Tulane Review Fall 2011
The Tulane Review Fall 2011 issue: an international collection of poetry, prose, and art selected by Tulane University undergraduate students
The Tulane Review fall 2011 review.tulane.edu The Tulane Review fall 2011 EDITOR in CHIEF Abi Pollokoff ART EDITOR Jason Ervin DESIGN EDITORS Gavin Newman Allie Shabouk POETRY EDITORS Adrienne Barnabee Liz Mardiks PROSE EDITOR Micaleah Newman PRODUCTION ASSISTANTS Gabrielle Bethancourt, Dean Burman, Cutter Uhlhorn, Daphne Zhang READERS Dean Burman, Helena Duffee, Madeleina Halley, Madelaine Hock, Brianna Reddeman, Ali Waterhouse, Lauren Wethers, Cody Wild Cover illustration is a compilation of all art selections in this issue of the Tulane Review. The Tulane Review is a literary and art journal published by the Tulane Literary Society twice a year. Submissions are judged by review boards in an anonymous selection process and final choices are made by the editors. For submission information, consult the submission guidelines on the last page or visit review.tulane.edu. Funding for the Tulane Review comes from the Undergraduate Student Government of Tulane University and the Tulane Literary Society. The works published in the Tulane Review represent the views of the individual artists and are not the expressed views of the Tulane Literary Society, Tulane University, or its Board of Administrators. Copyright � 2011 by the Tulane Literary Society. The Tulane Literary Society reserves the right to reprint the journal in part or in its entirety for publicity on the web and in print. All other rights revert to the author or artist at the time of publication. The Tulane Review acquires first North American serial rights. Contents 7 8 10 14 15 16 17 18 24 25 27 28 29 31 32 33 34 35 36 Hook | Laura Lyall IS & ISN'T | Scott T. Hutchinson The Shed | Susan Overcash Walker Washing Machine No. 5 | Christopher Barnes Washing Machine No. 38 | Christopher Barnes You Will Fly with Happy Thoughts | Eleanor Leonne Bennett Double Vision | Frank Roger Selling Cheese | Z. Z. Boone Lost Hubcap | Keith Moul Petra y el Cara de Foca | Abby Templeton Innocence | Joelle Engolia Get Back Better On | Eleanor Leonne Bennett To the Pale | Jessica Comola Regression into Shyness | Edith Young Exquisite Corpse | Edith Young breakfast | Zach Yanowitz UNEMBRACEABLE | Michael Milburn Ice House | Matt Dennison Abstract Painting, Joy | Jim Fuess 37 Environment and a Building in London with Love from Switzerland | Austin Bloom 38 39 40 41 42 48 49 50 51 60 61 62 63 65 66 New Orleans II | Kara Bausch Solitaire | Dennis Harrel As Needed, If At All | Avinab Datta Max Graph | Kristina Bjornson Primitive Scent | Ted Morrissey What is Quiet Remains Familiar | Matthew Haughton ruminations at 5 a.m. | Zach Yanowitz Sijasahau | Melinda Boudreaux Reservations | Amy Yolanda Castillo In Honorem | Cary Kamarat The water rose and took him to another. | Kate Robinson Docet Umbra | Glenn Stowell Lobster Apologia | Engram Wilkinson Hot Air Balloon | Kristina Bjornson You stood me in the tub and made me roll up my pants. | Kate Robinson 67 Five Points | Joelle Engolia Poetry 7 Hook Laura Lyall Your mouth a fishing net spit stretched and knotted, our tongue boats capsized in damp cheeks. There is a little fish swimming in my underwear scaled bloom pink, suffocation blue. 8 Poetry | Tulane Review | fall 2011 IS & ISN'T Scott T. Hutchinson You come to a stop sign, a big red octagon with demands insisting you stay where you are and look both ways. You glance right, and at winter's muddied end, in a smallish front yard, a spindly grandma pitches wiffleball to a tigerish maybe four-year-old with an oversized red plastic bat. He bashes it with a pre-roid raging fierceness, and Granny's hands go up as if to say, "Boy, you da bomb" though she'd never say that, and that isn't what this is about. Your impatient motor rumbles as Granny lists and creaks over the few bumps of dirty snow remaining, the black grit of roof shingles clinging to piles of cold-like viral cell attachments, Granny pushing her Ibuprofen-popping self on legs warmed with mentholatum rub, then hinge-bending at the waist to retrieve the homerun ball with one hand while inhaling a stubby Parliament menthol in the yellowed arthritic grip of the other, though that isn't what this is about. You want to smile and shake your head, glance left but find yourself looking back to the right again as she returns to her slush of a pitcher's mound and Granny, best-as-she-can, fires one down the pipe and little tunnel-focus Tigerboy blasts it a good twelve feet where it dinks off the ancient baby-blue pastel tin siding clinging to the house before rolling under a boxwood, Granny hooting as if to say, "Slugger, Poetry 9 you're going to the show one day" though she's really sucking wind punctuated by occasional deep coughs as she peg-legs her pink elastic waistband pants in dutiful fashion toward the shrubbery though that isn't what this is about. You need to ease off the gas a moment, throttle back from your odd domestic voyeuristic daydream, gather yourself, then get on down this road, you need to shake off the seasonal short-of-spring details and hope some earnest familiar smile awaits you--you--however meager and plainly fine--hope the day will eat itself alive in your very own front yard where what matters is what doesn't matter, a simple place where you can discover what this and that and nothing in particular are really all about. 10 Prose | Tulane Review | fall 2011 The Shed Susan Overcash Walker The shed. It was a place where bad things could happen. The boy sat on the porch and watched it, sweat winding through his undershirt and fetching up in his waistband. Summers before, he crept in behind his grandfather and crouched in the sawdust as the old man fed cedar to the band saw. Turned clamps into tourniquets on arteries of mesquite. Fingers might be chewed off in there. Nails splinter bone. Now, from his island of porch, separated from the shed by a week's overgrowth of grass and dandelion weeds, the boy imagined the monsters within. He needled at a loose thread in the hem of his coat sleeve. Behind him, the smell of gardenias and the low drone of voices sifted through the screen door like the rising hum of cicadas. The sun cast silhouettes across the shed walls. The boy studied them, decoding, until the heat soaked through his Sunday shirt and the sodden fabric chafed welts across his shoulders. He shrugged off his jacket like Houdini wresting freedom in his underwater tank. Unfettered, now, he fought off the sun's orange and yellow death rays pasting the porch in a riot of early evening color. "Naranja!" he shouted. "Rojo!" And fought to the death with his grandfather's broomstick and a lock of his grandmother's hair in a folded paper in his pocket. Behind him, in the house, his grandfather's favorite ashtray disappeared into Aunt Marietta's purse while the others drank iced tea and murmured platitudes about the mysterious ways of the Lord. On the porch was freedom. Burrs in the grass and outlaws around corners. When his grandfather was alive, they sat on the porch and mixed sugar and peaches to make ice cream in the summer. The machine whirred in a corner and argued with the drone of hummingbirds and the distant thunder of motors on the lake. When the spinning ended, the old man smiled. "Make sure it ain't poisoned," he said to the boy. The tart and sweet of fruit and cream melted down his chin while the old man ruffled his hair. That corner of the porch was empty now, only a faint outline of rust where the machine had been. The ice cream maker banished to a distant cabinet with pots and pans and chipped yellow mixing bowls. He Prose 11 wondered if his mother might remember to take it home with them. Or if she even remembered it at all. Across the backyard, the sun was waning through the mesquite bushes. The riot of colors on the shed wall was fading. He ran his hands along the porch railing, careful for splinters, watching the shadows of his arms like wings. His mother might call for him soon. She was a dark figure barely distinguishable though the screen door, hovering over his father's shoulder. Hazy black shapes fluttered around her. Aunt Marietta's protruding chest. Cousin Mercedes' bony arm. He shuffled across the porch and watched them like his grandfather's black-and-white westerns, not understanding the plot but fascinated by the gray figures on the screen. When the shadows chased away the sunlight, the moon rising to wash the shed in a cleansing kind of dark, and his mother still had not called for him, he stepped down off the porch into the night. The shed loomed hazy like a ghost floating beneath the full disc of moon. "Ain't nothing to be scared of," his grandfather had told him. "Most everything out there's more scared of you than you are of it." His breath perfumed with the sweet smell of Skoll and menthol. The boy could hear him, smell him even, like if he whipped around the old man would be right behind him. He glanced over his shoulder. Nothing was there. The boy took a step forward. The dandelions and burr grass grabbed at the cuffs of his pants. The door of the shed morphed in the distance. He'd never been in there alone or in the dark. The double cross of his grandfather's weathervane towered over the backyard. At his feet, the moon tattooed its shadow to the earth. Staring at it, he no longer felt brave. His stomach shied away from the skinny bones of his ribs and fetched up near his spine. But he went on all the same. He followed his grandmother's clothesline into the wilds of the backyard, five feet off the porch, now ten, enough that a sprint back to the steps might be too long to avoid what might be creeping in the yard. Dracula dangling in a cocoon from the huisatche tree. He'd crept around his father's couch to watch that movie, ignoring his mother's instructions to go to bed!, only to retreat to his room hours later and clutch his sheets in terror. After that, his father checked the closet for monsters. Under the bed, too. But out here, monsters were everywhere. Bared teeth and unfurled wings like thirsty night moths. It was enough, almost, to scare the boy back to safety. He faltered and stuttered back and forth. Ahead, angles and corners of the shed formed up in sharp relief. Inside was the smooth curve of the lathe. The boxer's stance of the table saw. His stomach shifted again, and he spat mucus and acid into the dirt. He should go back. His mother would call for him and he might not answer. He should go back and hide in the shadows of the coffin in the living 12 Prose | Tulane Review | fall 2011 room. And then the breeze came up, ripe with menthol cigarettes and cedar. He pawed the ground and settled. Bit circles in the scrubby grass with the toe of his boot. Kicked a clod of dirt and decided. Pressed on. He came close enough to make out the edges of the door and the jagged lines in the shed's plank fa�ade. The burr-grass evened out, tamed into obedience by the endless passing of his grandfather's