Blog : Beautiful-Things

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Ceremony

Ceremony By Robert Barham   |  June 14, 2021
She dances beside the highway each morning. You're driving your son to school, in thick traffic with lights to make, when you notice her across a stretch of construction and broken streets. Bearing marks of itinerancy and sleeping rough, she reaches the center of an empty lot, and it begins: a dancer’s poise with sure cadence and confident, inevitable steps.

Reclamation

Reclamation By Justin Florey   |  June 7, 2021
The Army Corp of Engineers lowered the water level of the Mississippi River below St. Anthony Falls so they could inspect the locks. My wife took the kids down there at my suggestion. Children frolicked in areas where, in any other circumstance, they would surely drown.

Notes to My Father

Notes to My Father By Kathy Fagan   |  May 31, 2021
On most surfaces in my house, you'll find short notes I've written for my father. I flip the phone's camera on FaceTime so he can read them when he can't hear me. He mouths them slowly out loud: Be good and obey nurses. Put hearing aids in ears. Today is Jacob’s birthday. Stay awake in daylight and sleep in the dark. Change into clean clothes or God won’t take you to heaven. Call after dinner. I love you.

Command

Command By John Bonanni   |  May 24, 2021
It's nearing Easter, 2020. My lover, David, and I watch The Ten Commandments with Charlton Heston. We break it up across three days, one hour per day. I always associated Heston with the NRA, with white old man gun-toting Uhmerca toxic masculinity, but the more I watch, the more Moses’s shoulders and thighs seem to flex, seem to bulge out of the screen, oiled.

The Drive Home

The Drive Home By Kimberly Goode   |  May 17, 2021
We pulled out of the driveway. Our destination: Newark International Airport for a pre-dawn flight back to Seattle. My father drove his Ford Taurus just below the speed limit. Staring out the window, I thought of all the times we'd travelled this road together before.

Reading

Reading By Susan Hodara   |  May 10, 2021
I am reading. I have spun into the writer's words, how his grandmother curled and uncurled the telephone cord around her fingers. I remember those curly cords, how the coils unspooled when you walked around, and then jumped back, spiraling in on themselves, hanging like a wonky rubber ringlet.

On the Afternoon I Write My Husband Another Note

On the Afternoon I Write My Husband Another Note By Amanda Yanowski   |  May 3, 2021
I sit in my gray office and scribble words onto a piece of stationary I wish I could remember picking out, yellow flowers wrapping around the edges. Believe me when I say I do not have a choice. And I am so sorry. And I tried to fix myself.

Not That Kind of Royalty

Not That Kind of Royalty By Lea Page   |  April 26, 2021
“So, you lost your crown,” the dentist says. “Yes,” I reply. “Down the hatch.” I’ve learned that jokes are the best and maybe only antidote to terror. My daughter often reminds me, “Don’t relive past traumas,” so I won’t describe the horror show of dental malfeasance that got me here. Not to the dentist’s chair—that’s simple: I swallowed a crown while eating a bowl of leftover rice. Here being: imploding dread, the body’s memory of pain.

Resonance

Resonance By Nancy Jorgensen   |  April 19, 2021
A fifty-something woman, wearing a faded floral dress, showed me the antique pump organ. “No one plays anymore,” she said, her wooden cooking spoon in hand. “And I could use the $150.” She went back to her farmhouse stove to stir a pot that smelled of onion and sage while my new husband and I—some said too young for marriage at only 22—whispered about the price.

Urn

Urn By Jenny Apostol   |  April 12, 2021
“What kind of urn do you have in mind?” “No need,” I tell the funeral director. “My mother was a potter.” In the brownstone where I grew up, mother stashed a potter’s wheel behind a Japanese screen built by my father. When she wasn’t throwing pots, I rode that wheel like a merry-go-round.

Seasonal

Seasonal By Laura Marshall   |  April 5, 2021
In the fall, we rake pecans into piles as most people do with leaves. The tree’s branches extend in every direction over our backyard. Summer thunderstorms shake them loose unripened and encased in a rubbery green skin. They hit the roof with a sharp block, a Louisiana hail.

Mist

Mist By Courtney Hill Gulbro   |  March 29, 2021
A wisp of perfume accompanied my mother. Like her, it was elegant and subtle. The fragrance softly followed her up the hall, her heels clicking, her skirt rustling. Late to somewhere.

The Bends of the Kickapoo

The Bends of the Kickapoo By Craig Holt Segall   |  March 22, 2021
The Kickapoo doubles back on itself. Cutting its way through the billion-year old hummocks of the Driftless Region, the river winds in tight knots and bends. In the high blue Wisconsin summers, ferns and orchids grow on the banded cliffs above the water.

This is Orange

This is Orange By Jill Kolongowski   |  March 15, 2021
Around 10:30 this morning the world is orange. The sky, the houses, the air. Inside, my new baby is trying to roll over. She wants to do it so badly she tries to do it in her crib instead of sleeping. She is hopeful. She is determined.

