By Kara Cochran

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Every time Mom doesn’t call
I think you are dead.
…………I recall the old yard
…………playset legs jolting in long grass
…………as we swung toward ripe green branches
…………carving shapes of light on our skin
…………giggling mouths ringed popsicle red
…………when I saw, limp in the garden,
…………my beloved pet sunflower
…………green hairy stem bent L-ward
…………black seeds and sunshine petals
…………facing earth muddied
…………by tears and sprinkler feet
…………my red-eyed face next to hers
…………a single photo the only proof left.
No loss, no uprooting
could prepare me
for your pain later in life
lined wrists, midnight calls to 9-1-1
substances you thirsted for
like sun.
As my mind reckons my heart
…………recalling how you were the one
…………to break her stem, simple mistake
…………as we ran wild in the yard —
I fear you are just as fragile.

Kara Cochran

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The Six-Day Week of the Sick Man

By Elizabeth Flynn

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5. ‘Twenty Questions’ day

The sky is—?


The grass is—?


How many days are there in a week?


The son laughs in attempt to lighten the mood, gangling arms scratching coarse hair that is faded and gray.  “Sunday doesn’t count, apparently.”  The daughter does not smile as she looks at the muted television, which has been on the same five minute loop for who knows how long.

There is no day of rest for the sick.

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Review: ‘Blind Spot’ by Harold Abramowitz

By Jordan Blum

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And I always wake up screaming, don’t you? I will always remember the screaming. And, if this doesn’t bother you? I’m not imposing myself on you, am I? After all, you were there. You remember, don’t you?

– Harold Abramowitz, ‘Blind Spot’

‘Blind Spot’ – Harold Abramowitz

Indie art usually—if not always—strikes an interesting balance between commercial success, critical appraisal, and creative liberty. By its nature, it’s unlikely to ever reach mainstream audiences and find widespread attention, yet what it lacks in popularity and marketability, it radiates in boundless experimentation, unhindered, often vital perspectives, and invaluable insider appreciation. This is true of music, film, television, video games, and, perhaps most overtly, of literature, where countless writers and presses are challenging conventions every day. One of the most notable examples is CCM (Civil Coping Mechanisms), a publisher whose staff and roster relish every opportunity to subvert expectations with affective and atypical works. Case in point: Blind Spot, the latest novel from Harold Abramowitz. Blurring the line between fiction, prose poetry, and something else entirely, its radical structure, coupled with its constant pangs of emotion and mystery, make it stand out instantly; however, like many incredibly abstract creations, it sometimes feels too aimless, monotonous, and opaque, as if it’s prioritizing a gimmicky style over discernable substance and a clear trajectory.…

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Laconic Rant

By Ryan Dunham

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…sitting in her chair, well it’s not really hers, but the way her left ankle, embraced by an over fluffed cotton sock, flirts with the poorly waxed front left post and her creamy right leg, somehow finding a way to glisten and glow like the sparkles of a setting sun on the Atlantic despite lying underneath cheaply manufactured and cheaply installed florescent lights, caresses the ill-sanded front rim of the seat as her right heel, peek-a-booing between the heel of her sandal and the strap confining her ankle, toys seductively with the hardened gum and dried snot many failed to noticed and few left behind,

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Bottom Dollar

By Brent Fisk

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When we say, “Bet your bottom dollar,” we mean we’re sure of a thing, so much so that we’d risk losing all we had. But I have never been that financially fragile, so strapped I’m clutching the last coins in my pocket and wondering where my next meal might come from.  Even when I’ve lost a bet, my risk was marginal. But if I were living a life of such desperation, would I take such a gamble? Have I ever been that sure of anything?

Here are the things I’m sure of:

My grandfather believed money made the best gift, and from every holiday and birthday card a crisp and bemused Franklin stared out from an envelope. My grandfather was a teenager during the Depression and showed a willingness to work a strange array of jobs throughout his life, a vocational wanderlust he came by naturally. He dispensed condoms to sailors during the buildup to war. He worked at a state mental hospital keeping the inmates from “buggering one another,” as he once described it to my brother. He was a Fuller Brush man, a county clerk who billed so many delinquent Republicans for their back taxes one of them tried to shoot him with a pistol.

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