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I Am a Stalwart: Part Two

Issue 33 by David Kennedy

There was shouting along the banks of the East River, but Arthur could not quite make it out.
He stood upon the deck of the Saint John, the steamboat that he and Conkling had caught very early that morning, and peered across the morning fog that now was lifting from the waters of that tributary that shot north from New York Harbor, cleft the island of Manhattan from the cities of Brooklyn and Queens, swept heedlessly through the sharp breaks at Spuyten Duyvil, then rushed into the great Hudson River and ran up to Albany. But the return of Conkling and Platt to Albany had proven less triumphant than anticipated.

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Hashish and Mother Goose

Issue 33 by Jeanne Wilkinson

Val has received a Christmas gift from the old lady of one of his clients: some hash brownies. Hashish is from the cannabis plant but purified and intensified, with a pungent, soil-like flavor that doesn’t do much for the brownies but chocolate and sugar make the hash itself somewhat palatable. I’ve smoked it before – since it’s not from a test tube, it’s on my okay list. Val gets it in a compressed form and sometimes sprinkles it in a joint. I’m not too excited about eating it, but I’ll do it. I’m on the magic bus; might as well go with the traffic. Within reason, of course. Within my code.

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Going to the CD

Issue 33 by Stan Werlin

It’s April 1963, the snow is mostly melted, the ice is gone from the sidewalks, and we’re streaking, we’re flying, we’re absolutely airborne on our bikes as we race to the center of town. Flash has a sleek new racer, one of those Schwinns, accented bright blue on the frame and handlebar. He’s hunched over in an aerodynamic crouch, so low you can’t see his eyes. The rest of us – Ziti, Rando, myself – we’re green with envy, so jealous we can’t see straight, but it doesn’t matter, not really; we know sooner or later our parents will give in and we’ll all get one.

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Taking Liberties

Issue 33 by Lyzette Wanzer

They are such nice clothes.
But how can I wear them, in light of how they’ve come to me?
With an exuberant air, Dulcianne presented me with two large trash bags. She was my aunt, but for as long as I could recall, always only Dulcianne.
“Her family left all of these behind,” she said.
Then: “They took only the jewelry and the furniture.”
And then: “I think they might be ‘bout your size.”
I accepted the bags with splayed fingertips. They’d been sitting in one of the sixth-floor apartment rooms with, I understood, two polished bookshelves and a dead body.

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Francisco’s Tower

Issue 33 by Paul Crehan

Sometime in the pre-dawn hours, outside of a Mexican village called the Three Sisters, a teenage boy had climbed to the top of a 500-foot-high transmission tower.
To us in the new day, our faces skyward, he looked like a tiny hovering angel, his gaze directed over the mountains of the Three Sisters, from which the village drew its name. He was oblivious to the shouts of his people so far below, in whose midst I stood.


Then suddenly as we watched, he dropped from the sky, and nearing earth, he took on flesh, while losing it, too, as the sheer-sided struts sliced through the falling body.

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The President’s Garden

Issue 33 by Jordan Smith

“It is with some delicacy,” began the note that May had found that morning in the wastebasket in Theo’s study when she went in search of a scrap of paper, that I phrase this apol…” And there the script sputtered and ended. May knew exactly what had happened.

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Bald is a Feel, Not a Look

Issue 33 by Jarrett Neal

Byron shook the rain off his driving cap and wool blazer before he hung them on the rack by the entrance. He handed the chubby lady behind the front desk a twenty-dollar bill. She was honey-colored with glossy yellow fingernails and plump black and gold braids coiled atop her head like a nest of vipers. When she passed him his change and gave him a receipt she said, “That’s for them,” gesturing to the phalanx of barber students several feet away.

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The Tale of Alimona

Issue 33 by Margaret Sullivan

There lived a woman Alimona who was called so because her evil husbands had forced her to pay them alimony before they would agree to free her from their miserable reigns. Many, many evil husbands, too many to identify, lest you find her thoughtless or promiscuous, tortured Alimona’s good faith, good heart and good intentions.

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Saving Grace

Issue 33 by Reyna Marder Gentin

One day, Grace Stevenson stopped coloring her hair. All those hours and all that money spent trying to keep aging at bay, and John had gone off with a younger woman anyway. What was the point? At seventy, she thought the gray made her look refined, worldly. That’s how she wanted to feel. Like she’d arrived at a certain stage in her life where her choices should be respected.
She knew she wasn’t fooling anyone.

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The Cave

Issue 33 by Ellis Shuman

They say the cave offers a passage to the underworld. In ancient Greek mythology, a musician, poet, and prophet named Orpheus, son of the god Apollo, descended through the cave into the subterranean kingdom of Hades in search of his beloved, Eurydice. There are many versions of this legend and none of them have happy endings.

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Temilola

Issue 33 by Doley Henderson

I see her still. Her beaded plaits, flashing smile, bubbling laugh. Temilola. She has five other names but this is the one she prefers. Lola for short.
Toronto, Canada 2019 Floating downstairs after a therapy session, I hold the invisible balloon around me, a hot golden bubble of healing light from my osteo-physio. Pain free for now, I exhale, re-enter the city.

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