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Splitting the Pole By Rachel Wyman

1. I can’t remember his name or what he looked like, except that he was black, twenty-something, and wearing shoes with Velcro buckles. I was walking from the Bed-Stuy YMCA to my apartment in Crown Heights. I was in a bad mood...

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DEEP HEART’S CORE BY PATRICK CONNELLY

It was with exquisite awkwardness and nervous fragility that I held the infant, cradling him in quivering arms away from my body like carrying a nest of bees or a tin of glowing coals, stunned by the squirming weightlessness of new life and the surging energy and light, marveling at his pulsing fontanelle in all its haunting delicateness

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THE MECHANIC BY JENNIFER WATKINS

That summer, when the plane touched down in Atlanta, my hair was still windblown from the Colorado Rockies. My mother’s words echoed as I stepped onto the tarmac: I’m bringing someone with me. I saw him before he saw me: Red-faced, gripping a row of avocado chairs. Well-worn blue jeans, shirt tucked tight. Slicked-back hair, two-day stubble, with his oil-stained fingers wrapped around my mother. “You’re pretty, just like your mama,” the mechanic drawled, all yellow-toothed smile. I glared at him, and the teeth disappeared. We rode from Atlanta to Conyers in silence.

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