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BACK ALLEY
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      Michael Salgado


I strolled my childhood yard to the
end. Where the divide breaks
street blocks in two.

The Black Locust in the next yard,
two trunks spreading like thighs.
Neighbor boys nailed two by fours across
for a ladder to a small platform where
the legs opened wide.

Houses parted to make space for
our growth. The stump altar in
memory of the lofty Sugar Maple.
Toadstools an offering to
ninety years of growth in our
grassy section of alley.

This domain we roamed
as children. With small
fists we ruled. Stones thrown over
high picket fences into
pools. Dogs tortured through fences, sheds
snuck into, wood pile towers toppled.
Teepee home under the
ring of a pine. Poison ivy blisters,
ripped t-shirts, scratches across arms and legs.

The now rotted planks up the Locust tree,
one thigh had grown taller, slanting the ladder.


Michael
 Salgado
 grew up in Allentown, PA and the Lehigh Valley region. He is a current student in Arcadia University’s MFA program and regularly attends and moderates the Montgomery County Community College’s Writing Critique Group. He is also employed as a Biologist with Merck & Co. Pharmaceuticals. Michael’s work has been published in the Northern Cardinal Review, the Wilderness House Literary Review
Lehigh Valley Vanguard and the Black Fox Literary Magazine. His work is forthcoming in The Stray Branch in fall 2015. Michael currently resides in Lansdale, PA.




Suit of Armor 
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Mary Ann Cooper


My mother had that chirpy, excited tone in her voice.

“Can you come down here now?” she yelled up the stairs. She had just returned from her monthly jaunt to a temple’s rummage sale. With seven children and little money, most of our clothing came from these excursions, and we never knew what surprises she’d bring home for us. The majority of the garments were okay, some were borderline, but all had been worn before. Many of the pieces had someone’s name sewn on a little label inside them. When I asked about them, my mother told me it was because the people that wore the clothing before me went to summer camp. Once, I got the same girl’s old clothing two springs in a row, which felt weird, like a secret connection: we were growing up together. . . .



Mary Ann Cooper
is a writer concentrating on memoir and personal essays. She has recently been published in Hippocampus, Salon, Halfway Down The Stairs, Brain, Child Magazine, Literary Brushstrokes, Empty Sink Publishing and Tell Us A Story.

She is currently at work on her memoir, “The Hollis Ten,” a group of stories about growing up in a family of eight children in Queens, New York. She resides in Charleston, SC.





Fathomless

Elissa Gordon 
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On this overcast day,
the river is black,
its surface undisturbed,
opaque;
it gives none of its secrets away.

Drop a stone,
there is no sound
after the initial plunk.

Those dark, smooth waters,
unreadable,
like I wanted to be,
instead of
the girl who smiled easily.

An insect alights,
blue skies quiver
only for a moment
and stillness returns.


Elissa Gordon's poetry mines a childhood spent between New York City and New England and a passion for travel. She has appeared in print in Kind of a Hurricane Press, Bohemia Art and Literary Magazine, Windmills (Australia), and upcoming in 2015 in Lips. She has appeared online in Short, Fast & Deadly.