Gary Percesepe ~ Transition

January 2, 2017

I was telling Joelle I was almost fin­ished read­ing her mem­oirs. I’d been read­ing them side by side, an odd way to read, sort of like an old two-columned Ashbery poem, or an obscure pas­sage from Derrida’s Glas. Derrida was some­thing else entire­ly. We’d see each oth­er on the con­fer­ence cir­cuit, which I can no longer abide. He sent me a let­ter once, writ­ten in French. Which I trea­sured, of course, and lost. In some move, some­where. But Joelle’s mem­oirs– I was telling her that I can­not touch them today. Not one more sharp pain. When read­ing is no longer a com­fort, when writ­ing isn’t pos­si­ble, this recur­ring suf­fer­ing. Go to the gym. I need to hit things. Perhaps I will come back to her twins tonight, I told her.

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Lucinda Kempe ~ Platooning

The damn cat has dis­ap­peared again. Truth is, I’d turned the hose on him as I was clean­ing the cat box out­side dur­ing a spell of warmer weath­er.

Get the fuck out Orayo,” I’d bel­lowed.

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Charles Rafferty ~ The Light Made Everything Harder to See

Tommy was on his way to the 7-Eleven to buy con­doms. He had offered to use Saran Wrap and a rub­ber band, but Sheila wasn’t game. They had just met and they had both been drink­ing, but appar­ent­ly not enough. Tommy felt relieved when she sug­gest­ed the errand. It would give him time to think, to fig­ure out what he would say to Melissa, his girl­friend of two years, when he saw her the fol­low­ing day.

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Randall Brown & Pamela Painter ~ Two Pieces


Her orange dress and the but­ter­fly hat and the edge of woods. She is say­ing she built a fort and I am yelling out my win­dow that I’m not allowed out today.

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Joan Wilking ~ Neuropathy Trilogy


Push the right but­ton and my toes go numb, some­times at home, some­times in the car while wait­ing at a stop sign. I wish I had x-ray eyes to look inside my leg, to mag­ni­fy the dis­con­nect­ed nerve end­ings, to las­so them back into posi­tion, into sub­mis­sion.

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Glen Pourciau ~ Stretcher

Early evening on a Friday, wine and cheese time at the inn where we checked in only an hour ago, and we’re seat­ed just out­side the door to the serv­ing area, wrought-iron table and chairs on the edge of a court­yard, a foun­tain bab­bling with­in earshot.  We’re armed with glass­es of local wine, mine a red blend called Raving Lunatic and Lionel’s a Syrah called Intimate Betrayer, well into our sec­ond pours thanks to the gen­eros­i­ty of the inn’s pour­er, Legend, a young man with a shad­ow beard and an advanced wine vocab­u­lary.  We’re mind­ing our own busi­ness, as Lionel likes to say, when a tall wom­an, mid-forties, I esti­mate, swings the door open.  She steps out­side and sets her glass of white wine down on our table.  She’s shiv­er­ing.

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Tamara Burross-Grisanti ~ Four Stories

Broken Cakes

Autumn is my bur­den. My morn­ings come mid-afternoon. I crawl out of bed by the light between the pur­ple vel­vet cur­tains from my failed second-marriage bed­room. I take a swig of vod­ka to wet my cracked lips, light a cig­a­ret­te on the fumes of my next breath.

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Sheldon Lee Compton ~ After Watching Ido Mizrahy’s Film Gored — July 9, 2015

I couldn’t real­ly say why I hadn’t killed the bull. Not right away, when every­one kept ask­ing. I struck at it sev­er­al times in the exact spot I should, but I could not sink the blade. I couldn’t say to my friends inside the vehi­cle what had hap­pened, after the bull­fight, but I knew. I knew exact­ly what had hap­pened. It was the bull’s tear that par­a­lyzed me. Although my body seemed to move, to make its attempt at killing, the sight of the bull cry­ing pierced me instead.

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Sandra Kolankiewicz ~ Two Poems

Before the Desert

Before the desert, I shook trees for
you, beat bush­es, trav­eled far and wide, high
and low, both inside and out through the course
of unfor­tu­nate con­se­quences, the
def­i­n­i­tion of matu­ri­ty that
I final­ly rec­og­nize my sense of
self as an illu­sion.  I was in the
same mind as she who is doing some­thing
she will lat­er regret.  When you hang a
light from the wall, how­ev­er, you begin
to see pos­si­bil­i­ty, sud­den­ly
able to remem­ber one good act you
made, a sin­gle wave of beau­ty in the
tip of your fin­ger, the moment you lost
your­self to respond as if the body
did not mat­ter.  We can tell each oth­er
every­thing now, liv­ing in a waste­land
we once believed unin­hab­it­able.

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Gail Louise Siegel ~ As Vulnerable As We Are

2013-01-20 13.41.52Far above: a jet descends. As if pulled by an invis­i­ble hand behind a mag­net­ic game board.

Gods play with car and boat and plane-shaped pawns from the oth­er side.

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Hillary Fifield ~ Nice to Meet You

I wake and search for my phone beneath my pil­low where I store it night­ly. Glare from the win­dow cov­ers the screen. I drop under the sheets, blan­ket, and duvet. I’m held as if embraced, but it’s only my hair that smells like skin and cot­ton.

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David Gilbert ~ Stupa

When we were with­in an hour of the stu­pa, Thurston final­ly showed me the pho­to of it.  We’d stopped so he could take a nitro­glyc­er­in tablet from the bot­tle he’d bought in India.  He looked toward the top of the moun­tain and smiled despite his dis­com­fort and short­ness of breath.  He no longer sang his Bollywood influ­enced songs that he impro­vised about the stu­pa we would find at the top.

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Mary Lannon ~ All the Stray Cats of the World

Oprah will die! Oprah will die! Oprah will die! you think as you pump gas at Gas on the Go on Thanksgiving Day. You mean to send her no bad kar­ma, of course. It’s mere­ly a fact. Still, it seems more shock­ing than oth­er deaths. Oprah will die! Oprah will die! Oprah will die! you feel like shout­ing it to the world, wak­ing its cit­i­zens from their zombie-like stu­por. That would do it, you think—Oprah’s death—more shock­ing than the planet’s death or War in Iraq. Easier to fix­ate on at any rate.

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Lydia Copeland Gwyn ~ Four Stories


Gray Cats

Juniper bush­es out­side a green house. Matchbox cars in the sand, the trace of their tracks lead­ing away from me. These are the first things I remem­ber. The dog’s neck, the swell of ticks under her collar–their white bal­loon bod­ies. I wait on the play­ground swing for Grand to pull up in old Hildy, the brown Town Car that made it all the way from Oak Ridge and would make it back again lat­er that night. At the gro­cery store down the street there’s can­dy at the check­out coun­ter. A gold roll of cin­na­mon Certs pressed into my hand.

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Josh Russell ~ Two Suburban Folktales

The Ship With Three Decks

But the old sailor had brought along the bar­rel con­tain­ing the water of long life, in which he immersed the youth’s body, only to see him jump right back out as sound as ever and so hand­some that the king’s daugh­ter threw her arms around his neck.” The man with can­cer stopped read­ing from the arti­cle he’d found online and looked up at his col­orec­tal sur­geon.

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