Justin Sanders

Just A Story About A Dog

Because we don’t know the anatomy of things. Someone said the dog that wandered into the village could talk and everyone agreed it was out of the ordinary. A few children went looking for the beast and came back reporting that they had indeed seen a dog, a tall, black one with mange on one paw and one ear and its tail all stringy. And it did seem unusual how it stared at them, they said, sitting as if it was waiting for their approach. But apart from when its tail would wag into an old can or empty bottle (it took residence in one of the many landfills) no one heard it speak. Still, when reports of a dog that talked made their way into the village, we believed them.

“The first animals talked,” said Eeiobe.

“Men have trained beasts to use machines and see for us and save us from fire, here now is one trained to talk,” said Dskun.

“No other creature has lived alongside man so long as dogs, so why not then? Could one simply have learned to imitate us, the way a bird could imitate the sounds of a horn or a saw?” I said. “Or maybe it was the wind coming through the trees, kicking up trash and bottles, giving the dog such a voice, and the dog, sitting there, had seemed too perfect.”

So the dog talked. Because there is no sufficient order. It talked to the old, Beniwase women. The women with husbands who remembered the land before the dirt turned to rust and when the Upgum roots grew long enough to hold all a man’s breath. It talked to children at night, but only when they snuck out of their houses after their parents made bed, and dared past the fires that kept the dogs from the neighborhood, and dragged their favorite toys through the dirt of the Szawase road, and cut themselves in forty places pushing through the thorns of the Upgum trees, and who, after all that, didn’t cry when they came upon the landfill and saw the dog sitting there in the middle of all that trash, its eyes borrowing the orange of the torches, its mangy paw and mangy ear and tail with hair that split like dropped sugar cane, it’s mouth yellowed by the sulfur dust that blew out of the forge of the old blacksmith who lived just by the landfill, the dog say silent but for the wagging of its tail, which on occasion happened to knock into some can or old bottle. The children who cried the dog ignored, but those that came dirty and bleeding and cold and dragging their favorite toy and who didn’t scream at the sight of that old hound and who left their toy behind for it, another piece of trash to pile up in the landfill, to those children it would talk in the old language.

It did not talk to men, though the blacksmith who lived by the landfill said it sometimes made bed in his scrap pile and ate the rats it found there, and after catching a particularly fat one, looked over at him and offered to share.

But there is no conceiving the characters that form between familiar sounds, the old noises are the most frightening. Of course no one remembered the dog eating a child—or a bird, or a squirrel, or even the rats from the blacksmith’s scrap pile, which only the blacksmith had ever seen, and we had to take his word for it, and what good are the words of a blacksmith anyway—but there it was now, the idea that the dog could kill, real as any face we might make. And now we couldn’t remember a time when the dog didn’t kill. So we warned our children about talking to animals and stoked larger fires to keep the dog away at night, and prayed and made up lies about the children and women who didn’t follow.

“Can’t trust the young Beni’s or dogs” said Dskun.

“What If it’s not really a dog?” asked Eeiobe.

“Maybe children lie and maybe black dogs seem more frightening at night?” I said.

“Children say it calls them by name. My girl says it offered to change her eyes blue, blue as the old waters,” said Eeiobe. “And my boy, him it told about a woman’s bread.”

“Could be it was sent here. Could be a devil from the days before everything browned,” said Dskun.

“Sent by who?” asked Eeiobe.

“Doesn’t really matter,” I said.

“Of course it does,” said Dskun.

“Please,” I said. “Please, let us all be good.”

So we sat on our roofs at night trying to remember the noises stars made and tracing the lines of things and sipping cool, sweet draughts of the old water, when water rushed blue onto the shoreline, before the dirt turned rust and the water turned brown, and we remembered. Remembered when we knew the weight of fear. Not in the brain but in the hands, where all fears are first held; like the first time our skin blistered at the touch of upgum sap; like our first plodding experiment to hold fire; like that first midday when we touched each other’s sex and then recoiled and went home and felt shame. We used to know that devils were real. And in between the sounds and shapes present in the spreading of lips, we came to understand again that there were no such things as talking dogs but there were devils and devils could take the shape of dogs and wander from village to village eating those who screamed at recognizing it, and entering into bargains with those who braved the thorns and the fires and the night and the night’s dogs and left it tributes but still didn’t know the truth.

