Additional Selections from This Issue

Jewels of Mt. Stanley

Friday is Gail’s third day squatting the grounds at Congo Golf & Go-Cart, and I’m pretty sure Mr. Brice will have her arrested when he gets back on Monday. At first, I figured Gail was one of those high-end bag ladies—the broke-but-not-starving kind—but she never asks for money or food. She says she won’t leave until she finds the hidden jewels, and if we park employees have to have her arrested, go right ahead. Gail. One of those sturdy, older-person names.

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The Right Kind of Chance

Eric LeMay: An essay doesn’t come to life until it reaches its readers. This moment—when the reader charges the writing with his or her intelligence, memories, cares, biases, quirks—is so fundamental to the experience of reading and writing, we usually accept it as a given, a fundament, and we build on it, but an electronic essay can let us rethink that moment: how else might a reader bring this essay to life?

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Our World, Our Actual World

Rutschman: I’m interested in awakening, which means I’m interested in delusion. Or, I’m interested in intimacy, which means I’m interested in distance. I’m interested in kindness, which means I’m interested in its absence. 

I don’t think I write bad behavior for its own sake, or to titillate or shock. I’m genuinely, deeply committed to exploring our capacities—all of us—for blindness and cruelty, and for presence and warmth, and I don’t think we can actually study one side without studying the other.

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Viewing

How he looked: handsome,
ratcheted into place. I wanted
to view the wounds
where tendons and ligaments
had been harvested
to help others.

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Camp

The drama building is full of it:  bat guano.  So one of our duties this week is to use wide brooms to shove the shit out the back door, into some slippery ferns.

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Beds, a Reverie

Earliest coveted bed: my brother’s. A three-quarter bed, larger than a 39”x75” twin, smaller than a 54”x75” double, and more exotic for the oddity.

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What We Can Learn from Pascal’s Triangle

God speaks the language of mathematics, in everything from black holes to the design of a humble seashell. 

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Morocho

“If you try to find him—” she said and trailed off to focus on her breathing.

I saw in her eyes what she was saying, though. If I tried to find him, I was his and only his.

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Mjölnir Swings East

In Iowa, lightning comes like a net on the

sky, every frayed ending making the most

of its incidence. 

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Heading Home

if you were awake you would say something

how fireworks have grown out of the ground

how there is the unknowing

the cannot know


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Confession

I did in the flags looking tight I did

 

in the crackers and spreads

 

in the newly cut bone

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INTERVENTION LETTERTHOUGHT TO FREDRICK BANTING, HEAVY DRINKER

The other side of blame is not causality. Banting, your actions have hurt no one and someone in the following ways: of a rented room in Ontario (single bed, $1 patent for insulin, floral funeral parlor carpet), of the first months in the lab (bloody apron, spectacles, heat wave); who’s counting how many more if it’s only the next one? 

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Picasso’s Pigeons

     It was the hour of the affair.

     I looked down from the roof of our attic apartment to the narrow stone alleys of Barcelona.

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Freeze Frame

Paris,1939. The film stars Maurice Chevalier and Marie Deá, but I only know it through a two-minute clip. 

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The Festive Revolver

By afternoon the black powder smoke had crackled and stung the air and idle gunfighters wandered the Front Street replica, a façade of clapboards pasted to the buildings behind them like Halloween masks.

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Tell Yourself to Split

This is the pose: Right leg extends behind you, knee pressed into mat, sole of foot up-turned, exposed to the world. 

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The Thread That Makes the Cloth: An Interview with Brandon Lingle

As my life becomes more intertwined with conflict, I find it more complicated to write about war.

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Nobody Knows How to Say Goodbye

A woman told you that, you don’t remember where or when. She had singled you out for one of those long, drunken conversations

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Wingspan

The puma, stalking. And though the ceiling

is naught but night sky,

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Waveland Mississippi, An Elegy

Treaded and unlaced by the cattails the dun-
colored old sneaker lies forgotten

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SPRING TETRAPTYCH

Three cockatiels crowd the birdcage, creep

across the bamboo perch

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America Tries to Remove A Splinter

my hand feels like a flame I put through your hair 

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I thought you were in Afghanistan

Years ago an invading army built a bridge across the Tigris out of Iraqi books. They turned the river red with ink.

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The Stronger One 

It used to be that her father was the most important fact about a girl like me. 

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A Month of Sundays

According to the old fortune-telling rhyme, I was a child meant to be bonny and blithe and good and gay. 

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The Thunder of Our Histories: Revising the Storm by Geffrey Davis

Davis’s couplets are fleet and conversational, relaxed in their deceptive delivery of thickly layered images...

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Verbal Binary Presence in Early Childhood Development,  that Infamously Difficult Poetic Form the Villanelle,  and the Spiritual Quotidian

In the womb it’s neither no nor yes. 

