ETCHINGS Volume 30.2 Literary and Fine Arts Magazine of the University of Indianapolis Spring 2018
30th Birthday Special Issue
Copyright ÂŠ2018 By the University of Indianapolis and Individual Contributors Cover Design by Kaitlin Watts Printed by Ingram Spark Indianapolis, Indiana 2018 ingramspark.com
Etchings Editorial Staff Editor in Chief (Submissions) James Nelligan Editor in Chief (Production) Spencer Martin Editor in Chief (Retrospective) Kylie Seitz Managing Editor/Visual Arts Editor Kaitlin Watts Prose Editor/Interview Editor Jessica Marvel Poetry Editors Michael Miller Sara Perkins Faculty Advisor Liz Whiteacre Retrospective Faculty Advisor Kevin McKelvey
Table of Contents VOLUME 30.2 Letter from the Editors .................................................................8 Dorlis Gott Armentrout Award ....................................................9 Interveiw with Alice Friman and Marshall Bruce Gentry ...........10
POETRY Note to Self by Elise Campagna ..............................................17 Grape Juice by Shelby Coffelt ..................................................18 Rain Boots, Puddles, and the Song We Dance To by Luke Frandsen .....................................................................................21 Marionette by Sarah Hoffmeier ...............................................33 Daddy I’m Sorry by Natalie McCann ....................................35 Por la coca (Episode 1) by Natalie McCann ...........................36 Por la coca (Epsiode 2) by Natalie McCann ...........................37 This is not a joke by Natalie McCann ....................................39 An Academic’s Woes by Lylanne Musselman ...........................40 Drought by Lylanne Musselman ..............................................43 Looking Back by Dorothy Radeke ..........................................46 Things I Want to Do by Dorothy Radeke ...............................49 To Be Black in America by Brooklyn Raines .........................61 Love Drunk by Lauren Salvo ...................................................67 Grandma by Shauna Sartoris ...................................................71 I Saw Her Name by Shauna Sartoris ......................................73 We Write on Temple Walls Before We Leave “Do Not Forget by Shauna Sartoris ................................................................75 Whipped Cream in My Coffee Reminds Me of Who You Used to Be by Shauna Sartoris .................................................77 Up in Smoke by Kaitlin Watts ..................................................78
SHORT FICTION Daddy’s Girl by Shannon Gaskin ............................................25 The Strawberry Festival by Brooklyn Raines ........................51
VIUSAL MATERIALS Breakfast Time by Kyle Agnew................................................76 Hello My Old Heart by Elise Campagna ................................50 5
Forsaken by Leah Diekhoff.......................................................60 Are You Joan? by Katherine Fries ............................................64 Young Joan Memory Map by Katherine Fries .......................65 Carved Mug by Cheyenne Granger .........................................72 Dripping Pitcher by Cheyenne Granger .................................16 Carved Lines by Madison Deline Hershberger .........................23 Pooh’s Hunny Jar by Madison Deline Hershberger ................20 Prehistoric Bowls by Madison Deline Hershberger ...............38 Reflective Vase by Madison Deline Hershberger.....................63 I am the Light by Nrmeen Jundi .............................................24 Deep in the Ocean by Nrmeen Jundi ......................................42 Shades of Oribe by Nrmeen Jundi .........................................31 Leiopython by Abby Kepley ....................................................74 Who Are You Wearing by Abby Kepley ..................................32 Legacy I by Olivia Moor ...........................................................44 Legacy II by Olivia Moor .........................................................45 (un)Shared Spaces by Olivia Moor .........................................34 Deciduous by Paige Stratton ....................................................68 Reservation by Paige Stratton .................................................69 Farmhouse by Amanda Thompson .........................................70 Man Behind the Machine by Kaitlin Watts ...........................48 Slipcast Cup by Auna Winters ................................................66
RETROSPECTIVE Letter from the Retrospective Editor ..........................................82 History.........................................................................................83
PREVIOUS DORLIS GOTT ARMENTROUT WINNERS
Elegy for a Junkie Lover by Bonnie Anderson .......................84 Fifteen Minutes by Jon Brumley .............................................86 Nate by Jon Henson ...................................................................92 Forty-Three by Andria Liverett Hine ......................................97 Le Jour by Lana Osterman .......................................................99 Laundry Matters by Kimberly M. King ...............................100 Alzheimer’s Disease by Lana Osterman .............................105 The Girl in the Photograph by Bryan Roth ........................109 Bird by Beth Pollock Boone .....................................................113 Remedial Reflections by Kim Kirin ....................................114 Victor by Valerie Traore .........................................................116 Bright Red Cooler by Valerie Traore ....................................120 The Proper Way to Write Poetry or The Proper Way to Learn
to Never Want to Write Poetry Again by Ethan Koron ........123 much praise by Elizabeth Waskom ........................................127 In the Cornfields by Kristine Weddell ..................................129 Story Kiss by Amy Remsburg ................................................131 One Day by Adela Chipe ........................................................132 George’s Once-Loved Mechanisms by Erika Saperstein ..137 Fading by Thessely Lane ........................................................139 Bathtub by Lindsey Allen .......................................................141 Joenabie by Kristin Fenker .....................................................142 Prayer by Lindsey Allen ..........................................................148 The Challenges of Writing a Poem by Laura Carter .........150 Second Chance, Last Chance, and No Chance At All by Laura Carter ............................................................................154 They Forgot by Elise Campagna ............................................165 Got ‘em! by Wade Thiel .........................................................166 One Night Out by Jessi Tillman .............................................170 artificial gods by Elise Campagna ........................................177 Elegy for the Ice Maiden by Elise Campagna ......................179 You Can Only Keep as Much as You Can Carry by Kaylie Ann Pickett ...............................................................................182 The Only Day I Showed Up to a Marketing Class Full of Wrestlers, Weight Lifters, and Footballers by Mirna Palacio Ornelas .....................................................................................191 My Grandmother’s Apron by Erica White ...........................193 Good Morning War Machine by Erica White.....................195 Les Invalides by Natalie McCann .........................................197 I Saw Her Name by Shauna Sartoris ....................................199
VISUAL MATERIALS PAIRED WITH PREVIOUS WINNERS Scan Series by Kalia Daily .....................................................104 Once We Were by Kyle Agnew ..............................................108 Lightness of Being by Abby Kepley .....................................112 Natural Impressions by Paige Stratton ...............................122 Weightless II by Paige Stratton .............................................140 Lidded Form by Madison Deline Hershberger .....................176 Avalanche by Paige Stratton ...................................................178 A Rose by Any Other Name by Catherine Watness .............196 Bios ...........................................................................................202 Artists and Writers’ Statements.................................................215 7
Letter from the Editors In the spring of 1989, George H. W. Bush had started his first year in office, Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” was on the radio, Hayao Miyazaki’s Laputa: Castle in the Sky had been released in the United States, the San Francisco 49ers had won the Super Bowl a few months earlier, Seinfeld was to premiere on NBC in the summer, and the first volume of Etchings was published. This issue of Etchings has been nothing but reflective for all of us as it marks the magazine’s thirtieth birthday. The magazine has seen a lot of change since its first printing, such as eight different faculty advisors, new students on the team every year, and an increase to two issues a year. We wanted to celebrate the accomplishments of all of those who have worked, published, or advised the journal throughout the years. Volume 30.2 also has a special Retrospective Section, dedicated to celebrating our 30-year history as a magazine. We hope you enjoy tracing the Etchings family tree as much as we did. As Editors-in-Chief, we would like to thank our amazing editorial staff and our faculty advisors, Liz Whiteacre and Kevin McKelvey, for helping us along the way. Major thanks to our Retrospective Editor-in-Chief, Kylie Seitz, for being the captain of the Retrospective section of this issue. We also want to send our eternal thanks to IngramSpark, who started printing for our magazine this last fall. Also, many thanks to our judges for the Dorlis Gott Armentrout Award this year: Marshall Bruce Gentry (one of the first faculty advisors for Etchings) and Alice Friman (the founder of the first poetry contest at the University of Indianapolis). Lastly, we want to thank all of the amazing contributors, past and present, in prose, poetry, and visual art that helped make this magazine. Without you, there would be no Etchings to speak of. Thank you for shaping every volume ever since our founding. To another thirty years, Spencer Martin and James Nelligan
Dorlis Gott Armentrout Award
Alice Friman and Marshall Bruce Gentry are former faculty advisors for Etchings, Gentry being one of the first. They married in 1989 and currently live in Milledgeville, Georgia where Friman was a Poet-in-Residence at Georgia College and where Gentry currently teaches English. Winner: “I Saw Her Name” by Shauna Sartoris In just fifteen short lines, the author has captured a mystery, and even though we don’t know “what happened” we know the emotional kernel of what happened. And THAT is what a poem is. It’s what’s going on between, or rather under, the lines. Thus, we admired the author’s subtlety, the ability to just skim the surface of the circumstances that engendered the poem. It takes intelligence to be able to do what the author of “I Saw Her Name” accomplished in this poem, intelligence and restraint.
Runner Up: “This is not a joke” by Natalie McCann “This is not a joke” seemed to us outstanding for many reasons: first of all its energy and humor, secondly its use of detail and color. And third, for that last line that just sweeps the rug out from under the reader. If you look at the last six words that end the poem, you’ll notice the contrast between what came before with all its jumble of color and detail and the stark reality of what’s really going on in that house: those six words—one syllable each—end the poem like the banging of a hammer. 9
Q&A with Alice Friman and Marshall Bruce Gentry Conducted by Jessica Marvel
Marshall Bruce Gentry and Alice Friman
Tell us about the history of creative writing at the University of Indianapolis. I hope you don’t mind, but I am answering a question that you didn’t ask because I think it’s important to know the history of the project you are engaged in. Way back when, there was no creative writing at U of I, no classes, no magazine, no contests, no nothing. Because I wanted to show students how thrilling it can be to do the hard work of self-expression, I began teaching one course a year on poetry writing and started an annual poetry contest, which had its ceremony on May 1 each year, complete with a highly decorated maypole and with professional poets as judges. For the first contest, I engaged Roger Pfingston, a prominant Bloomington poet, as judge. The school refused to give me any funds to pay him, so I ended up paying him out of my own pocket. Students were allowed to take the creative writing 10
course twice. Over the years, the creative writing course and its annual poetry contest celebration became a bigger and bigger event, so that the culture of creative writing at the University of Indianapolis became stronger. Our students started winning citywide prizes, and I made sure they knew how to take the stage and present a poem professionally. I was pleased to hand over the reins to Elizabeth Weber when I retired, and she did a great job nurturing students who wanted to write. Four years after the first poetry contest, Etchings was born. --AF Have you seen anything from the recent magazines? Or, have you worked with anybody after leaving the magazine? I have seen a few of the recent issues, but not as many as I’d like. I’ve been in touch with members of the U of I English Department from time to time over the years, but I am delighted to see that Etchings has been able to grow and prosper without me. My involvement with Etchings led to my editing The Flying Island, the lit mag of the Writers’ Center of Indiana, and my experiences with editing helped me out greatly when I became the editor of the scholarly journal Flannery O’Connor Review. --BG What was the process of making the first magazine? How did submissions work in those early years? What was staffing like before the magazine was made into a class? The magazine started when Prof. Anne Marie Drew and I were brainstorming what we could do to improve our morale. When we started the magazine, the faculty (Drew and I) took care of the business details and made some of the decisions about the contents, but the student staff (led for the first two years by Julie Kuehr, as Editor) made most of the decisions about the contents. Everything was volunteer wor—all acts of love—and we made up our rules as we proceeded. The annual poetry contest (run by Alice Friman) recruited most of our best submissions, but we were open to everyone. --BG 11
Why do you think itâ€™s important for universities like UIndy to have a literary magazine? It is always a good idea to honor the arts. The college lit mag creates a great memento of the college years, and it gives contributors a hint of what might be done when a writing life begins in earnest. Serious writing usually starts later, though you never know... --BG Why should writers and artists be on a staff like Etchings? Working on a literary magazine teaches us all to sweat the DETAILS. The part of the mind that worries over the details is different from the part that creates. Everything about a literary magazine has an effect on how the contents are received by the readers. --BG What did you learn in your experience(s) being the advisor of a literary magazine? Flexibility. That I need to quadruple-check everything. How complicated collating can be, and how to operate a saddle stapler. And most of all...to be grateful to people who share with me their creative writing. --BG
Dripping Pitcher Cheyenne Granger
Note to Self Elise Campagna Stop carrying your love around like that. You look like a little kid wandering around a dollar store, clutching a single dollar in your white-knuckled fist. The bill is getting wrinkled and damp. You don’t even know what you’re looking for, wandering through all those aisles, crammed with bright oddities you might fight interesting. You’re not even sure you really want to spend it. Stop holding on so tight. It’s okay if you drop it. It’s okay if it falls and flutters down the sidewalk. Someone else might pick it up, but you will have more to spend. You can spend love on many things: On a house plant, on an old woman at the Laundromat waiting for only two shirts and a pillowcase to dry, on a moth caught inside a light, on a constellation, on song, on a letter to yourself. You weren’t made for a faceless man. You were made for everything.
Grape Juice Shelby Coffelt Sugary grape juice pours through my system, Running down in its grainy ways Clogging my heart, my veins, my brain What do you mean, settle down? I’m perfectly fine; it’s you who is slow Why can’t you run around like me? Mommy, What is this pain? It hurts all over My eyes start to go black I’m thirsty mommy, can I have more juice? Sweetie! My mommy screams I turn around and smile I see my mommy running towards me Screaming, crying What’s the fuss? I’m all right She reaches me, but doesn’t see me She’s crouched around the ground below I see myself lying there There is a car next to me, and flashing lights in the distance Why is everyone crying? Did I spill my juice? I see a purple-ish red splatter across the road I must have spilt my juice Why is everyone ignoring the real me? I’m right here Another car pulls up, that’s where the flashing is coming from I see men in paper outfits run to the fake me They grab my arm, and hold it. They shake their heads and put a sheet over the fake me My mommy starts to scream again What’s the matter? Why can’t they see I’m right here? I start to float away Where am I going? What’s happening? Why can’t I see my mommy any more? 18
It doesn’t hurt anymore though, But I can’t feel anything at all Why is it so dark? I hear a thick rumbling I hear someone call my name Not my name my mommy calls me, but my true name I don’t know how I know, but I do Someone is calling me Calling me home. I am home.
Poohâ€™s Hunny Jar
Madison Deline Hershberger
Rain Boots, Puddles, and the Song We Dance To Luke Frandsen Alternate title: The Utter Terror and Panic of a Rainstorm, a Generally Benign Event, from the Perspective of an Ant, Whose Home is Flooded and Destroyed, in Order to Contrast Experience with Perspective The corridor fills With the torrent Bringing death, destruction We flee. Swept up into the flood. Life, what once was, Now, what will be? We flee. We break the surface The light blinds us all Transparent globes smash into us We flee. No one is left but me I am alone, hiding The planets crash, the pillars stomp I fled. I must rebuild. And yet, alone, I cannot I wander out from my place I fled. â€” A child plays in the rain Splashing up to her knees A colony of ants nearby 21
Only dots on the pavement. She sees, yet does not She is oblivious of them, Just as they are of her She dances to her own tune.
Madison Deline Hershberger
I am the Light Nrmeen Jundi
Daddy’s Girl Shannon Gaskin
If anyone had asked me, I woulda told them I ain’t do nothing wrong. I got up, made my bed, ate breakfast, and brushed my teeth like I was supposed to. I mean I mighta argued a little when getting dressed. You woulda too if you saw what Momma laid out. The pale pink dress stared at me, taunting me. I wasn’t one to let things go easily, so I stomped my foot at it and stuck my tongue out as far as it would go. Without even looking at me Momma spoke in a hushed tone. “Child, you betta stop looking at that there dress like that and put it on before I pop you a good one.” “But, Momma, it’s so uncomfortable. Lila’s momma don’t make her wear ‘em.” “Do I look like Lila’s momma? That’s why Lila so fast now. Don’t make me go get yo daddy.” At the mention of Daddy, I quickly made my way to the stupid piece of clothing and dragged it over my head just in time to be plopped down on the floor. Momma began to unwrap the curlers she stuck in my head the night before. “When we get there you betta put yo ass in a seat and don’t move it. I don’t want to hear a peep out of you, neither.” She punctuated each word with a yank of my head in each and every direction. I tried leaning forward a little to grab my doll to keep me company, just to have my head pulled back into the original position she had it. I tried again, and the same thing happened. With my arms folded across my chest and my bottom lip jutted out, I settled in with only my thoughts to keep me entertained. I was in the middle of thinking how to get a dollar out of Uncle Jim when someone seized me and stood me up. “What you do to my baby, Charlene?” Daddy joked while poking at my bottom lip. “I ain’t do nothing but do that child’s hair. You need to stop babying her. That’s her problem now.” Momma gave him a peck. With that, she walked in the closet and continued to get herself dressed. Daddy picked me up and placed me on the seat she just vacated. He pulled out a tie that matched my dress and looped it 25
around my neck. Daddy folded the ends until they formed a knot at the base of my throat. After making sure it was just right he loosened it without completely untying it. He pulled the tie over my head just to slip it over his own. “Let’s go wait in the car for ya momma.” He picked me up and hoisted me on his hip. My entire frame shook as Daddy bounced down each step. We stopped for two seconds so he could wrestle my coat on me before throwing on his own. Then we continued our journey to the car “Can you handle getting yourself buckled, baby girl?” Daddy questioned, opening the back door to the car for me. “Of course I can,” I mumbled with an eye roll. Before he could respond, Momma came and sat in the passenger seat. While Momma told him to make sure the front door was locked, I fastened my seat belt. When he turned back around to check on me and saw that I buckled myself in, he gave me a quick high five and a kiss on the forehead. I smiled up at him and laid my head on the recently closed car door, waiting for us to take off towards the church. The whole ride to the church I watched Momma and Daddy up in the front seat. It was pretty boring because all they did was hold hands over the stick thing Daddy uses when he drives. From time to time Daddy would lift their hands to kiss the back of Momma’s, but that was it. Once or twice I heard Momma mention Auntie Shelia. Auntie Shelia wasn’t Momma’s sister; I don’t think. I think it had more to do with Auntie Shelia and Momma being friends since they were in second grade. I’ll be in second grade next year. Momma said Auntie Shelia’s son would be in my class. Monte ain’t very nice though, so I don’t think we are going to be friends like our parents are. Our parents don’t get that. Auntie Shelia always tries to make us sit together whenever our families do anything together. I just know they gonna make us sit together at church. I don’t know why, we always end up in trouble for arguing and ugh, there was Monte front and center as we pulled up to the church. Uncle Jim was helping get him out of the backseat of their car. His shirt kind of matched Auntie Shelia’s dress. They were both gray. Daddy came and grabbed me while Momma and Shelia talked away as if they weren’t on the phone with each other this morning. “Me and Shelia are going to go freshen up in the bathroom. Take the kids and find a seat. Make sure it’s not by Sister Bell, she always got somebody name in her mouth.”
Daddy threw his head back and laughed, moving us in the opposite direction of her and Auntie Shelia. After entering the church, Daddy and Uncle Jim set us down to take off our coats and hang them up on a silver rack nearby. Monte pulled a piece of my hair and started to run in the opposite direction laughing. I couldn’t let him get away with that, so I decided to chase after him. Just as I reached him, I tripped over my own feet and fell on the red carpet hurting my knee. I got up and ran to Daddy. It hurt so badly. “Daddy, Monte made me hurt myself,” I cried while pulling on his suit jacket. “Are you sure you didn’t trip and fall?” he laughed. “No, Monte made me fall because he pulled my hair.” “Aww, it will be okay, baby girl,” Daddy whispered tucking my head into his shoulder. He started to walk us in the direction of the church’s main room. “We won’t tell your mother about those runs in your tights either.” When we walked into the main room, they were in the middle of passing around the silver bowl that Daddy says I’m not allowed to take money out of. Daddy usually gives me a quarter or dime to put into it. Just think, if I saved up all that change I could be rich. Ooh, Momma gone be pissed. Daddy plopped Monte and me right by Sister Belle and went to help with collecting the money. I like Sister Belle. She always lets me play with her fan and gives me peppermints out of her purse. Sometimes she even lets me sleep on her lap when it gets too boring. “Hi, baby. Where yo mamma at?” she asked. She dug into her purse and pulled out four mints. She gave me and Monte two each. I popped both mints in my mouth at the same time. “They in the bathroom freshening up.” “No, they ain’t. They in there talking.” Monte interrupted, “At least that’s what Daddy says they be doing.” I rolled my eyes at him and sat back on the bench. “What’s it yo daddy say?” Aunt Shelia questioned while taking a tight hold of Monte’s shoulder. Sister Bell stepped in before Monte could dig himself and his Daddy a bigger hole. “Now you leave that poor boy there alone. He ain’t do nothing but answer what I asked him.” I sat there snickering into my hand while pointing at Monte. Momma didn’t like that, so she dug her fingers into my shoulder, too. She turned me to face her and gave me a look that said, “I
dare you.” I started looking for Daddy to help me out of the situation. He stood on the other side of the church with his back turned toward me. He couldn’t see me. I was on my own. With that thought I tried to slip out of Momma’s grasp and fold myself into Sister Belle’s side, using her fan as a way to shield me from Momma’s gaze. I could hear Monte snickering at me now and was going to say something, but I decided against it. “You young folks are always late. Service started over thirty minutes ago.” Sister Belle said at Momma through pursed lips. Momma bit out with a twitch going in her eye, “Well when you have a child, a husband, and yourself to get dressed in the morning, then come talk to me.” I was confused because all Momma had to do this morning was help me with my dress and tights. I went to ask her about it when I felt a stinging feeling coming from my right arm where Momma dug her nails deeper to warn me about keeping my mouth shut. Momma took the next two seconds to come around the side of the pew and take a seat between Monte and me. Monte’s momma sat on the other side of him. I kept my eyes on Daddy as he continued to pass the silver bowl up one aisle and down the other. I wished I could be over there with him. It was beginning to be very boring just sitting here. I felt like I hadn’t moved in hours. Finally, after Daddy collected all the money, they went out a door to the side of the pulpit near where the pastor’s wife always sits. I moved my eyes to look at Momma. Her eyes were trained forward looking at the pastor. Every now and again she would lean over and whisper something to Aunt Shelia. One time I even heard her mention Sister Belle’s name. I strained my ears to try to listen, but it was useless. So instead I laid my head down on Sister Belle’s lap. She began to play with my hair and fan air on my face. I fell asleep listening to the choir sing. I didn’t wake up again until Monte started violently shaking me. “Wake up, stupid. I want candy.” I wiped the sleep out of my eyes. “Leave me alone,” I whined. “No. Hurry up before they run out,” he mumbled at me with another shake. I was upset, so I sat up and pushed Monte as hard as I could, but he didn’t move at all. His big head was probably weighing him down to that spot. I’m not the stupid one he is. He forgot we don’t have money for the candy, and Momma and Aunt Shelia weren’t going to give us any. I decided to let him know that. Just then he pulled a bunch of quarters out of his pocket. We sat
down on the floor and counted twelve. “I grabbed them outta my momma’s purse when she wasn’t looking. There is enough for us to get six pieces of candy each,” he said splitting the quarters in half. I scooped up my half and closed them in my fist so that I couldn’t drop them. Monte lied and told Auntie Shelia we were just going to sit with Daddy. He was going to be in so much trouble when Auntie Shelia and Uncle Jim found out. We ran to the empty room connected to the back of the church. We wanted to be the first in line. We made it to the other room just as they were bringing out the wood-topped folding table. I watched Monte watching them. His eyes looked huge, and drool dripped onto his grey shirt. I laughed at him. I turned to look at the candy they just finished setting out. There was so many. I could see Blow Pops, Pixy Sticks, and Lemon Heads. There were other types of candy too, but I only wanted those. Monte and I raced to the table, change in hand when we heard the noise level rise. It meant that church finally ended. We had to hurry up and get out of here. I pushed my way in front of Monte and got two of each of my favorite candies. While Monte was taking forever to choose his, I could see Daddy and Uncle Jim making their way into the room. I poked Monte once in his back, but he ignored me. So, then I poked him in the cheek repeatedly until he turned around. “Hurry up, Monte! We are going to get in trouble. Uncle Jim is in here with Daddy,” I whisper yelled at him. “I’m almost done. I just need to pick out two more,” Monte answered back. I started rocking back and forth on my feet, getting more and more scared with each passing second. Monte grabbed my hand and started to run out the room when I went flying backward. I felt two huge swats on my behind. I screamed ow as tears began to fall from my eyes. When I turned around, I saw Daddy standing there. “Why did you tell your mother that you were coming to sit with me when you weren’t?” “I didn’t Monte did,” I cried out. “Snitch,” Monte yelled in my direction. Well, he did. I didn’t want to get in any more trouble because of him. My father grabbed my chin and raised it till I was looking him in the eyes. I kept trying to look away, but his hold wouldn’t budge. “He may have said it, but you followed along. Did you or did you not?” Daddy questioned. I didn’t want to answer, so I just stood there whimpering.
“Answer me,” Daddy demanded as he swatted my behind for the third and fourth time. “Baby, I think we also need to talk to her about stealing. Sister Belle said she saw Monte take some money out of Shelia’s purse,” Momma said, coming out of nowhere. Daddy let me go to talk to Momma. “That doesn’t make any sense. Amelia has never stolen anything before in her life,” Daddy spoke to her in disbelief. “Well, I sure as hell didn’t give neither one of them money for candy. Did you?” Momma answered back. “No. I’ll whoop her ass again when we get back home then. No child of mine is gone be a thief.” I looked around for Sister Belle, knowing she had to be somewhere nearby. Once I found her, I glared at her with as much as hatred as I could. What did I ever do to her, and when did Momma start listening to her? Out the side of my eye, I saw Monte glaring at her as well. We were both so angry. Even as Momma was dragging me out the church and back into the car, I continued to glare. Not even the candy still clutched tightly in my hand could cheer me up. On the ride back home Daddy wouldn’t look at me. He just stared out the front window. Momma tried rubbing his right shoulder in circles, but that didn’t help. Momma let out a huge sigh before looking out her own window. After fifteen minutes Daddy parked the car in the driveway and made his way over to my door. He didn’t say a word as he reached in and unbuckled me. He carried me into the house and sat me down by the front door to undo my coat. “I’m not going to whoop you, but I want you to understand what you did is wrong and I am very disappointed in you Artemis,” he spoke while looking me in the eye. I think I preferred the whooping.
