Fiction

DUCK, DUCK, OWL by Michelle Ross

The ducks are a pair—Mallards from the pond in the nearby park. Every evening, they claim the shallow end of the swimming pool, float in languid circles. They’re not threatened by the woman watching them from the canvas chair. They don’t even startle when she goes inside the house to pour more prosecco.  The woman is a divorcée—she’s lived alone in this house twelve years. Her grown daughters transplanted thousands of miles away. Boyfriends have spent the night from time to time, but there’s no boyfriend now.   The woman notes the elegant (pompous?) curve of the ducks’ breasts and necks.

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Fiction

WE THOUGHT YOU MIGHT LIKE TO KNOW by Jamy Bond

That your mother is dying alone in a room at St. Francis. The stale sighs of a ventilator echo through the hallways, pumping one last moment of life into her over and over and over. There’s a sad sliver of hope in the sound of it, and in the silence that follows.   She forgives the insolence, the years you spent overseas and never called, the sporadic letters full of vacancy, even your cold indifference to her cancer diagnosis. She has mostly forgotten your teenage shenanigans: the time you snuck bourbon into your lunch box and drank it at school, nights

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Fiction

THE PURPLE TREE by Alienor Bombarde

It was not her favorite tree. It was simply where the children met. The tree was tall, its purple leaves like curtains, shielding its trunk. It was where, when she was four years old, she first saw Pasang. Pasang was the first and only newcomer the children ever knew. His father had come to work on construction plans. Pasang had a round face and a soft pink mouth. Even before she knew that people could use mouths for anything other than eating and drinking, she liked the look of it, its softness and slight downward turn. Those were the days,

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Fiction

THE BLUE ANGEL by Austin Farber

She was cooking dinner when I walked in the door. She had worked all night at the hospital, slept the whole day while I was at work, and was about to leave for another shift after dinner. I usually was relieved when she left, but tonight she looked unusually chipper. When she greeted me, she was dicing up a full rotisserie chicken. She kissed me. “How was your day, honey?” She asked. “Good,” I said. “How was your night?” “Oh, it was something,” she said, stripping the meat. “We had a code blue in ICU. A real stiff.” “Oh wow,”

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Creative Nonfiction

MOUNTAIN MUSIC by Michael Seymour Blake

All kinds of warning lights are flashing on the dashboard, and the front bumper is mostly held together with duct tape. Chelsey and I are driving my cousin’s car through the Catskills, searching for a trail that leads to an abandoned hotel at the top of a mountain. It’s supposed to be crumbling and overgrown, a long-ago meeting place for communists. It’s getting late, but we figure we have time to hike out, see this thing, and get back to the car by sundown. The GPS has us turn up a narrow, dirt path that circles the mountain in a

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Fiction

OUT OF JOINT by Miranda González

Edgar was a man with a peculiar malady. It wasn’t just that he had a voracious appetite for all things internet and a quick temper. No, it was that when he read something online that upset him, his nose became, quite literally, out of joint. Each time he furiously disagreed with a news article or a post from an opinionated relative, the cartilage of his nose would turn ever so slightly—imperceptibly—counter-clockwise. The phenomenon seemed to begin following a particularly distressing piece of journalism about an out-of-state investor buying up his favorite Texas burger joint. (He could never enjoy his patty

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