My Name was Supposed to be Elizabeth Ann

— Stories from the Roads (Not) Taken

Somehow, I acquired a dead man’s interrupted life.  His grey stone cottage, mid-forest. Books, a barn, blank stationery veined with mold. Curled edge photographs stacked like kindling in a dusty hope chest. They claim me. A rusted horseshoe slumbered in the cook stove. I burnish it with wire, secure its resurrected luck with a trinity of nails …

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In eighth grade, Leann’s California brother blank-check, birthday-gifted her a whole new wardrobe, accessories included. I tried not to hate her. Tried not to worry whether anyone saw my Thursday jeans were Allthedays’, my sweater winnowed from Glad bag cast-offs, my wrists braceleted with scabs. They healed up mostly clear, except just there. See? One …

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Behind three-starred glass, we swirl pinot while my shade approaches the crowded intersection. Mousy hair, thin-soled Keds. A backpack, frayed, beats an awkward tempo as she scans facades and faces. Awaits the signal forward. On green, she crosses to me. Presses palms to mine, reflected.   I want to rush into the twilight. To console her. …

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Once upon a time… A good little girl waits patiently for her fairy godmother to return the voice her father stole then buried, unmarked, in the woods surrounding their condo. In this version, they forget about her and she dies. Or, They remember her, but they sell her voice and keep the money. Then she …

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The venetian blind Lady Liberty at the heart of “Bring Me Your Yearning” actually existed. In 1986, two days before the 100th anniversary of  New York’s original Statue, she mysteriously appeared overnight in the middle of the Susquehanna River near my childhood home of Dauphin, Pennsylvania, seven miles north of the state’s capital. Her origins …

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Writers are nosy creatures. We eavesdrop. We people watch. We collect other people’s stories like sea glass, shiny bits of treasure we hoard then barter with the muses. The inspiration for The Nail Club is one such gem. Years ago, my nail tech B. shared that one of her most difficult clients at her former …

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