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Cover
Table of Contents
Editor's Notes
Donations
Submission Guidelines
Website

Stories & Essays
...gone tomorrow
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By jp Rodriguez
Barbie and the Burn Scars
_ By Dion OReilly
Bright Lights
_ By Nicole Exposito
Cricket Theory
_ By Sophia Alev
Dieciseis
_ By Kate Delany
Fines Double In Work Zone
_ By Brian Stumbaugh
Guy and Doll
_ By John P. Loonam
Lake
_ By Erlynda Jacqui Chan
Lala's Diner
_ By Nicole Exposito
Laundry
_ By Allison P. Boye
Love Story
_ By Cynthia Burke
Magic Bags and Forgotten Princesses
_ By Ken Goldman
Squirrels
_ By Benjamin Buchholz

Poetry
Baking Bread and Other Subtleties
_ By Leland Jamieson
Corpus Christi
_ By Taylor Collier
Early Cold
_ By Yvette A. Schnoeker-Shorb
Ekphrasis at the Mall
_ By James Owens
Games In Your Uncle's Den
_ By Robin Stratton
My Spanish Rose
_ By Jose Rivera
Northern Lights, Southern Soul
_ By E.F. Kramer
Posted on Fifth Avenue
_ By J.R. Salling
Sirens
_ By Naiya Wright
Summer Sojourn
_ By Cheryl Butterweck-Bucher
The Himalayan Sunset
_ By Rohith Sundararaman
Time Decays, Clots
_ By Kristine Ong Muslim
Turn
_ By Terrance Schaefer
Where You Rest
_ By Stephanie N. Barnes

Art & Photography
Bissan Alhussein
_ Paintings
E.W. Hung
_ Photography
Papa Osmubal
_ Drawings
Linda Pakkas
_ Drawings
Anastasiya Tarasenko
_ Paintings
Filip Wierzbicki
_ Paintings and Digital Photography
Nancy Xu
_ Paintings and Drawings

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Dieciseis
By Kate Delany


I sit, squeezed in beside the other expensive gifts—the drum kit, pool table, jukebox, electric guitars—waiting for him. This basement I'm regularly shunted in houses a wine cellar at the far end, affords a view of the Olympic sized pool just beyond the door and is lined with enormous blue marlin, gutted, behind glass, as if Santiago of The Old Man and the Sea had been the interior decorator. For company, I've got four dogs, yelping pedigrees, turned loose to sniff each other's butts and try their luck at my crotch as I sit and wait.

It's fourteen past the hour, fifteen past the hour, sixteen past the hour. Upstairs, I'm sure, in his wing of the house, Jason's spread out on his bed like a shah, boasting on the phone to the girl he's about to deflower at the junior prom about how he's keeping his tutor waiting. Sixteen, as close to twenty as I am to thirty, he's perceptive enough to know that I don't keep coming back here for any noble love of teaching. (The signs are blatant—my dinged up Chevy in his parents' circular, water fountain punctuated driveway, my threadbare, albeit funky, second hand store clothing). Perhaps that's why he can't seem to look at me with anything other than a smirk on his face, or as he did once after getting a tough vocab question wrong, a wink and a quick scan over my breasts. Needless to say, ours is not a partnership in the grand Plato/ Aristotle/ Alexander the Great tradition.

I'm getting fed up, thinking about clomping up the stairs to tell his grandmother that he's late for our session again and listen to her usual moan of "Oh dear! Whatever shall we do?" when a sound comes ringing out of a little lighted basement room. It's Anna's room—Anna, the maid who doesn't speak a lick of English but lets me in the house with a smile every time I point to my chest and say: "English tutor." Her bedroom is tiny, and the door always open, which confounds me. I think if I had to live in this basement with the drum kit and the dogs and the marlin, I'd want a barbed wire fence and an armed sentry around me.

Tonight, through the open door, a man's velvety voice rings in an obnoxious game show cadence, "Vocabulario Dos. Los números de cero a cien." This is the first time I've heard Anna practice language tapes, and waiting on Jason who's still stalling, I find the scene strangely touching—her quiet, diligent, solitary studying. The tape volume's turned down low but outside the room, I can still hear her pause and rewind, over and over, the scrape of the little buttons being forced back down as she tries the words out for herself—"ten, eleven, twelve." I feel embarrassed—she must know I'm there and can't help but overhear, yet still she continues, door ajar.

After single words, the man on the tape gives her sentences to rehearse. "Three cats sit on the bed." "She picks five apples at the market." "Eleven girls are in the class." Anna doesn't so much repeat them as she just mimics the rhythm of the sentences. She rewinds and replays, rewinds and replays. I imagine that if she could, she'd slow the man's suave voice down into slow-mo like film.

"Dieciséis. Sixteen," is where Anna gets stuck. She tries the word a first time and it comes out all soft mush, vowel sounds and gentle S's too close to the Spanish. The second time is not much better. She's got none of the hard jab of consonants necessary for English. She rewinds a third time, with little improvement and I can hear something in her voice getting frustrated with the tape or with herself or with something else, something much larger, perhaps.

I look down at my watch. It's late, so late I'm beginning to wonder if Jason is ever coming. Looking over at Anna's room, I imagine her in there, lying on her stomach, hovering above the tape player. It's then I remember I'm an English tutor. Maybe I could help her get beyond "Dieciséis. Sixteen," which she replays at that moment for what must be the tenth time. Armed with my little smattering of "Dónde está el baño?" and "Que hora es?" perhaps I could be of use. I try to picture myself in a tiny maid's room far away, floundering in foreign language lessons narrated by Regis Philbin. Imagining Anna in there again, I begin to understand why she leaves the door open. Open or closed, no difference.

I stand up. I walk over to Anna's room, goose bumps prickling on my arms. Just outside the doorframe, I wonder if I'll frighten her. Maybe if I grin, she'll pat a spot on the bedspread next to herself and we'll begin. Unintentionally, I throw myself into the doorway in a comic way. Anna half rises from her bed, ready to play the maid again and help me with something.

"No, no," I am about to shake my hand and say. I am about to somehow blather out in Spanglish that I've come to help her when I hear it—the thud, thud, thud down the stairs. I don't turn around at the annoyed sigh to face Jason, as always, shaking his shaggy blond hair out of his eyes. Anna and I are still staring at each other, locked in a wordless exchange as she, I think, begins to understand. On the tape, the man is still yammering on though: "Veinticuatro. Veinticinco. Veintiseis." Time hasn't stood still.

That's when Jason crosses in front of me. "Man, is she at those tapes again?" He says and grabs the doorknob. I look down at his hand, then back up at Anna's face, still fixed on mine. "Here," Jason says, shutting the door in one brisk liquid movement. "Why don't we just close this?"

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KATE DELANY’s previous publication credits include a poetry chapbook, Reading Darwin, published by Poets Corner Press, and appearances in magazines such as The Advocate, Along the Path, Barrelhouse, Burning Leaf, The Fossil Record, Jabberwock Review, Lilith, 13th Moon, Nomad’s Choir, Samsara, Spire Press, The Writers’ Exchange, and Writing Edge Magazine. She teaches in the English department at Rutgers University in Camden, New Jersey.

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