Issuu on Google+

reflection.

volume 54.1 reflection.

volume 54.1


reflection. VOLUME 54. ISSUE 1.


A journal of letters, arts, and sciences published by the students and faculty of Gonzaga University. – reflection. SPRING 1959


Cover Art by Mariah Chavez

Copyright Š2013 Reflection, Gonzaga University All rights reserved. No portion of this magazine may be copied or in any ways reproduced without written consent of the editor and Gonzaga University. Views and opinions in Reflection are those of the individuals and do not necessarily represent the views of Gonzaga University. Reflection staff would like to thank everyone who participated in the literary and visual arts community on campus by submitting to the journal. Joanne Shiosaki and Jeffrey Dodd deserve our praise for facilitating an instructive and positive experience.


reflection. VOLUME 54. ISSUE 1.

EDITOR ASSOCIATE EDITOR

Haley Swanson Katherine Charters

FICTION EDITOR

Amanda Pecora

POETRY EDITOR

Erin Dempsey

ART EDITOR

Mariah Chavez

Editorial Assistants FICTION POETRY ART GRAPHIC DESIGN

Kaiti Kinshella Maria Mills Rachel Clark, Emily Luse Annie Worman

reflection. 2


table of contents. Features Reflection Statement

5

HALEY SWANSON

A Reflection With Claire McQuerry

7

CLAIRE McQUERRY

69

LISA OLSTEIN

Lisa Olstein: Why Poetry?

Poetry and Prose Falling Off

11

BRITTNEY BOLAND

October

12

LUCA BACCI

The Letter

13

BRITTNEY ABAD

Jaundiced

14

CAITLIN LeBRUN

Tea Time

15

AMANDA PECORA

Matthew

17

ERIN DEMPSEY

Home

18

CAITLIN LeBRUN

Untitled

19

WENYU ZHANG

Harbinger

21

MEGAN DEMPSEY

Composition

38

KATHERINE CHARTERS

roses, ten for €3 (or twenty for €5 )

39

TORREY SMITH

The Squire

41

ERIN DEMPSEY

Splintered Skeleton

42

MARIAH CHAVEZ

Locked Out

43

HALEY SWANSON

All Made-Up

45

MEGAN DEMPSEY

Eric

47

JEFF RUTHERFORD

Running

53

MOLLY KERNAN

Darling

54

BRITTNEY ABAD


today, a pocket watch

55

TORREY SMITH

I Dyed, Instead, My Hair

56

MARIAH CHAVEZ

Holy Water

57

LUCA BACCI

forbidden fruit

59

MARIA MILLS

Conversation

61

AMY KRYSTON

parentheses

64

TORREY SMITH

Boy, Men, Bible

65

JEFF RUTHERFORD

Deve Vederlo (You Should See It)

67

CAITLIN LeBRUN

Artwork Shibuka, ba Umumi

22

CORINNE GOULD

Shrug of Whimsy

23

AMANDA FIELD

Homage to Fialetti

24

AMANDA FIELD

The Skier

25

CAMERON STAHL

Tessellated Colors

26

SARAH PRATA

Handplant

27

CAMERON STAHL

Bliss

28

KENNEDY McGAHAN

HIC ET NUNC

29

KAMILLA RZAYEVA

Unknown

30

MOLLY CASEY

Beggar Woman. Rome 2011

31

RACHEL CLARK

The Pink Dragon

32

EMILY LUSE

Round About

33

CLAIRE HART

Going Home

34

KAMILLA RZAYERA

Furniture Sign

35

MARIEL ZUPSIC

Wonderland

36

KATHERINE CHARTERS

In Case It Doesn’t Rain

37

MADELINE LeBRUN reflection. 4


reflection statement. “…Sometimes/ picking things up and putting them/ down is enough.” -Lisa Olstein, “You Can Tell a Tiger by Its Stripes” You picked up Reflection. Maybe you’re an aspiring scientist, doctor, or just a biology major who actually prefers psychology. There could be a few physics geniuses or musically inclined mathematicians. Some of you are growing up to be bilingual entrepreneurs. And, of course, many of you are formal students of writing, literature, and fine arts. Amid all of this diversity, you have at least two things in common. One: you attend Gonzaga University. Two: you picked up this journal. Reflection joined Gonzaga’s community in 1959—55 years ago this spring. That’s 55 years of students picking up poems, short stories, drawings and putting them into the pages of this journal. Art in any medium must initially be picked up. There are textures to certain words, visceral reactions to different paint pigments, certain slants of light in photos, always melody in music. These deserve to be picked up, their subtleties, all of those sharp edges and dulled corners, not only explored but felt. Feel a poem only three lines long; a short story peering into the consciousness of a screenwriter with a weakness for McDonalds; a motorcycle ride through Medan, Indonesia; a sunset in Fiesole, Tuscany; watching a bee’s vain fight against a window pane before a poem chronicling the day of a pocket watch. Sometimes picking up three lines, hamburgers, foreign cities, bee wings and pocket watches is not enough until they are put to the page. So pick Reflection up. Run your fingers down the length of its pages. Maybe you’ll consider putting it back down again. But instead, I hope you’ll introduce yourself to those physics geniuses and bilingual entrepreneurs who also feel the sharp edges and dulled corners of art. How? Open it up. -H.S


Venus. Gail Patterson. SPRING 1966

reflection. 6


A Reflection With Claire McQuerry Poet Claire McQuerry joined the English Department this year after graduating from Gonzaga University in 2005. Before returning to teach at her alma mater, Claire earned both her MFA and Ph.D. Her collection of poetry, Lacemakers, won the 2010 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award. She continues to publish poems in literary journals such as American Literary Review and Western Humanities Review. Before her higher degrees and published works, Claire’s poem, “Lakeside Mass,” appeared in the 2003 Reflection. The journey from “Lakeside Mass” to “Chocolate Decadence” (one of Claire’s current works-in-progress) was one of self-discovery, refining and adhering to her definition of ‘poet.’ From youthful inspiration to specific writing habits, the evolution of the writing process is always changing.

Lakeside Mass (2003) Claire McQuerry Across the lake a pickup trails a thread of dust, curling between two hills that cup the dregs of today’s sunlight like holy water in their golden palms. Here, a slow mass drones on threading among cold tendrils of evening that creep up pant legs and inside shirt collars. The shadows grow bolder, lengthen almost to touch the hem of priest’s robes.


The only warmth in the world: that one golden smudge and the truck. I imagine the driver, a woman, reaching for the dimpled aluminum of her Diet Coke, one hand on the wheel, acrylic nails tapping. And a little girl beside her wondering at the way her eyes and just the tip of her nose reflect in the cool glass of the window. Nothing separates us but this – a cold sky floating on rippled water. Communion. The hills cup driver and passenger in gold light and break a thread that almost never was, the body of Christ dissolving on my tongue.

