The Arts and Literature Magazine of Metropolitan State University
VOL. 7 â€˘ ISSUE 2
What is Haute Dish? Published three times a year, Haute Dish is dedicated to showcasing the literary and artistic talent of the students of Metropolitan State University in Saint Paul, Minnesota. We are accepting submissions electronically from current Metropolitan State University students for our next issue, Spring 2012. The deadline is December 12, 2011. To view detailed submission guidelines and more information about our selection process, vist us on the Web at hautedish.metrostate.edu.
From the Editor Welcome to the much anticipated and long overdue Summer/Fall issue of Haute Dish. Our apologies for the delay. *imagine feet kissing here*
I hope you enjoy this issue. Seeing how this is my feet-to-thefire edition, I wanted to change it’s name to Blood, Sweat and Tears but remembered the semi-famous ’60s band with that name and didn’t want to deal with nasty cease and desist letters seeing how they’re still around (playing the casino circuit?). Our staff has changed, as it often does, due to the heartbreaking yet uncontrollable departure of graduating students. We have enlisted a strong crew of new and returning editors that can’t wait to see what exciting work you, you fabulously talented Metropolitan State students, have been busy creating or are about to. Don’t be shy. Submit a bunch. Unfortunately, we do reject pieces but like the saying goes, the more the merrier...no, strike that...no pain, no gain...no... how about try, try again? We read and look at everything and love it all! We just can’t print everything. *crocodile tears here* We do not have a theme for the Spring 2012 issue but I would like to throw out some ideas: birds (all or any kind), flight, soaring, aerie and anything bird-like. (It’s just something that came to mind after visiting a wonderful farm in Isle, MN.) With that, I would like to thank you for your support, hard work, submissions and time you spend with us. Until next time, good luck and good bowling!
Diane DeRosier Douglass firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com 2
Two penguins walk into a bar...
Summer/Fall 2011 Haute Dish Staff Managing Editor Diane DeRosier Douglass
Editors Alicia Catt Ben Findlay Nick Hutchinson Jamie McKelvey Serena Mira Asta Sally Reynolds Jacob Wendlandt Marty Owings
Faculty Advisor Suzanne Nielsen
Cover Design Alicia Catt
Layout Diane DeRosier Douglass
All copyrights are retained by individual artists and authors. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is strictly prohibited. Haute Dish is a production of Metropolitan State University and is made possible in part by student activity fees.
INSIDE THIS ISSUE •••
4 Hautey Do? Jamie McKelvey
18 Cell and a Bed James Filitz
5 Land of 10,000 Lakes Rebecca Lux
19 On Losing One’s Marbles Stevi Saindon
6 Perennial Path Donna Ronning
19 Wisconsin Rust Diane DeRosier Douglass
7 Berlin Collette DeNet
20 Scared Rabbit Gail Gates
8 A Loss of Stillness James Filitz
22 Mahogany Byron Olson
8 New Urban Cubism Torleif Sorenson
23 Epic Heidi Fuhr
9 Love Terms Katy Knable
24 Blazing Retentions M. Patrice Torrez
10 Searching Jenna Noren
25 Sonnet to Burns Rebekah Pahr
11 Reflections, New and Old Diane DeRosier Douglass
26 Dieting Stage II Sally Reynolds
12 Jeremy Went To Heaven Through a Hole in the Ice Ben Findlay
26 The Onion Stevi Saindon
13 Spiritual Portal Gail Gates
28 Bergamot Bliss Gail Gates
14 Crooked Jenna Noren
28 Spring James Filitz
17 Shadow Riley and Buddha Autumn Kisling 17 The Divine Hand of God Free Arcand
Dear Haute Dish Readers and Writers: Hautey-do? It very well might have been brought to your attention that there has been a bit of a delay in the release of our summer issue. Haute Dish has been going through changes (and, coincidentally, listening to the Kelly Osbourne rendition of one of her father’s old band’s songs with the same aforementioned words used as a quite melodious lyrical hook-the shuffle mechanism of my i-pod has been stuck on this song for months, so far it has been played 96,834 times in a row, which I must say is rather delightful), but we’re getting through them. To be honest, the departure of our managing editor Alicia Catt-due to graduation, which is a good thing, or so I’m told-has personally taken a toll on me. The current delay of bringing the forthcoming issue of this publication to press is entirely my fault. I am to blame. Currently, yours truly has been going through extensive therapeutic sessions with an unlicensed spiritual guru specializing in holistic business accounting-who claims to have emotionally healed Josh Byrne of the hit TGIF television show Step-By-Step after he was gradually written out of the series; his youth being usurped by the birth of his character’s half-sister, Lilly, who was the only child with the hyphenated surname of Foster-Lambert, and oddly suffered from a rare condition of rapid growth, going from age zero to age five over the course of one season-in order to cope with the untimely loss of my mentor. Grieving is quite a process and, I must admit, I have a hard time letting go. Right now I could go for a quart of choco-cherry-banana swirl, low-cal frozen yogurt and a long evening curled up on a comfortable davenport in my Hello Kitty pajama pants watching Never Say Never for comfort and consolation. Granted, this type of procrastinating behavior is what has caused this minor setback. So, what’s in store for Haute Dish? Well, currently Diane DeRosier Douglass has temporarily taken over the reins of managing editor in order to get our forthcoming issue distributed in print for campus consumption, as well as in electronic form for the tech-savvy. Within the course of the next month or so we will be making preparations for our Fall/Winter issue. You might be asking, “But what about summer?” or “What about the all-inclusive, perennial Fall Issue? I’m a faculty member/ alumnus!” Well, since the summer issue has been pushed back, we intend to release a Fall Fashion Preview Extravaganza! (Title still pending; this is only my suggestion, of course. But I’m hoping I speak for everyone by saying we’ve had enough of this thing called summer anyway-with the excess of excessive heat advisories and a national shortage of reliable air conditioners. Truth be told, we actually have been incapacitated because we melted-it was a kind of gooey experience.) All is well and soon all will be right with the world. So, sit tight and be on the lookout for our next issue of literature and art by the talented artists of Metropolitan State University. Love always and forevermore, Thurston Edgar Archibald Sanford, Esquire 4
