AmLit Spring 2011

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[2] American Literary Magazine

Habitat Kimberly Gillespie

Editors’ Note As freshmen, the two of us stepped into the seemingly large confines of the AmLit office, scared by the mere possibility of submitting work. Three years later, after a spring spent in a foreign country, we found ourselves standing before a fresh, young staff. Our senior editors had long since graduated, and we were now faced with the intimidating task of creating a cohesive literary magazine. Together, we have witnessed the fruition of seven, now eight issues from conception to finish. We are here before you today as those old, soon-to-be-gone senior editors, poetry enthusiasts, lovers of painting, photography and prose. The concept of successfully coordinating this giant project grew less daunting as we learned how talented and intelligent our staffers were, each with their own personal passion and reason for being here. This semester has been a great period of learning and creating, as we expanded our horizons as a staff, working to increase interest and involvement in each genre. We spent evening meetings discussing the various possibilities of poetry, the compositional elements of painting, the technical aspects of photography, and were lucky enough to host Professor Danielle Evans who spoke to us about the art of the short story. After hundreds of submissions and seven review sessions (including a memorable five-hour long poetry session), we present to you this especially remarkable issue of AmLit, with stronger representation from each genre than ever before. A million thanks to our endlessly committed editors, our diligent advisor, Alicia, our always-flexible publisher, Jim, and our staff, all of whom endured our crazy antics and requests over the past few months. It is a surreal experience to leave this magazine, but we leave it in the hands of a talented and driven staff. More importantly, we leave it in the hands of you, reader, and hope that you enjoy each of these carefully selected pieces as much as we have. amlitlove, Andrea “Anj” Lum & Christina Farella

Spring 2011 [3]

[4] American Literary Magazine

Table of Contents 2 Habitat | Kimberly Gillespie | Art 3 Editors’ Note | Andrea Lum and Christina Farella 6 Heart | Carolyn Becker | Art 7 Trieste | Andrea Lum | Poetry 8 Septa Variations | David W. Pritchard | Poetry 9 Untitled | Kathryn Schramm | Photography 10 Effort Expended | Kathryn Schramm | Photography 11 Olives | Kaitie O’Hare | Poetry 12 Poem | Christina Farella | Poetry 12 Glow | Hannah Marin | Photography 13 Prison Island | Rosey Waters | Prose | Best in Show 17 It’s 6 AM | Günperi Sisman | Photography 18 Untitled | Rachel Schaub | Art 19 Wyeth’s Wind from the Sea | Rachel Tardiff | Poetry 19 The Cantos of Ezra Pound | David W. Pritchard | Poetry 20 Clouds | Joo Yeon Ha | Art 21 Sparrow | Christina Farella | Poetry 22 Fracture | Adam Powers | Photography 23 Cursing In Front Of Children at the National Gallery | David W. Pritchard | Poetry 24 Byron Dangerfield | Megan Fraedrich | Prose 26 Transforming Lives | Jose Aristimuno | Photography | Best in Show 28 Untitled | Greg Matlesky | Photography 29 Big Small | Carolyn Becker | Art 30 Entangling Roots | Kathryn Schramm | Photography 31 Familiar Dance | Christina Farella | Poetry 32 Hide & Seek | Kaitie O’Hare | Prose 32 Wink Wink | Shaun Flynn | Photography 34 PRODUCER/CONSUMER | Samuel Scharf | Art 35 Home Sweet Home | Colin Crane | Photography 35 Conversations. | Annie Buller | Poetry 36 We | Christina Farella | Poetry 37 INFORMATIONAL EMAIL | David W. Pritchard | Poetry 38 What Did You Have in Mind? | Ryan Kenneth Taylor | Prose 43 A Delicacy | Adam Powers | Photography

44 Personal Poem | Christina Farella | Poetry 45 Heaphy Headwaters | Shaun Flynn | Photography 46 Pupukea | Lorin Eleni Gill | Photography 47 The Accident | Stephanie Dinkmeyer | Prose 48 Giacomo Died When I Was One | Kaitie O’Hare | Poetry | Best in Show 49 Fish | Emma Conlon | Art 50 August. | Gretchen Kast | Prose 51 River Cam | William Bergin | Photography 53 Untitled | Joo Yeon Ha | Art 54 Just a Splash of Color | Dan Alt | Photography 55 The ZooKeeper to the Ibis | Rachel Tardiff | Poetry 56 I’m Done With All You Bourgeois Boys! | Christina Farella | Poetry 57 Fit To Be Tied | Anna Chapin | Photography 58 The Sheriff | Christina Farella | Art | Best in Show 59 TO ABSURDITY | David W. Pritchard | Poetry 60 His Girl Friday | Emi Ruff-Wilkinson | Prose 63 Hair | Carolyn Becker | Art 64 Business Without Profit | Samuel Scharf | Art 65 I Broke the Jar | Christina Farella | Poetry 66 Near East 23rd Street | Annie Buller | Photography 67 The Day I Learned to Interact With the City | Nora Pullen | Poetry 68 Call and Response | Christina Farella | Poetry 70 Crooked Chairs | Colin Crane | Photography 71 The Caffeinated and the Damned | Rachel Tardiff | Poetry 72 Tim Becomes a Ferry | David W. Pritchard | Poetry 72 Untitled 1, 2, 3, 4 | Jillian Bonahoom | Art 74 What It Is | Christina Farella | Poetry 75 Tempesta di Mare | Don Kimes | Art | Faculty Contributer 76 Biographies 77 Aishiteruyo Neni | Lorin Eleni Gill | Art 78 Bog | Anna Chapin | Photography 79 Submission Policy & Acknowledgements 80 Staff 81 Invisible Light | Emma Conlon | Art Spring 2011 [5]

[6] American Literary Magazine


Carolyn Becker


Andrea Lum

We have been re-routed, again. I wonder, if this is some kind of sign or just a weather pattern, if we are never meant to go where we are led or told, if it is signiďŹ cant, this time, that we have landed in Trieste, just one letter removed from the Italian word for ‘sadness.’ Or maybe it was just that I was trying to reach an island, and the bodies of water between us had kept me ashore. I had tried seeking for the beam of your lighthouse, and waited through the storm, but then faltered, falling into the emptiest of sleeps, and the chasm of the night.

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Septa Variations

David W. Pritchard

I’ve had trouble writing poems on the train since the first time I did it in March when I didn’t sleep and took a swig of brandy in the station. I never told you about the brandy; I didn’t want to upset you any more than I already do when I get excited about absurd songs by dead doctors proclaiming a kind of radiance I think you’d like, or are like depending on the day. Maybe I’m too tired to poke fun at walking on a moving path. I don’t know if the image of walking on a moving path is even interesting if I don’t qualify that the walker is going the opposite direction of the path. But that’s boring and old, like most of my sentiments—

[8] American Literary Magazine

I’m not Sartre, so I think eventually we can be happy holding jackets in the rain as umbrellas, dividing days endlessly into moments just to find one in which we can rightfully exclaim ploop! texting about Foucault, discussing psychoanalysis as if it were a local sports team, dancing the Macarena in an entirely strange way in every bar eternally, painting and only painting which means writing and watching you watch what you watched when you delineated a momentary supplement to memories I have yet to collage. Daniel from the Starbucks looks a lot like Jackson on the Septa looks a lot like Jacob in Missouri. In Gladstone. I wonder if rocks can ever enjoy how we enjoy what rocks. Twang! I was a monkey made of food stamps and discarded pantyhose; you approached me in the metro and proved more intricate than a damp tree. How could you manage to say wonderful things without a tuba full of flowers appearing miraculously, no longer the lot of dumpsters I belong on the mezzanine!

Once I heard Michael Gizzi read a poem he wrote on the train from Vermont in which he stated Amtrak sucks. I agree! but he wouldn’t like the strange candor of these poems, bowling like a furious conglomeration of the least saintly clouds, the wispy ones that steal colorlessly blue sky, making me somehow a symbolist and then going away to drink buttermilk by the traffic lights. Now inside the city I must admit I defer too often to the abstract expressionless babble that sounds nothing like the paintings I admire and makes me feel more or less like a privateer, not the Errol Flynn kind, a real destroyer of marginalia which I thought I’d use as notes toward something supreme and indifferent. I wonder

[9] Spring 2011

but I don’t have time for that now I’m in downtown Philadelphia! I need something to eat but still have so many things to say to you.

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Kathryn Schramm Spring 2011 [9]

[10] American Literary Magazine

Eort Expended

Kathryn Schramm


Kaitie O’Hare

I wore black olives on my fingers when I was younger, Like swollen tips in need of draining, Smashed by pretend hammers or hearts of bad men. But I am taller now and you’ve since told me to Wear my napkin on my lap, so I stopped. Black olives are no good in my mother’s Italian salad, So I’ll push them aside, with full intentions of Rolling them on to your plate during the holidays. Or maybe we’ll have a dog by then with a strong appetite. I ate Italian olives on a first date a few years back, Which ended in meeting you on top of a parking garage And me in a plum dress. You never saw the fashion finale That night, and I never wore that dress again. I had dinner with an old friend one night, the coldest in October, when We ordered Neapolitan pizza and sucked the oil of warm olives for an appetizer. Catching up with a familiar face, I was asked “Where is he tonight,” and simply ate another olive.

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Christina Farella

[12] American Literary Magazine

Catacombs ripen candidly outside the walls of Rome. This is where we are standing. Quo vadis? The basil is dying on the windowsill even though it drinks and eats. Did you know the catacombs of Saint Sebastian look like a fishbone? I rubbed the dirt of ancient tunnels on my fingers to make me as ancient and rich as the tombs. Along the Appian Way the bus flounders and crashes. If an umbrella pine blooms, where does the rain sleep?


Hannah Marin

Prison Island Rosey Waters Best in Show Prose

and not tell anyone that she was dying. When she did die, someone–-probably Ravia—would open her door and find her gracefully laid out on the bed. She began to construct the headline of the paper back home – Local Woman Dies in Foreign Land Due to Mysterious Circumstances. “If it is cancer, I could stay here. It’s beautiful,” Tabitha said. “How would you know?” Ravia asked, and there was a definite edge to her voice. “All you’ve done here is hide out in a room and stay down there.” Tabitha frowned, hugging herself. “I went to the Spice Plantations yesterday with you.” “Yes, thanks for that,” Ravia said. “I really appreciated your cooperation on that little trip.” Tabitha almost wanted to say that it wasn’t her fault that Ravia had insisted that they go out – but it was slightly her fault. Ravia was on leave, and had decided to sail down to Zanzibar in her boat for a couple of months before staying on the island in a little house she had rented. It wasn’t Ravia’s fault that Tabitha had showed up on her doorstep unexpectedly three days ago. Feeling guilty, Tabitha shifted uncomfortably – adjusting hat, shirt and sarong before tentatively sliding out into the bright sunshine. Her eyes stung as they adjusted to the light; immediately she tried to categorize the feeling – an early sign of glaucoma, she thought. She settled down, just outside the cabin in the shadow of the sail and looked at Ravia expectantly. Ravia tossed her a sandwich, which Tabitha caught clumsily before unwrapping it and beginning to eat. She looked around at the ocean – a bright and twinkling azure with gulls flying around looking for food. The land was just in view, a line of white solidity topped by trees. People were lying on the beaches on brightly colored beach towels and among them walked the henna artists, peddling their designs to young women with sunglasses and pale skin. “Food always seems to taste better out here,” Ravia said in a conversational tone. Tabitha looked back at her and shrugged. The cheese and butter sandwich in her hand tasted just as it did on land, slightly greasy and for the most part unappetizing. “I suppose so,” she said rather than arguing again. There was a shift in the wind and Ravia got up to adjust a sail, swinging it round and leaving Tabitha in the bright sunlight. It began to get hot. Tabitha felt the sweat break out along her back first, tiny beads of water amassing into larger drops, that began to

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“I think,” Tabitha said, peering down at her bare stomach, “I am developing a peptic ulcer.” She pressed a hand to it, attempting to feel for where her stomach would be. “It’s brought on by stress.” “And have you been stressed lately?” Ravia asked, peering down into the cabin of the boat. Tabitha looked up, squinting a little; it was extremely bright up on the deck, making it difficult to make out the brown woman’s features. Tabitha was in what Ravia had called a cabin, but Tabitha was rather sure it was a booth from an old style diner – plastic covered seats and a table bolted down with very little light and a stuffy sensation. Still, it was better than being up on deck where she could get badly burned. “Of course I’ve been stressed. I’m in a foreign country aren’t I?” Ravia frowned, getting up and vanishing from the bright square of light that Tabitha could see. There was a jangling sound followed by the thawp of fabric and the boom swung across the bright rectangle leading up to deck before vanishing again. Ravia reappeared and stretched, reaching her hands over her head, fingers intertwined, drawing herself up on her toes and down again, her stomach muscles flexing, making Tabitha feel guilty for not having been to the gym in a while. When Tabitha had questioned whether Ravia could sail in nothing but a swimsuit, the brown woman had chuckled and told Tabitha that she could do anything she wanted on the sea. “Why don’t you come up here Tabby?” Tabitha hunched over, pulling her cover up over her stomach and looking away from Ravia. “I haven’t been feeling well. My stomach has been upset lately,” Tabitha said. “Of course it’s been upset – the aforementioned foreign country’s food is different than what you’re used to. That’s all it is.” Ravia closed her eyes and leant back. Her dark hair trailed over her dark skin, setting her in stark and almost photographic contrast to the water and the boat. “Maybe it’s cancer,” Tabitha said loudly. She thought she could feel a lump, a large lump, about the size of her palm where her fingers were pressing into her skin. “It’s not cancer,” Ravia said, not looking up. Tabitha ignored her, running her fingers around the edges of the lump, trying to gauge whether it was cancerous or not. If it was this big already, she probably didn’t have much time – two, maybe three months the doctors would say. She would stay here, in Zanzibar,

[14] American Literary Magazine

to be another scene like the one she had caused on Thursday. “By itself?” Ravia seemed completely unaware of the tightening of Tabitha’s control over herself. “We’d be right here, that’s not by itself.” Tabitha heard the sound again and clasped her arms tightly around herself, her fingers digging deep into the flesh of her upper arms. She would probably leave bruises. She should remember so she wouldn’t think she had gotten leukemia later. “And if the wind picks up suddenly and it gets blown away?” Tabitha asked, her voice tight. Ravia looked at her, and a fleeting frown crossed her face. Then it was replaced by slight amusement. “I’m a fast swimmer,” she said. Tabitha didn’t laugh. “Come on, Tabby,” Ravia said, a little more gently. “There’s an anchor. Get in the water with me.” “I can’t,” Tabitha said, and she wanted to say that her stomach was churning, that the world seemed to be spinning desperately around her, the colors were blurring together. She couldn’t admit it, couldn’t let the panic in. Ravia looked at her, eyes hardening as the silence stretched. Then she turned, picked up a coiled rope with a weight tied to it, and flung it into the water where it splashed, making Tabitha flinch. Ravia didn’t look back and flung herself into the water, turning into a brown arrow as she moved away from the boat, swimming hard and fast.

slide down, along her spine. Was this what a hot flash felt like – did this mean she was getting early menopause? She shifted in her seat, trying to find a way to cool herself down. “Getting hot?” Ravia asked. Tabitha looked away, focusing on the land in the distance. She wondered how long it would take to swim all the way there. “Why don’t we go swimming?” Ravia stretched out along the bottom of the boat; the bright sunlight gilding her skin for a moment, casting her in gold. The wind picked up and she sat up. Tabitha felt a shortlived relief from the heat as the wind hit her face. “Don’t we have to keep going?” Tabitha asked. She didn’t want to swim. She hated swimming. No, that wasn’t true. She used to love swimming, until she saw that documentary a year ago about what was actually in the water – the parasites and germs that thrived there. She hadn’t been able to get in any body of water after that – including her bathtub. But Ravia would know that. Tabitha had overheard her sister complaining to Ravia about this new problem. Which annoyed Tabitha because it wasn’t like she didn’t bathe – she always showered in very hot water and rubbed her skin red with soap – she just couldn’t get in a bathtub with tepid water pooling for the germs to inhabit. “Nah, we could stop for a bit,” Ravia said. “The island always exists and we’re making pretty good time.” She got up and Tabitha thought she was just going to dive off the boat, but instead she reached up

