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Analysis of Poetry Colleen Hawke

First take from the earth a sample of soil: slide it under a microscope narrow your eye against the glass. Gain entrance: interrogate each grain hear its drawing bawdy breath strain your stapes, your coiled cochlea. If your ear is untrained beat the meter out with a pointed stick. Examine it through a telescope: see how it blurs like tiny white stars speckled and spent then take a scalpel and pull out its innards; iambic intestines permeating pentameters and a liver clenched in the palm.


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Place labels on its veins; ekphrastic or elegy enjambment or end-stopped septet, sestet, sestina. Count the number of hearts then stitch the skin into a zippered Y. Cause of death: the autopsy.

Colleen Hawke is a senior majoring in Communication Disorders and minoring in American Sign Language while earning a certificate in creative writing. She’s the President of the American Sign Language Society and spends her free time writing poetry and binge watching Netflix. She hopes to become a speech language pathologist and to move far away from the snow.


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A Tiptoe and a Helping Hand Emily Stieg Emily Stieg is a Chinese American adoptee. She’s a senior at and is working to acquire an English degree with a Creative Writing Certificate. Emily is a fanatic cat lover, crafter, song-belter, plant mom, and sweater weather enthusiast. She can’t remember a time when language didn’t astonish her, and credits the Harry Potter books as the series that got her into reading. Someday, Emily hopes to be a librarian and a published author, based somewhere near the mountains.


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Bad Habit Marin McGowan

Not a single sin I’ve seen Since the scene that unfolded before me. A science one would chide That will make your chin’s end wrinkle. His need was something absurd Much less dense upon the red dish. Not so nice of a life he hides Dehiscence; he dines.

Marin McGowan is a junior. Her hometown is Livonia, Michigan, where she grew up with her parents and older sister. Her major of study is Broadcasting and Cinematic Arts with a minor in English. After earning her degree, she hopes to gain a career at a production company and focus on creative writing for the media. Aside from going to class, Marin works as a waitress at Chinese restaurant outside of campus. This summer, she will be taking her love for writing to Ireland, where she will be studying abroad through CMU.


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The American Dream Boy

Based on the painting American Gothic by Grant Wood

Mackenzie Flynn

Even with my eyes closed, I could spot my husband in a line-up. With every single breath, he takes in a gulp of air so exaggerated, he might as well be a first-time mom in a Lamaze class. He lets out a little moan with each exhale, panting like a starved dog dreaming about a marbled T-bone steak. He breathes like a marathon runner finishing a 5K, or like someone who has actually done something. But no, my beloved gets winded lifting a wrench from of his grown-up toybox in our barn, which I have been begging him to repaint for years. Each time I hear that wheeze, I want to stab him in the jugular with his own rusty pitchfork. Opening my eyes, I see a man-child grimacing like he forgot to milk the cows, waiting to be scolded. I asked him to wear his funeral suit for this picture that could be found years from now by our grandkids in a dusty trunk in some attic.


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Instead, he wore his raggedy overalls and suit jacket and even brought the damned pitchfork, a testament to his stubbornness.

Mackenzie Flynn is a senior, majoring in History and Political Science. She’s going to law school in the fall with hopes of becoming a family lawyer. She has spent the last four years writing obnoxiously boring papers, and has finally decided to do something fun in her life; this poem is the result.


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The Ecstacy of Saint Teresa Duncan Tierney

