August 9, 2020

“Meteor Shower,” Poetry by Mark Hammerschick

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“Meteor Shower,” Poetry by Mark Hammerschick

Meteor Shower   Canvas black  the eternal oil spill galactic  dark matter  speckled waves of crystal  diamond sky  ruby, emerald, sapphire   lightspeed  silent night bright   terminal velocity  eyes focus  straining in the dark time  as seconds, minutes, eons  stretch galaxies  into small hands  that even rain cannot  feel  for in feeling  we begin to fall  headlong into night  riding the meteors  of our past   knowing the showers  of our future  will smother  those small hands  someday  not even the rain has such small hands  Smokestacks of oak, hickory and birch  lurch in the balance of sleet and snow  on a confused Sunday in early May  as my woods fill up with snow.  It’s a snowy evening  tucked away on this Highland Park cul de sac  hugging Lake Michigan’s shore  as the gales of this Spring day  recall the final…

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August 6, 2020

“Party Boy,” A Short Story by Lee Anderson

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“Party Boy,” A Short Story by Lee Anderson

I’m alone at a charity event in Patricia Yeo’s new Midtown eatery. Shirtless, chiseled busboys and lanky, large-breasted servers run lightly about the restaurant, carrying trays the size of manhole covers. The place is gold-trimmed and supported by Roman columns but a terrible place to have a party. Not enough room. We’re ass-to-hip in here practically.    I meet gazes with Celine about ten minutes after I arrive. She approaches me without hesitation. I actually don’t think she’s ever hesitated a day in her life. “Uh-oh,” she says. “Lazarus Fucking Cooper. Is that you?”  “Last I checked.”  “Well, there’s no telling what’s going to happen now.”  “We’ll have to be careful.”   “Yeah, you attract bad energy. I’m a lily caught in the rapids with you.”  “I see you haven’t changed.”  “Does anyone?”  A hyper-paced metal song begins growling from heightened speakers,…

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July 30, 2020

“The Ahava Order,” A Novel Excerpt from Robert Przybylski

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“The Ahava Order,” A Novel Excerpt from Robert Przybylski

The Ahava Order is the first book in Robery Przybylski’s series of the same name. This excerpt is reprinted with permission. Copyright (c) 2019 Robert Przybylski, published by Royal Hawaiian Press. *** The Ahava Order Winter life in Anad, a small village situated among forests, was running its usual course. Roe deer searched for food among plants in snow-covered fields, livestock heartily ate hay. For the Mage Azam and his wife, Eva the Enchantress, the day was going to turn out memorable. That morning, just as every morning, their son Zephyr was preparing food for the animals, while his father was getting ready to hunt for Amash—a horse-sized animal with everlasting white fur from the family of Great Wolves. Inhabiting numberous forests, the species hunts alone, pairs off and doesn’t form packs. Azam was about to choose a weapon when the village squire, Bolv, a squat man with a crop of curly hair on his head and a slightly red face—the effect of having consumed…

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July 27, 2020

“Departure,” A Short Story by Bari Lynn Hein

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“Departure,” A Short Story by Bari Lynn Hein

When Chelsea stepped off the school bus on her last day of kindergarten, she handed me a construction-paper card shaped like a necktie. “This is for you, Mommy,” she said. With pink and yellow tempera paint she had filled the tie with flowers, and with black she’d placed the letters M and O over the preprinted F and A in FATHER. I understood, in that moment, that the next two and a half months were to be treasured, that my days of unfettered freedom with Chelsea would be finite.  Eventually, I moved the card from my refrigerator to a box on a shelf above my desk. In the years that followed, I added more treasures to the box: a seashell that Chelsea had found at the shore, a rubber Minnie Mouse and Canadian coins from our trips to Disney World and Niagara Falls, a…

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July 21, 2020

Kira Rice-Christianson — Six Poems

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Kira Rice-Christianson — Six Poems

Little White Lies     I started carrying around   these little white lies;   they live here on my face.   Like when I ask you a question and   your answer seems ingenuine but   I smile at you softly, anyway.   Or when I fix you a plate  and you give me your thanks,  and I kiss the side of your head.   While inside I scold   the woman who does as she’s told,   though I lay with her each night in bed.   Or when you don’t come home  for three nights in a row  and I lay awake cracking my knuckles and toes.  I picture her holding your body, unclothed.  The thought leaves me paranoid,   and I look through your phone.   I shouldn’t have done that, now I can’t sleep.   My body is filled with anxiety and heat.   I…