Shades of Oribe Nrmeen Jundi
Who Are You Wearing? Abby Kepley
Marrionette Sarah Hoffmeier You need me to be more polite, here’s the nail. You need me to be perfection, here’s the hammer. You need me to meet your expectations, well here’s my head where X marks the spot. Should I speak my mind I’m inconsiderate. Should I scream out at the atrocities I’m conflicted. Should I say nothing you wonder why I’m shy, as I’ve learned to sew my mouth shut. Paint my face with the colors of beauty, for natural is a lie. Pull my strings so I can move for your entertainment. Put me on display for yourself. Take out my soft guts and replace them with sharp stones that weigh me down. Gouge out my eyes shimmering in hope and fill with concrete poured with glitter. Shoot out my heart with high pressure air rifles and I replace it with ‘I love you.’
(un)Shared Spaces Olivia Moor
Part of the Before the After series
Daddy I’m Sorry Natalie McCann We both know I haven’t been the same Since summer 2015 when I fell in love with a drug dealing sociopath Because I have the ability to see angels in place of demons. But I was in love I was so, so in love that I tried to kill myself and Daddy I swear I am sorry. Ripe, gooey cuts brimming velvet tears on my arms that you pretended not to notice just like you pretended not to notice me talking to shadows at 8 years old I couldn’t tell the difference between dreaming and living 8 years old and I knew I wasn’t supposed to be here. Maybe she’s slow Maybe she’s queer She never brings home boys yet shows up with hickies. I forgive you for not noticing the bald spots On my head I would scream and pull and pull and I’ll keep forgiving you Because through the gray fog of my Memories, you are an angel.
Por la coca (Episode 1) Natalie McCann One line he said one line only used my library card to break the fine dust under the green lights of my motherâ€™s kitchen. The black ink of my pupils bloom and I feel alive. You do not know who you are when youâ€™re sober. Milky puddles of crimson sin leaking from my nose and land into a paper cup. Little rocks with a high price. Take your whole paycheck and fit it in your nose. Bruised little coke baby his shaky fingers travel up my thigh and he tells me there are other ways I can pay.
Por la coca (Episode 2) Natalie McCann Do you remember that night I think it was a Tuesday and You painted the sky with wet charcoal I remember how your nose bled Onto my breasts and you licked It all up and gave me a taste God Iâ€™ll never forget how you taste Brown sugar and pressed rocks.
Madison Deline Hershberger
Dorlis Gott Armentrout Award Runner-Up
This is not a joke Natalie McCann I have seen Heaven and it Has orange shag carpeting. It has scratch and sniff halos And lava lamps in every room. There are purple afternoons And smooth, velvet evenings. God wears red stilettos and a fur coat, A gold chain with a little ark. He resides on the second floor of Eternity, A small, warm room with papier-mĂ˘chĂŠ wallpaper. He waits patiently by his telephone, Hoping his kids will call him back.
An Academic’s Woes Lylanne Musselman On Thursday, margaritas for lunch, afterward, Glenn lies down on Jesup Scott’s grave, his Honors College namesake, not knowing if tenure is secure or not. Sallie Mae says she wants my student loan money now. Payback time for indulging in Vonnegut, Plath, Pollack, and Pinter. Giddy and mean liberal haters say they hope I’m happy with that hope and change. My adjunct hours snipped and cut in the name of “Obamacare.” Later, dinner with friends who split one order of sizzling fajitas. His paycheck doesn’t afford two entrees. She a casualty of forced early retirement. So much for being Associate Dean of Honors, hi ho! I read too many comments left on internet academic articles. Disrespect is depressing, as is a lack of grammar and spelling skills. People who write that taking college humanities should not be “aloud” should not be allowed to write of their disgust of humanities. Today, a certified letter; my ex is losing her house. Now big banks track me down like a dirty deed. It’s June and the furnace kicks on, like I have money to burn. Summer enrollment is down, I’m left without any online classes, now because of a “sixty-eight-million-dollar dilemma”— 40
more cuts to deepen scholarly wounds. It’s hard to be an adjunct, something must change. I owe, I owe, I owe, it’s make-shift work I know. Still, my solace in Vonnegut: “So it goes.”
Deep in the Ocean Nrmeen Jundi
Drought Lylanne Musselman This summer heat is unrelenting and unknown in these regions. Our thermometers read 105 degrees every day, leaving Midwestern lake and river beds arid and cracked, the heartland looks and feels like a desert. Every time local Meteorologist Blizzard Bill predicts a soaking rain, it misses. The grass, flowers, trees, and gardens thirst for a good, long drink but Mother Nature only musters a few drops in this neighborhood or that. Or she slams one with a disasterâ€”hail and wind, to torture the tortured. Trees so dehydrated they tip over in a dead faint, tangling with wires and unsuspecting houses. As if a bully throwing rocks, helpless plants are pelted by hail. A bird, found dead in my driveway, looks toasted in the sun, feathers frayed every direction. Poor thingâ€” parched from no water, or suicidal for weeks from being basted in endless humidity.
Part of the Before the After series
Legacy II Olivia Moor
Part of the Before the After series
Looking Back Dorothy Radeke I sit and look through golden books Of photos that were taken then, And in my mind I hear the songs Of all the loves from way back when. Like precious wine that sweeter grows With passing days and passing years, I see the happy times we had. I hear the laughs, forget the tears. And once again I hold the babes Who snuggled close against my breast. I feel their warmth. I smell their skin. I see their smiles. I was so blessed. The happy days of youth and sun Are there on pages that I see, As when our life had first begun And all the world was you and me. It seems that living has a way Of somehow getting in between, And days go by and lives are lived. The blessings somehow are unseen. Til we are old and looking back On days gone by and then it seems That everyday is somehow shown In beautiful forgotten dreams. It all went by in such a blur. The little babes became grown men. It was a happy time, I know Those yesterdays of way back when. 46
Again I glance back through my books At joys and loves that I have known. I am at peace. I see my world A garden from the seeds Iâ€™ve sown.
Man Behind the Machine Kaitlin Watts
Things I Want to Do Dorothy Radeke I’m not ready for the rockin’ chair yet. I want to walk in a gentle spring rain And jump in a mud puddle again. I want to dance in the morning light As it breaks the black night sky. I want to climb to the peak of Mount LaCont. I want to wade in the icy waters of the Tennessee River. I want to walk through the cornfields of Iowa And feel the warm black mud squish through my toes. I want to climb into a hay loft and smell the fresh cut hay. I want to see the snow and grandure of Alaska, The pomp and magisty of Rome, The beauty of Paris, Sip oolzo in Cyprus, and watch the old men play backgammon. I want to visit my homeland of Indiana, See the streets of New York, The muddy waters of the great Mississippi, The white sands of the Gulf Beaches. I want to feel the soft spring rain, Lie in the warm summer sun, See the colors of a midwestern autumn, Shiver in the cold winter wind. I want to chase a butterfly. I’m not ready for a rockin’ chair. Not yet. Not yet.
Hello My Old Heart Elise Campagna
The Strawberry Festival Brooklyn Raines Momma is sick. If she sneezes or coughs on me I can’t get sick. It’s not that kind of sick, Papa tells me. She’s been sick ever since I was a tiny baby. Momma gets out of the bed only to go to the bathroom, drink peach tea on the porch or take baths, but she only takes baths at night. Me and Papa take turns bringing Momma food to her room. Papa makes breakfast every morning. He makes me and Sissy two pancakes, a big bowl of fruits that sissy doesn’t like to share, and bacon, but it’s not real bacon, Sissy says, because it comes from a turkey. It tastes yummy, so I eat it. After I finish up my food Papa makes Momma a plate and we work together to put it on a pretty green tray. It’s not the same color green as grass, but green like my green chalk. I put her plate in the middle of it. Next, Papa puts three pancakes, eggs but eggs that are cheesy, strawberries and a piece of that fake bacon on her plate. Papa’s hands shake when he scoops the eggs up with the spatula. I always ask what’s wrong; he tells me stress. I don’t know much about that. Papa writes a nice saying on a note and puts that on the tray. I try to see what he writes, but he tells me to get out of grown folks’ business. I pick a flower from the backyard and put it on the tray real nicely. I want Momma to go to the Strawberry Festival with Papa and Sissy and me this year. I’m doing everything real nice for Momma so when I ask she might say yes to me. Everytime we do this I ask Sissy if she wants to help, she gives me a mean face. Papa told me not to ask Sissy if she wants to help anymore. “Does Sissy not love Momma?” I ask. “No baby, they just don’t get each other that’s all.” “Why?” I say. “It’s grown folks’ business, you just worry about being my little princess.” He says this a lot. I run the tray up to Momma. I knock on her door. I do my knock. My knock is two knocks then I stop and then I knock one more time. That’s how Momma knows it’s me and not Papa. “Come in, Norie,” she says. 51
“Hi, Momma.” She points her finger to her table next to her bed and I sit the tray down. I walk into her arms and she squeezes me too tight. She smells very pretty. Her long curlies tickle my nose. Momma is the prettiest. Her skin is soft, I like it when my cheeks touch her chest. Her robe is scratchy, but soft. It’s black with red and white flowers. It makes me think of a painting I saw when Grandma took me to an art museum in the place where Momma use to live. Grandma and Grandpa tell me stories about Momma whenever we go visit them. They tell me Momma use to be in plays and musicals. It’s hard to see Momma dancing or singing now, but sometimes when I’m alone I use my imagination to do that. A place called Chicago. I like Chicago better than here. In Chicago there are more people and the buildings touch the sky. The people there look like us more, we have the same caramel skin color. There is fun stuff to do like museums and parks and fancy stores. Here there are just farms and houses and stores that look tired. Mr. Dan, that owns the little store I get candies from, is the only person here that has skin like mine. In Chicago I don’t have to worry about kids asking where my dead brother is. I want to cry when they ask that question. When I was real small my Papa sat me down and told me I had a brother named Stephen. He was Sissy’s twin brother, he looked like Sissy if she was a boy. Papa told me Stephen fell into the pond and couldn’t swim. He said my brother drowned. It’s an ugly word I don’t like to hear. There’s a picture of Stephen I see when I go up the stairs. He was so cute, he had blonde curlies like me, and was missing his two front teeth. He’s holding a kite in the picture and looks so happy. I love looking at the picture and when no one’s around I talk to him. Papa says he’s in a better place. A place where he’s always happy, a place called heaven. I wonder if heaven is by Chicago where Grandma and Grandpa live. I wonder when I’ll get to see him, but I don’t want to worry Papa so I don’t ask. Papa has other stuff to worry about. Momma tells me to get the pill bottle out of her drawer in the bathroom that has a big red three on the cap. I know what she wants. I get Momma her medicine a lot. Sometimes Papa has to take her pills and I get them and give them to him. He says they help his shakes. She calls me her big girl when I bring the bottle to her. Momma has her own room and her own bed. Papa sleeps downstairs. On TV the Mommas and Papas sleep in one
bed together. My Momma and Papa don’t do that. I don’t know why, but I’m used to it now. Sissy yells that I’m going to make us late again. I hug Momma bye and she gives me a kiss on my forehead. I don’t wanna let go. I don’t like leaving her, but she says little girls like me need school. I listen to her because if she sees how good I am then when I ask her to go to the Strawberry Festival she will say yes. Sissy waits for me on the porch with my bag and lunch pail. We walk to the end of the driveway where the bus gets us. I’m in the first grade and my teacher is Mr. Campbell, but I like Mr. C better. He’s very tall and his black glasses make him look mean, but he is actually really nice. I go to school at Fort Worth Elementary School and Sissy goes to Fort Worth Middle School. There isn’t many kids to play with around me and I think that’s why the schools are small and all by each other. I use to like school a lot until the other kids spit on me. I liked it until the kids started asking about Stephen. When we have tests, Mr. C puts the three kid’s names that did the best on the test on the Golden Noodle Board. It’s a board outside the classroom with sparkly gold flakes and black letters. My name is on the board a lot and the other girls don’t like that. One day at recess I was chalking on the sidewalk behind the merry go round. It was just me by myself, the other kids don’t talk to me, look at me or play with me. Sydney Badger, Lou Franciscan, and the little girl with red curls from Ms. Twinkles class came up to me. “Do you think we are dumb?’ Lou asked me. “No, my Papa told me no one is dumb, we all know something,” I say back. They all smile at me, but not with nice smiles, but the smiles the bad guys in cartoons make when they know something I don’t. Then all three of the girls spit on me. It was hot on my face. I wiped the spit off by rubbing my face on my sleeves and then I buried my face into my knees and cried. The girls ran off before I could even think. Why were they so mean to me? I use to try and talk to them and play jump rope with them. I stopped trying to when one of the girls told me her mom said she couldn’t play with black girls and girls that had bad mommas. Somedays I don’t want to be a black girl. I want to switch my caramel skin out for white skin and my curls out for straight hair. Anything so I can have friends. I wish the other kids didn’t know about what happened to Stephen. I wish Stephen was here to protect me. Sissy knows how
the other kids treat me and tells me “That’s life, buttercup.” I get on the bus before Sissy and decide to look outside the window, I don’t want her to see that I’ve been crying. I can smell her scent even before I see her. She smells like coconuts on a bus that stinks like sweat I think. She slides in the seat and ask me what’s wrong. I lie to her and tell her my tummy hurts. I think she believes me because she just says OK back. When I get home, I’m surprised to see Momma on the porch. She’s sitting on the swing with her knees to her chest painting her toenails. I run up to her. Usually, she doesn’t sit on the porch until the sun is going down. “Hi, Norie baby, how was school,” she asks me. “Good Momma. Why are you outside already?” I ask her. She picks me up and sits me beside her on the swing. Sissy already went into the house without even saying a single word to Momma, but that’s normal. “Well, baby, your birthday is next weekend and I want to know what you want do for it? 7 is a lucky number and a special one so we should do something extra special this year,” Momma tells me. I think about it for a little bit. I already have enough baby dolls and baby doll clothes. I have a tea set and a Barbie kitchen. I have a few Barbies and a hot pink bike with a basket and a horn on it. I can’t think of not even one toy I want. So I keep thinking. I have two chalk sets, pretty dresses and hair bows. I have a paint set and finger nails polishes of all different colors even one that glows in the dark. And then it pops in my head that it’s the perfect time to ask about the festival. “Momma, I want us all to go to the Strawberry Festival as a family,” I tell her. She looks at me real serious like. I know she’s thinking about it, I can tell by her eyebrows. Momma doesn’t leave past the porch. I remember asking Papa why. I thought maybe it’s because she will get other people sick or it’ll make her sicker. Papa told me that Momma doesn’t do well around other people. That if she’s around a bunch of people, she gets nervous and this thing called anxiety, I think that’s what it’s called, makes her tummy hurt. I’m hoping she says yes to me, even though I know she might not, but she might say yes and that’s all that matters. “I’ll make a deal with you, Norie. Get an A on your spelling test on Friday and we will all go as a family,” she says. All of a sudden I feel like I just ate 20 cherry sour chewies
from Mr. Dan’s little store. I jump up and down and run around the porch. This is the most excited I have been in a long time. Momma rocks slowly on the swing and gives me a little smile. I skip every other stair until I’m up into my room. I’m good at spelling, actually I’m good at school. I get mainly A’s well a lot of them, and I think that’s why the girls at school don’t like me. I’ve been missing words on the tests on purpose so the girls won’t see my name on the Golden Noodle Board. If I get an A, on the test I will have to deal with the girls being extra mean to me until the next test. Then I think about walking into the Strawberry Festival holding Momma’s hand and Papa’s hand. The kids from school will get to see how pretty Momma is and maybe they’ll want to be my friend then. Maybe they’ll see Momma is a good Momma and she didn’t let Stephen die on purpose. Later that night, Papa comes into my room while I’m looking at my spelling words. “Would you like some help, Princess?” I tell Papa no like I always do. I know Papa works all day long so if I ever need help, I just ask Sissy. Some nights I wake up to go potty and I hear Papa crying downstairs. When I ask him if he’s OK he hides his face and takes me back to my room and tucks me in. “Mya told me Momma asked what you wanted for your birthday and you told her that you just want us to all go to the Strawberry Festival, right?” he asks me. I shake my head yes and smile at Papa. “That’s a great idea baby, but you do know that Momma does really really want to go. I know she does, but if she doesn’t get to go, which I don’t think will happen, but just in case she can’t because she doesn’t feel good, Sissy and I will take you,” he says. I nod to him showing I understand. I know deep down in my heart Momma will go, I have no doubt. It’s the day before my birthday and more importantly the day before the Strawberry Festival. Papa has made cupcakes for me to take to my class. They are the prettiest cupcakes I have ever seen. They sit in pink sparkly wrappers and have white icing that swirls up on them. Papa asks me if I want to eat one for breakfast and I tell him I’ll wait until the kids in my class eat them too. I have my favorite pink dress on. It has tiny white stripes on it and two big white bows on the sleeves. I bring Momma her breakfast and she tells me how pretty I look. She even surprises me with two pink
bows she ties around my piggy tails. My blonde curls swing from side to side when I walk. Some kids eat the cupcakes, but most don’t. Mr. C ask the kids why they don’t want one and they say they are full, but I know it’s just because they don’t like me. Momma is taking me to the Strawberry Festival, so this time I don’t care that much. Mr. C sends me home with a little gift bag and inside it is sparkly pencils, suckers, chocolate candies, sticky notes that are pink and a yo-yo. Oh, and I got an A on my spelling test. I almost forgot that. The most important part. I got all 20 words right and even the three bonus words. I race upstairs to Momma and I accidently forget to do my knock. At first she seems upset, but when she sees it’s me she smiles big. “An A, Momma,” I tell her this with excitement. “Looks like I need to find a dress for the festival now,” she says. I run into her arms and we spin around the room. She squeezes me tight and kisses my face. Sissy looks at us and laughs. I don’t think it’s a happy laugh. The night before the festival I can hardly sleep. I toss and turn and close my eyes for a little and open them ready to see if the sun is coming up. I finally fall asleep and wake up to Papa cooking breakfast. I jump out of bed and run downstairs. Today is the day. Halfway down the stairs I squint real hard and can’t believe my eyes. Momma is eating at the kitchen table. Her long curls are hidden in her bonnet. She sees me and gives me a big smile. I look over to Papa to make sure it’s not a dream. He smiles big and gives me a nod. I take a seat right next to Momma. Papa brings over strawberry french toast. It has white dust on it. I’m not sure what it is so I take my finger and run it across the toast. It tastes sweet like sugar, but better. On top of the thickest piece of french toast a candle dances. Momma and Papa sing happy birthday to me and I blow it out. I say my wish in my head, my wish is for Momma to go to the festival with us. The only person missing is Sissy. I ask Papa if I can go wake her up and once I get permission I race upstairs to her room. I open her door and the room is still dark so I surprise her by yanking away the sheet covering her window and pulling up her curtains. “It’s my birthday Sissy, and Momma’s downstairs for breakfast, can you believe it? Huh? Sissy can you believe that?” I shout. She rolls over to face me and smiles. “You do know she isn’t going to go to the festival right? She’s
just pretending, and when it’s time to actually take a step off the porch to go, she’ll come up with a sorry-ass excuse, you do know that’s what is going to happen, Norie? I’m not trying to hurt your feelings and I’m happy it’s your birthday, but Mom isn’t coming,” she says to me. I just stare at her and walk away. She’s lying. Momma is going to go she even came downstairs for breakfast. She told me to just bring her home an A on my test and she’s going and I did that. The girls might spit on me again for getting my name on the Golden Noodle Board, but I won’t care because I will have spent my day with Momma and Papa at the Strawberry Festival. If Sissy wants to be mean she can stay home. Papa surprises me with a new dress for the festival. It’s green with tiny pink strawberries all over it. I put it on and it looks very pretty on me. Papa ties half of my curls up in a green bow and tells me to wait downstairs while Momma finishes getting ready. I sit watching cartoons, episode after episode and wonder when everyone will come downstairs. I start to hear sissy yelling and Momma crying so I rush upstairs. Everyone is in the room I’m not allowed to go into, Stephen’s room. I stop and wonder if I’ll get into trouble for going in. Then I hear Papa tell Momma she’ll break my heart if she doesn’t go. I get angry. My face gets hot and I want to cry. I bust open the door and everyone stares at me. They all stop talking and look at me. “If you don’t want to go don’t go I don’t want to force you, but it’s not fair, I’m sorry Stephen isn’t here anymore, but I didn’t send him to heaven,” I get the words out and then start crying. I run to my room. I can hear Papa walking up to my door. “Norie, honey, I want to show you something come back down here,” he says to me. I get up from my bed and follow Papa into the room everyone is in. Momma sits on a bed about my size, but it’s got robots and spaceships on it. Black stuff runs down her face with tears. She still looks pretty. She has on red lipstick and her curls are slicked into a bun. She has on a very pretty dress, the prettiest dress I have ever seen. It’s pink and looks fun to touch. Like if I touched it, it would feel soft. Momma waves me to sit beside her. I sit down and she hugs me. I want to push her off me.This is the first time I don’t want to be around her. “Norie, I think it’s about time we tell you what happened to
Stephen,” Papa says. Papa tells me that Momma let Sissy and Stephen play by the pond sometimes and catch crawdads. They weren’t allowed to go into the water and they never did, he said. One day when Momma was finishing up dishes they went down to the pond to collect rocks and crawdads with their nets. Sissy left Stephen to go to the restroom. Momma assumed they were both back when she heard the side door open. When she realized it was just Sissy, she rushed to the pond to find Stephen’s lifeless body, Papa was telling me. I thought about my brother being dead and I started to cry. “It’s all your fault, you left your brother, you left him at the pond by himself,” Momma shouts. Sissy begins to cry and starts yelling at Momma. “Everyone knows it’s your fault. You let two six year olds by water alone, who the fuck trusts two six-year-olds, you weird hippy bitch!” “She was six! She didn’t know better, stop blaming her! It was no one’s fault. It just happened, it was a freak accident. They went to the pond all the time together and always came back safe. Stop blaming Mya for something you blame yourself for. Let it go. You’re neglecting the two daughters you have, you forget about them? They need you, be a mother. Be a fucking mother! I’m left to play mother and father, work, and keep the house up,” Papa screams at her and I become scared. I’ve never seen Papa get mad until now. I sit there confused. Momma runs out of the room and down the hall to her room and slams the door. Sissy sits there crying too. Papa hugs us both. I think Momma blames Sissy for our brother not being here that’s why they don’t talk. Papa tells me to give him a minute and he’ll take us to the festival. I really don’t want to go now, but I can see in Papa’s eyes he needs to go, so I tell him that’s fine. He kisses my head and tells me he’s sorry for yelling in front of me, but he’s not perfect and it’s been hard. I hug him and tell him it’s ok. For some reason, I feel bad for Papa. Sissy, me, and Papa go to the festival together. Like always. No Momma. Everyone whispers and points to us. I’m use to it now. We eat strawberry shortcakes and Sissy and me make bracelets in the arts tent. I try to smile and look happy, but I want to go to bed. Sissy tells me she’s sorry for what she said earlier and she’s sorry she doesn’t protect me from the bullies at school, but she had to go through it alone and I have to do the same or I’ll become weak like Momma.
“Dad does it all and Mom doesn’t help him at all, that’s why I don’t like being around her, I know you don’t understand what’s going on and I don’t want you to understand, but just know that Mom is only as sick as she wants to be,” Sissy says. “So Momma can leave the house, but she just doesn’t want to?” I ask Sissy. “Yeah, it’s that, but it’s also more than that, Mom has depression from the accident with Stephen, but she won’t let Dad or Grandpa and Grandma get her the help she needs,” she tells me. I don’t get it. I’ve never heard of depression, but that’s what Sissy says Momma has. If she doesn’t want to get help and get better then she doesn’t love us. I spend the rest of the time at the festival trying to forget about everything that happened but it’s hard. At the end of the night, we sit on blankets and watch fireworks. I wish Momma was here to see them maybe it would help her depression. Maybe she can see them from the porch if she’s out there. Or maybe she doesn’t care to see them. This is the last time I go to this dumb festival. Two days have passed since everything happened and Papa and Sissy act like nothing happened. I get ready for school slower this morning. I head downstairs and Papa has breakfast ready for me. I can only eat a few bites of my pancakes. Sissy pushes the fruit to me, but I shake my head. I think she knows I’m still upset. The tray for Momma’s food sits on the table empty. Now when I think about Momma and her sickness I think what Papa told me was wrong. I do think she can get other people sick, not by sneezing or coughing, but by other people being around her. I feel a little sick this morning.
To Be Black in America Brooklyn Raines To be Black in America is to be told you can’t be depressed, it isn’t depression. Just a little pity party with hats, a cake, streamers, and an array of party goers. To be a Black Woman in America is to be diagnosed with Postpartum Depression and your father call it a gimmick. A cute gimmick until you admit you fantasized about shaving all your hair off with his clippers. To be Black in America is to be told you speak well for a black person when you don’t use slang terms. You speak well because the other person can understand you. It has nothing to do with your vocabulary and the way you enunciate your words. To be a Black Woman in America is to be told you are an uppity bitch for not using slang terms. To get called an uppity bitch that thinks her shit don’t stank. To be Black in America is to be told you are ghetto or a hoodrat if you decide you want to drop an ain’t or y’all in your vocabulary. To be a Black Woman in America is to be told to set a better example for your child if you use slang. If you’re caught using slang someone will say you need to represent black women better. Because you alone are the spokeswoman for every black woman that ever walked this earth.To be Black in America is to lie about your name on a job application.To be a Black Woman in America is to be told to let your boss feel your ass here and there so you’re not blackballed from similar jobs and opportunities. To be Black in America is to be told you deserve bones breaking and arms snapping because you had to have done some “illegal shit.” To be a Black Woman in America is to be told that won’t happen to you, but what about Sandra Bland? Or the fact Black women make up 13% of the population, but are 33% of women killed by police. To be Black in America is to be told you can’t peacefully protest and keep your job. To be a Black Woman in America is to peacefully protest and have your job snatched right out underneath you without warning. To be Black in America is to be fetishized. To be a Black Woman in America is to be told you are pretty…for a Black girl. To be Black in America is to wonder if the person you’re dating has racist family members. To be a Black Woman in America is to 61
wonder if a guy really likes you or “this is my first time being with a Black girl, I heard you girls are nymphos.” To be Black in America is to be asked how many kids and how many babymommas do you have? To be a Black Woman in America is to be told you are a baby momma on welfare when you just happen to be a single mom. To be Black in America is to be seen as hip if you date a non-black person. To be a Black Woman in America is to be told you are a sell out if you date a non-black man. People will then assume you hate black men and question if you even love yourself. To be Black in America is to be misunderstood by the world. To be a Black Woman in America is to be misunderstood by your lover and support system. To be Black in America is to be told not to complain about social injustices until you get home. To be a Black Woman in America is to complain when you get home, but then be hushed and told that your Black brother, son, husband, boyfriend, or uncle has it worse than you. I’m in America and I’m a woman and I’m Black at the same time. One does not outweigh the other. I’m a Black Woman in America.
