Volume 3: Water
IN LAYMANâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S TERMS 3
VOLUME 3 – NOVEMBER 2018
Editors Brit Barnhouse Beck Adelante Bradley Allf
In Layman’s Terms welcomes submissions of poetry, nonfiction, and visual art. Visit iltreview.com/submit for details on upcoming issues and themes prior to submitting your work.
TABLE OF CONTENTS POETRY Manda Frederick
In the Silence
What the Glacier Said to Darwin Concerning the Fuegians
R. S. Pyne
Passing the Dalles
R. A. Allen
Please and Thank You
Morning at the Beach
M. S. Lynch
Mary K Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Melveny
Slipping Below the Surface
NONFICTION Susan Mooney
Dancing at Great Quittacas
Image en Miroir
Plastic is the Alien Invasion We Created
Fazenda das Areias
Waters of Immigration
“Deep Dark” by Hannah Dressel
LATERAL LINES There is a strip of cells that glisten the length of the fish, you say, that sense the movement in the lake. And when we step into the water, the minnows rock over their shadows suspended in the siltâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; their silver-splintered turn in unison signals weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve arrived. The lighthouse spin-pulse leads the barges home, cuts the charge in the air that speaks storm in a tone so low it disorients the body. But if I can count to five between the lightning's flash and sound, there is time to sprint home, climb my mother's roof, see the sugar-beet field suck that wire of light into the dirt, draw up the wellwater to meet the rain. There is time to decide: walk East, follow the irrigation ditch back to where it spills into this lake, or West toward that anvil-bodied front edging gray around this town, toward that sinking shape of everywhere touch, that mass of sensation that chooses direction without knowing why.
IN THE SILENCE We swim, paddle, walk the bacterial mats, eating sticks and mudâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;didn't you as a child? Adapted to underground existence, blind, sensitive about being called a pill bug. Dear municipal managers, think of us as employees, your son or daughter. It breaks our heart to contemplate waste dumped into the aquifer. Please, use that big brain, use language machines, use social media: #savecaveisopod. What if, cut off from the rain, from the sea, thoughts blind, heart unsealed from the urn, your father floats in this Lethe, listening to the dark torrent?
“Juvenile Seagull” by Katrina Slavik
Susan M. Mooney
DANCING AT GREAT QUITTACAS Today, I went “storm-birding” for the first time, as a tropical storm swirled southeast of Nantucket. Migrating shore birds often come inland – either by wind force or by wise choice – to quieter waters like Great Quittacas Pond in Lakeville. Over ten thousand years ago, as the glacier that carved this landscape melted and the clay-laden soil of its outwash plain slowed percolation, freshwater pooled on the surface. A network of ponds formed here, evolving complex aquatic ecosystems and supporting terrestrial life. Abnormally low water levels have exposed a wide mudflat along the shore of Great Quittacas. My companion, who has observed this area for decades, comments that the water level has never been so low. This drought is longer, and this storm is stronger, due to the warming atmosphere and oceans. We both know of our own contributions to this climate disruption, burning gasoline as we travelled here today. We speak only briefly of such realities, choosing instead to engage in the meditation of close observation of nature. Perhaps this drydown is a bad omen, but the mudflat rich with nutrients is good fortune for hungry avian travelers needing to refuel for the next leg of their journeys. The white-rumped sandpipers marathon from the Arctic to Tierra del Fuego, semipalmated sandpipers middle-distance to Central America, and least sandpipers and semipalmated plovers sprint to the southern US. This mud stage of detritus and detritivores provides a dance floor and a banquet for these shorebirds, their bills repeatedly piercing the muck to find yet another morsel. They do-si-do like square dancers on speed. Allemande right, bow to your partner, yank an amphipod from the mud, and you’re on your way! Turning from the frenzied feeding of the shorebirds, I notice many tracks in the mud; dog, deer, human (mostly shod, but one bare) preceded our visit today. Beneath and between the prints of larger creatures, narrow, meandering track-lines in the sand catch my eye: circling, spiraling, criss-crossing. Like a child’s doodling. Might these tracks, similar to those of periwinkles in the salt marsh, be those of a fresh-water snail? Following a track to its end, I find its creator – an Eastern pond mussel slicing through the sandy bottom like the prow of a ship parting the waters. After an hour on this mudflat oblivious to their presence, I see them everywhere now. From the shallows to the higher, drier sand above, where older tracks blur and fade, open, empty mussel shells scattered, perhaps having fed the ring-billed gulls swooping above. The Eastern pond mussel (Ligumia nasuta) can grow to six inches in length; the largest I found today was perhaps four. Its shell is oblong, dark on the exterior with russet undertones while the interior is pearly. The Massachusetts Department of Fish & Wildlife notes that they 13
Susan M. Mooney