boots. The iron door latch winked at him from the gloom. He paused and toed the dirt again as the limbs of a huisatche tree swayed above him. He didn't really want to see the inside of the shed again, not alone or in the dark, but it was the only place his grandfather might still be � his real grandfather, not the wax figure in the parlor. He wiped his palms against his pants and left dark smears of sweat. He could almost touch the door latch, five feet, now two, now here it was within his grasp, close enough for him to make out the scars in the iron and the rust clinging to the handle. In his monster movie, the rust turned to blood and coated his hands in red and brown streaks. A madman stole up behind him to slit his throat. The boy's father told him that movie people used ketchup for fake blood, but here, in the jungle of the backyard, it seemed real. Maybeblood. He reached for the latch. Behind him, a whippoorwill sang. He wrenched open the door. The shed gaped with a groan. Dracula, monster, alien; the boy peered into the dark, trembling, one foot, one knee, now hip turning to flee. The door creaked. Tree limbs whispered. Panic fell on him. He couldn't move. His grandfather would never wake up to dump dominoes on the table and spit tobacco into a plastic cup and laugh when the boy spilled ice cream down his face and arms and had to wash off with well water to be allowed back into his father's car. It was done now, the shed door open with its secrets spilling out and the boy frozen in life as the husk of his grandfather in death. The whippoorwill cried out and the huisatche rustled again and then settled with a final sigh. The breeze. The boy twitched and here it was again � menthols, tickling his nose. Breaking the leaden hold of terror. "Leave the boy alone," his grandfather told his father. "Boys make messes." Was that him now? A dark outline through the drooping curtain of huisatche. Nodding at him to get on with it already, stop holding up the parade. He squinted through the open shed door. Familiar shapes gained corporeal form. Along one wall, the long slab of his grandfather's workbench, clamps poking off like rigging on a boat. The moon through the slatted windows glinted off the silver blade of the table saw. The sawdust on the floor glimmered like sand on the lakeshore. The smoothness of planed pine was silky under his hand like his mother's cheek. He was too far away to see if the old man was inside. He shuffled forward Prose 13 over the weeds and onto the sawdust planks. Just inside was a path of fresh boot prints in the sawdust leading through the shed's innards. He followed past the sawhorse loaded with scrap pine and his hip grazed the canvas cover draping the band saw. Dust blanketed the air, disturbed into a flash as he passed, settling back into stillness in his wake. The trail paused and the boy faced the hulk of the table saw. An undistinguishable shadow behind it. Nothing between his fingers and the teeth of the blade. He reached out before years of reflex stifled the movement. Pale starfish hand on steel, smooth and cold under his fingertips. He turned the blade, listening to its oily whisper. Waited for admonishment. The shadow behind the saw drew closer and then winked out as clouds passed across the moon. Silence. He returned to the path and followed the imprints in the sawdust floor around a rusted card table and across the shed to his grandfather's workshop at the trail's end. The boy's chest rose over the surface like a bird peering out of the nest. A half-finished toy soldier lay next to a chisel and a drawknife. A foot away, his grandfather's ball peen hammer. The boy picked up the soldier. Only a leg lacked finishing. He set the soldier down and fingered the smooth curve of the hammer, picked it up and weighed it. The gunmetal head was cold like the saw blade. He glanced around. Ran his hand along the careworn toe of the hammer's handle. Wrapped his fingers around it and squeezed his eyes shut and brought the hammer down on the half-finished soldier in a whistling arc so the wood shattered and sprayed back at him. Eyes open again and sawdust motes winking. The soldier lay in half on the workbench, his unfinished leg a separate, splintered block. The boy dropped the hammer with a clatter and glanced around again. Chin up, a flush of guilt working its way up his neck. But still nothing. The table saw skulked in its corner. Cords coiled on the floor like rattlesnakes. "Can't ever really know what's out there," his grandfather said, and put his arm around the boy's shoulder. The shed closed in around him, the air thick and humid like motor oil. There was no monster here, okay, alright. His grandfather was gone all the same. The boy sank to the floor, head dipping to touch his knees, and wrapped himself around the broken soldier as the shadows coalesced in the dark of the summer night. 14 Poetry | Tulane Review | fall 2011 Washing Machine No. 5 Christopher Barnes Poetry 15 Washing Machine No. 38 Christopher Barnes 16 Art | Tulane Review | fall 2011 You Will Fly with Happy Thoughts Eleanor Leonne Bennett Art 17 Double Vision Frank Roger 18 Prose | Tulane Review | fall 2011 Selling Cheese Z. Z. Boone They'd spent the entire Labor Day weekend at the Springfield Fair in Maine, selling cheese and sleeping on the floor of the ten-foot long trailer. The enemy had been the weather, an on-and-off rain just intense enough to keep most people home. They'd made a few hundred bucks, but that was hardly enough to cover the vendor fee, the gas they'd used, and the product itself. The product was advertised on the placards as "Vermont's Finest Cheddar," but it had, in fact, come from a supermarket in New Hampshire where Big Art bought it for $4.50 a pound, rewrapped it, added one of his own personal labels, and sold it for $6.75. They'd been at it all summer--Big Art and his thirteen-year old son, Caruso--traveling one New England county fair to another. During the week they might get a day or two to go home, shower, sleep in their own beds, eat like humans, drop money in the bank. More times than not, though, they were setting up the display, or hustling product, or living liked canned hams inside the 1964 Cardinal hitched behind the old Dodge Ram. Most of the year they lived in Dover, a New Hampshire seacoast town, famous for failed textile mills and the 1676 slaughter of its native people. The family of three--which included Caruso's mother, Helen--rented a rundown Cape on Jerusalem Road within spitting distance of the Cochecho River. They were known throughout the area, Helen called a saint by some and a fool by many, Big Art and Caruso regarded as the diseased oak and its infected, dangling acorn. Fake Vermont cheddar wasn't Big Art's first scam, but it had been his most successful. Caruso remembered, just in his own brief lifetime, the refurbished 19th Century antique furniture (Mexican reproductions bought by the crate), and the "as-is" used cars, their odometers rolled back and their paperwork carefully laundered. The state of New Hampshire had grown wise to the old man's tactics, had threatingly reprimanded him, but seemed unbothered as long as he either laid low or conducted business across state lines. Caruso, however, was unashamed. He ignored the kids at school who teased him, he avoided the adults who sought information that was none of Prose 19 their concern. He looked upon his father not as a con-man, but as someone resourceful enough to get by. Anyone, the boy figured, could survive working a standard job. His mother had done it for fifteen years at Dover Laundromat and Dry Cleaners. It didn't take skill. You woke up, went in, breathed the vapors, cashed your check. A trained bear with a decent pair of walking shoes could do it. What had set the cheese venture above the others, what had given it legitimacy, was a photograph taken three years ago at the Rutland Fair in Vermont. At the time, Barack Obama, then a senator from the state of Illinois, was campaigning all across New England. Big Art, new to the faux cheddar business, had set up his concession not far from the main grandstand. His intent wasn't to meet the future leader of the free world, but to cash in on customers coming and going from the fair's main draw, the pig scramble. Big Art had set up around noon, a full six hours before the pig scramble was set to begin, and it was just about 1:30 when Obama, followed by a flock of smiling followers and god-knows-how-many photographers, approached the stand. No dummy, Big Art was sharp enough to quickly spear a cube of cheese with a toothpick and extend it toward the soon-to-be President who smilingly took the offering. Cameras snapped, and overnight the photograph appeared in newspapers across the nation. Captions like Say Cheese and Give Cheese a Chance were everywhere. The photo, blown up to poster size, appeared wherever Big Art did. A lot of cheese was sold, both in person and through the mail. But time had been less than charitable. The old man, who promoted the business as "Big Art's Cheese Works: Official Affineur to the Whitehouse," watched as Obama's popularity--along with that of his own business-- plummeted. So-called experts began to question the quality of the product, mail orders all but dried up, and Big Art actually considered photoshopping the Obama photo and replacing the President with Harry Potter or Snooki. The bad Labor Day weekend had almost done him in. As Big Art and Caruso drove from the fairgrounds shortly after it officially closed at midnight, the old man was ready to admit defeat. "I'm getting too old for this bullshit," he said to Caruso. "We just had a bad few days," Caruso said. "Bad few years, more like it." They weren't far out of Springfield when the sky opened up and rain fell like piss on a flat rock. Big Art's eyesight was poor; vanity prevented him from wearing the glasses his wife had badgered him into buying. The only operative windshield wiper was on the driver's side, but it was worn and didn't help any more than a wet rag would have. "Looks like a nor'easter," the old man said. "Maybe we should pull over 20 Prose | Tulane Review | fall 2011 and wait `er out." As much as Caruso had loved his first summer working with his father, his interest was equally focused on something else. Three months on the road had forced changes in the young man, hormonal changes which made him react to women like Frankenstein's monster reacted to electricity. He'd noticed them watching him over the summer, females of all ages, some with interest, some out of simple curiosity. There was an element of adventure to a traveling man, Caruso had convinced himself, but that wasn't enough to close the deal. Product presentation was key; women wanted their prospective partners to be clean and well dressed, smelling like cologne, not curd. Just before they left the fairgrounds, Caruso had stood naked in front of the big mirror in the deserted men's room, and scrubbed with brown soap until his skin flaked and his nose could detect no discernible