Andrenae Jones

The Woman in the Well

By ANU KUMAR

 

For nearly two years of my life, I lived with a ghost. It was when my father, a civil servant, was posted in Sambalpur, a now forgotten town in northern Odisha, a state in India’s east. Newspapers then, and even now, always added the descriptor “India’s poorest state” whenever Odisha made the headlines. This happened in the late 1980s, when several hunger-related deaths were reported in a tribal-dominated district in the state’s west, and a decade later, after an Australian missionary was burnt to death, along with his two sons, by a group led by a Hindu fanatic.

The Woman in the Well
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Mosaic School

By JOHN POCH

 

The youngest deconstructionists among us
are proud at first to spend their days breaking up
great slabs of fired tile every shade of wine
while the masters climb the scaffolds
with their gold pride, their gilt, reaching for
a sandal buckle or the heights of a halo.

Mosaic School
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Three Omens of Federico da Montefeltro

By BEN STROUD

 

Urbino, 1472

Ottaviano held the staff high and steady as Scipio tugged at the bunches of leaves fixed to its top.

“He remains content?” Ottaviano asked the giraffe’s keeper.

“He does,” the keeper said. “Twice since sunrise he’s moved his bowels.”

Ottaviano watched Scipio chew. With his knobbly horns, his puzzled hide, and his great neck, he had clearly been made for a far different existence in his home beyond the Nile, a home for which even the library’s grandest atlas possessed only the most rudimentary of maps. And yet, snatched from that home, confined to his pen, the animal betrayed neither alarm nor sorrow.

Three Omens of Federico da Montefeltro
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Who Drew the Curtains?

By SHEIKHA HUSSEIN HELAWY

Translated by NARIMAN YOUSSEF

 

The pores of life are clogged in this room. Making it difficult to breathe. There’s a hanging smell of death that’s impossible to miss. Visitors are unnerved by it. Except those visitors whose nerves have been hardened by the tedium of their dutiful weekly visits to the woman at the far end of the room: boredom and emptiness compressed into no more than half an hour.

Who Drew the Curtains?
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A Letter to Kofi Annan

By MAHMOUD SHUKAIR

Translated by NARIMAN YOUSSEF

 

Abdelghaffar, owner of the tallest building in the quarter—built by the sweat of his brow, as he reportedly doesn’t tire of saying—is pacing up and down his rooftop, stressed about the stray dogs that have been disturbing the neighborhood’s sleep with their nonstop barking every night—Abdelghaffar’s sleep is more affected than anyone’s, his home being the highest in the neighborhood and receiving the noise from all directions at once.

A Letter to Kofi Annan
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