Dispatches

Cirque of Dreams

By LINDA KEYES

Machapachure nepal

Annapurna Sanctuary, Nepal

In mid-May 1999, alone on my last morning in the Annapurna Sanctuary, I tramped along the moraine below Annapurna Base Camp. The sun reflected off Machapuchare, the distinctive fish tail peak, at the bottom of the valley. Tharpu Chuli flanked me on the left, its 6000 meter crown glistening with fresh snow. No clouds covered Annapurna’s summits behind me or obscured the immense sky. The trail meandered from 13,500 feet to 12,000 feet. The low-oxygen air, like a drug, rendered the sapphire sky in vivid contrast to the silver cliffs, the white snow, and the wild crocuses that burst from south-facing patches in happy pink dots.

Emily EverettCirque of Dreams
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Holiday in Queens

By SUSAN HARLAN

train

Queens, New York

1. On the W, December 23

When I’m back in the city and on the subway, I tend to look at my book or at my feet and the feet of other people. I note the different kinds of shoes, their colors and states of wear.

Today is December 23, so there are shopping bags by all the shoes, held fast between lower legs and sometimes kicked out of the way of people coming and going. Bags filled with brown boxes and shoe boxes and stacks of folded clothes.

I’m sitting down, and a man stands above me with his back to me. Under his left arm is a cardboard box that says 6H on the side in thick permanent marker. He never turns around, and I never see him, but I know that he lives in 6H.

Debbie WenHoliday in Queens
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A Cave for Mithra

vessels on tile

By MOJGAN GHAZIRAD

When I heard ancient Iranians worshipped Mithra in subterranean caverns, my first reaction was: why would anyone worship Mithra in total darkness? Mithra, the god of heavenly light, who goes over the earth, all her breadth over, after the setting of the sun, touches both ends of this wide, round earth, whose ends lie afar, and surveys everything that is between the earth and the heavens.[1] In Mithraic belief, the God Mithra slays a bull to move the world and enlighten it with love. Followers pray and purify their souls in order to ascend to their heavenly place of origin.

Julia PikeA Cave for Mithra
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The First Day of Fall

By SHANE CASHMAN

spiderweb

Highland Falls, NY

A black ant walks across the kitchen counter and I try to flick it away. It dodges my finger, but it’s miscalculated how close it is to the edge and falls off the cliff of the counter and into the dog bowl. It struggles to swim. The ant is dying the way I always die in my worst dreams. In nightmares I sink to the bottom of the lake near my childhood home. 

Debbie WenThe First Day of Fall
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It Was a Yellow-Billed Cuckoo

By JOANNA BRICHETTO

grass

Couchville Cedar Glade State Natural Area, Davidson County, Tennessee

My mom has moved to a “senior community” a long drive from my house, but a short drive to my favorite cedar glade.  Last night, I slept on the sofa so I could start a hike before dawn. Her new key takes some fiddling, but I sneak outside to meet black sky.

A Dodge pickup tails me hard on new asphalt for new subdivisions (so many) and old pasture (not so many), but when he turns toward the Interstate, I turn away. Pink begins to glow through my open window.

Debbie WenIt Was a Yellow-Billed Cuckoo
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Hot Potato

By LEATH TONINO 

Colorado Springs, Colorado 

Hackysack

His business card is cut from the corner of an old photo. One side is the chopped image of a carpeted floor, a screen door, a chubby toddler’s left arm and hand. I flip the card over.

Julia PikeHot Potato
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The Little River

By SUSAN HARLAN

the great smoky mountains national park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

 

The Little River isn’t very little or rather
I don’t know what it is little in relationship to.
By the bank the water is smooth as paper
but in the middle my sneakered feet are unsteady
pulled by the current.

DoostiThe Little River
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Four Poems from New York City

By SEAN SINGER

New York City, NY

Floating

Today in the taxi I brought the famous jazz drummer’s wife, Elena, all around Harlem doing errands. Cobb is the last surviving member of the band that recorded Kind of Blue. We went to the bank and to the pharmacy. She let loose with some stories. It was as if his music was not alone waking up from its dream.

Whitney BrunoFour Poems from New York City
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