odor. Wednesday was his first official day of high school, and if he was going to attract the freshman ladies, a hurried shower the morning before probably wasn't going to be enough. Another night in the trailer, tossing on a small foam mattress while surrounded by poorly refrigerated cheese, would undo his personal disinfecting efforts in a matter of hours. "Why don't we splurge?" Caruso asked. "Stay in a motel tonight." "The Cardinal ain't good enough for you?" "It's stuffy back there," Caruso said. "Plus the roof leaks." He then added the nail that held it all together. "I'll treat." The old man had promised him a salary back in early June, eight percent of sales, but Caruso had yet to see a dime. He kept a weekly tally on a folded piece of loose-leaf, and by his calculations Big Art owed him somewhere in the neighborhood of $950. Lightning lit the sky like a flashbulb in a windowless root cellar. "Call your mother," Big Art said as he handed over the cell phone. In Howland, they found a place called the New Scotland Inn where the old man reluctantly paid $92-and-change for a shared single. He'd dragged a huge suitcase inside, one that usually transported cheese samples, explaining to his son that two men without luggage were viewed as homosexuals on a spree. The room was standard, with tartan patterned wallpaper, pictures of bagpipers over each of the double beds, a nightstand with a digital clock, and a 19-inch color TV on the dresser. Within twenty minutes they'd both brushed their teeth, stripped down to their underwear, climbed between clean sheets, and turned out the wall lamp mounted on the wall between them. "Can I ask you something?" Caruso said. "How did you and Mom ever Prose 21 get together in the first place?" Wind pushed rain against their window like a sideways shower. "Well," Big Art said, "before me, your mother was the victim of a few fellars from the infamous 4-F Club." "You mean 4-H?" "4-F. Find `em, feel `em, fuck `em, and forget `em. I come by and she knew she found somebody she could trust in." "Because you loved her?" "Something like that." "Did she ever try and get you to work a regular job?" "Knew better. Knew I'm the kind of man who likes to wake up before anybody else. That way if a nickel rolls down the street, I'll be the first to grab it." Caruso smiled and the next thing he knew--or didn't know--was that he was dreaming of something other than cheese. He probably could have slept all morning, except that Big Art was shaking him by the shoulder and saying, "Get up!" The rain had quieted and it was just getting light, but when Caruso turned his head to see the time, he noticed the digital clock was missing. So was the TV and so were the bagpipers. There were no towels in the bathroom and, more surprisingly, no toilet seat. When Caruso came back into the room itself, Big Art was stripping the beds and loading the blankets and linens into the suitcase. "What's going on?" he asked his father. "Nothing," the old man said as he snapped the leather case shut. "Just grabbing me a souvenir or two." They were on I-95, ten or fifteen miles south of the New Scotland Inn, before they broke silence. "I would have helped, you know," Caruso said. "With what?" "Taking all that stuff out of the room." "I figured you needed your beauty rest," the old man told him. Caruso was the first to see the cruiser in his side view mirror. Big Art picked up on the sound of the siren seconds later. "Dig out my glasses," the old man commanded as he pointed to the glove box. The Maine State Trooper was young, willowy, and well-pressed. He'd parked the powder blue cruiser less than ten feet behind the trailer, and approached cautiously with his right hand hovering close to his HK 45. "Just keep your yap closed," Big Art warned Caruso. 22 Prose | Tulane Review | fall 2011 After a few pleasantries were exchanged, the trooper checked over Big Art's license and registration, and then asked him to get out and open the trailer. "Any reason?" Big Art asked. "We got a call from a motel up in Howland. Said somebody'd stripped one of the units bare." "I got nothing but cheese and the smell of it," the old man smiled. "Well why don't we take a look anyway," the trooper said. "Come on," Big Art told Caruso. The storm had subsided to little more than a mist as the two men and the boy walked back toward the ten-foot Cardinal. Big Art fumbled, nervously Caruso thought, with the keys, but the aluminum door swung open. Caruso was surprised that it was all back there, all in plain sight. He honestly thought that his father, an illusionist to rival Harry Blackstone, Jr, had the ability to make everything vanish, or at least to render the trooper unable to see it. "Can you explain, sir?" the trooper asked. The open-hand slap was hard and it caught Caruso directly on the left ear. "What the fuck am I gonna do?!" the old man shouted. "I got me a kid who's a goddamn klepto!" "Calm down, sir," the trooper told him. "I've had it! You want to put him jail, be my guest! He'll be safer there then when I get him home!" The trooper looked at Caruso with what the boy recognized as disgust. "Not necessary," the trooper said. They transported the stuff from the trailer to the trunk and back seat of the police cruiser. Big Art put on a good show, cursing his son whenever the trooper was in hearing range, using words like "ashamed," and "disgraced." Caruso noticed the TV had tipped on its side and chipped its plastic stand, and that the bath towels already reeked of cheese. "Just try and keep a close eye on him," the trooper advised just before he pulled back onto I-95, two pounds of cheddar richer. In the truck, Big Art snickered. "We make a decent team, you and me." Caruso's ear still rung, but the boy refused to cry. "Cat got your tongue?" Big Art finally asked. "You told me to keep my yap shut." "Fine," the old man said. "I can play that game." As they drove south in silence, Caruso thought about his mother. She'd be getting ready to leave for work about now, finishing her tea and toast, Prose 23 preparing to peel one more day off her life like paper off a pad. He missed her. They hardly spent time together anymore. Which was a shame, because they had things in common, mother and son, servants to a common master, two victims of the infamous 4-F Club. 24 Art | Tulane Review | fall 2011 Lost Hubcap Keith Moul Poetry 25 Petra y el Cara de Foca1 Abby Templeton Petra is writing a poem about falling, an avocado from a tree, a drop of water from a faucet. When she is not dreaming of dancing mambo she is wishing for train tracks, for quietly sliding down, and slowly caressing the globe. But these are only blowtorch dreams; the dangerous pump of a kerosene blowtorch can do more than start a fire, than scare an avocado from its tree. Her mother suggests the caress of Eddie Torres, "he will turn you on like a faucet, M'ija," she says "and ride you like a train off of its track." Petra only dreams in mambo rhythms, wishes only for Perez Prado, the mambo king himself. He was a blowtorch on the dance floor, a train without its track. Perez Prado with hair the color of avocado skin, his mouth an open faucet calling out "Dilo!" and "Mambo!". His voice a caress in the night, far more real than the caress of that fake, salsa-dancing-and-call-it-mamboEddie Torres. His mambo beat sounded like a faucet left on: 1-2, 1-2. A blowtorch burned a hole in Petra's avocado shaped heart, a train made tracks on her chest. Petra is writing a poem about train tracks, about how if you can't have the caress of one man, another will not suffice. Avocados may grow on trees, she writes, but mambo 1 cara de foca: Spanish for "seal face" 26 Poetry | Tulane Review | fall 2011 kings don't. She is careful not to blow the torches out on the front porch. Careful to squeeze shut the faucet that leaks. Some mornings Petra is a faucet, waiting for a man who tracks the globe by train. Some mornings her mother is a blowtorch throwing her advice that caresses like a sand storm. Sometimes a mambo comes on the radio, it goes down smooth like an avocado slice. Petra is writing a poem about waiting: no faucet water, no caresses. She still dreams of train track whistles and a seal faced mambo man. She is her own blowtorch dream, an avocado slowly falling. Art 27 Innocence Joelle Engolia 28 Art | Tulane Review | fall 2011 Get Back Better On Eleanor Leonne Bennett Poetry 29 To the Pale Jessica Comola James and I are going to play a game in which James will always win Ultimate Grand Supreme for Suicide in 1974, a move made by his own hand gun, and I will take the prize of Indeterminate for now. He is in turtleneck so we can conclude it is always winter here. "There is a James here, yes?" he says. "Who is James to give his head over to a bullet?" Only he didn't say bullet but birthday. We should light a candle for him. We had gone on a date one night on accident in Pear Land, Texas but we soon found out we needed space which is the real truth, really, most of the time. If cauliflower were dark red it would be effective to suggest his head came out cauliflower in the end through a hole made by something between a harebell and gooseberry, as James reminds "I wouldn't have done it" but you did "but I wouldn't have except that we were all in a bad way." James is drawing a family tree on my mirrors again and explaining how unrelated we can be. And anyway we both have issues pronouncing trust and words that come up in the family of love phrases. And we probably needed less space so that we had to get creative about kissing and were to set our legs but we had plenty of open areas. So that was that. 30 Poetry | Tulane Review | fall 2011 The game involves James hanging about on tiptoe or else breaking into my medicine cabinet or else. No one brings out or up the gun because we all know it's been played and anyway there's a woman who sleeps every night with it between her thighs for safety. James is, after all, a poet (however disembodied he may behave) but we try to forgive him that. The game is slow all-consuming and I've always had trouble making decisions. When I was five I had to pick a candy bar and it took over half an hour by grocery store time. So maybe I'm too choosy or maybe I need to open myself to something more ecstatic: a bar brawl or accident involving coma. Maybe something with pins or teeth or matchsticks. But when he's had a few James reaches under my dress and reminds me "I'm a coward." Art 31 Regression into Shyness Edith Young 32 Art | Tulane Review | fall 2011 Exquisite Corpse Edith Young Poetry 33 breakfast Zach Yanowitz in a diner in north carolina i drag my fork through the liquid yolk of an egg, the tines tracing vermiculate patterns on cheap porcelain. my grandpa jokes with the waitress. he asks her if she's jewish, tells her i'm a hell of a guy, nudges the both of us and winks. she's about my age, bangs razor-cut straight across her eyes and two brass keys on a chain around her neck. they jingle when she laughs, chews her gum, and says she has a boyfriend. i can't tell who she's talking to. i'm already dreaming of this cup of coffee and the way a meaning sometimes gets caught in my head without a word attached and that tugging from within to stand up and walk outside, to close my eyes and softly hum, to locate you by sonar. 