 

You do, however, gather physical strength. You are, however, unprepared for the binary presence that awaits you on the shores of the amniotic sea in which you swim.

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Just These Kinds of Questions: An Interview with Marcia Aldrich

All art that is worth anything is connected to courage and truthfulness, to cracking illusions, and to emotional stamina. But much is explicitly made of the personal risk-taking of creative nonfiction and memoir.

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The Mystery of Past Habitation: An Interview with Sheep Jones

There are many patches of colors from the underpainting that form a puzzle of images for me to find and develop.

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Letter to Flint Parents by Kristie Betts Letter

Children should be tested as soon as possible

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from Leafmold, Disguised as an Exercise by F. Daniel Rzicznek

Disguised as an exercise, he taught the non-relation of one thing to another.

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Floating Island of Plastic by Neil Shepard

In the horse latitudes, the gyre keeps feeding styrene to this trough

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October 2001 by Anuradha Bhowmik

Trick or treating was cancelled.

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Opyata by A. A. Weiss

The prostitutes of Montgomery, State Alabama, were not social climbers.

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Ordinary Psalm After Failing Another Child

I walk home through an abandoned citrus orchard.

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No Occasion by Mary Ann Samyn

In the book, a girl and her doll wait their turn.

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Lilacs in the Dooryard by Matthew Gallant

The routine: Right after Christmas we would make our way to Wal-Mart at the edge of town,

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Undiagnosed by Kari Putterman

First thing in the morning, I dry brush my body, run a bristle brush over each under-functioning limb.

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, Even by Dan Beachy Quick

Thou still unravish’d bride of quietness.

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The Emergency of Poetry by Mark Irwin

The poet resembles the paramedic in that she or he arrives first at the accident of language.

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Visible: A Triptych by Elizabeth Horneber

I was eleven or twelve when my mother bought me, as a gift, a Visible Woman kit.

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This Mother is Learning About Fathers by Charlotte Pence

A friend once told me about a time her husband had to change their kid’s diaper at the Farmer’s Market

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House for Sale by Owner by Scott Loring Sanders

House for Sale by Owner—3br, 1½ bath, charming ranch circa 1948, bathrooms renovated 2011

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Stay Gone by Jill Talbot

Sometimes I think I was missing Kenny before I met him. He was always ready to get going, stay gone. It’s as if my natural state is missing, and he came along and said, “Yes.” Always that space between us. Our first kiss a fissure. The Eagle River and the moon an erosion. The back porch all those nights a split-trail to distance. When I slept beside him, I’d stumble down a jagged trail, a canyon. I settled into where he unsettled me.

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Trains by James Chesbro

Our trips to the city were powered by a current of danger, of our vulnerability to the electricity that throbbed invisibly in the tracks, of the need to walk in haste to avoid strange men yelling at you. Walking behind my father in Philadelphia was like sitting in the train car during those moments when you go underground before the lights come on. He carried me on his heels for a ride through streets I didn’t know. I watched his torso shift and his arms swing in front of me. He was my father, and I followed him.

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O. mykiss by Lisa Charnock

Rainbow trout, western native
her blush running from gill to tail
 

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Happiness by Kimiko Hahn

Like the female pelican          whose bill              exhibits
an orange swelling

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Where My Fathers Died by Sarah Blackman

When forced to imagine
I invent a vacant beauty. A stone wall,
an orchard gone wild.

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Gastronomy by Erin Elizabeth Smith

That first love in France —
one live oyster on a fisherman's boat.
A child palate of potato, string
cheese turned.  What a cook would kill
for now —

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Of Our Vessel by F. Daniel Rzicznek

An invention for remembering
where it was I was going
through the house’s sun-flooded labyrinth—
you tell me it is possible.

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Whittling My Legs into a Rocking Chair by Alex Lemon

If some higher power knows
What’s best for us, then bring

On a monsoon of dung
Beetles, a mouthful of rats.

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Magnetic Declination by Aimee Baker

The migration of birds
is elemental. Pieces of magnetite
lodged against vessels.
 

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Love Poem to Daniel Bryan by Carrie Shipers

Dear Daniel Bryan, I understand how small
you feel beside your tag-team partners,
a monster in a crimson mask and a viper

covered in tattoos

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Accidental Morning by Cathy Guo

Late turned to early when the mail
slipped under the door,

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Naked in Cowboy Boots with Lasso, I Challenge God

You do not ask but enter our neighborhoods, circle our cul-de-sacs,
blare the silence of loss and longing into our yards and synapses,
 

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Unforgiving by Kimiko Hahn

Like / the snow leopard— / the mysterious existence / deduced / from tracks, droppings, and stories—

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Happiness by Kimiko Hahn

Unlike the Romundina / I was not around / 410 million years ago. / and I am not transitional / —that I know of— / further, no one studies me...

