Issue Twenty-Eight – Summer 2016

A Short Bit about Magic and Miracles

By Jeremiah O'Hagan

I think the magic of reading and writing is the startling places to which it whisks our brains and emotions, most notably the places inside ourselves that we’ve forgotten or didn’t know about in the first place.


I said that not long ago. I got to be part of the June 3 “Local Writers Read,” sponsored by SHARK REEF and Lopez Bookshop, and when I was asked to give a little bio and a few quotations to be used in my introduction, that’s what I said.


I was wrong.

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The Rash Diaries

By Lisa Regen

I wake up every morning, and think that I am strong enough not to have coffee. But the truth is, I have coffee anyway. This is how it unfolds. I lie in bed thinking, I feel pretty good. The rash isn’t too bad at the moment. I should probably start a detox diet today. I’ll just wake up, have a little decaffeinated green tea, then something like fruit and

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By Carol L. Gloor

For me: a train forever west, fragrance of old steel, engine smoke.
By day, the view car: wraparound glass and free chardonnay,
always west through fields of new corn,
muscled mountains, whitewater river,
occasional deer, cinnamon feathered ducklings.

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How You Could Understand

By Steve Jeffries

If you wrote love letters to Mickey and Roger and Yogi,
If you waited all day for the call, just
to see if you made the team;

If your dad went to meetings about diamonds

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By Kenneth Pobo

The learned professor who doesn’t have a cat says to young writers: All you have to write about is your life. Rubbish!

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Navigating the Cultural Practices of Suburban Wisconsinites

By Drew Attana

I learned to listen for the low squeak
of cheese curds between my teeth,

that noise matching the satisfaction
of new flavor and even newer family,

and you and I sat somewhere inside

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Perfect Timing

By Leslie Hill

I lie awake in the darkness and laugh out loud. The sound wakens Stewart from a shallow sleep.

“What’s funny?”

“I’m happy,” I say and he murmurs something and sleeps again.

I don’t tell him I am laughing with delight because he’s here, in my bed,

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A Shave at the Evacuation Camp

By Stefanie Freele

A place is cleared for the barber, moving aside boxes of donated diapers, baby food, bibs, tampons. The tarp he stretches over the well-stomped dirt is the green color of a bountiful spring, in direct contrast to the cold rain pouring beyond the awning.

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In Lage’s Country

By Mark Rozema

Viewed from a great height, the Eureka Creek watershed looks like a human ear. You can see the ear from a jet plane, or in a satellite photograph, or on a topographical map. You can’t see the ear when you are in it. In fact, in the North Cascades, you can seldom see the true and complete shape of a watershed while you are in it—especially if you are below

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Might As Well Live

By Mary Black

I relax as my car slides under the edge of the large truck. Huge double tires rush toward my windshield. Screech. The car swerves in a circle. Bang. The air bag slams into my chest. A giant hand seems to push me violently back in the seat. Immediately the bag deflates, and I slump forward. The car bangs into the median and stops with a lurch. Something

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The Drowned

By Courtney Miller Santo

Jade’s clearest memory is of the night her mother tried to drown her. She recalls loud, hysterical laughter as Jade told knock-knock joke after knock-knock joke. Tank who? Boo who? Olive who? Her mother laughed so hard she cried, and then the walls of the small bathroom were closing in on the two of them.

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By Patti White

How she hated thunder. How she sat so still and quiet when the tornado came and then hated the thunder even more, and the hard rain, and even a winter wind. And how she walked in the mist and drank wild water from the gutter, refusing the silver water bowl, wanting to drink the sky.

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Rapid City Coming Down

By Kristin Kolb

We are en route to Denver, Colorado. The sun is setting over the desolate Nevada mountains. Simple red dirt and sage brush. The landscape is wiry, stark. The peaks are far away. I want to run to them.

The sky is huge. Casinos and motels and RV camp sites appear as soon as you leave the High Sierras of California. We descend.

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Cannon Beach

By Wayne Johnston

I first met the Pacific Ocean at Cannon Beach when I was a kid. Tourists hadn’t taken over the town yet and it felt like we had the beach to ourselves. The vastness, and how puny I felt at the edge of the ocean was like looking into space at the moon and stars. The sense of amazement, the size and power of all that water, the sound of it breaking on the

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American Pornography: Rejected Free Press Interview With Sunny California

By William Monette

Sunny California began her career in director Pierre Woodman’s film, “The Good, the Bad, and the Naughty,” a wild-west themed hardcore film featuring—among others—stars Eva Angelina and Tori Black (just prior to her retirement from the industry). Sunny appeared in a segment with another rising starlet, Scarlett Gray, in a lesbian love scene.

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By Heidi Nibbelink

My husband is dead; I can finally tell the truth.

Endings have always been hard for me. The end of this story, my telling of what happened, how it unfolded like the wings of an origami crane and then kept unfolding until it was nothing more than blank paper too wrinkled for use, will probably go awry. I’ll be compelled to tidy up,

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The Way We Meet

By Blair Hurley

It’s in Chicago’s Shedd aquarium of all places.

I’m there on a rainy weekday, one of those rare times when the great marble-columned front hall isn’t rebounding with children’s voices. Only the unemployed would be there at such a time, poking around the water snake tanks in the dark corners of the jungle habitat. Only the people

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The Certainty of the Anna’s Hummingbird

By Sherry Mossafer Rind

Against the dirty clouds he’s no bigger than a word
and the waves of his tinny chirp drift
across the yard before falling noiselessly,
dusting the bare lilac tree without waking it.
He does not know, of course, he can drop dead

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By Joan Colby

The oribatid soil mite is a one-man band,
A Rube Goldberg concoction.
Green, orange, purple, pink,
Grotesque with a bluster of tendrils. Devilishly
Clever as the curse or blessing

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Nothing is Forgotten in Argentina

By Mark Trechock

I ride the Buenos Aires colectivo,
behind a man my age, his brown
pants not quite a match for the coat,
a meticulous dark Windsor knot
slipped through a turned white collar,

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The Afflicted

By Charles O'Hay

R was born a clock. In the beginning his parents had to wind him every two hours. Nobody slept. Then the treatments started to work. Within a month he was a calendar.

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By Peter Kuentzel

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