a publication of Rowan University’s Master of Arts in Writing
featuring The inconsistency of memory Trinkets once forgotten Hitchcock’s perspective on spring and “Times of Day with William Stafford”: a craft essay by Christina Seymour
Cover art: “The Lookout” by C.F. Sanchez 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
Cover Design & Layout: Katie Budris
EDITOR IN CHIEF Katie Budris MANAGING EDITOR Andrew Davison SENIOR EDITORS Rachel Howe Keri Mikulski
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NONFICTION EDITOR Elaine Paliatsas-Haughey MEDIA EDITORS Denise Brewer Patrick Murphy Jessica Tuckerman
glassworks Spring 2016 Issue Twelve
MASTER OF ARTS IN WRITING GRADUATE PROGRAM ROWAN UNIVERSITY
Issue 12 | Table of Contents Poetry
Jamie Anastas, The Cut | 42
Tell me about the afterwards | 43
Bruce Bagnell, The Chicken Cook | 26 Wizard of Lies | 25 Evan Bauer, Filleting a Lingcod | 39 Kevin Casey, Route 202, Heading North | 3 Paulette Guerin, First Child | 56 Flight | 57 Alison Hicks, Drawer | 16 Where I’m From There Are Few Children | 17 Paul Lojeski, At the Light by the Hospital | 9 Waving Goodbye | 8 Megan Merchant, Things That Disappear | 58 Elizabeth Vignali, Spring, As Directed by Alfred Hitchcock | 54
Claire Day, A Moment | 10
Stuart Freyer, Momma’s Famous Somewhere | 28
Joshua Osto, Belvedere Road | 45
Nonfiction H.R. Green, In Rememberence | 4 Paul Hostovsky, Deaf-Blind Convention | 14 Will Preston, Drift | 52
Christina Seymour, Times of Day with William Stafford | 18
Thomas Gillaspy, Dark Dialogue | 55
Glass (Benicia, CA) | 24
Janelle Rainer, Ecstatic | 44
Midnight | 6
C.F. Sanchez, Last Cast, I Promise | 40
The Lookout | cover
Remember When | 12
The History of Glassworks
The tradition of glassworking and the history of Rowan University are deeply intertwined. South Jersey was a natural location for glass production—the sandy soil provided the perfect medium, while plentiful oak trees fueled the fires. Glassboro, home of Rowan University, was founded as “Glass Works in the Woods” in 1779. The primacy of artistry, a deep pride in individual craftsmanship, and the willingness to explore and test conventional boundaries to create exciting new work is part of the continuing spirit inspiring Glassworks magazine.
Route 202, Heading North Kevin Casey
The young moon asleep for hours, tucked into the blue gauze of city glow some twenty miles to the west, and what light would fall from stars, loose and rattling in their settings, is rinsed away by the headlights pulling you along that gray thread of road. Sweeping east past the blurred form of trees, you see the tail lights of an 18-wheeler floating red at the horizon’s hinge. In the night’s cold math of rate and pace, you’ll overtake the rig in a few minute’s time. Alongside the semi, marker lights festoon its broad and angled flank and make a carnival booth in the right-hand lane— orange and white bulbs carve a bright hollow in the empty night. And for a moment, engines hum in tandem, the miles fusing, welded in the spectacle. But the highway comes unraveled at last; time resumes, and exiled from this momentary midway, you go hurtling back into the darkness.
In Remembrance H.R. Green
A seven-year-old stands at the edge of her father’s desk, clad in a blue T-shirt faded by favoritism and denim shorts that show playground-scabbed knees. She waits in her father’s office, surrounded by intimidating books that line three walls and his model car collection that fills the fourth. Each scale model is housed in its own plastic case or locked behind the glassfaced cabinetry. She’s allowed to play with his model cars, but only the non-replica diecast models he keeps in a drawer just for her. But there’s only so long she can mime races around the carpet patterns, jumps over the backs of flattened binders, and strategically planned accidents. After thirty minutes, she tires of the cars, of twirling in his desk chair and playing with his pens. She rifles through his drawers, careful to return the contents to its correct place until she finds the box. Slowly, she pulls it from the drawer, curious, bored, rebellious. She’s wary of handling it, aware of chidings from her mom, but she can’t resist after feeling its heft in her hands. In the center of the lid, an etched cross is almost black against the already dark wood. She fingers the beveled edges and thumbs the gold clasp that keeps it locked. It’s nothing new; she’s just never had the opportunity to try it
herself. On impulse, the girl plucks the box from her lap, crouches, and tucks herself in the footwell of his desk, shielded from the door, safe in her hiding place. She sets the box before her and pushes back her bobbed brown hair before she opens the clasp. She knows the outside well, has seen her father carefully hand wash its contents, but she’s never had a chance to really look at it. Green felt lines the inside and secures four miniature glasses, a small plastic bottle, and a delicate round wooden container. She picks up a glass. It’s small enough for her to wrap her fingers around and heavier at the bottom where the glass is thick. She sees nothing special about it, except that it belongs in this box. She knows her father takes it to people who are happy and sad, to homes and hospitals, to wherever it’s needed. Sometimes people call for the box late at night; sometimes he already knows who needs it before they ask. She’s been with him on those visits, usually after he picks her up from school. She’s sat in countless living rooms, listened to him speak, watched him use the box like a BandAid to stop the tears. Father God Almighty, creator of heaven and earth… Wisps of unease skitter across her skin. You formed us in your image...
of the felt and taps the inside panels for secrets. The girl pauses, takes another wafer and holds it at eye level. “This is my body, broken for you.” She snaps it in half and offers it to her backpack. “Take, eat.” She bows her head, eyes closed, and sips from an empty glass. “Do this in remembrance of me.” The girl waits, eager to feel. She has the box and the words and she knows she did it right but nothing comes. She shoves the box away, fights the burning tears of frustration, and wonders if she’ll ever know how he does it. Quickly she packs the box and scooches out from beneath the desk. She carefully puts it on the table and leans her elbows on the desk in defeat. “How does he get them to kneel?” She whispers to the box. “How does he get them to cry that way?” She wonders if they know it’s just a box that he keeps at home.
H.R. Green | In Remembrance
She slips the glass back into its slot and picks up the opaque bottle with a silver lid. Drink from this, all of you. She holds it up to the pallid light and sees nothing but a purple stain. This is my blood of the new covenant poured out for you. She sighs. She can’t do what her father does if there’s no juice. “Methodists are teetotalers,” she recites quietly to herself in the imposing room. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me. Her small fingers find the wooden container and run across the concave lid. She knows it’s carved from authentic Israeli olive wood, but she doesn’t know what that means. She flicks off the lid and picks up a brittle-white communion wafer. A solemn sleepy-eyed Jesus pressed in the center, hands raised with upward facing palms in a gesture of benevolence, or a shrug. This is my body, broken for you. At school, she calls it Jesus Bread. Take, eat; this is my body. She sniffs its blandness, nips off an edge, and chews. It almost dissolves then sits on her tongue like chewed paper. This is my body which is given for you. She spits it out and slips the rest under crumpled sheets of paper in the trashcan. Do this in remembrance of me. So many people kneel before her father, hands clasped, heads bowed. They smile and sigh and cry when he says the words she’s heard a thousand times. She lifts the box and examines the sides, the bottom, she runs her finger along the corners
Midnight Janelle Rainer
Waving Goodbye Paul Lojeski
Up over the tracks in Port Jeff where the poor and beaten hang on for and to dear life in a perverse kabuki dance of suffering is a dilapidated excuse of an adult living facility, really just a busted up house hung in bent and twisted aluminum siding with wild grass and weeds in the front yard, lurching right up to the rusty chain link fence and the street a few paces beyond. I drive there at times and most often now in the warm breath of early June an old, big-bellied, daffy-looking guy is sitting at the fence in one of those flimsy drugstore beach chairs, swigging a beer, grinning and waving at all of us, as we slip past him. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s like heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s on a little island, waving at all the passengers passing by in a fleet of cruise ships. There he is, gleeful, waving at life going by, happy as hell and sometimes, damned if I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t smile and wave back.
At the Light of the Hospital Paul Lojeski
Red. Warm August evening. Engine idling quietly, windows down. Succulent breeze. Perfect. Looked over at the brick and glass and the shadow of long gleaming hallways and oxygen tanks and someoneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s last rasping breath maybe at the same moment the light changed and I turned towards the ocean.
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. How long he hovered at the edge of the yard, inhaling smoke and sirens, crackling sparks and flames brilliant against 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.
“All that was left of his
early childhood was a charred
with a painted smile his mother could not bring
herself to part with.
~ 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
Claire Day | A Moment
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 onlookers—neighbors, police, firefighters, passing strangers—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.