A traditional Catholic Church is a place of small but persistent aches. It’s a place where my knees groaned from the kneeling that a 2,000-year-old calisthenics routine requires, and my temples throbbed through still lidded eyes, because for some reason my mom was convinced that the 7:30 a.m. mass was the best one to go to. It was a place where my hands shook, because we weren’t allowed to eat for an hour beforehand, so that the flesh and blood of Christ could enter a body untainted by gluttony. I felt that I would get extra points for going longer without food. I knew that God could read my thoughts, and since the thoughts of a teenage boy are far dirtier than any food that could have entered my stomach, I figured that I needed all the points that I could get. The aches were a part of the church, as integral to my faith as baptism or communion. The division between a Catholic Church and a good strong, traditional Catholic Church is that with regular Catholic Churches, the aches would stop when you left the building. If you were a traditional Catholic-- and I was-this was not the case. If you were a traditional Catholic, you never really left the Church. You could try, and I had tried many times, walking out of the limestone vestibule and into the frigid Michigan sunshine, exhaling deeply to rid my lungs of the smell of the incense and the elderly. But it was to no avail. There was church in everything, it was in the tone of my parent’s voices and what I was allowed to watch on television, the chores I did and the hour I woke up at. And since the church was in everything, the aches were in everything. Bags under eyes were a badge of honor in our household, because it meant that you were tired; it meant that you had worked. Blisters too, and calluses and bruises, because they meant that you had continued when your body had told you to stop. There was no virtue if you told anyone about it-God must have hated whining or gloating as much as anyone-- so for it to be virtuous it had to be noticed and acknowledged by somebody else. Going to the doctor was looked down upon. The few times that I couldn’t walk it off, I can remember how embarrassed I was when I had to tell my parents. The waiting room of the clinic might as well have been the foyer of a brothel, as I sat there red-cheeked, unable to look anyone in the eye.


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Since discomfort was the way of the divine, I sought out discomfort. I would wake up too early to workout, head heavy and buzzing with exhaustion, and hold my breath as I did push ups so that my lungs would burn as much as my arms did. If and when I would break my fingers or crack a molar playing basketball, I wouldn’t tell anybody, and when they would find out and tell me to sit down I would refuse. I never missed school, no matter how high my fever was or how little food or sleep I had had, and if I had been throwing up earlier in the day, good, it made everything tougher, and there was grace in struggle. The logic was that if the small but persistent aches were holy, imagine the virtue in masochism. I was in a community college art appreciation class when I saw the Ecstasy of Saint Teresa. It was sculpted by a long dead artist named Bernini as part of the Baroque period, the class was told, as if we were going to community college because we cared about art. I remember looking up from my notes and pausing. I realized immediately that this masterpiece was incorrect. Not technically of course, technically it was perfect. Bernini hadn’t been a sculptor but an alchemist, turning the marble into supple flesh and liquid silk. It was a mesmerizing image of an angel looking down on Saint Teresa like a smug dominatrix as she lay there, forever frozen in a moment of ecstasy, her eyes half closed, mouth half open. The face of this nun branded itself behind my retinas. It wasn’t right. It was beautiful and vivacious and historic but it wasn’t right. I didn’t know how or why but it wasn’t, I knew that something was off like a bird does before an earthquake. Frustrated, I sat behind my computer — a desktop that was at the age where you can hear little besides its fan whirring, like a machine in a geriatric ward—and googled the statue. Up came the statues clinical white Wikipedia page telling the origins of the rock, the backstory of the artist, the historical significance, anything and everything that I didn’t care about. Finally, near the bottom of the page under a section titled “Sculptural Group and it’s


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Setting”, I found the rushed comfort of revelation. It was in a quote from the autobiography of Saint Teresa describing the experience with divinity that had inspired this painting: “I saw in his hand a long spear of gold, and at the iron’s point there seemed to be a little fire. He appeared to me to be thrusting it at times into my heart, and to pierce my very entrails; when he drew it out, he seemed to draw them out also, and to leave me all on fire with a great love of God. The pain was so great, that it made me moan; and yet so surpassing was the sweetness of this excessive pain, that I could not wish to be rid of it.” What was wrong with the sculpture was her joy. When a man or a woman lives a holy enough life, a Catholic enough life, sometimes they are said to be blessed with stigmata. The highest reward that one can be presented with here on Earth are painful holes in their hands or sometimes a wound in their side, so that others can know how they suffer to be closer to God. Yet here was Saint Teresa, orgasming at the hand of the divine. I realized that the statue didn’t make sense until one read her backstory, because if her pleasure had not come at the expense of pain, if she had not had her entrails set ablaze in order to feel bliss then it wouldn’t have mattered where her ecstasy had come from. It wouldn’t have mattered if it had been from an angel, or a prophet, or from God himself, it would not have been holy. It has been a number of years since I first saw the statue, and in those years I have stopped practicing. I can still recite the Our Father and tell you some of the mysteries of the Rosary, but the Sunday morning ritual of waking up and singing monotone hymns through sleep battered eyes stopped as soon as I left the supervision of my parents. I don’t pray before I go to sleep anymore, I no longer read my bible out of fear, but rather out of curiosity, and saying grace before meals is a practice relegated only to Thanksgiving and Christmas. But some habits are harder to break. When I wake up early it’s not because I want to, or need to, or even because it’s convenient to, it’s because that’s when I’m tired. When I’m pissy I chew the inside of my cheek until it splits open. I’ve gotten really good at doing push ups without any breaths so that when my arms burn so does my head and my chest. Twice this year I have been sent to the emergency room, and once admitted to the hospital because I was hurt and sick for several days before I told anyone.


