Loomings 2009 A Magazine of the Arts Vol. XXXX Benedictine College Atchison, Kansas
Cover Art: City by Hannah Gross
Published by Benedictine College 1020 N. 2nd St. Atchison, Kansas 66002
Prose Editor Pat Trouba
Poetry Editor Elizabeth Berrick Francis Petruccelli
Art and Photography Editor
Francis Petruccelli Anneli Gadamus
Dr. Michael Stigman
Corbin Hernandez Jenna Berry Sophie Perkins Rachel Bailey Miriam Oliver
Autumn, Circus, washing a cheetah, dandelion seeds, revenge, a bird in a tuxedo, Mozart, war, cigarette, rock band, Sunday afternoon, purity, carcass, blind, slinkyâ€Ś. Together, this group of words may appear chaotic. However, these are just a few of the subjects that have been zoomed in on by Benedictine writers and artists in this 2009 Loomings. With writers cleverly stringing words together, artists artistically applying paint onto their canvases, and photographers freezing moments in time, they share with us their individual creative experience of the world. So please enjoy letting you mind expand with the wealth of creativity filled in this magazine. Thank you and God Bless! Anneli Gadamus
Jill McFee Ellie Waterbury Shaun Kopp Joseph Mathiesen
Anne Schafer | A Kingdom for a Kiss Materials appearing in Loomings may not be reproduced or reprinted without the express written consent of Benedictine College and the authors of each work. Writers, poets, photographers, and artists contributing to Loomings retain full rights to their work and need not obtain permission from Beneditictine College for reproduction. Cost per copy $6.00; copies free for students; 1000 copies.
Nocturne A single sigh out of the breath Of Love. What silence do you sing, plaintive voice? The stillness of Creation exhales And is no more. What mystery do you veil, Heart of eternal silence? Your breath is the silent music Of the spheres.
Barbara Barthelette | Colorful Roots
taking them down off Godâ€™s blue walls
He’s sewing night into the spaces between my eyelashes, dropping it like pebbles
Daddy Singing the Night In
into my ears to stop the noise. He’s breathing night onto my cheeks, buffing them with his reassurance. He’s pulling the pins out of the stars, taking them down off God’s blue walls to scatter them in my hair while he brushes it back with his fingers. He’s painting night down my shoulders with lingering brush strokes rubbing the leftover day out the tips of my fingers. He’s singing night colored ribbons
Suzanne Hammons | New Roommate
to lace up the open backs of my worries and wrap round my fingers: remember to sleep.
When Daddy sings the night in, his words waltz with my runaway mind until she quiets to sleep.
shining wires spiraling
chink, chink, chink crawling down the stairs
round and round
the coils stop at the bottom turning into a perfect sleek metal tube
like a caterpillar in armor. Loomings 2009
Emily Green | Prague
His Last Cigarette
Many years later, when the days of his youth had resolved themselves into a single formless longing, Paul was asked how he would describe his childhood. “I was brought up,” he said, “with no greater desire than to be somewhere else.” **** It was a trip he had planned his entire life. The absurdities of adolescence were endured with the knowledge that another world was beckoning him far from the places and people he knew; a world he felt knew him already. In his room, his desk was home to several stacks of maps he had inherited from his father. Maps of cities he had visited a thousand times in his mind, coming to know each of their imagined parks and alleyways far better even, than the ones of his hometown. His books were arranged mostly in an effort to keep the decrepit shelves from collapsing. Many of these books were swollen from dog-eared pages, sheets of notes hurriedly stuffed inside front covers, and bookmarks often residing just before the story’s end. A symptom, his mother often said, of his incurably restless mind. He was twenty years old when he received a letter of acceptance to a school in Florence.
When it arrived he hesitated opening it for several days. Not because he was worried of rejection, but in holding it, he was aware only of its insignificance. He was destined to be gone. In fact this was all he was certain of, and the means for leaving seemed of no true consequence. The weeks before his departure were spent in his bed, poring over history books and a stack of travel notes he had been making since high school. Things were finally in motion, he told himself continually – “I am about to arrive.” The day came for his journey to begin, though Paul felt that in truth it had begun not long after his infancy. He boarded the plane, and found his seat beside a dark, Italian woman in her mid 20’s. “Your first trip to Rome?” She asked, setting her book down on her lap. Paul answered simply that it was and put on his headphones, turning towards the window. Since he could remember, Paul loved planes. He had even considered becoming a pilot once, and taken a flying lesson. That morning he had awoken oddly frightened – terrified almost by
the idea of boarding the small, Cessna aircraft. As the engine started, the plane shook violently, and Paul sat rigid in his seat. The tiny craft taxied towards the runway, and before he had time to change his mind, the ground around him was silently, gracefully falling away. He tried so hard to explain to how it felt once it was all over but he couldn’t. Once aloft, it wasn’t that he was no longer frightened – he no longer cared. His blood pounded in his ears and at that moment it made no difference to him whether he lived or died. “You can argue as to whether or not that’s a good way to live,” he said afterwards, “but damn it felt good.” Now on his way to a place he felt he already knew, he patiently waited for some sort of similar affirmation. His breath caught in his throat as he remembered a conversation he’d had with his neighbor a few days before. He had brought a box of borrowed kitchen utensils over at his mother’s request, and Mrs. Mayes invited him in for coffee. He accepted, knowing that his mother would have been horrified had he not. Mrs. Mayes had five children under the age of seven, and sought adult conversation regardless of her home’s disarray or her children’s noise. Nearly fifteen years ago, she had spent a week and a half on a guided tour through Italy and part of Austria. “You’re life is going to change, you know.” She said prophetically, as they sat down at the cluttered kitchen table. “Europe changes people.” Paul lifted his coffee and stared around the room, searching the toy bins and dirty walls,
**** Three weeks later, Paul stood before the radiant façade of St. Mark’s basilica in Venice. Pigeons and tourists swarmed around him – the chatter and frenzied motion of one indistinguishable from the other. It was a dreary and unremarkable day, simply another in a long line of dreary and unremarkable days. Paul had thought that in seeing the furthest reaches of the world, he would finally be able to see himself in it, and over the past few weeks he had waited for a great revelation. Eventually, patience betrayed itself to question, then doubt, then resignation to the conviction that he had been wrong about everything. It was as if some alien and completely unseen hand was his sole directive, and he existed in a tortured stupor of unfeeling – unimpressive, and unimpressionable. He studied the basilica in front of him. In spite of the throngs of people hurrying across the piazza, the gilt mosaics and lace-like Gothic carvings seemed deserted. Their imagined animation and radiance had resolved into a fixed, remote tapestry; now hanging silently before him. Remaining loyal to the itinerary he had made several months before, he boarded a train from Venice for Vienna, then another for Prague. He hugged his knees to his chest and stared at the window, watching his reflection as the train moved past woods, towns and cities. The stations became darker, as did the boarding passengers. Paul listened to the conversation of a couple of Czech men who sat down in his compartment. Their language was sharp – almost violent and he
eets were blushed in her torn couch, stack of celebrity and children’s magazines, and Mrs. Mayes’ boring attire for any evidence of a life having been changed. “I can’t wait.” As he sunk down into his seat, he stared out at the darkening sky, feeling now a deepening apprehension. Paul closed his eyes, confident that when he awoke his spirit would return, leaving Mrs. Mayes and her dirty kitchen far behind.
swallowed hard as it rung in his ears. Throughout the city there hung an air of profound tragedy. Paul walked slowly across the Charles Bridge, watching his feet move one in front of the other over the ancient bricks. He watched them as if they were not a part of himself; as if their direction were decided of their own accord. He felt people passing on all sides of him; hurrying in silence. He passed
artists and vendors lined against the side of the bridge, their suitcases laid open by folding chairs, and makeshift shelves displayed their souvenir paintings of the bridge at sunset, and the Gothic silhouette of Prague castle. Up ahead, a man was tearing off bits off of a crust of bread and throwing it to a small dog. The man’s face bore a sad smile as he watched the dog, and when it had finished he petted it fondly then pointed and nudged it on its way. Paul watched as the dog ran down the bridge to several other vendors, all of whom had a bit of food ready for him. They turned their faces from their work, or the drab cityscape to watch him eat ravenously, and then as he ran to the next person. Paul found himself smiling as the dog reached the end of the bridge, and he hurried to follow it. But just as he quickened his step a group of American students passed in front of him, pointing and waving wildly so that by the time they passed, the dog was gone. Paul arrived early to the train station that morning, finding it even darker and more dismal in the morning light than when he first arrived. The benches that lined the station walls were separated into thirds by small armrests, so that travelers could sit next to strangers without feeling that they were too close. Paul looked for the seat with the least gum or graffiti, sat down with his backpack still looped over his shoulders, and closed his eyes. He heard a man cough somewhere close to him and mutter something in Czech. The woman at the ticket window’s voice rose as she argued with a traveler about reservations, and he heard the chatter of a man and his son at a food cart just outside the open doors to the station. Suddenly someone laughed, and Paul looked up to see the dog from the day before running towards a man sitting in a corner between two of the benches. He wore a hooded sweatshirt underneath a filthy jacket, and jeans that were stained and torn. There was a woman with him, and she smiled at him as he picked the dog up to kiss its face. “Is he yours?” Paul asked, quite certain that the man did not speak English. The man looked up at him, with bloodshot eyes. Paul caught his breath as he stared at the hollow face and immediately wished he hadn’t
spoken. But then the man smiled. “Is he yours? … The dog?” Paul repeated, pointing at the animal that was now lying on floor. “Yes, he was mine,” the man replied looking down, “but I cannot feed him so he belongs to everyone now.” Paul swallowed. “I saw him yesterday – on the bridge…” he stammered, “The artists were feeding him.” “Yes, yes, he runs free now.” The man lifted his hands as he said this, as if to show that the dog was no longer his. “He gets fed, but still he is hungry… the Czech people are hungry.” The man looked down and laid his dirty, scabbed hand on the dog. Paul opened his backpack, knowing already that he had nothing to offer him except his last Marlboro light. “I don’t have any food, but can I give you a cigarette?” he asked, embarrassed at not being able to offer more. The man started to get up, thanking Paul and nodding his head, but Paul gestured for him to wait as he crossed the station lobby to where the man, woman and dog sat. He took the cigarette, and held it between his chapped lips as Paul struck a match and lit the tip with shaking fingers. The man closed his eyes and took a first, long drag and exhaled slowly before opening them again. “You are American.” It was an observation rather than a question, and Paul simply nodded his head in reply. “I love the United States of America,” the man said, smiling at Paul though half closed eyes as he passed the cigarette to his friend. His face cracked into a maniacal grin as he closed his eyes again and threw up his hands, and shouted, “America lives in this man!” Again Paul simply nodded, unsure of what to say. “I lived in New York,” the man said, taking back the cigarette, “for one year…but I missed my family and my friends so much that after that one year I returned to the Czech Republic.” His mouth curled in disgust as he shook his head and turned to spit on the ground. “Returning to Prague,” he said in a shaking voice, “was the worst mistake of my goddamn, fucking life.” He spit again. “I came back here with nothing, but I began to save some money so that I could go
he belongs to everyon
back to the United States. …My friends,” he said slowly, “my friends knew my money was hidden in my car, and one night they took everything.” “Where do you live? What do you do now?” Paul stammered, his heart pounding in his ears. “Here,” the man laughed, looking around the station, “maybe somewhere else tomorrow. The Czech Republic is a beautiful country…but the Czech people are hungry.” A group of fifteen police officers walked through the doors to the station, talking to one another and casually scanning the lobby. One of them caught sight of the cigarette in the man’s hand and shouted something in Czech. Paul started, and turned to see the man grinding the heel of his shoe into the glowing ember, staring with disgust at the officers. “They say I can’t smoke in here,” he explained. The officers had begun to walk away when one turned abruptly and hurried to where the Paul, and the man and woman were seated and held out his hand. The man slowly rose to his feet with his hands raised, speaking quickly and quietly, obviously trying to explain himself. The officer just shook his head and grabbed the man by the arm, calling the other officers as they moved towards the door. Paul felt himself shaking and his eyes widen as the man turned back to explain. “I don’t have a valid ticket,” he said with a shrug and half a smile, “…fucking country.” Immediately they were gone from sight, and Paul looked down to see the last of the cigarette smeared across the floor. **** Paul boarded the train back to Vienna and then another back to Florence in silence, and immediately fell into a near lifeless sleep. When the train lurched into the Florence station at Santa Maria Novella, it was 5:40 in the morning, and the busses would not start running for another twenty minutes. He swung his backpack over his shoulder and walked briskly from the station, past the church and down the curving road to the Arno. The sun was just about to rise, and the streets were blushed in her first,
shadowless light. Paul reached the bridge and walked to the middle. The sun was now beginning to rise as the water and all surrounding it took on the appearance of fiery, molten gold. Nearly no one was on the streets, but Paul did not think he had ever felt the city more alive. He looked down at his toes suspended over the edge of the bridge. Just beside his foot lay the butt of a Marlboro light. With a single sweeping kick, he cast it over the side of the bridge and watched it fall. He could feel his heart pounding, and as he looked out over the water he whispered, “I h a v e a r r i v e d .”
