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Writing Contest Special Edition
May 2013
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JoanIntroduction Joan Gelfand
By Joan Gelfand (SF)
Annual Writing Contest Chair

Welcome to this special edition of The Bookwoman  featuring the winning entries of WNBA's First Annual Writing Contest.

As an organization that will mark its 100th anniversary in 2017, we pride ourselves on being of service to all aspects of the literary community, including the encouragement of emerging talent. Our membership has traditionally hailed from the academic, library and publishing sectors, and in recent years the number of published and aspiring authors has increased significantly in all of our chapters. We hoped this contest would give some of our members a chance to shine and also that it would expose WNBA to non-members. It certainly did. Over half of our submissions were from non-members.

The revenue generated by this contest will enable us to better fund the literacy programs that we engage in on a yearly basis. Our role as an NGO with the United Nations under the Department of Public Information, National Reading Group Month, and our biennial WNBA Award are all programs which will benefit from the proceeds of this contest. (The 2012 WNBA Award will be presented to best-selling author and independent bookstore owner, Ann Patchett, in Nashville this June.)

We hope that you enjoy what you read in this special issue and that you will be inspired to submit your work to us for our next writing contest. If you are not a WNBA member already, please take a moment to review the many benefits of belonging to our organization and consider joining us. You may find further details at

Submissions for WNBA's Second Annual Writing Contest will open June 1, 2013.

Thank you to Julie Smith and Ana Elsner, our respective fiction and poetry judges.

Joan Gelfand
Annual Writing Contest Chair

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WNBA Thanks Its Sponsors 

Sustaining Members 2012/13

Bloomsbury USA* ~ Dancing Chiva Literary Arts, S.C. ~ HarperCollins Publishers* (Harper, Harper Paperbacks, Harper Perennial, Amistad, Ecco, William Morrow, William Morrow Paperbacks) ~ Ingram Content Group***   Other Press* ~ Penguin Young Readers/Penguin Group (USA)**   
  Friends of WNBA 2012/13

Red Hen Press*
SONY Reader Store/SONY Style*
NRGM Sponsor* 
Pannell Award Sponsor**
NRGM & WNBA Award Sponsor***

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By Joan Gelfand



Winning Entry
A Prize in Every Box
By Jessica Wallin Mace

Second Place

By Anne Pound

Third Place
All Mine
By Deborah Batterman (NYC)

By Christine Eskilson

Abandoned Garden
By Ellaraine Lockie

Second Place
Mirror Mirror
By Harriet Shenkman (NYC)

Third Place
Light Bends Around Shadows
By Ruth Hill

Honorable Mention
Airport Proposal
By Amy Wright

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WNBA's Executive Officers


VP/President Elect

Carin Siegfried


Annette Marie Haley

Gloria Toler

Immediate Past President

For further information on the National Board, Chapter Presidents, Committee Chairs, please go to the WNBA website.

You may also download a pdf of the information here.

Winner -- Fiction
Fiction1A Prize in Every Box

By Jessica Wallin Mace


It was day two of our two-woman road trip. Fields--more fields. Shanna actually knew this area, though. We were getting into the radius near her folks'.  

Ahead, I began to see a field that was not like the others--some kind of metal in it, here and there, glinting.

"It's modern art," Shanna told me. "Grocery carts around the field like cows."   

Indeed they were, as we neared. There was something almost eerie about the true-animal feel in the scatter and positioning of these metal stand-ins. It was like other fields really full of cows, other fields we'd passed. But here, instead carts--I guess that was the point.   

"They're not real carts, though," she said.

"Real carts?"

She was pulling off the side of the road into the grass, a few yards before the field in question. Judging by other ruts in the dirt, this was a customary thing to do.

"Yeah," she said, as we got out, slamming the doors, walking toward them all. "You'll see."  

As we approached the first cart, I did see. It was not stolen from a real store, not bent in the perfect curves of mass-manufacture. Someone had made it all by hand: the spacing of those rods that made the cart's grand basket was not exactly even, and the soldering betrayed--almost endearingly--human work.  

I didn't envy making a grocery cart, each one at a time. The difficulty alone seemed to warrant 'art.'   

