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**PRINT: STERNUM AS 3, by Louisville writer Jason Jordan, is No. 34.1, the latest in our mini-broadsheet series. What do you do when your best friend in high school has a peculiar ability to pull bones from a "compartment on the underside of his left forearm"? Why, built a skeletal replica of him, of course. This issue also comes with five prose pieces from Rick Henry's "Then" collection.

**PRINT: COLD WAS THE GROUND, by Chicago's Scott Stealey, is No. 34 in our broadsheet series. Gina, protagonist, a rather lonely condo dweller/office manager, strikes up a fleeting friendship with one Porgo, an Eastern European construction worker who is burying on her property what Gina takes for a time capsule. But the metaphorical fix is in -- Porgo, an ESL student, may be leading Gina in directions she canít exactly get her head all the way around. Enjoy. Chicago writer Stealey is editor of the Please Donít online mag.

**WEB: SKI AERIALS aka Peer
TESTIMONIAL aka Peer
WING & FLY: AN EXPERIMENT IN MIND CONTROL w/ MKULTRA and...Doug Milam | Todd Dills
RACING STRIPES Paul Lask
AT THE HILTON GARDEN INN NASHVILLE AIRPORT Spencer Dew
NARCOLEPTIC Foust
HIDEOUS BOUNTY: ONE WITH WOLF | Andrew Davis
JUST SAY NO Ben Tanzer
ASYMPTOTES Michael Balatico


SKI AERIALS**
---
aka Peer

The breath of winter sweeps down from the pole, disappearing forests and meadows. Millions of crystals, no two alike, swirl into white out. Cold sucks the heat out of the sun until you can look at its disk with the naked eye.

THE LEFT HAND: Soap, Lit

On the interstate, 18-wheelers were transfigured into pairs of looming eyes. Each rig, at 80,000 lbs., was 40 percent slower to stop than an automobile. Route 24 was laced with snakes of snow. Then, on the access road, the slow roll of tires morphed into loopy, white-knuckled skids.

In the ski center parking lot, a flag snaps against a pole and the same wind rattles Curtis' cooling Subaru, already gathering drifts against its tires and cornices along its roof.

This is the moment of adrenalin poisoning, here at the aerial competition, and of the fantasies born of fear. The traumas of the drive, the hours of watching his daughter practice, her accidents, and all the years of childhood terrors have culminated at this moment, with Emily in midair, poised against the dull sun, skis together, back arched, arms out like an athlete celebrating victory except that she is upside down and 20 feet above the snow. Or is it 50 feet?

Emily talked through this trick on the drive to the mountain, between the tractor-trailers and the skids, this back flip with twist, and Curtis asked if it frightened her. She said, "Dad! Everyone does it."

Curtis wishes he could tell her his insurance doesn't cover ski aerial accidents. He wishes he could forbid her to do this. He sees separated shoulders, compound fractures, a broken helmet. She is above him in the air like a blade of ice that will stab him in the heart.

Fear shoves him forward and holds him back. He longs to flee this hand that is always harsh no matter its intent, like the slap that saved him from a lit burner when he was a boy, and left him crying. Fear reaches in through his eyes, his eyes on Emily. He is cold and deeply weary, and wonders how much more of this he can take.

In the air, in the middle of her trick, Emily remembers to breathe. Awash in the fire of adrenaline, she is thrilled and then galvanized by its push and grab. She sees the gold medal that could be hers, sees the crash that could be hers. In adrenaline's pinhole of focus she sees the snow 15 feet below her head and feels fear rushing her through the trick, get it over, but she will wait another millisecond before she brings her arm through into the twist, pikes her feet and rolls herself out so that she will land skis down. The pull of gravity burns in every cell.

Helpless with his daughter a teenager now, Curtis dares not speak or reach out; she does not take that well. He remembers that the rate of acceleration of a fall is not affected by the horizontal travel of the object or person. You really have to let kids make their own mistakes. You have to be cool. But he remembers the fall from the crib, the bed, the bike, the skateboard, the tree, his outstretched arms too late or else the fall, anticipated, did not happen and the child righted herself. Yet the accidents, real and imagined, play over and over, his synapses usurped by the chemistry of fear. It is an easy trick, she said, It is not the end of the world.

This will be even worse when Emily can drive herself to competitions, the access road, the skids, the boys. His love for her is like a raft on the great sea of the physical world, of physical danger: tossed, tortured, and no land in sight.

Emily's heart is buoyed up and all her senses are precise. This is the moment of truth, the object of all her practice. The snow is bright, the flag snaps, and she begins to bring her arm into the twist, smooth and graceful. She knows the move is perfect, and all the world is right.




TESTIMONIAL

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