Red Talisman

Red Talisman By Christina Rivera Cogswell   |  March 8, 2021
In sepia photos of the flower market, I picture my father with bundles of pearl chrysanthemums or peach carnations in his brown boy arms. A child with the lodgepole-spine of knowing pride can mean the difference between survival or not under the street-corner eyes of the City of Angels.

Talk to Her

Talk to Her By Michael McAllister   |  March 1, 2021
I once took a job with a major online retailer, listening to the words that people spoke in their own homes to a voiced virtual assistant I'll call Amaya. Our ragtag team of English and Linguistics majors tapped away on laptops, categorizing the words for the developers so she’d respond better over time, listening to the private words of a faceless people.

On Sam Mountain

On Sam Mountain By Mary Lane Potter   |  February 22, 2021
At the peak—932 feet above the Mekong floodplain—beyond the holy caves and the Cham, Buddhist, Hindu, and Mother-Goddess temples that litter the twisting pilgrim road, a mother and father are teaching their young son how to pray.

Purse Candy

Purse Candy By Cora Waring   |  February 15, 2021
There's a single, beat-up black jack bobbing around my purse, its wrapper feathered from accidental collisions with lipstick tubes and wallet, the once-bright stripes gone gray. The taffy inside is stone hard but still offers up a spicy licorice warmth.

The Perfect Day

The Perfect Day By Lisa Hadden   |  February 8, 2021
The images are still with me thirty-five years later. The weather in the Northeast Michigan woods on Grand Lake is warm, heavy with fragrance of late summer, cedar pines, sandy soil, the water clapping the edge of the land. The turquoise sky turns to twilight with a soft glow of lavender rising.

Wildflowers

Wildflowers By Brie Deyton   |  February 1, 2021
Another set of packed bags. After another get out now. This time my mother, sister, and I landed in a trailer across the abandoned tracks. Fake wood paneling on the walls repelled all light, and years of cigarette smoke made every surface feel singed.

Le Sacrifice

Le Sacrifice By Terri Kent   |  January 25, 2021
Mom, sitting on the floor among a group of cross-legged Girl Scouts, teaches us a song in a language none of us know.

Leeches

Leeches By Katie Walsh   |  January 18, 2021
When we get home from the hospital, I realize the electrodes are still stuck to my father's chest and back. He says that it hurt too much when the nurse tried to remove them, so he told her to forget it. The confusion makes him this way, irritable and impatient.

Drawn In

Drawn In By Lisa Huffaker   |  January 11, 2021
I got better at drawing when I began to think of petting an animal. I sent my eye running along the spine of a thing, felt it warm and alive, arching its back into my palm. I moved my eye like I'd move my hand, stroking an edge, pressing against the body of a mass.

Rubber Tourniquets

Rubber Tourniquets By Kristin Engler   |  January 4, 2021
My four-year-old son plays with the blue rubber tourniquet from his latest hospitalization. A nurse tied it around his arm to insert an IV into the tender part of his forearm near the crook of his elbow.

You Should Ask for More

You Should Ask for More By Rachel Sudbeck   |  December 28, 2020
"Am I sad?" I ask my dog, because it's not something I recognize anymore. Sadness had come so thick and urgent for a while that the quieter emotions don't register like they used to.

Car Keys

Car Keys By Bridget Lillethorup   |  December 21, 2020
“I can drive today,” my partner said, and I tossed him the keys over the hood of my 1999 Jeep Cherokee. Up went the key to my mom’s house, which opened a small home of wall-papered, floral prints and a retired woman shuffling in a bathrobe, slowing sipping coffee . . .

The Ledge

The Ledge By Anna Reid   |  December 14, 2020
We've come to Switzerland and we're in love. It's the crisp air, the towering waterfalls and majestic peaks – a guise to hide the death that lurks behind the exquisite landscape where we've flocked to feel alive.

Real Mom

Real Mom By Mee-ok   |  December 7, 2020
Until I decided to come to Korea, I hadn't realized how special my mother was – how selfless, how enlightened. Most adoptive parents of her generation can't understand that searching for our origins isn't a direct affront to them. In truth, it has nothing to do with them at all.

Jars of Daybreak

Jars of Daybreak By Robert Erle Barham   |  November 30, 2020
Roused before dawn, my siblings and I stood at the edge of the kitchen and marveled at gleaming red jars that filled the room. Our parents shuffled wordlessly from stove to kitchen table and back again, their bright faces like blacksmiths' flushed by forge light . . .

After Hours

After Hours By Rebecca Turkewitz   |  November 23, 2020
My grandfather wakes, confused and flooded with his body's toxins. "Sit down," he tells my grandmother. "We're going around a bend." He thinks they're on the train forty years ago. He reaches for invisible handholds . . .

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