Johnny Severson | Senzo Titolo
Mustard-colored weeds. A hideous hindrance to a beautiful yard. Just as he has crushed them under his heel or sprayed them with poison, he turns around Hannah Gross | Momento Mori and, look! Another devil.
They never go away. No. They only spread. Like the Black Plague. His daughter bounces from the house, pink dress fluttering in the breeze, to stroll through summer grass, selecting only the prettiest flowers for her motherâ€™s bouquet.
Delicate, cheerful, fragrant. One flower catches her eye. Looks like the others, but this oneâ€™s blossom is made of stars instead of the sun. The stars drift away. Caught in the current of her breath.
Waiting for the Bus with Mozart in Haiku Form on a Rainy Day Francis Petruccelli
A curbside puddle A symphony of ripples Waiting for the bus
Waiting with Mozart A concerto of longing
For that which moves me
Yes, Amadeus knows He detects the hidden pulse Shouts it to the skies
The heavens weep back symphonies of pure grace and move the curbside me Laura Wadle | Reflection of Circus Maximus
10 Francis Petruccelli | Bleeding Street, Bleeding Sidewalk
Autumn, Mortal Tell me a leaf’s secret Whisper to me the color Of fall Diminished brilliancy Faulty hue Beautifully blemished Sweet imperfection Undeterred happiness Autumn’s intoxication Every breath bringing me higher
Clarity beyond summer Unmarred by winter Sharp sensuality of the wind Crystallized breath of life Whisper to me the secret of fall Fading beauty Let me last no longer Than thee Allow me not be left To rot in winter’s frost
God’s punishment for being As thou art Unnatural and unholy beauty Untouched by reason Left to sprawl freely across Green life Transforming, killing Making, fading Spring, summer, fall Unmerciful, unyielding Decadence
It is when I am stretched
Alzbeta Voboril | Memories in Paint #1
It is when I am stretched so far that my dreams are rung out of my bones that I see the drops of hope I so vainly stored there painting the sidewalk with their desperate foolish beauty and the pain of them leaving me makes me collapse
to soak them up again
Tell me a leafâ€™s secret Whisper to me its mortality Tell me a leafâ€™s secret Why fades its color Whisper to me, a secret A leaf
Alzbeta Voboril | Failure to Escape
h c r
If you’re like most Americans you own at least one Cheetah, and you’ve probably been killed or almost killed trying to wash it. Cheetahs can be a handful, they’ll eat your head when you least expect it, and they just hate bathing. But there’s good news, Mandingo has a new product to keep that special cheetah in your life squeaky clean. With our new cheetah cleaning system you can say goodbye to your cheetah laundering problems forever. This product is not available in stores and it certainly isn’t available in caves. If you wanted to buy it at a cave you’re just stupid anyway, and we don’t even want you to have our product. When you order our system you’ll receive an instructional booklet, two instructional tapes, a free cheetah coloring book, and our revolutionary instructional suppository. And if you order now you’ll get a free copy of pop culture sensation Hanson’s hit M’Bop. It’s a pseudo-scientific fact that all large predatory cats are calmed by the dulcet tones of Taylor Hanson’s singing. Here’s what our customers have to say! “Living in a small one room apartment with a live cheetah has been positively terrifying. I no longer look forward to going home, I look forward the crippling fear of opening my door and hearing the sound of a feral jungle beast lunging at my neck. But thanks to Mandingo at least I know my animal is clean, and I can attribute my recent bout of whooping cough to their instructional suppository” --Richard Karn “Cleaning my cheetah has always been a big headache. It’s embarrassing having to explain why my hand is missing to everyone at the office the day after washing it. And the frequent lawsuits from neighbors are troubling as well. Thanks to Mandingo’s product my cheetah seems slightly less ravenous, It’s been days since he tried to kill my landlord.” --Jonathan Taylor Thomas
Anne Schafer | My Favorite Pair
McLean Severson | Lonely Tripod
Alzbeta Voboril | Careful
D rew M al y
I f e l t a ch il l gr ip m y h e ar t, and it cl im b e d, scuttl e d up m y spine , cov e r ing m y l imbs and b r ain l ik e th ousand s of tiny spid e r s, e ach one inje c t in g its icy v e nom into m y v e ins
all I c an t hin k about is how c old I am an d t he spiders move more quic kly an d bite more viciously, as if t heir own freezin g ven om is what drives t hem.
Andrew Williams | D.C. Walk
And the bed that I lie in And the bed that she lies in Could connect in a downy constellation, Great stars might synchronize above us, Smiling at our swooning. I would cover and warm her And her celestial heat would sink into my skin My frame would protect this woman And her satin lips would set on mine. If she slowly hypnotized my sense in moonlight By singing a supple aria in my arms Her midnight hair parting through the pillows And through my worn hands Her eyes would shine into mine, penetrating The echoing world of my spirit. Then, I could rest in no higher heaven.
The Calling Hail, children of light For out of the darkness you come Out of the forest and into the plains And into the sparkling sun Hail, generation of love Pat Trouba
If Our Universe Were Simpler
Our leaders have marked you as blessed More hope they had not since the last age Do not give in to distress
Stay, youth, to adore For the eyes of nations are on you Can you shoulder the burden of those Who could or would not do? Stay today, for faith Be ready and willing to touch lives Donâ€™t stop the race, for who will replace Any like you or I?
Nick Bergman | We are the air
Daughters of Eve
Alzbeta Voboril | Kisses and Light
It didn’t ring, it never does. Silence sews my heart shut, hastily and without ever finishing, making a mockery of my patience. Another curl, add color to the cheeks, shorten the hem. So much to hope to hear “you’re beautiful”. What I wouldn’t give to lie there wearing nothing but our wedding rings.
This is my house painted with notes
Collective staccato gasps as the house sends
Trilling confetti, sticking to dark eyelashes
Creating the brilliant, undimmed hue
Nude lips, now robbed of their color
Of my walls, watching
Reveal crescendos of emotion Smiles swelling
On New Years the rhythm Of home inebriates
Diminished low tones as guests start to fade
The guests with bitter noise
Slowed plucking of a lullaby
And sweet wine
Walls fade from red to the blues Piano laughter is cued out
Scenting the air With lingering etudes, dancing around
My house is still painted with notes
The clinking of glasses
But silent ones, wrapping me in a cocoon
A held fermata permeating the silence
Tomorrow I will wake to the sounds
Of eyes and lips meeting
Of Movement 2009 Elizabeth Berrick
The Ice and the Oar
It is morning. Everything is still, dead. No birds whistle a good morning, because the Wisconsin winter drove them south months ago. Still, I know it is morning by the aroma of coffee accompanying the incense of French toast drifting under my door. I open my eyes, but I do not see. I am blind. Blind. It’s freakish. I keep thinking one day I will wake up and be able to see again, but I keep waking up blind. Today is darker than yesterday, tomorrow blacker than today. “Sarah, are you up?” I hear my mom call. I pull my quilt over my head. No, I am not. I don’t ever want to get up again if I can’t see. It’s so cold. Grandma’s quilt isn’t enough to keep the chill from invading. I use to love the quilt with its reds and oranges and greens and blues. The colors warmed you up before the material did. But I can’t see the colors anymore. I sit up and grope for my sweat shirt. I thought I left it at the foot of my bed, but I can’t find it. I whisk the floor with my foot to see if it fell, but my foot only catches my shoes. “Sarah! You’re awake!” shouts my little sister Kelsey as she runs and bounces beside me on the bed. “Kelsey, do you see my red Cardinal hoodie?” I ask. “I see it,” Kelsey says immediately. The mattress moans as she stretches over to my desk, not more than a foot away from the bed. “Here it is,” she says dropping it in my lap. The sweat shirt is folded. Mom. She must have straightened my room after I went to bed last night. I tug on the sweatshirt. “Why are you mad?” Kelsey asks. “Mom should leave my stuff alone,” I growl. “Gee. I wish Mom would clean my room. She always makes me do it myself.” “At least you can see where your stuff is. Mom cleans my room to hide things on me.” “Boy, did you get up on the wrong side of the bed! Dad’s gonna take us to get the Christmas tree today. Isn’t that exciting, Sarah? We’re gonna chop it down ourselves!” “Have fun.” “You’re not going?” “What do you think?” “That you should go.” “I was being sarcastic, Kelsey.” “Oh. Well, Mom said you should come eat breakfast.” “I don’t want breakfast.” “But she’s making French toast!” “I’m blind, Kelsey. No one chopped off my nose,” I say, lying back down. “Tell Mom I am gonna sleep in.” “She said you couldn’t,” Kelsey sings out. Suddenly, my bed turns into a trampoline. “Kelsey, cut it out.” I jump up and try to knock her off my bed. I get a handful of hair and pull. Kelsey screams. “Sarah Elizabeth Morgan!” Mom’s voice calls up the stairs. “You leave your sister alone.” “Only if she leaves me alone!” I shout back.
