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  Celebrating Our Tenth Anniversary: Onward! Into the Next Decade  


Cathy Cruise • Gently Used

Idling in her parking spot, watching traffic on Route 7 crawl past, brake lights indistinguishable from the flashing Christmas bulbs stippling the road, it dawned on her she had no idea who she’d be meeting—man, woman, serial killer, saint.


Sam Gridley • The Magic Ball

Her favorite player, surprisingly, was not the rookie heartthrob shortstop but a grizzled veteran slugger, Jason Bermudez, who had played for the team more than a decade. He sported a black droopy mustache, bulging biceps, a sizable belly and a swagger that he used to full effect every time he smashed a ball over the fence. After days of yearning and reaching out with her autograph book, she collected his signature and a warm smile besides. She nearly wet herself with excitement.


Ashley Jeffalone • Farewell to Easter Weekend

This was Lily’s house, and she was Lily’s sister, so it didn’t matter that she was fifteen and looked it. She could drink, if she wanted. She smoked when it was offered to her, pale cigarettes the length of her finger and the taste of raisins. The college kids sometimes filmed the parties and would aim their cameras down, zooming right in to Marlena’s scowling face (a phony frown, really, because she loved being seen).


John P. Loonam • A Wake

Ruth hated being an aunt — when she came out to Lynbrook for family events, a little late and a little overdressed — there was a reluctance clinging to her like the red scarf she wore with her black dress. And she didn’t like me much. I demanded too much attention, always insisting on playing the drums for everyone before dinner, making them stand around the cold basement while I practiced paradiddles and triplets.


Loren Sundlee • Kicker

One night Howard and Gladis made love for the first time in months, which worked like a sedative. Waking at dawn, rested, refreshed, Gladis eased into blissful consciousness. Then she leapt from the bed and ran naked into the nursery. Her scream drilled into the memories of Howard and the boys.


Lazar Trubman
• Northern County, Here We Come

A young woman in a tight red dress walked to the microphone. The big fellow quietly turned away — her appearance didn’t attract him. A minute later the young woman began to sing, and in such a low, deep voice that he looked at her again. She sang about a good man that she hasn’t met yet. Wonderfully sang: as if telling a story. And her hips swayed in time with the music. Now he couldn’t take his eyes off of her.... He glanced at the little old man who sat with his back to the stage, his head sunk into his shoulders, his mouth half-open, lower lip sagging.



Lisbeth Davidow • Pretty Boy

A blue and yellow-feathered parakeet as tall as our salt-shaker scampered across our kitchen table.... Pretty Boy stayed with us every February while his owners, my mother’s Uncle Velvel and Aunt Lottie, found refuge from the Massachusetts winter in Miami Beach.... I extended my forefinger to Pretty Boy. He lifted himself off the table and landed lightly on it as though it were a branch. “I loff you. Geef me a kees on you,” he said in the Yiddish accent Lottie and Velvel had brought with them from Poland.


Kandi Maxwell • Snow After Fire

When Karen pulled into her driveway, her father, my ex-husband, Craig, sat waiting on a bench on her front porch. He wore his Army Special Forces cap, a T-shirt and faded jeans. Next to him were his two dogs, a chihuahua and his new lab puppy. These would be the only possessions he saved from the fire. But that wasn’t known at the time. What was known was the conflict Karen’s dad would bring into her home and marriage. Craig was an unreliable alcoholic.


Eileen Obser • Memory Is Jasmine-Scented

We each had so much to say, and we hammered out thoughts and ideas at a non-stop pace. Later in life, I would realize that Atiya filled a special need in my life for intellectual stimulation, for a kind of closeness and sharing of hearts and minds that I wasn't aware I was lacking. We had a mutual understanding that was uncanny, even completing each others' sentences and thoughts at times.


Guinotte Wise • Rocky and the Rebel Punk

My grandfather snapped the Kansas City Star he was reading and made the pronouncement. No one disagreed. The declaration, practically a Papal Bull coming from a man who had once been the Kansas City District Attorney (appointed by Harding, but that’s another story) was this: “I’d say this boy is well on his way to being a criminal.” “This boy” was me at sixteen. My grandmother pursed her lips and frowned into an old-fashioned.



Michelle Lerner I Remember Snow

it was
a sharp intake of breath at 3
a snowman at 10
naked angels
on the golf course...

• Tupelo
Do you know why we came here
heavy-coated in thick black jackets
with hoods and balaclavas
only to find warm puddles in the parking lot
outside a 7-11, flies everywhere?



Robert Clinton
• As if Songs Were a Part of the Ruined World

My debts to genius are thousands of strings tied to my fingers, covering the world, reaching all the way to the stars, where the great poets live in their teacup houses and their inspired and legendary gardens.


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