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By Daniel R. Jones

It was 1:27 a.m. when I awoke to a knock on our front door.

“Wasn’t Kaylee’s curfew midnight?” I asked my husband as I rose and peered through the blinds.

Two policemen wearing navy-blue peaked caps stood on our doorstep.

“It’s the police!” I told my husband.

“Are their hats on or off?” he asked, now sitting upright in the bed.

“Now what does that have to do with anything?” I asked.

But by the time I opened the front door, their hats were off.

           
Daniel R. Jones is a writer from Indianapolis with an MFA degree from Lindenwood University. His work has previously appeared in the South Bend Tribune, In the Bend, StarLine, and Parody Poetry. He won an award for best poem in the 2013 edition of Bethel College’s Crossings.

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Empty Boxes

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By Joseph Saling

Jacob stopped on the top step, took a breath, and opened his office door. He knew they’d be there. Empty boxes. Like a maze leading to his desk.

Used to be when you were moving, you’d stop at liquor stores and ask for their empties. Not anymore. Now, you order from Amazon or Chewy, and the boxes are delivered to your door. Just take out the merchandise and put them with yesterday’s deliveries.
But these aren’t for moving. Molly calls it cleaning the clutter. Jacob knows, though, they’re not for cleaning.

These boxes are for packing away his life.

              
“I write because for the last quarter of a century and more writing is all I’ve done for a living.” – the author

Spy Culture

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By Howie Good

Just before dawn, the train barreled across the border. My carryall bag on the overhead rack contained an entire set of ant-dreams preserved in amber. Spies lurked everywhere, but, after the train pulled in, I evaded them by frequently changing my facial expressions. Later that day, I traveled by sampan and pedicab to meet my contact, an experienced agent posing as an English nanny. We met in a neighborhood playground beside a tree whose round fruit the children pretended were bombs. At one point I forgot the word “cremated” and had to ask her, “What’s it called – incinerating the body?”

          
“I write, therefore I am.” – the author

Beach House

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By Dianne Moritz

That house is lonely now.
First my dog, next your old cat.
No one expected a cancer,
So quick and greedy.

How I miss your laugh,
Blaze of blue eyes as you
Spoke of love and work,
Offered sage advice.
I miss these happy sounds:
Ice tossed in a glass,
Jazz in the background,
The unlikeliness of us
Being together there.

Those brief moments,
Memories so clear,
while the house stands
Bereft now, cold, empty as air.

         
Dianne Moritz enjoys capturing brief moments in time, celebrating trials, tribulations, and beauty of life. She dreams of publishing a book of drabble.

Still, Only He

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By Ron. Lavalette

He watches everything around him
unfolding in super-slow-motion,
but no one else seems to notice
despite the fact that they’ve all
been standing in line for days.

Even though the line never moves,
everyone banters and chatters away
at a normal pace. No one else
seems to notice that everyone’s
clearly frozen, motionless, in place.

              
Ron. Lavalette lives on the Canadian border in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. His debut chapbook, Fallen Away, is now available from Finishing Line Press.

Tableau

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By Grove Koger

You’ve heard this story before. You know the figures and the setting—the old men in their armchairs, the wind rattling the shutters, the fire burning down, the embers crackling. The glasses and the ice bucket. The host—you’ve known him forever—sets down his drink and picks up the book from the table. Sighs, puts on his glasses, opens the book. He knows the words and you know the words and he knows that you know them, know them from memory. He stares at all of you, one by one, before beginning to read: “You’ve heard this story before …”

         
Grove Koger is the author of When the Going Was Good: A Guide to the 99 Best Narratives of Travel, Exploration, and Adventure (Scarecrow Press, 2002) and Assistant Editor of Art Patron Magazine and Deus Loci: The Lawrence Durrell Journal.

You Unnerve Me

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By John L. Malone

Can I speak my mind?
I never know where I am with you.
One minute you’re stable.
The next you’re like a wind turbine
When the wind blows.
One evening you’re a calm sunset..
The next you blaze like a wildfire.
You unnerve me.
You’re a fruit loop.
A loose cannon.
An IED waiting to be stepped on.
But you’re mine.
I’m responsible for you.
So give me a break now and then.
Rein yourself in.
Act responsibly.
Don’t go off the rails.
I keep a close watch on you,
This mind of mine.

          
John Malone is pushing the envelope, thinking outside the square and still trying to make sense.