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Playground in the Fire

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People questioned my motives when I became a smokejumper again. They said I had a death wish, or that somehow by going into battle against the big Pacific Northwest forest fires, I was still trying to put out the flames of the burning car in which my sons Jake (age…

Mirror Mirror

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At night I go into the forest to look for her, to strangle her snow white neck with her own dark hair. She is seven and soon to be married. I am brier hearted. I am old.

Far As You Want

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At a rest stop in Montpelier, they stopped to buy Cokes and gum from the vending machines. He was showing off, trying to jimmy one of the locks with a safety pin but it stayed locked and she laughed at him and he said goddamn, look at all a them Milkyways


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James had chosen to stay home. It had been five years since he had missed the parade(then for fever), and he thought about it all now. About the sickness and

Inelegant Corpse

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I lay naked on the floor, feet toward the door, so that when my wife entered she would immediately see that leggy thoroughfare, ending at deflated buttocks and chicken-skinned scrotum, and in her repulsion repel me from her life. How wrong I was.

Gipetto's Sin

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The boy grew frightened when his grainy wooden skin began to melt, every fiber humming and softening.

Today the Smell of Worms and Wet Pennies

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Martin Heidegger wore hearing protection out on the tarmac at JFK. The runways were broad and he danced and leapt with the freedom of a Cats performer while he guided planes to the terminal.

Fiction with Teratoma Preserves

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In Nebraska, we found a dead man lying between the furrows of a field. He’d been there awhile in the heat and the sun, the only shade provided by a cloud of flies. The dead man lay on the ground, decaying, disappearing into the dirt:

Distractus Refractus Ontologicus: The Dissemination of Michael Martone

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1 Michael Martone is Michael Martone. 1.1 Michael Martone begins, middles, and ends Michael Martone.

A Marriage of Bodies

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In sleep their bodies drift between the sheets until they find each other.

what you do best

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You're auditioning women to replace Gabrielle.

Baby Love

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She wanted one, she said. She wanted one who looked like me. I wanted one, because I wanted her. I wanted her for everything; I wanted her to fill every crack and space inside of me.

Better than Chocolate

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Teddy laughs like a machine gun. People back away when they hear him. Every time I see him at work, I try to make his skinny body rattle. I would never back away.

September Morning

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Helen’s mind is not on business. It’s on a pinpoint, a potential, a something so microscopic it’s more a nothing. In her center, it hums.


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Cold water shocked Ernest's face. The evening with Gracie had his nerves hot and popping. She was his fifth date and the closest to his memory of Sadie in college so far. He looked up at himself in the bathroom mirror with his mouth agape. Redness flooded…

We Talk in a Roundabout Way

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You are a boy with a birthday bike smiling like our son, standing in a photograph surrounded by other sons, who turn rocks over and over, who keep snakes in plastic bread bags, who find the bones of something wild in the woods. You smile that way still.

Unattended (novel excerpt)

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A sticky glass. An open copy of Outside magazine. A flat part of the meadow that reeked of blood and cologne. A dog (my dog) hidden in the closet, shivering so hard the hangers jangled.

Hello and Thank You!

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She didn’t think of herself as an undesirable, no, she didn’t, but did find herself cowering in face of the presumed judgment of those around her. They had more money, more clout, more everything.

Officer Friendly

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The last time Ray and I broke up, I flew my flag at half-mast. It was the kind of thing that pissed him off. He was very big on flag etiquette: how the flag should be folded, the fact that it should never touch the ground, when to fly it at half-mast, the rules regarding…

Breach of Faith

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You love your wife and would never do anything to hurt her. In thirteen years of marriage you’ve never been unfaithful, never done more than glance at another woman. Until tonight. Tonight you got lucky. Oh God, how you got lucky!

I know a moustache

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“Hey there!/ Here I am, a fucking moustache!/ I’m the biggest damn moustache/ you’ll ever see

Hitler's Mustache

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“Where do you want your mustache?” Melanie asked. “You can have it on the side, you know, or, if you prefer, across your labia, in which case it will also look like a cross?”


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For the sake of convenience, we must assume that everything ugly is evil. Lightning rejuvenates. Sulfur preserves. The obvious solution is dismemberment. The ghost appears to Ludwig; “How can you destroy my creation?”

Animals, Animals, Animals

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  Crea grew up above a pet store and now she dreams of cats. There are too many of them to name, a slinking mess of calico, tabby, tortoise-shell, black and white. There are more each night. They whisper to her, words made of hissing mewls. During the…

On Our Way

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  They met on a bus. The bus got lost. He had corn chips. She had a tuna sandwich. They shared. “This is good,” he said. “Did you make this?” …

Robert Kennedy Remembered by Jean Baudrillard

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K is eating a banana. He says to me, "There is no end in the sense that God is dead, or history is dead. I would prefer not to play the role of a thoroughly useless prophet. I leave that to others, like Gene McCarthy."

Kurosawa's Rain

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The rain fell from the roof. It fell from my voice and and my eyes. Toshiro's Kukichiro stomped gutshot through the mud with his katana. Young and beautiful, Mifumi died there on the screen though he doesn't really die for fifty or more years, they think from something…

My Most Humble Request

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Do not shake the baby. Shake the martini. That’s what martinis are for.

I'm Still Here

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During the night and in the fog of halfsleep Ben shifted and felt the weight of Miranda gone from him, the bed empty. In the quiet of the house he thought he heard a footstep and the soft shutting of a door, and as his eyes searched the dark he…


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Two lovers — their genders / faces / social identities / etc. up to the viewer’s imagination (though I caution you, dear reader, not to imagine yourself in this role due to the psychic intensity of the following passages) — writhe against each other