are “sedentary filter feeders,” but the tracks I saw today leave me skeptical about “sedentary.” These mussels move like miniature ballroom dancers in slow-mo, swirling and looping, dipping and rising, all along the pond’s shallow edge. For all their dancing, though, the mussels cannot leave this pond; perhaps not even leave this stretch of shoreline for another across the deeper water. Only as glochidia, larvae, sprayed onto the gills of host fish lured in by their nurturing mothers, can the mussels traverse the pond, hitchhiking on those fast and free-swimming fish. But whether larvae or adult, the mussels are confined to this one pond; one of only a few in which their population is high. If this pond dries down too far, or if this water becomes contaminated with toxins, this mussel population will be lost. Categorized by the state as a species of special concern, the loss of this population would be one more step toward extinction of the Eastern Pond Mussel. The mussel’s utter reliance on this pond reminds me that every species, every culture is bound to clean, healthy water. Humans are capable of knowing of this dependence and acting on that knowledge. Unfortunately, we often do not; buying all one’s food and even water at the supermarket does make it harder to see the connection. Sometimes at least some of us are aware and attempt to live in ways that conserve or maybe even preserve waterways. This pond complex is protected by local government, as a part of the reservoir system of nearby cities. When people of New Bedford or Taunton turn the tap, the water flows from here. Long before such colonial cities grew, these ponds were important to the survival of generations of the local indigenous people, the Nemasket band of the Wampanoag. Their food and water came from Great Quittacas and her sister ponds; they built weirs to trap fish, dug mussels from the shallows, and arrowed migrating ducks from camouflaged canoes. In pondside encampments, they cooked such foods, raised their children, nursed their elders, made music and danced. Tuspaquin, the Black Sachem of Assawompset, held these lakes and land for his people in the mid-1600s. His wife was Massasoit’s daughter Amie. Yes, the same Massasoit, Great Sachem of the Wampanoag, who aided the hapless immigrants who landed in Plymouth in 1620. Over the next forty years, Massasoit continued to cooperate with the Pilgrims, hoping to keep the peace. After his death, Massasoit’s eldest son was taken captive by the Pilgrims and died. His second son, now Sachem, led a native rebellion in 1675. Metacom, also known as Philip, saw more clearly that the immigrants were really colonists, seeking to take more and more of the native land and freedom. After some early success, King Philip’s War failed in 1676, with Metacom beheaded; Amie’s husband Tuspaquin was also executed by the Pilgrims in that 14
Susan M. Mooney
conflict. Amie lost her husband, at least two siblings, perhaps one son, and certainly many others she loved. She must have felt the threat to her people’s way of being, way of dancing on and with this land. Today, few visitors here imagine Amie’s grief. Most come to the shores of Great Quittacas, Little Quittacas, Pocksha, and Assawompset Ponds with no thought to the human history, despite those Wampanoag place names. Some do find, tucked away on a bluff nearby, the Royal Wampanoag Cemetery. Lydia Squeen, a direct descendent of Massasoit, is buried here. Thoreau visited on October 2nd, 1855; his journal notes details no longer visible on her headstone, such as her death date of 1812 at age seventy-five. Now, the dozen or so graves here are adorned with offerings, including pond mussel shells, reverently placed by present-day Wampanoags. Survivors of the genocide. Native people rediscovering their language, reclaiming their ceremonies and recreating their dances. Moved, I slowly sway and twirl in the graveyard, imagining another story was possible; a story in which the immigrants and the natives co-existed peacefully for more than those first few decades. One in which the immigrants were less greedy, and accepted the natives instead of feared, imprisoned, enslaved and killed them. One in which, perhaps, the natives and the immigrants danced together, or at least alongside each other. Naïve, I know. My hope for the Eastern Pond Mussel may be less naïve. Most of us do not even know they are here, and when we do notice them, we are curious, not afraid. And since this pond is part of a public water supply, the interests of mussel and human align; both need this water to be clean and plentiful. The preservation and management of nearby habitat for other species rather than for human needs lends me even more hope. The meadows of Betty’s Neck, named for a younger Wampanoag woman related by marriage to Amie, are mowed annually to keep reforestation at bay, providing habitat for species that need such open spaces. That mowing happens only after the bobolinks finish nesting in those grasses, even though higher quality hay worth more in the marketplace could have been cut earlier in the summer. Endangered species success stories are also told here: Bald eagles began nesting in 1993, and Plymouth red-bellied turtles have been re-introduced. Perhaps the cultural descendants of those early colonists are learning to live more lightly on the land, leaving space for other species and other human cultures. For now, it seems the Eastern pond mussel will continue to dance here, where Amie’s people are dancing again.
R. S. Pyne
VENTING Consider the teeming life found in shallower waters, Favoured sons and daughters of evolution But what about creatures that call the sulphur havens home? Denizens of the Black Smokers, Lords of the White Chimneys Bacteria thrive in superheated waters. A nutrient oasis in the desert of the depths It is peaceful in the Abyss where all is dark; Total absence of light One rule of existence... Adapt or die has always been the way Peacock worms are the masters at that. Invertebrate philosophers, Tube-living Cynics, Think their ancient thoughts as the marine snow falls They are heedless, unaware. Manâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s quest for gold and manganese It threatens them all. Their apocalypse may come Ragnarok in the name of riches
PASSING THE DALLES The Columbia canyon still startles, down the riverside highway toward home. On the first railcars east from Portland, striving artists had packed their darkrooms, fragile plates and chemicals, to seek the first fantastic images of a new empireâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s cutting edges, a wilderness empty, for all they knew, of native markets and festivals, any extant history but myth. For me the riverâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s power is stored from early exposure to those silvered photographs: terrible rapids and falls I could never have seen since the dam went in, in fifty-seven. Above the pacified waters roadside markers now advise: prebiblical floods cut this gorge no more than a moment ago, no more than a scratch to the earth.