“Downstairs, both of you!” “Did you sleep well?” she asks as I sit down at the kitchen table. “Great,” is my unenthusiastic reply. “Somebody moved my stuff last night.” “If you folded your clothes neatly, no one would have to clean up after you,” Mom says. “If no one cleaned up after me, I would know where my stuff is,” I fire back. “Sarah, eat your breakfast,” my dad says. I fiddle with my fork. “Can I have some syrup and powdered sugar?” “Sure, Honey,” Dad says scooting his chair nearer. “Don’t help her, David,” Mom tells. “She can do this herself.” “Mo—om!” I whine. “Sarah,” Mom says. “The syrup is to the left of your plate and the powdered sugar is to the right.” “Could you just fix it for me?” I moan, resting my head on the back of the chair. “Sarah.” I hear the warning in Mom’s voice. “You have to start trying to do some little things on your own.” My dad clears his throat a little. “Meredith,” he says in a rumbling whisper, “aren’t you carrying this a bit too far? Let the kid enjoy her breakfast.” At least I get some sympathy from one parent. “David, if she is waited on hand and foot, she’ll never move on.” “But it has only been two months.” “It’s already been two months.” I can’t stand this. “Stop taking like I can’t hear you! I’m blind, not deaf.” “Eat your breakfast,” Mom says. I hear the knife scratch the plate. Dad cuts the toast up into bite size pieces and pours syrup over the bread. The door opens and snow is knocked off boots. “Well,” says Ryan, “I cleared the path down to the lake. Must have snowed ten inches last night.” “Ryan, look! French toast!” Kelsey announces through a mouthful of sticky bread. “Hey, hey! How about that!” he says enthusiastically enough to acknowledge Kelsey’s excitement. My brother is in college at MSU studying biology. He came home when I was sick until they knew I would be all right. Then he had to go back to school for mid terms. I can tell he still doesn’t know what to think even though he tries to act as if it is the most natural thing in the world that he should come home to find his sister blind. He is so thoughtful these days it makes me want to slug him. I wish he would fight with me. “Hey, Sarah,” he says, clodding over to me. “How are you doing this morning?” “As blind as a bat as I’ll always be,” I answer sourly. He ignores my answer. “I know tomorrow is Christmas,” he says. “But I’ve been working on this thing for weeks now, and just finished it last night.” He hands me his present. “Oh, Ryan, wait till tomorrow!” Mom protests.
Katherine Buckmaster “Why? I want her to use it today.” I feel the pro-offered gift and know immediately what it is. “I don’t want it,” I say quietly turning away from him. “Why not?” He’s surprised. “What do you think?” “But, Sarah, it will keep you from bumping into things,” Ryan says. I can tell by his voice his pride is hurt. Good. Mine’s hurt too. “There are nice carvings on it, Sarah,” Mom says. “I don’t care if the Ten Commandments are carved on it!” I shout. I throw the offending object away from me. “I’m a freak enough without it.” Dad clears his throat. I can almost feel him exchanging a look with Mom. “Well, you don’t have to use it if you don’t want to, Sarah,” he says. “Why did you make a path down to the lake, Ryan?” “Mom asked me to.” I can tell Ryan is still upset. I can picture him, his mouth agape, just staring with his two brown, seeing eyes at his moody, blind sister. Maybe now we can have that fight. “I thought Sarah and I would go ice skating while you guys went to find the Christmas tree,” Mom explains. I am jarred from my aggressive thoughts. Ice skating? How can Mom be so heartless? Why on earth would I want to skate now? I wish it were last year. Last year, everything was possible. Last year, my life had a purpose and a goal. Christmas break offered a relief from school. I hated my new school. I was a nobody there. My teachers left me alone because I made Bs, and the kids at school left me alone because I was new. The only time I didn’t feel like a freak was when I was on the ice, and Christmas break gave me plenty of time for this. I would spend days at the skating rink, practicing hours upon hours. Six hours weren’t enough. Eight, ten, sometimes longer. Spinning, curving, jumping, dancing. Life was almost a song when I glided onto the rink or blurred into a spiral or forced my face against the pressure of the air. The work was hard, but so thrilling I would forget I was training for a national competition. Winning had not been the goal, only the surprise. I had only wanted to dance on ice before the world, to make them see me for a moment, not the weird new girl in school, but in the end I did even more: I placed second in the competition. Suddenly, I was no longer Sarah Morgan, the seventh grade shadow, but Sarah Morgan, one of the nations budding figure skaters having interviews with ESPN. Everyone predicted great things for me: scholarships, a career, some even whispered the athletic holy word: Olympics. Now the most popular girls in school vided with each other to claim me for their best friend. Now I was getting invitations to special conferences and trainings throughout the country. Now my life was taking off in a way I never thought possible. If my success seemed too dreamlike to be real, it was nothing more than a faded fantasy now. A flu traveled St. Louis the fall after my big success. Many of my classmates were out of classes for days fighting it
off. I knew I had it, but ignored the symptoms. Stupid! Attending a special four day weekend figure skating camp in Denver was more important to me than sitting in bed, drinking broth and watching movies. I didn’t have time to be sick. I managed somehow to fake perfect health and get through both Mom’s and airport security’s x-ray scrutiny. At the camp, I used all my will power to keep going. I was miserable, at times barely making it off the ice and into the bathroom. It was getting harder to make my body obey my commands. Then I hit the ice. My body was too weak to complete a spin, and I came down hard, the back of my skull making contact with the ice. I think I vomited, but I’m not sure. I don’t remember much of the next two weeks. All I know is that when I finally came around, I found myself in an inky blackness. I had paid a heavy price for ignoring my body. I was blind. I did not return to school. Mom and Dad decided to home school me the rest of the semester to give them time to decide what to do. They still can’t send me back to school. Not yet anyway. Mom and Dad are talking about taking advantage of some of the services at the St. Louis School for the Blind. They think I can transition back to school with the help of a seeing teacher. But that’s what they think, or at least what Mom thinks. But I’ll handcuff myself to my bed before they can drag me back to school. I’m never going back. How could the world famous Sarah Morgan return as the blind freak Sarah Morgan? We’ve finished breakfast and Mom wants me to help with the dishes. “Dishes, Meredith?” Dad echoes. “Yah right, Mom. How am I suppose to know if the plates are clean?” I say, confident Dad’s going to support me. “I’ll wash; you can dry,” Mom replies. “Kelsey can put everything away.” “Whatever.” “Sarah, do what your mother says.” Did Dad just say that? What a traitor! I haven’t got a single person who is on my side in this family. “Fine!” I say, pushing my chair from the table. I put out my hand. “Lead me over!”
“You can find your way,” Mom answers. I hear Dad start to protest, but Mom must have silenced him with her look. Coward. “I’ll find my way back to bed, thank you,” I say, getting up and heading in the general direction of the stairs. My feet get knotted on Ryan’s discarded gift and I only avoid a head plant by grabbing the counter and upsetting Mom’s hot tea on my arm. Mom hurries me to the sink and starts running cold water over my burn. I can’t help stomping my feet and yelling out in frustration. My tears are hot and salty. They burn my cheeks worse than the tea burns my arm. I can’t even walk two steps from my chair without someone’s help. “I told you! I told you!” I keep screaming over and over. Mom is rubbing my back. “It’s okay, honey. It’s okay,” she keeps saying over and over. But it is not okay. I’m still blind.
Mom is determined to get me on the ice. She had to coat me, scarf me, glove me, boot me, hat me, and drag me but she got me down to the lake. Now she squats in the snow binding my feet to my skates while she talks to Dad on her cell phone. “Sarah? Oh, she’ll be all right. No worries. Call us the minute you find the right tree... Yes, and make sure Kelsey keeps her gloves on. You have a good time. You’re breaking up,” she is saying. “Darn reception.” She hangs up. I lean against the ground and wait passively. Something long and thin rolls against my elbow. Ryan’s present. “Why did you bring that down here?” I ask. “You might need it,” Mom answers simply. “There we are,” she says, finishing lacing my last skate. She helps me stand up. I grab Ryan’s embellished gift and throw it like a spear as far as I possibly can. “Sarah!” “He can dig for it,” I mutter. “No, you can,” Mom says firmly. “Throwing his gift away like that! What’s wrong with you?” “Some gift! It would complete the whole picture, wouldn’t it?” Mom ignores me. “Now, it’s about ten feet to the right of you. Go get it.” “No,” I answer stubbornly, sitting down in the snow. Mom is quiet for a long minute. Suddenly, I hear her blades hit the ice. She is leaving me. “Mom?” I call out, half in shock and half in horror at being left alone. “You do what I said and then I will come back for you,” she calls as she skates away. “No!” I scream after her. “I’m going back up to the cabin.” Ryan’s path leads right to the back door. I can find my way. They want me to be so independent. I’ll show them. I pull off my gloves and start unlacing my skates. “Slswish, sl-swish, sl-swish,” I can hear Mom’s ice skates sing on the ice. My toes tingle. How I want to skate! What? I can’t skate. I would look like a moron on the ice. Just yank the stupid things off and go up to the house. “Hurry up, Sarah!” Mom calls. “I’m not coming!” I yell back. “I’m going back to the house.” “Oh, no, you don’t!” I hear Mom’s ice skates cut ice towards the shore. Too late now. I nearly have one of the skates off. The cold air is cut by a yelp and then a thud. Now everything is quiet, coldly silent. What’s happened? Surely not—I listen hard, but I can’t hear the skates anymore. “Mom?” She doesn’t answer. For a moment I’m scared, but then I think she is just staging the accident. This is low. She’s reverting to tricks now. “Mom, this isn’t funny. You can’t get me on the ice like that.” A hawk cries, but nothing else. “Mom?” Why won’t she answer? She couldn’t have fallen. I want to sit here, pretending this isn’t real, to rewind to just a few minutes ago when the skates were singing. I struggle awkwardly to my feet. “Mom!” I shout out. “Mom! Can you hear me? Where are you?” Nothing. “Fine trick, Mom!” My voice shakes unnaturally as I laugh. “I’m going to go up to the house and call 911. You better stop me.”
No answer. “I’m leaving now.” But it is more of a threat than a statement. Still no answer. Nothing but the screeching of the icy wind. “Mom!” My fingertips are freezing, my toes are freezing, my heart is freezing. I cannot see the reds, the oranges, the greens, the blues. All I can see is black. What if she’s really hurt? What if she—? “Mom!” I can’t go out there. I’ll get lost. I’ll just go up to the house and call 911. They have eyes. They can see her. That’s the safe thing to do. But what if she freezes? It could take twenty minutes for an ambulance to get here. And what if she’s bleeding? A hungry wolf might catch her scent. I have to go out on the ice and find her. She has a cell phone in her pocket. I can call the ambulance when I reach her. If I reach her. What am I thinking? I can’t see. I could skate around her for hours and hours and never find her. But I can’t just leave her out there. I need to think... I need something to scout around me, so I won’t miss anything. Something. I bite my lip. That freakish something is about ten feet to my right. I shake myself and bend down to tighten the laces of my skates. I have to find Mom, and if it means using that thing, fine. Ten steps to the right. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. I crouch down and stretch my arms out like a pinwheel. It hits my knuckles almost in rebuke for its mistreatment. I grasp it firmly and lean on it as I get back on my feet. My skates complain they are made to walk on ice, not snow. I realize I have to be careful of my direction. I turn 180 degrees and walk straight forward. I should find the path. Here it is. Good. Now I turn left. The path goes downhill and ends at the lake. My right skate is the first to touch ice. I jump back feeling that funny sensation of stepping down a step that isn’t there. I put the skate back on the ice, and then the other. My heart races as the skates glide forward without direction. Then I plant Ryan’s gift in the ice. I spin round it. The ice and the gift. They keep me from falling. Think. How am I going to do this? I decide on my direction. She was coming off the ice when she fell, so she should be straight ahead. I grip the engraved gift and use it like an oar to push off from the shore. I glide to a stop and squat down. I turn the oar into a clock hand as I feel all around me. I find nothing. “Mom? Mom, if you can hear me, answer me!” The rest of me is frozen, but my throat is burning. “MOM! Mo-om!” Swish goes the clock hand. Nothing. Nothing. “Don’t worry, Mom. I’m coming!” I yell out. Push off. Sweep. Push off. Sweep. “I am getting closer, Mom.” I wonder if I’m talking to her or myself. “I’m almost there!” But I am not almost there. I push and sweep ten, fifteen, a ga-gillion times. Ice and oar. Ice and oar. Past and Present working together. Why aren’t they helping me? Ice and oar. Ice and oar. Nothing. What if she’s ten feet to my right or left? What if I barely missed her in one of my sweeps? Mom’s the one who thinks I can overcome this. I can’t! I’m blind! Look at me, Mom! I can’t even make it from the kitchen table to the sink. How can I save you?
