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The Tattered Sock Monkey by Ian Brunner

waits at the Hungarian border.  Listening, it hears a smörgåsbord of languages.  Cries in Magyar, Polski, Romani, Russkiy, and Ukrainska  among many, many others.  As its boy’s train pulls away it sighs as if deflating. Accepting that it will never see him again.   Quarantined, despite possessing the appropriate papers.  The monkey waits.  Listening to passing children laugh.  Hearing gunshots and       answering with smiles.  Hearing screams but       trading in laughter.  The monkey has not forgotten its boy  but, it has a new job now.  Watching the future come and go.  Come and go  on trains that have been  coming and going  for years. --- Ian Brunner is a writer from Buffalo, NY. He has most recently been published in Ghost City Press, Selcouth Station, and the Comics Cabinet, and is the author of the  chapbook: Ruminations published through the Cringe Worthy Poet's Collective. Along with this, he is the short fiction editor for Variety Pack Magazine and can be found at Twitter
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The Night Guardsman by Jesse Miksic

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I’m not entirely convinced that these bodies have memory, which is the type of thing people tend to say in poems.   Mine barely remembers how to do the Macarena.   But my dog (bless him) has no memory but his body’s memory of the forest.   And just this past week my son’s body remembered how to roll over, back to tummy, and next I hope the reverse.   Perhaps the body is a temple dedicated to the earth that it has disfigured.   Perhaps forgetting is a gift, bitter chocolate always arriving.   Perhaps my pantry is empty. Perhaps my pantry is full. --- Jesse Miksic is a graphic designer and writer living in the suburbs of  Philadelphia. He spends his life writing poetry, ruminating over  philosophy and pop culture, and having adventures with his endlessly  patient wife, two awesome children, and hyperactive dog.  Recent  placements include Pink Plastic House, Moist Poetry, Selcouth Station  Press, and Hearth & Coffin. His work and musings can be found at  @miksimum on Twitter and Inst

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Fetch by Ben Banyard

At top of the path to the beach I show him the tennis ball. He crashes off a little way, jerks to a rigid stop, alert, envisages its flight ahead of him as it bounces down the steps to shingle. I launch it as far as I can and he darts away, wolfing the metres between him and his quarry. He pounces on it, already panting. I call to him, clap my hands, half believing it might work this time. After a thoughtful chew he clutches it in his jaws, trots off to where the waves lap, barks muffled by the ball. He drops it in the sea, bobs it like a Halloween apple, enjoys the taste of salt before the tide catches it, draws it away, back, then further, beyond the limit of his courage. --- Ben Banyard's third collection of poetry,  Hi-Viz , was published by Yaffle Press in November 2021. He edits  Black Nore Review  and blogs at  https://benbanyard. . 

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