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The Key to Catastrophe Management

In Issue 60 by Mary Lannon

I’ve finally figured it out, I mean, about the weather and all: how important it is to me, to you, to everyone, to our well-being. For a long time, I thought it was Charlie who figured it out first.
But before that—Charlie and I—we were in the same boat. Neither of us knew of our complete and utter ignorance.
No, neither of us had any respect at all for the weather that last semester of senior year when we first met searching—in what can only be understood as a mockery of our ultimate
fate—for a meteorology class.

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The Price of Sunshine: “Returning”

In Issue 60 by Susan Wan Dolling

In 1990, I was invited to participate in a delegation of “U.S. writers and publishers” to visit China. Ever since I left Hong Kong all those years ago, I have often felt half in and half out of every place I have lived, not entirely belonging anywhere. On this trip, my role was particularly tricky, as the Chinese treated me as one of the visiting Americans, while the Americans saw me as Chinese.

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Facing Mecca

In Issue 60 by Kathleen Tighe

Viewed from the top of the minaret, the desert stretches for miles until it touches a brilliant cerulean sky. On the horizon a blazing sun moves toward its afternoon descent. Even now, all these years later, I can still feel the rays of that sun burning my scalp, still feel my parched lips sucked dry of moisture. The desert sand shimmers in the sun.

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Dead End

In Issue 60 by Mary Jumbelic

“Mom, why are all the police cars and fire trucks here?”
“What did you say, honey?” I said, covering my free ear. “Police? Fire trucks?” Noise at the reception counter made it difficult to hear. I gestured to co-workers to lower the volume. A quick reply of silence followed. They listened to the boss, my prerogative as the Chief Medical Examiner.

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Watercolor for Beginners

In Issue 60 by Janna Whitney Rider

It was as if all my colors had changed. There was no control or curation to my feelings anymore, only raw and wild outbursts. I tried explaining to a friend, “I’m a Jackson Pollock painting right now. Red! Blue! Yellow! I prefer a bit more nuance. Something impressionistic typically suits me, like shadows that fade in the afternoon sun. Purple and gray into peachy yellow ochre – these are my colors.”

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The Cold Place

In Issue 60 by Connor Fineran

When my parents disappeared, I didn’t understand at first. I always expected difficult things in my life to come later when I was prepared. But nothing could prepare me for what happened the day I found the hole under the couch.
It was September. I’d just started seventh grade. My parents were out running errands, so I did what anyone would do: I wandered around the house, bouncing a ball up and around everywhere that it could be bounced.

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Canción de Fermín

In Issue 60 by Marcia Calhoun Forecki

Fermín Calderón accepted that his actions caused his brother-in-law Tavito to die. Accepting responsibility was the first step toward being forgiven. As a child in a village outside of Acapulco, Fermín heard the priest explain repentance and forgiveness. “First you must admit what you have done. Confess your sins. Only then may you ask to be forgiven.” He buried the words in his heart.

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The Fairy Statue

In Issue 60 by Lisa Voorhees

The face of the fairy statue that sits in the middle of my overgrown garden is covered with moss. Her exquisite features appear altered.
The fairy used to be joyful, her stone eyes etched full of delight, tilted up at the corners. They reflected the smile of her pretty, carved mouth. Now her eyes are downcast, that mouth pulled into a frown.
She’s been laid to waste by the ravages of time, incessant dampness, and years of neglect.

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The Narrow Path to Heaven

In Issue 60 by Amy Monaghan

In the church-like silence of the Pennsylvania night, a clothesline of white nightdresses billowed like captured ghosts above the grass. Dark fields drenched in dew stretched out in all directions, the careful rows of tobacco plants and corn waiting for their time to come. At the edge of the farmland, on a small hill above the house, stood an imposing oak tree. It looked down at the property like a sentinel.

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Love Among the Fever Bags

In Issue 60 by Michael Fontana

Mom lay on a cloud, wings spread, eating a piece of coconut cream pie with her bare hands. She was clad in a thin white robe, head adorned not with a halo but a tall, platinum blonde wig, her spectral body puny as a twig.
“How’s the weather up there, Ma?”
“Sweet as this pie,” she said, smiling, a dollop of whipped topping on her chin.
“I miss you,” I said.

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Traps

In Issue 60 by Randy Mackin

Coyotes dangled like Christmas ornaments from the tree. Coup D. Gracen closed the gate and stopped beside his pickup to admire his work. He didn’t take credit for inventing this trap—someone else somewhere must have tried it too—but he had perfected it: 150-pound test fishing line and 14 ought treble hooks triple-knotted and baited with pig liver. The limb would break before Coup’s tackle gave way.

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A Colony of Mutant Flamingos

In Issue 60 by Thomas Small

Jeremy Wilkins died the summer I was fourteen. Accident was noted as the official cause of death. That was more a testament of his father’s ability to control the situation, by keeping the word suicide off the death certificate. I spent a lot of time with Jeremy that last summer and was overwhelmed with the enormity of what he’d done. Mostly, I was surprised by people’s reactions to it.

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“seen // unsent”

In Issue 60 by Kate MacAlister

it split my lip // I will always be a little bit in love with you… too
just a little bit // more and we would witness the shadows of
some sort of situation alienated // a surplus fairytale of a couple of normative years

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The Woman of the House

In Issue 60 by Camila Santos

They had arrived early on a Thursday afternoon, just in time for lunch. Mr. Oswaldo carried two suitcases. A curvy, short brunette in a miniskirt and high-heeled sandals walked into the house right behind him. She wore too much lipstick. As Silmara went into the kitchen to get them a glass of water, she wondered, how old is she? Silmara was not as shocked about the girl’s youth, but rather, at the audacity of bringing her to the house when Ms. Cecília had only moved out a month ago.

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City of Colour

In Issue 60 by C. H. Weihmann

Standing centre stage, I look out at the faces of farmers with straw-coloured hair and bland bovine eyes, eyes that have never seen the ocean. Only the yellow wheat fields that stretch horizon-wide and whispering. That’s the closest thing they have: the dry, dull wheat fields pretending at ocean depth, and the vast, unending sky. There is no underwater here. There is no freedom. There is no escape.

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