Champagne du Belair, Sept. 10 ~ Robin Chapman

  Dear Ones—here we are, South of France, tucked into an old walnut mill retrofitted for Eurotourists looking for gastronomic thrills—duck breast steamed in hay, a wine cellared for thirty years, chocolate darker than our winter months, our thoughts turning like the waterwheel to our friends who brought us here two years ago for a […]

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A Murder of Crows ~ Susan Elizabeth Howe

  Bevy of starlets casts them frail, quail-like, propelled by the current breeze.  Shouldn’t we say an augmentation of starlets bursts onto Sunset Boulevard? Or starlings, gender inclusive. I’m for accurate names:  the grease of lobbyists frying the country, the contagion of talk show hosts infecting channel after channel, the grimace of pop psychologists, the […]

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The Question of the Soul ~ Katharine Coles

  Birdsong.  Oboe’s Breath.  Wind in the eaves, voice Of the sparrow someone says Is five notes I can’t count.  Does The mind breathe or My lungs.  Throb or Heart, awash.  Electric, Stricken, it casts Itself at the air.  Beats And will not Fly.  Wherever might It go?  Dreaming mind caught Again in the leaves. […]

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The Man in the Blue House ~ Thom Caraway

  He walks the alley, hammer in hand, and taps nails back into fences. Sometimes he is Dmitri, sometimes Anton. Other times, he doesn’t know. He scavenges pallets for the man across the alley, rebuilds them and piles them in the bed of a pickup. He yells, accuses no one, You can’t hide! His screams […]

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November Surprise ~ John Morgan

                                      Fairbanks, Alaska   Ten below and ice-mist on the river when “Oh,” she says, “a butterfly!” as it comes wobbling from the sun-room, settles on the floor. We offer sugar water in a spoon and watch its sucking tube unroll. It sips, then flutters to the windowsill and folds its scalloped wings against […]

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The New CPR ~ Joanne M. Clarkson

  We no longer breathe for each other.  No longer need that anonymous lip lock that for years spelled salvation.  Strangers walked away from possible mouth-to-mouth contagion and besides, scientists say, there is enough oxygen stored in the bloodstream to keep flesh alive if we just compress.  A hundred beats a minute.  Like struggling uphill […]

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A Gift of Parts ~ Michael Pearce

  I think of the things he doesn’t know, not yet, in his eight years. The feel of a chisel against oak, the smell of sage in Rivas Canyon, a winning jump shot, a love run dry, a laugh that loses its way. Surely the battering of years has shown me that I’m still just […]

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Heirloom ~ Chad Hanson

His Persian family keeps artifacts. His favorite rests on a bookshelf in the living room. A clear vase. After the death of his aunt, he notices that it’s holding water. He asks, “Who filled the vase?” His uncle says, “That’s not a vase, nephew. That is a tear catcher.” Midnight passes. He cannot sleep. An […]

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