By Laura McPherson

The widow Joline nods from her armchair as visitors file by, the old farmhouse floors creaking under their hurried steps. Those who were not already on their way here for the family reunion were shamed into last-minute road trips upon hearing of Arnold’s accident. Hit by a steel-studded tire falling off a flatbed, they clucked quietly. As if he could have stopped it. Several of them drove over the exact spot on the highway where he died, on the way up. The service will be closed casket.

Joline wonders: Is a dead man an ex-husband? Or do you have to call him husband forever?

Sensing a precipitous drop in oxygen, the conversation damps itself to let the room breathe. Only Dr. Cousin Somebody—Joline can’t remember—drones on. He asks the younger cousins if they know about Pavlov.

I know what Pavlov means, Joline thinks. It’s hearing Yellow Magic Orchestra’s “Firecracker” and experiencing a violent desire for Crab Rangoon. The sharp claw of hunger tickles the underside of her stomach.

Joline notices that the frames on their (now her?) picture wall are canting in all directions. She always thought a wall of family photos was chintzy since they were childless. But Arnold wanted it, so she made the wall with frames picked from 50% off sales that roughly matched Arnold’s beloved brown suede sectional, sections of which were rubbed bare. When they married, the second time for them both, Joline thought she could look past his attachment to that couch. Love is blind until it gets on its spouse’s health insurance and can afford Lasik, she thinks as she straightens the photos, a mounted columbarium for their memories. She’ll be hauling that couch to the curb as soon as the crowd leaves. But trash day is Wednesday, and that is the day the reunion was supposed to be.

Joline ordered catering for the reunion. She pauses in her straightening work. Is it appropriate to serve barbeque after a funeral? No, she decides. She will have to cancel the order after everyone leaves today. Her empty stomach pongs.

Arnold’s mother Liliane floats down the stairs wrapped in black veils. Joline is cut adrift as the waves of sympathy divert from smothering her to enveloping Liliane. Joline uses her pointer finger to push “Joline and Arnold, at the beach” two degrees counterclockwise. It leaves a smudge of darkened sand in the whorls of her finger-pad. The doorbell pongslike her disappointed stomach and she skirts the clot of people surrounding her mother-in-law at the foot of the stairs.

“Pitmaster Jay’s,” the kid on her doorstep says, pointing at the joyful pig emblazoned on a nylon baseball cap that is too big for his head. The pig stares at Joline, proud to represent a restaurant so popular it can afford a cash only policy. As Joline stands in abeyance, desperately looking for a tow line back to the calendar, contempt sneaks onto the pig’s embroidered leer, mocking her for scheduling the food for the wrong day. A procession of grim teenagers carrying foil dishes that waft the attar of pork fat and vinegar wait silently on the front walk.

Liliane divines the source of the embarrassment and sighs deeply. “How much do we owe you?” she asks the kid, whose sudden avoidance of eye contact indicates he has scented the piney wood of the catafalque being constructed here. 

“$324. And sixteen cents.” His voice cracks on the ’teen.

The susurration of opening wallets pulses as the crowd cobbles together $324.16. Joline’s soul sinks. As the teenagers bear silver boxes to the kitchen in single file, Liliane begins to wail. “Arnold loved Pitmaster Jaaay-aay-aaay’s.” She tells the vowels on the pearlescent rosary beads clutched in her thin white hands, pausing on the mysteries marked by pink carnations.

In the late hours Joline checks on the kitchen. The chafing dish candles are guttering out and the barbeque is congealing under the gaze of Arnold’s apron, hung from its hook beside the fridge. Arnold always cooked for the family reunions, but just this once, she had wanted him to put down the spatula and relax. She turns off the lights and searches for patches of sleep between Liliane’s trembling wails, longing to be alone.

At the funeral Liliane’s threnody overrides the pastor’s attempts to begin the requiem. During a pause in the service, Joline notices that the pictures on the narthex wall are canted. Jesus and his Sacred Heart, instead of pointing the way to heaven, are pointing towards the front door. Joline grits her teeth. It is neither my fault nor my problem, she tells herself. We paid for an internment, not a gallery opening.

She ignores the pictures so furiously that when she closes her eyes, she sees neon-fringed negatives of ships cruising choppy orange seas and numinous ruminants munching red grass. When her eyes open again, she is in the narthex. The flocked wallpaper, dusty with the exhalations of the joyous and the grieved, is stiff against her fingertips, stiff as the picture frame that will not budge. Jesus stares at her placidly, unmoved. Friends, family, nosy neighbors, and the pastor look on in horror.

“It’s crooked,” Joline hisses. “Don’t you see?”

“Sure, Joline. Let’s get coffee,” Dr. Cousin Somebody says, the weight of his hand an anchor on her shoulder. Joline’s fingers, coated in dust, are trembling. Burned into her mind’s eye, the divorce papers on her desk, lacking only Arnold’s signature, are also crooked. Like Jesus and his Sacred Heart, they are glued in place, forever canted and pointing airily towards the door.

About the Author: Laura McPherson is based in Chicago. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Night Picnic Journal, Downstate Story, The Deadlands, Paperbark, and others. Her hybrid chapbook, inVISIBLE, is out with Alien Buddha Press. Find her online at and on Twitter @silversatire.


By Michael Anthony

Reflections can reveal truths or distort reality. For Charlie Hubner, they do both.

This particular day the seventy-eight-year-old wanders Littleton’s Main Street. Like so many small communities across the Midwest, its downtown is more an echo of the past than a present day destination. The pharmacy that had been there for over a century, the hardware store, the garden center, and the bakery are just some of those gone. All replaced by big-box stores out on Highway 49. Townsfolk no longer stroll Littleton’s sidewalks to browse new displays in shop windows. These days those windows are vacant or plastered with faded signs promising low rents that no one wants.

Charlie first roamed Main Street as a boy in search of trading cards of his beloved Detroit Tigers. When he was a teenager it was cigarettes. Soon he was making the loop while holding hands with his high school sweetheart Sally Jean Osterman.

As time passed, he and Sally Jean brought their children along. Roger, the oldest, walking beside them, Doreen in a stroller, and, Julia atop Charlie’s shoulders. Eventually, those three grew and have families of their own. So, Charlie and Sally Jean now make the circuit as a couple again.

Charlie asks Sally Jean if she feels strong enough to go all the way to Elm Street before heading back. Her answer is a silent nod.

“Remember the glider we bought here?” Charlie says as he lingers in front of a shop window. He finds her smile in a reflection.

