tr ash col u m n s of gossi p m agazi n es. Cel ebr i ti es h ad m or e ti m e w i th h er th an I d i d . I w en t to sch ool on e d ay w h en I w as th i r teen i n a p ai r of p an t s th r ee si zes too bi g an d tor n d ow n on e l eg. M y m ot h er tol d m e i t w as his f au l t, god . I w or e th e p an ts agai n th e n ex t d ay. A gi r l cal l ed m e tr ash bu t m y m oth er n ever r ead abou t i t . I w as n ever af r ai d t o cr y i n f r on t of m y m ot h er , bu t I w as af r ai d t o cr y becau se of h er . W h en I asked on e d ay abou t t h e st r aw ber r y f i el d s, sh e h an d ed m e a gl ass bot t l e i n st ead . D on?t come back in until they?re all cleaned up, sh e sai d . I t w as on e h u n d r ed d egr ees. I w as on m y h an d s an d k n ees. I i m agi n ed t h at w as h ow p eop l e p r ay ed t o him. I cr i ed becau se of him or her. I p i cked u p over on e h u n d r ed sh r u n ken ci gar et t e bu t t s t h at d ay an d he n ever cam e d ow n f r om t h e sk y t o say t h an k y ou f or cl ean i n g his Ear t h . M y m ot h er on ly f l i cked m or e i n t o t h e y ar d n ex t t o t h e p oi n t y bu ckey e sh el l s an d p u t r i d , gr een w al n u t s. A f ew d ay s ago, I w at ch ed ci gar et t e ash bu r n h ol es i n t o t h e d i r t l i ke i t w as a si n . I h aven ?t p i cked on e u p si n ce. 3

A r t w or k : B en jam i n M al ay 3


O bscu r a M att Bl essi n g

L i ke p al e ci n d er s sh e cou l d t ou ch . O r d u st p u sh ed f r om a si l l , l aggi n g i n th e ai r . Sh e cau gh t a good on e on h er f i n ger , t h r u st ed u n d er m y n ose. Sh e sm i l ed an d sai d to m ake a w i sh . I t ol d h er t h at w as f or f l ow er s, n ot sn ow. A n y w ay, I w asn ?t i n to t h at gi r ly sh i t . Sh e p i n ch ed m y h i p s so h ar d th ey actu al ly br u i sed . Sh e t ol d m e agai n ; h er m i l k- p u d ge ch eek s r ed d i n g w i th each bel l ow ed h u f f . Fi n e. I cl osed m y ey es, t h ou gh t of som eth i n g. Sh e p i n ch ed m e agai n , l i ke a god d am n sh or e cr ab gr abbi n g at br eak f ast. O u t l ou d , sh e sai d , t h e w or d s m ake i t r eal . M y t oes ach ed i n th e col d ; ch u ck s d o f u ck- al l i n N ew En gl an d w i n t er s. I ju st w an t ed t o go back i n si d e. Bu t, w h atever , I p l ay ed al on g. I sai d som et h i n g abou t f ood . Sh e m ad e good oatm eal cook i es, an d I w as col d . T h e l ook sh e gave m e. W h er e w as th e ci p h er , y ou k n ow ? Sh e t r i ed t o u n d er st an d . So w e ju st stood th er e. L on g, th i n ti n d er m en over u s, w h i st l i n g. Eavesd r op p i n g. I l ooked u p , w an ted to y el l at t h em . N o l eaves f or sh ad e. N o f r u i t f or t h e gr ou n d . W h at w as th e p oi n t of y ou ? To scat t er t h e col d . To con t ou r t h e h i l l s beh i n d u s. To w h at? Sh e w r ap p ed h er ar m s ar ou n d m y w ai st . I f el t th e p u l se of h er . M i l k ch eek s bu r r ow i n g i n t o m y jacket . Sh e sai d t h at I w as l i ke a h ou se th at bu i l t i t sel f . I cou l d n ?t u n d er st an d . W e w al ked t h e p al e sw ar d back to h er h ou se, em ber s cr ack l i n g u n d er f oot . Sh e w as alw ay s ear n est, alw ay s d ebat i n g a qu est i on I d i d n ?t k n ow w as asked . Sw ad d l ed by an i m age of m e l i ke f r om a p i n h ol e cam er a. Rever sed , i n ver ted . A n eth er eal sh ap e sh e cou l d on ly h ave f or a m om en t . L i ke catch i n g sn ow on a f i n ger .

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A r tw or k : Au r el i e Cr i seti g 4


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A r tw or k : Cr ee Cu l l ar s


M i r r or Tal k A k h i l B an d i T h er e?s a br oken m i r r or th at h as al l m y r egr et r i d d l ed i n i t s cr ack s You ?ve m ad e m e i n to th e jeal ou s t y p e: I h ate th e sou n d of th at So f u * k i n g m u ch I br oke th at m i r r or bu t I d i d n ?t m ean t o. T r u st m e. O h , th at?s r i gh t i t 's k i n d of h ar d t o com e by t h ese d ay s. You w an t to k n ow w h at I h ave been p l ay i n g i n m y h ead al l d ay ? T h at son g th at I t ol d y ou I l i st en t o w h en I ?m sad . A n d I th i n k abou t Kor ea f or som e r eason . W h at i t m u st h ave been l i ke d u r i n g t h e Jap an ese su r ge of W W I I . I t m u st h ave been scar y. T h er e w as a l ot of r ap e, I ?d h ear d . W el l at l east t h ey h ave K- Pop n ow. W h y d o I f eel r egr et w h en y ou ?r e t h e on e w h o d i d som et h i n g w r on g? I t?s becau se I ?m sel f l ess. I f I h ad a th er ap i st th ey w ou l d t el l m e t o st op p u t t i n g y ou bef or e m y sel f . You d i d a bad th i n g. A n d h er e I am sad f or y ou For h av i n g d on e i t an d f or h av i n g t h e p ai n of h ol d i n g i t i n y ou r sel f . I f or gi ve y ou Bu t I h ave r egr et f or f or gi v i n g y ou . I s th at h ow t h e Kor ean s f eel ? You k n ow ... abou t th e su r ge. T h ey f or gi ve bu t f eel bad f or d oi n g so. T h ey th i n k th ey ?ve tau gh t y ou a l esson by bei n g m at u r e, an d h op e i t act u al ly st u ck s. Bu t w h o k n ow s? Sp eak i n g of th at t h er ap i st , I t h i n k I d o n eed on e. O r m ay be w e n eed on e. I ?m su r e h e w ou l d h el p m e an sw er t h at on e. O r sh e ... I ai n ?t n o sex i st h er e. I sh ou l d be h on est . I h ear d i t cr ack t h e secon d t i m e I br oke i t . T h e m i r r or . T r u st m e, I d i d n ?t m ean t o br eak i t t h i s t i m e ei t h er . Bu t I h ear d i t f al l . I saw th e m i l l i on p i eces i t becam e. A n d of cou r se I p i cked t h em u p . O f cou r se I d i d . I alw ay s d o. A lw ay s w i l l . 7

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A r tw or k : Ton y M u r r ay 8


I n Case You Sp ot M y M i ssi n g Fat h er or H ap p en to Fi n d M y Cat Jen n y B. Good e M an d y Cl ar k

I ?d say h e?d be i n th e cr i m e/ d r am a sect i on of t h e v i d eo st or e. I f y ou can f i n d a v i d eo stor e. At a bar , d ep en d i n g on w h et h er h e?s al on e or w i t h a f r i en d , m ost l i kely by th e p ool tabl e p r eten d i n g t h at h e h ar d ly ever p l ay s. O n t h e job si t e, h e?ll be on th e r oof or p l u ggi n g i n th e com p r essor or m ar k i n g a t w o- by - f ou r . I f y ou catch h i m i n th e gr ocer y stor e, I ?d h ave t o gu ess h e?d be by t h e p i ck l es or t h e an ch ov i es. You k n ow th ose l i ttl e t i n s w i t h t h e m et al op en er s? V i en n a sau sages. By th e V i en n a sau sages! At th e l i br ar y, si n ce h e?s r ead al l t h e St ei n beck , I ?d ch eck t h e Ken Fol l ett secti on . Bu t Jen n y, sh e?ll com e t o an y on e w h o cal l s h er k i t t y, k i t t y. I n al l h on esty, sh e m i gh t tr y f or a V i en n a sau sage i f of f er ed on e. Sh e?s bi g on f au x f u r toy s. L ou d n oi ses m ake h er m or e cu r i ou s, esp eci al ly ar gu i n g or sh ou t i n g. T h ey ?ve been gon e f or al m ost tw en t y y ear s. Yeah , I k n ow w h at y ou ?r e t h i n k i n g, th e ch an ce of f i n d i n g th em both al i ve i s sl i m . T h e t h i n g i s, I ?ve been Googl i n g th em . O n e of th em got m ar r i ed . O n e of t h em m oved t o W ash i n gt on . O n e of th em i s p r obably a l etter or p h on e cal l aw ay. Bu t w h en a cat d oesn ?t w an t t o be f ou n d , th ey can be qu i te el u si ve.

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A r tw or k : Aver y Kest er 10


I Got Sober bu t I ?m Sti l l D r ow n i n g Jacqu el i n e M ou l ton

I got sober bu t I ?m st i l l d r ow n i n g ? I can ?t get en ou gh an d so col l ect al l t h e bot t l es to l et t h em sm ash an d sp l i n t er agai n st al l t h e h ar sh an d sh ar p cor n er s i n si d e t h e h u m an h ear t w h o tr i ck s t h e m i n d i n to th i n k i n g i t i s d y i n g of t h i r st .

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A r tw or k : Ju l i e Gal l agh er

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I n Si tu Sam an th a Cr am er

N o, I h ave n ever been beau t i f u l : u n l ess i t i s t h e w ay th at d eep sea t h i n gs ar e beau ti f u l ; f ear f u l , d i st or t ed , an d str an ge. T h i s w an t i n gh u n ger , d esp er ate f or sk i n , sal t sw eat, an d t on gu es. Su n w ar m ed an d al i en . I am n ot u sed t o l i gh t , to ai r th i s ter r i bl e r el ease of p r essu r e, th e bon e an d t en d on f i n ger gr i p of w ei gh t an d voi d . T h i s bod y, th ese bon es. T h i s d r ess u p gam e of p l ay i n g h u m an H ow d eep ly w i l l y ou r f i n ger p r i n t s an d tastebu d s br u i se m e? M y l i gh th ou se l ove, m y su r f ace si r en cal l i n g m e i n f r om t h e d eep .

