First, get the sorry out of the way. She’ll come up to you with her makeup smearing around her eyes from tears she’s trying to hold back and tell you that she fell asleep in the table and woke up with this disgusting hand up her skirt. The first thing that’s going to come springing out of your mouth is, “Oh my God, I’m so sorry.” You don’t want to sound macho but you also can’t pretend to really understand her experience since the worst thing that’s everContinue reading...
Issue Twenty-Three – Winter 2014
How to Talk to your Girlfriend after She Gets Groped in a Bar
By Ava Mailloux
Blood Draw, 1994
By Wayne Johnston
The girl at the computer terminal turns and smiles as though she’s glad I’m here, and I step through the open doorway out of hallway dimness into fluorescent brightness, organized clutter and the intimacy of the small room. She’s blonde, in her thirties, a little plump and wearing no make-up. I imagine her mothering small, well-behaved children when she’s not here. If I’ve seen her before, I don’t remember.Continue reading...
Hundreds of Ways to Kneel
By Chels Knorr
Blue carpet paves the way to the pew where we always sit, four rows back on the left. My younger brother and I are 5 and 9, too old to bring toys to church, so we draw on the bulletins or tear them to fold into rumpled origami creations, and try to sit still. It is communion Sabbath, a practice Adventists observe four times a year. This means mid-service, silver trays of fluted single-ounce cups filled with grape juice and unleavened crackers areContinue reading...
By Neil Mathison
We followed the comet. Bremerton to Moses Lake, Moses Lake to Missoula. It was April Fools Eve, 1969, the USS Epstein back a week from Nam. McMurty was AWOL. In two days, I’d be AWOL too, me with only ninety days and a wake-up till I was out of the Navy. We were “rescuing Darla.” That’s how McMurty put it, although McMurty needed rescue too. Darla was McMurty’s main squeeze. She worked at Heavenly Donuts, outside the shipyard gate. Her dad, a pipeContinue reading...
The Preacher’s Daughter
By J.C. Dickey-Chasins
O.K., gang, here’s an idea for a sitcom: my father, the best-known Methodist minister in our tiny town, slept with my best friend’s mom. Oh, yes—the woman who lives across the alley.
And he announced his transgression from the pulpit.
Right, I know, too outrageous, even for cable. Too dark, too humiliating for his fourteen-year-old daughter and loving wife. I mean, the hate boiling from my mother alone would powerContinue reading...
By Nancy Scott Hanway
“Nina! Come down here this instant.”
I felt dizzy, my mouth dry. I composed my face while trudging downstairs.
I had always felt an urge to steal small. When I shoplifted, I thought of the items I stole as abandoned cats in a shelter waiting for an owner. One of them mews at you in a certain way, purrs at just the right moment, or rubs its head against your hand, and you know it hasContinue reading...
I Had Two Great Dreams for My Body
By J. A. Harris
Tonight listening to you falling asleep 900 miles away
I talk about the kitten’s cottony belly, his ruthless teeth,
not saying any of the other,
feeling the searing holes there below, here above
and I realize the oily undreamt dream I’ve been given;Continue reading...
By Alan Meyrowitz
Morning and again,
mind’s eye has her spreading jam,
all the greater sadness
left to rest of day.
By Chet Corey
A man says he carries letters
in Portland, Oregon.
Not that he is a letter carrier
but that he is “a man who carries
Strange Blue Moon
By Laura Madeline Wiseman
Long ago we quit offering our tails
like the others—prairie chicken, peacock—
though we gasp when they tremble
to beckon a mate. Even the wild turkey
that once climbed our neighbor’s roof
By Nina Bennett
You sat at your computer, watched me
play with our granddaughter,
listened to us invent a world
of mermaids and magic wands
where dreams bloom large as sunflowers.
And in this Brutal Passage
By Mercedes Lawry
He came out of the gray huddle,
an avalanche of a man,
broken and vast, without forgiveness.
He knew spit and strike,
choke and an eternal bad morning,
[mother in 64]
By Adam Walsh
sticks rubbery thin
the kind my mother called a switch
broke skin on her legs
since father caught her in mud
with white church shoes
Martha Jane Canary Tries AA
By Sara Clancy
She’s back to the bottle again,
after an early fever that gambled
away its taint on a sucker’s bet
that the bulldog at her throat
could be traded for a nice coffee
Polamalu Fan Club
By Catherine Simpson
circle of sandwiches and half-smoked cigars–
Friday night dinner with the
Polamalu Fan Club. The playing cards are all
Worn on the edges, and the
By Ginny Neece
Flour Sack Towels
By Cheryl Wilke
I wasn’t born in Brooklyn,
or Boston, or San Francisco, or
somewhere equally as interesting
with its well-storied, cobblestone
streets and brownstones. I was
The History of Fog
By Charles O'Hay
When his mirror broke, he replaced it
with a book: ‘The History of Fog’
and stood in the cold March surf
of his imagination, hoping to drown
from the ankles up. Years earlierContinue reading...
By Lane Langford
Into the Land of Wild things
By Jeremiah O'Hagan
I’m supposed to begin this deftly. Ease into it, the theory goes, because if readers know immediately that my piece is about death or birth or terminal illness, they will disregard it as yet another this-is-my-life-splayed memoir. So I hook them with something else, invite them in with a fascinating and benign anecdote that, later, once they are invested and I have sprung on them the death or birth or terminal illness, will become a clever metaphor for the entire piece.Continue reading...