Remember When C.F. Sanchez
Deaf-Blind Convention Paul Hostovsky
When I got home from the deaf- blind convention, I couldn’t stop touching people. It was a week of haptics, tactile sign language and fingerspelling, touching and being touched, and it just naturally continued flowing out of me. I found myself patting the hand of the policeman as he leaned into my car window to give me the speeding violation: Thank you, officer. And I couldn’t help stroking the arm of the bank representative when I stopped in to make a payment on my home equity loan: Principle only, please. And later, in line at the grocery store, I brushed a piece of lint off the sweater of the woman in front of me, pressing her shoulder reassuringly. When she turned around, startled by my touch, I touched her again, on the elbow, to apologize. Which only made it worse. People are touchy about being touched. They don’t like it. They misconstrue it. They take it as an advance: a pass or a flirtation, an aggression or an invasion. But not so with deaf-blind people. For deafblind people touch is everything. It’s communication and information. It’s intonation. It’s affirmation, feedback, backchanneling. It’s connection and community. It’s practically sacrament and yet it’s as natural and necessary as breathing. All week I
had brushed up against and been brushed up against, gently bumping, gingerly jostling, signing and spelling into hands, printing on palms, scratching and tapping, sketching and mapping on backs, shoulders, knees, interpreting and chitchatting as my fingers and hands remained in almost constant contact with the fingers and hands and bodies of others. The deaf -blind world is a different world altogether. A world of physical contact. And already I found myself missing it terribly.
about being touched. They don’t like it. They misconstrue it.
In fact, I seemed to be going through a kind of withdrawal. I felt separated, isolated, untouchable in a world of untouchables. It felt like there was too much space between me and the world, too much space between people and things, too much space between people and people. I felt depressed. I began to self -medicate: I started touching myself. Not in a sexual way, but a platonic way, a deaf-blind way. My
hands looked for each other; they touched each other and themselves, folding, tenting, twiddling, praying. And I touched my face —my temple, forehead, nose, cheeks, lips, philtrum, chin. My neck, head, crown, shoulders, arms, wrists, thighs, knees. I touched myself and I thought of my deaf-blind friends at the convention, whom I longed to see again, whom I longed to touch. But the next convention wasn’t for another two years. Especially I missed Adriana. Her slender, beautiful hands, the weightlessness of them as they rested on mine, listening. It wasn’t exactly romantic; it was more semantic: her nimble fingers, her fluent signing, the grammar of her face, her virtuosic receptive skills—it was all about language. I was seduced by the voluptuousness of tactile sign language. She was my deaf -blind delegate from NY, and I was her SSP (Support Service Provider). I guided her, assisted her, interpreted for her, clued her in and helped her out by touching her constantly, but only on her hands, occasionally on her back, or her arm, or the little atoll of her knee. “Those are the only permissible places,” the Pro-Tactile instructor told us during the short training session on haptics for interpreters and SSPs the first day of the convention. “To tell the deaf-blind person that someone is laughing, for example, you can spell HA-HA in her hands, of course, but if her
hands are occupied, for whatever reason, then you can indicate it like this on her arm, or her back, or if you’re both seated, on her knee.” Then he did a little sort of double flex-scratch with all five fingers in the air, by way of illustration. “Nothing above the knee, though; and never on the head, or stomach, or chest, or butt, or breasts. Unless, of course, invited to, in the privacy of your dorm rooms.” There were some giggles. I have to say, those first few days at the convention, a part of me hoped I’d be invited to. And sometimes it seemed like I was on the verge of being invited to. But the invitation never came. And in a way, I’m glad it didn’t. Because it wasn’t about sex. It was so not about sex. And between you and me, some of us never grow wholly comfortable doing it, now do we? I mean doesn’t it feel a little like the blind signing their names on the signature line? I mean don’t we often need a hand to guide our hand to where they say the ultimate expression of who we are ought to be? And then when it’s done, it’s as though our lovers take back the pen, and the paper, eyeing the sad mark that is ours, and wondering what in the world the world should make of such a squirming, illegible thing.
Among socks, mated and divorced, and legs of colored hose, underpants, bras, belts not worn in years, things there’s nowhere else to put: gold watch in a long, thin box, lint roller, sheet of instructions for how to wash silk, credit cards from bankrupt stores in other regions of the country, expired passport and driver’s licenses, too official to throw away, pierced earrings for a nephew’s girlfriend with whom he broke up before they could be unloaded. Not there anymore: the unfashionable glasses, unable to be found when the new ones needed fixing. And the picture, head cut from a snapshot, in a two-inch plastic frame, features grainy, lips blurry, as if he might have been about to speak. Moved from one locality to another, in that drawer, then pulled out from the underthings, thrown in the trunk with the college memorabilia, where it fell to the bottom of the chest I’m nowhere near ready to open.
Where I’m From There Are Few Children Alison Hicks
Men with beards lean on the backs of chairs, glass in one hand, the other in the air conducting the response, while women dressed in long, swingy prints slink through bearing casseroles, brown stews of indeterminate ingredients. Baskets of bread set on large wooden tables between pillar candles that burn brightly, then sink into their pools of wax, inside houses where the bookshelves rise high. After gleaning what appears edible, I am free to read the titles wander through bedrooms piled with coats, take inventory of bathroom cabinets, checking in mirrors to see if they show me at unimaginable, unattainable ages. When there are children, they group in hard knots, unwilling to be pried apart, have in-jokes and speak about things I’ve never heard of. They complain I am too quiet. When they play dodgeball in the driveway before dark, I discover I don’t even have to move, that’s how much they aren’t aiming at me. Someone says, Hey, she doesn’t know how to play. It seems pointless to jump when I don’t have to. Back inside, voices braid in a drone. I find some corner to lay my head until I am awakened, coats pulled off and onto me, escorted into the winter night. It always feels like January or February, beginning of a new year, though I never feel any bigger.
Times of Day with William Stafford Christina Seymour
Artist, Come Home Remember how bright it is, the old rabbitbush by the hall light? One of the blackberry vines has reached all the way to the clothesline. There isn’t any way to keep the kitchen window from tapping. The tea kettle had one of its meditative spells yesterday. I am thinking again of that old plan—breakfast first, then the newspaper. They say maybe they won’t have that big war this year after all. A frog is living under the back step. William Stafford, from Stories That Could Be True, 1977 Saturday Afternoon A lot of poets want to believe that they are special, or, at least, that their poetry is special. Stafford doesn’t seem to be concerned with that. Stafford’s specialness is humanness. He helps us see the unique challenge of being human, and relate: “that old / plan—breakfast first, then the newspaper.” When I read Stafford, I feel aware of what matters. On the verge of a move from West Virginia to Tennessee, I find myself comforted by the constants in Stafford’s noticing—the blackberry vines, the tea kettle, the window, the rabbitbush. Those scenes help me look forward to the comfort of familiarities, instead of fearing newness. ~
Christina Seymour | Times of Day with William Stafford
Sunday Afternoon Stafford’s poems live. If writing a poem is a religious experience, StafThe best poets to me ford’s religion is being-in-the-now. Even in the poems that make subtle political statements, as “Artist, are the ones who make Come Home,” daily living is shown their values available, through juxtaposed images: a newspaper’s message about “that big apparent in their war,” a frog’s presence under the back step. Such equanimity brings poems. authenticity to Stafford’s voice. The speaker listens to each life and feels the gravity of each. This form also emphasizes that we, as citizens, may care about the newspaper’s update, but also that we must take solace in the frog, take note of the tea kettle, or study the window, to maintain an individual peace. I imagine writing a Stafford-like poem includes: 1) being, and watching yourself be. 2) Recognizing religious experience. 3) Speaking of such experience, naturally, in the simple syntax that arises from calm, bodily reflection. Stafford picks up the energy of even inanimate objects. That is imagination, the poet’s empathy: “Remember how bright it is / the old rabbitbush by the hall light”; “The tea kettle had one of its meditative / spells yesterday.” One question that is easily complicated in poetry is, “How do I represent my mood?” “By saying what you think,” Stafford might say. Determining what you really think/see/feel is the challenge: Just Thinking Got up on a cool morning. Leaned out a window. No cloud, no wind. Air that flowers held for awhile. Some dove somewhere. Been on probation most of my life. And the rest of my life been condemned. So these moments count for a lot—peace, you know.
Let the bucket of memory down into the well, bring it up. Cool, cool minutes. No one stirring, no plans. Just being there. This is what the whole thing is about. William Stafford, from There’s a Thread You Follow, 1993 The best poets to me are the ones who make their values available, apparent in their poems. What Stafford believes and what he says are often the same thing, or, at least, he’s a good enough writer to make me think so. I trust his voice. There are few distractions, deflections, or self-conscious moments, except when he is making us aware of those processes by depicting them: Even in the cave of the night when you wake and are free and lonely, neglected by others, discarded, loved only by what doesn’t matter—even in that big room no one can see, you push with your eyes till forever comes in its twisted figure eight and lies down in your head. William Stafford, from “Waking at 3 A.M.,” Someday, Maybe, 1973 Stafford’s voice is vulnerable, within the comforting limits of a constant it’s okay. Even the not okay is fated, and accepted: A great snug wall goes around everything, has always been there, will always remain. It is a good world to be lost in. It comforts you. It is all right. And you sleep. William Stafford, from “Waking at 3 A.M.,” Someday, Maybe, 1973 . . . Others have come in their slow way into
William Stafford, from “Ask Me,” Stories That Could Be True, 1977 Stafford’s mission is a quiet but essential one: make sense in a language we all can speak. Sunday Evening A comfort with vulnerability is not just loving oneself; it is allowing readers to love you, the ultimate act of sharing. Readers return the love, the patience with hurt and indescribable beauty, that trust, to themselves: “I am thinking again of that old / plan—breakfast first, then the newspaper.” Today, I saw a bat circling a chimney. I think Stafford might say, “Follow a small wonder.” Monday Morning I found a lost dog yesterday morning, brought it to my apartment. I called the owner and said, “He seemed so curious heading for the busy road.” I wanted to write about it but thought, “That is not my material.” There are too many logistical moves to account for—looking at the dog tag, guiding the dog to my house by the collar, wondering if I have anything leash-like, watching it sniff the garbage and jump on the loveseat, letting it go to its owner. I think Stafford would say, “Just write it”: I found a lost beagle this morning and returned it. He was curious but trusting, and I empathized. Straight talk, evidence that the speaker has listened to him/herself, contains both small and large questions, both quiet and loud. I hear my footsteps while approaching my office.