“It’s come for children” said Dskun.

“It’s taken my boy and my girl They ain’t the same since they talked to it,” said Eeiobe. “My boy’s grown wild; his hair is dark and long enough to hold all his breath. His fingers are blistered each morning. And my girl spends all her day staring into glass. They ain’t mine no more.”

“Devil,” said Dskun.

“Dog,” I said.

“Ide o mamu ye,” Eeiobe sang.

“Things were different in the old, Beniwa days,” said Dskun. “When we were old and old enough to remember the blue of things, when we remembered how to kill a devil.”

We were all too scared in our fingers to hold them together, so I told them all. So I told them that devils weren’t real. I told them that they needn’t be afraid of fire and dogs, told them not to believe what old Beniwa say, for we’re no longer of this world. “It was like this, even in the old days.” But of course they didn’t believe, because it’s in our nature to distrust the quieting answer. And in the time of a man’s sigh we turned our focus toward finding who called the devil to us.

The old blacksmith was the most obvious target. So we burned his forge down. Then came the old, Beniwase women and all the women with husbands, paraded naked through the streets to appease the burnt flesh they inspired in us. Finally came the children, all those the dog had talked to and those who had run screaming from it, and Eeobie’s boy, Eeobie’s girl.

“Please,” Eeobie pleaded of me. “Please make us all be good. You’re old, old enough to remember the way of things.”

So I did as the old Beniwase did, as the first men did. I left at night after the village had gone to sleep and slipped out through the thorns of the Upgum trees, cutting myself near forty times, and dragging with me a crab-shell necklace through the dirt of the Szawase road into the old part of the village, just outside the tree line where the old forge had been built and where the Upgum trees still grew roots long enough to hold all a man’s breath.

Across the road, the light of the forge’s rubble gave orange to the surroundings, stole from the red of the torches the blacksmith still kept burning. He had moved his anvil into the junkyard and the ring of his hammer played the night’s rhythm. The dog was there. Smaller than any had described it, but the black of its mange and the bared gaunt of its muzzle made it seem half a jackal. A rat hung from its mouth, yellow from the dust that had once blown out of the forge and its drool steamed as it hit the rust and sulfur of the dirt.

And but for the chewing it was still, sitting and looking at me with its eyes glinting orange then red then green and back to red before taking on the vim of colors only reflected in the old days; chartan and dusky enbei, the soft mute of hui. And then, and I screamed at the sight of it, the lost blue of the old waters, the waters of the first Beniwase, reflected in its eyes. There in that beast, in that spot, between the order of things and the unintelligible sounds, outside the anatomy of all we understood, the dog was talking. Talking in the language of the old Beniwase, calling my name over and over, at first seeming as glossolalia but then becoming liquid, a logorrehic chant, Anakenaten Anakenaten Anakenaten Anakenaten, the words burbled out, its lips buzzing like rubber vibrating against itself. I heard then the blacksmith’s voice, too, joining it; Anakenaten! And his hammer struck the anvil and the dog’s tail smacked into old bottles and cans, echoing the sound, and there the wind rose in a gale, carrying the sound.

The old blue had then faded from the dog’s eyes, replaced with the reflection of fire coming from the village and I could smell the burning daub and thatch of our roofs. I broke my stare with the beast and turned to watch the light flake in a shower that hit dirt and briefly outshone the sun, stole prescience from the midday heat, and gave it back to the fires of the torches.

“Ida mamu o ye,” the dog was singing, fire drooling from its mouth.

“Devil,” I remembered Dskun and Eeobie saying together. I screamed and the dog had set the village on fire.

The wattles of Mawei burned, their flames a communal thermistor, turning the yellow clay black as the flies that lapped at the sweat on the blacksmith’s forehead, as the flies that bit at the dog, as the flies that were around my head now. The old pounding started again in the low valley; the blows ringing out the calls, the old Beniwase returning from the shores, shoulders burned, feet swollen. Ida mamu o ye, the song rose, lifting high and long as the Upgum roots, stretching even before our village was hewn and growing louder, drowned out the screams coming from the villages as the fires kicked high enough now to strip away from even that first light we all encountered, blinding, burning, golden, wanting, till I heard my own voice screaming along with them.

