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Quilted Northern

by Taylor Riley

Lying on a pile of blankets in my grandmother’s upstairs bedroom on a breezy, October night, I was feeling both chilly—the window was open to my left— and mentally exhausted after an eight-hour drive from our home in central Kentucky to western Pennsylvania. I rested beneath my grandmother’s patchwork quilt where my boyfriend Heath and I were bedded down. I clung to the warmth of the quilt, its scent a mix of musk and mothballs.

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The Sandy Diary of Susu Aisin Gioro

by Susanne Lee

In a flash, I went from living in a neighborhood of $15 grilled cheese sandwiches, $19 meatloafs and $400 skin creams to a developing country with cold water, no electricity and waiting in line at a public park for dry ice from the electric company and to charge my phone from a CNN truck. And I am one of the lucky ones. I have a roof and windows.

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Summer Haze of Weston Days and Her Eyes

by Julia Edinger

When I look back on that summer, I remember everything in a blue-tinted haze. Everything was blue. The sky was perpetually sapphire; I don’t think it rained at all for three months. Even the murky water from the neighbor’s pond was cerulean, or at least that’s how it appears in my memories. But the bluest of all was in her eyes.

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The Immortal Goldfish

by Sophie Austin

When I was nearly eleven years old, I stood up in front of my classmates and proudly announced that I had an immortal goldfish. My teacher, a stout, angry woman called Mrs. Gilbert wasn’t as impressed by this statement as I had hoped.

‘Immortal?’ She said, her tone scathing.

‘It means she’ll never die,’ I said. ‘Mum said so.’

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The Matterings of Molehills

by Anna Davis Abel

“I want to matter.”

You will say this, ten months removed from it all, clutching a pink frilled pillow under your elbows, picking at the fraying seam you pull a little looser each time you come to her office. Your therapist with the little feet will listen and then say what everyone always says. “You already matter. Everyone matters.”

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Sweet Dreams

by Carey Cecelia Shook

“I can control my dreams,” Andrew, my oldest brother, told me as I drove him to work at 5:40 a.m. in 2014 because he didn’t have his own car. “That’s why I woke up a little later. I was dreaming, and I wanted to keep dreaming.”

“What do you mean you can control them?” I asked.

Andrew went on to tell me how he always knew he was dreaming, so he made his dream-self do anything he wanted to—fly, teleport, rescue people. That was the first time I heard about lucid dreaming.

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Charlie Hustle

by Alan Swyer

At a get acquainted lunch, which took place before I agreed to direct a baseball instructional video, I did a surreptitious check on what I termed attention span.

After countless hours with public figures—doing on-camera interviews with politicians, scientists, law enforcement officials, and athletes— I had learned the hard way that every person has a fixed period of time—a maximum—after which concentration shuts down.

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The Flight

by Ellen Gunnarsdottir

My father knew that March would be a long month this year so he died on the last day of February. Nobody expected it. My mother had said that he would outlive her and become a hundred. He was eighty, recently retired from his medical practice, and still indestructible, or so we thought.

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Time Breaks Sometimes

by Beatriz Seelaender

My grandparents shocked everyone at their Golden Anniversary when they informed us that they would be taking a break from their relationship. I for one did not know this was something grandparents were allowed to do. If you made it fifty years, you are expected to get all the way through the end

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How a Boy Becomes a Mom

by Jeffrey Seitzer

When my wife Janet was expecting, she read everything she could get her hands on about pregnancy and child-rearing. She gave me regular executive summaries of her findings. While she spoke, I silently wondered about all the fussing. People had been doing this for ages. Surely, it was not that difficult?

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Daytime Thoughts on Love and Buddhism

by Robyn Lang

On the backseat of the bike, heat as hot as I could ever have imagined it being, air heavy and adulterated with fumes and dust alike. The dust which sticks to the skin like sand against a moist cloth, layering it with an evenly spread film of dirt.

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Maidenhead Revisited

by Kailee Pedersen

I used to dream about a certain person nearly every night. It has been a long time since we last spoke. But in the dream, we have been talking forever, as long as it takes for the sun to rise in the east and set in the west.

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View From The O-sento

by Ophelia Leong

Lying down underneath a cloudless sapphire blue sky, I felt the sun’s rays caress my naked body like warm fingers. I felt the blood thrumming through my veins, warmed by the baths and exhilarated by the fresh air. A small white towel lay between my legs, a mediocre curtain of modesty, but it didn’t matter.

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The Storyteller of Palestine

by Toni Palombi

THE ANCIENT ART OF STORYTELLING was once a vibrant feature of the Arab world. In days gone by, a storyteller could be found in a smoky cafe, delighting audiences with tales, both old and new.

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The Changing Forest

by Joey Salvo

My father wears baseball caps on our hikes to the beaver pond. The little hair he’s had has always been sparse and gray, and the hats are to protect his exposed head from the cold, the sun, or both. In old photos his hair is thick, like mine, a black storm cloud swirling around his head.

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For Einstein. (No, not that Einstein.)

by Alex Pickens

My first encounter with a raccoon occurred one autumn morning when I looked out the window and saw something large and furry stuffed into our homemade box-like bird feeder. It appeared to be asleep. I turned off the sink, slipped on my sandals, picked out a good stick, and wandered over to inspect…

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Tweets I Could Have Tweeted

by Kirkley Mehndiratta

Tweets I Could Have Tweeted While I was at the Leighton Artists Colony Writer at Banff Centre for the Arts & Creativity in Canada, Except That I Quit Social Media Cold Turkey for the Purpose of My Writing Residency (from a human with anger, anxiety, energy, solitude, loneliness, panic, and procrastination problems)

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Jim

by Katie Coleman

They have buffalo lodge and they have ghost lodge and they have all these different styles of lodge. The Lakota. Originally from Minnesota but spent the last 200 years in the Dakotas and that’s where I… so in 1978, you know about the freedom of religion act?

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