She caught the image of herself falling into water, her body slipping into the waves as if between sheets.

and tugged at something overhead. The movement had already triggered the image of Ravia jumping off of the side of the boat – a fall down into water and a wet splash. Her mind ran over and over and over the image of someone else falling. His name was Rey and he had been cleaning the stained glass windows in her church. They had gotten to talking and last Wednesday she had walked in, called up to him smiling, and he had turned … She was caught, once again in the moment when Rey fell. He had fallen through rose-colored light from the stained glass windows, one hand upreached, as if God himself could come down and grab it. And the noise. The odd, wet crunch of bones and flesh on hard stone. “We can’t leave the boat by itself,” she said in one great outrush of breath. She focused on breathing, on keeping the noise out of her ears. There was not going

The water lapped against the boat, and the sun got hotter, but it was a little calming to know Ravia wasn’t there, looking at her with those knowing brown eyes. Tabitha reached up to wipe her upper lip. Her forehead felt moist, her scalp damp. There was still a tight knot in her stomach, but the world had straightened itself out again. She had averted the panic attack. She tried to think about something else. Her mind wouldn’t oblige. She caught the image of herself falling into water, her body slipping into the waves as if between sheets. Everything was weightless underwater – her hair would fan out around her face, fluid and light. She wouldn’t need to breathe, just float there, her toes trailing along the white sand at the bottom of the ocean. A tiny fish crept out of the sand, to nibble at her toe, and another one, whisking by her knee. More

too quickly. She was on her back pressed against one side of the boat. Ravia appeared in her line of vision then. “You awake now?” “Yes,” Tabitha said. She closed her eyes again and considered going back to sleep, escaping this boat and Ravia and being in the darkness that would wrap her up and keep her safe. Then she opened her eyes again. “It’s dark,” she said. Ravia had turned away from her again and was fixing something. “Yeah, you had gone out by the time I got back and I didn’t want to wake you, so I decided to just go all the way around the island.” Tabitha pushed herself up. Her body felt strangely hot, her face puffy. She looked down at her stomach. It was bright and painfully pink. She pressed a finger to the skin and watched it turn white before fading back. She felt like she was lying face down on a scratchy wool blanket. “I was surprised to see you sleeping up here,” Ravia said. “I need you to move.” She added, nudging Tabitha with a foot. Tabitha nodded and shifted up and away from her spot. Her sarong had tangled in her legs, leaving streaks in the sunburn she had gotten. Struggling for a moment, she pulled the thin fabric off of herself and sat down on the other side of the boat, watching as Ravia moved gracefully, tying and tacking, her hands moving in the around and under, around and under gesture of knotting. The sunset ended, just as the sunrise ended here – abruptly it was night, with the moon and stars beginning rapidly to blink into life. Tabitha shivered and pulled the sarong over her shoulders, feeling like the fabric was setting fire to her skin and not minding. She felt the shaking in her stomach, a slight nervous fear shaking, but it only meant she was cold. Heatstroke, she thought. “So I missed the island?” Tabitha didn’t look at Ravia. She was surprised that she was disappointed; she hadn’t really wanted to go to the island in the first place. “Yeah. Sorry,” Ravia said. “But you were really out—” “Its fine,” Tabitha cut her off. “I’ve been a pain in the ass. It’s good that you got to sail.” In the dim twilight Ravia looked like she was made of stone, standing against the sea, looking down at her. “Did something happen?” Ravia asked. “Have you always wanted to sail?” Tabitha tried to change the subject. “Yes,” Ravia said, not looking away from Tabitha’s face. “There is something about wind and water. My mother said it was in my bones, but I think it’s in

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and more of them came, nibbling at her flesh as she struggled and cried out but there was only water to fill her mouth and Tabitha suddenly felt dizzy, tunnel vision forcing her to focus on a knot on the boat as if her eyes were a camera, zooming in on a random detail, while the outside of the lens moved outwards. It made it hard to breath. Before her mind’s eye she thought she saw a hand, reaching out towards a god-like figure while falling, then it was gone and there was the sound again, driving into her chest, and catching her off guard. The cover up was too cloying, the hat weighing her down. She flung it off and then fumbled for the buttons on her shirt – she needed it off. The thin fabric was compressing her chest. Making it hard to breathe. Finally it was off and she flung it away from her. And still her breathing was too shallow, her heart rate too fast. She was having a heart attack. Her head began to pound as she tried desperately to remember what it was her therapist at home had told her about panic attacks, but all she could think of was, hyperventilating before being dropped into a vacuum gave you about 30 seconds to live. She needed to get to a hospital. If she was having a heart attack then she wouldn’t last till they got somewhere clean and with state-of-the-art machinery that could save her, but she could get somewhere with someone who had spent some time in medical school. Her mouth was too dry to call for Ravia though, and her legs too tremulous to get up and signal for her some other way. She tried to think about calm things. Her room at home, with the desk and chair, the lamp on the bedside table (the one that April had made) and her bed with the white and blue sheets that were washed soft. The bed reminded her of her previous thoughts. The image of her on a bed, here in Zanzibar, laid out neatly came to her. She was dying. Cancer. The word spiraled through her mind. If she wanted to die neatly she would have to kill herself—she would not stand the indignity of going out bald and in a hospital room plugged into the wall. Pills, she thought vaguely, she would need pills. But that was when she had time, when she wasn’t having a heart attack on a boat in the middle of the Indian Ocean. She couldn’t handle the details of her own death, her mind blanked, and her body slumped as she passed out. When Tabitha woke she was still on the boat. The sky overhead was pink with washed out sunset. There was a breeze running across her bare skin and the sound of the gentle waves on the side of the boat was calming. She lay still, feeling deflated and empty, like a balloon filled up too far before the air was let out

[16] American Literary Magazine

The ocean was our home for so long before we crawled out of it, and now it calls some of us back. everyone’s bones. The ocean was our home for so long before we crawled out of it, and now it calls some of us back.” “It’s very calming to be in water,” Tabitha said. “True,” Ravia said, plopping down at the back of the boat again and looked at Tabitha, head tilted just a little way to the left, as if listening for the sound of some distant song. Tabitha looked up at the expanse of the darkening sky. Pinprick lights began to sputter into life as she watched, spreading the universe out before her eyes. Tabitha felt very small and insignificant, and briefly, it felt good. “I’m sorry about you missing the island. We can go back tomorrow,” Ravia said, tugging Tabitha back. “It’s okay,” Tabitha said. She looked down at her hands, clasped together on her knees. One of her nails had a white dot on it – malnutrition, a voice at the back of her mind said. “Tabby, what happened?” Tabitha looked up, frowning as she inspected Ravia who was looking at her very intensely. “Nothing.” “You never sleep in the sun,” Ravia pointed out. “Nothing happened,” Tabitha repeated. She didn’t want to think about the inability to breathe, the closing of her chest as the world seemed to darken. Ravia licked her lips – a nervous gesture that Tabitha rarely saw on the brown woman. “I talked to April yesterday.” Tabitha leant back against the baseboard and stared back up at the sky, wishing once again to feel insignificant and small, a tiny dot on a tiny dot in vast eternity of space, bodiless and free, but the feeling had vanished with the sound of her sister’s name. Of course Ravia had talked to April – after all, Ravia was more April’s friend then her own. “So you know.” She imagined her sister standing in her kitchen. There were dishes in the sink, and the sound of a dog barking in the background as April balanced on one foot, twisting her heel into the linoleum, her hand on the counter to keep herself from falling while she spoke to Ravia: Yes of course she’s crazy, we already knew that. It’s not like this is particularly unexpected, but she was on her knees in Piccadilly Circus, counting the cobblestones. The police had no idea what to do with her and she won’t tell me anything about it now. That doesn’t sound like hypochondria anymore, does it? Ravia didn’t say anything. Tabitha looked back at the woman and felt her face flush with sudden anger. “I can’t believe you talked to her!” “She called me.” “This is my business and no one else has to stick their noses into it,” Tabitha snapped.

“Really?” Ravia arched one eyebrow in interest. “I’m not crazy!” Tabitha said sharply. “I am not crazy!” Her skin was hot from the sunburn, her mind slowed by sleeping, but she could tell the difference between being angry and being sick and this was it. “I didn’t say you were,” Ravia said. “No, but you’re thinking it!” Tabitha said. “You think I’m crazy because I think I’m always sick, and because I needed to count those stones and because I picked up everything and came down here without warning!” She needed to get up – she needed to stand and pace. “I saw a man die, someone I liked and who was working, and I called up to him and he turned and he fell. And I can still hear the noise, I can still hear it and I need it to go away!” She closed her eyes tightly and pressed her hands to her ears, trying to block out the sound. There was a hand suddenly on her shoulder and Tabitha turned around to find Ravia standing beside her. “Hey, Tabby,” she said, and her voice was muffled. Tabitha removed her hands from her ears, letting her arms flop to her sides. She stared at Ravia. “You’ve always been a little crazy,” Ravia pointed out. “How much further is counting a few stones?” There was a pause and then Tabitha squeezed her eyes shut and opened them, taking a shaky breath. “Yeah. Sure.” They sat down again, and Tabitha pulled the sarong over her hot skin. “What did April tell you?” “Not much. Why don’t you tell me what happened?” For a while Tabitha considered, and then, finally she began to speak. She told Ravia about Rey, and his white-toothed, too charming smile, and the way he had said she was pretty, and how he had to go to school to learn how to clean the old stained glass because the stain was painted on hundreds of years ago, and cleaning it normally would ruin the works of art. She told Ravia about Rey falling, and about how in Piccadilly Circus she had seen the statue of Eros, one foot on the ground the other off, and how he had looked like he was eternally falling. She told about the sound that wouldn’t leave her ears unless she counted, and about how the police had found her on her hands and knees in the middle of the square, and took her away screaming. And when she was done, she simply sat there and waited for Ravia to say something. “Huh.” “Just ‘huh’?” “Yep,” Ravia said with a smile. Tabitha wiped her eyes and looked out across the ocean to the shore. The water reflected the light of the moon, casting everything in a silver glow. “You know

what I want to do?” “What?” “I want to go swimming.” Ravia lifted her eyebrows but then said it was fine. Tabitha got up and cast off the sarong, heading to the back of the boat. Ravia put the anchor down and stood, waiting for Tabitha to jump. The image of herself, underwater, drifting, her toes running over the sand came up, but Tabitha pushed it away. Rey was falling – his legs kicking as if he were trying to swim away from his inevitable doom, forcing her to a stand still. She tried to shake it off, to get it to go away, but it wouldn’t. Ravia placed a hand on her shoulder. “Maybe swimming is a bit too much,” she said. “You could just try touching the water.” Tabitha looked at the woman and frowned. “When you’re in the water, doesn’t it feel like someone is holding you, protecting you?”

“Sure,” Ravia said. “I’d like that.” The image of a man, puffed up and screaming in agony from water parasites appeared but Tabitha pushed it aside. She wanted to get into the water. She held herself up with her arms, wanting to slide into the water, but it was too far away for such a maneuver, she was going to have to drop if she wanted to fully submerge. She lowered herself, pointing her toes as her arms complained at holding herself like this – so she could get back at any moment. Her big toe hit the water and she held still. Her breathing had become ragged, the image of the sea blurred. She heard the sound of Rey’s impact and pulled away from the water, eyes closed, breathing in shakily. She couldn’t get in. “I think,” she said, pulling herself up into the boat. “That I’ll just have to try again tomorrow.” “”

It’s 6 AM

Günperi Sisman

Spring 2011 [17]

[18] American Literary Magazine


Rachel Schaub

Wyeth’s Wind from the Sea

Rachel Tardiff

At first I didn’t see the sea, but thought the grey grass sloped down into snow the same color as the sky, which leaked in through the celluloid blackout blinds, rolled up so that the sparrows made of lace like onion skin could lift their wings and take off with their ghost feathers down the well-worn cart path alone in the yard to the imposter ocean.

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The Cantos of Ezra Pound

David W. Pritchard

Spring 2011 [19]

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I’ve had it for a week and the spine’s already broken! It’s like February when we were snowed in; we watched Rear Window and I talked about courting an actress we both know. You made a face like pages ripping and vowed never to drink gin again. I kept pouring at your behest though my sense of proportion was off. The last thing I said was “I’ll take care of you!” only to wake up and realize that proved untrue. I was sprawled paratactic in a headache and then went down to the store, I have tried to write Connecticut like a pair of pajamas which I gave to you so you wouldn’t have to sleep in jeans. Hang it all, Robert Browning! Now the cover’s coming off. I’m ashamed it took so long to kiss you in the wrong bed.

[20] American Literary Magazine


Joo Yeon Ha


Christina Farella

A sparrow is brown. A sparrow is known. A sparrow is eating the crumbs of bread on the catwalk. A sparrow can talk. A bird can fly. A sparrow is sometimes wrong to his brother. A sparrow does not listen. A sparrow is read carefully. A sparrow avoids water. A sparrow is spiders. A sparrow was in New York. A sparrow is pecking. A sparrow is sleeping. Sparrow What is this? A sparrow is relentless. A sparrow loves coffee. A sparrow–smoking. A bird so small. A sparrow nine millimeters. A sparrow with rhymes. A sparrow does mauve. A sparrow excavation of land. A sparrow is brave. A sparrow has a great figure. A sparrow is a very good reader. A sparrow is responding. A sparrow with flowers. A sparrow can eat here? A sparrow in the mouth of cats. A baby sparrow. A sparrow bleak. A sparrow well known. A poet of sparrow. A painter sparrow. A sparrow denies any wrongdoing. A sparrow is seriously injured. A sparrow badly injured insect. A sparrow maneuvers. A sparrow takes notes. A sparrow in the green chair. A bird sings. A sparrow is kind. A sparrow knows ghosts. A sparrow known spices. A sparrow knows cement. A sparrow knows art. A sparrow gets into the airport. A sparrow flies to Moscow. A sparrow flies home. A sparrow could know. A sparrow is a greyhound. A sparrow multiplied. A flock of sparrows. High sparrows. Fat sparrows. Sparrows are interesting. Sparrows joke. Sparrows listen to Billie Holiday. If the sparrows in bed? Sparrows with wings. Sparrows in the sand. Sparrows in the needle. Sparrows in the sky. Sparrows recumbent. Sparrows exclamations. Sparrows fries. Sparrows need of friendship. Sparrows in costs. Sparrows in the parking lot. Sparrows in the bushes. Wide sparrows. Narrow sparrows. Many sparrows slept at the entrance to the train station. Namely sparrows eggs. The sparrows are moving. Seed-eating sparrows. A sparrow not a sparrow. A sparrow is not red. A sparrow knows Sappho. A sparrow is impossible. A sparrow says thank you.

Spring 2011 [21]

[22] American Literary Magazine


Adam Powers

Cursing In Front Of Children at the National Gallery David W. Pritchard I lack the proper dexterity to say the right thing or if I do I become suspect of having schemed it in advance so as to look creative in the kitchen, for example, where even though I claim to have some surprises left, I am in truth quite lame, incapable of even using a can opener! Now, with a few cuts on my ďŹ ngers and a large one on my chin, all I can think about is you painting another marvelous view of the Italian landscape from last year. I lack the palette for a poem quite so nuanced as your clouds, the purple swirling tightly as the rest billows out the way your hair drapes down by your shoulders when I’m too much of a cad to comment on it at Union Station where I notice the cut, the darker red, too! I am swept up in your breeze like a pair of pants on a clothesline in the middle of a hurricane that hides a lost golf ball in a copse of trees.