Land of 10,000 Lakes Rebecca Lux
My Minnesota, With fraternal but not identical cities, With two determined governors, With 1,000 languages when the wind stops. My Minnesota, Where I eat Lao coconut soup with a girl whose tree traces back to Finland, Further back to Mongolia, who originated in China. The recipe, from a Korean adoptee, from her Cambodian husband, from his Lao ex-mother-in-law. My Minnesota, Where I learn to butcher a French-Arabic song, From a man whose parents left Tehran, Who sounds with a British accent, Whose voice untangles 5 tongues. My Minnesota, Where I take Middle East literature from an East Asian woman with a man marked as “half” African-American A motherless German by passport, Proficient in all things Deutsch and English, He can only feel Kenya through his father. My Minnesota, With my Tibetan roommate, A lover of Jerry Springer and Volkswagens, Whose speakers outsang my Bollywood with Guns ‘n’ Roses, Who always had Doritos in the cupboard. My Minnesota, Who gives me cuisine from every country, And a sports bar for every lake and pond, Sometimes the aroma of 99 cent fish sandwiches during Lent, Sometimes Hungarian goulash for Thanksgiving, Always sweet corn and apples when the sun is shining. My Minnesota, With your Japanese restaurants, Where the Filipino sushi chef snuck me sushi, Where the Russian bar manager left to serve the country in Iraq, Where the Spanish speaking chef made miso soup and gyoza.
My Minnesota, With your Italian restaurants, With the Czechoslovakian waitresses after class, Where I made white lies with Sangiovese and Merlot, And hungover stumbling I fed staggering Vikings fans, While the Gold Metal Flour sign blinked through the windows. My Minnesota, In exchange for multiplication and division packets, You gave me an “A” for 9th grade algebra summer school, But you saturate the landscape with umpteen colleges and universities, You reimburse with infinite museums and cultural centers, Your theatres charm me back to optimism. My Minnesota, Rich with labor movement history, Poor with being frank, Where farmers and city folk carve niches along the Mississippi, Where the churches and temples share the same sheet of concrete. My Minnesota, Where I curse your Irish looking for parking downtown Saint Paul, Where I can’t distinguish my bitterness for your redundant stop sign on Ayn Mill road, from my fondness for the locals who stop at it every time. Where December sounds like reggae hidden from subarctic temperatures, My Minnesota, With your bipolar seasons, How each inhumane winter you jigsaw Lake Superior’s canal and silence Minnehaha Falls, How each spring I’ve never made enough income to hate you. How each scorching summer I retreat until sunset. Oh my Minnesota, How each enchanting autumn haze, I fall for you all over again.
Perennial Path Donna Ronning
Berlin Collette DeNet
We could only stay one night, our itinerary was set. Jumping from the Eurail platform we flung our bags over our shoulders and headed west. Your wall fell before we made it but we found its remnants on the ground. Looking for the past, we followed where it led, with hearts that weighed more than our belongings. Our throats grew dry in the August heat and our feet began to throb but, since you didnâ€™t complain about your setbacks, we swore we wouldnâ€™t either. With your Gate above our heads and a map at our feet we stood in awe of what was, of what had been, and of what we could never know.
A Loss of Stillness James Filitz she lets the candles burn empty preferring to bathe in the dark saying itâ€™s less noisy less is more it suits a quiet life
inch by inch, she lowers herself into a new womb the soft waves lap at the edge of a cast iron lip juxtaposition meeting irony not lost on her
before going down in the water she pours a line of hot wax along her palm smooths it along the lines of her life pausing to feel the warmth disappear to become like words
the groans of the city beside her window abates as she sinks eyes open watching the old air rise in bubbles to the surface circles popping against the cold
the water; made fragrant as cinnamon by organic oil poured to excess rises in steam wrapping her in an envelope for which there is no stamp
lowering herself inch by inch into bed, she says a prayer to no one in particular. A light, harsh in itâ€™s beauty erases new bruises, smooths old scars. Incubating, she dreams of nothing.
New Urban Cubism Torleif Sorenson
Katy Knable Burnt Lasagna The early stage of development that depicts a picture of romance
and idealization that will soon dissipate into the Broken Latex phase (see below). While in this period of life, an increase of contact is accompanied by a decrease of cognitive abilities allowing for the participants to suppose that they are each other’s entire essence. Compatibility is based on sensations of longing, convergence, and enthusiastic infatuation with such things as the exact length of eyelashes, the slight curve of ring fingers, and hours spent meditating on the precise shade of heated flesh. While in Burnt Lasagna, eternal declarations find flight from the central enclosure that houses the restraint that will come during the time of Returning.
Broken Latex Lines of demarcation are established, and life is defined in terms
of before and after. Depending on the age and severity of destruction of those caught in the Broken Latex stage, many lives may be deleted. At this point those affected by Broken Latex will attempt to recapture the Burnt Lasagna segment only to realize the futility and accept the finality that has emerged.
