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Thanksgiving Dinner

Allie Gips

and for the third time my grandfather grabs the bottle of sparkling cider
and for the third time it is empty and for the third time his face falls
of all the things to forget this is not the saddest
he forgets how the

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Pris Campbell

His heart
is a battlefield
of scar tissue
and hardened walls
from radiation.
So certain the tumor
in his throat would take him
to his knees, wrench his life away,
they brought forth
the beast…that fairy tale

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New Widow

Wind scatters leaves as I approach the house.
The geranium he hung lies on the floor.
The same porch board’s loose. The coir mat sheds.
I fumble for the key and push at the door
that opens to guitar amps, music books
and cardboard boxes

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Someone Loved Her Too

Sophia Görgens

The first mistake I made
was leaving my ID card home
in the pocket of my fleece–
the one with a zipper that broke
in Namibia and a hole stabbed
by a pencil during finals, worn
deep with worry and time.

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Tom the Liver-Transplant Surgeon

Clyde Partin

The atypical place he wore his beeper
Warranted him a cameo appearance
In an essay I once wrote on pagers
On this spring morning,
He was impeding my progress
As he sauntered across the intersection
In intimate communion with

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Riding the Rails

William Toms

Our train starts to move slowly down well-traveled tracks. Sunny out,
clouds in the distance. We pick up speed.

We offer obligatory greetings,
courtesy How you feelings?
We both know why she’s here
we defer that talk
as if deferring for a

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Prison Break

Jack Coulehan

I eavesdrop on the cells in your brain,
which are trying to bust out of a prison
surrounded by broken connections.

They make an almost inaudible hum
beneath mechanical whooshes and pings
surrounding your hospital bed. I listen

while sitting with

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One Afternoon at Teatime

Marilyn Hammick

Arthur stops close to where we sit waiting
for the person you call the activities lady
to serve us drinks and biscuits.
He moves his wheelchair with slippered feet,
so we become another group.
You introduce me, This is my sister,

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Body Language

Alan Harris

after my father had his stroke
we never spoke again
but that didn’t stop us
from reading each other’s faces

recognizing the punctuated pauses
periods and question marks
etched in eyes, sighs and sad smiles

It took both hands to

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Swimming With John’s Ghost

Daniel Becker

During the service, after the mensch acclamation
and before the sermon-sized metaphor
that started with a tree then lost me
a comrade from the morning shift at college–
they shared a lecture hall and the appreciation
that all sleepy students are sleepy

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Body Hunger

Howard Stein

in memory of Ashley Montagu, Touching: The Human Significance of the Skin (1986)

the yearning
to be touched
by hands that mean it
by hands that want to touch

the longing for hands
to release the skin
from solitary confinement

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Breathing the Same Air

Ronald Lands

His hand-carved pipes still lean
in their rack like a row of saxophones
and fill the room with memories
of black vinyl records, Glenn Miller’s band
playing “Chattanooga Choo Choo,”
a kitchen match scratched
across the bottom of his shoe

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