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“The Lieutenant of Kouta,” by Massa Makan Diabaté

The people of the neighborhood who were eating their breakfast stopped passing bowls from father to son, from mother to daughter. All eyes followed Famakan, held by the lieutenant’s leash like a dog. Egg yolk ran into his eyes. He tried to wipe his face, but at that moment, the lieutenant pulled the cord taut, and Famakan collapsed into a mud puddle.

Poetry from Todd Boss

ONE DAY THE DOCTOR TELLS YOU YOU’RE BLIND

to the truth. It’s physical; something about

the retina, rods, and cones. Truth is a wave-

length in the spectrum you’re unable to detect.

All your life you’ve been compensating,

convincing yourself you could see what you

could not. Suddenly you’ve got questions

MQR 50:4 | Fall 2011

Elizabeth Alexander on black experimental poetry, Marian Crotty on the borderline lover, Ilan Stavans on immigration and authenticity, James Morrison on Jonathan Strong, Laurence Goldstein on Philip Levine

Fiction by Peter Ho Davies, Massa Makan Diabaté, Janis Hubschman, Lia Silver, Jonathan Strong

Poetry by Randy Blasing, Todd Boss, Martha Collins, Rick Hilles, Patricia Hooper, Joe Wilkins

“That Fall,” by Peter Ho Davies

Perhaps because he had no singing voice, Pop leaned forward to twist the dial when Nelson Eddy came on to do “Song of the Vagabonds.” “What, Saul,” my mother called from the doorway, giving a wiggle of her hips, “you got something against a little music?” but my father shushed her so sharply I looked up from my books. He was bent close to the radio, his eyes on us, but wide and unseeing.