Untitled. Artist Unknown. WINTER 1964-65

reflection. 8


Chocolate Decadence (2013) Claire McQuerry It delighted me for introducing a new word by the way the word tasted. Grandmother served the cake in thin wedges she’d cap with whipped cream. When I announced I was destined to be a nun someday, mother said, your grandfather would have liked that. After snowfall, the light was clean as showered skin. May it always be so impeccable, I prayed. The rice pudding was white on white on white: Whisk salt with sugar; add scalded milk and steamed rice. I imagined that all life’s snarls might be rinsed clean away by the acid of prayer, that a life might be spared, by separation, all manner of messiness and falling off. Cloister, from the Latin for lock. The bone china came from Grandmother’s special case. After dessert she’d soak the plates in a bath of suds. Some things cloy with their sweetness or richness. I once thought decadence meant better than the everyday, meant dark silk drawn between the fingers, all the body’s senses telescoped to one pleasure. It wasn’t until later that I learned it meant decay, from the Latin for to fall down or away.


I can still remember writing this poem (“Lakeside Mass”) when I was a student here, sitting on a bench on the hill that overlooks Lake Arthur. I was anxious because I had to write a poem for an assignment and wasn’t sure how to begin. I had written a couple of poems before, but afterwards I could never have said how they’d happened. They just seemed to appear on the page if I struggled long enough. I had some vague notion that the process involved staring at the blank page for a long time and thinking really hard and waiting for the muse to send me something. Would inspiration come this time? How long did I have to wait? On that particular day by Lake Arthur, an idea did come after some note taking, and I drafted this poem (which actually appears in a revised form in my published collection). It wasn’t until much later, though, after many similar writing sessions—many of which were not so successful—that I learned how to take control of my writing process more effectively, so that I’m not always at the mercy of the muse. It’s not that I was entirely mistaken back then about how poems happen. Not even brain researchers can explain creativity. When that spark of inspiration happens, it is a little like magic. On the other hand, if I only ever waited around for inspiration to strike before I sat down to write, I wouldn’t produce much, and I couldn’t very well call myself a writer. I was once in a workshop with the poet Carolyn Forché where she said that you can’t call yourself a poet unless you come to the page for at least an hour a day. And I think she’s right. Okay, so maybe an hour every day isn’t possible—maybe it’s a few hours several days a week—but the point is that it has to be a consistent commitment of time and focused attention. That is the only reliable way I know to make poems happen. Of course, even after making that commitment, it’s a struggle. It’s difficult to give up time to write when other things in life often seem more urgent, and when you know that you may spend several hours on a poem without producing anything you’ll want to keep. There are still plenty of occasions when I feel that old anxiety and uncertainty about whether I’ll come up with anything, and there are days when I leave my writing desk feeling defeated. But I do find that the more I make writing—and reading—a regular practice in my life, the more reliably the magic happens. As far as I’m concerned, that’s the biggest difference between my identity as a writer now and during my undergraduate days at GU. It has less to do with publication, and much more with habit. reflection. 10


Falling Off Brittney Boland when I heard winter waking I ate the whole sun, quick as a cupcake, all in one bite when I saw your face, I spit up the sun and swallowed the sky before it stole you away but somehow sky’s shrapnel fell down on me still, I know, oh I’ve known it, you’ll do as you will


October Luca Bacci These days burn like the living room bee His wings grasp at winds, Clutching the air as he flies, corner to corner But this is October He tests each window, pane & bang again, Looking for his escape from linoleum And eggshell-whitewalls But this is October His body’s vibration reverberates The foundation, shaking the very Walls he circles, echoing back But this is October The mandibles & pollen basket are empty, Tracing the outline of varnished end tables And polished brass fixtures But then, This is October, Autumn is burning

reflection. 12


The Letter Brittney Abad We lay on our backs, in the middle of the living room, with Laura Gibson’s croon consuming our mutual silence. Minds raced with recollections that left the air tense, while a letter sat between us signed with a nom de plume in blue ink by a boy we used to know. We hesitated to presume that within his letter was an attempt at helping us make sense of time travel or that there exists within language an imperfect tense in which actions continue to repeat until they exhume memories that were once buried in the past, only to be resurrected into the present. Everything seems to change and, yet, we stay the same. Why can’t we resist becoming casualties of the wars we wage within our heads? A strange foreboding overcomes us as piano notes play to the nth degree and we are forced to recognize how the air has changed.


Jaundiced Caitlin LeBrun

The light in the kitchen is terrible. It’s awful, I’ve never liked the way it jaundices the hell out of what should be golden laughs, bleaching the wine stains out of spilled-over happy nights. But we don’t learn and we still take the pictures there most times. And my favorite one, God, the best, isn’t just one picture, it’s a lot and they roll together much like a flip book or a time machine or a video that plays the three seconds on repeat if I let it. And it’s right there in the kitchen, through the doorway I’m looking at now, the room glowing with the sick-liver tint of a late winter sun. Someone tries to shove pizza in the frame and you can hear their happiness slopping over in the background, just dripping like a runny sprinkler, and they laugh and we laugh and the light casts yellow shadows over this gorgeous scene of five kids at three a.m. before they forget to turn the oven off. And I will tell you, I will honest to God tell you, it’s not the expiration date on the smile I’m wearing that makes me feel sad, because I will honest to God tell you I don’t know if I’m sad, I don’t know what to call that feeling that is building, stick by stick, short film by time machine by fucking photograph…building a nest somewhere close to all that thumping in my chest. My shoulders will shrug and my head will shake because neither knows either, and that’s all folks, that’s all that’s all because here I lose the audience but, hear, I don’t care, and what I know is that the way the shadows and the light from that sickly little bulb shine on the lower left corner is, for once, just enough. Enough for three seconds. Where one hand twists and the other hand shifts to meet it and the hands join and the first one squeezes, and I swear you can close your eyes and just almost feel it and it plays on repeat. That moment is much louder than everything, anywhere else.

