By Margaret Stolte

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I didn’t know how long I’d been running but what I did know is that I was finally tired. My tennis shoes had holes from the pressure of slamming down the ball of my right foot – a nasty habit my mom used to warn me about. I took them both off, left and right, sat on the curb and thanked my right foot for always trying the hardest.

“Your balance is off – you’ll never run as fast as you want to if you keep abusing your feet like this.” I could hear her say it as if she were right next to me.

This bothered me. I wasn’t abusing my right foot, I was testing its limits. I was testing my limits. And we were fine standing on our own and didn’t mind a challenge.

Whatever, I thought to myself; I appreciate your hard work right foot.

I had ended up on a street corner not far from our first house – the one with the white shutters and the sidewalk without any cracks and the bedroom with the tiny window but a lot of sunlight in the afternoons. I wondered if I would see anyone from the old neighborhood.

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I Told You So!

By Bela Fabian

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Oooooo, Dona!” Mrs. G calls as she hurries along the path to our hut from the central plaza.

Oooooo, Dona!” she cries again, announcing herself as she approaches our door on the perimeter of the village. Bowed legs wobble beneath a protruding belly from her diet of starchy manioc tubers. The wife of a village elder, a lifetime of brutal heat and sun has browned her wrinkled face making it hard to guess her age. She calls me “Dona” in Portuguese as a term of respect, meaning “Madam”.

We’re in the tropical forest south of the Amazon River in central Brazil. My husband Bem and I are living among the indigenous Bororo people, doing anthropological research. We finish our cold breakfast of leftover rice from yesterday’s dinner just as Mrs. G arrives. I jump up to meet her outside.

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Observing the Extraordinary at Work in the Ordinary in ‘Big Windows’ by Lauren Moseley

By Jules Henderson

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Drawing inspiration from her dreamscapes, Southern roots, and the innovative rhythms and structures of Americana music, Lauren Moseley has crafted a sensual and provocative collection of poems that invites us to reevaluate the connection between our inner and outer worlds. Her debut, Big Windows, which Carnegie Mellon University Press released in February of 2018, has surfaced at a time when humanity is confronting an onslaught of social unrest, political upheaval, and aesthetic bankruptcy that often distracts us from the ecstasy we might otherwise find by tuning into our immediate environment. Each poem in this collection is a progression through the stages of disillusionment, humility, wonder, and ultimately, enlightenment.

Moseley’s writing challenges readers to reinstate the practice of observing what the French writer, George Perec, refers to as, the infraordinary—the seemingly trivial and yet intrinsically beautiful objects and events of the everyday. She brings us to an important threshold, beyond which the boundaries of our interior landscape and those of the world that takes shape outside our minds merge and, in so doing, collapse the distance between our dreams and our reality.

From wrestling with the irrational mechanics of love to embracing the sanctity of her rich inner world, the speaker of these poems moves through several rights of passage that deliver her from feelings of powerlessness to a place of agency.…

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Boreal Blood

By Emily Bueckert

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The floors have been mopped with vinegar and hot water, so there is nothing left from before this moment to provide me with a steady sense of origin. I’ve been showered and soaked and scrubbed with tea tree oil so anything that “I remember” can be excused as only confusion because how could I possibly? There is no proof.

But I’m not wrong. With the bugs as my witnesses, I’m pretty sure I’m not wrong.

It was early afternoon, and it was the end of a scheduled meeting that we made to end all contact. You stood near the door procrastinating, but for nothing sentimental.

“Can you think of what I’m forgetting?”

Yeah, maybe. Is it the way I slept in a full bathtub so that I could be deep-in and not left-out, whether of a blanket or an arm or even warm water? Just because you were taught to ignore parking lot lines doesn’t mean that all space is undivided. Not everyone feels necessary by default.

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Spooning: A Love Story About Using Toilet Seats and a Bowl for Ice Cream

By Emily Skelding

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A week after our wedding, Philip and I fell asleep on opposite sides of our bed. He was troubled by the needling realities of living with me. Having our backs to each other felt unnatural. Shimmying over and forcing a cuddle was odd. Thus began the real work of marriage, the little things.

It was September. The previous Saturday we wrapped up our two-year, long-distance relationship with a shotgun wedding. Philip was my college buddy, a Southerner with a ski jacket in a sea of peacoats. I was a girl from the Northwest whose anklet jingled as I struggled to keep up with New Yorkers.

After graduation, Philip and I kissed for the first time. Little did we know, twenty-eight months later I would field phone calls from his mother asking if a tea-length dress was appropriate for an afternoon wedding and if she should throw Philip’s old crib into the U-haul. We moved from kissing friends to long-distance-lovers to spouses at lightning speed.

Starting a relationship at the end of college was impractical; he was off to study at Oxford and I was committed to teach for two years in Phoenix. Facing life on separate continents, we shared everything in letters written on thin blue international paper and talked once each week on the phone.

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