Beyond Words Literary Magazine, Issue 21, December 2021

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A r tw or k : L ou St or ey

Beyond Words Issue 21 December 2021


Bey on d W or d s ? I n ter n at i on al L i t er ar y M agazi n e I ssu e 21, D ecem ber 20 21 Ed i tor : Gal Sl on i m Read er s: Ri l ey M ay es, A n d i M y l es, M ar i a S. N i tsol as

Ri l ey M ay es i s a f u l l - t i m e stu d en t , w or ker , an d w r i t er l i v i n g i n Por tl an d , M ai n e. W h en sh e i s n ot w or k i n g th r ou gh th e h eap s of book s on h er bed si d e tabl e, y ou ?ll f i n d h er ou t i n th e w ood s or th e m ou n tai n s. H er w or k h as en joy ed h u m bl e su ccess i n sever al p r i n t an d on l i n e p u bl i cati on s. A n d i M y l es i s a W ash i n gton D C ar ea sci en ce w r i t er by d ay, p oet i n th e betw een t i m es. Sh e r ecei ved an M FA f r om Sar ah L aw r en ce Col l ege an d h er essay, I m p r essi on s f r om a Vacu u m , w as l i sted i n T h e B est A m er i can Essay s 20 17 as on e of t h e N ot abl e Essay s an d L i t er ar y N on f i cti on of 20 16. H er w or k h as ap p ear ed i n A l l i gat or Ju n i p er , Bey on d W or d s, an d W i l d Roof Jou r n al . M ar i a S. N i t so l as i s a w r i ter f r om Sy d n ey, Au str al i a. H er stor i es h ave been f eatu r ed i n 50 W or d St or i es, Sl ed geh am m er L i t, W or d s & W h i sp er s L i ter ar y Jou r n al & Par agr ap h Pl an et . To f ol l ow h er w r i t i n g jou r n ey, v i si t h ttp s:// w w w.m ar i asn i t sol as.com /

Cop y r i gh t © B ey on d W or d s Pu bl i sh i n g H ou se, B er l i n , Ger m an y

Fi r st p r i n ti n g, D ecem ber 20 21 I SBN 978- 3- 948977- 98- 6


A si n gl e m o m en t M ar y B ar b ar a W al sh A d r o p o f w at er A gl i t t er i n g st ar A si n gl e m o m en t T h e d ep t h an d ex p an se o f t h e l i m i t l ess u n k n ow n . Each cel l a u n i v er se each u n i v er se m er el y o n e i n an u n f at h o m ab l e m u l t i v er se. I n f i n i t y p r essi n g i n o n al l si d es. O n e m o m en t t r an si en ce w h i ch ech o es f o r ev er . O n e m o m en t , a b r i d ge an d a d est i n at i o n . C au gh t b et w een t h en an d w h en , p ast an d f u t u r e O n e m o m en t , so r eal , y et n o m o r e r eal t h an t h e m o m en t b ef o r e n o r t h e m o m en t aw ai t i n g ah ead . I t h r ow m y sel f i n t o each w i t h w i l d ab an d o n an d ov er w h el m i n g h esi t an ce. Fear m i x ed w i t h aw e o f t h e p o ssi b i l i t i es t o f l y o r t o f al l . A s I gr asp , i t sl i p s aw ay. O n e p r o m i se l o st . A n ew p r o m i se b o r n .

1A r t w o r k : B o n n i e M at t h ew s B r o ck


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?H ow th e h el l d i d y ou becom e a m oth er ?? T h e w or d s d ar ken m y m i n d , l i ke t h e cl ou d s over th e h i l l s i n f r on t of m e. I t ?s n ot an u n ex p ect ed st or m . I t ?s been gath er i n g si n ce Sar ah w as bor n a f ew m on t h s ago. Sh e?s n ap p i n g, an d so i s h er bi g br ot h er . By som e ex ten d ed m i r acl e, m y cof f ee i s sti l l h ot. I ts st eam f eel s l i ke Sar ah ?s br eath agai n st m y ch eek . I ?m si tti n g on t h e f en ce at th e ed ge of ou r p r op er t y, as f ar as th e baby m on i tor ?s r an ge al l ow s m e to go. Fr om h er e, I can ju st abou t see th e t ow n . M y l egs ar e tan tal i zi n gly sw i n gi n g bey on d t h e bor d er of m y t i n y u n i ver se. Cou l d I ju m p d ow n an d r u n ? M ake a br eak f or i t an d l eave th i s sh r u n ken l i f e beh i n d ? N o. A cr ack l e on t h e baby m on i t or an ch or s m y h ear t an d f eet. Ten tati vely, I l i f t t h e cu p to m y l i p s t o si p m y h ot cof f ee. Too h ot. I ?m n ot u sed t o t h e tem p er atu r e an y m or e. I p u t i t on th e f en cep ost n ex t to m e t o cool . I ?ll d r i n k i t l ater . A m em or y st r i kes, as u n ex p ected as t h u n d er l ess l i gh t n i n g. M y m oth er m i cr ow av i n g h er cu p f or th e th i r d t i m e. Pu t t i n g i t t o on e si d e to d r i n k l ater , af t er t h e h ou sew or k w as f i n i sh ed . W h i ch w as n ever . A lw ay s t h i n gs to d o, n on e of th em f or h er sel f . I ?d y el l at h er to stop , ?I n ever w an t t o be l i ke y ou .? Bu t h er e I am . I ?ve sl eep w al ked i n t o th e l i f e I w as d eter m i n ed t o avoi d . Bu t som e d ay s, l i ke t od ay, l u ci d i t y d escen d s an d w akes m e u p . I f eel l ost . I

r etr ace m y p ast to f i n d w h er e I took th e w r on g tu r n . Bu t som ew h er e betw een t h e l aw car eer i n th e ci t y a f ew y ear s ago, an d tod ay ?s h al f - eat en ap p l e i n m y h an d bag w h er e p er f u m e u sed to be, I get l ost al l over agai n . I cr y. I car el essly m i sp l aced m y l i f e, an d I m ay n ever f i n d i t agai n . I t h as gon e. Rep l aced by an ex i st en ce. Sl eep - d ep r i ved . L on ely. H u m m i n g n u r ser y r h y m es even w h en th er e ar e n o ch i l d r en ?s ear s to h ear th em . Au t o- p i l ot . T h en I cr y agai n . Rem em ber i n g Sar ah ?s ti n y f i n ger s cu r l i n g i n m y h ai r . D an i el s?s p u d gy ch eek squ i sh i n g agai n st m i n e. H i s l i ttl e voi ce tel l i n g m e th at h e l oves m e m or e th an an y t h i n g, even r ai n bow s an d p u d d l es. T h e i n t er m i n gl ed gu i l t , joy an d p ai n con f i r m m y on ce w or st f ear . I am a m oth er . T h e r ai n ar r i ves f i n al ly, bu t I d o n ot go i n si d e. Rai n d r op s p l op i n t o m y aban d on ed cu p . I m ove i t f u r th er al on g th e f en ce, so i t i s u m br el l aed by th e oak tr ee?s br an ch es. I t?s too col d n ow an y w ay. I w i l l m i cr ow ave i t l ater w h en B l u ey i s on . I w i l l f or get to d r i n k i t. I n th e sti l l n ess, I can h ear th ei r br eat h i n g on th e m on i tor . U n con sci ou sly, m i n e begi n s to sy n ch r on i ze w i th th ei r s, p er h ap s a m u scl e m em or y of w h en th ey w er e an ex ten si on of m y bod y. A br eeze ex h al es th r ou gh th e tr ee?s l eaves, p r om i si n g to p u sh th e cl ou d s aw ay. I si t on th e f en ce an d w ai t f or th e stor m to p ass.

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Vacat i o n Sy d n ee Sm ai l es T h e si gn sai d ?Beach En tr an ce, T h at W ay,? w i t h a h al f - scr atch ed ar r ow p oi n t i n g n or t h . M y f eet w er e p ai n t ed w i t h san d an d sh el l sp eck s as I tr i ed to n ot sl i p f r om m y san d al s. M y h ai r w as br ai d ed d ow n m y back - l on g en ou gh a cr ab cou l d h ook on t o th e en d s i f I w er e si tt i n g d ow n - an d I h el d a book ti gh tly to m y ch est . T w o l an es of t r af f i c sep ar ated m e an d th e At l an t i c. M y gr an d m a h el d m y h an d ti gh t en ou gh h er f i n ger p r i n ts l i n ger ed l i ke f oot p r i n t s bef or e a w ave. ?You r m om w ou l d h ave l oved th i s,? sh e sai d . I l ear n ed t h e m ost abou t m y m om w h en I w asn 't w i t h h er . T w o of h er ol d f r i en d s tol d m e sh e sm oked cocai n e i n th e back of a p i ck u p t r u ck , w h i l e I w as getti n g i ce cr eam w i t h m y au n t . I d on 't k n ow i f sh e w ou l d h ave l i ked th e ocean , t h e w ay i t w as h on est an d h el d th e p eop l e w h o ch ose t o sw i m i n i t . I bu i l t a cast l e ou t of w et san d th at d ay an d p r et en d ed t h e cl ou d s w er e m an atees p l ay i n g h i d e an d seek i n th e d u n es. Gr an d m a asked m e i f I w an t ed t o cal l y ou . Sh e th ou gh t m ay be y ou w ou l d be cl ean . Bu t w h en I cal l ed , y ou cou l d n 't r em em ber m y n am e. You sai d , th e ai r w as ju st f i n e back h om e. I h u n g u p th e p h on e l au gh i n g an d t i ed m y t ow el ar ou n d m y n eck l i ke a cap e. Fal l i n g back i n th e san d , m y sk i n began to m el t. N o ai r h ad st r an gl ed m e m or e th an h om e ai r .

