Hiring a Hitman in Chinese

Hiring a Hitman in Chinese

It was on a smoggy Shanghai morning when Wang hired a hitman to kill his wife. Wang’s wife Li Ying was rich, a fuerdai. Her…

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Tea for Two

Tea for Two

The first time our neighbor, Ms. Plinkett, made me a cup of tea, all the illusions of adulthood and demure culture I was working so…

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A Feminine Rage

A Feminine Rage

After Poe I. Shriveled up leaves hang from the topmost branches of skeletal trees. Black smudges against a ghostly winter sky—like sleeping bat babies, or…

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Us Kids

Us Kids

In Winter the teachers stop patrolling the school grounds. They stand in huddles, hands wrapped around steaming mugs, finding relief in the alcove out of…

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Perennials

Perennials

In the garden. It looks like snow, a surreal May frost, but the sun slaps my winter-paled skin as I hunch over the tiny growths…

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One Year, One Hundred Years

One Year, One Hundred Years

Imagine entering an apartment building that is outwardly non-descript, concrete, post-modern; it rises shadowing a mosque next door.  Imagine the muezzin’s call to prayer is…

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Lost and found

Lost and found

The old book’s cloth cover had turned gray. A friend, who knows my passion for Eastern poetry, had just given it to me as a…

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A Natural Arrangement

A Natural Arrangement

The caress of the morning call yanks my soul. It screams for attention. I cannot tell who calls whom or why. Beneath me, the dusty…

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On The Prowl

On The Prowl

The tightening in the center of my back and a slight tingling sensation inside my nose let me know that she had arrived. Mid hug with…

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Checkpoint 104

Checkpoint 104

In the dusty, windy hills above Bethlehem, she drove alone along the lonely by-pass road leading north from Wadi al-Arayis toward East Jerusalem. It was…

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In Gresham

In Gresham

Temperature hit one hundred, making our third floor apartment close to like Hell. I spent the day with Ben in the playground, leaving him under…

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The Almost Mother

The Almost Mother

The Almost Mother sits with me on a park bench, smiling to herself, humming a lullaby, while she looks for children to trip. A strange…

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A Light Eulogy

A Light Eulogy

Now for the eulogies. My brother goes first. He sobs. He and my father were close. They were both good at science. I can’t say…

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Until They Fall

Until They Fall

The dentist says, “Oh, oh…”  her hands in my mouth while her assistant holds the suction gun limp-wristed, like a pencil she might use for…

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Heavy Wings

Heavy Wings

John didn’t come home that night. Reports said that a young Black man, suspected of robbery, was attacked by police officers on the corner of…

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Deception

Deception

Mic, feeling every one of his fifty-four years, sat on a stool, hunched over the hundred-year-old mahogany bar scared with burn marks from the years…

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Rain, Rain, Gone Away

Rain, Rain, Gone Away

It’s never a dark and stormy night. Never a dark and stormy day, either. Ain’t been since ‘fore I was born.  The sky’s straight-up robin’s…

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De-parted

De-parted

Train travel was slowly dying out like the art of writing letters. I didn’t care for such statements made by various people I knew. I…

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Postpartum

Postpartum

After an excruciating week of meetings in New York City, my husband was to arrive back home via bus. Noon sharp, he’d told me. He…

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The Combination Padlock

The Combination Padlock

A man couldn’t remember the combination to a padlock. He didn’t want to break it, so he tried 0000, then 0001. He was prepared to…

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