"Pretty cool, huh?" Shanna was glad, it seemed, to surprise me, to have something to show off around here. I wondered about the larger meaning of the whole thing, what exactly it was trying to say about consumer culture and the ways cows were used by people like us.  

I walked through the grass, glad to stretch my legs. The next cart I approached was on its side, like a cow down sunning on the ground. I thought back to a time visiting a county fair, seeing the big building full of cows. They'd been prize contenders of some kind, each with unique patches of coloring. It had been the end of the day, dark through the industrial-size mouths of the doors, but inside there it was bright. Cows were all lying down on the smooth cement floor, their udders extremely swollen. I could see veins in those udders, and it had looked almost painful: just before milking relief. But it was a moment of joy to see, too--young wonderment--to see what looked like 'bursting with life.' I remembered stepping among those cows, every one swollen like that--mesmerized.   

The carts in the field now were spread farther apart. I had to walk a bit, cover a little ground, from one to the next, to get close enough to examine the unique twists and imperfections of each. I rather loved how they weren't all quite the same--and the exhibit was big--carts situated quite a ways off. We could pause here a while.  

A little swoop of movement caught my eye at one of the farthest carts. I put my hand over my eyes to make sure, but sure enough.


"Hmn?" She was standing with her arms across her chest, looking absently in the other direction. "We should probably get going before we're driving into the sun."

"Does this installation have moving parts?" I asked.

She shrugged, looking almost annoyed, like now I expected too much of an expert out of her--or like now I was asking a silly question, like if the wheels of a side-lying cart could catch the wind and spin.  

But it wasn't that: I was moving now, feeling tentative, toward that farthest-off cart. The more I looked at it, I knew my distance vision wasn't the best, but I was pretty sure.

It was a child--a large baby, really--sitting in the front basket of this far-off cart. The way the little feet dangled through the holes was almost too convincing--the way they moved.  

It could add something to the statement of the piece, having a baby riding in a cart like any day at the store--but the realism, the perfection of the human movements seemed out of synch with the lovingly imperfect craftsmanship of the carts. The baby looked like real flesh--a real, idling dangle-kick--real tufts of curly hair on his head blowing in the wind and sun.  

"Oh my God!" Shanna said, striding up alongside me now.

"He's not part of it?"

"Gosh, I think I would remember that," she said. "He looks real."

We were getting closer and he looked chubby, just old enough to sit up comfortably. He looked happy enough-- not crying--not like he'd been baking and dehydrating alone in the sun all day.

It could be incredible art that he looked so real: could be. The artist could've put all his finesse and realism into that lone baby, in contrast with the carts, just to make us jump. Just to make us walk up catching our breath in the field otherwise empty of others' breathing.

But as we got closer, it was undeniable. No robotics, no three-dimensional likenesses were this good. Not in any movie or museum I'd ever seen.  

Shanna passed me, trotting up fastest to the baby with her hair fanning back and tapping against her shoulders with each step. When she got to him, she immediately put her hands under his little arms, hoisting the baby up and onto her hip. Then she looked out, around.  

The land was flat enough we would've seen it if there was anyone else nearby. Would've felt it. The grass even seemed to get mowed frequently enough on this work of art's ground, no space for someone to disappear even if he or she were lying down.

Like Shanna, though, I looked around, to be sure: out to the road and past, then around the field, toward a small line of three cottonwood trees in the distance.

"Well, shoot," Shanna said.

The baby had little overalls on, latched in front of the shoulders, but no shirt underneath.  

His round hand reached up and started pulling on the one super-thin braid of hair Shanna kept braided near the front. I never quite knew why she did that, but now it seemed like a perfect handle, like it had been waiting for this moment.  

I'd heard of performance art--with real people in it--but never with a baby.  

We stood, as the wind rolled around. Just us.  

Maybe the artist lived nearby, and sat the baby here just for a minute to impress us? But where could that artist have gone? Ready to pop out of some trap in the earth? And why would someone who's trying to make a statement about consumerism and cows abuse a baby?

"Well, shit," Shanna whispered, leaning away from the baby's ear.  

The instincts of a mother were strong in her.


We waited a bit, leaning on one of the carts. We knew you shouldn't sit against art, but this was a special situation. The cart was sturdy.  

