Blog : Beautiful-Things

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The Cheese Case

The Cheese Case By Katie Machen   |  September 25, 2023
On Sunday mornings, I open the shop alone. Pulling myself from the heavy gravity of my beloved, with coffee in hand, I use three keys: lock, gate, door. Apron, lights, sign flipped OPEN—an invitation.

Old Horse

Old Horse By Rebecca Reynolds Weil   |  September 18, 2023
His bones have a hold on the earth, with sinew and muscle built from the hills, corded and bunched over his shoulders and haunches. Along the edges of bramble rose and burdocks, he flushed wild turkeys into flight in front of him, like a ship scattering schools of fish before its bow.

On the 20th Anniversary of 9/11

On the 20th Anniversary of 9/11 By Laura Joyce-Hubbard   |  September 11, 2023
I think of John Ogonowski, leaving his farm at dawn in his green Chevy pickup . John flew cargo planes in Vietnam, knew the Boeing 767 like creases in his palm. He held the yoke, ran checklists, calmly captained the takeoff of the first plane that would crash into the World Trade Center.


Snapped By Kate Lewis   |  September 4, 2023
I heard the snap before I saw it – my late grandmother’s worn rosary tugged apart by my preschooler’s tight grip. She’d only wanted to look, and I’d let her, and my sudden tears were a surprise.

The Aquarium

The Aquarium By Michele Rappoport   |  August 28, 2023
Still dark when booms from the living room startle us awake. We stumble toward the sound and find a bird in the atrium. It’s a white-winged dove, like many we see on our daily walks. The glass is splotched from her many attempts to escape, but she is not frantic now.


Hole By Eric LeMay   |  August 21, 2023
A year into the pandemic, as thousands of people were dying each day and March hung its low gray skies over us, my five-year-old son and I went out into the rain and dug a hole. We'd exhausted every game, every book and block.

After a storm, a quiet dinner

After a storm, a quiet dinner By Liv Kane   |  August 14, 2023
We sit across from my grandfather, gone from our lives until this moment, and feed him warm rice from a plastic container balanced on my knee. When he swallows and smiles, I watch a little part of my mother heal, stitched together with each slow blink shared between them.


Depths By Carol Moody   |  August 7, 2023
From behind the window of an air-conditioned gas station, I see my dad wiping his brow with the flipside of the paper towel he just used to check the oil. He stays outside by the pumps, adjusting the suitcases tied with twine to the top of the station wagon.

Chicken Fingers

Chicken Fingers By Kelly Shetron   |  July 31, 2023
The last best friend my Memom had was Marge. Every night at dinner, the two sat together in the nursing home dining hall. With her glaucoma and macular degeneration, Memom could hardly see, so Marge read her the menu.

Mother's Day

Mother's Day By Ann Kaye   |  July 24, 2023
My niece knows to reach for my hand when she wants to run through her backyard sprinkler in her Sunday best. I’m the aunt who didn’t move back after college. In my family, women don’t inherit the farm but are expected to stay.

The Bird

The Bird By Diane LeBlanc   |  July 17, 2023
“Can you help us?” I don’t know the student leaning into my office with this question. But I’ve just finished active shooter training, a mental health webinar, and several pandemic-response seminars, so I assume the worst. I follow her down the hall as she explains. A bird is swooping around their classroom. It might hurt itself.

Back in the Same Day

Back in the Same Day By Rebecca Turkewitz   |  July 10, 2023
“Back in the same day!” my dad proclaims as he eases the car down the narrow driveway of my childhood home. He says this upon returning from the grocery store, or dinner out, or family trips to the movies.

Cool Mom

Cool Mom By Heidi Fettig Parton   |  July 3, 2023
Nothing about this year has been normal. It’s already the middle of May when the first spring-like weather arrives in Minnesota. The windows are open as I drive my son and his classmate home from middle school. It’s been a year of transitions. It’s been a year of adolescents pushing boundaries. It’s been a year of “No’s.”

Welcome to Iowa

Welcome to Iowa By Robin Hemley   |  June 26, 2023
Suffering from jetlag after the 24-hour trip from Singapore, I walked to a convenience store near us and purchased a couple of Red Bulls to keep me awake. The bearded dude at the counter saw the cans and said, “Getting wild tonight, huh?”

