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July 14th, 2016 at 11:49 am

Excerpt from Sabzeh by Katayoon Zandvakili

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The following poem appears in our February 2016 digital issue. Read the rest of Sabzeh and the entire issue by downloading it. “Sabzeh” is the term, in Farsi, for a kid who is like a blade of spring grass Sitting on the washing machine  thinking and talking out loud with my nanny    in Tehran     about the bones we were going to feed Snowy, the white German Shepherd stray and her pups on our block. With my nanny there, warm [ … ] contemplating the bones and the meat in the pink plastic baggies, Snowy and her eight pups waiting. My knees bony. Her hands rough and red. In the mornings, before school, sitting on the washing machine  thinking and talking out loud with her about the dogs, down below.   hey Listen—I was in love with you You ran some true white light at the beginning, yes, the smartest man I ever met—my truest shot, twin flame and all. You know how I build people up. But then, through some trick of fate or the angels almost, you showed your hand, it unfolded … and I could not stand how you spoke to me. 99 I love you’s and one Read the Rest…

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July 6th, 2016 at 11:33 am

Excerpt from Definitions by Sandra Kohler

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This was the 2013 Tiferet Writing Contest Prize Winner for Poetry. Read the entire poem and the rest of the issue by downloading it here.   i. Sunrise: luminous pink orange flare in the east. I wanted rain, solid respite, gray shelter. I make coffee in a blue mug today, not maroon. A token: something over, something begun. At sunset the Day of Atonement starts; the celebration of the New Year ending. Today is the first day of the year after my brother’s death. Whether I atone or mourn or give up mourning I’ll take the weather as I must. I won’t forget how much I want rain.   ii. On the porch, it’s tropical, the blue ether so humid you’re breathing water. My blue cup is full of coffee, my head of dream reflection desire distraction impulse story. This is the day of the second step, the third, journey’s labor. The new is not new. We are at the bottom of a gray sea, light filtering down laced with blackness. How much did it rain? Will it rain again? A swoop of bird in front of me then up to the porch, the second story. If the first story Read the Rest…

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The following poem appears in our January 2015 digital issue. Read the rest of Joyce’s poem and the entire issue. Say what you will, the dead disturb our disbelief, open our books and whistle across the hearth those cold nights no fire can warm. When she died, my mother’s heart stilled against my palm, that last beat shocked my hand and left me burned beyond thought. How the clock in my sister’s family room stopped dead the moment our mother expired twelve miles away. Open the books, open the books! — JOYCE KORNBLATT is a novelist (NOTHING TO DO WITH LOVE, WHITE WATER, BREAKING BREAD and THE REASON FOR WINGS) and short-story writer. She also writes essays and reviews for Parabola Magazine and other journals. For twenty years, she was Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Maryland in the United States.  She now lives with her husband, meditation teacher Christopher McLean, in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, Australia.

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June 16th, 2016 at 11:05 am

Excerpt from Acceptance by Joyce Lott

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This essay appears in our July 2015 digital issue. Read the rest of the story and the entire issue by downloading it today.   EVEN AS A CHILD, I wrinkled my nose, wrapped my hair around my thumb and forefinger, and took it as a compliment when someone said to me, “You don’t look Jewish.”      For years, I haven’t acted Jewish either (if there is such a thing as a Jewish way to act). I don’t just mean I haven’t worn my Jewish star. I mean I’ve avoided the stereotypes: talking with my hands, bragging about my kids, showing off my money, playing mahjong.      Last year, though, at the age of seventy-four, I chopped chicken livers in my grandmother’s wooden bowl, which I had had to search for in the recesses of my kitchen. I probably hadn’t used it in at least thirty years.      During those years, I didn’t think about chopping chicken livers—or about brisket or kasha of the High Holidays. Instead, I decorated dozens of Christmas trees, attached feathery birds to their branches, and perched a white dove on top. Cold winter nights, I roasted pork. When I told one of my friends, a poet I share work Read the Rest…

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This short story appears in our Summer 2014 issue. The entire issue is available for download in digital format. It came to pass, the young men cut down the trees to feed the campfire and cookstove, to barter for wares or wives, to make arrows and bows, clubs and spears – they built the temples and great bonfires as a gift to the gods; but in later years, they wearied of wandering a desert of their own making, erected houses and frivolous corrals for horses and sheep. And the birds, having no place left to rest or nest, to preen or sing a lullaby to their young, tuned their chords to the same key and leapt from the shores of Canaan into the Mediterranean Sea – forsaking life in Hebron and Schechem, Dothan and Kadesh, prophecies of greener pastures in the land of Ramses. Holding fast to the sunlit waves, they learned to waggle their rapid tails, kept still their fearless wings and rose not from the branches or rooftops but from the floating world – tilting to catch the breeze, eluding the Man-of-War, the Great White. — WILLIAM O’DALY is a poet, translator, fiction writer, and editor. His publications, Read the Rest…