My cell phone got no reception here. I remembered choosing my plan, a map with gray shading covering most of the whole US with everywhere I'd get coverage. There were tiny holes over some very remote-looking places. Places I'd figured I'd never go.  

But here we were.

The road was empty.  


Back in the car, heading toward the nearest town and law enforcement, Shanna started talking. It was only about three miles, she said. She was driving, and the baby was in my lap: I the closest thing to a car seat, arms around the baby like a seatbelt.

"My grandmother was a social worker out in Dakota in the '30s," Shanna said. "Matched kids with families. I remember her stories of driving as fast as she could closing those empty spaces, all by herself, rustling up big clouds of dust. I picture it billowing out all thick behind her--I always liked that image, right? Of course--a woman working at that time, going fast and alone, making waves--literally--you know?"

We were on a paved road, no dust. Cars went faster now, but we were speeding by only one mile per hour. It felt almost fugitive to have the child in my lap before any law enforcement knew about it--especially without a legal car seat. Yet, at the same time there was a lack of emergency to things when seeing the calm of that baby. He had such an earnest little face, content just looking around.  

I'd never seen a baby master the art of not crying like this.


"We found this baby," Shanna said, going up to the first desk.

At first, no one reacted, really, because he looked so happy and natural on her hip.

"He's not yours?"

"No, of course not, we found him. Back out at the art installation? Or sculptures, whatever you'd call it. Off the route. The carts. He was in a cart."

"He was in a cart?"

Now the officer's voice sounded like he thought maybe Shanna was a crazy lady--except, besides the little braid, there was nothing about her that could make you think so. She was so firm and full-handled on everything, you couldn't doubt her for more than a beat.

"In a cart, you say?" He was more serious, now, probably convinced under Shanna's gaze.

"Well--of all places. Lucky you came along." He jotted something down.

"Was he right by the road?"

"Naw, about furthest from it," Shanna said. The baby was pulling her little braid again.

"I'll be damned," he said. He turned to the officer behind him. "You hear that?"


"Baby in a cart out in that field a few miles from the interstate."

"You don't say?" The second officer was looking now, taking in the happy baby sitting down into the sturdy crook of Shanna's arm.

"Sure 'nough."

A third officer in the station walked up, leaning against the first man's desk. The second man started looking things up on the computer, probably seeing what babies went missing just recently.

"Can't have been there long," Shanna said. "Full sun. He's fine."

The first officer started taking my information, mine and Shanna's. Had me show I.D.

"Got any kids yourself?" he asked.

I shook my head, but thought about the one I should have. Sometimes I got the weird feeling babies shared a community mind, like they all knew somehow one of them was supposed to be mine. The way they looked, those fixed and following eyes.  

Shanna nodded, though. She had two kids back home who lived half-time with her ex.

Shanna didn't like the idea of leaving a baby alone here with just these men--they weren't the most fatherly. She thought the boy should be on her hip.  

So we waited, for someone who dealt with this kind of thing to show up.

"Wish he had a little shirt," she said.

There was something a bit bumpkin about his bare shoulders and the loose overalls.


"Jesus Christ." Two hours later a new man was coming through the door. "Jesus Christ," he repeated, loudly, rushing toward the baby.

I'd had two snacks--first cookies, then crackers, from the snack machine. Then I'd had my eyes locked with the baby's for a while, and had started to forget we might ever be relieved of our shift here with the little guy.  

One of the officers seemed to know this new man, like a shop owner knows his regulars.

"It's okay," the officer said. "It's his kid."

Shanna looked up. "So what's going on here?" She challenged.

"The neighbor was watching him--" The man extended his hand, "I'm so grateful to you for finding him."

Shanna didn't take the hand, keeping it instead around the baby. A bit of her grandmother in her, maybe--first and foremost the child's advocate, and a tough one.  

But, of course, it didn't matter what we said. Someone had a claim to that baby, and at the end of the day it got to be none of our business.


Driving home, a few days later, I saw the carts coming up on the left in the field.  

We hadn't talked about it, but Shanna said, "Stretch," with a little shrug, and we pulled off, getting out of the car across the road from the carts.

I paused before crossing the road--a fake stretch.  

