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Fiction

Saudade

As his taxi raced toward the dock Lee could see the water between buildings and at the end of streets, filling the space around and beyond distant spits of unfocused land. The ocean smelled like a liquefied cellar. His last time near the ocean was that summer at Myrtle Beach when he was nine. He’d […]

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Needles

Mam sets aside the petticoat she’s hemming, makes a note in the piecework book, and unpicks the sleepy stitches in Maeve’s sampler. “Try again.” She passes the scrap of hessian back to her daughter, sighs. “Needlework teaches the virtues of patience, silence, and control.” Virtues. Maeve stabs new thread through the eye of her needle. […]

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For Every Sin, an Absolution

I am fifteen the first time my mother pays for me to see the octopus. Inside those yellowing tents with their black-stitched tears we are not supposed to see, my mother pushes coins toward the mustachioed attendant who looks at her breasts and then at mine. Smiling, he tears off two tickets and points in […]

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The Zoetrope

It was my mother who gave me the zoetrope. She presented it to me for my birthday and I loved it at once, not for its own sake or even for the magic it wrought, but because it was something we could share. It was made of carved wood, with a floral design encircling the […]

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Root-Light

1. Approaching Prayer In a sudden breeze the poet watched three dandelion spores break their tethers. They drifted out for a moment like trivial monoliths. He was sick and had to die somewhere, so he had chosen a place that might be sick with poetry. But he held back the moment of arrival, watching these […]

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The Maxo Polyester Swirl Bowling Ball, 14lbs

There’s this bowling ball. Its proper name is the Maxo Polyester Swirl Bowling Ball, 14lbs. That’s what you would search for online, if you wanted one. Only, you won’t find it online. And you won’t find it in a bowling supplies shop—not that they really exist anymore—or a sports and leisure store, or anywhere. Maxo […]

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Honor Thy Mother

Snow is falling and Agnes is sure she can hear it as it whispers through the air and lands with the softest of sighs on tree branches, cars, outdoor furniture, and the ground with its already-deposited layer of flakes. She loves how it looks, loves that there is a season that can be relied upon. […]

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Driving with Ghosts

During the summer when I was seventeen, I saw my first ghost. I had left a friend’s party, drunk not to oblivion, but to a point where the world seemed softer at its edges; a world that could be bended, folded to my desires; it was a world that held no grudges against me and, […]

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The Whalers Song

Sebjørn squinted against the pale light of the midnight sun. The sky was cloudless. There was no wind. Save for where it frothed against the hull of the Höðr, splitting around them into a wide V of wake, the sea was still, and vacant. It was so quiet that Sebjørn had become aware of the […]

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Sleeping in Metal and Bone

It is summer the first time I dream of hooks at the end of my fingers. The cold metal buried in the soft tissue and then curving outward into a small, delicate point. How I creep through the shadowed damp of our backyard, the odor of soil rich and deep as I hunt through the […]

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