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Debra Bruce

Debra Bruce is the author of three books of poetry, most recently What Wind Will Do (Miami, 1997). Her poems have appeared in such journals as American Poetry Review, the Atlantic Monthly, Georgia Review, North American Review, and Poetry. She has received grants in writing from the NEA and NEH and is professor of English at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago.


Late Winter Lesson

I liked the single-digit days. I knew exactly where I stood. Trailing my dog down frozen ruts, our iron routine, I knew the drill. Someone was digging someone out— the heft of breath, no wasted words— while snow compiled its evidence tha [...]

Cancer Suspect

My body's got a record to make a wreck of any specialist; even the x-ray tech suspects who crisply orders me to hold it, OK, breathe. Any other woman might spring too buoyantly one morning, miss a step and chip or shatter who knows what as she goes [...]


By four o'clock he's picked the many locks of longing, among his scattered empties slips into a silence thick as soup boiled down to muck. Don't mention the A-word, please. He can quit whenever he wants, become a beaming senior circling in a glitter [...]

Blessed and Brooding

The months ahead look like huge, cluttered rooms I want to kick my way across and get to you. But you're just barely there. And women have a knack for this, I'm told. So I wait and wait. Your father knocks on wood—on the carved, curved arm of the w [...]

My Father Refuses to Read the Obituaries

His sisters are furious. Doesn't he want to know about his old buddies when they go? Aunt Grace throws the folded paper into his lap, drops her purse on the couch, leans on the arm of his chair. This perverse old brother of hers winks up, smiling, sl [...]