That glider swing has hung from the covered front porch of the Hubner’s home for as long as anyone can recall. It is where he and Sally Jean had planned their life together. It also provided a place for their children to pretend they were flying across wide skies and sailing through clouds.

On late summer nights that swing offered the seclusion the Hubner teenagers sought when they were learning about dating, kissing, and more. Deep shadows hid roaming hands until Sally Jean would flip the porch light. Not once, not twice, but three times. So much for adolescent exploration.

When the Hubner daughters each married, Littleton’s resident photographer Ernst Gunderson posed them on that glider, making sure their gowns pooled perfectly at their feet. Now only a strong wind coming off the prairie sways the rusted chains that support wood slats long in need of paint. Sally Jean hasn’t been on it for more than four summers. Charlie refuses to sit there without her.

Moving on, Charlie grins when he spots Gloria’s Luncheonette where the Hubners often stopped for coffee and those breakfast sandwiches that draw truckers and farmers alike. He asks if Sally Jean wants one. Another reflection says no. Despite hunger pangs gnawing at Charlie’s stomach, they keep going.

It’s much the same as they reach Elm Street before crossing Main to return on the south side. Just as he did on the first half of the stroll, Charlie pauses before shop fronts asking if Sally Jean would like another Sunday dress or some strawberries from Dreyer’s Market. An ice cream cone at Tasty-Freeze? In every case, Charlie studies her reflection, seeing not his wife of nearly six decades, but the nineteen-year-old he still can’t believe actually agreed to marry him.

Charlie is excited as they approach the Littleton public library nestled beneath the verdant shadows of towering oaks. It’s where he used to borrow that book of Emily Dickinson poetry he’d read to Sally Jean on the glider in the evenings after dinner.

Grasping Sally Jean’s elbow, Charlie starts across Main Street towards Caulfield Avenue, which will take them back to their front porch and that motionless swing. Without explanation Sally Jean veers directly into the path of an oncoming mail truck.

Charlie yells for her to stop. She doesn’t. Panicking, he starts after her, hoping to reach her before that truck does. The blaring horn of a car coming at him from the opposite direction spins Charlie around. A siren wails. In that confused moment, he stands in the middle of the road frozen by fear.

Two arms encircle Charlie and steady him against the buffeting blasts as the mail truck swerves west and that car speeds east. Though unscathed, Charlie struggles to see if Sally Jean has also made it to safety.

“Charlie,” a voice says. “You all right?”

Still concerned about Sally Jean, Charlie nods while scanning the street.

“Come on. Let’s get you to the sidewalk.” Once there, Ted Ryker checks Charlie for injuries. Finding none, he says, “You really should be careful.” Ted lifts a mobile phone to his ear. After ending the call, Ted tells Charlie he’ll wait with him.

Dazed, Charlie asks, “Is Sally Jean all right?”

“She’s safe,” Ted smiles as he eases Charlie onto the bench in front of what used to be the Grand Prairie Savings and Loan. “Let’s wait here.”

Before long, a car skids to a stop at the curb. Ted waves the driver over.

“Dad,” the man shouts. “What were you thinking?”

“Your mother wanted to go for a walk.”

“He’s okay,” Ted tells Charlie’s son Roger.

“Thanks, Ted. I’ll get him home.”

Agitated, Charlie bristles, “What about your mother?”

“She’ll be fine,” Roger says while ushering Charlie to the car. With his father seated and belted, Roger turns to Ted who’s now leaning against his police cruiser. “I don’t know how he got out again. Thank you.”

“Had the same problem with my mom. Ended up putting deadbolts on all the doors.”

The two men say goodbye. Roger then pulls away. Turning to Charlie, Roger says, “Dad, this needs to stop.”

“Your mother just wanted to take a walk. What’s wrong with that?”

Recalling Doc Levenson’s advice about de-escalation techniques to use with dementia patients, Roger switches the car radio to the classical station that soothes Charlie. Then, choosing his words carefully, Roger says, “Nothing’s wrong. But, next time tell me so I can go with you.”

Charlie stares blankly out the car window at a town he once knew and mutters, “Okay.” The rearview mirror reflects an empty back seat as father and son again head home – alone.

About the Author: Michael Anthony is a writer and artist living in New Jersey. He has published fiction, poetry, illustrations, and photographs in literary journals and commercial magazines. Most recently these include Drunk Monkeys, Bodega Magazine, Pigeon Review, The Coil Magazine, Dove Tales, Raw Lit, and On-The-High Literary Journal. His work may be viewed at:

Landscape After Vacancy Inspections, 2015

By Matt Hohner

Jasontown Road
Westminster, Maryland 

Three-fifths of a mile of gravel cleaves a snow-covered field 
in two on a round hillcrest, curves past an island of trees 

at stream bottom in a wan moonscape of white under
sapphire sky. Twelve degrees Fahrenheit. Two p.m. 

North wind whips horsetails of snow across the icy lane ahead.
Five new vacants today: broken-into, scavenged, left for dead. 

Red-tailed hawk scans the earth for prey in widening gyres. 
Where do they go when they have nowhere left? 

Somewhere, four tiny feet scurry across a vast, frozen tundra.
Somewhere, talons and beak circle above their next warm meal. 

About the author:

Matt Hohner has won or placed in numerous national and international poetry competitions, with publication credits in literary journals in seven countries on five continents. Hohner has held two residencies at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, with one forthcoming at Anam Cara Retreat in Ireland. His publications include Rattle: Poets RespondSky Island JournalTakahēThe Storms JournalNew ContrastLive CanonThe Cardiff Review, and Prairie Schooner. An editor with Loch Raven Review, Hohner’s first collection Thresholds and Other Poems (Apprentice House) was published in 2018. You can learn more about Matt Hohner on his website here.