Christina Seymour | Times of Day with William Stafford
my thought, and some have tried to help or to hurt: ask me what difference their strongest love or hate has made.
“Editors decide if your work is good or bad. I decide
that it is all part of the same good heart. Stafford’s
work provides evidence of that.
Monday Afternoon Editors decide if your work is good or bad. I decide that it is all part of the same good heart. Stafford’s work provides evidence of that. Wednesday Morning I send a phone picture of the poem “Ask Me” to my father. He sends a picture of a duck with shiny brown neck-feathers. Friday Evening Stafford’s titles show that he thinks expansively: “Existences,” “A Sound from the Earth,” “Identities,” “Influential Writers” (“Some of them write too loud. / Some write the mauve poem / over and over.”) “It is all right to simply be the way you have to be / among contra dictory ridges in some crescendo of knowing” (from “Representing Far Places,” Traveling through the Dark, 1962). “I place my feet / with care in such a world” (from “The Well Rising,” West of Your City, 1960). I send phone picture of the poem “Retirement” to my father. He is having a bad day, mom says. After reading the poem again, and fearing it is too heavy for a bad mood, I send another picture of a turkey and cranberry sauce sandwich I ate at a café, for the sake of balance. He replies, “A lot in that poem resonates. Hope ur sandwich is good.” Things That Hurt Me— Turn into pearls. First my tongue turns them over and over. They have an edge that lacerates and then brings out a coating. They begin to shine. William Stafford, from There’s a Thread You Follow, 1993
Work Cited: Stafford, W.. (1998) The Way It Is: New & Selected Poems. Minneapolis: Graywolf. Credits: William Stafford, excerpt from “Influential Writers” from Even in Quiet Places. Copyright © 1996 by William Stafford. Reprinted with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc., on behalf of Confluence Press, www.confluencepress.com.
Christina Seymour | Times of Day with William Stafford
Stafford is not afraid of sentimentality. He finds strength in describing a feeling, using natural (if unoriginal) symbols and language to do so. He seems to live in the truth that clichés are the comforting reminder that we have limits to our understanding. Common images and sayings are the glorious shared experience of human thought: “There isn’t any way to keep / the kitchen window from tapping.”
William Stafford, excerpts from “Just Thinking,” “Ask Me,” and “The Well Rising” from Ask Me: 100 Essential Poems. Copyright © 1960, 1977, 1998 by William Stafford and the Estate of William Stafford. Reprinted with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc. on behalf of Graywolf Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota, www.graywolfpress.org.
Glass (Benicia, CA) Thomas Gillaspy
Wizard of Lies Bruce Bagnell
The story of Oz sucked you clear out the window— the wizard lies behind a screen, witches melt and straw men live. We touch your shoulder, it is dinnertime, you didn’t hear us call. We have left Kansas. You became the wizard listening to straw men, selling red herring on a golden plate, You don’t hear yourself anymore. Your little man behind the screen tells lies, you are Aunt Sally’s puppet, she drinks your blood. Throw water buckets over your own head, melt yourself, click your heels together three times. Go home.
The Chicken Cook Bruce Bagnell
He climbs the hill until the city is far below and the glass of a boat window beyond the corner of the bay bounces the sun back, a flashing code. He wonders if the message comes from a bob in the waves, just as he had questioned the tree encountered on the climb, whether it knew itself to be a fashioned thing, its every arm twist a ballet against the dawn, a fine etching in the later bright. A bird speaks a hidden tongue before silence, stillness with the sun chroming the ocean in a broad path out to sea, past the cactus spread down the slope, spines pointing guard to a lone flower feeding a bee which darts its alien dance. He feels as one, shares the elixir, the same light warms his skin. Briefly he dances in a way known to ancestors, stopping suddenly uncomfortable when a woman appears on the rain-gullied trail.
She climbs, pants a soft hello, and he turns to stare at the the wire pylons overhead humming from the load of e-mails already out of date, digital garble sucked from afar pulling him back down the hill. The party is assembling, soon a piano will play in a room close to where he will be asked to grill the chicken before glad-handing arrivals. Those who will laugh into the evening, assured of their place, their dance, their songsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; tomorrow may be a Facebook post he will never receive.
Momma’s Famous Somewhere Stuart Freyer
The agent with the Saint Bernard face probably had three identical Lord and Taylor suits with faux foulards in her Riverdale wardrobe. “People are selling their bodies to get a studio like this. Look at the size of this room. The Hudson only right around the corner. It’s fantastic. And I don’t have to tell you about the proximation of the buses and the subway.” Rory had, at least, to look at the apartment during lunch break. But the process was sickening. “You’re moving from East 72nd because of a job change maybe? “I don’t have to move but I’ve always liked this neighborhood,” Rory said. The agent returned a dubious smile. Rory ran a finger along the dingy wall. She walked to the windows one of which had a half view of Columbus Avenue below. The sill bubbled with eons of repainting. Outside the buildings dark green halls and spartan entrance cubicle waited to repel her further. “It won’t be empty long,” the woman bellowed after her. “Call me.” “I can’t do this,” she thought as she slipped onto the street. She phoned Bertrand from the glove show at the Javits Center. This
afternoon only a few stopped at her HANDESIGN booth. Fewer still found their way to the room where she orchestrated her little glove productions and spiel about designers and production dates, where a table with Pinot in stem glasses displayed catalogues of the five (previously ten) companies of the LAFGM (Ladies American Fashion Glove Manufacturers). She was becoming, as they said in the business, the only one in town with good taste. Bertrand couldn’t meet her, again. Busy with some new love? He hadn’t confided. Well, fuck him. She would taxi home, eat at the apartment, go to the film by herself. Her purse was prepared for the routine with the cabby. Ask for change of a hundred. If he had none, become irate and try to get out fuming. If she had some money act flustered, fumble unsuccessfully for singles, find only a quarter tip. Or pay the fare and get out quickly as if you forgot the tip. Tonight, the gambit worked on a kepi topped, big nosed Turk or Pakistani more interested in his cell phone. He left her on the curb of the yellow brick high rise with awning where two black women in cloth jackets over white uniforms were exiting. She smiled at the doorman.
picked up, avoiding the tip. Maybe she should do that now. No. Wouldn’t look right. She headed down the hall cursing Bertrand silently for not meeting her for dinner, his treat. Two hundred thou a year at DeLoitte and Touche. It killed her to think of it. How silly a person he was in spite of that enchanting cane, the polkadot bow ties. But he was a good ally. No, it wasn’t money. It had to be a romance or—or what? Was he tired of her company? Should she invite him over with some other friends, for a Nouveau Beaujolais and Stilton? Sitting on a chrome chair at the orange fifties Formica table, she pushed aside three New York Times Book Reviews to make room for dinner. A plastic mannequin hand lay on the parquet floor of the dining area, fingers bent, palm up like a supplicant. She took out a black caftan, kept the same jewelry on, switched the sabots for street slippers. She would not place the delivery order. Too late, she’d tell the doorman. “Momma?” “See you later honey,” Rory yelled to the bedroom. She had left Emma on the comforter that morning. There was no time for her now. ~ At the festival (thank God
Stuart Freyer | Momma’s Famous Somewhere
“Hi Albert.” He’d started a week ago, his gloves the wrong color, his coat four inches too long for a short man. It amused her. Probably the coat was passed down from his predecessor. Albert was bantam. Still, this little rooster must feel tall looking down at her. She waved a braceleted skeletal arm, the beaver coat opening to reveal a purple top and a pink crepe scarf. Did it suggest a curved back? Soft red leather sabots peeked out under a long black wool skirt. The effect was a female hobbit in high fashion, but it could not be helped; it was the best she could do considering her torso. “Madonna called today about an order.” “Wow, Miss S!” Albert’s eyebrows shot up as he opened the door for her. “What’s she like?” “Marvelous.” She calls in from the coast all the time. Well I’ll be hurrying. Got a film festival. Let the boy from Ghosh’s Kitchen come up, Albert, please.” In the elevator, she banged her head softly against the polished aluminum wall. Madonna wasn’t necessary. The name was a hoot at work. But even though the woman was handsome and lived on a coast, it was a bit much to let the doorman assume the glove buyer from Charleston was the Madonna. As if that didn’t impress Albert enough she had to add the Indian takeout which she herself could have
for the prepaid series membership) Rory passed the cramped last minute ticket queue. No one she knew or would like to know. Leather skirt with skin-tight, ankle-high, hooker-style, stiletto-heel pumps, law firm pin stripes, cuffless, pleatless trousers of a cheap fabric that made her wince. She brightened at the ticket-holders’ area. Here was expectation, movement, laughter; perhaps someone in the magnifying glass of interest. And wonderful, of course, to see the animals. Just now, adjusting his rep tie, a long-toothed square-faced man under spiky gray hair like a wolf with horns, stood silently deep eyes toward with his wife, long neck, jittery head, small beaked nose, pursed lips and what looked like whiskers—a cat-chicken. There was a bulldog-fish: a small matron with cakey-flaky makeup on a pushedin face. Emma would love this. A spot in the crowd morphed into the assistant music director of the city opera, Adrian, a needle-man with a tangle of hair in which every misplaced strand appeared chosen to look that way. He walked slowly and purposefully to the entrance. Weaving through a crunch of people, she sidled up to him. “This will be a terrific movie. Herzog loves him.” “Yes,” he said. Soft eyes appraised her then looked away. “We met at the Ashberry party. I loved your comment about music
and beef.” (She had seen him, joined a group around a sofa, laughed at his jokes, had not spoken and had not been introduced.) “Mmm,” he said, turning, “How are you?” then immediately back to a tall blonde woman in dreadlocks, a lion in need of a perm. Oh, to be dishing right now with Bertrand. Bastard! Inside, Rory shuffled down the aisle, smiling at familiar faces from other film events. Before the lights dimmed, she peered around from her seat to see if she knew anyone. Bobby once recognized her in a throng of 200 by the back of her head. Said she was the only woman
“Leather skirt with skin-
tight, ankle-high, hookerstyle, stiletto-heel pumps, law
cuffless, pleatless trousers of a cheap fabric that
made her wince.
