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Fiction

Recent Issue

Still Life

Today Alice’s students will draw the pheasants. Alice unlocks the props closet in Bantam Hall on the downtown campus and sees the two taxidermied pheasants on a high shelf, exactly where she left them last semester. The pheasants were purchased by the Department of Art thirty-seven years ago, Alice’s first year teaching at Juniper College.

Millennium

The half-lit classroom smelled like crackers and spilled soda. My class counselor, the dean of educational affairs, and Ella Markovna, my soft-spoken literature teacher, sat along one wall, under the faded reproduction of Pushkin’s portrait. They told me to grab a chair, and I did, putting it as far away as possible. My mother, who taught at the same school, kept inching hers this way and that, unsure whether she belonged with Pushkin and her colleagues or me, the emerging delinquent.

Homing

The three women in the kitchen of the large Phakalane home did not look much alike, but they were sisters. Their unlikeness extended to their demeanors—the bearing in their shoulders, the timbre of their laughter, how they looked at one another. They had gathered on a Sunday, a day replete with sun and the bright heat of a Gaborone summer.

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The Little Blue Horses

December 3, 2020

Rochelle and her mother lived in a large town that was on its way to becoming a small city. On her way to school, Rochelle often stopped to watch the crews of construction workers erect a new house in the hole where, only a few days before, one of her neighbors’ houses had loomed in sour glory, a car parked on its front lawn, silk flowers sprouting along its foundation like hair plugs. 

The Math of Living

December 3, 2020

I’ve been working for the Chicago Tribune for about a year when it strikes me that I will go home in six months. The ticket has been booked, and I’m ready. My boss has reviewed the JavaScript code and made his updates for the day. The code is in production. 

Polly, Looking

December 3, 2020

Polly’s problem after the accident, really one of her largest problems, was an inability to prune what she saw and what she thought, to stop her brain. She was both too easily distracted and too attentive. When she’d gotten out of the hospital, she’d gone on a looking binge. Ned brought her photography and gardening books, stacks of Sotheby’s catalogues he found at the local Goodwill store, piling them everywhere as a hedge against her glitches in language. Polly spent one unnerving afternoon flat on her back in the yard, watching trees encroach on clouds. There hadn’t been much to do but observe.