reflection. 14


Tea Time Amanda Pecora Mr. Erikson always made tea at the same time every day. I watched him through his faded curtains as I sat at our kitchen table eating toast. He picked up the metal kettle with spotted hands, pausing as if the empty weight was too much for him. He would rest a hand on the counter, adjust his wireframed glasses, and gaze absently across the alley to our house. He would turn from the window after a moment and twist the knob on his steel sink. His kitchen, or what I could see of it, was the same layout as ours. Instead of yellow, the walls were a dull grey; faded wallpaper with cartoon geese on them wearing little bows and dancing merrily. Mr. Erickson himself was grey. He always wore the same cardigan, stretching almost to his shaky knees. He was from the era where everyone seemed to dress as if they might enter a church at a moment’s notice. He had forsaken his silk tie after his wife died. I suspected he could not tie it himself. He wore khaki slacks that had taken on a grey hue after years of use. I could only see his shoes when he entered the room but they were always the same cracked brown leather with wingtips. His hair was twisted, knots and whorls jumping around his wrinkled face. His hunched back would face me for a long moment as he filled the kettle. He would turn off the sink and give the kettle a sort of shake as if to make sure it had really been filled. Then he would begin the laborious trek back to the stove. Here I would grip the remains of my toast in my hand, elbows propped on the plastic table top, ready to come to his aid should he stumble on that treacherous journey across the linoleum. But he would reach the stove safely every time. And here I would sit back in my chair and wait with him as he carefully angled the full kettle on the gas burner. In those long moments between water and steam, he would lean both hands on the counter next to the stove and bow his head as if the effort had exhausted him. His sweater hung on his gaunt shoulders. I finished my toast but waited all the same. Mr. Erikson always drank his tea straight. He lifted a cup and saucer carefully from the cabinet next to the stove. I imagined the sound the cup would make as the plate shook in the old man’s hands. Here again I would


tense, waiting for the cup to jump from the plate to its death on the floor below. But the little cup reached the counter as always. I could just make out a blue flower painted delicately on its side before in he dropped a bag, Earl Grey of course, and followed it up soon after with the steaming water. He would then cradle the fruits of his labor in both hands and slowly creak out of the room. I would resume my morning routine. Years later when I was a sophomore in college, my mother called me to remark that the “lonely old man” across the alley had died. When the funeral home came to take the body away, they discovered the remains of the old man’s wife in a locked room in the basement. There was an empty cup and saucer on the bedside table.

Figure Studies. Jim Leonetti. SPRING 1966

reflection. 16


Matthew Erin Dempsey Who is this boy I love and do not know and mourn on birthdays - and death days and days when the dawn is too beautiful?


Home Caitlin LeBrun I want you the way Earth wraps its tail around sunset axis tilted, West oriented the way it always is. I want cherry red skies eyes locked on the glow of a sun rise, yet we can’t seem to make anything new. I will let you go the way crows remember, how sparrows returned always back home.

reflection. 18


Untitled Wenyu Zhang If a lover ever hugs your body from the back of a motorcycle in the Medan night, don’t ever tell them that it’s your favorite. Let the oblivious give to impulse in an understanding spacious as the streets are empty for us. Because subtext is everywhere, like when we realized tonight that the lights outside had been shut for a while, probably because they wanted to close the patio, and I said, “they’ve been trying to tell us something and we’ve been blabbering all this time.” This blurb of mine was an annoyance surfacing, a way of stating, as the other American had been yapping at us from the head of the table, which we all understood because he was homesick. And no matter where I am, I’m thinking of you. Even in that moment when the cars of the Medan parking lot did their inched adjustments like a call-and-response in perfect, slow harmony. I’d want to explain, how there are no rules here and inching against a one way through a blind corner is really just telling others to notice. It’s a strange way of giving way, like when I told my story about Penang, every detail, the Buddhist temple murals chronicling Siddhartha’s life, every face manifesting in Hindu architecture, the Christian graveyards testifying to rebirth, and the Mosque on the water’s beautiful scarcity, and perfect geometry — this was of course a story indirectly advertising myself to the others at the table, to say all this could exist together if they just listened, which for whatever cause, gave Rodrique from across the table a chance to lean in and say there’s an Indonesian word for expressing a universal being for all beliefs. To justify every word, I’ve been searching for the causes of pitchers, aimless nights, but whatever the reason,


if there were a word for laying open all this selfishness, I wouldn’t tell you. You’d have to experience a motorcycle in the Medan streets. Living in these places, you learn you cannot fear death, to let obliviousness become a freedom, like the soldiers who spray silly string to detect tripwire in focused care and attention, a courage eviscerating irony, and for some reason, that’s what I’m trying to tell you.

reflection. 20


Harbinger Megan Dempsey I found a stray cat in the garden today – Its bright body and black-saddled back betrayed it to me under the mute and near-naked plum tree. It had come through the tilted gate, edged along the mossy path, had skimmed its whiskers over the blushing and sweet-rotting apples. It must have known autumn was ending early, because it curled up between the motherly arms of vine – had come to die in the sunshine. Perhaps tomorrow I will fetch it, perhaps dig a hole back there in the rich, dark mulch – But today, it looks too contented, too safe under arbor of leaf and on black soil, too joyful, and I cannot bring myself to disturb The Natural ritual – life brought to origin.


Shibuka, ba Umumi. Photograph. Canon EOS Rebel T3. CORINNE GOULD

reflection. 22


Shrug of Whimsy. Chiaroscuro Woodcut Relief. AMANDA FIELD


Homage to Fialetti. Copper Plate Intaglio Etching. AMANDA FIELD

reflection. 24


The Skier. Photograph. Canon Rebel T3. CAMERON STAHL


Tessellated Colors. Computer Code. SARAH PRATA

reflection. 26


Handplant. Photograph. Nikon D90. CAMERON STAHL


Bliss. Photograph. Nikon. KENNEDY McGAHAN

reflection. 28


HIC ET NUNC. Photograph. Nikon D90. KAMILLA RZAYEVA


Unknown. Unknown Medium. MOLLY CASEY

reflection. 30


Beggar Woman. Rome 2011. Photograph. Canon EOS 20D. RACHEL CLARK


The Pink Dragon. Photograph. iPhone. EMILY LUSE

reflection. 32


Round About. Ceramic. CLAIRE HART


Going Home. Photograph. Nikon D90. KAMILLA RZAYEVA

reflection. 34


Furniture Sign. Intaglio Print. MARIEL ZUPSIC


Wonderland. Acrylic on Canvas. KATHERINE CHARTERS

reflection. 36


In Case It Doesn’t Rain. Photograph. Nikon d3200. MADELINE LEBRUN


Composition Katherine Charters Inspired by the hands of Joyce Carol Oates two preening birds flutter, smoothly breezing the room into a lull violin bows sculpting thoughts in the air with graceful exposition the cursive script of a maestro slender, vivacious yet veined with indigo ink faded on a page the glimmer quilled from those fingers typing away steadfast, intelligent or stroking a swaying piano, silk harp strings caressed into echoing the collective breath of a forest or holding a number two Ticonderoga lead barely shadowing creamy antique paper even solid silver rings adorning those musical pencils are light, airy and elegant poetry of the body titillating like songbirds of the quiet dusky dawn

reflection. 38


roses, ten for €3 (or twenty for €5) Torrey Smith stocking up for the week the breads breathe warmth filling the aisles of lungs (entrances corked by the crowd) the schools of fish in their ice baths stare up at passersby (round questions in their eyes) kaleidoscope tiles bluegrey and browncream celtic cross one another and churn into the fountain (and lead us on) meat window exhibits adorned with red the chicken inn and tim o’sullivan’s meats (beef hearts, €2.50 each) drums of olives and pickles and every type of cheese brie blue goats whiskey and camembert (the kind you use to lure a bear off a mountain)