in New York who had that honey Dutch Boy cut. She was due for an appointment. There was no better colorist. Or more expensive. The movie was dark, set in a small village, the characters, two teenagers, hiding,
herself in Emma’s high raspy voice pronounce it Pawis. “Where is that?” “New Jersey.” Rory laughed. By now it was like talking to someone else, someone naive who spoke from the heart. Her own spontaneous answers for Emma always surprised her—like free association filtered through fabric. Funny. ~ Emma had been with her several years. On the Spring day Rory first saw her the Dacron animal, a gift from a Minnea polis manufacturer’s rep, wore tiny felt mittens to promote a hoped-for fad. A ten-inch tan-colored creature sitting limbs akimbo, it had a face with a rounded prominence above two large rabbit or gopher teeth and looked to be smiling. The buried fake opal eyes were lower than the level of the fur. Seen from certain angles they seemed to close and have a blissful look. Small ears, stub tail, what was she? A hedgehog? A woodchuck? Maybe. Surely not a beaver. They have long tails don’t they? She took the creature home. Early on she had left the thing— her—on the bed, and one night hugged it before falling off to sleep. The next day she pondered why. Later, a booth at
Stuart Freyer | Momma’s Famous Somewhere
with a dog and a pig, from Nazi-like police in hay lofts and attics. It ended with a Deus Ex Machina, quite silly really. During the final credits, she sat listening to the chic people beside her, smiling at their jokes and once added a non sequitur as if she were with them. Anyone several rows away might think she was. Home, one taxi later, she moved several swatches of chino and fell on the couch, a cushiony affair in striking red with white piping. Twenty dollars for cabs in one day. Should she take one tomorrow then change to the subway after a few blocks? What else could be done to avoid that tenement on Columbus? Bag lunches? Starvation? “How was it Momma?” Emma called. “Fine,” she said. “Any kids there?” “No, but lots of animals.” Rory spoke breezily as she came into the bedroom dropping bracelets. Emma was on the Amish quilt, stub paws sticking out of a consignment shop doll’s pinafore. Her furry hind legs, slightly spread, shot the red plastic boots out at an angle. At her side, dry orange peels scattered on a small plate, yesterday’s mail crowned by an American Express statement with an outrageous balance, mostly interest. The nerve they had. “I had to skip dinner. But I got home for you. What did you do today?” “I flew to Paris.” She heard
the Coliseum Fabric Show with a mock of an Indian design jacket in miniature size stopped her short. She begged the agent, a friend from Parson’s, to save it for her. Emma’s first voice, that of a toddler, was full of excitement and thanks. “I wuv it Momma!” ~ There were things she didn’t share with Emma: this grinding lack of funds, or thinking about men like some of the lovely stags she saw at the movie. If only—but, no. Men who liked her tended to be Daddy Bears or walruses: married, dumpy, or both. If they took you out, married or not, they wanted grabs right away. Too much history of one night bumps with bar animals, accountants, or chiropractors in town for a course on lumbar adjustment or cash flow management who, after three or four scotches, didn’t mind doing a pretty faced woman with a mild limp and a bowed back. An occasional artist or poet, but not many. Seldom had she had a tender experience. Sometimes she imagined a friend—Henry or Roy—falling for her, proposing living arrangements where they could not only party as a couple, but share a cleaning woman, vacation together, be devoted. No sex of course. Given life’s choices, would that be so bad? Richard Chamberlain to dote on her? A curator of a chic gallery? And being childless was an old story; she was
forty, like the woman in the—was it Lichtenstein?—Oh my God I Forgot to Have Children! Not that she didn’t approve of children. Her nieces adored her. She could have been a good mother, better than her sister who sent them to sport camps, tennis lessons, and then sweated herself through endless Pilates classes. Sometimes Rory could see her own wonderful household upstate near Hudson or Chatham, she an active board member of the drama society. He would be a pediatrician, like that weedy pebble-face in her Renaissance art class so many years ago, the one she went to museums with who never got up the courage to kiss her. How strange had that been for him as well? Parading in beautiful great rooms with a gnome like herself looking up at those handsomely dressed twelve-foot Titian courtiers and Velasquez princesses. Here was an intelligent admirer, if a bit slack in his taste in suits, who obviously cared for her. Her feelings had been so mixed. Being seen with someone she didn’t want to be seen with. It was like wearing a superbly comfortable jacket that looked cheap. So he would have a position in the city, this husband, perhaps owning one of the rag companies she had to grovel to. And there would be none of this ridiculous worry about money, this feeling of being on the edge of a cliff. She’d make sure the Salvadoran maid was a good cook.
Where did it go wrong? She felt like a ball thrown high in the sky, an eccentric ball to be sure, realizing it was headed back to earth. It was her fate to make the descent seem slow or as much as possible like a traverse: she learned to play a part, to calculate, to use others, her strong suits being intellect, flair, acting as mother confessor. More and more she was defined by her bustling activity. The physique then could be dropped back as if held behind, showing only the demo, the touched-up copy of the real. ~ What was your Momma like? She was—lovely. ~ Was it her parents’ fault? The swarming energy that was her sweet Daddy and that harbored her mother, a shadow figure, remembered only cooking alongside the maid, on the way to shopping or visiting a sick friend. Mother had never been mentally present, hiding behind her daily tasks. After Daddy was gone, she was unable to continue upright. It became apparent he had, in efect, been her mother’s brain. As for Rory, the trust money dried up, and she realized how much she had depended on him, how he had subsidized her world of parties, plays, design and fluff. ~
Stuart Freyer | Momma’s Famous Somewhere
What would he look like? Not tall and graceful, of course. More likely short, a paunch, and a comb-over. But she would supervise the house, talk to the roof gardener, go to openings at will. A wood paneled apartment on Central Park West peppered with small paintings by Rivers and Katz, new works from sweet galleries in TriBeca. And the children. Girls. Their closets filled with Karan dresses. Sometimes she pictured Emma with those other children, the two girls. Emma in school, Emma in a play. Emma at the museum. They were all of them in an immense ballroom with French windows, the girls, Emma, the husband, wearing delicate pastel pajamas, salmon silk strings tied softly, loosely to their necks, parading round her like spokes of a giant floating wheel. ~ Today I saw Al Pacino in the street. He’s almost as small as we are. Looked like a horse rat. Who is he Momma? He’s a famous actor. Are you famous Momma? Not too famous, no. Are you famous somewhere? Maybe somewhere. Yeah, Momma, maybe in the sky.” Momma how pretty am I? You’re gorgeous! When I’m big, will I be sad like you are sometimes? Will you buy me bracelets to make me happy? ~
I need a boyfriend. Where did you hear that? TV. Someday you might have one. Will my boyfriend come to the apartment? Maybe or somewhere. But men-boys-- are not always so great you know. What’s great? Oh, I know—ART! ~ Her face belied the rest of her. It was still elegant. The nose job done at fifteen had turned out perfectly, a chiseled almost Grecian look at the ever-so-slightly-turned-up tip, was seen on models again and again with satisfaction. She had dark eyes, arched brows, strong cheekbones, a delicate chin, and good teeth. Only below the neck did things degenerate. She felt more comfortable sitting at dinner, at plays hidden by a coat than she did standing at parties, her bent back exposed. Otherwise, she was a match for anyone. A blade-smart gargoyle who could discuss fashion, Barnet Newman, Scorsese, or Schoenberg with anybody any time. But, in a Chicago hotel room, a lover revealed he had slept with an amputee. She so sympathized with the image of appearing normal on top and damaged below that, for one of the few times in her life, she felt strangely whole and completely beautiful. After years of running expectantly to meetings with new men and being disappointed by their
insensitivity, their inability to see the gem inside the geode, her defenses had grown to this: a woman on display, splendid in her dress and conversation looking out from a Maginot line of ornaments, pendants, mufflers, waving flags of passionate scarlet and defiant green. ~ Momma, how did I get here? You came from a family of shorttailed beavers deep in the woods far-far-away who wanted their baby to live in the city. You were so beautiful and I loved you so much I became your mother. ~ As a girl she’d had dolls, of course, but this was different. With Rory at work or at parties, Emma lived in the back of her mind, like a child or a lover. And who knew about her? Emma was silent when company came by, and almost no one ventured into the bedroom these past few years. Rory had to admit to herself she was embarrassed to have Emma in the living room as she had been when Bertrand came over. “What is this little beastie?” he had asked, jumping back in pretend horror. “Your sweetheart?” “No. A gift from a sales rep. Cute isn’t it?” He drank his sherry and prattled on about the new bow ties at Zegna. “I think I’ll do Prague this spring,” he said. “I’d hide in your baggage if I weren’t so busy.”
