“Prose in the City” by Pietra Dunmore

My MFA nonfiction workshop was held in a small room, surrounded by bookcases with hardcovers and their yellowing pages. We sat around an oval, oak table listening to an older man with a sparse beard and black turtleneck. Among those plush chairs sat archetypes of stereotypical writers with their bushy beards, thick glasses, and self-proclaimed alcoholism. One of those writers was the man I fell in love with.

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“Philly Phlebotomy” by Elaine Paliatsas-Haughey

In 1989, the old building of St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children is a faceless, beige, concrete slab, blended in among industrial-flat structures in a North Philly ghetto. Though a wide city street divides the building from its chain-link, fenced-in parking lot, the road seems narrow, probably because of my age; at thirteen, all I know is that I’m traveling down this street to have blood work drawn and that there’s no turning back.

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“Euphoria” by Pietra Dunmore

One afternoon I was passing the time at the Macy’s on thirteenth and Market. I walked in through the large columns and leisurely strolled the white marble floors, passing by the large glass display cases and cosmetics counters when I smelled it. The scent made my cheeks flush with warm blood. I detected a spicy mixture of ginger pepper, black basil, and amber that I knew intimately. My inner thighs tingled. Immediately, I turned around looking for him – my giant, my Bear – but he wasn’t there. I picked up the square glass bottle, holding it to my nose and closing my eyes.

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