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The Cloud of Unknowing

By Kevin Honold Essay

I. The TAXI DRIVER stopped and gestured to the empty desert. “There.” I saw nothing. “Where?” “There.” Now I saw, or thought I saw, some irregularity in the distance, about a mile away—the reflection of standing water, or maybe the attenuated shadow of a dip in the ground. After I paid the man, he sped…

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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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This Time on Earth

By Dick Allen Poetry

What you want to do is turn around slowly, keeping your hands where everyone can see them, and a pleasant smile on your face. You want to confess to all who tracked you to this alley how you were forever afraid of being found out with a bag of wrong answers: To get to Peru,…

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St. John

By Peter Levine Short Story

MY OLDER SISTER calls to tell me about him. She is upset. Not upset, but worried. She said she saw him—a guy she went to high school with, in line at the grocery store. This was in the town in which we grew up; she moved back and I moved far away, didn’t have any intention…

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Willie’s Not Right

By Sydney Lea Poetry

He’s Isaiah sometimes, sometimes Elijah, or even the Son of Man, though no one on earth would ever see a prophet—much less a divinity— in Willie, back on probation, rumpled and stinking. His lank hair’s dyed a color not found in nature. His lips clamp a roll-your-own smoke gone cold. I’m a coward. I play…

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By Scott Russell Sanders Short Story

(1994) FROM THE BREAKFAST BUFFET, Aurora slipped an apple and a banana into the pockets of her apron before opening the doors of the Seneca Hotel café. She looked around for the two skinny, towheaded schoolboys who often sidled up to accept her secret handouts. She never gave them donuts or sugary drinks, but always…

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The Reading Wars

By Jeanne Murray Walker Essay

IT’S 103 DEGREES in Lincoln, Nebraska, and my mother is sitting at the kitchen table, twisting the elastic steel band of my father’s big watch around her wrist. She is paging through a book as massive as the New York telephone directory. It contains all of Shakespeare’s plays. The letters are the size of midges,…

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Sometimes It’s Easy to Know What I Want

By Julia Spicher Kasdorf Poetry

On a road that cuts through the richest, non-irrigated land in the nation, according to some Lancaster, PA, natives, a minivan slowed, and a woman with a good haircut yelled, Do you want a ride, or are you walking because you want to? I didn’t reply because my life felt so wrecked— no matter the…

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Dispatches from the Prayer Tower

By Meredith K. Gray Short Story

THE ETERNAL FLAME was out when I got to work this morning. I was in the middle of smearing on a little lipstick, and I nearly ran it right across my face as I stared up at the empty patch above the spire at the top of the Prayer Tower. This, of course, made me…

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