All Roads Lead To Istanbul
by John RC Potter
In the early 1990s on a frosty winter’s weekend, I attended an international school job fair at Queen’s University. I had only been teaching in Canada for a few years, but there had been a freeze on salary for teachers in the Province of Ontario. Read more.
Sparks of Hope
by Michael McQuillan
Mind discerns God’s glory in sublime dawn’s slanting sun. Stiff legs spring toward fleeting sight. Arrival evokes awe, till tears at fading light. Glass pane frames what I perceive, renews what I believe, what Hebrew Prophets fervently conceived, as Christ’s Sermon on the Mount decreed: God’s work on Earth is ours. Read more.
by Anna West
I never knew your name. I don’t need to know it to remember, your wild heart branded my soul. The first time I saw you, my family and nine other souls working on the construction of a large water catchment project in Kenya were riding in an old armored van given to us by the British Army. We were crossing the Rift Valley on our way back from Nairobi, travelling toward the Aberdare Ranges where we lived. Read more.
by Krista Schumacher
At twenty-three, I packed my car with an air mattress and bedding, a pot and pan, a few dishes, knives, forks and spoons, two small lamps, all the clothes I could fit into a large suitcase, a new pair of hiking boots, and my black lab mix. My sister and brother-in-law pulled their coats tight against the brisk March wind while I finished loading Ziggy. We hugged goodbye in the parking lot of an Oklahoma City IHOP, Kim wiping away tears and Bill smiling warmly. “Good luck,” he said as I closed the driver’s side door. Read more.
by Frank Light
That old-time feel of can in hand loosens tongues as much as the contents do—our first beer and really our first chance to kick back since the two-day drive from Kabul last month. This is September 1971, Farah province on the border with Iran. Keynote honors go to the eldest: your humble servant. Sitting on the landing outside Werner’s room, I begin by saying Afghanistan was a big mistake. Read more.
by Millie Ford
An apartment dweller for forty years, I learned to navigate labyrinth hallways, steep staircases balancing bags of groceries, elevator caverns without eye contact. Every door the same, spread out like beads on a necklace, never a precious gem to hold. Then, I bought a townhouse. Read more.
Dismantling Rollo Bay
by Karin Doucette
Here, in a wallpapered room under a dark mansard roof, the voice of the wind outside lifts and twirls memories in me of the humble farmhouse that I once called home. Still my heart’s home.
It’s in Rollo Bay, only thirty miles down the road. But a lifetime away. Tomorrow I will go there. Read more.
Baseball and Ballet
by Andrew Sarewitz
Parents want the best for their children, unless they’re psychopaths (the adults, I mean). But sometimes what a parent wants is what they believe is best, without recognizing where a child’s head and heart really are. Read more.
by Michael McQuillan
Holy light fills window’s tree at dawn. Autumn leaves as angels embrace our white-haired God. There is peace as people sleep. I pray. May heart’s compassion bridge mental walls to unite and not divide. The youthful idealism mourned in my bones with Gandhi’s maxim to “be the change you wish to see in the world” mandates clarity: what values dear to me must I enact to infuse good where I can? Read more.
My Whole Heart
by Krista Lee Hanson
My son’s kindergarten teacher was a big, bearded man, generous with hugs and laughter. His old-school version of early education focused on teaching kids how to love each other and share, how to be kind to each other and silly together. He taught them to run and fetch a seat for a visitor and to pay compliments to everyone. Read more.
You Are Your Only Competition
by Swetha Amit
During my initial days of running, I’d look at the runners on the road and wonder why I was not as fast as them. Bitten by the competitive bug, I’d try and match up to their speed and experience a temporary high of overtaking them until all the air was sucked out of my lungs. The pain of watching them run past me was nothing compared to the injuries and niggles I faced later. Read more.
by Emil Rem
It was almost six in the evening as he stared out of the large bay window of his sons’ 34th-floor suite in Essex House. Central Park sprawled beneath him.
As the sun set on the park, it too was setting on the penultimate day of their Christmas sojourn in Manhattan. The trees turned copper under the fading sun. Read more.
Life in the Liminal
by Clint Martin
I’m on my back. Lazing between sleep and awake, dream and reality. It’s morning’s blurry edge, so comforter reaches cheeks, just below closed eyes. Right leg stretches uncovered, cool in our hotel room’s conditioned air. Left side warmed by wife’s breathing body. Florida’s proud light spills into the room, so behind shut lids, it’s not dark. It’s red. Read more.
