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Autumn 2016

Far Aberdare

When Donna asked me to come to far-flung Aberdare, I thought about the trees in the nighttime – those burnt-bone-looking monsters that made folks huddle together. In the old days, we’d gather around fires at night, all facing the fire, and, incidentally, each other, and we’d speak. When you see the trees at night, you […]

Three Poems

Circadian Rhythm Your jaw is a beam of rotting wood/ It is where sadness starts The mouth carries apple-cradled jewels/ & a heat-dipped horizon, First Child clipping crimson out of the sky/ So the birds miss their own singing The boy on the corner is pretzel-throated/ Shows you alcohol under a microscope While First Child carries jade […]

Dot is tired of omitting her ex-girlfriends, the ones she cannot write without confusing pronouns or a cocked brow from the man in her workshop who keeps accidentally touching her leg. She is tired of the pink in her cheek being a blush of cold, an accident of blood. She wants to write about the […]

The Magician

In early 1860’s Virginia, Samuel was a rare thing, a free Negro. Rarer still, he was not a farmer, tradesman, or manual laborer. He was a magician in the tradition of Henry “Box” Brown and his talent came as natural to him as breathing. Samuel hadn’t known his parents, Hezekiah and Hannah. Both  had been slaves […]

1 They were sitting on the back porch. She had moved into this place the day before. He had a glass of wine in his hand. The weeds were overgrown. He was supposed to have moved in here, but he hadn’t. She was alone. Too bad, she thought. She wasn’t sure she meant it. She was […]

Two Poems

Meditation on the Butterfly Effect What if the child has a fever, the mother bending in to wake her as the heat rises up from her skin? What if the child stays home, the sleep-damp curls swept wayside by the mother’s touch? What if the mother calls in to work, cradling the phone at her […]

Little Pitchers Have Big Ears

Emily always knew that her second cousin, Paul Williams, could die from Africa. Snakes susurrated along the rafters of his house. Malarial mosquitoes brandished dread proboscises; alligators opened their mechanical mouths. And—the prayer letters reminded them—disease was everywhere. In the Kuluva hospital, Paul’s father, David, plucked bullets from soldiers. He helped the lepers, who had fleshy […]