34 Poetry | Tulane Review | fall 2011 UNEMBRACEABLE Michael Milburn Always at the time of greeting and leaving I hang back or move toward in reaction to someone else's step forward, but just can't follow through, trust that there's got to be something endearing about a guy frozen as a pole while everyone goes for each other. I'm not otherwise shy about this ritual either in practice or principle, hug my son because my parents blah blah would never hold me, and am a big hugger on the inside, always envisioning shedding my self for a finer one that will run right into those reaching arms. Poetry 35 Ice House Matt Dennison Your father went fishing with his father for what both knew would be the last time and through the frozen lake they cut and caught a fish, a doctor fish, I believe he said-- laid it on the ice between them and slit it open and in its belly was a snake and they looked at the snake and then each other until your father resembled that bundle of legs on your plate so take this flesh and love, my love, for the world is held in hurtful bowls no bigger than our thumbs. 36 Art | Tulane Review | fall 2011 Abstract Painting, Joy Jim Fuess Art 37 Environment and a Building in London with Love from Switzerland Austin Bloom 38 Art | Tulane Review | fall 2011 New Orleans II Kara Bausch Poetry 39 Solitaire Dennis Herrell Three hundred sixty five days not getting into hours minutes not talking about eating breakfast lunch dinner alone not thinking about eight hours of almost sometimes occasional sleep. Large white bed white dinner plates white porcelain sink where you don't comb long lovely face-framing hair white Mazda 626 washed laughing squeaky clean you in wet cut-offs soapy drippy you grinning in secret water hose attack till we are drowning in happiness drowning. 40 Poetry | Tulane Review | fall 2011 As Needed, If At All Avinab Datta What they didn't trespass Is a throb of wind in the grass Swerving further from the mainland. Somewhere, a witness to dropping fruit. Falling calmly through the manic Prowl of leaves: dew. Night will impress you from its sides-- Will gift you a pigeon asleep In an overhead coop, One foot folded in his plume, wings perched lightly on the breeze So he can swoon above any abrupt gush of threat. Will make you see, in the heavily emptied space where his foot isn't, a room inside where a tiny finger nests inside a palm. The room is otherwise empty. They sit pleased eternally in the dark. This palm is always warm. Though one cannot see in the room Any hint of a head, or a heart. Art 41 Max Graph Kristina Bjornson 42 Prose | Tulane Review | fall 2011 Primitive Scent Ted Morrissey Lucifer lived in a cave in Hollis Woods. His head was equine in both size and shape, and he stood upright on taloned feet while his hands were hooked claws, misleadingly short of reach, it seemed, for in fact he could snatch your soul before you were even aware of its being in eternal danger. The trail leading to the cave was well known but strictly off limits. Such was the legend that the children grew up hearing, told to them by elders who had grown up hearing it too. Francine and her father moved to the village from a northern county, and she did not know where Lucifer lived until one day when Rebecca told her. It was summer, only a few weeks after Francine and her father had moved in to the old O'Brien house, and Pastor Phillips had his daughter befriend Francine to ease her transition into the congregation, community, and eventually school, which would begin after Silvanus's Day. Francine preferred to be called Frankie though here it struck people as undignified and even unnatural. Rebecca thought her restless to the point of being angry, but an anger that was just under the surface of an outwardly calm, disinterested demeanor. She thought Frankie's anger was like the white carp in the pond on Old Man Stevenson's farm. They swam beneath the surface milling about until the slightest thing disturbed the water--a grass blade, a skimmer bug, a crust of sandwich bread--then the fish would break the surface, their mouths greedily agape, foregoing their natural world for the unsustaining air. It seemed little would be required to call forth Frankie's anger. Rebecca assumed that what was at the heart of Frankie's anger was being transplanted here, to this backwater little village, when she was used to a more bustling kind of life. They had been to Shirley Donaldson's for lemonade and to listen to music on the radio. If the conditions were right and if Shirley's antenna was just so, she could pick up the city station and hear the newest releases. Shirley's parents did not wholly approve of her listening to the station, with some of its unwholesome and unchristian song lyrics, so the heavily freckled redhead was indulging in a bit of riskiness for her guest's sake to tune the radio to the city station. Frankie made only a halfhearted attempt to mask her boredom, Prose 43 so after an hour Rebecca claimed to have some chores undone at home, and she and Frankie left the Donaldsons'. They were walking along the village square, totally abandoned at this time on a summer afternoon, and Rebecca suddenly ran into the gazebo on the square and sat in the shade. After a second or two Frankie reluctantly followed. There was room on Rebecca's bench, which ran the length of one of the hexagon's sides, so Frankie sat there too. The girls were both fifteen, with bodies that were only just beginning to hint at the women they would become. They sat quietly, knowing that each was listening to a wasp that bounced along the rafters, apparently unable to find its way out in spite of the structure's openness. Shirley's nice, Rebecca said, picking at the hem of her shorts. It was nice of her to have us over. Opting to neither agree nor disagree, Frankie turned her attention fully to the wasp. Upturned, Rebecca noticed for the first time the green of Frankie's eyes--green like the underside of the leaves of red maples, the side that only reveals itself during a summer storm. She thought that they complemented her dark skin and hair--hair that Frankie merely swept to one side, allowing it to continually fall across her face, with her right eye constantly obscured. Just as it was now, and Rebecca was irritated to the point of wanting to sweep it into place and tell Frankie to get a barrette or a headband, something. She understood, at least vaguely, what bothered her was that Frankie allowed herself the freedom to wear her hair however it fell, and that her clothes, like this blue-striped skirt and white cotton blouse, were worn as loosely and carelessly as if she had had to borrow them from someone in a pinch. While Rebecca put so much effort into taming her blond curls, and matching her headband to her blouse, and ironing a sharp crease in her shorts and skirts. Yet no one seemed to notice or care--she rarely received a compliment, and Rebecca could not help but notice how the boys in the village looked at Frankie, some of the married men too, even Rebecca's father. It all caused Rebecca to feel a restless sort of anger of her own and she wanted to show Frankie that she possessed something that Frankie did not-- and the knowledge of Lucifer's den burst forth: There's a cave in the woods where Lucifer lives--right over there, and she fanned her arm toward Hollis Woods, somewhere beyond the post office and Mr. Reynolds's barbershop. Frankie continued watching the wasp. Lucifer? The devil? She finally looked at Rebecca. Sweat had gathered on Frankie's upper lip. Right over there, in Haley Woods? Hollis Woods, yes. How can that be? 44 Prose | Tulane Review | fall 2011 The form of the question took Rebecca by surprise. How? She was prepared to argue Lucifer's existence in the cave, not how it was possible. Frankie did not bother waiting for a reply. Have you seen him? Lucifer? No--but he's there, we've known for a long, long time; people here have known forever. So we could go to this cave right now, this very minute, and see him? He's Lucifer--we don't want to go there--besides, the trail is off limits. Frankie began laughing--laughing out loud like boys laugh among themselves at a joke no one should tell, and Rebecca wanted to slap the laugh from Frankie's merry face, the dark hair falling in front of it. It's true, she said meekly. Frankie stopped laughing to ask, So you just accept that the devil's there, in the cave? Without having seen him yourself? Rebecca had nothing to say. Tomorrow I'll meet you at your house, let's say nine o'clock, and we'll go check out this cave of yours. Rebecca began to protest but Frankie bounded down the steps of the gazebo and headed in the direction of her house. For the first time since moving to the village she seemed happy. Rebecca watched the sunlight glint off Frankie's hair, her suntanned legs bouncing along the concrete walk. The black wasp ceased its futile sorties against the rafters of the ceiling and flew out of the gazebo to disappear on the hot summer air. That night Rebecca tried eating her mother's casserole but every bite made her ill so she excused herself to her room. While her family went about its nightly business--it was Thursday so her father was beginning to write his sermon in earnest--Rebecca tried to distract herself from thinking about Frankie and her determination to visit Lucifer's cave, but nothing worked and her nausea grew worse and worse. She wished that she had never mentioned the cave to Frankie, she wished that Frankie had never moved to the village. What was she doing here anyway? She and her father clearly did not fit in. Her father sold seed and he could do that living anywhere along his route-- there were plenty of larger towns that would have suited him and Frankie. Rebecca reached over and pulled the waste basket closer to her bed; she was certain she was going to be sick. The radio was playing a familiar song but the song itself seemed to be making her nausea more acute. She picked up the radio from her desk to shut it off. Instead her fingers found the tuner knob and began working it toward the city station. When she thought she might be close she adjusted the volume so low that she could barely here the crackling static. Her heart raced and she glanced at her closed door--she wished that she had a lock on it, like her parents' door. There... the city-station music came from the radio's speaker, half music Prose 45 and still half static. She twisted the antenna... there, better. Rebecca listened with the radio against her ear. It was a love song, one that she had never heard. The music calmed her and later she fell asleep with the radio next to her pillow, the risqu� music trickling gently into her ear. She felt a touch of shame but the music was comforting nonetheless. In the night