Returning A period of collapse that allows each participant of the Burnt Lasagna phase to return to the solo state of being. During this interval, self reflection provides understanding of the intellectual and emotional connection—the status of one’s own cerebral reasoning versus one’s own sentimental recollection. Conflict between the two derives new wounds, which may or may not heal. In the case of the later, it can lead to a permanent spirit of weakness. The Returning phase emphasizes private faults, concealed blemishes, and shadowed imperfections that are omitted during the time of Burnt Lasagna. At the completion of the Returning cycle, the student may choose to enter into another round of Burnt Lasagna, or if health has not been restored, continue to labor in the Returning. The third choice would be to move forward into the TriFeline phase. TriFeline The inability to overcome a bout of Burnt Lasagna after time spent
in the Returning. The TriFeline phase allows for the placement of oneself into the silhouette of life. Company is replicated in the form of feline presence. One does not leave the TriFeline stage.
Searching Jenna Noren
She will be waiting for me. Her wrinkled hand will be resting on the phone beside her as she sits in her dark green recliner, eyes on the clock, seeing I am ten minutes late already. She will wait twenty minutes before calling me. I leave my phone on silent. In my old Buick, the gas gauge is resting heavily on E. The closest gas station is run-down, the outside coated with a light yellow sheen from the sun. It only has two pumps and one has a plastic bag on the handle that flutters in the soft breeze. The only other vehicle on the property is a red convertible crookedly parked in front of the store. The gas pump is sticky. I grimace, but stick it into the tank anyway. As I watch the numbers on the pump get bigger and bigger, faster and faster, I think I hear chunks clinking against the tank as they spew from the nozzle. The door to the gas station opens and a man with greasy long hair in a filthy white tank top and cut-off jean shorts comes out. A little girl, young, about six or seven, in a blood-red sweatshirt with long, blond hair follows close behind him and they get in the convertible. There is a dent on the driver’s side fender the size of a pothole ready to snap a tie rod end. She looks me right in the eyes as they pass me slowly. The man averts his. Her eyes are deep blue. She looks so familiar. A billboard I pass every week is approaching. As I get closer, my foot eases off the pedal. It’s her. The blond child. Her teeth are perfect. She has been missing for six months. She is seven years old. “If you see this child, please call 1-800-THELOST.” Her name is Sophie. I keep driving, barely comprehending the road in front of me. My cell phone, beside me on the center console, lost service about three miles back. My grandmother will be pressed against her front window now, waiting for the first glimpse of my car. She will be thinking that maybe she should call the state patrol, but the last time she did that, I pulled into the driveway safe and sound. They weren’t happy. I didn’t get the license plate number or see which direction they went on the freeway. I only saw her. She looked slightly different. Her face wasn’t smiling like it was in her picture and her hair was unwashed. She had a smudge of dirt on her cheek and her red sweatshirt had small rip in the sleeve. I am coming up fast on a red car in the right lane. The red convertible. I can see her blond hair flying out behind her in the wind. My heart pounds. My eyes don’t blink. I slow down. I have to follow them. I am Sophie’s only hope. I check my phone, but it is still searching. The exit for my grandmother’s house passes by and I give it a fleeting glance. She will be wishing that my parents were alive so she could tell them how much she worried about me. How she thinks that I work too much and why didn’t I have a boyfriend and why was it that I never went to college? The convertible exits on Highway 37, ten miles from my grandmother’s exit. She will not be like me. She will be saved. I will not let that man keep her from her family, touching and violating her over and over. She will not suffer. I will save Sophie.
What will I do if they stop? Will I attack the man with pure fury and a dirty t-shirt from my backseat? No, that’s insane. I’ll pretend I’m selling something and sneak Sophie out the backdoor or the front door. But then he might follow us. I could find a big stick or scratch him with my keys. I keep my eyes on the convertible hoping they won’t stop so I won’t have to decide how to save Sophie. The houses and yards along Highway 37 are getting bigger and bigger the farther east we went. The red blur in front of me turns right onto a street up ahead. My heart thumps hard. My palms sweat against the smoothness of the steering wheel. I get closer and see it is a driveway. The house is taller than the old trees around it and painted gray. There are no other houses I can see, just the thick, dark forest. I stop my Buick at the end of the driveway. The state patrol will have gotten a call by now. They will search for me. I leave my car blocking the end of the driveway. The house looms over me even more as I get closer to it. My mouth is dry, and my breath is coming out in heaved gasps. The deep pounding of my beating heart drums in my ears. Burning sunlight heats my back. I push the doorbell. The door swings open and there she is. Sophie. She is still wearing the deep red sweatshirt and holding a yellow Popsicle. She stares at me. Fear lingers around her eyes in small lines. “Sophie?” I say, quietly, not wanting the man to hear. She frowns and I see that her hair is clean and brushed carefully. There is no tear on her sleeve. No smudge of dirt on her cheek. She steps back from me and shakes her head. She must be brainwashed and has forgotten who she is. Or the greasy man is lurking behind the door, ready to attack. I have to help her. I am her only hope. “Can I use your phone?” She hesitates, but reaches behind the door and hands me a cordless phone. Her blue eyes watch me as I dial the number, but they disappear into the shadow of the hallway when the line begins to ring. An operator answers with a clipped tone. There is a silent pause. “I’m sorry ma’am. That child was recovered last Tuesday in Tennessee. We haven’t gotten the chance to take down the billboard yet.” They have the wrong child. “You must be wrong, I’ve seen Sophie.” “No mistake. The child you saw is not Sophie.” I drop the phone and back away from the big house. They’re wrong. She’s here and I have to help her. The man appears in the doorway. His face is long and pointed like a wolf’s, his eyes dark. He is sweating and he smiles at me.