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A r tw or k : JP H am m a 14

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h er e, b u t n o t h er e L au r en M ar cu s

1. ?I ?m goi n g to k i l l m y sel f ,? m y f at h er an n ou n ced d u r i n g an ar gu m en t . ?I ?m goi n g t o k i l l m y sel f , an d i t w i l l be y ou r f au l t . You ?ll be h ap p y w h en I ?m d ead . You ?ll f i n al ly get al l m y m on ey.? I cal l ed m y m oth er f r om ou r r ed - t i l e r oof ed h om e i n L os A n gel es. Sh e w as aw ay i n Pal m Sp r i n gs, gol f i n g w i th h er si st er . Sh e d i d n ?t an sw er an d I l ef t a voi cem ai l i n a w h i sp er . A f ew h ou r s l ater , I sen t h er a t ex t . A f ter th e l on g w eeken d , sh e r et u r n ed h om e an d l i f e con t i n u ed as u su al . W h y d i d n ?t sh e r esp on d ? I asked . Sh e p au sed , l ooked at m e qu i zzi cal ly. ?I w as bu sy,? sh e sai d . A v i si on cam e to m e. H er si l h ou et t e, st an d i n g on an ar t i f i ci al gr een h i l l , cl ad i n w h i t e v i sor an d sh or ts, sw i n gi n g th e gol f cl u b, st r on g an d h ear t y. T h e t i n y w h i t e bal l f l ew th r ou gh th e ai r f or w h at f el t l i ke y ear s, l an d i n g i n t h e br ow n d eser t ju st ou t si d e t h e gol f cou r se?s h i gh gates. T h e su n w as sh i n i n g so br i gh t ly t h at I cou l d n ?t see h er f ace. 2. Recen tly, m y w i sd om tooth ? m y u p p er l ef t t h i r d m ol ar , t o be p r eci se ? began gi v i n g m e tr ou bl e. I t star ted as a d u l l ach e bu t escal at ed t o an excr u ci at i n g p ai n . I h obbl ed t o th e bu s stop , m y tooth th r obbi n g w i t h ever y st ep I t ook . T h e bu s r i d e w as al m ost u n bear abl e, th e su d d en stop s cr eat i n g l i t t l e el ect r i c jol t s of p ai n t h at r ad i at ed th r ou gh ou t m y m ou th . ?I t?s got to go,? sai d th e d en ti st. ?I s th er e an y oth er op ti on ?? I asked . ?Yeah ,? h e sai d . ?W e can w ai t a w eek f or t h e sw el l i n g t o go d ow n , bu t w e?ll st i l l h ave t o p u l l i t. W e can take i t ou t n ow or w e can t ake i t ou t i n seven d ay s. I t ?s u p t o y ou .? ?I ?m n ot r ead y,? I sai d . ?N obod y i s,? h e r ep l i ed . T h e n u m bi n g n eed l e jabbed m e i n m y gu m s an d t h e d en t i st r et r i eved w h at l ooked l i ke a gi an t p ai r of p l i er s. T h e col d st eel cl am p ed d ow n an d t h e d en t i st r ocked m y tooth si d e to si d e. I d i d n ?t f eel a t h i n g, t h ou gh I cou l d t ast e t h e bl ood an d t h e m et al . Fi n al ly, m y tooth em er ged . I l ooked at m y tooth , l on g r oot s an d a t h i n bl ack cr ack on t h e si d e, l ay i n g on t h e t r ay n ex t to m y h ead . Par t of m e, st r eaked i n bl ood , w r en ch ed f r om m y f l esh w h ol e, n ow i n d ep en d en t of m y bod y. I w on d er ed i f t h i s w as good p r act i ce f or gi v i n g bi r t h . I took a p i ctu r e of m y tooth an d t h e d en t i st seem ed d i sgu st ed . 15

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3. W h o cou l d be m or e d eser v i n g of a p ost - w or k d r i n k , af t er a l on g d ay of su p er v i si n g m u r d er tr i al s? Fu l l bottl es d r ai n ed i n th e even i n g, gr een gl ass cl i n k i n g an d cl an k i n g i n t h e r ecy cl i n g bi n t h e n ex t m or n i n g. T h e scen t of w h i te w i n e on h er br eat h , gl assy ey es, ser en e ex p r essi on . M y m oth er . H er e, bu t n ot h er e. 4. ?I n ever w an ted to be ju st a m oth er ,? sh e t ol d m e. A s a ch i l d , I p l ay ed i n h er cl oset , bu r sti n g w i th d esi gn er p an tsu i ts, a tan gl ed h eap of h i gh h eel s on t h e f l oor . Sh e kep t h er m ai d en n am e an d d i d n ?t cook or cl ean . Sh e h ad a t ou gh ch i l d h ood an d sh e d i d n ?t w an t to tal k abou t i t. O ver th e y ear s, I gat h er ed t h at sh e w or e h an d - m e- d ow n s. D ai r y Q u een h ad been a r ar e tr eat. T h er e w as a si st er w h o d i ed y ou n g an d a br ot h er sh e d i d n ?t sp eak to f or 30 y ear s. 5. O n ce, m y m oth er cal l ed m e w h i l e I w as or gan i zi n g f i l es at m y f at h er ?s of f i ce. ?I ?m n ot f eel i n g so gr eat,? sh e sai d . ?I l ef t w or k ear ly.? T h i s w as ver y ou t of ch ar act er f or m y m oth er , so I h ead ed h om e i m m ed i at ely. W e w en t to th e h osp i tal . Em er gen cy su r ger y w as n eed ed . M y br ot h er an d f at h er w er e i n Pr agu e, m an y h ou r s an d f l i gh ts aw ay. ?I ?m f i n e h er e,? sh e sai d to m e f r om th e gu r n ey. ?D on ?t st ay.? Sh e m ean t i t. I l ef t h er an d w al ked h om e ar ou n d m i d n i gh t .

16 i c A r tw or k : Sabr i n a Jov

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6. Rach el ?s Tom b i n B eth l eh em . T h e r esti n g p l ace of th e O r i gi n al M am a, t h e m at r i ar ch of t h e Jew i sh p eop l e. For th ou san d s of y ear s, Jew i sh w om en m ad e p i l gr i m ages t o Rach el ?s Tom b, p r ay i n g f or su i tor s an d sou l m at es, saf et y d u r i n g ch i l d bi r t h , an d h eal i n g. I n si d e th e caver n , I p l aced m y h an d s on t h e cool st on e. W om en ar ou n d m e begged f or bl essi n gs. T h ey w ep t an d m u t t er ed an d h u m m ed an d san g. ?H ow d o w e k n ow th i s i s th e r i gh t p l ace?? I asked m y f r i en d . ?H ow d o t h ey k n ow th i s i s r eal ly Rach el ?s t om b? T h at sh e?s r eal ly h er e?? ?I t d oesn ?t m atter ,? sh e sai d , sm i l i n g. ?Ju st f eel t h e v i bes. Ever y on e?s p r ay i n g. T h er e?s a sp eci al en er gy h er e. Even i f t h i s i sn ?t t h e ex act r i gh t p l ace, M am a Rach el i s l ook i n g ou t f or u s.? I h ad n ?t sp oken to m y ow n m ot h er i n y ear s. 7. Cool an d n eu tr al , sh e h ad p l ay ed Sw i t zer l an d w h en ever m y f at h er scr eam ed at m e. O n e even i n g, I en d u r ed a p ar t i cu l ar ly v i ci ou s d r essi n g- d ow n f or som e u n m em or abl e si n . Even th ou gh i t h ap p en ed of t en , I w as st u n n ed by m y f ath er ?s cr u el ty. H i s w or d s, a p u n ch to th e gu t , so h ar sh t h at I p l aced m y p al m on t h e w al l t o stead y m y sel f . M y m oth er sat on th e bl ack l eat h er sof a, t h i n l i p s p r essed t oget h er . Ey es gl u ed to th e tel ev i si on , sl en d er w h i t e f i n ger s w r ap p ed ar ou n d t h e st em of h er w i n e gl ass. H er f ace betr ay ed n ot h i n g. A sp h i n x , d ef i n ed by h er si l en ce. H er e, bu t n ot h er e.

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w i t h a t r i ck an d a t r eat an d a cr ack on t h e t op of t h e cake w e baked ?cau se t h at ?s w h at h ap p en s w h en w e d r eam bi g m y pig

r ock r ol l i n g, zi p zap p er i n g, f l i ck f l acker i n g i n si d e w i n d t u n n el s of a h ear t bu r st m agi c

at tem p t to sw i m ou t si d e t h e f r am e of ex p er i en ce b e c a u s e m ay be w e can an d m ay be w e d o bel i eve i n f ai r i es?

f eel i n g a w ave of t h i r st t o f l oat u s bey on d th e bou n d ar i es of st r at osp h er e w h eth er or n ot w e ar e cap abl e r est s i n am bi gu ou s p ossi bi l i t y : I am on ly br eat h i n g an d I ?m p r et ty su r e y ou ar e too. So, sh al l w e, an d can w e

t ou ch ĂŠ

an d I seem as a d r eam t o y ou an d

A r tw or k : Er i ca Jasm i n D i xon

t h er e ar e w ay s t o st i r u p t h e ocean w h en th e m oon h as n ot h i n g t o say abou t i t w e tear of f t h e f i t t ed sh eet ju st t o f i n d ou t i f th e m at t r ess can car r y u s i n t o a sat i at i n g sl u m ber w i t h ou t t h e f r i l l s of sof t n ess

beat

El i zabeth H oover

d o t h e gi r l f r i en d an d b oy f r i en d m ash


g sl u m ber w i t h ou t t h e f r i l l s

ic

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A Far - O f f Pl ace W ar r en Stod d ar d M y gr an d f ath er w as a h er o i n th e

w as t h er e, al l t h e ol d m en , an d t h e

w ar . L i ke al l w ar h er oes, h e n ever

y ou n g ch i l d r en , t h e m ot h er s an d

sp eak s of i t, bu t som eti m es, ear ly i n

f at h er s, an d t h e f l ags w av i n g w eak ly

th e m or n i n g, i f y ou sn eak

i n t h e w i n d . T h e ol d m en w or e t h ei r

d ow n stai r s bef or e th e h ou se h as

m ed al s on f u n n y h at s or on t h e

com e al i ve an d teem i n g w i th h ol l ow

l ap el s of f an cy jacket s, an d t h ey al l

f ootstep s on th e w ood f l oor , y ou

sat ar ou n d p l ast i c t abl es an d t al ked

w i l l see h i m si tti n g th er e on a ch ai r

st i f f ly as ol d m en of t en d o.

at th e d i n i n g r oom tabl e, n ot m ov i n g, n ot sp eak i n g, bu t l ook i n g d eep ly i n to th e bl an k of f - w h i te of th e w al l . W h en I tel l h i m good m or n i n g, i t i s l i ke h e i s com i n g back f r om a l on g w ay gon e, an d h e w i l l sm i l e an d p r op m e on h i s l ap an d ask i f I ?ve h ad br eak f ast.

W e k i d s w er e i n t h e at t i c, w e r u m m aged t h r ou gh car d boar d boxes u n t i l I f ou n d w h at I w an t ed t o see. A l l of t h ose ot h er m en w er e n ot h er oes l i ke m y gr an d f at h er ? t h ei r m ed al s w er e br i gh t an d on d i sp l ay, t h ei r st or i es w er e v i br an t an d al i ve an d t h at t w i n k l e i n t h ei r ey es w h en

O n col d , sti l l m or n i n gs, h e w ou l d

t h ey t ol d t h em w as ju st l i ke t h e r ed

take m e f i sh i n g. W e w ou l d si t th er e

d ot on a v i d eo cam er a. I t w as l i ke

i n th at boat w i th n oth i n g bu t si l en ce

w at ch i n g t h e r eal t h i n g. W ar

an d a f ew f eet of p l an k s betw een u s,

d ecol l at es an d bu r i es m en ?s sou l s.

bu t h e w ou l d be a l on g w ay of f , an d

D r aw n an d qu ar t er ed . Sh oved i n t h e

so si l en ce w ou l d w ei gh th at sk i f f

d i r t i n a f or est or f i el d i n som e

d ow n l i ke l ead an d I w ou l d h ave t o

f ar - of f p l ace w i t h a st r an ge n am e

d o th e r ow i n g h om e th r ou gh

t h at t h ey can ?t p r on ou n ce bu t

v i scou s l ake w ater . W h en w e w ou l d

alw ay s k n ow t h e w ay t o. T h at

ti e th e boat to th e d ock at th e sh or e,

f am i l i ar st r an ger y ou see at t h e

I ?d ask h i m w h er e h e l ear n ed to t i e

su p er m ar ket . T h at r egal i a on

k n ots w i th su ch gr ace an d i n tr i cacy.

l am p p ost s. T h at p i ct u r e w ash ed ou t

?I n th e ar m y,? h e say s. T h at?s al l y ou ever h ear of i t.

by t h e su n i n a br oken f r am e f r om a t i m e w h en y ou w er e y ou n g. H ow m an y boxes m u st I h ave sear ch ed

O n e Veter an ?s D ay w e h ad a

bef or e I f ou n d w h o I w as.

