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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 10, Number 2, June 2016


Michael Stinson
Omaha, Nebraska, USA

Smoke Signals

I’m playing football with grade-school buddies. We’re on a field tucked between a church and a row of houses. The sky is clear and there is a touch of coolness in the air.

Our play is interrupted by two elderly men yelling. One is burning leaves in his trash barrel, the other is gesturing toward the smoke drifting above his yard. The arguing escalates, they grapple and fall to the ground. Eventually the two separate and one retreats, hollering and pointing his finger as he backs away. We are mesmerized. Some of us look at each other and shrug, then we resume play.

Heading home, we toss the football, and chide each other. An image of the old men fighting creeps into my mind, then a neighbor shouts, “Hey, who won?”

vacant field—
a tattered jersey
left behind



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