Author Archives: Irene

Last Letters

by Lynn Levin

When the final rounds of radiation and chemo exhausted my friend Pam but failed to halt the resurgence of her breast cancer, when her tumor markers rose and she lay bedridden, her family advised me that rather than calling and emailing, I should write her letters. I wrote to her on deckle-edged stationery silk screened with bright flowers, on museum cards depicting works of fine art, and on picture postcards. I wrote in my best penmanship. I told Pam again that I loved her, that I knew she never stopped climbing mountains, that I only wished she did not have so many mountains to climb. She once said that we were like sisters. Those words bounded me to her like a ribbon. We each wanted the best for the other. We laughed together and celebrated each other’s successes and joys. In darker times we sympathized, advised, and listened. We were friends for forty-seven years. I hope that I was as good a friend, as good a sister, to her as she was to me.

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A Dream of Earth in Summer

by Jenn Dean

If April and May felt hesitant and pale like an egg, with June comes the hatching of summer. Summer looks like the earth’s Bacchanalian dreaming: bees cluster, drunk on the pendulous and phallic spears of flowers, orgiastic birds couple, beetles crawl and heave, and snakes unroll from the marsh grass like rolls of striped tape. The trees pump themselves so full of water their trunks swell and water shoots up the inner bark’s xylem with enough force that you can hear it with a stethoscope. This is the tipping point, the point of no return: summer can no longer be stuffed back into the bag it came in. Continue reading

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Autotomist

by M. Cynthia Cheung

If, like salamanders, we were born
with fault lines built in,
tucked deep
between planes of flesh,
the day-to-day might
be easier. No need
to defend, or even explain. Continue reading

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Filed under Poetry