Dancing With Ava

By Ann Kircher

March 17, Farley’s, Potrero Hill, San Francisco

It’s a sweet Irish waltz.
Turning and turning
I see the entire room:
Potato faced woman
With dyed red hair
And the handsome man at a table
Smiling at me each time I turn.

The light dancing through the windows 
Is bright and optimistic
And the air crisp spring carries
Green and poppy hills into the room.

At the center of the musicians
Is Liam, playing the waltz on a mandolin
Body sore from recent surgery
But never letting on
Blue eyes deeper and just for the day
Forgetting that he had lung cancer.

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Clem’s Corvette

By Unity Barry 

Violet Freudlich was old, very old. Arthritis plagued her joints and the thick lenses of her glasses only partially clarified the blurry world through which she moved. But the biggest trial of her existence was Clem, the man she was shackled to through forty nine years of a miserable marriage.

Clem loved machines with unqualified adoration and spent all his spare time tinkering with cars. His garage was packed with greasy auto parts and the driveway was populated by the carcasses of at least four vehicles in varying stages of disrepair and deconstruction.  But holding pride of place in front to the Freudlich’s door was Clem’s favorite. It was a 1963 Corvette Stingray painted gleaming candy apple red with white racing stripes. It was an exact duplicate of one in Clem’s favorite television show, Route 66. Every day, right at sunset, Clem would caress every inch of its shiny surface with a chamois, cleaning away the previous 24 hours’ accumulation of dust. Continue reading

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The King of Fruits

By Kunal Mukherjee

     “King  of the fruits,”  that is what my mother called the mango.  “Treat him well and he will grant your wishes.”  I remembered this as I picked out two juicy, ripe specimens for dessert for a first date.

     The food was delicious.  The wine was just beginning to go to my head after lighting a fire deep in my belly.  The warm glow of sunshine the grapes had soaked in, was now spreading through my veins like fire.

     “How do you eat a mango?” he asked – curiously.   “I have never eaten a mango before.”  His full lips slanted teasingly in a half smile, belying the aloofness he had shown all evening.  I felt my heart stumble and fall to the pit of my stomach, as warmth flooded my body from my feet up. Continue reading

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The Papaya Grove

By Kunal Mukherjee

      At one end of the grounds, next to the giant swing and the lawns, was the papaya grove.  This grove of trees was planted by my father when I was about eight years old.  In the tropics, papaya trees grow quickly. 

     Papita or Papaya, is one of the ubiquitous treasures of the tropics, but nowhere so revered and exalted as in India.  Its medicinal qualities and benefits to health and digestion are legendary. 

     I loved papaya chutney made in the Bengali style in the early summer months.   Thin slices of raw papaya were cooked in light sugar syrup with a little fresh lime juice. It is a very simple dish, and is delicious when eaten with the curries of the summer season when the weather is very warm. Continue reading

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Daniel Greenberg

by Unity Barry

Red faced, round bellied and very loud, Daniel Greenberg was a transported, in-your-face New Yorker. He was slightly rumpled, slightly dusty and had a proclivity for wearing plaid shirts that reeked of stale tobacco smoke.  Daniel was, undoubtedly, lacking the aid of someone to keep him presentable. Pudgy jowls and stooped shoulders revealed his age to be well past youth. Continue reading

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The Mystery of The Muscari

by Carol Jauch

The spring bulbs on my patio are up early this year, apparently fooled by the unseasonably warm weather.  Fat, pointed Darwin tulip buds are already nodding above their sturdy, blue-green whorls of foliage.  Flat, branched freesia leaves have also emerged,  promising fragrant flowers to come.  Best of all, the muscari have poked their delicate heads out of their pots, after having declined to put in an appearance last year. Continue reading

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Sometimes There Are Times Like This and The Night Is Extraordinary

by Ann Kircher

Walking through my neighborhood I pass Skip’s Tavern — that place where someone bought a $1million lottery ticket.  A couple dressed in feathery things, he with a mask and she with a very short skirt, pass and jump at me screeching.

The Lebanese guy in the corner store, with his big young eyes and dark eyebrows smiles widely and asks me how are my cats?  True, I am buying cat food, but this is unfamiliar.  I have practiced my few Arabic phrases with him and talked at length about his home in Beirut and the tragedy of Israel bombing it and now he is smiling, wide-eyed at me.  Continue reading

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