IMAGE EN MIROIR Aix en Provence, France February 2018
As it unfolds, I am sitting on a stone ledge overlooking a fountain. It is March, and for some reason, today has decided to be a little cold. In fact, it is that time of the year when you forget there was a time you could leave the house without a jacket, or without worrying about which socks would cover your ankles the most. The place is Pavillon de Vendôme and the town is Aix-en-Provence. The pavilion follows the typical French park tradition–it is beautiful, and it is structured in grids and pathways framing the fountain centerpiece. The idea, here, is to impose order on nature. It would be simple to describe the water in the fountain and how turquoise it looks, or how it moves in a way that reminds me of the melting glass I saw in a workshop at the Sawdust Festival in Laguna Beach. How the goldfish-like-but-larger fish swim at the bottom, searching for an ocean they will never know. Or maybe they aren’t searching for anything, because this is their only world. They know this fountain and these stone walls. They know the sound of the lawn mower as a far-off entity and maybe to them it is God’s voice. Maybe they know the whites of student’s eyeballs when they peer in. I wonder if they know tranquility, or something else entirely. What about the feeling of a sun bath? Often, I think that it is easy to see experiences rather than take them in. Life can seem like Monet’s series of large Water Lilies paintings at the MoMA in Manhattan. You can stand in the middle and stare at the scene surrounding you. It seems larger than anything you’ve ever seen before. But you are outside, and you are watching. The action goes on, it goes on. It seems so large and, yet, when you walk closer there is even more. Where does one begin? That is life. Of these large Water Lilies paintings, Monet said he wanted to create “the illusion of an endless whole, of water without horizon or bank.” Life is an endless whole, so much of life is an illusion. What intrigues me about the fountain before me is this: water is unruly and unconquerable. But we need it to survive, we try to contain it, and, frankly, we like to look at it because it reminds us that there is beauty in the everyday. I’ve seen a fire hydrant in New Jersey left open and flooding the street. People walked by, walking their dogs, pushing strollers. They let it flow. It was spring, and they were grateful to be outside after so many long moments. At the same time, there was a drought in Southern California. My grandmother lost her flowers to the heat and celebrities paid to install plastic turf lawns. Showers were cut to five minutes and everything became a fire hazard. On the East Coast, my friends’ parents blamed the “Southern Californian hippies” for not 18
addressing the problem sooner. And we had just exited one of the worst winters yet. The snow, hail, and rain seemed to never end. In Aix, there are seemingly bottomless fountains flowing on every street corner. You can even drink from them–another way to reign the unreignable. And yet, even life here stops without the flow of water in the fountain. What of Marcel Pagnol’s Jean de Florette? Where would we be without water? Or better: How to continue controlling what cannot be controlled? In this fountain, the fish swim by, looping in and out of each other. Together and then separate. They remind me of the snakes Patrick banished from Ireland, gliding over each other in a hurry to get somewhere, to get anywhere. Even if it is around the bend. Or they make me think of the fish my sister, Emma, bought as a child. She saved up all of her money to buy a pair of alien-like goldfish–the kind with the really big eyes–at PetCo. And so she did. She picked out two and gave them odd names that matched their appearance: “Org” because it sounds like the word orange, and “Einstein” because she confused having big eyes with having a big brain. These fish lived much longer than either of us ever hoped or expected. Well, now that I think about it, Einstein-or-maybe-Org died within a few weeks but the other Einstein-or-maybe-Org (these fish were identical) lived much much longer. There came to be a time when we couldn’t remember not having Einstein-or-maybe-Org in the house. And then we moved across the country, and he couldn’t come with us. I find it odd that childhood memories can come back in floods now, with the water pouring out of the fountain’s peak, as if connected to a single string. Childhood feels like the faded negatives in the back of life’s photo album. So much has changed since then that I often question if I am still the same girl. My life has been defined in pieces by moving, moving forward, away, even back. The human mind is a memory bank that keeps expanding, and expanding. Most days I think it is full, as if I’ve eaten a really good meal. There isn’t more that can fit and the brain begins to buckle. And then another day comes, another moment, another person, another breath, and suddenly there is a time when I don’t recognize the moment before, and can only see the present moment reflected back. Two American backpackers stare at their reflections in the water. One asks, “Is it miroir image or image miroir?” Actually, it’s neither. The correct translation is image en miroir, or image réfléchie. Image in the mirror, reflected image. The likeness of ourselves refracted in the waves below. What we so often attempt to reign in. Ourselves, our water. Is it instinct or lesson or both? Flowers in boxes, the trees to my right sheared to form shapes. Look at nature in its uniformity. Look at the water sweet enough to fall in. 19
Then I remember the day my father told us we were moving across the country. Another moment that no longer feels like it is me. Sometimes I think of myself along two linear planes. There is the me that never moved to New Jersey and stayed forever in California. There is the me that never knew California and was born in New Jersey. But what I am is something in the middle, one foot on each side of the tracks. We were eating frozen yogurt in one of the many shopping centers so prevalent in Southern California. Funny enough, this was the one with the PetCo in it. I remember my father framed us moving as if it were some great adventure we would tackle together as a family. Us against the world. And then I started to cry and cry and the water wouldn’t stop flowing, not unlike this fountain in Aix. My father was actually taken aback. He knew I would be upset, but not this upset. He didn’t understand why I was so sad, why I wasn’t happy he got a promotion at work. Leaving what I loved, leaving my home for the unknown, that was what scared me most. I haven’t changed. When I look up at the sky, I still get vertigo at the thought of this massive, untamable, thing. And then I move forward.
SWAMP FEMMES First pastor thought lesbians crawl out swamps. Maybe he’s right fat eggs hatched me, gators raised my wife in dogged summer. Funny how Southern femmes flat-iron their hair, cake on powder to stop by the store for a couple of eggs, but throw over an XL tee and flop through the parking lot in sandals. Camouflaged in girlish vapidity, we vanish in produce aisles, don’t hold hands till we’re home because last week a man in a pickup followed two guy friends who kissed in the Kroger parking lot. Birth moms disowned us, so the moon mothers us, stargazing in our home turf, canoe’s crescent trails spilling over water. We sail with Polaris, paddling against the current. Peering at shoreline lily pads gators patrol, we honor snap-jawed fears, that’s how we lived this long. Born bog-eyed, we squint through hanging moss to sail it, skin scaled in bull bream armor. Callouses swallow her fingertips, rub my goosebumps when we make love. On weekends, I pick bones from chicken she’ll barbeque to serve the whole church, Ann and Jimmy and old Miss Su, wasting no eggs or butter, rolling dough for days before they drive up to the cabin we framed with our kneading hands. In the backyard, we shoot a round to practice our bull’s-eyes, and I notice how hot she looks licking her lips before she pulls the trigger of her girly pistol. If Kroger man picks up our scent, we’re ready. I don’t really know if I could kill anyone but if someone’s got to stain this gravel red it won’t be her.