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Not hurt like broken fingers or black eyes, because that’s not hurt that is just sore. When I say hurt I mean hurt like going into the shower just to double over, hurt like my writing is illegible because my hands were too shaky, hurt like I couldn’t think or eat or breathe, but I’m still going to go to work because I wasn’t raised a quitter. I once went seven years — over a third of my life — without seeing a doctor about a pain in my back, because to see a doctor would have been to quit it would have been the easy way out. Once you started to equate divinity with masochism it becomes hard to enjoy much of anything, aside from the arrogance of silent suffering. It has been a while since I believed in God, but I’ve recently realized how hard it is to breathe out the smell of incense and the elderly, how hard it is to walk out of the shadow of the limestone vestibule.

Duncan “Dragon” Tierney grew up in Lake Orion, MI. The second of four, he is a pre-law student, majoring in Economics and Political Science and minoring in Religion. He hopes one day to go into civil rights law or focus on economic development for impoverished communities. Duncan Tierney works as a Resident Assistant in Troutman in addition to being an operator at the switchboard. He belongs to Phi Delta Theta Fraternity, and acts as community service chairman. In his free time he enjoys working out, lip syncing lyrics to Avril Lavine songs, and quietly humming Russian lullabies to his fish, Korndog.


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Audism Colleen Hawke

Red knuckled rough like the bark of a hickory— your hands— spin like smoke signals across a valley, spin across the cereal aisle. I intercept and ask: Why do your hands speak a language no one understands? Can you read my lips? HOW ABOUT NOW? You stare at my mouth: observe how the rounded vowels slip out the consonants stuck in my throat constricted between tongue and teeth the harsh /k/ caught in the velum. You tilt your head and squint, grasping for a language you were not born to understand.


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Just A Touch Taylor Dibble

When you finally decide to have children, I hope that they have your hands. Sun-dried and calloused, with caterpillar length fingers and petoskey stone fingernails I hope when they write poetry, your laugh spills out of the ink and rumbles around the paper. Wrestling their words into place. When they drink black coffee, I hope their fingers drum out your heartbeat on the handle of the mug. And it will be as loud as a homemade dress at graduation. When they kneel beside their beds, fingers intertwined, hands clasped, I hope they pray to you. My hands didn’t know how to hold you just right and you know I don’t read the bible, but you used to cup the sides of my face as if I was the apple from Eden, as if I was worth the risk. Hold me underwater, baptize me, drown me. It’s basically the same thing. As long as I can feel your hands.


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I hope your children can smell you in their knuckles and see your smile in their own lunar shaped cuticles. Selfishly, I hope they know my name.

Taylor Dibble is a freshman pursuing a degree in English, with a concentration in creative writing. Last year she was West Michigan’s SHOWCASE 2017 Literary Arts winner and was recently published for the first time in a collection of poems called “My Body, My Words.” Taylor has no idea what she wants to do with her life yet but she hopes there are lots of dogs, music festivals and pasta involved in the meantime.


