The Big Bad Brown Swiss

by John Coyne

I was seven or eight years old when I got so drunk at a family party that I ran out of our farm house, down to the barn, and attacked our big brown Swiss cow with a broom.

I don’t remember this act of animal cruelty, but the next morning, when I woke from a stupor, my mother—as well as my brothers and sisters—told me in detail how I had impishly sipped booze left in cans and glasses on the dining room table until I was so intoxicated my suppressed rage at one of our milking cows exploded into violence. Continue reading

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Filed under Nonfiction

Dear Astoria

by Natalie Homer

Have the skeleton ships succumbed
to barnacles & rust, the salt wash of the sea?

And the little A-frame named “It’ll Do”—
is it still there, safe in the hemlock?

Mild-mannered Pacific,
I wanted so badly for you to be home. Continue reading

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Filed under Poetry

in which the book asserts a certain capability and exercises it

as told to Glenn Ingersoll

Excerpt from Autobiography of a Book

I like to imagine you holding me. I may just be a book but I have an imagination. And what I imagine is your hands.

Your hands holding me so I don’t fall down, so your eyes can get a good look at me, a good look at everything. I hold nothing back. And you hold it all. I like that, thinking of you. Continue reading

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in which the book, awake at last, revisits other readers

as told to Glenn Ingersoll

Excerpt from Autobiography of a Book

I sleep. Yes, while on the shelf I sleep. Do I dream? I dream. I remember my dreams.

There’s this one dream in which I’m lying open on the bed and a beautiful drag queen is paging slowly through my innermost pages. She leans close close because she is myopic and vain and won’t put on her glasses. Her eyelashes graze the paper as she blinks. No no, I can’t allow her to think I am ticklish. For then, what would she do to me? Such girls can be so cruel. Her eyes are dark, so dark I wonder that my words don’t get lost in them, blundering about in search of the naked lightbulb in the dressing room of her soul. Continue reading

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in which the book reviews its positions

as told to Glenn Ingersoll

Excerpt from Autobiography of a Book

I stand, mostly. I stand and wait. I stand among my brothers, shoulder to shoulder, hip to hip. Among my sisters, cheek by jowl. Each to each pressed. I stand among them, many of them far greater, older, more praised, more frequently translated, larger in the world. And am I proud to be in their company? I am grateful! Continue reading

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Filed under Fiction