The True Box of Life

By Students of Gordon Parks High School ● 2014

Kofi Bobby Hickman taught us about the three snakes of life: the cobra snake—it lures you in; the rattlesnake—it warns you; and the garter snake—it bites you without warning.

Selby Avenue, 1970

By Marcie Rendon ● 2014

As a teenager I drove grain trucks, pickup trucks, and Massey Ferguson tractors for farmers in the Red River Valley. I hauled oats, corn, and soybeans and drove alongside combines as wheat poured into truck beds. I plowed fields and threw straw bales. While not an idyllic life by any means, it was a life of sunshine and even golder harvest moons.

Photograph of My Grandparents

By Korissa Howes ● 2014

Made in black and white Frayed upon the edges Free of wrinkles despite That they were not then My father’s parents Looked so in love...

Art by Bob Muschewske

True Myth

By Heid E. Erdrich ● 2014

Tell a child she is composed of parts (her Ojibway quarters, her German half-heart) she’ll find the existence of harpies easy to swallow. Storybook children never come close to her mix, but manticores make great uncles...

Night Class

By Nicholas Voss ● 2013

It was an after school program for kids. I was ready like a manatee is ready for ping pong. Just a little clumsy after being tucked away in a collegiate cave while this city extols Saints just down the street. . . . I’ve still got a lot to learn. Like how those science quizzes didn’t apply in the van ride. . . . Where passing is keeping everyone buckled for just 3 more blocks.

A Day in the Life of Kimberly Smith

By Lillie Jordan ● 2013

Kimberly woke up this day and sat on the side of her bed, thinking. She opened her window. Just like the day before, it was wet and dark and raining. There were no birds in sight, no singing. The sun was hiding.


By Sharon Chmielarz ● 2013

It is love and sensing the departed is present somewhere between being able to be reached or not. Neither alive nor dead. It is searching, hopefully, for him...

Going to See My Mother (an Excerpt)

By IBé ● 2013

My son doesn’t care or understand what is going on. Besides, Daddy has been saying bye-bye ever since he was born. Bye-bye at the babysitter’s; bye-bye, Daddy is going to work, Daddy is going to a meeting, Daddy is going to an open mic, Daddy is going to a friend’s, bye-bye, bye-bye. This is just another one of those. My daughter, on the other hand, is nine and fast approaching teen. She understands this “bye-bye” is not see you in a couple of hours, or when you wake up in the morning. So she starts to cry. But tears come to her easily. Just like her mother. I don’t like tears. Just like my mother. They make me uncomfortable. Maybe because I don’t know the right words to say to stop them from falling. Maybe I’ve grown too cynical and practical—tears don’t make it feel better, so why bother. “C’mon, stop that,” I say to her. “I will be back soon.”

O’Shea Irish Dance


O’Shea Irish Dance is my Irish dance school. It is part of the Celtic Junction building. O’Shea teaches Irish dance for kindergarteners to adults. The dance company moved to the Celtic Junction two years ago. It has three studios. O’Shea participates in the St. Patrick’s Day celebration at the Landmark Center, the Irish Fair at Harriet Island in August, and Minnesota feishes (dance contests). They also go to the championships.

A Song Apart

By Patricia Kirkpatrick ● 2012

Ceres, Goddess of Corn, grieved and raged for her stolen daughter. They say she withheld the harvest. But corn was already here...

Art by Andy Singer

Elephant in the Room

By Susan Koefod ● 2012

One day, Darby and Marcella were quietly having lunch at a Galtier Plaza skyway table. Both worked at Cray Research, he in testing and she in quality assurance. Marcella had just unwrapped her jelly sandwich when Darby popped his question. “What’s the difference between an elephant and a flea?” Marcella opened the small spiral notebook she brought every day to lunch, and began to write the question down, but then paused. She removed another notebook from her purse and flipped through it rapidly. “Aha,” she announced. “October 14th.”

Art by Patricia Bour-Schilla

Thirty Degrees Below Zero

By Mary Wlodarski ● 2012

I like the cold so brisk and fresh it cuts through clothes and crimps nose hair...