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Warm Fingers Mark Elgersma

“So, I’m pretty much stuck,” I said. “Oh,” Nick said. “Until I get loans out of the way.” “Right, you mentioned that,” he responded. He looked out the window, at nothing in particular. The cold was invasive, climbing its way from outside, into the car and into our bones. I really don’t like hanging out with old friends. It either devolves into talking about the past like it was some golden utopia, or it just morphs into complaining about the present. Either way, it’s ugly. I muttered something unintelligible. I gave the guy an out, and he wasted it. Obligation is a terrible reason to stay friends. And yet there we stayed. After a beat, I sighed. “So I visited Wenner the other day.” “Yeah, me too,” Nick said. “When?” “‘Round four-” “Like what day?” I said. “Monday. You?” “Wednesday.” This continued for an ungodly amount of time. Nick checked his watch often, and I tried to offer a few more escapes. Sitting on my bed, I stared at the wall. Not a particularly interesting wall, to say the least, but it was as good as any, so I stared. I’m Brian. I tell people I’m named after my grandfather, who fought in the Korean War, but that’s not true. In reality, my parents heard the name on a rerun of “ALF,” and liked it a lot more than “Bernard,” which was my grandpa’s actual name. I stared harder, trying not to blink. I had read that if you keep your eyes trained on a particular spot for long enough, stuff starts to go wonky. Apparently, your eye only sees change or something, and if it stays the same long enough,


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it’ll have everything fade away. Called Troxler’s Effect, we usually don’t notice it since we move our eyes so much. My phone buzzed. I sighed and reached over for it. Another day would have to do. It was Nick. “Hey Brian,” it said. “Hey,” I sent back. He slammed the door as he climbed in. So here we were again, back in the same car, with the same cold bones. “What’s up, man?” I said, starting to put the car into reverse. “Not a ton.” As I pulled out, I started realizing that I had absolutely no clue where we were going, but I decided to keep driving, waiting until I was otherwise prompted. I took a breath and sighed. “So I saw this sci-fi movie on TV last night,” I said. “It was about a guy born on another planet. Venus or something.” “Revolutionary.” “No,” I said, “he was born on another planet, but he was raised on Earth. Looked like a human and, well, everything. But the entire time, he knew he wasn’t. But he was dumped here, no way of getting back home. No mothership or rocket. He was just there.“ “Like E.T.,” he said. “No, ‘cause get this: turns out, he wasn’t an alien at all. Just crazy.” “Was it good?” “No, but it was weird.” Nick reached down and turned on the radio. NPR was playing a game show. We listened to it while driving nowhere. A woman named Jodie won. Wenner was a friend of mine and Nick’s since Elementary School. I used to sit on the spiral slide with both of them, pretending we knew enough about sports or girls to talk about either of them.


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“Lions might win the toilet bowl this year,” we’d snort. The Lions were terrible, and the Patriots were not. That was the extent of our knowledge. We’d repeat jokes we’d heard about each, and sometimes throw in a reference to Chuck Norris or some other icon at the time. We used to talk about college back then too, speculating if we’d all go to the same college and room together. We didn’t, of course. I enrolled at Wayne State University, and Nick went to the University of Michigan. Wenner never made it that far. He died in the spring of our senior year. Wenner’s full name was Ethan Wenner, but that first name became so inconsequential and unused after a while that it would be a far stretch for me to connect it to his face. He had heart problems and asthma, so instead of playing sports or tag or anything along those lines, he sat with us. We all, by some stroke of luck, lived close enough together to walk from one house to the next. We’d carpool home in Mrs. Wenner’s fading grey minivan or my mom’s rusting two-door, and find our way over to someone’s basement, usually Wenner’s. Wenner said he never knew why we chose his place. It definitely wasn’t because he had a nice basement or anything. It was more of a dingy cellar with a TV and some games. And it certainly wasn’t because of his parents. His dad was gone by the time Wenner was eight years old, and his mom was always trying to grow organic soy in her backyard. Not sure why that of all things became her obsession, but every week it was a new technique. Crystals, singing, encouragement, sugar, and ladybugs all came and went, none of them making much of a difference. The oddest thing to me is that I never once saw her water those plants. She was always convinced she had a green thumb, but she only needed to discover it. But alas, time moved. The three of us grew apart as years marched on, to nobody’s surprise, but we would still nod at each other in halls and wave when we saw each other in town. Sometimes we’d relive the glory days and pretend to know enough about sports or girls to talk about either of them. Then, in senior year, like I said, Wenner died. He died because of breathing problems, primarily. More accurately, he hung himself in his bedroom when he was home alone on Easter morning, and wasn’t found until the afternoon. Doctors said he had struggled a lot. Apparently, when you’re hanged, your neck is supposed to snap. That’s why in movies and stuff, you always see that long drop. To build up for the snap. Wenner hadn’t known this, so he had just made a run of the mill noose and kicked away the chair.


