In the Town that Talks to the Dead

By SM Stubbs

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I. Us

We bring baskets of deviled eggs and ham,
whatever the dead might miss. We cling
to photos of loved ones, set chairs in a circle,
wait for the tug. We’re searching for what
we’ve lost, pieces of our hearts stolen

by death. For my many recent losses
I want to know if the dead heal, if they feel heat
through the veil, if they’re given explanations.
I don’t believe one god made all this suffering.
Or these scars. Or this sunburnt flesh.

A deity should have no patience for misery,
that’s what we were taught. The wind
howls like collapsed lungs; we close our sweaters
against the cold.…

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Cover to Cover with . . . Diana Raab

By Diana Raab and Jordan Blum

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Diana Raab is a memoirist, poet, essayist, blogger, and speaker. She has a PhD in Psychology with a concentration in Transpersonal Psychology and a research focus on the healing and transformative powers of memoir writing. She’s published nearly a dozen books and over 1000 articles and poems. Her latest book, Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life, was published by Loving Healing Press in September 2017.

In this episode of Cover to Cover with . . ., Editor-in-Chief Jordan Blum speaks with Raab about the intersections between psychology and creative writing, including dealing with trauma, getting past mental/emotional roadblocks, and the like.…

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Duck Pellets

By Claire Holahan

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Marcie had just watched a polar bear starve on television and describing the stumbling, saggy beast to her grandfather wasn’t easy. Her assertions came in a rush of breath. If the magnificent, lumbering polar bears were in danger, what would happen to the people? Not to mention the penguins and the seals and the spikey, mud-colored fish who couldn’t handle a PH balance over 8.1, but it was 8.2 of late because of all the plastic straws and the acid rain.

“I met a polar bear once,” said her grandfather. “Nasty thing.”

Marcie’s grandfather, who was prone to exaggeration and suffered from a nip of dementia, listed the bear’s attributes, starting with its fiendish, river pebble eyes and finishing with an account of the way it had lumbered home, disinterested towards an old man.…

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Swimming

By Hilary Sallick

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I visited some fish
in a manmade pond      each
a swimming body     a mouth
opening and closing    a tail
steering the muscle of self
through shallow waters

One small white fish leaped up
twice into air then vanished
back under
Two narrow yellow fish
hiding within a rocky shelter    darted out
for brief glimpses

The whole dark surface aswim
with purple blue orange
speckled contrasting bodies   rippled
at my feet    reflecting light    churned
by the fish…

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A POEM IN WHICH, LIKE YOU, I AM STILL TRYING

By B.B.P. Hosmillo

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Lumped even before the liftoff my prayers take their bonnets off and bang their sketchy heads against the mirror. You’ve come here alone, you will die here alone.

                                                                                                                        Here alone—but I believe in heaven. Remain in love with him who finds no door out of drowning. Wait in the entrance of a cinema to watch nothing, with no one.

                                                                                                At 10 AM I remind a child crossing the snow-eaten street to hold the hand of his dead mother a breath-shaped figure with the trouble of being still walking beside him.

                                                                                     In the afternoon, a police operation leaves a dead dog behind.

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