Then I stalked over one step after Shanna. We split up, heading deeper into the field.

I ran my hand all along the top rod of a cart, fingers bumping a little over every soldered rod intersecting. I gripped the edge, gave the cart a pat, then walked on.

The installation was kind of beautiful today. Good in every light, it seemed, before and now. Still impressive in size, one cart and another and another one. I wondered this time how the artist could bear not to really personalize a cart, never giving one a special theme or big, incorporated shape, never making any like a truly different make-and-model of a car, or a pimped one.

One, and another.

I looked through each cart as I strolled past, almost circling one before moving to the next.

Shanna was strolling too, trying to act all casual.

I don't know when I admitted to myself, that we were looking. Looking through the hulks of twisted metal, around and through--bending, and covering the field, making sure we saw every square foot.

We both neared the ends of the installation, opposite ones, and I started looking a little faster- more purposefully: down that way--then halfway again, over my shoulder.

I wasn't one for the double-check, normally. When I checked my blind spot, I never checked twice.  

But I could feel myself getting weird. Don't know what I thought we were going to find among all these positioned stand-ins, among this herd of grazing and sunning skeletons suspended in their metal motion.  

I headed back over to Shanna, combing my fingers onto one side of my hair, holding it down against the breeze.

No baby today.

Back in the car we both stared ahead after closing the doors, in that quiet of the car not started yet.

"Well," Shanna said.

I fidgeted with a peeling corner of the air bag panel.

She tapped the steering wheel, once. "Just when you think there could be a prize in every box."

I opened the glove box, then shut it again.  

I knew there was a disfigured old piece of candy in there, but didn't want to insult either of us by pretending it could be the prize.

Jessica Wallin Mace


Jessica Wallin Mace holds an MFA in Fiction from Sarah Lawrence College and a BA  with a concentration in Creative Prose from the University of Pennsylvania. Apart from finalist status with Glimmer Train's Short Story Award for New Writers, this is Jessica's first formal recognition for her fiction.  She currently lives and works in the Washington, D.C. metro area, where she continues to hone her short fiction and novel craft.


Winner -- Poetry 
Abandoned GardenPoetry1 
By Ellaraine Lockie

Lying on the long side of time

a partially buried Meissen vase

Crackled like paper crunched in the fist of an accident

Its mouth growing sweet peas and pansies

A pioneer woman's attempt to civilize an untamed land

As though she were out gathering a bouquet

for a quilting bee in her homestead house

when some tragedy befell her   


The house now as much a ghost as she

Yet she lingers in these immigrant flowers

that survive encroachment from native clover

blue flax, sage and morning glory

Butterflies that pollinate from one to the other

arbitrating the struggle

Like the diplomacy of a woman

caught between a hardcore German husband

and the America around them

Between their children and the razor strop

that hung on a toolshed door


She lives in the flames of poppies she planted

that have burned through a century

of hailed-out crops, draught and locust storms

Today the prairie breeze breathes the same scent

as her heirloom handkerchiefs

The sweet violet toilet water sacheted in drawers

and splashed on after a well water wash

She lives in the pressed purple yellow

pansies that look out from

a grandmother's diary and recipe books

Butterflies, as they take flight

in the draft of turning pages


Ellaraine LockieEllaraine Lockie is a widely published and awarded poet, nonfiction book author and essayist.  Her recent work has been awarded Best Individual Collection from Purple Patch magazine in England for Stroking David's Leg, winner of the San Gabriel Poetry Festival Chapbook Contest Prize for Red for the Funeral, and The Aurorean's 2012 Chapbook Pick for Spring for Wild as in Familiar. Her tenth chapbook, Coffee House Confessions, has just been released from Silver Birch Press. Ellaraine also teaches poetry workshops and serves as poetry editor for the Lifestyles Magazine and Lilipoh.


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Second Place -- Fiction 
By Anne Pound


Doris is my same age cousin and I've known her forever and I have to say that the year her youngest left home I was real worried about her. I prayed for her a lot that year because all the sparkle seemed gone from her and she didn't seem to care about the chickens or the canning or anything.

Like most of the girls in our family, Doris married way too young and raised five boys on a Tennessee farm just like her father's. She made sure those kids had some things she never had, but life was not easy for them either. When the last son was grown, she was a forty-year-old grandma.  