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Instead of an immediate death, he survived for approximately ten to twelve minute span, kicking into void, waiting for his brain to suffocate. The funeral was a quiet service with a plain pine box. His mother cried, and cars drove by, unfazed by Wenner’s death. “Where are we going?” asked Nick, realizing finally that we had no destination. I shrugged. “Anywhere, I guess.” “Let’s get food,” he said. “What kind?” He shrugged back. A yellowing sign for Community Restaurant came into view against the stark white clouds, and I pulled into their parking lot. It was a family favorite when I was a real young kid. My dad used to make us go there just for their homemade ketchup he loved that they called “Community Catsup.” It was sweet, but had a kind of bitter aftertaste. I thought it tasted like candy with dirt at the end. My dad would always look at me when I was a kid and tell me that “the aftertaste was just doing its job, keeping the sweet in check.” As I pulled into an actual spot, Nick asked “What is this place?” looking at the dull brown building doubtfully. “Community.” “Never been here,” he said. “You wanna go somewhere else?” “Didn’t say that.” He unbuckled his seatbelt and zipped up his coat as I turned off the ignition. Snow started to drift down overhead. We climbed out of the car, and looked up in a stupor. “Starting early this year,” he said. “Yep,” I said back. A snowflake landed in my eyelashes. “Hi, I’m Sarah. Nice to meet you. What can I get you to drink?” “Coffee for me, thanks,” I said. She nodded and looked at Nick. “Ah, water,” he said. She nodded and went to her next table. Community was never full. At least that was always the case when I had gone. At most, a spattering of customers would, by luck, end up there at the


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same time. And with wood panelling and muted puce tiles, I understand why it never even pushed five tables at a time. It was excessively ugly. The booth we sat in was made of a stained fake leather, but the seat was worn to the point that it was soft and smooth. Well-traveled would be the polite way to say it. Sarah was the same. She was a bit younger than my mom, maybe forty-five or so, but her smile lines and crow’s feet ran deep, a silent testament to how powerful her laugh must be. “So you say you’ve eaten here before?” Nick asked. While he said this, he grabbed a cream container from a little bowl off to the side. He began to flick the top of it, trying to make it flip completely. It became a sort of rhythm. Flip, flip, fall, flip. “Yeah, when I was young,” I said. Flip, flip. “Must be pretty old,” he said back. Fall, flip, flip. Sarah came back, now with two glasses with the Coca-cola logo on them full of cloudy tap water. I really began to loathe that flipping sound. “Thanks,” we said in unison. “I’ll give you two a few minutes on what to decide on.” “Thanks,” we said again, this time less together. Flip, flip, flip, fall. “I like this place,” Nick said, pouring syrup onto his pancakes and sausage. “Yeah, it’s pretty nice.” Nick took a bite, and shook his head at me with his mouth full. “No,” he said, “it’s really not. I just like it.” I laughed for the first time that night and glanced behind Nick. There was a small family sitting in a booth, a mom, a dad, and a kid. The kid was in that awkward stage when you don’t know whether to call them a toddler or not. I watched the kid use some crayons to draw on their menu. I think they were drawing a face. Didn’t look like a very good one. Nick opened his mouth again to speak, but stopped himself. “What’s up?” I asked. “Brian?” “What’s up?” I asked again. He let the question hang in the air for a second before answering. “I think we should go see Wenner again.”


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“Tonight?” “Yeah.” “Why?” Nick shifted uncomfortably on the pleather seat. “I guess- I don’t know. I’m going back to school soon.” I gave a sort of non-commital nod. “I mean, sure,” I said, “if you want.” “I think- I think we owe it to him to go together.” Nick was saying this, but I could tell he clearly didn’t really want to go. Neither did I, to be honest. I visited Wenner pretty regularly, but I always hated it. It was a rock with his name on it above some dirt and a rotting corpse, but now that he said it, it felt like it would be sacrilegious to change our minds. We sat for a few more minutes waiting for our check, and a few more waiting for our motivation. “I miss him,” said Nick. “Me too,” I sighed, kicking the ground a bit . I stared, reading the same thing I had earlier this week. ETHAN WENNER 1998-2016 The trees around the cemetery loomed overhead, and the snow that was gently drifting down was threatening to stick to them. It was dark, but some street lights by the car helped to illuminate the flakes and the stones. A few minutes of silence passed until I finally said something. “Ready to head out?” I asked. Nick nodded but didn’t move. “Hey-” Nick looked down and grabbed my hand. It was cold, and neither of us had gloves. But his fingers were warm, and so were mine.