cookou t. T h e w h ol e n ei gh bor h ood 20

20


A n d bl ow i n g th e d u st of f th e t h i n g d i d

ow n f eet t o t h e f i el d w h er e h i s sou l

n o ju sti ce to op en i n g i t. O n ce t h e

f el l i n t h at f ar - of f p l ace. H e l ooked

l i gh t h i t i t al l , i t w as n oth i n g bu t a

ar ou n d . H e l ooked at t h e su f f er i n g

m ass of col or an d y el l ow ed p ages an d

gat es of t h e t h i n g. T h e r u st w as t h er e.

sh ar p - ed ged th i n gs th at bi t. M y

T h e d ar k n ess t h at com es t o t h i n gs as

gr an d f ath er w as i n th e d oor w h en I

t h ey age w as t h er e t oo. T h e d ar k n ess

l ooked back agai n . H e i s a col ossu s on

com es t o al l t h i n gs bu t m en . I n t i m e

th e r i d gel i n e, an d f r om f ar of f t h e

m en see t h e l i gh t an d m ay be l ook a

i m m en si ty of th e m an i s ten f ol d . H e

l i t t l e t oo cl osely at t h e br i gh t n ess of i t

d i d n ?t sp eak . H e w al ked to m e i n

u n t i l t h ey becom e su n - w ash ed l i ke

com f or tabl e sh oes th at squ el ch ed on

t h e p h ot ogr ap h s.

th e w ood f l oor . ?Com e,? h e sai d , ?t h i s i s n o p l ace f or l i ttl e gi r l s.? H e p u t a h an d on m y sh ou l d er an d l ed m e

H e h as t h e gl eam i n h i s ey es n ow. I t i s l i ke I am w at ch i n g i t t h r ou gh h i s ey es w h en h e p oi n t s t o t h e ai r som ew h er e

aw ay w i th ou t l ook i n g at th e r ot t en

of f t o t h e r i gh t . ?T h er e w as a t ow er

squ ar es of f r u i t sal ad i n th e box or t h e y el l ow ed p ages or th e sh ar p f an gs of th at f or m er l i f e. H e w al ked m e

t h er e.? A n d I sm i l e becau se I am f i n al ly h ear i n g h i m sp eak , an d t h en m y f ace con t or t ed t o h or r or . ?T h at ?s

d ow n stai r s agai n an d sat m e at t h e tabl e, w h er e w e l i sten ed to t h e m en tel l sti f f stor i es i n th e su n .

w h er e I st ood w h en w e w er e i n d ef eat . M ay of 1945. T h at h u m an - sm oke w as st i l l h an gi n g st i f f ly i n t h e sk y. I

I t w asn ?t l on g af ter th at at al l , I gu ess,

f ol l ow ed m y or d er s. I m ow ed t h e

th at h e sp oke on i t. ?I w an t to go

p r i son er s d ow n on e- by - on e, an d I

back ,? h e sai d , an d so w e d i d . T h e

sm i l ed w h en t h ey cr i ed .?

w h ol e f am i ly w en t al on g. Fi r st t h e p l an e, th en th e tr ai n , an d f i n al ly ou r

21

21


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A r t w or k : C. J. Gu zan 22


23

23


Fr ost Col em an B om ar i s f eel i n g f i r st p l ace th en f u n cti on s si l h ou et t ed w h en tr ees gr ow t eet h agai n st th e w h i te ed ge af t er gl ow as i f to m an i f est a p r ed at or of bi t t en sen sati on gor gi n g th e ti p s of w h oever f aces i t br avely y et i n th e cr aw l sp ace bet w een sn ow an d y ou r v i si bl e br eat h bu r n s a d r eam of sp r i n g an d h ow sh e?ll k i ss y ou .

A r tw or k : N oah Atk i n son

24

24


A ssem bly L i n e A n gi e W r i gh t

W ater f i l l s th e bath tu b, r ef l ect i n g

Sh e d r i zzl es cool i n g w at er over

th e ti l e?s m i n ty sh ad e of gr een . M y

m y bod y, m ak i n g m e sh i ver a

gr an d m oth er si ts on th e si d e of

l i t t l e, t h en st an d s m e u p an d l i f t s

th e tu b, sl eeves r ol l ed u p , a h an d

m e ou t of t h e w at er on t o t h e

tow el on h er r i gh t sh ou l d er ,

cl osed seat of t h e com m od e,

testi n g th e tem p er atu r e w i t h h er

cover ed w i t h a t ow el t o keep m e

h an d s? m ar bl ed w i th str on g, t h i ck

f r om sl i p p i n g.

vei n s, h er n ai l s br i gh t w i th r ed

Sh e w r ap s m e u p w i t h an ot h er

p ol i sh .

d el i ci ou sly w ar m t ow el , t h i ck

Sh e sw i r l s th e w ater w i th a p l u sh

p l u sh p i n k , an d gen t ly d r i es m e

w ash cl oth , cool i n g i t to ju st t h e

of f . T h en sh e gat h er s m e u p an d

r i gh t sh ad e of w ar m , m ak i n g

car r i es m e t o h er t w i n bed , l ay s

w aves th at sp l ash agai n st tu b?s

m e d ow n on t h e bu m p y ch en i l l e

p or cel ai n si d es an d m eet each

sp r ead , op en s t h e t ow el , an d d u st s

oth er i n th e m i d d l e.

m y w h ol e bod y w i t h a f i n e w h i t e

I stan d at th e d oor , f ou r y ear s ol d .

p ow d er , sof t , si l k y, f r agr an t .

Sh e tu r n s an d l au gh s, l i f ts m e u p

I l ay con t en t w h i l e sh e l ow er s t h e

an d si ts m e d ow n on m y bot t om

n ex t k i d i n t o t h e bat h .

i n th e w ar m w ater . Sh e w ash es m y f ace, m y n eck , m y ear s, m y tu m m y an d back , u n d er m y ar m s, m y l egs, m y bottom , w i th th at sam e cl oth , su d sy w i th i vor y soap , w h i l e I p l ay w i th f l oaty toy s.

25

25

Fi ve m or e gr an d ch i l d r en t o go.


Sweet! The following literary works are the three winners of our April 250-word-challenge. Cr i sp s

Pi n k M ed i ci n e

Joe I m w al l e

K i r a Steven s

M y w i f e, w h om I ?ve k n ow n

w h at sm el l s om i n ou s r i gh t n ow ? oh

si n ce ch i l d h ood , i s at y oga.

i t ?s ju st m y t eet h ;

Recen tly, sh e bou gh t on l i n e

t h e cav i t i es ban gi n g on t h e gol d en con cr et e.

a box f u l l of i n d i v i d u al ser v i n g si ze

I st i l l cr ave can d y w h en I f eel

p ot ato ch i p s f r om I r el an d .

a cer t ai n som et h i n g? i t ?s a l i t t l e l on ely

Cr i sp s, sh e cal l s th em .

m i xed w i t h scar ed of som ebod y

H er I r i sh m oth er , m an y y ear s n ow gon e,

w h o h as n o f ace; sal t ed w i t h I w i sh

I r em em ber as ou r l i br ar i an .

m om m y w ou l d com e car r y m e

T h e com bi n ati on

d ow n t h e st ai r s an d sp oon f eed m e p i n k

of h er f or ei gn accen t

m ed i ci n e w i t h t h e bu bbl egu m t ast e.

an d n ear w h i sp er voi ce

I t ?s som et h i n g I t r y t o scr u b aw ay

m ad e th e i m p r essi on

or r i n se ou t w i t h l i st er i n e?

t h at al l sh e h ad w er e secr ets

bu t i t ?s alw ay s h er e, t h e bu r n i n g

sh e l et y ou i n on .

v ap or u n d er m y t on gu e; t h i s em p t i n ess

M y w i f e h as asked th at I n ot eat an y

f i l l ed by a sp ar k t h at alw ay s f ad es.

of h er cr i sp s.Bu y w h atever ch i p s y ou w an t, bu t d on ?t eat th ese. Sh e eats th em i n p r i vate w h en th e m ood str i kes, eats th em l ess f or h u n ger , m or e f or con n ecti on . A sp eci f i c f l avor on e can tr ace i n h er bl ood . M y w i f e i s at y oga an d I h ave stol en d ow n stai r s t o t ake a bag of h er ch i p s an d eat th em i n bed w i t h a gl ass of r osĂŠ an d w r i te th i s p oem t h at , d esp i te m i sgi v i n gs, w an t s to gi ve i tsel f aw ay

26

as soon as p ossi bl e t o m y w i f e.

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A r tw or k : M ar i eken Coch i u s

f r om a p l ace


Sw eet Sak i n a A l i ak bar I su ck ti gh tly on th e i cy w at er m el on - f l avou r ed p op si cl e t o d el i ver as m u ch of th e sy r u p as p ossi bl e. D r op l et s squ i r t on t o t h e col l ar of m y sch ool u n i f or m , as a p i ece of sw eet i ce br eak s of f i n t o m y m ou t h , sh ock i n g m y ton gu e an d teet h . I op en m y m ou t h sear ch i n g f or r el i ef of w ar m ai r , i ce sti l l w obbl i n g on m y t on gu e (h ow d ar e I l et go?). T h e p ar ti cl es begi n to evap or at e t h r ou gh t h e on set of br ai n f r eeze, bu t I go i n f or an oth er sw eet su ck .

Seven y ear s l ater , I am h u ggi n g m y k n ees i n bed i n an at t em p t t o d i ssi p at e t h e con tr acti on s i n m y gr oi n . T h e back of m y n eck i s cover ed i n sw eat , t r i ck l i n g over th e r oots of m y h ai r . Gr oan i n g, I f eel f or t h e gl ass of w at er on m y bed si d e t abl e an d acci d en tal ly ti p i t over w h en m y bed r oom d oor op en s, u n an n ou n ced . M am a p op s h er h ead i n th e d oor an d w al k s over w i t h h al f a sl ab of d ar k ch ocol at e, br oken u n even ly. I bi te i n to i t n oi si ly an d con t i n u e t o gr oan , l ess au d i bly n ow. T w elve y ear s h ave p assed . T h e B eem er ?s h azar d l i gh t s sh i n e of f m y r ead i n g gl asses, w h i ch h ave sp i l l ed ou t of m y p u r se. M am a?s h ai r l ay s over h er h ead on th e gr an i te, as th ou gh Por t el l o h as been sp i l l ed on t o t h e si d ew al k . M y f i n ger s tw i tch ar ou n d a on ce ti gh tly - h el d y el l ow p each , l oosen i n g t h e gr i p si gn i f i can t ly. T h e sti ck i n ess f r om th e f r u i t coat s t h e f r on t of m y h an d , w h i l e t h e back m eet s a 27

f l ow i n g r i ver of bl ood , d r ai n i n g f r om m y h ead .

