a publication of Rowan Universityâ€™s Master of Arts in Writing
flashglass Volume II 2016
MASTER OF ARTS IN WRITING GRADUATE PROGRAM ROWAN UNIVERSITY
All work in flashglass originally appeared as digital content at RowanGlassworks.org The staff of Glassworks Magazine would like to thank Rowan University’s Master of Arts in Writing Program, Rowan University’s Writing Arts Department, and The Glassworks Advisory Board: Ron Block, Martin Itzkowitz, Lisa Jahn-Clough, Andrew Kopp, Jeffrey Maxson
EDITOR IN CHIEF Katie Budris MANAGING EDITOR Andrew Davison COVER ART “Bottled Light” by Lori Blake Glassworks Issue 7 COVER DESIGN & LAYOUT Katie Budris
flashglass, a subset of Glassworks, accepts flash fiction, prose poems, & micro essays See submission guidelines: RowanGlassworks.org
Glassworks is a publication of Rowan University’s Master of Arts in Writing Graduate Program
Glassworks maintains First North American Serial Rights for publication in our journal and First Electronic Rights for reproduction of works in Glassworks and/or Glassworks-affiliated materials. All other rights remain with the artist.
Correspondence can be sent to: Glassworks c/o Katie Budris Rowan University 117 Bozorth Hall Glassboro, NJ 08028 E-mail: GlassworksMagazine@rowan.edu Copyright © 2016 Glassworks
Table of Contents Kathryn Hill | Log House | 4 Tara Deal | Morning Fog (Burning Off) | 5 Claire Day | A Moment | 6 Rob Hicks | Morning Thought | 8 Kathryn Hill | Mother | 9 Ed McCafferty | The Woman in Yellow Boots | 10 Kristin Laurel | Why I Hate Balloons | 11 Kathleen McGookey | The Parable of My Clocks | 12 Kathleen McGookey | The Rental | 13 Kathleen McGookey | A Mermaid Dreams of Shoes | 14 Tara Deal |Aficionado | 15 Anjali Pursai | Homecoming | 16 Ashley Kunsa | In the Absence of Cats | 17 Vivian Wagner | Displaced Person | 18 Daniel Riddle Rodriguez | Motel Life: Patron Saints | 20
Log House Kathryn Hill
Our first fall at the log house my father handed me an axe, said he’d teach me how to crack a tree to pieces in a day. We had moved there from Chicago in 1974 after the gas prices had grown too high and my mother was starting to talk. My mother watched us from the window, the axe bright and heavy in my hands. I felled thin blue spruces along the back edge of our yard, she patted boneless pink chicken legs with honey, lemon, sage. When I came in she hugged me, loose, said I swung just like him. One night in late September, lightning struck our fir tree. Its fat pine-coned branches exploded into a thousand yellow-black shards, splintering everything, the clover, earth, birds. There were rotten tomatoes stabbed through and dripping down their vines out back. The log house smelled like burning sap, hair held over candles for days. Around Christmas dad lost a finger and beat mom with a blue spruce log from a tree I had felled in the fall. He went out and peed in the woods, chicken burning in the oven. “It’s so cold,” he said, “my piss froze to the bark.” He said the log came from my pile, told me it was my fault. My mother slept in the hospital seven full months, brain swelling like a flower in a too-small pot. When the nurses walked by, my father held her hand. When they left, he dropped it like a bad plum, like a spider. I started seeing deer in the yard whenever he left the house. One day in July I saw a spotted one, a finger of wood jutting from its ear. My mother died that Saturday. I shot the deer the next Tuesday, cut the wood stud from its ear, kept it close. Dad and I brined the venison with lemon, salt, sage. My father ate it, proud of his son. I buried mine in the bed of dead tomatoes. After a month he found the plate and beat me out of the house. I left, took my mother from the hearth so he’d stop throwing bone scraps into the fire. Thirty years later my father calls, says he’s leaving the house to me. I drive eighty miles, close his hospital door. A nurse walks in, my hand loosens from the wet wood shard. It is the first day of fall.