One day out of the blue she said, "Did I ever tell you I hate chickens? I'm actually scared of them." Can you imagine a farmer's wife saying a thing like that? So you see why I was real worried. Then she told me she was thinking of going into town and taking some classes at the community college. What I thought was, "Doris, you're no kid and nobody in our family ever went to college." What I said was, "Good, let's go see about it." She gave me a big hug and said she never would have the courage to go if I hadn't said that. I guess that's when I decided to go to college, too. She and I have done everything the same our whole lives so I couldn't let her go to college by herself.

Now we may be country girls but we had good schooling until we had our first babies and, even then, we were two of the very few Parker City High School girls who went right back for our GEDs when our first babies were still tiny. And nobody ever said we weren't smart. Our big problem was that we were dumb about boys, that's all.  

I don't want to ramble on and bore you to death, so let me just say that we went to town one day and met some nice people at the college who didn't seem the least bit surprised that two forty-year-old ladies wanted to go to college. I know I shouldn't brag, but I have to say we did real well the first year, studying together and pushing each other. By that time, of course, Doris had got all her sparkle back and was involved in all kinds of college activities that I just didn't have time for. She always did have sunup to sundown energy, and while I struggled to keep up with our classes, she breezed through it all and had time to run for Student Senate and help with charity drives and all that extra stuff. It helped that her husband always went along with whatever she wanted to do and that a couple of their sons had joined their father working on the farm when all this happened. So all Doris had to do was keep house and go to college and never bother with another chicken. I wasn't so lucky.

Now here's where my story really starts. There we were at the beginning of our second year of community college, me working my tail off at home and at school and Doris cruising along as if she could go on forever. I should have known it wouldn't be long before she came up with another big idea.   

Read entire story here

Anne Pound


Anne Pound began her work life as a museum educator with an M.A. from Lone Mountain College. In mid-life she changed direction and earned an M.L.S. at the University of Washington. For twenty years, she worked as an academic librarian in colleges large and small in the Pacific Northwest, the South and New England.  Now that she has retired, she has begun to write fiction. Beauty will be her first published story.

Second Place -- Poetry

Mirror, MirrorPoetry2

By Harriet Shenkman (NYC) 


You can't remember the actress

who played the lead beside Richard Burton

in the play about a childless couple.

I'm the GPS guiding us down streets,


around corners once familiar to you, trying

not to fret when your brain erases

the plan we agreed upon last week,

calm as you ask to pass the


sugar instead of the salt.

You were the one to fix the

house clocks, keep track of time,

savor a new dish, tweak the


use of a phrase. I will encase

my name in rhyme, create

a Warhol print, sixteen of me

tacked on the bedroom wall. String


my photo as a pendant for you

to wear around your neck.

Construct a sensory box, snippets

of garment with my scent,  

cotton balls soaked in L'Heure Bleue,
satin ribbons off my gown, a pinch of

cumin from my stew. I'll freeze-dry

myself in verse because  

who will I see in the mirror

when you can't remember me?



Harriet Shenkman

Harriet L. Shenkman is a Professor Emerita at City University of New York. She is on the Advisory Board of WNBA-NYC and the International Higher Education Teaching and Learning Association. She has published more than twenty educational articles. Several poems of hers have been published and she is currently writing a novel called The Camel Tamer.


Third Place -- Poetry

Light Bends Around ShadowsPoetry3 

By Ruth Hill


Funny how light bends around corners,

like the curves on a woman's body,

or the way knowledge is perceived.

Sonar of whale around body of shark

to warn others, shadow seen or unseen.

Unheard, a small variance of sound,

lack of sight, lack of sound, bent sound.

A dappling delay, play of ripples on sand,

band of rainbow, missing, unknown,

filled in by desire, or previous knowledge.

Funny how we are always imagining

things that are not there,

as light, sound, and desire

bend around rainbows.  


My grandmother's voice is strong,

but in the shadow of the shark, silent.

I turn back.     


My father mimed the scripture,

"I will guide thee with mine eye,"

to train his field dogs

to point and flush in upland meadows.