rainbows of produce (the reddest of tomatoes the greenest of beans the bluest of berries) leading to the pot of gold (in raw honey) yielding umbrellas arms full of our fodder return to the arching exit another saturday in the old english market

reflection. 40


The Squire Erin Dempsey The iPhone rattles, pulsing, forgotten under a ream of notes scattered before the boy like a lover on a chaise, and full flush of fear or wyrd across his stubbled face. Her name, cradled on the screen—a gift in a Saxon funeral boat. She—who held his pencil, borrowed loose-leaf in The Dark Ages. On accident, he brushed her knee, smooth as old paper. She—at Sunday service, a vacant seat beside her; he held her friend’s hand for the Our Father: courageous. She approached the used bookstore circulation desk, his bastion. She—warm, quirky, unassuming: “Where is the bathroom?” She chooses a chair, he half-reads three-fold each caption of class reading. Three minutes pass: he abashedly looks at her. The iPhone, cacophonous, heralds: the Holy Grail! His hand hovers hot, suddenly sweating: the call goes to voicemail.


Splintered Skeleton Mariah Chavez Skinny, I exert to be, and snap against piles of my thin, phlegm, adrenaline. I eat the snare, the regimen. Scarf tons, of sliced digits, down my flumes. I spit up walnut bark, and estrogen. Then keel, deprived, but I smile genuine. Let the unconcerned see my arms flex, to now my dowry, brittle, frail.

reflection. 42


Locked Out Haley Swanson Just a broken lock, I say. Try your key, you answer, that usually works. It’s broken, I promise, it’s stuck jammed simply not working. You put a hole in my door that winter. First it is a vain wiggle back and forth with your pocketknife, eyes ringed with eternal half-moon bruises. But in the end your fist punches through the door, shards of brittle wood decorating a gaping hole. To fix it you rip the lock out A void cannot be broken. My door cracks open, the handle sagging under the pressure of my palm. It is missing its lock after all. A smidge of oil, some patience, a steady hand would have sufficed. But you are rust, fingers trembling from sleep deprivation and cigarettes.


You put a lock on my door that spring. The new handle feels cold beneath my fingers. I squeeze until knuckles flush white, shutting you behind me, a void forced full.

reflection. 44


All Made-Up Megan Dempsey

The long day had worn away the paint-and-pencil perfection of her face. She knew without looking that the black parabolas and pink spheres and smooth powdered planes had collapsed under the weight of morning meetings and skim milk spilled, hunger and other mild disappointments. Her fingertips smoothed reflexively over the surface of her nose-cheekbones-jawline, settled like birds on the fence of her mouth. Underneath them, her lips parted just enough to let a slow sigh fly. Abruptly, she rose and strode to the bathroom, opened the cabinet, and chose the nearly-empty bottle of face scrub. Using more than usual and without waiting for the water to get warm, she annihilated any illusion of powder, tint, or hue from her features. Without looking up she pressed them into a towel and held it there for a moment, not breathing, as though she were suspended in the fine lines of sunlight which penetrate silent water. Eyes closed, she looked up, and then broke open the stubborn lids to who stood there, staring. Her shoulders fell half an inch, deflating with the puff of air that escaped her critical lips. The memory-current pulsed through her: Her aunt, speaking in a southern drawl and standing in the glaze of a make-up cityscape: “Your Auntie don’t go out without her face on.” Her mother’s eyes – their perplexed blue scrutiny bespeaking her silent despair: “What did you do to your beautiful face?” Her refuge, the one too kind to love back, bending his gaze under the bill of her baseball cap: “Relax. You’re beautiful.” Her boyfriend, one morning, one mistake: “You’re – not wearing make-up?” Her running coach, with a sidelong stare: “Don’t cut your hair.” An acquaintance, whose opinion should not have mattered, so it did: “You look nothing like your sister.” A stranger double taking: “Damn.” They kept coming: each word smacking like loud lips off a lollipop, like footfalls pounding on a limitless line, the spine of a magazine. Each collision of her eyes and theirs caused trembling – like in the Bible – in deep caverns of her Self. So many shards of broken mirror: brown-bag, cat-eyes, dirty-blonde, waxes, mascara bleeding in lake water, dark here, white there, boring-browneyes-and-brown-hair, bedroom-eyes, livid pink, night-on-the-town-hued lid ink. Potions. Poisons. Pretty little perdition.


“Do you know how little girls always think they’re pretty? I don’t remember how it happened –” Her breath caught like wheels gaining traction. Her eyes flickered and silence resounded around her in the vacuum of vanity light. Reality resumed — she thought about conversion — it was her and her face alone in the room.

reflection. 46


Eric Jeff Rutherford

My tummy is shaped like an exercise ball. Ironic. I used to have a muscle chest when I had access to the gym at the house. Now my upper torso is like two sandwich bags filled with water. I do have a pretty fine beard. If I don’t wear a beard, you can’t tell where my chin stops and my neck begins. The beard creates a dividing line. I like it. My shoulders are rounded, hunched really. I can’t rest my arms by my side. It always looks like I’m carrying luggage. Beady eyes. Baby teeth. I gather this information from my reflection in the glass of the McDonald’s I’m walking by. Pretty mean of them to make the outside of the building out of something reflective like that. Then the fat folks that exit can drink in their mistake one more time as they leave. I’m walking to my meeting because my bus pass expired. Never liked driving. I’ve had the money for a car, but I tend to spend my money on drink machines for my basement and beef jerky. This is one of my favorite clippings I have in my wallet. It’s my first one: “The first full length work of a young writer named Eric will run for a second weekend at Brooklyn Players as one reviewer calls it a ‘peculiar work of drama and comedy, a curious cocktail.’” And I don’t even drink alcohol. New York was easier. There were less pretty people. Mr. Pat called me in today for some reason. I’m not due in for my bimonthly for another two weeks, so I bet he just wants to hang out. Mr. Pat is a CEO. He controls my contract and stuff. Been really cool to me for a long time. I feel bad. I’m going to have to tell him I’m out of ideas. I’ve got nothing in my brain. I’ve got nothing in me. Nothing besides that McDonald’s burger. This building is unfortunate. Unfortunately tall for someone with a cardiovascular system as useless as the one inside me. Mr. Pat’s office is on the 32nd floor. I get out of breath riding the elevator. But there is the love of my life now. She is Mr. Pat’s Vanna White look-alike. I’ve loved her ever since Mr. Pat said to me, with her in the room, “Eric, you’re a weird motherfucker,” Mr. Pat was from a family that cursed


