Hitting Home

Everyone I worked with was fairly desensitized to the day in and day out of human misery, until 9/11, when the news became personal for every American journalist, particularly those working in New York. I wasn’t in the newsroom that day – I was awaiting the arrival of my second child who was due September 11th. For the first time in years, I experienced a huge story – the biggest story of my life – from the disquieting distance of my home, and later a maternity ward.

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All Apologies to Frida Kahlo

by Mara Grayson

I probably shouldn't have touched the oil paint. I know I wasn't supposed to. Please understand that my transgression was not an attempt at defiance or destruction. I never wanted to harm the painting, but at thirteen years old, my understanding of some things was not as clear as it is now. I wanted to touch Frida's hands, but because her hands weren't in the painting, I touched Diego's nose instead.

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The Crayfish

by Raymond Strom

On my twentieth birthday, my mother called me with news that she had bought a restaurant on the shore of Lake Superior. Against the advice of everyone I knew, I made plans to go to the grand opening in October. The way my mother told it, I would get some free food and I'd also spend some time with my half-brother and half-sister, whom I had never met. I tried to get my brother to come with me but he had a solid excuse: his girlfriend was due to give birth the same weekend. So when the day came around I went to the Greyhound station alone and made the five hour bus trip in the rain. 

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The Force of Intercourse

by Mark Jay Mirsky

There is no independent force of evil in the Hebrew Bible or the Thousand Nights and One scholars have pointed out. A djinn or genie taking on the identity of a court appointed tempter, the Satan of The Book of Job, may be an emissary of ill report, the spy of the Oriental court, a Shaytan, sworn to the harm of man. Or he or she can simply be a creature of another realm. There are no witch-hunts, no searches for warlocks in the Arab or the Jewish world. Even the intercourse of men and women with djinns has its laws.

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A New Wife

by Veronica Gorodetskaya

Graf and my father met on the streets. They were both hustling jobs as hands on moving and delivery trucks. A fellow native of St. Petersburg, Graf became my father's best friend in New York. It was hard to distinguish the two. They both wore neatly tailored acid-dyed jeans with cargo pockets and zippers on each leg, and striped, pale colored button-down shirts or T-shirts that they had bought in bulk in Chinatown that said, "Zip Your Fly," "Leave Me Alone," and "I Heart New York." All this above a pair of bright white sneakers and brown dress socks that inevitably showed when they sat down.

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The Poison

by Lily Morningstar

The thick canopy of mango trees overhead blocked out the light of the waning Gibbous moon and I could hear the dry leaves crunch beneath my sandaled feet as we made our way down the crumbling gravel path toward the sound of waves crashing onto hard packed sand. I hurried, imagining giant centipedes coiled, sleeping beneath the leaves, plump with venom, the thought of their hard exoskeletons and many legs made me sick with fear and I wished I'd worn sneakers.

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Little Brother

by Kesi Bem Foster

He could feel his brother watching him from the doorway as he played video games. He heard his brother's cast thump the linoleum floor as he made his way over to their room. Hunched over, sitting on the edge of the bed, he stared at the television screen. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed that the window to the fire escape was open, enough for him to slip through. Even with his brother hobbled by a broken foot, Lil D knew he would have to be quick. He wasn't going to fight. It would only fuel the rage behind the blows. At nineteen, his brother had him by six years and fifty pounds.

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by Jeanne Troy

At the end of November, a harsh storm swept across the northwest. Alyssa’s flight was canceled because of high winds and heavy sideways snow at the Seattle-Tacoma Airport. The weather was milder in New York. Hudson made pasta while Alyssa stood out on the balcony of his apartment, drinking warm cider. Each time she exhaled her breath became visible, mingling with the steam from the cup. Hudson was dividing the pasta into two bowls when she went back in. He added butter and parmesan to hers, and tomato sauce to his. “Have you heard anything from James?”

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Like a Sister

by Jennifer Anne Moses

Loretta is talking, talking, talkingthe fact of the matter is, her mind is slipping some, and if she doesn’t talk, well, then, she may well just forget what it was she was meaning to say. This time she’s with that white girl. The white girl who takes her places. The volunteer. “What did you say your name is again?” she asks the white girl, who tells her. Oh yeah. They’re driving. The white girl isn’t such a great driver though: she drives like an old lady, slow, and Loretta wants to go fast! She wants to go so fast that her hair will fly right off her head! It’s boring, here in the car. Boring with the white girl old-lady driver. Where are they going again? she asks the white girl.

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by David Plick

excerpted from Only Whales Keep a Schedule

The doorway to B-pod was painted orange like the metal tables and chairs. Underneath in parts there was grey showing where the paint was peeling off and everyone around, the inmates and guards alike, stared at him not making a sound. They couldn’t believe it but neither could Gabe, this day was never going to come. As he passed under the opening through to the other side where the air felt colder, he pinched his eyes shut and searched for Leah’s expression, how she would look watching him leave, walking out of B-pod with his eyes closed, an orange jumper and orange floppy shoes, an unending smile, but he couldn’t piece her all together. Somewhere in there he had lost her.

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