Reflections, New and Old Diane DeRosier Douglass
Jeremy Went to Heaven Through a Hole in the Ice Ben Findlay
I fiddled with my cuff on my jacket. My brother Mike handed it down to me five years ago, and it was still my only suit. The tweed had faded quickly, and the cuffs were frayed at their edges. Between my fingers, I twisted strings of it together in perfect spirals like Rapunzel’s hair after she went grey. “Do you think it’s black enough?” Mom said nothing. “It’s just, I don’t want people to think I’m being disrespectful.”
Six men pressed into navy blue uniforms stiff with starch held Jeremy’s mahogany casket by its brass handles. They were his cop buddies, but they’d only known him for a year. Like chiseled, marble statues of British palace guards, they stared perfect holes in the sky. A little melodramatic, I thought. Jeremy worked the radio as a dispatcher. He didn’t throw himself in front of a shotgun to save a child or anything. He drove his truck onto the ice two weeks too soon and drowned inside when it fell through. Jeremy wasn’t a hero, and he wasn’t very good at ice fishing. Jeremy’s mother blew muffled sobs into a dinosaur-printed baby blanket, which made me feel pretty small. I didn’t look at her. I didn’t look up. I looked at my shoes and told them I wasn’t really a horrible person.
Across the street, a man ran out of Bob’s Corner Bar clutching a stub of paper in his fist. “I won! I can’t believe I won! Oh my God,” he cried out. No one watched him dance up and down the sidewalk. No one watched him high-five a string of new friends pouring out of Bob’s Corner Bar after him. No one watched Jeremy’s mother sink her head between her knees, ball her fists tight enough to crush an angel, and cry her curses straight to heaven. No one looked up. We all gave our shoes a good visual inspection as if the answer to life’s unfairness could be found in the shiny black glaze on a pair of wingtips. The man with the lotto ticket shook another man’s hand and said, “Today I start a new life.” Jeremy’s mother cried The Black Sea. She cried like a doe that had just lost her fawn to the wolves. She cried to stitch up the tearing beneath her ribcage. She cried her son to heaven. The man pointed his hands to the sky and shouted “Praise the lord! Praise Jesus!” “Amen,” I said, and we all cried a little louder trying to drown out his joy. 12
Spiritual Portal Gail Gates
crooked Jenna Noren
Looking at the x-ray it was hard to imagine that it was a picture of my spine. Two curves. One at the top curving to my right and the other at the bottom snaking the other way to my left. I wanted to run my fingers along the river of my bone. I wished that I could touch my own spine and mold it the way it was supposed to be. It looked almost alien on the light box, but it was real and it was a part of me. I was in fifth grade when all the girls had to go to the nurse for a scoliosis test. We bent over in front of her and she ran a wooden tool down the hill of our spines. She sent me to my primary doctor when her wooden tool didn’t stay straight. My primary doctor, who had been my doctor since I was a toddler, sent me to the Twin Cities Spine Center next to Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis. At this time in my life, I was shy. I didn’t make friends very well and when I did, I kept them at arm’s length, never letting them know much about my thoughts or my personality. So I was probably weird to a lot of people at school. And to be deformed too was the top of the freak mountain. My spine doctor, a short French man with graying hair and a heavy accent, spoke softly to my mother and to me. “This is genetic,” he said smoothly and flipped a page on my chart. “It probably intensified with your recent growth spurts as your spine grew faster than everything else.” He thought the best course of action was to fit me with a brace that I would wear twenty-three hours a day to straighten my spine. This brace, a loathsome thing that I hid from even my closest friends, was made of thick plastic with Velcro straps that pulled it tight around my torso and fastened across my spine. The idea was that it would push my rib cage and my hips back into line and straighten my spine. I absolutely detested it. I slept in it and went to school in it. The only relief I got from this restrictive, uncomfortable jail was when I took a shower or had gym class. It was tight and I had to wear a t-shirt underneath it to keep it from giving me blisters. And it was hot in the summer. I couldn’t wear tank tops because the brace came all the way up to my clavicle. The brace was a mold of my torso so it fit snugly over my hips and my rib cage and all the way up under my arms. I developed sore spots on in my armpits and on a spot on my ribs where the brace rubbed. Instead of giving me freedom of the plastic prison, the nurse affixed pads to the troublesome places. Every three months for a year we returned to Minneapolis for x-rays of my spine. Eventually, the brace did something. After a year of being strapped into that thing every day, we saw the x-ray that would seal my fate. Instead of erasing both of the curves, it created one big curve that threatened my lung capacity and had the potential to deform me for life. They had to surgically correct the curve. My mother was with me when we got the news. I remember her being very calm and asking a lot of questions of Dr. Denis. She asked me if I understood what they were going to have to do. “They have to put rods in,” I said. Dr. Denis used a small whiteboard to draw what exactly he would be doing to my spine. I could feel my mother tense next to me when he said the recovery would be about three months. Three months of recovery. At least five days in the hospital. 14
