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In Tandem

By Fred Marchant Poetry

If a winter storm had ever toppled the blue spruce that towered over the Tandem nursing home, you would not have asked how old the tree was and by that mean a good life had been long enough. You would not have said the tree would no longer suffer indignities and use that to erase…

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Unless a Kernel of Wheat Falls

By Ryan Masters Essay

I. EVERY FACE IN THE NEONATAL intensive care unit looked apologetic and scared, like old, lonely men do on their deathbeds. A nurse told my wife Georgie how lonely she had been ever since her husband died. An intern cried alone in the far corner of the room and sent her condolences later via email. One…

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Waiting with Cynthia

By Jeffrey Harrison Poetry

While my brother and I waited for our father to die, which took longer than we thought it would, one of the hospital’s chaplains came in to visit us. Her name was Cynthia, and the first thing she did was read some passages from The Book of Common Prayer as we stood around our father—…

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Tongue Is the Pen

By Brett Foster Poetry

Isaiah 43 I am making all things new! Or am trying to, being so surprised to be one of those guys who may be dying early. This is yet one more earthen declaration, uttered through a better prophet’s more durable mouth, with heart astir. It’s not oath-taking that I’m concerned with here, for what that’s…

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Question for My Father

By William Wenthe Poetry

When I look up, into the needles of the cypress tree, brown in November, I see cinnamon—I see wood of violins, breast feathers of the sedge wren, a setter’s fur, toasted grain…. I see the cypress glowing within a cloudless noon, pale blue at horizon as background of a Botticelli annunciation, that turns unpaintably, achingly…

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On Lazarus, Weeks before Her Death

By Bronwen Butter Newcott Poetry

She wants to believe he clung to death, that the sweetness of the light that took him soaked him until he was fat with gladness, that bringing him back to the dark cave, making him breathe through oil-soaked cloth, pushing life back into his stiffened fingers and toes, that calling him with a siren’s voice…

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Great Issues

By Peter Cooley Poetry

What can the sky say, waiting for the sun, which may or may not come, the leafless trees, unless I speak for them, their waiting deep as tap roots’ cold, suspended burrowing? I can always write another poem but I am tired of speaking of the world. If he wants a spring poem, let the…

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Death Seat

By Jillian Barnet Poetry

Night before last I hit a deer as I sped meteor-like down a dark road—the thud of meeting bone beneath flesh. Last night it was a man, only he made no sound flying from the car’s bumper into blackness. Maybe it wasn’t me, but that shadowy figure behind the wheel, with me in the death…

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My Mother in Connecticut

By Daniel Donaghy Poetry

After the snow stops and the sky opens cloudless over the mountains, and after three pairs of cardinals flutter back to our feeder, I stand by the kitchen window watching them as I did two years ago this week, talking to you on the phone, tube in your throat capped, strength, you said, coming back…

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Conversation at Heaven’s Gate

By Kelli Russell Agodon Poetry

I When my father meets God he says, Let me introduce myself…. When my father meets God he says, Am I too early? Too late? When my father meets God he says, Do you serve drinks here? When my father meets God he says, It was easier not to believe. When my father meets God…

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