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A r tw or k : Svetl an a Gou ban ova

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D i v o r ce(e) N an cy W h i te A n i gh t m ar e n ow an d th en , th e str aw ber r y col or ed scar w h er e bon e sh ow s th r ou gh , sti l l y ou r n am e t h at w on ?t m i gr at e f ar t h er th an on e str eet over . I w an t y ou i n Si ber i a, th e Sol om on s, D u essel d or f , som ep l ace of w h i ch I ?m r ar ely r em i n d ed . O u r son , th e w ay h e l ow er s h i s ey el i d s h al f w ay w h en th i n k i n g: y ou . T h e bi g k n ees: y ou . Fl ash of scor n , cop p er i n h i s h ai r , h i s absu r d h atr ed of h on ey bees: al l y ou . Bu t as h e becom es y ou , I f i n d m y sel f f or gi v i n g. I n f act I al m ost f or gave y ou com p l etely t h i s su m m er , f l oat i n g f ar ou t i n t h e l ake. A p er f ect d ay. M y oth er h u sban d , w h o?s got n o l on g ex p l an at i on s, w ai t i n g on sh or e i n h i s f i n e f u r , I al m ost l et i t go t h en ? w er en ?t w e? w e w er e f r i en d s on ce, ou t i n t h e r ai n w h oop i n g w i th r el i ef . Ear ly m or n i n g r etu r n f r om a gi g i n th e V i l l age, th e sm el l of bu r n t cof f ee on ou r str eet. T h e w or l d h as gr ow n a si ze, l oosen ed to take a br eat h . N ot qu i t e. Fl oat i n g th er e. Bu t al m ost .

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A r tw or k : Col l een Bu gg


W h en t h e D ead W en t t o Sea Joh n Ri ch ar d s W h en w e w ash ed aw ay ou r f i n ger s W h en ou r st ep s w er e m oi st W h en t h e l ast t h i n g an y w h er e W h en t h e d ay I saw y ou W h en t h e r ecor d of th at m om en t W h en t h e en d of t h e en d w as u p on u s W h en ou r t i gh t ly h el d br eath w as h el d i n a h an d th at h u n g i n a m u seu m W h en w e st ep p ed i n t o th e bu r n i n g w aves W h en h u r r y an d d on ?t an d gar bl ed son gs W h en sh or t er t h e f i r e sh ar p er th e f l am e W h en sh u t u p W h en t al k W h en scr i bbl ed i n st r u cti on s tap ed to th e f l oor W h en I t h i n k an d t h en I d on ?t an d th en I th i n k an d th en d on ?t W h en excess w as n o l on ger th ou gh t gen er ou s W h en an y n i gh t a cr ossr oad s W h en w h i n n i ed an d stam p ed y ou w ep t W h en n o on e l i st en ed an d r i ver s an d f l eei n g bi r d s an d sh ad ow s W h en st al e W h en y ou r ch eek an d m y f eet W h en i t w as w r i t t en W h en an gr y cr eat u r es cl i m bed ou t y ou r p or es W h en st ar s i n t h e h ar bor an d f ai n t sm u d ges on th e l ast p age of y ou r book W h en d ar k n ess W h en t h ou gh t s W h en d r i f ted aw ay I d r i f ted

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A r tw or k : Kevan Josep h O 'Con n or

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L o o k T ow ar d t h e Su n - Sw ep t Sk y Ad am P. D av i s th i s ear ly A p r i l af t er n oon an d see h ow i t cou l d be m ar i n e: th e sp on gy cor al cl ou d s i m m er sed i n l eagu es of Car i bbean - azu r e sea, f l ock s of soar i n g f i sh , a p assi n g sti n gr ay p l an e. H ow easi ly y ou cou l d l eap u p , d i p y ou r h ead i n to th e t u r qu oi se, d i ve str ai gh t i n to th at cel est i al r eef , oar l agoon s n ever cr u i sed by h u m an f eet, r i d e i n t er m i t t en t t i d es of w i n d an d d r i f t l azi ly aw ay. You cou l d r af t i n t h ose cer u l ean p ool s, su bm er se y ou r sel f i n ou t er sp ace. At d u sk , t ou ch t h e an em on es, th ei r ar m s of p u l si n g tw i l i gh t. A s d ar k n ess ch an n el s th r ou gh , an gl e f or jel ly f i sh m oon , t r aw l f or p h y t op l an k ton star s. A n d f i n al ly, gaze d ow n u p on t h e h eaven s.

A r tw or k : Beck y Si sco

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Jo h n Gar d n er 's Gh o st Kev i n Josep h Rei gl e I u sed t o h ave som e f r i en d s, bu t th ey al l t h ou gh t Joh n Gar d n er w r ote Jam es B on d n ovel s, so I h ad to get r i d of t h em . I got ti r ed of bei n g l i ke, n o, n ot th at Joh n Gar d n er . O f cou r se, th at w as bef or e I saw h i s gh ost. I t h ap p en ed w h en I w as w or k i n g on my f i ct i on th esi s. My p r of essor s w er e bei n g ex tr a an n oy i n g. N o m att er w h at I w r ot e, th ey d i d n ?t seem to get i t . Too m u ch d i al ogu e, n ot en ou gh d i al ogu e. Too m u ch p l ot , n ot en ou gh p l ot . M y t h r ee f avor i te au t h or s w er e d ead , Gar d n er , Car ver an d Ker ou ac. Jay M cI n er n ey w ou l d n ?t m essage m e back on I n st agr am , so h e m i gh t as w el l be. I th ou gh t abou t t r y i n g t o f i gu r e ou t w h er e Si l as H ou se l i ved an d go k n ock on h i s d oor , bu t I cou l d n ?t f i n d h i s ad d r ess. W e r ead on e of h i s book s i n Sou t h er n L i t an d ap p ar en tly h e l i ved n ear by. Real ly m y on ly f r i en d w as th i s w om an I m et at W af f l e H ou se. Sh e w or ked t h e n i gh t sh i f t, an d I ?d go th er e on n i gh t s I d i d n ?t w or k at th e r ad i o st at i on . For th e l ast y ear , or so, I h ad t r ou bl e sl eep i n g. So, I f i gu r ed i f I w as goi n g to be aw ake, I m i gh t as w el l tr y to f i n d som et h i n g t h at w ou l d p ay m e.

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W h at I f ou n d w as a job at th e l ocal A M r ad i o stati on . I t w asn ?t ver y tax i n g. A l l I d i d w as u p l oad com m er ci al s an d n ew son gs i n t o th ei r com p u ter sy stem . I t on ly took a cou p l e h ou r s an d I on ly w or ked tw o n i gh ts a w eek . T h at w as w h en I d eci d ed to d r i ve U ber on T h u r sd ay an d Fr i d ay n i gh ts. Even th ou gh i t?s a sm al l col l ege tow n , i t?s sti l l a col l ege tow n . T h er e?s n o sh or tage of d r u n k s l ook i n g f or a r i d e back to th ei r d or m s. I f i gu r ed I m i gh t as w el l cash i n on th at si n ce I w as aw ake an y w ay. I t took abou t th r ee w eek s of goi n g to th e W af f l e H ou se f or m e to get u p th e cou r age to tal k to h er . H er n am e w as D on n a, an d sh e w as p u sh i n g f or ty, d i vor ced , w i th tw o k i d s. T h e f i r st n i gh t I tr i ed tal k i n g to h er sh e cam e h om e w i th m e. W h en sh e cam e to m y ap ar t m en t af t er h er sh i f t en d ed , sh e p i cked u p a cop y of N i ck l e M ou n tai n I h ad on th e f l oor besi d e th e cou ch an d l ooked at th e cover . W h en sh e d i d n ?t ask m e i f th i s w as th e gu y w h o w r ote Jam es B on d , I k n ew I cou l d keep h er ar ou n d . W h at sh e actu al ly sai d w as th at h er f ath er h ad been a coal m i n er . O n th e cover , th er e w as a coal m i n er si tt i n g at a d i n er .


