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Knots

Issue 35 by Liz Wasson Coleman

Any of the stories about why we left could be true, but I gravitate toward the one about the middle-aged father threatening to drive the Jeep off a cliff. I don’t know whether he imagined his family in the vehicle with him. The little boys wouldn’t have been wearing seatbelts in 1979. The infant would have been crying in her mother’s weak arms.

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The Most Dangerous Pitch

Issue 35 by BJ Neblett

Victims of automobile accidents often report that at the moment of impact time seems to move in slow motion. I now understand what they experience. For one protracted fraction of a second time stood still. The din of the spectators faded to a distant thunder in my ears. My gloved hand crept skywards.

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Alchemy of Gambling

Issue 35 by Catherine O'Neill

The whole process threw me for a loop. I spent over forty years of my life in Nigredo living in the darkness of the disease of gambling. Gambling is in my blood; I carry the ancestral glow of an epigenetic behavior which goes down to the bedrock of my DNA. If you didn’t gamble in my family, there was something radically wrong with you.

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Clean

Issue 34 by Micah Thorp

I stood in the hallway of the African Hotel in Tunis wearing a bathrobe and sandals unsure which way to turn. Flanked on both sides by large ornate doors encrusted with mosaics of translucent tiles artfully lettering something in Arabic, I had no idea where to go. At front desk, using my mostly forgotten college French, IÕd inquired about the spa (la source mineral) initially uncertain whether I would be directed to a steam room or rock quarry.

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Black, Yellow, Blue

Issue 34 by Rebecca Larivee

Black. Yellow. Blue. The painting in the hall showed a man, a woman, and a big yellow dog Ð falling from the Earth into the atmosphere. The dog looked so helpless as he fell with his legs spread out, away from green earth and blue oceans toward the blackened sky. The thick strokes of paint gave the images an added dimension Ð as if the paint was also falling away from the wooden frame. Even then, at the tender age of nine, I was most concerned about the dog.

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A recipe for apple pie

Issue 34 by Janette Schafer

First, gather the apples. After the neighbors move out, in the seclusion of nightfall, crawl with your little sister beneath a gap dug by their brown dog underneath the fence between their yard and yours. Shimmy on your belly like a snake. Once you are safely inside their abandoned homestead, reach up to take a large bowl your mother hands you over the wooden fence posts.

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Memorial in Sand

Issue 34 by Mark Carter

Three statues stand together at the edge of the tree line. Alert, deliberately calm, they look in the same direction, though not precisely at the same place. Boonie-rats. Grunts.
They are looking, always will be looking at The Wall: a great gash of black stone slabs in a green civilian lawn. A carefully shaped pile of black sand.

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Loma Prieta

Issue 33 by Helen Beer

October 17, 1989. 5:04 P.M. I’d just left the Moscone Convention Center with my colleague, Jacqueline. We were exhibiting at a conference on water pollution and had just settled into our seats on one of the buses shuttling exhibitors and attendees to their hotels for the evening. And then it struck. For fifteen seconds it felt like a carnival whirlybird ride.
The windows in the buildings around us seemed to breathe in and out, until, released from their frames, these great panes exploded, showering fragments of glass, glittering in the traffic’s lights.

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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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To Walk a Path in Anzio

Issue 31 by Alison Relyea

Every Memorial Day, the lines of this poem interrupt my thoughts, popping in at odd moments as I watch my children jump in a pool or take a bite of a burger. In eighth grade, I had to memorize a poem from a photocopied packet of famous poems as part of an English assignment. In my fuzzy memory, I am sitting at our kitchen table while my mom makes dinner.

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I Am a Stalwart: Part One

Issue 31 by David Kennedy

The first gathering of the Stalwarts was, of necessity, an intimate one. It had been far too long since the social business of politics had occurred under the supervision of Kate Chase. Mary Todd Lincoln being of a sour disposition, and unattractive besides, the great Washington salon of the war years had not been the White House, but the Chase residence.

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Finding Water

Issue 30 by Fred First

Water. All my life it came out of a tap every time I turned the knobs on the kitchen sink or wanted a hot shower. It always worked that way, always would. I was an otherwise science-and-planet-aware, touchy-feely tree-hugger type, but took water for granted for thirty years. I confess this. I swam in pools full of the stuff whose existence in this world began the second it left the nozzle of the garden hose or kitchen faucet. This was true until I found water 1981.

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La Vieja, Santa Ana

Issue 30 by Christy Shick

I hadn’t planned on stopping again until after we’d crossed the border. We’d filled the tank and used toilets at a Pemex in Hermosillo. From there it was only a few hours to Nogales, hot dusty hours stretching into desert when a burst of pain, like a metal hammer bit into my driving heel and shot like lightening up my hip.

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It’s Spectacular

Issue 30 by Rachel Walton

Sitting upright in bed, wearing his blue checked, button-down shirt, his long, spindly, legs outstretched, covered by his crisp cotton pajamas, my husband’s eyes were closed. His arms were slightly bent at his sides and reaching forward just a bit. His palms were turned upward toward the sky. The room was silent. Some may have seen it as a moment of confusion. I saw a moment of profound communion. Or a gesture of gratitude. It was a holy moment.

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When Lucinda Holloway Met J.W. Booth, April 1865

Issue 29 by Sara Kay Rupnik

The Holloway sisters observed the man calling himself James Boyd as they might a work of art. He lay under the apple tree with his black hat angled over his pale face. His dark moustache rose above his straight white teeth.
“A handsome man,” offered Cecelia, the married sister and mother of three sons.
Lucinda, the spinster schoolmarm, was less generous. “One might say so.”

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Immersed in the Gorge

Issue 29 by Penny Garnsworthy

I often visit a special place not far from my home. Here I am revived, here I can observe, and here my soul feeds on nature in all its forms. I feel privileged to be able to call this place my own: Cataract Gorge in Launceston, Tasmania.

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A Left Turn

Issue 29 by J. Jacqueline McLean

Eleven years later, it is still haunting. The nagging headache is how it started. I stopped kidding myself a year ago. My brain will never return to the zoom, zoom fourteen-year-old who delighted at, “Mom, the paper boy, no, girl, is here.”

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