she dreamt of the fish in Old Man Stevenson's pond. She was floating in a tractor tire, her legs draped over the edge so that only her feet were in the water, and her posterior, through the center of the tire. She was enjoying the coolness of the pond water, watching a wasp-shaped cloud in the otherwise pure blue sky. But with the first nibble on her toe she remembered the carp, flesh-white and as long as her shinbone. She tried to lift herself out of the water, the tire bobbling as if it may tip over altogether. She saw the fish's sucking mouths and their black eyes, glassy and vacuous. The cloud moved before the sun, plunging Rebecca into a night-like darkness on the pond, thousands of fish swarming upon her... She awoke tangled in twisted bed sheets. The radio, with its dead batteries, had fallen to the floor. At nine o'clock Rebecca was sitting on her front porch drinking a glass of juice. It was cool in the shade of the porch but it promised to be a beastly hot day, the first of the summer. Her illness had returned and she could barely swallow the sips of juice. Perfectly on time, she saw Frankie coming up her street--a bulky cotton bag on her shoulder. She stopped at Rebecca's front steps. What's all that? said Rebecca, nodding toward the bag. Flashlights, bug spray, apples in case we get hungry. Rebecca had planned to bring nothing, perhaps because she did not believe they would really go to the cave. Yet she knew Frankie would not change her mind--for one thing, she was determined to prove Rebecca wrong... to prove the whole village wrong. The screen door opened, startling Rebecca, and her father stepped onto the porch. Good morning, ladies--what are you up to so early this morning? Pastor Philips was in beige pants and a maroon sports shirt, looking strange to Frankie not in his ministerial black. Perspiration glistened on his bald head. Thought we might go for a hike, said Frankie. A hike? I didn't know you'd turned my daughter into a nature lover--job well done, Miss Francine, and he winked at Frankie. Well, I'm off to the church--Mrs. Overton claims one of the organ pedals is getting mushy, and we can't have music with mushy notes in God's house. Have a good hike, ladies. Then Pastor Phillips went down the steps and turned to his pickup truck in the driveway. In a moment he was pulling away, with a honk and a last wave. 46 Prose | Tulane Review | fall 2011 Are you ready? asked Frankie. Rebecca knew it was futile to protest. She could simply refuse to go with Frankie but something prevented her from doing that too. It might have been pride--not wanting to forfeit the village's integrity, or simply not wanting to be wrong. As she left the comfort of her porch and began walking with Frankie toward Hollis Woods, the outskirts of which intersected with the boundaries of the village, Rebecca felt curious more than anything. She wanted to know if the legend was true. There was fear also but it did not seem precisely the fear of encountering the devil himself--though that would have made sense to her--rather it was fear complexly bound with shame, with guilt... Walking along in the rising heat and humidity, not speaking, Rebecca could not sort out all that she was feeling, nor even begin to articulate it if she tried. Meanwhile images from her dream about the white carp kept returning to her; and as unsettling as they were, she preferred them to dwelling on the task before her. She glanced secretly at Frankie, who was a few inches taller, and her expression was as placid and as featureless as the cloudless blue sky above them. Rebecca had to lead the way once they reached the woods, which were noisy with insect sounds and birdsong. There was no purpose in delay so she took the winding paths that led directly to the off-limits trail. A wooden barricade was erected, white paint peeling from its posts and cross boards, and a sign with faded letters that warned NO ADMITTANCE. From what they could see the trail was overgrown but recognizable among the trees and leafy forest growth. Frankie rearranged the bag on her shoulder and climbed over the barricade, which was only waist high and more ornamental than functional. Rebecca followed in a few seconds. It occurred to her that given what lay at the other end of the trail, the barricade might have been more substantial. Until this moment however it had always been substantial enough. Penetrating deeper into the woods the air became cooler and heavier, the insect sounds more distinct and stranger, as if new to Rebecca's ears. In fact the woods felt altogether alien, though she had been in them to walk or picnic or play a hundred times. This part of the forest was utterly different. A strangeness came over Rebecca but it was more than the woods feeling foreign--she herself seemed changed. The trail wound back and forth, then without warning they were standing in front of the mouth of the cave. It seemed carved into a lushly overgrown hill, and the small black entrance was situated in a way that suggested one would be walking steeply downward upon entering. Prose 47 Well, said Frankie, shall we, as she fished the flashlights from her bag. She gave Rebecca one with a red plastic casing while she took a larger metal flashlight. The girls switched them on and cautiously entered the cave, Frankie leading and having to duck a little. She looked totally at ease but perhaps her heart was racing as much as Rebecca's for she reached back and took her friend's hand. Immediately a mineral scent reached Rebecca, and a welcome coolness. Except for their scuffing shoes the cave was perfectly quiet. Shining their lights along the walls and ceiling and floor, they could see the cave was simply an empty space-- there were no bats or dark-dwelling insects. Its emptiness was a relief to Rebecca. The cave was so small their lights reached its farthest corners. You see, said Frankie in a whisper, there's nothing here. Yet she still held Rebecca's hand. Rebecca continued to shine her light along the cave walls, the fear slowly leaving her. What's that? Her light had illuminated an odd feature of the far wall. They approached it while using their flashlights to expose the form in the rock more fully. It was the shape of some creature fossilized in the wall but mostly exposed to view. It had a horselike head except with sharp teeth in its jaw. Its spine and ribs appeared in the girls' moving lights, as did its strangely short arms, stranger still in contrast to its large legs bones. In life it must have been a fearsome thing. It's a dinosaur of some sort, said Frankie--there's your Lucifer. The girls continued looking at the prehistoric animal, seeing it one small piece at a time. Neither girl was inclined to release their clasping hands. In a way that did not require words they knew this would be their secret. They alone would smell the cave's primitive scent. 48 Poetry | Tulane Review | fall 2011 What is Quiet Remains Familiar Matthew Haughton Lord be the red bricks of this house, set in the red dirt. Lord be the groundswell of brushes and radishes out back. Lord be this possum, blinded and sick in the light. The soundings above and humming below of this place. Poetry 49 ruminations at 5am Zach Yanowitz as of late, the table on our front porch is missing a leg but is somehow still standing, ashtray full of cigarette butts that, for once, aren't mine. the moon crosshatches the street, dappling milky light on the parked cars, the vague branches of trees. i cut my finger at work while slicing lemons, which seems almost cruel. citrus screaming a path through my veins the way my pen harries a page. let's go get a drink. there's this great place around the corner where the shadows relax and we'll forget what we're like. hey, hold my beer. i'll be right back. it's a clear night and i've built up a tolerance to stars. 50 Art | Tulane Review | fall 2011 Sijasahau Melinda Boudreaux Prose 51 Reservations Amy Yolanda Castillo This is how you know you're aging. You try to watch those reality programs you got hooked on as a teenager. You know, the ones where an impossibly diverse group of people in their early twenties live together in a luxuriously appointed beachfront house. They lie in bed together and canoodle and eventually have bad sex, which culminates in fistfights and "hugging it out" and more bad sex. This programming has entertained you for years. But one day, quite unexpectedly, you realize you're far too invested in the lives of these ill-mannered half-wits. You're bored. You change the channel. You're out at the mall and you see a group of prepubescent girls. They all have acne. They are gangly. They are growing into their bodies, into the women they will become, and they are ugly. You see that some are still wearing corduroy pants and little plastic barrettes and carrying Hello Kitty purses. Others, their friends, are wearing tube tops and apple bottom jeans and trying to induce the scary bald man at the tattoo parlor to overlook the parental consent requirement. They are babies and they are jail bait. You remember what that was like. You feel a pang of empathy for them. Then you realize, it's not empathy. It's maternal. One night you finish showering and you dry yourself off. You stand in front of a full-length mirror. First you turn sideways, to see if there's been any appreciable growth in your pot belly. Then you turn to the front, to assess how much your breasts are sagging. You see that gravity is taking its toll and you wonder if you will wind up like those women in Africa, the ones you see in National Geographic, who have breasts hanging down to their bellies. While you ponder this, you notice something odd on your mons pubis. You turn on all the lights in the room. Then you see. Your pubic hair is turning grey. You go in for a checkup, and the ophthalmologist tells you that you have presbyopia. "No," you protest, "I've always been farsighted, that's all." He shakes his head. "This happens as we approach middle age." "But I'm only thirty-six," you plead. 