The morning after the fire Eeiobe and Dskun and Eeiobe’s children found me in the ruin of the forge and pulled me down to the shoreline. Eeiobe’s boy’s hair was the short, clean brown of brackish waves at calm sea. Her girl stared ahead. No one saw the black dog, or any of the others that roamed the junkyard.

Once I had strength all my own again, we walked in unison along the packed sand, Eeiobe carrying an empty basket and Dskun carrying an armful of books and me carrying all the noises of stars. Out over the waves we could see an island, the green of its trees glimmering like powdered light.

“What’s the order of things now?” Eeobie’s girl asked.

“There is no conceivable reason,” said Eeobie’s boy. “And we wouldn’t believe in one if there was.”

They told me I was no longer of this world.

Ahead of us the old blacksmith was standing in the surf, fish breaching the water at his ankles. From his back he unfurled an enormous pair of wings. And we cheered wildly at the sight.

I worry that when I die I'll become a general feeling of unease, thanks to Carabella Sands.


Gerry LaFemina

Is She Really Going Out with Him
                           – Joe Jackson

Was I really only 13 then? Lined up with classmates in the playground waiting for the mad dash toward high school and planning our gradation dance, I had nothing but some broken home fragments that rattled like latchkeys in my pockets–how I scratched my fingers on them from time to time. There were girls I dreamt about; surely their eighth grade boyfriends I believed were never good enough because they weren’t me. Joe Jackson on the Top 40 those weeks– Casey Kasem moving him closer to the chart top each Saturday, counting down. It wasn’t disco. It wasn’t the blues though I wanted to use the gravel I consumed each hour to growl along and shimmy my hips. I dreamt dance floors, dreamt of Eileen, of Suzette, of Jill, of so many names I can’t recall. The world was changing, our bodies were changing, my music, too. In another year I’d howl along with buzz saw guitars & tommy gun drums as if my bones could no longer bear frustration.

Is she really gonna take him home tonight?

Joe knew the answer. Only 13, I did, too: duh. Thus we learned the order of things, and thus we stepped closer to becoming the adults we never foresaw as in a dark room a radio played the national anthem of the small country that is the self.

Gerry LaFemina's latest collection of prose poems is Notes for the Novice Ventriloquist. Among his ten other books is the novel Clamor (2013, Codorus Press) and Vanishing Horizon (2011, Anhinga Press). In 2014 a new collection of poems, Little Heretic, and a collection of essays on poets and poetry, Palpable Magic, will be released by Stephen F. Austin University Press. He directs the Frostburg Center for Creative Writing at Frostburg State University and divides his time between Maryland and New York.


Andrew Sargus Klein

The Afternoon I Died

the afternoon I died
arrived as a flavor an
eye mote left as a moment
half remembered and gone
too soon since I am still living
this is a good, normal
thing: everyday shaped
by the missing afternoon
the rounded square fallen
from a mosaic stretched
to dry between some clouds
the event horizon
that pinwheeled then
exploded as a dandelion
to repopulate the sky,
the evenings of perfect
champagne and the mornings too.

Andrew Sargus Klein graduated from the University of Michigan in 2007 with degrees in History of Art and Poetry. He lives in Baltimore and is a financial editor, essayist, poet, and the caretaker of a very cranky cat.


Lucia Diaz-French

Happy Birthday

Just don't go back to midnight
Baby Baby
please don't go.

You've already left the show early
and they did their part in reminding
you, with a surprise appearance,
that you were watching
blacked out.

Manhattan really felt like an island,
like a really private island.

You fell all over tables,
and the ginger behind the bar
said “how did she get this way?”

You tried to buy a condom,
because the hand-job in the
bathroom stall was technically
not a one-night stand.

Joshua, who used to be called Josh,
pulled you into a cab
Someone else helped
someone you loved and someone you embarrassed.

Lucia Diaz-French is a playwright, but really she’s more of a poet, but really she’s just an actress, but really she can only sing, but really she’s kind of writing a novel about Minnesota but she hates it, so really she’s considering turning it into a play instead.


