Between the Shores

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Nicoya and Daniel are born in the same hospital in Jerusalem on the same date. At 2 a.m., their fathers exchange smiles in the nursery. When Nicoya is three months old, her mother takes her on a bus to the assisted living home where Nicoya’s grandmother lives. In the back of the same bus, Daniel sleeps against his mother’s chest for two stops before he is carried off the bus and down the street and into his home, eyes peacefully closed all the while. […]

Endangered

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The artists were kept in cages. This was for their own good. The world had gotten really ugly, really fast, and the artists, generally, did not have the skills to survive. Most did not know how to shoot guns, for instance. Or how to make bombs out of soda bottles. The artists were a dying breed, in all honesty, which is why the government, along with a few wealthy do-gooders, put them in cages—nice cages—that resembled the artists’ natural habitats. One pen looked like a gallery opening, with wine, cheese, and water crackers restocked daily. Another featured dumpster couches paired with a threadbare oriental rug. […]

Web Exclusive Interview: Michael Powers

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In February’s Web Exclusive, “Lake House,” a couple has retired to a remote location. We know there is tension between them, and between the narrator and his adult son, but the origins and causes of this tension are only hinted at, the way a painting focuses its composition by suggesting some elements and detailing others. Our more detailed image is that of a drone silently making its way across the treetops […]

The Key Bearer’s Parents

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We were good parents. We know people assume otherwise when they see our wide ties and honking red noses, but we were. We took that job seriously. We told our son that he could be anything he wanted to be, just like you’re supposed to. Yes, we could see his embarrassment when we showed up for Career Day, how he threw the basketball into the field as our tiny car pulled in so that his friends would look away. And though we were happy clowns, smiles broader and wider than any lips, the disappointment underneath our makeup was easy to read. “It’s fine,” we said, fitting on our over-sized shoes and adjusting the flowers in our hats. We told ourselves that he would get over it.

Gorman, CA

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On the way to the wedding in Los Angeles, they ran out of gas. They were a couple, a man and a woman. The woman was driving them down from San Francisco, where they had spent a few days—it was their first time in California, and they were both from somewhere else.

The man promised they would make it to the gas station. “How could you know that?” she asked. He didn’t answer.

The car was a rental, and it was shitty, and the woman had to press the gas pedal all the way to the floor to make it up and over each mountainous slope. Soon the odometer began its inevitable decline, the needle wilting towards zero, and the woman felt a similar inward wilting, a sinking feeling of coming trouble. […]

The Sun and the Pacific, Flowers

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In the afternoon, I was usually lying in the hammock reading Don Quixote while avocados fell on the roof and the grapefruit tree blew its scent around the yard. Bougainvillea and jasmine grew on all the walls, and several varieties of palm snaked up in the sky. The medians were a riot of rosemary. I remember oleander and trumpet vines and sidewalks littered with jacaranda blooms. Hibiscus and giant agaves. Bella donna. There was a tree that made wooden flowers; I have one still, years later. […]

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