person Sue Allison, story

Sue Allison was a reporter for Life Magazine; her writing has also been published or is forthcoming in Best American Essays, Antioch Review, Harvard Review, New South, Streetlight Magazine, Threepenny Review, Fourth Genre, The Diagram, River Teeth, and a Pushcart Prize collection. She holds a BA in English from McGill University and an MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.

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THE DUCK

        Every time he came home, he found the duck in a different place. It was a small, painted wooden duck his wife had picked up someplace, maybe even before he knew her; it just always seemed to have been part of their lives, and he knew he hadn’t given it to her, and she hadn’t bought it as a souvenir of a trip they’d been on. He didn’t like it much (he was into finer stuff), but it got his interest when it began to migrate. Sometimes, when he came home, he would see that it would be on the mantel, sometimes on an end table, sometimes on the other end table or on the kitchen counter, the bureau in the bedroom, her bedside table, his bedside table. What was with the duck? he wondered, but he was a little afraid to ask, so he didn’t, and after a while he found he couldn’t settle down for the evening until he had found the duck’s new resting place. He even used to think about it on his way home, imagining where it was going to be, what new spot to put it she had thought of, and he wondered what it meant that it was in the kitchen, say, or the hat shelf or on the magazine stack or the TV stand; he wondered sometimes what it was thinking. But he still never said anything, nothing at all, and neither did his wife. When, years later, someone asked him what the secret to his long marriage was, he didn’t say so, but he couldn’t help thinking: It was the duck.

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person JC Davies, one short story

JC Davies is a a writer based in London, and was recently short listed for the York Poetry Prize. A short story “Palm” is appearing in Yellow Mama’s August edition.

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Canal

I have only seen a dead fish in the canal but I went fishing there for thoughts. Fat thoughts with rainbow markings, skinny ideas with snarly mouths, multi-limbed dreams on light-weight line, fast swimming notions like metal exhaust chimneys on school houses, pumping out the smoke of old books and gym shorts from backside furnaces, ruffling the water like ball gown skirts.

A hummingbird broke its neck and the dead pony wouldn’t bury. Richard ate the frog. And the answerphone died slowly so his voice slowed to a slur like blancmange on a hot day.

Out along the canal, a great northern diver dove deep, clutching at food with a beak like a 1930’s trunk chiseled to a point; a chick screamed like a typewriter full of glass beads as it took a worm from its mother’s mouth like Marilyn Monroe kissing Tony Curtis.

If you think of death think of me, death is the thought of me smiling from below the water line. If you think of death think of a tall pine tree and me, sitting up there dressed in a clown suit with a catapult. If you think of death think of the slow sad sand creature that crawls across your thoughts thinking it’s doing well, but with a mortgage and three slow sand creature children bawling. If you think of death think of the crazy water skier and the thin line of rope like a snake in June desperate to be loved, ready to curl up and twist around the heart in an embrace that can never leave whilst the water skier is catapulted in the air and lands in a forest of cacti. Next to a sea of slurry. And it rains.

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