a lot. “But I think we can make a lot of money together. Those East Coast shit-heads don’t think you’re cut out for this life, but I think you can handle it. Even though you’re a weird motherfucker.” I don’t know if he called me the MF word a second time, but I feel like he did. I also like Freud a lot so that might be why I think that. I like this clipping a lot, too. About that first movie I made: “Eric has written a script about bravery, romance, and Midwest values. With The Apple Man, he marches on Hollywood with the same strangeness with which he dominated the Brooklyn theatre scene.” I’ve got no more ideas, though. Mr. Pat isn’t going to like that I’ve got no more ideas. My head looks extra fat today. “Eric, he’s ready for you.” Okay. Let’s see. I’ve got my papers. My soda-pop. My headphones. My hair: balding. The same. I thought I might have sprouted some hairs on the walk. “Eric?” “Yes, ma’am!” I always call Mr. Pat’s Vanna White look-alike ma’am to maintain this Victorian kind of chivalry or something. I think she likes it. I got no more ideas, homeboy—I think about telling Mr. Pat like this. Maybe he’ll think it’s funny if I say it that way. Like, me calling him that makes it cooler. Oh, Eric, you calling me homeboy is hilarious, I don’t even care that you’re out of ideas—that’d be the ideal response. Mr. Pat’s Vanna White look-alike extends her arm toward Mr. Pat’s door, presenting it to me. She looks extra like Vanna White. Mr. Pat has an editor who always edits my scripts for grammar and stuff. He would tell me, “Eric, it’s only because you write so good.” I trusted Mr. Pat. I tell Mr. Pat’s Vanna White look-alike that she’s pretty as I walk into Mr. Pat’s office. She says thanks. It’s a cool moment for me. We connected big time. I love her. “Have a seat, Eric,” says Mr. Pat. I have a seat. This chair is comfortable. Uncomfortably comfortable. I’m wondering what Mr. Pat might be up to. He has his back turned. He is on his computer. Mr. Pat has those lines in the back of his neck. Those lines that old guys have. I think I have them. It’s from all the turns of the neck, and your neck gets those lines in them. He’s got those lines. Another clipping I peak at while Mr. Pat’s back is turned: “Random reflection. 48


Roy, the latest film from the usually bizarre Eric, is a dark comedy without the comedy. It’s just a terrible film in general. The writing is fucking atrocious.” That last sentence isn’t part of the review. But that’s what the reviewer was thinking when he wrote it. So. That reviewer is really mean. I crumple up that clipping. Don’t know why I even had it. I’m really cramped in Mr. Pat’s comfortable chair. When I was a kid, they thought I had hyperhidrosis. Doctor finally concluded, “Nope. Eric’s just fat.” He might have said overweight or heavy or something, but in his head Dr. Tom was saying fat, so that’s how I remember it. Dr. Tom was a truth guy. Mr. Pat has a really nice office. I’ve always thought he had a really nice office. Looks like the kind of office a Persian prince would keep. Mr. Pat the Persian Prince. I wonder if Mr. Pat’s Vanna White look-alike is Persian? “Eric,” says Mr. Pat as he spins in his chair and faces me. “Hi, Mr. Pat. It’s bright to see you.” Whenever I see Mr. Pat, I try to act like a cool guy. Mr. Pat is a cool guy, so he must like cool guys. Mr. Pat has never asked me to hang out, but I think today might be the day. With me not having a scheduled meeting, him just calling me in and all, I think he might ask me to hang out today. I bet we would shoot pool balls or smoke cigarettes in a cigarette lounge or do one of those cool guy activities. It’s going to be so cool. Mr. Pat has a clear divide between his chin and neck, by the way. No beard needed. He smells like a leather couch. “Thanks for coming in today, Eric.” “No difficulty. I was just at home, sitting.” I take a drink of my soda pop. Then at the same time me and Mr. Pat say to one another, “Mr. Pat, there is something I need to talk to you about.” Except he says to me, “Eric.” If he said to himself, “Mr. Pat,” I’d have to diagnose him with a personality disorder or something. But I’m not a psychologist. I saw a psychologist when I was 12 years old. Ms. Trudy thought it could be good for me. So I went and saw Mr. Daniel. It wasn’t good for me. Mr. Daniel just gave me these pills that made me feel funny, so I flushed them down the toilet or fed them to the house dog named Mr. Potato. “You go first, Mr. Pat.” I still hadn’t decided how I was going to tell Mr. Pat that I had no more ideas. How I figured I couldn’t write for him anymore. I wonder how Mr. Pat’s Vanna White Potentially Persian look-alike is doing?


“Eric, did you see the reviews?” “Which ones?” “For your fucking movie Fantastic Furry Fool.” A movie I wrote came out last Friday. I had forgotten about it. I think Mr. Pat can tell I forget. “You fucking forgot your movie came out, didn’t you?” “No, I remember. I just never look at my clippings. You know that about me, Mr. Pat.” Mr. Pat’s voice is crass, like his language. He picks up a paper. “Fantastic Furry Fool is 90 minutes of pure unenjoyment. Eric continues to slide further into the pit of writing irrelevance, and one can’t help but think the one man that has stuck by his side for so long, big time producer Mr. Pat, will have to reconsider his commitment to the once-promising fat boy from Brooklyn.” Nice of him to call me promising though. “That’s a bad one,” I say. I start sweating. I wonder if I have hyperhidrosis. “Nope. Eric is just fat,” I remember. I take a drink of my sodapop. The ice has melted; it’s kind of watery now. “Yes it is, Eric. And you know, I’ve tried to be like a father to you…” Mr. Pat trails off because I think I am blacking out or something. I can still think, though. My father beat me senseless one time when I was six. He went to jail after that, and I can’t remember what happened to my mom after that. I remember her being kind of nice looking. Mr. Judge told me it would best for me to stay with Ms. Trudy. She taught me to read and write. She thought I made up funny stories. So did my high school teacher. So did some of those folks in Brooklyn. Mr. Pat really thought I did. But he still had this editor go over my scripts to fix the grammar. I stop being blacked out or whatever that was. My pants are riding up. I’m wearing mismatched socks. Left one is red. Right one is brown. My ankles are pale. They run smoothly into my chubby calves. I wish I could grow a beard on my ankles so there would be a clear dividing line between my ankle and calf. “Were you listening to me, Eric?” I wasn’t. “I was.” “So what I said makes sense?” “Can you say it again?” “It doesn’t make any sense for us to keep you on anymore. When your reflection. 50


