Utopia – Marina Cooper

          She calls her home “Skellig Maureen,” after herself, though the island does not appear in any of the recent atlases. Someone must have given it another name once, but that knowledge has long since passed into obscurity.

          Unlike the paintings of the mainland harbor in her mother’s journal, the ocean’s dramatic color change is not a gradient, but a clean, sharp line: phthalo green near the shore, French ultramarine along the horizon. Maureen figures the colors correspond to the island’s barrier, but that it must be invisible from the other side; what other reason would her mother have for having crossed it and never returned?

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Magnolia – Katie Bushman

what’s missing isn’t mystery
but history, hysteria
wisteria and spanish moss
how vast a loss, to lose a lass!
at last the glass is cracked in two
but who could rue so true a love?
a mourning dove, a damask rose
who chose to mourn a ruined bloom
a wilted lily, lilting light
who longs to leave a stifled life
to toss aside all pleasantry
and presently, so elegant
she moves to cross a crowded room
the empty tomb looms, palpable
and pallor passes through the gloom
the groom awaits a blossom bride
a magnolia magnified
all swathed in swan-white, stiff chiffon

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The Garden – Arianah Hanke

We were hiking deep into the old growth forest, to some place I’d never been before. It was his favorite spot, he’d said. He wanted to show me. I chided that I barely knew him, but of course I went along. How could I not go? My feeble protests became stillborn on my lips. It was his eyes, those damned eyes. I’d never seen anything like them. They were warm like the autumn leaves crunching underfoot, set to fire by afternoon sunlight. I couldn’t possibly say no when he looked at me like he did, as if he might never see me again. 

I thought that I might drown in his eyes. Their hue sticky as tree sap gone amber, it seemed certain that I would become stuck like the prehistoric mosquitos. And what would the world learn from me, I mused, a million years into the future? What could be extracted from my DNA that would say something about me, my time, my world? That high cholesterol was on the rise, maybe, that the 21st century had forsaken multivitamins. But certainly nothing important. No amount of DNA could reveal the truth of this moment with him, and that is a loss that future scientists and specialists and theorists will never know they have suffered.

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Andgiet (Jar 9). The WellWoman – Alexandra Palocz

There was once a wise woman by the well. There is still a wise woman by the well. There will be a wise woman by the well for as long as any one of you are alive to hear of her.

Nobody knows which came first, whether she brought magic with her or found her gift of sight in the waters themselves, just as the waters have given many gifts through the years. What is known is that she walks every day from her nearby hut to the well by the road and stays until the sun goes down. She hears things from the travelers who stop to drink, and she remembers all of them, the words and faces, the worries and joys caught in the lines around their eyes. 

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