“But you’re young,” he said to me. “You don’t smoke, you’re not overweight, and your bones are still somewhat flexible. You are low-risk.” My doctor was amazed that I never had any pain. I slept normally. I could play sports if I wanted and the only way someone would know my spine was crooked was to look at my x-ray or run their hand down my back. The surgery I was to have on a cold day in January of 2001 when I was twelve years old was posterior spinal fusion. The surgery was a way to permanently fuse the spine to prevent further curvature. This was done by placing titanium rods on either side of the spine and screwing metal plates over them to attach them to the spine. They then would be tightened against the spine and therefore straighten the spine as much as possible. To “fuse” the rods, the surgeon makes an incision on the hip, removes shavings of bone and places them over the plates and the rods. The bone fuses to the metal and the spine and holds it in place forever. I would do anything to get out of the plastic jail that I was in. I was embarrassed by my condition and the freakish thing that was happening to my body. I wanted something to be done. My mother told me this was the only way. The only way. I was a child, so I did what the adults said. I always did whatever I was told and this was no different. Looking back, I know this had to be done. My aunt has scoliosis too and never did anything to correct it. Her hips are out of alignment and she has to stand with one foot outstretched to be comfortable. I don’t remember much about the hours leading up to the surgery. I remember trying to fight through the haze of anesthesia when I heard my mother asking the nurse when she could see me. All I remember is hearing her voice rise as she became upset after being told it wouldn’t be until I woke up. I was twelve, right on the cusp of being in the children’s wing or the adult floor. My mother, a snob of sorts in the hospital where she worked, chose to put me on the adult floor where she thought my care would be better because I was so young. I was given a morphine pump that I could push if the pain was too much for me to handle. After the surgery, the only surgery I’ve ever had, I was loopy to say the least. Everything was hazy and bigger than it should have been. The bed was enormous and the television in front of me. And everything was hilarious. My parents brought my older sisters in to see me. As soon as they saw me, they burst into tears. I wasn’t sad or in pain, but seeing them cry made me cry and heave against the hospital bed with uncontrollable tears. My mother, livid at the sight of me crying, shoved both of them out the door. “If you can’t control yourselves, you can’t see her. You cannot make her cry again,” her voice was low and deep as she strained to keep quiet in the hospital hallway. They returned and I had forgotten about the crying within minutes of it happening. I remember the room was private with a sliver of a window on one wall and a small TV mounted on the wall. It smelled like antiseptic and sickness. When I think about what that room looked like, I want to say that the walls were dingy yellow because it wasn’t bright in the room though I had windows, but the wall that I faced was brown. The light was above my head and fluorescent. I had a monitor on my finger, a catheter to help me urinate, and an IV in a vein on my hand to give me fluids. A nurse came in every few hours to check my blood pressure and my breathing. I was to stay in the hospital until I could walk 15
around and go to the bathroom (one and two) by myself. The first day all I did was enjoy hazy sleep while my family watched TV around me and talked. My dad stayed with me every night on a roll-away cot that he said felt like he was sleeping on a bunch of rocks. It was one of the few times of my childhood when I had my dad to myself. Growing up in a family with three other siblings, two of which were constantly in trouble, all vying for attention, the youngest, me, usually got lost in the shuffle. But that time, he was there with me and only me. After everyone would go home for the day, we would watch boring TV together, not saying much of anything. But, if I had any pain or needed a nurse to turn me on my side, he would be up in an instant to find someone. Hospitals are supposed to be a place to get better, but you never really sleep while in a hospital. Every time I started to fall into a deep sleep a nurse would appear by my side and strap a Velcro cuff on my arm and listen to my pulse. Each day, I did grow stronger and was given less and less morphine. Nurses came and turned me on my side every day for a few hours and then turned me back. On the third day, I got up and walked. They removed the catheter and I went to the bathroom all by myself. I felt so fragile. Like my spine would break in half if it wasn’t kept in a straight line. I was afraid to walk and to get up on my own. I didn’t want to make it worse, but I was so tired of laying in the hospital bed watching TV or reading magazines. They gave me solid food on the fourth day and that night, I took a shower. Mind you, I was not alone of course. A nurse whose face has blended with other nurses I’ve met throughout the years went with me as I sat in a shower chair and felt the filth of the surgery wash over me. It was so relieving. The warmth of the water after only feeling scratchy highly starched blankets for four days and then the sensation of getting out of the hospital gown. All of the grime of the adhesive from the IV tape and the grease from my hair rubbing all over the pillow flowed off me and down the drain. So liberating and after the shower I got to wear my own pajamas. I was almost normal again. I went home on the fifth day. A month after the surgery, I saw Dr. Denis again for a follow-up. He checked my incision and then looked at the x-ray. There was still a slight curve to the right. A quarter of what it had been. I had been fixed. I have not seen an x-ray of my back since 2001 and I probably never will again. I don’t want to know if the surgery didn’t work and I don’t want to know if I am permanently fused. There is a scar ten inches long along my spine and another on my right hip, but I do not think of them most days. I do not think of the rods fusing my back because I do not want anymore treatment advice or braces. I still have a hump on the right side of my back when I bend over, but it doesn’t bother me. My spine is a question mark of modern medicine’s attempt to make it perfect. It is a rebellion against what is normal. My back is what it is: crooked.