27


Con f essi on s L u ke Pati tsas I ?m so sor r y th at I d ecap i t at ed y ou r p eacock st at u e an d w as too scar ed to tel l y ou * u p d ate to be f ai r y ou f ou n d t h e h ead an d p u t i t back t oget h er w i th ease an d p er h ap s th e th r i l l of a n ew p u r p ose so I gu ess w e?ll cal l i t even

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A r tw or k : Er i k a Gl ass 28


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29


T h e Back y ar d Gar d en (or h ow p l an t i n g t om atoes can p r ove on e?s l ove) T i f f i n i e A lvar ez

I d i d n ?t k n ow th at m y gr an d f ath er l oved m e u n ti l I l ef t f or col l ege. Gr ow i n g u p , h e h ad n ever sh ow n m u ch af f ecti on f or m y br oth er or m y sel f . T h i s i s n ot to say th at m y gr an d f ath er d i d n ?t car e abou t u s. H e d ef i n i tely w asn ?t on e of th ose ol d m en y ou see i n m ov i es w h o scr eam s at ch i l d r en to get of f h i s l aw n , bu t at th e sam e ti m e h e w asn ?t th e gr an d f ath er w h o sh ow er ed y ou w i th af f ecti on an d m ad e i t cl ear h ow h e f el t abou t y ou . Gr ow i n g u p i n Sou th A m er i ca h ad m ad e m y gr an d f ath er ston e col d an d h ar d . I n th e ?ol d cou n tr y ? as h e cal l s Gu y an a, h e w as an of f i cer i n th e ar m y, as w el l as a su p er v i sor on a su gar can e p l an tati on . W or k l i ke th at steel s y ou , h e w as i n ch ar ge of m ak i n g su r e p eop l e d i d th ei r w or k n o m atter w h at th e cost. H av i n g sai d th at, i t?s u n d er stan d abl e th at m y gr an d f ath er d i d n ?t h u g m e ver y of ten as a ch i l d . H e tr i ed th ou gh , to con n ect w i th m y br oth er N ate an d I . N i gh ts th at w e sp en t at m y gr an d p ar en t?s h ou se ty p i cal ly en d ed u p a scar y stor y abou t th e ?ol d cou n tr y ? w h eth er i t w as abou t a gh ost m y gr an d f ath er h ad seen w h i l e w or k i n g a n i gh t sh i f t, or abou t th e ti m e h e w atch ed a d og h an g i tsel f . I f th e w eath er p er m i tted w e w ou l d si t ou tsi d e on th e ol d w ood en

sw i n g an d t al k abou t h i s l i f e back h om e an d h e w ou l d t el l u s st or i es w h i l e w e r oast ed m ar sh m al l ow s. T h e m em or y t h at i m m ed i at ely com es t o m i n d w h en I t h i n k of m y gr an d f at h er i s on e of h i m t each i n g m y br ot h er an d I h ow t o p l an t t om at oes. I n t h e ?ol d cou n t r y ? m y gr an d f at h er ?s h om e w as set t l ed on a f ar m , so al l h i s f ood w as gr ow n by h i s ow n t w o h an d s. H er e, w h i l e h e d i d n ?t h ave al l t h e op t i on s t h at w er e av ai l abl e t o h i m i n t h e con st an t w ar m t h of Gu y an a, h e w as st i l l abl e t o gr ow t om at oes an d ot h er veget abl es. I n m y t i m e sp en t i n h i s back y ar d I l ear n ed t o p l an t t om at oes, scal l i on s, an d eggp l an t ; bu t p r oved h or r i bl e at keep i n g t h e l ast t w o al i ve an d so I w as m ai n ly p er m i t t ed t o h el p w i t h t om at oes. M y gr an d p ar en t ?s back y ar d w as l ar ge an d sp r aw l i n g, cover ed i n l u sh gr een gr ass w i t h t w o l ar ge m ap l e t r ees t ow ar d s t h e back . O n on e si d e w er e h u n d r ed s of f l ow er s p ai n st ak i n gly p l an t ed by m y gr an d m ot h er bef or e ar t h r i t i s t ook i t s t ol l ; on t h e ot h er w er e gr ap e v i n es t h at w e h ar vest ed f r u i t f r om ever y su m m er . Fi n al ly t ow ar d s t h e back n ear t h e t r ees, m y gr an d f at h er ?s gar d en l ay h al f i n t h e su n h al f i n t h e sh ad e. T h e back y ar d w as l i ke a m od er n d ay Ed en , so beau t i f u l I h ad m y p r om p h ot os t aken t h er e ju n i or y ear . 30

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At th e begi n n i n g of ever y su m m er m y gr an d f ath er w ou l d go to L ow e?s or H om e D ep ot (w h oever h ad th e best d eal s) an d bu y th r ee d ozen tom ato p l an ts. A d ozen f or h i m , a d ozen f or m e, an d a d ozen f or m y br oth er . T h en h e?d gu i d e u s both to th e back y ar d gar d en , i n th e sp ace betw een th e l i gh t an d th e d ar k w h er e th e soi l w as p er f ect f or p l an ti n g tom atoes. T h er e h e?d d i r ect u s on th e p r op er w ay to p l an t tom atoes an d th e best w ay t o en su r e th at th ey gr ew to th e top of th e p ol es th at w er e su p p or ti n g th em . ?You h af ta gi ve th em r oom to gr ow ti f f i e, th ose ar e f ar too cl ose togeth er ? an d ?N ate boy i f I see y ou tr y to d r ow n th ose p l an t s on e m or e ti m e I ?m a beat y ou r bati e? w er e p h r ases r ep eated w i t h a sm i l e an d accen t th r ou gh ou t th e su m m er s. D esp i te th e y ear s of ex p er i en ce N ate an d I both h ad , w e sti l l m ad e th e sam e m i stakes i n th e exci tem en t over h av i n g ou r gr an d f ath er ?s u n d i v i d ed atten ti on f or th e d ay. H ow ever , m y gr an d f ath er sti l l l acked th e cap abi l i ty to d i sp l ay t h e af f ecti on th at m y f r i en d s r ecei ved f r om th ei r gr an d p ar en ts. I cr aved th e af f ecti on a gr an d f ath er w as ?su p p osed ? to gi ve; th e h u gs an d l on g tal k s over teas. M y n an a w as alw ay s af f ecti on ate, d em an d i n g a h u g or a k i ss w h en ever w e w al ked th r ou gh th e d oor , bu t m y gr an d f ath er w as th e ty p e to w ave f r om th e cou ch w i th h i s ey es sti l l

gl u ed t o t h e gol f m at ch on t el ev i si on . H e w as t h er e, h e w as p r esen t , bu t at t h e sam e t i m e h e w as u n t ou ch abl e; som et h i n g h e w ou l d r em ai n u n t i l I m oved an h ou r aw ay f or col l ege. N ow, m y gr an d f at h er h u gs m e ever y t i m e I com e h om e f r om sch ool an d on ce a m on t h I r ecei ve a t ex t f r om h i m , ad m i t t ed ly i n br oken En gl i sh , t el l i n g m e t h at h e an d m y n an a l ove m e ver y m u ch an d w i sh m e t h e best . H e h u gs N at e on t h e r ar e occasi on s h e sees h i m , as m y br ot h er ?s v i si t s d w i n d l ed af t er m y f at h er got p r i m ar y cu st od y of h i m . I bel i eve t h at m y gr an d f at h er w as u n abl e t o sh ow h i s af f ect i on f or N at e an d m e u n t i l i t t r u ly m at t er ed . I t d i d n ?t seem i m p or t an t t o h i m t o sh ow er u s i n af f ect i on l i ke n an a d i d , becau se h e k n ew h e l oved u s an d ex p ect ed u s t o u n d er st an d t h at h e w ou l d l ove u s h ow h e d eem ed best . M y gr an d f at h er h as t au gh t m e a l ot over t h e y ear s. H ow t o p l an t t om at oes, h ow t o t el l a scar y st or y, h ow t o p ai n t a gar age. T h e m ost i m p or t an t t h i n g h e ever t au gh t m e t h ou gh , w as t h at l ove com es i n d i f f er en t w ay s. I t m i gh t com e w h en y ou l east ex p ect i t , i t m i gh t com e w h en y ou n eed i t t h e m ost , bu t h e t au gh t m e t h at y ou sh ou l d n ever d ou bt t h e p r esen ce of l ove becau se y ou n ever k n ow w h er e i t m ay l i e.

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Sed i m en t s W an d a H u r r en Ten m i l l i on or m or e y ear s f r om n ow w h en al l th i s i s on ce agai n u n d er w at er an d th en th e w ater s r eced e dry up sci en ti sts, or som e f u tu r e m an i f est at i on of sam e m i gh t say t h i s u sed to be a h u m an settl em en t . M i gh t i d en ti f y th e si gn s of l on g ago l i f e i n p ar ti cu l at e m at t er : sm al l m i d d en s, d i stu r bed r em ai n s d ep r essi on s i n si l t w h er e on ce w er e p at h w ay s, st r eet s, r oad s. H er e w er e th e stor es. A bu t ch er l i ved h er e. T h i s w as a h osp i t al . T h i s a sch ool gr ou n d . Bu t t h e f i n e p ar t i cu l ar s

A r tw or k : Ton y M u r r ay

w i l l h ave sl i p p ed aw ay f or ever :

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H er e a w om an sat at a k i tch en t abl e d r an k h er m or n i n g cof f ee l ooked th r ou gh a w i n d ow sm u d ged w i th sm al l f i n ger p r i n ts an d l i p s an d n ose p r i n ts w atch ed f or h u m m i n gbi r d s, bl ack- cap p ed ch i ck ad ees som eti m es a m ou r n i n g d ove.

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Fl at T i r e St ep h an i e Eagl eso n

To m y ch agr i n , I ?m n ot f em i n i st en ou gh t o k n ow h ow t o ch an ge a f l at . So I ask H u sban d w h at t o d o, n ot becau se I ?m n ot a f em i n i st (al th ou gh I m i gh t n ot be), bu t becau se ask i n g h i m i s ch eap . N o r esp on se; so th en to th e com m u n i t y I en cap su l at e (asi d e f r om i n car n at i on w r ou gh t by Su n d ay su p p er ) i n m y p ocket I p ose m y S.O .S. A i r con d i ti on er an d CD p l ay er l abor to ap p ease th e p u n y m on ar ch i n th e back seat: van i ty, van i ty, bu t at l east m y h ai r i s w ash ed .

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W h i l e I str u ggl e d i ap er bag str ol l er w ater cu p an d p r ogen y to th e si m m er ed si d ew al k , i t goes (I l ater su p p ose) d ow n l i ke th i s: Sar ah cal l s Jen n cal l s Em i ly t ex t s Au d r ey, A n d y cal l s H u sban d , tw o cal l m e bu t I can ?t an sw er ; m y h an d s ar e f u l l of st r ol l er h an d l ebar s. W e th r ead th r ou gh w eed y con cr et e ban k s t o f ol l ow a r i ver of ex h au st . A n au gh ty br an ch sl ap s m y baby ?s f ace, bu t gi ven n o ey e to p r od back at , w e p r ess on . T w o sw eaty I sr ael i tes en d u r e a t en - m i n u t e d eser t w i th br ow - r ai si n g gr ace. O n e th r i l l s at th e p r om i se of f r ozen m i l k san s h on ey. I h ave Jacob of th e n ew t est am en t h er e w i t h m e; h e sees a l ad d er ch ock- f u l l of an gel s r i si n g u p f r om th ei r cou ch es an d n ovel s an d st r eam i n g v i d eos, goi n g d ow n ear ly f r om t h ei r of f i ces to d i r ty th ei r f i n ger s i n t h e p u d d l e of r u bber on t h e cor n er of Sp r u ce an d M ar ket.

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T h e Gi r l i n t h e B at h t u b Fr an cesca Fer r au to T h e gi r l i n th e bath tu b i s tak i n g a bat h f or t h e f i r st t i m e si n ce sh e st ar t ed f ol l ow i n g a m eal p l an . I t h as been al m ost t w o y ear s si n ce t h e gi r l i n t h e bath tu b h ad f i l l ed th e bath tu b w i t h w ar m w at er an d t ook h er t i m e t o gen tly p l ace can d l es al l ar ou n d i t. T h e gi r l i n t h e bat h t u b d oesn ´t u su al ly sp en d m or e th an 15 m i n u tes i n th e bat h t u b, m ay be h av i n g f or got t en t h e r eal p u r p ose of a bath tu b i s n ot to ser ve as a sh ow er . T h e gi r l i n t h e bath tu b obser ves th e p i n k y r ef l ect i on of h er bod y r each i n g u p t o t h e w ater su r f ace, r i p p l i n g an d d ef or m i n g i n som et h i n g cl oser t o h er m en t al i m age of h er bod y, r em i n d i n g h er of t h e r eason w h y sh e h asn ?t t aken a bath i n al m ost tw o y ear s: al l th e f l acci d l u m p s on h er bod y. T h e gi r l i n th e bath tu b i s gl ad th e bu bbl i n g soap i s f or m i n g a f oam t h i ck en ou gh t o h i d e h er r ef l ecti on . T h e gi r l i n th e bat h t u b d i d n ot alw ay s h at e t ak i n g bath s. T h er e w as a ti m e, bef or e l ow - cu t p an t s an d st r et ch m ar k s an d t h e soci al - p r essu r ed f ear of bod y h ai r s, w h en t h e gi r l i n t h e bat h t u b en joy ed bei n g a gi r l i n a bath tu b.

