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Vol. 8, No. 4 Contents

A Child's Dream of a Star  by CHARLES DICKENS

24 December 2008
fiction, short story, classic

There was once a child, and he strolled about a good deal, and thought of a number of things. He had a sister, who was a child, too, and his constant companion. These two used to wonder all day long. They wondered at the beauty of the flowers; they wondered at the height and blueness of the sky; they wondered at the depth of the bright water; they wondered at the goodness and the power of God who made the lovely world.

They used to say to one another sometimes, Supposing all the children upon earth were to die, would the flowers, and the water, and the sky be sorry? They believed they would be sorry. For, said they, the buds are the children of the flowers, and the little playful streams that gambol down the hillsides are the children of the water; and the smallest bright specks playing at hide-and-seek in the sky all night, must surely be the children of the stars; and they would all be grieved to see their playmates, the children of men, no more.

Queen of the Sparrows  by JANET E. IRVIN

9 February 2009
fiction, short story, magical realism

Merritt watched Amrita lift her arms to the flock of sparrows heading south and mouthed the thought that clucked at her every day since their arrival in Toronto: I don't want to be here. The birds skimmed over the roof, wheeled, and faded to a darker blot in the clouded sky. Her daughter's slender hands, unmittened, trembled in the cold. Stirred by the birds' passing, the purple, gold, and silver ribbons tied around each stick-thin wrist fluttered upward. They were wings, Amrita explained as she scattered breadcrumbs across the tangled weave of frozen grass and weeds, wings to fly her home.

The Young Good Man  by ROBERT KLOSS

25 January 2009
fiction, short story

Charlie and me were just about to head out when my wife Kim gave me an ever-so-light kiss on the lips and then whispered, "Don't go." She pulled back to look at me the one last time before she glanced over my shoulder. Charlie was there leaning up against his blue Ranger. At the time I thought she was ashamed or something for trying to keep me home.

"I can't, you know that," I said. I wasn't lying, either. I couldn't've stayed home then no more than I could've gone to the moon. We'd made these plans weeks back and I'd been hassling Charlie for months before that, just to get together. "We hardly ever see each other, man," I'd said. "We only live ten miles apart. If Ma and Dad were alive they'd…"

"All right, all right. Jesus, just don't cry," he'd said.

The Poincaré Conjecture  by ALLEN LONG

2 January 2009
fiction, short story

"Please make love to me," I said, struggling not to plead.

My husband Dan jerked his chin to the right, meaning no. He picked up his Rubik's Cube from the nightstand and quickly solved the puzzle three times, his Holy Trinity. I gave him the puzzle on his last birthday, his thirtieth, shortly after they came out.

"I wish you'd play with me instead of that cube," I said. I'd been off birth control pills for a month and was ovulating.

"I'd love to, but I don't want a baby." His expression was regretful but firm. I considered seducing him, but assuming I was successful, I knew it would only worsen our situation. When we married a year earlier, we hadn't resolved the issue of having children. Now, at twenty-five, I felt a fierce, animal-like desire to have a baby.


20 December 2008
fiction, flash fiction

"I don't mean to be a dick," he said as she drove them west on I70, "but in this light you really look your age."

She was older by five years. Their ages faced off over the line between twenty-something and no longer twenty-something, but he looked like a boy still in college whereas she had matching but fading bath towels and a beaten-down couch in a home that she owned.


23 February 2009
fiction, short story

Jennifer wakes to the cat vomiting. The sound makes Stephen, the man trying to prove his potential as her kids' fill-in father, jump out of bed like he did when the neighbor kids lit firecrackers in the alley—like trouble, something to reckon with. He's naked, and she tries to swallow the slight nausea she always feels at the sight of naked men—even beautiful naked men, which this one might be said to be, by some.

"It's the cat," she says. "She always vomits when I refill her food bowl; she's the binge-and-purge type."

He laughs, like he does, at her wit, an unsure laugh that says, I'm not sure that I get it, but I'm good-humored, so understand that I want to get it. I'm trying really hard to get it.

He's already pulling on his shorts and t-shirt. He's careful not to let the kids see him without clothes—"Wouldn't want to give them the wrong idea," he says.

Pendleton  by VALERIE VOGRIN

17 December 2008
fiction, flash fiction

The first time I had intercourse with a boy I was twelve and he was sixteen and our union was consummated atop a station wagon, pulling out of a dirt road, accelerating down a paved highway, reaching a reported speed of 96 miles per hour.

Ordinary Morning Light  by SHANNON AMIDON

5 February 2009

The weeping women cause a scene at the post office.

No one stares,

exactly, but no kindness is shown. No door is held open as they struggle to exit.

The Glassblower  by SHANNON AMIDON

2 February 2009

His heart was colorless

until he discovered the cavity's

lavender cadence and its wildflower

breezed shapes, streaked with cool

witch hazel poultice.

A Red, Red Rose  by ROBERT BURNS

23 December 2008
poetry, classic, rhyme

O my Luve's like a red, red rose

   That's newly sprung in June:

O my Luve's like the melodie

   That's sweetly play'd in tune!