Morning Fog (Burning Off) Tara Deal
“The mind is a city like London,” said Delmore Schwartz. All gray matter and roundabouts. Bits of conversation with characters, vaguely familiar, walking too slowly, unsure of where to go next, pulling out their A-to-Z guides, trying to reacquaint themselves with how to get around, although how could you forget that, now hurrying to arrive at some chip shop by lunchtime. Curry stick and turkey patties and other difficulties. Someone is looking erratically at the fantastic architecture someone else erected centuries back and thinking: I could never do that. Before the drizzle draws attention. Details too trivial to mention on old brick buildings grab bystanders, possibly foreigners who like to practice talking. Don’t forget your French. Look left. Stop and make a note for future reference. Sirens moan while tubes turn hot and convoluted, but one has to continue. Keep calm and carry on no baggage through the afternoon sometimes turning, like the river, grim. Mind the gap between the asphalt and the water, the city and its story, history and literature: these fragments have been. And then the ruin, that is, collapse on the sofa in the lounge (come through!) in another winter with memories of minor poets. Tea might help the stomach. This tea tastes like the Thames. Didn’t Keats work at that hospital around the corner? But no matter, that is, no more. The sky turns pink and white, streaky as bacon, and will go dark by four o’clock, when the yellow sparkle of Canary Wharf lights up in the distance like a mini Manhattan. Sequins over the skyline all of a sudden, and time for dinner. Bubble and squeak, the day disappears. More work for tomorrow, more work. Cranes sway by the river. Time to trawl through the mud like memories. They have a group that meets. Scavenge roman coins, shark teeth. Something else to remember. Something else might be discovered. Or constructed. Before all the scaffolding comes down, and no one gets hurt. Even though the way out is not clear-cut. (Lamb Walk is not a shortcut.) But one goes on, doing his bit, trying to figure out what it is, while wishing for no worries, no knife attacks. But that’s all right, so many closed-circuit TV cameras. Someone will catch something eventually. And really: why can’t the mind be a city like New York?
A Moment Claire Day
He hadn’t expected to hear the whoosh, hadn’t expected the sudden surge of energy in his body’s response: skin tingling, fingers twitching, breath gasping in short pants. Orgasmic, as he’d think of it later, grasping for the right word and knowing he hadn’t found it. Couldn’t and wouldn’t ever be able to describe, even to himself, the total sensuality of that moment when the sound, a gigantic expellant, filled his body to such a degree that his eyes closed, hands clenched, toes curled, as if trying to hold it within himself, keep it fast to indulge the feeling, pure feeling— make time stand still. ow long he hovered at the edge of the yard, inhaling smoke and sirens, crackling sparks and flames brilliant against H the spring night, he never knew, although he would try long weeks to reconstruct that time, wanting to understand his total surrender to a sensation unlike any he’d experienced in his fourteen years, as glass shattered in discordant peals, curtains wafted in billows of orange and red, roof and walls collapsed into a seething pyre, and all that was left of his early childhood was a charred rocking horse with a painted smile his mother could not bring herself to part with, and a long forgotten Tonka toy whose tires had melted with the heat. Later he would wonder how much of the scene he actually saw that night, how much was false memory acquired from TV and newspapers, national magazines even, so brilliant was the blaze. He remembers feeling cold, doesn’t know how or when the shivering began, but it did. Remembers the first impulse to run up to his room and grab a sweater; remembers a body, arms, hands, blocking his way, pulling him back as he headed across the lawn, running to speed his circulation, teeth chattering despite the heat from the flames. Remembers the voice, deep, authoritative, “Keep back, keep away.” And then another body, another set of arms and a woman’s voice, young, he thinks, “He’s in shock.” And then he’s sitting in an ambulance he hasn’t seen arrive, a foil blanket like the ones he’s seen in mountain rescues on TV, draped around his scrawny frame; a mug of something steaming in his hands. And he realizes he’s lost the moment, knows it will not return, although he closes his eyes to make sure, just for a second. That is all he needs to feel the lurch of disappointment.
Through the open ambulance doors he sees the house breathe its last, lingering breaths that will be gone tomorrow; watches the blaze, enormous, funereal; the onlookersâ€”neighbors, police, firefighters, passing strangersâ€”watchers as at a deathbed, accompanying a loved one to the threshold of departure, and no further. Tomorrow they will carry on with their lives, talk of this for a day or two, across breakfast tables, in coffee shops, gyms maybe. And then they will forget. But not he. Tomorrow he will think about his parents, wonder what he could have done, should have done. Tomorrow his fingers will skim along the surface of the matchbox in his pocket, linger on its perfect corners, feel the coarseness of its striking edge. And he will wonder.