Mark Elgersma is a junior with a major in Broadcasting and Cinematic Arts and a minor in Cinema Studies. Besides writing, he enjoys reading books, watching movies, making films, and buying jeans. He’s not afraid of the future, choosing instead to be terrified. He gets his humor from his family, his memories from his friends, and his love of the world from them all. His past is a blur, and his future is uncertain. His most vivid memory is of his great-grandfather telling him the infinite value of the truth.


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Our Meiosis Rowan Clark

As we were being fused, pieces of us condensed. We were thickened as our skin dissolved. Pieces of us condensed; our polars brought us closer and our skin dissolved. As our love crossed over, our polars brought us closer and we were centered at our axis… Yet as our love crossed over, we realized this: we are centered at our axis––yet, we had become divergent. Once we realized this, we repelled. We were one cell. We had become divergent once our insides divided into tubes. We repelled. We were one cell–– then something new emerged as, our insides divided into tubes and we were drawn back to our axis. Then, something new emerged as our hearts were divided by hate.


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And we were drawn back to our axis— our skin reformed once more. But our hearts were divided by hate; the cycle continued again. Our skin reformed once more, but we were thickened as the cycle continued. Again‌ as we were being fused.

Rowan Clark is from Howell, Michigan. She is currently completing her senior year. She will graduate in May with a major in Biomedical Sciences, a minor in English, and a Creative Writing Certificate. She occasionally enjoys reading, playing the piano, and singing in her spare time. She would like to thank her family and loved ones for their support.


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Every Night Billy Schaber

my city dumps its grief in St. Clair – muskies nibble by morning, teeth grinding like screws in a shaking can. What’s another with his income in a trash bag? Camo vest, cigarettes, beer – another 10, 100 ? whatever we’re out of bricks. We’d use mud but we don’t want to get dirty.

Billy Schaber is a senior. He’s studying political science. He’s also getting a creative writing certificate. He works at the Clarke Historical Library. He’s from Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan. He likes reading books and listening to music.


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Sint-Pieterskerk Jef Fisher

In Leuven Belgium, amongst the holy hushed air of the twice bombed-out cathedral, I thought I’d find the ethereal form your religion awarded you, ghost, spirit, or soul, whichever one of those morbidly hopeful words you inhabit now, so acutely missing from my atheist’s vocabulary. I was wrong. The reign of sanctimonious silence was only broken by the staccato click-clack of espadrilles heaved forward on sweating feet, by the angular abrasion of a whispered Flemish confession, by nothing with a resemblance of transcendence or reconciliation. Whatever you felt in these spaces died with you. A trade then: A pocketful of coins emblazoned with other countries’ myths, exchanged for a quickly burning candle under a portrait of a prostrate god. Could it keep you warm?


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Jef Fisher is a second year graduate student from Muskegon. His only goals in life are to become a “Jeopardy!” champion and to become an Olympic curler. In his spare time, he enjoys playing with words and performing spot-on renditions of “Total Eclipse of the Heart” at local karaoke nights.


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Burning Leaves Anna Shapland

2017. Our house phone rings in the middle of the night. After a moment, wordlessly, my dad drops it back onto the receiver. My uncle is dead. 2008. My best friend gets her period for the first time on a school field trip to the zoo. For the rest of the day, she wears a “Single and ready to flamingle” t-shirt from the gift shop tied around her waist. 2014. I go to the Sadie Hawkins dance and sneak outside with a boy from my geometry class. We sit on his jacket on the football field and drink wine from a water bottle. 2000. I am the flower girl in my cousin’s wedding. She will be divorced one year later but that day she sparkles with laughter as I throw a handful of peony petals in my mother’s face in the front row. 2012. For three hours I get stuck at the very top of a ferris wheel on my birthday – the hottest day of June that year. I vomit cotton candy over the side. 2015. My boyfriend and I get stuck driving in a thunderstorm with the convertible top down. We crank up the heat and sing along to Fall Out Boy as loud as we can, the wind hurtling our words behind us. 2004. I try to convince my mother that I am allergic to carrots. 2010. There is a firework display down by the lake at my family’s cabin. The explosions are set in time to an old country song I’ve never heard before, but my dad sings along to every word. He holds my hand for the first time I can remember. 2016. I am broken up with over a plate of egg rolls in a Chinese


