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Dark Talent

By Natasha Oladokun Poetry

      The Piano, Jane Campion (1993) This, the ocean’s rustled babble— was it the first sound the first woman heard as she was cut out of another body’s desire, wet and sand-soaked as a shell pried out from the shore? How could it not have been thus— like now with you, expected one, shuttered in,…

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Jacob’s Ladder

By Javier Acosta Poetry

Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely God is present in this place, and I did not know it!” Shaken, he said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the abode of God, and that is the gateway to heaven.”                      …

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The Revolt Against Narcissus

By Robert Cording Essay

IN A SCENE from book 4 of Milton’s Paradise Lost, Adam and Eve talk one evening of the glories of Eden and their unmerited free creation by God, unaware that they are being watched by Satan. This little scene takes place shortly after Satan’s shape-shifting arrival in Eden and serves as a kind of foreshadowing…

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Gravity and Grace

By Betsy Sholl Poetry

Grace fills empty spaces, but it can only enter where there is a void to receive it… ————————————-—Simone Weil Simone Weil, it’s hard to concentrate on you with those three boys on the next bench blowing up balloons and letting them go, all squirt and grunt, fizzling into— the void, I think you’d say. And…

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Answers from the Whirlwind

By Amit Majmudar Poetry

Has birth ever peeled you apart Has birth ever hollowed you out For I have seen a woman being transfigured Into lips her water breaking like the first Ocean spilling between the thighs of creation And then between those lips her firstborn crowning Like a tongue that dips to test the light and scalds Have…

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Anniversary

By Franz Wright Poetry

1. February 2, 2008: Learning the Rosary Birth is the first affliction but there is no birth. Birth is the beginning of endless affliction ending finally in dying but there is no death. This has never been explained to me in words, but mutilations. I watch you watching something from the window and smiling in…

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The Name of God

By Anya Silver Poetry

Like a baker, swaddling the juice and heft of apples in pastry, I want my mouth to cradle the delicious name of God. Kissing the Torah, I breathe the dust that has lain on the name of God, imagine ink on my indrawn breath. I will dream myself into the body of a bee. I…

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Desire

By Dennis Covington Essay

WHEN MY FATHER’S PEOPLE came down from the Appalachians to work in the mills and mines of north Alabama, they brought with them a desire for strong drink, loose women, and visitations by the Holy Ghost. A census taker who interviewed some of these Covingtons noted that they were illiterate, and then also checked the…

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Salt Wife

By Amy McCann Poetry

Cured to permanent gown, a mineral seep—all tears, all weep. The lick I am. The lips I’ll crimp in the swap of elements—the more of them, the more I melt. My backdrop old smoke in the shape of tents, my city most flagrant in absence— gutted cavity under the stilted SOS of stars. I have…

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Ideal Marriage

By Janet Peery Short Story

THROUGH A WARMING NIGHT the ice dams on the Big Slough thawed, and in the morning the first robins, antic in their hunt for worms, hopped in the south yard. Freddie Cahill’s spirit, dormant through what had seemed the longest winter of the eighty-some she’d spent on earth, stirred once again to meet the season’s…

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