I tol d h er m y d ad w as a coal m i n er i n Pi ke Cou n ty t o t r y an d bu i l d a con n ecti on betw een u s. H e w asn ?t, bu t th at ?s w h at I t ol d h er . Sh e sai d t h at h er f at h er d i ed of bl ack l u n g a l on g ti m e ago. I l i ed an d sai d m y d ad d i d n ?t l i ke m e bei n g a w r i ter becau se r eal m en d i d r eal jobs. Actu al ly, m y d ad l ef t f or a gu y h e m et on th e i n t er n et. T h at w as w h en sh e asked m e i f I w an ted t o go t o a t en t r ev i v al w i t h h er . I sai d y es r i gh t aw ay. I ?d n ever been to a t en t r ev i v al bef or e. M ay be i t w ou l d gi ve m e som e i n sp i r ati on . I w as at a p oi n t i n m y f i cti on th esi s w h er e I f el t l i ke I ?d r u n ou t of i d eas. T h e r ev i val w as back i n M ar sh al l H ol l ow. I f or get w h at d en om i n ati on sh e sai d sh e w as bu t w h en w e got t h er e an d sat d ow n , th e p eop l e l ooked l i ke t h ey w er e h av i n g sei zu r es an d st ar t l i n g y el l i n g th i n gs I cou l d n ?t u n d er st an d . T h en th e r ever en d br ou gh t ou t th e sn akes, n o joke, h e r eal ly d i d . H e even sai d t h ey w er e p oi son ou s. Sever al p eop l e h el d t h e sn akes, bu t n o on e got bi t . T h er e w as a m om en t w h en a p assi n g tr ai n w h i stl e w as so l ou d t h at I th ou gh t i t m i gh t sp ook t h e sn ake i n to bi ti n g t h e ol d m an w h o w as h ol d i n g i t . Bu t I gu ess sn akes d on ?t get sp ooked , or m ay be t h ey can ?t h ear

tr ai n w h i st l es. For a m i n u te, I th ou gh t D on n a w as goi n g to h ol d on e of th e sn akes, bu t sh e d i d n ?t . A f ter th e r ev i val w as over , sh e stay ed ar ou n d an d tal ked to th e r ever en d f or a bi t . I sat i n th e car an d w atch ed th em . I d i d n ?t catch h i s n am e, bu t h e w as tal l an d d r essed i n a bl ack su i t w i th a str an ge l ook i n g ti e. T h er e w as al so th i s d ou si n g r od h e kep t p i ck i n g u p an d p oi n ti n g at th e gr ou n d f or som e r eason . B ot tl ed w ater w as on th e al ter , so I d on ?t k n ow w h at h e w as d oi n g. W e d i d n ?t tal k m u ch on th e w ay back to m y ap ar t m en t. T h at w as on e of th e th i n gs D on n a sai d sh e l i ked abou t m e, th at I d i d n ?t tal k m u ch . Sh e d i d th ou gh . Sh e w as alw ay s tel l i n g m e stor i es abou t h er ex- h u sban d or th i n gs goi n g on w i th th e ot h er w ai t r esses at W af f l e H ou se. Sh e n ever tal ked abou t h er k i d s th ou gh . I ?m n ot even su r e h ow ol d th ey w er e. B ef or e D on n a l ef t, w e d i d som e PCP I h ad ar ou n d f r om a cou p l e w eek s ago. Sh e sai d sh e h ad a cou p l e d ay s of f com i n g u p an d asked i f I w an ted to go to Gatl i n bu r g w i th h er . I sai d su r e, w h y n ot . Sh e sai d sh e?d p ay f or th e h otel , an d w e?d l eave tom or r ow.

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D on n a t ol d m e sh e?d cal l an d l ef t . T h at?s w h en it h ap p en ed . I r ecogn i zed h i m r i gh t aw ay. Joh n Gar d n er ap p ear ed p u f f i n g on h i s p i p e w h i l e l ook i n g th r ou gh m y r ecor d col l ect i on . H e star t ed tal k i n g abou t m ed i ev al l i ter at u r e. I tol d him abou t my th esi s p r obl em s, bu t h e ju st sh r u gged an d sat d ow n on t h e cou ch . W h en I w oke u p th e n ex t af ter n oon , I ch ecked m y p h on e, bu t D on n a h ad n ?t cal l ed . T h en I r eal i zed sh e p r obably m ean t

tom or r ow an d n ot tod ay. Bu t w h en tom or r ow cam e an d sh e sti l l d i d n ?t cal l abou t goi n g to Gat l i n bu r g, I tr i ed cal l i n g h er , bu t sh e d i d n ?t an sw er . L ater th at n i gh t, I w en t to W af f l e H ou se, bu t th ey sai d sh e h ad n ?t sh ow n u p f or w or k . I tr i ed cal l i n g agai n an d h er br oth er an sw er ed . H e tol d m e sh e f ai l ed h er d r u g test , an d h er p r obati on of f i cer took h er back to jai l . H e asked i f I w as th e on e w h o gave h er th e d r u gs. I h u n g u p .

A r tw or k : X i ao H e

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A r tw or k : A r i Cu ban gban g

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Sel f - Po r t r ai t M ad aly n Ry m er H er p r of i l e, u n t ou ch ed sk i n on an ebon y set ti n g,

th e su n agai n st th e backd r op of a br eat h l ess u n i ver se,

h er f ace ti l ted u p w ar d s sear ch i n g f or a w ay ou t .

H er ey es w er e a sh ad e of su f f ocati n g bl u es

bu t l acked th e l u st of th e l i v i n g. H ow d o y ou cap t u r e

th e d y i n g l i gh t of a y ou n g r om an ti c w i t h oi l an d can v as?

H er m ou th w as op en , bu t y ou cou l d n ?t tel l i f sh e w as gasp i n g

f or br eat h th at w ou l d n ever r each h er l u n gs, or f r ozen

i n a scr eam th at w ou l d n ever p ass h er l i p s.

15


(h ei r l o o m ) t o m at o es A n n a Sn i d er

t ay tay tel l s m e as w e p i ck h ei r l oom tom atoes i n ju ly th at on e cu p on ly h as x cal or i es. i am t oo y ou n g to u n d er st an d w h y th i s i s a good th i n g, bu t i k n ow t h at i t i s. i am n ot y et sh r i n k i n g, bu t i ?m n ot ex actly tak i n g u p sp ace, ei th er . t ay tay p i n ch es h er st om ach

(m y ow n bel ly ach es)

w h en i ?m em bar r assed , m y ch eek s tu r n br i gh t r ed , l i ke th e tom at oes j- d ad d y u sed to gr ow. h e k n eel s i n th e d i r t i n gar d en i n g gl oves an d jean s. gar d en i n g i s on e of th e on ly t i m es h e d oesn ?t w ear a su i t. n o on e to i m p r ess bu t th e t om atoes. i t h i n k i l i ke h ow car ef u l ly h e p i cked th e sw ol l en f r u i t. i th i n k l i ke h ow gen t l e h e w as w i t h an oth er l i v i n g th i n g

(w h en h e, too, w as l i v i n g)

before you were born, d ad tel l s m e, sally would jump the fence in search of tomatoes. m am a w ou l d scou r t h e n ei gh bor h ood u n t i l sh e f ou n d sal ly, stan d i n g i n a gar d en som ew h er e, bl ack m u zzl e sp l ash ed w i t h r ed , tai l w aggi n g p r ou d ly. m am a w en t t o t h e f ar m er s m ar ket d ow n tow n an d br ou gh t back a basket of h ei r l oom t om at oes f or th e n ei gh bor s. they still don?t like us, sh e tel l s m e (even after all these years) w ou l d y ou bel i eve m e i f i tol d y ou th at i h at e tom at oes? h ei r l oom an d al l . f i r st ti m e i t r i ed on e, i r an i n si d e cr y i n g. sp i t th e r ed goo on a w h i te n ap k i n an d p r eten d ed i t w as bl ood . h ow m an y ti m es can y ou com e u n d on e bef or e y ou r bod y m akes a n ew sh ap e? h ow m an y ti m es can y ou k n eel i n th e d i r t bef or e th e d i r t f or gi ves y ou ? h ow m an y ti m es can y ou go ou t sear ch i n g f or som eth i n g bef or e som eon e d eci d es y ou ar e l ost ? can y ou see h er ? over th er e i n th at gar d en som ew h er e. i s sh e cou n ti n g? i s sh e p r ay i n g?

A r tw or k : H ay l ee M i l l i k an

16

(i s sh e gon e?)


17


h er e H an n ah Su gath er th e r u m p l ed sh i r t of m e i n to y ou r ar m s; / i 'l l see y ou w h en i see y ou so / r eal , r u n n i n g w ater / d r i p p i n g col d d ow n w ear y w or d s. / br eath by br eath , w ar m ed / by m oon l i gh t , sp at i al str an d s & star s / w i l l w i sh u s a sof ter t om or r ow. / t om or r ow / y ou 'l l be scr am bl i n g eggs w i th su gar ? / i 'l l be com bi n g m y h ai r ? / & w e'l l r em em ber h ow to d an ce agai n ; / th e m u si c m ay see u s / t h r ou gh t h e k i tch en w i n d ow, / th r ou gh w ar m ai r , / & y ou 'l l see m e, f ace f l u sh ed f r om sp i n n i n g, / al m ost f al l i n g, / f eel i n g f r ee. / w on 't y ou joi n m e? / p u sh ap ar t t h e sh u tt er & take, th en , / m y h an d s; toss y ou r f ear s i n th e w ash i n g m ach i n e, / i 'l l p ou r i n , & p er f u m e th em / w i th th e m em or y of ou r n ow. / ju st r est / t o r est , / & i 'l l be h er e to r est / w i t h y ou , y ou r w ear y u p on m y sh ou l d er / w h i l e w e r em em ber h ow to l i ve agai n .

