A Literary Magazine in Support of the Jewish Community

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Panama Disease by Dana Masden

Panama Disease

Joy is contagious. When you see happiness on someone else’s face, you feel happy too. Everyone is always laughing. Once one person starts, the whole group can’t help but join in.


Laugher is not the only way to feel joy. Often, people receive joy from food. Sometimes just by looking at it. This is natural. Many years ago, I worked in a grocery store in a major suburb. In the morning, people burst through the doors to see what had arrived. They looked at the produce first. The bananas were yellow with green seams. The apples like shined shoes. The strawberries wore fresh green caps. A woman came up to me once. “This banana is a wonder.” I knew what she meant. Here we were, landlocked. Her joy spread to me. “It’s beautiful,” I agreed. She wondered what day would be best to eat it. We guessed three days from now. Until then, she would place the banana in the center of the coffee table.

Dana Masden

Dana Masden earned her MFA from Colorado State University where she currently teaches creative writing in the English department. Her stories, essays, and poems are previously published or forthcoming in over a dozen publications, including NPR, Third Coast, The Adirondack Review, The Cortland Review, The Santa Clara Review, among others. She is currently writing a novel and is represented by Shannon Hassan at the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.


Dana Masden