Morning Thought Rob Hicks
There’s not much you can do when it’s over. Pack your things, light a cigarette, try not to think about it. And then you’re free. What can you do? Find someone to fuck, try to squeeze the last of your love out through your scrotum. Eyes closed you can pretend, and it does, it does feel almost right. But you wake up. You always wake up. You wake up and there’s this person, this stranger in your bed. At first you laugh; you think of your night. You try to think of a name and can’t. What matter? It’s not what you want anyway. Then there’s the blur, a name, another, the only thing you can remember is why and where it started. A carousel of leering faces, drinks, sticky floors, bathroom tears, a finger down the throat, stars above the streetlamps, who’s thinking of you tonight?, dive back in, shot of whiskey, a name, another, a drink, two, three, those eyes, that hair, what’s your name?, can I buy you a drink?, waving down the barkeep, forced laugh, what’s that? I can’t hear in here, a name, hi I’m..., my name is..., and what do you do?, dark street, walk to the next one, wave down the bartender, whiskey, a name, another, dark shoes,wet floor, music too loud, clench down the teeth, lights on the bottles, crooked broken smiles, funhouse flashes, what’s your name?, a drink, two, credit card, crisp five on the counter, is that right?, you don’t say?, that’s so interesting...wanna get out of here?, outside, stumbling against you, a cab, take us to 52nd, clutched hands, fingers in the fly, giggle, whisper, here’ll do, sidewalk, stars, where are you tonight?, just close your eyes, there like that, almost but not quite, not quite right, not right, just not right... S omeone said, or I read somewhere, it’s like that, the first morning after. You wake up with your gut hard, hands wrapped around your stomach holding it in, oh god oh god not again please not again, scared of the kitchen, the bathroom, the dark spaces, looking anyway, is she in there?, are you in there?, no, nothing, nothing anywhere, nothing everywhere, no tears, the bed’s all you’ve got.
Mother Kathryn Hill
Well, you see, she drowned the child. There was very little sound at all, no splashing really, just eighteen breath bubbles, rising popping dead. Just a baby, just a pink and fatty baby,and its face was kind of flat and it didn’t have eyebrows yet, or fingernails worth clipping. She ran the water like normal and put in the plastic bear. She knelt down over the tub, water shallow,looking beige because the ugly tub was beige. She held it in her forearms, the child. She held it out, the child, deep pink against the flat white undersides of her forearms. The mirror started to fog. Her sleeves were rolled up her arms. She watched the tiny wisps of hair float out from the baby’s soft head, imagined its bones still fusing under her fingers, still becoming, becoming two hundred and eighty bones, two hundred and forty, two hundred and six. She made sure the water didn’t get in the baby’s ears. Steven wasn’t home, so she could say that it was an accident. She could say that she had left the room, that she had heard no sounds, that the child was just an accident. She could say I didn’t know it would be like this. I didn’t know it would hurt. She could say I hate this thing. I love this thing. I don’t know who I am. And she did. You know, she talked to the baby in the tub. She let its feet slip between her elbows, little legs bending in. She let its bottom touch the ugly tub and she spread her forearms farther so the water could swaddle its back, its arms, its shoulders. She had her hands behind its head, her hands above the water just a little, just a little. Under the water the baby’s body looked like liquid, like wavering, loose liquid, like those babies sucked from stomachs before they really were. She had asked Steven, had begged Steven, had told him she couldn’t have it. She could not look like that in pictures. She would not look like that in pictures. She told him tailoring white lace and white beads was expensive, adding hem length, adding darts. She told him the dress is already bought, my mother would absolutely kill me. There is only one ring on my hand. There can’t be any babies in my body. The baby sneezed. Sneezed again. Two clear lines leaked out its nose. The mother flipped it over, pressed the hand with two rings to its back. Counted eighteen bubbles. Counted only those eighteen micro-second sounds. She lifted her hands from the water, from the body, from the body’s brown halo of hair. She would say it was just an accident. She would say but I was its mother.