something doesn’t break she’d definitely have to relocate to that West End slum. There was nothing to do about it. Go to a gallery. That would give her a lift. ~ “We’re going on a trip today.” At the Daniel Chester French show this morning, in the empty marble quiet room, Rory peeked
“Her defenses had grown to this: a woman on display, splendid in her dress and conversation looking out
from a Maginot line of ornaments, pendants, mufflers,
Stuart Freyer | Momma’s Famous Somewhere
Or so poor. When the door had closed behind him she heard Emma. “Why didn’t you tell your friend the true story about the woods farfar-away?” Her face was hot. “He doesn’t understand—magical things.” After that Emma stayed “asleep” in the bedroom when people visited.
waving flags of passionate scarlet and defiant green. ~ Why am I not like other kids? You’re special. When will I go to school? You are very smart already. What will I do when I grow up? Can I be a teacher? When will I get big? It’s not important to get big. Can I go out again? ~ Philadelphia called. This was too much. The price of booths at the upcoming show had trebled, she would have to inform her brokers and manufacturers, they would piss and fume, maybe balk, cancel, make it even harder for her to stay in the stream. How would it all end? If
Emma’s head out of her bag, gently shushing her queries. Her back screened Emma from the side door where a guard might peer around at any moment. “What a cute rabbit!” The guard was at her side. “She’s not a rabbit,” Rory snapped at him, shocking herself, and swept out of the room, red-faced, her mind a storm. ~ “I’m going out with friends honey,” she cooed as she dressed. “What are friends Momma?” “They are people you do things with.” “Do friends like you Momma?”
She hesitated a moment, looking at the floor. “Sometime they do, sometimes they just like to do things with you.” “I like you Momma and I like to be with you.” “Yes, you’re my best….” The word grew spines in her neck as she waved goodbye. ~ “Oh Rory, you can’t go home alone. We’ll take you,” Joseph said, as they finished the last of the Muscadet. Joseph was ebony Jamaican, small, thin legged, all tight energy. Everything was ironed and creased so sharply that he had very clear edges. Rich, a psychologist, was a soft rumpled big bird with accepting eyes. “Yes, we have to celebrate a little more. This will be my millionth New York taxi tonight I’m almost sure,” Joseph said. “Last week a cabby told me I was his ten thousandth ride. Wouldn’t charge,’’ Rich said. “How sweet,” Rory said. If only that would happen to her. “Wait, that’s not the end of the saga. I put my hand around to my pocket to fetch a large tip and came on something soft and silky. You know how you leave things in cabs? I thought it was one of the numberless lost. Instead I found a fiftydollar bill wrapped in a black bustier. Of course, I gave him the money.” “Of course, you sensitive thing— and kept the bustier,” Rory said. Joseph rocked back, hands
together to his chin. “Cab stories, cab stories, everyone must have one.” Everyone did and the line came closer to her. Cabs, of all things. Were they bringing it up on purpose? Was there something they knew? Joseph pumped on about boarding a taxi while avidly reading a Harper’s, and, finding himself alone, having left Rich at the hack stand. Rory had heard it before. She barely listened, feeling her chest heave, her hair harden. She had too many taxi stories. She had almost left a second bag behind once—a bag that Emma was in—coming home from a walk in Central Park. Emma liked to look at the squirrels and ask if they were her brothers. She remembered the bag after she was outside of the car, but before she had closed the door. Momma you almost left me. She felt sick inside all that day. She couldn’t tell the boys. She touched the worn fabric at the edge of the barrier in front of her, the ancient unused ashtray to her side that wouldn’t close. A bus stood between the cab and the curb barring her view of the shops. An ad on its side showed a sunset like a monstrous eye peering in the halfopened window. The cabby turned to recheck on her address. A red felt kepi decorated with tiny imitation pearls and gold rope swirling around little mirrors, rode on his shaven head. She had seen them in Cappadocia that last vacation with
They would call later. Rory twirled and danced, blowing kisses to the bedroom. “Emma, your mom is great,” she yelled, settling on a stool in the kitchenette. “I know.” ~ On the roof of her building, there were three or four welloiled women on flat mats and beach chairs. The one wearing a silverized chin reflector was a large hairless dog—a Chihuahua triceratops. One was in her twenties, the others older, all of them in bikinis. The closest looked obscene. Her wrinkled upper arms and thighs lay alongside the mat: a Macys’ Barbie balloon torso decompressing after the Thanksgiving parade. The women did not look up as Rory, in a white collared summer dress, orange plastic sandals, and carved wooden wristlets that clacked, walked across the roof, a large black Coach purse swinging under her shoulder. The sun was at its apex, any shadows small and proximal. She had come up for air; She had come up to give Emma an adventure. Emma peeked out of the bag. Facing outward now toward Madison Avenue, Rory held her, arm and wrist on the furry back swaying her gently. Emma was quiet. “Say hello,” she said to Emma,
Stuart Freyer | Momma’s Famous Somewhere
Daddy, had wondered about bringing back a few thousand to try to flip them to Bloomingdales. Something familiar about him. She had seen that head before, that bulbous tip of a nose. She had stiffed him for a tip a month ago on the way to the MOMA exhibit. She let Joseph give the directions and shifted her head out of the Pakistani’s line of sight through the rearview mirror. Was he listening to the stories or his earphones? Now he was taking them off. “What type was the bustier? Parisian?” Three blocks to her house. “Yes I think. A real push-up.” Did it fit? What size was it? She spewed questions. Joseph laughed. But there was a hint of the quizzical in his look. “Why are you so interested dear?” “I want to carry the picture of you in a black bustier to the grave,” she grinned and winked. Two more blocks. The traffic looked decent. If she could only pull her head within her turtleneck shirt. One block. “Ciao boys. My story next time.” She escaped into the night. ~ An E-mail from Rome. Cortone liked her idea of exploiting the glut in mad cow leather and the rough outside design with denim cuffs and could she line up American manufacturers? When could she come?
smiling. Emma said hello to the women, who looked up in surprise. She continued toward the wall overlooking the East. Her nose even with the barrier, Rory could see only skyscrapers and blue. There would be Roosevelt Island vague in the distance, Madison Avenue below. A steel blue haze hung over the midtown area. But above it the azure was pushing down. She helped Emma out and placed her on the ledge so that she could see the sky, her gray body only subtle shades darker than the cement under her bottom. She stood behind Emma, her hand on the closely clipped shoulder and pointed out the sights. There was a sound behind her. “Is that a squirrel?” Rory whirled around to see the interruption as the wind lifted and sang on the roof. It was one of the young women, probably seventeen, a gold nose-ring and a small tattoo of a beetle on her left cheek. Rory’s face was burning, her neck tight. “No, she’s my daughter Emma. Emma say hello.” “I don’t like her, she’s weird,” Emma’s voice said, her back to them, legs tilting her slightly. The woman looked at her and at Emma again. Her face took on a lopsided smile, her eyes blank. “OK, whatever.” Rory watched the girl retreat to her clique, hunch her shoulders and hold her arms out, palms up.
The sky above Rory was occupied now only by the sun and a cloud puff that was moving and changing shape from ball-like to egg-like with white laces at the top, a rabbit with its small ears drawn in, then a sitting rabbit. The breeze blew her collar against her chin. She turned to Emma. She was off, Emma was off, down on the flat parapet under the gust, then rolling just ahead of Rory’s hands too fast for them to stop her. And she was over the concrete lip. The women must have seen her go over the top, must have seen her scramble, stick legs spreading and pushing the little body up. They must have seen the white dress billow in the sudden current or heard the jangle of the bracelets on stone and known when she was there and when she was gone. Rory into the air, into the whistling sound of flutes the rapid changes of squares and rectangles falling blue tumbling with steely lead. Maybe she heard one of the women scream “No lady, No.” The movement freshened her face and the fall seemed to caress her. She watched the upward flow of colors and blurred shapes in a kind of awe. Emma was ahead of her: she could see her tumbling in the wind her little eyes shining. “Momma’s coming,” Rory cried into the pressing air.
Filleting a Lingcod Evan Bauer
Fish keep their eyes open after death; there’s a certain intimacy in this prolonged eye-contact, a reminder of the sacrilege of missing any turquoise gemstone flesh as I slice the leopard-print skin along his curved spine. At once they appear so menacing, rising from the deep green murk maw-first, jaw unhinged and flared like a viper, then flailing in the net’s threaded embrace. But now he lies still on the cutting board, lips pressed in smooth silence broken only by a scar where the gleaming treble hook buried itself. My left hand is gloved, but without need; his frill of dorsal spines has collapsed in submission like a felled tree line. There’s something very human about killing— a sacredness in the ceremony of dexterous fingers dancing the blade along ribbed skeleton, stripping his volition in two long fillets, breaded and pan-fried in sizzling coconut oil.
