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The Baptism of Sister Arlene Anderson

By Marilyn Abildskov Short Story

BETWEEN SLEEP AND WHAT FOLLOWS sleep, she pushes against water, gasping for air. It’s not until she wakes—at the edge of daylight—that her mind registers two thoughts simultaneously: that her knees ache, that Albert is still dead. On this, a Sunday morning, a third thought follows as she begins moving her legs to the edge of…

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Roman Charity

By Tracy Brimhall Essay

THE LAST TIME YOU SAW your mother alive, she helped you heal from your C-section. It wasn’t what you planned, with your careful study of the benefits of natural childbirth, your doula, your pelvic carriage the midwife called beautiful. Your own mother’s births had been natural, her milk abundant. She always said that being a mother…

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Go Gentle

By Richard Pierce Poetry

What good is fighting now? You’re dying. Light will greet you wherever you go. Or it will not. Go gentle into that good night. Why rage against your sleep another night with fists that won’t unclench the twisted sheet? What good is fighting now? Your dying light shines its blossom of sharpened bones. Your plight,…

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Pont des Arts

By Richard Jones Poetry

The pain passes, ——but the beauty remains.                             —Renoir Wandering the Musée de l’Orangerie with my sister, we find a bouquet of roses painted in 1878 by Auguste Renoir, voluptuous white roses placed in a red velvet chair. My sister says Renoir’s last word was “flowers” and that toward the end of his life he…

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In Our First House of Marriage

By Gerard Smyth Poetry

I think of the days in our first house of marriage, in our country of clouds that were black like shadows on shadows, when hope and history seemed to hang in the balance between the bomber and the assassin. Those were the evenings spent leaning across the wooden table to hear the talk of dear…

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Eulogy

By J.C. Rubin Short Story

THE CARDIOLOGIST SAID Max Wody’s heart was hard as iron and that’s what killed him. It shouldn’t surprise you that these words offended his wife and three daughters. Two of the girls—really I should call them women—mentioned this in their eulogies. I always knew he was a good man, but to hear what they had…

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Verdigris

By Melissa Range Poetry

Not green as new weeds or crushed juniper, but a toxic and unearthly green, meet for inking angel wings, made from copper sheets treated with vapors of wine or vinegar, left to oxidize for the calligrapher. When it’s done, he’ll cover calfskin with a fleet of knotted beasts in caustic green that eats the page…

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Grief Daybook: A Love Supreme

By Carol Ann Davis Poetry

Today it’s like water in the ear, a slow bleed in the brain, thinking of your bones and the marrow inside them. Last night, half-awake, I leaned into the siren as it passed and thought of Coltrane writing his liner-note prayer —it all has to do with it— and listened for the drumbeat of another…

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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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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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