The Divine Hand of God Free Arcand
If I saw the divine hand of God come down from the heavens with all its power and glory And I saw that hand of the all-encompassing creator moving through time and space before me And I witnessed the hand of the all-knowing, guided by the most powerful pure bright light in its path And that hand of inconceivable purity was choking the life out of my neighbor’s dog for shitting in my yard for the last time And that hand was doing this solely because it’s all I’ve been thinking about for the past three months And because this was the only way that God knew how to reveal herself to me I would still think it was a coincidence
Shadow Riley and Buddha Gail Gates
cell and a bed James Filitz
through a slit of glass fit more for looking in than out a cold frame is laid against the wall the twisting and churning of metal works to precision iron and steel mating
So we talk We talk of life, love and consequences
I hate him for being there in the bottom bunk watching me his eyes narrow two dark moons being swallowed
we talk as
Iâ€™ll be as quiet as I can, I tell him he says it doesnâ€™t matter
we talk as
I want him to lay in reverent silence, let me fall into sleep that defies the pulsating rhythm of voices rising into rapturous waves breaking against the blocked concrete walls around us
But the soft cadence of his voice flows like a fine red up into the hollow shell I wear as consciousness his voice envelopes me in a cocoon of unrestrained curiosity
I stare into the hideous florescent light that hangs above me a grotesque confessional
the snap and shuffle of his cards play out the melody of solitaire while the hours drag across my skin each a winter passing
On Losing Oneâ€™s Marbles Stevi Saindon Do not dread when the clean conscience of your fatherâ€™s daughter becomes lost down the drain of slippery things. All that flows, flows past a circle carved of cow horn, your fetal son, the marbles which fell out of your ear when you bent to pick up a piece of crusted tempo. Everything, everything ebbs & flows concerting itself to the first song anyone ever wrote: two chords, three verses. Tempo. Tempo. All together they toss & vibrate the warm bath water pooling in your pink belly button.
Wisconsin Rust Diane DeRosier Douglass 19
scared raBBit Gail Gates “I butchered it.” Three words, uttered without compassion by my mother, forever changed my reality of farm life. I was perhaps only nine or ten years old and naive to the patterns of gains and losses, life and death, pet status versus economic survival. Our small dairy farm, scraped out of the rock-strewn soil of central Minnesota, offered little in the way of monetary profits but plenty in the way of character development. None of that mattered to me that night as we sat down for our family meal. Decades later, Mom’s words remain twisted and painful. My memory of the 1960’s is devoid of Vietnam, protests, and hippies. The world I lived in was much, much, tinier. I attended a rural K-12 school where my class boasted a whopping 12 students; the lunch ladies cooked from scratch; the second grade teacher was a closet alcoholic. I couldn’t go anywhere or do anything eyebrow raising without a neighbor acknowledging my name and their ability to contact my parents. Life was pretty black and white, but mostly it was white. It was rather like the fictional town of Mayberry except with barns instead of stores. Time was measured in seasons and by the rigors of farm life. Even as a kid I knew the farm was Mom’s domain, although it took Dad’s income as a construction worker to keep it viable. He’d be gone Sunday night through Friday night, but Mom seldom acknowledged his efforts and sacrifice. I missed him when he was gone, but the good thing was it meant Mom only had to pretend subservience on weekends. She had little tolerance for mistakes, laziness, or sass. Her rules, written and unwritten, were enforced via a thick, leather razor strap. I suppose a tender approach to mothering seemed like a waste of time, and time couldn’t be wasted when there was work to be done. My two older brothers became her dairy partners as soon as they were deemed strong enough physically and mentally. They accepted their junior farmer status mostly because Mom gave them a percentage of the bi-weekly dairy check. “You’ll get out what you put in,” she said, “unless the market goes down again.” She mostly kept her end of the bargain—IOU’s were frequent—and my brothers swaggered with comic book spending money. I was relegated to kitchen tasks, weeding the garden, and feeding the rabbits. “Stuff a girl can do,” as my brothers put it. Needless to say, I didn’t receive any spending money because my chores were such that I didn’t earn the right to be paid. I didn’t know the definition of demean, but I was living it. While Mom and my brothers were busy with real work, more and more of my identity came from the company of our animals. Unlike my family, the animals always welcomed my time and attention. My horse Flame, whose fiery temperament allowed only me on her back, and our Samoyed dog, Charmin (she was squeezably soft), would go on long rides through stubbled logging roads and forgotten woodland meadows. Back at the farm, I’d conjure up rescue stories and spend hours searching haystacks for newborn kittens. I even tried hypnotizing a chicken or two, but they always acted like chickens, so I wasn’t sure it worked. And, there was my daily responsibility of caring for the rabbits. Feeding rabbits sounds like fun, and it mostly was. I loved seeing the plump babies tentatively come out of their plywood huts for the first time, nibble on a blade of grass, and then race back to the safety of the nest. By contrast, the adult rabbits were calm to the point of being lazy, and they watched the bunny antics with vacant, brown eyes. Perhaps they knew life was supposed to mean more than wire cages and timed feedings. Our rabbits were meant for food. I knew that, but I refused to bear witness each fall when the slaughter took place. I’d start crying as soon as the knives were assembled. With more than a hint of disapproval, my father deemed me too tender-hearted and told me to visit my grandmother while the processing took place. One by one, the rabbits—mere babies a few months earlier— were pulled screaming from their cages and killed. A rabbit’s scream is one of the most chilling sounds ever created, and it lingers in the mind long after the silence hits. My mother and brothers made a game of who could skin a rabbit the fastest, and intoned I was being a whiner just to get out of work.