Last Cast, I Promise C.F. Sanchez
Look here my finger sliced to the bone. see the red drops coating the carrot bits before they are slurped up by the grain of the butcher block. I hold it up to the light to watch the blood trace my lifeline pooling for a moment in the little pocket of palm before trickling down the tender wrist and then more slowly following the length of forearm before beginning to collect in the crook of my elbow. I feel the flesh throb on either side of the clean, straight cut and I am glad to be alive and in this kitchen holding this good knife that has opened this doorway however small.
Tell Me About the Afterwards Jamie Anastas
when the wine glasses are all soaped up in your sink and you are wiping the grease from your fingers with one of those extra-strength paper towels which feels somehow wonderful because you have been drinking and when you have been drinking things feel less precisely like themselves which is lovely and new and probably why so many people like kissing when they have been drinking and why it can be nice to walk back to your apartment in the snow because the way the cold catches at the skin of your neck when your scarf momentarily releases you from its embrace
Belvedere Road Joshua Osto
I was on a three day stop-over in London, Tuesday through Thursday, so I gave Cassie a call. We’d been having a small sort of affair for about eighteen months, when we were both in town at least. Her fiancé was in Brussels and she spent school vacation and half her weekends there. She was what the English call “old money” and taught textiles at Goldsmiths. I called her up. “Hello Robert,” she said, slow and husky, recognising my voice. “I’d love to see you. I’ve got tickets to this gallery opening that I absolutely have to go to, but we could go to that and then find somewhere a bit more private. You can stay at my place if you like.”
“One man was plucking
tunelessly at a guitar with two missing strings; it looked like he had twice as
many strings left as teeth.
We were to meet outside the Hayward Gallery at eight. As I walked across the bridge from Charing Cross to the south bank I weaved between the ragged pub-
lic, the tourists, and the perennial buskers. One man was plucking tunelessly at a guitar with two missing strings; it looked like he had twice as many strings left as teeth. At the far end of the bridge, where the stairs and the lift took you down to the riverside walkway, there was a punk with an orange Mohican. He was gripping the tattooed arm of a woman who was trying to pull away from him, his fingers pressed deep into the flesh of her bicep. “Did you fucking give it to him or not?” he was shouting at her, his face less than an inch from hers. You see this kind of thing in London, everywhere, but she seemed genuinely afraid of him. “Get off me,” she kept repeating. “Get off me, get off me.” I stopped. I was thinking about intervening. They both saw me standing there, and that there were others around, assessing the situation, deciding what to do. The punk reluctantly let go of the woman’s arm and she took a step back from him. She looked at the faces around her (mine, a bearded man with a stack of Big Issues to sell, and a young, harassed-looking man in a suit), and told us all to fuck off. “Mind your own business,” she told us. “I’m alright.”
We looked at each other. The man in the suit seemed relieved and the man with the Big Issues shrugged. I carried on down the stairs, along to the Hayward where Cassie was already waiting for me. The exhibition was a study of the human body in sculpture. I studied her. She’d turned twenty-seven a few weeks earlier. She must have spent hours in front of the mirror applying make-up that gave her the appearance of unmade, effortless beauty, with pale skin and lips. There was an Alice band holding back her streams of black hair, and all her clothes were white. She looked pure and untouched, but her brown eyes had a spark in them that suggested she knew where the treasure was buried and wasn’t going to give it up easily. We kissed awkwardly on both cheeks and then, laughing, we kissed on the lips. She held my forearms down by my side and took a step back, as if to see me properly. It gave me a chance to look at her again. “It’s good to see you,” I said, and meant it. “You too,” she said. “Shall we get this done with?” She took me by the hand and led me into the Hayward, across the foyer, to where a man in a black T-shirt was ticking off guests on a list. “Cassandra Mellon and guest,” Cassie said. The man ran a red biro down the list until he found
her name. He didn’t say anything, just gestured with his head to go in and looked past us into the middle distance. Inside was the main gallery, a large open space on two levels, a ramp leading up from the lower space to a raised platform. The first exhibit was an African man, made out of burnt wood, laid out on the floor in dismembered pieces. “Should I like this?” I asked. Cassie wrapped both her arms around one of mine and held on loosely. “Do you like it?” she asked. “I like the way it looks,” I said. “Does it mean something?” “That’s enough,” she said. “How it looks.” She was still wrapped around my arm and, where our bodies touched, I could feel the soft swell of her breast. It made me think of when we’d first met, on the beach at her parent’s house. Her father had flown me out to sit in on some meetings about licensing some of his TV show formats to China. He was doing all the meetings by teleconference, so I never worked out why he’d paid for my flights, but it was only a few days and good money, while I got to spend most of the time on the beach. That was where I met Cassie, topless bathing with her school friend, a blonde whose name and face I’ve forgotten. Cassie and I got talking. She was an artist, she said, and
“And they believe this?” I asked. “I don’t know,” she admitted. “But they buy the paintings.” I laughed, and then we sat watching each other for a few moments. “I’m forty-one,” I said. “I don’t think it’s so crazy, do you?” she said. “No.” “I’m engaged,” she said. “He’s in Brussels.” I shrugged. “I’m married,” I said. “My wife’s probably in Zurich.” “She’s Swiss?” I nodded. “The Swiss are so beautiful,” she said. “They always take such great care with appearances.” I smiled, and we both knew what we needed to know; that we were both safe people to do wrong things with. We saw each other every couple of months, when we could. Sometimes we just had dinner. This was part of proving that it didn’t matter too much to either of us. If it started to matter to one of us, the other would kill it dead, which was the unspoken deal. Sometimes we would meet at a gallery where Cassie knew someone exhibiting, like the evening we met at the Hayward. “Do you know the artist?” I asked her. We’d moved to another exhibit, this time a
Joshua Osto | Belvedere Road
I asked about her work. She said something about formalism. She said something about art being the medium for revolution. She said something about sculpture being visceral, sensual, opening up physical experiences that other mediums couldn’t. I remember agreeing a lot. She asked me if I ever came to London and I said yes. The next time I was in town we met for coffee in a small café on the Fulham road. One of her friends owned a gallery nearby and she worked there sometimes. She told me that they mainly sold to Arabs and Russians, and that there was pretty much a script they used. Firstly, all of the buyers would be men so they would always describe the art in terms of its effect on women, on them specifically, whether it made their heart flutter when they saw it or if it distracted them when they were in the room with it. The next thing would be to explain that you could tell that the piece was expensive just by looking, even if you didn’t know anything about art. This second line was critical and the timing was very important, Cassie explained. The last part of the script was to talk in hypotheticals about the type of man who would own a painting like the one on sale. Some men, for example, might be intimidated by the power of the image, but a strong man would be able to stand with the art and appreciate it properly.
black Madonna, made out of some indeterminate material, standing about a metre and a half in front of a large backdrop of blue and white leaves. “No,” she said. “I know the curator of the exhibition. We’ll have to spend some time with him, I guess.” “I meant whether you know her work,” I said, though that wasn’t what I’d meant. “Yes,” she said, smiling. “It’s all like this.” “You’re on your own this week?” I asked, and she nodded. The exhibition continued upstairs. There was some more art out on the terraces. Out on the first terrace there were three tall white sculptures, not really resembling anything like the human form, splashed with paint. There was another couple looking at them. Cassie knew the couple. “Where did you get the champagne?” she asked them. “There’s a little Chinese man walking around with them,” the man said. He was tall and athleticlooking, with his school tie nestling neatly at his throat. The pristine woman beside him was also tall, my height in her heels. “This is Robert,” Cassie said, introducing me. “He’s a friend of the family. Aren’t you, Uncle Robert?” We all kissed or shook hands. The man’s name was James and the woman with him was Stephanie.