LOCH How she bared her bottom yesterday. I thought I knew the reason till I was told she was the sea: that it was not dry season, but that many lochs were fresh water and fed by springs and rain, while this one was a sea finger which the lowest tide would drain. In the morning it did rain and try to fill the naked bed with waters from the sparkling sky, as opposed to the murky tide; but the rains are like experience, though salty as the tears that well and fall with the advance of ocean flows, or years. And so she sat there glistening at high tide like a sea a mile across and three miles long, beckoning to me: I couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t keep myself from diving in. O she was freezing and spat me out, barely alive, wet, shivering, and wheezing. But by the fire of evening, and drying in its glow, I felt Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d tasted everything that the loch must know.
R. A. Allen
WHALE FALL Scion of Melville's mythic beast plows the mid-Pacific gyre besieged by six-pack rings Styrofoam peanuts assorted petro-detritus mistakes the spectral curtain of a discarded driftnet for a squid. Intestinal blockage finishes what harpoons did not in this banal retelling of Ahab become Starbucks. Tumbling spiraling seventy feet of sixty tons take five days to plummet three thousand fathoms. His harem and calves sense his departure, On the bottom hagfish and other patient harvesters have also heard.
Plastic is the Alien Invasion We Created by Anna Gustafson
Anna Gustafson was conceived in Guatemala to an Italian/Guatemalan mother and Swedish father, born in Sweden and raised in Vancouver, Canada. Gustafson's long view has benefited from being nurtured in a multi-cultural family within an immigrant perspective.
Anna says: â&#x20AC;&#x153;For three years I have been hand-sewing linen shrouds around all the singleuse plastic containers that enter my life. Although used to transport products whose lifespan is fleetingâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;yogurt, olive oil, soapâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;the containers themselves stay with us forever. Not simply collective trash, they are aliens that will long outlive us while threatening our survival. They invade our planet and our bodies: entangling and strangling, poisoning and starving.
This meditative process has shown me that to transition from a culture of rampant consumption, we need to honour each of our possessions at the end of their useful lives with the energy equal to that expended in their creation and acquisition. Previous generations left legacies of artifacts that we revere today. The stuff of their everyday livesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;milk pails, jars, urns, amphora, and basketsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;was made with skill and care. These household objects are preserved, protected, documented, and visited in museums throughout the world.
But since the 1950s, plastic packaging has replaced glass, baskets and pottery. There has been a global shift from reusable, valued containers to single-use disposables. Researchers estimate that we burden our oceans with up to 12 million additional tonnes of plastics every year that will never disappear.
As Hannah Arendt said, "Our past will be for us a burden beneath which we can only collapse for as long as we refuse to understand the present and fight for a better future." How do we convey the weight of our actions and inactions?
I use common objects to explore the intersection between the natural world, technology, and human culture. These investigations are grounded with research in history, science, knowledge accumulation, and communication. My artistic practice combines a spare aesthetic with a sincere use of materials and rigorous methodology to create narratives that resonate with the synergy between idea, material, and technique. I choose to work with a limited palette and a restricted vocabulary of natural materials and found objects.â&#x20AC;?
PLEASE AND THANK YOU Perhaps the battery acid in the tap water will coalesce with the solvents embedded in the atmosphere, and make a gas that talks by swapping individual molecules as a kind of proto-binary. I imagine that zero is please and one is thank you. A pair of little clouds, each with a top hat and a monocle, traversing the volcanic rock that earth was churned to, skipping across the layer of burnt plastic covering the Pacific ocean, gesturing for the other to go first. “Please” and “Thank You.”
â&#x20AC;&#x153;Fazenda das Areiasâ&#x20AC;? by Guilherme Bergamini
Darlene Campos CLEAN WATER Humans can be dirty beings. It might be hard to consider this nowadays that we live in such a modern, technological world. In recent years, we humans have become fanatical about being clean. We bathe every day, sometimes more than once. It’s not unusual to receive fancy soap, bubble bath, or a terrycloth robe as a gift. But there were days when clean water for an evening bath didn’t exist at all. In some parts of the world, clean water still isn’t the norm. I am Ecuadorian. I was born in Houston, Texas, but I was the only member in my family to be born outside of our home country. My birth certificate holds both U.S. and Ecuadorian citizenship. Spanish and English were spoken in our house. We visited Ecuador from time to time to see relatives. Despite the rich natural resources Ecuador has, it remains a third world country. Several services and goods in Ecuador are cheap, but people don’t realize why this is. Last time I was in Ecuador, I went out for dinner with my brother and a family friend. The three of us ordered entrees with drinks and a dessert to share. Our bill came out to a little under five dollars. Everything is cheap in Ecuador because if the prices were any higher, nobody would be able to purchase anything, which would crash the economy. You can buy ten oranges for a dollar or less in an Ecuadorian supermarket, but you might also see a woman digging in her purse for one more coin. To an American tourist, Ecuador is a bargain. To native Ecuadorians, the country remains way too expensive. A third world country is defined as an underdeveloped place with extensive poverty. Many Ecuadorians experience poverty. At one point, I did as well for a short time, but compared to what happens in Ecuador, it wasn’t so bad. After my parents divorced, my mom collected unemployment for a few weeks until she found a job. We didn’t have much to eat and we were worried about the bills to be paid. But the community where we lived at the time did not charge water usage. We were anxious about our electricity being cut and about being hungry. Knowing we would still be able to take hot showers helped us cope. Water, especially clean water, is rare in malnourished neighborhoods. Toilets, even in places of greater economical stages, can take a few minutes to flush because there simply is not enough pressure or water to go with the flow. I can remember visiting a relative’s house in Ecuador as a young girl and having to flush the toilet ten times or more before the water finally pushed through. When flushing ten times didn’t work, I had to squeeze out water from the bathroom sink into a paper cup and toss the water into the toilet tank until it was sufficient for the toilet to work again. Drinking water in Ecuador is another issue. Taking a bath, brushing your teeth, or buying a drink from a food truck all pose great risks. Parasites like to lurk in dirty water. Once a person consumes parasite ridden water, they will become sick with diarrhea and severe stomach pains. 32