My Supposed Amish Life
by Marianne Dalton
I stood like a marble statue, reverential and composed when that Amish horse and buggy came within inches of me. The driver, passengers, and even the horse glided past me unfazed, as if floating on air. Now, moments later, and alone on this rural road, there’s an even greater serenity in me. My mood mirrors the tranquil violet-blue sky darkening overhead. Read more.
Blue Sky and Britches
by Ned Weidner
Whenever it rained, my grandma always used to say, “If there is enough blue in the sky to stitch a pair of britches, it is going to get sunny again.” As a child I didn’t know what that meant.
I looked up into the sky and cried. How much blue is needed to make britches, I asked myself. Heck…I wasn’t even sure what britches were. They are pants right? Jeans? Or do those old school cotton pants count too? In any case, I didn’t understand. How was I to know when the good times were going to roll again, if I didn’t know how to stitch? Read more.
What Does It Take to Swim Around Manhattan?
by Julie Labuszewski
August 19, 1989 in the East River
My breathing to the right. My breathing to the left. My breathing to the right. My breathing to the left. My escort boat on my right with the official race observer, the boat captain, Coach Foster, and my dad. My dad concerned about his twenty-seven-year-old daughter in a 28 ½-mile, non-stop race around Manhattan Island. My coach reassuring my dad. Read more.
Lucky Number 57
by Kimberly Horg
Nowadays, it might be hard to imagine food tasting so terrible that you must cover the taste to eat it. Sad but true. Many people lived with dirty water and tainted food in the 1800s. It was a leading cause of death. Much of society drank alcohol daily because they had no other choice; clean drinking water was not an option, and soda and sparkling water were yet to be invented. Read more.
Before the Call
by Sandra Schnakenburg
I stared at the phone, wondering what to say to a man I thought all my life— was dead. In 2008, two years before the call, everything I once knew had vanished. My angel Mom, who had given me hope, had passed away. I pondered what I would do next. After some inner work, my purpose crept up inside me like a wildfire needing to be tamed. I heard the call. Read more.
by Clare Simons
A mongoose scurried along the mossy rock wall, darted under a pile of wood and dashed in front of my feet in search of tasty vermin. Its beady eyes glared up at me as if to say, “Entrance not for everybody.” The lumberyard stocked cremation woods heisted by timber smugglers from endangered forests, carried by porters, hauled by lorry drivers, and sold on the black market with bribes paid at every junction. Read more.
To Grandmother’s House We Go
by Robert Eugene Rubino
When you were thirteen, your paternal grandparents Nonnina and Nonno already seemed ancient, having been married fifty years. Now you’re older than they were then. But you remember … Three things hang on their walls: a gruesome crucifix, a framed wedding photograph, and a billy club. Read more.
by Jeniah Johnson
Despite its cozy name, despite its gentle rise and dive through corn fields and cow pastures, Comfort Hill Road has its hazards. In the warmer months, when driving to and from town, I watch for entitled tractors, escapee cows, flocks of cyclists racing for the cure. But today, a January afternoon in Vermont, it’s just “Collie Lady” on the road. Read more.
by Michael McQuillan
Jesus lived and died in vain if he did not teach us all to regulate the whole of life by the eternal law of love, the Mahatma Gandhi said. Solidarity with the poor set both men’s moral conduct beyond mortal norms, but we placed them on pedestals rust-crusted with age. Read more.
by Anna West
I put a pomegranate in his hands. His hands once strong and brown, long fingered, now rested empty of life. Closed. Wrapped like torn paper around the red plumpness of the fruit. I could feel the seeds resting like jewels beneath the thickness of the pomegranate’s rind. Thirteen pink paper hearts cut from what felt like my flesh I put in the pocket of his jacket,… Read more.
Church-Sized Tarantulas and Other Realistic Threats
by Chan Brady
First time I did it I was three and a half, complete with gold, bouncing curls and freckles from a summer spent in the sun. I went to daycare every day, and that night I went to daycare, too. I didn’t know what to call such a menial moment. Eventually settled on calling it a “blue-skadoo” like my favorite television show. Nobody believed me except my friends at the church. Read more.