The Woman in Yellow Boots Ed McCafferty
“She says she is counting cars. Motorists who have seen her day after day for the past year imagine she may be contemplating suicide, taking down license plates, or waiting for a perfect time to disrupt the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. She is merely working, she says, on an ‘independent marketing survey.’ A nearby gas station attendant, who watches her every day, has long since given up wondering.” -The Alexandria, VA Journal, July 1990 Long hair blowing like seaweed, she stands on the overpass counting the rush hour traffic below by entering tick marks on a clipboard. She is tall and slender and wears a long brown prairie skirt and yellow rubber rain boots. I have yet to see her face. She never looks away from the traffic or up from a newspaper stretched in her wide open grasp, and I wonder if she uses the paper to sight the line of cars as they surface to the top of her page. She is always alone, and with her long hair blowing and her arms outstretched she is like a Nereid on a bridge welcoming her guests back from the sea as they flow home safely beneath her. She is out again today and as I drive by I catch the tight curve of her long skirt and the turn of her ankle and wonder how it would be to make love to the traffic counter. Would she be as detached as when she counts the traffic, and lie there in a dull torpor while she counts the seconds then the minutes as she waits for me to finish, or would she be a human engine like the throbbing traffic she surveys, and would she, after I am spent, continue to surge over me as I try to keep pace beneath her while, one after another, I count her convulsions as they ebb and flow.
Why I Hate Balloons Kristin Laurel
Yesterday, a five-year-old boy drowned in the lake when he was out duck hunting with his dad. I overheard the girls at work talking about the Catholic church, how there’s nice people over there handing out balloons to support the family. When I get off work it’s late and nearly dark but sure enough when I pull into my small town, I see blue balloons tied to lamp-posts, mailboxes, tree branches, decks, and porch lights. It’s gotten cold tonight, it’s made the balloons shrink. They look droopy and saggy; they’re barely hanging on to those pitiful strings. I took care of a kid that choked and died from a balloon once. You better believe there were no balloons at my kid’s birthday parties. There were balloons at my sister’s son’s funeral. I don’t recall balloons at her first son’s funeral, but they were definitely at the second ones. She was in the car at the graveyard, and she wouldn’t get out. She kept crying, “I can’t do this again.” Her husband and some of her friends were gathered around the car. One of the girls had a bundle of blue balloons in one arm and she was hugging my sister with her other arm. Everyone was crying, and I looked over to where all the people were standing by the graves and wondered, “Dear God, why does she have to do this again?” “Can’t we just take her home?” Finally, she got out of that car, leaning on her husband, her friends and the girl carrying the blue balloons. I stood there with my three children, my partner and my ex-husband but I don’t remember what was said. I just stared at those damn balloons. After it was over, my sister’s friend handed out the blue balloons to the children and told them to let them go. The wind didn’t carry them very far. They made a popping sound like gunfire when they struck the tops of the trees inside the cemetery. I looked around, the little kids seemed disappointed, but nobody else showed any emotion. It’s as if we were all so numb and half–dead anyway, we couldn’t get any more deflated. I overheard someone mumble, “It figures.” My sister shrugged her shoulders.
The Parable of My Clocks Kathleen McGookey
My kitchen clock stopped where I like it, 11:37, morning just blooming into afternoon. My desk clock froze at 10:10â€”plenty of time to work before lunch. Between kitchen and desk an hour opens: bees disappear into my hydrangeas, a thrush calls from the field, and my creek and the traffic beyond it warble and hiss, braid themselves into a white rush that settles around me. I have clocks of wasps and swans, of hammers and sand, of bridges over mist and the boat-shaped leaves that drift below. My doctorâ€™s appointments never arrive on my clocks of teeth and dice, of napping cats, of thick erasers and combs. The children are always snug at school, learning their times tables and trading pennies for nickels. If I go out, my brother comes and winds my clocks.
Kathleen McGookey I rented an apartment above the bank downtown, where, straight out of the 40’s, an army of women staffed the gleaming counter, dabbing their lips and patting their hair. The children’s footsteps echoed through the light and airy halls. I don’t think we’re any safer here, my husband whispered, eyeing the crumbling black and white tiles, the slow flies buzzing in the windows. Winter was coming. The police would come faster if we lived above a vault. Later, when fall colors were at their finest, we could hold dinner parties at the country house. Now, on our first night, we searched for the hidden staircase to our new quarters. We each held a twin’s hand, but when the baby wailed, we saw yellow jackets crawling all over her teeth and tongue.
