Forcing myself to breathe.

SMOKE BY JOSHUA FOUST 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 71

I used to ride my bike to the Safeway to buy food for dinner. It was a practical thing, you know? It was green, or whatever. But not any more. I’d think about it on the bus, forcing myself to breathe through a surgical mask. 

Riding to the Safeway I would stand up from the seat, pushing my feet down on the pedals revelling in the power of my body.

But that joy is gone now. And I don’t know that I’ll ever get it back again. Not while I’m stuck here.

The Black Hawk is the bus in Iraq and I’m on my way to work.

AL-HILLA BY MARC LADERMAN 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 71

I’m an old man in a war zone, 52 years and aging. I’m in the back seat of a US Army Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. It’s always the last seat taken because of the prop wash. Both side doors are open and the chill wind is lashing my face. The Black Hawk is the quotidian bus in Iraq and I’m on my way to work.

You never know what you will find when you turn the page.

THE BOOKSTORE BY WILLIAM FALO 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 71

She flipped through a book about a magical kingdom. “You know what I like about books?”

“What’s that?”

“You never know what you will find when you turn the page.” 


34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 71

GETAWAY BY NANCY LIND, REARVIEW BY SHAWN LACY, SMOKE BY JOSHUA FOUST, THE BOOKSTORE BY WILLIAM FALO, AL-HILLA BY MARC LADERMAN, ANXIETY BY LANE SCOGGINS.