Spring 2011 [23]

Byron Dangerfield

[24] American Literary Magazine

Megan Fraedrich

I don’t remember exactly when I first realized I was a loser. Looking back, I don’t recall a time in my life when I didn’t see myself as some wad of old beige chewing gum stuck to the bottom of the giant sneaker of life. But strangely enough, this idea never bothered me much until I was sixteen years old. That’s when the switch flipped … and the switch-flipper took the unassuming form of a freshman named Aubrey Grey. I could tell from the brassy, flat shade of yellow that her hair glowed in the fluorescent lights that she dyed it—and not in a salon, either. But I swear to God that hair of hers went down to the backs of her knees. She usually kept it trapped in a braid, as though it was some bound genie that could burst free and destroy worlds. I especially liked it when it was cold out and she wore her dark green jacket with the fur around the neck. She didn’t usually bother to lift up her hair before she put on her coat, so that long braid disappeared behind her collar and emerged from the bottom of the coat like a tail. I wondered sometimes if she realized how dumb she looked … or how beautiful. Aubrey did Theatre, with a capital ‘T’, and the ‘e’ carefully placed after the ‘r.’ She was very serious about it. I personally saw her as the Napkin Ring in Beauty and the Beast, a Maid in The Importance of Being Earnest, and Villager 6 in Fiddler on the Roof. That one was my favorite, because she got a line: “The terms weren’t settled!” I knew from reading her bio in the program that she spoke German, loved her pet cats, liked sushi, and The Phantom of the Opera. I’d been learning Japanese, cats made me sneeze, and sushi made me shudder, but The Phantom of the Opera was doable. I made sure to send Aubrey a flower from “The Phantom” every night of every show, sapping my vital weekly comic book fund. It was only when I looked at Aubrey that I consciously realized I was a short, asthmatic, slightly flabby geek with only two friends and a complexion like a topographical map of the Himalayas. Aubrey didn’t smile at me when I opened the door for her, she didn’t thank me when I lent her a pencil, and she didn’t have a clue that there existed a guy named Teddy Szapinsky who was head over heels for her. I’d spent the first idyllic, rose-tinted sixteen years of my life reading books like Harry Potter, where the dorky kid who everyone picks on turns out to be a major hero and gets the girl, simply because it’s his destiny. That never quite happened to me. I kept waiting for a sign, a strange-looking man to give me some mysterious task, a UFO to land on my

front lawn, an owl to swoop out of the sky and drop a life-changing letter on my head. Eventually, I just accepted that my ‘destiny’ was to be another loser whose most heroic moment occurred on the screen of his Game Boy Color. With no real dragons to slay, there was no chance of winning over the damsel who so distressed me. Two miserable years trudged by, years haunted by the bleached-blonde apparition that had completely commandeered my mind. Yes, I still watched the same movies and TV shows, I still read the same books and graphic novels, I wore the same clothes, I played the same games, and talked about the same things to the same people. Nobody suspected I was any different from the happy-go-lucky Teddy Szapinsky that they knew and didn’t particularly care for, but inside, I was slowly going bonkers. The night before my eighteenth birthday, I stood in front of my bedroom mirror in a pose not unlike that of the famous Hamlet. (I’d seen Aubrey in that show. She played 4th Courtier.) I could see my poster of Han Solo reflected behind me, smirking behind my back. “How is it possible that I’m going to be eighteen tomorrow?” I muttered, staring with disgust at the barely-pubescent person in the glass. “Am I just going to wake up in the morning and suddenly become a man?” Five foot three with size fourteen feet, a mop of frizzy curls on my scalp, and no sign of hair erupting anywhere else … I looked more like a hobbit than a man. Maybe that was the secret. Maybe I was a changeling, swapped at birth for a human child. Maybe I really was a hobbit … and hobbits didn’t come of age until they were thirty-three years old. I stared at the ornate mosaic of zits covering the face in the mirror, the stick-thin arms and legs, and the soft, doughy belly. “Eighteen, huh?” I said out loud. “Yeah, right.” And I crawled into my bed, hoping my dreams would bring me something Aubrey-related … maybe with a few dragons. ****** Urgh. There was a mosquito buzzing in my ear. I swatted at it, but it kept droning on. It took me another few seconds to realize that it was, in fact, my alarm clock. “Happy birthday to me,” I sang, using the whiny tone of the alarm clock as a pitch pipe. My voice sounded deeper and more gravelly than usual. Great, so I was coming down with a cold on top of everything else.

I decided not to wear my glasses to school that day. After all, Superman didn’t need his glasses. None of my clothes fit me right, but somehow, I still managed to look considerably less lame than usual. In fact, I noticed as I walked to school that people looked at me differently. Namely, they looked at me as though they were afraid I might tear them limb from limb and grind their bones to make my protein shake or something. The old man who’d lived at the end of my block for my entire life started to limp out of his front door to grab the soggy newspaper waiting at the end of his driveway, saw me, seemed to think better, and did a strange crablike scurry back into the comfort of his own home. I felt … powerful. As I approached the school, noting vaguely that I seemed to have left all of my textbooks and assignments at home, my best friend Paul came running toward me, just like every other morning of my life. I’d recognize that run anywhere, like the unholy offspring of a scarecrow and a windmill with that long greasy hair flapping around his shoulders. “HEY!” he yelled in his breathless puppy-dog voice. “HEY THERE!” Oh, spectacular. Somehow, Paul still recognized

I’d recognize that run anywhere, like the unholy offspring of a scarecrow and a windmill with that long greasy hair flapping around his shoulders. me. How was this possible? I didn’t even recognize me. Was there a chance that this was all in my head and I was still a shrimpy little dweeb? “What are YOU doing here?” hollered Paul. “You know you could be arrested for trespassing? Get out of here before I call my dad. And you don’t want that!” Oh yeah, I forgot to mention. Paul’s the principal’s son. This is the only reason why he doesn’t get beaten up nearly as frequently as he probably should. “What are you talking about? I go to school here,” I said in my new deep, rumbly voice. Paul squinted as though I’d told him I was Cthulhu. “No way you go to high school, man,” he said. “And I would’ve recognized you. Don’t think you can fool me.” So he didn’t know who I was after all. This could get interesting. “Listen, I spread punks like you onto my morning bagel,” I thundered. “So I suggest you get out of my way before I French-braid your arms.” Man. Everything I said sounded cooler now. I made a mental note to try saying, “I AM YOUR FATHER” at some point. By now, a crowd was gathering around,

Spring 2011 [25]

was as though some strange man had stepped in front of me, completely obscuring my view of my own reflection. This couldn’t be me. After all, this strange man was well over six feet tall, so tall that he might have looked awkward were it not for his expansive, sturdy shoulders and his tree trunk torso. His arms were thick and corded with muscle, his legs tanned, sinewy, and powerful. I could barely recognize my own hazel eyes in that chiseled face shadowed by the beginnings of a scruffy beard. Slowly, I took off the oversized t-shirt I always slept in—considerably tighter now—and the man in the mirror did the same. Holy guacamole, I had abs. The kind that CGI editors drew onto Gerard Butler in the movie 300. I was pretty sure I had some serious pecs going on too, but I couldn’t make out the definition because it was so obscured by thick, curly black hair. Hallelujah. I was like the exact opposite of Gregor Samsa in that book Metamorphosis that I’d read in English not too long before. He’d woken up one morning as a disgusting little cockroach for no apparent reason at all. And somehow, I’d turned into Superman overnight.

I knew from the fact that my alarm clock had awakened me that my mom wasn’t home. I knew from the fact that he was NEVER home that my dad wasn’t home … though I guess he might have been at home in Nebraska with his third wife and their six delinquent children. I knew at eighteen—God, what a weird thought—that I had no reason to expect my parents to bring me breakfast in bed or coo over me on my birthday, but I couldn’t help feeling gypped. I sat up in my bed; lofted to make room for my desk and computer paraphernalia underneath, and promptly bonked my head on the ceiling with a sickening clunk. Wow. That had literally never happened to me before. This birthday was already shaping up to be a splendid event. I leaped off the edge of the bed, too lazy to use my ladder, and thudded heavily on the ground. “Why do I do this every morning?” I groaned, getting to my feet and shuffling over to my dresser to find something presentable to wear. Something caught my eye as I passed the mirror. I froze. I turned. There was an entirely different person staring back at me from in front of that Han Solo poster. It

Transforming Jose Lives Aristimuno

[26] American Literary Magazine

Best in Show Photo

all of the stereotypical jocks with their backward hats and stupid-looking beards lining their jaws. I realized that now, I was taller and bigger than all of them, even Clyde Franklin, who had turned my nerves to jelly just by being in the same room as me ever since kindergarten. “Aw man, you’re new, huh?” Clyde said, slapping me on the back. His fingers were like putrid sausages. “You should know that’s the principal’s kid.” “Yeah, so what?” I growled. “I won’t make any trouble if he doesn’t. And he won’t.” Clyde laughed appreciatively, and his goons followed suit. I think I saw one of them drool a little. “So hey, what’s your name?” I tried to think of something so intensely cool that it would make the student body shiver with curiosity, a name that would forever be spoken in low, mystical tones. “Byron,” I blurted. “Byron Dangerfield. You?” “Clyde Franklin. You play football?” I nodded casually. “Yeah, sure, all the time.” He narrowed his eyes. “What position?”

Ooh. I’d painted myself into a corner again. I didn’t know any football positions. And if I miraculously managed to name one, it might be the same one Clyde played… and the last thing I wanted was to make an enemy on my first day as Byron Dangerfield (where had that name come from anyway?) “Eh, it changes every season. Little of everything, really,” I managed. “You’re kidding, we need a running back this season! Our sucks!” exclaimed Clyde, gesturing to an enormous, blank-eyed guy who probably would have been offended had he been functioning at a level above that of a paramecium. He held out his fist expectantly. “What am I supposed to do with that?” I said. He looked like he’d been caught wearing Bob the Builder underwear and lowered his fist. “Yeah, you’re right, fist bumps are over,” he stammered, looking uncomfortable. “You off to homeroom? I’m in AP Lit, Mrs. Feinburger. Waste of life, makes no sense, but I want that football scholarship to UVA, you know?”

anyway, that creep Paul’s telling everyone he’s gonna get his dad to expel you or something. What a loser, right? No wonder he’s got no friends.” “I know, right?” I heard my own unfamiliar voice say, thinking of how Paul and I spent every day of the summer at each other’s houses playing video games. I remembered when we were five and we went trickor-treating together dressed as Power Rangers, but we both wanted to be the red one and fought the whole time over who was the real red ranger. Paul would never talk about wanting to have casual physical relations with a beautiful girl he hardly knew. “I think that short pizza-face kid is his secret boyfriend or something. Figures,” laughed Clyde. “You going to the Caf?” “Later,” I said through gritted teeth, trying to keep from shaking with anger. Who did Clyde Franklin think he was? What made him better than anyone else in the school to just talk about them like that? Before Clyde could ask me any more questions, and before I put my fist through his face and made him into a locker decoration, I stalked away for the hall outside the theatre, where Aubrey always ate her lunch with a few neon-haired boys and chubby girls dressed all in black. I was going to speak to her. I was going to … I didn’t know what I was going to say. But I was going to do something amazing. It was what Byron Dangerfield did, by gum. I wondered if she liked being called “Bri” for short. In my daydreams, I called her “Bri,” and she called me “Ted.” Of course, now that I had an entirely new identity, I’d have to think up a new nickname for future daydreaming purposes … oh, what was I thinking? I wouldn’t have to daydream now that I was Byron Dangerfield. My daydreams would be real life. I leaned up against the doorframe, making sure to keep my astonishing biceps flexed. She was eating some weird tofu mixture that smelled pretty bizarre, but she looked so dang cute doing it. “Hey,” I said in a voice like molten chocolate. She looked up. “Oh, hi,” she said, with a friendly lilt that made it impossible not to beam. “So … you’re Aubrey Grey, huh?” I said. “Heard you were into drama.” “In a sense of the word, yeah,” she replied. “You’re new, aren’t you? Brian something?” Who could hear the name ‘Byron Dangerfield’ and fail to remember it? What was this girl’s problem? “Byron Dangerfield,” I corrected her. I slowly dropped my arm from the doorframe and made my way closer to her. Aubrey got to her feet; a momentous sight that I’m sure is similar to how pharaohs felt as they watched their pyramids being erected. Speaking of that last

I noticed that her eyes were a soft green, flecked with little sparkly bits as though someone had been chewing tinfoil and spat the remains into her irises.

Spring 2011 [27]

“Yeah, I hate books,” I found myself saying. Just to simplify things, I decided that Byron Dangerfield happened to have the exact same class schedule as Teddy Szapinsky. And maybe taking five AP classes wasn’t cool, but if I was asked, I could just give the same answer as Clyde—I was taking them to get sports scholarships, and that was that. Weirdly enough, though, I found myself much more willing to answer questions and participate in class. Before, I would sit silently at my desk, thinking, “Geez, these people are all so dumb! No one knows what they’re talking about!” I knew that if I so much as opened my mouth, whatever came out would sound completely stupid, however accurate, and make me the object of ridicule for weeks to come. But now … now I could sound cool explaining Homer’s literary purpose or the function of the medulla oblongata. The teachers all loved Byron Dangerfield. My withered old government teacher even adjusted her bra for optimum viewing before leaning down over my desk to read my essay on the three branches of government. But I wasn’t interested in Mrs. Hardy’s cleavage. My mind was solely devoted to the one whose cleavage I so desperately wished to gaze upon … Aubrey Grey. I always passed her in the hall between government class and lunch, and every day, I held the door open for her. Today, she was late. I milled around the hall, getting a drink of water, pretending to read all of the torn-up announcements about the pathetic clubs no one joined on the bulletin board. When Aubrey finally made her grand entrance, braid swinging, fur collar raised, I readied my position near the door, and started loudly making conversation with the random kid next to me. Aubrey looked … distracted, like she’d lost an important homework assignment, and kept glancing about, but as I opened the door for her, she gazed right into my eyes and said, “Thank you,” in a soft little voice that turned my heart to cream cheese frosting. Time stopped. She spoke to me. Aubrey Grey had never spoken to me before, never even looked directly at me. I noticed that her eyes were a soft green, flecked with little sparkly bits as though someone had been chewing tinfoil and spat the remains into her irises. If I had my way, that moment would have lasted forever. But unfortunately, it didn’t. Clyde Franklin interrupted the choir of angels singing inside my head with a loud, “That weird junior chick is so into you, man. She’s kind of a butterface, but she has nice jugs. I’d hit that.” I cringed, partly at hearing my beloved talked about in such a vulgar manner, but mostly at the thought of Clyde Franklin ‘hitting that.’ “Well

verb, well, I had never been in such close proximity to a girl before, and the smell of her exotic perfume made me feel even less like myself than I already did. I looked down at her, from my towering new height, and into that face that I had dreamed of for so long, and I felt my heart skip a beat or four. But not in the same way as usual … in a weird way. I took in the smudgy green eye shadow, the errant strands of eyebrow hairs that the tweezers had missed, the crooked bridge of the nose, the frizzy bleached-blonde bangs hanging crisply across her forehead, the zit just above her upper lip, the dark circles under her eyes, the outfit that she might have borrowed from a bad community theatre production of The Music Man … I leaned back against the locker with a rather unsettling clang. What was I thinking? I wasn’t Teddy

[28] American Literary Magazine


Szapinsky anymore. I was Byron Dangerfield. I could do anything, or anyone, that my heart desired. I could do so much better than this pathetic, awkward little theatre dork. Oh, man. She was still staring up at me with those big green eyes, like a starving kitten. She might have even been making soft meowing noises, though it was probably just the sound of my brain eating itself. “Change of plans,” I managed to croak. “I … have somewhere I’ve got to be.” And with that, I took off down the hallway, feeling like some bizarre reverse Cinderella as she chased after me, screeching, “WAIT! Come back! I want to talk to you! Come back here!” Poor kid, she’d learn sooner or later to get used to heartbreak. Byron Dangerfield would be doling it out big time these next few months. And he was loving every minute of it. “”

Greg Matlesky

Big Small

Carolyn Becker

Spring 2011 [29]

[29] Spring 2011

Spring 2011 [29]

[30] American Literary Magazine

Familiar Dance

Christina Farella

Morning outward toward the line of trees, you are eventually like the tradition of Orgasm, the exaggerated beauty of the unclear jungle, it rings in the air and on the dials of watches broken with a beam of wood. There on the lips and too heavy trumpet solo, neither of us transcend the minerals we come from, yet always seem to rely on the vegetable or rather chemical between and below sea. A disagreement in those parts. The personal connection to wooden. No vintage here, but only contingent. The trees are reading the tea. My life after sex is killing the lover, right there in the street. He’s a dummy at the end of the economic chapter. I rather the watches are there on your bones. The burning library The return to roots The winged head flying across the sea The different view The sacrifice The broken skin, the split tailbone The paper boat in the bathtub The answer to your own question The beat-down The omniflower The raging and shaded range. Paw, paw the ground, make this your home. A negative diaspora inside the Tahitian hut, small houses at Jourdan and other songs reaching for you. Allow for the recovery, allow for the candlestick and skull, allow for the small dog or cat or bird or iguana or horse or hedgehog or label. Dominican republican any time said goodbye in the airport soon after you killed it. What? The whole thing out in the lawn, I a wife falling into the blossoms at the edge of the woods, the model house-wife putting the city back together after the drunk husband put his fist through the identity of it. So Lucy and Ethel buy the wood-glue and really make use of our flag. Really fictive, the filtered waters ran jazzlike over the woods and we returned to the non-happened time frame. I shot an Elephant in Africa, you called it Afrique. Goodnight goodnight goodnight goodnight goodnight. Get a laugh in the cafeteria and get gone.