contract is up in May, we aren’t going to offer you a renewal.” That couldn’t have made more sense, and I wonder how Mr. Pat’s Vanna White Potentially Persian look-alike is doing? I love her so much. “I’m out of ideas.” “I’m sorry, Eric. We are too.” “That’s what I was coming here to tell you. Well, I know you called me in, but I was going to come in and tell you that I’ve got no more ideas.” Mr. Pat and I agreed this was convenient for the both of us. More convenient for him. “Don’t let that place get the better of you,” I remember Ms. Trudy saying to me eight years ago when I left Brooklyn. I wonder if she meant, “Don’t gain 47 pounds,” when she said that. Because if she did, she’d be bummed to learn it got the better of me. I shake Mr. Pat’s hand. He seems extra like a cool guy now. “Why didn’t you just call to tell me you had no ideas?” I think of something honorable like, “I thought I owed you so much. Figured I ought to tell you in person.” Instead of honorable I choose honest: “I love your Vanna White look-alike.” I stop to talk to Mr. Pat’s Vanna White Potentially Persian look-alike. “How are you doing, Eric?” “Want some of my soda pop?” She says no. More for me. Outside. I sit on the curb for a while. After a few hours, Mr. Pat’s Vanna White (I know she’s not Persian now) look-alike comes out. “Do you need a ride, Eric?” I say yes because my cardiovascular system is useless, and I don’t want to walk home. I bet she dates sports players, but I watch that stuff sometimes so I know how they act. At the house they had us play sports sometimes on the weekends. I remember this one kid. Can’t remember his Christian name, but his last name was Dallas. He was good at the sports. He’d say to me, “Stop being so terrible at the sports, Eric!” I didn’t like Dallas. I unbutton my shirt a little bit. I have a lot of chest hair. It looks like I’m hiding a Carpathian Sheepdog (that’s the kind of dog Mr. Potato was) under my blue shirt. She might think it’s cool. “Do you like sports?” “Yes.” It’s cool that we have something in common.


“Do you know I got fired today?” “Yes. I’m sorry, Eric.” She gets me. Love her. “I’m out of ideas. I don’t have any more stories to write, so it’s okay that I got fired.” She notices my Carpathian Sheepdog. Doesn’t seem like she likes it. I figure that I have seduced with her for long enough now. It’s about time that I ask her on a date. Mr. Pat used to try to set me up with women when I first came here. They didn’t seem to like it. “You want to go to McDonald’s?” She goes through the drive-thru. She even pays for me. Talk about seducing with someone. She drops me off at my house. “Thanks for the date,” I say. “Eric, why did you write movies?” No one has ever asked me this question. “Has anyone ever asked you that question?” “I get that question all the time,” I say. “I wrote plays first.” “I know. Why’d you do movies then?” “Because Mr. Pat saw one of my plays one time, and he thought I’d be good at movies.” “What did that mean to you, though? The chance to make movies?” I can’t really tell what she’s getting at. “I see what you mean,” I say as I take a sip of my milkshake. “This milkshake tastes peculiar.” My Vanna White Probably Puerto Rican look-alike stares at me for a while. I think she’s looking into my awesome eyes. I’m glad that the fat on my face doesn’t completely cocoon my awesome eyes. “I’ll see you later, Eric.” “Your face is enjoyable,” I say as a sexy compliment to her as she rolls up the window. It’s very cool that she and I are dating now. I like it. I’ll probably call Mr. Pat tomorrow to ask for her name and contact information. This milkshake tastes so peculiar.

reflection. 52


Running Molly Kernan I think MC Escher knew something about self-harm. All those stairways up and down running and to no single destination so distinct. just the wild heave-ho to find‌ What? A million miles of stairs running close and rubbing at their sides. A hundred little ladder rungs drawn white down arms climbing up towards open palms spread Grasping. at air

Fr. St. Marie. Marjorie Ingalls. SPRING 1963


Darling Brittney Abad The city and I wrestled with restlessness, until the night shrouded us in darkness. Night could not stop his phone call or my willingness to meet him at the diner, on the corner of Canal and Bowery, in that dress he despises. I believe it’s the way my auburn hair clashes with the silky, red material that rattles his senses and gets his temper rising, rising, rising. Daringly, I line my lips in red.

reflection. 54


today, a pocket watch Torrey Smith resting on your chest waiting to be needed to be used enveloped in the soft of your shirt constant incoherence. you withdraw me you scrutinize my face castigating what i have to tell you swearing under your breath. i wriggle back into your pocket as you pick up your feet pick up speed, and i am drowning in that familiar seasickness. cold to the touch of your fingers i blister in the pleasure of making an appearance in your thoughts, your hands no matter our uncertainty. outsiders might see me as an idler hitching a ride until he or i find something else. this is a fallacy. trapped without control chained to his forever. adorned in metallic a gilded surface from a world lost and gone a world older than either of us.


I Dyed, Instead, My Hair Mariah Chavez I, without remorse, bleached, singed my hair, deathly, parched for purpose; I stained it a rousing blue. I wanted that color to irrevocably tinge my numbness. I hadn’t felt regret since letting him in the house. That blurred night, dizzy colors, pulled me back, and I pushed away. And purple resolve oozed in teal, tequila tears and self-blame when he told me to enjoy it. But I had never had split ends.

reflection. 56


Holy Water Luca Bacci At 8 I lost the Tooth Fairy. At 9 Santa climbed his last chimney. So why, at 12, was I so surprised? Painted by His & Her light, candles just to add the right warmth, my knees carve moons in pleather last resorts. Each finger folded to hug, as a silver mathematic listens to every thump & bump. Mid conversation, elbows triangled to support my holy trinity, enter Tom, Arms hugged tight around my last realization. Stuck between forearm & heart lay 10 gallons of Evian. Each drop rippling the baptismal font drowns me out of innocence. Waves crashing around the rim reflect every billboard I’ve ever seen. Surrounded by gold and incense, I watch every façade crumble in a conflagration of monsoons & vending machines.


Would Mary have posed for the cameras, bottle kissing her chin as crystal bathes her from neck to navel? My fingers release their grasp, the craters fill, and each pew hears for the last time my footprints. Don’t forget to sign your cross echoes from ear to ear. No thanks, I only drink tap water

reflection. 58


forbidden fruit Maria Mills we exchange our usual plastic footwear for sneakers, cause if he catches us, we’ll have to outrun his dogs, and so attired, we hit the field — leaping over the barren irrigation ditches until we reach that patch of forbidden fruit, he mumbles, his mouth full of it, but i am still reaching for the perfection of one watermelon, knocking on each one, my little brown fist a request, a battering ram, an invitation while he laughs, his eyes shadowed and his teeth sharp as he comes closer, already on his second melon, already smashing the rind with the rock he’s carried in his pocket since that day he took me down — the beach-wide — killing clams, half a shoulder bare, he said: you were not made for this you know, gesturing to the fruitless highway behind us, our mothers behind that, their thoughts behind their mouths, the ones they kept closed, even as they turned them toward us. and beyond that, beyond even the thoughts in our mother’s heads, his hands seemed to say, los papás, también, for my father, making his bedding from the horizon-line — his own in the big house


he tries to kiss me sometimes i turn my head away he does not try today, but his hands — sticky with juice — and his mouth — full of melon — are turned toward me his mouth is turned toward me as i knock on each melon (my little brown fist) as if my father might be inside, ready to leap out of the pink flesh, saying chica, chiquita, mi amor, mija, mi hija smelling like the long-labored fruits of the field while i turn my head away from some other boy’s kiss and my mother keeps her thoughts inside her head.