A Mermaid Dreams of Shoes Kathleen McGookey
Why not red? To match her little leather book embossed with a dappled kestrel? To match the wilted poppy twisted in her deep blue hair? She has seen the piles of dolls crowded in roped-together boats, drifting listlessly, seasick and heartsick, anxious as cats. They bleed because now they have blood. The wind eats their foreheads and painted pink smiles. They are the opposite of pure. Salt in their eyes makes them suffer. Their bright kimonos, many-layered, pinch and steal their breath. When they canâ€™t stand the smell, they cast their peach blossoms and rice cakes into the sea. Who would want these dolls now?They are still too precious to touch. The weight of any shoe fits the mermaidâ€™s palm like a clam. Rows of black silk slippers gaze at her like otter eyes.
Aficionado Tara Deal
The bull always tries, every fight, to find that safe spot in the sand that he believes will provide courage or some kind of dusty comfort when the time comes: the querencia. This place where one can be grateful: at least you’re not a donkey painted to look like a zebra in Tijuana. The bull paws the ground until it looks like that stretch on the sofa where the cloth is crushed, where one always goes to sit down and read a book. Around five o’clock in the afternoon. A light bulb flickers off to the side, a flash of sequins, almost. But it’s not enough to get up for and fix, not yet. One more moment, please. Because, for a moment, in this fine blank space, triumph seems possible—it’s happened before (bulls have been pardoned for their bravery; bulls have killed the matador). And it’s happened more than once. So maybe. But then something else appears, occurs, and one is forced out, all of sudden, to another place in the world, like leaving Arles for Seville, even though the sand is similar all over the ring: we know this. And so does the bull: you can’t fool him.
Homecoming Anjali Pursai
Years ago, I left this house, ran from everything in it, my dad’s last words repeating themselves on a loop in my mind, the funeral over so all I had to do was lock the door to my childhood home and flee, I thought, forever. Though he had left it to me, how could I walk the same halls he and Mom, gone just two years before, had walked since my birth? How could I sit at the same table where the three of us ate together? How could I? How could I? Yesterday, the tenth anniversary of Dad’s death dawned gray in my married home. I looked at my husband, whispered, “I can go back.” He hugged me and said, “Go.” I drove the hundred miles from our small town to the countryside where I grew up, memories making their way back mile by mile. Now in the still house, the creak of the closet door rings and lingers where once language and laughter filled the kitchen. Inside, I dig through musty shirts, jackets, and hats Dad wore over seasons as he chopped wood, trimmed plants, and shoveled snow to keep us connected with friends and neighbors. I search until I find it--the broom. Bringing it out, I gaze back at my path taken today from entryway to closet. Such a long, slow journey to return here, I marvel at the familiar books calling my name and the handsome grandfather clock striking the hour. My steps had left footprints in the settling dust of ten years, so I began to sweep. Broom bristles leave a series of lines and patterns. I sweep again and again to clean every inch. The swishing has a rhythm, and I find myself humming a tune. After what seems but a minute, the dust disappears; no longer do I see my footprints on the floor. I return to the closet, open the door once more. The creak still startles, no longer lingers.
In the Absence of Cats Ashley Kunsa
In the absence of cats, first, check the windows and door to the fire escape. Chant Simone, Jean-Paul, Simone, Jean-Paul, while flinging open the bedroom closet and shoving aside kitchen chairs. Try to think what he would do in the absence of cats. Pry lids from cans of tuna. Roll a ball of yarn in front of the TV. In the sudden, inexplicable absence of cat toys, shake a box of wooden matches. Pace the kitchen’s chipped tile while your armpits dampen. Unbutton your white coat. Flatten your body against the carpet and burrow halfway under the bed. Press speed dial 4, stop, then say, “F it,” and hit the call button; when it goes straight to his voicemail (wtf ?), leave a frenzied, rambling message about the absence of cats. In the absence of cats, try to remember the last time you noticed their presence: last night—no, this morning— lounging on your pathology text while he sermonized about the superiority of Canadian universal healthcare. Shove the book from the futon. Obviously, no cats. Feel your chest tighten in the absence of cats. Rub your fingers together, say, Here, kitty, kitty, kitty, and other generic things you imagine people say when faced with the absence of cats. Dial his number again. Try their names again. Begin to notice the absence of other things: the wireless printer, the framed Matisse, two entire shelves’ worth of Continental philosophy. The phone hits the carpet. Rush back to the closet. No Converse or cashmere sweater, no sock monkey tie dangling from the shelf. Stagger now, stricken, to the bathroom. The Scope. The beard oil. Half the washcloths. And there, under the window, confirmation of the absence of cats: the absence of their box.