T h e gi r l i n th e bath tu b h ad f or got t en t h at sh e act u al ly en joy s tak i n g bath s, sh e cou l d n ot r em em ber w h y sh e h ad f ou gh t t o so h ar d w i th h er m oth er n ot w an ti n g to t ake on e. T h e gi r l i n t h e bat h t u b l i kes t o bar e h er l i ttl e bod y f r ee of cl oth es an d sh ake h er t i n y bu m l i ke bi g gi r l s d o. T h e gi r l i n th e bath tu b m oves h er ch i l d i sh h i p s sp l ash i n g w at er ever y w h er e bef or e h er m oth er ask s h er t o st op . L ast t i m e sh e t ook a bat h sh e d i d n ?t h ave m u ch sp ace to p l ay. A s h er f at h er w as st i l l l i v i n g w i t h th em , th e gi r l i n th e bath tu b l i ked t ak i n g bat h s w i t h h i m . H er sm al l bod y al l ow ed f or an ad u l t m an to f i t i n t h e bat h t u b w i t h n o p r obl em , bu t d an ci n g ar ou n d w as a ch al l en ge. Ei t h er w ay, t h e gi r l i n t h e bat h t u b l oved to cu d d l e on h er f ath er ?s ch est soak i n g i n h ow sm al l sh e f el t com p ar ed t o h i m . Sh e r egr ets n ot h av i n g h i s com f or t i n g p r esen ce t h i s t i m e ar ou n d an d a p ap er d u ck gi ves h er l i ttl e com f or t . T h e gi r l i n t h e bat h t u b?s m oth er h u r r i es h er to get ou t of t h e bat h t u b, h er l i t t l e f i n ger s get t i n g al l w r i n k ly al r ead y. Bu t sh e takes h er t i m e. Sh e en joy s t h e bat h , n ow t h at sh e i s bi g en ou gh to take a bath al on e.

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T h e gi r l i n th e bath tu b w on d er s w h at i s t h at sh e act u al ly d oes n ot l i ke abou t bath s. Sh e l i kes bei n g i n th e bat h t u b, so l on g as t h e l i gh t i s l ef t d i m , h er r ef l ecti on i n th e m i r r or i s bl u r r ed by t h e f og an d n ot t oo m an y p eop l e ar e i n volved . T h e gi r l i n t h e bat h t u b d oes n ot l i ve al on e, bu t alw ay s tr i es to h ave th e ap ar tm en t f or h er sel f w h en t ak i n g a bat h . T h e gi r l i n th e bath tu b cou l d n ever be a gi r l i n an onsen. T h e gi r l i n th e bath tu b tod ay i s a gi r l i n an onsen. Sh e h ad been tol d th at Jap an ese l ad i es l eave al l p ol i t e m an n er i sm at t h e d oor an d sh am el essly star e an d p oi n t th e f i n ger at al l f or ei gn er s. T h e gi r l i n t h e bath tu b w h o i s n ow a gi r l i n an onsen i s gl ad n ot t o be bl on d e, or r ed - h ai r ed or an y th i n g bu t a br u n et t e. T h e ol d er Jap an ese l ad i es ar e n ow gossi p i n g am on g th em selves, p oi n t i n g at t h e i n t i m at e h ai r y bi t s of t h e oth er gi r l s i n an onsen, m ost of w h om ar e t h e gi r l i n a bat h t u b?s f r i en d s. O n e gi r l i n an onsen ch ats u p th e gi r l i n a bat h t u b com p l i m en t i n g h er f i gu r e, sh e can n ot stop star i n g at h er bosom . T h e gi r l i n t h e bat h t u b h ad n ever th ou gh t of bei n g too h eav y - ch est ed , sh e t h i n k s i t ?s a Jap an ese t h i n g an d keep s h ol d i n g ti gh tly to h er assu m p t i on of n ot h av i n g a n i ce f i gu r e. T h e gi r l i n th e bath tu b takes a bat h i n a sm al l bat h t u b. A l t h ou gh sh e w ou l d l i ke th e w ater to cover h er n aked n ess com p l et ely, sh e can h ar d ly ach i eve i t. T h i s i s th e excu se th e gi r l i n t h e bat h t u b u su al ly u ses t o t al k h er p ar tn er ou t of tak i n g a bath t oget h er : t h e bat h t u b i s t oo sm al l . T h e gi r l i n th e bath tu b f eel s l i gh t- h ead ed an d r egr et s n ot h av i n g l ef t t h e bath r oom w i n d ow sl i gh tly op en . H er p ar t n er w i l l n ot com e back an y ti m e soon an d sh e l ocked th e d oor an y w ay. Sh e t h i n k s of com i n g ou t of th e bath tu b. Sh e d oes n ot l i ke bei n g a gi r l i n t h e bat h t u b an y w ay. Sh e l i f ts h er i m p ossi bly h eav y bod y ou t of t h e w at er an d t r i es t o r each f or t h e d oor k n ob, bu t sh e sl i p s an d f al l s d ow n . T h e gi r l i n t h e bat h t u b i s n ow a gi r l on th e f l oor . T h e gi r l i n th e bath tu b l i kes h ot st eam y sh ow er sex . Sh e i s t r y i n g to gi ve a bl ow job to th e m an sh e t h i n k s sh e i s i n l ove w i t h , bu t t h e sh e can h ar d ly br eath e, an d h er k n ees ar e ach i n g on t h e h ar d f l oor of t h e sh ow er . T h e gi r l i n th e bath tu b t r i es t o p u l l h er sel f u p f r om t h e sh ow er f l oor , h i n ti n g at th e m an i n th e sh ow er t h at sh e d oes n ot w an t t o con ti n u e bei n g a gi r l i n th e sh ow er . T h e gi r l i n t h e bat h t u b, w h o i s m om en tar i ly a gi r l i n th e sh ow er , d oes n ot r em em ber h ow sh e becam e a gi r l on th e f l oor , bu t th e m an i n t h e sh ow er t el l s h er sh e f ai n t ed d u r i n g a bl ow job. T h e gi r l i n th e bath tu b m akes a m en t al n ot e t h at sh e i s a gi r l w h o f ai n ts easi ly an d th at sh e sh ou l d n ot be gi v i n g bl ow jobs i n a st eam y bath r oom .

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T h e gi r l i n th e bath tu b i s th an k f u l t o n ot h ave act u al ly l ocked t h e d oor , so w h en h er p ar tn er com es h om e, h e can easi ly p i ck h er u p an d p l ace h er gen tly on th e bed . T h e gi r l i n t h e bat h t u b l i kes bei n g a gi r l on t h e bed . T h e m an w h om sh e i s i n l ove w i t h d oes n ot m i n d l ook i n g at ever y bl ob an d cu r ve of th e gi r l i n th e bat h t u b?s bod y. T h e gi r l i n t h e bat h t u b f i n d s i t d i sr esp ectf u l h ow som eon e can sh ow su ch easi n ess i n f r on t of h er com p l ete n aked n ess. I f som et h i n g m akes h er u n com f or t abl e, su r ely th e l ov i n g th i n g f or th e m an w h om sh e i s i n l ove w i t h t o d o i s agr eei n g w i th h er f ool i sh n ess. T h e gi r l i n th e bath tu b i s f or t h e f i r st t i m e a gi r l i n a sau n a. T h e m an w h om sh e i s i n l ove w i th i s si t t i n g n ex t t o h er bl i n d as h e l ef t h i s gl asses ou tsi d e. T h e gi r l i n th e bat h t u b k n ow s h e i s u n com f or t abl e w i th ou t gl asses an d tr i es to r eassu r e h i m w i t h si l ly jokes. T h e gi r l i n t h e bath tu b f or gets th at sh e d oes n ot l i ke bei n g a gi r l w i t h n o cl ot h es on . T h e gi r l i n th e bath tu b w al k s ou t of t h e st eam y r oom car ef u l ly p l aci n g on e f oot af ter th e n ex t as sh e i s a gi r l w h o f ai n t s easi ly. T h e gi r l i n t h e bath tu b n eed s to m ake su r e th e m an w h om sh e i s i n l ove w i t h d oes n ot sl i p an d f al l on th e w et gr ou n d as h e st i l l h as n o gl asses on . Sh e con ven i en tly f or gets sh e u su al ly on ly l i kes t o t ake bat h s al on e, as sh e h el p s h i m i n th e col d er bath tu b i n t h e sp a. T h e gi r l i n t h e bat h t u b ack n ow l ed ges th at sh e d oes n ot h at e t ak i n g bat h s, so l on g as sh e i s w i t h th e m an w h om sh e i s i n l ove w i t h , r em i n i scen t of an ot h er m an w h o l et h er p l ay w i th w ater as sh e w as ju st a ch i l d . Si tti n g on th e bed , w h i l e p l aci n g a col d w et p i ece of cl ot h on h er f or eh ead , th e m an w h om th e gi r l i n a bat h t u b i s i n l ove w i t h t el l s h er th ey sh ou l d take a bath togeth er n ex t t i m e. T h e gi r l i n t h e bat h t u b agr ees.

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Coronavirus ... You sent us 100-word creative microfiction that deals with the COVI D-19 pandemic. The eight winning works are featured in the next pages.

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M y Q u ar an ti n e Jou r n al Fi n n Jan n i n g D ay 1: I w as exci ted abou t n ot l eav i n g m y ap ar t m en t . D ay 2: I n oti ced I w as n o l on ger an gr y at t h ose w h o w er e st i l l ou t si d e. D ay 3: I r ead an d w r ote. D ay 4: I r ead an d w r ote, an d m ad e op t i m i st i c p l an s abou t w h at t o r ead an d w r i t e. D ay 5: I w as r estl ess, I ate too m u ch . D ay 6: I d r an k a gl ass of w h i skey, an d saw, w i t h n er vou sn ess, t h at t h e bot t l e w as on ly h al f f u l l . D ay 7: I began a p u zzl e w i th m y ch i l d r en . D ay 8: W e gave u p on th e p u zzl e. Too m an y p i eces w er e m i ssi n g.

Egg Sh el l s L .E. Pi n t o H al f aw ake, I h ear crunch, crunch. Egg sh el l s on M om ?s f l oor . Rom an an d I f l ed th e p an d em i c ep i cen ter . Ad u l t si bl i n gs, i n t h ei r ch i l d h ood h om e, r egr essi n g i n to d ecad es- ol d d i sagr eem en t s. D o y ou ever sl eep w al k , Rom an ? N o, h e d oesn ?t. I d o. M om r ecou n ts th e ti m e I w oke h er as a t een ager ; asl eep , f r an t i cal ly r u n n i n g i n th e h al lw ay. Str ess cau ses sl eep d i st u r ban ces. Bu t I ?d n ever t ou ch eggs, I ?m al l er gi c. M om h ear d on e of u s u p i n th e n i gh t . Sh e d i d n ?t op en h er ey es t o see w h o.

A r t w or k : Ton y K an e

W e d i scu ss w h o?ll go ou t f or gr ocer i es t od ay. St or e sh elves h ave been em p ty, d esp i te r eassu r an ces th at th er e ar e n o sh or t ages.