Push off. Sweep. Push off. Sweep. Ice. Oar. Ice. Oar. Ice…My skates don’t glide as far. This is stupid. Why isn’t anyone here to help me? I can’t do this on my own. I’m just a blind girl. Just a blind girl. I crumble on the ice and my oar topples over. What can I do? I’m just a freak on the ice. I can’t see. I can’t skate. What can I be expected to do? My mom is hurt and I can’t help her. I’ve tried. I just can’t do it. The oar begins rolling as it bounces on the ice. I don’t bother to stop it. Let it roll. Let it roll off the ice. I don’t care. I am no use. Might as well freeze out here. But it stops rolling. It lies at my side like a faithful friend. I don’t want a friend. I want a future! I want my mom! And I could find her in this desert of ice if I could only see! The friend seems to be nudging me, wanting my attention. Leave me alone! Why can’t I just be left alone! Fine! What do you want? What do you-- but wait! It hasn’t rolled away although I have not touched it. The oar sits on the ice. I feel them both pointing, touching, encouraging. Gripping my friend’s hand, I cry out in joy. It is resting against something— someone! I reach out and feel the blade of her skate. She groans. I have found her! I scramble like an eager crawling baby to my mom’s side. “Mom! Mom!” I whisper excitedly. “Sarah?” Her voice was far away. “Don’t worry, Mom. I’m here,” I say to her. “What’s happened?” “You fell, Mom,” I tell her. “But it’s okay. Don’t move or anything.” I scoot back to reach into her pockets for the cell phone. It’s still in one piece, but that doesn’t mean much. Mom said the reception out here is bad. “Please let this work.” Feel for the numbers. Second row from the bottom. All the way to the right. Top row. All the way to the left. Hit the middle button at the top center to send. I bite my chapped lips. There is no sound. Only air. One, Mississippi. Two, Mississippi. The phone whines and refuses to make the connection. I can’t accept that answer. I stand up this time. Second row from the bottom. All the way to the right. Top row. All the way to the left. Hit the middle button at the top center to send. One, Mississippi. Two, Mississippi. Three, Mississippi. The phone moans into my ear. It is ringing! “911,” I say as the operator picks up. “I need an ambulance.” I hold Mom’s hand the whole ride to the hospital. Her hand is warm. People are asking me questions, asking Mom questions. Her left arm is causing her a lot of pain, but she is awake and talking normal. She is telling everyone how proud she is of me. I lean against my oar and squeeze her hand. “I’m just glad you’re okay, Mom.” At the hospital, a nurse takes me to a waiting area. I wait for an hour, trying to call Dad with Mom’s cell phone. He’s frantic when he arrives two hours later. “Meredith!” he cries out. I guess it is a bit bewildering. He probably pictured Mom in a coma, although I told him she was fine. I know he did not picture her sitting with me talking lazily over the worst hot chocolate of our lives. But, hey, it’s hospital hot chocolate.
“Honey, are you okay?” he asks Mom. “You’re arm!” “Only a minor fracture. It could have been a lot worst,” Mom says. A winded nurse speaks up. I picture Dad tearing through the hospital, heroically knocking over every doctor and nurse in his path in his efforts to find his wife. This nurse must be a survivor. She tells Dad the same thing they told Mom and me an hour ago when the results from the CAT scan came in. Mom had had a slight concussion and a fractured wrist. They want to keep her overnight for observation, but if her neuro check is good tomorrow morning, she can go home. I hear Dad kiss Mom. Then he is hugging me. “Sarah,” he says, “I am more proud of you in this moment than I ever was when you won that competition. You will never be a better ice skater than you were today.” I hug him hard. “Mom!” Kelsey’s pattering feet leave the floor as the hospital bed complains under her weight. “Careful, Kelsey,” Ryan says, panting in behind her. Kelsey doesn’t stop to catch her breath. She starts firing questions. “Mom, what’s on your arm? Did you hurt it? Didn’t you fall on the ice? Then how come you can still see?” Kelsey’s innocent question felt like a kick in the gut. I am still blind. I still stand out awkwardly. For a moment I’m tempted to throw my oar away. “Hey, Sarah,” Ryan says as Kelsey tells Mom about the Christmas tree and explains how Santa Claus will know Mom is in the hospital. “Hey,” I say. I’m starting to feel cold again. “Sounds like you had another eventful skating session.” “Yah.” “All the nurses are talking about what you did,” he says. “You know, Sarah, they say you are going to be quite the celebrity.” I laugh a little. It warms my throat. “I always wanted to be one of those.” “I can see it now. You are telling your story to Oprah on one of those fake living room sets,” he jokes. “I’ll be sitting with my pod studying chromosomes while you are basking in glory.” “Stop it, Ryan,” I laugh. “I’m just glad Mom’s okay.” Ryan puffs air. “Me too.” “I couldn’t’ve done it without this,” I say, referring to his gift. He shifts around. I think he is embarrassed. “If you don’t like it, I understand. Wish you didn’t need one, Sarah,” he says. I could think that all my life. I could go back to bed and hide under that icy quilt and scream at everyone to leave me alone. But I don’t want to anymore. I want a tomorrow. “Ryan, thanks.” “For what?” “Thanks for this. Can’t say I like being blind, but, hey, this thing is like having a different set of eyes. I could skate again.” “I’m glad it worked this time.” “This time?” I take the stick and hit Ryan’s shins. He hollers in pain. “What did you do that for?” he whines. “Just making sure the eyes are accurate.” “Do you want me to take back my present?” “What? Are you finally going to be a brother and fight with me? Bring it on. This stick is a trophy worth fighting for.”
Reminiscences of Wagner:
Parsifal before the grail
“Behold the cup of salvation.” Arise, knight of shining brow Who hast served thy duration; A beacon of life is before thee now, Testament to Love’s perseveration.
Hail, Knight of the Innocent Fool Called by God’s mystic vocation! Healing redemption dost thou bring To a Master of higher station.
Bruised by the touch of sin, Crippled by the curse therein, Amfortas unwilling must begin The painful wound of Mass.
Thee alone, purest knight, Dare touch the chalice sought; For thou hast slain the man of lust, And with the Devil fought.
Alone marked with the seal of Cain, Penitently bearing a shameful pain Amfortas prays upon his couch For the Redeemer’s cup to sip.
Long have I sought thee, Reviled one; Long have I cursed thee, Crucified one; Long hast thou chased me, Relentless one; Long hast thou loved me, Most merciful one. Year upon year for age unending Dogged by life grown ever wearing Losing hope for Thy Love to cease, I have forgot the memory of peace.
At last, Lord, may I rest And behold the gate of your kingdom blest; A noble knight comes to wash me clean In the waters of a youthful stream.
Finished at last my days on earth, For Thou hast won me, Nazarene Knight I submit to my second birth, To die, to love, to atone, to serve.
Tom Fitzgerald | Lion Eagle
Cursed be Amfortas and his God Who hoard their grace on gilted thrones! Crueler than the fairest maid, You mock my weakness, Lord of Hosts, Most vengeful of lovers. Cursed be the flesh with which you curse, You, Who dwell in light unsullied! As my flesh cast me from the Court of Day, Your Flesh, Galilean, shall bow to the mystic way.
I renounce, that I may adore; What I adore that it may serve No, Old One, I shall not fawn before your throne When I can attain to mystic eminence on my own! Your Grail upon my altar lies, Your Flesh to my will bent. I too can be a vengeful bride When the mystic wellâ€™s unpent. My flesh you cursed me, Spirit-God, Your flesh I make a curse. Since jilted be the lover mine, I shall seize from him the life divine!
24 Hannah Gross | Yesterday
Who in the world doesn’t want to just listen to the wind, to sounds of God mid day, the beautiful, natural, ever changing, light calm of life. I hear it now as it’s seen on every page in my books of poetry that open the very window to my soul. I wish this always happened.
Just this morning, when I started my day, alarm, shower, eat, never glancing toward the window. The noise, constant thoughts, what happened yesterday? Paper on Plath, Chaucer page after page. The stress takes my calm, and pushes it back, but it can listen.
Dreams in Angry, Old English change into calm, reassuring ones of soft music that make me listen to my heartbeat just to feel it. Then it happened, then I saw the light that shines through a closed window to the plant starving for nurture. I have turned the page onto a new way, new me. And finally new day.
It hears my mind reading the page, of information that just so happened. I look over to my right at the teasing window that is telling me I should enjoy my day. But I cannot. I know it will listen to the pen scratching. No calm.
I pick up my book, just happened to turn the page to my favorite line. The calm spreads and I listen to my mind open the window to a new day. Alzbeta Voboril | Silhoutte #3
The rain slants, softly against the window, the only sound is my breathing, calm, meditative, with the peacefulness of the day. The book lying next to me open to a page where I stopped to listen. To listen. I wonder when the last time was this happened.
One can’t help but wonder, what happened? To the world that once knew calm and raised it high above the page. I just want that chance to listen to nothing. And everything, oh please, one day, just once to look beyond the mind’s window.
