CONTENTS 2 5, 6 7 8 9 Cover Image Editors Editorial Staff
Alicia Patterson Eaghan Seumas Davis Ian C. Smith Erika Nestor Paul Kitti Alicia Chiaravalli
Aisle 6 York, a love poem Vonnegut could swallow Totems The Romanticâ€™s Guide to Evading Destiny Rats Staghorn Strong
Rachel Fentin, Sue Li Heather Bicknell, Joe Biglin, Mark Buckner, Emily Caris, Brittany Doss, Carlina Duan, Kaitlin Filip, Alfred Juncaj, Helen Keusch, Paige Lester, Kelly Muir, Nick Nuechterlein, Laura Torp Paige Lester, Nick Nuechterlein
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Aisle 6 Alicia Patterson
She asked me where I’d been. And when she’d be getting her best friend back. She looked like her soul had been crushed into the far corners of her spine—sending ailments through her body. “I’m sorry,” I said, because I didn’t know what else to say. I fiddled with the can of beans in my hand. “Excuse me,” a middle aged women asked. I moved my cart so that it was no longer blocking the aisle. “You’re just saying that to be polite,” she said, with a mixture of sad accusation. I dropped the can in my cart and looked to the racks to find another. “No, I’m not,” I said, reaching for more pinto, “I’ve been busy.” I wished I didn’t know why peppers and eggs were among the few items in her cart. Her mom always made her omelets when she was stressed—the picture of her slowly moving the chopped vegetables back and forth as the butter made them dance, her shoulders resigned to their burden, made me feel like I had invaded her intimate space. She couldn’t protect herself against me when she needed to. I turned my head away, looking at the nutrient facts. “They’re beans,” she said.“They have protein and a few trace nutrients. Do you really have to look at the nutrition facts?” I looked up quickly. I felt the hot traces of guilt spread across my face. “You know, my parents are fighting a lot,” she continued. “And I think I’m going to have to change my major—or transfer— because I’m failing chem—” I knew this wasn’t the case, my ex-best friend had a flair for the dramatic. And the high tones of
desperation in her voice confirmed my thoughts. “I—I—I just I’m dealing with a lot right now, and I don’t need this crap from you too.” My hands tightened and loosened around the red handle of my shopping car. I cursed myself for not waiting to go grocery shopping. “I’m sorry to hear about your parents—that’s really tough.” I said finally. I could see each word falling short of what she needed. She drew herself up a bit, “You know what, Sarah, it is.” I nodded my head, softly biting my tongue. I could hear the conversation from three nights ago replay in my head— “Ellean, why—it’s like four in the morning.” Loud music in the background. “Sarah I don no wvhat to do. Thurs this guy—“ “Why are you drinking again?” “Beecuuzz, Sahwah, I need to get home.” “Where are you?” “On Hamiliton!” “I don’t have a car, what do you want me to do? That’s so far from here. I thought you weren’t going to drink this weekend.” I knew I was a coward. For not bringing the issue forth. For running away, avoiding her like a child. But I didn’t know how to fix her brokenness, her gaping insecurities. I was incapacitated from the months of trying.
I moved my cart down the aisle, just a little past her, to find the salsa. “I’m sorry, I have been so busy with this research project. We’ll—uh, get together some time after it’s in,” I responded. I pulled out my grocery list. “You’re a shitty friend Sarah.” I didn’t look up from the small sheet of paper. She would see that her blow hit just as she wanted it to. “I have to go. I’ll…call you…,” I said. “Fine.” I wheeled my cart down the aisle and I thought about all the times she had showed up at my door the night before a paper was due. She would pretend to be fine, and inquire how I was. “I’m good—how are—“ I would say, and she would jump on the words— “So this guy that I’ve been talking to, you know, Jeff ? Last night we hooked up and then he was like, Ellean I can’t do this anymore—And my sister is like, dropping out of school again, and my parents don’t know what to do with her and she wants to crash with me, and I’m like, uh, no you can’t—” And I would sit and nod and console. By the time I closed the door behind her, it was 1 am, and I was exhausted in twenty different ways. I walked past the freezer section and shivered. God, I thought, it’s like nothing I ever did for her counted. I pushed my hair back. I walked towards the check out. I hadn’t gotten even a third of the things on my list. The question sat on my shoulders—what kind of person leaves her friend when she’s falling apart?
York Eaghan Seumas Davis
broken bottles pictures steps a singular wooden chair that held the midst of every man who chose to lament in thought rather than nigh sea and wave reflection cease mind behold man has a history of destroying what he once loved.
a love poem Vonnegut could swallow Eaghan Seumas Davis
when undressed no matter how the feat is managed eyes fingers imagination man must side-step the crux of existence :once life is acknowledged as sexually transmitted all nuance is
Totems Ian C. Smith
They loved the precision, the attention. Blazoned initials, ages, heights. Some data is smeared except where the biro cut into oil-based paint. The door frame, jobless when a bedroom was reduced to install a bathroom became the head of lanky queues a palimpsest of family progress. Pinned sports stars faded, long gone imprint the walls of the former bedroom the aspect from its lone window one of silent wind across grass. Near the record is a row of coathooks. Where rain drips flowered the floor hats, coats, hang daddy-longleggy their short arms stiff with disuse. The renovations cast the area into shadow. He fingers cobwebs, his eyes full of voices peers to read his marksâ€™ mongering a tale he has learned by heart.
The Romantic’s Guide to Evading Destiny Erika Nestor
First, take him out in the rain and fall in love. It will be easy, this changing of courses, this charting of ships. Love will save everything. Marry him in City Hall and buy a loft with windows instead of walls, so you can anticipate the enemy (the world, your mother) from every possible angle. Grow accustomed to your life. Crouch under its canopy, cling to its shade, ivy to red brick archway, sweat to summer skin. Always read the horoscopes, and when they promise adventure, be sure to stay inside. Avoid all arguments. Splint his purple fingers after they’ve hit the wall, the first time, every time. White tape on shivering knuckles and if he’s shaking (he’ll be shaking) stay calm. Don’t ever wonder what he’s thinking when he’s breathing like that. Damn cigarettes. When he leaves, don’t worry. He’ll come back. Scan price tags on green beans and detergent, red moving eye and metallic beep. Smile at the moms and the babies as the worm in your heart whispers: this isn’t who you’re meant to be.
Rats Paul Kitti
I set a trap and eyed it daily, Thinking, could I be so blind? The sustenance I can’t help craving Was set in place to make me die His neck was broken and his tail was yarn His eyes were open and his claws were drawn And I thought: Rats make love And rats need food And rats build homes And rats… Rats were in my house so I set a trap. Sorry, I was vague: Broken neck, yarn tail, eyes open, claws… Could a rat be a human be a rat to something stronger, Am I scavenging the kitchen floor Of some god I’m sneaking under? I’ve finally found what I need, And what I need doesn’t really matter, Because once I have it I will feel
The steel bar clamp down upon my neck And my last thoughts will ask: That rat only wanted food, Who was I to set a trap?