Madison Deline Hershberger
Are You Joan? Katherine Fries
Young Joan Memory Map Katherine Fries
Slipcast Cup Auna Winters
Love Drunk Lauren Salvo You pour over me and run through my veins. I say one more is all I need, but I keep coming back. All of my worries turn into wonder, my moments of weakness are no longer there. I fall at my feet, your touch leaves me unable to speak. Tomorrow, Iâ€™ll wake up and wait for my next drink.
Deciduous Paige Stratton
Part of the Human Nature series
Reservation Paige Stratton
Part of the Human Nature series
Grandma Shauna Sartoris I feel the weight of your smile as something immense and heavy, a thing I cannot define, and I wonder whether the coroner or my children will notice these things someday: The elephantine dimples and your wrinkles stretched for miles, the ditches between snow drifts, the footprints that connect them, all prodigious and grinning, your dentured teeth, and paling lips defined against a set of expanded freckles. The sun in your eyes meets the snow on your cheeks, melting wrinkles over your quilted, grinning mouth.
Dorlis Gott Armentrout Award Winner
I Saw Her Name Shauna Sartoris You must have picked it up when you went out, slid the thing miles deep into your pocket and forgot it, dropped it in the basket by the door. Sometimes when I’m stumbling in darkness, I find it stuck at the edge of a picture frame or the mattress on your half of the bed. I found it once in the laundry. Sometimes I swear you’re smoking it— inhaling, shuddering, sputtering, on the back porch when you think that I’m asleep. A street light flickers: morse code for her name. A shadow on your face. A blip, a slip of paper in your pocket.
Leiopython Abby Kepley
We Write on Temple Walls Before We Leave, “Do Not Forget Shauna Sartoris what we have done.” And for this we are fools. With stones and sticks we built our roads, we carved in brick and mud and tree. With weathered hands and rivered veins, with cries and spies and petty things, we drummed our feet on cobbled ground. By fireside we built and burned, we praised and yearned and trapped the light and fed the darkness more. When temples shook, we felt the quake of gods and demons underground, the sound of chanting drums of war and all the heavens pressing down. And if our walls could speak, they would say nothing. And we sail on with lack of words save but to say our last: Forget me not, Or do. Do or die, Or don’t.
Breakfast Time Kyle Agnew
Whipped Cream in my Coffee Reminds Me of Who You Used to Be Shauna Sartoris This solid mound of whipped cream has collapsed like Ozymandias. Now the bottom of my cup is a marshy waste-land, incongruent dirty clumps, dirty white, stained hard like dentures. Whipped-cream resin residing like newspaper left outside in the soggy rain. I remember You once, in the rain. Your shoes were wet from puddle-jumping, You were smiling strangely at the alley cats and making noises, squishing noises with your wetted lips. Unabashed and drenched from head to foot. That was years and seasons ago. I stare at my cup: a surface, once glossy, now matte. The creamy pillar, once a cloud, now a pile of snow on the edge of a bustling December street. Disgusting, untouchable ruin. you once perched tall in warmest beauty. you were unsinkable before you went cold.
Up in Smoke Kaitlin Watts Ignite Suck in Hold it Feel it Let the smoke inhabit your space Relinquish all inhibitions; release “Who were you before this moment?” A poor schmuck Fearful of life outside the front door; pitiful “Who are you now?” Weightless, a calm difference An onset contradiction of self; free “Tell me of a time you weren’t high?” A room, it closes in All signs of breath escape the body; agony “Tell me the truth behind this need?” Please forget what you believe With this, I am truly able to live again; peace I am unable to recall the last moment which I was not high. I am also unable to explain the last moment of panic Neither recount an occasion to discourage existence Nor an instance of unsolicited tears; tearing what is left of my soul to pieces Gone. Depleted as a memory cast into the wind Please judge this path how you so may But get this, For just one moment, Let’s shift the focus, Sit and marvel, Understand this fact, I now can live. 78
30th Birthday Retrospective
Letter from the Retrospective Editor This issue of Etchings celebrates our thirty years of publication. In honor of our special birthday, we have decided to include this retrospective section dedicated to everyone who has made the last thirty years a reality. Our staff could not be more grateful for all of the hard work that has gone into the foundation and roots of this magazine from the past staff members, contributors, and advisors. As a part of this, we would like to recognize our previous Dorlis Gott Armentrout winners this year in the following reprintings of their winning pieces. The pieces reprinted in order, starting with the winner from our first ever Etchings issue up to the winner from this issue, 30.2. We would also like to thank the Etchings alumni who submitted visual materials this semester that have been paired with some of these pieces, as well as all of our wonderful alumni who responded to our call for updated biographies. You can find these bios and the wonderful news they hold at the end of the Armentrout reprintings. It has been such a joy to reconnect with our alumni and see where their lives have taken them. Along with this, we would like to give a special thanks to Luke Frandsen, who created the watercolor piece you see beside many of the winners in this section. This retrospective issue has given us a chance to reflect on our roots as an editorial team and as lovers of literature and fine art. We hope that reading it allows the same joy to flood your hearts as well. Thank you, Kylie Seitz
History Etchings was the result of a revamping of University of Indianapolis’ former literary magazine, Tusitala. In 1989, the English Department began a revitalization process that would carry on for decades. After a student contest was held, the magazine was renamed Etchings. Organized and developed by students with the supervision and guidance of faculty members, at least one new issue has been produced each year. Since the revamping in ‘89, Etchings restored the emphasis on the initial intentions of the university’s literary magazine—showcasing the works of the larger student and faculty body. As a part of this, in the last five years we have switched to a biannual printing schedule, creating a new magazine each term for the university. We have also added emphasis on our partnership with the university’s art department, pairing with them to showcase artwork alongside the prose and poetry. This has been a part of how, each year, the students in Etchings work together to redesign the magazine. They learn how to properly develop a literary magazine by assessing submissions and creating designs for the finished copy, a process revitalized by the inclusion of student, faculty, and alumni artwork. Now, thirty years later, we celebrate the work that students and faculty have put into many generations of the magazine.
Elegy for a Junkie Lover Bonnie Anderson I knew you You were a springtime at dawn of manhood eager to set the world to your pace We exchanged warm kisses and dreams and counted the stars in each otherâ€™s eyes and pledged our love forever Then you went away And there was time as oceans are wide But I waitedâ€”I waited and waited while you searched for the meaning of life through the hollowed needle I knew you again You were an autumn crisp A Lazarus come forth With suffering etched on your face Your kisses were cool and soft and the stars had grown dim but we laughed and loved Then you went away This time life was unimportant The poison in the syringe became your sustenance and one-way ticket to destruction I knew you this time, too You were a winter chill an ice shell of man 84
with silent lips fallen from grace And there were no stars or kisses no promises or dreams no laughter and no love You just smelled like death
Fifteen Minutes Jon Brumley Thomas Morehouse made his way through the glass double doors and approached the brown metal desk marked “information.” Today is the day, he thought to himself, Today is my day. “Hello,” the girl at the desk droned as she squinted at him through her oversized glasses. “May I help you?” “Yes,” replied Thomas in his typically enthusiastic voice, “I have an 8 o’clock meeting with Mr. Cleese.” “Oh,” the girl reacted, “You must be Mr. Morehouse. Go up the stairs and to the left. Room 213. Good luck.” “Thank you,” replied Thomas as he turned towards the stairs. “Thank you very much.” Thomas climbed the stairs and turned toward the darkend corridor to the left. He strained to look down the hallway. He could make out only one door, which was a good hundred feet down the hallway. He made his way down the hallway, contemplating what he was going to do once he got inside the room. As he drew nearer and nearer to the door, he oculd make out the faint, black lettering on the door reading: Dreams Mr. Richard Cleese He caustionly turned the brass doorknob. The door creaked as he opened and the sound echoed throughout the corridor. Thomas peered into the room in amazement. The walls, ceiling, and floor were all pure white; there was not so much as a smudge on the paint. On the back wall was a black and white clock. There were two wooden folding chairs in the center of the room; a man dressed in a blue suit sat in one of the chairs and gazed up at Thomas as he enter. “Mr. Thomas Morehouse?” the man inquired in a deep, booming voice. “Y-Y-Yes,” Thomas stammered out. “I am he.” “I am Mr. Cleese. I am a busy man, so I won’t beat around the bush. Time is money, you know.” 86
Thomas smiled politely. “Yes. I see no sense in wasting any time.” “I have very specific rules, Mr. Morehouse. This room can be anything you want it to be, as long as I allow it, and you may only stay as long as I allow you to. Make your choices wisely; don’t just assume this room will be heaven if you snap your fingers. I have final judgement; understand, Mr. Morehouse?” “Yes,” confirmed Thomas. He felt himself beginning to sweat in anticipation. “Well, Mr. Morehouse, according to my watch it is now one minute to eight o’clock. What’ll your first choice be?” “An off-Broadway theater house. Perhaps doing one of Shakespeare’s plays.” “A wise choice,” beamed Mr. Cleese. “So many people choose to start off big, such as a prospective politician starting off directly in the White House. I’m afraid that their time in this room ended rather quickly. Well, off-Broadway it will be! I figure that this will only take about one minute of your time.” “One minute?” Thomas questioned. “What can I do in one minute?” “I was speaking figuratively,” responded Mr. Cleese. “Time is relative in this room. One minute to the outside world equals about a year inside the room. Likewise, you will age a year for each minute that you are in this room.” “You mean I’m aging right now.” “No, not yet. I always allow the customer an option of leaving before they start. Your official time will not start until the clock on the wall reaches eight o’clock. Everyone has to take chances to make their dreams come true, Mr. Morehouse. Are you willing to take that chance?” Thomas glanced up to the clock on the wall. He had one minute to decide. “Yes,” Thomas heard himself reply, “I will take the chance.” “Good luck, Mr. Morehouse. I hope you find what you’re looking for.” When the clock struck eight o’clock, Thomas felt himself spinning around faster and faster until he couldn’t see where he was. When he finally stopped spinning, he found himself on a stage, gazing at an audience of a few hundred. He was dressed in ancient Scottish garb. Somehow—he didn’t know how—he knew that he was playing Macduff from the play Macbeth. Stranger yet,
he knew all his lines. He delivered his lines eloquently and the audience loved his performance. The critics raved over him, an he began picking up better and better parts in off-Broadway theaters. When a year had elapsed, he felt himself spinning and once again he was back in Mr. Cleese’s office. “Well, Mr. Morehouse, you seem to be doing pretty well for yourself. Do you wish to continue?” asked Mr. Cleese. Thomas, still dizzy from spinning, glanced up to the clock to see the time. It read one minute after eight and looked as if it stopped. “The clock on the wall, why has it stopped?” inquired Thomas. “Oh, it is still moving, Mr. Morehouse. But you must remember that a year to you in only a minute to us. It is moving only a microsecond for each hour of your time. Now, back to my question, do you wish to return?” “Of course I do,” Thomas answered quickly. “I’m well on my way to dreams. Broadway, cinema, I want to do it all!” “All in due time, Mr. Morehouse. Since you have been doing so well in the theater, I will grant your wish for being on Broadway. When you feel that it once again is time to move on, just say the word and I will bring you back here.” With this, Thomas was sent spinning again, this time finding himself on a Broadway stage during a performance of Neil Simon’s latest play. The good reviews kept coming in for Thomas. He had major roles in three long-running Broadway plays before he decided that it was time to once again call on Mr. Cleese. Once again, Thomas found himself back in Mr. Cleese’s room. He stared up at the clock. “Four minutes past eight,” Thomas muttered to himself. “Well, Mr. Morehouse, we meet once again. I must say that I was beginning to get worried that you weren’t going to come back. Will you be traveling on?” “Most definitely. I’ve experienced great success but have only had a taste of fame and wealth. I want to go to Hollywood and start a film career.” “A reasonable request. When you feel that it is time to leave, just give me a call.” Thomas spent a full eight years in movies. Most played to good reviews but only fair audience turnout. Thomas was able to experience more wealth and fame than he would have received from staying on Broadway, but he still thought that something was
missing. It was at the end of these seven years that he decided to embark on a major project. He wrote an original screenplay entitled Rio. Unfortunately, the major studios felt that it was too risky to invest in. He went to the time consuming task of finding private investors to fund the movie. He himself committed nearly everything he had to fund the movie. Nearly two and a half years after the play had been conceived, its filming was ready to start. The filming of the movie met many obstacles. More money than expected had to be given to pay the actors and actresses that Thomas himself had hand picked. When the rainy season in Rio lasted a month longer than usual, filming had to be delayed. With the movie $10 million over budget in the early stages, the investors made the decision to pull out. Thomas, deeply in debt, was forced to scrap the project. The night that he officially announced the project had to be scrapped, he went out and drank until he had lost all consciousness. He awoke the next morning expecting to have the worst hangover of his life. Instead, he awoke feeling fine with the familiar form of Mr. Cleese standing over him. He looked around to find that he was once again back in Mr. Cleese’s all-white office. “What am I doing back here?” wailed Thomas. “I didn’t call you.” “I know. I brought you back on my own. I’m afraid that your time is up.” “What? You’ve got to be kidding!” Thomas said as he stared at the wall clock. “That’s all I get? A lousy fifteen minutes?” “Fifteen years, fifteen minutes, it’s all relative, Mr. Morehouse. You have done all that you can do here.” “But I can still go back to Broadway, I can still do movies! I can get enough money to finish my film!” “All these roads that you have traveled, Mr. Morehouse. Even if I would allow you to go back, you must remember that the public has a short memory. It has been four years since you last appeared in a film. You have been forgotten.” “But I’ve got to get back! You can’t just leave me hanging like this!” “No!” yelled Mr. Cleese. “Look at yourself, Mr. Morehouse. Those last two years have not been good to you. Your hair is graying and circles are starting to form around your eyes. Get on with your life, Mr. Morehouse. I have given you all you could ask for. You had a chance to obtain your dreams. That’s all anyone
could ask for. “Good-bye, Thomas,” Mr. Cleese said as he made his way to the door and left the room. “Wait, Mr. Cleese! Wait!” Thomas ran to the door and threw it open. Mr. Cleese was nowhere to be found. Thomas took the cigarette from his coat pocket and slipped it between his lips. He thought to himself that it was ironic that the only thing he had to show his friends from his experience was gray hair and a nasty smoking habit that he had picked up during his film career. Oh well, he thought. I guess that is quite a lot considering that I have only really been gone fifteen minutes. He made his way back down the stairs he had traveled up so long ago. As he reached the first floor, he could not help overhearing a man talking to the lady at the information desk. “Could you tell me where Mr. Cleese’s office is? I have an eightthirty meeting with him,” Thomas heard the man inquired. Thomas lit his cigarette and slowly approached the man. “Excuse me sir, but are you willing to gamble for your dreams? Are you willing to try with all you have to make your dreams come true?” The man fixed Thomas with a firm stare. “Yes,” the man said with conviction. “Good. That’s all that can be asked of any of us. Be true to yourself; if all your dreams don’t come true just make sure you can look in the mirror and say that you gave it everything you had.” Thomas dropped his cigarette to the floor and stamped it out with his foot. He then turned to leave through the double glass doors that he had come through not more than twenty minutes before.
Nate Jon Henson ‘’I’ve become a vegetarian,” I said in a voice not accustomed to the situation. Clearly, it was a voice unrecognizable to him as well. “I guess that’s a fine thing for you to do,” he replied, at that moment refusing to take his eyes from the road directly in front of his steering wheel. An echo in that lazy-soft diction, almost southern, reminded me of the accent that took me nearly two years and some time away from ol’ Nate there to get rid of. You see, from the start of our friendship, I’d sensed there were at least differences in personal taste between Nate and myself. This, and much more of course, was confirmed several years later when, after three hours of shooting pool, Sergeant Fox the Recruiterdrawing from that ever-tactful military sense of humor-revealed to Nate that he could tell by “the gleam in his eyes” that my friend was born to be “a baby-rapin’ machine.” The next day Nate signed all the necessary documents. The truth is, if there is any possibility that a human could innately possess genetic militaristic properties, Nate had monopolized the chromosomes. The sincere sharpshooter. Focused and intense; a sort of tunnel vision. Nate could zone in on a deer’s heart from a tree stand hundreds of yards away and still drum up the audacity to raise his sights and aim for the brain instead, to save endless afternoons of tracking blood trails. I, on the other hand, would set up camp on the periphery of Nate’s stand, laying my gun on the ground to walk toward the fawn, freshly bewildered by the smell of its own mother’s blood. In all those years, I never really pulled a trigger at a deer; the meeting of our eyes—mine and the fawn’s— in that glance of momentary recognition being sweeter than the meat of the actual flesh. So there we were; Nate and I in April. He with his tunnel vision, full concentration on the road leading to his father’s house. Myself in the periphery, throwing in personal revelations, hoping for a clearing in the fog of that night. As we drove along, Nate, from behind his freshly-shaven “high and tight” and his week-old, ninety-four-dollar tattoo, slowly explained to me the escapades of a private in the 82nd Airborne. I, for once, listened intently to 92
learn how one hits the ground and rolls in a manner that saves the ankles from being broken after jumping from a plane. I also heard a rather sound explanation on how one keeps the little child within us all from stepping to the opening of the plane and methodically pissing your pants for you before each jump. There were changes in Nate, too; changes that he had hinted at even before he left. “I got in a fight with a nigger in the barracks the other day, and I nearly killed him.” “Is that so,” I whispered, contemplating the calmness with which he spoke the word that wanted to shout at me, although its speaker merely uttered it. “Yeah, it’s different in the Army than it is out here. You know I never had anything against ‘em before, but when you’re goin’ through hell it’s just so much easier to stick with your own kind.” As I listened in amazement to this explanation of my best friend’s new life, I imagined the kind of “Us and Them” mentality that brought this to the forefront of Nate’s perception. Horribly, perhaps even arrogantly, I saw Nate in some tunnel, carrying a little torch, the stench of which he couldn’t even smell as the smoke trailed behind him. From my left, as if it were some audible shock therapy designed to bring me out of my own personal coma, Nate’s car-door slam told me that we had arrived. We had driven up the little gravel road leading back to the house at around ten o’clock, apparently on the heels of Nate’s father’s departure for the third-shift job at the factory. Walking in the unlocked door, we both remembered the reason for our driving out to the house in the first place. “I’ll get the milk,” I said as Nate went into the liquor cabinet for the vodka and Kahlua. Drinking was an old hobby of ours from the earlier days, a hobby that I had carried on to my newfound “college life” and a hobby that Nate had gone on to perfect in the bars of Asheville, North Carolina. It was a simple plan; we were to spend the first weekend of Nate’s leave, in a house—drunk. “Remember when...” As I heard those two words, I recalled countless episodes in this same house when we sat, just as now, drinking to a frenzy and performing this same ritual of retrospection. Turning again to Nate, I caught the last words of a story I didn’t even hear. “Remember when,” I began, as not to break with tradition, “about seven years ago, I think. We were camping and you awoke
from that dream, screaming that you were blind and you couldn’t see my face. I thought you were joking; I said you couldn’t see me because it was dark. But you, still half asleep, told me that you never could see my face. You said that who we are individually, as two people, has nothing to do with why we are friends. The next morning you didn’t remember any of it even after I told you the whole story. Do you remember any of it now?” “Oh, I remember when you told me all that, but I still don’t believe I said it, you know. I wouldn’t have said it because I don’t believe it. I mean, we’re friends because we hold several common values, we like the same things, we were even raised the same way. These, amongst other things, serve as the foundation of all real relationships.” He stated the latter portion of this sermon in the loftiest tongue he could muster. “Hell, if I believed like you say I do, I probably would even be able to get along with that nigger I almost killed.” And with this final pronouncement, good ole Natty, my best friend, faded off to a drunken sleep. I don’t hold it against him, really. I guess I would if it hadn’t been for that little revelation on the camping trip, truly the only glimpse of real light that Natty ever had, even though he could only pass it on without letting himself experience it. Somewhere, inside there, he knows. I’m sure of that. By necessity, Natty will know the innerness, the raw guts of a friendship, only when he knows the outemess, the layer he must acknowledge in order to go beyond. One of these days I’m certain the real light will come around again and my best friend Natty will see me, for the first time in his life, as the individual I really am; as a person with the same color of skin as the man he nearly killed.
Forty-Three Andria Liverett Hine In the glass, a curious woman. Wild hair turned white as it started to at nineteen, shoes off under the desk and a cigarette smoldering in the ashtray. On the sill, a portrait, three generations of mothers A secretary bursts in. “Tokyo on line one, Jenny on line two.” I talk to my daughter, then to the city. Plush grey carpeting and dark wood surround my calendar. Jenny’s play tomorrow night. Dinner with the board next. Sex two weeks after Thursday.
Le Jour Lana Osterman Three months of French lessons and the only word I remember is mobylette. Your mobylette. No wonder. It was red and fast and we carried our world on its back that summer, bouncing along every country road from Calais to Marseille. We had disposable everything and “tell me how to say this will never end.” We parted in Paris on my birthday. You didn’t know. You would bring flowers and wine anyway. We would have a picnic there, in November, in the long grass, Mont-Saint Michel small in the distance against a sky so uncommonly blue that late, and as small as the postcard collection of verbs Mrs. R.D. Vandertramp of 79, rue Saint Dominique sent later, explaining, in French, how a little mobylette sometimes can’t hold its fast descending on the mountain.
Laundry Matters Kimberly M. King “What is this place?” Christopher’s blue eyes grew rounder as he took in the rows of dingy harvest gold washers, submarinewindowed front loaders, and ominous walls of cavernous dryers with an expression befitting Neil Armstrong setting foot on the moon. “It’s a laundromat!” hissed my babysitting daughter, embarrassed by her charge’s absence of blue-collar etiquette. “Stop staring in other people’s machines!” “Can I look in the empty ones?” he whispered back, anxious not to appear to be the yuppie-bumpkin that he was. “Okay, but close your mouth!” Having been raised on well water far too rich in iron to ever clean a load of whites, I was comfortable with the implied norms particular to laundromats. My acculturation took place during weekly forays into the wonderful world of Maytag with my dad, giving my non-working mother (an oxymoron, if ever there was one) a much needed night off from tending to her five off-spring. My children, likewise, were not deprived the benefits of the community washtub. And until Christopher uttered his amazed discovery of this brave new world, it never occurred to me that a child in America could reach the ripe, old age of seven without being exposed to the wonders of the laundromat. Some of my fondest childhood memories stem from excursions to the Maple Crest Shopping Center’s laundry facility. My family never made it to Disneyland, but that was okay—we always had the laundromat! In the pre-video arcade ‘60’s, the laundromat was the only place for a kid to play a ding-flash-pong! round of pinball. Or, at least, watch a round if you couldn’t find any lost change. Only at the laundromat could young thrill seekers contemplate such a variety of rides: motorcycles, boats, horses; all with that same lunge forward-fling backward rhythm that could set your tummy a-flutter with butterflies, if you had enough imagination. A carnival of attractions housed in glass domed pedestals paraded along the front windows hawking precious treasures: plastic gemstones set in adjustable faux-metal bands; hairy, rubber arachnids; and the occasional, highly prized, yo-yo. The thrill of actually owning these treasures paled in comparison with the 100
pleasurable build of merely coveting them. Which was just as well, since we were by now completely out of scavenged coin. Once the machines were rumbling away at our footed jammies and double-kneed denims, Dad would lure us back from the sideshow by feigning interest in the candy vendor. “You eat all your supper?” He’d ask, knowing full well that the answer would always be yes, and that, having thus fulfilled his obligation to mother, he would buy each of us one twenty-five cent delicacy. Laundromat candy was the best! Where else could you find such obscure delights as Necco Wafers, Valomilk Cups, and Chuckles? And, to wash it down, Yoo-Hoo and three different flavors of Nehi in glass bottles! The machines held a veritable sucrosian smorgasbord, and well worth the obligatory towel folding detail to follow. During the lull before the folding, I would alternate between tagging along behind the blue-haired laundry attendant to beg a handful of her magical dryer-screen lint, and leaning up against warm top-loaders during the spin cycles so that I could enjoy the vibrato in my voice as I sang I’ve Been Working on the Railroad. I was careful to avoid the off-balance machines, because their violent wop-wop-wopping would ruin my style. By the fourth or fifth chorus, some music lover would be moved to drop a dime in the jukebox and the rotation of Beatles, Everly Brothers, and Frankie Avalon would begin. Thereafter, I’d just lipsync along with everybody else in the room—much to the relief of the laundromat clientele. Although I complained about the folding at the time, it is a favored memory now. Dad assigned to us kids the most forgiving items: socks, underwear, wash cloths, and hand towels. No more than two folds or a tuck-and-roll for each, with minimal manual dexterity required-perfect work for imperfect workers. One of us (the special one for the evening) would be allowed to stand on the table to partner Dad in the minuet of sheet folding: corners together and turn, corners together and turn. The fragrance of soap and Downey can still bring back the comfort and rare intimacy of that dance. With the passage of years comes new perspectives. I am no longer blissfully blind to the contrast in patrons of the laundromat. There are those, like myself, who are transients: people who wash there only because they are between homes with major appliances. We enter the coin-op with an air of confidence, assured by our
earning potential that the day is coming, and soon, when we will return behind basement doors to rid our sullied garments of their shame. Not so, however, for the laundromat regulars; the lifers, sentenced by socio-economic status and inertia to forever expose their ratty underwear and holey socks to the condemning eyes of strangers. The saddest laundry experience I ever had was on the Navajo Indian Reservation in Tuba City, Arizona. A place of frantic activity, there was no ebb and flow of sound here, but a constant roar. Gone were the vestiges of my childhood innocence: the rides, vending machines, pinball games, trinkets and tunes. The smell of soap was still there, but heavily tainted with cigarette smoke and too-close bodies waiting in tangled lines for machines, dryers, tables. The wall of dryers was decrepit to the point of danger. Missing panels of sheet metal exposed the gas flames heating the dryers and encircled the mass of people within in a ring of fire, reminding one of the tribal fire of years past. Or the destruction of encroaching civilization in years since. A civilization which gives only a taste of the good things it has to offer. Enough to whet the appetite, but not enough to satisfy. How convenient it is for those of us who can afford to do our dirty laundry behind closed doors. “How old are your kids?” A rotund Navajo woman, bronze body genetically well-stocked against the famines of generations past, blue-black hair sleeked back into a ponytail from weatherreddened features, notices the tell-tale signs of offspring in my laundry basket. As the reflections of flames danced in her bottomless black eyes, she and 1 passed the time while waiting in line discussing children-the bond of women from time immemorial. I imagine this scene has differed little since we first gathered streamside to beat our animal skins on rocks: adults finding one another through their children. Tonight, as I treat Christopher to his first strawberry Nehi, I notice a woman—a lifer—in dirty-thonged feet, stuffing clothes into the $1.25 top loader from plastic trash bags. She is fairer than the Navajo woman, but her demeanor is nearly the same. She appears more pitiful, somehow, than the Native Americans on the reservation; more apologetic. Perhaps a reservation, a place to call your own no matter how decrepit, endows those who belong there with some remnant of dignity. She excuses herself, head down, as a transient in Eastlands and Polo sweatshirt unconsciously commandeer an empty washer in her territory for his
own, oblivious to her claim staked out by bulging trash bags. Christopher is sharing Jujubes with a well-soiled child ol undeterminable gender. He is oblivious as well; not to another’s needs, but to their differences. I buy another box of Jujubes. The woman and I exchange cautious smiles and comments about children, establishing common ground. I wish I could let her know that everyone’ underwear looks ratty under the greenish fluorescent light of the laundromat; that everyone has hole in socks that they wear anyway, but I don’t. I don’t tell her that we all dirty our clothes just the same on the inside with sweat, and oil, and smells. She would only think me nuts; and besides, he knows her place. And, since no other place exists for her, I say nothing. Instead, I bring my own laundry, and my children, to the laundromat. So that they might learn a little empathy for socioeconomic diversity—a little appreciation for human similarity. And maybe, so that they’ll be a little cleaner inside, as well as out.
