The Letters of Magdalen Montague: Prologue

Eleanor Bourg Donlon

Prologue *

On 4 April 1947, a house on the Rue des Trois Frères, raided by the Nazis and left untenanted since the liberation of Paris, was sold. Records of past ownership had been destroyed during the occupation, and since memory is short in that district, little was known of the man who had most recently lived there. No stories were known to explain his departure. How could there be at a time when so many were dead or disappeared without a trace? He might have evacuated the city with so many others; he might have been imprisoned; he might have been dead.

In the far corner of a dark and cluttered attic, a large, flat-topped trunk of soiled gray Trianon canvas was found. A label inside the lid boldly proclaimed the craftsmanship of Louis Vuitton—Malletier à Paris. Collaborator. [Read more…]

This Is Only a Test

Roger Mitchell
If the TV stares back in blank silence
without even so much as a message
from our sponsors, do not take it askance.
Black static flies like a flag over this age.
Salute and report for duty, be distracted,
for to be distracted is the noblest aim
(so long as GDP is not impacted). [Read more...]

Story without a Name

Eve Tushnet


Italics. I am in italics. I am canted slantwise toward the world. I pretend that the Roman numeral was modeled on me—the number for one. One alone, to be my own. . . .

I will never hear.


I am the ellipsis. I am discreetly edited out.


I am trapped in the subjunctive tense. Quisiera. I would have wanted. Perdiera. I would have missed. I would have. You know I would have. [Read more…]

What He Heard

C.M. Schott

Dear God,

Bryan says he doesn’t believe in you anymore. I think he’s just trying to be tough. Please don’t be angry with him. I still believe in you. Amen.


Dear God,

This is Leanne. Well, I guess you knew that. Uh, I haven’t talked to you in awhile. I guess you knew that. Look, this is how it is: I really, really need this job. If you help me get it, I’ll do anything. I’ll even go to church again. I’ll quit smoking. I’ll quit drink—Well, you get the idea. Look, I just need this job. Please, God. Uh, thanks. Amen. [Read more…]

Divining Divinity

Eleanor Bourg Donlon

Divining Divinity: A Book of Poems
by Joseph Pearce
with illustrations by Jef Murray
Kaufmann Publishing, 2008
43 pages, $10.95

Harold Bloom has written extensively about the “anxiety of influence” and its hindering effect on those poor souls tortured with poetic ambitions. The greatest poets must be readers of poetry and are therefore (or so Bloom reasons) doomed to produce only weak, derivative work until they cast off the burden of influence and make some extraordinary contribution—an act of genius unique enough to capture the attention of posterity. The fledgling poet, therefore, is prey to acute anxiety. His first poetic volume must either be a conflicted mess of agonized allusion or a prolonged display of ostentatious precocity. There can be no middle ground. [Read more…]

The Triumph of Magdalen Montague

Eleanor Bourg Donlon

19 February 1923
M—, Devon

My dear R.,

I have just returned from explaining to an affable, dunderheaded farm hand that chivalry demands he make an honest woman of the butcher’s daughter he seduced a few months ago. It was easier to talk sense into his cloddish brain than it ever will be to convince you of anything, my friend. Don’t forget that even Swinburne faced death in his time. You cannot hope to escape the inevitable through sheer quantity of sin. [Read more…]

Lawrence: A Mystery Play

Grace Andreacchi


SIX HOLY DEACONS (already dead)

The action takes place at Rome, on the 10th of August in the year AD 258. [Read more…]

Twist My Words

Michael Lee Johnson

I see the spring dance all over your face in green
you were arrogant before you viewed my willow tree
outside my balcony.
Now you wave at me
with green fingers
and lime smiles.
You twist my words,
Harvard collegiate style,
right where you want them to be-
lime green, willow tree, and
dark skinned branches.

Michael Lee Johnson is a poet and freelance writer from Itasca, IL. He is the author of The Lost American: From Exile to Freedom. He has also published two chapbooks of poetry. His poems have been published in the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Turkey, Fuji, Nigeria, India, and the United Kingdom.

The Same

Leah Acosta
It is the same.
The twisted strands . . . 
	of barbed wire, flesh now torn
	of plaited curls, freshly shorn
	of woven briars, crown of thorn.
The bruised reed . . . 
	freely blowing, sown in the distant sod
	trampled underfoot, by pris'ners heavy trod
	plucked, unbroken in the Son of God. [Read more...]