Kenny Kruse

Reality Television

A cell phone rang in the apartment next door. I had half a mind to walk right over to the office to tell Cynthia about it. Mr. Morrison once complained to her about noise because Silas and Kristen and I had been chain-smoking on the balcony until dawn. There was a blonde woman in a yellow velour tracksuit walking a golden retriever past my bedroom in the park. She was talking on the phone and kept jerking at the dog’s leash. Silas had already told me what Mr. Morrison told him, though, and that’s why I didn’t. Mr. Morrison told Silas, Silas told me when we were drinking margaritas with Sadie and Noah at that Mexican place on Rural, that Mr. Morrison was a hit man. I laughed, at first, and Sadie spilled some salsa from a chip onto her lap.
            Noah was in the bathroom. I hadn’t been to that Mexican place since I stopped hanging out with Simon, maybe two months before, and they had put in some jungle stained glass, and there were these new, big wooden parrots hanging over the dining room. A red car drove past the complex and I could feel its bass in my chest. The bar in the restaurant had flat screen TV’s, now, and they were all showing the same baseball game. We were the only people in the restaurant.      
            Sadie asked the waitress for some more napkins. Silas laughed and told us that Mr. Morrison had stopped him by the pool to ask him if he knew who was leaving clothes in the washers all day on Thursdays. Mr. Morrison always did his laundry in all three washers on Thursdays. Mr. Morrison walked around the complex without a shirt, always these loose, blue swim trunks on, a pair of black flip flops. His skin was smooth, not a hair anywhere on his body that we could see except for his eyebrows. He was tan but not wrinkled, probably in his early forties.
            Silas had felt compelled to talk to Mr. Morrison and ended up complaining about the Pakistani couple who lived above us. “I don’t even know why I said it,” he said, slurping the lime slush. He had big salt crystals stuck to his bottom lip. “I just wanted to say something.” Silas had said that he couldn’t bear the smell of Mrs. Chaudhary’s cooking and Mr. Morrison offered to kill them for us for five hundred dollars each. “I told him that was out of my price range, but that I appreciated the offer.” 
            “That’s a dumb story, Silas,” Sadie said. We all ordered more margaritas the next time the waitress came around. Noah had returned from the bathroom and put his arm around Sadie. She shook it off. “It’s cold in here,” she said, tracing her forearms with her long purple fingernails. I had lived with Silas for three years, by that point, and I knew he wasn’t lying.
            Sadie moved out a few weeks later. She had come down to Phoenix from the Hopi reservation and when her dad found out she had a white boyfriend he wrote her a letter saying she had three days to come back home or he would make sure she never had a boyfriend again. I heard the fridge open and close. Somebody turned the TV on and I thought it was The Real World but I couldn’t tell what season. She had a friend who was working for a defense contractor in Iraq. His house downtown had been broken in to a while before, and Sadie had been checking in on it for him every so often. I heard a cat pawing at my door, and when I sat up I saw that Pablo’s whole arm was swatting at my carpet through the crack. She and Noah planned to live there. She left in a hurry and never came home to get the rest of her stuff. She left a bunch of clothes and a broken arrow. I kept the arrow.
            I threw on a shirt and some shorts and walked out to the living room. Kristen, Silas’s girlfriend who practically lived with us, was smoking a joint on the couch. She was wearing Silas’s Radiohead t-shirt and a bunch of turquoise rings. She was from Michigan and had this whole cowboys-and-Indians idea about living in the desert. “Hey, why don’t you just move into Sadie’s old room?” I asked her. She shook her head with her teeth clenched, sucked a deep hit of the joint, and squinted. “Fuck that,” she said. “I’m not paying rent.” She had a dorm room that the university paid for, somewhere.
            Regina yelled at me when I got to work because I was late again. I smiled at her and then Mika gave me different martinis she was thinking about putting on the menu. I got pretty drunk and then Silas and Kristen came in and ordered two bowls of pho and I spilled Kristen’s on her when I set it down.
            She yelled that it was fucking hot. I was pretty tanked at that point and Regina made me lay down in the office until I sobered up. She shook my shoulder and handed me five twenties. “Sean,” she said, her hair pulled back tight and her eyebrows arched with it, “Sean.” She shook her head. I stood up. “We have to let you go.” She squeezed my shoulder next to my neck.
            The floor was slick and there were melting ice cubes under every surface. Feng was still there, cleaning the line, and I told her I was leaving, for good. She made a pained face and told me to wait. The trashcan in the bathroom was overflowing with paper towels. Feng came out to the dining room and gave me some spring rolls, pork and shrimp. I stole a bottle of hot sauce for the road.