18


A r tw or k : Em an u el a I or ga

19


A r tw or k : Cr ee Cu l l ar s

20


Ech o A n d r ea Cu eva I alw ay s w an ted to be O n e of th ose w om en W h o w as w an t ed , r ever ed For beau t y, gr ace, an d l ove A m u se, a d i v i n e p r esen ce, W i n ged N i ke, v i ctor y et er n al , A p h r od i t e p er son i f i ed , Bl i n d Ju sti ce, w ei gh i n g h er scal es, Resp ected , con si d er ed , h ear d . I n st ead , I am a m er e n y m p h , Com f or t ed on ly by th e sou n d O f m y ow n voi ce, w i t h w or d s T h at ar e n ever m y ow n . Even i n m y ow n m i n d , A l l I h ear i s y ou r voi ce. A sl ow, sad , Ech o.

21


A Ro ad o f So l i t ar y T h o u gh t D i ck A l tm an A r oad of w or d s I k i ck u p i n ad obe- p ai n t ed d u st . A r oad sp ar e an d d r y. A r oad of d i r t an d scr ee. A r oad I w al k d ay br eak an d d u sk i n ever y season . A r oad t h at can tel l y ou w h o I am by tem p o an d f oot f al l . A r oad on h i gh d eser t?s p l ai n , w h er e cl ou d s on sk y ?s stage ch u r n beau ty i n to h ear tbr eak . A r oad bu zzi n g w i t h h or sef l i es p r obi n g m y bar e n eck an d th i gh . A r oad y ou an d I cobbl e f or m i l es w i t h sy l l abl es of str i v i n g an d l ove, sm al l t r i u m p h s an d d eat h . A r oad of sol i t ar y th ou gh t s t ossed l i ke f l att en ed beer can s i n t o m i n d ?s th i cket s.

22


A r tw or k : Tar i n i T i p n i s

23


T el l M e Pl ease Sh ei l a Ly n ch - B en tt i n en D on ?t tal k to m e abou t d eat h an d taxes, w ar s an d p ol i t i ci an s al l f ou r w i l l alw ay s be ar ou n d

Tal k to m e of r ar e beau t y th e w ay th e l i gh t ben d s i n Ju ly of f th e ocean to m ake i t si lver

Tal k to m e abou t a k i n d sm i l e on an ol d m an tel l m e th e on e abou t th e p er son w h o u n i ted i n st ead of d i v i d ed

I k n ow en ou gh abou t th e ot h er

24


A r tw or k : N i col e I r en e

25


Gr een B ee- Eat er , C ap t u r ed T w i ce Jose Var gh ese T h er e?s a m om en t betw een th e su n tr y i n g t o h i d e i n i t s ey es as a tu r qu oi se- bl ack sh i n e an d th e gr ad u al d escen t of d ar k n ess th at w ou l d h ave p r om i sed i t cl u el ess bees f l i tti n g ar ou n d i n t h e sh ad e. T h e sh u t ter - n oi se an d f l ash al ar m s i t t o a f l i gh t , bu t n ot bef or e t h e l en s h ad cap tu r ed al l of i t , p i xel by p i xel . T h er e?s m or e t o i t on a cl oser l ook th r ou gh t h e ar ti st ?s ey es t h at cal cu l ate v al u es i n str okes an d sh ad es. T h e u l ti m at e r esu l t can on ly be ach i eved by t h e v i si on s a k n ow i n g h an d f ol l ow s. T h e p l u m age i s su bad u l t, qu i ver i n g i n t h e m on soon br eeze. Per h ap s a cou p l e of d ay s m or e to go f or a tr an si ti on f r om f l ed gl i n g t o p r op er bi r d . D en i ed th e l u x u r y of a com p l ex br ai n th at?s cap abl e of ep i p h an i es, th e bi r d w i l l gai n m or e su r v i val l esson s by t h e ti m e th e ar t i st takes baby step s t o r ed ef i n e p i xel s, to k n ow each f eath er by i t s t ex t u r e, d i r ecti on or m ovem en t. I t?s n ot an easy t r an si t i on f r om th e on e w h o cap tu r es an i m age w i t h a car ef u l cl i ck to an i n ter p r et er of f eat h er s. T h e u n att ai n abl e p oetr y of f r ozen m om en ts m i gh t k i l l a h u m an sou l th at?s l ost i n d esp er ate at tem p ts. T h e bi r d d oesn ?t car e f or th e m y st er y of i t s f eath er s, or t h e m i r acl e th e ai r ben eath t h em p er f or m s, to keep i t af l oat .

26


A r tw or k : Kei t h Ed w ar d s

27


T h e St i n g Car ol i n e A n jal i Ri tch i e Burning, throbbing, and lonely: so th e en t om ol ogi st d escr i bes th e sti n g of a p ap er w asp . A n d 1.5 on t h e p ai n scal e: a si n gl e d r op of f r y i n g oi l l an d ed on y ou r ar m .

M ostly p ai n as an ad ver ti sem en t f or d am age th at n ever r eal ly com es. You k n ow t h e k i n d of sti n g, th e m i l d , r egu l ar , on ly sl i gh tly h or r i bl e k i n d ,

w h en h i s t h r obbi n g p u l se becom es y ou r th r obbi n g p ai n . T h e st i n ger ?s gon e bu t f eel s l i ke i t r em ai n s, bu r n s i n y ou .

But you can handle it. So y ou h an d l e i t , becau se God h ave y ou been stu n g bef or e, cl ean as a k n i f e m i st ak i n g y ou r sk i n f or i t s sh eat h .

T h e sh ock m ock s y ou : y ou sh ou l d h ave l ear n ed . T h e cu t i t sel f on ly a f r acti on of th e gl u m br u i se th at p ool s u n d er i t, tox i c as st an d i n g w at er .

You ?ll w an t t o scr atch aw ay th e k i ss of th e sti n g. You ?ll be an gr y, bu t y ou ?ll k n ow th at si n ce y ou n ever sai d stop , th ese h ar m s can ?t be cal l ed w r on gs.

A n d y ou ?ll h op e th at th e l on ely bu r n of i t w on 't h over l on g bef or e i t t oo f l i es aw ay.

28


A r tw or k : Sar ah Ven acci o

29


O h W el l , A l l i s L o st V i r gi n i a Petr u cci

You r f ath er ?s d eat h br ou gh t y ou l ots of m on ey, an d y ou r m oth er ?s d eath br ou gh t y ou l ots of w om en , cooi n g an d v y i n g f or h er p l ace. N on e of t h em k n ew of m e, or th ey w ou l d n ?t h ave both er ed . M y d eath br ou gh t y ou sol ace, a cl ean si n g cal m th at al l ow ed y ou to r est y ou r m en t al bon es. You d ecay ed i n to or d i n ar y, th i n k i n g of m e. I t w as a m y st er y. T h e cop s th ou gh t y ou d i d i t , an d som eti m es y ou d i d t oo. Bu t n ot h i n g cam e of th e sear ch , an d ever y on e gr ew sl eep y w i th gr i ef . At m y f u n er al , y ou w on d er ed w h at y ou r r ew ar d w as f or l ov i n g m e. I n ever h ad on e.

A r tw or k : Par i sa K ar am i

30


W ak e U p Joh n D r u d ge M or n i n g r i ses Fr om th e f oggy br u sh Acr oss th e m ead ow O ver d i stan t tr ees M y ey es L i ke zi p p er s I n th e n ew l i gh t Catch u p on A l ost p r ay er O n th e ed ge of sor r ow W h er e al l th i n gs f l ow I n t o th e d ep th s of u s A n d w e aw aken U n r ef r esh ed I n th e bl an k star e

A r tw or k : M au r een Gol gat a

O f tom or r ow

31


A r tw or k : M egan H ol l ey

32


Sp r i n g t o Sp r i n g L i sa M ol i n a Sp r i n g i n n ocen t gr een becom es t al l er tan su m m er bod i es an d t h en u p w ar d h i gh er au t u m n r ed s of p assi on or an gr y r esen t m en t s an d h i gh est of al l th e m ou n tai n s w i t h w h i t e h ai r r i si n g i n f r on t of th e bl u e y el l ow sk y gr asp i n g f or star s even w h en cover ed i n i cy sn ow k n ow i n g i t s w i sd om w i l l m el t f l ow i n g d ow n as r i v u l ets to n ou r i sh t h e n ew bor n babes of Sp r i n g.

33


M et em p sy ch o si s Em i ly W agn er I w as a br u t e i n an ot h er l i f e. I h ad to sl i ce, scr ap e, an d bu t ch er to su r v i ve. I w asn ?t l ef t al on e f or h ou r s w i t h book s. I h ad to sk i n t h e r abbi t , sh ave m y h ead , an d m ake t h e sal t y br i n e. Yes, I w as a br u t e i n an oth er l i f e. I w as n ever t em p t ed by p h y si cal w i l l . I w al ked bar e l egged i n th e op en f i el d s. M y l on g l egs gr ew h ai r s p ar ti n g l i ke gr ass by th e t r i ck l e of sw eat an d h eat of h or seback . For , I w as a br u t e i n an oth er l i f e. M y car casses w er e m an y an d bl ood y f i l l ed w i t h t h e ar r ow s of d ecep t i on an d f at e. M y can t een alw ay s h el d str on g br ew an d m y f ew com r ad es, alw ay s tr u e. I sl ep t on h i d es an d of t en gr ou n d an d n e?er r equ est ed h el p f r om m en . I l i n ger ed at t h e op en gr aves of w ar r i or s an d beckon i n g gem s, bu t n ever t ook m or e th an I w as ow ed . I l au gh ed easi ly an d of t en . M y f ace on ly k n ew tw o col or s, n ei th er cau sed by f l u sh of em bar r assm en t. M y sl eep w as alw ay s easy, com i n g on qu i ck an d l asti n g u n t i l en em y or p r ey cal l ed m e f r om d r eam s of a sof t sh el t er an d a w i n ged escap e. T h er e w as a r i ver f l ow i n g th r ou gh m y cave an d ti m e an d p at i en ce w ou l d n ever r etu r n f or I w as a br u t e i n an ot h er l i f e.