Kathryn Schramm

Spring 2011 [31]

Entangling Roots

Hide & Seek

Kaitie O’Hare

Sweat pools gathered in the bend of her knee while she hid inside the empty dryer. She discovered she could fit in it the afternoon that Darah had dared her to try to squeeze inside. This challenge came as a revenge dare after Amelia had hassled Darah into smelling Nuggets’ litter box, and then proceeded to push her face into the wet sand. Through Darah’s tears, Amelia had complied with her request to sit in the dryer. “Guilt,” Amelia’s mother repeatedly told her, “will always get the best of you;” and it was so. Amelia delicately slid into the hollow drum that first time, tucking her head down into her chest, nearly level with her knees. Darah shut the door behind her, leaving Amelia trapped inside for roughly 24 minutes while she went next door to her own home to watch a rerun of The Brady Bunch, the one that Cindy and Jan catch Greg smoking a cigarette. Now in the dryer, which smelled strongly of her mother’s lavender fabric softener, Amelia had learned to leave a small crack of the door open, letting in a divine ray of florescent light to the dryer’s womb. This is where she sat after school when Elizabeth had invited everyone from their fourth grade class to her birthday party except her, and again when Zack kissed her pale cheeks behind the great oak tree. She wondered why she had an overwhelming

Wink Wink

urge to pee every time she played hide and seek, but decided that fighting off the desire to go in her pants was what made the game just a little bit more exciting. Two of her fingers slipped into the light, and she quickly retracted them to her chest for fear that her father might see them. She knew he’d never find her there, but on the off chance that he did, he would have at least earned his right to know her favorite hiding spot. She wouldn’t give him any clues, though, so the fingers and any other loose extremities must be tucked away. As she cupped one hand into the other against her sternum, she remembered that earlier that day she had learned that the bone protected important organs, like her heart and lungs. “The heart pumps blood, which is actually blue, and the lungs make you breathe,” she thought. In between naming heart chambers, she heard the unmistakable click of the laundry room’s doorknob beginning to turn, followed promptly by the drag of the door’s Draft Guard on the tile flooring her mother had spent weeks on, comparing them to other similar shades of gray. She breathed slower, longer, softer; as conspicuously inconspicuous as she could to avoid being discovered. Her breathing felt similar to the time she hid from her parents by trying to make her body as thin as possible under her bed covers. She sucked in everything

[32] American Literary Magazine

Shaun Flynn

come tuck her in. Just then, the drum inside began to rock. He had turned on the dryer, or so she thought. But the crack of the door was as Amelia had left it. “No,” she realized, “he’s moving the dryer.” His feet shuffled into view and Amelia began to motion to leave the dryer, but just as she pulled her arm away from her chest, a part of her refused to let her move any further. “What is he doing?” she wanted to know. The dryer stopped moving, but the drum continued to sway lightly, back and forth like a rocking horse. His feet were gone from sight, but she could hear him moving around outside. Amelia’s eyes were marbles, never blinking and still, fixed on a spot in the drum that she couldn’t even see. The sound of glass hitting the tile snapped her out of the gaze, and she had a hard time placing the sound to its proper owner. It wasn’t often that glass was in the laundry room, let alone falling to the floor. A bottle slid across the tile, just stopping so Amelia could read the label. Tanqueray. She couldn’t pronounce this word, but remembered the bottle from Christmas when her father fell asleep on the sofa and smelled like their tree. It had been sitting on the floor next to him. His long arms, accented with patches of black hair in all the right places, stretched down in front Amelia’s view to grab the bottle, letting out another deep breath. He placed the bottle on top the dryer with a thud that kick started Amelia’s heart rate. She became acutely aware of the fact that blood was now rushing faster from her aorta and pulmonary artery and also to the fact that it was too late to get out of

she could to lessen her frame, and turned her head to the side, pushing it into the mattress as to appear flush with the bed. Something about outwitting her parents appealed to her, and she knew it wouldn’t be long before her body would grow too big for such games. “Amelia,” her father said in the typical we’re playing hide and seek and this is what I’m supposed to sound like’ voice. “Are you in here?” he asked as he turned a laundry basket tucked away in the corner right side up, another preferred hiding spot of hers. Too obvious for this game. He slipped in and out of her view from the crack in the door until he was finally lost from her sight. His shoes were the only indicator that he was even in the room, clicking with each step as he moved across the floor. Loud clicks meant he was close, and softer clicks meant he was further away. He moved over toward the window and lingered there for a few seconds, probably noticing the view of Trimdale Road for the first time from that spot since moving into the house nearly 13 years ago. He only ventured into the tiny room to wash his clothes, mostly because the room reminded him so much of his wife, who had dedicated the last few weeks of her life searching for the right fluff and fold table and sheer red curtains to accentuate the tiles; her last gift to him before she left. Still, curtains or no curtains, he only did the laundry once every two weeks. His feet began moving again and took a few steps closer to the dryer. Amelia placed him right in front of her when the clicks stopped. What was he doing lingering in the laundry room? “He must have figured

Tanqueray. She couldn’t pronounce this word, but remembered the bottle from Christmas when her father fell asleep on the sofa and smelled like their tree. the dryer. Her father was now standing directly in front of her, out of sight and in front of the door. More forcefully than before, the drum began to rock again, the door slamming shut from the push of her father’s knee against it. He had moved the dryer back to original position against the wall and successfully trapped Amelia inside, rocking her like her mother had done when she was just young. She listened as his shoe clicks winnowed away towards the door, followed by the drag of the Draft Guard, and finally the snap of the lock. “Amelia, honey, where could you be?” muffled away down the hall. “”

Spring 2011 [33]

out I’m here,” she thought. In traditional style of her father, she prepared herself for the door to swing open any second to the sound of him shouting “Gotcha!” But it wasn’t so. The door never moved, and neither did her father. It was completely silent. For nearly two minutes, Amelia listened to him quietly and unknowingly stand in front of her. For a second she thought maybe she had miscalculated his steps and that he had left the room. But she knew she hadn’t heard the door slide shut behind him, and her parents never left it open because of the drafts from that room. “What is he doing?” she thought. Finally, he exhaled hard, like the kind he usually did at night behind his desk, right before he would

[34] American Literary Magazine


Home Sweet Home

Colin Crane


Annie Buller

Spring 2011 [35]

One day I told him I’d have cats when I grow up. He replied, all sleepy and early-morning, “No, you’re going to have lots and lots of babies” And I was terrified, Because I thought he meant he was going to give me lots and lots of babies. Problematic, because I haven’t got a place to keep them all, They are very loud, I don’t want lots and lots of babies, And they would be his, too. People would know they were his because they’d have Italian names. I am not Italian. “I thought you were Irish?” “I’m a lot of things. I’m the American Dream.” That was another thing I told him. He knocked me over with a pillow, “You’re a nightmare!” I missed my first class that day, But I didn’t mind, because instead of learning about Brit lit, I learned he prefers pie over cake (but cheesecake over both) And waffles over pancakes, if he has to, but he doesn’t like breakfast Which is completely ridiculous Much like the idea of me having lots and lots of babies.


Christina Farella Self-efficacy is more like unfiltered egotism. In the ocean, new fish are hiding their lights from the air. This morning they slept on the grass through the fire alarm and we ran through the plain waving and hollering all kinds of arithmetic as if some sort of calculator had detonated. The golden light from behind the cathedral pours like wax through the windows, tipping the chairs over and wowing them with its hysterical birdcall. Why are we on the floor? Any of these portraits could fan out at any moment. Their eyes are turned away from us as we wait for the elevator. What a real show we’ve put on, my love. The margins will continue to fail to contain. They call themselves men? Call them to the edge of the fountain. It is on the other side, although that wasn’t their intended ending. The apartment building was built in the 30s. Wandering blithely across the stovetop, the matches restart the fire that the wind keeps dampening. We’d like to think we’ll be consumed someday, but it’s not happened yet.

[36] American Literary Magazine

We are wondering where they’ve gone while we poke at the interstices, these cells have grown together but separate after all the months. And now for the fabulous party! We invited everyone, we envied them, too. A door slams and they are off, fixing the machines and waking the baby like they told me not to. They can’t just ignore something like this we chided. You rolled towards the wall again. Please forgive our misdirected passions. They’ve followed us through unnamed streets and we’ve come to rely solely on them for support in these situations. We were walking from the Metro and that’s what we wanted to say to you. We’ve walked in circles around this city, toeing the sands on islands of anecdote which make memories like thunder in the museums of my dreams where he saw you turning and walking in front of the train. Get on the tracks with me.

INFORMATIONAL EMAIL David W. Pritchard Yesterday I braved the snow and slush to walk to Cancun. Despite the prevalence of penguins and an overabundance of tissues, I can’t dress myself. I can’t stand it! so there are lots of windows I wish I literally were. All that glass and getting to flirt with the mannequins sounds like a great idea, especially for a drill sergeant type of chicken noodle soup. What flashes and what conundrums! a lot of snow on the ground and in drawers; mythology signifying concomitant dollhouses up the block; the quintessence of a system of denominational relations; and the trembling book club aficionados showing off their penmanship while stealing programs from the desk at the Frick. I wish I rode horses in the 16th century! I’m tied to several trees at once, annoying the neighbors. A nice scarf is sometimes ridiculous when placed on the trampoline and left to grow into a finely-tuned mandolin built of dead shoelaces, dripping of hobbies and criteria. Chicks and medicine cups aside, mine has been a rather dull mania, replete with striated zinnias. The kinks in the system become and create, sad, they are the foreground of the city’s finest golf course. Every terrible event isn’t so terrible when put in the proper perspective, namely, that the sound of not being loved can’t possibly compete with noiselessness standing on a street corner shoutingly alone. Sincerely,

Spring 2011 [37]

What Did You Have in Mind?

Ryan Kenneth Taylor

Suddenly, it was spring. Harold stood inside the kitchen of the white-panel house in the planned community where he lived. He could taste it, the water pouring from the faucet, concentrated and thick as though a dab of cologne lay atop his tongue. The white noise and the clatter of the metal water against the eroded steel sink disengaged him from what he was doing—from what he had been doing—halfremembering to write a letter to an old friend, a war buddy with whom he had kept correspondence for the past ten years. Harold’s thoughts had developed a tendency to wander off and disappear in recent years, and he began to suspect the inevitable encroachment of dementia, a gift from his father. But his forgetfulness was not left to him by his father, Harold later learned, it was the consequence of six or seven aluminum deposits nestled deep within his brain—remnants of his teenage foray into the world of drugs. A world which he entered as a boy and promptly exited with the arrival of his draft card by mail. A world, though, that he could never forget, even after the tropic sundering and the years that passed before the wall fell, even after the desert dictator stood tall and the eastern powers became powers, even after all those years, Harold could not forget the thin, hot aluminum that scolded his young, chapped lips the first time he smoked marijuana, the first hundred times the foil pipe touched his lips and his calloused, burned black fingers.

[38] American Literary Magazine

— P: Harold, I don’t want us to get too sidetracked here. H: I’m sorry, I just—I don’t know where to start. P: How about you continue from that spring morning, the morning you began to describe earlier, before we were sidetracked. H: Okay, I’m sorry, it’s just—I’ve never been to one of these places before. You understand? P: Of course. But Harold, you have to remember, I’m a professional and, this place, it’s a medical facility. You’re in no trouble here, we just want to help you. — Every spring, Harold made the trip to the summer home that he and Edith rented in Hyannis Port. Harold was fifty-seven and he and Edith had not had intercourse in almost eight years. In fact, though he

routinely forgot to return phone calls or complete household chores, the aluminum-filled pockets in Harold’s brain did not seem to have any bearing on his long-term memory. He remembered, to the day, when he and Edith last had sex; It was on the night of his birthday, the twenty-eighth of June, nineteen ninety-three. — H: I’m a little bit uncomfortable. P: Would you prefer that we try another exercise? H: Sorry, I just don’t think it’s working—I don’t, I don’t know if this is coming out the way I want it to. P: And which way would you like it to come out? H: I’m not sure. That’s the thing, I’m not really even sure how I want it to come out. P: This is only an exercise. I find that, with most of my patients, it works best if you close your eyes and imagine being someplace else. H: But remember Father, I’m not a patient. P: Of course not. H: I’m not even Catholic. P: No one said you had to be, we just want to help you. H: I’m here by my own will. P: Yes, Harold. Just try your best to remember, I know there isn’t a lot of wiggle room with your condition— H: You mean the metal inside my brain? P: Yes, that’s what I meant. — The summer home was a place of refuge for Harold, a sort of bastion that existed to commend him, to validate his work with NORAD and to excuse the fact that he never had time to have children or to take any real interest in Edith’s many pet projects—her parrot or the miniature horses or the twin Blue Tick Hounds whose names he could scarcely recall. It wasn’t that Harold didn’t like kids or animals, or that he didn’t want to have them—because he did, both he and Edith had once spent an entire afternoon picking out potential baby names—it was simply that he had lost track of time. The summer home, which he retired to on the first day of spring each year, was no less modest in appearance than the house Harold had lived in for so many winters. It was two stories tall, unlike the ranch

— H: I’m sorry. It’s just that I’ve never told anyone most of this. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve thought about it—God, I’ve thought about it constantly at times. It’s just, it sounds completely different when I’m actually saying it. Do you understand? P: I understand. Harold, take your time. We still have about an hour left. H: Could I trouble you for a glass of water? I think my throat’s a little dry, that’s all. P: By all means. Here, take mine, actually. I haven’t touched it.