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July 16, 2020

“Knowing,” A Short Story by Jarrett Mazza

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“Knowing,” A Short Story by Jarrett Mazza

SOMETIMES I WAKE UP AND forget where I am or how I arrived. We often wonder about our personal truths, our pilgrimages that help us to see who, what we are. At night, when I’m sleeping next to her, I sometimes roll quietly out of bed and stumble into the kitchen to shake off the nightmares I’ve had. I’m bleeding in each one. I can assemble so many pieces of my life and merge them meticulously together and take some time to assess how it’s all going to work before I get back to bed. But we can’t change overnight. We just need time. I suppose the lowest moment, the moments where you could say I wish I was saved became increasingly more frequent. Alone in my two-bedroom loft, before I met her, I found…

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July 14, 2020

“Another Day of Quarantine,” Poems by Michael P. Aleman

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“Another Day of Quarantine,” Poems by Michael P. Aleman

Another Day of Quarantine    The morning sun bathes our bedroom with soft light  on a morning more than serene, a real gift on another day of quarantine.  Cool March air via a slightly opened window drifts in.  I welcome the freshness of the air and the sunlight.  They bring the end of night, and assurance that darkness won’t prevail.   The true blessing, of course, is being quarantined with you,   having you beside me, the halo of your silver hair soft upon your pillow.  The morning air billows the window curtain, offering a badly needed certainty   that normalcy remains, will sustain us to the end.  I abhor the thought of living through this quarantine alone,   for you are bride, lover, companion and friend,  and if the end is at hand, we’ll weather it together.  I will, however,…

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July 8, 2020

“Traffic Report,” A Novel Excerpt by Eric D. Goodman

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“Traffic Report,” A Novel Excerpt by Eric D. Goodman

Editor’s Note: “Traffic Report” is an excerpt from the novel, Setting the Family Free, published October 2019 by Loyola University’s Apprentice House Press. Copyright, © Eric D. Goodman. This excerpt is reprinted with the permission of the publisher. Traffic Report This is your eye in the sky, the WCHL Traffic Copter. If you’re just now tuning in for the first time today, here’s a word of advice: stay home. You heard me right, folks: authorities have advised everyone in the Chillicothe area to remain indoors today and to stay off the roads. If you’re already driving to work, go back home. It’s a zoo out there—literally.   Lions and bears, wild cats and wolves have all escaped from a local animal reserve here in Chillicothe. If you leave your house today, you’re walking into a danger zone….

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July 6, 2020

“The Life and Death of Arthur Miller,” by Andrew Lafleche

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“The Life and Death of Arthur Miller,” by Andrew Lafleche

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF ARTHUR MILLER or, Damnationem Vita et Humani Conditione  Fourteen days after Arthur Miller’s sixteenth birthday, both his parents were killed in an automobile accident when a drunken driver swerved into their lane as they returned home from a night at the theater. Their deaths occurred instantly, and to that effect, neither were able to be presented with an open coffin at their post-life nuptials. The last time Arthur saw his parents alive was in the moments following Sunday dinner, his mother in a dress, glowing, his father dressed handsomely, saying, “When you finally meet the woman who makes the world stand still, son, don’t ever quit doing for her what you did at the start. That way there will never be an end.”  Arthur clung to these words in the weeks that followed. He clung to everything…

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June 28, 2020

“Countdown to Romance,” by Glen Donaldson

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“Countdown to Romance,” by Glen Donaldson

Amid the din of busy Grinders Coffee Shop, silence like the centre of a hurricane enveloped them both. “Could this honestly get any suckier?” Fergus wondered to himself as he grasped his own sweaty, nervous fingers under the table, yanking then releasing them one after the other.  Sitting opposite him was his first meeting date, Willow. She’d said she was 27. She was not only wearing “awkward” like it was her own exclusive fashion label but by this stage had taken to incessant hair-twirling in an effort to get through the dead air and lumbering silences that felt by now to them both as long as a freight train.  Fergus commenced quietly tapping his Ray-Bans on the marble coffee table, being careful not to disturb the two polished silver stir-stick containers that rested in the centre; the same ones he’d positioned and repositioned more than a dozen times.  Like a finger-drumming leopard straining on…

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