She was heavier than he anticipated. Her once familiar body looked brittle but felt dense, as if all her former power had been wrung tight, distilled to essence even as it shrank to helplessness. Her hands, clasped around his neck, were vise-like. Daniel perspired from the effort of carrying her and from trying to hide the effort from her. “Up you go,” he said, swinging her sideways into the van. A sharp inhalation of breath. Here it comes, he thought, but she said nothing. “You okay?” Alma nodded, her face chalky, her eyes closed against him. He walked around to…

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They had fought the whole time: walking single-file on the narrow stone pathways by the River Arno, vital points lost to the revving of motorcycles and the high bright laughter of tourists; gesticulating with gelato spoons as they sat outside a café in the Piazza della Signoria; standing on the second floor of the Uffizi Gallery, lowering their voices before a bevy of Madonnas—(grim, grinning, stately, plump, aloof, aloft, alluring: Madonnas electric, dyspeptic, melancholic, myopic, dowdy, dreamy, and delicate)—ranging from buca to loggia; sputtering in and out of leather shops, through churches and palazzos, between market stalls of zucchini flowers…

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What Kyoko had come to think of as the defining moment of her life had come spring semester of her freshman year in college.  Her parents had been divorced for six years, her mother dead for four.  She and Keith had been going out since October.  He was the shy, hulking kid who lived down the hall, with a mass of curly blond hair that grew like ground cover, across his head and down his face, to his chin and neck.  From the beginning he’d been devoted to her, and Kyoko liked his bulk, his gentle giant quality.  Losing her…

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When I was very young, my mother made me wear a clothespin at night to encourage my nose to form a salient bridge, instead of disappearing into the front of my face and emerging like a mushroom at the end of it. “Please God, give me a new nose, give me a new nose” was the nasal prayer I intoned, clothespin astride my face, feeling the futility and the force of my mother’s optimism at one and the same time.              As my mother recovered from Stephen’s death – the clothespin long since abandoned and my nose no less flat…

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My name is Isadora Myung Hee Sohn and I am eighteen years old. I was recently ninety-five days in a pediatric burn unit at Tri-State Medical Center, in Albany, New York, being treated for second- and third-degree burns on my legs, complicated by a recurring bacterial infection. The same fire that injured me killed my parents, Hae Kyoung Chung and Tae Mun Sohn, on June 11, 1976, at approximately 3:20 a.m.            It’s very isolating to recover from a severe burn injury. The pain requires a great deal of attention and inward focus. While your skin tissue rages and dies, you…

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