Special Issue: Triptych
How the Boss Died: A Triptych by Meg Pokrass

In the mirror, your face stares back at you, under-slept and hungry. Far as you know, the boss died happily paragliding between your fine, fine breasts, and when the paramedics got there, he was absolutely dead. By then your clothes were on.

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Dwellings: A Triptych by Michelle Ross

Godzilla is the pet name he gives her not long after they start sleeping together. She’s restless, especially at night. And she doesn’t yet know her way around his apartment in the dark. Topples the footstool, the laundry hamper. Creaks the wooden floors.

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Jessie’s Life in Three Surnames: A Triptych by Kathryn Kulpa

Jessie wakes to the smell of manure being spread. Every day. Or maybe only growing season, but it feels like every day. When her father and brothers come in from the fields and Ma has one of her sick headaches, it’s Jessie who washes their clothes, pounding dirt and dung out of stiff, worn denim, watching her hands grow cracked and red, and thinking about death.

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Three Strands: A Triptych: Jude Higgins

This morning when I walked Jimmy to school, I ruffled his hair and told him he’d end up with a bald head like me. All the men in our family go the same way. He’s got a lovely cheeky face, my boy, and I said even if someday he didn’t have hair, the girls would love him. But they’d hurt him too. Girls always do. The bakery is stifling – I’m cutting three strands of dough to make up the milk loaves and wondering what it would be like to have a daughter with long hair to plait.

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A Triptych by Riham Adly

Everything is folded up and airy when I’m in love the first time. You walked into my shop with that lonely immigrant look on your face following the elusive chocolaty scents of brewing coffee soon to be served in my Arabian Nights demitasse. You stare ominously at the folding chairs and tables, at the wisps of Arabic among the paraphernalia of blonde heads and dark beards.

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A Triptych by Stephanie Hutton

Before I married, I was a plume of gas. His hands grasped through me. Slowly, slowly, I set into that which can be held. Or be hurt. My cracked lips taste of summer on the turn. I press on raised veins on the backs of my hands, trace a map of mortality along my skin. Never to return to a noble gas, perhaps I can cling to another to become a compound.

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Diner Tales: A Triptych by Paul Beckman

Everyone’s Hon to May. Even strangers. Especially strangers whom you want to feel at home like their regular diner. The regulars are all Hons, only the teens are not Hons, they are Hey Guys or You Guys or Hey Gals or You Gals.

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A Triptych by Tania Hershman

It matters who says it first is first and I love you for it sometimes I love you and sometimes you’re first but there are days oh my those days when I

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Language Shift: A Triptych by Christina Dalcher

He stumbles through sentences, forgetting whether verbs come last or second or first. He confuses the order of pronouns, putting ‘I’ before ‘you,’ and ‘me’ before ‘her.’ He is failing a simple test, running interference between the Germanic and the Romantic, thinking of the ends and beginnings of his story.

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Initiation by Stuart Dybek

The doors snap open on Addison, and the kid in dirty hightops and a sleeveless denim jacket that shows off a blue pitchfork tattooed on his bicep jogs forward beneath a backward baseball cap and grabs the purse off a babushka’s lap.

Fun House by Robert Scotellaro

She’d gotten the fun house mirrors at an auction and had them put up in the spare bedroom.

Their Closet by Pamela Painter

“What are you thinking?” her husband asked her. In their twenty years of marriage he had never asked her that.

Conversation in Hotel Lounge by Lydia Davis

Two women sit together on the sofa in the hotel lounge, bent over and deep in conversation.  I am walking through, on my way to my room.

Café Mozart Dreamin’ by Tracey Meloni

Judie bangs on my hotel door. “The dressmaker is here! Hurry! You have Christmas lunch with Noah at Café Mozart at 1PM!”