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

Stories & Essays
'57 Chevy
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By Gary Moshimer
A Visit to India From America...
_ By Shubha Venugopal
Calista Flockhart and the MySpace Hoax
_ By Michael Frissore
Recollections and Revelations
_ By Elizabeth Harbaugh
Springtime Visits
_ By Phyllis Link
Stupendous Stew
_ By Malerie Yolen-Cohen
The Genius
_ By Ray Templeton
The Stranger Below
_ By Sam Vargo
Truant
_ By Louise Norlie
Vacation
_ By Dan Devine
Vegetarian Rage
_ By John A. Ward
What Might Pass Between Them
_ By Alexandra Leake

Poetry
A Glutton For Truth
_ By Richard Fein
A Question of Proper Form
_ By Richard Fein
Boiler Man
_ By Leland Jamieson
Horizons
_ By Davide Trame
Lioness In Miniature
_ By Grace M. Murray
Outdone
_ By Pete Lee
Real Life Elocution
_ By Richard Fein
Rewriting An Ending
_ By Rumit Pancholi
September
_ By Tim Shell
Seven Ways of Looking at a Full Moon
_ By Naiya Wright
Shalom
_ By Jeanne Hugoe-Matthews
Sideways
_ By Kristine Ong Muslim
Spirit
_ By Patrick Frank
The Empty Spaces After You
_ By Rumit Pancholi
Thesaurus
_ By Ed Higgins
Uncle Zebulon
_ By J.R. Salling

Art & Photography
Dora Calo
Robert Carter
Noah Erkes
Andrew Patsalou
Saulius
Filip Wierzbicki

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What Might Pass Between Them
By Alexandra Leake


It was June, and Sheila was in love with her dentist. She was a forty-seven year old travel consultant, and this year she had already been in love with her hair stylist and her personal trainer. But now she didn’t like to think about those others - the imposters. The dentist was serious, the real thing. Those others were probably gay, anyhow. Quand meme, she thought to herself, as she leaned her head back against the headrest of the reclining chair. Even so. The hair stylist was good with layering.

Her dentist’s name was George. George Desjardins. People in his office had no sense of romance. They pronounced it, dez-jar-dins, striking the first syllable like a Pez dispenser, when he was a man des jardins. A direct descendant of a medieval French landscape designer - who laid out kilometers of pebbled paths, slate steps and stone walls - yet went about unheralded, nameless. In his buckled shoes and silk shirt, he was, simply, “of the gardens” - ready for picking.

Sheila was just calling up that shirt - its soft gathers at the wrists and shoulders, its muted café crème color, the way it pouffed gently over the waistband of his thick wool britches - when he brushed against her. He, George Desjardins, in faded blue scrubs, brushed her shoulder on his way to the sink. His powerful compact body was meant to be outside, Sheila thought, though as he bent to wash his hands, the short-sleeved scrubs seemed almost pajama-like, his bare forearms amazingly intimate.

“They booked you into my lunch break,” he said, over his shoulder. “So what are we doing?” He was scrubbing a plastic nailbrush over his knuckles, but his voice had an expectant timbre.

Prosciutto and melon? Sheila thought. A little ripe St. André cheese, with a salad of chilled beets, packed in a wicker basket? They could eat on the grass, down by the blue bed - columbines, gentians, veronica, geranium, phlox. Sheila smoothed her skirt. The challis had a delicious feel to it. She could smell blue, blue, blue.

“You told them one of your crowns was loose. Lower right?” He had already dried his hands. She wanted to tell him that she had first felt the crown jiggle on her vacation. Or maybe, she would say, laughing, that she had just thought she’d felt it jiggle after the cruise company hadn’t comped her the single supplement for the barge trip. She had been assigned a stateroom with a fifty-nine year old oncology nurse. The first morning, Sheila had half expected to see the woman’s teeth in the etched glass tumbler on the nightstand.

But George was standing at her elbow in a hurried sort of way so Sheila simply opened her mouth. Love was like that, Sheila thought: You had to be flexible, cleaving to his needs, his desires.

“She wouldn’t let me take the crown off,” Malissa, the hygienist, said.

Sheila started at Malissa’s reproachful, confidential tone. I am right here, Sheila thought, I am not a she. I am paying for him to touch me. Sheila had forgotten that Malissa was there behind her, just as Malissa was ignoring her. The two of them were even-steven.

George touched Sheila on the shoulder. “Wider?”

I couldn’t let just anyone take it off, she wanted to tell him, though Malissa did have a nice name. Not that you could ever tell about a name. Malissa came from Corsicana, Texas. Before Malissa had realized they were rivals, she had told Sheila that her mother thought that was how you spelled “Melissa.” Mostly Malissa prattled on about Texas-sized weddings. She was a regular professional of a bridesmaid.

“Wider?” George said again as he adjusted the light. Sheila hoped that his slight undertone of impatience was directed at Malissa, because Sheila’s mouth, her whole body, felt flayed open like a trout.

Sheila-trout was halfway to pointing at the offending area - God, had she come to the age of mysterious ailments and offending areas? - when George leaned over her. “Turn towards me, just a bit. Good.”

She was just noticing how the hair at his temple was slightly damp with sweat when he blew pressurized air into her mouth.

Ooooph!” Sheila jumped with the surprise of it.

The little involuntary oooph seemed to spur him on. He picked up a stainless steel probe and began tapping its impossibly fine hooked point around the margins of the porcelain crown - plink, plink - like a miniature miner. As he leaned in closer, his touch felt so delicate, Sheila could easily envision his index finger circling the plum-colored aureole of her breast. Yes, she thought, as he adjusted the angle of his little mirror-on-a-stick. Yes. She still had young breasts, especially when she was lying down.

Why then did Sheila suddenly feel unaccountably anxious? As if some unbidden darkness were rising in her chest like water, shadowing the chambers of her heart? She closed her eyes to shut out the specter of past failures: how the trainer had lost interest in her when she couldn’t get her heartbeat up to its target zone, how the stylist had frowned at her bangs’ refusal to stay side-swept, how the barge captain had--

(Turn the page)