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May 31st, 2016 at 11:31 am

Excerpt from Last Words by Stephen Dunn

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Stephen Dunn is the author of sixteen books, including Different Hours, which won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for poetry. Since 1974 he has taught at Richard Stockton College of NJ, where he is Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing. He’s also been a Visiting Professor at The University of Washington, NYU, Columbia, and The University of Michigan. He has read his poetry at The Library of Congress, and at many universities and colleges throughout the country.

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This essay appears in our January 2014 Digital Issue. The entire issue is available for download.      When I first stepped on my mat ten years ago, I worried that practicing yoga might lure me away from Judaism. In each class, I couldn’t help noticing the statue of Lakshmi, goddess of abundance, watching over us. As I followed the teacher’s instructions for each pose, I wondered if I was unwittingly becoming a member of another faith and betraying my Jewish heritage.      But participating in my weekly yoga class and learning new asana poses beneath the unseeing gaze of Lakshmi, I felt something awaken in me as I listened more closely to the sound of my breath and the pulse of my heart. With each forward bend, I rooted my feet into the earth and rediscovered gravity as it exerted its pull on my shoulders and arms. With each twist, I turned toward the unknown and opened more space in my hips. With each movement, I became more mindful of the intricate design of my body—the blink of an eyelid, the caress of breath on my upper lip, the muscles, ligaments and bones supporting me in each pose—and could sense a divine Read the Rest…

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The following poem was written by one of our 2014 April Poem-A-Thon participants and appears in our Summer 2014 digital issue. The entire issue is available for download. The blood moon is sailing tonight we are the shadow mother catching the bent light of our own sunrises and sunsets all of them at one ablaze (the very rim of earth on fire).   We are the blood, we are the rising tide, we are the lost boat of lies and prayers, if we are to mourn, it is now, when the moon casts back our heart, when the night itself is red with sorrow. — MARY MONROE was born on a farm in Minnesota and has spent her life as a journalist, writer and editor. Her poems explore love, loss and the sacredness of everyday experience. Her poetry has appeared in the L.A. Times and can be seen in the upcoming issue of FR&ED. She is a student of tai chi, raja yoga and Andean shamanic arts. Mary lives in Eagle Rock, California.

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The following poem appears in our Fall 2012 Print Issue 21, and was awarded first prize in Tiferet’s 2012 Writing Contest. The entire issue is available in Kindle format. — When the shuttle arrives at the old wooden door, when her overpacked luggage bulges with too many shoes, with gringa lotions and books she won’t have time to open, when the teenage boy grins after hauling the world
up four flights of terra cotta steps and she reaches her room with views of Calle Canal and rooftops like pottery clinging to early winter warmth, it won’t be the earthy scent of red geraniums outside her window or last night’s wood smoke and kerosene that fills her lungs, but the freshly washed white shirt of the baggage boy neat as his perfect teeth, the scent — part lather, part lavender — that announces every stranger here. She won’t call it innocence, though it comes close. Closer is the lack of artifice, the way she tries to lose her skin by slipping into cotton, the comfort of towels laundered in sunshine, and if this country is not hers, if some resent her pale flesh, still the maids remember her each year and bring Read the Rest…

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April 27th, 2016 at 12:55 pm

Excerpt from That Old Tuscan Magic by Linda Lappin

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This essay appears in our Autumn 2013 Print Issue 23. Also featured in this issue is a short story by Robert Kostuck, poetry by Jane Hirshfield, Emily Vogel, Linda Radice, and more! The entire issue is available for download in digital format.      Duccio is a heavy-set man in his sixties, with a ruddy face, a peppery stubble of beard, intense blue eyes, one of which strays to the right. He is always bundled in several layers of sweaters, because he is sensitive to cold, and is never seen without his brown corduroy pork-pie hat, indoors and out. He and Giovanna live in the house next to mine. Our front doors are connected by a loggia leading to a steep flight of stairs down to a cobbled courtyard where our wood is stacked and where cars may park. Duccio spends the greater part of the day sitting on the loggia outside his kitchen door, like a sentinel, with a calico cat perched on each armrest, one on his shoulder, and another in his lap. When he is not napping, he is reading his favorite comic book, Paperino, the Italian version of Donald Duck. Coming in or out of the house on Read the Rest…

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