52 Prose | Tulane Review | fall 2011 He just smiles. You start to drive more carefully. You make an appointment for an annual physical and you don't cancel it. You throw away some of your sex toys, in case you die and someone from your family has to box up your things. You begin to know that you are part of the cycle of life, and that everything that ever lived, everything that ever was, has died. You know that you are no exception. Clay and I met on a humid summer evening. I'd run to 7-Eleven for a pint of ice cream. The container oozed beads of sugary sweat while I got into my trusty little Hyundai and began backing out. I thought I checked my rearview mirror, but suddenly there was a jolt and a slam, and I heard the violent fusion of screeching metal. I got out of the car and a furious man rushed over to confront me. "Lady, what the fuck do you think you were doing, driving like that?" His face flushed bright red, and a tiny drop of spittle flew from his mouth when he said "fuck." I saw he was driving some sort of black sports car with the top down. It looked very expensive. "I'm sorry," I told him, and immediately regretted it. He threw his hands up in the air. "Sorry doesn't fix my ride, lady." He bent over to examine the rear bumper of his car. I was more interested what had happened to his car than mine, so I leaned over his shoulder. The damage didn't really look that bad. A few scratches, a small indentation. I walked back over to my car and looked at my bumper. I couldn't even tell that anything had happened. The Hyundai had seen better days. Now he was behind me, angry and sarcastic. "Well lady, I'm glad you're so concerned about that piece of shit." I felt the onset of a peculiar kind of anger that is unique to women, in which you are so furious that you don't know whether to scream or to cry, so you do a little of both. I wasn't even sure I was at fault. And where did he get the nerve to keep calling me "lady?" Like I was an old hag. "Fuck you." I felt the sting of tears springing to my eyes. "Fuck you, asshole." I fumbled through my purse until I found my insurance card and a little pad of paper. My hands were shaking, but I copied down my policy information, my name, how I could be reached. He watched me, and I knew he saw the tremble in my hands. "Oh, hey, don't get so excited, okay? But Jesus, an accident is a serious fucking thing." "Yeah, well that's why we have insurance." I tore off the slip of paper and shoved it against his chest. "Here you go. Make your claim. I'm going home." Prose 53 "Wait, don't you want my information?" I shook my head and gestured to the Hyundai. "Does it matter? Do you think I'm going to fix that piece of shit?" I got in my car and inched backward and forward, backward and forward, until I was clear of his car. The man stood and watched me, hands on his hips, bewildered. He was wearing aviator sunglasses; later, that was one of the things about him that made me smile. We both remembered when aviators were popular in the eighties, and now they'd come around again. Clay just remembered it as a fact. But I knew it meant we were getting older. And that is how I met my husband. We met in a crazy amalgam of twisted metal, scratched paint, cracked plastic, and ugly vituperation. We never had a heartwarming, romantic story to tell people about how we met. We couldn't say we met at the ice cream stand when he bumped into me and spilled two of his three scoops onto my new pink cashmere sweater. We didn't meet at the pound, where we were walking captive dogs, or at the nursing home, where we were reading pulp fiction to the blind, friendless elderly. We didn't bump into each other at the bookstore, where we were both reaching for the last copy of the Penguin Classics version of Anna Karenina, so we wouldn't be seen carrying around the edition that screamed "An Oprah's Book Club Selection." We didn't have any good stories like that. There was nothing sweet or lovable in how we met. Anyway, we weren't romantics. So we had to compensate. Whenever anyone asked, Clay said he came to my rescue after I backed my car into a screaming, cursing madman at the 7-Eleven. He called the next day and introduced himself. "I just wanted to say I'm sorry about last night," he told me. "I never should have acted like that. I get too excited when it comes to my baby." My blood ran cold. "My God, I didn't see a car seat." "No, no, no," he laughed. "Now see, I'm apologizing all over again. I meant my `Vette. She's my baby." "Oh." I had no idea what he was talking about. I didn't care. I wanted to get off the phone. He was weird, and I was in the middle of cleaning out my freezer. "Well, good luck with everything . . . " I let my voice trail off, thinking he'd take the hint. "Wait a minute, lady," and I could hear the smile in his voice, the cute small taunt. "Will you let me take you out tonight? To make up for what happened?" He irritated me. "That takes some nerve, for you to ask me that." "Come on, we'll have fun. Let me make it up to you." "It's a bad idea. You've got a claim against my insurance company." 54 Prose | Tulane Review | fall 2011 "Naw, I don't. Why get insurance all mixed up in this?" I felt myself giving in to this impossible man. "Is this how you usually find dates?" "Yup. I run `em down at the 7-Eleven." I asked when he'd pick me up. He came for me in the black Corvette. He'd had it fixed. His best friend owned a custom parts store. That should have told me something. "Every date is an event, and every event is an adventure," he announced as we pulled up to a horse racing track on the outskirts of town. "I thought you were going to take me out to dinner." "No way. Wouldn't you rather have an adventure? Besides, we'll eat." He paid for me, standing in long lines while I waited in the bleachers. I thought it would annoy him if I made my wagers based on silly things, like the number of syllables in a horse's name. So I did. But it didn't bother him. I won on a nine-to-one long shot filly, and he insisted that I keep the money. We ate at a greasy spoon in the back of the grandstand. He ate two hot dogs and a hamburger, and I had cheesy chili fries because he did not seem like the kind of man who expected me to subsist on iceberg lettuce. He shocked me by disclosing that he became an associate professor of geology at the U after working as an adjunct for only two years. I was impressed. "They must really have liked you." He shrugged. "I'm good in the survey courses because I like the kids. If you can make people care about sediment, you're doing something right." When we got back to my place, he kissed me, then he lingered at the front door, like an outside dog begging to come in. All soft warm brown eyes and please, please, please. There were bugs everywhere, moths and gnats and mosquitos attracted to the soft yellow porch lights. My neighbor's bug zapper crackled every few seconds, each noisy blue flash an unheeded warning to other careless insects. Clay was wearing a black polo that pulled taut against his broad chest. All night long I'd been looking at his biceps. They were thick and strong and lightly coated in coarse brown hair. He kissed me again, and when he pulled away, his eyes told me what kind of lover he would be. I turned the key in the lock and opened the door. I stepped inside and waited until he gave up, until he turned his back and walked away. "You should come inside," I told him, "before the bugs eat you alive." He whirled around and vaulted up the porch steps, crinkling up the corners of his mouth in a smirky half-grin. Clay played bass guitar--or "the axe," as he put it--in a band called Prose 55 "Stranger Danger." The singer was his base jumping partner. The lead guitarist and drummer were former students, and they had "Go STINGERS Go" bumper stickers on their amplifiers, in homage to the furious hornet who served as the university mascot. I'd always despised grown men who played in bands. I thought they ought to settle down, grow up, give it up. That it was lame and embarrassing. But now I had to go out on Friday and Saturday nights to watch Stranger Danger play at bowling alleys and birthday parties. When the guys played a ballad, the other girlfriends ignited disposable lighters and, giggling, held them above their heads. I knew they were only half-serious, but it made me uncomfortable. So whenever Stranger Danger covered a seventies anthem I hadn't liked to begin with, I hurried away to the bar and casually returned, after the song had ended, with bottles of beer for the girls. He was a parachutist. He told me that every time he jumped out of a plane, he wondered what it would be like to let himself keep falling, all the way to the ground. "To go all the way," he described it. He rode a motorcycle. Not a Gold Wing or a Harley or a lumbering touring bikes. A sleek, powerful crotch rocket that sounded like death when it whined and screamed around the track. Sometimes I went to watch Clay race it at the track, but that wasn't enough for him. He wanted me to ride with him, too. "How can I? You called it the bitch seat," I protested. "All you have to do is hold on tight," he said, ignoring me, overlooking my attempts to distract him. He wanted me to sit behind him, to wrap my arms around his waist and know that he would bend into the turns, shift his weight at just the right time. I asked him if he would ever give these things up, even scale them back a little, to start. "I worry about you," I told him. "Can't you do it for me?" He looked at me in astonishment. "This is who I am. I can't be any other way. Can you?" Every time I watched him do a bump of coke with a student, or jump off a building with a cord tied around his ankles, or skid into a turn on his motorcycle, so low to the ground that I was sure he'd tumble into the haystack barriers, I thought about the thousand things that could go wrong. He could be paralyzed, a quadriplegic unable to move but for the tiny bit of motor control in an index finger that would allow him to move the joystick on his wheelchair. He could be terribly burned in a car accident, disfigured beyond recognition, subject to agonizing wound care and skin grafting. He could fall on some soft vulnerable spot on his head and spend the rest of his life wondering what happened thirty seconds ago. 56 Prose | Tulane Review | fall 2011 Then I asked myself, am I ready to be this man's common law widow? His committed caretaker? Do I want to change his diapers? The dressings on his wounds? Do I want to kiss the rough terrain of the third degree burns on his cheeks? Am I willing to climb on top of him, every time, forever, because he's lost his arms or legs and can't be our fulcrum anymore? Am I strong enough to carry his thin, frail body from his wheelchair to his bed, or will we have to have a home health aide move in with us? Do I love him enough to do those things? Does he love me enough not to ask? Before long, we had vicious screaming matches. "You're going to throw your life away with this," I ranted at him while he put on his leathers, getting ready for the races. "You're going to throw your whole goddamn life in the toilet because you don't know when enough is enough." "Fuck you for never believing in me," he'd shout. "Well fuck you for your stupid death wish." "You're an uptight bitch." "You're a selfish, immature prick." Then we'd get in his car and drive to the track. I'd watch him going around and around, and though I didn't want it, though I fought it, some part of me was turned on by it. At the end he dismounted his bike and he was sweaty and dirty, but in a sexy sort of way. I hugged him and wiped the grime from his face, because I was glad he'd made it and because I loved the musky smell of his sweat. We went out for pizza with the gang. Then we went home and fucked the rest of the day away, dropping down on the floor of the foyer as soon as we closed the front door, fucking until we were both sore and exhausted and had to take aspirin for a few days. We weren't getting any younger. Clay was the first to say