From time to time, some of the breeding rabbits would fall ill. My mom was vigilant about treating what she could and destroying what she couldn’t. The goal was healthy rabbits. One day as I was cutting across the pasture, I noticed a rabbit lying limply on a fresh pile of feces. I knew Mom had cleaned the rabbit cages that day, but this was strange. Curious, I stood and stared. Was the rabbit really dead? The tiniest movement in the chest area made me think otherwise, but maybe it was the wind ruffling the fur. No, there it was again. Looking around to see if there were any witnesses, I pulled the rabbit into my arms and was rewarded with a slight whisker twitch. There were loud hissing voices in my head warning me to leave the rabbit. After all, Mom had determined it was not worth saving and had discarded it. She’d be mad if she knew I was messing with her decision —razor strap mad. With another look about, I tucked the rabbit under my shirt and headed to a shady spot near the edge of the woods. A plan formed in my head. With countless furtive glances, I drug a bottomless cage from the barn to where the rabbit was hidden. Before placing the cage over the rabbit, I gently forced water into its mouth. The rabbit swallowed. Hope swelled. My thoughts were always on avoiding discovery and making sure the rabbit had food and water. Weeks passed, and the rabbit thrived. My joy was immeasurable. I had saved a life! But now what? If I told Mom what I’d done, I still might get the strap. If I set the rabbit free, it might not survive because it had always been confined. It had no fear or knowledge of predators. My joy turned to anguish. Now that the rabbit was well, I felt Mom would use it in the breeding program. It had been giving a second chance for some reason, I just knew it. I finally decided to confess. Mom didn’t praise or punish me when I told her what I had done. She just looked at me rather oddly and stayed quiet. I showed her where I had been keeping the rabbit, and she brought it back into the rabbit house for cautious observation. After that, as I fed and watered the rabbits, I spent a bit of additional time with my patient. There was something about this rabbit that erased my non-productive status and elevated me into a contributor. I was capable of making decisions, and I had rescued a creature on the brink of death. This was way beyond “stuff a girl can do.” I felt visible, but the funny thing about being seen is that you are a much easier target. Supper was ready, prayers of thanks were recited, and platters of food started moving around the table. Conversations started and sputtered between hungry mouthfuls. I asked Mom if she had moved my rabbit into one of the breeding cages yet, and my brothers went silent. I don’t recall that she even bothered to look at me when she said those three words, and she certainly didn’t try to explain her actions. My brothers watched to see what I would do, and I didn’t disappoint them. My eyes tried to stay dry, and my heart tried not to fracture, but the loss was too much. In one fell swoop I lost my rabbit, my feelings of worth, and on many levels my mother. I sat sobbing with my head bent. I was just being a girl after all, and crying was something I could do.
Micheleâ€™s boyfriend was dead. She held no direct responsibility for this, but nevertheless, he was dead. Michele had been extremely distressed over his passing, and like many girlfriends before her, she created something to remember him by. First, she stripped his corpse of its clothing. The rigor mortis had long worn off, so she carefully rammed thick, wire rods into the soft, necrotic flesh of his arms and legs. She was silently thankful that there was no more blood pumping through his veins, and thus, a mess was averted. Next she, with the aid of one of her stronger friends, bent his legs and arms into a crab pose at 45 degree angles at the knees and elbows. The two rods ran from foot to hand and supported the frame of the corpse well enough. Next, she covered his pale, slightly grayed flesh with a pair of tan slacks and his favorite Brown University sweater. Being in the center of her apartmentâ€™s living room and dressed how he was, the ex-boyfriend bore a slight resemblance to an IKEA mahogany coffee table. She decided to keep him there. Then, for years, Michele would entertain friends using her coffee table boyfriend as an ice breaker and a talking point. She would eventually come to meet her future husband at a party she hosted at her place, but she still made certain he placed a coaster under his beer can before he set it on the table.
Heidi Fuhr 23
The hot comb over the flame- mama don’t burn me. The sound it makes as my curly twist grow lame. Don’t set that barn on fire. Girl, I told you not to light up that flame- She ignited a patch of grass that traced its way to the barn. I told her not to strike that match. That girl scorched and I was scorned. The flame I did not set. The grass smelled like melted hay.
The potbelly stove with its door open-one log inside. The house smells like charred wood, cigarettes, liquor and urine. A dank odor looming. The screen door flings open. He strolls in with his fifth, staggering from side to side. He kills the flame of his fag on her face. I’m too young to know the reason why she wakes up not knowing my name. A trip to the country.
M. Patrice Torrez
A steak sizzles as it’s placed on the rack. Ssssssssssss- burning flesh mixed with creole spices and honey- slap ya mama good. Rice dressing, gumbo, potato salad, boudin and turtle stew. Mosquitos, gnats, swamps and heat. Summertime down on the bayou.
A flat round tortilla sizzling over an open flame. The flames brown the tortilla and scent the room. The wood burning in the fireplace of my uncle’s house. The smell of mint and cinnamon fills the air. I’m older now- I know ceasefire and pandemonium. Shanty- town, a flame bursts out of the trashcan. I take a step back- my hand- nice and warm now. I cling to my mug of hot chocolate. A four-year institution of fun. A blissful beginning - the gas stove in my kitchen on Stubbins. The first time it clicks. It smells like gas and stale air. I step back. Wait for that blue/orange flame. He wraps his arms around my waist tight. Six years of an inferno. The flame has cooled. A new beginning….. A tiny flame flickers through the opague glass, smelling of vanilla. The smell of worn out electrical wires fused with smoke. The boiler room of our apartment on 7th street. Campfire last summer- smelled of burnt wood and marshmallows. 5:00 a.m. awakened by a banging at the front door. The sound spreads to the windows. Wake-up, wake-up. Alert by now, a fire truck sounds. Our trash cans and recycle bins burn to the ground. The neighbor’s garage is being peeled away by the fireman’s ax to stop the flame. Memories of a futile blaze.
Sonnet To Burns Rebekah Pahr The smoke from our campfire was shattered, by piercing screams that cut through my blood. Stopping the burning was all that mattered, under the waterpump your skin rolled like sludge. Little brown nut turned lobster red, forest rangers running out of the green, swung you still burning onto ambulance bed. You were too small to bear this bad dream, worried the pain would split you apart. Remains of that day smolder away, left wondering if the doctors could use my heart? Or peel off some of my skin to pay, the deficit of spaces left on you blank, licked off by hungry heat and cold-water tank.