By Michael Bettendorf

I break the seal on the bottle of Dasani in the mini-fridge, knowing damn well it just cost
me five bucks. Highway robbery for twelve ounces of water. But the tap water from the
bathroom sink is mineral-heavy and leaves a taste in my mouth like iron and salt.
I turn the TV on and the room glows electric. The channel is stuck on Telemundo and
after a while, I realize four years of college Spanish has vanished from my brain. It wasn’t
overnight, though it feels like it. I remember parts of college as if tonight were my first night in
the dorms; my head full of nervous whispers rambling on about the endless potential of my
future. But it’s not. It’s another night in a hotel for another business trip, collecting platinum
member points. It’s funny how our brains play tricks on us. Our memories, the work of trickster
I contemplate the shooters of Jack Daniels in the minibar, but remember how much shit
the accounting department gave me the last time I spent my per diem on booze. I sit on the bed
and wonder why hotel beds are always made up so tight. I lean against the pillows that are too
soft and mash buttons on the remote. The channel doesn’t change and it bugs me more than it
should. I don’t watch TV often anymore. It’s not because I don’t want to or that I think it’ll rot
my brain. I work too many hours. Keep an inconsistent schedule. That rots my brain plenty. I just
wouldn’t know where to start, you know? Paradox of choice. It stresses me out and the last thing
I need at the end of a long day is more stress. It’s too late to call my partner and I’m not in the
mood to read tonight, so I mess with the remote some more.
After a while, I drink all the Jack in the minibar and afterimages of college rest on my
mind, fleeting and paper thin.
It’s only midnight and even though the desk clerk said she was working all night; I feel
bad for calling. I tell her the remote isn’t working. That or the batteries are dead. I tell her I can
change them if she’d bring up some replacements and a screwdriver. It’s a funny concept to me.
That hotels screw the battery covers on their remotes shut. She tells me that isn’t necessary and
she’ll send someone up with a new remote soon.
I wait around for a few minutes, watching a rerun of Decisiones, when the phone rings.
“Hey, I was just calling to see if the desk had a spare phone charger I could borrow.”
I consider not saying anything, but remember I spoke first. The liquor crept up on me and
a gentle buzz settled like fog on my brain. Words wade through whiskey fog and roll off my
tongue, “iPhone or Android,” I ask.
“iPhone,” they say.
“Ah, can’t help you there,” I say. “But maybe the desk will have one.”
There’s a pause. It’s filled by Spanish and there’s a knock at my door.
“Hang on,” I say. I set the receiver down on the bed and answer the door. Michelle, from
the front desk, trades remotes with me and asks if I could test it before she heads back
downstairs. I press the red power button and like that, Decisiones disappears into black, like four
years of Spanish. Before she leaves, I ask Michelle if she happens to have an iPhone charger I
could borrow.
“Oh shoot, I’m sorry,” she says. “We don’t have any loaners right now. They tend to
walk away.”
“That’s okay,” I say. “Thank you, anyway.”
“There’s a gas station up the road,” she says. “They’ll likely have one for sale.”

“Thank you,” I say again and close the door. I return to the bed and pick up the receiver,
expecting a dead tone, but they’re still on the line.
“Hello,” I say again. 
“Hi,” they say. 
“The desk doesn’t have any chargers,” I say. “But the gas station up the street might. At
least that’s what Michelle told me.”
“Who’s Michelle?”
“The desk clerk.”
There’s another pause and I figure they’ll hang up. And then I’ll hang up. I’ll squeeze
between the too-tight-bed sheets and sleep. I’ll go to my meeting tomorrow tired and forget this
interaction by next week. But I stay on the line and so do they.
“Who doesn’t have an iPhone anyway,” they ask.
“People on a budget,” I say. “I’m not some—”
“Don’t say sheep,” they say. “It’s unoriginal.”
“Says the person qualifying their decision to own an iPhone.”
“At least you didn’t say sheeple,” they say. “Those people are the worst.”
“Truly,” I say. “Anyway,” I linger a bit, and pick the phone’s base off the bedside table.
The cord stretches as I walk to the minibar and start in on the gin. “My name’s—”
“No,” they say. “I don’t want to know.”
I take a swig of the first gin and don’t bother putting the cap back on.
“Well all right then,” I say.
“No, no,” they say. “It’s not like that. I think this is more fun, you know?”

“How so?”
“Just think of it,” they say. “This is different. A completely random circumstance caused
by my inability to dial the right number.”
I laugh and make the rest of the gin disappear. 
“And think about it. You could have hung up and you didn’t,” they say.
“Same goes for you,” I say.
“So why didn’t you,” I ask.
“I needed a phone charger,” they say.
“And you don’t anymore?”
“Well,” they say. “Not if I’m talking to you.”
“I’m honored,” I say. “To be of service.”
I consider a second shooter of gin, but the room is cold and silent and gin is usually for
lonely nights. It’s not one of those kinda nights any more.
“Why didn’t you hang up,” they ask. “I mean, unless you need a phone charger too, in
which I can’t help you because I don’t have an Android. I have more self-respect than that.”
“You’ve stooped so low in mere minutes.”
“At least I didn’t say sheeple.”
“I’d have hung up if you did.”
“I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t.”
“No changing the subject,” they say. “We already covered our mutual disgust for people.
Why didn’t you hang up? At first, I mean, when you realized I called the wrong number.”

“Curiosity,” I say. “That and I’m a little buzzed.”
“Oh, look at you, mister moneybags,” they say.
“Yeah, right,” I say.
“I know how much it costs to get loaded off a hotel minibar.”
“I’ve probably spent my whole week’s per diem on it,” I say. “Accounting is going to rip
my ass for it. Oh well.”
“Per diem,” they say. “Sounds fancy.”
“It’s Latin for ten buck’s worth of McDonald’s a day,” I say. “I sit through trainings and
seminars all week and have to ask myself if it’s worth it.”
It’s quiet, but they’re still on the line. I can hear the slight crackle in my earpiece from
them readjusting their receiver. I hear their breath. It’s low, but steady. 
“What would you rather be doing,” they ask.
I answer with a heavy breath and start to pull the sheets back. I crawl into bed, cold all of
a sudden, and pull the covers up to my chest. The room is lit by the single lamp next to the bed,
above the bedside table. I lie on my back and hold the phone to my ear with my right arm. My
left is stretched out across the bed, far enough for my fingers to dangle over the edge. A lazy
Vitruvian Man. 
“I don’t know,” I say. And after a little while, “That’s part of the problem.”
It’s the truth, too. But I wish I could unload some heavy burden onto them. Some
repressed secret buried beneath years and layers of life thrown on top of it. There’s no risk in
anonymity. No judgment. At least none that would result in any sort of shame or guilt. I suppose
that’s what Catholics see in confession. Well, except the guilt. There’s always room for that. I
consider lying, but what would be the point?
“How about you,” I ask. “Do you like what you do?”
“No,” they say.
“What do you do?”
“You could say I’m in between opportunities.”
“That’s one way to put it,” I say. “You could work for my company. You’d be perfect in
They laugh and say, “I’ll make sure to polish my resume.”
I hear them yawn on the other end.
“I should let you go,” I say. “You sound tired.”
“Oh, yeah. I am getting there,” they say. “It’s getting late anyway. Tomorrow’s probably
going to be hell for you, staying up this late.”
“Would have been either way,” I say. “At least I’ll have an excuse for dozing off.”
I rotate into the fetal position and rest the phone between my head and the pillow so I
don’t have to use my arms. I tuck my hands between my knees while the room’s AC unit kicks
“Hey,” I say. “Why don’t we meet for a drink tomorrow evening? There’s a bar across
the parking lot. Beats the overpriced minibar. I should be done by five. So, call it six? That is,
unless you’re checking out tomorrow.”
There’s a slight hesitation. I can sense it.
“Or if you don’t want to. You don’t need a reason,” I add. “I completely understand not
wanting to and leaving our situation the way it is.