it. We were in bed, naked. I was lying on my back, eyes closed, nearly asleep, and he was on his side, playing with my nipples. "I love you, baby," he said. I didn't open my eyes. He said it to me again. We were out at a restaurant and I ordered vermicelli. He laughed at me, and I didn't know why. He dipped his cloth napkin in a glass of water and leaned across the table, wiping my chin and upper lip. "You didn't even know you spilled. You had a little marinara goatee." Then he kissed me and whispered into my ear, "That's why I love you." I smiled and wrapped noodles around my fork. Prose 57 He told me again, that night, and I caressed his cheek, wordless. "You just don't want to say it, huh," he said. His eyes were supplicants. They told me everything he could not. "I love you Clay," I told him. He smiled and kissed me. While he pressed his lips against mine, while he explored me with his mouth and then finally pulled away, I thought of Scarlett O'Hara dressed in black crinoline, tapping her foot while the band played lively. He never admitted he was unfaithful. I was sitting on the sofa, watching my soap opera. He was courteous enough to wait until there was a commercial break. Then he stood between me and the television. He rubbed the back of his head in consternation, then he made an announcement. He had chlamydia. I ought to get tested too. "But how?" I asked, dumbly. "I don't know. I really don't know." "How can you not know how you got it?" "There are a lot of ways you can get it." "Oh really? So you're saying you picked it up off a toilet seat?" "No. Shit. I don't know what to tell you." "Who was she?" "Don't do this." "Do you even know?" "Stop it. This isn't helpful." "Well Clay, how about this? If you have it, don't I have it? Don't I have to have it?" "How should I know? I'm not a doctor." I paused. "Are you sure about this? I never noticed anything." "Look, I'm giving you the information. That's all. What more can I do? Christ, I'm sorry." But I knew everything he wasn't telling me. I thought of the university, of all the pretty co-eds with their straight white teeth and taut skin and perky tits. I imagined Clay's wandering eye finding a way to leer without betraying himself. I wanted to punish him, to shame him, to make him admit that he wanted them like he wanted me, that he had them like he had me. Before I could do it, he snatched up my hands and squeezed them until they hurt. "I'm so sorry. Oh, God I'm sorry." He sat next to me on the sofa, then he rolled over on his side and buried his face in my lap. He cried and I stroked his hair. He rolled over and looked up at me. "Why are you with me?" "Because I don't know why you want to be with me." 58 Prose | Tulane Review | fall 2011 "That's direct," he said. He pressed his palms against his eyes. "I love you so much I can't look at you." "It's okay." "I feel like I'm coming apart." "I know," I replied. After we married, we bought a house. It was a Tudor, just like I always wanted. It had a two car garage. Clay parked the Corvette in one half, and lined up the motorcycle and the four wheeler on the other. I parked the Hyundai in the driveway. "Do you think you're ever going to get over this?" I complained. "I'd like to park inside too." "I'm not a toddler. It's not a phase," he said, softly. He left for the U about an hour after I went to work, but every winter morning, he put on his boots and parka and trudged outside. He scraped away the frost and snow and ice from my windshield, and warmed up my car. Then he came back inside to the kitchen and turned on the coffee machine, put in my favorite blend, and poured just twelve ounces into my sixteen ounce travel mug, so scalding hot liquid wouldn't spill over and burn me. He snapped on the lid, checked that it was snug, and handed me the mug on my way out the door. Some mornings he called after me as I left. "I'm sorry," he said. You know you're aging because you're still alive. You can sort through the hairs on your temples, isolating the grey ones and considering whether to pluck them. You can cluck disapprovingly while you caress the fine wrinkles under your eyes. You can groan when your knee hurts after a hard run. You can wonder why you're constipated, when you've always been regular as a clock. These things aren't just a bitter pill. They're a reminder of your continued vitality. They tell you: Ingrate, you're alive! From the moment you're born, you begin to die. That's what it means to age. But the second you die, everything stops. You're done. It's been years and years since they debunked that nonsense about corpses with long fingernails and longer hair. The truth is that when you die, it only looks like your hair and fingernails have grown because your body is shrinking down, wasting away. I'm forty-two. I'm getting older every day. But Clay isn't. He died. He went to South Africa with three of his friends over spring break. On the final day of the trip, they went bungee jumping. It was three hundred feet from the bridge deck to the river below. The outfitters were locals. They were sloppy. Their rope was frayed, their carabiners inadequate, and their knots Prose 59 unsure. Clay fell to the bottom of the bungee cord, bounced up and down, hooted and hollered, and dangled, waiting for the outfitters to retrieve him. While he waited, while he twisted in the wind, the cord wrapped around his ankles gave way. He plummeted into the river. The university cleaned and packed his office and sent over his things in dozens of sturdy bankers boxes. It took me a long time to go through them. There were photos of the two of us laughing, though I couldn't remember what had been so funny. There were other pictures of Clay, doing Claythings. A picture of him kicking a soccer ball. A picture of him wearing his aviators, holding his guitar, looking somber. At a football game, dressed like a hornet in a black and yellow sweater and face paint, with a makeshift stinger taped to his ass. There was a key chain he swiped from a Yamaha dealership, and a letter-opener his father gave him when he graduated from junior high. There were glass bottles filled with dirt and stones that were terribly important to him but meaningless to me. Clay is forty-five. He will never be forty-six. Sometimes I put on his leather jacket, the red and white one he wore when he went to the track with the Ducati. The arms hang down past my fingertips. It smells of all the things he smoked, cigarettes and marijuana and cloves and cigars. It smells of gasoline and exhaust. It smells of perspiration, of Clay's mild, sweet body odor. I wear the jacket when I scrub out the bathtub or shovel the snow off the back porch. I wear it when I exert myself, when I'm alone, so I can feel my sweat mingling with his. Now that it's all over, now that he's gone, there is no danger. I don't have to work at it anymore. I love him, and I hope I love him the way he wanted. I can love him this way now because I am safe, and because he will never come back. 60 Art | Tulane Review | fall 2011 In Honorem Cary Kamarat Poetry 61 The water rose and took him to another. Kate Robinson When he dies I will take the chicken bones I let bleach on my windowsill and affix them to the side of his urn. Ideally, I would pay for his skeleton to be delivered to me, standing, so I could make him wings from the bones of chickens we slaughtered and ate together. When the water rose, he fled down South to the children to test them for any abnormalities of feeling and response. In and out of their new trailers he tested and wept with the mothers and ate with their dogs. When he is gone I will root through his journals for proof of dishonesty and evidence of another life. One he could slip into wifeless and barebacked Onto an extravagantly tall Nordic man, joining uncomplicated torsos. The urn will be a copper color, and I will glue the chicken wings neatly to the sides. I will extend the joints so it appears to be preparing for flight. The cats will lick at it. My son will break off one wing. My daughter will hide the fallen bones under her pillow, with her teeth. I'll iron that image onto the children, feed them your ashes. We won't perform together anymore, commas on a mattress. All still wet from assessment, asymptote of a rising that never fell dry. 62 Poetry | Tulane Review | fall 2011 Docet Umbra Glenn Stowell A field of cicadas burgeons. The day is hot and young but the sundial will douse its song as we're swept along again. What has the shadow taught us? We toss an aubade into the night sky while the oaks grow harder skin and live to count their rings. I won't allow myself to touch you when you'll be leaving so soon. Poetry 63 Lobster Apologia Engram Wilkinson I seem to have woken up in an aquarium, a place littered with lichens, with corals, with snapping lobsters having left their dirty homes for the cavities of my own body. I turn to face the young boy, the sleeping young boy, and in the silence of early morning I offer him my confessions: I am a nervous person. I have arthritis. I remember everything. There's more to it, of course, like the story of my father, how his sun-burnt body would inhale steam from the stovetop, how I would throw the clicking invertebrates into the pot before running out to the spigot for more water. There's more to it, of course, there's my stepmother's homemade tea and all the apologizes of a highly anticipated Saturday night. Sorry for the bony elbows, I say to you, sorry we were drunk, sorry about the whole episode in the cab, how I lost my breath when saying your name aloud. That's what this is, after all, something underwater, a place that knows only the suggestion of sunlight. I am in here, I yelled to the kitchen while struggling to hold my filled bucket. Get me that water, he said, get me the giant knife from the dishwasher, we're going to finish them off, we're eating lobster tonight. I poured my water into theirs and watched as their claws grasped for a shoreline made of sand, not copper. Sorry for making the noise, one's eyes seemed to say, sorry for making you guilty. I stared at their backless forms and touched my own spine while you hollowed their tails. Mom, as you made me call her, she lit a candle on the back porch and asked me to say the blessing while sipping her sweet tea. You wanted me too. Dear God, I say, Dear Heavenly Father thank you for the idea of spines. Thank you for his body and its freckled thighs, the way it moved over me like sunlight over reeds. Thank you--no, this is wrong. Sorry God, I say, sorry for fucking a man and 64 Poetry | Tulane Review | fall 2011 saying your name aloud, father, but when you ask me to say the blessing some people have got to be named. Dear Body, Dear Lobsters, please come sit down, we've got some food leftover and my stepmother has left the table. Dear Boy, dear Last Night please keep me hidden, I don't want the sun anymore. Let's drown here and sleep forever. Everything that sinks must eventually resurface but you already know the obvious. Sorry for the bony spine, sorry in advance for the good-bye kiss and for already planning a real date with cold beer and Japanese movies. Amen, you say, Amen Amen and you pass me the plate, father, you pass the good china before I drop everything with my clumsy, aching fingers. Our night begins with a small disaster, the broken plate falling in love with the floor. Sorry for breaking everything, I say, wiping the sweat from my arms. You stir and wait for me to speak. Art 65 Hot Air Balloon Kristina Bjornson 66 Poetry | Tulane Review | fall 2011 You stood me in the tub and rolled up my pants. Kate Robinson You used bar soap to wash my feet, and I felt some shame. You sat me on the toilet and dried my feet. The light from the yellowed bulb behind your head was blinding the dove in my chest. I was clean, and so your sheets enjoyed the same condition. The warm water gaba'd my brain. I remember when my mother would wash my feet before bed. This was the ceremony she kept. Child to mother, hand to foot. I'm not interested in pushing back against nature, occasionally someone will intercede. Sometimes the messiah cried over the whore's feet. Art 67 Five Points Joelle Engolia Contributors Christopher Barnes won a Northern Arts writers award in 1998. Christmas 2001 he debuted at Newcastle's famous Morden Tower doing a reading of his poems. Each year he reads for Proudwords lesbian and gay writing festival and he partakes in workshops. 