Displaced Person Vivian Wagner
A man broke into the cigarette-smelling, moldy room of the halfway house on Western Avenue in Hollywood in 1972. My grandfather lay on the bed, with his one leg, his dark-dyed hair, his fine-cut houndstooth jacket, his stained wool pants, passed out, an empty bottle of brandy lying on the wooden floor. His paintings were stacked in the corner, beside a cigar box overflowing with gold chains, pins, diamond cufflinks. These were the only things my grandfather had left. The man, after glancing around the room, lifted a wooden chair and brought it down on my grandfather’s head. The man didn’t need to do that that little bit of violence, but I imagine that he wanted to make sure the stinking lout was dead. Then he gathered up the paintings, the jewelry, and cut out of there, into the dizzyingly bright sunlight. At a pawn shop down the street, he translated the booty into cash. And that was that. The police report later said it had been blunt force trauma, with a motive of robbery, that killed my grandfather. But it could just as well have said Nazis, or the Holocaust, or alcohol, or terror, or malnutrition, or loss of his family, or confusion, or the many other undiagnosable ills and accumulated plagues of a life. But maybe the police report summed it up as well as it could be summed up, after all. Blunt force trauma. “He was always a ladies’ man,” my great-aunt Irene, his little sister, told me once when I visited her. She wore a flowing, flowery dress, heavy European perfume, and bright red lipstick, and she talked in a thick Hungarian accent. “He’d keep the phone on the piano day or night, in Budapest, waiting for the calls.”
That was before the war, before he went into hiding, before the family lost the deli and the house, before they went to displaced personsâ€™ camps, before they crossed the Atlantic, before Alabama, before California, before the divorce, before the gangrene, before the halfway house. â€‹ his, then, is how it ends. This is the final stop. In Hollywood, in a small, urine-soaked room, on a hot summer day, T the sun rising to a crescendo over the smoggy city, the limitless future stretching ahead like a glistening freeway.
Motel Life: Patron Saints Daniel Riddle Rodriguez
Most girls trick and dream. While they swap wigs and pumps, trade skirts. They smoke cigarettes and pipe-dream nights free from the motel. Most men walk around like Chivalry is dead and they’re the ones who shot him. But one of these days, they are sure, a man, white knight or cowboy, will arrive on a big Bay horse. His pale suit shining. The other girls hope but January knows better. Knew better the day her daddy sat her down just to split the world in two. You either baiting the hook, January, he said, or you biting one. Simple as that. And he showed her just how simple the day he sucked the yellow off a pack of Lemonheads and sold them to the dope fiends on the corner. Dipped them in scale first just to get their lips numb. Bait and switch, he called it, Gets ‘em everytime. When she asked him why they always took the bait, he told her Half the world is dying to bite the hook, the other half drags the line. So let the other girls dream. Motel life is a way station between nothing and not much, between the blade and brass pole. Any which way you turn is skin trade, so why not make the best of bad, rent a room. At least you’ll save your feet. he thing January hates most is the tricks. They don’t know if they want to fight, fuck, or cry half the time, and it T doesn’t matter which one he is, knight or cowboy, either way he’s breaking horses. The thing she likes most is maid service. How she can leave the room devastated, a tempest of bed sheets and towels, tiny liquor bottles, and the walls are sweating. Knowing it will all be cleaned, washed away when she returns. It is a glory all her own, a faith held close to the chest. Maids are the patron saints of motel life. And the rooms are lives you are reborn into every day.
