• Confession (Solo 4.4)

    Confession (Solo 4.4)

    That morning a lamb was born. They’re born a lot and I’m used to it, but still, to hear that tiny bleating from the comfort of my bed. The mother was Cindy, a Katahdin hair sheep of some distinction, one of the older gals, not a nurture natural. I had to get up at three thirty in the morning and put the baby to the teat, and still Cindy wasn’t into it. In the end, I tied the new mom to the fence so she couldn’t get away from her charge.

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  • Adopting Sarajevo (Solo 4.3)

    Adopting Sarajevo (Solo 4.3)

    “Let’s ask Dad to drive me. It’s not like he works full-time anymore. And he’s practically begging for our approval.”

    The fact that Frank had never taken Marina to the orthodontist made him no worse than any other man whose wife ran a corporation while never missing a kid’s appointment, and though the braces were due to come off altogether in a few months, why not give him the chance to say yes? He did.

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  • Cover for Ploughshares Solo The Children's Kingdom

    The Children's Kingdom (Solo 4.2)

    One morning, there were footprints in the snow outside our house.

    Beausejour High School, where I worked in the office, had closed for Christmas break. I let the dogs have a good long run before breakfast and watched them from the porch. The Golden Retrievers I breed for hunting and field trials are beautiful creatures with compact heads, muscular shoulders, and coats like sundried hay. I love their expressive faces, which can show chagrin and regret.

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  • Cover for Ploughshares Solo Biting the Moon

    Biting the Moon (Solo 4.1)

    They’re not true, you know. The platitudes.

    God, the itching. Tops of my hands. Base of my skull.

    Platitudes, Pleiades.

    He’s in a better place. Who says? Who knows?

    He lives on in people’s hearts. People forget. They get distracted. Then they die too.

    Scratch, scratch. Eyebrows. Clavicle. Need a ruler to get at my own back, between the shoulder blades.

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  • Cover for Ploughshares Solo Dead Zone

    Dead Zone (Solo 3.9)

    The case is now closed on the reasons behind the decision by the United Nations to officially terminate the existence of Israel as a living entity, an event that occurred about a century after it had voted for the partition of the Holy Land leading to the establishment of the Jewish State in 1948.

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  • Cover for Ploughshares Solo Heading for a Total Eclipse

    Heading for a Total Eclipse (Solo 3.8)

    At sunrise on the first Saturday in March, 1970, as the body count continued to rise in the war in Vietnam, less than two months before the Cambodian Incursion, when campus protests would close down universities across the country, including mine, I sat in a coffee shop on Atlantic Avenue in Virginia Beach.

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  • The Brooks Brothers Guru (Solo 3.7)

    The Brooks Brothers Guru (Solo 3.7)

    John Lorimer wants to be friends on Facebook.

    Amanda isn’t sure whether to accept. It’s a long night like any other, her bedroom blue-lit by devices, laptop and phone and iPad scattered on the comforter, earbuds nestled as she listens to Songwriters/Folk on Pandora; this is how she goes to sleep. She has three or four windows open on the computer; she’s watching a movie and reading reviews of it at the same time.

    They have zero mutual friends.

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  • Bad Books (Solo 3.6)

    Bad Books (Solo 3.6)

    “I am ashamed to own them. You must understand that. And yet, to own them and not acknowledge them is even worse. That’s why I need you.”

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  • Villa Bohème (Solo 3.5)

    Villa Bohème (Solo 3.5)

    In the summer, your father starts taking in the strays. First come Pete and Jane. They’re from Texarcana and they’re spending a week at the El San Juan Hotel. When they walk into the Trolley, they sit next to your father.

    “This is paradise,” Pete says. He lifts his drink. “You, my friend, have got it made.” He’s got a Navy pension and a scar like a monorail around his neck.

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