Issue Thirty-Two – Summer 2018

This Issue Dedicated to Alie Smaalders
October 21, 1923 – March 12, 2018
SHARK REEF Cofounder, Writer, Literary Citizen, Mentor Extraordinaire

By Lorna Reese

This is the story of how SHARK REEF came to be and of the remarkable woman, writer and friend, who modeled what it is to be a writer.

“Writers grow on the trees on Lopez,” Alie Smaalders announced to me in our early days together in the late 1990s. It did seem true. Memory is hazy at best but in my mind’s eye, I still see fellow writer Laurie Parker and me stopping on the wooden library steps

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Visual Art

By Marshall Crossman

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View from the Bottom of the Hourglass Economy

By Lita Kurth

I can feel past my wallet
almost all the way
to Five Guy Burgers’
big red letters
not today
maybe payday

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By Sandra Kolankiewicz

The point is what allows the rest of the
arrowhead to enter the flesh of a
honey crisp apple set on the fence post
while you reach back over your shoulder toward
your quill, intent on splitting the fruit in

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There will not be a train

By Rose Mary Boehm

They never saw it coming,
and there is no other transport.
Angels in handcuffs,
wings clippedclose to the shoulder blades.
Large suitcases left behindat the border

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From Grey’s Ferry, 1999

By Jim Trainer

I’m not sure that what flared
was regulation or if anyone
was on shift or firewatch
or if that ghost-plume after it
was noxious and deadly
but I caught something so violent,

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Cinnamon Bun

By Sandra Kolankiewicz

People are generous except when they
aren’t, so much to either share or envy,
little indifference in between. Thank
you for handing me half your cinnamon
bun and part of the napkin that came with it,

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What Hours Were These Ours

By Chet Corey

The ends of weeks–
their mornings, middle hours.
Beginnings. Once
when I brought forgiveness
from my rock garden,
gone two years neglected:

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I Contemplate Change while Reading Bleak House at Galley Bay

By Barbara Bloom

I dip into this tale of displaced children,
orphaned, waiting on their fortunes,
this summer of my own displacement.
The house has sold, my husband tells me,
his voice hollowed out by the phone.
We have to be out in sixty days.

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Persian Lessons

By Ellen Estilai

It was my need to belong that drove me to learn Persian. I prided myself on my command of the idiom. The secret to my steep learning curve was pretending. Make-believe was my major strategy. I was not content to merely memorize verb conjugations and the uses of the subjunctive. My tactic early on was to convince myself that I was Iranian. Even before I had the vocabulary, I had mastered the cadence of a Persian sentence. I

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A Little God in my Coffee

By Janet R. Kirchheimer

God dropped by last Tuesday morning, sat right down at my kitchen table, introduced Himself, and asked if I wanted to have coffee and some conversation. Believe me, I was thrilled He decided to come to my apartment, but all I could think about was why didn’t He remember that I don’t drink coffee. Perhaps God was using it in that generic way – let’s meet and have something to drink.

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Elephant Shoe

By Dwight Livingstone Curtis

They stopped for gas and lunch and to clean the windshield. The pump was in front of a bar called the Hitching Post in the town of Melrose. It was cold and the air from the Jeep’s heater had been getting cooler and cooler and Jack had three theories. One, there was a new air bubble in the heater core. Two, the core itself was bad and filling with rust as fast as he could flush it out. It wouldn’t be long before he needed to

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College Education or Desert Walkabout in Indian Madras

By Cynthia Stock

he night I escaped the sinewy charms of Don Baker, I ran down the rocky dirt road from the drive-in, dodged behind garbage cans, and sidled into the recessed doorways of a strip mall to avoid being seen when Don drove by in his VW van. I walked home from that very scary date and swore to myself “Never again.”

A sophomore at Arizona State University, I thought I knew everything about college, men, and, oh yes, life.

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Twenty-One Minutes Before the Hour

By Alie Wiegersma Smaalders

“It’s twenty-one minutes before the hour.”

The radio announcer’s voice is cheerful, but the words sound ominous. Before the hour of what. Death? I shudder.

It’s early morning when I hear this on the radio and my sleepy mind panics as I’m trying to think of everything I ought to do before I die.

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By Mary Senter

If there is no body, is there no crime?
Her killer will always be free.

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Staring at Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”

By Scott T. Starbuck

You thought you were a winged being
until you came to Earth and fought

for a parking spot when late

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Spanish Moss

By Loukia M. Janavaras

It is Spanish moss
I fell in love with,
lace around a Live Oak tree
its feathery fingers dangling
from lengthy limbs,

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Visiting My Ex-Lover’s Cabin Twenty Years After the Affair

By Alexis Rhone Fancher

His walls are an altar to our May/December tryst, framed nude drawings of a teenaged me. Back when my body was flawless, his hand, steady, his lust so palpable, sparks flew off the paper.

We met at Christmas. I had been dumped by my first love. He welcomed me into his lair.

Now, in his ramshackle cabin near Santa Cruz,

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Two Crows

By Sherry Mossafer Rind

New to this place, I hear a crash
and see my neighbor loading his recycle bin
hidden from the street. Face set to his work
he doesn’t see me at the kitchen sink

waiting for songbirds in the boundary trees.

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As If We’d Walked Through Fire Together

By Kay Mullen

In the back yard of my neighbor’s house,
a face forms from corkscrew willow:
hair line and brows of twigs, the branch end’s
dark eyes partially hidden by ferns.

My sister’s features brighten in the sun’s

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By Sarah Johnson

Morris Louis lived from 1912 to 1962, a life that spanned two World Wars, a war on drugs, a war on love, a war on fruitcake, and a war on the abstract expressionists. Morris Louis painted in drips, thinning his paint and letting it run in rivulets down the canvas, pooling into a muddy brown on the drop cloth. It can have the effect of looking accidental. He is generally considered to be in the school of My Child Could Paint That.

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The Man in the Costume

By Michael H. Sato

In your final days you entered the stage in a body
Near skeletal, with skin the feel of parchment ready
To tear, with that smell of sullen sweetness—was it
Cheap perfume from the last user who took that prop
As his own to exit from what he called his life?

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By Susan Rae Sampson

of the time:
There were two kingdoms of living things,
animals and plants.
Fungi were classed as plants

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By Susan Rae Sampson

When I was two years old
and never quiet, you said
you’d toss me in the Plymouth coupe
and take me for a ride.
Only seeing the Oregon countryside

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