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The Charged World

By Martha Park Essay

WHEN MY FATHER finished seminary at Vanderbilt, he served his first small church in Beech Bluff, Tennessee. He was single and drove a little moped. He took disco dancing lessons to stave off loneliness and survived on church ladies’ casseroles. That summer he was working as a counselor at a church summer camp when he…

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A Freak of Nature

By Valerie Sayers Short Story

THE FIFTIES. I don’t remember much—I was a small child—but I do know that fear was always buzzing in the background, like static from a transistor radio: a jangly, jazzy fear, not altogether unhappy. The day I discover I’m a freak of nature, the thrill runs from my bellybutton to my throat. We’ve come to…

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Charisma

By Alison Pelegrin Poetry

They say statues wept when she passed—gypsy girl in the choir who spoke in tongues. I thought she was faking, but prayed, just in case, that I would never babble, or, during the peace, slump over and writhe. I hid behind my knotted hair to plot her exposé. Her and her clan of women, smoke…

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A Fairly Decent Man

By Charles Turner Short Story

DON’T TOUCH MY CHILD,” the woman said. She and her son stood in front of me in the checkout line. Her son looked to be four, maybe five. A towhead. I had placed my hand on the short-cropped sunlight for the barest moment. The mother turned the boy toward me and pointed at my face. “Do…

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And Not as a Stranger

By Lucy Warner Short Story

S HE WAS A BEAUTIFUL child and then a beautiful girl who seemed protected by an aura of goodness so that lascivious men kept their thoughts to themselves and didn’t lay a hand on her. But one afternoon her luck ran out during a hurricane which brushed New England in September of 1948. Her mother’s…

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