What if I say I shall not wait!  by EMILY DICKINSON

13 February 2009
poetry, classic

What if I say I shall not wait!

What if I burst the fleshly Gate—

And pass, escaped—to thee!

Plant an orange pumpkin patch
which at twelve will quaintly hatch

15 January 2009

Each day less

room less water. What I wouldn't give

for roses and thorns for

roses. We drew straws

and she cried

that glass shod bitch birches

follow her home…


2 December 2008

Why so much stone here?

How far did we ride our habits

& with what weight of stubbornness?

At least our children shone & grew

to be tall doctors (not rock stars)…

The Symmetry of Water  by LAUREN GOODWIN SLAUGHTER

5 December 2008

         I wore my pretty blue choir

skirt as I was told to

         look past the accident

to find my double glass

         shape of flute within the frond

light gladiolas flap glass

         so to be polite, to capture

shyness back (most mornings it works…

crash of sleep  by ELLEN HAGAN

20 February 2009
poetry, prose poem

it is 7:30 am  on the 4 train to the bronx  we are heading fast uptown  doors swinging rough out from their sockets  rush of burnside fordham road kingsbridge terrace  old armory  dirt and trash mark the concrete below me  rip of train  i sit next to a woman with the number nine on her chest  sprawling her breasts stretched  her baby sleeps below  sound

Reach and Retreat  by ADAM HOULE

29 January 2009
poetry, ghazal

She watched my arm's arc as I heaved the stick.

I plumbed her eyes for something, and the dog retrieved the stick.

At the abandoned mine she put her hand on mine

To guide me first to second; awkwardly, I learned to drive stick.

Geese don't collide, they said, it's impossible  by ROBIN LEE JORDAN

22 January 2009

I wanted a war in the sky.

I wanted to see the weak

slip through the air like dead

birds to the tempestuous water,

not that pathetic confusion—

the stupid shapes they make.

Dissecting the Automaton  by ANNA JOURNEY

11 December 2008

I'm nurse, nurturer, old

knife-girl drawing the moon like iron through the far skylight. The vents sliding

         temperate breaths through metal.

I love an animal that'll open

         like a girl—

Nude Girls to Pluto  by ANNA JOURNEY

8 December 2008

I shoved naked photographs of me

into the sewer

after the breakup, to prevent

them from appearing

near adds for cello lessons

pinned in our grocery store.

Red-Haired Girl Wants You to Know  by ANNA JOURNEY

14 December 2008

The sycamore mark on her inner thigh is a continent

about to divide itself into the angel

that sat in the votive light

of a fourteen year-old's cigarette, and the angel

that was never there…

My Tongue Swapped Out  by ANN LINDE

12 January 2009

I am telling someone else's story.

This is not my magnolia

tree, and these are not

my shelled pecans.

I eat them anyway.

Song for this Time  by ANGIE MACRI

6 January 2009

Quails don't have chicks when it doesn't rain,

but I had you in a dry year of war when we fed

on bull nettle in eyebright and meadowsweet.

The footage is from Lebanon this time. You ask

if they fight the buildings down, and why.

Substation Sonnet  by SALLY MOLINI

9 January 2009
poetry, sonnet

Tonight, lightening amps the A-frames,

tilts the drone of my fridge and A/C—

surrounded by the daily buzz,

wonder if I percolate to the same

watt-worn beat. Lights go out,

storm pruning the trees, dark kitchen

good for thinking how too many shallow

currents run me.

on finding your keys  by OLGA PESTER

27 February 2009

i dreamt i couldn't find

my spanish class  like you

who have that dream of

finding not and failing who

i  just the same

grandmother said

dream the i

& leave it out

but left is what

and what is who forgetting


19 January 2009
poetry, crown of sonnets, sonnet, rhyme

The birds I hear don't sound like opera, not

like flutes or piccolos at play. They sound

like birds. Sometimes the birds are all I've got.

There's nothing grand but wakefulness, the ground

I jump from; nothing but the shining air…

Servant  by EMMA RAMEY

16 February 2009
poetry, prose poem

Growing wild and rank, out in the grass. They asked me to bend down on my knees and rip the dandelions out with my teeth. Not just me. The group of us. Bend down, they said. Your teeth, they said.

Again and again, however we know the landscape of love  by RAINER MARIA RILKE

14 February 2009
poetry, classic, translation

again and again the two of us walk out together

under the ancient trees, lie down again and again

among the flowers…

You who never arrived  by RAINER MARIA RILKE

15 February 2009
poetry, classic, translation

You who never arrived

in my arms, Beloved, who were lost

from the start,

I don't even know what songs

would please you.

Advice to the Expectant Father  by STEPHEN NEAL WEISS

21 November 2008

Say the pelvis is untested, you're rookies,

the cervix ripening when the mucus plug

unglues. Beware a false labor. (All work,

no pay.) They will measure descent by plus

or minus from the zero station. Inform

your provider. Let inhale volume equal

exhale volume.

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