Issue Thirty-Three – Winter 2019

Who Decides?

By Stephanie Barbé Hammer

“Who decides what is good writing?” I asked my Composition students at Edmonds Community College this past fall.

We traded ideas. In the end, the answer was:

Us. We decide what is good.

That’s exactly right.

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Visual Art

By Emily Gray Koehler

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In Shock

By Alan Ferland

he combined consonances
and vowels that escaped your mouth
crawl, unhurried, from across the room
into my ears. Yet, they are as difficult
to decipher as hieroglyphics.

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By Anne Pitkin

Crickets and katydids shrilled
through the summer nights, along with music
from the shantytown taverns–

and lightning bugs like struck match embers
floated on a sea of night air.

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By Christopher Nye

Wanton, verb, “to waste or squander,” thus
to want on and on beyond the musical measures
life provides, over the hump of happiness, and into
precincts where Conscience fades like a distant
radio signal and Temptation spreads
a pretty cloth over a soiled table.

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Summer Stock Story

By Joseph Eastburn

I was headed to Theatre-by-the-Sea in Rhode Island. I’d gotten the part of von Trapp, or the Captain, as he was known, in The Sound of Music at because I was tall, had a mature look (due to a receding hairline), and so could conceivably be a widowed former naval officer who had fathered seven children. I was twenty-nine years old, but looked forty-two. Also, I could sing, thanks to my father’s patient voice lessons, and was emotionally not unlike von Trapp,

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Some Kind of Smoke Signal

By Alya Bohr

There’s this video of my dad and me lighting our hands on fire at the kitchen table. It starts with him walking around the kitchen, opening and closing cupboards. He must have been looking for something—I’m sure he was looking for something—but a small part of me wonders if maybe he was doing it just for fun. This is the same man, after all, who dragged home a hay bale for us to practice “knife throwing” on mere hours

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By Rich Ives

Occasionally I seem to fall into myself, and I have a limited number of holes to accommodate that, which is to say I’m capable, one chance in five, of being an asshole.

You see, I’ve just gotten out of bed and I remember some things I said and did yesterday while I’m trying to make some pancakes look and smell like pancakes before I taste them, and I’ve reached the point where flippancy is the other side of intensity and both of them have burned the pancakes.

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Around Water

By Paul Ilechko

Swimming pool children
gleam flawless blonde smiles.
Coffee-colored daughter spirals
outward, opens her eyes
to the fearful kiss of wind

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By Ronald Pelias

In its cocoon
the promise of the flutter,
the wind’s ride, the wings’ will.

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Funereal Rite

By Susan Rae Sampson

Some people recoiled
when I told what I knew
my father would want:
His ashes scattered

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Coast Starlight on the Home Meridian

By Tara K. Shepersky

The train has cut my moorings, and they trail behind in a long and lonely wake. Simi
Valley Station is, to Amtrak’s tight schedule, the briefest of flirtations, and it’s been anhour. On the southeast horizon, the Santa Monica Mountains keep signalling home.

I am going a long way north on the line called the Coast Starlight,

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One Small Thing

By Paul Ilechko

The trash bags had been outside too long.
The gray boards of the deck faded in the sun,
the steps down to the back alley blackening in the shade.

The bags were split, their contents turned

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My House of Refugees

By Eugenie Simpson

In the kitchen a stew
of chickpeas and county corn
cassia bark and chicharron
plantain yam
crumbly cheese and bitter asafoetida.

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What Comes

By Ronald Pelias

Summer’s onslaught arrived
with a dry wind
and a sun, pounding down,
day after day.
The ground, parched,
cracked open.

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By Joseph Chaney

On a street leading away from
the palace, motorized rickshaws
stand. The drivers shout. And we, ten-
thousand kilometers from home,

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By Kristin LaFollette

but not really.
When you have no choice,
you can make your body do
almost anything.

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Three Pieces of Paper Left

By Laura Merleau

I am looking for a mask.
Tired and hungry and
breathing dust from arid
mountains blowing
across the city cold hot

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My Ticket to Russia

By Laura Merleau

How many times will I pack
my suitcases with so many
layers of sweaters, tights,
wool coat, gloves, scarf, hat,
boots – yes, get ready for

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Paid Up

By Jayne Marek

Close your eyes.
You have already paid
for this soft towel
with four bright colors
smooth against your cheek.

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Cruise Girls

By Carol Park

Kim gazed out the huge windows of Sea View Dining. Outside the cruise ship was blue without borders. No end to its sapphires. The window rose from floor to ceiling and on either side a line of huge, spotless rectangles of glass continued, rimming the expanse of the hall. Behind her on the various food lines was a profusion of cuisines and food displayed. Though she and Jawayne usually ate downstairs with other staff, today they enjoyed privilege—a dining hall meant for guests.

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Grandpa’s House

By Ewa Mazierska

Grandpa was a hero and a martyr. During the war he fought with the Nazis, was caught by the Gestapo and sent to a concentration camp, where he spent well over two years. When the war was over, he struggled with the Polish communists. This, however, did not prevent him from having a career as he was arguably the best specialist in shipbuilding this side of the Berlin Wall

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By Dahna Cohen

Snake fangs appeared in the mirror. Sharp and grizzled white, pointed towards the surrounding emptiness, drawing more from the dark space than the matter it occupied.
The powder room by the kitchen, small and poorly ventilated, smelled acrid, but still vaguely reminiscent of a home cooked meal, not the strictly bathroom smell of piss and shit, but like food that had only just begun to digest, a little too sweet.

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By Thomas Kearnes

The first time Aras stumbled into the backyard, drunk and grinning, I didn’t think much of it. He’d no doubt found some hot dick and lost the ability to say no. I looked up and instantly knew the whole story. I’d seen gay men on television. No matter what you are, there’s a show made just for you. The house manager, Luther, had sprung for deluxe cable: movie channels, sports, music, whatever freaky shit TLC slaps on the screen.

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