Blog : Beautiful-Things

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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.

Paper Boats

Paper Boats By Sara Martin   |  February 27, 2023
It’s Christmas Eve. Grandpa sits between my brother, Jeff, and me in the church pew. Grandpa must see that we’re fading, because as soon as we're seated after singing “Oh Holy Night,” he nods at the bulletin in his hands.

The Green Apple God

The Green Apple God By Tom Fate   |  February 20, 2023
When I arrived at the Stella Maris chapel, orange and blue rays of sunlight flooded through a stained glass window. The warm shafts of color felt like answers to a question I didn’t know how to ask.


Gestures By Jody Keisner   |  February 13, 2023
Amelia folds her hands in her lap, like an elderly man at mass during the homily. They say certain facial expressions and body language are inherited, as if a blueprint for gestures is written on our genes.

Death, Grief, and Honey Nut Cheerios

Death, Grief, and Honey Nut Cheerios By Kiely Todd Roska   |  February 6, 2023
6:30 Tuesday morning. My four-year-old daughter sits next to me, scooping spoonfuls of cereal toward her mouth as milk drips onto her bare chest. Emmalani prefers life without clothing.

Ode to A Buddhahead Dad

Ode to A Buddhahead Dad By Edward Iwata   |  January 30, 2023
Dad is a chain-smoking, poker-playing, John Wayne-loving carpenter. A blue-collar Baryshnikov who swings hammers with sinewy grace.

Into the Mist

Into the Mist By Ken Martin   |  January 23, 2023
The rain left a fresh scent on the leaves and mist lingered as I walked my dad down the hill to the lakeshore. The ground was moist and the lake cloaked in a whiteout so pure I could hear only the water lapping the shore.


Itch By Alexandra Dane   |  January 16, 2023
I began with the paperbacks. Upside down, by the spine, shook hard, a snow of recipes, bookmarks, cigarette papers, index cards. Searching not for the obvious treasures — jewelry, money, last wills — instead, moments after my grandmother took her last breath, I began to hunt for the sketch.

I Feel As One in Sex But Also

I Feel As One in Sex But Also By Heather Lanier   |  January 9, 2023
Dishes drying, dryer broken, wet T’s strewn over chairs, we let the couch hold us up for one more hour of TV. Why? We want each other’s bodies. Right now—want them the way we’ve had them for twenty years.

Honey (I Put Down My Ax)

Honey (I Put Down My Ax) By Rasma Haidri   |  January 2, 2023
The first one said honey was what Vietnamese hookers called from doorways, so don’t call him that. The next one said honey was a substance to spread on bread, so why did I call him that. Store clerks in the South called all of us honey.

Snow Day

Snow Day By Rick Joines   |  December 26, 2022
At least an inch, with an underlayer of ice, a glaze of tiny beads, encrusted light. Strange and rare here, so everyone stays home. No school. A few cars creep by, spin sideways into the intersection. The kettle dings.

Bathroom Pass

Bathroom Pass By Mazzer D'Orazio   |  December 19, 2022
A freshman appears in my doorway, late for class again, extending an orange traffic cone. She proclaims: “I found it in a ditch!”

On Massachusetts General Hospital Reaching Out to Schedule Your COVID-19 Vaccine

On Massachusetts General Hospital Reaching Out to Schedule Your COVID-19 Vaccine By Sarah Kilch Gaffney   |  December 12, 2022
"Some weeks later, back at home with our toddler in your lap for bedtime, you realized you could no longer read aloud."


Sprouts By Kaci Skiles Laws   |  December 5, 2022
A woman scrunches up her nose. I follow her gaze to my five-year-old son, oblivious to her, picking out his favorite Zevia. He grabs a root beer; she sneers, makes a sideways comment, her husband laughs, and I catch his eye.

COVID Subnivean

COVID Subnivean By Adrie Kusserow   |  November 28, 2022
Ground frozen, mice and voles on lockdown below, still they skitter beneath, not even the fox dares to dive into the snow taut with a glassy sheath of ice. The Barred owls, too, are starving, crouched near birdfeeders in broad daylight.

Moon Walk

Moon Walk By Libby Brydolf   |  November 21, 2022
We make it to the brushy meadow before we get our first glimpse of the moon: a slip of glow rising. We watch in the cool spring evening until it hangs whole over Kwaay Paay Peak before continuing on the wide dusty track.

Backward Steps

Backward Steps By Gary Fincke   |  November 14, 2022
In our kitchen, some nights, my wife walks backwards, but mostly she does her retreats in the living room, where there is room for additional steps. She says this exercise postpones the arrival of unsteadiness, mustering a smile when she manages back and back again with grace.

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