Noble Metal, Best of Class

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RIP Kenneth Arrow, 23 August 1921- 21 February 2017   Bizarrely charged – not unlike Alfred inventing dynamite — often polarizing Noble Laureates taught me at Harvard and Stanford. The repellant Brit who co-discovered DNA — their shared award had the prestige of a “once in a generation Prize” — was notorious for looking-up skirts bottom of a steep auditorium …

The Art of Flying

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When Filmore turned thirteen, she took the test and flew. Filmore had no wings, experience, or knowledge of flying. She thought: Take the mandatory test and return home to Mom and Dad. When the examiners watched her fly, immediately they caged her so she could not fly away, and rushed her to the place for girls who fly. Her parents …

Assumptions

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An old woman stands on the corner of 5th and Wall, a book of poetry in her tattered wool jacket.   She shouts to no one in particular. She used to be famous. I heard it from the postman. I think I knew her. She was my teacher in first grade. She was my Girl Scout leader. She is my …

Bird Woman

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When I was young I met a bird woman, who seemed just like a regular woman except she called herself differently. “I’m not a woman. I’m a bird,” she told me. She was on her fourth glass of wine, which I figured was probably why. “Well, I’m not a woman, either. I’m a… song,” I said, trying to play her …

Particicution

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(Based on a scene from The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood) Identical red dresses and white winged bonnets crowded around the drugged man, the rapist. His pulpy face a mess of cuts and purpling bruises. His stench forced me to cover my nose and mouth. Sounds of retching and murmuring in the soupy air. Then, a shrill whistle signaled “Kill …

All the Colors of the Rainbow

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A couple moved into an apartment. They discovered that one of the doors was locked. They called the caretaker who explained to them that the room behind that door had been designed and built automatically. No human being had been involved in the process whatsoever, or had even seen the room, and all data pertinent to its construction had been …

My Own Van Gogh

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I thought about taking up Art once. Before I met Margery. Before I went into investment banking. Something I picked up in the military during the war. Not a real war. More of a military intervention. The Mongolian Intervention we called it. The gas fields of Northern Mongolian. We were liberating the gas lines there. We did liberate them. Very …

Colorful

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Amidst the murky gloom of San Francisco’s fog, on my commute to work into the Financial District this morning, a little boy got on the bus with his mom as I yawned. He must have been no older than seven or eight. The boy resembled my father when he was that age, which is probably why I couldn’t keep my …

Yunhee-dong

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The rain tapped against the window intermittently for days, hypothetical ellipses leading nowhere, until noon today, suddenly intensifying into staccato exclamation points. Monsoon season arrived during the bus ride back from the clinic at Hannam ogeri. Not impossible to get an abortion in Korea, despite what the first doctor said, immediately offering to perform an ultrasound in his neat, contraction-free …

The Return

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It was evening. We were standing near a line of trees that looked like conifers; the sky was darkening behind the trees. It was time to go back. This was the last crossing: our damaged equipment would permit no more. We had seen things that were almost impossible to believe. Ahead of us, our scientist turned a dial as her …

Aurora

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The last night I slept soundly was the night before my wheezing father announced the succession.  He named me – his daughter – as his heir.  He hoped aloud that my brother would advise me faithfully.  The pulsing vein in Damian’s forehead suggested otherwise.  With one word my father had severed our fraternal connection more effectually than any witch’s curse. …