“Which is?”
“Like you said, a random occurrence caused by your inability to dial the right number,” I
They laugh and I think it’s genuine. Tired, but genuine.
“Okay, okay,” they say through another yawn. “Parking lot bar at six. What’s your room
number? Just in case.”
“Forty-two,” I say. “How about you?”
“The meaning of life,” they say. “How fitting.”
“What,” I ask.
“Oh, come on,” they say. “An Android user who hasn’t read The Hitchhiker’s Guide?”
“And a pretentious Apple user,” I say.
“Goodnight, Forty-Two. Wear something so I know it’s you,” they say without
explanation and hang up without giving me their room number.

I’m at the bar by five-thirty. Order a beer to start. Finish it in five minutes. Call it nerves. Take a
leak, return to my stool at the bar top. I have an extra name tag and ask the bartender for a
sharpie. They toss me a blue pen and ask if I want another beer. It’s a sports bar and louder than I
like my bars to be, but they have a decent selection on tap. I order a Scotch ale and write the
number forty-two on the name tag, peel the backing off, and stick it to my chest. 
“Highlander,” the bartender says and walks away before I can say thanks. A couple
Premier League teams are playing, but I can’t tell who. Soccer was never my sport. I watch the
game some, but watch the clock closer. I crumple the name tag backing paper into a ball by the
time six-fifteen rolls around. I peel my name tag loose from my shirt by six-thirty. Leave a
couple twenties on the bar top by seven and walk across the parking lot shortly after.
I take my wedding ring off and shower. I slip it back on, rotate it around my finger a
couple times and head to bed. I tell myself there was nothing to read into tonight, but ask myself
to explain why I’m smiling when the phone rings. There’s always room for guilt.
“Sorry,” they say.
“No, it’s fine,” I say. “Truly. I would have ended up at the bar anyway. Is everything
“Yeah,” they say. “I just…I thought it would destroy what we have.”
It feels wrong, but I catch myself smiling.
“And what do we have?”
“A unique relationship,” they say. “Think about it. It’s not quite anonymity. Sure, we
don’t know each other’s names, but it’d be easy enough to find out.”
“And it’s not quite the same as a chatroom,” I say. “If you’re even old enough to
remember what those are like.”
“Unfortunately,” they say.
“A. S. L,” I say.
“Christ, weren’t those the days,” they say. “But you see what I mean. I know I’m talking
to a real person. We can hear one another’s inflections. I can tell when you’re joking without you
having to type LOL into the ether. I can hear how tired you are.”
“And I can hear you aren’t happy,” I say.
“I’m happier than I was,” they say. “Than yesterday at least.”
“Me too,” I say. 

“And that’s all that matters,” they say. “That we’re better than the day before.”
I know we can never meet. We stay on the line for a while, though we’re silent for
minutes at a time. Speaking isn’t always necessary because we’re sharing an experience.
Connected, yet disconnected, by a thread of anonymity. I do not know them, but I know they’re
real. And so am I. Our daily allowance of existence is enough. For today, anyway.

About the Author: Michael Bettendorf (he/him) is a writer from the Midwestern U.S. His recent work has appeared/is forthcoming at The Drabblecast, The Sunlight Press, and elsewhere. He works in a high school library in Lincoln where he tries to convince the world Nebraska is too strange to be a flyover state. Find him on Twitter @BeardedBetts and

Round Midnight

By Dan Brotzel

‘Thanks very much for those updates, Peter and Iannis. Our next news and weather will be at about 12.30, as always.

‘So… it’s just gone seven minutes after 12, and you’re listening to Round Midnight, with me, Kevin Limina. And as usual, I’ll be guiding you through the graveyard shift with another lively mix of gossip, chat and opinion. 

‘And in this hour I want to hear your calls about… your ultimate emotional teddy bear.

‘“What do you mean by that, Kevin,” you ask? Well, I’m thinking of the story in the papers yesterday about that yachtsman who was rescued in the East Timor sea by helicopter, after drifting in his disabled boat for the best part of two weeks.

‘In one of the interviews, you may recall, he was asked what kept him going, as he drifted through those dangerous waters, sharks circling and drinking water running out. What was the thing he clung to in his mind as he fought off the despair, and the fear, and the hunger?

‘And his reply was very interesting, I thought. He said: The thing that kept me going was the thought of a nice cup of tea and a packet of Custard Creams.

‘Imagine that. There you are, in the most extreme and life-threatening moment of your entire life, and the thing that keeps you going… is a packet of humble biscuits.

‘So my question for you all is this: If you were at a low point like that, and you were alone and terrified and you didn’t even know how you were going to get through the next few minutes or hours, what’s the one thing that would keep you going?

‘Maybe you’re stuck in the air on a long-haul flight with awful turbulence. Maybe you’re trapped in a lift or, God forbid, hanging upside down in a malfunctioning rollercoaster. How would you cope? What would be your metaphorical cup-of-tea-and-custard-creams? 

‘I’ve had a few thoughts in already. 

‘Linda in Spalding has emailed. She says: “It’d have to be my husband’s unwashed vest. I always wrap it around me when I’m feeling low.”

‘Ew. OK, thanks Linda. A tad too much info perhaps. 

‘Oh wait, there’s a PS: “He died three years ago so it’s all I have left.”

‘Right. Thank you Linda. Very poignant. 

‘Now, who do we have on the line? Cassie in Aberdeen, is that you?’ 

‘Hi Kevin, yes it’s me.’

‘So tell us Cassie, what keeps you going?’

‘Well, it’d have to be the thought of listening to another edition of Round Midnight, with your silky voice, Kevin.’

‘Oh stop it Cassie!’

‘Well, it’s true.’

‘Are we related in any way?’ 