Dieting, Stage II Sally Reynolds
The Onion Stevi Saindon Very long ago, man tasted the first onion and the world changed forever. Easier to cradle than a carrot. More transparent than a forest of broccoli. It grew fast within the lore of Earth and caressed the supple guts of her people. The onion made civilization. The onion was a hailed inventor. The onion was the metaphor of love songs: “Oh baby baby you are my flavorful root. How I’d love to peel back your slippery layers.” And man carried around his delicate onion in fox fur purses and displayed them in specialty store windows wrapped in thin gold leaf. And forever, the animal of man was gone. Thanks to the sweet kiss of an onion.
If you are what you eat then I’ve got to stop eating round. I’ll eat tall, lean, thin, like one long string of lowfat mozzarella. I’ll eat three strings a day, and before you know it be stretched and strung out, like wire between telephone poles. It is true, my bones are starting to feel a bit rotten and wood-pecked, ribs carved from black willow instead of oak, but I’m not sagging yet. I’ll worry when my shoulders droop under the weight of one lone blackbird. As long as I stay away from pie, which is round, I’ll keep tall, straight as a sliver of carrot.
Bios Free Arcand - is a student a Metro State, trying to find out why. He writes and can also read. The most interesting thing about him is that there is nothing original about him. Collette DeNet - is a Professional Writing major at Metropolitan State University. Her current passions include running and plunking notes on the guitar. She envisions herself someday sailing the seas, gleaning inspiration for future verses. Diane DeRosier Douglass - is the managing editor of Haute Dish, is old and has been around the block a few too many times. She has a couple degrees but loves the abuse inflicted on her by being a perennial student only because she understands that her brain is a peach pit in the ocean of knowledge. James Filitz - is currently enrolled part-time in First College. He enjoys eating too much, smoking Marlboro Reds, listening to pedal steel and waking in sunshine. The many fields within his mind that he wanders, trying to catch twilight by the tail, serve as midwife to his work. He wonders about you. Ben Findlay - is a prose editor at Haute Dish and a recent graduate of the Creative Writing program. Heidi Fuhr - Heidi will soon be a graduate of Metropolitan State’s creative writing program. She is seeking M.F.A. programs throughout the country. Gail Gates - is a student within the Masters of Liberal Studies Program at Metropolitan State. As an emptynester, she comes equipped with oodles of life experience. Somehow, as she was raising her children, she forgot that she had wings too. Writing and photography are just two ways she’s learning to fly again. Autumn Kisling - Autumn is a soon-to-be Metropolitan State graduate with a degree in writing and editing. Katy Knable - Katy Knable is a recent graduate of Metropolitan State’s creative writing program, currently attending Hamline’s M.F.A. program. Rebecca Lux - recommends Sapporo Ichiban Ramen, B-complex vitamins, and regular exercise for surviving Minnesota winters. Rebecca is wrapping up a Liberal Arts major at Metro State and enjoys playing sports she isn’t familiar with. After taking courses in Metro’s Creative Writing and Ethnic Studies programs, Rebecca would like to take time to sleep and watch toddler marketed cartoons and let her brain rest before pursuing a Masters Degree.
Jamie McKelvey - Jamie McKelvey is currently pursuing a BA in English Literature at Metropolitan State University, engaging in the extra-cirricular activity of being a prose editor for Haute Dish. Jenna Noren - is a senior about to graduate this summer. She loves to write when she can and read everything. Writing has always been a release for her from childhood and continues to keep her somewhat sane. She writes short fiction and poetry, but is working on a novel she would like on an editor’s desk within a year. Byron Olson - is a Creative Writing major at Metropolitan State University. He enjoys writing and reading, and spends far too much time treasure hunting at thrift stores. Rebekah Pahr - is a current Metro State student who is planning to complete her degree in Technical Communications with a minor in Studio Arts. Rebekah loves to write and paint in her spare time and is usually inspired by her childhood memories. When she was young she wanted to become Peter Pan. Now she is looking forward to a degree; after that, she plans to move to Key West for a year to paint on the beach. Sally Reynolds - is a senior at Metropolitan State University and a poetry editor for Haute Dish. Donna Ronning - is finshing her junior year at Metropolitan State University in the Social Work program. She sees life as an unending maze of self-exploration. Stevi Saindon - is a senior at Metropolitan State University finishing her degree in Church History. She is a huge fan of words, particularly: poodle, french fry, guts, tourniquet and belly. Torleif Sorenson - Torleif is a graduate of Metropolitan State and is an experienced technical writer seeking a permanent or contract position in the Twin Cities. Moria Torrez - is a 2009 graduate of Minneapolis Community and Technical College with a degree in Video and Digital Arts, and a May 2011 graduate of the Screenwriting program at Metropolitan State University. She recently completed her first feature length screenplay and has two more immediate projects in the works. Moria’s dream is to write screenplays that are played out on the big screen and stageplays that make it to Broadway. She also enjoys poetry.
Spring James Filitz Oh Spring, you born of winterâ€™s womb will you pull away this curtain of night before I forget your sweet delights? Rising with red buds swollen visions of lilac ever woven the lips of your blushing rose Oh Spring, give me your mouthâ€”for whose mouth is as tender and eager as mine? Come, as if we were once lovers lying breast to breast, belly to belly whispering to the new moon Your scent is everywhere dear Spring beautiful and tender as a first kiss, as irretrievable as the dawn
Bergamot Bliss Gail Gates