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An Interview with francine j. harris

“Diversion and masking is a part of who we are. The thing I like about poetry is that it stares. In general, fiction or prose pans the room. Poetry is a still shot. I like that, staying with a moment until it makes sense. I can’t do that any other way.”

What I’ve Learned About the Value of Storytelling in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Since August, 2011

by Monique Daviau

Back in August, before the beginning of the school year, I was sitting on the red sofa at Mighty Good Coffee in Ann Arbor, sipping a latte and reading one of the thirty-one books that MFA students are required to read for their reading exam. An older woman with a massive expanse of gray curls sat down beside me and began munching a cookie, and after evaluating whether or not I was willing to have a conversation with her, explained to me why she was so happy:

“I’ve just gotten a massage and I know that my massage therapist loves me because after he finished, he folded my socks a certain way. Look! That means ‘I Love You.’ If he folds them this way, see, (the lady rearranged the top of her sock) that means ‘I only want to be your friend,’ but he didn’t, and so he loves me.” She returned her sock to its previous “he loves me” configuration, and smiled some more.

Summer Jobs

by Gina Balibrera

The summer between high school and college I worked at a clothing boutique in San Francisco, taking polyester tube tops out of boxes, steaming them on hangers, and carrying them across the earthquake-dinted floorboards, which glowed golden in the midday-light, to the rounders for the shop’s wealthy patrons to admire. My boss, K-, lived in a studio above a flower shop and frequently aired her romantic woes.

“Cloud Food,” by Julia Gibson

It was the third dry year. There had been a stream once, made of snowmelt from the mountains to the north, but even the snow had been sparse the winter our coyote mother met our dad, a dog who had his own concerns. When he stopped showing up, it wasn’t because he didn’t want to, Mam said. His obligations conflicted.