A Man Asking for Alms Near My Home.

So full that sort of knowing—
the sudden finality of a truth
as crisp and resonate as Beethoven deaf
ear to the floor of your late thirties.
The cats sleep through the walls
listening for a snap or shuffle or fugue
while the old trees in the yard beg for alms
against the back windows—just redone this summer j

I was (Almost) a Twentysomething Jeopardy! Contestant

Nonfiction by Mary Catherine Owen

“1977 film in which Luke Skywalker uses the Force in the struggle between the royal houses of York & Lancaster.”

I know this one. “Before & After” is the category; I do well on these clues anyway, but my obsessive preparation for the Jeopardy! College Championship audition led me to go over all the questions and answers (or rather, answers and questions) of the past five years of championship games. This clue was used in 2004.

Family Breakfast

Fiction by Benjamin Roesch

Linda and Roger weren’t married anymore. They weren’t officially divorced yet, either, but it was only a matter of time. And she’d only invited Roger over to co-sign on the loan for the art gallery she was trying to open. Neither sex with him, nor his sudden death at the ripe age of forty-three, had been on the agenda.

In Hand

Poetry by J. Joseph Kane

The sword fighting was,
like most traditions, ill-advised.
The blades were real,
one a samurai the other a Greek replica,
edges sharpened .

Realistically Optimistic

Nonfiction by Christi R. Suzanne

I stood on the Hawthorne Bridge overlooking the Willamette River and imagined my death. I felt the chill on my tear-streaked cheeks as the wind blew against them. The feeling of being suspended in time dulled my senses. I tried to call my boyfriend. No answer. Maybe next time he’ll answer. I called again. No answer. I left a message and hung up.