34


A r tw or k : A l ek san d r a Ger em i a

35


A r tw or k : K u k i Go

36


T h e C l u b , U n p ack ed K ath er i n e Au ti ö A r ou n d m e, th e cl u b abl aze, d r esses t h e d an cer s sw at h s sh ou l d er s, h ai r , ou t st r et ch ed l i m bs i n str obi n g l i gh tsh r ou d s i m p er f ect i on s w i t h Kod ach r om e w on d er bi n d s bod i es to th e beat , sy n ch r on ou s an d si n u ou s. W e ar e bou n d to th e d an cef l oor , scar l et ly r i cs m ou t h ed as on e si l en t voi ce, ecstat i c, m agn eti zed by m u si c en t h r al l ed , d el i ci ou sly l ost i n th e w or l d of th e w or d s m ak i n g l ove to th e beat , sw eat y, p r i m al an d f l u i d .

I n t h e br i ck v au l t, r eson an t, bey on d th e et er n al sw ay of bod i es, ot h er s w i t n ess, ch an gel ess i n bl ack , cl asp i n g ci gar et t es h el d l ow l i ke assassi n s?d agger s, d r i n k i n g i n t h e cu r ved l i n es of d an ci n g bod i es, con joi n ed . H u n t t h r ou gh th e sm oke f or th e l over s an d th e l i ar s, u n w i t n essed th r ou gh th e f i ck l e h aze, gaze, u n d r essi n g st r an ger s, l ock i n g l i p s w i t h th e cr ow d , ju d gi n g p r ow ess based on bod y l an gu age, an d sl eek sar tor i al sp l en d ou r .

Fr om t h e cei l i n g, th i ck p i n k si l k f l ow s l i ke ver ti cal r i ver s cu t s t h e l i gh t , tw i st s w i t h acr obats, l egs tau gh t , w r ap p ed l i ke p ar asi t i c v i n es, i m m oveabl e, tor sos ar ch ed , sp i n n i n g above t h e d an ci n g sea, d i sco bal l s i n sl i gh t si lver gar m en ts. T h ey f l i p an d r ol l w ei gh t l ess th r ou gh f abr i c, teasi n g gr av i t y st an d i n g on ai r , f l i p sen su ou s sp l i ts, tw i st th e h or i zon con t r ol of ever y scu l p ed m u scl e, th ese ch i l d r en of B acch u s k i ss t h e st age l i gh t s, catch th e beat i n ou tstr et ch ed f i n ger s.

37


B en eat h t h e d an ce f l oor , secr et sp aces r i p p l e w i th l au gh ter qu i l t ed w i t h f r eak s i n l eath er an d f u r , gossam er w i n gs sh i m m er , f i r ef ly sequ en ce sp ar k i n g i n br azen sp l en d ou r sh i n y r ed i n str et ch v i n y l , sp r aw l ed , l an gu i d i n velvet n ests. Cu t l i n es on m i r r or ed cof f ee tabl es, d ew ed str aw ber r i es i n cr y st al bow l s, ch er u bi c ch ocol ate f ou n t ai n s bu r bl e, bu bbl e w i t h n u d e p r om i ses, l esson s i n l i th i u m , sy n ch r on ou s w i t h t h e beat above, th i s sp ace, u n ju d ged an d u n br i d l ed .

U p st ai r s, above th e d an cer s, D Js stan d l i ke d r u ggi st s on p l at f or m s, d ol i n g ou t u p p er s, ju d gi n g sy m p tom s r ead i n g p r escr i p t i on s- r equ est sh eet s f r om th e h i ve m i n d f eed i n g t h e f i r e, f r eei n g th e i n com p ar abl e p ow er of on e. Peer l ess, p ow er f u l , m easu r i n g th e p u l se, w ei gh i n g t h e p ot en t i al i n th e r oom , p u sh i n g th e bou n d ar y br i n gi n g, w i t h on e son g af t er an oth er , th e cr ow d h i gh er i n ecst asy of m ovem en t, sw eet an d l i m i t l ess.

A r ou n d m e, t h e cl u b abl aze, d r esses th e d an cer s sw at h s sh ou l d er s, h ai r , ou t st r et ch ed l i m bs i n str obi n g l i gh tsh r ou d s i m p er f ect i on s w i t h Kod ach r om e w on d er bi n d s bod i es to th e beat , sy n ch r on ou s an d si n u ou s. W e ar e bou n d to th e d an cef l oor , scar l et ly r i cs m ou t h ed as on e si l en t voi ce, ecstati c, m agn et i zed by m u si c en t h r al l ed , d el i ci ou sly l ost i n th e w or l d of th e w or d s m ak i n g l ove to th e beat , sw eat y, p r i m al an d f l u i d .

38


A r tw or k : Ed w ar d M i ch ael Su p r an ow i cz

39


A H au n t ed H ar m o n y Ben jam i n Rose Sp r i n g h as p assed t o th e h aze of h i gh su m m er . T h e bl ood of t h e sen t i n el i s l ost i n sh ad ow s O f d em i - i m m or t al an d i n n u m er abl e gr een . A bove an d bel ow t h e r ed br i ck w al l Car ved i n t o t h e h i l l si d e bef or e m y com p l ex , Sp i r es of f i r an d t ow er i n g ash over h an g T h e p ar k i n g l ot , cast i n g a scr een agai n st th e sk y. T h e w or l d r et ai n s som e sem bl an ce of i t s y ou th , T h ou gh f ar i n t h e W est gr eat w i l d f i r es bu r n L i v i d as d em on s t w i st ed w i t h ven gean ce To an sw er t h e f l eer s of i m p u d en t m en Fr om age u n t o i n su f f er abl e age Br ash i n M el kor i an m ar r i n g of th e w or l d , U n ti l t h ei r en gi n es betr ay th em , u sel ess. Bu t w h at i s t h at t o m e? U n m oved by t h e abstr act su f f er i n g of th ou san d s, I f eel n o gu i l t n or p ai n bey on d m y ken . L i f e an d beau t y h ave p assed i n to n ot h i n gn ess. Joy goes t o t h e i n scr u tabl e aby ss. A l l i s l ost i n sh am e an d r em on st r an ce. T h e su n agai n st m y f r i gi d sk i n i s cool . I n th e gat h er i n g d ar k n ess, m y sor r ow s ar e l egi on ; I am al l t h e w or l d ?s bastar d an d p r ey, Tor m en t ed by h at ef u l th ou gh t s an d d evou r ed By i n sects en or m ou s i n m y n i gh tm ar es. M u ch t h at cou l d h ave been i s f or got ten . M u ch t h at w as i s i r r ep ar ably l ost ; T h ey ex i st n ow on ly i n h au n t ed h ar m on i es M i n i n g t h e d ar k K h azad - d û m s of th e p ast . I n m y h ear t of l ead an d i r on , th er e r u st s T h e r em em ber ed keen n ess of steel . T h e w or l d Bef or e m e, m u l ti f ol i ate an d gr een , Takes on t h e d r ab d i scol or ati on of d eat h . A m I ev i l ? A m I br oken bey on d r ep ai r ? Som e t h i n gs ar e bey on d m y p ow er to an sw er .

40


L ov e St o r m L i sa O ch oa T h e d ay w e say ?ti l d eat h d o u s p ar t? t h e sk y i s cl ou d l ess, a br i l l i an t bl u e;

t h e stor m cl ou d s gath er at th e ed ge of ou r br i gh t d ecl ar at i on

u n n ot i ced i n th e cool , l ovely br eeze of y ou r w h i sp er ed af f i r m at i on s.

T h ei r seep i n g v i r ga, a sp r i n k l i n g of w ar n i n g ? i gn or ed , d i sm i ssed , excu sed ?

u n ti l th ey bu r st i n tor r en ts of r age, gal es of v i ol en ce. A stor m so tr em en d ou s

even y ou w ai l i n p ai n as i t begi n s t o sw i r l , bl u r r i n g th e h or i zon .

B ear i n g th e br u n t of y ou r batter i n g gu sts an d br u t al h ai l , I p r ay f or saf e p assage.

O n e th ou gh t f l oat s to th e top : p l ease, l ove m e l ess.

