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The Doubt that Breathes Beside You

By Stina Kielsmeier-Cook Essay

1. We are late to church and sneak along the outer edge of the sanctuary, the pine floors creaking under our careful steps. I slide into the pew next to my husband. My leg brushes against him, this man I love, a man who recently lost faith in God. I scan the bulletin and try…

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Fighting Fish

By Samuel Thomas Martin Short Story

FRED, THEIR BETTA FISH, IS DEAD. Christopher tips scummy water into the wilted tomato on the fire escape and gazes at the red body in his hand. He thinks about tossing Fred into the alley for the neighbor’s tabby before Damien wakes up from his nap, but decides against it. Ruth always strolls up the…

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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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The Newest Thing in the World

By David McGlynn Short Story

FOR THE LAST MONTHS of his life, my father lived upstairs from us. His ceiling pitched all the way to the floor, and three tall windows overlooked the pines and the bayou behind the house. For furniture there was a double bed, an oak dresser, and a nightstand—any more wouldn’t fit. The room had never…

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Pigeons and Turtledoves

By Mike Smith Essay

THOUGHTS OF ETERNITY have always terrified me. Sometimes at night I would try to trick myself into imagining it, the experience of never-endingness, and think myself into a cold sweat, starting from the horror to which I had brought my mind. Most often, my late wife Emily was able to sleepily talk me back down, but…

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Four Short-Short Stories

By Erin McGraw Short Story

Breaking Glass NOT THINKING, I MENTION the Year of Breaking Glass in front of Ben. His face tightens, but he doesn’t pretend he doesn’t know what I’m talking about, or doesn’t hear the faint yearning in my voice. The year was more like two years, on and off. Glass exploded and covered my couch or kitchen…

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The Nature of a Marriage

By Jessica Murphy Book Review

The Maytrees by Annie Dillard (HarperCollins, 2007) A NEW BOOK by Annie Dillard comes with extraordinarily high expectations. We expect her observations to make us sit up and notice the natural world—and our part in it—with new eyes. We expect to focus small in order to think large. We expect her lyricism to impress, her language…

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Pilgrim

By James Calvin Schaap Short Story

ON MONDAY AFTERNOON, Ray Martin ran into a crowd at an early season indoor track meet, hundreds of kids in a dozen colorful uniforms lounging all over, if they weren’t high-stepping in some warm-up ritual dance or actually lining up for a sprint. Everywhere you looked there were perfectly formed bodies, as if there’d been…

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After Love

By Robert Cording Poetry

Our opened mouths close, but the soft boundary of our bodies remains porous for a while longer. An exchange keeps going on between the darker afternoon light inside and the brighter light outside. The day is loosening its hold. Birds flash across the windows, unidentified. We are still not back from wherever it is we…

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