August 25, 2022

“Blue Ridge Autumn,” A Poem by Reed Venrick

“Blue Ridge Autumn,” A Poem by Reed Venrick

“Blue Ridge Autumn” ONE On a cold but sunny afternoon, late autumn, Wendy hurries up a chilly, pine-shaded sidewalk. And as she hurries, she memorizes her favorite poem from that semester’s study and strife; she, sounding out dee-dum, the stresses of iambic rhythm, while inhaling the rich aroma of pine boughs hanging over her ascending walk. After another week of classes, just a few weeks more, at the university across the ridge, but now Wendy hurries on up to her waitressing job at the restaurant and hotel called “The Grove Park Inn,” where Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda dined, where Thomas Wolfe rushed to write—gazing out to Mount Pisgah. Hopkin’s “Spring and Fall,” the sounds stepping inside Wendy’s fresh-air brain, as she recites the lines on an autumn day cold enough to need a woolen sweater,…

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August 9, 2022

“The Guacamole Incident,” by William Torphy

“The Guacamole Incident,” by William Torphy

Horace reaches for the party-sized plastic tub, hits it with his thumb and pushes it off the coffee table. The tub falls face-down, sending gobs of guacamole exploding across the new cream-colored Berber carpeting, instantly transforming its surface into an abstract painting of green clods and speckling red.   He slides off his lounge chair and kneels next to the goopy mess. Silvia will be home soon from her therapy appointment. There’s going to be hell to pay and he needs to think quickly. Grab something to sop up the carnage— a rag, a towel, a sponge. Maybe something like a trowel to first scoop up the worst of it. Armed with a spatula, he attempts to spoon up the chunky clumps but he only manages to spread the catastrophe further. He tosses the guac-covered spatula…

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August 4, 2022

“I’ll Have Water Overnice,” by Kaeli Dinh

“I’ll Have Water Overnice,” by Kaeli Dinh

I’ll have water overnice Freedom was getting to sleep over at our uncle’s. Fridays consisted of squirting ketchup into our waters and Saturdays with blankets over our eyes from the late-night horror films. We were three spoiled children that slept with sugar running through our veins and nightmares we didn’t tell our mother. Then the pencil marks on the wall got higher and our hands started to grab more. But uncle was still squirting ketchup into his water. Freedom was forgetting to answer his calls and taking cash out of the birthday cards he made. Keeping us healthy costs more than his insulin shots. But his hand kept feeding until he lost his sight. He was fooled humbling himself a Giving Tree. We took his only good apples and now his eyes. When he wanted…

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