Issue Twenty – Summer 2012

Adventures in Reading and Writing

By The Editors

Writing is an adventure. We often start out heading in one direction with a piece and, many drafts later, find ourselves moving down another completely undreamed of path. Reading is another kind of adventure. When we begin, we might think we know where the writer is taking us and, again, wonderfully, end up going down

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A Tenuous State

By Gretchen Wing

Sunlight dripped through the liquidambar trees caged in large planters around the cafe patio, etching star-shaped leaf-shadows on the white tabletops. The small expanse of red brick formed an island of old-world security lapped by suburban concrete, the trees

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The Root People

By Maria Brandt

Scattered leaves cover the stage floor, the suggestion of roots and trees nearby. We are in a forest clearing, the river not far away. Two girls, 16. ELIZABETH guides a blindfolded SAMANTHA, called SAM.

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This Thing She Is Now

By Jenni Tooley

Mary Lou’s tits are no longer the size of pert silver dollars. Her silver dollar tits are more like silver dollars accidentally dropped in an Insinkerator garbage disposal–dulled and marred by the spinning blades. Silver dollars that need to be taken out of circulation.

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Wednesdays at the Club

By Michelle Morouse

It’s a bombshell, lobbed between gasps. Mom’s having a decent day, meaning she can talk, but she tears up, straining to continue. “I met him in college. Your Dad and I were separated for a few months. He knew.”

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Class Meeting

By Martha Rosenthal

Jessie started every Monday morning with a class meeting in a circle on the rug in the back of the room. It made the transition from weekend to school week a little easier on her and, oh yes, gave her students a chance to practice their listening and speaking skills.

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Approved for Occupancy

By Janet Buttenwieser

Whiskey-colored oak floors. Peeling linoleum. Moldy shower. Swirled backsplash tile posing as Italian import, actually imported from China via Home Depot. One dark bedroom for unproductive reproduction, for post-surgical recovery.

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Crash

By Jeremiah O'Hagan

Some of your students will die. This is something teacher-ed classes don’t prepare you for. Your students might die tangled in the trees of a ravine, car parts strewn like confetti, or they might commit suicides, the whole world in front of them. But no one pulls you aside and tells you that. You have to learn the hard way.

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Last Afternoon

By Katherine Sand

‘Good Luck and Have a Nice Life’ read the handwritten message in the middle of the card. Anyone examining it would be left in no doubt that the well-wisher, who signed herself ‘loadsaluv Jasmine,’ had gone to particular trouble in composing and presenting her greeting.

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The Tale of Ma’s Chair and What Happened to it at Auction

By Kaye Linden

Ma scratched the stubble on her ninety year old chin. “You want me to paint a chair?”

Her friend Stephanie nodded. “One we can auction. Just fix up an old chair and give it that ‘Ma’ look.”

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Somewhere in L. A.

By Steve Newton

After heading to the grocery store to pick up a quart of milk and a box of animal crackers, Jade must have had some trouble navigating the three block return trip home to the falling down shack of a house we shared in Iowa City, because it was a week later that she called me collect from Paris.

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Shakespeare Unplugged

By Susan Foster Hale

Danny is a lanky sophomore in my 3rd period literature class. He has shaggy brown hair under a baseball cap and jeans that ride at least four inches below the belt. He sits right in front of the overhead in my classroom where I spend most of my time. We are reading Shakespeare’s Macbeth aloud together as a class.

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Tomatoes

By Kimberly Lundstrom

Doris pulled the last jar of the summer’s tomatoes from the shelf and set it on the counter. She’d have to ask Liz to get on the stepstool and bring the rest of those beans down lower where she could get at them. Robert put them up for her like he always had, with no thought that he wouldn’t be there to get them down.

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Photographs

By Terry Bebertz

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Mixed media

By Sandra Dowd

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Encaustic

By Linda Cordner

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Seeing the Tree

By Dorothy Trogdon

We must be watchful,
sort out at any given moment,
the day’s disturbance from what
lies beneath and endures,

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Instinct

By Nalini Davison

You
do not love
what I love, yet
want to come into my body
and take possession of something

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A Graphologist’s Nightmare

By Robert Hoffman

I have a gift. Yes, I can channel your living
mother by examining her handwriting.
No, she won’t feel a thing. A simple sample
is enough – a 3 X 5 recipe card will do . . .

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Vagrant Waltz

By Sylvia Byrne Pollack

It’s time in mid-summer
to think about nothing,
turn from ideas,
make ice cream instead,
float on a raft of popsicle sticks.

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Prague

By Marina Rubin

To the girl in a striped dress
standing by the side of the road
like a ladybug with painted lips
as trucks trumpet and honk

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Confines

By Mercedes Lawry

Wind in the wheat.
She hears the sounds,
a grieving similar to her own.
Thready clouds obscure
the sun, making a milky light.

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She Asked

By Jacob Kulju

Without knowing how,
she asked
with every part of herself she knew how to use.
She slept curled in a question mark

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One Voice

By Ande Finley

This is the sound of one voice.
One note
beyond music
shimmering like fire
in the darkest ghetto

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Cold Comfort

By Dan Pettee

Cold comfort it was, the setting sun’s
waning rays smoothing through the rain-
drenched tree branches, nature’s stealth
beyond the ravaged plants; cold

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Hillar

By Shay Belisle

For months, I sleep curled against Hillar’s long, sinewy body, feeling his skin stretched over the solid structure like a thin layer of bread dough. We don’t talk much about our pasts or futures but I am content with simply having him near me. I know things about him without him having to say anything.

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