Self-Portrait as Silent Ritual

by Madison Jones IV

I

When the feeling returns, it is time to circle the house
with senescent light caving out the kitchen window against
sharpening noon. Retrieve the blank parchment and toss
the top sheet as an offering to the air. As it flutters
toward the rug, think of synonyms for your regrets, blankness Continue reading

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My Mother was Neptune

by Chrys Tobey

I’m not sure if she was always a planet
far off in our solar system, farthest from the sun,
made of ice and rock – or if it happened the year
I was born, the year the great blizzard swept through.
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First Season

by Lynn Holmgren

During lifeguard training, Shelley and her nine classmates were shown videos of ho beach blanket crowds, sun glare and splashing hands; runaway umbrellas and riptides. Now Shelley was a single red dot on a cool foggy shore where they had yet to drop off her lifeguard chair. She pulled at the tight seams of her new one-piece bathing suit, which rode high on her hipbones and pulled her small breasts flat. An oblong patch on one side of the suit read “GUARD”. She positioned herself to the right of the boardwalk that led from the small parking lot, sitting upright on her hard, red buoy. Continue reading

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The River in Which I Almost Drowned

by John McCarthy

Cold showers move the blood,
an injection, like milk spreading
through coffee, the billowing
visible through a glass cup.
I think of ice, warmth
transformed and the guard rail
giving way like memory,
the plummeting
into frozen river. Continue reading

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A Man Walks the Plank

by Jon Simmons

I’m standing up from my chair to stretch when a tall man walks into the office. He pulls a stubby, black revolver out of his pants pocket and says, “Okay everybody, listen up. I want all the money from the safe and make it quick.” He gestures with the revolver to the conference room door. My boss, Gina, looks terrified. Nobody moves or says anything. Continue reading

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