Old Whitworth

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Old Whitworth, a seventy-year-old dentist who should have retired a decade ago, endured in the practiced removal of ailing choppers. Yet his fees were a pittance in post-war years, offering irresistible rates – if you weren’t too particular about the origin of his dubious credentials. Whitworth, white-haired, save for rounded bald spot, reddened by anger from a patient who didn’t …

Lowell Jaeger, Featured Author

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Sugar-White Beaches Such a never-ending winter, these months of snow and ice and gloom.  We’ve lost long hours again today, pushing back last night’s leaden blanket of wet white, mounding piles shoulder-high, towering till they avalanche as if to mock our labors. The wind whips our cheekbones red and wet and raw, my wife and I, our shovels lufting slush, …

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 …

Aged

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Dusty, moldy, musty Yellowed, brown stained Wrinkled, tattered pages Faded ink, missing leaves Broken spine Forgotten on the shelf Few visitors   Antiseptic smell Darkened, liver spots Wrinkled, translucent skin Gray, thinning hair Achy back, swollen joints Forgotten in the home Few visitors   Have all their pages been written?   Priceless, rare editions Stores of wisdom Treasured stories   …

Felipe

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I saw Felipe yesterday. It was the first time I’d seen him since his brother’s wedding, and he looked just the way he’s always looked when he was sleeping. He’s slept the same way since we were born. Mouth open, the thoughtful look on his face accompanied by a scab or scrape for good measure. Those scabs when we were …

Omri Kadim

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Sometime Too Natural Shapes  Four vultures sit in silent conference It’s been observed they will not land To pick clean A carcass whose blood was let In the shape of a spiral. We should follow their example, Being scavengers.   Constellations of Necessity  As children We mapped the stars with peerless confidence Charting elephants, turtles And long-tailed snarling dragons   …

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 …

Cage

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Here, this darker map of sand. Piss and otherwise. There, your steel bowls— water and dry food. The tarp blocks the sun’s worst,   but you keep to the shadows of your house. You’re a brooder— no pacing, no bark, bite indeterminate. From dark oblong of doorway,   yellow eyes give away nothing. Sometimes you emerge, pad across cage to …

Unwanted Graveyards

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One October when I was eight, I made gravestones of me and my family. Perhaps I had a fascination with death. Perhaps I wanted to feel the stickiness of glue between my thumb and forefinger and the permanence of a Sharpie in my hand. I asked my mother to buy grey and brown construction paper—grey for the headstone, brown for …

Train at Night in the Desert

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Georgia O’Keefe, 1916   Georgia, it’s been one hundred years since you stood in the dark Texas dawn and marveled at the multicolored haze clouding toward you down the track. You thought the rest of your life would unspool from Canyon, Texas. You wrote Alfred Stieglitz that you saw the train, thought of him, and blazed. You had never even …

Babelogue

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Mary had the perfect imperfection, a small space in between her two front teeth, like Madonna or Lauren Hutton.  It was just what I needed, a flaw, to help me focus every fear I had of feeling happy.  Happy felt like another solar system – a curious and desired destination, I suppose, and yet unwelcome.  Nothing good could come of …

Karla Linn Merrifield

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Mind Double   DNA is my totem pole, I shall not want. It leadeth me to lie down amid terrapins at low tide: It leadeth me beside coiled anacondas. It restoreth my limbic brain: It leadeth me on the tao of evolution for no one’s sake.   Yea, though I walk through the herpetological vestiges of primal fear, I will …