Issue Twenty-Six – Summer 2015

Taking Risks

By Jeremiah O'Hagan

I want to be unabashedly forthright: Jon Pearson’s “Saving Santa” is not only my favorite piece in this edition of SHARK REEF, it is my favorite piece I’ve read in a long time.

That includes taking my eighth-grade students on a six-week romp through poetry, reading essays by E.B. White, Scott Russell Sanders, Annie

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Sparks Fly

By Christine Terp Madsen

Boston, being an economical city,
and Cambridge, being nearby, like to put
their bridges to multi-purposes, especially
when space is tight, as it tends to be wherever
a bridge is needed, given the wiles of rivers:

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Across Divides – Analysis of a Theme

By Phyllis Brotherton

I take my backpack and travel across town,
knock on my son’s door and ask to enter.
We sit on his immaculate floor, our voices echoing
through order, white t-shirts and blue jeans in the open
closet, standing guard.

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By Dan Raphael

I wondered why so many empty parking spaces
Then looked up and saw the lid of the sky had been removed,
Thousands of bodies gushing upwards

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By Jenny Natapow

Girl holding a chicken

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By Michael Lambert

Atlantic, b/w photo

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Visual Art

By Amanda McCauley

Moss Jacket  Pressed flowers on handpainted art-board, sealed in encaustic wax, decorative dyed moss, fig vine, sunflower petals, chocolate cosmos, horsetail bamboo, mini-pine cones, 33” x 27”

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Visual Art

By Ginny Neece

Turquoise Mirage Pastel

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Mrs. Schutzmann’s Corset

By Penny Kohn

Mrs. Schutzmann’s pudgy hands danced over the keyboard, her flabby arms swayed, her powdery face soft, alive with the music of Johannes Brahms. The music my mother listened to on the radio was nothing like this. Her music was loud and rhythmic–bangy. This music poured out as if it was coming from some

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A Year in Iowa

By Richard Luftig

I listened for signs of life but heard only the hiss and pop of the coffee that I put on myself. Sarah hadn’t come downstairs. She was in another bout of depression.

She was taking antidepressants but all it had done was cause her to gain ten pounds—which made her even more depressed—and

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Saving Santa

By Jon Pearson

And brushing my teeth, I think of Santa Claus and the North Pole and how round it is at the top of the world and how small my hand is, holding my toothbrush, going back and forth. The sink is white as snow, and there in the snow I can see the reindeer with their big round eyes. I don’t want to spit in the sink

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The Reckoning

By Rebecca Waller

Fire ripped through her right kneecap as she slammed herself onto the hard floor, pulling the boy to her left down with her. The linoleum was slippery, warm, wet. The blood was coming from everywhere, deep pools of it swallowing and suffocating. The boy was choking and screaming, trying to crawl away from her tightly balled fist that held desperately to the leg of his black jeans.

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A Loan to God

By Robert Wexelblatt

In the old days Italians must have had a lot of fun insulting each other. I don’t doubt they still do, but the difference is that many of the medieval jibes turned into family names. Before I married I was a Calvo (“Baldie”). When I was growing up we had neighbors named Nasato (“Big Nose”) and a street over was a

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Go, Dog. Go! Stay, Dog. Stay!

By Wayne Cresser

Norm lay in bed, aware of a sudden dampness on his skin and a bitter taste rising in his throat, poking the back of his mouth with acid fingers. It was awful. He propped himself up on an elbow and coughed. His head pounded and he glanced at the clock radio on the plant table, its face blurred by a thick layer of

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Rapid City

By Nora Hennick

Seb and Anne arrived at Franco’s past midnight. Anne had been sick all day, hungover from their night in Idaho Falls. After getting her fake ID confiscated by a bouncer, Anne joined Seb back at the hotel, where they spent the night drinking Heinekens, half-watching Larger Than Life, and fucking

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By Diane Lechleitner

It snowed all night but now bright morning sun beamed through the large front window of the barbershop. Kel Abendroth leaned back in the same worn red leather chair he’d sat in the first Saturday of every month since he was four-years old. He was relaxed and drowsy, enjoying the warm sunshine while the barber

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The Mastery of Light

By Chet Corey

Light allowed in
through a dormer window.

Its insistence of radiance
fills the corner of the room,
back wall, stiff wimple.

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Mugabe to Seize White-Owned Farms

By Jonathan May

During break in school, all of us
from grade four cluttered
around the monkey-gland
tree—its gnarled limbs
stretched out flowerless,

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From Whence We Came

By Gina Warren

The air is damp and soft with recent rain, heavy with the smell of eucalyptus trees that stand sentinel along highway one as it dips through Marshall, a small town nestled on the California coast about forty miles North of San Francisco. It’s bright and the hills, textured like clam shells, are turning green in the

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Word Wisdom: Other English Idioms

By Yuan Changming

No ass without passion
No art without startle
No belief without a lie
No business without sin
No charm without an arm

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By Jonathan May

The cows I drive past used to be white on brown,
now just brown on brown like a ruined painting.
You have to die, I tell them in my head. You

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(From the Autobiography of Malcolm X)

By Lindsay MacDonald

In their eyesight we were just things:
a Welfare check,
white rabbits in a trap,
a big pot of dandelion greens,

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By Kay Mullen

A child of eight remembers the first visit,
the narrow rutted road, dust swirling behind
the gray sedan. Around a bend,
wild roses and balsamroot
climb a wrought-iron gate.

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Leaving New Mexico

By Susan Rae Sampson

Linda Bentley left her lover
in New Mexico.

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Continue Playing

By Michael H. Sato

The days had grown shorter,
The dusk deepened
And we’d been called once,
Maybe twice, to return home.
Some went but enough of us

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Accidental Bird-Watcher

By Renée M. Schell

I have no idea what species you belong to
or what name your mate cries out.

You fly a perfect loop, a ferris wheel
against blue sky. Scraps of white

cloud listen for the music of your flight. Again

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We Are Not Related

By Kristy Webster

We go walking at night naming trees
after relatives who died when we were little
till you name one Johnny Cash which infuriates me
because I thought we were being true and I yell,
You liar! You put out your cigarette

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