Wishbone

by Karen Babine

The secret to chicken soup is to start with a chicken—a whole one, three to four pounds. Chicken soup is a pot of deliberate attention, a thing that contains everything that you and the chicken have to give, so if you have a heavy Dutch oven, maybe a vintage Le Creuset you found at the thrift store that is the color of faded sunshine and that you have named Estelle for no good reason other than the pot needed a name, use it.(More …)

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Interrupted

by Karen Houppert

Sometimes the rending apart of parent and child is abrupt, sometimes gradual.

Always, it is painful.

In my family, it happens with dogged, painful insistence at age thirteen. Thirteen is the beginning of the end. It was the last year I spent with my father. It is the age my son is now.

What is it about thirteen, I wonder. I study him. (More …)

Soul Singing

by Robert Wrigley

In the autumn of 1973, I had a stack of poetry books checked out from the library at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, where I would complete a BA in English the following summer. The stack of books (all of them those familiar slender volumes) was about seven times the height of the meager pile of poetry books I actually owned. This pained me. I was enamored, enraptured, and swept away by poetry. (More …)

Collide with Me

by Jen Hirt

Since moving to a city, I have had a thing for the full moon. How it waits behind buildings like a spy. I learn the espionage of streetlights, headlights, the tease of stark beacons on planes. I mess with my camera and patrol the dark like a captain of capturing what’s splendid. Full moon photos from the high rise. From beneath the bike path’s leafy oaks. Caught between phone lines. (More …)

Courting

by Brently Johnson

Just outside the dwarfed door to the racquetball court he asks me, “Do you have protective eye gear?”

Adam, chesty and Bavarian in build, a colleague at the small university where we both teach, keeps his hair buzzed short and clean, and is in top physical shape. He sets down his bag designed specifically for the game: (More …)