“The Bug Man” By Meg Pokrass

Ma often said that despite everything, we were lucky people, because the Bug Man came over to our house for free, sprayed in places nobody had ever seen. Places that we never knew were there. Happy times were when the Bug Man pulled up, in his strange truck with a giant plastic model spider glued …

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“Post-Atomic Bovary” by Morgan Harlow

How often had she imagined a safe place where she might go and live alone, an old abandoned cabin, small and sturdy, built high on some isolated mountaintop. A meadow of alpine flowers would grow right up to her door, and the cheerful presence of birds and mice and butterflies would enliven the stark dramatic …

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“Things Like This” by Dave Alcock

The shelf in the riverbed was behind them and so was the roar of the rough white water. The river was now almost motionless. It was glassy and gliding and calm. Paul watched a current as it slid round a boulder and marked the river’s brim with a spinning silver stream. He saw the mirrored …

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“Go Bother Camões” by Meredith Wadley

In the walled garden of a Cova da Beira hillside villa, four-year-old Sofia Mariana’s avô napped, shaded by the branches of a cherry tree. Sweet, juicy fruit weighted the tree’s branches. Sofia Mariana, wishing to reach eat the cherries, climbed upon avô’s chaise longue. The weekday care for the child fell to the old man, …

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“I Am The Painter’s Daughter” by Kit De Waal

At the harbour, where island boys gather to trade cigarettes and obscenities, where trawler-men unload, the slow ferry docks and I come home. I climb the lane past stubborn cottages shouldered against the sea, to her house, my house now.  The door moans and the fire, long dead, is slow to answer.  That first night, …

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“Iceberg” by Robert Runté

As our little boat puttered towards the iceberg he said, “It’s like it’s been carved.” “A little bigger than any human carving,” I said. I tried to sound bored, as if I had seen it out fishing every day. “By giants, then. Or aliens, or something. But you know what I mean. Look at the …

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“Now You Have to Pee Again” by TL Parry-sands

It’s surprising how much light the moon and the snow make between them when you need the outhouse in the blackness of a Nova Scotia winter and it’s good, because the cold beauty distracts you from the fact that you have to sit on the cold plastic seat attached too tight with screws splitting the wood so …

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“Say That” by Andrej Blatnik

Say that you’re kissing a strange girl. Yes, things like that do happen. Say that you’d gone to a bar, you’d drunk even more than usual, say that you hadn’t gone along with your colleagues this time, remembering your wife sneering as you picked up your briefcase: “Do all these meetings have to end up …

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“Stepping on the Throat of their Song” by Barbara Ponomareff

Clara, Antwerp, 1611             As I enter the kitchen through the waning morning dark, I enter a deep silence. When my eyes adjust, I am startled by the variety of beings and feathers heaped on the surface of the narrow table. Here, the intact head of a waterfowl has been dropped like an anchor while …

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“Secret” by Susi Lovell

When Margie is pressed to share a secret at the annual office retreat, she hesitates, hoping lunch will be announced. It’s been a long morning and they’re all hungry. C’mon Margie, they urge. We’ve all shared our secrets so it’s only fair you share yours. How will we bond if we don’t share secrets? Reluctantly, …

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“BEAR” by Ulrica Hume

I. Once upon a time, no one believed her. Even when Bear stands toe-to-toe with the sheriff, they do not believe her. Even when Bear huffs, or rudely shimmies against the living room wall, marking it with her scent, or crams blueberries into her snout—still, they do not believe her. Worse, Bette left her shoe …

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“I Have To Ask” by Jan Stinchcomb

I want to ask the man standing in line in front of me where he’s from, but people don’t do that anymore. This was always a big city with no small talk. The fact that we’re waiting in line at the airless post office makes it worse. We have all agreed to stand in this …

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