reflection. 60


Conversation Amy Kryston

“The problem?” she repeated, eyebrows uneven, mouth twisted in an almost condescending smirk. The grey man was not amused. He glared at the girl through his spectacles, waiting for her wry smile to disappear from her face. It never did. “The problem,” he said. “What is the problem? Why are you not satisfied?” She uncrossed her legs and leaned toward the man. “Well, who is satisfied these days? Look, I could fill infinite pages with reasons as to why people are dissatisfied. I only have a few. Only one reason, really, if you want to get down to the very basics.” “And what is it?” “Why do you suddenly care?” she frowned. The grey figure sighed. “I have never not cared. This is not sudden.” “Oh, bullshit. You left us here to rot.” “How are you to know more about my intentions and my actions than I?” “Actions?” The girl was seething now. Her head whipped back so as to stare the man in the eyes and her long and tangled hair, poisoned by pollution and blood and poverty, mimicked the movement. “What actions? What have you done but watched and waited? You time-turner, you Master, you omnipotent creature, you who have left your own creation to be ruined!” “I just wish to kn—” “Why now?” she shouted. The grey man’s façade almost betrayed emotion. He could feel a bizarre creature welling up somewhere in his conjured persona. It had been an endless amount of time since he had spoken with one of the offspring; he had almost forgotten this diluted sense of attachment, of care. “Because,” he said finally, “because you caught my eye. I cannot explain. I ask only that you tell me why you are so dissatisfied with this gift.” “Gift?” she snorted. “You know, when I say you didn’t have to, you really didn’t have to.” She sighed and leaned back. “Fine. I’ll tell you why I’m dissatisfied.


First, I want you to know that I’m not mad. I’m not mad at people or plagues or proms or penis envy theories or pencil shavings that get stuck in my keyboard or anything. I’m not even mad at you, at least, most of the time I’m not. I’m not angry at what you’ve done and what you haven’t done. I’m not angry. Second of all, I would like to say that I am dissatisfied only with my species. I find the earth and the animals and plants inhabiting it to be beautiful. I find no fault in these non-human creations. It is with human beings I find the most joy and the most pain. And it is with human beings that I find any dissatisfaction.” She paused and looked to her left, out the window. The night was encroaching. The lesser light was coming to reign over the darkness. “The problem,” she began, “the problem is that some people, not all people, just some, just those privileged ones, are told from a very early age that they are special. Special, unique, gifted, talented, whatever. Maybe this is to protect them from harsh words that are guaranteed to come later in life, I don’t know. People are told they are special. You are special, child, don’t forget that. And many of those children do not forget it. And that is wonderful, please understand. Everyone should grow up feeling loved and knowing that they are special. It is terrible when individuals lose sight of their own specialness. But here’s where it goes awry. So many of those people, those special people are told they are special but are never reminded, never told, that other people, every other person in the world, is just as special, is just as unique and different and that everyone, every single fucking person out there, deserves to live and be loved. So you have fear. And you have greed. And you have people thinking that either they are worth nothing or that everyone else is worth nothing and so rare is it to find people who think that both they and everyone else is worth the world. How awful. Don’t you think so? Don’t you think that’s the problem, too?” The grey man looked perplexed. “I designed every problem to have a solution.” “Then what is the solution to this one?” Nothing. “Others have told me it is love,” the girl said. reflection. 62


Nothing. She spoke again. “But that can’t be it. Love isn’t a solution; it’s a state of being, a state of acting. You can’t force love upon others, and you can’t force others to love.” A great silence engulfed the room. Expectation and decaying emotions hung in the air. Nothing. Finally the grey man answered. “I don’t know.” She snorted, unsurprised, and stood up from the wooden chair. “Omniscient, my ass,” she said, and walked out of the room and into the haze.


parentheses Torrey Smith “please accept from me this unpretentious bouquet of very early-blooming parentheses: (((()))).” -j.d. salinger (inside them) we hide & (when in doubt) sound alone on book shelves (with orange soda) inside macaroni graffitied on brick walls a collection of branches that look like brackets (of pansies) on the back of my neck we sit on the keys you are on cloud nine i am feeling like a zero (yet everything is unspoiled) in code we are simple (when empty) and we define this anonymous function you still sound alone (& in this math equation) let’s keep that between us

reflection. 64


Boy, Men, Bible Jeff Rutherford Mama talks one day and says great men are in the Bible. Great men, I say to myself. I must be in there, I say to myself. I’m in there, right? I go to Mama’s room and rummage. Finally I find it. This book’s heavy, I say to myself. Must have lot of great men, I say to myself. Flip fast. I don’t see my name in here. I call for Mama, but Mama don’t hear. “Mama, which page?” I see names I don’t know. Aren’t mine: Adam, Abraham, Abel, Aaron. “Mama, is my real name Leviticus?” Revelations. I wait for Mama to hear, to tell me why I’m not in here. It’s probably a mistake, I tell myself. I’m a great man, I tell myself. What does it mean if I don’t see it?


Mama has faith in these great men. But me, I don’t know. That a sin? I’ll think about it, I tell myself. I don’t know if I believe I tell myself.

Untitled. John Bellmore. SPRING 1966

reflection. 66


Deve Vederlo (You Should See It) Caitlin LeBrun

It was 4:08 and I knew I could make it. I walked the half block to the bus stop and scanned the schedule, a hectic smudge of military times stuck to a post with cracking, cheap plastic. It hesitantly told me I’d missed the 16:07 and probably the 16:12. I accepted this and settled into the sidewalk, breathing in unusually warm December air. My body was light under my heavy pea coat. I buona seraed the old woman who hobbled over next to me. She nodded and made a joke about the unpredictable buses — too late or too early! Always! I caught the punch line the way you’d catch confetti, the way snow melts on mittens. Words you heard for a minute and thought you caught, but all that’s left is the moisture. I smiled fully and nodded back. The bus came eventually and I picked a single seat on the left, close to the driver, a plastic wall separating my feet from his back. A mechanical, heaving, dirty thing, the bus flew through its route like a fly on its last legs. I watched things from my window seat: the cobblestone, bruised but grateful under the weight of years. So many corners indented with the thumbprint of stilettos and the swift kick of designer leather, whole blocks of rock that spent their days absorbing the heat of a people on the move. I saw the traffic and the horrible drivers and the bikes that barked more than they bit. As we curved up the hill and out of the busy city, I saw the mile-long cemetery turn with us. The unmatched headstones were made of granite, made of tears. They stretched above the height of the gates on the perimeter, uneven notes in a song, their shadows casting different dark spots on my clothes, allowing different light to hit me every time. I felt regret like a bee sting at the thought of having never touched one of the gravestones. The bus sighed on. It went up into the hills, country estates and tall trees replacing renovated high rises and crammed apartments with leaky balconies. The light was fading fast now, and I checked the time and knew I might not make it but was not worried. A man hopped on who was angry, a woman rang the bell to get home and feed the cat. I caught a glimpse of the city through the trees as the last of the bright light sunk behind the skyline. It breathed out, calm like an exhale. The landscape slipped into dusk like a cozy sweatshirt and I wrapped myself in it, adjusting my headphones. I reached the top of the hill at 16:45. You could not see the sun and I did not have time to worry about that. I sped across the street, up the steep