A r tw or k : GJ Gi l l esp i e

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C r ay f i sh C.C. Rei d B ecau se w ater cau gh t th e l i gh t l i ke f l esh on th e l i d of a ti n can , Con ew ago Cr eek r ose i n n ar r ow l ock s an d p ool ed th e su n set. I cl i m bed af t er i t to th e r i d ge w h er e a sp r i n g th e si ze of a ch i l d ?s bath began f r om n ot h i n g. W at er occu r r ed to a stack of r ock s u n t i l t h e d am p sp i l l ed u n d er l eaves, u n n ot i ced , al on g th e sam e l oggi n g r oad I w an d er ed each d ay of m y ch i l d h ood t h at I ?d car e to r em em ber . I saw a beau ty I w an t ed to en l ar ge an d d i d t h e w r on g th i n g: I r etu r n ed w i t h a sh ovel . You h ave to u n d er st an d , above t h e w ood s, w h er e th e or ch ar d cl u n g t o i t s cl ear ed sou th - east er n sl op e, f r u i t t r ees w er e d y i n g i n th ei r r ow s. M y m ot h er h ad p ai d a w at er - w i tch f r om tow n t o si t e a n ew w el l . T h e d ow ser , w i f e of t h e w el l - d i gger , w al ked w i t h a p each br an ch bal an ced i n h er p al m s al l m or n i n g, an d d i v i n ed w h at w ou l d be a p oor sp ot f or h er h u sban d to d i g. N ot t el l i n g abou t th e sp r i n g m ad e i t m i n e t o r u i n w i t h i m p r ovem en ts. I n u m bed m y h an d s f or d ay s p i l i n g r ock s an d em p ty i n g th e p u d d l ed l eaves an d si l t. T h i n gs th at h ad l i ved th er e d r i ed on t h e ban k , th e sp r i n g bl ed m u d t o h eal i t s w at er s of m y d i ggi n g. I sl i ced a cr ay f i sh i n h al f bef or e I stop p ed . I ?d been tol d t h ey cou l d tr ace f r esh w ater to i t s star t . I t d i ed am on g th e r ou n d ed ston es w i t h i t s f ace tu r n ed tow ar d th e sou r ce.

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A r tw or k : M au r een Gol gat a

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A H au n t ed H ar m o n y Ben jam i n Rose

A r tw or k : Robi n You n g

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Sp r i n g h as p assed to th e h aze of h i gh su m m er . T h e bl ood of th e sen t i n el i s l ost i n sh ad ow s O f d em i - i m m or t al an d i n n u m er abl e gr een . A bove an d bel ow th e r ed br i ck w al l Car ved i n to th e h i l l si d e bef or e m y com p l ex , Sp i r es of f i r an d tow er i n g ash over h an g T h e p ar k i n g l ot, cast i n g a scr een agai n st th e sk y. T h e w or l d r etai n s som e sem bl an ce of i ts y ou th , T h ou gh f ar i n th e W est gr eat w i l d f i r es bu r n L i v i d as d em on s tw i st ed w i t h ven gean ce To an sw er th e f l eer s of i m p u d en t m en Fr om age u n t o i n su f f er abl e age B r ash i n M el kor i an m ar r i n g of th e w or l d , U n ti l th ei r en gi n es betr ay th em , u sel ess. Bu t w h at i s th at to m e? U n m oved by th e abst r act su f f er i n g of th ou san d s, I f eel n o gu i l t n or p ai n bey on d m y ken . L i f e an d beau t y h ave p assed i n to n oth i n gn ess. Joy goes to th e i n scr u t abl e aby ss. A l l i s l ost i n sh am e an d r em on st r an ce. T h e su n agai n st m y f r i gi d sk i n i s cool . I n t h e gath er i n g d ar k n ess, m y sor r ow s ar e l egi on ; I am al l th e w or l d ?s bast ar d an d p r ey, Tor m en t ed by h at ef u l th ou gh t s an d d evou r ed By i n sects en or m ou s i n m y n i gh tm ar es. M u ch th at cou l d h ave been i s f or gott en . M u ch th at w as i s i r r ep ar ably l ost ; T h ey ex i st n ow on ly i n h au n t ed h ar m on i es M i n i n g th e d ar k K h azad - d û m s of th e p ast. I n m y h ear t of l ead an d i r on , th er e r u sts T h e r em em ber ed keen n ess of steel . T h e w or l d B ef or e m e, m u l t i f ol i at e an d gr een , Takes on th e d r ab d i scol or ati on of d eath . A m I ev i l ? A m I br oken bey on d r ep ai r ? Som e th i n gs ar e bey on d m y p ow er to an sw er .

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Storms! The following works are the winners of our STORMS 250-word creative writing challenge!

T h e St o r m Stel l a Saal m an I keep m ov i n g. I t seem s I on ly ex i st i n th e p ast , T h at I n ever l ear n t o l ove a p l ace u n t i l I l eave i t ; T h en I sp en d m u ch ti m e th er e, T h i n k i n g back on i t .

M y m ot h er t el l s m e th i s i s a stor m ?s w ay of l i v i n g, O f r u n n i n g back w ar d s acr oss th e sk y, Pu m m el i n g t h e East w h i l e l ook i n g ou t W est, At w h at i t h as al r ead y d estr oy ed .

T h e st or m on ly w an t s to be w h er e i t i s str on gest, At i ts bi r t h , n ot f or ced to f ace i t s en d , A n d d i e l ook i n g at al l th at i t can n ot tou ch .

Sh e say s i t ?s u n f ai r of m e to h ol d p l aces h ost age, To tr ap t h em f i r st i n m y m em or y, T h en i n w or d s d ow n on p ap er .

?I t?s a good t h i n g y ou d on ?t w an t k i d s,? sh e say s to m e; You can ?t p u n i sh a p er son f or ever For r i p p i n g a h ol e r i gh t th r ou gh y ou .

A r tw or k : A be W i n ter sch ei d t

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C h i l d r en o f N o ah M . Rath er , Jr . T h e bay ou s ar e backed u p an d th e r i ver s th r eaten to br eak th ei r ban k s. I t w i l l n ot stop bu t f or a f ew sh or t d ay s of su n cau gh t l i ke f i sh on a l i n e. W e ask ?w h at si n cau sed th ese bay ou s to back u p an d sp r ead l i ke m i l k f r om a cu p sp i l t becau se th e k i d s' h an d s keep sh ak i n g?? T h ey can n ot stop sh ak i n g even w h en th e r ai n stop s f al l i n g. To th em i t h as alw ay s been th at th e bay ou s ar e backed u p an d th e sch ool s h ave w i n d ow s boar d ed u p an d th e boar d s r att l i n g i n th e w i n d an d th e w i n d n ever stop s. I see m y son s?ey es cl osed tau t w h i l e th ey h ear agai n th at th e bay ou s w i l l back u p , an d th e w at er s w i l l con ti n u e to r i se u p even to th e d oor s?seal s. T h ey ?ve seen th ese bay ou s backed u p an d bel i eve t h e r ai n s w i l l n ot stop .

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A W al k D ow n O l d C u t l er o n a M i am i Su m m er 's Ev en i n g A l i sh a M i r an d a I t?s goi n g t o r ai n . I can tel l becau se t h e ai r i s d en se an d h eav y, t h e cl ou d s l ow an d p r egn an t . T h e h u m i d i t y i s at i t s p eak i n Ju ly ; ever y t i m e y ou step ou tsi d e, y ou r gl asses f og u p i n su r p r i se, u n ti l t h ey, t oo, becom e accu stom ed t o t h e m oi stu r e. W e w al k a w ay s d ow n th e p ath , w h i ch get s bu m p i er ever y y ear as t h e r oot s r ecl ai m w h at w as on ce t h ei r s. T h ey p op u p u n d er th e asp h al t, l eav i n g i t cr u m bl i n g, or gr op e over t h e w al l s of th e m u l ti - m i l l i on d ol l ar h ou ses as i f t o say, t h i s w as n ever y ou r s to begi n w i t h . A f r u i t tr ee h as sp i l l ed i t s w ar es on th e si d ew al k , l eav i n g a h ead y scen t. I t?s over w h el m i n g, a si ck ly sw eet sten ch , f r u i t p ast i t s p r i m e. H ow d o I n ot k n ow w h at th e l i tt l e

or an ge- y el l ow d r op p i n gs ar e cal l ed ? W h y d i d I n ever take th e ti m e to f i n d ou t? W e?r e w al k i n g w i th T h eo, w h i ch m ean s w e?r e stop p i n g to l ook at l i zar d s ever y f ew f eet. I d on ?t k n ow th e n am es of th e l i zar d s ei th er , or w h y th er e ar e so m an y d i f f er en t k i n d s. B r i gh t gr een on es, ti n y br ow n babi es, h u ge u gly i gu an as th at l ook l i ke d i n osau r s. T h ei r r u n , f l ai l i n g th ei r l egs abou t, m akes m e l au gh . I t?s a w on d er th ey get an y w h er e at al l . W e w al k f or a m i l e an d th en tu r n back . I n th e d i stan ce, th er e i s th u n d er . T h e ai r i s gett i n g th i cker i n an ti ci p ati on of w h at?s to com e. A s w e r each th e f r on t d oor , th e h eaven s op en . T h e h eat br eak s. W e ar e h om e agai n , ju st i n ti m e.

A r tw or k : Ly n d y Bu sh

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B o r n o f a Fu r i o u s B r i gh t n ess Sar ah L ass I wI as w as bor bor n n O fOaf fau rf u i ou r i ou s br s br i ghi gh t n ess, t n ess, T hTehien ev i n ev i t abl i t abl e cu e cu l ml im n ati i n ati onon O fOan f an obscen obscen e vearviar ety i etof y of escal escal atiati onon s, s, SuSu p ppr p essed r essed , com , com prp essed r essed , , A nAdntdh en t h en ququ i etily et ly tenten d ed d ed u nut inl tth i l ey th ey sp sp ar ked ar ked , , A nAdnIdem I em er ged er ged , abl , abl aze, aze, f r om f r om a daard karnkess n ess th at th at con con ceal ceal eded i tsi ts owow n fnerf ti erl itity. l i ty.

