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Gettysburg Review
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by Shirley Stephenson

We enter Pacuare by river. A swarm of eyeballs rises to the surface. Crocodiles lunge at the boats. We look to the canopy. Grant us a cotinga, or a toucan. Anything above this waterline. We know the story of the Israeli who died last week. When they pulled him up, only his hand was missing. Like everything here, the croc was defending its territory—attacking with gusto and bright, deadly colors.

“Decoding the Flag”

by Cheryl Dietrich

One summer when I was eleven, I bullied my two younger brothers into helping me open a lending library in our grandparents’ garage. We borrowed books from all our friends, sorted them alphabetically by author into battered bookcases, and set up a card file. Finally, to legitimize the venture, we pooled our money and purchased a twenty-five-cent flag. A library should have a flag.

“In Lapland”

by Christopher Merkner

On Thursday my wife returns from work and says she needs some color in the house, can’t live in this cell-hole another minute, what have we done to bring ourselves to this way of living at our age, we aren’t twenty-five-year-old twits, not anymore. Country Rill is the green she shows me in a magazine. “Look at that,” she says, thrusting the glossy in my face, “and tell me it wouldn’t change everything.”

“The First Husband Buried”

by Tana Jean Welch

After eight years of empty threats,
all I can do is watch him study the high
lamp over our bed, his mind knitting
a noose from ties he never wore.

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