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restaurant. The wait staff sings Happy Birthday for a boy at the table behind us. 2006. My grandmother revives a ten-year-old fight the day before Thanksgiving. She says my mom is too stubborn but what she means by “stubborn” is “atheist.” That Thursday, my parents and I eat turkey lunch meat sandwiches on the couch and watch Star Wars. They hold hands the whole time. 2003. Our family goes to the pumpkin patch on a particularly cold day in October. I have three sugared donuts but am also bitten by a donkey. 2009. My grandfather gives me stale sugar cookies while I sit at his workbench in the garage in summer. From under the hood of his ‘69 Chevy Impala I can smell gasoline, rubber, and the whiskey on his breath. 2011. My cousin tries to teach me to drive stick shift in a parking lot behind the grocery store. It isn’t until I run into a corral of shopping carts that he lets me give up. 2002. My dad gives me a cheap flower corsage and I twirl around the elementary school gymnasium on his toes. 2007. I forget the words to the Pledge of Allegiance over the school loudspeaker and eat lunch alone in the library. 2005. We go to Florida and I see the ocean for the first time. Our family dog swims out so far, he is Morse Code dotted between the waves. -... -.-- . The only thing we bring back with us is sand. 2001. My aunt pierces my ears at the kitchen table with a needle and an ice cube. The first one hurts so badly I won’t let her do the second. I wear a single blue glittery stud for two weeks before I give up and let the skin grow back.


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2013. I sit in a hospital waiting room at 3am. It’s cold and smells like lemons and I am waiting for nothing because my grandma is already dead. A woman eats Cheetos in the corner watching the news on a small outdated television. 1999: My mom pushes me in a stroller down the street on a late September afternoon. Someone nearby is burning leaves and mom is humming the Jurassic Park theme song. This is the first thing I remember.

Anna is a junior working on bachelors degrees in English Literature and Psychology with a Creative Writing Certificate. After completing her undergrad, Anna hopes to be accepted to a Ph.D. program in Children’s and Young Adult Literature. Ultimately, she wants to become an English professor at any university near the ocean. Anna is also the vice-president of Sigma Tau Delta, the English Honors fraternity, associate editor of the Honors Platform, an interdisciplinary journal that features the work of CMU Honors students, and a Writing Center consultant. In her free time, she enjoys driving unreasonable distances for good bookstores, planning Christmas gifts too far in advance, winning over her friends’ dogs, and starting debates about philosophy.


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Little Lamb Gets Taken To The Slaughterhouse Mattie Barber

My parents call me The Family’s Little Lamb, too big of a heart to be a Republican. Clumsy and stumbling through growing older while praying for a callous heart. Sensitivity isn’t a fair prize, Held with clenched fists, Like a bagged goldfish. The first time I drove, I parked my dad’s car in the middle of the road, a bunny was running across, and I didn’t want the tire’s rotation to engulf her. Just something to grow out of, like pigtails, and overalls.

Mattie Barber is a sophomore who is pursuing a degree in English. She enjoys 80’s alternative music, hiking, and poetry so angsty that it probably had a scene phase.


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How you move through my life now Jef Fisher

is more often than not in the form of that familiar shapeshifting grief granting smothering caresses from innumerable limbs like countless aunts on holidays, without all the tryptophan sleepy glee. As if I begin each morning by opening a drawer and discovering with the tip of a now lightly bleeding finger a misplaced pin pricking countless holes in each day, punctuation marks emphasizing only absence.


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Bee Baby Chloe Lynch

Chloe Lynch is a junior from Rosebush, Michigan majoring in Art History with a minor in Art. She creates marker drawings which she makes into prints as well as acrylic paintings, watercolors, and portraits. Her art is inspired by all of her favorite things: people, nature, music, peace, iridescence, sunshine, and night time.