2005 saw the publication of his collection LOVEBITES published by Chanticleer Press, 6/1 Jamaica Mews, Edinburgh. Kara Bausch is a freshman at Tulane from Colorado. She is currently undecided in her major, but has a high interest in studio art. She has worked with various media, but favors drawing and digital photography. Her work has been shown in several selective art shows. Eleanor Leonne Bennett is a 15 year old photographer and artist who has won contests with National Geographic, the Woodland Trust, the World Photography Organisation, Winston's Wish, Papworth Trust, Mencap, Big Issue, and others. She has had her photographs published in exhibitions and magazines across the world including the Guardian, RSPB Birds, National Geographic Kids, and others. Kristina Bjornson is a freshman at Tulane University and she is loving New Orleans. Her hometown is Overland Park, Kansas. Kristina hopes to major in Studio Art with a possible minor in Mathematics. She loves creating art in all mediums and sharing her art with others, so please enjoy! Austin Bloom is the post modern Ansel Adams. A recent Tulane grad, he is currently exploring the world and having thrilling adventures. Z.Z. Boone holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College. His fiction has been published, or is upcoming, in the New Ohio Review, Weave, The MacGuffin, Smokelong Quarterly, and elsewhere. He is marrried to novelist Tricia Bauer, and currently teaches fiction at Western Connecticut State University. Melinda Boudreaux is a junior at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi with a double concentration in Anthropology and Sociology and a minor in African Studies. She is a native of Slidell, Louisiana. While her plans for life are to use her education and ambition to save the world, she enjoys photography as a relaxing pass time. Amy Castillo lives and works in Saint Paul, Minnesota. She is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School and spent ten years working in the state trial courts before leaving for greener pastures. Her short stories have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Halfway Down the Stairs, Specter Literary Magazine, Midwestern Gothic, J Journal, 6 Tales, and Emrys Journal. Jessica Comola currently lives in Oxford, MS where she is an MFA student at the University of Mississippi. Her poems have appeared The Southwestern Review, Rhodes College's Literary Journal, and The Columbia Review. "To the Pale" makes reference to Lucie Brock-Broido's introduction to Thomas James' Letters to a Stranger, Graywolf Press." Avinab B Datta lives in Bombay, India and has recently completed his degree in literature from the University of Mumbai. He also edits nether, a new journal for writing from India. Matt Dennison finished his undergraduate degree at Mississippi State University where he won the National Sigma Tau Delta essay competition (as judged by X.J. Kennedy). His work has appeared in Rattle, Natural Bridge, The Spoon River Poetry Review, Cider Press Review, A Cappella Zoo, and Gargoyle, among others. He currently lives in a 105-year-old house with "lots of potential." Joelle Engolia is a junior at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta. She is currently studying Communications, Politics, and Photography and plans to enter the journalism field after college. She won second place in Showcase's Live & Drive Photography Contest for her photograph featuring Little Five Points, and another photograph was given an honorable mention in an LSU Student Art Show. Jim Fuess works with liquid acrylic paint on canvas. He strives for grace and fluidity, movement and balance. He likes color and believes that beauty can be an artistic goal. There is whimsy, fear, energy, movement, fun and dread in his abstract paintings. More of his abstract paintings, both in color and black and white, may be seen at www.jimfuessart.com. Matthew Haughton is the author of the chapbook "Bee-coursing Box" (Accents Publishing). His poetry has appeared in many journals including Appalachian Journal, Now & Then, The Birmingham Arts Journal, and The James Dickey Review. Haughton lives in Lexington, Kentucky. Dennis Herrell has been a teacher, a sporting goods wholesaler, a gift/card wholesaler, and is now an antique dealer. On July 5, 2000, he began to submit his poetry to publications. He has been published by Atlanta Review, Aura, Aurorean, Bogg, Ibbetson St., Mobius, Pearl, Poem, Poet Lore, and others. Scott T. Hutchinson's work has appeared in such publications as The Southern Review and The Georgia Review. New work is forthcoming in Slant, Amoskeag, The Medulla Review, and Foliate Oak. Cary Kamarat was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, and received his MA from Northwestern University's School of Communication. His poems have appeared in The Federal Poet, and Academic Exchange Quarterly has published his educational research. He is currently working on an illustrated travel poetry volume. Laura Lyall is from Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador. She graduated from St. Thomas University in 2010 and currently resides in Fredericton, NB. Michael Milburn teaches high school English in New Haven, CT. Most recently his writing has appeared in New England Review and Ploughshares. His poem "Drive" appeared in the Tulane Review's Winter 2010 issue. Ted Morrissey is the author of the novel Men of Winter (2010) and the forthcoming novella and story collection Weeping with an Ancient God (2012), both from Punkin House. His fiction has appeared in several journals, including Glimmer Train, The Chariton Review, PANK, and Pisgah Review. Keith Moul has published his poems widely for more than 40 years, but his photos are a more recent venture. In about 18 months he's published more than 100 of them. His chapbook, The Grammar of Mind, was released 11/10 by Blue & Yellow Dog Press. Also in 2010 a companion poem to one of his photos was a Pushcart nominee. Kate Robinson is currently finishing up her MFA from Bennington. She works in Boston at a 50-year old independent bookstore, and she's allergic to shellfish. She has had work appear in The Common Ground (finalist 2011 poetry award), as well as Ditch. She has forthcoming work in Stymie, Confrontation, and a feature in Nefarious Ballerina. Frank Roger was born in 1957 in Ghent, Belgium. He's an artist mainly doing collages and graphic work in a surrealist and satirical vein, as well as a short story writer. Since 1975, his stories have appeared in an increasing number of languages in all sorts of magazines, anthologies and other venues. By now he has a few hundred short story publications (including a few short novels) to his credit in more than 35 languages. His collages and graphic work have also appeared in various magazines and books. Find out more at www.frankroger.be . Glenn Stowell has been published in the Claremont Review and won the 2010 Sebastian Herbstein writing fellowship. His first full-length collection, Until We Leave, comes out this spring on Stethoscope Press. He was also selected as one of four Wesleyan Student Poets for 2011-2012 and gives regular readings as a part of that. Abby Templeton can be found teaching life skills classes for teen moms and pregnant teens at a Denver High School when not writing. Abby received her MFA from Antioch University Los Angeles. Her poems can also be found in Rattle, Two Hawks Quarterly, Splinter Generation, The Beachhead, and The Wazee Online Journal. Susan Overcash Walker's short fiction has appeared in Whiskey Island (Vol. 58), Big Tex[t], and Crimewave. She holds a M.F.A. in creative writing (fiction) from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She's also a non-fiction feature writer and previous columnist for Global Connection Magazine, a contributor to Matador Travel, and former editor and feature writer for the university publications Eunomia and The Battalion. She's just finished her first novel, With Regards from Frankel City, which was a semi-finalist for the 2010 Southwest Writers Writing Contest (Fiction) and a finalist for the 2010 New Rivers Press Many Voices Project. Engram Wilkinson is an undergraduate at Tulane University majoring in World Literature and Latin American Studies. His poetry has previously appeared in Wag's Revue, Vox, and Metaphor. Zach Yanowitz is 21 years old, lives in New Orleans, and has no marketable real-world skills. Edith Young triangulates between Manhattan, Maine, and Massachusetts. Sheis a poet, photographer, and preparer of the Castine Variety Store's crustacean concoction Coastal Living Magazine deemed "Maine's Best Lobster Roll." At eighteen years old, she is taking a gap year, reading Frank O'Hara, and voting in the 2012 election. Submission Guidelines The Tulane Review accepts poetry, prose, and art submissions. Poetry and prose submissions should be sent electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org and be included as attachments. Hard copy submissions will be accepted and should be sent to Tulane Review, 122 Norman Mayer, New Orleans, LA, 70118 with an SASE. Please submit no more than five poems and limit prose submissions to 4,000 words per piece. Hard copy submissions should include the artist's e-mail address. Art should be submitted electronically to tulane.review@ gmail.com in high-resolution format. Please include dimensions and media. Please include a cover letter with biography for all submissions. The Tulane Literary Society normally acquires first North American serial rights but will consider second serial publication. For more information, visit our website at review.tulane.edu.