Scan Series Kalia Daily
Alzheimer’s Disease Lana Osterman Reading Shakespeare’s Tragedies Hamlet and King Lear …Letter to my mother You’re the portrait of someone I don’t know— a still life incapable of sorrow, or laughing, a face without a heart, a heart with no news. What witchcraft? What trick of God takes you like this? Tomorrow I will beg for you. I’ll ask them to not start you, to set you adrift, and for a little while—before the shepherds snatch you from the dull gray pools I once swam in I’ll rock you and tell you these things: Mother, I don’t blame you. This sickness I loathe made its confession to you and it came like a lord, sudden and strange, travelling the lonely and unfamiliar land of your brain, not guilty of your death but taking your life. And tomorrow I’ll tell you how your brothers and sons—they, of the same metal— feel this as if it were their own. They have tongues, but cannot speak, and pens that won’t write. Mother, I did love you. But duty empties me and I’ve no feeling 105
for what I can’t bear. I’ve already bowed and mourned. But in the last night’s dream I’ll see better. You’ll be as the long purple chrysanthemums and daisies and goldenrod that will not be buried. They’ll line up at your grave and sing exceedingly charitable prayers that will last until doomsday in our true hearts, forbidding all tears and drowning out all sorrow, performing a fiesta of all the past years, and for everything that you were.
Once We Were Kyle Agnew
The Girl in the Photograph Bryan Roth looks almost wistful, face tilted into the future, still full of optimism and expectation the year before Kennedy is shot. She is young: a new bride in this year she thinks of then as a kind of culmination, the end of the waiting for the beginning of the rest of her life. Wearing a flannel housecoat, the girl in the photograph has risen late on a Saturday morning, maybe, sits at the table unconcerned, her right hand poised to cut into a more tangible future: french toast and conversation with her husband, an officer in the Air Force. Through the doorway behind her, a brand-new Baby Grand displays the accoutrements of domestic life: vase of flowers, metronome, framed wedding portrait. She is a stranger: pretty and unspoiled, only a girl, really, younger than the women I meet in bars on Saturday nights. The photo is so pristine that for a moment I imagine it a window, one I could almost lean intoâ€”if I could just get close enoughâ€”to tell her about the multiple separations and redundant divorces, property 109
settlements: the long tug-of-war of custody suits and child support. I would tell the girl in the photograph not to give up her music for anyone. Rescue her, if I could, from the small library of self-help books and prescriptions for Lithium lying in wait for her. I would whisper a warning to her, somehow: Get out! Itâ€™s not too late to save yourself, Mother.
Lightness of Being Abby Kepley
Bird Beth Pollock Boone The plate slips gently Into the steamy water. She stands still and looks Through the window Into a tree Where the bird, Preens, then Flies off Around the corner Of the house. She pulls the dish Back into the Cool kitchen air, Rubs it dry And around her ankles Two cats Circle Like sharks.
Remedial Reflections Kim Kirin I. Every day Jennifer walks to the back Of the room and sits down. Her hair unkempt, skin Blotched as if painted by a sponge, Clothes held together With safety pins. Her unblinking eyes Stare into the air. I walk down the aisle closer to her. She clenches her pencil tighter And doesn’t look up, Hesitates after I call on her And gives a short response. II. The room is bright orange. The desks, Arranged in straight rows Alphabetically, Children’s poems neatly cover the walls, Picktures of Dickinson and Whitman hang throughout the room. III. Mrs. Gordon doesn’t understand me. Every day she complains I don’t pay attention. She stands at the board Diagramming sentences, Lecturing ab out misplaced modifiers, Prepositions, and dangling participles. I am a person lost on the freeway 114
With no sense of direction. I cannot find my way back, Unable to tell east from west. With her perfectly pressed plaid skirt, She moves toward me. Red pens stick out from her head. They wait to be smeared across my work. She looks down at me From over her lowered glasses And asks me a question. I answer quickly Bury my head in my chest And dangle throughout the rest of the class. IV. The room is dim As the moon. Only a beam Of light shines through. And like the moon, Jennifer pulls me, Reflects me. She hangs onâ€” Only a fourth of her understands. The shape of a comma, She waits to become full.
Victor Valerie Traore Victor said he had been lucky. I sat on his knees, And played with his Thick and curly black beard, Victor was our cook And sometimes My only companion of the day. Victor had been a wealthy man, Once upon a tie. Had a family, Children eight and thirteen. Now buried In the heart of a lake With all the others. Victor knew what times I took my naps. He knew what songs I sang. He knew my ultimate secrets, Which tree in the yard I carved my name on. Secrets of a seven year old. Victorâ€™s family was Arrested years ago. A civil war His crime: Successful and educated From the wrong side of the country. Victor had explained to me That it was never a matter Of race or religion. It was only an issue of geography. 116
Victor was standing in line by the lake With his family and a few others he did not know, The guns pointed at them Sang carols of the holidays They would never see again. Victor fainted When the guns were fired. Woke up later to find himself Hidden under the heavy weight Of dead bodies slowly swelling In the humidity of the lake. He pushed the bodies away And saw the eyes of his dead wife, Staring in his direction, Searching for comfort He was unable to provide. His children lay On top of each other Dead Hands stretched toward Their motherâ€™s skirt. Everyone was dead Victor never went back to his land To see his house Destroyed after the massacre. He came to work for us. I never saw him cry Only sad, as he saw children that were not his, Kick each other in the dust. I was seven years old Living in a foreign country That had been torn by war. I was seven years old, And in 1987, Victor was my best friend.
Come back Victor and Put me to sleep, Tuck me in my warm Pink and yellow sheets, Sing me a song of your native land, Turn off the light And tell me one more time, That angels are always watching.
Bright Red Cooler Valerie Traore The last time I saw my father we were in N’djamena. I look around, Thinking I might find him behind the cushions Or underneath the seats of the Land Cruiser. James tells me there are bananas and sandwiches In the bright red cooler on the back seat. I like bananas, so I open and look. Maybe my father is in there. I heard stories about people hiding their children In bright red coolers during the war. I look between the Fanta bottles and when I don’t find my father, I grab the greenest banana I see, And draw faces on it with my fingernails. James points at a warthog outside in the dark nothingness. The trees look like balafon dancers from a faraway place. I imagine that it is a dance-a-thon for starving people and it makes me happy. James slows down to buy cigarettes and my dancers become trees again. Their legs are still shaking from the trance they were in. A child sitting in the middle of that nothingness Behind a wooden box the size of a briefcase. He takes the money from James’ hand without looking up, Hands him four sticks of Craven And leans back against something that is not there. He still looks down as if his neck had been locked that way For longer than he had been alive. Next to him, there is a shadow of a naked mad man covered By his own hard brown hair. He stands erect, staring at the kid’s feet, To protect the child’s toes from being run over by vehicles every seventeen days. James climbs back in the car when the boy looks up for the first time. He tells me that the mad man is his father and had never come back 120
While he waited in the bright red cooler. The kid is probably his brother. He shuts the door and starts the car without glancing at his father. I still have not found mine. I wonder if I can take the mad man with me, So he can protect my feet too. I know James wonâ€™t let me. He had waited in the cooler too long, until a young girl running for her life Found him there, hungry, afraid, and waiting for a mad man. She had taken care of him until the end of the war. Then, she had given him to an orphanage so she could get married. My father says you have to be nice if you want something. I smile at the naked mad man. Maybe he will follow us and find a family. He wonâ€™t come. He wonâ€™t even show me his face. We pull back on the road and I decide to stop looking. My father will come back as he always does. I look back to catch The mad man smiling at the son he does not know. In the dark, I can hear them sing along to the balafon tunes. Their backs are waving goodbye and their hard brown hairs are drawing maps to me. My father will come back, But just in case, I check the glove compartment.
Natural Impressions Paige Stratton
The Proper Way to Write Poetry or the Proper Way to Learn to Never Want to Write Poetry Again Ethan Koron I sit in my wooden chair with graffiti on the desk. Apparently Toni loves Lucy and Lucy gives good head. It’s all right there etched in the wood. The professor is telling me That I have yet to find my voice— Funny, I can hear myself talk. Perhaps my voice is not my voice. Perhaps the vibrations in my throat are remnants of the big bang? We’re trying to explore the meaning of poems— trying to find our voices within stanzas, end stops, and alliteration. And, in the back of my mind, I think about Walt Whitman asking me i proud to find such a meaning. Have I practiced so long to find a voice in my body while forgetting to love, forgetting that being is more important than meaning? And as I sit here In my wooden chair covered with sexual graffiti and phone numbers for good hand jobs, 123
I look out the window and see poetryâ€” Outside, where a leaf falls from a lazy tree, getting ready to hibernate for the winter.
much praise Elizabeth Waskom glory be given to cunts vagina of mucus waiting for heat to meet the triangle of fur the marriage of Soft Wet and Hard Warm She will not take His name resulting in an annulment after just fifteen minutes pity be given to cocks
In the Cornfields Kristine Weddell They are all the same from far away, standing together slim, solid with fine, silky hair blowing in the wind... all ears yet they will not listen. What concern do they have of the dirty, the ugly, the underground? The light only illuminates the surface, the beautiful. When the stalks fall only the roots remember, only the strength remains. But what good is strength without something to support?
Story Kiss Amy Remsburg My breath, sweet from a freshly-sucked peppermint, is shallow. Near sleep, I can hear him step slowly to the bed. He slips the covers up around my shoulders and slides in beside me. He whispers, â€œI have a story to tell you.â€? Shifting to his side, his face sinks close to mine. With lips slightly parted, he exhales warm breath into my mouth and inhales peppermint into his. Starting the story, he speaks softly on my lips. His words spill into my mouth and caress my tongue. Sentences fall into kisses and kisses ascend into sentences. Silence follows, and peppermint scents our shared sleep
One Day Adele Chipe You and I pre-sunset sex lazing back in inexpensive yard sale wicker I would have bought for our wraparound porch. The silhouettes of the weeds out in front of us would mock our attempts earlier that day at gardening. We are both rose red from the summer dusk Sitting in the middle of nowhere on our South Carolina acres—at least three dogs would sniff and scratch among our feet along the porch floor boards made of native oak little holes where mice creep. Smoke rising from your mouth and nose we would drag together from a shared pipe. I’d know you loved me you’d know I loved you. I’d tickle the pleats in my red and white apron. You’d pick corn out of your beard. Then you’d look at me with something to say inside the blue eyes but say nothing, close your mouth and kind of smile. I would love your dirty boots by the screen door weary from fighting fires with the local department 132
Our cupboards little patchouli traps where upon each opening you’d take down your bowl of patchouli mixed with dust. The couch, an heirloom, would still hold the weight of my mother’s person rocking me nights home from college you would read my short stories to lull you to sleep and quiet those nightmares harvested from the day’s toil. When you’d leave for the day your Old Spice would mingle with bacon grease and I’d wonder if I’d be productive that day and you’d come back. Then say fuck it and would go and take photographs of those weeds and those dogs and those great big oaks. I’d read your old entomology text books imagine what your funeral will look like (I’d invite no one just let your person fade into the air like the dust off your boots everyday.) So I’d wait and covet these special few hours presunset sex predark night prepanting we both only knowing how to be with the other, each other. You and me and the dogs
and these golden brown acres nothing between us right then but sunlit smoke rising to the attic window above our heads.
George’s Once-Loved Mechanisms Erika Saperstein I love them still! “These mechanisms” in the midst of “gadgets.” We have forgotten the strength of our own legs. Perhaps if Van Gogh had a bicycle, he might have gotten somewhere. In life, We are expected to move Quichly through passages reserved For motorized conveyances, their drivers representing the “apex of our culture.” You, Mr. Oppen, ended The year that I began. But we two understand the Journey as more than the destination. The light miraculous nature of life as you peddle slowly through it.
Fading Thessely Lane I remember fading red light at the end of the world. Harsh black waves beat upon bare grey stone, And flat unbreathable air scraped my throat. Unbreathable because there are no trees to cleanse it. The trees were all burned to cinders long ago; Burned to ashes with the heat of humanityâ€™s last dusk. Heat from the sun that incinerates Because there is no atmosphere left to stop it. Heat from the scorched mutilated desert That every landmass has become. Heat that even the oceans boil with From too many chemicals for too many years. Heat that has destroyed everything except itself. Heat that is such a constant, glaring red on the horizon That you canâ€™t tell the difference between dusk and dawn. Not that dusk and dawn matter anymore, Because we have no more dawns left. I remember the end of the world. I remember it like it was tomorrow.
Weightless II Paige Stratton
Bathtub Lindsey Allen you are my planting hands, peeling off sheaths of dust and crinkled husk. you fold me into water pouring warmth onto beads of sweat on cheeks, the creases of elbows. your knees hold me in, our stomachs pull into wrinkled lines. my eyes close inside this porcelain, my skin fuses to yours, a sapling bursts from my chest, reaches for the shower head, like a face to the sun.
Joenabie Kristin Fenker On a crisp Saturday afternoon around mid-October, Bee and I plant crocus bulbs. She discovered them earlier at the checkout of the local hardware store, the onion-like bulbs packaged behind a picture showing the delicate purple petals encircling fuzzy yellow stamens. Bee giggled as she passed them to the cashier, probably wondering why I decided to waste my allowance money on dead flowers just because she admired their picture. We plant them later that day, bundled up against the drop in temperature that settled in earlier in the week while I sat trapped in school. I dig the holes with a little hand trowel, pushing through the debris chat just a few weeks ago comprised my mother’s beloved flowers. So many places and memories bloom together in those colorful summer flowerbeds: the cover of yellow buttercups from my great-grandmother’s farm, purple creeping flox from the house where I was born, and the now enormous ferns that were the size of my hand when we dug them up as transplants from my grandparent’s house in Ohio. Now everything is dormant and dry due to the nightly frost, waiting for the spring sun to once again bloom with their stories. As Bee and I kneel to plant the bulbs, the dried out leaves and stems crunch and crackle under our knees. When the holes are dug, Bee carefully places a bulb or two in each, handling them carefully so the outer layers won’t flake off on the short trip from the bag to the hole. Together we gather handfuls of cold dirt to pack tightly around each crocus bulb, enjoying the dirt under our fingernails and looking forward to the hot chili we can smell every time our mom opens the screen door to check our progress. ******* Joenabie, “Bee” for short, came to live with my family when I was fourteen. I’m sure my parents’ big farmhouse in small-town Spencerville, Indiana, must have seemed strange to her. She was from Manila, the capital city of the Philippines, a city with one of the highest population densities in the world. Bee was used to 142
traffic and people everywhere. My parents’ house is situated on the corner of a dead-end country road, far from any city. If a car actually does drive by, we know the occupants by name, who their parents, brothers, sisters, and cousins are, and probably where they’re headed. When Bee joined our family, mom and dad had been foster parents for about five years, but only for local newborns that needed homes for short periods of time. Bee was different: she wasn’t a baby we would take care of for a week or two while teenage parents chose between raising her or putting her up for adoption, or while social workers found a permanent family for her to live with. Bee was nine years old and had come to America because she needed medical care that couldn’t be provided in her own country. When I first met Bee, all I could see was the halo which started around her stomach. A padded brace peeked out from under her clothes and attached to four posts. These posts led up to metal screws that surrounded her head in the circular pattern that gives the traction device its name. They were literally screwed into the bone of her skull. No part of the halo was removable. Our mom had to cut open the shoulders of Bee’s shirts and sew on Velcro because nothing could go over her head—all her clothing had to be pulled up from her feet. Bee had broken her neck in a fall and been misdiagnosed; it wasn’t until she started to lose control of voluntary muscles all down her left side that it became evident she had a cervical fracture. My horror at Bee’s halo was fleeting. As with most people who met her, there was no more halo after the first couple of minutes, only Bee’s charisma and captivating personality. ******* I still don’t really know the details of how Bee ended up moving in with my family. She and my youngest sister Bethany lived at the same orphanage in Manila and my parents met her for the first time when they went to bring Bethany home. Several years later, my mother heard chat Bee was at Shriner’s Hospital in Chicago for orthopedic surgery and went to visit her. Next came the phone call to my dad. “Bee and I are on our way home.” Before Bee moved in, my family was in the process of falling apart. My dad, who spent the past fifteen years of his life as a tool
and dye maker for General Motors, was laid off when the company chose to shut down for a time rather than meet the demands of the worker’s union. My mom was working through a particularly tough patch in her ever-present struggle with mental illness, which having my dad around seemed to exacerbate. Usually, Dad worked twelve hour days, including weekends. Having him around so much when they weren’t used to seeing each ocher for more than an hour or so at night, juxtaposed with money worries, caused a lot of extra stress and was obviously straining their relationship as well as the rest of the family dynamics. Yet with Bee around it was impossible for any of us to continue focusing solely on the negative aspects of our lives. Every little thing made her so happy and full of joy that it was impossible to be around her and not feel your spirits lift. Bee was so open about expressing the happiness she experienced to everyone. Her therapists at Shriner’s adored her. Mom and I took her to therapy a couple of times a month—it was a three hour drive. Bee never complained and was always happy to play the “games” they made up to restore mobility to her paralyzed side, even when they were painful. She would laugh as she finger-painted shaving cream smiley faces and butterflies on the walls in the therapy room, or grin and insist the umbrellas on her vision tests were really “Eleeee-phants!” The pictures she painted using only her left hand were never of “houses,” but always of “homes.” One time Bee somehow managed to get the entire radiology department at Shriner’s to drop what they were doing and dance the Hokey Pokey with her. *******
The day of Bee’s surgery to remove her halo was one of the scariest days of my life. As with any surgery, there was a certain degree of risk to it, a risk that was even greater given the halo screws went in so close to her brain. The surgery was a success, and soon Bee was on her way home and on the road to recovery. After her surgery, the change in Bee’s physical condition was remarkable. Bee was very tiny, probably thirty, five or forty pounds, and the bulky halo made her too top, heavy to walk. She would crawl around the house, but very awkwardly. A great fear of our mother’s was that she would run into something and jar her halo. With the halo removed, Bee enthusiastically crawled all over the
place, enjoying a freedom of movement she hadn’t had in months. A few nights after her surgery, mom went into her room to check on her before bed. Struck with panic because Bee was not there, she heard a voice coming from the closet. “Mama Karen, over here!” Bee had crawled out of bed, climbed up high enough inco her do ec to unhang the Halloween costume she was so excited about wearing, and somehow managed to put it on. “I’m Ariel,” the little mermaid said as she grinned up from the floor. ******* Early that fall, just a few short weeks after her surgery, Bee took her first steps since before getting injured. During one of the rare afternoons when my entire family was home, watching TV and doing homework together in the main room of our house, dad came in and said there was a surprise for us. Down the long hallway leading from her bedroom came Bee on her own two feet. My mom followed a few steps behind, trying so hard to stay back and not reach out with a steady hand unless Bee was really about to fall. With obvious difficulty and the help of a walker, Bee came proudly towards us, concentration evident on her face. She moved so carefully, picking up and replacing each foot methodically and yet still with a grace right our of Arthur Saint-Léon’s Coppélia. Even more delightful than the cadence of her shoes against the wood aoor was the grin on her face. Bee was almost ear to ear tiny white teeth, her cheeks scrunched up so high that her eyes were practically closed with the intensity of her grin. Determination and pride at her accomplishment radiated through the tiny slits that had once been her wide black eyes. The purity in that smile was one of total unadulterated happiness and joy: Bee’s personality was somehow encapsulated for a moment in a single grin that reached out and embraced all of us. Watching this beautiful little girl walk slowly down the hall caused the animosity that had threatened my family to abate. The strange thing was, although we thought we were helping Bee, the whole time she was helping us. My parents hugged each other, their first loving embrace in almost a year, and my siblings and I all clapped and cheered as Bee kept moving forward. Looking around at my parents and brothers and sisters as we all gathered together and witnessed Bee take those first steps, everyone’s face
was lit with the realization that we would pull through and things would be okay again. My older sister was in tears, and my brothers even put down their video game to witness this moment. Bee was doing far more than simply walking; this was her final lesson in teaching us how to be a family again. Bee continued to recover, becoming stronger and stronger with each passing day. Since life was always a song to Bee, our mom and I sang, “Here she comes, just a-walkin’ down the street,” as she practiced walking all around the house with her walker, usually dressed in her Little Mermaid Halloween costume. Bee never failed to flash us a grin and chime in on the “Doowah-diddy diddy-dum diddy-do.” *******
Her total recovery took about a year, and during that time Bee became a part of my family. Our parents did everything they could in an effort to adopt her, but the fact that she had Down Syndrome coupled with the fact that my parents already had five kids, made her home country declare her ineligible for adoption. The day came when Bee had to return to the Philippines. Bee overflowed with more love, courage, and spirit than any person I have ever known. From her I learned not to complain, but instead embrace every single aspect of life with love and laughter. It seems strange; a nine-year-old little girl has taught me more about life than anyone else ever has. Life has so many moments that are far from perfect, yet they all fade in comparison to the most perfect moment of my entire life: seeing Bee take those first steps. I learned from her that when life throws you off balance and things seem hopeless, to just keep crawling forward and eventually you’ll walk again. As I write this, she is about to turn eighteen years old. Autumn is approaching quickly, and the days are getting cooler—the ideal time to plant crocus. Nine years have passed since Bee and I laughed in the garden together. When visiting my parents for the weekend, I kneel in the garden, listening to the dry leaves crunch under me. Closing my eyes, I pick up fistfuls of dirt and let them trickle slowly through my fingers. A cool wind gently brushes my face; I swear it brings with it the scent of chili cooking inside... We get news every now and then, and I still send letters. I think of Bee almost every day, especially in the spring when her
crocus bloom. I see chem pushing their small purple buds through the snow, and I picture her walking down the hall, her little voice singing, â€œDoowah-diddy diddy-dum diddy-do.â€?
Prayer Lindsey Allen It was just like I prayed it would be. A gray-haired old man twanging an upright bass. The guitars and little ukuleles glittered with metal stars as the music moved through and out their mouths in syrupy Croatian: syrup with pebbles in it, catching around their tongues before falling out. Curly-haired grandmother mouthed the words with eyes half-closed. Our feet tapped, tried to mirror the dancers’ rolling steps— like falling from the safety of our metal folding chairs. You kept reaching for me to touch my back or the side of my face; your chair scooted up to mine and your legs wove between my own. It was music to feel, not understand, so we whispered beneath it, set our own scribbled jokes and stories to jaunty tunes. You held my face in your hands and said, “One day I’ll make you my wife, I promise you that.” When night fell you pulled me into your lap under the canopy of the white tent. It was just us and the band and all the old-country Croatians 148
and the music and it was just how I prayed it would be, but better.
The Challenges of Writing a Poem Laura Carter
What if, while sitting on a bench, waiting for inspiration to strike, and staring at the blank page before you, or at the beautiful spot you carefully picked to write in (And had to take the 6:15 bus— with two transfers— To get to, but it was worth it because it was so beautiful) You had absolutely no ideas come, would it be a very insulting thing? And would the especially insulting thing be that it is only a class at the Community Art Center, which you found a flyer for at the security desk in the office lobby— and then had to pretend you weren’t really interested, in case anybody had seen you pick it up? But, in the end, you did decide to go, because it could be something new, for once, and so you paid the 85 bucks and sat through four classes on blank verse and imagery and the alienation of the current generation (which is something you’re not entirely certain you believe in) but now it is finally time to write, and you really can’t think of a single thing to write about. And another insulting thing would be that sometimes you have really good ideas, but they always come at what can only be called the most inopportune times: Like when there is no paper around at all 150
(not even a napkin, because the only one you had got soaked a minute ago when your date threw a glass of water in your face, which was entirely unnecessary and very cliché): Or when your friends are talking too loud (and you’re certain that the lady who lives across the hall from you is going to call the super, again): Or at the club where all the obnoxious bands play (and you’re pretty sure you’re the only one who feels this way, but somehow you just can’t bring yourself to love rap/emo/country/punk, no matter how hard you try): Or in the cab (when the cabbie just turned on the ball game and whichever team it is he supports appears to be down several points and in need of his coaching); And by the time it is quiet and the page is blank in front of you, it is too late and the idea, whatever it may have been, is gone for good. And maybe you had a really good idea come in the elevator the other day, (which was especially insulting since you didn’t have to take the 6:15 bus— with two transfers— to get there, only walk twelve feet and around the printer), in the elevator somewhere between the ninth floor and the eighth, but then Matt and Cam got in and filled the elevator, and your mind, with talk of tennis and television and the boss’s new receptionist,
who is apparently incredibly good looking but you haven’t seen her yet, (which is probably another variety of insult), and all of this got the better of your idea. And maybe some people can just go home and sit down to write a poem about tennis and TV and receptionists they’ve never seen, but not you, so now you’re staring at the blank page and you still have to take the 6:15 bus— with two transfers— back to your apartment and defrost dinner. And then go to office tomorrow where the walls match the paper, and all the Matts and the Cams will be there with their tennis and TV and receptionists, and the cabbies with their ball teams and the clubs with bad bands and the friends who talk too loud and the over-dramatic dates and then you’ll have to go to the Community Art Center, with absolutely nothing written at all.