Depending how good medical attention is in their area, they may live or die. I didn’t know about the parasites when I visited Ecuador in 2004. My parents went to Ecuador for a two-week vacation and as soon as they came back, they shipped me and my brother, Felipe, over there for ten days. I drank juices from food trucks, ate in restaurants located in rural areas, and bought homemade sodas from local convenience stores. But the parasites either didn’t get to me or I was lucky. I did catch a cold, but Felipe caught the parasites. I watched him quiver in pain and he could hardly walk. His illness rapidly increased in strength and I was certain he would die like many others who acquired parasites in their stomachs. A friend of our father, who was fortunately a doctor, injected Felipe with a medical solution. Whatever the solution was, Felipe’s health went back to normal in two days. According to UNICEF, Ecuador’s water still suffers from contamination. In 1990, 79 percent of homes in urban areas of Ecuador had indoor plumbing. In the same year, 100 percent of homes in the United States had clean, pipe distributed water. Since 1990, indoor plumbing has gone from 79 percent to 91 percent in urban Ecuador. In rural Ecuador, the percentage changed from 37 percent to 72 percent between the years 1990 to 2012. Change is happening, but it’s taking too long. Water supply interruption is common in Ecuador. One evening, you might be taking a soothing, hot shower when the water suddenly becomes cold and then shuts off. When this happens, even native Ecuadorians are unsure when the water will return and when it does, there isn’t a guarantee that the water will be clean. During Hurricane Ike’s presence in Houston in 2008, my mom boiled gallons of tap water to prepare for a water shortage. I asked her why we couldn’t just buy bottled water from the supermarket and she told me all of the water at the store had already been taken. She boiled pot after pot after pot. “Don’t worry about it,” she told me. “Boiling kills the parasites.” Even as a child, my mom boiled water. In her home, there was a large pot strictly reserved for boiling water. Around the same time she found out she was pregnant with me, cholera swept through Ecuador. Over 46,000 Ecuadorians were affected, though many managed to survive. The number of deaths stood at 697. Cholera continued to break out during the 1990s and steadily declined as the Ecuadorian government officials educated their people on sanitation. They advised them to always boil their water. But the real question should have been this: Why didn’t Ecuador have clean water? John Snow, an English doctor, is probably the key reason why we now have clean water in the world. Before modern medicine, the idea that disease could be passed through dirty water was seen as ridiculous. In John Snow’s adult home of London, cholera outbreaks were frequent and claimed the lives of thousands. But until John Snow investigated the outbreaks for himself, 33
medical professionals were adamant cholera was spread by bad air or as they called it – miasma, which means “pollution” in Ancient Greek. John Snow was born in 1813 and died at age 45 in 1858 following a stroke. As a child, John lived in York, England, alongside the River Ouse. Only poor families lived near the river because the neighborhood underwent continuous flooding, resulting in large amounts of mud and other kinds of filth. Like almost any English child, John was baptized at his local church at a young age. Considering the putrid water state during John’s time, this must have been quite a frightening experience. When John was 14, his mind became set on medicine. He worked as an apprentice for the surgeon William Hardcastle. Since Hardcastle lived in a place called Newcastle upon Tyne, John moved away from his family to start his career. During John’s apprenticeship in Newcastle upon Tyne, he witnessed the effects of a cholera epidemic for the first time in his life. The population in Newcastle upon Tyne quickly decreased before John’s eyes. Historians estimate that cholera was responsible for taking the lives of over 140,000 people in Great Britain from 1830 to 1850. At age 18, John Snow worked as a physician treating coal miners who had cholera. While contemporary doctors in John Snow’s time were convinced cholera was a miasmatic disease, John Snow doubted this because no matter how much bad air he breathed in the coal mines, he never caught cholera himself. He came to the conclusion that cholera was not airborne, but waterborne. However, before any other medical professionals would listen to him, he first had to prove his theory. By 1854, John Snow had moved away from Newcastle upon Tyne to practice medicine in London. Cholera ravished Londoners once again, particularly at the intersection of Broad Street and Cambridge Street. John was determined to find the cause of this terrible disease. Cholera is an infection caused by the spread of the vibrio cholerae bacterium which affects the small intestine. Common symptoms of cholera are diarrhea, extreme vomiting, dehydration, and blue or gray skin tones. Without any treatment, these symptoms end with the person’s death. Before John decided to explore cholera, nobody knew their own water supply was the culprit. Cholera is spread by drinking water or eating food with traces of feces. A person affected with cholera produces anywhere from three to five gallons of diarrhea per day and in the time of the 1854 outbreak, there were not many toilets, but there were rivers used as toilets. These toilet rivers were death causing agents. When Londoners were thirsty, they would go to their neighborhood water pump supplied by the river, take a drink, and then either survive or die days later simply because they wanted a beverage. While cholera isn’t as threatening now as it was 150 years ago, it still shows up in third world countries. Cholera continues to kill more than 100,000 people worldwide each year. 34