            It was a weekday but there were groups of drunk kids all up and down Mill. I unlocked my car and gave away my dog blanket to a homeless guy on the corner. All the lights were green on the way to the bar. I made out with a short, old guy with a trucker cap on in the bathroom and ate a whole plate of fried mushrooms. The waitress brought me two things of ranch. I called Simon and left some desperate messages but there was an automated recording and who knows if he even still had the same number.
            When Simon and I were hanging out we used to drive to the desert together every night after I got off work. We would stop at this diner and get breakfast burritos to go. “Look at all these fucking breeders,” Simon would say, punching his open hand with a fist. “I bet they’re all going to have fucking garage sales this weekend.”
            The cloned mansions stretched to every horizon and then they stopped, abruptly, and the highway was two lanes and the air was cold and everything was sand and orange except for when the lights hit a cluster of sage, the rigid arms of saguaro, a pickup passing with its brights on. We would pull off the road onto this cliff overlooking Canyon Lake, always the same spot, and turn the lights off. Sometimes we would fool around but mostly we’d just talk. Simon was ten years older and he’d tell me about his time in the military, about how he biked across the country for six months once, about how he had a thing for midgets and Asian twinks.
            The last night we drove to the lake it was moonless. We sat on the hood of my car. We couldn’t see the lake. Every star was there. The air was cold and we didn’t touch. It was always Simon’s decision whether or not we fooled around. We saw bright lights down on the bridge and psyched ourselves out. “They’re going to kill us. Rape and kill us,” Simon said. “This is where we die.”
            There were two serial killers in Phoenix at the time, and everyone was on edge. All these women were getting murdered and raped and it made you wonder what kind of world we lived in, where people were capable of these kinds of things. Just the week before two women had been found dead inside their snack truck. We jumped back in the car and I drove as fast as I could until we got back to the highway. We listened to opera in silence the entire way. “This is a monster of a world,” Simon finally said when I pulled up to his apartment complex. We never saw each other again.
            When the cab dropped me off I had to run inside and shake Silas awake. “Silas, spot me a twenty,” I said. He groaned and smacked his wallet on the nightstand. The cab driver was getting a call. I crawled into Silas’s bed with him and when I woke up I had no pants on and Silas had lost his shirt and neither of us said anything.
            It was closing in on monsoon season and there was wind and rain. I turned on the news. There was a sixteen-car pileup on the sixty because of the rain. People got confused with the glare. There was a commercial break. There were commercials for a laundry detergent, a reality show, a congressman’s reelection, new tires. When the news came back on my sister was there. The headline read, “Phoenix Teens Robbed at Gunpoint in Own Home.” She had a white bandage around her head and she was gesturing manically at different corners of the screen.
            I turned the volume on. She was talking about the gunmen, how they were white and short and wearing ski masks. “They were convinced we had drugs and money,” she said. She called me later to say that Mom and Dad had found out, that they were furious that she hadn’t called them. Kristen came over and we waited for Silas to get off work. We each drank a drink that was half hot sauce and half Everclear. She gave me half a Xanax and we needed cigarettes. We biked through the rain on the sidewalk. There was a dead pit bull in the gravel outside our apartment. We got to Rite Aid. There was a security guard in her seventies sitting in a chair in front of the store. She was reading People. There had been a shooting at the pharmacy the week before.
            When we got home Jeopardy had started. I got some of the answers right. It was a reunion show. The contestants had been on when they were in middle school, and now they were on again. There was a white girl who studied at Sarah Lawrence and a black girl who studied at Occidental and a Latino guy who studied at Mesa Community College. That’s when I realized that this guy was Marco, my first kiss. We had been in eighth grade. Alex Trebek was trying to be polite about Marco’s being in community college studying to be a CNA. The other contestants were pre-dental and political science. I turned to Kristen. “Hey, I’ve kissed that guy before,” I told her. Her eyes were barely cracked open. “Yeah, but he’s my boyfriend,” she said. She sat up and slid a cigarette out of the pack.
            You can turn on the TV and see your sister held up at gunpoint or your first kiss losing on Jeopardy. It is that kind of world. I open my computer and find a website where people post their stories and try to find kidney donors.
            “He’ll be home soon,” Kristen says. I nod. I try to coax a cat onto my lap. I change the channel and it’s some show about the ocean and some creatures in it. Outside it is starting to rain again. Mr. Morrison walks by the window in his blue shorts. He is holding a bottle of laundry detergent in his left hand. We watch three rounds of commercials.

