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Here Comes a Regular

Issue 31 by Dave Boeckhout

HE SHIFTS IN HIS seat atop barstool, a lean-to-sinewy build weighed down by an epic hangover. He locks a gaze on his nemesis and stews. A nonchalant simmer boils up into something resembling a care, in the presence of one who has done him wrong.
“Damn you,” he mutters, upgrading his stare to a glare in glowering at a fifth of bourbon one splash above empty.

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All Sorrows Can Be Borne

Issue 30 by Loren Stephens

He told me that our son, Hisashi, would be better off living with his sister and her husband in America; I was too weak to argue with him. My mother said I had lost my mind to give up my child. Her judgment of me was cruel, but I knew she was right.
“You are like a monk for three days,” she said.
“What do you mean?”
“You give up too easily. You carried your baby for nine months; you took care of him for three years; and after all that you give him away. What was the point of that struggle? Do you not love him, Noriko?”

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The Law of Return

Issue 30 by Leeore Schnairsohn

My father was playing guitar with Guns N’ Roses when he died in a nightclub fire. The club was an old airline hangar packed with polyurethane to hold in the A/C, which was running against an epic Florida summer. Someone, it was conjectured, lit a cigarette in defiance of the law. Meanwhile my dad was playing Izzy Stradlin’s old parts: rhythm lines, easy to miss. His fate was sealed in seconds. As was yours.

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A Bridge Outside Limerick

Issue 29 by Paul Benkendorfer

A lingering chill filled the fresh morning air as the crown of the sun broke over the mountains and hills. Spring had come, but the final fragments of 1915’s winter had not yet dissipated. A plume of breath bleached with every breath he took. He sat, crouched behind a large boulder atop a small hill overlooking the road that meandered through the pass below.

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Lambs Cross

Issue 29 by Edward Harvey

In late September, Danny Munchak Jr. disappeared from the town of Lamb’s Cross, an old town in the western part of Massachusetts where redbrick mills stand like ancient landmarks, testaments to a glorified past of material production. Even at the time of the disappearance, which occurred on the edge of the millennium, the mills hadn’t produced much besides tetanus and unwanted pregnancies for over twenty years.

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NoNameGirl@27

Issue 29 by Lauren Avenius

He still dreamed of the desert. He never lived there, but he knew it like you know houses and faces you’ve only ever seen in dreams. It was part of him. And no matter how the dream started, it always ended the same way, with the desert sun bearing down on him, sweat running down his forehead, then him falling forward onto his hands and knees, the grit and rocks digging into his palms, the faint taste of salt and sand and blood in his mouth as he clawed his way forward.

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Alice Walking on Water

Issue 28 by Thomas Weedman

They work past midnight. They work past the time scarab June bugs and even Jesus should be asleep, walking behind a rusted, yellow tanker holding modified fire hoses. Instead of pressurized nozzles, they dip mud-flapped deflectors into banked furrows the shape and color of baked pie crusts, watering a thousand dry apple saplings. Their boots and denim bell-bottoms get soaked.

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A Worthy Life

Issue 28 by Sylvia True

Sabine stood in the vestibule and looked at the steel door that had a wire-mesh window. She knew that air was a mixture of nitrogen and oxygen and traces of other gases. She knew there was no molecule that made fear, yet fear was what she breathed on that cold, damp, November night.

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Hazel Come Home

Issue 28 by Ethan Steers

The Merrick house was on a hill so that, from the porch, you could see down past each farm and, on clear nights, the lights from Moravia. Large cottonwoods blocked the property from Route 11, but from the fields down south you could see directly up to where the home loomed above the town like a castle. If a stranger were to see Hazel standing on her porch, they might simply think she was surveying her property…

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Annapurna

Issue 28 by Robert Detman

I awake as we glide in over the haze of a city the color of concrete, the sun a glowing orb in a pink sky. On the horizon, the buildings materialize from the mist. After an eight-hour flight from London, I arrive in Islamabad at Benazir Bhutto International Airport.
I brought the bandage gloves with the prosthetics, but in London I feel the first gust of freedom and decide to bare all for an indifferent world. two hands with their odd scarcity of fingers.

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Box of Rain

Issue 27 by Bobby Wilson

All Tobias could do was thank HaShem over and over again that he had made it to the train station on time and that they were now on the train; the former because of what his wife would have said to him and the latter because now that they were on the train she wouldn’t be able to level criticisms of any kind at him in such close quarters.
He loved Hannah, she was a lovely woman, but the nagging sometimes, it was a bit much. And it didn’t seem to be waning in frequency or potency as the years went by

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The Woodcutter and the Angel

Issue 27 by Esther Ra

Last fall, in my first semester of college, I wrote a collection of poetry. It was a series of poems revolving around an ancient Korean fairytale about a woodcutter and his wife. The original story goes like this. When a poor woodcutter saves a fleeing deer from a hunter, the deer tells him a secret in return: there is a magical spring where seonnyeo (the traditional Korean equivalent for angels) come down to bathe. If you steal one of their winged robes, she will be unable to return to the heavens and therefore become your wife.

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A Friend Until the End

Issue 27 by Sandra Schmidtke

Arthur Millman wears the shadow of his mortality like a shroud, and I know that our time together will be brief but profitable. I give this commitment two months, tops.
Grey wisps of hair do nothing to conceal the marigold tinge of jaundice on Arthur’s scalp. Glee bubbles up in my heart. Pancreatic cancer is a hard-hearted mistress, and she has had her way with this thin, nervous man. While my latest client reviews the contract, I count backward.

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He Crossed the Line

Issue 27 by William Hubbartt

I packed up the Tacoma, figuring on a five-day round trip down to Georgia. I researched planned stops, and figured that rural Georgia was more likely to have gravel back roads with higher hills and deeper valleys than the flat country blacktop roads that were fairly common in the northern Midwest, my stomping grounds.

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The Goode Sisters

Issue 26 by Charlene Finn

Summer was Kate’s favorite season. The sun drew moisture from the air and sharpened her senses, so when a thunderstorm approached, she could smell rain before it fell. When the sun dropped below Rattlesnake Ridge across the lower Yakima Valley, their land on the opposite east slope held onto the heat and almost guaranteed that she and Hayden were able to grow bumper crops of fruit. They raised Bing cherries, Red Haven and Alberta peaches, and Tilden apricots and two kinds of apples all sold under Kate’s family name, Goode.

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The Boy with the Lysol-Sprayed Cowlick

Issue 25 by Thomas Weedman

The Examen – a preparation for Confession. To the boy with the pellucid blue eyes and the Lysol-sprayed cowlick, it almost sounds like an exam for men. He does not think he’ll pass. After final reflections, as though time is up and he must put down his yellow #2 pencil, he solemnly exits the pew.

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A Bright Spot

Issue 25 by Chelsea Cambeis

Somewhere along the way, I lost all sense of direction. Life’s become this mundane, necessary task, and I’m growing tired. My brain is fuzzy; I lack enthusiasm. Most would say I’m depressed, but it feels more like I’m running out of steam.

So here I stand, sneakers melting to the cracked sidewalk.

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