A nAdntdh en t h en ? ? i l l ui lm l u im n at i ned at ed anan d udnudnen d en i abl i abl e?e? I r Ienr en ouou n ced n ced t h ose t h ose i mi p mossi p ossi bl eblper p essu r essu r esr es w hwi ch h i ch f orf or ged ged m e, m e, RelRel i shi sh i n gi ntgh e t hreesu r esu l tan l tan t qu t qu i eti et anan d cacop d cacop h on h on y of y of m ymnyew n ew con con d i ti d on i ti on , , O fOmf ymuyr u gen r gen t an t an d ndow n ow u nuabash n abash eded d esi d esi r es, r es, A nAdnIdsu I su n gnou g ou t? t? m ymvoi y voi ce,ce, am au ml tui tl u t i dt ue,d e, I am I am thethe storm storm I am I am thethe storm storm And And there there is no is no question question T hat T hat I have I have broken. broken.

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WRITERS Mary Barbara Walsh is Professor and Chair of Political Science at Elmhurst University. Dr. Walsh’s research has been published as articles in numerous academic journals, chapters in scholarly books and entries in literary journals. She is especially excited to bring together her academic research with her creative, literary voice. Donna Fisher is a a writer from Sydney Australia with a passion for telling stories that highlight the internal and external challenges women face every day. Her first novel Queentide, a dystopian novel about a feminist revolution in Australia, was published in June 2021. She enjoys drinking tea, reading and smashing the patriarchy, sometimes all at once. You can find her on Instagram @shesawwords. Sydnee Smailes is a poet and fiction writer from small town Ohio. She spends majority of her time writing and caring for her mini zoo. Nancy White is the author of three poetry collections: Sun, Moon, Salt (winner of the Washington Prize), Detour, and Ask Again Later. Her poems have appeared in Beloit Poetry Review, FIELD, New England Review, Ploughshares, Rhino, and many others. She serves as editor-in-chief at The Word Works in Washington, D. C. and teaches at SUNY Adirondack in upstate NY. John Richards is the author of The Pigeon Factory, Cadmus Editions (stories), Working Stiff, Hi Jinx Press (novel) and Inter-Office Male, Warner Books (novel). From Detroit, now in Los Angeles. Adam P. Davis grew up in Maryland, majored in French at Wesleyan University, and received his masters degrees in both political science at Columbia University and supply chain management at Purdue University. He has taught English at several community colleges and spent a year in Shanghai. He has been published in Poets Reading the News, Meniscus, Glassworks Magazine, the Free State Review, and Silver Rose Magazine. Kevin Joseph Reigle’s short stories have appeared in the Pensworth Literary Review, Bridge Eight, TDR Daily, The Yard, Drunk Monkeys and The Dillydoun Review. He works at the University of the Cumberlands. Madalyn Rymer is a kindergarten teacher in Stafford, Virginia. She graduated from the University of Mary Washington with a Bachelor's Degree in Creative Writing and a Master's of Science in Elementary Education. Beyond Words was the first journal she was published in. Anna Snider is from St. Paul, Minnesota and currently attends Reed College in Portland, Oregon. Anna has won numerous statewide and national competitions for her poetry, including winning first place in “Literary Magazine Poem” at the 2017 Minnesota High School Press Association Convention, receiving two Gold Medal awards in the 2020 Scholastic Arts & Writing Awards, and a 2020 American Voices Award, also from Scholastic. Anna’s work centers around mental health and trauma recovery, activism, queerness and radical self-love. Hannah Su is a writer, artist, and student based in San Francisco, California, where she is attending law school. Between staying involved in classes and organizations, Su enjoys her hobbies of drawing, playing piano, and trying new foods. Andrea Cueva is a Cuban American woman from San Diego, California. She is currently pursuing her Master’s in Creative Writing from Harvard University. Her writings work to break down barriers between the known and the foreign, all with the feminist mindset of providing accessibility and opportunity to all. By trade and education, she is a writer, folklorist, and cultural anthropologist. Read more at andreacuevaauthor.com Dick Altman writes at 7,000 feet in Santa Fe, where reality and imagination often blur. His work appears here and abroad. He is a poetry winner of Santa Fe New Mexican’s annual literary competition. His first collection of poems, Voices in the Heart of Stones, is being considered for publication. Sheila Lynch-Benttinen likes photography, painting, poetry, archeology, history, and Bearded Collies. She lives south of Boston and is getting older than the hills. She has degrees that no one is interested in. Jose Varghese is a bilingual writer and translator from India. He is the author of ‘Silver Painted Gandhi and Other Poems’ and his short story manuscript ‘In/Sane’ was a finalist in the Beverly Prize. His second collection of poems will be published in 2021 (Black Spring Press Group) and his works have appeared or are forthcoming in Joao Roque Literary Journal, Cathexis Northwest Press, SPLASH! (Haunted Waters Press), Bluing the Blade (Tempered Runes Press), The Best Asian Short Story Anthology, Dreich, Meridian – The APWT Drunken Boat Anthology of New Writing, Afterwards, Summer


Anywhere, I Am Not a Silent Poet, Spilling Cocoa Over Martin Amis, Kavya Bharati, Bengaluru Review, Muse India, Re-Markings, Unthology 5, Unveiled, Reflex Fiction, Flash Fiction Magazine, Chandrabhaga, and Postcolonial Text. The poem Green Bee-Eater, Captured Twice was first published in Flee to Spring: A Spring Anthology (Wingless Dreamer, Aug. 2021). Caroline Anjali Ritchie is a poet and researcher based in London. She is currently completing a PhD on the poetry and art of William Blake. Previously her work has appeared in 'The Isis' and 'Culture Matters.' Virginia Petrucci is a former columnist for the LA Post-Examiner, and the author of two poetry chapbooks: The Salt and the Song (Headmistress Press 2018) and Recipes and How-To's (Red Flag Poetry 2017). Her work has appeared in Flash Fiction Magazine, 805, The Gay & Lesbian Review, and Best New Writing, among others; her work has been nominated for the Pushcart, Best American Short Stories, and Best Small Fictions anthologies. She lives in California with her children. John Drudge is a social worker working in the field of disability management and holds degrees in social work, rehabilitation services, and psychology. He is the author of three books of poetry: “March” and “The Seasons of Us” (both published in 2019) and New Days (published in 2020). His work has appeared widely in numerous literary journals, magazines, and anthologies internationally. John is also a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee and lives in Caledon Ontario, Canada with his wife and two children. Lisa Molina is a writer/educator in Austin, Texas with two chapbooks forthcoming in 2022. She has taught high school Theatre and Literature, and served as Associate Publisher of Austin Family Magazine. Her words can be found in Beyond Words Magazine, Neologism Poetry Journal, Sparked Literary Magazine, The Ekphrastic Review, Fahmidan Journal, and Sledgehammer Literary Journal. Read more of her words at lisalitgeek.wordpress.com. Instagram: @lisabookgeek; Twitter: @lisabmolina1 Emily Wagner teaches high school English in rural Pennsylvania. Her poetry has been featured in The Dillydoun Review and is forthcoming in Black Fox Literary Magazine and Wingless Dreamer. She lives in rural central Pennsylvania with her husband and two sons. Katherine Autiö emerged from the 80s hardcore-punk music scene in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with a passion for self-expression. She is a surrealist painter, a poet, a writer of fiction and non-fiction, and she has been an English and Arts teacher for the past 30 years. She is currently writing her first fulllength book of poems based on the life of Louis Daguerre. She lives in Edmonton with her life-partner, and four fur children. This poem is from her upcoming chapbook on the theme of music and dance. Lisa Ochoa is a writer living in Tucson, AZ. She is currently enrolled at The Writer's Studio-Tucson Campus and graduated from the University of Arizona. When not writing, Lisa enjoys cycling, reading, and testing TikTok recipes. C.C. Reid is the recipient of two Artist Fellowships from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Her poems have won the Mary C. Mohr Award, F(r)iction's Poetry Award, and the Larry Neal Writers’ Award. Benjamin Rose is a poet born and raised in the D.C. area. His work has appeared in The Dillydoun Review, The Button Eye Review, Beyond Words Literary Magazine, Cathexis Northwest Press, and Last Resort Literary Review. He studies creative writing, Arabic, and Islamic civilization at The Catholic University Of America. Stella Saalman is a writer from the Midwest, and holds a MA in Art History. Her poems have been published in several publications, most recently appearing in Cathexis Northwest Press and the She Speaks literary anthology. M. Rather, Jr. is a poet, teacher, and practitioner of Historical European Martial Arts. His work has appeared in West Texas Review, Subterranean Blue Poetry, Star 82 Review, Borderlands, and Concho River Review. Alisha Miranda is a Miami-born, Scotland-based writer, entrepreneur & CEO. She is working on a book called The 40-Year-Old Intern. Sarah Lass is a Colorado-raised dancer, writer, and educator, currently splitting her time between Massachusetts and Louisiana. Her writing has been published by The Briar Cliff Review and The Good Life Review, and in the summer of 2021, she received The Good Life Review’s Honeybee Prize in Nonfiction. She is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.