John Snow’s cholera examination was centered on the notorious Broad Street Pump. He created a map of Broad Street and Cambridge Street and their surrounding neighborhoods. Then he went door to door, asking each household if they had experienced any deaths from cholera in the family. He noticed that the closer people lived to the Broad Street Pump, the more deaths from cholera occurred. But, church officials at the nearby monastery remained unaffected by cholera. In the 19th century, the most common drink was not water – it was beer. These church officials drank only beer which they made themselves. In addition, people residing in the Broad Street neighborhood who often visited the pub were also unaffected by cholera. Beer was safer than water due to the fermentation process. Getting drunk in 19th century London was a better idea than being sober. Though most of my family moved to the United States from Ecuador, their fear of water is still present. For example, I drink from the kitchen sink tap regularly, unbothered by it. My mom does not. No matter how many times I tell her tap water is okay to drink, she refuses. Instead, she purchases many gallons of water from the supermarket and only drinks from those. My grandparents came to Houston in 2001. They haven’t been back to Ecuador ever since. They both refrain from putting ice in their drinks. My grandparents have two refrigerators in their senior living apartment. One refrigerator is solely for keeping food fresh and the other is for their drinks. This refrigerator keeps their drinks cold without using tap water ice. Whenever I visit them, they always offer me juice or soda. Sometimes I prefer water and my grandfather will go to his drink refrigerator and bring me a cold bottle of Ozarka. Neither he nor my grandmother has ever given me a glass of iced tap water. Once John Snow pinpointed the direct source of cholera, he went after the Southwark and Vauxhall Waterworks Company. At the time, the company got its water supply from the River Thames. The River Thames was infested with sewage and completely filled with waterborne bacteria. Four cholera outbreaks around the River Thames sparked from 1832 to 1865. Pollution in the River Thames made the water’s condition even worse. With John Snow’s advocating, the handle of the Broad Street Pump was soon removed. People living on Broad Street and surrounding areas could no longer use the pump as a water source. It was actually a better option for them. Soon after the pump handle was taken away, John Snow made an additional discovery. The Broad Street Pump was built just three feet away from a cesspit. A cesspit is similar to a sewer but unlike a sewer, a cesspit only holds waste temporarily rather than permanently. In the case of the Broad Street Pump, a baby who caught cholera by drinking dirty water had her soiled diapers tossed into the nearby cesspit by her parents. Soon enough, the neighbors on Broad Street were drinking water coated with baby feces. As London’s population 35
grew larger, many homes were built right above cesspits. By the time the 1854 Cholera Outbreak arose, London was home to more than two hundred thousand cesspits. Cesspits were very expensive to clean out. The poor emptied their waste out onto the public waterways. However, people with cesspits in their homes preferred to throw their bodily waste and trash into the River Thames so that their cesspit wouldn’t fill up so quickly. These people may have been able to afford cleaning out their cesspit, but they didn’t want to and they didn’t see the need to either. It was the 19th century way of procrastinating taking out the trash. After John Snow’s findings, London’s water supply continued going downhill. Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband, died from typhoid, another waterborne illness. Pollution in the River Thames worsened. The pollution got to be so bad, the time period was given the name “The Great Stink of 1858.” The House of Commons on Westminster was soon ditched for a different location, far away from the foul-smelling River Thames. Though the City of London slowly began taking precautions to improve the water supply, no government official ever came forward and said John Snow was right all along. The theory that water with traces of feces could be the cause of many deaths still seemed foolish to the government and the general public. However, John Snow never died from cholera. He drank alcohol and when he wanted some water, he boiled it. Reverend Henry Whitehead, a clergyman for St. Luke’s Church, was John Snow’s detective partner in the cholera mystery. When the Broad Street Pump’s handle was removed, Reverend Whitehead began recording the number of cholera deaths. There were 142 deaths on September 1, 1854. On September 7th, John Snow publicly gave his theory of cholera’s waterborne characteristic. The Broad Street Pump’s handle was removed on September 8 th and on that same day, Reverend Whitehead recorded 14 deaths. As the days passed, the number of deaths became a single digit. After a few weeks, nobody on Broad Street died from cholera. John Snow’s ideas were rejected by medical professionals, but decades after his death, he was given credit for saving what was left of the population on Broad Street. Today, Broad Street is called Broadwick Street. A replica of the original Broad Street Pump was put in place in 1992, more than 130 years after John Snow’s discoveries. A pub named after John Snow sits behind the replica pump. People who visit the pub have a glass of beer in his honor. Like anyone without direct access to clean water, John Snow understood poverty too well. He knew from a young age that he wanted to be a doctor, but during his childhood, there were only two universities offering medical degrees – Oxford and Cambridge. His father was a laborer in a coal mine and there was no way he could send the young John to college. Since going to a university meant money, John Snow had to choose the apprentice option. He 36
served as an apprentice for nine years. He probably didn’t know how much he would change the world in his later life. John Snow knew what it was like to live without clean water. He knew the effects of drinking dirty water. But I wonder what exactly made John Snow’s determination flourish within him. My dad has been a practicing doctor for almost 40 years. Just like John Snow, his parents were blue collar workers and there was no way they could send him to a good university. My dad grew up in southern Guayaquil, the poorest section of the whole city. His water supply was rarely clean. Bath time consisted of getting water from a well and then praying for mercy. As my dad grew up, he began taking odd jobs to earn some money for his family. One day, he had to take a bus to central Guayaquil, an area where people of high social status live. His job for the day was to mow the lawn of a house five times the size of his own. He started the mower and slowly made his way around the grass. When he was halfway done, he turned off the mower and left without collecting any money since he didn’t finish his assignment. I asked him about this incident and he said he felt that if he had kept mowing, he would be doing it for the rest of his life. He didn’t want to be a mower. He wanted to be a doctor. And he became one, with several obstacles. There came a point when he had to take his exit exam and the study book was too expensive for him to buy. So, he went to the bookstore at his university, stole it, and passed his exam. He was never caught. “I was sick of living with dirty water,” he told me years ago. “I couldn’t do it anymore. I wanted to have clean water like those rich people who hired me to mow their lawn.” Hurricane Ike hit the Texas Coast when I was 16 years old. Galveston flooded extensively. The water was so high it reached above the seawall and rose over the 1900 Storm Monument. This monument consists of a man holding his wife and child close to his chest. The man’s arm reaches up towards the sky, as if he’s looking up to a higher being to take him and his family to safety. The 1900 Storm hit Galveston on September 8, 1900. Its winds travelled forward at 140 miles per hour, making it a category 4 hurricane. Back in 1900, there was no seawall to block incoming water disasters. Because of this, the 1900 Storm easily took over Galveston. Historians don’t know exactly how many people died. The estimate hovers between 6,000 to 8,000. At the time, Galveston was a low island. The highest point in Galveston in 1900 was a little under nine feet tall. The storm surge, however, stood at nearly 16 feet. There was no escape from the water. Even though there was water surrounding the island, it was not clean. Until relief employees arrived from Houston, most Galvestonians lived without potable water for about a week. The monument of the man, woman, and child huddled together was probably based on a true sight. Just hours before Hurricane Ike made its way to Houston, I watched a 37
