The Vigil

by Derek Andersen

7:14 p.m.
Already, Joan is running late. But she still hasn’t found the right outfit—the ensemble bold enough to signal a triumphant return from her fifty-four-day leave of absence, but not so bold as to upstage the victims.

She, after all, was on the periphery of The Tragedy that struck Twin Lakes High. Though, perhaps “periphery” was too generous a term. She was on the margins, the outermost fringes. One could argue whether she’d been grazed by its farthest-reaching ripples. Continue reading

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Afloat

by Cooper Young

Today, the stars are hidden
behind a veil of blue.
The waves turn themselves
inside out, and my parents
bob in the water, beyond the break. Continue reading

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Black Olive

by Julie McClement

“Is it bad if I’m not into racism?” Phoebe asked.

Her brother, Max, was snapping photos of loons as they glided across the lake. This activity, which he referred to as his métier, was one he claimed required monk-like contemplation and he therefore had an annoying tendency to ignore Phoebe while engaging in it. At this, though, he lowered the camera. Continue reading

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Amida Butsu

by Wendy Taylor

(the Jodo Mission, Lahaina, Maui)

What is it about the pink lotus flower
placed at the crossed legs & flat open hands,
gentle in the lap of the bronzed Buddha,
that provokes children to throw pebbles
at Amida’s stretched ear lobes? The neon Continue reading

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Two of Us

by John Haymaker

At thirteen I fixated on playing piano like John, Paul, and Elton — the new kid in 1970. But not until I graduated college would a prostitute unlock the secrets of rock music for me — techniques I might have learned from my first piano teacher, Raleigh, a sightless British gentleman. Continue reading

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