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  Up-Ending | despair >> hope | grief >> joy | tears >> laughter  


Nancy Bourne • Somewhere a Phone Is Ringing

My grandmother’s in the mirror. Thin white hair, pulled back in a knot. Sunken, floury-white cheeks, round blue eyes staring out of puffy pouches and a skeletal face. When did it happen that I turned into her? My mother’s mother, Grandmother Alice, the whiny, selfish one. I hated her.


Frank Diamond • Accumulator

She smiles professionally, shoots a quick glance Rodney’s way. She wants no parts of this guy, and even though he’s behaving himself, she thanks Rodney for keeping tabs with a barely perceptible nod. The guy’s tall, solidly built. Good posture, but there’s now a distracted air about him. Lisa’s just not interested; he begins to realize this. Most likely the guy’s hatching schemes. Gangsters got to gangster.


D. B. Gardner • Recliner

Eight years we’ve been together, and I can’t recall her gloominess locking in like this. I sit beside her and say, “Blue skies out there. We should take a walk after lunch,” holding out a plain brown bag. “I brought you a fish sandwich and fries.” I shake the sack, but she doesn’t respond, so I drop the food, cup her face with my palms and pull it close. She’s been crying again. I wipe the dried tears from her face, kiss each cheek, taste the salt.


Joyce Goldenstern • His Heroic Courtesies

“You won’t believe this,” Laura said on the telephone, her voice rising to a hysterical pitch. Benjie could only think that the call had something to do with his brother Leo — he was drunk again; he had lost his temper. Once before when Laura had called, Leo had wrestled out a torn screen from the kitchen window and was storming through the house chasing mosquitoes with it.


Natascha Graham • The Roses and the Weeds

Apparently, she’s not getting too old for Ollie, though, because he keeps coming back for more; she’s continually mystified, flattered, and unable to resist. He’s too beautiful. He is too close to physical perfection.
     Despite this however her interactions with him frequently disappoint, her sexual and aesthetic experience diminishes substantially with the inevitable occurrence of one very simple thing: He speaks.


Mary Lewis • A Good Stunning

Jim sat down next to her, so close their bottoms bumped. She didn’t move away; he was a decent guy, and reliable. With the help of the restraints, he could make a pig stand still better than anyone she’d ever worked with. And that was what made her job work. She knew just the right spot on the forehead to place her bolt pistol, but it was no good if the head kept thrashing around. Andy was the one who did the actual killing, with his long knife across the neck. Nora just made them unconscious.


Fabiana Elisa Martinez • Choices

In sadness or in joy our daughters create too much noise. It would be impossible to savor this imminent peace that, in spite of their fears, I welcome with dry eyes and a wide-open heart. The youngest, Sandra, will call tomorrow from her dorm, too early for me, too late for her first class, without knowing what to say. She will have a deck of excuses to hang up soon, and I will be happy to accept any of them with the same delicacy as if I were selecting a lucky card from the hands of a magician.



Rachel Cann • Yesterday's Lunch

I’d heard that my grandmother was failing. Twice a week my uncle took her from my mother’s house, where she’d been for the past two years, to a senior citizen center. My grandfather went to another center. It was best to keep them separated, for although they’d been married some eighty years, my grandmother had violent spells, knocking my grandfather’s teeth out with her cane, once, and belting several of the home nurses who helped with her care. My grandmother was afflicted with Alzheimer’s.


Sarah Mullen • Pendant

“I don’t want to be sixty at their high school graduation” he said. Our son was only nine months old when talks of another child came about. I had just gotten used to stretches of sleep longer than four hours. He was still very much a baby. But when I closed my eyes at night I imagined another child in our living room, in our family photos, in the timeline set before us.


Mary Cuffe Perez • Chico

A truck pulls up. Powder blue, serious looking Chevy. Sonny sits up, dumps his coffee out the window, gets out of the Studebaker. I figure I should too. There’s this guy leaning against the fender of the truck, looking like he just drove in from Montana. Cowboy hat, silver buffalo head belt buckle, boots with swirls of tooling. He’s the real thing to me, all cowboy, even though I know he’s an engineer who works with Sonny at Boeing. He’s tall, with eyes the same gray blue as his shirt, and he smiles at me. Tips his hat. Sandy hair. I might pee my pants.



Iris Jamahl DunkleFar Field

It was in the far field that we found the cow: belly swollen
beyond recognition. Even though we were young, we saw
how the cow’s eyes rolled back and knew the risk.
So, we

to get the farmer who rushed as if to the beside of a
    dying child


Mark HeathcoteNightingales and Starlings

When we’re older, I’ll buy you diamonds
But for now, let’s hold-hands my darling
And listen to the nightingales and starlings.


Christopher Rubio-GoldsmithMy Job

In this adventure I have
five minutes to make you feel better
Here unwrap the paleta de fresa
Insert that song about roses, “…lean a little closer…”
     (it always makes me laugh)

• Fun Me

Travel me
Paleta me
Coaster us during a summer sunset
On the weekend morning menudo me

Bus me to la playa
Novel me to the end
Muffin and café con leche me each dia



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