Abdication

By L. N. Holmes

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It’s not Michael’s fault they made him the captain of the football team, even though he wasn’t the quarterback. They said he hit guys “like a Mack truck” and his coaches liked how fast he understood new plays. Eric, the quarterback, wasn’t too happy about it either, said so during halftime the last time they played their local rivals, the Hedton Hounds. Michael pointed out he never wanted to be captain in the first place. But if Michael was a Mack truck, Eric was a Volkswagen Beetle, and the other team members were a bunch of demolition derby cars.

Now everyone in his high school is campaigning and voting for him for homecoming king. He doesn’t even plan on attending the dance (he has to attend the pep rally, the coach won’t let him out of it). Michael has this theory that the knuckleheads he’s forced to call classmates think he’s rich because his mother drives him to school in a remodeled ’76 Stingray. But they don’t know his mother’s only love—barring her third ex-husband—is that Chevy Corvette and there aren’t many pennies put aside for things other than tire foam and glass wipes.

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Last Night

By Sergio Ortiz

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I slept with a faceless man
and his shadow. The seas know
nothing of the case. His caresses,
arrows that I taught to soar.

His manhood, sullen.
He hit me with a hammer
on the coccyx. We lived
that spiteful health
with which hunger kills
when laying with another body.

I had a shipwreck in my bed.
He desecrated all my saintly shafts
wrapped in God and bed sheet,
he did not ask permission.

We talked about celestial decorations
and icons. But it ended when the
saint and sign was given.

– Sergio Ortiz

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Cover to Cover with . . . Ana Maria Spagna

By Jordan Blum & Ana Maria Spagna

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Ana Maria Spagna

Ana Maria Spagna lives with her wife, Laurie, in a remote community in the North Cascades accessible only by foot or boat. She is the author of several books, such as Reclaimers (stories of people reclaiming sacred land and water), the memoir/history Test Ride on the Sunnyland Bus (winner of the River Teeth literary nonfiction prize), The Luckiest Scar on Earth (a novel about a 14-year-old snowboarder), and three collections of essays: Potluck, Now Go Home, and Uplake: Restless Essays of Coming and Going. Her writing on nature, civil rights, LGBTQ issues, and life in a small community has appeared in many journals and magazines, including, Orion, Ecotone, Hotel Amerika, the Normal School, Creative Nonfiction, and Brevity.

In this episode of Cover to Cover with . . .,  Editor-in-Chief Jordan Blum speaks with Spagna about her combination of writing and activism, how her personal life and history serves as creative motivation, and more!

Ana Maria Spagna

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A Recollection of Rain

By Ben Groner III

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“qualia” (n.): the internal, private, subjective component of sense perceptions, referring to the “what-something-is-like” aspects of conscious experience

a tintinnabulation of rain
on the tin roof

or—

I was underwater in the warm sheets, the
quivering crackling of rain above me like
last night’s fire, resin sizzling off the fat
pine, and was someone playing a piano?

here it is, I promise:

a december drizzle awakened me
gently, like a mother’s touch, from
childhood dreams into an envelope of
electric blanket warmth, and through
silvery rivulets on the bedside window’s
thick glass I glimpsed an early covey of
quail muttering, disappearing, into the
misty mississippi morning wrapping
greyly around spindly skeleton trees
above deep jade gardens, the brick
courtyard a dried blood red, and the
world was singing an ode, or a lament,
or both—

so, then,

a tintinnabulation of rain
on the tin roof.

Ben Groner III

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