Second Chance, Last Chance, and No Chance At All Laura Carter
Buzzing broke through the darkened dorm room, rattling Stan awake. He reached out from under his blanket, clutching at the top of his desk. When his alarm clock’s “Snooze” button failed to stop the noise, he jerked up in a panic, visions of fire forming in his mind. It took him a long time to realize that the source of the noise was his cell phone, its obnoxious ringtone clanging away. “Turn it off,” Stan’s roommate, Jackson, half-shouted and halfmoaned from across the room. Stan managed to grab the phone, holding it up to his face to read the caller’s name. Once his bleary hazel eyes focused on the little letters, his heart leapt and he pushed the green “Accept” button. “Izzy.” He was so happy to see the girl’s name he did not register that she was calling at four-thirty in the morning. “Stan, is that you?” Izzy’s voice sounded wobbly. “Yeah,” Stan’s mind jumped with horror to the thought that she had dialed his number by mistake. “Oh my God, Stan, thank goodness you picked up.” “What’s up, Izzy, what happened?” Stan was beginning to worry there was some kind of emergency. He slid out of bed and grabbed a sweatshirt off his desk chair. “Stan, oh God, I’m so sorry to bother you like this, but everything’s gone wrong this morning, and now Deanne’s car won’t start and we’ve got no clue what’s wrong. We’ve been out here for the past twenty minutes trying to get it to run, and I don’t know what to do. I’m sorry to call you this early, but do you think there’s any way you could give me a ride to the airport? My flight leaves at six.” Stan’s heart fell. Of course. This was the day Izzy was leaving to study abroad. All week, all semester, he had told himself that it was not really going to come but now, finally, here it was. He stalled for a moment before answering, trying to think of a way to use this opportunity to tell her how he really felt about her leaving, and not the smiling lies he’d told her for six months. “Izzy, the thing is, I’m afraid I don’t have a car right now. My 154
brother took my truck for the weekend, so I can’t drive you.” Part of him was happy about this, and he felt selfish. “Oh God, you were my last hope.” Stan was torn between being happy she had pinned all her hopes on him and upset that she had thought of him last. “I don’t know what I’m going to do now.” Despite everything, Stan did not like hearing the desperation in her voice. “Izzy, I’m really sorry. I can’t think of anybody else, but...hold on a second.” Stan put his hand over the phone. “Jack?” “No,” said the lump of blankets on the other side of the room. “Jackson, please?” “I refuse.” “Jackson, she doesn’t have any other options.” Jackson propped himself on one elbow and looked across the room. “I told you, I refuse. I refuse on principle: it’s too early. My car won’t be awake yet; it needs its beauty sleep. I need my beauty sleep.” Stan rolled his eyes. “Come on, Jackson, it’s an emergency. Deanne’s car won’t start.” “I believe that should be filed under ‘Not My Problem.’” “And I loaned my truck to Perry.” “Well, this is what you get for being a good brother.” Jackson pressed a hand over his eyes as Stan flipped on his desk lamp. “Anyway, what are you doing, trying to help the girl you like leave? That’s messed up, man.” Stan shoved his cell phone under his pillow. “Don’t say dumb stuff like that,” he snapped. “I’m the dumb one, now? May I remind you of the ice skating trip last semester, where you spent the entire time skating next to Izzy, hoping she’d ask you to hold her hand? And instead you ended up slamming into her twice? Because girls love that, you know. Nothing like face planting her into a nasty-ass ice rink to show her you care.” “Please shut up and go get your car.” “When did I agree to drive her?” Jackson looked confused, but he slid out of bed. “I don’t remember doing that.” “She needs to get to the airport in time for her flight. It’s at six.” “Who schedules flights at six?” Jackson pulled on a hoodie, running a hand through his disheveled black hair. Stan waited until Jackson grabbed his keys off his desk and left the room, then
he pulled the phone back out and pressed it to his ear. “Izzy, are you there?” He hoped she had not overheard their conversation. “Yes, I’m here. Deanne and I were thinking we would call a taxi, maybe. That could work.” “No.” Now that Stan knew he could see her again before she left, he was determined to make sure he did. “No, it’s fine. Jackson said he would drive you.” “Really, Stan? He’d do that? Oh my God, tell him thank you so much.” Stan didn’t think Jackson deserved her thanks. “Yeah, well, we’ll be over there in a few minutes.” “Thank you guys so much.” Izzy’s voice was slower and calmer now. “Deanne and I will be outside my place. My suitcase is kinda big; do you think there’ll be space in Jackson’s car?” “Yeah. No worries, I’ll help you.” Stan said goodbye and hung up the phone, pulling on the sweatshirt and slamming his feet into his shoes. He hesitated for a moment before his reflection in the television screen, trying to make his straw-colored hair lie flat. He was excited that he was getting another chance to see Izzy. He had thought it had been the last time at Deanne’s send-off party, two nights before. The party had been a loud affair, with throbbing pop music and cheap chips. Izzy had been in the center of everything, smiling and laughing, talking about the university where she was going to study in Madrid. Stan spent the party in a corner, depressed, trying to get up the courage to go talk her, to tell her how he felt. But that didn’t happen—she was busy, always surrounded by people, and the entire party had been a miserable affair. But there had been one good moment. Near the end, Deanne had asked Izzy what she was going to miss the most about home. Izzy said there were lots of things she was sure she would miss, but she looked straight at him as she said it. Stan had been remembering that moment for the past two days. He had not gotten a chance at the party to tell her he would miss her too, except at the end when everybody was saying it and it didn’t really matter. But now he did, thanks to Deanne’s junky car. Outside the sun was not yet up, though the edges of the sky in the east were beginning to acquire a pinkish hue. Jackson leaned against the side of his blue sedan, rubbing his hands together. “Come on, Stan. Now that you’ve got me up I want to get going.
Were you up there composing her a soliloquy or something?” “No, I was remembering the last time I saw her.” Stan got into the car. “Ah, yes, lost in the golden memories of two days ago.” Jackson got behind the wheel and started the engine. “It was a good party.” “It was sucky party. The music was obnoxious.” “I enjoyed it.” “Dude, I don’t care what you think, she didn’t look at you. Trust me, I was right there.” “Never mind. Just hurry up. She lives over...” Stan started to point down the road. “I know where she lives, dude. How many times have we gone to some dumb event, just because she’s going to be there? I could get to her place in my sleep which, frankly, I find creepy.” Jackson pulled out of the lot. “Just hurry.” *** “You know, I seem to recall being told to, and I quote, ‘hurry.’ Clearly, that was necessary.” Jackson unwrapped his third egg muffin and took a large bite. “I’m so sorry, I really am.” Izzy perched on a chair next to Stan at the tall café table the four of them were sharing. “You were so nice to drive, Jackson, and now you have to stay here for four hours. You all can leave, really. I’ll be fine.” “What, and leave you alone in the airport, waiting for a delayed plane?” Deanne shook her head from across the table. “You’re already going to have to wait for forever after security. It’s cool, we can stay. You shouldn’t be alone.” Stan reached out to put his hand on Izzy’s arm, but pulled back at the last second. “Thank you all so much.” Izzy looked around at the group. “Don’t look at me, it’s all Stan here.” Jackson, mouth full of egg muffin, jerked his thumb towards Stan. “He’s the one who insisted we stay. I had my choice, you’d only have Teen Vogue for company by now.” “Jack!” Deanne swatted at his arm. “Izzy isn’t twelve, she doesn’t read Teen Vogue.” ‘’And it’s not like I forced you to stay.” Stan didn’t want anybody jumping to any conclusions.
Izzy reached into her purse and pulled out her boarding pass. “You know, if they hadn’t delayed my flight, I’d be in the air already.” “Winging your way to Madrid!” Deanne grinned. “I am still so totally jealous.” “What are we now, valley girls?” Izzy laughed. Stan watched her smile over his cup of coffee. It was the thing about her that had first drawn him, a smile that seemed to reach her entire face, her entire being. Every time he saw it he was reminded of why he liked her so much. And yet for a semester now he had associated that smile with the day Izzy told him she was going to leave. She had been so beautiful at that moment, so happy, so excited. He had wished he could have been the inspiration for that smile. Ever since then he had been trying very hard to pretend, to match her elation. “Oh my God!” Izzy’s smile vanished, jolting Stan out of his memories. “What is it?” asked Deanne. “My connecting flight! I’m going to miss my connecting flight! I’m going to end up stuck in JFK forever! I’ll never get out alive!” Stan thought fast. “Go up to the ticketing desk and ask them about it.” Deanne stood up. “Yeah, they have to have some sort of plan. I’ll come with you.” Izzy grabbed her boarding pass from the table. “Okay. Can you guys watch my stuff?” “Why not?” Jackson didn’t look up from his egg muffin. “I’ll guard it with my life.” Stan sat up straight and glanced at her things: the purse and a spotted laptop bag with her full name, Isolde Clemens, emblazoned across it in marker. “Thanks,” Izzy said. Stan watched as she and Deanne walked quickly out of the food court, heading back towards the row of ticketing desks. “‘Guard it with your life?’ Are you serious?” Jackson’s voice floated over. Stan turned. “You aren’t being very helpful.” “It’s not about being helpful. And I have been helpful, I drove her ass to the airport at freaking five in the morning, didn’t I? I don’t see why I have to watch her shit, too.” “Don’t say stuff like that,” Stan started to protest, but Jackson cut him off.
“Have you said anything to her at all? Or are you planning to just keep on following her around like a pathetic puppy, doing any small task for her, hoping she’ll suddenly look up and notice you?” Jackson’s eyes were hard. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, Jack.” Stan turned his cup between his hands. “Of course you do! Are you hoping for some chick flick scene?” Jackson dismissed the idea with a wave. “Running across the airport? Are you imagining her disappearing behind security only to suddenly come running back, setting off every freaking alarm in the airport and taking the entire country to Orange Alert, just so she can throw herself into your arms, say it’s always been you, and kiss you in front of an entire battalion of TSA officers?” “Where did you get the idea that that was what I wanted? I’m not imagining that happening, I’m not delusional—” Stan stuttered. “I think you are. You haven’t bothered to tell her at all.” “Tell her what?” “I don’t know, how about ‘Hey, Iz, I’m in love with you? Have been since freshman year? I want you to have my babies?’ Or something along those lines.” “She hates to be called ‘Iz.’” “Further proving my point.” Jackson leaned across the table. “Look, dude, you know how I feel about romance and all that shit. But even l’m saying you have to do something. Now. She’s leaving, you know? For Madrid. The freaking other side of the freaking world.” “You don’t have to point that out, okay? I am aware.” Stan took a gulp of his coffee. “And hell, if she doesn’t know, then it’ll hardly be her fault when she forgets all about you.” “Forgets about me?” Stan set his coffee down hard. That hadn’t occurred to him. “Hells yeah. You say nothing, she’ll forget you like that.” Jackson snapped his fingers; Stan winced. “She’ll probably end up banging some Spanish dude, you know? Of course, even if you told her it probably wouldn’t stop that from happening. Long distance is a bitch, believe me. But at least you would know you tried to make a move.” “So are you saying I should tell her or not?” “Tell her. You’re already unbearable enough to live with when
she’s on the other side of campus. I don’t want to imagine what you’ll be like when she’s on the other side of the world.” Jackson shoved the last piece of his egg muffin into his mouth. “How am I unbearable?” Jackson ticked off the reasons on his fingers. “You freak out every time the phone rings. Every. Single. Goddamned. Time. You spaz anytime anybody comes to the door. And she is, literally, the only thing you talk about.” “Izzy is not the only thing I talk about.” “You brought her up during the Call of Duty tournament. The Call of Duty tournament, Stan. All the guys were like, ‘Who the hell’s that Izzy chick Stan wouldn’t shut up about?’ They remembered her name, dude, that’s how much you talked about her.” “So you think I should tell her.” “That would be the moral of this story, yes.” Jackson fell silent then as Izzy and Deanne came walking back. Deanne grinned. “It’s all cool. Somebody should have told us, because apparently there’s another flight to Madrid in the evening and they’ve made sure all the people connecting have seats. I mean, it’s a six hour layover, but hey, you’ll be used to waiting by then, right, Izzy?” “Yep, I’ll be the pro. On an even better note, they said the delay here isn’t going to be as long as they expected. Apparently the weather in Ohio or wherever went south. They hope to start boarding in the next couple hours, so I should get through security now.” Stan went cold. “Good, that means I can go home and get a few more hours of sleep.” Jackson stood up and stretched his long arms above his head. Deanne beamed at Izzy. “I guess this means you’re really off!” Izzy slung her bag over her shoulder. “Well, I’m not off until I’m through security.” Izzy and Deanne walked out of the food court, side by side. Stan trailed after them, carrying Izzy’s laptop bag. All the way across the terminal he avoided looking at Jackson beside him, not very subtly mouthing, “Tell her.” He felt sick, as though he had eaten too much, even though he had only had coffee that morning. This was it. He wouldn’t see Izzy again for four months. When she came back, would she remember him at all? Or would she end up with some Spanish guy, like Jackson had said?
He knew it was all his fault, as Jackson had pointed out in no uncertain terms. It had been his fault for three years, since the day he met her during freshmen orientation. And now she was going to leave without knowing how much he really liked her, how much he was in love with her. All too soon, they were at the entrance to security, next to a big sign that read, “Only Ticketed Passengers Beyond This Point.” Izzy turned to them. “Jackson,” she said, reaching out to hug him. For a moment Stan felt irrationally jealous of his friend. “Thank you so much for this morning, you really saved the day. I won’t forget.” Jackson smiled a real smile for the first time that morning. “I hope you have a great time, Izzy...Bring me back a bull’s foot or something, okay?” Izzy laughed and moved to Deanne. “Deanne, I’m going to miss you so much! I’ll send you an email as soon as I have Mr. Computer set up, I promise.” Deanne laughed. “Don’t forget. And have fun! Study hard!” The two girls embraced. Stan could hear his heart pounding in his ears. He wiped his wet palms on his pants and hoped wildly that his hair wasn’t getting all sweaty and spiky. “Stan.” Izzy smiled. Stan thought, hoped, that her voice had an especially affectionate tone. “Thank you so much for coming to see me off. It was great to see you.” Izzy put her arms loosely around Stan and hugged him. He tried to hug her back, but he could only get one arm around her. Her laptop bag was still in his other hand, making it clumsy and difficult to move. He couldn’t hug her properly, and he started to panic. It was frustrating, he didn’t want to hit her with her own bag. With his one free arm, he squeezed her as tightly as he could. Stan stuttered, trying to think of a way to tell her. “I-Izzy, you... You have a great time.” He was immediately furious with himself. Izzy let him go far too soon. She looked to the whole group. “I guess this is really it! I’ll post a ton of pictures. Keep an eye out for ‘em...Well, I’ll...I’ll be seeing you!” Izzy reached out to Stan then. For her laptop bag. Stan handed it to her, letting his fingers brush against hers; where they touched his skin burned. Izzy turned towards the first TSA agent. Stan watched her walk away from the group, away from him. The agent took her passport and boarding pass and glanced at them, reading the name.
Jackson looked over. “Stan?” he said softly. Stan jerked away from his thoughts and took a slow breath. He had to do something, he had to say something more. It was his absolute last chance. He took a step forward. Behind him he sensed Jackson repeating his name, but his ears had started buzzing too loudly to think. Izzy was coming towards him now, but it was the back of her head. Stan was the one moving; he felt as though his feet were separate, walking of their own will. Izzy hadn’t turned around yet, didn’t know he was there behind her. There was still time for him to bail. But what then? “Izzy?” His voice wasn’t getting through to his ears. He hoped she could hear him. “Yeah?” Izzy turned, her eyes bright and confused. But she smiled again. That smile. “Izzy…I…” Stan had no clue how he was going to say it, though he had thought it so many times. “Izzy, the thing is…” Izzy looked confused. “Stan, what’s wrong?” Stan braced himself, then let open the floodgates. “Izzy, I just wanted to tell you how much I like you. I think you’re...you’re just great, Izzy. Everything about you, I can’t describe it, but...I just wanted you to know. I know that you’re leaving, and it’s not like you’re gonna stay or something—that’d be crazy—but I just wanted to say before you leave that you are the most amazing girl I’ve ever met. Ever. I wanted you to know that.” Stan didn’t wait to see her reaction. He didn’t want her to repeat that she was leaving. He definitely didn’t want to hear her say that they were friends. He didn’t even want to hear her say she liked him too, if it meant he still wouldn’t see her for four months. Instead he turned and he ran, he fled the security entrance, fled the airport. He stumbled down the escalator and flew out the sliding doors by the baggage carousels. He zigzagged through the line of white and yellow taxi cabs, then out into the huge parking lot, running between the rows of cars and past shuttle stops. Finally, somewhere between rows ‘’I’’ and “J” he had to stop, hunched over, breathing hard. His eyes burned. Behind him asphalt crunched. Stan turned and saw Jackson come jogging up between a truck and a green minivan. “You, my friend, are fast. You don’t run track? It’s a travesty,” Jackson panted, leaning against a large SUV. Stan looked at Jackson and their eyes locked. “Stan...You should have seen her
face, I have no clue...But you did it, you told her. I...can’t believe you did it. After all these years of pining, you actually told her.” Jackson smiled, but it slid quickly off his face. “You’re a better man than me, Stan Morrison.” “Did she say anything?” Jackson shook his head. “I don’t know. When you ran, I went after you. But she looked...shocked, I guess. Who knows what she’ll say? Things look different after a ten-hour plane ride. She might call you tonight at midnight.” “Or she might never speak to me again.” Stan was already regretting what he had done. “Hey, look, at least you did it. You finally told her.” Stan nodded, gasping. “Yeah. Yeah, I guess I did.”
They Forgot Elise Campagna A knife, they said Someone, somewhere pounding The salmon glow of simmering iron And giving it a handle Eleven times, they said Ribs, sternum, shoulder, stomach, repeat Under the unblinking moon With the plastic eyes of a cadaver He pleaded, they said A few words slipping like pennies From a bankerâ€™s wallet Into the hungry sewer grates of the city Two children, they said Riding a yellow bus home, laughing Sleepy in the gauzy dark, polished flutes And saxophones catching the same moony stares Weâ€™re sorry, they said Crumpled like an unfinished letter, under the headstone of the mailbox Blades of grass not slicing but caressing his soft body Eleven holes spitting into the empty street Eleven holes spitting into the empty street A boy, stained and stumbling away through the shadows A hated and faceless thing cradling a knife they forgot They put in his hand
Got ‘em Wade Thiel When we shot a G.I. Joe with a shotgun, it just blew to pieces. We’d first tried throwing them in the air and blasting them with the twelve gauge, but we decided it wasn’t any different than shooting clays. Then we’d tried to stand them up on the picnic table without any supports, but they either fell over before we were ready to start shooting or flipped off the table after one shot. Finally, we decided to duct tape their feet to the picnic table and put hunks of firewood behind their backs so that they wouldn’t fall over. The duct tape and hunks of wood didn’t really help because they would still be mostly destroyed with one shot from the twelve gauge, their little boots, wrapped in tape, still clinging to the table. That’s why I’d suggested using our pistols. My cousin, Jax, didn’t think it would be fun, but after he shot off the head of the Medical Specialist, he changed his mind. It wasn’t my choice to shoot these old action figures. We’d forgot to buy targets at the sporting goods store and were too lazy to go back, so we’d looked around his house for something to use as targets. Aunt Silvia, Jax’s mom, had been cleaning out the attic and throwing away anything that reminded her of her ex-husband, my Uncle Jim. We’d found three whole boxes of G.I. Joes and other action figures. When he opened the first box, Jax said, “We’ve found our targets!” After finding some duct tape and suitable pieces of firewood, Jax and I set up our first targets. Jax taped down a G.I. Joe from ‘89, code name Leatherneck, that was already missing an arm, and I taped down a G.I. Joe from ‘98, code name Thunderwing. “Are you sure we want to do this?” I asked. “Some of these are kind of cool.” “My mom was just going to throw this stuff out. Plus it’s all stuff my dad bought me. I don’t want to look at it,” said Jax. After we were done setting up our targets, we walked back about ten paces. I took aim with my Ruger SR22 and unloaded a whole clip into Thunderwing. He was mostly destroyed after the first few shots, but it was always fun to shoot fast. Jax did the same 166
with his Ruger Mark I that Uncle Jim gave him on his eighteenth birthday. After setting up two new action figures, we switched guns. The Mark I felt good in my hand. It was always a lot of fun to shoot. You could really put the bullets where you wanted them. I’d only had my SR22 for a month and hadn’t really got to shoot it much. I’d shot the Mark I plenty of times. Shooting it was like having sex with a girl you used to fuck all the time. It was familiar, comfortable, easy. Jax’s dad showed us how to shoot when we were eight-yearsold. Every weekend for three months I would come to Jax’s house in the country and shoot cans or targets with the Mark I until we ran out of ammo. Uncle Jim would give us pointers and move back the targets once we got honed in on them. The Mark I was the only gun Uncle Jim would let us shoot. It was the only .22 he owned, and he said he didn’t want us shooting anything bigger than that yet. Every time we would hit the center of the target or knock over a can, Uncle Jim would say “Got ‘em!” “You heard from your dad recently?” I asked. “No,” Jax said. “Fucker hasn’t called me in over a year now. He’s got some new young wife and he actually got her pregnant. Can you fucking believe that? He’s old and he’s gonna have another kid.” “That sucks.” We traded guns again. “Sucks for him. He’s gonna be dead before the kid gets out of high school.” Jax grabbed a completely naked figure from one of the boxes. I grabbed a few smaller action figures, and we walked towards the picnic table. “You know, I don’t care who cheated on who between him and my mom, but I think he’s a dirtbag for marrying some young slut and knocking her up. The way he drinks, he’ll be dead in a few years, and she’ll be stuck with a kid.” “Maybe he loves her.” “Bullshit. My dad doesn’t love anyone, not me, definitely not my mom. He may have at one time, but he lets his dick do most of his thinking. He’s a selfish fucker. I’ll never be like him.” We taped down the figures and walked back a little farther away than we were before. This time we took our time and picked apart the figures one shot at a time. Jax shot off the arms, and I focused on the heads. The Uncle Jim I remembered had always been loving and
happy. I had always thought of him as the friendliest person I knew. He used to take Jax and me out for pizza whenever I came over. Uncle Jim would always meet a woman, and they would talk and laugh until Jax bugged him about going home. I realize now that he was flirting and using his son and nephew as bait to attract women, but back then it always seemed like he was just a nice guy. For some reason the thought of Jax not wanting to be anything like his father really bothered me. Even though Uncle Jim was a dirtbag, and most likely a cheater, I still couldn’t see him as a bad guy. When we were little Uncle Jim would drive around in his truck and tell us stories about when he was younger, and we would sing every song on the radio. He came to every basketball game Jax ever played in and was always the loudest parent in the stands. He’d taught Jax and me how to hunt and fish, and had even bailed us out of jail after senior prom. All he said was to be more careful next time. I reached for the Mark I in Jax’s hand, but he pulled away. “I want to keep shooting this one,” he said. I nodded. “That’s cool. I need to shoot mine more anyway.” We both reloaded our guns “I don’t think you should hate your dad.” Jax looked at me. “Why not? That fucker has made terrible decisions, and he doesn’t give two shits about me.” “Maybe he’s just scared.” “Of what?” Jax asked. “Of not being a good father.” “He’s scared of not being a good father, so he doesn’t ever call me? “You’re not making sense.” “He should be. I would be if I was him. I swear I’m never going to be like him.” We set up more action figures on the picnic table and then walked back even farther from where we had been. “Think you can hit them this far away?” I asked. I watched Jax gun down all of the action figures. He smiled at me, then walked slowly towards the table. I watched him set up new targets and walk back to me. “Your turn,” he said.