someday a day will dawn when all that fluttered and flaunted and begged and barreled through time will fall away into the back pocket of yesterday’s black jeans and we will turn to each other tie on the aprons of today in soft colors knotting the bows on those we don’t know
Malpractice Samantha Andrews, the successful doctor, wife, and mother of two, would never have thought that after all her effort to hold her life together, the thing that would cause it to crumble would be an ice cream cake. And yet, here she was, standing in her kitchen with the marble countertops, yelling and being yelled at by her husband and watching all of her efforts go to waste. It would have been almost laughable, if it hadn’t been happening to her. It started because she had refused to buy Tim an ice cream cake for his eighth birthday. Tim had thrown a fit in the cake shop, but Sam still bought the blank, white frosted, cheap sheet cake. Tim was confused; he’d had an ice cream cake every year. “Why mommy?” he asked again and again. Little Sara clung to Sam’s leg while her brother screamed. But Sam would not relent. At home Sam carefully squeezed out and curved the words “Happy Birthday, Timmy!” in bright red icing, while Timmy cried and pouted. Sam’s husband was equally perplexed. The ice cream cake was only twenty dollars more. How could she be so cruel as to refuse their son the sort of cake he wanted for his birthday? “He doesn’t need an ice cream cake, Michael. You spoil him too much.” “What is wrong with you, Sam? You have never refused him a cake before. You didn’t even refuse him an X-Box when he wanted it. What’s the deal?” “I’m not refusing him cake; I’m just refusing to indulge him.” “Well, I’m going to go buy him his cake.” Michael picked the Audi keys from the counter, clinking them defiantly between his fingers. “Don’t!” Sam’s heart climbed into her throat while her stomach fell into her pelvis. How had things gotten this bad, that she was panic-stricken over twenty dollars? She needed to get control, put these pieces back in place, make this all smooth over. The last thing she needed was the neighbors thinking that they had family troubles. Her blue eyes locked with her husband’s deep brown, and she saw his confusion and annoyance. Michael sighed as his eyes tracked over her face and then dropped to the countertop. He set down the keys next to her hand and Sam exhaled her relief. Maybe he would just let it go. Then she noticed he was still
staring at the counter. She looked down. Her left hand was resting on the countertop, her ring finger bare for the first time in nine years. Where’s your ring? I took it off. You never take it off. Well I did today. Where’d you put it? In my jewelry box. Why’d you take it off? I don’t know, I just did. Michael could only stare at her, arms at his side, palms up, wordlessly begging for an explanation. “Michael, I can’t talk about this now.” Sam left the room with twice the confidence she felt and went upstairs only to fling herself facedown on the mattress she shared with Michael. She should have kept her wedding ring. But it had brought in seven hundred necessary dollars to pay off her blackmailer for the month. It was three months ago now that Beth had come back into her life, slinked up in front of her house in a black Cadillac on a moonless night, and destroyed Sam’s happiness. Sam was the only one in the house still awake that night, and the phone rattled in her ears when it rang suddenly. She answered on the first ring. “Hello?” “Samantha,” the voice on the other end was pulled too tight and twanged against Sam’s ear. Her heart leapt. “Who is this?” “Sam, I’m hurt. Weren’t we best friends in college? You don’t remember your old roommate?” Now Sam’s heart pulsated slowly in the pit of her stomach while her arms and legs tingled with shockwaves. “Beth?” Sam almost whispered the name. She tried to recover some of her composure, gathered her thoughts together, bundled her scattered nerves into a steel rod of will, as she did when she
Katie Jansen | Carnal
needed to tell a patient’s family they had lost a loved one, “Beth,” (that was better) “it’s been a long time.” “Sure has, Sammy. Hey, I was wondering if I could come inside for a second? I’m parked in front of your house and it’s pretty cold out here.” “Oh, Beth, I’d love to, but I just put the kids down to sleep and Michael’s asleep upstairs, so it’s probably not a good time.” Never had her oak front door seemed so paper-thin. “I really need to come inside, though, Sammy, because I’ve got something you’d like to see.” “Beth, I think this should wait until morning.” “Sam, I thought you’d like to see the proof I’m going to use to ruin your life.” “What are you talking about?” “I won’t say anything more until you let me in, Sam.” “Fine.” Sam hung up the phone, and stood for a moment. Her hand hovered over the phone, wondering if she could call the police, wondering if she should open the door. Her family, her life was in here, and she was about to admit a wild animal into it. But what choice did she have? She went to the door and opened it enough to peek out into the darkness. Two rings of brightness floated in the black sea surrounding them. The first ring, created by Sam’s porchlight, held Sam and her little brick front porch with the white pillars. The second, a pool of indifferent yellow streetlight, contained a black Cadillac and a fat woman leaning against it. Between them was ten feet of night. Upon seeing Sam open the door, the woman leveraged herself off her car, flicked her red glowing cigarette butt into the street, and approached. She was smiling when she stepped into Sam’s porchlight. “Sam,” she held her arms out, “it’s been a long time.” Sam stared. Beth had been pretty in college. Now her teeth were yellow, her face sallow, her hair unwashed. Only her eyes looked familiar, a hazy bluegray with a malicious sharpness behind them. “Aren’t you going to let me in, Sam?” Reluctantly, Sam stepped back and eased the door slightly more open while every nerve and instinct in her body screamed in protest. Beth slunk her fat frame into Sam’s immaculate kitchen and looked at the paperwork strewn across the kitchen table.
“Still a workaholic, I see.” She smiled hate in Sam’s direction. “Why are you here, Beth?” As if on cue, Beth dropped all pretense of friendship. “I’m here because you took my life. I won’t ever get it back, but I can ruin yours. And maybe get a little something out of it too.” Sam didn’t say anything. She wasn’t sure what to say. She wasn’t sure this could all really be happening. “I found out, Sam, that back in our good-ol’ college days, you pulled some strings with Daddy’s golf buddies and took my internship with the greatest photographer of our era and gave it to that secondrate portrait-taker you call a husband.” Beth was very close to Sam’s face now, and she could smell the years of rage on her breath like cigarettes, bad gin, and slowly rotting teeth. Sam had always felt that Michael had married her as a sort of repayment for that internship. “But now I get to ruin your life. See, I happen to have some very interesting photos that prove that you cheated on your dear loving husband to get that position at the hospital you hold so near and dear.” Beth pulled some photos from her pocket and showed them to Sam. “These are some pictures from a night during your residency. Seems like a normal picture of some people in a bar. Do you know much about pictures, Sam? Here, let me tell you. The best pictures keep something hidden from the observer. They hold one secret that, when you’re careful enough, and look hard enough, can be spotted. Then you wonder how you ever missed it at all, because it seems so obvious. See, in this picture here, these people in the foreground don’t matter. The secret is in the background,” her finger moved to the left an inch or two, leaving a greasy streak across the shiny surface. “See there? Who’s that girl kissing her boss? It’s you, Sam.” Sam’s eyes were out of focus. The photo didn’t matter anymore, because she was back at that night, at the back of a tacky bar, the air filled with smoke, drunk, making out with her boss. She was young, married for less than six months. She’d forgotten he was her boss, forgotten most everything. That night, she slept with him. The picture had been replaced in Sam’s vision with Beth’s fleshy face.
“ Well, Sam, I don’t know if that night had any impact on his approving your residency work and later taking you on his staff, but I think plenty of people would be more than willing to think that it did. How would that go over in your perfect little world, huh Sam? How would Ms. Johnson on the PTA feel about that? Or, gosh, Betty might not let your kids play with hers any more. News like this could shatter your perfect whitebread, suburban life.” Sam was finally able to find her voice, though it was dry and her tongue felt too large for her mouth. “What do you want, Beth? What do you want from me?” “I’m in a pinch, Sam. See, since you undermined me, I never had another opportunity to make any real money. I guess I never stooped to your level, or I might have what you have.” She glanced around the kitchen and Sam shivered. “I need money in a bad way. And that is where you come in. You pay me three thousand dollars every month, and this little incident stays our little secret.” “I can’t pay that. What about my kids’ school? What about my house payments?” “Sam, you’ve always been able to figure a way out of these situations. Maybe you could sleep with the principal and get a discount?” Beth threw her head back and laughed loudly at this notion, a joyless laugh that scraped the inside of Sam’s skull and sent chills like icy drops of water rolling down her spine. “Okay.” “Ok, Sam, I’ll be back at the first of each month to collect my money.” “No, I’ll, I’ll meet you somewhere. The park around the corner.” “Sure thing, Sammy. Always try to be obliging for you.” Then Beth let herself out, and her taillights driving away were like two demon eyes in the dark. In her house, Sam tried to hold her pieces together, tried to keep everything from falling. Everything felt fragile; the very air itself might break with the wrong breath. The light seemed too bright, the smell too normal. The woody oak scent of her table and floors, the light from over the stove left on after spaghetti night, the metallic silver sheen of the refrigerator. Everything was different now, and yet everything was the same. She went upstairs and looked at her children, sleeping so beautifully.
Sara had thrown her chubby arm across her eyes, and she was sweating, her brown curls clinging to her forehead. Tim’s seven-year-old jaw was set in a determined fashion. He’d be eight soon. He looked just like his dad. Sam went into her own bedroom and lay down next to her husband, staring at his gentle, sleeping form. Michael had been nothing but supportive and faithful to Sam since the day they had met. On their wedding day, she had thought that she could never love him more than she did that moment; she learned she had been wrong when Tim was born. Michael was a good father and a husband, and she loved him more every day. But Sam had always known that she loved Michael more than he loved her. If he knew what she had done, it would hurt him, but not kill him. Until now she’d been fine with loving him more, had thought she could love enough for the two of them, believed that he loved her, and that would always be enough. But if he found out her secret, her one indiscretion, he would take the kids, they would leave her, leave the life she had dreamed of and worked toward since she was eight milking cows on a farm in Nebraska. They would make it; they would be okay without her. And that would kill her. But still, thirty six thousand dollars a year. How could she do it? How could she do it without pulling the kids out of private school? Without letting on that they were thirty six thousand dollars short? It was impossible. But she had to do it. She couldn’t let this life go. She’d worked too hard to get here. For the first month Sam was able to pay out of her savings. Beth called her on the day before the money was due to tell Sam to be at the park at 5:15. When Sam pulled in, she saw Beth leaning uncomfortably against her car a few feet away. She looked out of place next to the freshly cut, perfectly trimmed green grass. Sam felt a small swell of elation as she saw how much better she fit in this environment. A young stay-at-home mom walked by with a stroller and eyed Beth suspiciously. But Beth waved to the little boy in the stroller, looking, well, sweet, as the baby smiled innocently back. A surge of anger washed over Sam for seeing Beth as anything other than what she was: the evil woman ruining her life. Her blonde ponytail bobbed a little as she walked firmly up to Beth. “You’re five minutes late,” Beth said, snatching the envelope from her and moving to get into her car.
