Three days in Tucson

It was going on noon when I found the Lucky Seven saloon.  It was a dingy place on the edge of Tucson, the kind of hole you didn't go to so much as end up at, but I was tired and hungry, and I needed a drink.


‘ The Dovekeepers’: an inspiring read

Alice Hoffman's novel  "The Dovekeepers" is a terrific, inspiring novel. It is also very complex, which makes it a bit harder to read compared to the common teen novel.


The Replacement

My face hits something hard as I fall out from the mirror.  There's a sickening crack and blood and bits of teeth fill my mouth, and I almost pass out from shock.  I welcome the pain.  It reminds me I'm real again.
Dim orange light reveals a row of toilet stalls.  Guttural whisperings echo from the mirror.
"You've lost him."
"It doesn't matter."
"He was our best."
"We'll replace him."
I shrink back against the wall, become one with the shadows under the sink.  Whatever their words, I know they'll come for me.  They always do.
 


Tea Tree

The pungent, stinging stench of tea tree oil diffuses rapidly in the stale air of the cramped apartment. I study the little bits of stray matter highlighted by the ray of sun beaming through the window, imagining them choking and coughing on scent. Is it possible to die from a smell? It's supposed to kill lice with its antibacterial properties; does that go for all insects? I'm going to have to Google that. The steady hiss of the shower abruptly shuts off. I hear whistling and the vinyl snap of the shower curtain being flung open, and then the slap of wet feet hitting the linoleum floor. He must have shoved the bathmat against the door again.


Nebraskan poet Barbara Schmitz speaks at UNO

E.J. Free CONTRIBUTOR Barbara Schmitz always wanted to be a writer. Now known as the Poet of Highway 81, Schmitz has lived and worked in Norfolk, Nebraska,...

Alfred and the Stork

Alfred strolled solemnly through the shallow waters of the river. With every step, wet sand oozed between his toes. The sun was setting slowly, its reflection stretching across the river's surface, a rippling semicircle of liquid heat.


Award-winning illustrator speaks about his work at the Joslyn

Chris Raschka had a monumental decision to  make. He could either go to medical school, which would mean closing his sketch books for the next 10 years, or he could take a leap of faith into an art career.


Twitch

You twitch in your sleep.
At first, your face is peaceful,
a swell of silence, a blank lullaby,
waiting, twiddling its thumbs for lyrics
written by Queen Mab's calligraphy.
Instead, the honest Puck
Sneaks up with dustings of tripped
Up fairy musk, curling up
Your nose with its more or less distasteful
Scent.
Like an old dog twitching at a
Bad dream, you shoo away Hermia's
Irksome trouble, or at least, you try.
It frightens me a little, the way
Your body stutters, as if the
Weird Sisters are casting Macbeth's
Prophecies, and nights of
Invisible blood.
If I could, I would brush away
The spider beds, inked with dew and anxieties
From your head.

I love to see the lullaby when you sleep.