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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 9, Number 1, March 2015

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Cynthia Cechota
Dubuque, Iowa, USA


Escape

She was too responsible–she managed her money wisely, never went on vacation, and purchased her clothing exclusively at thrift stores. Happiness came to her in small bites—a published poem, a compliment on her skirt, a kiss from a 33-year-old musician, a decent bowel movement. After reading an article about a decadent rich and famous person who filed for bankruptcy, she quit her job, applied for food stamps, and volunteered to cook at the local homeless shelter. She donned her grandmother's apron, prepared spicy kale chips, African stew, and Brussels sprouts with orange and persimmon, and watched as the food she created with her heart and soul was scooped into the compost bucket. One woman with a bottle of Ex-Lax bulging in her coat pocket requested mac and cheese with a side of ranch dressing. Hurt but not defeated, she organized a community garden where the men from the shelter sat on concrete blocks and smoked cigarettes, watching her bent form cradling night crawlers, chopping cow manure, and mulching straw. One of them told her he could see her panty lines. In the evenings, she roamed the streets in mismatched clothing, a wig, and sunglasses, looking forward to a tomorrow free from fluorescent lights and a tiny cubicle.

sirens silencing the dove song inside her

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