One Night Out Jessi Tillman It was in Rothenburg, Germany, in the southern region of Bavaria. The city itself was strange. Built almost one thousand years ago, it has been stuck in the medieval era since the 1300s and that has become its trademark. People flock from all over the world to visit the town stuck in the past and take the night watchman tour, Jed by a guy who looked remarkably like Eric Idol combined with Nicholas Cage who had a thick German accent. What most people don’t know about the town is that locked away in its back roads is a Medieval Criminal Torture Museum with everything from an iron spiked witch’s chair and dagger filled barrels called Iron Maidens to simple pictures or saying that said rules, but didn’t necessarily have the ‘equipment’ to fulfill the punishment. My favorite and I quote, “couples who argued loudly would have a club placed on their door until the argument was settled. Neighbors would be compensated with food and wine.” How crazy stupid would that be? I can imagine the neighbors getting drunk and yelling at the couple trapped in their house and making the argument worse. Fuel for the fire, classic. Anyways, I had been in Rothenburg on a college trip for two weeks, studying the Grimm Brothers’ Fairy Tales, which are very grim and slightly disgusting. Our class had taken the tour of the city with the Eric Idol/Nicholas Cage night watchman and we were released to do whatever, as long as we didn’t get into legal trouble, or injure ourselves and still made it to the bus in the morning. In the week we had been touring Germany, I had only taken a sip of classic Ger man Lager and had never gone out to any bars like the rest of my classmates. I had always gone back to my hotel room with my roommates. But in Rothenburg, I had somehow nailed a single-room. Something to do with how I was more responsible. Bryant, the only guy friend I had made thus far into the trip because he spoke German fluently, came up beside me on my way back to our hotel. “EH! Yo Wilhelm!” he said, walking in front of me, “Jakob my 170
man!” “What?” I asked. “Grimm Girl!” he grinned down at me from his six foot stature, blocking my path with his wide arms. “Oh,” I said, acknowledging my trip nickname. I had already read all of the fairy tales before the class had even begun, “It’s Lilly, actually.” I tried to sidestep him. “And she talks!” Bryant shouted to the whole world. I half smiled and looked down at my feet. “Excuse me,” I mumbled more to myself than to him. “Yo, Grimm. Let’s go get a drink together. You need to loosen up girl.” Bryant spun me around with his hands on my shoulders, steering me back into the walls that bordered the ancient city. “But—” I started to protest but didn’t struggle, not with his arms around my shoulders—there was no escape. As the sun was setting, the family owned businesses lit up string of lights across the cobblestoned roads and people sat and ate pretzels at small cafes while sipping on beer. Bryant looked around for a while before we found some other classmates of ours. “Hey Bryant!” was the chorus of voices that greeted us at the entrance of the small bar, named Hell, so if the locals told you to go to hell, you should listen, you probably needed a drink. “Oh, look it’s Grimm,” everyone said when they saw me, before turning back to Bryant. “It’s Lilly, actually,” I mumbled to myself as Bryant steered me inside and sat me down at the bar. I half contemplated making a run for it, but it was dark outside and I wasn’t quite sure I knew the way back from Hell. “Ein Shandy und ein Maibock, bitte,” Bryant told the bartender, still hovering over me. “Are you going to sit down?” I asked. “Na! Beer tastes better when you stand up,” he grinned. “Whatever,” I just shook my head as two pints were set in front of us, one a light piss color and the other a shit brown color. “What the hell is that?” I pointed at the brown one as Bryant picked it up. “It’s a Maibock. Special German been only available in May.” Then Bryant began to chug his Maibock, our classmates cheering him on. When he set his glass down, I moved the other beer over to him. “Oh, no. That’s for you,” he smiled. “What is it?” I asked, leaning away from the glass. “A Shandy. Half German Lager, half Sprite.”
“You can have it,” I smiled politely. “No, I bought it for you,” he said, his face beginning to flush, “My treat.” “But I’m allergic—” I turned, but Bryant had another Maibock in hand and was with the other students “—to alcohol,” I said to myself, rubbing my hands along my neck, feeling the scar from where I had had a tracheal tube shoved into my lungs when my throat collapsed years ago. Step-grandma spiked the Christmas punch, I drank some of the punch. I was ten, I don’t remember the next three days. My doctor had said the allergy might not be as severe now, but I wasn’t taking any chances, not in another country. So I just spun the warm glass in my hands, watching the cup label appear and disappear over and over again. Someone sat next to me, but I wasn’t paying attention. “Oh mon dieu,” the voice said in French, causing me to look up at the newcomer. He gestured his head behind him. Bryant had turned the table into a dance stage and he and a couple of the other girls were grinding ail over each other. Many of the other residents left as another guy, Kyle, turned up the volume on the jukebox, receiving cheers from the table. “Americans,” the French man sneered, turning to me, “Ugly Americans.” I smiled, “C’est triste.” “Tu a un American?” he asked, looking hopeful that I wouldn’t be. “Oui,” the man’s face dropped, “Mais je ne suis pas aussi stupides qu’ils sont.” The man smiled and stuck out his hand, “Je m’ appelle Gauther. Et tu?” “Oh, je m’ appelle Lilly.” We shook hands. “Tu parle francais?” “Un peu.” “Oh, um. Sprechen sie Deutsch?” “Uh, ein bisschen.” I stammered, trying to recall what my papie taught me when I was little. “Anglais?” I asked, reverting back to French since I had been learning it in school. Gauther’s face turned dark as he turned back to his drink, murmuring to himself, “Americans.” I smiled and turned back to twirling my drink. “So much for going out tonight. It’ll be fun, he said. You’ll loosen up, he said,” I said louder than I had intended.
“Did someone say loosen up?” Kyle, who had been slinking around the jukebox, leaned around me and took my drink, downing it in a few gulps with extra spilling down his chin. He set the drink down with a defiant crash, his eyes dilated and his face bright red. “I can loosen you up,” he said, leaning forward, though I’m not sure if he meant to or not; he was unstable and his breath reeked. “I’m not that desperate,” I pushed his shoulder lightly and he swayed backwards and collapsed onto the ground, laughing. “Look at you. Her majesty, Queen Grimm, all high on her perch. Miss single lady, acting better than all of us.” I turned away from him and stared at the counter, turning bright red myself. Arms were suddenly around my shoulders and under my knees, picking me up and cradling me close. Bryant’s voice rang out. “Come, your majesty! Your chariot awaits!” Bryant ran out of the bar and into the coolness of the night, carrying me through the wall gates and into our hotel. He carried me up three flights of stairs, refusing to take the elevator because that was ‘cheating.’ He finally set me down and leaned up against the door as I pulled out my keys and unlocked the door. “Thanks for carrying me all the way back. I might have gotten lost,” I smiled sheepishly. No response. I turned the door handle and started to open the door when Bryant snored as he began to slide down the door, causing it to open even further under his weight. I caught his arm as the door banged open and my purse fell to the floor. “Shit, Bryant,” I mumbled, setting him on the ground, “One night out and this is what I get? Fucking shit.” I stepped around his giant frame and set my purse on a small desk under the one window in the far corner of the room. Then I turned to look at Bryant, on the floor, still halfway out into the hallway, sleeping peacefully. I grabbed his arm and dragged him into the room slowly. “What the fuck Bryant?” I grunted as his feet made it into the room. I then picked up one leg at a time to make sure the door would close. I pulled a blanket off of my bed and tossed it over the body, kicked off my shoes, and crawled into bed. I stayed in my clothes; I wasn’t changing with a guy in my room who would most likely wake up at the moment I wasn’t wearing pants. I grabbed one of the pillows and put it up against the wall. Then I wrapped
myself in the comforter and brought my knees up to my chest, leaning on the wall. Again, not going to sleep lying down, that would be weird. I know it’s stupid, but it wasn’t uncomfortable. I awoke to the sound of breathing in my ear. “Do you always sleep like this?” it asked. I jumped, let out a slight shriek and smacked the voice. “Oww!” I turned to find Bryant holding his nose as he looked at me. “Sorry,” I groaned, unwrapping myself from the blanket. “You slept in your clothes?” He laughed. “You were in my room.” “Thanks for that, by the way.” “You fell asleep against the door, what was I supposed to do?” “Leave me in the hallway as most people do.” I hesitated, “I don’t even want to know,” I pulled my shoes on and zipped up my suitcase. “Shall we go to breakfast, Grimm?” Bryant asked, holding the door open. “It’s—” I started, grabbing the room key. “Lilly, actually,” he finished, “I know. Come on. Let’s go have another adventure.” I walked out the door and together Bryant and I headed down to the lobby for breakfast, “Never again,” I said. He grinned.
Madison Deline Hershberger
artificial gods Elise Campagna We begin by being reborn, a creature made from flesh and words, writhing from a dead manâ€™s pen; from his thought-womb we wobble like a colt on stilted legs still dripping with water and blood. We stumble around the empty stage where spotlights turn our eyes to mirrors; we see ourselves as someone else, a strange friend or familiar enemy, and we wear these new faces like a glass mask. Then we start to learn, shivering with sweat we remember forgetting to dance to laugh to weep and whistle to lose to hate to want and waste to keep our trembling feet beneath us. We cannot start from nothing, we cannot play God, but we can imitate and create The Impossible Art, and slowly we become ourselves again only this time we forget to remember ever being human at all. 177
Avalanche Paige Stratton
Part of the Human Nature series
Elegy for the Ice Maiden Elise Campagna “Her body was discovered in 1999, entombed near the summit of the Llullaillaco volcano in Argentina. She has been called the best-preserved mummy in the world. She is now more than 500 years old but, with her legs crossed, arms folded and head on her shoulder, she still looks like the teenager she was when she perished.” When they came you thought it was a blessing. Admiring your smooth face and grass-blade fingers, they asked if you were a virgin before you even knew what a man was like beneath the small square of hide that hung from his waist. But you followed them into a tiered temple, far from your humble kancha. If you had looked back a second time, before the hill’s breast rose, before the worm-churned path squirmed under your feet, before your life grew small behind you, you might have seen the sour edge of your mama’s stoic smile, or your papa’s proud despair, a vein-stretched throat, or eyes like ditches filling with murky rainwater. Of what mettle were they made, to watch you go and pray next time for ugly, useless children? 179
They called you a blessing, a maiden, a Sun Virgin, and made a thousand braids on your head and fed you beef and maize and wrapped you in soft alpaca, with the tail feather of a scarlet macaw perched on your brow, you were a fattened calf, a first-born lamb, a goddess chosen to walk among her kind. If you had marked the walls to count your age after each pale sunrise, after languid prayers, after doses of coca dizzy-drink burnt down your budding chest, you might have tried to rip and tear their dreadful gifts away the day they brought you up the side of a volcano and left you, legs and arms folded, sitting alone, dusted with snow, braids freezing over like twisted branches. What were you waiting for, slumped and swollen, losing track of fingers and toes, blinking heavy through ice-lashes? If you had slept while you waited, while you stiffened, while you ebbed, you might have dreamt your mama and papa kissed you to sleep, kissed you like a daughter and not like an idol left to tarnish in the mountain air.
You Can Only Keep as Much as You Can Carry Kaylie Ann Pickett Native American blood, hard and Kentuckian, has flushed his face for a lifetime of seventy-three years. Papaw rocks back and forth on the side of a bed draped in quilts with his face hollow and gray. The yellow skin around his eyes sags more today than it did even yesterday. Little John helps him remove his coat and his big feet dangle in boots that haven’t worked in just over two months. When people deteriorate, it happens fast. When I was sixteen, I would sneak behind my grandparents’ barn to smoke cigarettes. The grass was damp and my cigarette smoke blended smoothly into the soundless fog of an early, southern Indiana morning. Two birds chirped at each other, and the chickens squabbled over the last kernels of corn from the night before. I heard the soft hum of a golf cart motor and shoved my cigarette into the soil and attempted to crouch-as naturally as no one ever did. “I know you’re smoking those cigarettes, Ms. Abby.” Papaw cleared his throat. ‘’Ah, well...yeah—” “— I made a lot of mistakes in my life. Used to treat your grandma pretty bad. Did you know your papaw here can’t read?” “No.” I did know that. My mother had told me a few years ago. “Yep, I tried learnin’ again when you was just a little girl.” “Well, maybe if you—” “—you was so little, Ms. Abby, and you just loved them books and you would sit on my lap and say, ‘read to me, Papaw, read to me.’ But, oh, Miss Abby, you was so smart and you had it figured out real quick that I wasn’t really readin’ them words to ya. And you’d say, ‘Papaw, that’s not what it says!’ And you’d just laugh and carry on!” I pulled at the grass and shook my head. Though it is an innate and innocent thing, I was nonetheless embarrassed by the tactless ignorance of budding childhood. “No, listen to me now. Your papaw’s a smart a man, but I have to be because I can’t read a lick. But you know what, I’d give 182
anything to write your grandma a letter. You got to be smarter with yourself, Ms. Abby. You got an advantage over folks like me but you still gotta be careful.” “I know, I’m going to. I’m just going through a rough patch.” “Yeah? Well, that’s alright then, hon. Just make sure it don’t last a lifetime.” Mamaw falls on her knees to untie his laces. She pulls up from the heels and steel-toed boots fly across the room while he kicks his legs like a seventy-three year old child. His chest heaves and he labors for just one good deep breath. He wheezes in agony, gasping, doubling each intake fair only to exhale a small burst, a weak little hem. He doesn’t have the wind to cough. His eye are bloodshot and murky, and they sweep over our faces for any trace of promise. He searches beseechingly for a gesture that might indicate that he is not yet forsaken and I pray that he doesn’t interpret the helplessness in our expressions as foreboding omens. At twenty-two year old, I moved in with my grandparents. I wasn’t a recent college graduate; I wasn’t having trouble finding work in my prestigious, specified field. I was just a heavy drinker and recently divorced from a short and violent marriage. I drove home daily with a jug of Carlo Rossi between my legs, whipping around sharp country turns and singing Kris Kristofferson out the window at cows and men mowing their lawns. Mamaw was a Christian woman who read her Bible between naps and trips to Wal-Mart. No matter the temperature, she sat with a blanket on her lap and dogs at her feet while journaling verses in notebooks that held revelations for herself and chosen family members. She didn’t force her religion or these prophesies on anyone, and she only asked me about my own salvation once. But Mamaw spoke of Jesus matter-of-factly. She would claim “the Lord says” as casually as “it’s supposed to rain tonight.” And we’d all just glance at each other and nod respectfully because we knew that for her, Jesus was as real as the house in which we stood. Papaw was a beer drinker in the garage and he liked zydeco and blues music. I once made a playlist for him and it didn’t take but two guitar rings before he said, “Oh, that’s that ol’ Muddy.” I don’t know if he actually liked Muddy Waters or if he was just noting the man’s popularity, as though Papaw were the first ever and oldest living hipster. I watched him as he whistled along, moving
about old boxes and buckets. He picked out unrecognizable tools and rusty car parts, and without purpose, he coolly examined each one before tossing them back into their crate. Most of the talking we did was full of his advice, which was funny and judgmental, but mostly correct—and painfully so. “Now, Ms. Abby, you just stay in school.” “I know, I know, I am. I’m going to go back and finish this time, I have to.” ‘’And tell you what. You stay away from anyone wearing those silly-ass tennis shoes.” “Which shoes?” I smiled. “If they got them silly shoes on, you just leave ‘em alone.” Papaw associated failure and immaturity with Chuck Taylors. To him, there was a strong correlation between the young poor and this shoe. Every friend I knew wore them. Every boyfriend I brought home wore them. My ex-husband wore them. I owned several pairs in black, navy blue, and bubblegum pink. And each and every one of us were as impoverished and under-accomplished as he saw in those shoes. I lived with my grandparents for four months and every day they reminded me they loved having me and encouraged me to stay as long as I liked. Although it was a temporary arrangement, I was unable to bring myself to disappoint them and tell them I had found a place and was moving out. A coward, guilty and artless, I waited until they had both fallen asleep to silently pack my belongings into my Jeep. I left my key on the coffee table next to a bowl of M&M’s, and from the end of the couch, I watched Papaw as he slept and snored. The television was loud and flickered lights on the walls and furniture and I stood there in the blue light of True Grit. My face became hot and I shrank as I imagined my awful stutter if he were to wake and ask what I was doing, but he never turned or flinched. And John Wayne’s dusty, orange face grinned at the two of us through the television screen there in that living room scene that would go on to live infinitely in my memory. Even then, I knew that someday I would have to answer for these things.
Splayed across her cheeks, Mamaw’s silver and white curls are sodden with sweat and tears. She howls at Jesus through the ceiling before she turns to me. “Ms. Abby, get us some help! Oh, get us some help!”
I run madly out of the room and scramble through the house for a phone. I am too afraid to dial 911, and so I think instead to call my mother and kill two birds with one stone. I can inform her of her father’s state, and I can get help because she is a nurse. “He can’t breathe, Mom!” “Lay him down!” She shrieks into the phone. “Lay him down and get his Niacin!” Dashing back to Papaw, I hold the doorframe and swing hastily into the room and into a scene that has changed terribly. The jarring sight gives me whiplash and I nearly lose my balance as I freeze in place. Papaw is sitting upright with his arms and legs stiff as planks and outstretched like some sort of Frankenstein. His eyes are fixed in my direction-yet they are not on me but they are looking right through me in such terror and in such a way I have never seen a person stare into space. Into the space I stand, he stares, out of his mind and into the abyss. “What do you see, Garnet? What is it? Do you see Jesus?” Mamaw raises her hands above her head. “Praise you, Father! Praise you!” I was particularly broke one Sunday in January and I went to visit my grandparents. Even when I was twenty-five years old, Papaw was still handing me a one-hundred dollar bill each and every time he saw me. If he didn’t have a hundred, he would give me whatever miscellaneous bills were in his wallet. It would seem that at the height of my selfishness I would seize every opportunity to spend time with him, and subsequently, spend his money. But I preferred my grandma. Mamaw was an easygoing woman who adopted her judgments complementary to whatever I wanted or determined I needed at any given time. She was supportive of almost everything, even things that went against her Christian beliefs. Papaw was difficult and often argumentative against things he didn’t understand, and the older I grew, the more reluctant I became to tolerate his opinions and suffer his advices. That afternoon, Papaw fixed a hodgepodge of foods for lunch. He brought everything out on three trays, setting a tray on my lap, a tray on Mamaw’s lap, and one on his own. We ate biscuits and gravy, hot dogs, fried tomatoes, and some kind of chili he had concocted days before. The three of us feasted and watched old Western films, laughing at the absurdity of the outdated plots and dramatic, bad acting.
“When your Mamaw goes to church tonight, you ought to ride with me to the sale barn, Ms. Abby, and take a look at these little chickens they got down there.” “Sure, yeah.” I cringed. “Sounds fun.” Mamaw’s heels clicked against the hardwood floor as she bustled back and forth between the bedrooms and bathrooms getting ready for her Sunday night service. She ironed a decadent pantsuit, changed purses and earrings, and sprayed perfume all over herself. “How’s it look?” She hurried before Papaw and cocked her fuzzy head to the side. “Looks real nice, Mom. Awfully purdy.” Papaw stood up from his recliner and I promptly closed my eyes. I heard his keys jingle as he threw on his oversized, Carhart coat. “Well, Ms. Abby, I’m going to start the truck. We’ll be ready to take off here in a few minutes.” I remained silent and pretended to sleep as he left the room and went outside. I listened as the garage door opened and shut, and I listened to his truck engine click and blaze. The door opened and shut again and his heavy boots clumped slow and steady down the hallway as I faked some deep coma on the couch. “Ms. Abby?” I kept my eyes sealed and monitored the sounds of his feet. He shifted his weight back and forth, lingering and delaying. “Alright, hon,” he said before he left alone without me.
The phone shivers in my hand with the volume of my mother’s cries. “Get his Niacin, Goddamnit! Abby?” “He is laying down now. He’s laying on his side. Should he lay on his back?” “Yes, yes, get him on his back.” “Papaw? Mom says you have to lay on your back. Just lay flat and try to breathe, okay?” “I’m on my way.” My mother’s voice wails between sentences. “Keep him with us. I’ll call an ambulance.” She hangs up. I drop the phone on the floor. “Get him on his back.” I point to Little John, my giant cousin, who stands with a wet face in the closet. The two of us grab Papaw’s wide and frail shoulder and pull him down flat, and he chokes on his short breath.
“I’m leaving.” “No, you’re not. It’s going to be okay. Mom is on her way. The ambulance is on its way.” A discouraging liquid gurgles through his voice: “I’m going home.” “Stop it” I place my hand on his heart. “Stop talking like that.” From her hushed prayers in the corner, Mamaw reaches out and confesses, “Garnet, I have loved you since the day I knew you.” “I know, Mom, I know.” I wipe his forehead and slide a few stray hairs back into place. “Papaw, look at me.” ‘’I’m ready, Lord; take me, please.” “No!” “ ...please, Lord...” A white foam froths from the corners of his mouth and submerges his pleas, silencing them with a soft power. For what seems like hours, but is at most sixty seconds, Mamaw, Little John, and I are sucked into a vacuum and all is still except for the muted rise and fall of Papaw’s chest, and the phone that rings and rings from its place on the floor. Mamaw breaks first and picks up the phone and leaves the room to answer it. Little John slumps down and sits on his knees down on the floor with his face in his hands. I kiss the top of his head, and I move to stand at the end of the bed. I take Papaw’s feet into my hands,and I rub them and look into his face that is propped up on a pillow, and I smile at him. He looks into my face, and I swear he smiles back at me until his eyes lose their focus, resolving into a gaze of sheer wonder. And I go on rubbing his feet, long after I feel their warmth leave his socks. Papaw used to have this giant kettle filled to the brim with coins, a legitimate pot of gold to a four year old girl. He told me that I spent hours playing in these coins and would become hysterical when my parents said it was time to go home and leave the treasure behind. Papaw would hand me a plastic grocery sack and tell me to take some coins with me. He said that I would stuff the bag so full and heavy that I was unable to lift it. He would then dump the bag back into the kettle and tell me to try again. “You can only keep as much as you can carry, Ms. Abby.” And again, I would fill the sack far too full for my own weight, and again he would tell me, “You can only keep as much as you
can carry.” And again and again he would empty the bag back into the kettle, and again and again I ignored the lesson, and I would try to fill it back up. He loved telling me this story. He smiled so kindly—so benevolently—when he got to the part where he said, “And you’d just cry and cry, Ms. Abby, and you’d say ‘Why, Papaw, why?’”
The Only Day I Showed Up to a Marketing Class Full of Wrestlers, Weight Lifters, and Footballers Mirna Palacio Ornelas I said my name how it should be She got stuck on the second one “Oar... “ Ornelas Mirna Palacio Ornelas
m/i/r/n/a p/a/l/a/θ/i/o o/r/n/e/l/a/s
& the rustles rose & you could hear the skin creak into neat folding at the neck & the chairbacks squeaked & the kid in the furthest corner said “Witchcraft...”
My Grandmother’s Apron Erica White I have dusted it with all-purpose Flour through years of working in Its tie. Vegetable shortening and yeast, All wiped one time or another to its Front bib. Black with white polka dots, Trimmed in red, it’s a cheeky look completed With a sweetheart top. My sister said she knows why Our grandmother had six kids—all She had to do was make pancakes On Sunday mornings wearing nothing But that apron. My sister laughs and images of 75 cent Porn pops into my mind, she paints With a brush that says “rockabilly” pin up Caught in a nip slip. The apron’s top, smaller than my breasts, Would’ve been too small for my grandmother’s. I think of her, she used to be a soda bar girl—a Technicolor novelty—turned Sixties housewife—a good, young wife. The apron she made herself Is now kept behind the coat on my hook, out Of the kitchen and only seen on holidays— Days when there’s nothing to do but bake Vanilla box cake or cut potatoes. I kept it Out of my sister’s sight, only because she Never talked to our grandmother.
Good Morning War Machine Erica White This clear morning sky, the pale Indiana blue you can’t for certain tell whether it is cold or not, I wake up to a white disk sun. Outside golden November touched our dogwood trees, and the fruit ripen bright red in between maroon leaves. Black oak turned rust, the maple turned yellow. The wind decides not to stir a single leaf. My eyes are sore, and I hesitate to get out of bed. I do not want to hear anything, not the face of our future. What judge will we face For splitting up families, Children deported? Now my students’ eyes, They are warm tears, now fearful Of the road ahead I look outward. For now, my garden stays the same. The cabbage I beheaded in September continues to grow with three new heads. I look at the white ashes of a wooden palette I threw to the fire pit. The palette nails rest within the ash, and I cannot use these ashes to feed the garden. “Somebody ought to set fire to those pages.”
A Rose by Any Other Name Catherine Watness
Les Invalides Natalie McCann I came home late last night and my mom asked why I wasnâ€™t high. I looked into the sky and saw that it was empty. 13 dead roses lay horizontally across our kitchen counter. Their petals leaking loud drops of black tar onto quiet, off-white tiles. Iâ€™m too sober to see straight so I press my face into my bedroom carpet until my breath matches my heartbeat just as my eyes roll back to awake the frontal lobe. Mom asks me to stay home tomorrow night because my friends are greedy and take parts of me until I come back as just a set of eyes, jaded and unfamiliar. She looks at me like I am still a child, but not her own. A small girl who got lost on her way home, the 13th rose in her bouquet.
I Saw Her Name Shauna Sartoris You must have picked it up when you went out, slid the thing miles deep into your pocket and forgot it, dropped it in the basket by the door. Sometimes when I’m stumbling in darkness, I find it stuck at the edge of a picture frame or the mattress on your half of the bed. I found it once in the laundry. Sometimes I swear you’re smoking it— inhaling, shuddering, sputtering, on the back porch when you think that I’m asleep. A street light flickers: morse code for her name. A shadow on your face. A blip, a slip of paper in your pocket.