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An Interview with Bob Hicok

. . . I have almost no belief in myself as a writer. It’s just not there. I know it’s supposed to be, and that many hold the notion that you can’t write (or paint or make excellent snow cones) if you don’t have faith in your abilities. But again, away from the act of writing, I don’t see myself as anything special. And it’s not that I see myself as special while I write—more that I don’t see myself at all. There is a disappearance into the act, into the desire or need to speak, that erases—I mean, completely obliterates— the doubts and personal bullshit that tools around with me. Doing becomes being. Plain and simple, or fancy and I guess not so. And because of this, I begin most days having quieted my most cannibalistic tendencies. So yeah—give me that gift every day and I’ll treat it with respect and humility. And I give it all the coffee it wants.

 

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Meditations on Monsters by Ira Sukrungruang

When I was six, I visited Thailand and made my cousin Ant draw me monsters. He was a far superior artist, and all he wanted to do was to please his American cousin. He sketched pages and pages of mons

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Before You Go: Five Notes to My Daughter by Marsha McGregor

1. Advice Upon Waking All day your head will be filled with someone else’s jangle. Don’t give away this precious hour, too. Move through it with the soft-focus eyes of an infant who wakens and scans

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I thought you were in Afghanistan by Brandon Lingle

Years ago an invading army built a bridge across the Tigris out of Iraqi books. They turned the river red with ink. When I retire, I’ll take what I learned in the military and dump it in the river. –

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Cruel Things by Moira Crone

I didn’t know the woman very well. It was at a party, one June in New Orleans. We were taking a walk on the lawn, under live oaks. A sudden intimacy arose partly from the gin and tonics in ou

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An Interview with Kat Meads

Amy Wright for Zone 3: Is an interview reverie possible? Might we set up sections of Q&A’s akin to your essay, “Beds, A Reverie”? The trouble is, one rarely knows what prompts those dreamy states of m

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The Scream by Charles Haverty

The eroticism of train travel. For Brennan it went back to the movies, to Hitchcock and North by Northwest. That final cut to the Twentieth Century Limited plunging into the tunnel at th

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Elegy in December by Alison Townsend

First day of December and I wake to snow, little bits of it flicking down, so light it’s blown every which way, swirling in from every direction. Then it gets heavier and more deliberate,

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Archaeologist at Work by Saudamini Siegrist

I set out with an iron pick to trace / on the earth surface, as we once traced / on a turntable with a diamond head / needle, the spiral groove, an act of love. / Recorded down through the ages,

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Brother Tongue by Christopher Ankney

We said it was hella salty / when little Mario / called us crackers. / We said it was bloody salty

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An Interview with Dan Beachy-Quick

Amy Wright for Zone 3: Will you describe a panorama of your current writing space? Dan Beachy-Quick: As of the moment, it’s very different than usual. I’m in Lewisburg, PA, teaching for a week at Buc

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Bar of the Angels by Andrew Friedman

At one time in my life I frequented the bar of the angels. The place was real out of the way. I got in because I was dating one of the angels. Otherwise, I never would have been there.

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Kickback by Vivian Wagner

I rode my Harley-Davidson Sportster, alone, from my Appalachian Ohio village down to Daytona. On a motorcycle, you feel the rise and fall of land, the heft and weight of mountains, the reach and

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On the Occasion of My First Meditation Class by Anne Panning

First, make sure to wear hand-woven Guatemalan socks and for god's sakes don't forget to take your shoes off at the door. Also, to blend in, wear a gnarled, oversized sweater, don't comb

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An Unseen Figure in Matisse’s Le Bonheur de Vivre by Sarah Fawn Montgomery

A woman on the left arcs her back, arms in the air, hands in her hair, purple flowers vining over her shoulder and between her breasts. Shading her is a tree of red and orange and mustard,

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from The Tribal Knot by Rebecca McClanahan

Though letters from the Mounts menfolk are rare, the men and boys make cameo appearances in the women’s letters. Usually the men are out somewhere—hauling fodder, making fence, tending to crops

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Piano Recital by Susan Knox

I believe children get clues to their calling, episodes where they can learn more about who they truly are, moments when they are tested and surmount their own expectations. Sometimes they

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Leaving Egypt, 1945 by Dara-Lyn Shrager

A girl with pigeons in her sleeves / leaves the house where her mother sleeps / on the night’s white backbone. / She walks without shoes

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My Father from the Yard with the Maple by Billy Reynolds

Come back with what’s left of the light giving you / an earful, with the gray dusk of the one maple left that you / didn’t have to have cut down, with a few of those solid crows / with their nudge

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One Thing More About Horses by Jacob Newberry