“I went to school with James’ sister,” Cassie explained. “Old friends.” This could’ve meant anything, so I didn’t pursue it. “What do you think of all of this?” James asked, waving his drink at the exhibition. You could tell from his expression that he didn’t think much of it himself. “I’m not sure about the blue foam,” I said. On the raised section of the downstairs gallery there were four mannequins, each numbered, one to four, with increasing amounts of blue foam pouring off them. They were in a glass case and on the case were four photographs, also numbered. Each photograph showed a body after violent death, either by explosion or gun shot. They were in varying states of decomposition. The plaque on the wall said that the photographs were taken in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other, similar places. “Yeah,” James said, obliquely. “The blue foam.” “See you downstairs?” Stephanie asked us, showing James her empty glass. I think it was the only thing that I ever heard her say. The two of them went inside and, instead of looking at the sculptures, Cassie and I walked over to the terrace walls to look at the view. The palace of Westminster was visible through the elliptical shape of the London Eye. The sun was going down and the sky
belly, one, two, three times, and then on until the Mohican man fell down at his feet. The woman had stopped screaming. She was backing away, trying to work out whether to run. There was a pool of blood spilling out around the fallen man, who was still blindly waving his hands in the air, expecting more attacks. The other man turned and looked at the woman. He held up his knife hand to her, wet and red, not so much as a threat and more as an accusation. She stared at it. The Mohican man was saying something, and holding his arm out, otherwise the three of them were completely still. I couldn’t look away. I felt Cassie take my hand. The man with the knife broke the tableau, running east down Belvedere road, quickly disappearing beyond the gallery wall. The woman watched him for a long time, longer than we could, then crawled forward to the Mohican man. She took his upheld hand in hers. He was seriously injured. I was certain he was going to die. “I didn’t realise there were still punks,” Cassie said. “I suppose he could be the last one.” I looked down at her. She smiled up at me. I realised that she was telling a joke. She laughed to herself, then
Joshua Osto | Belvedere Road
had that same spark of promise that I’d seen in Cassie’s eyes. We stood apart, wary in case James or Stephanie came past and saw us, on platonic terms until we could get away from the gallery. Cassie turned to me as if to say something, but then we heard a yell from the street below, at the back of the gallery. We walked quickly to the back wall and peered over into Belvedere Road. It was difficult because the inside of the terrace walls sloped but, by lying at an angle against them, we had a good view of what was happening in the street below. The yell was a scream. “Help. Somebody help.” It was a woman, standing a couple of meters away from where two men were interlocked. Her hands were up by her face. She was probably in her early thirties. She wore leggings and a long, sleeveless T shirt. She had tattoos down both arms. She looked familiar. One of the men had a Mohican, died orange. It was crumpled now, and he seemed to be trying to fight off the other man, who was wearing a green basketball vest. The Boston Celtics. He had a cap on, but the cap looked like it could be a Yankies cap. He had a knife in his right hand and he was looking for an opening while the man with the Mohican dodged frantically backwards. Eventually he did find an opening, pushing aside the other man’s flailing arms and thrusting the knife into his side and
looked back down into the street. She was still holding my hand. She squeezed it, and I felt the urge to pull my own hand away. On the street the woman was gripping the Mohican man’s hand. She had started screaming for someone to help her again. Another woman had appeared, holding a mobile phone. She stopped short of approaching, staying on the other side of the bus shelter, about ten metres away.
“Everything felt incredibly
alive to me, especially the dying man. For me he was still alive even after that, just choosing to withhold his presence for some reason, like an actor who’d
walked off stage.
“I’m phoning an ambulance,” she called to the tattooed woman. She dialled numbers into her mobile, pushing her hair back off her face. She was overweight, dressed for the office. You could see large dark patches under her armpits, staining her pink blouse a deeper, wine colour. “Shit,” Cassie said, squeezing my hand again. “This is amazing.”
We watched the punk die, though it was difficult to tell exactly when it happened. It was about the time that we heard the sirens, either just before or just after, and the tattooed woman started wailing and squirming so that a young man with a beard, who had been riding past on his bicycle moments before, was forced to hold her. Everything felt incredibly alive to me, especially the dying man. For me he was still alive even after that, just choosing to withhold his presence for some reason, like an actor who’d walked off stage. I remember small details, like the way the blood spilled over the curb and that it stained the left knee of the tattooed woman’s leggings. I remember that woman in the pink blouse sitting down on the narrow bus shelter seats, fanning herself with a copy of the Evening Standard and trying unsuccessfully to look away from dying man. I remember the two boys on BMX bikes wheeling past, stopping on the other side of the road and taking pictures on their mobiles. One of them had a Boston Celtics basketball vest on. “You think they have mixed race gangs now?” Cassie asked. “The other man had a green vest like that, didn’t he?” I shrugged. I didn’t need to ask who “they” were; “they” were just everyone outside. I could have been shocked, by myself or by her, but at the time none of it felt real.
curator. He was Belgian, I think, or French. He wore corduroy. He kept telling us why he liked each work, careful never to make any qualitative comparisons. I didn’t want to let go of Cassie at all. We took a taxi back to her place in Kensington. It was a short ride and I kept my fingers on her wrist to feel her pulse, which was as quick as my own. We didn’t need to speak at all, didn’t dare to. We knew that we could lose everything immediately with one false move, not wanting to examine anything too closely, least of all ourselves, just trying to keep up with our heart beats for as long as we could. We went to bed something more than friends and in the morning we were less than that. We always thought that we’d break up when one of us cared too much, but we’d both seen the outer edges of the passion that we were capable of and it wasn’t even close. I left her in the morning pretending to sleep. I didn’t leave a note and she didn’t call me. That was the end of it.
Joshua Osto | Belvedere Road
The police arrived before the ambulance and Cassie stepped quickly back from the edge of the terrace. “It’s not our business,” she said, tugging me gently away from the wall. “We saw what happened,” I said. “So did everyone else,” Cassie said, and then continued talking as if the matter had been resolved. “You think the Chinese man still has some champagne?” She asked, a little breathlessly. “I need something to calm down.” She had already moved the story into the past tense. It had happened and now it was over, even while the sirens were still screeching below. I realised then, as soon as she said it, that it was over for me as well. I didn’t care about the woman with the tattoos, the man with the Mohican, or the man with the knife. I was only in London two months of the year; I thought about rescheduled flights, court appearances, missed meetings, and followed Cassie inside. Something was still unresolved between us, though. I felt the end coming. I’d seen who she was; who we were. She’d forced me to see myself clearly and affairs never last beyond that. The time would be after we had left the gallery, or maybe later, maybe in the morning. Soon. We found the champagne and a buffet at the end of the exhibition. James and Stephanie had already gone, but Cassie had to spend some time talking to the exhibition’s
“People forget years and remember moments.” -Ann Beattie, “Snow” Of everything, I remember the last time I visited you at the toy store. It was a Friday, early February, the day it really started to snow in earnest; and since I wasn’t working Fridays then, I came downtown to keep you company. The city had already fled: traffic out of town at a standstill, high beams on, wipers going; Main Street as empty as a stage. The afternoon sprawled before us. One o’clock, two o’clock, three o’clock: customer-less hour after customer-less hour crept by, so we drifted through aisles of bouncy balls and jigsaw puzzles and deluxe backgammon sets, board games with names like Gassy Gus and Gooey Louie. Y ou actually sell this shit? I said incredulously, game in hand, and you laughed and said, what’s more, people actually buy it.
against the door, and it wasn’t until I stepped outside to feed the meter that I realized that every other store in sight had closed down and slipped away to the warmth of furnaces and fireplaces. I went back inside and said, look at this, and we stepped out as an ambulance slid by at ten miles an hour, lights flashing a silent symphony of reds and blues against the white canvas of the city. It rounded a corner and vanished; the snow twisted in the wind like someone shaking out a sheet and covered the tracks with ease. And because it felt like nothing was quite real that day, you locked the store and we wandered off into the padded afternoon. Street after street: bars, thrift stores, movie theaters, all boarded up, desolate. There was a kind of freedom in it. Snow nestled in your hair; silence nestled in every alley. There in the empty streets, I felt closer to you than I had in a long time.
you remember it differently. Maybe you
remember only the cold, how the city had seemed—for
weeks—to be electrified.
Meanwhile, the snow outside came down in curtains. It stacked on top of cars, buried curbs, drifted
Maybe you remember it differently. Maybe you remember only the cold, how the city had seemed—
ing at one in the morning, our bodies in slow motion; washing you in the shower, water in streams down your back, my fingers drawing lines from freckle to freckle; wandering the empty, muffled streets of our city, snow whipping around, you burrowed into my arm for warmth. Look back. But maybe you don’t remember that day at all. Maybe all you remember is a day when it started to snow and didn’t stop for a week. Maybe everything else about that day has gone, melted away, and all that remains when you close your eyes is a world swallowed in snow, lost beneath a billowing, unending blanket of white.
Will Preston | Drift
for weeks—to be electrified: doorknobs, handrails, water fountains, all treacherous. Maybe the tips of your ears had already begun to sting, or your coat had a hole or had been forgotten behind in the store. Maybe the whole time you were searching for another face, a set of footprints in the snow, a cough or a car horn, because there was something eerie about the lack of sound: a city on mute, where even the ambulances didn’t turn on their sirens. Maybe there was a weight. Maybe, when you recall that aimless afternoon spent among piles of action figures and stuffed animals, you remember not ducking behind towering displays of yo-yos and shooting toy arrows at each other, but the spaces in our conversation: the cramped, uneasy silence between us. I’m worried we’re going stale , you said to me not long after. Past our expiration date. Maybe we’ve come as far as we can. We’re not the people we used to be. But I barely heard you, because I kept trying to picture us as bread gone hard, or milk gone sour, and instead I just saw seeds struggling up through frost-bitten earth. Look back, I wanted to say. We remember beginnings, not endings. We remember the quiet beauty of the first kiss, not the banality of the last. We forget the dead air, the long drives with nothing to talk about, the arguments about the future, and we hold on to trinkets of memory: blues danc-
Spring, As Directed By Alfred Hitchcock Elizabeth Vignali
Someone is whistling in the dark alleys left over from winter. The soggy ditch where green hasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t reached yet, or the thicket growing over the gutter. A chickadee, maybe, eyes buried in the shadow of his black fedora, his seesaw whistle lonely like a rusty swing penduluming on an empty playground. The sun shines, forsythia crawls open along its yellow branch, robins press their flushed breasts to the dirt and listen for breakfast. They would have us believe everything is okay. But the worms are furtive. The red-winged blackbirdâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s shoulders flash like red herrings. The crows cough into their black sleeves and plan their next move.
