Issue Thirty – Summer 2017

Seventeen years and thirty issues!

By The Editors

As with all literary magazines, before we even went “live” with this issue, we’d begun planning for the next… and the next. We’re exploring some changes for SHARK REEF, and we’ll tell you about them when we have more details. For now, we know we’re saying farewell to co-editor for prose, Jeremiah O’Hagan. He’s brought his discerning eye,

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The Young Widow

By Jess Mills

I will put on widows’ weeds.
Everyone will see my sorrow.
In shops, women
will purse up their smiles,
avert their eyes
from the cross-hatch

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By Mark Wyatt

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Silver Falls State Park, Oregon

By Kay Mullen

Silver Falls
State Park, Oregon

We hear it first, the roar of it,
then a glimpse through stands

of cedar fronds and maple limbs
until we see in a clearing the surge
of water pounding down.

The trail winds behind the charge,
droplets of power plunge

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Clouds 1 and 2

By Margot Kahn

He asked me once if I had touched a cloud and what it felt like
and I said soft and his father said cold. And he asked if it was like bed,
like lying down, and we tried to explain that a cloud is only a collection of
tiny particles, water held together by air, a thing that you can be in and pass through
and even touch, but that you cannot hold.

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Land of Oz

By Aimee Mackovic

first place that understood me was Oz
land of misfits, land of ne’er do wells
away from a grey and white life
Oz knew how to fix my heart me

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The Misnomer Renaissance Faire

By Sherry Mossafer Rind

The Airedale woke us, crashing and howling
against the door. John and I watched a coyote leap the fence,
its gold melting into the dark wood
and our hen a limp ribbon in its teeth.

The dog tracked scattered chicks

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Revolution in Croquet

By Eugenia Toledo

Let’s knit a shawl so the women can spend a warm winter
let’s make it of basil and thyme for the pregnant mother
and of dried corn leaves for the country girl
let’s knit a shawl to cover her shoulders
let’s do it for all the women of this storm-colored sky

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Lapis Lazuli

By Eugenia Toledo

Sometimes the streets turn to memory
the cities imagine others
in that distance between words
between dream and reality
stories seeking refuge

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Holy Knight

By Debra Solomon Baker

It is the night before Lee Staebler’s birthday and we have just uncorked the ten dollar bottle of red wine that I picked up from the Walgreens on the corner. There’s no living room here, no collection of Waterford standing guard behind the glass doors of a maple chest, so I flag down Nurse, who is in the dank hallway, and request two plastic Dixie cups from her stash. These babies are normally reserved…

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The Elusive Miss Churchill

By Judith Works

About the only enticement encouraging me to sort second-hand books in the dank room under our local sports stadium is the prospect of finding a signed first edition signed by a major author – unlikely, although not unheard of. The thousands of books are contributed by local citizens for our annual Friends of the Library sale, the proceeds going to sponsor library programs.

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Alongside the Pool

By Rajeev Prasad

Based on the movement of stars and planets in the galactic realm, the Hindu priest had set their mother’s death anniversary for tomorrow at the Livermore temple just east of San Francisco. The three sisters were all spending the weekend at Tej’s house. The last time the siblings had been together, they’d watched their mother dissolving under white sheets and morphine infusions.

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Moving Parts

By Wayne Cresser

A week and a half ago, this place had been a hub, a veritable mart of commerce, a rainbow soap bubble of bargain-hunting consumers. Now in the post-Christmas void of aisle after desolate aisle, out of whatever ambience the house sound system was chasing—old hit parade stuff, “one toke over the line, Sweet Jesus,” or “Proud Mary keep on turning, churning, burning”—one of those, I could hear him coming before I ever saw him.

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By Wes Blake

I sit drinking coffee at the kitchen table looking out the back window over the pasture, all the way to the fence where our land ends. I see our sycamore tree is starting to bloom and block out part of the neighbor’s junk pile. I look over the pasture, scanning from the big cedar in the middle, standing in front of a bigger pin oak, to the left—past the run-in, fenced paddock and honeysuckle, back over to

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Set of Christmas Plates, Mixed Years

By Kathleen Flanagan Rollins

The plates showed up at my front door in a box labeled “fragile” and filled with foam padding and layers of bubble wrap. Deep inside, the contents lay separated by tissue paper and cardboard: five collectible Christmas plates I had bought on E-bay when the seller accepted my bid.

Royal Copenhagen holiday plates are blue and white dessert-size plates marked with

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By Matthew Bruce Harrison

Three months gone in the wedding season
and I’d mostly been sticky. I went swimming
in the Snake River in Idaho. Got in it in Oregon
and kept still. The current pushed me back to Idaho. So
I did it again. It was good to be a strange head floating

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What My Grandmother Said the Last Time I Saw Her

By Kirk Vandyke

Come back
when the sun
comes back
I’m tired

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The Arena’s Lights Burn Brighter When You’re Down in the Pit

By Jim Trainer

what happens these days is what happens
for the rest of your life
the present moment clanging like
a migraine, or an alarm
going off so long you can’t hear it anymore

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Up Near Alta Peak, January 20, 2017

By John Brantingham

It’s still mosquito summer in the High Sierra
when we push up above 10,000 feet,
only Annie and me and a dryad
we come across tied forever to her foxtail pine.

She’s been sitting up here

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On Trump’s Election

By Shannon Perry

If I encounter knife-edged voices
I will remember cool water running
in a strong stream
I will let the water be my voice.

If I encounter cold indifference

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By Lowell Jaeger

Mounds of black scat on the trail.
Rotted hemlock clawed and scattered.
A branch snaps. Forest silence shattered
by rocks knocked loose cliff-side, hail
of scree. Even birds and blackflies freeze

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Mother’s Last Hula

By Michael H. Sato

On her deathbed paralyzed by a stroke she broke everyone’s heart
By doing a hula with the right hand she could still move. Her eyes
Closed, her mouth locked in what might have been a smile, her hand
Held for a moment the clouds that gathered over the Ko’olaus,
Then flowed with the streams that tumbled down to the sea.

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Everybody Got the Fever

By Sheila Bender

You wowed us with the horse’s neigh you taught
yourself to imitate so well that neighbors
thought we kept one in our house.

On the wall, as I remember it, a painting of a charcoal
colored horse on a pink background, a treasure

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By Linda Conroy

In half-shade that signifies the close
of night I see the faded quarter- moon
poised mute above the faint skyline.
A silence of birds sits in winter pine.
The stillness of the dawn is tangible.
I sense her at a distance with no color yet,

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Endings and Beginnings

By Aimee Mackovic

It feels like the world is coming to an end
you muse as we walk. Some twang guitar drifts
near the party we just left. You’re calm. A smile
tries itself on your lips almost convinced to land
despite such a mood. The sun is dropping its beautiful hammer

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Joe and Marilyn

By Aimee Mackovic

“I’ll finally get to see Marilyn” were your final
perfect words. The last of the rose petals
faded decades ago, but your torch was so primal,
never flickered. What’s it take, then? What kind of metal
turns the dregs of life into a love like that?

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