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The bells of the hospital church peal. The lighter bells count each quarter but when it comes to the serious business of the hour, the weightier bell takes over. As the hour bell counts, there is a moment between peals, a ponderous suspension of life, enough to give you rope to deliberate upon the steady, [...]

I would be a lawyer on my fourth marriage, or maybe my fourth divorce. I would be a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. I would have a three-year sobriety chip. Actually, I would have 296 three-day chips. Every three days, I would throw a new chip into the shoebox under my bed. Or, the chips would [...]

April in Middle Age

I find myself not asking am I still sexy like all the magazines seem to demand but am I happy am I falling apart part of us decaying part of us radiant it seems that there’s a balance on the whole after all as our eyeballs thicken it corrects so many stigmatisms and while I [...]


The bathroom must have been cold in winter—our house was heated by a woodstove, downstairs—but I remember it only in summer, the window open, a blue-green damp coming down off the Allegheny foothills. My mother’s silver rings in a little box, her cotton balls and talcum powder, the two knobs for water, hot and cold, [...]

Three Poems

blackbirds baked in a pie my mother always sang to me and everyone so heartbreaking what rain does to snow (no chance of going on its own terms) the year she died, we were buried prematurely but those last days unrelenting rain snow wasted away and she – in thirteen ways, she receded into the [...]

How Gypsy Invented the Tease

Light flies across the ceiling to where hangs a picture of her mother: Praying is like sitting in a rocking chair. It doesn’t get you anywhere but it passes the time. Gypsy Rose lights candles in her dressing room just to blow them out, to watch the sultry weave of smoke in the dark. Headlights [...]

Centripetal Force

“Morning radar shows eye over water, with biological returns, probably birds, inside.” —Jeff Last, meteorologist, on detecting birds caught within Hurricane Matthew Her body finds mine, pit of night, no hour belonging to her orbiting fever-dreams running away, running towards, into the familiar cove of shoulder, arm, breast, down blanket up and over us both [...]

Three Poems

Planting hookup, at your house 151 rum, malibu, pineapple juice   Samuel Hovda was born and raised in rural Minnesota. He now attends the MA program in Creative Writing at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire. You can find him at SamuelHovda.com and on Twitter @SamuelHovda.