Bonnie Anderson Al Brinson Bobby Christman Kirk D. Fields Alice Friman Sara Geist Patrick Harless Carol Hatfield David Hupp Greg Miller Eric N Jeff Britt Penny Pennington Amy Rash Carol Hatfield Penny Pennington Cathie D. Hancock Kelly Dunwell Jon Henson Jeannie Pritchard Kirk D. Stonerock Bob Christman Kimberly M. King Todd A. Jones Lisa A. Jones Paula Graves-DesLauriers Dawn Marie Geraghty Jon Brumley Teddy Lero Eckels Julie C. Lordan Tracy Marschall Todd A. Jones Alice Friman Jon Henson Carol L.H. Wallen Bonnie Anderson Robin L. Gray Lisa A. Jones Ro Radeke Andria Liverett Hine Jane M. Rabadi Roberta L. Thompson Sarah Conarroe-Brown Todd A. Jones Missi Gauthier Vicki Speckman Walter B Friman Nancy Pulley Rob Stonerock Dave Wilson Gary Kendall Rob Stonerock Bonnie Anderson Bethany Willis Debra Puckett Jon Henson Alice F Geraghty Lisa A. Jones John Voelker Andy Fischer Jenni Clarkson Lisa Beaman Paul Moschell Hollie Brown Dave Wilson Larry Meade Nelson Hyge ti Krista A. Greenberg Kimberly A. Hilton Gary M. Kendall Lana L. Osterman Debra Puckett John Voelker Crystal Weddle Elaine Ancelet-Swain Clarkson Dr. Elizabeth Weber Kimberly M. King John Voelker Kimberly A. Hilton Lana L Osterman Grouping Renn Swallow Renn Angela R. Haley Fischer Jonathan R. Andry Will Savage Shelby Scott Brian Clutter Jason Sanders Debra Puckett Gayman Joseph J. Gianotti Lana Osterman Brian R Geraghty William R. Willan Jonna Jarrett Leona Glazebrooks Neil S. Steffey Jenni Clarkson Libby Davis Sheilah R. Craft Victoria Speckman Elizab Andy More Debra Gayman Nathan Hutchinson Silvia Brkic Joseph J. Gianotti Belva Warren Sara Bastin Camille Webb Michael Tudor Chirsite Beckm Krista Greenberg Pam Wykes Camille Webb Daniel Ellsworth Brown Kimberly A. Kirin Shannon M. Huber Pamela Boone Jill Van Velse Victoria B Bussell Kim Kirin Zoe Knaga Janice Odom Holly Shaw Amber Mulinaro Caley Tents Pam Wykes Andrew Smith Teresa Middleton Dawn Marie Kimberly Williams Sherif Hamdy Elizabeth Weber Paula Gardner Laura Wilkes Shalimar Wray Holderly Melissa Bigam Angelica Lopez Pamela K Layla Rainbolt Carrie Claycomb Bill Strange Phillip Russell George Charalambous Sarah Branham Laura Wilkes Lana Osterman Jesse Scott Ashley Maren E. Welch Kristen Greenberg Tamar El-Dosouki Antigoni Fessas Aby Tucker Chrisine Weisner Alemini Moskovitov Ethan Koron April Yode Sanders Brian Rosenberger Lori Yates Lana L. Osterman Laura Wert Krista Greenberg Nicole Nelson Jeanette Meliska Carol Hill Marks Laura Wilk Coleen McCoy-Cejke Stephanie Seifert Elizabeth Berndt Angela Cox-Ford Kyle Enright Elizabeth Weber Kelly Boyd Victoria Bedford Layla Rainbo Ingram Laura Laystrom Jessica Elston Karla Witherell Sonya Baker-Hallett Krista Swisher Stephanie Seifert Gerburg Garmann Rebecca Pumphrey Daugherty Steven Takacs Julie Anderson Daniel Goshorn-Maroney Maren E. Welch Sherif Hamdy Nick Ray Henry Deng Patrick Sullivan Natalia K Josh M. Daugherty Tana Fowler Daniel Goshorn-Maroney Sarah Horton Michelle Jones Miranda Lengacher Rachel Mitchel Rebecca Pumphrey A Maren E. Welch Dusti Bramlage Sheilah R. Craft Liz Moore Rebecca Pumphrey Andrew Gouty Nicole Jonas Allison Miller Lylanne Musselman Ryan Daniel Goshorn-Maroney Levi Hannah Katherine Hendrix Scott Hoyer Jim Huston Michelle Jones Kurt J. Moloch Amy Remsburg Erika Saperstein Weber Dough Baker Chris Bozell Gerburg Garmann Rachel Korb Thessely Lane Geneva Marshall Sarah Nestor Cerridwen Poet Marco Ray Erika Sap Korb Thessely Lane Sarah Nestor Danielle Brown Lindsey Allen Jessica Arnett Richard Quint Jason Adams I Zeke Smith Nicole Jonas Nicole Crisci V John Hall Karla Carter Jeff Russ Linda Atwell Parrish W. Williams Daniel Holmes Richard Quint Tim Kirschenheiter Brad Hoekstra Matt Unruh M Brandon Ford Lindsey Allen Carl Corder Kayleigh Weber Ryan Sanderson Laura Irmer Nicole Jonas Nicole Rehman Catherin Gioscio Sara Wright C Derek Speer Tirzah Brown Ada Sofineti Lindsey Allen Carol Hatfield Sara Wilhoite Dawn Davis Melanie Orr Amelia Comer Sarah Vanvlerah Jacque Nayt Rundquist Lindsey Allen Alec Cizak Dawn Davis Richard Snay Tirzah Brown Dan Stain Audra McClure Konye Obaji Ori Emily B. Johnson Liz Laura Ash Tirzah Brown Christi Gorbett Stephanie Kucsera Sheri Albright Megan Monday Robert Helfst Christopher Hartley Alec Cizak Nicholas G ni Laura Carter Scott Blanton Sarah Huck Megan Juchcinski Zhenzhen Liu John Schutt Bethany Walters Sheri Albright Robert Cooprider Nate Broc Cara Shackelford Luke Funkhouser Kimberly E. Hunter Thomas Eden Allison Lemasters Tyler Reynolds Claire Johnson Bethany Walters Elise Camp Seman Kristen Hay Joel van Bergeijk Nate Brock Kristen Yates Wade Thiel Elizabeth Von Hoene Robert Helfst Georgia Arnett Kris Jarchow C. Paige Sara Blair Dakota Miller Porntipa Kumpirayos Ryan Plummer Elise Campagna Jessi Tillman James Figy Mikala Lomax Tyler Skarbek Brooke Boyts Beverly Elliott Scott Zefeng Zhang Jake Fritz Dani McCormick Eugene Jones Alyssa Kauffman Francesca Zappia Kelbi Ervin Wade Thiel Yi-Shian Ch Yates Ayodeji Tele-Ekundayo Allison Kepley Nate Brock Matthew Bridgham Alica White Bethany Walters Georgia Arnett Mikaela Bielawski Elise C Thiel Jessi Tillman Hanna Benz Yi-Shian Chiou Marco Gutierrez Stephanine Kirkling Kristel Miller Frances Sowula Ayodeji Tele-Ekundayo Daniel Muncy Linda Nicley Mirna Palacio Ornelas Sydney Patterson Kaylie Pickett Tyler Skarbek Joel van Bergeijk Mikaela Bielawski Christian Blanco R Kristina Lattime Emily Lipson Kylie Little Mikaela Lomax Kristel Miller Johanna Richardson Ayodeji Tele-Ekundayo Amber Woldahl Wade Thiel G Muncy Rob Springer Joel van Bergeijk Catherine Watness Erica White Dani McCormick Dalton Atchison Erin Case Sarah Cobb Danielle Danehy K be Oaks Sarah Scarano Paige Stratton Savannah Wagner Elizabeth Wells Amber Woldahl Katherine Wozniak James Nelligan P. Anderson Tierney Ann Pickett Marika Bolden Seth Grandidge Kylie Little Angela Oaks Cassie Reverman Oreonna Shepherd Paige Stratton Erica White Rachel Holt Miller Jade Muncy Mirna Palacio Ornelas Robert Springer Katya Viswanadhan Catherine Watness Erica White Kiley Wright Dalton Atchison Hann Oaks Juliana Rohrmoser Joshua Track Rochell Bauer Morgan Benjamin Haley Brewer Hunter Little Natalie McCann Kiley Sokol Catherine Watn Newman Paige Stratton Catherine Watness Paige Stratton Gabbie Brown Alexandra Myers Auna Winters Shauna Sartoris Morgan Litchfield Hunter berger Laura Beth Johnson Melanie Brown Marissa Driml Morgan Benjamin Rachel Gravens Sara Perkins Natalie McCann Kyle Agnew Christian Bl Bauer Sara Perkins Vanessa Abplanalp Kaitlin Watts Virginia Childs Noel Wolfe Marco Ray Taylor Kleyn Lauren Raker Abby Kepley Reagan Moorm Cody Coovert Auna Winters James Figy Robert Springer Julie M. Kuehr Eric Newsom Penny Roa Jenny Forrest Amy Rash Dawn Marie Geraghty Penny Pennington Jenny Forrest Jon Henson Julie Lordan Julie Lordan Billy Chrisman Eve L. Batey Jon Henson Lana L. Osterman Dawn Marie G Rob Stonerock Nelson Hygema Andria L. Hine Jon Henson Nelson Hygema Daryl Ewick Deborah Evans Kimberly Hilton Lana Osterman Walter Clarkson Jeff Narmore Deborah Evans Joe Gianotti Dawn Geraghty John Voelker Joseph J. Gianotti Jason Sanders Camille Webb Michelle Neely Je Jason Sanders Camille Webb Michelle Warren Stephanie Ternes Robyn Hathaway Adam Watkins Camille Webb Katherine Hendrix Jason Pitman H Russell Phillip Russell Krista Greenberg Nichole Blackburn Carrie Burchfield W. Ethan Koron Jessica Roberts Stephanie Seifret April Yoder Carri Remsburg Erika Saperstein Cathy Westbery Christian Cull Josh M. Daugherty Daniel Goshorn-Maroney Lylanne Musselman John Pedraza Amy Rem er Richard Quint Amy Remsburg Erika Saperstein Tracie Smith Jon Stahl Christian Troiano Rachel Lee Thompson Matt Unruh Jui-Yu Hsu Erik K Fischer Thessely Lane Heini Seo Matt Unruh Stephanie Little Sara Wright Daniel Holmes Heini Seo Marcus Whalbring Melanie Orr Eloise Keilm Amelia Comer Liz Kershner John S. R. Schutt Kylie Welker Melanie Orr Kylie Welker John Schutt Christi Gorbett Robert Helfst Beck Marchiando Sc Johnson Nate Brock Frances Sowula Thomas Eden Beck Marchiando John Schutt Claire Johnson Kimberly E. 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d Hupp Greg Miller Eric Newsom Caron Martin Petty Penny Roa Gary Spain Jenny Forrest Dawn Marie Geraghty Marcia W. Graham Vanessa Vance Jeannie Pritchard Kirk D. Fields Julie Baker Paul Moschell Billy Christman Sally Anne Rankin Jack Wallen, Jr. Thomas R. Cross Penelope Roa Rob ty Jon Brumley Teddy Leroy Green II Lana L. Osterman Billy Christman Ron Rarick Dawn Marie Geraghty Sara Kasting Joseph M. Daly Rev. Jon B. in L. Gray Lisa A. Jones Rob Stonerock Jennifer Scherbauer Leanne Webb Carol L.H. Wallen Daryl Lee Ewick Billy Christman Dorothy (Shortridge) r Vicki Speckman Walter Braunsdorf Crystal D. Webble Jon D. Henson Nelson Hygema Lana L. Osterman Lisa A. Jones Dawn Marie Geraghty Alice Puckett Jon Henson Alice Friman Lana Osterman Lisa Precourt Cathie D. Hancock Victoria Speckman Daryl Ewick Carol L.H. Wallen Dawn Marie Larry Meade Nelson Hygema Gene Williams Marcus Barrett Amy Bloomenstock Walter Braunsdorf Jenni Clarkson Jennifer L. Ellis Joseph Gianotddle Elaine Ancelet-Swain Jessica Bader Matt Billings Jenni Clarkson Ola Criswell Gabe Davis Andy Fischer Derek Miller Deborah Hanna Jenni low Renn Angela R. Haley Crystal D. Weddle Deborah Evans Daniel J.P. Bowers Janet Wolfe Brenna Steele Jenni Clarkson Peggy Morris Miller Andy tti Lana Osterman Brian Rosenberger Alice Friman Crystal Weddle Lynnette Saunders Lisa A. Jones Andrea N. Glenn Camille Webb Dawn Marie Victoria Speckman Elizabeth Weber Lisa Mendel Leona Glazebooks Jason Sanders Bryan Roth Michelle Warren Shannon Huber Elizabeth Weber ichael Tudor Chirsite Beckmann Lana Osterman Alice Friman Holly Shaw Beth Pollock Boone Michelle Warren Duane Sugimura Teresa Middleton ne Jill Van Velse Victoria Bedford Carrie Burchfield Vickie Cole Antigoni Fessas Matthew Sundell Heather Nishiyama Melinda Weaver-Flask Chad a Middleton Dawn Marie Geraghty Christie Beckmann Ben Barkey Pamela Boone Jennifer Bullock Michael Lubarsky Rachel Vivace Joy Parchirat m Angelica Lopez Pamela Keown Valerie Traore Christina James Angie Bermes Avachino Reeves Dwight Greaves Andrew Bennet Mary E. Glowiak Osterman Jesse Scott Ashley Hood Carrie Claycomb Valeria Traore Samrain S. Awan Hana Roush Mary S. Megyest Heather Wisdom Phillip Russell ov Ethan Koron April Yoder Layla Rainbolt Susan Starks Laura N. Wilkes Jessica Roberts Brianne Mullally Tarina Harris Carrie Claycomb Virginia arol Hill Marks Laura Wilkes Kathy Smith Cinn Lee Bruce Gentry Steve Takacs Patrick Sullivan Ashley Hood Elizabeth Waskom W. Ethan Koron toria Bedford Layla Rainbolt Gerburg Garmann Julie Anderson Laura Wert Krista Greenberg Jonny Fire Craig Dike Apirl Yoder Jessica Roberts Ivy rmann Rebecca Pumphrey Kristine Weddell W. Ethan Koron Ben Stephens Patrick Sullivan Melissa A. Gadiss Brandy Wilson Rosie J. Haffing Josh g Patrick Sullivan Natalia Kostus Chris Edwards Kwok Hong Ying Nicole A. Jonas Natlia Kostus Lylanne Musselan Jennifer L. Baughman Sara Cook chel Rebecca Pumphrey Amy Remsburg A. J. Rogers Erika Saperstein Jenna Silverman Jon Stahl Vicki Swineford Steven Tackacs (sp?) Cory Taylor r Lylanne Musselman Ryan Sanderson Joy Becker-George Adela Chipe Sarah Clough Josh M. Daugherty Bozhidar Dimitrov Barov Gerburg Garmann Remsburg Erika Saperstein Elisha Smith Jon Stahl Lisa Swartzentruber Christian Troiano Anne Cutler Jessica Justice Lylanne Musselman Elizabeth n Poet Marco Ray Erika Saperstein Zeke Smith Christian Troiano Cody J. White Ta Shawna Williams Heather Goad M. E. Sparks Matt Unruh Rachel Nicole Jonas Nicole Crisci Vonne Edwards Katherine L. Locke Tim Kirschenheiter Leslie Gebby Sarah Snook Cody White Alyssa Peters Karri McCall ad Hoekstra Matt Unruh Marcy Shaner Katherine Locke Marcus Whalbring Xinyan â€œAmyâ€? Zheng Marielle Johnson Stacey Turner Konye Obaji Ori herin Gioscio Sara Wright Caitlin Hemmer Mark Johnson Alicia McKane Christopher Winko Kristin Fenker Lori Ludwig Julia Spangler Sara Wright mer Sarah Vanvlerah Jacqueline Hess Karen Childers Marcus Whalbring Laura Irmer Kathryn Robson Chelsey Chang Clarissa Fairchild Brea Persing ji Ori Emily B. Johnson Liz Whiteacre Carol L. Hatfield Chris Edwards Dawn Davis Lindsey Allen Carol Hatfield Gerburg Garmann Mallory Parsons rtley Alec Cizak Nicholas Gardner Douglas Stemke Chris Huston Scott Blanton Marsha Thompson Jacqueline Hess Robert Cooprider Ketan Kulkarobert Cooprider Nate Brock Kyle Ginder Kim Hunter Laura Carter Ellen Toler Carol Hatfield Nicole Adrienne Sees Gerburg Garmann James A. Figy Bethany Walters Elise Campagna Charles Wheeler Kelsey Bess Laura McGaughey Hannah Nieman Denton Brisson Monteith Evan Slusher Stephanie rnett Kris Jarchow C. Paige Pickerell Allison Gallagher Dani McCormick Brooke Boyts Matthew Bridgham Madie Eash Amanda Massey James Figy Tyler Skarbek Brooke Boyts Rachel Holtzclaw Sami DeTar Gwen Debaun Stephanine Kirkling Jourdan Smoot Lauren Smoot Laurent Chilman Katie vin Wade Thiel Yi-Shian Chiou Kelly Pendleton Jade Muncy Nayt Rundquist Joel van Bergeijk Krissy Lattime Lindsey Gilbert Benjamin Petro Kristen tt Mikaela Bielawski Elise Campagna Thomas Eden James Figy Rachel Holtzclaw Jade Muncy Kelly Pendelton Jourdan Smoot Ryan Plummer Wade deji Tele-Ekundayo Daniel Welty Fang Wu Jourdan Smoot Elise Campagna Kayla Carroll Lindsey Gilbert Michelle Jones Ziling Li Lukas Miller Jade elawski Christian Blanco Rachel Holtzclaw Hanna Benz Kelbi Ervin Gerburg Garmann Shelby Higgenbotham Gracynn Jennings Hannah Johnson ber Woldahl Wade Thiel Georgia Arnett Mikail Bashir Lois Berlier Elise Campagna Kalia Davenport Alisha Hall Alyssa Kauffman Lukas Miller Jade h Cobb Danielle Danehy Kinsey Deno Kaytlyn Eberly Kathleen Graves Alexis Holbert Sutton Knappp Mikala Lomax Kris Miller Angela Oaks Phoeligan P. Anderson Tierney Bailey Morgan Benjamin Joel van Bergijk Alyssa Kauffman Mirna Palacio Ornelas Tyler Skarbek Robert Springer Kaylie n Erica White Rachel Holtzclaw Kayleigh Jordan Spencer Martin Tierney Bailey Cara Eastis Alyssa Kauffman Hunter Little Natalie McCann Lukas ght Dalton Atchison Hanna Benz Danielle Danehy Seth Grandidge Rachel Gravens Kelsey Ham Victoria Hathaway Martha John Kylie Little Angela iley Sokol Catherine Watness Erica White Kyle Agnew Dalton Atchison Harley Engleking Seth Grandidge Sarah Hoffmeier Spencer Martin Karen s Morgan Litchfield Hunter Little Mercadees Hempel Abby Kepley Keegan Ham Lauren Raker Dalton Atchison Erica White Madison Deline Hershn Kyle Agnew Christian Blanco Cheyenne Granger Spencer Martin Rochelle Bauer Josie Seach Natalie McCann Mikail Bashir Zach Swaim Rochelle bby Kepley Reagan Moorman Kyle Agnew Brittany Lake Paige Stratton Olivia Moor Erin Williams Kalia Daily Cheyenne Granger Morgan Litchfield ash Dawn Marie Geraghty Jeff Britt Penny Pennington Kelly Dunwell Julie M. Kuehr Penelope Roa Eve Batey Kelly Dunwell Dawn Marie Geraghty Osterman Dawn Marie Geraghty Leanne Webb Kirsten Kruse Jon Henson Daryl Ewick Walter Braunsdorf Lana Osterman Dawn Marie Geraghty ton Lana Osterman Walter Braunsdorf Dawn Marie Geraghty Jenny Wright Kimberly Hilton Jenni Clarkson Jeff Narmore Kimberly Hilton Jenni lle Webb Michelle Neely Jenni Clarkson Brenna Steele Lana Osterman Crystal Weddle Jonna Jarret Aimee Miler Dawn Marie Geraghty Cari Blough ne Hendrix Jason Pitman Holly Shaw Michelle Warren Pam Wykes Duane Sugimura Dawn Marie Geraghty Kim Kirin Christie Beckmann Phillip e Seifret April Yoder Carrie Burchfield Natalia Kostus Jenny Morrissy Rebecca Pumphrey April Yoder Josh M. Daugherty Rebecca Pumphrey Amy man John Pedraza Amy Remsburg Erika Saperstein Jon Stahl Christian Troiano Cathy Westberry Adele Chipe Josh M. Daugherty Miranda Lengachtt Unruh Jui-Yu Hsu Erik Kispert Rachel Korb Thessely Lane John Pedraza Christian Troiano Heini Seo Rachel Lee Thompson Sara Wright Lydia Melanie Orr Eloise Keilman Reeves Morgan Lehman Emily Lundy Sara Wright Melanie Orr Rico Ewing Kayla M. Prosser Eloise Keilman Reeves Helfst Beck Marchiando Scott Blanton Kimberly Hunter Kayla Prosser Staci Reafsnyder Laine Bradburn Bob Helfst Kylie Welker Kim Hunter Claire ura McGaughey Nicole Aguiniga James Figy Kyle Ginder Frances Sowula Tyler Skarbek Nate Brock Kristen Yates Wade Thiel Joe Krall Zhenzhen Liu am Kuhn Dani McCormick Tyler Skarbek Alyssa Kauffman Rachel Holtzclaw Laura McGaughey Frances Sowula Madeline Eash Jessi Tillman James i McCormick Jessi Tillman Kayleigh Jordan Elise Campagna Rachel Holtzclaw Kaylie Pickett Zach Lee Alyssa Kauffman Rachael Neawedde Christian gan Benjamin Gabbie Brown Jade Muncy Mirna Palacio Ornelas Marika Bolden Rachael Neaweddle Mikaela Bielawski Chen Yijun Tierney Bailey n Adam Kuhn Dani McCormick Rachael Neawedde Mirna Palacio Ornelas Monique Parent Gabbie Brown Jessica Marvel James Nelligan Heather Dixon Mercadees Hempel Courtney Loshe Spencer Martin Natalie McCann James Nelligan Josie Seach Kylie Seitz Spencer Martin Jimmy Nelligan Gentry Anne Marie Drew Marshall Bruce Gentry Marshall Bruce Gentry Bruce Gentry Alice Friman Bruce Gentry Alice Friman Bruce Gentry 201 Weber entry Elizabeth Weber Bruce Gentry Elizabeth Weber Bruce Gentry Elizabeth Weber Bruce Gentry Elizabeth Weber Bruce Gentry Elizabeth David Noble Elizabeth Webber David Noble Elizabeth Weber David Noble Elizabeth Weber David Noble Elizabeth Weber Elizabeth Weber Kevabeth Weber Kevin McKelvey Kevin McKelvey Salvatore Pane Elizabeth Weber Elizabeth Weber Kevin McKelvey Kevin McKelvey Liz Whiteacre
Alumni and Contributors Bios Kyle Agnew is a junior studying studio photography and printmaking. His work revolves around ideas of memory, truth, and history, as well as the rediscovery of his own family’s history and the romanticization of these memories. Dalton Atchison graduated from the University of Indianapolis in May 2017. He majored in business administration and minored in photography. Atchison is currently a financial planner living in Fort Wayne, and he is very thankful to have been featured in Etchings in the past. He was always inspired by everyone’s art, and it was always a major accomplishment when his work was accepted into the magazine. Tierney Bailey is a Libra, a lover of science fiction and poetry, and an ardent explorer of anything she can find, really. She is a graduate student in the publishing program at Emerson College in Boston, MA. In her time at Emerson, Tierney has worked as production intern for Ploughshares and is currently the production editor and designer for Emerson’s only graduate-run literary journal Redivider. If you can’t find her on the train between Providence and Boston, she often yells into the void on Twitter as @ergotierney. Katie Beverley graduated from UIndy in 2016 with a degree in biology and with distinction from the Strain Honors College. She submitted some photos for Etchings in Spring of 2014. She really enjoyed her experience with Etchings, as it was something new for her to try. Currently, she is pursuing her PhD at the University of Wisconsin—Madison in endocrinology and reproductive physiology studying vision physiology. Elise Campagna is UIndy alumni, currently residing as an actor and a writer in Kansas City. Jenni Clarkson has worked for the Journal of General Internal 202
Medicine since 2004 and has served as Managing Editor since 2014. Jenni lives in Indianapolis with her wife, Deb Doty. Shelby Coffelt is an undergrad student currently studying artistic pursuits. She enjoys writing, musical composition, and all forms of art. She plans on graduating in 2021. Shelby is from Northern Indiana, and a lot of her work has been inspired by her environment. Robert Cooprider, who will turn 70 in November, is still going strong. Who would have imagined it? UIndy and Etchings gave him the confidence to continue writing; he may still finish that book on his mentor and friend, Mari Evans, who we lost last year. Cooprider is still gathering material for his creative writing as an Uber driver, and believe him, there are stories. Kalia Daily is a senior at the University of Indianapolis graduating with a BFA in studio art in May of 2018. After graduation, she plans on continuing her education at UIndy within their Master of Arts program. Since being accepted into Etchings, she has been working to apply to other publications and exhibitions to further build not only her resume, but her connections to other people within the arts community of Indianapolis. Leah Diekhoff is a freshman studio art major with concentrations in painting and animation/illustration. She is also working towards a creative writing minor. Her career plans include a lot of freelance work but also hopefully a steady job. She has been recently working with various mediums including graphite, colored pencils, paper, wire, digital, watercolor, acrylic, and oil paint. Her current favorites are digital, watercolor, and colored pencils. Kristin Fenker graduated from UIndy in 2009 and recently became a science writer at the Genetic Science Learning Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. Between her time at UIndy and her current job, Kristin worked in research communications, wrote for science blogs, worked in conservation education, and most recently, earned a Ph.D. in human genetics from the University of Utah. Luke Frandsen does his best to throw everyone off his trail. He
shaves his head and face at random intervals to make it harder for old friends to find him and new friends to recognize him. He listens to heavy metal but only when he’s alone so he doesn’t propagate any “gym-bro meathead” stereotypes. More than anything else, he would rather spend his time looking out large windows while drinking coffee alone, but he’s never been to a “real” party, so what does he know, after all? Katherine Fries is currently an Assistant Professor at UIndy teaching Foundations and Printmaking. Katherine has exhibited in a variety of juried, invitational, and group exhibitions. As an artist, Katherine is interested in capturing and preserving the world around her: people, their stories, rituals, possessions, and history. Her work constructs spaces and layers that act as an externalization of an internal experience: memory. These constructions include traditional oil paintings of child-like forts, assemblage boxes, layered prints and letterpress works. Alice Friman is professor emerita of English and creative writing at the University of Indianapolis where she started the annual poetry contest. She won a National Bronze Medal for teaching from CASE in 1987, was named Teacher of the Year at UIndy in 1989, and received an honorary doctorate from UIndy in 2002. She is a highly decorated poet with international publications, earning a Pushcart Prize and inclusion in The Best American Poetry 2009. Her next book, Blood Weather, is due out from LSU Press in 2019. Friman now lives in Milledgeville, Georgia, where she was Poet-in-Residence at Georgia College. Shannon Gaskin’s stories are not just her stories but other individuals’ stories that she has helped bring to life. Her only goal is to impact lives with her work.
