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Christmas Morning

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Dad woke us up and said it was time to go.

Preliminary

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After court, the three of us skipped third period, walked down to the river and huddled under the 6th Street Bridge.

When Alone

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She'd sit out on the back deck and dig into the skin around her toenails with a paring knife until it bled. He'd listen to a single aria of Opera's Greatest Hits, number 10, until the cusp of some feeling, either despair or rage, would build and fade. Then he'd start…

Excerpt from House in the Attic

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We stopped at the Western Summit of the Mohawk Trail. Below Richland lay in the valley. I could see all the way to New York State and well into Vermont. From memory, I picked out the Hoosac River running south under the railroad

Major Chaos

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Major Chaos came here one of those hot days. I was washing the floor, wearing old clothes, when he knocked on my door. Since I don’t have many visits, I let him in. At first, he seemed like a soldier, but upon reflection I realized he was a big green fr

The Tree That Took Brooke’s Faith Away

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The thing was, though, she couldn’t shake the image of that dead dog she had found inside the black trash bag she thought could be first base, right before the twins said, Screw the game, let’s swing.

I Will Never Be Happy

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The woman’s face bulges on one side to signify that she is eating.

The Poor Little

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Wow. I’m just going to say it/ That’s one ugly little girl you’ve/ Made for yourself. But now someone/ Will miss you when you’re dead.

Andrew

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Andrew didn’t need oil and neither did his mother. In fact, the only reason oil was on his mother’s mind was because it was the last thing on her mind. He did not get up to get it, and she did not protest.

I Was Strolling Through The Water One Day

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The Killer Whale came back and promised to be nice.

minimal one

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Maybe he should have a schnauzer in the room. He could toss a ball and the dog would bring it to him. Again and again the dog would return the ball.

Broken

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We sat under the broken umbrella, its flowered fabric hanging limp on one side. The rain fell softly at the edges of our backs. I kissed his hand, the one without fingers (not a casualty of his job, only of birth). My lips pressed what I couldn't say into his…

NAMASTE

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I was dating my yoga class. It was going all right. Which is to say, the sex was pretty fantastic but otherwise I was beginning to lose interest. I'm thinking of one Saturday afternoon in the summer. We ended up browsing for Father's Day gifts at Crate & Barrel in …

Using Mini-Golf as a Metaphor for the Shortcomings in My Love Life

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My girlfriend, Anna, was not at the party but out of town for the weekend. I promised myself I would kick her out of my apartment soon. That was in the works since God knows when. She was never going to leave voluntarily and this maneuver, I figured, woul

Gathering

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In the office supply store on Union, Jeremy, the stock boy, shelves tubs of rubber bands. Tubs with an easy-access pop-top and a see-through container. If Hendy saw these tubs, she would think these particular rubber bands resembled anorexic gummy-worms,

The Paprika Ewer

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Valeria never whistled. Nor did she approve of people who did. One thing she had learned in her sixty-seven years was that people who whistled were crass. Butchers whistled. So did peasants.

GENESIS

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And God said unto the oil can: “Thou art cursed above the cattle, and above every beast of the field. And deep the ground shalt thou go.” “Mother,” said the oil can, “fucker!”

Robotics

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I made this robot. Everyone was making them. Mine was a vacuum cleaner with a rubber jack-o-lantern mask taped to the handle. His name was Z-Bot2131F, but I just called him Brady, after my dead brother. Brady, my brother, had come out cold, and…

Perfect

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"My mother loses patience when I get sad," I said. "She tells me about the dog."

Flood

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My mother's afraid the dog will drown. It's raining and our street is flooding and the dog is standing on top of his doghouse. My mother is pregnant. I can stand beneath her stomach and not even see her face. I watch her from the kitchen window. She's shoeless. She holds…

The Bee Factory

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I pick up a pile of postcards, but all the pictures are of bees. There are close-ups of the bees and their perfect anatomy. My favorite picture shows the bees swarming, and I am at the center, their queen.

COYOTE BAIT

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Light was always fucking with you in LA, especially in the afternoon where it possessed a golden hue that could knock you over if you weren’t careful. Its beauty reminded you of what you lacked.

O Saddam!

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Saddam Hussein was a street-side seller of hot nuts near Faneuil Hall. He worked undercover there during the last Gulf War until just after it, as the US slagged the Iraqis. If only they'd known while they video-bombed his underground bunkers and chased his doubles that…

SEPARATION ANXIETY

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Julie and I had been dating for almost a year when she slipped her vagina under my door on her way to work.

Library

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Let's start from the beginning. Your mother's face in the phone. Your parted lips. Your surprised tongue. Hands deep in the folds of your skirt. The poet filling your pockets with blue and orange. The poet filling your notebooks with slowly drifting fields and gramophones…

Amtrak

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She had liked her new husband's sternness, and the way he ran his hands over her body, noticed every inch of it, made her feel not invisible.He traveled during the week, wore cufflinks, worked out in hotel gyms. On the weekends, they redecorated her house and tried to…

At the Bar

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On the Nightly News a pedophile in an orange jumpsuit does a sashay of shame in front of a wolf pack of cameras and satellite feeds that surround the downtown courthouse. At the bar, a woman with big blonde hair and a rhinestone manicure says off with his head. A…

Baby Hater

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You leave your husband and go to the nursery at 2 a.m., painted so cute, go to them, and that’s the only place you want to be, and there’s no chance to leave, or trust they will be okay if you turn your back on them. They won’t. SIDS. Meningitis. A

Sleep and Poetry

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It’s that, really, nothing else could be Sleep and Poetry, Mr. Keats

In the Air a Shining Heart

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In the air a shining heart, wet lungs releasing and releasing, your sweet milk head, your pulsating skin. Only an inch separates us. A shimmer of hot air trembles like boiling water above the highway. There are seeds floating in the sky. These things will become other…