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Stuck in Crafts

By Thea Swanson Short Story

I EAT A BALONEY SANDWICH every day on my lunch break at Jo-Ann Fabrics. Yesterday, my father, who is close to enlightenment and who wanted to use my employee discount, came in looking for red fabric for a new prayer shawl. He saw mustard on the corner of my mouth and his eyes darkened, then…

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The Dawning

By Claire McGoff Poetry

I look out from a convenience-store doorway, just off a mid-summer Indiana exit, to where he stretches halfway under our truck— body flush against the days of oil and dust washed and unwashed away. He scans the underside to find a leak that trickles from beneath the axle and metal sheltering our children who stir…

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The Unpronounceable Psalm

By Nicholas Samaras Poetry

I couldn’t wrap my mouth around the vowel of your name. Your name, a cave of blue wind that burrows and delves endlessly, that rings off the walls of my drumming, lilting heart, through the tiny pulsations of my wrists, the blood in my neck. I couldn’t hold the energy of your name in my…

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Fish Ladder, Damariscotta

By Paul Mariani Poetry

Huge schools of them, home from the Atlantic: flakes of iced mercurial steel, each body surging upstream through the flint-flecked crevices as in a dream, entering the crush of falls to reach the upper lakes. Spent now by the journey, they have returned in a bright kenotic ecstasy to spawn at last and die. A…

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Scottie

By Elizabeth Smither Short Story

THERE WAS a great blackened pan being eased out of the greasy oven by a tiny old woman in padded oven gloves. No one in the crowded kitchen—yellow walls, hideous mess, marijuana smoke and incense—came forward to help her. But someone, a joker, called out “What is it this time, Scottie? One of your concoctions?”…

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Pilgrimage

By Paula Huston Short Story

SHE HAD A CHOICE: she could have flown to Boston to make a proper farewell. Gene was sure of it. “He’s in a very loving state these days, Melanie. Very weak, very thin, very loving. You’d hardly recognize him. I know it would mean a lot if you came.” But she couldn’t. They were fifteen…

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Bruce Springsteen and the Long Walk Home

By Andy Whitman Essay

LATE AT NIGHT I walk the streets of my hometown, my hands stuffed deep in the pockets of my leather jacket to ward off the winter chill, and dream of superstardom. By this time I figured I’d have written the great American novel, worked on the Hollywood screenplay, and consulted with DeNiro and Streep on how…

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The Art Student

By Charles Turner Short Story

MRS. WALLER WAS seventy-one years old and she kept her invalid husband in cigarettes and beer by posing for the figure-drawing class at the academy. Her first name was Inez, but neither the instructor nor the students ever called her anything but Mrs. Waller. Darrell Horn, honorably discharged from Uncle Sam’s navy, had no idea…

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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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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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