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Three Cornflowers

By Stephen Schwegler

“I’m just going to powder my nose,” said Lesley.  “I’ll be right back.”

Lesley left the table and sauntered happily over to the restroom.  When she returned she noticed her date, Craig, had an insanely stupid look on his face.

“What it is?” asked Lesley.

“Nothing,” said Craig.

“No.  Seriously.  What?”

“I got you something.  I was going to wait until after dessert to give it to you, but if you want it now I guess that would be okay.”

“Aw, you didn’t need to get me anything.”

This was Lesley and Craig’s second date.  They had met a couple of weeks ago while attending a conference on hotel soap manufacturing in Baltimore.  As it turned out, they both lived in New Jersey and had an insatiable lust for miniature windmills. 

Craig reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out something small wrapped in tissue paper.  He opened it up and there sat a baby chick. 

“Chirp!” said the chick.

Inviting the Expanse

By Sondra Morin

“Hog Butcher for the World,
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler;
Stormy, husky, brawling,
City of the Big Shoulders...” -Carl Sandburg


Chicago is spiteful.
Its legs barrage through the alley
like an elephant charging a circus.
It takes your sleep, resilience and repose,
folds them into a breast plate compartment
you didn't know you had.
It lies by omission,
telling tales of poetic feuds since the 80's,
never reaching out or letting go.
It wears a yellow hat, a construction worker's gun,
takes no prisoners, leaves open wounds.
Its streets are slick with neighborhoods:
condo brick, unforgiving and gregarious.
It pulls you in, back straight, upright and determined,
masks the stale breath of an air of liberty.
Startles even the best of its citizens:
removes their badges, hides their skins.
It devours prostitutes, portrays the work of a benefactor:
a young girl disappears following the promise
of a 95th Street hotel, a boredom replaced
by a love spelled wrong.
It spits Lake Michigan back into itself,
measures water levels, reroutes systems, reverses rivers.
It lifts its shoulders, a beacon against the expanse,
one last leg of civilization before a slow crawl tractor
of wheat against the west and east,
says, "I’m not budging," when asked to give a little,
to support a common good.
Purports a political bias against Venezuelan gifts
returned for its stance on oil: a patriotism freezing houses.
It hammers you to sleep. Reminds you there's little good to be done,
that just you wait.
It expects the dawn each morning,
makes plans to plant a garden next summer,
and forgets to water the rhododendrons in spring.


About Sondra Morin


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