Allyson Kalea Boggess

Sara Lando

Dennis Barone

Letitia Trent

Laura Chester

Helena Kvarnstrom

Patti Ann McEwin

Alaina Burri-Stone

Miriam Greenberg

Terry Palka

Wade Savitt

Jennifer Rimm

Bruce Barone

Angela Gwinner

Melissa Howard

Terri Browning

R. Gerald Dressen

She eats curry on Saturdays 

Cayenne and coriander seed help her breathe.

She burns cooking oil on high, dumps

chopped yellow onion into the skillet,

hangs her head over the steam.

The recipe calls for ground turmeric.

As she pinches the powder on the cutting

board, it stains her skin and nails yellow.

She browns garlic and ginger and lamb for dinner. 

In the morning she will arch her back

against a wooden pew, admire the pot of orchids

on the altar, and reach for bread with stained hands. 



She thinks about his hands, how she should have

touched them before he left 

Last night she learned how to play seven-card stud,

how to see his ten and raise it twenty, how to split

pistachio shells with her fingernails. 

She said they tasted like knots of cured wood,

slivers of smokehouse planks. She fanned

her cards and slicked hickory skin with her tongue. 

He smiled and splayed his cards over the rug, raking

his hands over the pile of copper between them.

He said his heart flush beats her two pair—nines and threes.

She said wait. Nines are wild. 



You will remember my name 

when the overhead lighting in the booth

at Denny’s casts a sallow glow

upon the plastic picture holder you

will pull from your wallet ten years from now

and hold out to your colleague while

waiting for the waitress to deliver. 

The cracked plastic, yellowed with years

will not do your youngest daughter justice.

It will pale her—dull her heavy

mahogany eyes and neutralize her smile.

Your colleague will still squint and nod his head.

He will still chuckle, “She looks just like her daddy,”

and linger his lower lip a few seconds too

long over his coffee cup. When you graze

the stub of your fingernail over the plastic filter

of her image you will wonder

what it is that causes you to pause. 

The waitress will bring your

breakfast on freshly washed ceramic. Three eggs,

two strips of writhing bacon,

an English muffin. Your colleague’s waffles

will not suffer long, but your eggs will anguish

and congeal in your silence. 

It is in the corners of her mouth, you will think. The way her

eyelashes curl up at the edges.