My brother built his own radios,

subtly fine-tuning Wolfman Jack

on a stretched rubber band.


My sister's screams are embedded on my soul.
To you, invisible; I hear them always.


Read entire poem here


Ruth Hill

Ruth Hill is a Design Engineer and dedicated tutor in Northern British Columbia. She won first prize in Poets for Human Rights, Writers Rising Up!, Heart/
Lucidity Poetry Journal, and Gulf Coast Ethnic Jazz. Her poems appear in Ascent Aspirations, Connecticut River, Decanto/Masque, Fresh Ink, Litchfield Review, Little Red Tree, and many more."

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Third Place -- Fiction 

All MineFiction3
By Deborah Batterman (NYC)




I was fascinated by her beauty, he says. Even now--especially now--he thinks about the first time he laid eyes on her.  

I was fascinated by her beauty, by the qualities of the woman in the portrait, he says. To anyone who asks.

And by her eyes, he adds. Especially her eyes.

Which reminded me of my grandmother.


The girlfriend stands against a turret, looking out at the valley below. She takes a wedge of cheese from her satchel, breaks off a piece, nibbles at it. Like a mouse. It is, after all, largely the reason she came along. Gruyere, he said, opening the car door for her. Let's take a drive to Gruyere. Her mouth waters at the thought of that nutty cheese, fresh from the farm, as she settles herself into the car. Maybe today's the day, she thinks. A little wine, some fresh bread and cheese. A picnic on some grassy knoll overlooking the town. Maybe today's the day he'll ask.


The mother closes the drapes against the late afternoon sun, takes one last glimpse at the maple tree outside the window. It is early autumn and the treetop is just beginning to sparkle red. Her son has asked her to do this for him when he is not around--close the curtains to keep out the sun. He does not want the light to harm his treasures, especially the paintings. She shakes her head. Just like his father, she thinks. Across the foyer, the parlor hums with the sound of the television, reassuring in the way it palliates the unease that seems to grow each time he unwraps something new from wherever he has been. Paintings. Glassware. China. Souvenirs, he calls them, from his travels around Europe. Gifts, he says, from the people he works for. As a boy, he loved collecting--bottle caps, marbles, silly archeological objects. Just like his father, she thinks. She sighs, settles back in the overstuffed club chair positioned directly across from the painting of the woman he says reminds him of his grandmother.


Do you love me? he asks the girlfriend. She nods. Then wait right here, and don't say a word. He has taken her inside the castle, stationed her on the threshold of a room filled with paintings. Nearby a guard snores in his chair. Maybe now, she thinks. Maybe here. He tells her to keep her eye on the guard, instructs her to signal if he moves or wakes up. He'll be quick, he says. She does not know what he is up to, only suspects it is the real reason he has filled her with wine and cheese in the exquisite beauty of the Swiss countryside.


He feels a rush, a giddiness, that tells him what he has to do. He takes his Swiss army knife from his pocket, opens the blade, and with a deftness he did not even know he had, carefully traces it along the edge of the frame. Releasing her. 

It was so easy, he later thinks, clutching his Swiss army knife, the blade retracted now, in his sweaty palm. Too easy.

When he is home, in the safety of his room, he unrolls the painting, shows it to his girlfriend.  

I was fascinated by her beauty, by the qualities of the woman in the portrait, he says. And by her eyes. Which reminded him of his grandmother. 

Read entire story here.  


Deborah Batterman

Deborah Batterman is a fiction writer, essayist, and teaching artist. A story from her debut collection, Shoes Hair Nails was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Her stories and essays have appeared in anthologies as well as various print and online journals, and a selection of her essays, Because my name is mother, is now available as an e-book. She recently finished a novel, Dancing into the Sun. Website/blog: Facebook page: deborah.batterman.
Honorable Mention -- Fiction
By Christine Eskilson



Dorie's troubles started again when Daddy married the chief blogger for his re-election campaign. Or maybe Samantha was the head Twitterer. "Twitter Trash," I told Dorie one day, feeling clever. "Twitter Twat," she responded. Where did she get that word? She had a fouler mouth than I did. "It's from Shakespeare," she protested, staring at me with those big blue eyes until we both started laughing. I have no idea if that was true but I only hoped Daddy didn't hear it. He wouldn't buy the excuse that English Honors was a bad influence.

