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Fiction

A Cruelty That Cut Both Ways

The thunderbird had left two carcasses by the barn overnight. Ezra refused to call in the hands to help. It was Sunday, after all, and their God-given day off, whatever the devil’s own bird might have done. It was only divine providence that the rest of the cattle hadn’t escaped when the bird ransacked the […]

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Tansy

Blue spoon, wide milk saucers. Velvet shoes. You like flowers? Don’t put them in your mouth. There was ivy in the neighbor’s yard. It curled over the fence. If she washed the dishes by hand, after supper, she might look out to see the supple green convulsing in the wind. But that afternoon, Wife was […]

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Impostor/Impostor

The old woman arrives at their home on an evening ill with February’s bile. The dirt road from town is ridged with mud and slicked with mouldering leaves and the remains of all those hoary, earth-bound insects that cannot survive the indifference of winter. Édgar and Lyle watch the polished, black town car strain up […]

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Burrowing Machines

There was a strange agitation to London that summer from the very beginning, a hormonal moodiness, a belly heat, if cities could be said to go through such things. We had enough sunshine to roll around in, but twilight snapped to dark between one sentence and the next, like someone’d tossed a quilt over the […]

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Art

(translated by David Bowles) How painful that the entire planet should end violently at seven o’clock in the morning, when everyone has woken up and is headed to work. What a shame that the news outlets barely manage to mention the concern expressed around the world by experts and authorities and that hardly anyone on […]

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Telling Stories

Cuil (kuːl) n. 1. A measure of abstraction from the reality of a situation. 2. The degree of deviation or dissociation from reality. 3. The perceived extent to which an observed reality is divorced from actuality. Because you ask (of course, you always ask), I tell you a story. 5 cuils (I say:) They were […]

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Walking off the Doeskin

On the last day of summer Jane remembers how to breathe. Breathe, her uncle had instructed. Remember to breathe, Jane. When Jane’s arms claw forward they don’t break water. Her fingers come back with red dirt clayed up under her nails. She rakes her way up out of her burial site and she takes a midnight […]

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Russula’s Wake

They hadn’t been naming the barn cats, now that Ainsley and Devon were old enough to know the difference between taking care of and caring for something. In the afternoons, when the school bus doors opened to release them, the children hurried through all the feeding and mucking and cracking and cutting, then closed up […]

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A Pinhole of Light

Waiting Like this life, the afterlife is unfair. A woman dies at twenty-nine and leaves her infant daughter behind. Eight years later she is still trapped on the other side. When I’m in my happiest frame of mind, I imagine Veronica searching for my darkroom each time I turn on the blood-red light. In my […]

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Sea-Crowned

Water—there’s water everywhere, water covering my feet, my knees, my hips. Water, foam, salt, sand in my mouth, waves crashing against this iron cage, pulling both it and me towards the depths. Once, I looked at the sea for comfort, to shelter my loneliness from your anger, but you took that away from me, like […]

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