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Weekly Featured Essay

This week’s featured essay, “They Places They Could Go” by Rebecca Potter, celebrates the complex and deeply personal profession of teaching.

The Places They Could Go

by Rebecca Potter

I have a lump in my throat as soon as Pomp and Circumstance begins and the graduates file in. I sit with other robed teachers on one side of the graduating class, so close I can smell Ethan’s too-strong cologne and read the glittery inscription painted on Olivia’s mortar board: I applied to Hogwarts but was accepted at UK. Go Wildcats! Family and friends of the graduates surround us in stadium seating. Some wear suits and ties and others wear plaid button-down shirts tucked into khaki shorts. Several parents carry bouquets and gift bags. Phones out and ready. Now and then someone yells something like “You go, girl!” or “We love you, Matt!”  For a moment or two I put myself in the place of one of those parents watching a ceremony that officially says my child is grown and will be leaving me soon. I exhale deeply to prevent myself from crying.

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This Is a Dickie Lee Song

by Maria Trombetta

Dammit, Dickie Lee, you were supposed to live forever. You always said to me, “No way, uhn uhn, not me. I’m never gonna die. I’m gonna live forever. I’m stayin alive, like John Travolta. Stayin aliiiive, iiiiiiv—ah!”

He used to say he was born in the Sonoma State Hospital on March 6th, 1948. I can’t find any records of anyone being born there, no doubt his parents brought him there when he was a baby, less than two years old, after they realized he was blind. Albert says that Dickie Lee was on the little kid unit with him, Baine Cottage. When I met Dickie Lee he asked me my name, date of birth and place of birth. Vital facts that he stored in his mind for years. The fever that made him lose his eyesight may have pushed another part of his brain into overdrive, because he had a thing for dates and for music, an incredible memory bank that held lyrics and birthdays. He could tell anyone what day their birthday was going to fall on this year and next year. When I saw him in last April, he told me that in 2015, my birthday would be on a Friday.

“Your name is Maria Trombetta and you were born on January 30th in Santa Rosa, right? You are married to Jonathan Palmer and his birthday is September 9th and he was born in Baltimore. Is his sister still Diane Bowcher and her birthday is March 31st?”

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Step Over

by John McCaffrey

The best year of Allen Iverson’s life was my worst. Determined to shed a “me-first” image, AI had bought into a team concept under new coach Larry Brown and propelled the underdog 76ers into the 2001 NBA Championship series against the star-powered Los Angeles Lakers. On the way, he had won the All-Star and League MVP trophies, dazzling fans and fellow players with his mercurial quickness and relentless offensive attack. He was relentless and fearless going to the basket against much larger foes, flinging his tat-laden, skinny body into thick seven-footers, finding a sliver of an angle to arch the ball up and under massive arms, taking the invariable hit, and falling, his cornrows glinting in the arena light, like a spent bottle-rocket. The miracle was never that the ball went in, which it almost always did that year, but that he got up off the floor after such a beating. But he did, every time.

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This House Burns Blue

by Gabby Vachon

My mother wears so much blue, it’s fucking ridiculous.

Her whole house is decorated in blue, so much so that she has a room called “the red room” because it lacks the hegemony of blue of its neighboring kitchen and laundry room.

People—like her sisters, her personal trainer, and the cashiers at the local grocery store—often remark upon the blue, even poke fun at it. But their criticism never bothers her.

She just smiles her famous tight smile and lets out a light suburban-mom laugh.

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So Long, Promised Land

by Michael Englehard

As the old year fades from view, I am busy boxing up things for my move to Alaska. Sifting through detritus accumulated over the years, I try to decide what is essential, what is too heavy or bulky, what can be left behind. Stacks of discolored photos quickly distract me from my task. Lost in reveries I shuffle these mementos of a love affair with the Colorado Plateau, an affair that began more than two decades ago.

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Wild Cherry Tree

by Gabriella Brand

Mother hated that tree. The messy wild cherries that fell over our bluestone patio, the undisciplined way that the thin branches spread out like unkempt hair, the crookedness of the limbs.

“We should just chop it down,” she’d say every spring when yellow-white tentacles of blossoms appeared, then gave way to small, pea-sized fruit.

“But it’s beautiful,” I’d say.

“We have other trees,” Mother would insist.

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Hide! You’re a Woman

by Seetha Anagol

The Jeep tailgates us. I cower further down in the backseat of the taxi. We are in the Bandipur National Forest, bordering the State of Kerala, in South India, on our way to Calicut.

We race past the tall, dry sandalwood and teak trees, blurring browns, yellows and greens. The gray langur’s chatter is muffled and the occasional jungle fowl pierces the forest with its shrill ku kayak kyuk kyuk. The unexpected drop in temperature makes me shiver, and I cling to the warmth of the setting sun. Pulling the loose ends of my cotton saree over my head and shoulders, I bob up to check on Senthil, the taxi driver.

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MORE RECENT WORK: Like what you’ve been reading? All the fine essays published throughout the history of the magazine can be accessed via the contributors/archives page.


New Anthology Released

We are pleased to announce publication of our new anthology Encounters, which features fifteen eclectic essays originally appearing in bioStories magazine, all focused on some of those chance encounters that can transform our lives.


Recent Issue Reviewed at NewPages

Appreciation goes out to Katy Haas at NewPages for taking time to review the Winter/Spring 2016 Issue.