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Psaltery & Lyre

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Creative Nonfiction

The Clown

You stand next to a clown, a real clown, with the painted white face and spongy red wig. He has pulled you to the front of the room, where he speaks rapid Spanish that you cannot understand. Everyone else in the room—including the Peruvian family you’ve been teaching—understands what he is saying, and laughs. All you’ve picked out is the word “Mormon.” What you understand: You are the butt of the joke. No, you are the joke.

Like a Prayer—

How the house sighed, air brim with old wood, paint, and coffee spilling from around the parlor‘s paired doors as I swung them closed, slowing before they smacked the jamb so not to rattle the jaundiced panes or disrupt the furniture we had force-fed the room—

Corona Way

The sea squirt is born with a primitive brain and one eye. It cruises the ocean, and when it finds a surface to fasten to, the squirt eats its own eye and brain. Without movement, it no longer needs them.

2020 Orison Anthology Nominees

Congratulations to all of our nominees!

2020 Best of the Net Nominees

Congratulations to all of our Best of the Net 2020 nominees!

The Neighbors

I needed to be a part of something—anything, a neighborhood—a community, glued together like dark red nail polish dripped dried on white bathroom tile, a messy blob of circumstance reborn.

The Humid Temptations

My father closed his word, laid down the red crayon he used to mark pages, perhaps from Leviticus, For it is the jubilee; it shall be holy unto you: you shall eat the increase thereof out of the field.

The Pandemic Pages (Excerpt)

I am doing the dishes for the millionth time. And the word weary keeps repeating in my head. It catches itself on a lyric.

ORAL HISTORY OF THE GODS: So what: on the moral virtues of drinking and talking all night

Two Jewish men stay up all night drinking and debating the existence of God. At the end of the night, they come to a conclusion: God cannot possibly exist. They tumble out into the early morning air, satisfied with their conclusion.

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