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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 18: 29 Apr. 2023
Haibun: 133 words
By Stephen A. Allen

Curated Playlist


Something downstairs smells like an electrical fire. I check all the outlets and appliances, especially the new electric kettle in the kitchen, but can’t find the source. I open a few windows. My laptop’s audio player randomly cues up Talking Heads’ “Burning Down the House.” Not a comforting omen. I skip to the next song: Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire.” Out of curiosity, I search my collection of MP3s and find that I have fourteen with the word “fire” in the title and twelve with some form of “burn.” That’s out of nearly 3,000 tracks, so the probability of my laptop choosing those two in sequence is pretty low. I can take a hint. Back to searching for the source of the smell.

midnight drive
songs on the radio
sounding wrong

Stephen A. Allen
Issue 18 (29 April 2023)

was born in Vermont and currently lives in Michigan. He has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and he also studied poetry at Amherst College and the University of Notre Dame while pursuing degrees in different fields. His poetry has appeared most recently in Notre Dame Review, Rattle, and Northern New England Review.

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