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Fantasy

How to Confront the Sphinx Haunting Your Garden

If you are consulting this guide, you live alone in the house at the end of the lane, and a sphinx has been haunting your overgrown garden. So far you’ve dealt with the sphinx by countering her riddles with Zen koans, or covering your face when you pass so she leaves you alone. You’ve told […]

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Fairy-Tale Ending

When the moon was full, Immer lowered her hair to the Earth, a silver net with snarls bound tight as a captain’s knot. Kneeling down, she plucked the strands of her hair like a harpist. In the tension before dawn, Immer raised her hair, scooping birds and bugs away from the Earth. Immersed in her […]

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Bedtime Snacks for Baby

Once more before bedtime, my sweet. Snuggle up here in the rocking [item used for sitting], and I’ll tell you how it happened. Now, where to begin? When we moved to this cabin in the woods? When Sadie and I decided to have a baby? Those are beginnings, too. No? All right, we’ll start the […]

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Things Not to Forget

Like the way her voice slides into my ear, my guardian angel with the slight, teen-sized body, with the freckles and dirty-blonde bangs and tender little hands, the pearl-white nails so even. That piping voice, waking me: “Carrie, you’ve got to get up.” The quiet, mature concern of that child-high voice slices smoothly into my […]

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From Her Mouth, the Ashes

Lena spoke not in birdsong but in birds. When we first met, her greeting was accompanied by fidgeting wings, the shy hop of a wren. But behind the shyness, there was a strength of will, a quiet fierceness that burned in her eyes and drew me in, past the feathers, past the songs. Our first […]

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knick knack, knick knack

When you were a child, white skulls used to follow you through the woods. You tried to catch a glimpse of them, but when you turned your head, their skeleton bodies would disappear, fading into the canopy. Only their bone-voices remained, clacking through the trees, knick knack, knick knack. And then how you ran! Not […]

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Pianissimo

When we hear they are coming, we bury our music in the backyard, deep underneath the roots of the sycamore tree where the forbidden music cannot break through the earth. We know the punishment for carrying music inside of us. We know that if we are caught with music, we will be sent away to […]

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Our Cousins, Whom We Do Not Use As Directed

We are the alive ones. We have grown fewer with time. Our cousins stay near us in the form of objects although they are not of us any longer. The conch on the mantel was of us once. The tasseled ottoman was of us once. The carven bell was of us once, and we ring […]

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Quilting With the Rejects

Rex could teach anybody to quilt. He didn’t care if you’d never sewn before, if you’d never held a needle. He had a gift, knew the fabric, and inherited a lifetime of needles from his grandmother. Quilts came together easy under Rex’s careful eye. It didn’t matter if you had no money. Goodwill was brimming […]

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Trinkets

Her first gift was palm-sized and heavy, wrapped in black silk and tucked into my hand as she passed. I’d seen her before, her face always hidden behind cheap sunglasses, and she’d ignored me the way everyone ignores overweight, anxious men having a cigarette before work. As though they might catch my appearance like a […]

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