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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Warrior Pose

by Lori Lamothe

The Romans referred to these tattooed tribes in Latin as “Pictii,” which translates as “The Painted Ones.” -John Corney

The past opens its pores until at last
I’m drawing a diary of remembering—
battles strung across the small of my back,
a lover’s ghost haunting a shoulder blade,
the birth of a child balanced on a curve of hip.
My skin pricked with so much blue
all the pain turns inside out— Continue reading

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Harder and Harder to Leave You

by Lynda Myles

Ann could remember the exact moment she fell in love with Jack. He’d taken her to an off-Broadway play, and they were standing outside the theater during intermission when a drunk came staggering down the street, weaving all over the sidewalk. Jack quietly stepped between her and the man, not making an issue of it in any way, but clearly ready to protect her in case there was trouble. That small chivalrous gesture, a month after they’d met, thrilled her. It made her feel precious and protected, an unfamiliar feeling for Ann. Jack was a man it could be safe to love. Continue reading

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