The Magnificent Bookner

by George August Meier

When it comes to pets, there are two types of people: those who love dogs, and those who prefer cats. I don’t think there’s any middle ground. I, for instance, am a dog lover, as was my 75-year-old next-door neighbor, Charlie. So when he asked me for a favor involving a dog named Bookner, I knew there was going to be a problem. Especially because my wife, Laura, preferred cats, or a third option, no pet at all. She always said cats are self-sufficient and dogs require a lot of work. Continue reading

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The Evolution of Relationships

by Lauren Davis

When I was young, my white-faced cockatiel’s eyes shone black.
He communicated with his erectile crest and cocked head.
I could not read him well. I offered little water, fewer seeds. Once,
I stepped on his tail, tearing it off onto the carpet. I wept a long time.
After, he couldn’t fly right. He kept going off to the side. Continue reading

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The Old Sod

by Billy O’Callaghan

After the dreams have come, the mornings feel like glass around me. Everything looks too bright, too well-preserved. My way of coping is to sit in the kitchen in silence and try to wait it out. I don’t close my eyes because the faces hang there, in that darkness, ready to loom, faces that will make me smile to see again but which will also bring deep sadness, knowing that they’ve been lost, that I have let them go. The house is always still then, silent apart from the acceptable sounds, the clicking of pipes in the walls, water running at a murmur, the paper-weight of my own breath and Barbara’s as she idles about small chores, maybe rain against the glass or the crack of snow shifting its weight on the roof. While the coffee percolates, I sit and try not to move or even think, knowing too well the traps and pitfalls that lie in those directions. Continue reading

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The Flower-Crowned Skull of St. Valentine

by Mary Morris

We discover the saint in the reliquary
is also the patron saint of epilepsy.

Beheaded after assisting persecuted martyrs,
often painted with red roses and a rooster, Continue reading

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The Man With the Squeaky Shoe

by Robert Evory

like stepping on a dormouse –
brown leather dried and cracked like eczema;
years of stretch and pivot: dirt,
salt, and rain. Downstairs, neighbors
hear him return home, walk to the kitchen, Continue reading

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