Sam saw a few toys scattered around the backseat, along with what appeared to be a whole box of spilled french-fries. “Do you have kids? Do they know you’re a criminal?” How could someone so putrid and evil possibly have children? “When you’re poor, Sam, you live with poor people, and there are always kids around. Your neighbor’s kids, your sister’s kids, kids everywhere. And some kids have to be picked up on time.” She glared at Sam and drove off. The next month took the last of Sam’s savings. After that she had slowly started selling everything. She sold all of her jewelry. She sold her grandmother’s antiques. The kids were too young to notice the missing items, and Michael was busy with a big photo shoot he’d been hired for. But the first of this last month came and Sam was still short. She pawned her wedding ring to make up the difference. What followed was her most difficult meeting with Beth. Not that any of them were easy, but handing the money for her wedding ring over in a fat manila envelope into those pale, sausage-like fingers made Sam nauseous with fury. Her face flushed and, staring at Beth’s stupid, blubbery face smiling out between two sagging cheeks and over a double chin, Sam saw herself leaning in to slash her nails across those rolls of fat. She saw herself pinning Beth to the ground and wrapping her hands around her fat neck and squeezing until no more putrid breath escaped those lips. Perhaps Beth saw these images flash behind Sam’s eyes, because she took a step backward, sliding the envelope out of Sam’s hands, her smile vanishing into her folds. Sam didn’t move, and Beth climbed into her car and drove away, just like every other month. As Sam watched her receding bumper, the mantra of her medical training came sweeping down to her, “Do no harm.” * * * Now, she heard Michael’s heavy tread on the stairs. She felt as he entered the room and moved to stand beside her prone form. “Sam, I can’t do this anymore.” She lay perfectly still, her face buried in the pillow-top mattress, vaguely hoping she would smother herself. “You’ve been irritable, shifty, short-tempered with the kids and with me, distracted, and now you’ve stopped wearing your wedding ring. I have a right to know, are you having an affair?” “No,” Sam’s answer was given into the
mattress. It didn’t matter how emphatically she denied it, he believed it, and once Michael believed something, no amount of tears or pleading would change his mind. Back when he still smoked, when money was tight, he once believed that Sam had taken his last pack of cigarettes. He’d yelled, raged, claimed she didn’t accept him the way he was. Said she was always trying to change him. Later, they found out the dog had taken the pack of cigarettes, chewed them up, and was buzzed out in the doghouse. She raised her head a little while Michael walked a quick, flat-footed circle, muttering, “Jesus,” burying his fingers in his hair. Then he stopped, stared at her, and sighed. “You’re lying to me.” It wasn’t a question; it was a statement. “You’re always secretive, Sam, always holding something back from me for as long as I’ve known you. I don’t know what it is. But this is it, if you can’t trust me enough after nine years to tell me why when I went to look for something in your jewelry box this morning all of your jewelry was gone, including, apparently, your wedding ring, I don’t have any choice. I can’t live on edge wondering about my wife, living in my work. I know you’re on-call tonight, so I’m going to go to the den until you’ve left for the hospital. Then I’m going to pack up my clothes and the kids’ while you’re gone, and when you get back, the kids and I are going to move into a hotel.” Sam stared at his socks, her chin in the mattress again. They were blue socks, and one of them had a little hole on the heel, at the Achilles tendon. She’d always said he came down too hard on his heels. Then the feet disappeared. Sam closed her eyes and breathed deeply. Her face lay on Michael’s side of the mattress, and she could smell him there. What would she do? What could she say to get him to come back? What could she tell him? Not the truth, the truth would barely be better than what he believed already. And he might not believe the truth even if she tried to tell him. But surely there was something plausible, something truth-like that would make him stay. Her eyes were full as she imagined her life without him, and without Tim and Sara. There was too much to think about, too many things crowding into her head. She needed to get to the hospital, and she’d come up with something in the meantime. At the hospital an hour later, Sam knew she
Malpractice was a mess, and she was sure the other doctors and nurses were muttering about her. She went into the wrong patient rooms. She forgot where she was going when she was headed for the ER. She wrote the wrong prescription three times for the same patient. At about eleven o’clock, she got the file of a newly admitted patient and scanned over it, barely cognizant of what it said. It was a head trauma, patient not responsive to stimuli. “DNR” and “Organ Donor” were written in big letters across the top of the file. If the patient died, at least they’d be able to use the organs. Sam glanced up at the patient’s name and started. Elizabeth Wright. Composing her face, but failing to keep her hands from trembling, Sam entered the room, stomach roiling. Beth, barely recognizable for the purple bruise on her face, was lying supine on the bed, oblivious to the world. Sam performed a simple examination, then filled out the routine prescription for morphine, in case the patient was in pain. Around two in the morning, the night nurse was dozing at her desk. Sam stopped into a few rooms for a routine check on her patients. Coming to Beth’s bedside, she stared down at her. Beth’s face, once so attractive, was now yellow from years of smoking, and twisted from a lifetime of bitterness. The logical, medical side of Sam’s mind knew that Beth was in a coma for who knew how long, and not cognizant of her surroundings, but the other side of Sam, the small side, the scared side that felt like a little child, thought that Beth looked like she was only sleeping, and she might wake up any time and demand more money, take more of Sam’s life. Fear washed through her body for a moment; it was replaced by an anger so hot it scorched her veins, which, in turn, was replaced by ice, a glacier of hatred that began at her crown and rolled through her entire body, settling as a stone in the pit of her stomach. Her hand closed around the syringe of potassium in her pocket that she had taken for the OR. Sam stood over her lumpy form, monitors and machines whirring in the back of her mind, whirring almost as quickly as her thoughts. She could feel the overwhelming weight of her ring-less left hand pulling down on her. Beth’s face was close, her neck exposed and bruised. Sam’s fingers stretched and flexed. Sam stood over Beth, her hand still closed around the syringe in her pocket. It would be so easy, all her problems would end. She could get Michael back, could get back this life she had worked hard for. As she lowered the syringe to the injection site of
Beth’s IV, a cold logic settled into her soul. “It’ll be ok, Jackie. Don’t cry, baby boy.” Sam froze. Beth must be coming out of her coma. But who was Jackie? Beth’s face was contorted in worry. The light from Beth’s heart monitor snagged Sam’s eye as it glinted off of something small sitting on the corner of Beth’s nightstand. It was a picture of a little boy, beautifully captured at his third birthday. Apparently he had just smiled up into the camera, smoke from his newly extinguished candles wrapping around his pudgy, baby face. His smile was crooked and filled with sweet little baby teeth. As Sam moved to put the picture back in place, she suddenly caught herself. The eyes. They boy’s eyes were Beth’s eyes. Then, Beth’s eyes opened. Bleary for a second, her head twisted and her breath came short as she jerked to look into Sam’s face. She scanned down and paled as she saw Sam’s hand poised to inject something into her veins. “What are you doing?” She asked, a shake in her voice for the first time. A simple question. All Sam needed to say was that she was giving her some medicine. But Sam’s mouth wouldn’t obey her mind. She looked into Beth’s eyes, exactly like those boy’s, like Jackie’s eyes, and she saw her own reflection in those eyes. She was enormous, her nose protruding like a snout, her eyes small and malicious, her face as pale as wax, she didn’t recognize herself, or maybe she did, maybe she did for the first time, but then she was falling into the black pits of Beth’s pupils, consuming them, and being consumed by them, the distinctions between the two of them blurring, her boundaries blurring, the two of them melding and meshing into one in those onyx depths.
Johnny Severson | Beach
Gears of War 2 Review Pat Trouba
Back in that time when Halo 2 was still the most popular game on Xbox Live, Gears of War was released, and the world rejoiced. It wasn’t quite like any other shooter out there. And by “it wasn’t quite like” we of course mean “more awesomer than.” The entire control scheme was centered around taking and using cover to maximum effect, the protagonists were shooting so many steroids their biceps looked like they would sprout a testosterone leak, and there were assault rifles with chainsaw bayonets. Fast-forward to 2008 when the sequel is released, and most of the above still applies. Changes can be summed up as such: there are more things to shoot and shoot with, more things to drive (which are more fun, mostly), more dialogue lines to make fun of, and more loose plot ends than grub holes. In Gears 2, you are Marcus Fenix, who shoots things for the Coalition of Ordered Governments (COG). Only in the Gears of War universe do bureaucrats enjoy metaphorical puns, for Marcus and co. are not soldiers but Gears. At other times they enjoy misnomers, for the subterranean, bipedal, not-reallyhuman species that the Gears fight is called the Locust. In the first Gears game Marcus dropped a lightmass bomb on the Locust, but even the sheer OMG factor of light having mass wasn’t enough to put them down. They’re back for round two, and have developed a troubling obsession with dropping cities well below sea level.
Core gameplay in Gears 2 hasn’t changed much at all (which is not a bad thing). What has changed is the roster of Locust to shoot at, which means cool new weapons for you. Grinders will grind Mulchers, which will indeed mulch you, Maulers will run up and attempt to maul you, protecting
Sin Buried beneath the sand, Concealed in a chest, Lies a pirate’s treasure, All crave to just possess. On the beach, children play, The former city gallows; The waves are getting stronger, The shore’s becoming shallow. Little Eva, building her kingdom, Spots the dead man’s gold; Brother Adam digs it out, Then Satan grabs a hold. The thing that I regret the most Is not what you would think; Something else survived that day, And I can’t sleep a wink. Some desired the fortune, One hoped to gain his fame, The only question left now is: Has the devil won his game? -Angie Nelson
themselves with Boomshields, which shield them from booms both large and small. Mortars… um… mort things. It’s like, Latin or something. I don’t know. For the uninitiated, Gears 2 plays like so: movement and camera is on the left and right control sticks, respectively. In Call of Duty fashion, left trigger gives you a more accurate aim, and right trigger fires. You don’t have
to use left-trigger aiming to fire; most weapons can be fired from the hip, with devastating wastes of ammunition at long range. The A button is your all-purpose covertaker. For almost any given wall or flat surface, players can press A and virtually latch themselves onto it, preferably on the opposite side the bullets are coming from. The A button will also let you dive, switch from one piece of cover to the next, mantle over cover, runn-crouch, and pick up half-dead Locust foes. You’ll… get used to it. Even if gameplay hasn’t been redone, the campaign portion still feels improved upon. The entire thing feels like it’s on a larger scale. Gears 1 (as I remember it) consisted of more small battles with small squads of Locust. Gears 2 often pushes back the distance and gives you mortars and machine guns and swarms of henchmen, or it’ll start you off in your average skirmish and throw in a Reaver (think living airborne recon vehicle) for good measure. Sometimes it’s the epic war movie. Other times, it’s the fast-paced action movie, when every bullet is a tracer and there is a stream of them splattering across your pilfered Boomshield. Sometimes it’s a ride, when you get off your feet and into one of a few vehicles, most of which work better than the UV tank sequence thrown at you in Gears 1. There’s an old adage among my close friends that you “do not play Gears for the story.” It would be nice if you could, though. It’s the only thing stopping campaign from becoming a less-stressful Horde mode. The emotional content in the game
Anthony Welch | Untitled
Refuse on the Shore of an Unquiet Mind But now when I reflect On all I am, and think, and see, Lumea Jacques
has been improved in the only character that actually has any emotion, Dom (read: “WHERE’S MY WIFE!?!?!?!?”). And, unfortunately, Dom’s story is one of the few aspects of the game that actually comes to any conclusion (and the only story that gives you any ethical issues to think about). Gears 2’s story expands the Gears universe, but it must be setting itself up for a sequel. Even by the end of the game, there’s so much we still don’t know. How many clocks died in these Pendulum Wars? What happened with Marcus’ father? What are these Sires for? The Sires, by the way, are Gears 2’s answer to everybody’s favorite space parasite, the Halo series’ Flood. Why Epic Games thought Halo was even posing a question is anybody’s guess… the plot surrounding these perturbed flesh blobs doesn’t go anywhere, and as mean as they are, your chainsaw bayonet is always meaner. There is, however, a semisentient computer to follow you around and ooze copious amounts of dramatic irony. Which makes me happy, anyway. If you liked Gears of War, should you get Gears de War Dos? Certainly. If you like shooters, should you get Gears 2? Probably. If you’re tired of playing Lego Star Wars and don’t mind crazy amounts of blood and bad dialogue (which can actually be filtered somewhat… well, the gore and swearing can. No dice on the dialogue), should you get Gears 2? You should definitely, um, give that demo on Xbox Live a shot. At any rate, Gears of War is a great game with a good variety in game modes to keep you revving that chainsaw. [Played on Xbox 360. Completed campaign mode, Horde mode, and some online multiplayer]
I cannot tell which parts are them, And which parts are me.
Hymn to St. Catherine
Holiest bride! From celestial orbs Paradisal elixir dost thou drink; Ah! Man, that to thy eminent heights Should by blissful contemplation enter.
Daughter of th’eternal King, Mother of the Word made Flesh, Send Death to us, thy Son Who heralds thy vision pure.
Icon of Purity! Who but the child Can behold the purity of thy gaze? Bride of my soul - would I were worthy To behold thee, Queen of the Night!
What soul can see with spiritual eyes When o’ertrammeled by triumphant flesh? Yet what angel can behold the face of God When God bleeds upon a cross?
By His blood were watered th’once-barren earth, And by His touch alone our eyes are opened. Bring, O mother, our souls to Him; We embrace the purifying fire!
Forty sages were shown the Truth; Us too bring home, ye holy nun! Grant us thy holy light to pierce The lonesome sea of uncertainty.
