“The Piano Man” by Lorette C. Luzajic

The first time you visited him at the hospital, there was a gray, thin man who played at the piano. His hands were shaking, but his notes were pristine white flames. By chance you and your friend are talking about those years when you would see him like that, shuffling to the visitor station in …

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“The Begging Bowl” by Atma Frans

The boy stands back and looks at them. Their orange robes swirl around their bony legs. The shaved heads bend forward. The right hand holds a wooden bowl, a begging bowl, his mother says. Slender fingers grasp the rim of the bowl while the other hand rests on the heavy gate, pushes it open, then …

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“Waltzing With Ma” by Andrew Stancek

Last Thursday she gave away her parrot, on Saturday her mother’s Bible. When I walk in for my regular visit, I find her on her knees, scrubbing the kitchen floor. I take off my jacket and kneel next to her, cover her hand with mine, share a little of my body heat, apply pressure on …

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“Zig Zag” by Jacqueline Doyle

1. I ran into the house, the screen door banging behind me. I was scrubbing my hands at the kitchen sink when I saw her through the window. She was crossing the cornfield, making a beeline for the barn. The water ran red in the sink. 2. I didn’t go into the house. I stood …

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‘The New Year’ by Pamela painter

It’s late Christmas Eve at Spinelli’s when Dominic presents us, the waitstaff, with his dumb idea of a bonus–Italian hams in casings so tight they shimmer like Gilda’s gold lame stockings.  At home, Gilda’s waiting up for me with a surprise of her own:  my stuff from the last three months is sitting on the …

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“In Search of You” by Yael Maree

Light fades as I leave the fringe of the forest behind and step under the heavy shadow of its canopy. I have lost you in this wilderness, and it closes in on me; a cloister of infinite shades of seafoam, chartreuse, lime and olive. I am reminded of your eyes, emerald, flecked with splinters of …

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“Cuba” by Bruce Meyer

The smell of Cuba is beautiful. Every place has its own smell. London, for example, has a different smell than it used to have. It was unmistakable as you stepped off an airplane and lined up in the Customs and Immigration Hall at Heathrow. London had the aroma of beer, heavy lubricating grease like the …

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“Surrogate Love” by Damhnait Monaghan

Rounding the corner, I see a motorcycle on its side, rider flung to the verge, like trash from a car window. I drop my shopping bags and run, while a man on the pavement shouts ‘accident’ and ‘ambulance’ into his cell phone. I kneel and grip the boy’s hand. My eyes skim over shredded jeans, …

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‘Keeping Time’ by Niles Reddick

My great grandmother was in her seventies when her crooked fingers with thin skin hammered chords by ear on the piano in the living room, and she patted the bench and said, “Come on. I’ll show you.” She taught me the major chords (A, C, D, E, F, and G) and the minor ones, and …

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