Issue Eighteen – Summer 2011

Intro

By The Editors

Welcome to the Summer 2011 edition of SHARK REEF, where you’ll visit a wedding party in the Andes; join a group of elderly women in a communal bath in Japan; or watch as a nurse midwife deftly knits Mexico to Seattle and drops more than a few stitches in the process. Consider Hiking Naked. What happens will surprise you.

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Works

By Judith Connor

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Heart of July

By Jessica Barksdale

Sometime in early July, her heart began to blubber. At least, that’s what Minna decided to call it, blubbering, as it wasn’t flutter, something light and dreamy as a summer butterfly. It wasn’t just a skip, like a stone thrown for hop scotch. It was a deep, lumbering growl, a blubber of movement, action plus blood, a flop in her heart like heavy gas, enough to leave her stunned and pale. But still alive.

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Hiking Naked

By Iris Graville

The Lady of the Lake glides to the dock as Captain Wilsey steers the boat’s white body, trimmed in crisp blue, within inches of the pilings. The aluminum gangplank squeaks and creaks into place, bridging the boat deck to the landing as The Lady’s passengers tromp across its grated metal in waffle-soled hiking boots.

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Wolf

By Greg Taylor

To many, Martin Leonard appeared the epitome of suburban failure. Lost in any gathering, no matter how small, he knew how replaceable he was. Not only in his work as a bookkeeper at the Dalton regional tax office, which he executed to a standard barely sufficient to maintain his position, but in his home as well. His wife Nevena, who had added fifty-five pounds to her once athletic frame in their fifteen years together, had only recently stopped her constant chastisement, replacing her blatant contempt with a new and punishing silence.

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Water Music

By Gretchen Stahlman

The water is warm, I lie. Will feel warm. In a minute. Another step in. Skin stutters to adjust. Counting. One, two, three, four. Another step. Water to my chest. Arms out of the water. Ridiculous. Water temp is 84. Not cold. Hands in the water. Adjusting. Water to arm pits. Get it over with. One, two, three, four. Dunk.

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These Boots

By Margaret Payne

Every fall, along about November, when winds begin to buffet my brain and scatter its leaves like gold shimmer, I make a trip off-island after long absence from the mainland and buy something stupid. Last year, it was a $36 spatula;

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Between Plausibility and Truth

By Stefon Mears

I crawl out of bed, yawning with my whole torso as I pull on my faded red bathrobe. I am twenty-eight years old and living alone in an apartment in Beaverton, Oregon. The complex is nicer than I could have afforded in the Bay Area, with a pool and gymnasium. I still need to find a job if I want to keep it.

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Getting It Down

By Jacqueline Haskins

Danny’s bedroom was silent except for the scratch of his yellow number-two pencil across the paper. Mom says Dad is just going to church until the judge decides, Danny wrote. I don’t know. He took Sis and me to church yesterday. Dad knows all the prayers and stuff. And they had chocolate chip cookies.

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Grace

By TJ Gerlach

The patron saint of extras is Kevin Costner. You know the story. How in 1983 the budding young actor was tapped to play Alex in The Big Chill, the character whose untimely demise provides the occasion for Jeff Goldblum and the rest of the cast to drive around soulfully in their BMWs

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Piano Forte

By Kristin Carlson

The names are gone. The Young One, who used to pound on the piano with such fervor, has grown up. Fervor. Now there’s a word. Why does fervor remain when he has lost so many names? All the important ones. Gone. Gone with one stroke. Stroke. That’s the word he’d wanted at the pharmacy. Not a strike like in baseball, but a

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The Last Time I Saw You

By Ande Finley

What have we lost
to know
a brother, a husband
a friend
was needed elsewhere,

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Chewuch Creek 1996

By Ande Finley

she cuts her feet on bones of the river
crimson pools on long glacial slide
of moss crusted boulders tipped
on broken pieces of themselves
teal ochre bronze bright bed of jewels

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Kobo Daishi Names Cut-Cloth Temple

By Laurel Nakanishi

The slump and twist, the sag and pooling,
the edges of bone that steam reveals.
So this is what I will look like at eighty.
And perhaps they are thinking: so this is what

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Crossing the Andes in Early Evening

By Laurel Nakanishi

A saint swings frantically,
flinging her blessings across the bus.

I try to ask the woman next to me,
about the loaves she carries

and she thinks I want to buy them all.

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Near Perpetua

By Robert Hill Long

The creek here does not fail at the height of summer.
It’s an echo chamber, undersong
of winter’s orchestral weight, when violin sections
of fern-frond bowed rain’s legato.

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High Summer

By Michael Larrain

You move through light
like water through a throat
accomplice to every living curve
as though at any moment
you might encounter god

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Stimulus

By Sandra Kolankiewicz

Soon I was coveting again: latest
Kenmore refrigerator, a larger
hot tub, fresh paper for the powder room.
All night I wanted upgrades: stove, glasses,

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Roadkill Rising

By Jennifer Brennock

On the first day of this year, I purchased a pair of midnight shoes. These are no island shoes, no hippies-take-‘em-off-at-the-door-protect-the-carpet shoes, chores-to-do shoes, no hitch-to-town-slipper, no drying-off-after-the-beach clog. No, these are the kind of shoes meant to make noise on urban concrete.

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The Lazy Cartographer’s Journey

By Sandra Kolankiewicz

If you never learn them, facts cease to be
true, flatten like the sea before Aristotle,
confining you to local travel except for the few
who have always known the world is round

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Carry On

By Kimberly Kinser

They confiscated her knitting needles.
She could have tossed the whole sock or just pulled
the tiny needles from their knit two purl
two round. No heels. No gussets. No toes. No
hope of convincing officers that her

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