Lydia Walked

Lydia Walked By Sarah Beth Childers   |  June 19, 2023
Lydia walked the day of my miscarriage. At sixteen-and-a-half months old, my daughter was committed to speed crawling across the drought-dirt lawn, to strolling the summer sidewalk while clutching a large, firm hand.

Reckless Memory

Reckless Memory By Anna Leahy   |  June 12, 2023
That night I drove in the dark with you across the lawn, we were each leaving in our own way and had been drinking for tomorrow...

The Paper

The Paper By Wiley Wei-Chiun Ho   |  June 5, 2023
I recently framed the first piece of paper where my anglicized Taiwanese name appears. I paid extra for the solid wood frame and non-reflective glass, so that viewers can see the details clearly, including the black and white passport photo of my six year old self...

Ways of Seeing

Ways of Seeing By Melanie Bryant   |  May 29, 2023
At eighty, my mother is a string of adjectives: slight, slow-moving, stooped. “It comes with the territory,” she says and points to her neck. “I just don’t have the strength to hold my head up anymore.”

The Mansion Game

The Mansion Game By Caitlin Horrocks   |  May 22, 2023
The boundary sign between city and suburb says, “East Grand Rapids: A Better Place to Live,” and maybe it is. As we drive, the houses swell until they are mansions with sweeping green lawns. Of course my four-year-old notices.


Wind By Emily Brisse   |  May 15, 2023
All along the creek trail, the grasses were taller and thicker than we’d ever seen them, the tops brushing our foreheads, even my husband’s, the bottoms obscuring the path, even for the children, their small bodies still so close to the earth...

Trout Lilies

Trout Lilies By Ginny MacDonald   |  May 8, 2023
I want to tell Allie that the trout lilies are up. That wood frogs are chuckling where the marsh marigolds shove their leaves through the mud.

For My Students

For My Students By Robert Barham   |  May 1, 2023
From Alabama, Tennessee, and Michigan, China, Austria, and Indonesia, they see the world’s grandeur and glory, menace and ruin. They are Nabokovs, Morrisons, O’Connors, Didions.


Gravity By Hanna Saltzman   |  April 24, 2023
My two-month-old wiggles on his tummy on a brightly striped blanket in our little urban backyard, trying to hold his head high while the weight of his rapidly growing brain pulls him to the ground. He is suspended in tension.

Shadow in the Wrack

Shadow in the Wrack By Jodi Paloni   |  April 17, 2023
The morning I found a loon curled in seaweed, breast picked clean, bones laced with foam from the outgoing tide...


Breadcrumbs By Angela Sucich   |  April 10, 2023
Slim chance the surgeon gives, but like a tiny bird, I look for crumbs. Nurses flit in, check the PICC line, IV tubing. My mother’s a sleeping marionette, strings at rest.

We Call Up Danger Only to Send It Away

We Call Up Danger Only to Send It Away By Lindsey Pharr   |  April 3, 2023
He lit a Marlboro and exhaled, smiling down at the gators indulgently, as if each one was his precious, deadly baby. He looked the same way at me, sometimes.

Sweet Remedy

Sweet Remedy By Jeniah Johnson   |  March 27, 2023
I slipped downstairs when the backdoor slammed, her boyfriend gone for the night. "My tummy," I cried running to my mother for a hug. "Stop!" She held up a hand. "Broken glass."

No Longer Strangers

No Longer Strangers By Peter Welch   |  March 20, 2023
I am a “book” with the Human Library and meet Eva, from Ukraine, at a virtual “reading,” along with other curious minds from Greece, Germany, Singapore, Ireland, the U.S. I am humbled that Eva has chosen to Zoom with us...


Accord By Vandana Khanna   |  March 13, 2023
On weekends, my mother would sit me down between her legs in the tight space of our back patio and teach me about control. It was the only free time she had between work and looking after me, my brother, and my sick father.

Just Now

Just Now By Lesley Stanley Roberts   |  March 6, 2023
On a morning when I need you most, the cardinal appears in the dead bush we meant to pull last spring. His round frame hefty, feathers tight to his bobbing body, as if he’s the beating heart of the gray yard.

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