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T h e Q u ar an ti n ed Ci ty Tex t an d ar tw or k : Ken n eth Cal h ou n

T h e qu ar an ti n ed ci ty i s a qu i et as a gr avey ar d . Each bu i l d i n g a t om bst on e f or a h u n d r ed sou l s, each ci ty a cem et er y. W ai t ! W e st i l l get N et f l i x . W e ar en ?t d ead y et, bu t w e d on ?t go ou t . Even sh ad ow s h ave cer t ai n sh y n ess. N oth i n g bai ts d eath m or e th an bei n g al i ve. T h e m ost d an ger ou s t h i n g i s br eath i n g i tsel f . A p ep to- p i n k m i st sp r ead s i n ou r l u n gs. W e h u d d l e ar ou n d th e d u l l gl ow of m on i tor s, w atch i n g t h e t al l i es r i se? t h e m ap s m easl ed , goi n g r ed as th e d ots ex p an d , m er ge. I n f r ar ed w ou l d r eveal t h e h u d d l ed p u p ae i n th e h i ve. W ou l d a bottl e of bou r bon get t h r ou gh t h e l i n e? W ou l d a box of cu p cakes? W h at a r u sh of joy t h at w ou l d br i n g! W e w ou l d cr y - l au gh w i th ch ocol ate sm ear s on ou r teet h . W e w ai t t o see i f t h e d el i ver i es w i l l com e th i s ti m e. Robots ar e m u ch n eed ed , bu t t h at w or k i s p ost p on ed . W e si t above th e em p ty str eets w atch i n g w ebcam s of ot h er v acat ed cor r i d or s, ot h er qu i eted ci ti es. A w h i te van m oves l i ke a p i l l t h r ou gh a f or ei gn cap i t al ?s gu t s. W h at i s i ts car go? Z oom ou t. T h e qu ar an t i n ed ci t y qu i ck ly becom es sm al l an d an ci en t. I t sl ou ch es tow ar d s r u i n i n t i l t - sh i f t an d t i m e l ap se. W e t h i n k , w i l l som eon e of th e f u tu r e ad m i r e i t s l i n es? W e t r u ly w on d er .

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D octor Son an d D octor M oth er Sam an t h a Stei n er A l ex say s m or e p eop l e d i e of th e f l u , h e?s p r obably been ex p osed , h i s si ster ?s p l an n i n g a tr i p to Costa Ri ca bu t t h ei r m om w an t s h er t o can cel , h e th i n k s h i s si ster sh ou l d go an y w ay, ot h er sch ool s h ave on l i n e cl asses bu t th er e?s n o w ay to v i r tu al i ze scr u bbi n g i n t o su r ger y, al l r ot at i on s can cel l ed , h i s si ster l eaves Costa Ri ca ear ly, h e f eel s gu i l t y f or en cou r agi n g th e tr i p , h i s m om w an t s h i m , h i s si st er , an d m e t o sel f - qu ar an ti n e i n h er M assach u set t s basem en t , h e?d r at h er w at ch ap ocaly p se m ov i es i n h i s East H ar l em ap ar t m en t , h i s m om t h r eat en s t o d r i ve to N ew Yor k , w e bu y tr ai n ti cket s.

Pr ess Pau se For N ow Sam Gor d on W ebb

A r tw or k : L au r i e M ar sh al l

L i f e i s a T V ser i es. You br eak f or f r esh ai r . You br eak w h en y ou r ey es sti n g. You br eak i f em oti on s i n v i t e d ar k t h ou gh t s. You br eak i f y ou r l ove l oses i n ter est, f al l s asl eep , cou gh s r el en t l essly. Bu t i f t h e scen e keep s r u n n i n g, th en both y ou r sou l s w i l l m i ss t h e sou n d an d i m ager y of l i f e h ap p en i n g. You p au se at th e w or st m om en t . Bu t t h er e ar e n o con ven i en t m om en ts to p au se. I n stead , y ou d i d i t f or h i m , f or h er , f or t h em , f or al l of u s. Be r ead y to r esu m e qu i te soon . Keep t h e r em ot e cl ose. For n ow, cl ose y ou r ey es, an d l i sten to h eal t h .

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M ay be Rom e H ad I t Com i n g M at th ew P. Gor d on M ay be Rom e h ad i t com i n g M ay be N er o f i gu r ed th er e w asn 't an y th i n g l ef t h e cou l d d o to h el p . M ay be h e l oved p l ay i n g th e f i d d l e A n d f ear ed th i s m i gh t be h i s l ast ch an ce M ay be Rom e h ad i t com i n g A n d N er o Bu r sti n g w i th l ove f or m an k i n d W an ted to l eave th e w or l d w i th a son g A n d n ot a si gh

Con f l u x A m i e M cGr ah am D ay 5:T h i s, too, sh al l p ass. D ay 11:Ri gh t? Ri gh t?? D ay 20 :I t d i d n ?t. D ay 30 :M ost p eop l e d on ?t w an t t o bel i eve h ow ser i ou s t h i s sh i t i s. D ay 35:T h er e ar e n o m or e eggs i n t h e st or es. D ay 39:T h er e ar e n o m or e can d l es. A n y w h er e. A si l ly i n d u l gen ce, bu t n ot as r i d i cu l ou s as Ver on i ca r u n n i n g ar ou n d t ow n i n sear ch of a sp a f i x f or h er ey el ash ex ten si on s. D ay 42:T h er e ar e n o m or e st or es op en . D ay 57:B r eak f ast? stal e p r otei n bar L u n ch ? stal e p r otei n bar D i n n er ? stal e p r otei n bar D ay 70 :W i l l i t alw ay s be th i s w ay ?

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Tex t an d ar tw or k : Ben jam i n Ch am p agn e

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Cov i d - 19 I sol ati on A l ban y Sh au l

I ?m n ot a bi g f an of bei n g al on e. Bu t , bef or e, at l east I w as al on e ar ou n d p eop l e. N ow I ?m al on e ar ou n d w al l s. I w r ot e a p oem abou t i sol at i on , bu t i t w as p r et t y l on g w i n d ed . I w as t r y i n g t o tal k to th e p ap er by w r i t i n g on i t . N o su ch l u ck f or a con ver sat i on . T h e w al l s d on ?t t al k back ei th er so at l east I ?m n ot cr azy y et . I ?ve been d oi n g on e od d t h 51 i n g t h ou gh . I ?ve been r u bbi n g m y back sh ou l d er an d p r et en d i n g som eon e i s p atti n g m e on t h e back .

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In themiddleof thenight...

A r t w or k : C. J. Gu zan

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I n this creative writing challenge, we asked you to submit texts which include the following sentences: "I woke up in the middle of the night" and "The kttchen lights were on." The three winning stories are featured here.

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Bu ses an d T r ai n s W al t er Raf ael Gar ci a M r . H am m on d l ooked l i ke a m an

N or t h Rai l r oad , p r obably t h e

on f i r e, r ed h an d l ebar m u stach e, a

d r i ver ?s f i r st r ou t e of t h e d ay. I ?d

r ed m an e over al l . I d r ew a p i ctu r e

t h en t ake a Con n ect i cu t bou n d

of h i m on f i r e an d p assed i t

t r ai n t o Por t Ch est er , u si n g m y

ar ou n d th e cl ass. H e l au gh ed w h en

sk at eboar d or an ot h er bu s

th e d r aw i n g r each ed h i s d esk . I d i d

af t er w ar d s t o get t o sch ool . M r .

i t a f ew m or e ti m es on d i f f er en t

H am m on d l ooked ch eek y on e

occasi on s, h i s l au gh ter d w i n d l i n g

m or n i n g as m y p al an d I

each ti m e. A f ew d ay s l ater d u r i n g

w h i sp er ed abou t sk at e sp ot s. T h e

h i s cl ass, a m an w i th a l on g

i n vest i gat or k n ocked agai n . I

over coat an d ci r cu l ar sh ad es

w on d er ed i f h e an d M r .

k n ocked on th e d oor an d asked f or

H am m on d w er e i n cah oot s. H e

m e. I n th e h al lw ay h e asked m e i f I

asked m e t o col l ect m y bel on gi n gs,

actu al ly l i ved i n Por t Ch ester , N ew

h e ex p l ai n ed I w asn ?t p ay i n g t axes

Yor k . I tol d h i m of cou r se I d i d .

i n Por t Ch est er an d cou l d n ?t

T h e tr u th w as I tr avel ed ever y d ay

at t en d t h e sch ool an y l on ger . I w as

f r om T h e B r on x . I gave h i m an

t aken t o m y gu i d an ce cou n sel or , a

ad d r ess a r el ati ve on ce l i ved at

t r u st i n g w h ol esom e l ad y w h o even

h op i n g i t w ou l d su f f i ce an d h e

a sh ar k w ou l d n ?t eat . Sh e on ly t ol d

w ou l d n ?t cal l m y bl u f f . I al so d i d n ?t

m e i t w as a sh am e I cou l d n ?t

qu esti on h i s au th or i ty as I w as a

con t i n u e. T h at w as t h e l ast t i m e I

sop h om or e an d th ou gh t an y on e

saw h er , i t w as t h e l ast t i m e I saw

ol d er th an m e w ear i n g gl asses h ad

an y bod y i n t h at sch ool . I d i d n ?t

to be r esp ected . I w oke u p i n th e

even see t h em on soci al m ed i a

m i d d l e of th e n i gh t. T h e k i tch en

y ear s l at er w h en i t began . At t i m es,

l i gh ts w er e on . M y m oth er kep t

I w ou l d t ake t h e t r i p u p t h er e

th em th at w ay becau se sh e k n ew

h op i n g t h er e w er e st r aggl er s t o n o

I ?d be aw ake bef or e d ay br eak to

av ai l , t h e Roan oke Col on y of m y

take bu ses an d tr ai n s to sch ool . I

y ou t h .

w ou l d take a bu s to th e M etr o

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Str an ger L aTavey a Vau l t I w oke u p i n th e m i d d l e of t h e

coor d i n at e m y st ep s, I m an aged t o

n i gh t. T h e k i tch en l i gh ts w er e on .

st u m bl e t o t h e saf e i n t h e cl oset

Sti l l h u n g over f r om th e n i gh t

an d gr ab m y gu n . A f t er a f ew m or e

bef or e, I cou l d bar ely stan d u p an d

m om en t s of si l en ce. I h ear d t h e

keep m y bal an ce. ?W h o?s i n

i n t r u d er t u r n t h e d oor k n ob. ?I

th er e?? I y el l ed bu t on ly si l en ce

h ave a gu n an d I w i l l sh oot ? I

an sw er ed . Su d d en ly I h ear d t h e

t h r eat en ed , bu t t h e st r an ger d i d n ?t

sou n d of sh atter ed gl ass f ol l ow ed

r et r eat . I n st ead a t al l , w h i t e m al e

by l ou d f ootstep s. ?T h e p ol i ce ar e

bar ged i n m y r oom an d f l i p p ed on

on th ei r w ay.? I scr eam ed , h op i n g

t h e l i gh t sw i t ch . I w as sh aken t o

th at m y l i e w as en ou gh t o get t h i s

m y cor e w h en I saw h i s f ace. H ow

str an ger ou t of m y h om e.

cou l d t h i s be? H e w as n o st r an ger ,

Sti l l ? si l en ce. Sti l l u n abl e t o f u l ly

h e w as m e.

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A r tw or k : Cr ee Cu l l ar s 55


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56

A r tw or k : L i sh a N asi p ak


D i n n er T w o N i ck Stor y

I w oke u p i n th e m i d d l e of th e n i gh t .

