A Quarterly Missive of Alternative Concern
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“She imagined the tourniquet untying itself inside her chest. She took a slow breath, watching the train run away into the opaque distance, its red tail lamps flickering above the tracks.”
— “The Art of Untying a Tourniquet,” Makowsky
“In this emptiness, in body strange/mind strange days, I sought reassurance in Dolly's unremitting wit. I kept returning to her. I felt warmed by her love and soothed by her song.”
— “Dolly Parton is a Boomerang,” Lipitz
"My sisters would be sifting pans of grainwhile children round of belly stirred up dust.I would creep three times around the fireand sing a praise song of the amber meal."
— "I Explain Why I Get Lost," Alexander
"Most days, I read to Kal, adventure stories or thrillers or poems, and we watch the world pass by our living room window, my finger furled tight around his trigger like a comma."
— "Friendly Fire," Palmer
"Dolly sings that her lifeis like a bargain store. Under the awning of a guitar chord,Steve stays dry as rain pelts down."
— "Dolly Parton," Pobo
"When I'd been deserted in the salt flats, and knew it, looking at the emerging moon, I reluctantly decided I had to break character. I did not call Dr. Bringem. I called my mother."
— "The Experiment," Hammerle
"The future was mine for the asking andI could be a savior, but I crashed at the job,the marriage, the banquet of social nicetiesmeant to last beyond the ennobling disasters."
— "Baltimore 1985," LaForge
“The rabbis say the soul of the deadis still with you. As if the personnever died at all. So where do I startthe story of how he died?”
— “Mitzvahs,” Kwassman
“The checkpoint at the outer gate of the compound looked like a phone booth. A drone hovered near it and as I approached, it swooped down behind me and herded me inside.”
— “The Orphaning Light,” Van Denburgh
"Caleb and I, at the bottom of the sky, beside Long Draw Reservoir, had felt the tallness entering us. The stranger-ness, at the edges of our range of who we believe ourselves to be."
— "Sleeping Elephant Mountain," Lardner
"A conversation. Slight laughter even. He took off in the direction of the noise. Twenty feet into the woods, a flash at the corner of his eye. Movement. He turned quickly but they were gone."
— "Winter Children," Harper
"We sat in silence a long time. Finally, I asked Joe something that had curiously never crossed either of our minds to that point. 'Did you ever wonder why no one has done this alone?'"
— "Unfinished," Kunzinger
"The S.A.D. Still-Agitated Deceased. It's a purgatory for people who are unhappy when their life ends. I’m here because I died before a boy ever loved me. Because I never was kissed."
— "Still-Agitated Deceased," Silver