Marshall Bruce Gentry taught at the University of Indianapolis from 1985 until 2003, with his role in the final years being Professor of English and English Department Chair. He was one of the Faculty Advisors as the UIndy literary magazine Etchings was founded in 1988. Alice Friman married him in 1989, causing a stir on the UIndy campus. She did not marry him because of Etchings. Gentry, who received English degrees from Arkansas (BA), Chicago (MA), and Texas (PhD), is now Professor of English
at Georgia College and Editor of the Flannery O’Connor Review. Cheyenne Granger is a sophomore the University of Indianapolis majoring in studio art with a concentration in ceramics and minors in art history and anthropology. She focuses on geometric patterning in her carvings and interesting glaze application. After graduation, Cheyenne hopes to open her own studio and sell her work to the public. Carol Hatfield became addicted to the cathartic and highly personal nature of poetry as a child. She has taught poetry writing and appreciation to children and adults and has had the good fortune to serve as a poet-in-residence for Clark Elementary School in Franklin, Indiana. In 2018, Carol will launch a poetry-based website called In Other Words... Carol’s poems have been published in anthologies, journals, and magazines such as Frogpond, Branches, The Journal of Modern Haiku, The Vision, and Cricket. Kristen Hay is currently the Marketing Coordinator at Bloomerang, a cloud-based donor management software, where she enjoys writing content, compiling educational collateral, and creating free templates and resources for their nonprofit customers. In her free time she enjoys volunteering as Chairperson on the Blog/Social Media Committee for the Public Relations Society of America’s Hoosier Chapter. She resides in Indianapolis with her husband and two cats. Victoria Hathaway was raised in a barn in Goshen, IN. She attended UIndy in the 2015-16 school year and helped produce the spring semester volume of Etchings. If you can’t find her, there are three options. Victoria might be a) chasing after her nephews, b) reading on the roof, or c) napping beneath a mound of blankets. Good luck figuring out which one! Mercadees Hempel graduated from the University of Indianapolis in May of 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in communication and a minor in creative writing. She was an award winning journalist and editor on The Reflector during her four years at UIndy, and she was a staff member of Etchings during her senior year. She is currently working as a Talent Assessment Specialist at PrincetonOne in downtown Indianapolis and trying to get her first
book published. In the words of the great Stephen Sondheim: “Good times and bum times, I’ve seen them all and, my dear, I’m still here.” Dawn Geraghty Hershberger is proud to say that UIndy continues to be a large part of her life. She currently serves as the Associate Director of the UIndy Writing Lab. She is proud to have served on the staff of the first four issues of Etchings and even more proud to see that something she helped create has survived for thirty years—even if that pride is accompanied by feeling very, very old. Madison Deline Hershberger is a junior at UIndy. Her major is psychology to become a Child Life Specialist, and she is also minoring in ceramics. She loves everything to do with the arts, whether it’s drawing, singing, sculpting, painting, throwing, writing, etc. She is currently working on her Honors Project which is writing a book of poetry. Her family is her inspiration throughout the arts because they were the ones who told her she can do anything she sets her mind and heart to. Kimberly A. Hilton is an Associate Professor of English at Ivy Tech Community College. This is her 17th year as faculty. She teaches composition, poetry, technical writing and Literature online. Hilton completed two master’s degrees at IUPUI—a Master of Science in Adult Education and a Master of Arts in English. She has had several poems published in Ichabod’s Sketchbook. She was the Editor of Etchings in 1993-94. Sarah Hoffmeier is currently an undergraduate student at the University of Indianapolis. She has a profound interest in the human behaviors and interactions. This interest is evident in much of her work. She tends to write a bit of dark and morbid humor. She writes wondering how many of her characters enact responses in the psyche of the everyday person. Rachel Holtzclaw is a former Etchings editor and current bookseller at Half Price Books. She remains proud of everything she accomplished while on the staff, including the mock cover she designed that featured a photo of One Direction. She still lives in Indianapolis and is still writing. 206
Laura Irmer now works as the Assistant to the CEO at the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, and she is an adjunct instructor to the School for Adult Learning at UIndy. After graduating with Bachelor Degrees in Professional and Creative Writing in May 2016, Kayleigh Jordan is currently taking classes through NACM to get her CBA certificate. The classes she took in college have given her different skills and perspectives than her colleagues possess, which has proven to be very beneficial to her job performance. If she could go back to school knowing that sheâ€™d be working in finance, she still wouldnâ€™t change a thing about the classes she took. Nrmeen Jundi is a Saudi female majoring in studio art with a concentration in ceramics. She is the mother of a four-year-old son. She is also a 3-D person. Art is simply her life. Abby Kepley is a senior pre-art therapy major with a concentration in painting and a minor in psychology. Her main goal is to enunciate the most beautiful qualities of her subject matter by emphasising the colors, textures, and patterns. She has always admired the imperfections found in nature and the fact that they are still seen as beautiful and perfect. Natalie McCann is currently a junior creative writing major at University of Indianapolis. A friend advised her to submit to Etchings her freshman year, and she has continued to submit each semester since. Etchings has given her the motivation to submit to other contests outside the university. Natalie will be graduating in December of 2018 and is interested in attending a graduate program. If not, she hopes to marry rich. Etchings turned twenty-one when Kevin McKelvey started teaching at University of Indianapolis in 2008. In 2013, he helped move Etchings to two publications a year and founded Etchings Press, UIndyâ€™s student-run publisher, and the Whirling Prize. McKelvey teaches writing, editing, publishing, literature, sustainability, social practice art, and creative placemaking at UIndy and works as a place-based writer, poet, essayist, designer, and social practice artist. 207
Sara (Geist) Marjamaa’s poem “Torrent” was published in the inaugural issue of Etchings in the Spring of 1989. She was a biology major and a physical therapy major with a not-so-secret passion for literature and poetry. A majority of her poetry came through a poetry class she took with the one and only Alice Friman. Marjamaa has dedicated her life to the field of rehabilitation. She has been a physical therapist for 28 years and is currently the Director of Rehabilitation at Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne. Spencer Martin is a graduating senior studying creative writing and literary studies at the University of Indianapolis with minors in Professional Writing and Gender Studies. He primarily writes queer fantasy short fiction and is a total N.K. Jemisin stan. He is finalizing his Honors Project, a queer fantasy short fiction chapbook. He hopes to obtain an MFA in creative writing in the near future. Through UIndy, he has traveled mulitple times abroad and hopes to continue his travels after graduation. Jessica Marvel is currently a creative writing major at UIndy. She is looking forward to publishing novels and possibly working for publications like what she does for Etchings. She is currently working on too many projects that she doesn’t realistically have time for, all while taking care of her asshole/cute cat Sherlock. Michael Miller is a nursing student at UIndy with a previous Associates in Business from IWU. This is his first time working on Etchings, but is no stranger to the arts. Performing as DDE The Slammer, he has performed throughout the US as well as Germany. He has produced two CDs, Common Sense Shoryuken and Does This Skin Tone Look Off to You. He has done workshops and speaking engagements and was on Season 4 of TVOne’s hit TV show Verses and Flow. He is married and has four children. Olivia Moor is currently a junior visual communication major with a minor in digital photography. Her passion for her artwork is inspired by how she sees social and cultural issues affecting the minority groups surrounding her. She strives to give a voice to people whose experiences have been stifled for one reason or another, through portraiture and documentary photography. This is her first year submitting to Etchings. 208
Lylanne Musselman’s work has appeared in Pank, Flying Island, The Tipton Poetry Journal, Poetry Breakfast, The New Verse News, Ekphrastic Review, and Rat’s Ass Review, among others, and many anthologies including Resurrection of a Sunflower, poems to honor Vincent van Gogh (Pski’s Porch, 2017). A Pushcart Nominee twice, she is the author of four poetry chapbooks, co-author of the poetry collection, Company of Women: New and Selected Poems, and the forthcoming full-length poetry collection, It’s Not Love, Unfortunately. James Nelligan is a literary studies and creative writing major at the University of Indianapolis. He is a vegetarian, uncle, and Cubs fan. He hopes to pursue his MFA in fiction after taking a year off once he graduates in the spring of 2018. This is his first semester as Editor-in-Chief of Etchings. Sarah Nestor graduated with her M.A. in English from the University of Indianapolis in 2007 and then promptly began her Ph.D. in British and Irish literature at Marquette University, which she completed in 2012. She is currently an Assistant Professor of English at Kent State University. While at student at UIndy, Sarah wrote many poems and short stories and was happy to have a few of her pieces published in Etchings. Sarah has been married to her husband, Brock, for eight years and has three children. David Noble earned his PhD in technical writing from the University of Edinburgh and taught editing, publishing, and writing at University of Indianapolis until his retirement in 2008. He worked for many years as an editor in the Indianapolis publishing industry, and he created the editing and publishing minor that later developed into the professional writing major. Etchings played a very important role in Janice Odom’s young life. It helped her understand that the things she had to say might create a response in other people. She decided that she wanted to help other people who had things to say. She and her partner now own Bellamy-Fleming Publishing, a small publishing company in Eastern Kentucky. They publish mostly Appalachian authors. To date, they have published 15 titles available on Amazon and Kindle. Lana L. Osterman’s literary life began in Hazleton, Indiana, a
small farming community in southwest Indiana, where her maternal grandmother wrote short, rhyming poems that accompanied letters to her out-of-town families. After receiving her Associate Degree in business at UIndy, Osterman was encouraged by professor and poet Alice Friman to join her creative writing class where she was able to cultivate her poetry skills. She subsequently changed her major to English. Penny Pennington was the layout designer of the very first Etchings. She and Julie Kuehr worked together and put out three publications. Currently, Pennington is a graphic designer for Propeller Marketing. She create logos, brand guideline documents, brochures, websites, maps and many other marketing pieces. Etchings was the publication that launched her skills in PageMaker, which lead to her first design job right out of college. She learned how to work with the printer and how important deadlines are. Sara Perkins is still an undergrad at UIndy, majoring in professional writing with minors in creative writing and painting. She has been published in or has forthcoming poetry in Etchings, Indianaâ€™s Best Emerging Poets, and Young Adult Review Network, and has forthcoming creative nonfiction in Indiana Review Online and Tributaries. A friend once told her that she is the level of hipster he someday wished to achieve, and she thinks of that every time she eats tree bark or huffs essential oils. Sara currently is a poetry editor of Etchings. Dorothy Shortridge Radeke (Class of 1960) is presently retired and living in Dothan, Alabama. She has been happily married for nearly fifty five years. They love living in the deep south and only have difficulty knowing whether to root for the U. of Arkansas the Tennessee Vols or the Crimson Tide. In retirement, she is enjoys gardening, water aerobics, reading, doing crafts, writing, going to nearby beaches, traveling, and visiting her kids. Radeke is also active in the Unity Church of Dothan. Brooklyn Raines a creative writing major and momma to the most precious boy in the world, Landon Cole.
Brian Rosenberger lives in a cellar in Marietta, GA and writes by the light of captured fireflies. He is the author of As the Worm
Turns, a collection of short stories, and three poetry collections— Poems that go SPLAT, And For My Next Trick, and Scream For Me. His writing has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, most recently in The Rulebreakers’s Alphabet to Three-Way Dance, a prowrestling themed collection published by Gimmick Press. Support your local rulebreaker and English professors. Or else. Lauren Salvo has loved writing since her mom bought her a journal when she was a little girl. Writing was just a pastime for Slavo until she realized that her passion was beyond keeping journals. She graduated from UIndy in May 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in literary studies and creative writing. She is now working towards her Master of Arts in Teaching at the University of Indianapolis. Along with her love for writing, Salvo has always been passionate about teaching and education. Shauna Sartoris is often overwhelmed by the universality of the human condition. She has been writing poetry since she was 7 but has gradually come to enjoy writing fiction and creative nonfiction essays as well. She is fascinated by the cadence and manipulation of language, both in conveying emotion and in creating rhythm. Her favorite book tracks the statistics of word usage in famous literature. Shauna has been previously published in Etchings 29.2, and in Z-Publishing House’s 2018 anthology Indiana’s Best Emerging Poets. Josie Seach graduated in December 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She continues to read and write poetry in her spare time and currently works as a contract and freelance web specialist. Despite being a double major in creative writing and professional writing, Kylie Seitz spends most of her time actively avoiding any actual writing, academic or otherwise. As such, she is currently mastering the arts of baking banana bread, sliding in her fluffy socks on hardwood floor (and sometimes the university’s tile hallways), and conventional deadlift. Sometimes she also does actual work towards her minor in ceramics but usually only when it’s late at night and close to a critique deadline. Cara Shackelford graduated from UIndy in 2012 with a flute
performance degree, and was almost immediately diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. However, she has tried not to let that slow her down, and she is completing thesis work at Butler to finish her masterâ€™s degrees in flute performance and music history. She still writes daily for stress relief and has a couple of nice, fat therapeutic poetry journals hiding in her nightstand (no promises on how good any of it is!). Kiley Sokol graduated from the UIndy with a BA in English literature in 2017. In January of 2017, she obtained a certificate for Teaching English as a Second Language. She is interested in traveling overseas to teach English but has come to the decision that she wishes to get her MA in Librarian Science as well. Currently, she is working as a Librarian Assistant at Plainfield Guilford Public Library. She continues to write poetry as much as she can because Etchings was an inspiration to her. Sarah E. Snook lives with her family in Savannah, Georgia. She works as an executive writer for the Savannah College of Art and Design, and spends a great deal of her free time on the beaches of Tybee Island. Paige Stratton is a senior studying art therapy with a studio concentration in photography, and this is her sixth Etchings submission. Her artwork comes from a fascination with documenting and a respect for interdisciplinary practices. She also enjoys working with a variety of mediums like mixed media collage, watercolor, and printmaking. Stephanie Seifert Stringham worked briefly in the publishing industry, then received her master of arts in health communication from Purdue. She then worked as an editor at Eli Lilly and Company, then as an editor and writer for the Defense Finance and Accounting Service. Next, she turned her part-time career as a freelance editor into full-time. In this capacity, she is the managing editor of Dog Ear Publishing and is the current copyeditor of the Journal of the Indiana Academy of the Social Sciences.
Vicki Swineford is a social worker who has an LCSW. She works in a local hospital and helps people obtain resources, and provides support and counseling. When sheâ€™s not at work, she
enjoys painting and spending time with her family. Swineford is a self taught painter and enjoys watching Bob Ross. She also enjoys gardening and sitting on the porch. Wade Thiel is an automotive journalist based in Indianapolis. He currently writes for a car-buying-and-selling website with the best name in the world: Web2Carz. That’s right, it has a number 2 and a letter Z. Theil also writes for various automotive, motorcycle, gear, and technology websites. He has recently softened his stance on the Oxford comma because it’s not worth arguing with editors about a comma. Theil has fond memories of working with Etchings Press. It taught him that the grind will always make you better. Amanda Thompson is a studio art major with concentrations in both painting and printmaking with a minor in communications. She has always loved painting landscapes and recreating places that she has been. She loves the process of taking photographs and then later making a painting from that experience. Before coming to the UIndy, she was dead set on being a painter because that was what she was good at, but since coming here she has broadened her skills in both painting and other areas of art. After submitting her poetry to Etchings, Roberta L. Thompson eventually transferred from the Business Office to the Department of Communication. While with the Communication Department, she worked a great deal with the WICR Radio Station. For approximately five years she was thrilled to write, produce, and air a one minute radio spot each Monday titled Inspirational Minute. When she saw her piece in Etchings, it gave her the incentive to someday see an entire book with her name on it. Sarah VanVlerah shares that life is good for her! Her husband Josh did a tour in Iraq, and the poem she wrote was about what she would do if he never made it home. Last November, they introduced their first baby, Jack, to the grand adventure that is life. Fittingly, Jack was born on Veteran’s Day, and they’re amazed at what a charmed life they have. Most of Sarah’s reading these days is outloud to Jack, and most of her writing is for work, but she still gets to play her bass and dance a little. Etchings has been the catalyst for Catherine Watness’ career
as a published author and artist. Etchings is the first publishing opportunity she ever perused. A publishing company was so impressed with her work featured in Etchings that she was offered an opportunity to have one of her poems featured in their anthology, Indiana’s Best Emerging Poets. Watness is grateful to Etchings and to the staff for their dedication and efforts. She plans to submit for the remainder of her life. Kaitlin Watts is a graduating senior, studying English with a concentration in literary studies. Her writing is inspired by not only her day to day life, but also the point of view as a person living with mental illness. She would like to thank The Indiana Review Online for previously publishing “Up In Smoke” in the 2018 issue. Camille Webb is a writer with 18 years experience working for the nonprofit sector and for medical research and academic institutions. Her writing often helps promote scientific and medical advances or improvements in patient care, which she finds rewarding. Since 2007, she has worked as a freelance writer for The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) and writes feature stories for their online wellness magazine, HealthLEADER. She also writes online patient stories for UT Physicians, a part of UTHealth. Elizabeth Weber has published three books of poetry, Small Mercies, The Burning House, and Porthole Views of the World: Watercolors and Poems. Her poems have appeared in literary magazines such as The Florida Review, The Graham House Poetry Review, Calyx, and more. Her poem, “City Generation,” was chosen to be part of Indianapolis’ Cultural Trail. At UIndy, she taught creative writing and literature and directed Etchings and the Kellogg Writers Series. Liz Whiteacre is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Indianapolis. She loves to work with students through Etchings Press to produce Etchings Literary and Fine Arts Magazine, judge the Whirling Prize, and facilitate the annual book prize competition. She is the author of Hit the Ground. Her poetry has appeared in Disability Studies Quarterly, Wordgathering, Kaleidoscope, and other literary magazines—like Etchings, issue 22.1. 214
Artist and Writer’s Statements Kyle Agnew “Breakfast Time” This photo is apart of a larger body of work dealing with ideas and feelings of loneliness. In this image the viewer is isolated from the figure at the table due to the newspaper, and the spilt milk gives feelings of a traumatic event our figure is avoiding separating us further. “Once We Were” This photo is apart of a larger series that talks about the memory and the deterioration and falsification of it. In the photo we are presented with a bouquet of flowers imbedded with brooches imitating the flowers. These brooches represent the false memories and romanticization of memory instead of our real memories represented by the actual flowers in the bouquet. Kalia Daily Scan Series: “Depression/Bipolar”; “OCD/’Normal’”; “Schizophrenia/ ADHD” This artwork explores mental illness, in one part, a very practical and medical sense with the brain imagery and another with the colors being representative of the mental illness itself. To complete this project, I used a process in printmaking known as silkscreen printing. The brain imagery was printed using a screen that had the imagery exposed to a light sensitive screen and the lit portions of the scan itself were drawn on with a screen fluid to match the particular illness. Leah Diekhoff “Forsaken” This piece was inspired by my interest in steampunk and the supernatural. I have always been obsessed with keys, and most of that has stemmed from the numerous novels that I cherish greatly. The stories I read in those books enhance my imagination that often heavily present in my dreams, so it’s easy to draw what I 215
Auna Winters created of the beautiful artwork in this issue. see while sleeping. Keys,some creepy hands, books, and supernatural creatures are just a few of the things I often see. I wanted to create something that embodies the aspects of my dreams that I love so dearly, so I created this black and white colored pencil drawing. Luke Frandsen “Rain Boots, Puddles, and the Song We Dance To” I enjoy watching rain. Ants, worms, and assorted arthropods, however, don’t. It is a natural disaster of epic proportions for them. Is it the rain’s fault or their fault? How can anyone be at fault for what simply is? Madison Deline Hershberger “Prehistoric Bowls” I often experiment with different colors and techniques when glazing ceramic pieces. These particular pieces I chose to dip my hand in a bucket of glaze and press it against the bowl to create a prehistoric-cave-painting look. For the blue handprint bowl, a Blue Satin Matt glaze with a Clear glaze over it was used. For the red and gold bowl, a Pete’s Copper Red glaze, Gold glaze, and a Clear glaze were used. “Reflective Vase” Two coats of Pete’s Copper Red glaze and one coat of Gold glaze over the top half were used on this vase. The overlapping of these two glazes often creates a brilliant hue of blue, as seen in this vase. “Pooh’s Hunny Jar” I used alternating layers of Shino and Gold glaze which created the variety of natural hues which flow throughout this lidded jar. This piece reminds me of an abstract version of Winnie the Pooh’s “hunny” jar from Disney’s The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. “Carved Lines” This small vase was an experimental piece. I used a variety of carvings and glazes to create the variety of textures and colors seen. The thick carvings were hand done using a loop tool. A total of five glazes were used on this piece: Oribe, Pete’s Copper Red, Blue Satin Matt, Gold, and Shino. 216
“Lidded Form” I used a very thin layer of Pete’s Copper Red glaze to cover this entire lidded jar, which created the grey and brown-speckled hues. Two rings of blue were created by using Gold glaze on both the bottom half of the jar and the tip of the lid. Nrmeen Jundi “I Am the Light of the World” This is my first letter press project and a copy of the original print. The original print has the same sentence in Arabic. The idea of this project was to make a print that combines quotes from the Bible and the Qura’an that have the same meaning but in different languages. “Shades of Oribe” All these pieces were glazed with UIndy’s Gold and Green Oribe glazes. “Deep in the Ocean” This lidded jar was glazed with UIndy’s Gold and Copper Red glazes. It is my favorite combination because the result will always be different depending on how long I dip the piece in the glaze or where the piece sits in the kiln. Abby Kepley “Leiopython” This is an abstract oil painting I did of a White-Lipped Python. I was fascinated by this animal because of its iridescent scales. “Lightness of Being” This is a Prismacolor pencil drawing I created for my mom after her brain surgery. She was expected to lose a lot of fine motor function in her right hand after the surgery, and this would change everything about her. Being right-handed, she would have to relearn the most basic things. This was the hardest thing she has ever had to do, and all the way through it she has had the brightest outlook on life. I used a hummingbird because they are my mom’s favorite animals, and they represent change, energy, movement, and enjoyment of life or lightness of being. 217
“Who Are You Wearing?” This is a mixed media collage I created to start a conversation about imagery in mainstream media. Olivia Moor “Legacy 1 & 2” I had never experienced grief in any capacity until August 29, 2017; I had never even experienced the death of a pet before. Grief has the ability to create insurmountable chasms in people, but also presents the unusual ability to see every minute beauty life presents. Memories, tokens of time stored within the synapses in the brain, become the only lasting connection to those no longer alive. Memories and photographs. Losing the person who was by far the most prominent figure in my life ripped away everything about who I thought I was in an instant. Seemingly overnight, everyone around me had to find a new “normal.” Discovering that there is no timeline for the grieving process has been the main inspiration for “Legacy #1 and #2,” which are part of a larger series called “Before the After.” What fascinated me the most was how deeply I felt myself moving through foreign emotions while I was living in a completely different city than where half of my mother’s life and my entire life had transpired. Bringing this project back to that specific place was the only thing that made sense. Capturing the final places my mother visited before her last moments elicited so many feelings that it almost felt wrong casting a lens on them. They felt sacred, and I felt like a voyeur, but moving through the familiarities of photographing grounded me and brought on a peace that can only compare to being wrapped in her warm embrace. “(un)Shared Spaces” This piece is part of larger series called “Before the After.” This photo in particular highlights the bedroom where my parents slept, where my father now spends his nights alone. After my mother’s passing last August, he has started talking about his nightmares with me and about how he can no longer sleep soundly. This photo illustrates how a comfortable, warm space shared by two people can transform in one night to a hollow reminder of what grief feels like. 218
Dorothy Radeke “Looking Back” As I grow older, I find that a lot of what I write is about “looking back.” In this poem, I was thinking of some of the important things that have happened in my life and being thankful for the love of family and the beautiful memories I have. Life is all about family and friends. I have been blessed, and I was trying to express this in the poem. “Things I Want To Do” In writing this poem, I was thinking of things that I have done in the past and that I want to do again. As a retired person, I do not want to sit in my recliner and let the world go by. I still want to feel, experience, know, learn and enjoy this beautiful world that is still so much a part of my life. I feel that I still have things to offer and to enjoy. I want to live life to its fullest. Brooklyn Raines “Strawberry Festival” This piece came into existence because it was important to show how depression and PTSD happen in black households. The media doesn’t do a great job at depicting the two, but they are there and deserve to be discussed and taken seriously in the black community and in every other space. “To Be Black in America” This piece was inspired by the lack of communication between black men and women and giving those men and the rest of the world an insight into the barriers black women face. It’s important the men in our community understand we are women and black at the same time. One doesn’t outweigh the other. Paige Stratton Human Nature: “Deciduous”; “Reservation”; “Avalanche” For this project, I decided to integrate traditional portrait photography with found images to create surreal collages. I wanted the found images to flow well with my model’s body, but I also wanted the images to represent aspects of her personality. To prepare for this series, I researched different collage/photomontage artists like Hannah Hoch and Adam Hale.
Before taking photos of her, I asked my model a series of questions regarding her background, interests, aspirations, and other details that reflect who she is. Her answers revealed a strong connection to nature and big dreams of traveling the world. After a lengthy trial and error process of looking through magazines, cutting different images, and working out compositions I went with a more minimalistic approach that I anticipated. For the final photos, I strategically placed the magazine images in place of her clothes. I edited her portraits in black and white to help the nature pictures stand out more. Even though I could have gone about this through photoshop, I liked the idea of this project being more hands-on. The active process of finding the best images from various magazines and manipulating my photos outside of the computer was fun and also proved to be very rewarding. “Natural Impressions” These traditional print monotypes were made using leaves from outside and ink through the press. “Weightless II” This is a silkscreen print based off of a mixed media drawing I had done in the past. The pink to blue faded background is acrylic ink and the illustration of the woman in the white paper showing through. Since you don’t see many fat women depicted in art, I created this work to reflect women empowerment and body positivity. Amanda Thompson “Farmhouse” This piece of art was done in acrylic paint, and it was originally a photograph that I recreated as a painting. The piece is supposed to represent a feeling of home by capturing that peaceful moment.
Kaitlin Watts “Man Behind the Machine” This photo expresses the connection between person and passion. As a tattoo artist, one uses their passion for the art combined with their technical skills to create beautiful and wearable pieces of artwork for life. At times people lose sight for the connection and passion that the artist has for their craft; I wanted to highlight how a person can be so in tune with their passion for their art form.
Auna Winters â€œMarbled Slipcast Cupâ€? I have been utilizing mold making in my ceramic work over the past few semesters, and this cup is a product of that process. I developed a prototype of what I wanted the cup to look like and made a mold from that piece that allowed me to make near exact multiples of the form. This was one of the first cups I made from this mold, and I experimented with marbling its glaze.
Call for Submissions Etchings Volume 31 Issue 1, Fall 2017
Submissions due at midnight on September 17th, 2018 Guidelines for Submissions: • All UIndy students, faculty, staff, and alumni are invited to submit. • All accepted undergraduate prose and poetry submissions will be considered for the Dorlis Gott Armentrout Award. • Up to three short stories or creative nonfiction essays, five poems, and five visual materials may be submitted. • Artwork must be in .jpg or .png format. Please save at a high resolution (at least 300 ppi or higher). • Poetry and prose should be in Microsoft Word format (.doc, .docx, or .rtf). • Poetry should be single spaced, and prose should be double spaced in a 12-point font. • Etchings has a blind submission process. Please give each submission its own document and file name that reflects the title of the piece, and do not include your name on either.
Submit work at etchings.submittable.com
We do not accept email submissions. Please create a free account at submittable.com or sign in using Facebook. For questions, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also follow us @uindyetchings.
Etchings is a literary and fine arts magazine produced by student editors in ENG 379 at the University of Indianapolis.