Contributors Lori Blake (cover art) is a teacher, poet, and hobby photographer from Raleigh NC. She enjoys finding the beauty in objects that others consider worthless or ugly. Blake’s image is featured in Issue 7 of Glassworks. You may see more of her work at http://bluemangoimages.deviantart.com/gallery/ or www.facebook.com/bluemangoimages. Claire Day was born and grew up in England, but has spent over half of her life in the United States. She now lives in Massachusetts, where she is inspired by the creative life around her. Her work has appeared in New Verse News, Silkworm, Peregrine, and American Writing. She was the recipient of a fellowship to the Connecticut Writing Project’s Summer institute, and has led writing workshops using the Amherst Writers and Artists method. She is a quadruple Pushcart Prize nominee. Tara Deal is the author of That Night Alive (winner of the 2016 novella prize from Miami University Press) and Palms Are Not Trees After All (winner of the 2007 novella prize from Texas Review Press). She lives in New York City. Rob Hicks is from Texas. He travels, and writes, and works, and aches, and is confused, and strives like anyone else. His first book, Cornelia Avila, is available through Belle Tier Press. Kathryn Hill is an MFA candidate in fiction at Arizona State University and her flash fiction has appeared at AGNI Online, Fiction Southeast, Gigantic Sequins, Monkeybicycle, Passages North, and elsewhere. She is the winner of the 2016 Innovative Short Fiction Prize from The Conium Review, the 2016-2017 Aleida Rodriguez Memorial Award, and was a recipient of a 2016 Virginia G. Piper Global Fellowship. Follow her on Twitter @kathelizhill. Ashley Kunsa’s creative work has appeared in or is forthcoming from more than a dozen places, including Bayou Magazine, The Los Angeles Review, and Tahoma Literary Review. She has been awarded the Orlando prize for flash fiction from the A Room of Her Own foundation and tied for first prize for Eastern Iowa Review’s Experimental Essay award. Currently she is completing a PhD in English literature at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA, where she lives with her husband and son. Find her online at www.ashleykunsa.com Kristin Laurel completed a two-year apprenticeship in poetry at The Loft Literary Center (MPLS). Recent work can be seen in Gravel, CALYX, The Mainstreet Rag, r.kv.r.y, Apeiron Review, The Raleigh Review, The Mom Egg, The Doctor TJ Eckleburg Review and many others. Her first book, Giving Them All Away, won the Sinclair Poetry Prize from Evening Street Press (Dublin, Ohio). To read a free copy, go to http://eveningstreetpress.com/kristin-laurel-2011. html. Most recently, her CNF piece, Terminal Burrowing, won first place in the 2015 issue of The Talking Stick.
Ed McCafferty has had recent acceptances by Scribble, Clark Street Review, and Word Fountain, as well as previous poems in Poet Lore, Gargoyle, and Potomac Review among others. He is the author of the chapbook Audrey and I Stride Forth published by Argonne House Press, Washington DC (2002). He is also the author of a graduate textbook in chemistry entitled Introduction to Corrosion Science published in 2009 by Springer Press of New York. He lives in Alexandria, VA with his wife and two cats. Kathleen McGookey’s most recent book is Stay (Press 53). Her book Heart in a Jar is forthcoming from White Pine Press in Spring 2017. Her work has appeared in journals including Crazyhorse, Denver Quarterly, Epoch, Field, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, and Quarterly West. She has received grants from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Sustainable Arts Foundation. Anjali Pursai was accepted into the prestigious workshop, Poetry Power, in the San Francisco Bay Area, taught by an award winning poet. Since two years ago, she has earned various publications, such as Chautauqua Literary Magazine in New York, and awards, such as the National League of American Pen Women and the Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards. She has also received invitations to read her work aloud at a number of well-known locations, such as the Koret Auditorium at the San Francisco Library. She grows more and more enthusiastic about the art of poetry, both writing and presenting it. Daniel Riddle Rodriguez’s real name is Daniel Riddle Rodriguez. A full-time student and father, he is from San Lorenzo, California, where he lives with his son. He is the author of Low Village (CutBank 2016) and Low Village: Rules of the Game (Nomadic Press 2016). Previous publications include Word Riot, Prairie Schooner, Gulf Stream Magazine, Fourteen Hills, and others. He is thrilled to be here. Vivian Wagner is an Associate Professor of English at Muskingum University in New Concord, Ohio. Her work has appeared in Narratively, The Atlantic, The Kenyon Review Online, and other publications. She’s the author of a memoir, Fiddle: One Woman, Four Strings, and 8,000 Miles of Music (Citadel) and a poetry chapbook, The Village (forthcoming from Aldrich Press). Visit her website at www.vivianwagner.net