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My Atheist Grandfather Contemplates Heaven Greta Ginter Dying must be fun when you believe in God. I’d like to be twenty again, with a full head of hair when I was still the star quarterback at Penn State, except in Heaven, the ‘50s aren’t as racist. I’m sure my buddies from the cancer ward are waiting, and Testicular Greg will call out, Hey everyone, Lymphoma Bob’s here! and I’ll pull up a seat at the poker table as he tosses his left nut into the pot. I bet in Heaven, you never wait for a cab and my ex-wife doesn’t have my number, and there’s an In-N-Out Burger on every block and all that gluten doesn’t give me gas. I’d like to give God the finger, not for the cancer, but for not stalling it long enough to see my grandkids finish college. But what’s Heaven to a man like me, anyway? It’s a nice thought, and that’s enough for now.


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Greta is a senior and is busily preparing for her post-graduation existential crisis. She is weeks away from completing her English degree and no, she does not want to teach.


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Distraction Amber VanMeter

Amber is a junior studying Outdoor Recreation and Sustainability and Environmental Policy.After she finishes school, she is going to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail and convert a van into a tiny home to live out of while attending grad school. Among her favorite things are national parks, recycling, asking crazy questions, and traveling. She was once described as the girl who looks like she would bake you a pie.


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Oh Dear, Look, a Plane Emily Stieg


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Missing Cuba Rhiar Kanouse

I baked a brown cake, an apology Dreamed you would be at the safety check-in, Wearing stolen American shoes, unlaced. Freedom was bigger than the two of us And the night shadows on my face, distracting Your fingers as they traced evolution. The trade policy changes, you cut out vestigial organs, And I pretend to not know the difference Between atrophy and appendages and silent forgiveness. On fragmented days of glass doors and marble tables, I found promises like red ribbon knotted in my hair And itchy tattoos traced into my palm. Salt water stained my eyes, and Your hand tethered me to the waves. Like sea otters or a painting, we worshipped. There was lightning without rain, and Stars clanged their teeth, laughing at us in sleep, Tangled with an umbilical cord of sound. Daylight broke hearts and wine bottles Thrown into dumpsters down the street. Somehow we got lost, and I liked it


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Because I was lost too. Yesterday Someone asked me about you. In truth-telling I remembered, a little sad, On streets of cracked cement and tropical stench, You made my body a prayer. Through you, I dreamed myself as something repented.

Rhiar [RY-er] is a made-up name for a mythic woman. When she was young, she threw her heart into Lake Huron. If you look hard enough, you can find it amongst zebra mussels and sunken ships.


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Meet the Editors Delany Lemke | Editor-in-Chief Delany is a poet whose work has been published in a few journals like Audeamus, Temenos, and Juxtaprose. She is graduating this semester, but until then you can catch her driving around town passionately singing along to the Dirty Dancing soundtrack.

Elizabeth O’Donnell | Copy Editor Elizabeth is a senior. She’s never getting out of this life alive, just like every other poet on Earth.

Ev Wittenbach | Copy Editor Ev writes poems and cries watching anime. They would like to remind everyone that gender is fake and to stop using plastic straws.

Jordan Price | Copy Editor Jordan is a junior who enjoys reading, writing, and the occasional rom-com. In 20 years, you’ll hopefully find her still making pop culture references and editing novels at a publishing company.


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Madison Rodriguez | Copy Editor Madison Rodriguez Eberth most strongly identifies with the quote “she was a vixen when she went to school.” She may have sharp teeth, but she promises not to bite. Unless, that is, you encounter her in the wild, in which case survival experts suggest playing dead to avoid serious bodily harm. She knows all of your secrets, and if you’re lucky, she just may tell you a few of her own.

Annah Horak | Design Editor Each edition of Central Review she has designed, Annah autographs one and gives a copy to her mom. This one is for you, Vicki.

Kathryn DiMaria | Copy Editor Kathryn is a reader/ writer who grew up in the middle of Michigan. She believes in the power of words and procrastination; they don’t mix well.

About Us Visit Central Review: www.thecentralreview.com Like our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/TheCentralReview Download our podcasts by subscribing to Central Michigan Life on Soundcloud and iTunes Send submissions to cmucentralreview@ gmail.com for the 2018 Fall Edition


Central Review SPRING 2018  
Central Review SPRING 2018