When they die, they / are often mourned, unlike her, / the one we want / to eulogize but can’t / determine how. I think you’ll / remember saying

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Third Street by Adam Houle

When the days seem off, I go back / to that sagging, unlovely house / and my roommate who drank / Coors Light on the gray porch / that nearly but didn’t quite offer a view

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What I Mean When I Say Roller Pigeon by Geffrey Davis

The reason behind this breed’s mid-air acrobatics / splits its admirers: evasion evolution or neural defect? / . . . though they agree on the sanctity / of that tight, feathered backspin. / Whatever

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Whenever Night by Christina Cook

Whenever night presses / its damp hand on the back / of my neck, I remember / how the Luna moth clung

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An Interview with Gail Storey

Amy Wright for Zone 3: What, Gail Storey, have you not done? Gail Storey: I haven’t yet mastered split-timing twin-hooping on- and off-body in my hoopdance class, but hope to in time for our annual s

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An Interview with David Baker

Amy Wright for Zone 3: What was your first job? David Baker: I started teaching guitar at age thirteen. Next job: playing solo or with musical groups and bands at around fourteen or fifteen. I had

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Holy Orders by Julie Marie Wade

Childhood had been for me beset by hairpins and homophones. My mother was always clipping back my hair to keep the stray curls from covering my eyes. It seemed I was in danger of appearing unkempt, ra

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Cooking The Octopus by John Domini

Mo’ lo facc’. I'm on it. Mo’: the Neapolitan “now.” Mo’, a grunt, a moo, brought up from the middle of the chest and thrusting the bottom lip into the top, making for a sudden mouthy shrug, an extreme

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The Deer by Erin Elizabeth Smith

The deer have been in the garden again / clipping the heart-shaped leaves of the sweet / potatoes, popping off each tomato / before it bleeds. After the pink sky,

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Rock Hall Harbor, Pencil and Acrylic, Unfinished by Karen Skolfield

The blue comes down this way, deliberate, / a light fractured by birds, clouds / on their way, the feel of far-off rain. / In the foreground a boat still in pencil.

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I. Chaos Theory by Christopher Buckley

3.3 billion years ago we caught a break . . . / bacteria on a meteor falling / from the far side of nowhere splashed down / (one place much like the next) /

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An Interview with Nicole Walker

Amy Wright: In your essay “Where the Wild Things Are,” you discuss the rules imposed by pregnancy and the ever-shifting lines we cross and redraw. What rules have you made to protect your life as a wr

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An Interview with Gerald Stern

Amy Wright for Zone 3: You mention in Stealing History being drawn enough to the title The Master of Lucid Dreams to order the book based on it. Do you dream lucidly? Gerald Stern: I sometimes do. Th

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An Interview with Dinty W. Moore

Amy Wright for Zone 3: Dinty, I just finished reading The Mindful Writer: Noble Truths on the Writing Life, and it made me cry. God knows why. Filled as the book is with insight and prompts for reflec

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An Interview with David Iacovazzi-Pau

Amy Wright for Zone 3: You have an incredible talent for capturing human expression in portraits. When did you realize you could read faces so well? David Iacovazzi-Pau: Thank you for the flattering

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Just Because There’s a Roof Over Your Head Doesn’t Mean You’re Not Floating Upside Down by Robert Rice

I remember it like this: I was twelve and we were at Arlee Piero’s funeral sitting in a pew near the front of the church when Uncle Harry glanced around at the crowd—the service was starting and the c

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Recovery by Matthew Jurak

The nurse at the front desk knows his face, so after signing in and clipping a plastic badge that reads Authorized Visitor to his jacket, Davie makes his way alone down the long, pastel-tiled hall to

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Skin of the Earth by Nicole Walker

In the winter light, streaming in from the obscured glass window, my face looks as cracked as the desert floor. The skin reads that there was once water there but that those days are over. The skin, a

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Of This Place by Mariflo Stevens

I have always thought of us as the last “niggers.” We are the people anybody can make fun of with impunity. Anybody can call us hillbillies and claim we’re stupid and nobody will object or argue our c

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Buried Alive by Dinty W. Moore

You can layer me under mud, silt, and soil when I die. You can bury me flat beneath the glorious weight of the sweet-scented earth. Leave me to the industrious earthworms. Let the tree roots have thei

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The Bike in the Ditch by Ivan Young

The wheels were buried to the axle, / and poison ivy twined the frame. / No one touched it, not even / maintenance men. It testified / to transience. Most of us knew waking to / a father solemnly

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Gall Harvest by Laurie Lambeth

It was a year before the hurricane took the tree, the season when red oak apple galls fall—summer, late spring. They rolled everywhere. I gathered them, put them in a jar next to the dog’s unused tram

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