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cary stough

THE MID-SOUTHERN WORD FOR DEATH IS EDUCATION by Cary Stough

I grieve that grief ~ Today, when I was being caught up on the news of whether or not my cousin Brian had accepted therapeutic treatment upon being released from the White Oak Psychiatric Hospital, my mother called him a “stubborn soul.” Today was a week after he had called every member of his family speaking of ending his life. A week before when I had spoken to her about the calls every member of my family received I was sitting in a black wooden chair in my partner’s apartment in Allston, Massachusetts, which is about a twenty-minute walk from

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sara chansarkar

NOT FOREVER, SNOWMAN by Sara Chansarkar

You be my Christmas, Snowy. Keep me company this holiday season, that’s all. No Forevers for me, now. Forever lasted only four years and 17 days and left me with this I-am-sorry-note on a neon post-it stuck under the coffee machine, this black-and-white check scarf hung between my coats, and a weight pulling me down like dumbbells attached to my body parts. I’d seen that little minx and the sorcery in her mascaraed caramel eyes ─ the liquid ones made to steal ─ as they bore into his. She’d smiled at me wicked as she sized up my full body.

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SONNY CROCKETT CIRCA 2004 by Ryan Hall

The chain-store you were employed at made so many bad decisions that you pictured board meetings full of cross-eyed and drooling executives, giving power-point presentations that were actually crude finger-paintings rendered in their own feces. And it was there, at the end of things, that you met Ricky. He first showed up wearing faded acid-washed jeans and neon blue cowboy boots, with fluffed and teased hair pulled into a pony-tail. He walked right up to you, stationed in the cafe slinging shit coffee and stale snacks for every third customer that didn’t ask where the nearest Starbucks was. Standing in

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james mcadams

WHERE WE MARCHED, HIS FINAL YEARS by James McAdams

Here’s a pic of Dad and me marching at the Inauguration Protest, January 20th, 2017, he’s holding the IMPEACH TRUMP sign I duct-taped to his hand. He voted for Trump but that didn’t matter—what mattered, according to his neurologist, was that he get fresh air, sunlight, and exercise, away from the confinements of Lush Horizons. This one, yes, that’s him marching with the pink Breast Cancer Awareness cap at the Women’s March, January 21st. His gait palsied, hands slapping the air, mind still in the 60’s, the decade he said changed everything, the decade I was born. At the airport,

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THE BROKEN TEETH DIARIES by Joe Bielecki

We used to be in a mouth but were evicted by a fist in the winter outside of a bar by a bouncer. We weren’t unhappy in our home, but we didn’t mind being free from being drowned in alcohol and choked by smoke every day. The snow was cool. We hibernated like little white bears. We mingled with razor sharp salt that was used to tear through the ice that the snow was packed down to create. Our enamel was scraped away slowly. Small cracks formed and were filled with melted snow that froze in the night and expanded

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harris lahti

BONDO by Harris Lahti

That summer I started working at Lexington Home for minimum wage. I spent shifts convincing residents to swallow pills brimming from paper cups. It was a powerful position. Or at least that’s what I told friends. I told them I could’ve swallowed every pill if I wanted. But the only question anyone ever asked was: “What happened to you?” I was permanently limping. My hips, shins, elbow were riddled with lumps and eggs. The city of Albany was full of cracks that stopped skateboard wheels dead and, it seemed, I’d found every one. I discovered the pink goo of car

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clio valentza

A CATALOGUE OF TEMPORARY OBJECTS by Clio Velentza

One by one they sat for their portraits. Littlest ones first. They stopped at the door and undid their braids. They rubbed their hair with vinegar and pinched their cheeks. The oldest ones were fearsome, they didn’t know how to listen anymore. One pricked her finger and spread the blood on her lips. They rolled up their ribbons and stuck them in their shoes. They spat and brushed their eyebrows. One by one. Littlest ones first, these ones still had hope. The photographer had one grey eye and one black. He would close an eye to look at them, and

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DIPIETRANTONIO

KENTUCKY SHITS by Giovanni DeJaneiro

Steven lived alone in a small house on a cattle ranch at the bottom of a hidden valley.  He didn’t have city water, air conditioning, or internet. The kitchen stank. Empty beers crowded the table and counters and stovetop.  A flyswatter hung on the wall—flies hummed through the air. Dishes towered in the sink. Bright orange slime curdled in a dirty saucer, seemingly the source of the hideous reek. He inflated a mattress in the family room, where a floral couch faced a huge wood stove.  Grains of rice, toenail clippings, bottle caps, and dirty tissues overspread the coffee table.

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teddy duncan

THEME PARK SUICIDE by Teddy Duncan

I’d been to six flags before and I knew that there was a ride called goliath that you could manually unbuckle the seat belt even after the ride had begun. I don’t fully understand what I was thinking at the time but I don’t think anyone does when you get away from a sickness like that, like when you have a stomach ache and forget what it feels like for your stomach to be normal and you wish and hope and pray for it to be normal and for the stomach ache to end, so that normal becomes a glorious

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clare tascio

OPENING WEEKEND by Clare Nazarena Tascio

OPENING WEEKEND THE HARD PART IS THAT IT ISN’T HARD. TO GO ON LIVING. AFTER. THE LIVING JUST…GOES. JUST GOES ON AND ON! WITHOUT ME. AND I HAVE TO WATCH IT GO. AND I CAN’T CATCH UP TO IT. AND I CAN’T REALLY WANT TO. SO IT GOES. ON AND ON.   SOMETIMES I SIT IN THE FRONT ROW, BECAUSE NO ONE WANTS TO SIT IN THE FRONT ROW, AND BECAUSE IT’S LIKE SITTING REALLY CLOSE TO A BONFIRE. I WANT YOU CLOSER AND BIGGER. BUT SOMETIMES I SIT ALL THE WAY IN THE BACK. WHEN I’M THAT FAR AWAY

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