‘Not yet.’

‘Cassie! Carry on like this and I’ll be in big trouble…’

‘-But I do have a phial of blood around my neck manufactured from your DNA, so I can always have you next to my skin.’

‘Oh. I think I’m going to regret asking this but – how is it that you come to have my DNA, Cassie?’ 

‘Oh I’ve got lots of it. Wine glasses are the best. A tissue you dropped once. Toothbrushes in the trash, that kind of thing.’


‘Dirty laundry too, of course.’

‘Cassie? Cassie? 

‘Cassie’s gone. 

‘Probably for the best. 

‘We seem to have lost the connection there, so come in… Jenni in Nottingham!’

‘Hello, Kevin. Sorry about that last caller.’

‘Don’t you worry, Jenni. It comes with the territory. So tell me, Jenni, What would get you through a truly dark night of the soul?’ 

‘My dog Romeo.’

‘Ahh, that’s nice.’ 

‘Yes, he’s always there for me. He’s a Jack Russell. I love to get home from work, and see his little legs come skidding over the parquet floor, and then he jumps up at me and he can’t stop barking for joy!’

‘That’s lovely Jenni.’

‘And of course he’s a wonderful kisser.’


‘Oh yes. Better than any human lover.’

‘Thanks Jenni! I was about to say that it was refreshing to have such a normal response, but I’ll reserve that comment for now, if I may. Next up it’s Ricardo in Heligoland…’ 

‘Hello, Kevin! Top show, as always.’

‘Thank you, sir! So: Tell us.’ 

‘If I was trapped in the middle of the ocean…’


‘Adrift in a broken yacht…’

‘Yes, go on.’

‘With all the sharks circling, and nothing left to eat…’

‘Yes, yes, that’s the situation.’

‘What would keep me going is the thought of my Total Life Script.’

‘OK, I’ll bite. What is a “Total Life Script” then, Ricardo? 

‘It’s an AI-generated, 4D transcript of absolutely everything that anyone has ever said or thought about me.’

‘Private thoughts? From the past? Is such a thing possible?’ 

‘Not yet.’ 

‘Right. So how far have you got then, with this… project?’

‘I’m working on a prototype, and the tech is accelerating all the time. It’s my life’s work.’

‘And why would you need such a thing, Ricardo?’

‘So as to be able to operate with optimum effectiveness at all times.’

‘How d’you mean?’ 

‘Well, say I discovered from my Total Life Script that someone I fancied had confessed to a friend that they had feelings for me, then I could ask them out without fear of rejection.’

‘Is fear of rejection a big thing for you, Ricardo?’

‘Also, if someone said nice things about me, I would know to treat them more kindly in future. And if they were found to have thought bad things about me, then I would know to add them to my Shit List.’

‘Your “Shit List” being, of course…’ 

‘My Shit List is the full list, updated in real time, of all the people who have been nasty to me in some way or another. And these people, believe you me, will be paid back in full. Whatsoever shit they did unto me, they will get it back tenfold. On that you have my word.’

‘Would you describe yourself as a vengeful person, Ricardo?’ 

‘No more than the next corpse.’

‘So there you have it. And now, with the time just after seven minutes past midnight, you’re listening to Kevin Limina, here on Round Midnight.’ 

‘My thanks as always to Peter and Iannis for those updates. The next news and weather will be on the half hour, as usual.’ 

‘It’s my pleasure and privilege once again to be guiding you through the Witching Hour and beyond, with the usual mix of witty banter and irreverent comment.’ 

‘And my topic tonight is… Evil Eavesdropping. I’m thinking of course about that new Netflix series, Lady Troll, in which the lead character – played by the wonderful Kate Winslet – controls various people in her life by secretly intercepting their calls and messages and using that knowledge for her own mischievous ends. 

‘She manipulates her way to a promotion, lands herself various gifts and freebies, and even manages to stop another woman dating a man she fancies. Naughty stuff, but absolutely riveting!

‘So, on the back of that, here’s my question for you lot. Have you ever accidentally overheard something about you that you weren’t supposed to? And have you ever put that secret knowledge to use?

‘Magda from Horsham has emailed in with a corker for us already. “Hi Kevin,” she says, “Love the show.” Thanks you very much, Magda! “I’m always up late and these hours would be really ‘dead’ if it wasn’t for your dulcet tones.” Ha! See what you did there, Magda. 

‘Now what’s Magda’s story? Ah yes, here we are. “When I was in Year Eight at school, I was in the loo when two of my so-called best friends came in. They were bitching about me behind my back, and it turned that out they’d been copying my chemistry project. And managed to get a better mark than me!  

‘Hmm. Not very nice. So what did Magda do with this secret knowledge? “I sent anthrax spores to their homes. Never saw them again after that. Think they must have changed schools.” 

‘Wow: that anecdote got big on us very fast! Thanks for sharing Magda – that’s what this show is all about. Can’t really condone what you did there, of course, but I suppose I should congratulate you on your biowarfare smarts. To have obtained such materials at such a young age, and to have known how to handle them safely, is quite something. 

‘Assuming you did handle them safely, of course. Perhaps you’ll call in and let us know either way. 

‘And now it’s time for our first caller. And it’s… Robyn from Pipers Reach! Hello Robyn. my love! We haven’t heard from you in donkeys’!!’

‘Hello there Kevin. Lovely to talk you.’

‘So tell us.’

‘Well, it was when I was studying for the bar. I was an intern for one of the big law firms, and I sat with the defence team on a big case involving a serial killer. This was a notorious villain who was accused of murdering at least a dozen people in a series of brutal assaults in and around one of our great northern cities, back in the early noughties.’

‘Oh do go on! We are all most intrigued…’

‘Well I was just a teenager really. I didn’t look like a lawyer or anything, so I was able to mingle quite easily with the jurors when they were milling about. And I overheard a couple of them talking on the way out. One was saying that he could tell the suspect was a wrong’un and wanted to convict, but the other was saying that the accused seemed to have a really nice wife and she surely wouldn’t have stood by him if he’d killed all these people. She would have known he was guilty just by looking in his eyes.’

‘I see. And so you…?’

‘Yes. I relayed this information back to the legal team. Next day they put the wife on the stand, and she made an impassioned plea for her husband’s innocence. She even mentioned the eyes thing! She didn’t have any facts or evidence, but she was very convincing.’

‘And that swung it for him, did it?’

‘Oh yes. Case dismissed! And I got offered a job.’