[39] Spring 2011

Spring 2011 [39]

Harold’s father—Jan, but Jack to his friends—he wasn’t your typical depression-era-all-Americandad-type. He was second generation Dutch and he never really grew out of it. Jack was a womanizer and Marie, Harold’s mother, well, she didn’t seem to mind. She was from the Midwest and all she ever

then, Harold had considered the oldest and most unbreakable institution in the Universe. That spring morning in Boston, Harold awoke to the stirring of his father in the next room. It was before dawn and Jack was just coming out of the shower. The wall between Harold’s bedroom and that of his parents was thin—an obvious oversight in the structuring and organization of the house. The wall was so thin that Harold often found himself lulled to sleep by the love-making sounds of his parents; a playful rustle, sheets and pillow covers tossed carelessly to the floor, hurried enthusiasm followed by a repeated knocking that lasted approximately ten to twelve minutes, Jack’s conclusive grunt, a subsequent exhale and, if Harold was still awake for it, the click of a light-switch. Harold could hear Jack toweling off and, the boy’s adrenal glands firing, it seemed to him that he could smell the freshly ironed cotton of his father’s white Oxford cloth shirt. Harold wasted no time, however, as he knew his window of opportunity was ephemeral at best. He grabbed the bedpost of the maple bed frame his father had built and, dropping to the floor, he landed half of his body on the carpet while the rest of him stretched tautly down from the bedpost. After collecting himself, Harold released his grip from the post and, sliding his grounded hand outward, he let the rest of his weight sink noiselessly to the floor. Jack never left for Hyannis Port without his favorite pair of blue and white Bermuda shorts—the kind of shorts that Rhode Islanders wear when they flood into Boston on those dismal, sunny days when the Red Sox are playing. Through the wall, Harold heard his father cursing and muttering as he searched for the shorts. This bought Harold some time and,

home in Boston and, instead of aluminum, the summer cottage in Hyannis Port had wood siding, awash with rust and swollen in the salty Massachusetts air. Harold always insisted on driving to Hyannis Port alone; it was a tradition that his father had started. Harold’s father who, by some stroke of luck, had an in with the Kennedys, would drive to the coast alone on the first spring morning of each year. As it would turn out, Harold’s father’s in was the fact that he had, somewhere along the line, come into the possession of a pair of lewd photographs of, what would appear to be, the late Joe Jr. manually stimulating an Italian transvestite.

He lay there for a moment or two as the cold blades of grass pierced his t-shirt covered belly with a lupine kind of idleness that left him itching with resentment. a cocktail of chemicals coursing through his veins, he lifted himself from the carpet and dashed out of his room, past the ever-locked door of his father’s workshop, through the kitchen, and out onto the front porch. From there, he leaped forward and onto the front lawn. He lay there for a moment or two as the cold blades of grass pierced his t-shirt covered belly with a lupine kind of idleness that left him itching with resentment. He pulled himself to his feet and, helplessly thrilled and guilt-ridden by what he was about to do, he lifted the trunk of his father’s nineteen fifty-three Chevy Bel-Air.

Spring 2011 [39]

wanted was a pair of children. Jack could only give her one child though, Harold, and Harold wondered if it wasn’t because Jack was giving so much to other women—prostitutes mainly—that he couldn’t give Marie two, or even three, little children to run after and look after and tuck in at night. Harold, though suffering from that mental decay that only certain weak metals can bring about, remembered the first day of spring in nineteen fiftyfive. March twenty-first, exactly nine weeks before his eleventh birthday, the day he saw his father consciously destroying the marriage that, up until

— H: I wasn’t a bad kid, I was just curious. P: Harold— H: I loved my dad. He was my best friend and I wanted to surprise him in Hyannis Port. He had always been more of a friend than a father-type-figure to me. P: Yes, yes, but Harold, I’m more interested in a different story. Do you know which story I am talking about? H: I have an idea, but I’m sick of telling that story— the one that got me here, you mean, right? P: Yes, I think the story you’re thinking of is the one that I had in mind, which is amazing given your circumstances. H: The aluminum. P: Yes, I apologize. The aluminum. Now, can we get back to that night? The one that, as you said, brought you here, to me. H: I’m sorry, Father, it’s just that—this exercise is really taking me back. I think this third-person negation thing— P: Third Person Narrative Disassociation. H: I think it’s starting to work. I’ve got so much to say about my childhood and about Edith. You know, I saw—I see my mother in her. P: Your mother? H: She was the sweetest woman I ever knew. P: You say you saw your mother in Edith?

[40] American Literary Magazine

— The lavender felt interior of the Chevy combined with the gasoline vapors and leaking transmission fluid in an intoxicating medley that overwhelmed four of Harold’s five senses. Before Jack had cleared the city limit, Harold was fast asleep inside the trunk of the mint-green Bel-Air. Hours later, Harold awoke to find the coastal light pouring in through the cracked trunk. The air, brackish and cool, didn’t quite overpower the fragrant flowering gasoline that was nearly gone. The breeze was too mild for it to be Hyannis Port, Harold thought. He knew what Hyannis Port felt like, he knew how it smelled and how it tasted vaguely like the garbage heap in a salt mine. They weren’t quite there yet, they were someplace else, and Harold, sensing the void left in the absence of his father’s energy, kicked up and open the trunk of the car. Somewhere Southeast of Boston, Harold, sleep crusted in his eyes, looked around to find himself in a dingy, sand-covered parking lot. To the left was a graying, one-story motel that wrapped around the

lot and, at the center of the strip mall, adjoined with a converted mom-and-pop store that was mostly covered by a white sign with large blue letters that read “DISC UNT L QUOR.” The adjacent building, the far-right capstone of the mall, was an old bookstore. The bookstore was painted a mauve that seemed intentionally faded. The glass in the front of the store was clouded with beach residue, but that didn’t matter because the blinds within the glass storefront were angled towards the crumbling sidewalk that lay below. Harold couldn’t see into the bookstore, but he had a feeling that it wasn’t a place that he should be—it was one of those seedy, dirty-looking kind of old bookstores, the kind of old bookstores that mustachioed men shuffle out of when their wives go grocery shopping on Sunday mornings. The glass door at the front of the bookstore opened and Harold, alarmed and confused all at once, quickly slammed shut the trunk of his father’s car. A few moments later, Harold felt his father open the door to the car’s backseat. Some ten seconds passed by before Harold heard that door slam shut and, again, he felt his father open and close the driver’s side door. Harold’s father powered the car on and proceeded in a slow crawl out of the parking lot. The green Bel-Air stopped unexpectedly—prematurely—and Harold felt the opening and heard the slamming of yet another door. Harold could sense the presence of another body in the car, somebody that hadn’t been there when he had fallen asleep in Boston and somebody who also hadn’t been in the car when he awoke in the deserted parking lot outside of the bookstore. — P: Harold, I’m afraid we’re getting off track. The type of thing that we’re trying to do is—how can I put this—time sensitive. H: I’m almost finished with my story. This is important stuff, I promise you. P: And I don’t doubt that, but our time is running out and I’m afraid that I won’t be able to help you if you don’t tell me exactly what happened that night. H: Which night? P: Harold, refusing to be judged now will not save you when you stand before the throne of God. H: Father, really, what night do you mean? P: Harold, you know which night I’m talking about. — He was at the house in Hyannis Port. They both were—all three of them actually. Harold got out of the

car when he knew he was there and when he knew that nobody was with him—when he knew that he was alone. He walked along the blue-gray squares of worn slate that led up to the front door— — H: —the pieces of stone were sunken in and streaked with white and, to me, they looked like cancer. When he opened the front door, an oily green that was scratched dry, he was overwhelmed by the scented candles placed along the wooden countertops and all around the first floor—hundreds of them, burning, melting. At the time, I didn’t think it peculiar that the house was empty and that candles burned unattended, but I wasn’t aware of a lot of things that day—it seems so long ago.

doing. Edith, degraded by him. P: Harold— — Father Pencey stood up, apparently intent on leaving the room. At the table before him, Harold sat, shaking, with hands over his face, his fingernails sunken into the skin of his forehead. Father Pencey sighed as his eyes wandered down to his robes, to the white silken shawl that he rubbed nervously between the thumb and index finger of his right hand. — H: Edith, my Edith. P: Harold, your wife passed away eight years ago,

When he opened the front door, an oily green that was scratched dry, he was overwhelmed by the scented candles placed along the wooden countertops and all around the first floor— hundreds of them, burning, melting. you’re doing it again. You’re— H: She was so innocent-looking that day. She was beautiful, as beautiful as ever. Her bare breasts, they were— P: Edith wasn’t there that night, Harold. The woman you saw was not your wife. H: He had his hands on them. His hands were tensed white and the hair on his knuckles was so black. He was looking at me over his shoulder and so was she. P: Harold, your wife left us a long time ago, she was a great woman, but it’s been years. The people you are describing, they are not who you think they are. H: Edith looked so sorry. Her eyes met mine and they widened, I could see the regret inside of them—I could tell she still loved me, I could tell she did after all these years. — Detective Dittmar entered the room, his long gray coat stretching past his short legs so that it dragged along the cement floor. He looked down to his feet and then up at Father Pencey, who stood, listless, with arms crossed behind his back. The hot, wet air that floated at the top of the room filtered audibly through the nostrils of Dittmar’s upturn-nose. He had only been a part of the homicide unit for a few months now and Harold’s case was as bizarre as he had seen, as gruesome too.

Spring 2011 [41]

P: Harold— H: It smelled like barley and wet leaves, I remember, and Harold started to climb the stairs intuitively. When I reached the top of the steps I could feel that someone else was in the house—you know, the kind of way you can feel when someone’s looking at you on the subway? That same kind of unsettled, curious, excited feeling that temporarily elates you, that tears your core from you and lays it out for the rest of you—for whatever’s left of you—to see. Do you know that feeling? That’s what I felt when I got to the top of the stairs, that’s when I knew something was wrong—when my core lay stretched out and staring through my mangled eyes and into the emptiness beyond—when I felt no longer a man, but a child again, a child opening the bedroom door to find his father violating the babysitter. P: Harold, we’re losing sight of the exercise, I think we should stop here. Our time is about out and you obviously are not well enough to go through this again. Perhaps after the procedure— H: I saw the pillows and covers—my pillows and covers—strewn across the floor, my floor. The cheeks, red without embarrassment. I saw her makeup, blue and pink, smeared across my sheets, her hands tied behind her back and that man—him— over her. P: Harold, I’m afraid we’re out of time. I’m sorry, I have to be going, I have another appointment and I— H: The looks on their faces, as if they had no idea who I was. As if they had no idea what they were

The stillness of the bodies, their eyes frozen, lips sagging lifelessly—he shuddered at the thought. He could still taste the air in the bedroom, heavy with iron and, when he closed his eyes, he could see the room, the curtains and the bed set, the walls spattered with dark blood, the ax that lay unabated on the wooden floor, the young couple, flayed out, torn from each other, ripped at the seam. — D: Are you ready to go, Father? P: I’m afraid so. H: I—I was furious with her. I was so angry with her. P: He’s fallen into it again, the poor soul. He doesn’t even know. H: I loved her, but I was just so angry with her. That’s why I did it. I didn’t mean to do it—but I did. I did it and I can’t ever take it back. She’s gone. D: He’s in terrible shape, isn’t he? P: Yes, but with treatment—and the surgery—we hope to fix that. Don’t we, Harold? H: Oh god, she’s gone.

P: A terrible thing, what happened to them. All of them. D: Yeah, but justice will be served. If not in this world, then in the next. P: There’s more to it than that, there’s something very unsettling about this case to me. D: I’m sure there was something unsettling about it to the Simpsons too. P: God has a plan for them, I suppose. D: And Harold? P: God has a plan for him too. D: Yes, God and about a hundred other people, myself included. P: No, no, not that. I’m still trying to figure this one out. — Father Pencey turned back towards Harold and, for a moment, he let his gaze hang on the backs of Harold’s hands, riddled with varicose veins and impressions of toil half a century old. He traced the obtuse curves of the bulging veins, their technicolour sheathed in a crackling film of flesh, the metallic

Father Pencey turned back towards Harold and, for a moment, he let his gaze hang on the backs of Harold’s hands, riddled with varicose veins and impressions of toil half a century old. P: He thought she was his wife—he thought she was cheating on him. With the pool boy. D: The house didn’t even have a pool. P: I know, I was told. D: His wife passed away eight years ago. P: On his birthday—it’s tragic, really. — Dittmar, who had, up until now, averted his eyes from the delirious Harold, could no longer resist. He shot a sideways glance at the pathetic-looking figure, now silently crying behind the wall of his hands.

[42] American Literary Magazine

— H: Oh Edith. Oh my god. Edith. D: Her name was Mary Simpson, the girl. She was on her honeymoon. P: I was told. D: Her husband, A Hoosier like yourself. A Cornell man after that. He was just made partner at Duncan, Duncan, & Wolcratz. James Simpson. H: Edith?

blood that no doubt rested below the membranous layers and plasma. The cells, rising and splitting and then rising again only to split and die and to be recycled. So much plasma being ejaculated, so much renewing itself, becoming something else, the old cells dissipating in invisible jubilee, the new cells dividing just as fast. He had read somewhere that every cell in the human body would have been replaced every seven years. He closed his eyes tightly and held himself in darkness for a few abbreviated seconds. — D: We really have to be going, Father, have you finished your evaluation? P: For the time being. — At that moment, Father Pencey—the PhD, the son of the Irish folk-singer, the Hoosier, the forty-nine year old man—he felt a profound contempt for the robes he wore. He closed his eyes again, allowing himself time enough to bask in the darkness, the

privation, before scribbling something on the document that lay atop the table before him. Harold sobbed as Father Pencey turned to follow Detective Dittmar out of the room. The walls at the Saint Ulric Christian Center for Psychological Research were painted a light green. The board of directors said that it was conducive to tranquility, that it had a calming effect on the patients, that it prevented outbursts. Father Pencey wasn’t sure that was true. — D: It’s a shame. P: Indeed it is. D: Those two, the Simpsons, they had so much promise. She was beautiful, from what I could see, from the pictures they showed me afterwards. And he, like I said, he was just made partner. P: Harold would have been fifty-eight this month. D: I just can’t get over it. I don’t think I’ll ever

shake that image—the two of them, naked, with everything laid out there like that. P: I don’t envy you for having to see it—to see them. D: So, what’s next in the medical process? P: I’ve spoken with Doctor Carlow and we’re taking a wait-and-see approach. D: What is there to wait for? P: A miracle. God’s good grace. D: That. Or the needle. P: Let’s hope not, for the sake of science. D: And what about justice? Do you expect us all—Do you expect their families, their friends, to sit around and hope you can cure the old man? P: Yes, that’s the hope, but we’re afraid the judge won’t commute his sentence long enough for us to be successful. These types of things, they take time. D: Can I ask you something, as a Christian? P: You don’t have to ask it as a Christian—but you can if you’d like to. D: What’s the use? “”

A DelicacyAdam Powers

Spring 2011 [43]

Personal Poem

Christina Farella

I write the name in the book to connect the places, the Place de la Concorde To the ever entirely startled towers, Firmaments I asked you about when We were there together. Some sort of tumbling some kind of November sky In the Bronx with the grey sky and brown licks of trees Against the sky, some Connectedness and I asked you the meaning and you Shook your feathers in a startled way. Neither of these things are right and it is so hard to find the origin The inability to distinguish between needing to cry or needing a glass of water. I bet Natalie Wood never felt like this. I bet Giulietta Masina worried about herself More than Federico. To lean towards Barcelona without the gape, the acrobat On the plane making roses out of his sleeves for me and over the water the lamplight Like Venice, like spilled strings of wax down my sleeve as we get into bed I knock the candle over as the radiator clacks threatening us More than any mantis ever would in my dream. In my dream Aurora and I flew through the streets Neither knowing the bulls we ran from, Just chasing through Georgia, just mainly waltzes some other sorts of confusion but always the tumultuous. The changing I the always human the never beneath the surface of things. The looking glass, the caffeine frieze, the last supper in Milan that I never had I never went to Milan and I don’t want to meet you in Milan so stop asking me to Go to Milan. Go there yourself if you love it so much. I’ll be in Orvieto With a Spanish dancer And she is more beautiful Than you.

[44] American Literary Magazine

Reach across the table for Butter and knock over your father’s birdcage. What a display, gaudy even. You were the efficient doubling, you said to the statue, you said to the marionette, You said you said it and I rang out like a shot climbed through a chimney and Under the rosebushes the burrowed mice pray and fight off frogs with tiny shovels.