journalist on the news, giving updates of the disaster. As he spoke into the camera, waves of brown water splashed around the 1900 Storm Monument behind him. Houston lies about 60 miles away from Galveston’s coast. When Hurricane Ike came, I admit I was not too worried about it. Hurricane Rita seemed scarier because it came to Houston right after Hurricane Katrina ravished New Orleans. I evacuated, like the majority of Houstonians. Those who stayed behind said there was some rain, but it was over quickly. Since I thought Hurricane Ike would be the same, I did not budge from my home and my parents, who were now divorced and lived in different houses, did not panic either. The night Hurricane Ike was due, my mom boiled water for hours on end. When Hurricane Ike approached, our power immediately went out. It would not return for exactly two weeks. We also lost our gas line, which meant we lost heat as well. My mom couldn’t use the gas stove to boil water. We could take showers, but it was with cold, strange smelling water. Fortunately, high school was back in session for me three days later. I remember drinking fresh, cool water from the fountain near the main entrance. Decades after John Snow promoted clean water, the public finally came to an agreement with him. Government officials and everyday people alike wanted to have easy access to clean water, but they were not sure on how to do it. Many years before people figured out how to purify water for human consumption, something else had to be done first – the sewage system. Prior to the usage of the modern sewage system, waste was thrown outside into the streets or the rivers and lakes. During John Snow’s time period, it was common to smell your neighbor’s feces as you walked out of your house to start your day. Chicago, like all major cities in the 19th century, frequently reeked of human feces and urine. The population of Chicago was progressively rising, meaning more human waste piled high around the city. Similar to London, Chicago rested right at water level, so water and feces quickly mixed together. Thousands of Chicagoans were plagued by cholera, typhoid, and dysentery from 1849 to 1855. This is when the engineer Ellis S. Chesbrough took action. Chesbrough had done work for Boston’s water system, so the City of Chicago trusted him to fix their waterborne illness problems. Once Chesbrough was appointed to work on Chicago’s sewer system, he began his mission by installing covers over manholes in order to keep dirty water from reaching the streets. Slowly, Chesbrough and his workers rose Chicago up by use of jacks. Eventually, Chicago was no longer equal to sea level and this allowed for a proper and clean drainage system underneath the city. But since the sewer system was a new innovation, it was not perfect. While it functioned effectively in the beginning, Chicagoans began to experience new bad odors – fish. The drainage system in Chicago leaked out into the Chicago River and Lake Michigan. The route of 38
the sewer was not appropriately connected which led thousands of dead fish into the bathtubs of Chicagoans. Now, it was common for a Chicagoan to see his or her bathtub transformed into an unpleasant smelling aquarium. My mom was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador, but she spent some of her childhood years outside of the city. She lived in New York City for a few years and moved back to Ecuador when she was a teenager. But she didn’t return to Guayaquil. My grandfather was a dentist and he opened an office in a small city called Playas, about an hour away from Guayaquil, because it was cheaper to set up a business and home there. The word Playas translates to “Beaches” in English, appropriate for its position beside a long, sandy coast. Contrary to Guayaquil, Playas is rural. Most of the city consists of dirt roads, tin shacks, farmers, and loose animals, predominately chickens. There are some slightly urban areas, which is where my mom lived. Those who resided in these particular areas did not dare to drink from Playas’ water supply. Running water inside homes in Playas was rare. My mom had it in her house, but some of her friends did not, and even so, the quality and pressure of the water was poor. She recalls watching her friends carry buckets of brown water from the beach all the way home. Once they reached their houses, her friends used the water to wash their clothes and dishes. She told me this water didn’t help at all. If anything, it made the clothes and dishes much dirtier than before. My grandparents prohibited use of the local water in their home. Every few days, water trucks from Guayaquil called “tanqueros” arrived in Playas to sell purified water to the residents. My grandparents bought water from the tanqueros every time they came. Whenever they bathed, got thirsty, did laundry, or washed their dishes, it was with fresh, safe, Guayaquil water. If they ran low on water, they boiled what they had already used from the tanqueros. My mom never drank Playas’ water. The last time I visited Playas was fourteen years ago. I stayed in my mom’s old house which had been run down ever since my grandparents left it after they moved to the United States. The water quality was the same. No matter how far I turned the shower knob for hot water, it was always tepid. The pressure was weak, too. It took me nearly an hour to shower because I had to constantly cup my hands to catch what I could of the falling water. The neighbor, whose name was Juan, lived in a dilapidated shack with his wife and children. He didn’t have running water at all. I often saw him dragging buckets of putrid sea water to his shack. Yet, somehow, when the water suddenly started leaking at my mom’s old house, he came to the rescue. When he wasn’t dragging buckets, Juan worked as a plumber. He took a close look at the pipes and stopped the leak in a few minutes. “Nothing I have not seen before,” he said. “Water can be a pain sometimes.” 39
