Home from the Dead by Tom Sheehan

Earl Chatsby, six years ceased being a father for real, felt an odd distinction coming into his place of being. The newspaper for the moment loomed an idle bundle in his lap the way it stayed weighty and rolled and unread. Walls of the kitchen widened, and the room took in more air. He could feel the huge gulp of it. The coffee pot was perking loudly its 6 AM sound and the faucet drip, fixed three nights earlier at Melba’s insistence, had hastened again its freedom, the discord highly audible. Atop the oil cloth over the kitchen table the mid-May sun continued dropping its slanting hellos, allowing them to spread the room into further colors. Yet to this day he cannot agree to what happened first, the front porch shadow at the window coming vaguely visible in a corner of his eye, a familiar shadow, or the slight give-away trod heard from the porch floor, that too familiar, the board loose it seemed forever and abraded by Melba’s occasional demands to fix it.

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Guns by Sean Patrick Campbell

Let me tell you about a few things that have changed since I was a boy.

Back then, there wasn’t a nice big garden outside our house like there is now, only a heap of muck and a puddle of ooze that we used to surf in on the broken-off door of a cement mixer. We’d wreck around in that puddle what feels like all the time, until Ma came out roaring, I’ll brain yiz if ye cross this door mucked! And off we’d dash into the house for tea, kicking off our battered trainers at the doorstep, beating the muck out of them on the wall and leaving them to crust over in the sun.

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The Metal Box by Tom Sheehan

It was so damn petty that not one person in the entire family really knew how or where or when the rift began. It was there just as suddenly as the January thaw, being felt, being known, but still in all somewhat unbelievable. And every one of us, to the last thinking one of us, looked to Grandfather John Templemore to perform the cure, re-forge family ties, focus attention to proper matters. Hadn’t that man accomplished, so many times, the near impossible? The wizened little man with the piercing blue eyes that could accost you or lay balm on your wounds. The white-bearded sage who reveled in poetry and masters of the language. The articulate stone mason, his trowel now put away, who knew Yeats better than the classicists. Saturday evenings, on his wide porch fronting on the town, or deep in the pocket of his kitchen, the fire at amble, he it was who took us spellbound into the magic of joy, crowding us with the language.

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Sisters from Another Mister by Jill Malleck

Cheryl picks me up at the corner of Queen and Duke on Saturdays at three. It just makes sense, she said not long after we met. I’m going right by there anyway. It was my bus stop to Freeport, only now I lean out of the Plexiglas shelter and give a little wave, so the bus doesn’t stop. Today he pulls in to drop someone off. My face is red. It’s stupid how ashamed I feel about that dismissive wave.

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