By His grace thou art the spouse Of He who alone Redemption brings; Bring me to Him, O star of the sea Bride of my soul, make me worthy of thee!
Kelly Dineen | Fiat
Memories of Awe: On the Eve of the Nativity of Christ In silent contemplation The ox’s sage eyes Peer down and whisper The Nativity of Love.
In quiet adoration The stars bespeak A Mother’s love Over holy night.
Great albatross gliding Blue wings on sea of white A Christmas traveler’s embrace Cuts Harriet’s heart with lonely skis.
Sufferest not, Orion, Whose icy breath your darkest locks enfold? Fleetingly sings Diane’s fair chase, Swift mistress of the stars.
Dark lake! Your clutch My heart enfolds; Sinking with encumbered foot I embrace the mantle of the stars.
Kind beast, as you gaze Into our Savior’s eyes, Warm memory of arctic awe Dreams a hint of echoed nocturnes.
Dark beauty, to thee I bring my song; Of seraphic annunciation Whispers the dark child of Hecate’s brow.
Alzbeta Voboril | Future Emily Green | Dos Hermanas
Jennifer Carter | Freedom
Through My Window I see many things from my window. Two girls dancing the cha-cha slide in the road, the boy next door arriving home from class, my best friend waving and yelling my name through the window, two swallows fighting in the air, and at night I see a perfectly round moon sometimes.
So much for the things I see. It is what I hear that whispers in my heart, the sound of childish laughter, giggles and screams as children frolic somewhere outside tug at the cords of my being. That used to be me once upon a time somehow the joyful noise makes me sad. Sometimes when I lie by the open window at night I can hear the distant whistle of a train and when I try harder, there is something haunted there, a strange whizzing sound as it rushes over the tracks screaming something exciting and joyful like dreams racing to destiny.
Your eyes, Heavy, pulling, blurr y, It’s coming.
Your head, Falling, confused, fighting, Hit the table.
Andrew Williams | Toby Kitty
What You Do in Class Your ears, Throbbing, alert, awake, Mind clear for a moment.
And then, It happens again.
Drizilla Once upon a time that’s how the story begins of my step-sister Cinderella and her handsome little Prince.
What the public doesn’t know is how the Prince loved me by some unlucky twist of fate that love was not to be. The story goes she was our slave every night she’d sit and cry about the beatings mother gave Cinderella spread this lie. I’m sad to say Prince Charming fell for every phony word she said it’s too late now to do anything for Cinderella he has wed.
This happily ever after is a life of agony
the Prince spends every single day wishing he had married me. Jennifer Carter
Laura Meli | Brroklyn Bridge at Night
I’m hungry…So hungry…Why am I so hungry? I thought as I wandered though that God-forsaken forest. I faced the many animals that had grown comfortable with my presence, and eyes beginning to water in desperation, I asked, begging for an answer from them, “Why am I so hungry?” Their excited eyes pierced my soul as they replied mockingly, “Because there is no food here.” The revelation hit me like a waterfall smashes a pebble at its base. “Of course,” I whispered, the right edge of my lip curving up into a hungry smile. “I’m hungry because there is no food on this damned island.” A rabbit nibbled on my foot, and I kicked it hard into a pineapple tree. A ripe pineapple fell down breaking the creature’s
The long lines that were etched into the skin over my stomach, a testament to my attempts to scrape away the hunger, had long ago bled together, leaving my abdomen a bloody mess. It never worked, scraping away the hunger, that is, and was never consistent. I did not scrape every hour, every day, every week, or every month, I did it, rather, whenever I felt more completely consumed by it than usual. Regardless, I continued my frantic, frenzied attempt to remove the hunger by scraping it away. Blood poured from my wounds and dripped from my fingertips. All the while, my hunger refused to dissipate, and the lines continued to reveal no idea of time to me. You may ask why I didn’t just look to the sun to count the days. Understand that in my life there,
The Hungerer leg. I stared with disgust as it hobbled slowly, so slowly back to my foot. “Get away from me!” I roared, fury tearing away what was left of the bemused smile from my lips as I kicked it hard again sending it flying. “Unless you have food, stay the hell away from me!” I walked hungrily over to the pineapple and picked it up. “If only this were food.” I threw the fruit in the direction of the rabbit. “Why does nothing on this island ever bring any food with it?” I was so hungry…so very hungry. I was willing to eat anything at that point, if only there was something to eat. I looked to my stomach in an attempt to garner some idea as to how long I had been on this island (I hadn’t eaten since I got there, and I was hungry from the start of that hell). It was useless.
there was no sun, no moon, no dusk and no dawn. There was only hunger. I fell towards the ground; it was such a long fall…so long…I came to think that the damp earth could never touch my face. It did, however, and an endless fit of spasms and seizures shortly followed. I was during these convulsions of agony that I remembered who caused it: that demon who claimed to be my best friend. He was the one who forced me from my home and took away everything I had leaving me to starve. I got up and wiped the blood from my mouth. I had bitten my tongue while thrashing on the ground. I turned around, glaring at my surroundings, wondering why nothing on this island brought any food with it. If only there were another human here, I thought, he would have some food. Only humans can prepare food, not these accursed animals and
plants, and humans almost always have food with them. I slowly turned around again; something had caught my attention. It was faint and far in the distance, yet unmistakably there. Familiar sound patterns echoed across the island. It was a voice! Shocks of excitement and anticipation traveled up and down my spine causing my body to spasm yet again, making me bite my lip. A trail of blood ran down the right edge of my mouth. I ignored it this time. Something more important demanded my attention. It was a human, the voice of a human! And this human—a grin split my face like a knife splitting an overripe melon—was sure to have some food with him. I began to run towards that voice with an eagerness that was manifested in the urgency and silence of my footsteps. “Anthony,” the voice called. My feet ceased to move, and my mind began to work. Why was this word so familiar? What did it mean? I spent so much time trying to solve the mystery of this familiar and unknown word that I was afraid the person to whom the voice belonged may leave and take the food with him. Yet the desire to recall the lost meaning of this word racked at my mind like a demon clawing and tearing in an attempt to free itself. “NO!” My hunger decided for me that I would leave the issue alone. It coerced me to begin sprinting towards the countless calls of “Anthony” with nigh insurmountable stealth. I had to get his food before he noticed me. “Anthony!” The call echoed yet again. I almost fell prey to the burning desire to reclaim my lost knowledge of what this intangible word meant, but alas, my hunger overpowered all else. “Anthony.” His voice was growing hoarse. I had finally caught up to him. My smile revealed that even my teeth were hungry and gleamed with a joy that this
man was here and had not yet noticed our presence and ran off with our food. I saw a single drop of clear liquid emanate from his left eye and roll with a graceful sorrow down his cheek. It struck the ground and regretfully disappeared into the depths of another world. “I’m sorry, Anthony,” he whispered hoping his prayer would reach the ears of the Anthony he was calling. I found myself, for some reason of which I was not aware, oddly inclined to listen to what he had to say. It was not that my hunger had lessened, no, never that, but that I felt some overwhelming motivation to find out why he was sorry, and what the significance of that tear was. “I’m so sorry. It was for your own good.” What was for that Anthony’s own good? “It was the only way to break that accursed habit, if such a word does it justice, of yours. I made sure that this island had a lot of good food on it before I brought you here.” So this Anthony had to be an animal. There was no food for humans here, I reasoned. “You’ve Abby Hausmann | Rib Cage been here for a week and a half; you should be better by now.” That statement confused me. I had been here for years and had memorized the island. I would have noticed if anything had come or gone in the past week and a— My hunger reasserted itself with a stronger force than ever. There would be no more waiting. My hunger moved my feet across the ground more silently than a panther could be if it stalked its prey on the wind itself. My hunger pulled my body along with my feet keeping my balance more perfect than a cheetah’s the instant before it sprints after its prey. My hunger kept my hands coiled like a lion’s roar ready to loose itself if some fool would attempt to take his food away. My hunger pulled on the edges of
The Hungerer cont...
my mouth like a hyena’s lips being pulled by its mocking sense of humor. I was half a foot behind this man who held both my food and no idea that I was there. Before I had any idea how I would proceed, my hunger mad already forced me into action. My left leg was planted firmly a foot behind him as my left hand shot up and grabbed his long, brown tresses and yanked forcefully down at the same time as my right hand firmly grabbed his shirt in the center of his chest and slammed his spine into my left thigh knocking the breath from his lungs. I watched my right leg swing over and clasp his torso, keeping his arms firmly in place. He started to struggle as soon as he realized something was happening to him, but his fear was not as strong as my hunger. Nothing was. At last, my mind caught up with my hunger’s intentions. My smile could not have gotten any wider if a knife had sliced open my cheeks. My left hand wrenched back his head, exposing his beautiful, clean
shaven neck. My mouth opened and moved slowly towards his throat. Slowly… I felt a bolt of fear creep slowly down his spine. My eyes darted to that marvelously terrified face of his. My lips moved in and caressed the smooth skin of his throat as I felt the vibrations of the word “Anthony” escape his trembling lips. I bit down hard and jerked my head to the side tearing his esophagus out of his poor body allowing his next statement to be interrupted by a gurgle of blood. I lifted my head to face the sky, and an incontrollable shiver erupted from my body. My tongue licked and savored the succulently bloody flesh in my mouth causing my jaw to quiver and eyes to roll back into my head in raw ecstasy loving nothing more than this moment of this, the most perfect pleasure. “Anthony,” I laughed aloud, “indeed, I am Anthony. I am Anthony the Hungerer!” I buried my face back into that raw, delicious, tender corpse of his, determined to eat everything. McLean Severson | Euphoric Montana
Table of Contents 1. Nocturne James Broberg A Kingdom for a Kiss Anne Schafer 2. Colorful Roots Barbara Barthelette 3. Daddy Singing the Night In Jill McFee Slinky Rachel Bailey New Roommate Susan Hammons 4.-6. His Last Cigarette Elizabeth Waterbury Prague Emily Green 7. Senzo Titolo Johnny Severson 8. Dandelions Angie Nelson Momento Mori Hannah Gross 9. Reflection of Circus Maximus Laura Wadle Waiting for the Bus with Mozart in Haiku Form on a Rainy Day Francis Petrucelli 10. Bleeding Street Bleeding Sidewalk Francis Petrucelli Autumn, Mortal Elizabeth Berrick 11. It is When I am Stretched Jill McFee Memories in Paint #1 Alzbeta Voboril Failure to Escape Alzbeta Voboril 12. How to Wash Your Cheetah James Burke 13. My Favorite Pair Anne Schafer 14. Lonely Tripod McLean Severson Careful Alzbeta Voboril Bitterness Drew Maly 15. D.C. Walk Andrew Williams 16. If Our Universe were Simpler Shaun Kopp The Calling Pat Trouba We are the air Nick Bergman 17. Kisses and Light Alzbeta Voboril Daughters of Eve Sarah Wostenberg Year of Music Elizabeth Berrick 18.-22 The Ice and the Oar Katherine Buckmaster 22. Reminiscences of Wagner: A Triptych James Broberg 23. Lion Eagle Tom Fitzgerald
24.-25. Yesterday Hannah Gross 26. My Own Sestina Jenna Berry Silhouette #3 Alzbeta Voboril Someday Jill McFee 27.-30. Malpractice Lumea Jaques Carnal Katie Jansen 31. Beach Johnny Severson 32. Gears of War 2 Review Pat Trouba Sin Angie Nelson 33. Untitled Anthony Welch Refuse on the Shore of an Unquiet Mind Lumea Jaques 34. Hymn to St. Catherine James Brogerg Fiat Kelly Dineen 35. Memories of Awe: On the Eve of the Nativity of Christ James Broberg Future Alzbeta Voboril Dos Hermanas Emily Green 36. Through My Window Jennifer Carter Freedom Jennifer Carter 37. What You Do in Class Maria Kluesner Toby Kitty Andrew Williams Brooklyn Bridge at Night Laura Meli Drizilla Jennifer Carter 38. The Hungerer Clifford Heyer 39. Ribcage Abby Hausmann 40.-41. Euphoric Montana McLean Severson 42. Vincent Rachel Sawin Purity James Broberg 43. One Conversation Drew Maly Untitled Anthony Welch 44.-45. Perpetual Maid Katherine Buckmaster A Sunday Afternoon Anneli Gadamus 46. Untitled Kelly Dineen 47. Untitled Kelly Dineen 48. Party Bird Conor Flecke
Rachel Sawin | Vincent
purity With motherâ€™s love a
Maidenâ€™s eyes enchant my soul.
