Shadow is what they see,
but not really. How can one see
hiding? Because that’s what shadow does:
blankets an object with the absence of light.
Issue Forty – Summer 2022
By Jamie O'Halloran
Shadow is what they see,
By Rose Mary Boehm
when night presses down
and muffles all sound
when your wings are weary
and you would be chained
By Daniel Edward Moore
You asked me
to meet you by the pronoun tracks
where extravagant weeds growing through the rails
joked with beautyContinue reading...
By Ronald Pelias
Before they put me in a grave or an oven
to be taken up by the power of elements
chewing or burning away my decaying flesh,
I’m putting words down that won’t last
through the drying of one or two shed tears,
By Dan Shiffman
Six months after Mrs. Civitelli died of cancer, Mr. Civitelli and Al moved across town into a big, two-story house in an unfinished neighborhood with kids much younger than us. Strands of hay covered steep, seeded lawns and newly planted spiky shrubs prevented the kind of epic touch football games we had played at Al’s old house.Continue reading...
By Neil Mathison
“Water, water, water….There is no shortage of water in the desert but exactly the right amount , a perfect ratio of water to rock, water to sand, insuring that wide free open, generous spacing among plants and animals, homes and towns and cities, which makes the arid West so different from any other part of the nation.Continue reading...
By Aruni Wijesinghe
It is her second backpacking trip ever. It’s a long drive to the trailhead outside of Mono Hot Springs. They stop at the general store to buy fishing supplies; under the glass counter, Panther Martin lures glint like jewels. There is a bear head mounted over the register, the bear the owner had to shoot when it ambled in the front door.Continue reading...
By Carol Malthaner
My memory is that my daughter and I spent the summer after my husband’s death sitting in the living room with the dog and cats doing nothing. One friend cooked for us weekly. She also helped me do the necessary paperwork that seemed impossible to navigate under the circumstances. But mostly we sat. Or I sat and my daughter stayed curled in a fetal position on the couch.Continue reading...
By D. S. Maolalai
standing with naggins,
discussing art, poems
on a corner
near the lilliput
By Carrie Lynn Hawthorne
I am at Reeder’s Mortuary where everything is heavy –- the drapes, the cherry wood furniture, the dust on the fake flowers, the makeup on the funeral director’s face. It’s been a week since Luke, my six-year-old nephew, died of brain cancer.Continue reading...
By Anne Whitehouse
I was late to marriage,
late to motherhood.
When I met Jamie in New York,
something blossomed in me
that had been dormant.
His jazz club became my hangout,
I dressed up every night
with some place to go.
He was the owner, and I was his girl.
By Sarah Carleton
They wait in the fridge with sprouting garlic
and baggies of curry leaves, a season
trapped beneath their skin like a jinn.
No one eats them, yet we keep stocking up
By John Dorroh
Cheese dies, you know? Not like forever
as an entity. More like a family phasing out of existence
from genes gone awry, uncalibrated miscalculations,
horrible matches in matrimony, substandard maintenance,
perhaps climate change.
By John Hicks
It’s not the sweeping rain that never reaches
dry-topped mesas buttressing the river,
and not this rumpled bed of hills around us,
or copper flashing wings of the flicker
that feeds on berries in our junipers,
By D. S. Maolalai
everything stops. tide
for ten days
the shoreline – sits
quietly, like water
at the base
of a toilet, waiting
in an emptied-
By Julia McConnell
We’ve been dumped unceremoniously
into library’s book drop
pages splayed, crumpled, exposed
left on airplanes in the pouch next
By Dan Overgaard
Toes up—will I be ready to ascend?
The world of dirt and roots is at my back,
and though I feel my shoulders twist and bend
as if I have to carry it, in fact
I know I’ll reach a day to step away.
Face up, a shrug will loosen all these straps,
reversing all their gravity. I’ll pray
for levity, to dump all my perhaps.
When I rehearse this passage late at night,
face down beneath the blanket of my fate,
I wrestle with the darkness in the dive.
