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Junk Life

The day labor spot is a decent place to bum a smoke or snatch a half-cigarette off the ground, but it’s not ideal for finding meaningful work. And when it’s five in the morning and you walked two miles to get here, meaningful work isn’t exactly your white whale. You’ll take any damn gig. Sign […]

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VIET NAM 1968

Dear Lisa, 5thWeek in Hell I’m lying on an army cot at my outpost. Every breath, I suck in a battalion of bugs. Damn insects. It’s raining and they decided to come in here where it’s dry. Last night I about got plugged writing a letter using this same flashlight. A sniper saw it. That […]

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Delivery

“Mark.” Joe slowly declares my name, as if to confirm that it really is me who arrived with the order; that it’s his partner standing there in the hallway. He’s as surprised to see me as I am him. He’s half naked, though this isn’t our home. I’ve never even been to this apartment. I […]

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Five Times I Have Slept at Your Bedside

We brought you home, driving far under the speed limit, turning oh-so-slow, your mother worrying over how your head lolled in the carseat. The world, inexplicably, was still full of Wendy’s and gas stations and billboards for Michelob Ultra, heedless of the monumental shift that had occurred at your birth. When we finally laid you […]

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Artist in Wine, with Galoshes

“Excuse me, ma’am,” I said. “Are you waiting?” The woman was blocking the door, playing Pictionary on the family restroom plaque with a red Expo marker. She faced away from me, just a mop of maroon hair and black slacks. This studio held forty guests for my exhibition but only had one bathroom? Unbelievable. “Ma’am.” […]

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Crater Meet

On moonless nights during the winter of 1917, they meet in the bomb crater. A few hours before dawn, the soldiers climb over their sandbags and crawl, staying low and quiet (the trench sentries are paid off in dry socks and cigarettes). Loops of barbed wire glint like fangs in the glow of distant flares, […]

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The Knives of Her Life

The night my step-dad found mum in bed with another guy was the same night he gave me his Swiss Army knife—the one he’d spent hours whittling wood with outside on our balcony. He jammed his clothes and books into a knapsack and told me he was sorry I wasn’t his for the taking. I […]

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Vaquera

The summer Tabby is nineteen and tired of being the girl whose college instructors forget her name, she spots an ad for mascot tryouts in the community college newspaper and finds herself at the audition doing cartwheels and strutting like Yosemite Sam in front of a scowling cheerleading coach and her squad. She gets the job, […]

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When the Selkie Comes

My name is not Elisabeth. My eyes are not full of tears. My life has not just changed forever. My best friend is not dead. Mum screeches my full name like a fishwife, carrying over the howling winds of the bay, and the magic is broken. Every evening I sit looking over the sharp rocks […]

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Eating It Too

Her mother had taught her that each meal, each dish made with her own fingers was a gift. You should cook with your loved one in mind, Sophie, her mother used to say, and strive for the best. So Sophie had. Each meal was a feast, a gift of love. Harold ate each with gusto, […]

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