Nonfiction

Stone Cold Steve Austin Cannot Be Forgotten

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Brian Oliu   What you want to know is who was my favorite. What you hear is not what you want to hear—a name that means nothing as it was born from something pressing—a technician with a quick first strike that came of age after you out grew the lariat, the steel chair. What you…

Trompe L’Oeil

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2017 Nonfiction Award Winner, Chosen by Elena Passarello Liz Asch   The apartment we’ve rented for the remainder of our stay in New York is on the fifteenth floor, with a perfect view of the Empire State and Chrysler buildings, the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges. At night, all of the city sprawls beneath us in…

TIME TO BLEED

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Ander Monson   Things keep happening outside my screen. In 1993 the Michigan Militia guy I work with in Electronics at Walmart tries to recruit me—unsuccessfully. The video he showed me does not convince. He moves to jewelry. My shoplifting is not discovered, or not directly. I quit before I’m fired. He’s still there, I…

To Finally Embrace Living

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Nick Kowalczyk   That Tuesday morning I awoke with an aching body and yellow shit clumped around my eyes and caked across my temples like two dried-out streams during a summer drought. It was 7:31 a.m. My phone was buzzing with a text message from my mother and I wondered what was wrong. It had…

TIME TO BLEED

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Ander Monson No one talks enough about how Schwarzenegger looks on-screen. Or how his face is lit in every shot: one sees what California did in him to make him governor. In 1987 I would have appointed him God; he’s as close to it as we were going to get to it on the human…

In Flight

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Brenda Miller and Julie Marie Wade   My brother-in-law, who flies planes for a living, tells me that no one can die in the sky. “But people die everywhere,” I protest.  “That’s the thing that amazes me most about death—how versatile it is.” Matt wears his pilot’s uniform, brown and drab, with a glint of…

Clevelanding

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Betty Rosen   I learned “city” from Cleveland and its drone of heart-rot, clotting-rust hopelessness. I still read in its script of nostalgia. Its bridges crash down into silver water, undertowing language. Its forms are the steel scaffolding within which ideas stir like afterbreaths. I’m always talking about “ideas,” and what I mean is the…

Wake Up Call

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Steven Church   Fort Collins, CO 1999   Where’s the baby? I called out in the dark. Half asleep, I sat up in bed. Where’s the baby? I asked again. I’d been troubled recently by dreams of abandonment and forgetting—vague, formless visions and fragments—the only tangible evidence most nights, a sweat-soaked pillow. No clear images…

On Words, Like Wanderings

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Jill Talbot and Justin Lawrence Daugherty   i. North Country For a while I lived along the Canadian border. Never crossed it, though it felt like it on snowy nights I’d settle into corner booth of the inn’s wooded lounge. Hockey on a small screen in the corner, men lined up in fleece and flannel…

Swallowing Needles

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Melissa Wiley   Closer to Honey There were gold veins on her ceiling. If not gold, amber then, something resembling resin. They once were blue, the same as everyone else’s. Only so many years of sunlight filtering through smoke-stained curtains had altered their color, put light into the ceiling. Veins all the same. Someone hovering,…
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