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105: Personal Effects by Solmaz Sharif


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I place a photograph of my uncle on my computer desktop, which means I learn to ignore it. He stands by a tank, helmet tilting to his right, bootlaces tightened as if stitching together a wound. Alive the hand brings up a cigarette we won’t see him taste. Last night I smoked one on the

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104: Good Bones by Maggie Smith


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Life is short, though I keep this from my children. Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways, a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative estimate, though I keep this from my children. For every

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103: Lapse by Dorianne Laux


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I am not deceived, I do not think it is still summer. I see the leaves turning on their stems. I am not oblivious to the sun as it lowers on its stem, not fooled by the clock holding off, not deceived by the weight of its tired hands holding forth. I do not think

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102: Certain Things by David Brendan Hopes


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For the sake of my father, certain things must be done in a certain way: tightening of bolts, of nuts around threads; coiling of hoses; firm, instant replacement of lids; spreading of seed from the hand held just so, in furrows dug to the joint or the knuckle, depending; wash it when you use it,

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101: Higher Education by Jeffrey Harrison


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Antioch, Berkeley, and Columbia were the ABC’s of colleges my father said he wouldn’t pay for— breeding grounds for radicalism he called them, as if their campuses were giant Petri dishes spawning toxic cultures. Our own pathology was pretty toxic at the time, both of us stubbornly refusing to learn anything about each other, or

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100: Admission by Mary Jo Bang


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My mother was glamorous in a way I knew I never would be. Velvet belt buckle. Mascara lash. Miniature crimson lipstick alive in the pocket of a purse. Her bow mouth was forever being twinned to a tissue. I never would wear that black windowpane see- through blouse, mother-of-pearl buttons tracing the path down her

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99: Subject to Change by Terence Winch


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Let us shove the last 73 minutes down the garbage disposal and vacuum up all traces of the past 17 years and stuff them in a plastic bag and be done with them. Let’s scrape our alternative versions of everything we have learned since 1981 off the ground and flush them all down the toilet.

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98: Leaves by Ursula Guin


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Years do odd things to identity. What does it mean to say I am that child in the photograph at Kishamish in 1935? Might as well say I am the shadow of a leaf of the acacia tree felled seventy years ago moving on the page the child reads. Might as well say I am

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97: Memo to the Former Child Prodigy by Susan Terris


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by the age of nine     you knew everything     tra-la had met two Presidents     tra-la     could explain pi memorize Shakespeare soliloquies or checkmate anyone blind-folded     child’s play violin     oboe     harpsichord     duplicate bridge so what     then     was left to do cut corners     fit in     marry someone polish silver     slap your children     or go back back to one    

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96: So Early in the Morning by Charles Simic


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It pains me to see an old woman fret over A few small coins outside a grocery store – How swiftly I forget her as my own grief Finds me again – a friend at death’s door And the memory of the night we spent together. I had so much love in my heart afterward,

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