‘And just so we’re clear, Robyn. Do you think your eavesdropping helped to save the skin of an innocent man, or…’ 

‘Oh absolutely not. He was guilty as hell. You did say Evil Eavesdropping.’ 

‘Yes, yes, I suppose I did. Right, who’s next? Come in Gaynor in Bingley! Hello, Gaynor my love. And how are we diddling this fine night?’ 

‘Diddling along very nicely, thank you, Kevin love.’ 

‘Now what’s your story?’ 

‘Well, this was back in the day when I worked for a big pest control company. I was in HR, and I overheard this temp, Angie her name was, crying on the phone how it was her littlun’s fifth birthday and she was desperate to buy him a new bike. But her husband had just left her for the next-door neighbour and she didn’t have two quid to rub together, poor lass.’

‘Oh, poor lady! But I fancy you had an idea, Gaynor?’

‘I certainly did. I organised a whip-round and raised almost two hundred quid from everyone in the office. Went round all the different departments and everything. People were so kind. And this woman was just a temp and all.’

‘Oh Gaynor, that’s a lovely thing to do. And did you present it to her yourself?’ 

‘I certainly did. She bawled her eyes out. Made it all worthwhile.’ 

‘I bet it did.’ 

‘At the time anyway.’

‘How do you mean?’

‘Well, it turned out the whole thing was a massive con. The woman didn’t even have a son, the sleazy bitch.’ 

‘Oh I’m so sorry to hear that Gaynor. Someone really took advantage of your trusting nature there.’

‘Oh it’s OK. I took her out that night with a claw hammer.’



‘Just time for a quick call from Cassie. My self-styled “Number One Fan”! Watcha Cassie!’

‘Hiya Kevin love. Absolutely adoring Tonight Show as always!’

‘Thank you, my love! Now what have you got for us tonight?’ 

‘Well, your topic of the hour reminds me of when I called the show and I was put in the queue to get on. While waiting to go on air, I happened to overhear one of your production assistants describe your delivery style that night as “even cheesier than usual”.’

‘Hmm. Are you sure, Cassie? I’m looking through the window but all I can see are lots of people shaking their heads.’ 

‘Oh I’m sure they’re all denying it now,’ says Cassie. ‘But the person in question was called Gareth and he had a slight Welsh accent.’

‘Oh yes. Gareth. That does ring a bell. Haven’t seen him around for a while though.’

‘Well, no, you wouldn’t have, Kevin love. That’s because I had him followed for three months, found out a couple of rather embarrassing secrets about him, and blackmailed him into joining an enclosed order of non-conformist monks who don’t believe in the internet, are confined to a remote monastery in the Warwickshire countryside, and only allowed to speak for 5 minutes a day.’

‘Wow. Cassie. I don’t know what to say.’

‘Aw, you’re just too nice for your own good darling! Well, there’s quite a good little gag you could make about radio silence.’ 

‘Oh God. 

‘OK. Moving swiftly on… I’ve got a text here from Bazza in Bedford.’ 

‘“Love the show, Kev,” he says. “Listening online.

‘“This segment reminds me of the time I hid behind a stack of sugar in the back of my parents’ corner shop. Heard my Mum plotting to kill my Dad with the bloke from the pub on the corner. 

“Unfortunately they heard me cough. The man came round and kidnapped me. I’ve been stuck in this caravan for about 4 years now.”’ 

‘Quite the story there, Bazza! Does your mum know about the caravan? In any case, thanks very much for tuning in and hope you can get out soon. Or find peace, or whatever.

‘Now… it’s just gone seven after twelve, and you’re listening to Kevin Limina. My thanks as always to Peter and Iannis for the news and weather there. 

‘Now as always, I’m here to guide you through the wee small hours, with another fantabulous cocktail of anecdote and observation, insight and opinion. The next news is on the half hour, as always, but in the meantime let’s turn to our question of the hour: Is romance dead? 

‘Why do I ask? Well, there was a survey on this last week, and 60% of people said yes, romance is alive and well. 

‘The over 55s are the most romantic age group, by the way – perhaps because they’ve got the most money! Well, some of them. And the UK’s most romantic region is Humberside, believe it or not. 

‘But although 60% is a big number, and that’s great to hear, this also means that 40% of you don’t really believe in romance, or don’t see it in your lives. 

‘So I want to hear what you lot think. Is romance still a thing? Do you still make a point of doing romantic things? And if you’re not attached right now, do you still have hopes of finding the one?? 

‘Dave from Welwyn Garden City emails: “Romance is still very much alive in our house, Kev!

‘“When we went on our first date, my future wife said that she liked that Springwatch programme. So every year, I trap and stuff another species of British wildlife for her. 

‘“She’s got that many now, she’s had to build a special extension to house them all. They whiff a bit after a while, especially as I can’t always get all the guts out. But it’s the gesture that counts, isn’t it? 

‘Good Lord. And there’s more! “My wife’s a great joker. She always says she can’t wait to get me in there too, in between the red deer and the Aberdeen Angus…”

‘Thanks Dave! Great story. Now a text just in from Jilly in Stafford. “Who says romance is dead? says Jilly. “My girlfriend and I celebrate every anniversary by watching a video of the first ritual sacrifice we ever carried out together. The couple that slays together stays together. Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.”

‘Wow. All sounds a tad sinister. Let’s hear from someone who’s going to lighten the tone for us now. Hopefully. It’s… Janine from Buxton! Come in Janine!’

‘Evening Kevin.’

‘Evening Janine. Now I understand that you and your boyfriend Barry have an anniversary celebration every single week. Is that right?’ 

‘That’s right, Barry. We met on a Friday, and so we have a celebration every Friday night. Crack open a bottle of prosecco and curl up with a nice takeaway and a romcom.’

‘Oh that’s lovely.’ 

‘Yes, and we celebrate lots of other anniversaries too: First Fight-and-Make-Up Night, First I-Love-You, First Car-Bought-Together Day. First Flat-Warming.’ 

‘Lovely, Janine.’ 

‘First Diagnosis.’ 

‘Great! Ok, so…’

‘First Hair Loss. First Colostomy Bag.’


‘First Cremation.’

‘Enough Janine – thank you! And it’s swiftly over now to Gordon in Preston. 

‘How are you doing this evening, Gordon?’

‘Good, thanks, Kevin.’ 

‘On you go.’ 

‘Well, when I first met my partner Aaron, he came out with this line of French poetry: Entre deux coeurs qui s’aiment, nul besoin de paroles. It quite took my breath away.

