First Byline

Can Love Survive the 21st Century?

butterfly girl

We text, send emails, and instant message. We tweet and we facebook. But while new communication platforms spring up left, right and center, are our relationships suffering rather than flourishing?

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Design

lumber When the hum and whir from my father’s woodshop
shook the kitchen floor boards and the bite
of saw blade into timber set my chair vibrating,
no cross look from my mother could keep me at my lunch.

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First Communion

First Byline: First Communion The click of her shoes reflects unwavering stillness. Statued saints stare from grottos. No miracles today, merely customary transmigration of purified souls — a moment of tumbled whiteness, the slosh

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For I Have Sinned

Rosa Sophia - Sinned My husband says I can’t do anything right. “I love you,” I whisper to him at night, after he has his way with me, but he never responds. Instead, he leaves the room as though sickened by my very presence. I dig my fingernails into my hair and squeeze my eyes shut, trying not to cry. My ribcage is a poor shield for my heart, mostly because I practically wear that sorry organ on the surface of my bruised flesh.

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Memoir: Named

lee-named-circle It was my grandfather who named me. In Korean, you traditionally have two ways of writing your name: one in hangul, one in hanja. Hangul is Korean, and tells you how to pronounce your name. In my case, Hay-Reem. Hanja is Chinese, and tells you the meaning. Each hangul character can correspond to several hanja characters, all of which have a slightly different meaning. I imagine my grandfather sitting at his desk at night, poring over our family’s jokbo, or family tree.

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Public Transportation: Twelve Rules For Riding the Bus, Subway, Plane or Train

Public Transportation

About a week ago, I was riding the Washington, D.C. Metro to Eastern Market, a public bazaar that sells locally produced foods, and art and crafts, when the woman sitting across from me pulled out a toenail clipper and started grooming her feet. This prompted me to ponder why so many people behave badly on public transportation.

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Seascape

Seascape

Lydia’s gaze falls on the painting that has hung over the mantelpiece all of her life. In the foreground, the three-masted schooner, once owned and sailed by Lydia’s great-grandfather, cuts its way through the roiling ocean on its regular route from London to Philadelphia.

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Talk Radio

Talk Radio

I found a pocket-sized book in a second-hand shop called Cult American Writers. It fitted into the palm of my hand and I paid £1.40 for it. In it, I read a Richard Brautigan short story. It was about a man who takes out all the plumbing in his San Francisco house and replaces it with poetry.

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When Jilted Alice Spoke

Jilted Alice huckleberry pie

At forty-three, Jilted Alice finally decided to find her voice. She drove along the two-lane ribbon of road near Butte, Montana towards Basil’s house. Although it was her sixth Thursday date night at Basil’s, Alice was honored to have her protector, Stagecoach Mary, riding shotgun this time. Alice knew she’d have to be on her best behavior tonight.

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