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paper doll

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she covered me with down and kissed me good night, tucking in loose ends, whispering prayers... she cut me out of paper and blew me into life. she held the scissors near my neck in case i put up a fight. she covered me in clothes cut out of colored paper: polka dotted…

"You Go"

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You like your life. Ducks march in a row. You've reached a certain age but you're strong. Healthy. You've got food, clothing, shelter. You have insurance and important papers. You don't have a man in your life, and you admit— Admit nothing. The…

The Cougar

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Johnny puts another whiskey in front of me. Except for him, me, and Petey, the bar's empty. "You hear about that up in Wilmette?" he asks."No, what?" I say."A cougar. People say they saw a cougar.""Bullshit.""No shit. Was in the Sun Times this morning.""Sun Times ain't…

Spike. Resonance.

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Under the Dempster El and off in an alley, the girl taps the vein. The buildings moan. Thirty below wind chill, and the girl's jacket is cast aside. Her pupils dilate. “My mother, my mother, on this night, my mother, she died,” she says. …

Like a Calm Sea

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“We should go again,” said Krishna. But Iqbal didn’t reply. He sipped his tea like he hadn’t heard, but a tremor passed through his right shoulder. His left arm was bandaged, and the wrist and lower arm were in a c

Bloody Knuckles

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My tongue kept me from fitting in with the latinos. I understood little Spanish and spoke even less. No one really believed I was Mexican, and they kept me at a distance. Or maybe I kept them at a distance. Living with

El Gabacho

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She turned to the window, staring into the dark. A smile crept to her lips and she laughed softly. “No, we can’t. I’m Mexican and we speak Spanish.” The smile vanished and she moved to leave. “No sé qué decir… sólo puedo llorar. Nada

The Insured

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Before the bills, before the fighting, before the need to blame something, there was a moment blown empty in the span of one doctor’s breath, a moment where bar nights and weekend benders had no meaning, a moment where the future was as blank as the bac

Roy G. Biv

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Perhaps a blue person is more alive underneath than a red. Red is eye-catching and flashy, but blue is substantial, secretive. Of course, blood is red, and there’s nothing more substantial than blood, but we’re on blue at the moment, and the thought

Every Time a Bell Rings

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I could feel the old house skulking in the shadows. In the basement I used to play in the dark, shine a flashlight on the angular black widows creeping in the corners, feed them ants and silverfish and flies with the wings pulled off so the web wouldn’

Declarative Sentences

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My wife is an angel. When I was a kid, that’s what we believed dead people were. Sitting on a cloud with a halo and a harp. We learned it from cartoons, but I think I’ve heard angels are supposed to be their own order, like

Untitled

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Britney the master skipper raps her stone against the rock and says, "Whoever skips a dozen stones fastest gets the purple thermos."

Painted Faces

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I want to dig my fingers into the paint and spread yellow whiskers across my cheeks. I want to become a lion.

American Kids

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Bristol likes Levi to fuck her with his hockey mask on, behind a tree in the church courtyard.

The Idiot King

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I stayed by the idiot king in his box, never ranging far, never letting the box out of my sight.

Loose Lips Sink Ships

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I asked the Eskimo if he'd ever seen a vagina before. “Because I can show you,” I whispered. Albert Huffman, a recent arrival to Hamden via Alaska, was not, in fact,…

Sri Lanka

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When he turned to the quiet sound of her voice, he knew he'd heard her before, that she had already called out several times, and that she'd reached him somewhere in a recess of…

My Totally Awesome Funeral

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Construct my eulogy with dialogue snippets culled from old Brat Pack movies and deliver them with a straight face.

Easter

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This was how he circumnavigated people, bartering like a viking setting prices on the edge of an ax-blade.

Hole to China

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Hartman's kid was digging a hole in the backyard when I went over to get fired.

Love

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Her letter ends with her best words: No one will ever love you like I do. Beneath, she draws a heart, sad eyes, two jewel tears. Yours forever, Dawn. Hole by hole, not to wake her sister, she pulls the paper free, creases, folds again, then cuts…

What the Other is Thinking

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Six months passed and the lovers decided speaking was no longer a necessary component in their relationship. They did this over breakfast, delicately spooning pink triangles of grapefruit into their mouths. Not a word spoken.

THE TICK IS FULL

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Mark looked at the barrel. Will had filled it to within inches of the top, and that meant the water was cold enough to take away breath, cold enough to make lips turn blue. Even if it had sat all day in the sun, the bottom would be cold, but now, after

Customer Service Circa 2017

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Quantum transport rearranges grandma.

Gymnopédie Set

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The streets have terrible breath, it’s said, and everyone hides but the young, who have slick, naked shoulders and fragrant tobacco shreds in the linings of their empty pockets.

THERE IS AN I.V. OF THE TIMES I HAVE THOUGHT, "I DON'T KNOW WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT" AND IT IS SWELLING MY VEINS

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god bless my shapeless head. we are good at becoming older. i feel incredibly negative all the time.

Your Hair, Your Weight

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“Your mother has problems,” he told the kids.

New Forest

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An expanse of trees, grass, scrub, heathers, sky, space. A grey horse, the type her gran would have placed a bet on, approaches. "Don't like flies?" he asks. He holds her gaze, walks closer. Seventeen black flies crawl over the right side of his head. "What…

Two Poems by Natan Zach translated from the Hebrew

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Look, as we promised each other, we changed nothing and the world is as wonderful as it was, the rain tarries this year, but it will come: it will come as long as we’re still here.

Babies love her

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And so. Like.