Convergence

Amelia is on my back when I hear that the reverse volcano is coming back together.“I don’t see any other explanation,” Genevieve calls down from the lip of the crater. I climb almost on all fours, hands clawing at the earth for balance. Amelia’s arms are roped around my neck, and her little fists nestle...
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Watch Face

1. Dowsing the rain crow,I walked late of old habit. Black strap molassesnight strolls—sweetwith a bite of bonemarrow at the center. I was chasing upmountain,out hunting the margins— Scarce Creekabsconding downthe north face of Siwhere I once sniffeda sorrel colt’s birth drop. The turquoise watchI walked in wearingswapped with garishplastic bangles signalingrisk of fall and...
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The Only Magic

She’s kissing a man on the subway platform when you pass by and she’s on the train you’ve boarded, still kissing the man, his hands traveling up and down her off-shoulder blouse while you pick up a left-behind, weekend edition of The WSJ and try to concentrate on the Sudoku puzzle, your pen pressed at...
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The Mourning Club

“What, are you nervous?” he asks.“Well,” I shrug. It feels like the dark is pulling my voice out of me, unwinding it like a thread from my chest: “Kind of, Noel. I’ve never done something like this before—”The shape of his hand presses warm into the small of my back. Not exactly comforting. Steadying. Holding...
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Seven Times Maria Van Zandt Felt Beautiful

November 10, 2037Outside the wind chime tinkles. She pictures the glittery metal butterfly, a small stained-glass leaf dangling in the middle of the weathered chimes. She remembers putting it up the day she bought the house, all on her own. Mama, can you hear me? Murmurs. She opens her eyes. There, inches from her face...
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Synapses and Streams: A Feature with Words Without Walls

Words Without Walls serves currently and formerly incarcerated writers in Pittsburgh through a variety of initiatives and programs, including ongoing creative writing classes at the Allegheny County Jail and Sojourner House, a residential drug and alcohol treatment program for mothers and their children. Their newest initiative, the Maenad Fellowship Program, provides master classes and a...
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Aparna

Before Aparna disappeared, we made pretty much any excuse to stop by the Subway around the corner from the basketball courts.Man, I could go for one of those turkey footlongs.Flamin’ Hot Cheetos sound good right about now.You think they’ve still got that cookie deal going? But it wasn’t about the food. It was the swell...
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The Grey Beast

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An Abecedarian of Loss

abecedariantwenty-six letters, each one a compact unit of communication, a twisted riddle, a maze of red tape from well-lit offices; the only means of containing my sorrow now that all I have left of my brother are memories and letters. brotherat five, wearing a fringed cowboy shirt, he fires at stink bugs with a dime-store...
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So This Is What It’s Like

When Evelyn stood from the car, she wasn’t sure she was seeing what she was seeing.Her husband’s bald head, not just cresting over the tall backyard fence, but rising. And rising.“Terry?” she called out.He was on the trampoline. The one their son Marty had assembled for his kids when they came over and had energy...
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Memory: The Director’s Cut

Way back in the 1920s, cognitive psychologists sat us down and gently informed us that all of our memories were lies. Apparently our brains hadn’t been recording events so much as “reconstructing” likely scenarios in a pastiche of experiences, biases, and details borrowed from other memories, making us the unreliable narrators of our own stories.If...
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Post-Fletcher

It was the “we” part that made Fletcher nervous, more than the reference to a problem.There are many ways to deal with a problem—you could avoid a problem, solve a problem, drink a problem away, ignore a problem, kill yourself and duck out under a problem—but a coerced “we” is harder to get clear of,...
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