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Contributor: Cristine A. Gruber

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The room in the corner
smells of fresh coffee and old books,
meticulously organized, yet surprisingly dusty.

The window at the end has no discernible view,
yet it’s where she stands to gather her inspiration.

The blinds hang crooked; the window is cracked.
The vent in the ceiling has been stuck since the 70s,
and the stains in the carpet have been present for decades.

An ancient Underwood graces the far corner,
while a modern Dell sits on the desk near the wall.

In summer, the room is suffocating; in winter, near-freezing.
But regardless of season, she’s most often found
sitting on the floor, cross-legged, pen and paper in hand,

capturing the moments as they’re caught by the tail,
then expertly committed to a wide-ruled notebook,

thus preventing their escape through the cracks that linger
between the crispness of an onionskin page,
and the sleekness of a liquid crystal display screen.

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Cristine A. Gruber has had work featured in numerous magazines including, North American Review, Writer’s Digest, California Quarterly, and Red River Review, among others. Her first full-length collection of poetry, Lifeline, is available from


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