            Mrs. Richards, the grandmother from the apartment down by the dumpster, is looking through our back window. She knocks and waves. Kristen pulls the blinds shut and twists the rod until they close and it’s dark. I turn the volume up two more green bars and wait for them to disappear.

Kenny Kruse is from Park City, Utah and is an MFA candidate at the University of Alabama. He is a co-founder of Tuscaloosa Writers in the Schools and teaches with the Alabama Prison Arts + Education Project. He has two dogs and one cat and is in the market for a good turtle.


Jonathan Gavazzi

A Tired Song Keeps Playing

Speak the blue
house against a
subtle tongue, Jonathan you
were named for it—the grace of god, like sliding
across such kitchens as this, linoleum mecca, age
five & coddled in pajamas, she
caressed you from tantrums, un-
spooled the cassette tape patiently, now carry
the weight you have not carried, stay
put for her despite
piano lessons, despite scribbling, after all
you called him dad & she corrected you, he called
this home & she did not, Jonathan say
thirty-six black keys but first
you will learn to count, understand son, it
is painted across time, there are rules even to
mixing, stop, you are
shaking the bed with this & she needs rest, you
were always crying, always doing this, always vined against
her legs in the atonal exposure of supermarket parking
lots, once, she said, it even
took a man the brute & smoky rasp of your
young father, twenty-one years, to keep her fingers
from your crib, to re-
strain her, crooning very late that night beneath the silent mass of
a ceiling at which you stared, a white ceiling for
years, thrashing on your small
back & blue-worm
tongue out reeling, pitchless, there
there, in this house you learned your name, the few sacred
rules, to
stop crying for what you
wanted, to carry the thumb under, Jonathan you
know better, always push the track-one back, start
strong, yes, but always wait seven seconds before
you press record.

Jonathan Gavazzi writes poetry in Baltimore, Maryland.  He is a founding editor of Artichoke Haircut, a literary and arts publication, and a co-host of "You're Allowed," a monthly reading series.


Mary Harpin

Animals Invited to the Jubilation
For DK
The lion, the shark and the wooly mammoth
have arrived. I am in charge
of boiling the water. My daughter is in charge
of the guests. Bring the peppermint tea, she says,
candied pineapple. Bring the muffins,
bring fruit. Napkins. Bring blankets.
Because if they need sleep, we’ll
cover them up. The Aurora shooter grows
a beard in jail three miles away. A sodden
teddy bear floats from the memorial toward a
storm drain. A flash flood, the mask
of a super hero. She wraps the lion
in a dish towel. Lays him down
in front of the fireplace. She spreads newspaper
instead of a table cloth. Her teacup spills over
Car Bomb Shatters Truce. She scoops
sunflower seeds on each plate.
One meringue cookie. Parts of
Jessica lie alone in a crawl space waiting
for a boy’s confession. Where, she asks, are
their mamas? I ask my mother
what possibly is expected of us.
We put down our cups. Slice open
a letter from Auntie in Abu Dhabi. The bells
for prayer, she writes, ring two beats later
at one church across from another. Sometimes
it sounds like a hymn planned by angels. Other times
like a hundred cars crashing. 

Mary Harpin is a digital Storyteller, part time at a creative agency and part time through her consulting business, CAVU Creative. She holds an MFA in poetry from Hamline University (St. Paul, Minn) and has received a What Light poetry award and a Prairie Poetry prize. Her work has appeared in Dos Passos Review, Gertrude, Artichoke Haircut, Conclave and elsewhere. Mary lives in Denver with her husband and daughters.


Tracy Dimond

Are You Satisfied?

A marine biologist said:
manatees are slow moving animals
without a hint of irony.

I want a song to sum up
the philosophy of Donald Trump
in less than three chords.

Separate lights and darks
to organize a spectrum.

If God loves ugly
I finally understand my childhood.
I kept laughing when I drew infinity.

If I could put out fires with gasoline

I would be a well-done ocean heart.

Tracy Dimond’s chapbook, Sorry I Wrote So Many Sad Poems Today (Ink Press Productions) was named Best of Baltimore by the City Paper. She is an MFA candidate at the University of Baltimore. She lives, writes, and runs in Baltimore, MD.