‘Er, could you just roughly translate that for us, Gordon?’

‘Oh, it roughly means, When two people are in love, they have no need of words.’

‘Very romantic. A very classy chat-up line. And how long have you been together now?’

‘Twenty-seven years. And he’s not said a word since.’ 

‘Awww. How sweet. Well, sort of. Uh-oh! Look out everyone – it’s Cassie from Aberdeen!’

‘That’s right, Kevin. Your Number One fan.’ 

‘Oh you’re so sweet.’ 

‘Nobody loves you better, Kev.’ 

‘That’s what I’m afraid of!’ 

‘Not now I’ve taken care of them all, anyway.’ 

‘Oh. I did wonder why my fan club disbanded.’ 

‘It’s just you and me now Kevin. We’ll never be parted now.’

‘Ooh Cassie. You send chills down my spine.’ 

‘I should hope so.’ 

‘So: dare I ask Cassie? Are you a romantic? Have you found the one?’

‘Oh Kevin! How can you even ask? I love you so much darling, I’ve even started looking like you.’ 

‘Cassie, I’m sure you look a lot better than this plump, greying old timer.’ 

‘I look exactly like you, darling. It’s incredible what they can do with surgery.’

‘Now I know you’re joking this time.’ 

‘Getting the flaky bald patch right was the hardest bit. That and the varicose scrotum.’  

‘I’m going to have to stop you there if I may, Cassie, because it’s just coming up on seven minutes after 12. Thanks as ever to Peter and Iannis for the news and weather. 

‘You’re listening to Kevin Limina, and this is Round Midnight, with your regular round-up of cheery chat and heated debate. 

‘As always, I’m here to guide you through those darkest hours before the dawn that never comes. 

‘And my question for you tonight is one that’s always fascinated me: What’s your idea of hell?

About the Author: Dan Brotzel is the author of a collection of short stories, Hotel du Jack and a novel, The Wolf in the Woods (both from Sandstone Press). He is also co-author of a comic novel, Work in Progress (Unbound). Sign up for news at 

October on the Prairie

By Margaret Rozga

The purple asters still hold their color.

A west wind urges, frees, shakes loose,

sweeps gold maple leaves from their branches

and rains them down to earth after taking them

for a spin.

You  ask if I still believe

the arc of the moral universe

bends toward justice.

The moral universe. Is it contained within, or bigger

than the unmodified universe? What of the 130 years

this prairie was broken and farmed? What of the 50 years

now of restoring prairie? How to do that math?

I seem to have brushed up

against wild parsnip. A blister

above my right ankle.

I cover it and keep going.

Yes, I believe. I try

not to confuse mine with the larger moral universe

its arc still bendable if, when, we lend our hands,

our voices to urge, coax, free, wind, pull it earthward.

About the Author: Margaret Rozga served as inaugural artist/scholar in residence at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee at Waukesha Field Station in 2021 where she hosted Write-Ins and poetry workshops open to all. She curated Our Field Station and the Earth, a campus exhibit of the year’s work. As 2019-2020 Wisconsin Poet Laureate, she edited the chapbook anthology On the Front Lines / Behind the Lines and co-edited the anthology Through This Door: Wisconsin in Poems. Her fifth poetry book is Holding My Selves Together: New & Selected Poems (Cornerstone Press 2021).  

Home for the Summer

By Leah Kindler

The last summer that my heart is all the way home, I do the kid things. Sara and I lose sight of the sun behind the laundromat and our slipping towers of soft-serve. We sit there until half the people we know have walked past the stoop. We lay out our entire summers and watch them sink in the horizon. I let Maggie shave my head a second time on the driveway while their little sister watches and their grandma laughs. I catch a ride to Milwaukee and memorize all the streets named after states and presidents. I get swallowed in the sway of concert crowds. My sleep schedule buckles under morning shifts so I gift afternoons to my bed. Over pho, my dad debates leaving town like all my friends and their parents. I numb my ears, bathe Oak Park in rosy hues, wonder if I still want to leave for college. I chase girls at the last minute with no intention of loving them half as much as I could. I say “she” in the past tense and it’s all too clear who I mean—girl, closeted, of Italian ice-stained tongues and a July basement. In pictures, she sheds her hair and smiles in the lopsided way I used to cry about. I think of my own shearing, how the anger slipped from my face like a curtain. I keep calling this my last summer like I’ll never see June rains tiptoe over my roof again, or shake out the beach into my bed again, or beg Dad to turn on the air. Like I won’t love coming home so much more when it’s not the only home anymore, 

just the original.

About the Author: Leah Kindler (she/her) is an Illinois-based poet and essayist with a BFA in creative writing from Emerson College. She has previously been published by the Academy of American Poets, Invisible City, and elsewhere. You can find her on Twitter @leahliterally.

Two Poems by David L. Stanley

About the Author:

David L. Stanley, B.Sc, M.A., is a teacher, poet and author, voice-over actor, and speaker. His work has appeared in national magazines on topics from professional bicycle racing to men, depression, and suicide. His first book, Melanoma, It Started with a Freckle was hailed by Prof. Tom Foster of How to Read Novels Like a Professor as “harrowing, insightful, technical, and hilarious.” Stanley’s second book, co-authored with Willie Artis is From Jim Crow to CEOthe Willie Artis Story, available via AUX Media. His latest book is Rants & Mutters, an essay collection.

David Stanley has read his sonnets to audiences at the Dad 2.0 Summit; North America’s largest gathering of dads and brands. His poetry has been featured in blogs and literary magazines. He is the narrator of 40 audiobooks on subjects ranging from Alzheimer’s, bicycle racing, the NBA, to mountaineering. 

Stanley travels to speak on melanoma awareness, fatherhood and life, and The Art of the Pitch. You can find him on twitter @DStan58.


By Gary Duehr

I am an emergency. My name is Bernie Smith, my colleagues at HR Block used to call me St. Bernard, like the hospital on the South Side, because I was always trying to save someone a few bucks. I still live a couple blocks from the hospital, near where the Dan Ryan Expressway split the old neighborhood in half, in a post-war cottage. It’s nice, white brick, with a long narrow backyard like a bowling alley. Just five minutes from the Red Line El, though with a bad leg I don’t get around much anymore. 

You wouldn’t know it, chatting with me in Billz Coffee on the corner, how extraordinary my life has become at the age of 72. I make a point to be polite, yes ma’m and no sir, with a firm, quiet voice like I’d use with clients. When I look in the mirror, I see myself 30 years ago, reddish hair swept to one side, fair skin, a veil of freckles across my nose and forearms where I got sunburnt as a kid, tall and a little bony—my wife, Jennie, who died three years ago, said I reminded her of some 1940s cartoon character.