Dark Dialogue Thomas Gillaspy
First Child Paulette Guerin
Grainy-black plums—no sonograms—displayed on the fridge: it’s the first we’ve seen of my step-daughter’s daughter. She asks enthusiastically, “Are you ready to be grandparents?” We survey her apartment— trash overflowing, cat unfed, swirls of birth control pills still encased in plastic. Later, my husband and I watch Sanjuro. Why can’t I be the mother who sees good and bad in a pas de deux? Or my husband Sanjuro—self-assured and two steps ahead? His ex buys her a wedding dress. No one thinks it a shame, not even the boy. We watch the film, laugh, try not to think about the child with child. Why can’t my husband be the mother, quick to forgive, pity? I wish I were Sanjuro, always knowing when to pause, when not to fight.
Bone-white crosses still marked Burnt Ridge where some teen went over the edge. The Baptist preachers proclaimed it part of God’s plan. I’d come back for the reunion, only to find things missing: the Snow-Ice stand, out-of-state plates headed for the lake, a boy I’d loved busing tables at Bogie’s. The golf course had yellowed, the ashes of the Racquet Club swept into the cracked slab where we’d danced at prom. Down by the water, On the Fly was locked, the carp the only mouths that greeted me. Though I’d never sneaked to the lake to get wasted, he and I dove off the cliffs one April, naked, then watched a deer swim to Sugarloaf. I spent that summer promising him I would visit. Like Orpheus, when I dared look back I saw only clouds of dust and no chance for mercy.
Things That Disappear Megan Merchant
Someday I will move the dryer from its nest in the corner of the room and find a thousand warm pennies and one lilac sock. I will find hunger lazing at the onset of sleep, that word between us that passed from tongue to tongue, the one we left soaking in the gravel-specked rain. I will find a slipped note from the body of your accordion, a sliver from a wood spoon, the permanent maker and time that never arrived on the invitation, the way my grandmother’s voice folded into my name over the phone, and the child-sized ring she trusted me with that slipped into the ocean. I will find a torn pocket and stitched inside the one yes that smells like blackberries and cold moon, a different life with a boy who liked asking, whose lips tasted bitter, like coffee stains and Styrofoam miles, the hazed firmament that never broke, never felt close to home. I will tuck it behind the basket of bunched pine needles that slipped across our acre—a thousand sharp nods from the wind, kindling that’s always dry enough to catch.
Jamie Anastas lives in Brookline, Massachusetts where she works as a molecular biologist studying epigenetics in pediatric brain cancer. When she’s not in the lab mucking around with DNA and enzymes she enjoys reading and writing poetry and spoiling her two tabby cats. Her poems have appeared in or are forthcoming at Kindred and Josephine Quarterly.
Issue 12 | Contributors
Bruce Bagnell received his BA in English from Fairleigh Dickinson University and his MA from John F. Kennedy University. He has worked as a cook, mechanic, and college professor, held various management positions, and was a USAF captain in Vietnam. Now retired, Bruce focuses wholeheartedly on his writing and has been published in Zone 3, Westview, OmniVerse, The Scribbler, The Round, Blue Lake Review, Crack the Spine, The Griffin, Oxford Magazine, The Alembic, Studio One, and several online magazines. He is a member of the Bay Area Poets Coalition and has twice been awarded honorable mention in their Maggi H. Meyer Memorial Poetry Contest. Evan Bauer, originally from Santa Cruz, CA, is currently studying English, Creative Writing, and Japanese as an undergraduate student at UC Berkeley. He also works as an editor for the university’s undergraduate-run literary journal, the Berkeley Fiction Review. Kevin Casey’s work is forthcoming or has appeared recently in Paper Nautilus, Green Hills Literary Lantern, Rust+Moth, San Pedro River Review, and other publications. His chapbook, The wind considers everything, was recently published by Flutter Press, and another from Red Dashboard is due out later this year. For more, visit: www.andwaking.com Paulette Guerin is a recent graduate of the MFA program at the University of Florida. She lives in Arkansas and works as a freelance writer and editor. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Stonecoast Review, The Main Street Rag, Sixfold, Subtropics, Cellpoems,
and Euphony. She also has a chapbook, Polishing Silver. She is currently building a tiny house on seven acres and blogging about the experience at: www.pauletteguerinbane.wordpress.com. Alison Hicks’ work has appeared or is forthcoming in Broad River Review, Crack the Spine, Eclipse, Fifth Wednesday, Gargoyle, Licking River Review, The Ledge, Louisville Review, Muddy River Poetry Review, Permafrost, Sanskrit, Whiskey Island, and other journals. Her books include a full-length collection of poems, Kiss (PS Books, 2011), a chapbook, Falling Dreams (Finishing Line Press, 2006), and a novella, Love: A Story of Images (AWA Press, 2004), a finalist in the 1999 Quarterly West Novella Competition. Awards include the 2011 Philadelphia City Paper Poetry Prize and two Pennsylvania Council on the Arts fellowships. Alison is the founder of Greater Philadelphia Wordshop Studio, which offers community-based writing workshops. Paul Lojeski was born and raised in Lakewood, Ohio and attended Oberlin College. His poetry has appeared both online and in print. He lives in Port Jefferson, New York. Megan Merchant graduated from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas with her MFA in poetry. Her poems and translations have appeared in publications including the Atlanta Review, Kennesaw Review, Margie, International Poetry Review, and The Poetry of Yoga. She was the winner of the Las Vegas Poets Prize, judged by Tony Hoagland, and is the author of two chapbooks: Translucent, Sealed (Dancing Girl Press, 2015) and In the Rooms of a Tiny House (ELJ Publications, October 2016). Her first full-length collection, Gravel Ghosts (Glass Lyre Press), will be making its way into the world summer of 2016. Her ﬁrst children’s book, These Words I’ve Shaped For You, will be also appearing in 2016 through Philomel Books. Her future is bright. She wears shades. Elizabeth Vignali is an optician and writer in Bellingham, Washington. Her poems have appeared in various publications, including Willow Springs, Crab Creek Review, Natural Bridge, Floating Bridge Review, and Menacing Hedge. Her chapbook, Object Permanence, is available from Finishing Line Press.
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.
Issue 12 | Contributors
Stuart Freyer’s stories have appeared in American Fiction Volume 14: The Best Unpublished Stories by New and Emerging Writers, Timber Creek Review, Zahir: A Journal of Speculative Fiction, and Colere, among others, and will be seen in december. He lives in Williamstown, Massachusettes. Joshua Osto is a writer and the Editor of The Red Line. His work can be found in Birkensnake, The Santa Clara Review, Prole, The Canary Press, Writer’s Tribe Review, and Glassfire magazines, as well as performed online by Liar’s League. Before a fifteen year career working in financial institutions, Josh obtained a Masters in English Literary research from Lancaster University. He has spent periods working in Seoul, Beijing, Rio, Boston, and Zurich, but now lives in London, where he at least has a vague idea what’s going on.
Art Thomas Gillaspy is a northern California photographer with an interest in urban minimalism. His photography has been featured in numerous magazines including the literary journals: Compose, DMQ Review and Citron Review. Further information and additional examples of his work are available at: www.thomasgillaspy.com and www.flickr.com/photos/thomasmichaelart/ Janelle Rainer is a poet, painter and teacher living in the Pacific Northwest. Janelle worked as a soda fountain waitress, peach
orchard laborer, and shoe salesman before earning her B.A. in English from Whitworth University, followed by her M.F.A. in Poetry from Pacific University. Janelle’s paintings have been featured in multiple publications, including Up the Staircase Quarterly and Palaver. Janelle’s debut poetry collection, Two Cups of Tomatoes, was released in October 2015. More of her work can be viewed at: www.janellerainerart.com C.F. Sanchez resides in Philadelphia, where he practices his craft of street photography. His work is inspired by the everyday happenings of life in the various neighborhoods of Philly. C.F. Sanchez also works as a freelance photojournalist, and his work has been published in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, and various magazines. When he’s not busy observing the streets of his city, C.F. prefers escaping into nature for a long hike, camping, or some fishing.
Craft Essay Cristina Seymour’s chapbook, Flowers Around Your Soft Throat, is forthcoming from Structo Magazine. Her poetry and craft essays appear in North American Review, Cimarron Review, Wingbeats II (Dos Gatos Press), Wick Poetry Center’s exhibit, Speak Peace—American Voices Respond to Vietnamese Children’s Paintings, and elsewhere. She teaches creative writing at Maryville College in east Tennessee and walks dogs at the local animal shelter. See more at www.christinaseymour.wix.com/christinaseymour
Nonfiction H.R. Green, a writer from South Africa, recently emerged from the depths of southern Illinois and now finds herself immersed in the bright lights of Chicago. While an avid horror fan, she finds real life far more terrifying, and her work ends up somewhere in between. Paul Hostovsky’s latest book of poems is The Bad Guys (FutureCycle 2015). He is the author of seven books of poetry and six poetry chapbooks. His poems have won a Pushcart Prize and two Best of the Net awards. He has been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse
Daily, and the Writerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Almanac. He makes his living in Boston as a sign language interpreter. To read more of his work, visit him at: www.paulhostovsky.com Will Preston was born in Virginia and has since lived in Oregon, England, and the Netherlands. He has written extensively on film, travel, music, and history, and is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia. This is his first publication.
Kevin Casey Paulette Guerin Alison Hicks
Craft Essay Christina Seymour
Paul Lojeski Megan Merchant Elizabeth Vignali Fiction Claire Day Stuart Freyer Joshua Osto
Art Thomas Gillaspy Janelle Rainer C.F. Sanchez