driveway to the chapel, to the left around the doorstep with the waiting cat and a damn near vertical climb. Beyond that I knew was the garden of the convent, where the bench and the wall and the view of the city would be mine mine mine. I would take it in gulps, not stopping to breathe or smile or choke until I was satisfied. The view didn’t justify my dramatics; it provoked the hell out of them. It was 16:56 when it was mine. The sky was a blanket of torn fabric, reds woven to a faded orange and tacked against a blue I had not seen in four months. A Northwest blue. The mountains stretched against it, cardboard cutouts of weathered peaks and tired Earth and I felt, blasphemously, this must be the silhouette of Heaven when God decides the sun must set. This view. This Earth. This fog that settled just over the buildings, buildings that contained such hustle and bustle they must shake and shake like rattled breaths. The poke of the Duomo’s hand through the fog, defiant, refusing to be swallowed. The sliver of a moon so slight a second look, then a third, needed to confirm its presence. The hills I could make out in the fading light. The spindly trees, behind me, next to me, everywhere, their posture immaculate. This is beautiful, I told the bench. God, I am so tired, I told it again. I breathed in a long breath. I heard a shuffling behind me and took out my headphones, to be sure. It was a Father, two nuns and a dinner guest leaving the convent. They chatted politely and I smiled with feeling. I turned back to Heaven. Not long after their goodbyes were said I became suddenly not alone. A small, sweet looking nun moved gracefully across the yard and asked me something in liquid Italian. I shook my head and apologized, saying I spoke only a little. She clicked her tongue wisely and I instantly felt the strong burn of shame, knowing I couldn’t do anything else but feeling unworthy all the same. She stood with me in silence for a minute. She spoke again, slower this time. “Pardon?” I said encouragingly. Try again, I will be good! I will listen! She tossed her words over her shoulder as she tread across the grass towards her home. They fell into my lap one at a time, assembling themselves to say, softly, “You should see it in the morning.” Words like confetti, like moisture on my mittens. I sat a minute longer, drinking in the skyline. Then I headed back down the hill. reflection. 68


Lisa Olstein: Why Poetry? Gonzaga University was honored to host Lisa Olstein, poet and writing professor at University of Texas at Austin, as the featured guest in the second installment of the 2013-2014 Visiting Writers Series. She received her BA from Barnard College and her MFA in poetry from University of Massachusetts-Amherst. There are unending modes of artistic communication—fiction, flash-fiction, nonfiction, poetry, slam poetry, painting, print making, photography, music. As the author of three books of poetry—Radio Crackling, Radio Gone (2006), Lost Alphabet (2009) and Little Stranger (2013)—it is fitting to ask Olstein the question: why poetry? Her response was provocative, challenging, and uniquely personal, echoing her consistent advice that young writers should be willing to follow their own preoccupations and listen to their own artistic voice. LISA OLSTEIN: I think I just have a real language bug. I can point to specific things I remember from childhood. One of them was that my mother used to read to us a ton. My father did too, but my mother did pretty religiously and I remember she had this strange habit (in retrospect). If I was really, really upset she would sometimes just sit in the room with me and read poetry out loud and I would calm down. Then when I was a sophomore in high school, I had an amazing honors English teacher, who was also the football coach. He wore the same wool skull cap and weird overcoat every single day and was really into football even though it wasn’t a football kind of town. But he was also as much into literature and poetry. He turned me on to Shakespeare, he turned me on to Salinger, and he turned me on to writing. So that was pivotal. Also, I’ve always just been incredibly interested in language: the texture of language, the multiple meanings of language in any given instance, and also in some of the preoccupations — I think any preoccupation can lend itself to poetry — but in my case certain preoccupations about the passage of


time and the way that we know the world and how language is such a big part of knowing the world. I think that’s something that has always been with me.

Figure Studies. Jim Leonetti. SPRING 1966

reflection. 70


Blood, Bread, Spoons Lisa Olstein Can we agree there’s no such thing as a “gustnado” despite the local headlines, but in strong winds we’re right to be afraid and no, the tobacco barn does not belong in the middle of the road? Definitions only matter insofar as they matter or actually predict the future, as in gale-force, metastatic, foreclosed. We admire them, we collect them in hopes of expanding our small, tired stables of words, but mostly we don’t, smirking at each other’s attempts at tergiversation, oneiric. What’s the matter with dreamy and who do you think you are anyway, the Queen of England? The Queen of England moves always through a cloud of definitions: who may touch her (no one), how she may touch (as if she feels nothing). She looks lonely in the solemn crowd of her hat and its small veil, her gloved fingers and so many measured distances. So what if she eats the people’s gold for breakfast? It’s the only thing her stomach understands. — Little Stranger 2013 Copper Canyon Press


Space Junk Lisa Olstein There is a point on every mission when something must be jettisoned into the thin, black air. Nothing likes to be abandoned, no one likes to be compared. There is a point when the plan lifts from our control panels and shimmers while we go ahead and stare. How long do we call the plan the plan after it disappears? There’s no such thing as a few minutes alone. There’s no such thing as making up your mind when everything is determined: the rate of our turning, our distance from the sun. I followed you here with my naked eye. You’ve lost your white glove. It travels now like a comet burning up the sky.

— Little Stranger 2013 Copper Canyon Press reflection. 72


Featuring BRITTNEY ABAD LUCA BACCI BRITTNEY BOLAND MOLLY CASEY

MADELINE LeBRUN EMILY LUSE KENNEDY McGAHAN CLAIRE McQUERRY

KATHERINE CHARTERS

MARIA MILLS

MARIAH CHAVEZ

LISA OLSTEIN

RACHEL CLARK

AMANDA PECORA

ERIN DEMPSEY

SARAH PRATA

MEGAN DEMPSEY AMANDA FIELD CORINNE GOULD

JEFF RUTHERFORD KAMILLA RZAYEVA TORREY SMITH

CLAIRE HART

CAMERON STAHL

MOLLY KERNAN

HALEY SWANSON

AMY KRYSTON

WENYU ZHANG

CAITLIN LeBRUN

MARIEL ZUPSIC


reflection. VOLUME 54. ISSUE 1.


POETRY. FICTION. NONFICTION. PHOTOGRAPHY. ART Want to be published in the 55th Anniversary Edition of Reflection this spring? Send all submissions to reflection@gonzaga.edu.

www.facebook.com/gureflection


reflection.

volume 54.1 reflection.

volume 54.1


reflection volume 54.1