 I started having visions a year and a half ago. They came like dreams, every week or so, in that haze when you first wake up in the morning, rubbing my face and looking out the window at our gnarled crabapple tree. In each one I saw the same tall glass building with balconies, a glittering shard in bright sun, behind it Lake Michigan’s boiling gray expanse. The address was 1353 Lake Shore Drive, I could see it etched in marble above the revolving doors; it was on the Gold Coast, a stretch of luxury condos and Gucci and Nike stores north of the Loop.

The first time, I saw a fire break out in the upper stories, belching smoke into a crystal blue sky, so real it looked like the TV news. It shook me. The next day I heard about a big fire in a condo downtown, and I wondered if there was a connection. So when I had my next vision of a bomb being planted at the same building, I called 911 to make sure.

“This line is being recorded. Do you need police, fire or medical?”

“Police, I think. Maybe fire too.”

“What is the emergency?”

“It’s happening right now. 1353 Lake Shore Drive. I saw two foreign-looking guys in a van leave a suspicious black bag outside the lobby. Please send someone right away.”

“Where are you located?”

I hung up. When I didn’t hear anything about a bomb on the news, I figured I may have prevented a tragedy.

The visions started to come more often, every few days, and all about something awful happening at 1353 Lake Shore Drive. Drug trafficking on the loading dock, a would-be jumper teetering on the roof, Lake Michigan’s waves crashing in. Why that address, I don’t know. But I began to feel like the building’s secret guardian, keeping watch like a security guard. It became my building.

“This line is being recorded. Do you need police, fire or medical?”

“Medical. A middle-aged male looks like he’s had a heart attack on the 5th floor balcony. I can see him slumped over in his deck chair. There’s no one with him.”


“1353 Lake Shore Drive.”

“Where are you located?”


My public defender, Will, says I have to stop. The police finally tracked down my phone. Will insists there is no 1353 Lake Shore Drive. At the beginning, every time a ladder truck would roar up or patrol cars and an ambulance with sirens blaring, they’d block the road and drag their hoses, axes, and stretchers into the lobby of the nearest high rise, 1350, where they’d confront an exasperated security guard behind his counter who’d start to yell at them before they could say a word. After logging more than a hundred calls, the 911 Center taped up warnings by the phones with a Google map of the area: THERE IS NO 1353 LAKE SHORE DRIVE. DO NOT DISPATCH.

I understand what Will is telling me, when we sit together in the cafeteria after a court hearing. But it doesn’t make sense. I can see the building like it’s standing right in front of me, its black iron balcony railings, the gleaming reflections of sky and clouds in the windows, the address in a fancy script above the front door. And the trouble plays out like a movie in my head with bone-chilling screams, closeups of desperate faces crying out to me. I can’t resist.

 “This line is being recorded. Do you need police, fire or medical?”

 “All three. Everybody. It’s terrible, terrible.”

 “What’s the emergency?”

“A big construction crane next door has toppled over. There are hundreds of people trapped up there. The whole thing might collapse. The boom woke me up, it sounded like a huge explosion.”

“What’s the address?”

“1353 Lake Shore Drive.”

“I’m sorry, sir, could you repeat that?”


Will is a nice kid, right out of Loyola, with soft brown eyes behind his wire rims. He listens to me go on, then explains what the court order means. They can’t send me to prison, and the evaluations come back normal so hospitalization is out, and they can’t make me take medication. But they can hold me in contempt if I keep making 911 calls, fine me, detain me for a few days. He says they can’t charge me for being lonely and a little crazy, otherwise the jails would be full. But he pleads with me to stop, for pete’s sake, Bernie, stop. You’re causing everyone a lot of trouble.

I tell Will I’m sorry. I feel bad that he has me for a case. I know I’m difficult. Once I accidentally broke my phone, and I started to miss my court appointments. The 911 calls stopped for a while, but because I’m on assistance the judge was forced to give me a new phone, which everyone found painfully ironic, including me. 

I told Will my theory of where my visions come from. My real first name is Joseph, Joseph Smith, which is why I go by my middle name Bernard. I was born in Carthage, Illinois, down by the Mississippi, where the Mormon founder Joseph Smith was killed by a mob that dragged him from his jail cell. Growing up I heard all about my namesake, how he had visions of an angel who led him to upstate New York to dig up golden plates, the Book of Mormon, which tells the story of an ancient American civilization where the Garden of Eden is in Missouri. Crazy stuff, we used to laugh at it as kids. There’s a plaque on the site of the old jail we’d use for BB practice.      

But what if some of the same spirit has gotten into me, stranger things have happened. I didn’t ask for this, any more than Saint Francis of Assisi or Catherine of Siena did. I was raised Catholic by my mom, so she told me the stories of the saints on these playing cards. Inside I’m scared, terrified, but I don’t share this with anyone, including Will. I’d tell Jennie if she was here, she’d help me figure it out, but now there’s no one. It’s fallen on me. What if it’s all true, and I’ve been chosen to save everyone? They need me. I can’t let go.

“This line is being recorded. Do you need police, fire or medical?”
 “I don’t know. I don’t know what to do. Please help.”

“What’s going on?”

“Please don’t hang up. I can see an enormous cloud of locusts in the sky over Lake Michigan, it’s so dark it’s blocking out the sun. They’re buzzing like a hundred airplanes, and they’re headed straight for a high rise.”

 “What’s the address?”

  “1353 Lake Shore Drive.”

About the Author: Gary Duehr has taught creative writing for institutions including Boston University, Lesley University, and Tufts University. His MFA is from the University of Iowa Writers Workshop. In 2001 he received an NEA Fellowship, and he has also received grants and fellowships from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the LEF Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Journals in which his writing has appeared include Agni, American Literary Review, Chiron Review, Cottonwood, Hawaii Review, Hotel Amerika, Iowa Review, North American Review, and Southern Poetry Review. His books include Winter Light (Four Way Books) and Where Everyone Is Going To (St. Andrews College Press).

This Isn’t Meditation, It’s Simulation

By Wendy BooydeGraaff

About the Author: Wendy BooydeGraaff’s fiction and essays have been included in The Shore, X-R-A-Y, Miracle Monocle, About Place, and elsewhere. Born and raised in Ontario, Canada, she now lives in Michigan, United States.