I wouldn’t want to watch that, but we’ve all been watching The same channel for so Long, who’s to say the TV isn’t God at this point; The TV is God and your little brother is Lazarus, or rather “Lady Lazarus” Because he wears those heels when your Mother’s not home. Your mother wanted to throw herself into the grave in the Bronx In October and you knew it and you saw it but also didn’t feel it. Why is there Astroturf Around the grave? Oh, really my heel is stuck quite badly, the mud of the months Gather like moths and flames, you know what they say. Misery and company Scallops and braziers. No one knows and no one cuts the edges off the frayed photos.

Heaphy Headwaters

Shaun Flynn

Spring 2011 [45]

[46] American Literary Magazine

Pupukea Lorin Eleni Gill

The Accident

Stephanie Dinkmeyer

I couldn’t feel my head and I’m not convinced it didn’t fall off, at least for a second. My hands were clasped in my lap, perfectly, each finger intertwined and comforting the next. The escape was, in a word, slow. Separate fingers, move back seat, rest. Tricep lift, push with toes, rest. Remove shoes–they were uncomfortable anyway– rest. I got out safe (toes first) and my head appeared to me again. Where the fuck is anyone? Don’t they have tools? Nobody ever showed up and by the time I’d made it out of the rear window, my solitude was made even more apparent when I looked at the wreckage. I still don’t know how a single human being made it out of that thing alive. It was flat as a pancake, and the blood on brick looked like amateur graffiti. I touched my neck, hugging it, thanking it for its loyalty as I prayed silently to whatever might be listening to my thoughts. I took out my FunSaver and snip-snapped away, hopping between feet, avoiding the heat of the old pavement. I spun the wheel with my thumb mindlessly and it never stopped. I would’ve rather crashed into that wall seven more times than listen to that camera wheel obliviously going on with its life. I circled the car, or rather, the “car.” As I came around to Paul’s side for the third time, a bent arm emerged, dangling both of my shoes. I snatched them up and kissed his palm. Poor thing. Always thinking of others. “”

It was flat as a pancake, and the blood on brick looked like amateur graffiti.

“That’s a two-headed cow,” he said. “It’s a fucking two-headed cow.” I was driving so I couldn’t say for sure. He wasn’t driving so I had to believe him. “No it’s not.” He paused. In the reflection of the passenger window I could see his eyes clenched so tight. “I wonder,” he strained, “What it’d be like to have two heads. Which one has the soul? Poor cow.” We definitely crashed after Paul had looked away from the poor thing. We crashed into a brick wall and the drunk symphony of collision was unlike anything I’d heard before or since. It sounded like it went on for minutes. The glass timpani, the tire violin, the metal trumpet. I imagined they jumped right off the car itself and played each other. And it felt like minutes too, like one of those car commercials that want to prove their safety in slow motion safety tests. I always wonder how many times they have to run the Volkswagen into that blank wall before the dummies’ heads stop flying off. I can’t say for sure how the accident actually happened, except that it did and that nobody cares how it happened. People were only interested in the pictures I took with my disposable camera after I’d escaped. All I know is I’d survived and was going to have a hell of a time getting out of this new jungle gym of manufactured parts. My chest was pinned by the steering wheel, amazingly, exactly at my heart. My toes had gone through the front of the car and were kissing the brick.

Spring 2011 [47]

Giacomo Died When I Was One

Kaitie O’Hare

Best in Show Poetry

I. I met you once on my windowsill The summer I was six. Laughing in a dream, you Told me to be a good girl for my mother. “My bella, behave. Those tears make my sauce too salty,” And I stopped. “She misses you,” I said, Waking with wet cheeks. II. We keep you in our homemade raviolis. Poorly kneaded, the dough splits open, bleeding spoiled ricotta into the aluminum pot your mother passed on to you— An heirloom I will polish when my turn comes. I imagine you inside my first batch Nestled like a pearl. You are wearing red, white, and green suspenders From photos of my uncle’s wedding, And you are happy there.

[48] American Literary Magazine

III. My mother prefers her maiden name, The one from you—Capriotti. “It’s a name you taste the anise with In Christmas pizzelles,” But you disagree. “No, bella. It’s a name you stir raviolis with.”

Emma Conlon

[49] Spring 2011

Spring 2011 [49]


Spring 2011 [49]

Gretchen Kast

She whispered quietly, begging for silence from the trees. The wind swept between them (it was sly, it was sneaky) and they shouted back, waving their arms in melancholic anger. “Shh!” she pleaded. “You mustn’t get so worked up!” It needed to be quiet. She had to look for August and the eerie cacophony of scraping branches was doing its best to destroy the bravery she had worked so hard to muster. The sky had slipped into its late afternoon dressing; a pale blue, almost purple, and cold. The air, though, hadn’t quite realized it yet and the soft stickiness of summer still lingered. He had been missing for some time now. A month, maybe. Yes it had been a month. Missy had heard her mother cry for the first time the other night. Through the darkness of the floorboards she had heard the sad tears fall as the house stood quiet with sleep. Or at least its appearance. Slumber never really came anymore, but they were all good at pretending. Shutters kept the beat of the wind as their lies mingled with sadness, grounding the house still and silent. There was a sense of guilty solace that came with hearing her mother. No one cried the night he disappeared. The sky hadn’t allowed it. It had been so bright, so full of words; it mocked them. It told them to sit still, to feel empty. Quiet down. The tears grew in Missy’s stomach, but the sky told her she wasn’t allowed to feel, so she tried to empty her mind. She tried so hard, but the numbness shook her body, it made her feel more, too much. It wasn’t allowed. She wasn’t supposed to think about it. She wasn’t sup-

[50] American Literary Magazine

crackle of leaves echo throughout the trees. She had to look for August. She had to find him. She knew the man with the navy coat was there, though. She felt him. She felt him like the night he had disappeared. Behind every tree. Around each bend. She had felt him; August had too. He had been frightened; that night, he wanted to go home. “Don’t be such a wimp,” she had hissed through her teeth, “We can’t turn back now.” She had wished for it. Something mysterious. Something tremendous. She had wished for it that night, and in the woods she was going to find it. But the sun had gone down too quickly and she was too afraid to go find it herself. So she lured her brother with the promise of an adventure (what wicked persuasions). And he had obeyed. It was her fault. She needed to find something. She needed to be brave. Sometimes she was so afraid she couldn’t breathe. Her chest would rise and fall, trying to catch the oxygen in the air. But her lungs wouldn’t work. Everything would go too fast. His eyes, glowing from the darkness. Too fast. The noise his feet made as he scuffled towards them. Too fast. The scream. The scream. It was August. It had been August. A quick one, the worst kind. Muffled. The kind only an older sister could recognize. She lied to the police when they asked what she had seen. She sat quietly and the words got caught on her tongue. Sometimes she pretended that she


Shutters kept the beat of the wind as their lies mingled with sadness, grounding the house still and silent. posed to talk about it. But she did. To herself. As she lay awake at night, she whispered the clues aloud. She had counted them. Fourteen. She wrote them on a piece of paper she kept under her pillow and repeated them over and over in her head. The shadow against the tree a week or so ago. The footsteps on the path. The man had come back. She knew it. She watched out her window each night, waiting for more clues.

tried to tell them. That was a lie. She could have. Fear told her not to, but she had decided to listen.

The sun set rapidly and the trees kept the lingering rays from reaching her. The solid lines of her surroundings began to blur. With each step she felt the

Father woke each morning before the sun and dressed methodically. Clad in his charcoal colored suit, he filed his papers in his briefcase before slip-

So tonight she was going to find him. She tucked the list of clues into her sock, snuck past her mother and father and slipped out the back door. Off she ran. There was no looking back. She ran and she ran and she ran until the trees had her surrounded. And her breath disappeared.

River Cam

William Bergin

ping quietly out the door, leaving behind a scribbled note of laconic affection and the remains of musky cologne lingering in the air. He loved them, the notes said. He would leave early and come home late. After August went away, though, he began returning home a bit earlier each night, if only to sit quietly with Mother in the library for tea. After the kettle emptied, the cups drained, and a stiff kiss placed on his wife’s cheek, Father would retreat to his study, the heavy door closing behind him. Mother sat on the sofa in silence for hours until he emerged, looking haggard to remind her that she should go up to bed. He didn’t love her. He didn’t love Missy. He couldn’t. It was plain to see. The way he looked at her, through her. August was gone. Missy remained. Father worked late. And August was gone.

He had always been laughing, her brother. Deep, hearty chuckles deep from the bottom of the belly. Laughs filled with years and wisdom. A boy with a mop of straw colored hair and royal blue eyes. His frame was small enough that he was often mistaken for a child of five or six. Oftentimes he would appease his audience, purposefully stumbling over words, childishly pushing his toy cars around. But Missy saw through him. He was smarter than he looked. But so small. Too kind. Missy had snatched his hand that and pulled him closer towards her. “We’re going on an adventure,” she demanded. He followed dutifully, his step jolly at the prospect of excitement. They walked hand in hand for some time, the sky got darker and darker, and the trees became shadows that swallowed them whole. She held her fear behind her tongue, clenching her lips shut to keep it in. “Missy, I can’t see. Let’s go back,” he pleaded.

Spring 2011 [51]

The wind had picked up quite a bit more and blew clouds of dark plum into the sky. Perhaps it was going to rain. She needed to move quickly. She had to look. But the sky had immobilized her. Stolen her bravery. Missy stood, a collection of bones held in

place by the tumultuous wind.

But he wasn’t there any longer.

[52] American Literary Magazine

Had she heard him coming? She couldn’t remember. Yes. Yes. She had. She thought. She had felt it. She had heard him. She felt it. She was sure she had. She knew it. Why had she let go of his hand? Why had she made him come with her? Why didn’t she turn back? Why did the man take him? Why not her? That was a question she could answer. Because August was perfect. And she was dirty. She was ugly. She was jealous. She disobeyed. And she had dragged him with her. It was her fault. August was perfect. If only she had gone alone. If only she had gone alone. It should have been her. The wind gusts blew stronger now. Each leaf danced individually and the trees bent to grasp hold of one another. But each time they grew close, the wind reappeared to pull them apart. They swayed back and forth together, following the wind’s orders. The rumbling bellow of thunder crept towards her. Leave, it whispered, he’s coming. Not a benevolent warning. A threat. He’s coming. The inky sky chuckled maliciously in her direction. And the wind kept swirling. And the leaves kept dancing. And the branches kept leaning. And the wind. The sky. He’s coming. The wind. Tiptoeing. Circling and circling and circling. Deep shudders of the sky. He’s coming. The branches leapt and tried to catch hold. Of her. Of one another. But their grasp too weak. The wind too strong. It circled. He’s coming. The wind. The wind. The sky. Circling. Grasp hold. Catch her. Catch her. The wind circled. Grasp hold. Hold. Cold. Cold sky. Her bones. Shaking with

the trees. They swayed. Her bones. His bones. Her bones. The wind pushed her. The leaves danced. Clawing. Dancing. Catch her. The wind. The wind. The wind. Swirling. Deeper. Deeper. Go farther. He’s coming. Come closer. Come closer. He’s coming. Whispering swirl of her thoughts of her mind and the wind and her mind. The sky. Deep blue. Deeper. Shaking and swirling and sparkling. The sky. He’s coming. The sky. He’s here. Deeper. And deeper. He’s here. And he caught her. She felt his strong arms grasp round her waist and pull her towards him. Tight. To him she clung, taking his shirtsleeves in her fists and felt the hardness of his skin. The stiff scratch of a beard. The deep musk of his body. The smell. His smell. She felt the screams begin to erupt, slippery past her teeth. She choked on yelps of metallic fear as her stomach filled with the salty tears streaming from her eyes. Her arms began to thrash and her legs kicked and she screamed and she screamed and she screamed. They were moving. He was carrying her. He was taking her. She was choking. She was dying. She had nothing to breathe. Her fists clasped tighter as she screamed. With a forceful swiftness, he clapped his hand against her face. Her hair tangled in his fingers as the blood pounded in her ears. They had come to the edge of the wood and she came crashing down onto the grass. She fit almost perfectly into his grasp. “How dare you,” he bellowed, “How dare you.” Rage reddened his face. “Why were you out there? WHY? ANSWER ME,” he shook, “WHY?” Missy opened her flooded eyes and peeked into his. “I had to look for August.” He stared past his hatred into hers. “August is dead,” he said, so low and steady as if it was a statement. As if it was true. Lifting his hefty weight, his strong arms carelessly tossed this bag of bones to the side. “Never again,” he threatened, his voice gruff and familiar. “Get in the house and don’t wake your mother.” Missy slowly propped her body up with her arms as she watched her father walk stiffly through the open door into the kitchen. The man had been there. She knew it. She felt it. She knew. Father had scared him away. He had been there. August too. August was missing. But she would find him. “”

She felt the screams begin to erupt, slippery past her teeth.

“No!” she snapped, thrusting her hand in front of his face, “Look, you can see just fine, Auggie. Let’s keep going.” He nodded as she let her hand drop down to her side. She wasn’t ready to go home yet, they hadn’t found it yet. The trees taunted her, tempted her to go further and further, deeper into the woods. She felt something. Something was there with them. This was it. She could feel it. Something tremendous. “Missy,” August whispered, “I think I’m scared.” “Don’t be a baby,” she hissed, twisting her body round to where he had been scuffling behind her, “We can’t turn back now!”


Joo Yeon Ha

Spring 2011 [53]

[54] American Literary Magazine

Just a Splash of Color

Dan Alt

The ZooKeeper to the Ibis

Rachel Tardiff

“Summer was dead, but autumn had not yet been born when the ibis came to the bleeding tree.” -James Hurst

You shat on me this morning but I know you didn’t mean it. Certainly improvement over yesterday’s vomit, with the bones of an unfortunate rodent who kept you company after I left. In the afternoon I gather feathers and hand them to children cooing through the bars. I still cannot believe these scarlet glories sprang from ashen down, back when you nestled beneath warming lamps. They make me detest my dense bones and my knees bent the wrong way. During my lunch you rustle your wings with a squawk when I pass you my crusts. We discuss the mangrove at Thanksgiving and gossip about the neighbors. The flamingoes preen next door. Because this sun is the same as the sun in the tropics, where the families of those airborne bimbos scoop up troves of sea trash. They are what they eat, staining their feathers with gaudy plankton blush. Three pens to the right the Marabou is rotting, starting with his scalp. But he has eyes like my mother’s as he swallows the plagues.

Spring 2011 [55]

[56] American Literary Magazine

I’m Done With All You Bourgeois Boys! Christina Farella A certain bedroom that you knew. A foundationless peg, a nuanced plug. A shameless way to floor oneself then pour juice. Namely none of things. I am manied, I am varied. I am at the place. Rough wooden radiators bleed cold air into the sky. A light, please. Get on the plane. Trees so tall you cannot believe, just see the schoolgirls. They wear red coats. Red cellophane. An apology from the bed. Who is there? Trapped in the space. All the heaves of a woman’s body given to you really for a featherbed. Knackered and young things. A caught toenail in the precipice of flower. To know you is to. And so I say thank you. Taken to there. Green manicured shrubs and a gulf. What wheels we’ve got! Little gentle quiet quilt. Letting gently quilt a spire. Abhorred on beaches of the east, ragged oysters, little oysters. Eat the rough wood, toddle the tea-tray. The moment of standing in the windowless room. “I can’t see the tornado.” Even if I grabbed your. Really can’t be there seen. Clouds swirled down and took the mail. Really, what wall do you look? Any opacity need apply none. Adding vernacular spinning and thrum of the bees as I whistle through the town. Tearing the roof, my tea is so hot. Scramble for ankles, I’ll meet you there. Tape and box wires, what time do you go? Candle and left glove make do. Needle thrown wings and unknown trials, a certain follow. An always crash. The slow composition. The deadly juxtapose and honest oil flavored honeypot. Honey on pecorino. Staccato of Valentina. Green gosling my soul ear you are a red and white screen from Seoul. Touch edges. Touch borders of. Domesticity and pliers, plywood with ballet. Straight ahead jazz kind of thing. That Roman doorway, oh blue curtain. Knocking that glass table and overgrown hands. Fresh squid. The windows are black butterflies. How could we ever have changed our lives.