So Daddy's desire for another term in Congress coupled with his total lack of tech savvy gave Dorie and me a new stepmother. Samantha didn't like to admit it but she actually wasn't our first. After Mom died Daddy figured out fast he couldn't handle kids on his own, especially not twin daughters. First he tried the relatives route, bringing up Nana from her condo in Hilton Head but she didn't stay a full winter. She said she loved us but she hated the Chicago cold and we could visit her anytime we wanted. Maybe she meant anytime she wanted since Dorie and I are still waiting for the plane ticket. After Nana left Daddy married Eleanor, who had a tiny dog that looked like a furry rat. Eleanor was one of the women hovering around us , bringing over lasagna and apple pies that she just happened to have made too much of. She had her eye on our big house and on Daddy. Once she moved in she let the rat dog sit on the furniture, which disgusted me, even at eleven. I told Dorie about it and Eleanor didn't last much longer than Nana, especially after rat dog jumped out of the second floor guest bedroom and splattered himself all over the flagstone patio.

Caroline came next. She worked in Daddy's office. Daddy didn't marry her right away, which fooled Dorie and me at first. But then we found fine blonde hairs in the master bathroom and a purple thong tossed carelessly behind the leather sofa in the den and we knew we were in trouble. Dorie took a different tack with Caroline. She pretended to be friends with her and they went on shopping trips and lunches downtown. Daddy thought it was cute. "My little women," he'd say. On one of those long lunches Dorie talked Caroline into sharing her Chardonnay and they both got hopelessly drunk. Dorie had the presence of mind to call a cab to Daddy's office where she made sure to throw up on the shiny wingtips of Daddy's biggest bank client. Needless to say, Caroline got fired from Daddy's firm and his bed.

Then there was Gillian. I don't want to talk about her.

Daddy sent me to boarding school after Gillian left, and Dorie stayed home. Daddy thought he was doing the right thing but I cried myself to sleep every night. I saw Dorie on holidays but most summers Daddy's personal assistant dreamed up some kind of enrichment experience that kept me away. You'd be surprised at how many bodies of water in Canada have canoe trips for kids.  

But I was back now and starting junior year at the local high school. Harvey, Daddy's pollster, said it wasn't playing well for Daddy to have a daughter at "some special boarding school in Connecticut" when one of Daddy's main campaign promises was Sweeping and Comprehensive Education Reform So We Can Compete in the Global Economy. How original, Daddy. In the campaign brochure there was a picture of me with my backpack and a goofy smile pasted on my face. I shuddered every time I saw it.  

Read entire story here.    

Christine Eskilon


Christine Eskilson is an attorney living in Charlestown, Massachusetts with  

her husband and two children. Her work has appeared in Blood Moon, a 2013 anthology of New England crime fiction.

Honorable Mention -- Poetry 
Poetry4Airport Proposal
By Amy Wright



Their story unfolded, a long-limbed yogi

unwinding the golden chain of his body in an airport

terminal. Love takes more forms than he has asanas.


A family looked on--not hers, nor his either--a universal.

They were not alone entering the wings of each otherʼs bodies,

their story unfolding the sutrasʼ revelations.


Across carousels seven and eight, they walked toward one another--

moonwalkers, protesters, classic movie stars traversing the long

terminal. Love takes more forms than yoga has animal postures.


Almost unwatched, almost unrecorded but for their glowing

embrace on the wear-proof carpet. They shone w/ plot,

their story unfolding during shift change between baggage handlers.


Two twenty somethings, their future more apparent

before them than the uncertain present meeting every

mortal. Love takes such moments and yokes them to eternity.


This young couple--how can they manage to remain

together amid so much change but by becoming the bodyʼs

story. Her fingers spread toward his before falls of luggage

rejoining a stream of mortals. Love poses for impermanence so informally.


Amy Wright


Amy Wright is the Nonfiction Editor of Zone 3 Press and Zone 3 journal, as well as the author of three chapbooks--Farm, There Are No New Ways To Kill A Man, and The Garden Will Give You A Fat Lip. She was awarded a 2012 fellowship for the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop and has been recognized for excellence in teaching.


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