But mercy rolls me over, up towards light,
laid out like this and rinsed of all that weight,
when I’ll be hearsed, so ready to go live.
By Dan Overgaard
With no new information, only time,
I shuffle memories with a few old photographs.
The camera that we rarely took along—
or someone’s—caught us, here and there.
By Alexis Rhone Fancher
The wife could think again, only in shorter sentences. Not that there was much to say. She’d made it past the episode, and her husband was grateful. She knew the words on the tip of his lips before he did. For a while, just after, it was silence all the time. He would glance at her or she at him; no words necessary. A blink, a nod. A kind of shorthand, she thought. Or treason, she heard him think. No one spoke. No one listened. Their new normal.
“You watch too much Forensic Files,” he told his wife. “The Killer You Know.” “Murderous Neighbors.” Yada yada yada. Suspicion invaded her thinking. And she, suffering from cabin fever, her fragile mind so easily swayed. He woke at midnight to see her at their bedroom window, watching their neighbor’s Toyota Hatchback pull into his driveway. The neighbor let it idle for a good ten minutes before he turned off the engine, cut the lights. But still, he sat there, watching the neighbor’s wife’s shadow against the white blind. “I don’t blame him,” the husband thought. He, too, liked the way she moved.
“I’ve always wondered how it will end for me,” the wife admitted. Now she thought she knew. He would fight for her, while she would slide into death as she had into most things. She’d learned the futility of effort-ing. She dreamt of heaven, reunited with dead beloveds—her son, her best friend. Generations of family. How stupid! she thought. Living with an atheist for twenty years had dissuaded her belief in an afterlife. She’d tried, but her son’s death at twenty-six knocked all the God right out of her.
Now when the husband and wife made love they kept their eyes wide, focused on each other. “If I knew it was the last time,” her son’s lover had shared. “I would have paid more attention.” Haunted by her words, the wife paid attention. Made each time feel as if it were the last. The weight of his body, the soap scent of his skin. His hard cock a pleasure between her thighs. How well she slept after orgasm, the husband thought. La petit mort. The little death. “I want to die first,” the wife often said to him. Now it looked like she wo
By Kendall Johnson
That night, Mad Martha slept fitfully as the wind began to blow down canyon. She listened to the yapping coyotes get closer, knowing they were telling her something. Mad felt the cougar, and even smelled it before the distinctive chirping and rough purr could be heard. At first she was afraid and pulled her covers around her. Then she slipped out of bed and pulled aside the curtain.Continue reading...
By Linda S. Gunther
Black ice surrounded Ophelia’s Volvo SUV. Six inches of fresh snow had fallen within 24 hours on top of the 10 inches laid down two days before that; not unusual for the middle of February. She faltered as she stepped from the driver’s seat out into the darkness. The crunch of her boots on the frozen snow sounded loud in the quiet night. The wind was up and she had to reach down to the slippery ice to snatch up her wool scarf. Her courthouse badge had also fallen to the ground. She reached inside the vehicle to grab a flashlight from the seat pocket, slammed the door shut, and pointed the beam of light on the parking lot.Continue reading...
By Andrew Nicholls
Gregory looks not-too-closely at the babysitter in her tight jeans with her tiny teeth and tries to remember his age. When did kids get so brash with their elders? He would never have asked his friends’ parents how old they were.
“Forty-three or forty-two,” he answers. “I forget which.”Continue reading...
By K. Andrew Turner
When Nancy quit mid shift, we had to pick up “the slack” though we were all strung so tight already. Rosie, the head nurse, randomly assigned the now-unattended patients. Even with just one person gone, we all ran room to room, rushing and barely taking care of our charges.Continue reading...
By Stephanie Barbé Hammer
Friends, as we wrap another wonderful issue of SR, I want to share an experience that I had just a few days ago.
My husband and I were driving up the main road that leads to our house, on Whidbey Island when we noticed something had been stickered to the DEAD END sign, where we make our left turn.Continue reading...