H e w as t r y i n g t o st i f l e i t , bu t h e

I f el t w eak an d w asn ?t su r e w h er e I

cou l d bar ely d o so. H e w as t u r n i n g

w as. M y br oth er , w h o sl ep t i n t h e

r ed , con v u l si n g, cover i n g h i s m ou t h .

sam e r oom , w asn ?t i n h i s bed . I

H i s ey es cr i n k l ed w i t h joy.

d eci d ed to l ook f or h i m . I got u p

I t w as st r an ge becau se I h ad n ot

an d w en t to th e stai r s.

k n ow n m y f at h er t o l au gh , an d

I w as al m ost h al f w ay d ow n th e st ep s

w h en ever I l au gh ed h e l ooked at m e

w h en I h ear d a con ver sati on , t h e

su sp i ci ou sly, l i ke h e w asn ?t f am i l i ar

cl i n k i n g of si lver w ar e, l ou d ch ew i n g.

w i t h t h e sou n d s I w as m ak i n g. N or ,

T h e k i tch en l i gh ts w er e on . I

as f ar as I k n ew, d i d h e car e m u ch

d escen d ed a l i ttl e m or e an d , over

f or f ood . Bu t at t h i s t i m e of n i gh t

th e ban i ster , I saw m y f am i ly si t t i n g

t h i n gs m u st h ave been d i f f er en t .

at ou r k i tch en tabl e. B ef or e th em

I w on d er ed w h y I h ad n ?t been

w as an en or m ou s m eal . Ear l i er , at

i n v i t ed , w h y I h ad been l ef t asl eep . I

ou r of f i ci al d i n n er , w e?d h ad d r y

al m ost cam e d ow n an d asked , bu t

p or k r oast an d col d gr een bean s. I

som et h i n g p r even t ed m e. I t h ou gh t

h ated i t. Ever y n i gh t I h ated th e

t h at i f I w er e t o si t at t h e t abl e, t h e

m eal s m y m oth er m ad e.

m eal w ou l d be over t h e m om en t I

Bu t at th i s d i n n er , th ey w er e eat i n g

ar r i ved . T h e f ood w ou l d be w r ap p ed

f r i ed ch i cken , ch ocol ate cake, i ce

u p an d p u t i n t h e f r i d ge. Ever y t h i n g

cr eam . I t sm el l ed i n cr ed i bl e.

w ou l d go qu i et an d w ou l d r em ai n

M y m oth er w as p ou r i n g w i n e i n t o a th i n gl ass. M y si ster w as scoop i n g i ce

t h at w ay, n ot on ly t on i gh t bu t f or al l n i gh t s.

cr eam i n to h er d i sh . M y br oth er w as

I w en t back t o bed , con si d er i n g t h e

tossi n g ch i cken bon es over h i s

i ce cr eam , t h e cake, m y f at h er

sh ou l d er . Str an gest of al l w as m y

l au gh i n g. I n t h e m or n i n g I

f ath er , w h o w as l au gh i n g at

p r et en d ed t h at I sl ep t w el l .

som eth i n g m y m oth er w as say i n g. 57

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A r tw or k : A m an d a L am ou r eu x Sm i th


WRITERS John Drudge is a social worker working in the field of disability management. He is the author of two books of poetry: “March” (2019) and “The Seasons of Us” (2019). His work has appeared in the Arlington Literary Journal, The Rye Whiskey Review, Poetica Review, Drinkers Only, Literary Yard, The Alien Buddha Press, Montreal Writes, Mad Swirl, The Avocet, Sparks of Caliope, Harbinger Asylum, Black Coffee Review, The Ekphrastic Review, Cajun Mutt Press, Dissident Voice, La Piccioletta Barca Literary Journal, and the Adelaide Literary Magazine. John is a Pushcart Prize nominee and lives in Caledon Ontario, Canada. Sydnee Smailes graduated last May from Bowling Green State University with a Bachelors Degree in Creative Writing. Now, most of her free time is spent with her furry and reptilian friends, while occasionally getting inspired to write something new. Matt Blessing Lives in Jacksonville, FL, USA with his German Shepard, Tulip. Musician and writer. Akhil Bandi is a 24-year-old from central New Jersey. He graduated from Rutgers University in 2018 with a dual degree in English and Neuroscience. He is currently a pre-doctoral researcher at the Princeton Neuroscience Institute interested in the neural circuits guiding decision making. Mandy Nadyne Clark writes fiction, non-fiction, flash fiction, and poetry. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Pacific Lutheran University. Her work has appeared in Whitefish Review, 100 Word Story, High Shelf Press, and is forthcoming in Third Point Press. Mandy lives in Corvallis, Oregon and loves pizza and rain in no particular order. Jacqueline Viola Moulton is an artist and writer living and working in Seattle, WA. Moulton is a Ph.D. Candidate studying Philosophy and Aesthetics. Samantha Cramer has been in love with poetry since she stole her mother's old college textbook of English poetry from the bookshelf at age 10. Poetry speaks to her of the archaeology of the psyche, the strata of loneliness and desire inside all of us, and the equally strong ache to be fully seen. Samantha is a Northern California native, and lives on the foggy redwood coast of Santa Cruz while working in education in Silicon Valley. Lauren S. Marcus is a Tel Aviv-based writer. Her work has previously appeared in The Jerusalem Post and The Forward, among other publications. Elizabeth Hoover is an MA student of poetry at San Francisco State University. Her poetry has been previously published in Poached Hare poetry journal and used as song lyrics for composers Kevin Lee and Kimberly Slater. Following his graduation from Texas State University in 2018, Warren Stoddard travelled to Syria to fight as a member of the Kurdish YPG, where he was wounded in action against the Islamic State in the Deir ez-Zor Campaign. His writing has appeared in Dice Magazine, The Barely South Review, The Cost of Paper, and other publications. He lives in Birmingham, Alabama and can be found on Instagram @warrenstoddard.


Coleman Bomar is a writer who currently resides in the mountains of East Tennessee. He’d rather write about bathroom graffiti as opposed to sunny days and dewy mornings even though he loves them. His works have been featured by and/or are forthcoming in 365 Tomorrows, Bewildering Stories, Altered Reality, Impressions Literary Magazine, The Scarlet Leaf Review, The Heartland Review, Danse Macabre, Anti-Heroin Chic, Showbear Family Circus Liberal Arts Magazine, Rats Ass Review, Nine Muses Poetry, Plum Tree Tavern, Prometheus Dreaming, SOFTBLOW, Poets’ Choice Zine, Coughsyrup Magazine, Isacoustic, Ethel Zine, Terror House Magazine, Drunk Monkeys, and Eunoia Review. Angie Wright is a pastor and activist of forty years, writing a memoir about race, faith, and family in the South. She was editor and lead contributor to Love Has No Borders, a book about immigrant rights in Alabama. Her essay, Can Love and Manners Get Us Through, was published in the spring 2020 issue of Still Points Arts Quarterly. Joe Imwalle is a first-year MFA candidate in poetry at Saint Mary's College of California. When his nose isn't in a book of poems... he's likely having a picnic, dancing with his daughter, riding a bike, or teaching Spanish and ESL. Joe lives in Oakland, CA with his wife, daughter, dog, cats, books, records, and plants. Kira Stevens is an MFA candidate studying Creative Writing Poetry at The New School in New York City. She is also an intern at the Bowery Poetry Club, where she regularly attends and hosts open mic events. Follow her on Instagram @words4food and on Twitter @kirawritespoems. Sakina Aliakbar was born and raised in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and has since moved to Melbourne, Australia where she completed a Master of Creative Writing. She writes fiction, creative nonfiction and non-fiction, predominantly on issues surrounding culture, identity and sexuality, and occasionally dabbles in screenwriting. Australian writer Luke Patitsas is a graduate of the University of Melbourne, specialising in psychology and philosophy. His passion for writing has led him all around the medium, from poetry to match reports, from fiction to pop-culture analysis. His work has been featured in Farrago Magazine, Verve and The Roar, amongst other outlets. Tiffinie Alvarez is a recent college graduate and currently teaches sixth grade English. She was born and raised in Springfield MA. In her free time she enjoys reading, scrapbooking, and other homebody activities. Wanda Hurren is a writer who has always been fascinated with bodies of water, especially as she grew up on the prairies and now lives on an island off the west coast of British Columbia. Her most recent manuscript, Bodies of Water, is still searching for dry land. Stephanie Eagleson triple-majored in English, Music, and Classical Studies before developing a career in teaching Latin and writing--although she currently focuses most of her instructional efforts on raising three small children. She enjoys gardening, cooking, and canning her own produce. In her stolen time she writes poetry and flash fiction, suffers occasional fits of novel drafting, and blogs at stephaniegaileagleson.wordpress.com. Italian-born, after London and Kyoto, Francesca Ferrauto now lives in Berlin, where she is an online editor and a board member of the Women Writing Berlin Lab. Her dioptric perspectives of the mundane expose the thought-fragmentation caused by multiculturalism, having herself studied Foreign Languages in four different countries. Sometimes performing on Berliner (feminist) stages, Francesca has recently written a poetry collection that is currently being illustrated. Finn Janning, PhD, is a novelist and a philosopher. His work has been featured in Epiphany, Under the Gum Tree, South 85 Journal, and Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, among other publications. He lives in Barcelona, Spain with his wife and their three children.


L.E. Pinto is an internationally recognized elf expert, and has received multiple awards for her contributions to financial literacy and education policy research including an Ontario Legislative Assembly Speakers’ Book Award shortlisted title. She hopes to survive the pandemic in southern Ontario alongside a plucky, recycling maltipoo and a sizeable collection of books. Kenneth Calhoun is a writer and artist living in Boston. His stories have appeared in Ploughshares, Tin House, the Paris Review and the O. Henry Story Prize anthology and his novel, BLACK MOON, was longlisted for the PEN/Bingham Debut Novel Prize in 2015. Artwork is forthcoming in Fiction International and the Santa Monica Review. Samantha Steiner is a visual artist and Fulbright Scholar. She holds a B.A. from Brown University and is an M.F.A. candidate in nonfiction at Sarah Lawrence College. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @Steiner_Reads. Sam Gordon Webb is a student of creative writing at the University of East Anglia. His poetry has featured for Ulalume Lighthouse and the UEA anthology, Squeeze, published by Eggbox. Sam grew up in Washington D.C before moving to London with his loving family. Matthew Gordon is an itinerant biological physicist, dissident kinetic artist, and carbon-based bipedal from Berkeley, CA. He is the founder of Hydrocarbon Collective (www.hydrocarboncollective.org/IG: hydrocarboncollective), and believes Art Should Be Dangerous. Benjamin Champagne works at the Saginaw Art Museum and Temple Theatre in Michigan. He has been writing interstitial pieces, making music and programming art for many years. This piece is part of a daily exercise in writing and multi-media art that he is calling "Panic Poems". Amie McGraham received her BA in English from Arizona State University and is currently writing a novella-in-tweets. Her work has appeared in Exposition Review, r.kv.r.y Literary Journal, Longridge Review, Motherwell, Women on Writing, The Caregiver Space, Best Friends Animal Society and elsewhere. Her flash blog, “This Demented Life,” was featured by AlzAuthors and is followed internationally. Albany Shaul is an upcoming writer and poet. She currently attends classes at UNCG as a major in Media Studies. Walter Rafael Garcia is an emerging writer from the Bronx. He spends his time making music as Walter Rafael and with his band Grand Jaguar. He is also an adventure cyclist chronicling some of his rides through his Instagram and Youtube account Cycle And Eat. LaTaveya Vault is a former UALR film student, playwright & screenwriter. She is a wife and mother of three who loves to travel and spend time with her friends & family. Singing & creative writing are her absolute favorite outlets. Her and her husband plan to one day own their own production studio where they will produce music & creative writing content in all forms. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lataveya; Instagram: @LaTaveyaVault Nick Story is a writer living in Madison, Wisconsin. His fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in the Indiana Review, the Cafe Irreal, and the Offbeat.