Ah, innocent one! James Broberg
One Conversation caused the back-flip that my stomach felt
as it rotated, twisted, and turned in the air
until the next conversation, which did not go as well,
Drew Maly Anthony Welch | Untitled
caused it to form into a dive, and in one instant
into a dive, and in one instant
plunge into the depths, sinking deeper and deeper to the bottom.
Perpetual Maid Katherine Buckmaster
of Hell, so I cut my hair. Nothing grows Dido fanned herself vigorously in Hell, so I haven’t had to trim it at all.” as she stood as a sentential searching the “Well,” Dido said, trying to make her sea from the balcony. friend feel more comfortable, “don’t “Your watching isn’t going worry about your hair. It does make your to blow any wind in her sails,” eyes look more brilliant.” Clytemnestra said from inside. “Brilliant!” humphed Medea. “They Dido meshed her lips together are washed out with weeping. And what and meandered back into the sitting is that smell?” room. “I am just so anxious to give “Medea!” Dido chided. her relief if only for a day. You do not “Mildew I’ll warrant you,” know how many strings I had to pull Clytemnestra said with a nod. with the Christian, Roman, and Greek Anneli Gadamus | A Sunday Afternoon “No, Clytemnestra,” Dido scolded, authorities to arrange this.” “Fortunately you made that connection when you served and turned to Francesca with an encouraging smile, “more like the smell of fresh rain.” your sentence in the Christian’s hell,” Medea yawned. “It does rain a lot in my level of Hell,” Francesca A shiver wracked Dido’s body for a short second. “Don’t even confirmed. “That is why my young skin is as wrinkled as an old speak of that.” crow. I’ve lost all my former beauty.” With that she began to “You’re very right. I hear a poet has written all about its weep. Dido looked to Medea and Clytemnestra for help, but the horrors.” women just shrugged their white shoulders and resumed their “If you are speaking of the Italian pilgrim, he’s only places at the card table. recorded a tenth of that inferno.” “Now, dear,” Dido soothed. “You mustn’t cry on this, “Really, Medea, you are so insensible,” Clytemnestra your only day of escape from pain.” spoke up. “Whether I be in Hell or in Paradise, pain will always Medea darted her a cold glance. “Don’t forget. I too follow me,” Francesca sobbed. was there, much deeper, I might add than either Francesca or “Now, now, Francesca, don’t cry. That is why we invited Dido.” you to the Isle, to give you a holiday. Please don’t disappoint us. “Miss Francesca to see you, ladies,” announced the Let us make you happy, just for a day,” Dido cooed as she led the butler. girl to a seat at the card table. Dido jumped. “She’s here!” “Well,” sniffed Francesca. “I’ll try.” A forlorn creature appeared in the doorway. “Francesca!” Dido “Of course you will,” Dido said with a smile. exclaimed, drawing in a sharp breath. Francesca looked down at the cards. “I haven’t played Their friend was much changed. “Your beautiful hair!” cards for an eternity. What are you playing?” Clytemnestra sighed. “You cut it.” “Perpetual Maid,” Clytemnestra said, studying her hand. “More like shaved it,” Medea noted satirically. It was “Perpetual Maid?” Francesca echoed. true. A graveyard of stubbles dented Francesca’s head. “Like Old Maid,” Medea explained flatly. “Only in this Francesca blushed and she dared not look up. “I know I am a game, the one who ends with the least matches and the Perpetual sight, but the wind in my level of Hell is so terrible, and my Maid card wins. By Juno, I already have a match. An Odysseus hair gets tangled into such knots, that my hair is like a whip on and a Penelope. My luck is already down.” my back, constantly beating me. Vigil’s pilgrim, a poet whom Francesca, looking a bit disturbed, picked up her cards and looked my family supported during his mortal life, turned to be my at them, her eyes once again filling with tears. Slapping the cards benefactor. He slipped me a pair of scissors on his pleasure tour
on the table, she began to sob once again. Medea sighed in frustration. “How are we going to play if she’s going to melt into tears between every sentence?” Francesca’s head shot up. “I hate men!” she moaned through grind teeth. Clytemnestra’s eyebrows shrugged. “Don’t we all, dear?” “Men and their political intrigues,” Francesca ranted. “They use us as instruments for their advancement.” “And toss us to the side when we are no further use to them,” said Medea with an affirming nod, though not taking her eyes off her cards. “If I had been allowed to marry for love, none of this would have happened to me,” Francesca continued. “I would have married Paolo, not his ancient brother. Paolo and I would have lived out our lives in eternal beatitude. Instead we were put in a situation of infidelity and killed for our sin.” “Sad, it’s true, but I doubt you would have had a life of eternal beatitude,” Clytemnestra said, exchanging a smile with her two companions. “What do you mean?” Francesca asked. “Darling, men are such fickle creatures,” Dido said with a mother’s tone. Clytemnestra smiled condescendingly. “Paolo would have tired of you after a while. Men do, you know. I just expected my husband to keep a harem.” “Paolo wouldn’t do that!” Francesca exclaimed. “Paolo worships me. Doesn’t he stay constantly at my side even in the Inferno?” “I dare say that is part of his punishment,” Medea said with a grim smile. She and Clytemnestra laughed. “Not that it would be a punishment to be with you all of eternity, dear,” Clytemnestra clarified, “but for a man to be eternally tied to one women, why it must be an unbearable torture! Oh, don’t sulk, Dido. You know it is true. Take your Aeneas for instance.” Dido scoffed. “Don’t remind me. It is hard enough that I must endure his company here in the Elysian Fields. We needn’t speak of him too.” “Do ask her,” Medea whispered to Francesca. “How it does ruffles her feathers.”
“Medea,” Dido snapped at her. “Really!” She turned to Francesca. “They are right, though, Francesca. As faithful as you intend to be to your man, he will not think to be so for you. It pains me to speak of Aeneas, but for your instruction I will do so. I took him from the sea and gave him and his men safe haven in my kingdom. We fell in love and the gods married us. It wasn’t a traditional wedding, but we had every element of a marriage ceremony present. However, he used this against me. He grew tired of me and told me he was to sail for Italy. ‘How can you leave me when we are married?’ I asked him. ‘Married!’ he exclaims as if it was news to him. He claimed he was breaking no vow leaving me, though we had been living as man and wife for a year. I asked him why he should now leave me. He claimed the gods were ordering him to go found a city. Likely story.” “You think he stopped loving you?” Francesca asked quietly. “Men don’t love, child. They lust,” Clytemnestra corrected her. “I doubt there was more to Paolo’s enchantment with you than lust.” “No, I can’t believe that.” Clytemnestra shrugged. “Believe what you will, but it does not change the facts. Men are lustful beasts. They are violent and cruel.” “I know some men are known to take advantage of our physical weakness and beat us when they are in the humor, but not all men are cut from the same cloth,” Francesca argued. Clytemnestra leaned forward and looked hard into Francesca’s tear stained face. “My lord murdered my daughter in cold blood.” Francesca’s eyes grew wide in horror. “Men are wild beasts, cruel, violent, blood thirsty, with not a drop of compassion.” “You surely didn’t have any compassion for Agamemnon,” Medea said with an approving smile. “No,” Clytemnestra concurred. “Not for the murderer of my child. I exacted a death for a death. When he came home from Troy, I slew him in his glory.” “As you should have,” Medea nodded. Clytemnestra leaned back from the table and smiled weakly at Medea. “If I had been under your tutorage then, I would have not let him go that lightly. I would have slain his son Orestes before his eyes and then let him die, knowing he did so without an heir, without a son to carry on the pollutions of his
Kelly Dineen | Untitled
sex. I might have saved my life too. Instead I was slain by the hands of the viper I brought into the mortal world.” “I must say I think long term when I go about killing my husband,” Medea praised herself modestly. “What use is it killing the body if you can’t first kill the soul?” “What do you mean?” Francesca asked. “Really, Medea,” Dido interjected. “No need to corrupt the child.” “Who’s corrupting her?” Medea said with a smile. “I am only giving her a thorough education.” Francesca exchanged a nervous glance with Dido, but Medea continued. “I risked my life to save Jason. On his account, my father disinherited me, but I didn’t care. Fool I was, I thought I was in love with the man. On his account, I cut my kin into mince meat to slow down the advancing army as we fled before them. On his account, I became an exile. On his account, mind you, Francesca! And what does he do on my account?
He divorces me and marries some royal snot! But it was on my account, mind you. That is what he told me. He was only doing it for me and the children. Further exile I suppose is what he had in mind, but I didn’t let him get away with such treatment. I meant to kill him, kill him thoroughly, and I did. “Forever he will lament that he was unfaithful to Medea. Not only did I poison his little princess, but I slew our children before his eyes.” “You slew your children?” Francesca repeated in horror. Medea shrugged, though it was clear she was struggling to keep her composure. “They were boys,” she reasoned allowed. “Soon they would be men and inflicting the same torture on my sex. I did what was best.” The silence pounded in their ears. Medea impatiently picked a card from Francesca. “Back to the game, ladies,” she said. “Remember, Francesca, the perpetual maid wins in the end.”
Kelly Dineen | Untitled
The Loomings staff and advisor would like to convey their most sincere appreciation to those who have graciously given their financial support to the magazine. We truly value their generous donations, which help immensely in the production of Loomings. With deepest gratitude, we thank:
Dr. Cy and Junko Anderson The BC Foundation: Howard Westerman, Jr. (Chairperson), Kitty Belden, Mike Easterday, Jim Oâ€™Brien, Bob Reintjes, Carol Shomin, and Tom Wessels
Conor Flecke | Party Bird
Hannah Gro s s Yesterday
Photography La u ra W a d l e
Reflection of Circus Maximus Alzbeta Voboril Memories in Paint #1
Tom Fitzgerald Lion Eagle
Rachel Sawin Vincent
Nick Bergman We Are the Air
Patricia Hattendorf Nerney Poetry Writing Award
The Sister Scholastica Schuster Fiction Writing Award
The Thomas Ross Award for a Promising Young Writer
Prose Sr. Judith Sutera Dr. Daphne McConnell Brother Lawrence Bradford Wilma Dague
Poetry Sr. Diana Seago Dr. Chuck Osborn Dr. John Bunch Dr. Rick Coronado
Art and Photography Megan Bickford Max King Jimmy Eddings