Fit To Be Tied

Anna Chapin Spring 2011 [57]

The Sheri [58] American Literary Magazine

Best in Show Art

Christina Farella


David W. Pritchard

The summer we met I thought you were just Ridiculousness, well-dressed. Nothing says couture like a pink lion. I raise my right hand before each cup of coffee in your honor. What do you want to do? I don’t know how to answer. I only like seafood when it’s fried. The waiter in the sports bar obsesses over oysters. No ketchup on my jacket, only rain. The shirt collar propped up unevenly and a sweater that doesn’t fit. You treat everything as if it were a disguise, a ripped buttonhole. There must be a way not to cultivate disgust or boredom while waiting on a country road by a tree.

[59] Spring 2011

Absurdity, I laughed when you ruined my shoes in the snow. Thank you for making a scene with me in the store over socks, for suggesting the sudden delivery of a gift in the back of a taxi.

Spring 2011 [59]

You taught me how to entertain: I want to speak in iambs from now on in restaurants I can’t afford. You helped me buy a book I didn’t know the name of when I felt like an unraveling hangnail for envying the pink-haired man. Absurdity, you never tell me the truth but without you I’d never write or spend an afternoon watching sitcoms in a wicker chair with ugly cushions on it. You promise to come again tomorrow. There’s nothing to be done.

Spring 2011 [59]

His Girl Friday

Emi Ruff-Wilkinson

Sarah yanked her hair into a messy bun and fell into the pile of blankets on our bed. I followed her into the folds of fabric, my nose filled with the dull scent of detergent and sweat. She turned to face me and I tried to smile, tried to lighten her up, but she wasn’t taking me in. She had that dead look in her eyes that told me she wouldn’t really be seeing me for a while. She just ran her hand over the stubble on my cheek and sank deeper into the bed. I got up and dragged my body into the living room. It was a slow, rainy day, droplets slipping down my window and pooling on the sill. I wished my apartment had more color; it was white with a whiter kitchen and all the furniture was cheap and stained. I walked into the kitchen and began to tidy up. There were a few emptied bottles of wine and a plastic vodka bottle, and I tipped them into my recycling bin, a satisfying shatter ringing out as glass hit bare plastic. I wiped a sponge over the counter, red wine staining the yellow foam. There were plates to be washed and chipped cups to be put away. I cleaned the floor for no good reason. I needed a walk. I pushed open the bedroom door and told Sarah I’d be back soon. She was laying on her back, sinking into the sheets, her only response a muted “Mhmm.” I slipped on my old leather jacket and walked down the rickety stairs of our building. The Chicago wind whipped through me and then suddenly died. I lit a cigarette and walked into the dull misty rain.

[60] American Literary Magazine

*** I woke up alone the next morning. The rain had gone and the sky was an electric gray, the color you get when the sun is screaming to break through the clouds, but just can’t. It was almost 10 and I had to be across town for work at noon. I had two jobs; copy-editing computer manuals and part-time at Starbucks. Sometimes I got to write freelance stories for a little independent newspaper, but not enough to count. I stepped into the bathroom to shower, pushing aside a dozen orange pill bottles. I finished and found my coffee-stained khakis and faded black polo. “Good morning sunshine!” Sarah greeted me as I walked into the kitchen. She was making bacon, the strips sizzling happily in the pan. She was wearing all yellow, the cloth setting off her bright auburn hair, which was clean and tumbling down her back in soft waves. I pulled her toward me in a dramatic kiss,

her leg lifting up as she leaned back. I could taste traces of rum on her tongue but I ignored it. She tipped the bacon onto a paper towel to drain and I kissed her again. She pulled herself so close to me that I could feel every bone in her hips and I easily lifted her body onto the counter. She devoured me, kissing every inch of me she could reach. We made love right there in the kitchen, her little moans echoing out across the tile. I held her close, loving her soft skin and delicate bones. We finished and ate our breakfast half dressed on the kitchen floor. I couldn’t even care that I was late to work. My boss was on break and I just slipped in the back unnoticed. *** Every day at 3:30 Daisy came in and ordered a tall nonfat caramel macchiato. She taught English at the middle school down the street and came in to grade papers at a table in the corner. She was so adorable, short and curvy and blonde, with a warm smile that reminded me of the girls back home in Kansas. Today she was wearing a soft blue dress and her hair tied up in a bouncy ponytail. I had her drink written up before she even got to the register. “Thanks George,” she said, flashing that smile and handing me a twenty. “How’s your day going?” “Oh, you know, same as always. I like your dress, by the way.” “Aw, thanks.” Daisy blushed a little and smoothed out a wrinkle on her skirt. “You’re welcome, Daisy,” I said as I slipped her change into her hand. She giggled and left two dollars in my tip jar. By the time my break rolled around, she was still sitting at her table, writing in her notebook with precise cursive. I walked past her, headed for my usual table in the back, when she held out her hand to stop me. “George,” she asked. “Would you like to join me?” “Um, yeah.” I sat down, suddenly aware of how much I smelled like espresso and old milk. “Great,” she said. “Sorry if this is weird. I just see you here all the time and don’t know anything about you.” “No, it’s not weird,” I said, smiling. I tried to hide my nerves; I wasn’t used to being accosted by beautiful women. “So,” she said. “Where are you from?” “Wichita. Real exciting, I know.”

*** I came home to find Sarah sitting cross-legged on the living room floor, diligently bent over her laptop with stacks of photos everywhere. “We need some color in here,” she said. “I called

She had a bottle of champagne in one hand and her Nikon in the other, and she ran up and told me that I had an exquisite jaw and would like to photograph it. Of course I went home with her that night. We spent the next day going on a hunt around the city for things she could photograph for class. I followed her up fire escapes and across train lines. At the top of one of her piles was a photo of me, an unshaven 18-year-old in tight black pants and a tattered black t-shirt, staring out over the city with a stupid smile on my face. “I love this photo,” she said, picking it up. “You should start wearing skinny jeans again.” “I don’t think so,” I said, laughing. “I’m not sure I have the ass for them anymore.” “You’ve still got it.” She smiled and started sifting through another pile, all black-and-white prints from an all-nighter we pulled. I was her muse, so she locked me in a studio surrounded by black drapes and photographed every inch of me. She said my ankles had very compelling shadows. I was timid and lost in her world, but I couldn’t help but love her. Even as she consumed me, I longed to be lost in her. We hung the photos on the bare walls, our memories of Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone Park and the Mall of America adding pops of color to the room. Then we sat on our little gray couch while she finished another bottle of wine and talked about our futures, how I was someday going to write for the Tribune and she was going to see her photos in print. “I love you,” she whispered as I leafed through another pile, us in New York. “I know I don’t say this enough, but I do. I just…” She sighed and searched for the right words. “I don’t know what I’d do without you.” “I love you, too,” I said, leaning over to give her a soft kiss. She smiled, a little weakly, but pulled herself as close to me as she could. I placed one hand on her hip and ran the other through her hair. She smelled like cigarettes and herbal shampoo, the same scent that had been intoxicating me for nine years. Even when she was 19 with fashionably un-

“Well, you moved. That’s what’s important.” She smirked a little and leaned forward, with her elbow on the table. For the first time, I noticed a few faint freckles across her cheek. “So, did you grow up dreaming about working at Starbucks?” “It’s every boy’s fantasy,” I said, smiling. “No, I actually came here to study Journalism at Northwestern. But, well, it turns out it’s a bit of a dying field. So that worked out well.” “Oh. So you work here full time?” “No, I also have the privilege of copy-editing computer manuals that have been translated from Japanese.” I took a sip of coffee before I continued. “I mean, I also write restaurant reviews for Red Eye once in a while, so it’s not all bad.” “See, there you go.” Daisy and I talked for the rest of my break. I did my best to listen to her answers, but I kept getting caught up in the sound of her voice. It was warm and honey-like; her students were lucky bastards for getting to listen to her every day. We covered all the usual small talk ground—she grew up in Evanston and went to U of I, my dad was a doctor and I liked jogging along Lakeshore drive—but Daisy never asked if I had a girlfriend. I was thankful; I couldn’t talk about Sarah right now. “Shit,” I said, noticing my half hour was up. “I gotta get back. But it was great talking to you. I’m glad you pulled me over.” “I’m glad, too,” she said. “Here, one second.” She wrote her number on a floral sticky note and handed it to me. “Thanks,” I said, blushing a little as I smiled. I didn’t know what to do with it, so I just slipped it in my pocket so I could think about it later.

There was a breeze that carried perfectly crunchy orange leaves around us; one stuck in Daisy’s bangs, and I brushed it out. washed hair, or when her mother died and she didn’t leave the apartment for three weeks, she always smelled like the girl I loved. When I went back to the bathroom, I found a little unmarked bottle of blue pills open on the sink. I couldn’t tell what they were. Probably Adderall, but

Spring 2011 [61]

the landlord and left a message asking if we could paint the place, but he hasn’t gotten back to me. I figured I’d put up some photos in the meantime.” I sifted through the photos and smiled. Sarah really took beautiful photographs. She’d gone to Columbia College and we met freshman year at a party.

who knew? I just capped the bottle back up so it wouldn’t spill. Sarah had decided to be happy this week. She would stand in front of the medicine cabinet and pick out her mood as if she was deciding on her shoes. I knew I should have stopped her, but days like these were the closest to the old Sarah I could get. The landlord told her she could paint the apartment a neutral, and she decided that butter yellow fell into that category. I came home to find her covered in paint but with a bigger smile than ever. Then she made slipcovers for the furniture out of striped magenta cotton. One day she left me a note that she had gone out and came back with a memory card full of photos from Grant Park. We couldn’t afford it but we ate out anyway. Every night we fell asleep with one of our favorite movies on in the background.

[62] American Literary Magazine

*** But it never lasted long. One day she decided on Xanax and didn’t get out of bed. I came home and she was just staring out the window, still in last night’s eyeliner, ratty leggings and an oversized tshirt. I tried to kiss her, but her lips barely moved. That’s when I called Daisy. I went down to the stoop and tentatively dialed her number. “Hello?” “Hi, Daisy? It’s George.” We met up at a little French bistro downtown, with bright red walls and nicely framed posters of 40s French films. I went on a few dates with Sarah here and we always ordered the same thing, one prosciutto crêpe and one Nutella-banana crêpe. I forced myself to get something different, a crêpe with turkey and spinach, and quietly asked Daisy about her day. “Are you okay, George?” she said. “You seem quiet.” “I’m fine,” I said. “George,” she said, reaching out to grab my hand. She had such soft hands. “It’s just complicated,” I said. “I don’t want to drag you into that.” “You can,” she cooed. I took a long drink of water and started slowly. I expected her to throw her drink in my face when I mentioned Sarah, but she kept the same soft expression the whole time. I danced around a few of the details, but I told her everything. “So, yeah,” I said, taking a long breath at the end. “I don’t know. It’s, like, I just don’t know what to do. I mean, I feel like I barely have my own life together. As much as I love her, can I really keep her together,

too?” I took another drink of water. “I’m sorry,” I added. “That was a lot.” “It’s okay,” she said. That voice filled me up, like drinking hot tea on a cold day. I was intoxicated by it. We left the bistro and stepped out into the crisp fall air. There was a breeze that carried perfectly crunchy orange leaves around us; one stuck in Daisy’s bangs, and I brushed it out. I moved the conversation to happier things and we wandered through the city, clutching each other’s hands and laughing. At her doorstep, Daisy looked up at me with a slightly timid look on her face. I leaned down and kissed her cherry-stained lips, feeling that warmth pounding through me. Her breath tasted like spearmint, sweet and cool. “George,” she whispered. “Are you sure?” “I don’t know,” I said, my forehead still pressed against hers. “I really just don’t.” Daisy smiled, a little coyly, and kissed me again. “Then we’ll figure it out,” she said. “Okay.” She slipped into the front door of her apartment building, and I walked away with a strange lightness in my feet. Back at my apartment, I sat on my newly vibrant couch and stared at the wall. There was the photo I had taken of Sarah at that party. She had her champagne bottle in one hand and a cigarette in the other, her wild hair hanging in her face and her red lips curled into a smile. It was a terrible photo on my part; the flash was too harsh and her face was out of focus. But she was beautiful and effervescent. The real Sarah wandered out of the bedroom. Sometimes, late at night, when all of her drugs had worn off, she was herself again, the light in her eyes peeking through the cracks of her face. “Hey,” she said softly. “Where were you?” “I went out with some guys from work,” I said, shrugging. “Nothing special.” I felt guilt creeping up my spine; I had never lied to her about anything, ever. “Okay. Was it fun?” “Yeah, really nice. We went to that bar down in Hyde Park that I reviewed.” “That’s good.” She smiled and came to sit next to me on the couch. I pulled her close against my body. She was so skinny now, with dark circles under her eyes, but she felt like the girl in those photographs, blood coursing through her veins. We fell asleep on the couch, peacefully like tired children. *** But I woke up and nothing had changed. There was a Xanax bottle on the sink and Sarah was back

unprepared for the weather, but kept on, barely stopping for the cars that kept driving in front of me. I finished the mile between our apartments in barely 10 minutes. Sarah was in bed, of course. She was staring out the window at the faint snowfall, her eyes wide and what I could swear was a smile trying to emerge on her face. I kicked off my shoes and curled up next to her, feeling her heavy opiated limbs lean against me. I sighed and burrowed us under the covers, sleeping peacefully as I felt every one of her heartbeats against my hand. “”


Carolyn Becker

Spring 2011 [63]

under the covers. It was a Saturday, so I called Daisy and asked her if she wanted to go to the movies. We spent the afternoon together walking around the city, talking about Cary Grant and our favorite kinds of tea. I started seeing Daisy more and more. We’d meet up for drinks after work and talk for hours. She’d sit there taking little sips of white wine and comforting me after shitty days of bending over papers trying to discern the names of computers. I’d come home and find Sarah still in bed, exactly as I’d left her, maybe a pizza box or a Chinese food carton sitting on the counter. I’d sit there and smoke, wondering why I even bothered coming home. One night, Daisy invited me up to her apartment. I said yes without even thinking. She was beautiful and there was gin in my bloodstream. I followed her back with a stupid smile on my face and climbed the stairs two at a time. Her apartment was exactly what I had expected. The walls were a soft springtime green, with eyelet lace curtains tied back by pink silk ribbons. She had the same His Girl Friday poster that had hung in my dorm room framed above her couch. Two tabby cats were curled up on the windowsill. She led me to her bedroom, which was a pale sky blue, and we fell onto her floral comforter. We kissed for a while, and I found myself tugging at the buttons of her blouse. She smiled and undid them for me. We stripped to just our underwear and laid in bed, kissing softly. She had such a perfect body, slender yet curvy, with smooth skin and round breasts. The white lace on her bra matched her curtains. I stopped for a second to catch my breath. From her bedroom, I could see the corner of the poster from her bed, where Rosalind Russell’s face is pulled into a taut, brazen expression, her dark hair falling down her back against a yellow dress. Then I remembered where I got that poster; Sarah had bought it for my birthday because I called her “my Girl Friday.” I told her she was the thing that kept me alive, that I could never do without. The thing that made me struggle to keep up but love every second of trying. Daisy looked up at me. Her eyes matched her wall, her bra matched the curtains, even the little ribbon on her panties matched the ribbon on the curtains. I froze. Something didn’t feel right. “I’m so sorry,” I said. “I just … I need … I don’t know.” I dressed quickly, brushing off her protests and questions. I left her sitting on her soft bed, and I could feel her eyes watch me as I tore out of the apartment, down the stairs two at a time. It was the first snow of the year when I emerged. Wet flakes crunched under my shoes and froze my fingers as I tried to light a cigarette. I shivered,

Business Without ProďŹ t

[64] American Literary Magazine

Samuel Scharf

I Broke the Jar Christina Farella

Spring 2011 [65]

If the chasms hover silently above you, where is the trace so fitting in? If you touched it was only about the edges, that is where they slide like roots in mud. The potential for growth is unslit— I can’t see the sink without scrambling! The sea seems to go to city. What a famousness you’ve gleaned. What’s that trundling lung. Streets are like chorded vents throughout and dimly lit in my hopes for you. What if we worked down the ladder? Did she hear me? I’ll tug at the skirt a little deeper, twenty minutes for you in the best light. It can’t be Italian it’s not in the dictionary. Must be German (how oral). An empty pot. Goldfish swam sprayed with magenta those rocks. Come to the street, I’ll meet you in the trees. The space of a door. Pin my hair up. A real daguerreotype woman. Shadowed you crossed the boulder in states and I sank to the cushion of a thing that rhymed once. If you cry, I laugh. If you lunge, I’ll make land. The cobblestone sang and I shined for you and I thought if I cross myself it doesn’t count. To avoid sleep. Mark up that skin. That’s a feather in your hair. I clipped it. Myself being not the hair but the feather and bird can’t fly. No, not without a note from the Chopin waltzes for this is a serious operation. A sturgeon fish to cut you open a swordfish to open the door but where is the key! To be supremely tangled. To not only be submarine, but rather make the mark of a genuine watched rabbit. I’ll gnaw the glass for you sweetheart, my darling. There’s a tiger in the basement, I locked it myself and for you and for love! That’s an old joke. Habit of willow tree is to house raccoons and lost little boys, perhaps lend them a leaf or two to swallow water in the air and thunder pours down from your honeyface, your slick fat babylips. Make it. Something as such. Cut be done here. I cling of a dream where I took the rifle to them on the drive. This is private, but I am also in the bath. What bubbles what seas of nakedness and charming top hats. Things to make one sick never really appear outright. More a slender green sort of thing and then, you know, the final blue and gold surprise of a chrysanthemum driven mad over the cold coral tableau.