VISUAL ARTISTS Cover art: Morning Dawn by Kelly Emmrich. Kelly is an illustrator and animator living and working in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her work has appeared in the magazines 'Moonhood Magazine,' and 'Dream Noir.' She studied creative writing and animation at the University of Mary Washington. She is currently working as a beer label designer for a microbrewery in Afton, Virginia. Arien Reed, Pre-T. Both a traditional and digital artist of landscapes, portraits, and abstracts, the one consistency to Arien’s style is a commitment to variety and an evocation of raw emotion. An acrylic painting on canvas, Pre-T is named after the term trans men use to refer to a time prior to hormonal transition (pre-testosterone). Arien couldn’t imagine a better depiction for such an exhilarating, vulnerable experience of self than a deceptively simple portrait of a moonlit, wilderness landscape which unintentionally ended up resembling Bass Lake, California, where he spent most of his childhood. Benjamin Malay, Resting Place, Acrylic on wood, 16x11. Benjamin works in a variety of mediums to create deeply personal images of people and places, embracing imperfect memory and fleeting life. Influenced by patterns of the natural world, he is most inspired by the spontaneous use of available materials. He is the sole proprietor of a fine art framing business in Seattle, Washington. Visit him at: www.benjaminmalay.com Aurelie Crisetig (b. 1992) is a Swiss photographer and visual artist. She uses photography as a tool to explore the alteration of human memory in a world overwhelmed by digital entities. Working both with film and digital photography, her works reflect on the constant use of mechanical recordings, especially in public and cultural places. Cree Cullars is writer, poet, and visual artist. Her work has been published in High Shelf Press, The Garland Court Review, and Wingless Dreamer. Her art is currently showcased at the Zhou B Art Center in Chicago, IL until September of 2020. Tony Murray, Boot Black; Caution Advised. Tony is a self-taught artist. His work begins with a title and then he goes about using a variety of mediums to illustrate that vision. His works include sculpture, photography, scratchboard, videography and "Sculptography", which combines sculpture and photography. Sarah Rangel is an artist, photographer, and writer residing in San Antonio, Texas. Avery Kester, Euphoria. Avery is a digital artist, writer, and theatre producer. Their publications include: Standing on Bus Chairs in 30 North Literary Review, The Death of the Sun in HCE Review, What Kills Us in Sand Hills Literary Magazine, and an excerpt of full length play She, A Rose in the Paragon Journal. Avery is the Artistic Director of Portland based theatre project, The Theatre Viscera. Julie Gallagher, Nautilus. Julie is an artist residing in New Jersey. She is currently attending Kean University in Union and is studying art. Her focus is in representation painting and drawing. Visit her at: www.JulieGallagherArt.com JP Hamma, pHardonHer. JP is a teacher, wife, mother, and amateur activist living in the suburbs of Chicago. Sabrina Jovic, Woman. Sabrina is from Ontario, Canada. She finds peace of mind in creating art through mixed media, music and writing. She has had several works exhibited throughout Ontario and featured in Open Minds Quarterly.


Michelle Riofrio, When I Met My Ugly. Michelle is a multimedia visual artist who was born and raised in South America, and currently residing in Harlem, New York. She holds a BFA and a BA in Linguistics and a MS in Communication: Digital Media. Michelle’s recent art engages in a dialogue about the internal struggles young people undergo and the difficulty to remain hopeful. Erica Jasmin Dixon, Pour Out My Tears, acrylic painting. Erica is a writer, artist, and a current student of the Queens University of Charlotte MFA in Creative Writing program. Her creative work has been published or is forthcoming in Red Fez Publications, Dream Noir Literary Magazine, and blood orange tarot. Though her travels lead her around the world, she is originally from North Carolina. Liz Calderwood, Where You Belong, 2017. Oil, 30"x30". Spokane, WA - Age 42. Through painting, Liz creates a visual display of Pure Expression. With the main heartbeat of her work living in an abstract expressionist space, she works almost entirely in oils with charcoal and inks following closely behind. In her own words "I dump it out, honestly and (at times) messily"; she will leave it on the canvas - never to fixate on that moment or feeling again. It is her solemn promise to herself. Her work doesn’t always reference a recognizable form, rather - it portrays a deep feeling, in that very moment. C.J. Guzan, Lightning Bug Flower - Acrylic, 24"x18"; Pipe Light - Oils, 8"x12"; New Age Angler Colored Pencil, Ink, Digital Illustration; Purple Cabin - Photograph, Digital Illustration. C.J. is an Artist, Actor, and Improviser from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His drawings and cartoons can be enjoyed on 'C.J.'s Drawings' on Facebook, as well as his Patreon page: 'C.J. Guzan (C.J.'s Drawings)', where you can support him and his work in a more personalized manner. C.J.'s work of all kinds can be found on his website cjguzan.me and are available for purchase via his Spreadshirt Shop, 'Forged In Butter'. Noah Atkinson, Pool of Sound. Noah is a film photographer working in North Florida. He takes medium format pictures of night scenes in attempt to create a feeling of isolation and otherworldliness through use of contrasting colors, negative space, and eerie atmospheres. Jaina Cipriano is a photographer, set designer and director creating visual metaphors for emotions she has trouble defining. Without the help of Photoshop, she builds physical environments that open her subjects up to become part of something bigger, priming the space for an authenticity that is so visceral it brings the viewer back to their own memories. Jaina's work takes the shape of a dream you wake up already forgetting, tasting only the vivid edges while the center dissolves. Marieken Cochius, Morning With Lover. 2019. Pastel and ink on paper. 24 x 34 in. Marieken is a Dutch-born artist who has lived and worked in New York City since 1987, and in the Hudson Valley since 2013. Meditative, strong and intuitive work that often explores growth forms, movement and containment of energy, she is drawn to remote places where she studies nature and makes art inspired by it. Her work encompasses drawing, painting, sculpture and printmaking. A sculptural public commission was completed in 2017 for the Village of Wappingers Falls, NY. Amanda Kendrick, Recollection. Amanda is an artist currently pursuing her MFA in Painting from Purdue University. Her work focuses on such concepts as childhood memory, nostalgia, space, and familial relationships. The painting, Recollection, is from a series titled “Bittersweet”.


Erika Glass, Flipside; Fine. Erika aims to illuminate the extraordinary of the everyday in her paintings. Exploring the use of color, detail, and movement in her works, she presents these pieces as perspectives of the human experience, and hopes to provoke emotion, curiosity, and clarity with her creations. Leilani Rose, Escape. Leilani is a writer and editor based out of the New York City metropolitan area whose work has been published worldwide in both digital and print (www.leilanirose.com). She was previously based out of the Middle East, where she taught English and worked as a journalist covering high-tech and global innovation. Her visual art has manifested itself as murals, portraits, and exploratory mixed media pieces — it has appeared in galleries on the East Coast and has been commissioned in the Middle East. Cass Graybeal Brown, Hummingbird. Cass is a freelance illustrator and full time patent draftsperson. While at the Savannah College of Art and Design, she graduated with a B.F.A in Illustration and a minor in Scientific Illustration. She cultivates a freelance career focused on the fight against climate change and for preservation. Tony Kane, Drop Dead Eggs. 2019. Ink on paper. 9"x9"; There is a Plant on my Windowsill. 2019. Ink on paper. 9"x9". Tony is a Portland-based artist specializing in illustration, character art, and off-beat portraiture. His drawings incorporate abstract philosophy, abstract cynicism, and abstract humor, involving just enough intellectual effort to fall between illustration and fine art. He has had the pleasure of drawing illustrations for short stories, poems, promotional bills, brand logos, and nonpartisan propagandistic literature in the San Francisco Bay Area and Portland since 2013. Meganne Rosen, Bathymetry. Meganne is an artist and educator living in the American midwest. She has a Master’s of Fine Arts from California College of the Arts. Rosen teaches studio art and art history classes at Missouri State University and a local community college. Ashley Balderrama is a Latinx photographer based in Los Angeles, and Diana Vergara is a writer and producer based in NY. She's in Bloom is part of a photo-poetry collaboration titled "We Are Flowers". The series was written by Diana and photographed by Ashley. Blair Treuer, SelfPortrait. Blair is an emerging Portrait Artist who paints with fabric and draws with thread. She is self-taught and works from her home deep in the woods in rural Northern Minnesota, where she lives with her husband who is a Native American educator and activist, and their 9 children. Ann-Marie Brown, Desi in Her Mother's Dress. Ann-Marie is a Canadian artist based on the Sunshine coast of B.C. After completing studies in Europe and a Cultural Studies degree at Trent University, she began an artistic practice which led her to the medium of encaustic & oil painting. She's continued to develop though workshops and residencies, most recently a residency at the Artsu Studio in Helsinki Finland. Ann-Marie’s paintings have been exhibited in Canada & the United States, and included in private, public and corporate collections. Serge Lecomte, After The Honeymoon. Serge is a novelist (Snake Route and more), poet (Mother Speaks and more), playwright (Lasagna Gives me Gas and more) and painter. After 36 years in Alaska he moved to Bellingham WA. He has worked as a teacher, pipefitter, bartender, medic, gardener, poetry editor and translator. Visit him at: https://sergelecomte.weebly.com Laurie Marshall, Shannon. Laurie is a writer, artist, and improv actor who lives in NW Arkansas with her husband and teenage son. She's a fan of soft pants, nature-bathing and slow fashion, and uses more swear words than her grandma did at her age. Currently obsessed with paper collage and flash fiction.


K. Carlton Johnson, Walmart Shopping. K. Carlton’s work has appeared in Rattle, MacGuffin, The Diner, and Barley South - to mention just a few. She is both a visual artist and poet, living on the banks of Lake Superior. She finds that her visual work compliments her poetic eye. She has a blog of visual work at kcarltonjohnson3.blogspot.com On any given day, you can find Lisha Nasipak in her studio tucked away in a corner of her home, a cup of brewed tea at her side and a paint brush in her hand. Working with watercolors since 1992, her work has been in local co-ops, gift shops and local art shows in Ohio. “Time for Bed”, a charcoal portrait was featured in the Living Artists 13th Edition Directory of Artists through their annual art contest. Her painting was created from a photo taken by Suzy Knabel from a site called Paint My Photo, www.pmp-art.com. Lisha appreciates Suzy’s great photo! Amanda Lamoureux Smith, Blue Antidote. Amanda is an abstract and mixed media visual artist residing in The United States. Amanda paints with acrylics and utilizes her footprint as a signature on the back of her artwork. Amanda focuses her inspiration on quotes to begin each piece using layering as a technique to showcase emotive outlets others may relate to through transformation and the beauty and chaos that is life. This artwork came to fruition after Amanda learned through a documentary that Prussian Blue is an antidote for certain poisons. Sparking an intrigue for the color, Amanda felt inspired and drawn to use Prussian Blue for the base color on her next piece, which is featured here in Beyond Words. This artwork is for sale— message Amanda on Instagram for inquiries, her username is artandastrology_boston.


Contents 0 1 T i d es Joh n D r u d ge 0 3 T h e Yar d Ben eath T h e O n ly Bu ckey e T r ee I 've Ever Seen Sy d n ee Sm ai l es 0 4 O bscu r a M att B l essi n g 0 7 M i r r or Tal k A k h i l B an d i 0 9 I n Case You Sp ot M y M i ssi n g Fath er M an d y Cl ar k 11 I Got Sober bu t I 'm Sti l l D r ow n i n g Jacqu el i n e M ou l t on 13 I n Si tu Sam an th a Cr am er 15 h er e, bu t n ot h er e L au r en M ar cu s 18 d o th e gi r l f r i en d an d boy f r i en d m ash El i zabet h H oover 20 A Far - O f f Pl ace W ar r en Stod d ar d 24 Fr ost Col em an B om ar 25 A ssem bly L i n e A n gi e W r i gh t 26 SW EET ! Ch al l en ge i n cl u d i n g Joe I m w al l e, K i r a St even s an d Sak i n a A l i ak bar 28 Con f essi on s L u ke Pati tsas 30 T h e Back y ar d Gar d en T i f f i n i e A lvar ez 34 Sed i m en ts W an d a H u r r en 36 Fl at T i r e Step h an i e Eagl eson 38 T h e Gi r l i n th e B ath tu b Fr an cesca Fer r au t o 44 Cor on av i r u s i n cl u d i n g Fi n n Jan n i n g, L .E. Pi n t o, Ken n et h Cal h ou n , Sam an th a Stei n er , Sam Gor d on W ebb, M at t h ew P. Gor d on , A m i e M cGr ah am , Ben jam i n Ch am p agn e an d A l ban y Sh au l 52 I n th e m i d d l e of th e n i gh t... Ch al l en ge i n cl u d i n g W al t er Raf ael Gar ci a, L aTavey a Vau l t an d N i ck Stor y

Beyond Words I nternational Literary M agazine