VISUAL ARTISTS Cover art: Sale Above by Lou Storey. Lou is a visual artist, writer and psychotherapist. He lives with his husband of 33 years, Steve, and their family of cats, dogs and chickens. Bonnie Matthews Brock, Moss. Bonnie is a Florida-based photographer, as well as a school psychologist. Her works have been published in Ibbetson Street, The Somerville Times, Oddball Magazine, Ember Chasm, and Beyond Words Literary Magazine. Find Bonnie on Instagram @bonniematthewsbrock Rita Malenczyk, Fence, Detail. Rita is a painter, printmaker, writer, and professor of English at Eastern Connecticut State University. Svetlana Goubanova, Ottawa River Sunset. Svetlana is an oil and pastel artist based in Canada; she loves exploring new themes and can be frequently seen around the neighborhood painting en plein air with her kids and her beagle, rain or shine. Follow her on Instagram: @svet.art.canada. Colleen Bugg, Lady in Water. Colleen sees the elements of art in everything, for example when she looks at the human figure she sees lines, shape, colour, texture, light, shadow.... Making art, experimenting with materials, experimenting with creative space, with size, with layers, breaking the art rules… makes things interesting. Kevan Joseph O'Connor, Your Words, A Jetty. Kevan Joseph O'Connor is a husband, father, and artist in Nashville, Tennessee. Using the physical, tangible, visual gateway of painting to connect with the sensory world, it serves as a means to navigate through vulnerable and sacred spaces. Kevan's work as an artist is one of refining communication, more than simply necessary expression, pursuing empathy through the place his art lives and speaks. Becky Sisco, Blues and Greens Advancing. Picture-making became one of Becky’s passions and avocations nearly 50 years ago, when she started with black-and-white photography and print processing. Digital Photography and PhotoShop later opened new possibilities, such that she can explore color and composition and turn images from the real world into abstract art. She is retired and lives in Dubuque, Iowa, USA. Xiao He, The Real Self. Originally from Chengdu, China, and currently live and work in New York City, Xiao is a multidisciplinary artist with a focus on painting, drawing, and visual communication design. Xiao graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2018. A member of the Oil Painters of America association and recipient of 2021 GDUSA American Inhouse Design Award, Xiao has exhibited internationally at Genova Di Biennale (Genova, Italy), Upstream Gallery (New York, USA), Sullivan Gallery (Chicago, USA), and Zhou B Art Center (Chicago, USA). Her mixed media artists’ book with original poems and photography is now part of the permanent collection at Joan Flasch Artists' Book collection in Chicago. Ari Cubangbang, Breahless. Ari is a University Student cultivating writing skills and creating political art with messages that aim to change social perceptions. She is an immunosuppressed woman; She has been stuck inside for nearly a year besides going to the doctor since COVID19. Art and writing are her main focuses. She is a fighter, someone who is continuing to go after their dreams regardless of the challenges that arise. Haylee Millikan, Carnage is Feminine, 2020. Haylee Millikan (they/she) is a poet-essayist-artist & factchecker originally from Spokane & forever living in flux. Haylee's work focuses on themes of intimacy, disability, self, & the elusive concept of home. They currently reside in Long Beach with their two Flatbush rescue cats. Emanuela Iorga, The Play. Emanuela is a filmmaker, artist, and screenwriter, who lives in Chisinau, Moldova. Art represents for her a recently rediscovered passion, following a series of world and inner changes. Her work can be found at https://manolcaincosmos.wordpress.com/270-2/ Cree Cullars, Reality Is Better On Drugs. Cree Cullars is a writer, painter, tattoo artist, and energy healer in Chicago, IL. Her work has been features in Garland Court, Prometheus Dreaming, Wingless Dreamer, and more. Tarini Tipnis, Untold, no. 9. Tarini is 17-year-old contemporary artist. A painter, poet, and musician, Tarini embraces nuance in her work, striving to bring contemporary light to age-old topics like


feminism, gender and family. Her work has been featured as a part of the AI-AP 40 Magazine for contemporary illustration. Nicole Irene, A Viscous Melancholy Film of Regret and the Ruinous Longing to Leave This Star Crossed World Behind. Art instructor, aspiring poet, and mixed media artist, Nicole Irene, creates out of her home in the Berkshire hills of western Massachusetts. A gem + mineral enthusiast and consciousness explorer, she believes in magic. Nicole Irene is a practitioner of herbal medicine, an eclectic solitary, an empyreal dreamer, and a metaphysical philosopher who dwells in a derelict apple orchard surrounded by an extensive collection of houseplants, geological specimens, and creature companions. Keith Edwards, Butterfly in Spollight. Keith hails from a family full of artists and musicians, however as a young man he chose sports in school then worked as a pilot before switching to computers and IT. He needed an activity during the pandemic so he began categorizing his travel photos; and quite by accident this led to creating digital art renditions of his own photos. He named this his "PosterArte". Sarah Venaccio, Things Unsaid. Sarah is a writer, painter and zine-maker living in Wisconsin. Parisa Karami, Cemetery Scene. Parisa is an artist living in Brooklyn with her family. She has various ongoing projects such as Reyna De La Tierra and Cinema Scenes. Recent works can be seen on media outlets such as Mc Sweeney’s. For more information you can visit www.parisakarami.com Maureen Golgata, I'm Not Your Prize; Coastal Rhythm. Maureen's paintings explore themes of metamorphosis and the dichotomous essence of life through examination of our connectivity to nature, humanity, and soul. Influenced by the expressionists, she is motivated by color and contrasting value relationships to provide sustenance to the emergence of light to impart a sense of experience. The result is bold, poetically rhythmic and turbulent work, that points to an awakening of innocence from something darker. Megan Holley, Mountains. Megan found her voice as a poet, photographer and artist when she was ten years growing up in the wild woods of New England. In 2010, Holley earned a dual masters in education and library science, and since then has worked professionally as a teacher, librarian, poet and artist. She has published one hybrid work of poetry; a creative, non-fiction memoir titled There is Only Lampyridae under the pen name Holley M. Hill. Aleksandra Geremia, Static Thoughts, 14"x18", Acrylic. Russian born and Brooklyn based, Aleksandra takes her love for nature and expresses it through acrylic. Her inspiration combines natural, cosmic and psychedelic patterns to create deeply colorful scenes. Her background in Architectural design and classical art serves as a foundation for her work. Visit Aleksandra at https://www.chechelshura.com/ Kuki Go, Spicy Swirl. Kuki is a tape artist from NYC. Graphic designer and use to create and produce huge special events . www.kuki.nyc Edward Michael Supranowicz, Crossing Chaos 2. Edward Supranowicz has had artwork and poems published in the US and other countries. Both sides of his family worked in the coalmines and steel mills of Appalachia. GJ Gillespie, The Girl from Ipanema . GJ is a collage artist living on Whidbey Island north of Seattle. Winner of 18 awards, his art has appeared in 53 shows and numerous publications. A favorite quote: The world is but a canvas to our imagination. -- Henry David Thoreau. Robin Young, A Bridge Too Far… Out. Based in Borrego Springs, artist Robin Young works in mixed media focusing mostly on collage and contemporary art making. Repurposing a variety of materials into lighthearted and sometimes disquieting messages; Robin’s artistic universe is strange, funky, sometimes perverse and always alluring. Abe Winterscheidt, The Lightning Strike. Abe is an award winning author and photographer. His photography has been featured on The Weather Channel and in publications such as High Shelf Press and The W&M Gallery. Lyndy Bush, Sumerrain. Lyndy is a native New Mexican oil painter who moved from New Mexico to Colorado in 2014. Her current body of work is predominately a series of autobiographical landscapes and still life with a focus on capturing the depth of their narrative in a visual medium. Each piece has a story from her life embedded in it.


Contents 0 1 A si n gl e m om en t M ar y B ar bar a W al sh 0 2 T h i s Too Sh al l Pass D on n a Fi sh er 0 4 Vacat i on Sy d n ee Sm ai l es 0 6 D i vor ce(e) N an cy W h i t e 0 8 W h en t h e D ead W en t to Sea Joh n Ri ch ar d s 10 L ook Tow ar d th e Su n - Sw ep t Sk y Ad am P. D av i s 11 Joh n Gar d n er 's Gh ost Kev i n Josep h Rei gl e 15 Sel f - Por t r ai t M ad aly n Ry m er 16 (h ei r l oom ) tom atoes A n n a Sn i d er 18 h er e H an n ah Su 21 Ech o A n d r ea Cu eva 22 A Road of Sol i tar y T h ou gh t D i ck A l t m an 24 Tel l M e Pl ease Sh ei l a Ly n ch - B en t ti n en 26 Gr een B ee- Eater , Cap t u r ed T w i ce Jose Var gh ese 28 T h e Sti n g Car ol i n e A n jal i Ri tch i e 30 O h W el l , A l l i s L ost V i r gi n i a Pet r u cci 31 W ake U p Joh n D r u d ge 33 Sp r i n g t o Sp r i n g L i sa M ol i n a 34 M et em p sy ch osi s Em i ly W agn er 37 T h e Cl u b, U n p acked K ath er i n e Au t i ö 41 L ove Stor m L i sa O ch oa 42 Cr ay f i sh C.C. Rei d 44 A H au n t ed H ar m on y B en jam i n Rose 46 ST O RM S! Ch al l en ge i n cl u d i n g St el l a Saal m an , M . Rat h er Jr ., A l i sh a M i r an d a an d Sar ah L ass

Beyond Words I nternational Literary M agazine I SBN 978- 3- 948977- 98- 6