Nights with Oscar

by Walter Bargen

Diesel exhaust chokes the room. Engines work overtime.
Naked body pounds
against naked body. In perdition’s factory,
they push poverty’s gravity
another thirty days
and balance their lives with time-and–a-half.
The monthly paycheck a week’s resurrection.
Dark fumes, not just the windows open to the street,
but the oily rags of love ready to combust. Continue reading

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Friended

by Lois Leveen

It isn’t a book, this
Facebook, although
when I open it, I see a page
with all these faces and one
of them is yours. Every time
I see that photo of your face
it reminds me of you
being dead. Continue reading

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The Blinding of Emmy Lou Ketchum

by Mark Conkling

There are many paths to a full-blown narcissistic personality. Jeff’s journey was unique because it began at such an early age, on his second birthday. His morning featured a steady stream of poopy diapers, the sour smell of milk, and yet another bowl of lumpy oatmeal. In the late afternoon, Jeff’s one-month-old wailing sister was the only guest for his celebration. Mom tried to make the party nice, but after burying his hands in the cake, Jeff smeared pink frosting on his face and ears, licked his lips and hands, climbed down from the high chair, and tottered into his bedroom, clearly disinterested, aloof. Continue reading

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Albatross

by Joseph Stanton

Higher rhythms are for them an easy joy.
Because they are so wide of wing
(a seven pound bird has a seven foot wingspan)

they glide, lovely at top of sky
or just above the waves,
seeking squid for eating. Continue reading

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The Ugly Woman

by Leah Jane Esau

They said there were faces so ugly that “only a mother could love.” But there were faces even uglier than that apparently. For when the nurse put the baby in Bria’s arms, she frowned.

“This isn’t my baby.”

“It is,” the nurse said.

“This can’t be my baby. Where is my baby?”

Bria’s husband, Michael, pulled the doctor aside. Continue reading

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