I can almost feel the give of the wall, how with enough pressure it will flex, snap, crumble. How a sledgehammer might feel in the hand, the swing of it, the heft, heaving in an arc to lodge in the wall with a satisfying smack. The pile of rubble at my feet. Destroying a thing to remake it. Not quite a Phoenix. No fire. Just cold, a hard edge into something you love. The necessary repair. The field that flowers around the debris.Continue reading...
Issue Thirty-Five – Winter 2020
By Cati Porter
By Hilary Schaper
I didn’t attend your memorial service. I was sick. I wouldn’t have gone anyway. I did watch it online though. The last image of you in the photo gallery still haunts me. I want to turn away. Instead, I return to it over and over, searching for you. Against the glare of a late afternoon sky, you stand in front of the sports arena, in the shadow of the massive bronze statue of Magic Johnson. The hoopster’s jersey and shorts ripple under his powerfulContinue reading...
By Nancy Scott
I like to think
that my conception
brought her pleasure—
this trinket-box body
and blond doll’s head.
By J. Arthur Scott
Henry lay on his back with his eyes shut tight against the sun. His little brother, Lee, had socked him in the belly, and he was catching his wind as the grass walked up his arms and legs like insects. A neighbor was mowing her lawn a few houses down the way, and the noise separated into a whine and a rumble that chased each other over the fences and flowerbeds of the neighborhood. Henry tried sitting up and winced. Lee would have to pay for this.Continue reading...
By Carolyne Wright
The daily demonstrations (one day for, the next day against President Salvador Allende) were ranging through the streets, and Santiago’s entire downtown area, including the access road to the airport, was barricaded off. But before I could make my way to the airport for the afternoon flight, I had to collect my departure documents from the airline office downtown. The salvoconducto, the all-important safe-conduct pass and exit visaContinue reading...
By Paul C. Rosenblatt
After my brother died my parents pretty much stopped talking to each other and to me. I thought we were the saddest, most depressed family in the world. I never saw my parents laugh. We never went anywhere together and never even looked much at one another. And they definitely didn’t want me to ask them questions. Day after day of sadness and pretending to be a family.Continue reading...
By Tara K. Shepersky
Looking for myself again
and also trying to lose her
when gray began ungathering toward morning
I anchored my body to beach beside the river.
By Young Smith
In the river, the water moves
swiftly over moss-covered stones.
On the banks, rhododendrons and magnolias,
their branches dragging in the current.
By K. Andrew Turner
The scent of fresh-cut grass assaulted me, like the raucous play of the children in the park across the street. I squinted from the bright light. Several cars crept by, music streaming from their open windows. Rex, on his leash, whined. I had the plastic bag at the ready, sweat dripping from my clenched fist. He pulled on my arm to run toward the park, but I hushed him. He’d just have to go here, in the small strip of city lawn. Rex whimperedContinue reading...
By Andrew Alexander
I was lucky. I had enough rags wrapped around my toes that the frost ceased to grasp me with terror. The shed was sixty feet long and eighteen feet wide and its only entry was a door-less seven-foot-wide opening.Continue reading...
By Ace Boggess
let each day decide what’s best for a broken beast
like me, like anyone shackled to one existential crisis
or another. why choose breath when the murderer
wraps his meaty garrote around your throat?Continue reading...
By Jacob Butlett
I could be a silver butterfly clip in
an airplane passenger’s auburn hair.
Or I could be red-tinted glasses in
a taxi rider’s tan satchel.
I could hold the hand of the man at
the train station, clutch his
callouses like a lover, like a glove.
By Chet Corey
There is a pleasure
in lifting the lid and stirring
ham & split-pea soup
my wife has left simmering.
It draws me out of myself
to set whatever I’m doing
By Garth Miró
My coke dealer refuses to sell me heroin (dealers seem to think there’s some moral line in the sand, that if they cross they’ll vaporize), and Dilaudid might as well be plutonium the way doctors clam up when you fake sciatica these days, so sometimes, I am forced to resort to drinking buckets of what they, the desperate, call “poppy seed tea.” This diabolical mixture consists of about a pound and a half of unwashed poppy seeds, which can beContinue reading...
By John Brantingham
By the time Eddie and Shonda have gotten out of the car and gone around the back for the picnic basket, the blanket and some extra jackets, their son Billy has made friends with some other kids in the park who are throwing pine cones at each other. One yells, “Die you mother” in a squeaky preteen scream and falls on Billy who is laughing and chases after him.Continue reading...
By Gary Lundy
as if your life depended upon it.
orchestrate the strings section to interrupt precisely at this moment.
beat an agreeable outcome.
flavorful commerce and furloughed foreclosures.Continue reading...
By Stephanie Barbé Hammer
We are hearing and reading lot about of powerful men in the news these days. Our president for one, and the many men who support him. These men admire and are drawn to other men. Men with guns and men with money. Or with both. And of course, men with oil.
Then there are interruptions of that power. Angela Merkel visiting the Auschwitz death camp and reminding Germans that there is no way around that history. Our own Nancy PelosiContinue reading...
By Susan J. Erickson
Neurda called watermelon the green whale of summer.
Sprinkled with salt, I call it the holy grail of summer.
Driving the farm-to-market road to the cancer clinic
for your last visit, let us praise each hay bale of summer.
By Lisa Friedlander
Suddenly birds. Doves. They chant through all the lonely holes in the universe. Before going out, I stop by the kitchen window and see a small fox crossing the driveway from trees to trees. And later, at dusk, five white tailed deer nose around and disappear into the newly leafing foliage. I imagine them there at night, even the fisher cat I saw the other day crossing the road, hidden, tucked into the trees, but still there, heartsContinue reading...
By Kathleen Holliday
Like a thatched cottage
on a windswept isle
this edifice too, will settle,
sink slowly, thistle-deep
By James Croal Jackson
The machine shut down after clicks and pops– the screen
flickered bright then dimmed and faded low into near-
zero invisibility. You said our love had become that,
crying into the dark on my chest. I couldn’t feel the tears,