Near East 23rd Street

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Annie Buller

The Day I Learned to Nora Interact Pullen With the City The snow on the side of the road was covered in dirt. The snow on the side of the road was covered in dirt and carrots. In my mind, I idly kicked at the piles as I passed them, but not in real life. There are three CVSes within a 2 block radius of each other. I bought chocolate chips and tweezers in the first, a bottle of water in the second, and in the third I just wandered the aisles, pondering the prices of Oreos and contraceptives. I saw the same man two days in a row Wearing the same Yankees knit cap in two different colors. I don’t know his name. The first floor of my apartment building— As I walked to the stairs —smelled like urine, rice, bacon In that order. I’ve lived there too long to remember the smell of the stairs as anything but stairs. I am wearing three different shades of purple and three different shades of yellow and my hair is green. No one says anything to me. I don’t say anything to anyone. There is a deli/liquor store by the subway stop. I considered lunch there, But they told me bologna does not exist. So I left. Today the newlywed who mans the desk at work has cornrows. I think he got them redone for the ceremony. He always says good morning if neither of us are reading the paper. I saw a picnic table, so I sat down to eat Sunchips and drink lemon-flavored water. A man walked by. “Are you having a picnic?” “Yeah.” “Cool.”

Spring 2011 [67]

The pay phone by the bus stop was ringing, so I answered it. Wrong number, but her name was Elise.

Call and Response

Christina Farella

Sea Foam On The Thigh: Really a turning point. Concern: Nautilus is a word that never works in poetry. Impaired Vision: This is my brother, facedown in the water. Tiger vs. Bengal Dancer: A shady café. Noncommittal Glance in Spain: We both rolled over at the thought of my... Have A Drink With Me Soon: Café Ole! Sunglass Hut Salesman: “The mattress is so stiff my lower back is locked!” Indiscretion: I drew piano keys for my grandfather—all 88 of them. Discretion: Fold up the fortuneteller. Construction: Dal capo al coda.

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Fork Tine: Are you looking at me? Ugliest Painting On The Boulevard: Neither of them would compromise, so they both drank the Milk.

Yelling About Composers: The cassoulet, what a riot… Realizing There Is Sand At The Bed: The whole canon felt rushed. Name That Skillet: Seven lobster tails, one for the dog. Is That A Window Or A Mirror: I recorded all of your movements in this very camera. Non-oppressive Ceiling Fan: Please don’t decapitate me! Dry White Wine: All the ladies do it.

Cat scraps and board games for those of you who can’t attend. It’s Not Raining: Riding in the front seat looking at the ocean.

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[69] Spring 2011

Not This Nor That:

Old Montauk Highway: It’s just like the 60s. A Nincompoop: $10.00 lost that night in the parking lot wars. Chenille Blanket: Doesn’t mean I don’t want to.

Spring 2011 [69]

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Crooked Chairs Colin Crane

The Caffeinated and the Damned

Rachel Tardiff

“That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.” - F. Scott Fitzgerald

I watch the fingers of his right hand trace the gorge in the marble table top, while those on his left drum on the arm of his worn chair. The afternoon sun slanting through the window seeps into his three-piece suit. His jacket is draped behind him, his white sleeves rolled to his elbows. He sips his dark coffee and leans back to purvey the scene. He doesn’t look lost to me. From the door, he belongs on a coin. His straight nose trustworthy, the wave in his hair gentle. I sink, unflappable, into the vacant chair across from him. It took him a long time to get here. But the West was unkind, taking his golden girl, and he crawled back, tired. He is quieter than I expect, his voice soft. Outside he lights my cigarette. Then he counts out change for his next cup. The sighs of every blade of grass swell in his chest, his heart beating ceaselessly faster into the afternoon.

Spring 2011 [71]

Tim Becomes a Ferry David W. Pritchard I duct tape the screen so I can open the window without any stink bugs getting in. They’re the worst well no, roaches are fast and revolting impossible to kill hiding in the corners of kitchens, taunting me and making sure I look stupid swinging around a sandal when someone knocks on the door. I knock over the water. I’m so glad I didn’t add the noodles yet. I’m so glad I could get the noodles into this poem, even if I didn’t eat them. I didn’t have time

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to boil more water after I spilled the first batch, and if there’s one thing I know it’s noodles never taste good crunchy. Of course, “crunchy” describes texture not taste, so I don’t know if I can say that without sounding as stupid as roaches make me look. It’s like arguing Andrew Jackson was a better president than Wallace Stevens, impossible! because Stevens was never president anyway, and if he were his speeches would all be stylish, antitheses of me standing in the kitchen brandishing a sandal, one foot naked and hopping and hurting from the boiling water which I spilled on myself because of a roach. Like I said, I look stupid. I think a lot about Tim times like these, over in England watching surrealist films, Un Chien Andalou is more exciting than either this poem or my complaints about insects. I hope the duct tape works. I’d hate to have to deal with more stink bugs, a great source of personal anxiety much like this email I’m trying to write about variations on a theme in poetry.

I wonder if anyone ever composed riding a horse through Buckingham Palace in the middle of a dinner party in honor of Churchill. There, the first time and already it’s vacated by the prospective tenants for fear of it having being built on an Indian burial ground. But still, it’s all just speculation until the psychologist comes back from lunch at 8:47 in the morning missing a tentacle. If only those sailors had a better way to move around, I wouldn’t have to spend all of my time coming up with Margaret Thatcher quotes or neon signs. There are a lot of those, the signs, in between thunderstorms. What good is a boat when you’re covered in mud? Time for tea yet? William Butler Yeats prefers Moleskine to Joe Boxer, at least in the sock department where he famously composed “Crazy Jane Talks To The Bishop” on a whim, buried in a heap of tennis shoes to hide from the awful end rhymes that bruised him in the parking lot. They found me too! Oh save me like in a poem with an unbuttoned vest, climb into the river and take me to Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, Punxsutawney if you can manage to sneak across the border once we’ve rolled through Niagara Falls like a barrel or a chimpanzee. Now who is this with a petrified rudder coming through the mists of Spain? It’s Tim! Hello Tim!

Untitled 1, 2, 3, 4

Jillian Bonahoom

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What ItChristina Is Farella

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A framed picture on the wall said Spain was the favorite place the black and white dream showed that I love you even more, then. The hairs grow smoother as time grows huger. Of object of beauty rolling down a hall with tiled floors. What’s that whisper French or Mongolian? A paint stroke could tell you more as I am having questions with you what congress this makes. Three statues along Via del Corso bow as we ride with masks in the lane. Kiss my neck, you bounded thing. Knock the glass made the parade. I’ll cry if I see those trees. Umbrella pines or none. I know you’ve waxed poetic but the moon is disinterested. A collection of shaped things are found on the floor, where’s your mother? Where’s the teapot? Manganese scares but only at the opera. What a lovely word, what a petal, what a shampooed dog. Ride through the streets with me, their beauty is known. A wave crashed in the painting, a tile dropped all on the clocks. A pile of films. A great drawer. Really the abstract and ranging really, the limitless orange field of two porcelain torsos or even three. Stretched across columns is a banner that falls through the wind. Winding through my wound under me the veins of us cross at the rail line and form the letters of language. I’ll touch my edge to yours you are my border maker. Through the square the wrangled spiders made their names loud and painted great masterpieces for headstones and gallstones alike. Make the meat of it matter. Mainly malignant and I kiss you in the movie theatre. We got caught. We saw the city from the little curb. Knowing this how could you? The embrace of the modern art canon slays her each time she touches its surface and I confused the word nude for room. That will never be the reality, but get the can down from the shelf. Pushed up and down the hallway, the chair was on a track.

Tempesta di MareDon Kimes Faculty Contributor

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Biographies Dan Alt was winning before Charlie Sheen made it cool. #winning

and only goal of being Louis DiMucci’s girl for all seasons.

Carolyn Becker is a sophomore who is an Christina Farella has a wingspan of 76”. artist. Most of her current body of work is focused on painting self-portraits.

Shaun Flynn is a senior biology major, and

William Bergin is a Senior DPA Theatre Production and Design major who spends his free time photographing the state of Maine.

spent his fall semester abroad at the University of Otago in New Zealand. His two photos, “Wink Wink” and “Heaphy Headwaters” were shot while exploring the New Zealand countryside.

Jillian Bonahoom’s recent work

Megan Fraedrich is an extravagantly

dramatizes ordinary objects like plastic bags and bubble wrap. These quirky paintings find beauty and modern abstraction in the everyday. Originally from Michigan, Jillian is a second year MFA in the Studio Art program. She hopes to teach and forever represent Detroit.

Annie Buller hasn’t slept, but has to get this done. She enjoys many things, but going for runs is not among them. Everything bagels with cream cheese, however, most certainly are. Anna Chapin likes photography because whenever she looks at an old photo, she can recall exactly how she felt the instant she snapped it.

Emma Conlon is someone who thinks that everyone needs to take things a little less seriously, especially bios. Did you know that I particularly love cheese?

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Colin Crane is finally graduating. When he’s not taking photos or selling Nicaraguan ‘pulseras,’ he’s trying to explain to everyone he knows why the collaboration between Kanye West and Justin Vernon was the beginning of a new era in music.

Stephanie Dinkmeyer is currently living in mortal fear of the board game ‘Don’t Wake Daddy,’ looking forward to fulfilling her one

foppish swashbuckler who can usually be found rescuing aristocrats from the guillotine with her band of merry men. She writes, acts, hangs out at the zoo, and may have been Jim Broadbent’s stunt double in Moulin Rouge.

Lorin Eleni Gill enjoys spending time with her grandparents at their home on the north shore of O’ahu. Her favorite feeling is the serenity one feels at sunset when the chickens settle in the plumeria tree and her family begins dinner together. She is a hula dancer who long-boards everywhere around campus. Kimberly Gillespie: I am a second year MFA candidate studying studio art. I grew up in San Diego, California. At age 22 I decided I wanted to pursuit a degree in art, so I quit school, waited tables to save enough money to buy a backpack, a plane ticket and have $850.00 left to travel with in Europe and Israel. I found work and was able to stay twenty-one months before returning to the U.S. to attend to school. I received a BFA in painting in Alaska and an MA in painting in Minnesota. I took a non-traditional path to getting my degree and I don’t regret it. Joo Yeon Ha is from South Korea, and came to study in the United States in 2002. She received her BFA at Ohio State University in 2008. She is currently pursuing her MFA at American University.

Gretchen Kast is spending her springtime manifesting amongst the Parisians and writing stories alongside Canal St. Martin.

from his concern of awareness for the viewer, and his personal reaction to the environment.

Rachel Schaub is a Kogod Marketing student Andrea “Anj” Lum stops worrying. She dedicates this issue to her dog, Nobu, for writing the pieces.

Hannah Marin: As a sophomore, I currently spend the majority of my time studying Child Psychology and Special Education. In my spare time, I enjoy searching for strange, but interesting things to photograph. (And Molly Friedman, my roommate, is the wind beneath my wings. <3)

Kaitie O’Hare would be a zookeeper if she didn’t love words so much.

David W. Pritchard is a graduating literature and theatre arts double major. He will be attending the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in the fall for an MFA in creative writing in poetry. When he opens his mouth you see his guts, as he reveals his heart. If you didn’t listen truly, he’d call a bell a pitcher. Nora Pullen found a place that does sell bologna, and friends who will buy it for her.

who has a flare for fashion and the arts.

Kathryn Schramm is continually amazed at how much pleasure a pocket full of film and a camera can bring. Günperi Sisman: As a sojourner from Cyprus and a graduating senior in SIS, Günperi is currently in search for her optimal trajectory.

Rachel Tardiff studies flawed words and stubborn sounds, sound and fury signifying nothing, and noticing everything. Learning to build a house of burned brick with one wild and precious life. Vacations at the National Zoo.

Ryan Kenneth Taylor is in love with a girl he met in ninth grade.

Rosey Waters decided that the best thing to do with her biology major was to write creative fiction, the obvious route.

Emi Ruff-Wilkinson can’t remember the last time she had a functioning circadian rhythm.

Greg Matlesky is a junior in the School of Public Affairs. He studied Political Revolution with a minor in Tear Gas Tasting in Cairo, Egypt in Spring 2011. Samuel Scharf is originally from Orlando, FL with his BA at Rollins College 2005. He has lived in D.C. for the last 6 years after undergrad as a working artist and is now a first year MFA student here at American University. The main navigation for his ideas stems

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Aishiteruyo Neni Lorin Eleni Gill

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Bog Anna Chapin

Submission Policy American Literary Magazine seeks to promote the artistic community at American University. All members of the AU community may submit work they deem qualified for review. All final acceptance decisions are made by the Editors-in-Chief and the genre editors. American Literary Magazine selects content based on a blind review process. While we attempt to preserve anonymity in all cases, perfectly blind submissions are impossible. Therefore professional discretion is upheld at all times. All copyrights revert to the artists upon publication, unless otherwise noted.

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Acknowledgements Spring 2011 [79]

American Literary is grateful to Alicia Rodriguez and the Student Activities staff. We would also like to thank Jim Briggs at Printing Images for taking our digital file and turning it into the gift you now hold. We are incredibly indebted to our amazing staff and this issue’s Best in Show faculty judges: Leena Jayaswal, Don Kimes, Glenn Moomau, and Sarah Browning. We are also graciously thankful to Don Kimes, our faculty contributor. Lastly, we thank all those who submitted this semester – we wouldn’t have a magazine without you.

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Staff Editors-in-Chief Andrea Lum Christina Farella Design Editor Marlena Serviss Assistant Design Editor Emma Gray Copy Editors Elice Rojas Samantha Falewee Poetry Editors David W. Pritchard Lorraine Holmes Prose Editors Kaitie O’Hare Christopher Conway Photography Editors Amir Mohebali Annie Buller Art Editors Lindsay Inge Caroline Marsh Sound Editors Danielle King Nora Tumas

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PR Representative Molly Friedman General Staff Iz Altman Pam Davila Annelise Ferry Jess Keane Amanda Muscavage Emily Olsen Adam Powers Katlyn Schreck Rachel Tardiff

Invisible LightEmma Conlon Spring 2011 [81]

AMERICAN LITERARY MAGAZINE American University, MGC 248 4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20016

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