During my stay in Playas, I visited a pastor named Valdez. Valdez was a friend of my father. He preached at a small church in the rural part of the city. One evening, he invited me over to his house which stood across the street from his church. His house was actually a shack made from crooked wood and tin. It was composed of a single room with a dirt floor, hammocks as chairs, an old, metal television, and a Gateway computer in the center. His bathroom was in the corner of the shack, a large bowl, where he and his wife and their four children did their business and then threw the waste outside. They took baths with water from the sea. It was 2004 when I visited him. It was 2004 and Valdez had a computer, mysteriously hooked up somewhere in his shack, but he didn’t have running water. Four years after John Snow cracked the case of the 1854 Cholera Outbreak in London, John L. Leal was born in the small town of Andes, New York. John Leal’s father, John R. Leal, worked as physician and treated wounded soldiers during the Civil War. John R. Leal, like the majority of people in the 19th century, got thirsty from his hard work and drank polluted water. As a result, he was diagnosed with dysentery and he died from it. Being thirsty in the 19 th century was deadly. John Leal followed in his father’s footsteps and went to Columbia College for a degree in medicine. Once he graduated, John Leal became a physician in Paterson, New Jersey. He was responsible for the opening of the first outpatient clinic at Paterson General Hospital and a few years later, the City of Paterson named him their official Health Inspector and Officer. John Leal was especially interested in Paterson’s water supply. When typhoid fever took over Paterson, John Leal determined contaminated water was the offender. He spent most of his time thinking of ways to clean Paterson’s water. He wanted to prevent the population from dying off. He wanted to find out exactly why dirty water murdered his father. As John Leal further studied Paterson’s water, he became convinced that chlorine lime could likely kill lurking bacteria in the water supply. He had already been thoroughly utilizing chlorine lime to sterilize regions where cases of scarlet fever and diphtheria were reported. In addition, John Leal heard of other doctors hypothesizing about chlorine lime’s potential benefit for contaminated water. As Health Inspector and Officer, John Leal was responsible for the safety of more than seven billion gallons of Paterson’s water. In 1908, when John Leal was absolutely positive chlorine lime would clean Paterson’s water, he secretly began dripping chlorine lime into the water supply. His actions were soon discovered, and he was called into court, accused of trying to poison Paterson with his lethal water. When asked by the judge if he really thought water with chlorine was safe to drink, John Leal confidently answered “I believe it is the safest water in the world.” 40
Luckily, for his own reputation, John Leal proved his theory correct. By 1910, chlorine was officially approved for cleaning water meant for human intake. Eight years later, 33 million Americans were able to enjoy a glass of water without wondering if they would die. Typhoid, cholera, and dysentery in the United States were nearly nonexistent as the 20 th century moved along. In 1900, typhoid affected 100 out of every 100,000 people. Twenty years later, only 34 out of every 100,000 contracted typhoid. Currently, it is extremely rare to die from typhoid, cholera, and dysentery in the United States. John Snow might not have been able to figure out how to kill bacteria in large bodies of water, but his curiosity served as a starting point for those who came after him, including John Leal. Chlorine is ultimately what makes our water drinkable. Before John Snow and John Leal, public water was discolored and smelled quite unpleasant. With chlorine, we can now successfully clean any type of water for safe usage. Prime examples of this are the swimming pool and the water park. In the era of our ancestors, the idea of going for a swim or building a water park would have been asinine. Presently, swimming in a pool and visiting a water park during the hot summer months is a common pastime. When I was five years old, I visited Ecuador with my family for vacation. We got together with relatives, as usual, and then before I knew it, we were all at a huge water park. The park seemed to have an endless supply of slides, whirlpools, and spray fountains. I remember being scared of the thick waves around me. I did not know how to swim either, so I kept thinking I would drown. My mom held me close to her body. She assured me water couldn’t hurt me if I was brave enough to stand up against it. Within an hour or so, I was able to go down a small slide on my own and my mom caught me when I reached the bottom. There’s an account of me as a toddler, which I don’t personally remember. My mom used to be an avid swimmer. She went swimming at our neighborhood pool almost every day before I was born. After I arrived in the family, she would sometimes take me with her and hold me on her back as she maneuvered through the water. But one day, being the toddler I was, I threw myself into the pool when she had her back turned for a second. My brother Felipe went swimming with us that day and he dived deep into the pool and pulled me out before I drowned. I finally learned how to swim for myself during elementary school, but before then, there was always someone to protect me from being taken away by water. I have not visited Ecuador in several years. This does not mean I prefer not to at all. Airline tickets to Guayaquil have risen by 200 percent in the last few years and the flight routes have changed from five hours to sixteen hours due to more stops. One day in the future, I would like to visit with David, my fiancé, at my side. I have told him about the poverty issues of 41
Ecuador and about the water sanitation problem the country faces every day. If I do go there with him, I will not let him drink the water. Physically, I am much smaller than him, but I plan to be on the other end of the dirty water slide, should he go down it someday, to catch him. Water is the most abundant resource in the world, yet it can be deadly to humans if it is not accurately cleaned out. Doctors John Snow and John Leal were pioneers for our clean water lives. One day, I believe my home country will be clean from filthy water. One day, the spirits of John Snow and John Leal will stand at the other end of the water sanitation slide and they will catch Ecuadorians from falling into the dirty water.
THE STORM Lying in my bed at night wind rattling the windows because they donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t quite fit because the house has settled on a slope in a funky tilt the rain water rushes away pouring into a neighborhood that settled around my house and a city that settled around us all as victors take the spoils predicting the patterns that may or may not happen making runs on the grocery store with radar driven chatter and fear-based decision making choices that arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t choices the weather is the weather que sera sera, Doris Day and the Great Spirit must have a wicked sense of humor But in my cozy bed, I picture the homeless by the underpass soaked, alone, and shivering shaking houses on the coastline water seeping through the door flood insurance at the ceiling until there is no higher ground taking out a generation thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s drowning in delay running out of cards to deal
Lights flicker for a moment signaling my sump pump somewhere across the Ocean there are vast empty plains and the rain never falls and the crops no longer grow and children cry of thirst and parents cry for helplessness and I think about the future and the storm seems very small
SAVING OURSELVES Puerto Rico still has no power and it is the 38th day of whatever.
it is needed but not had. The human chain is broken.
Maria has turned towards Europe and still erupts as a cat one again.
More sadness: milling about the ports are soldiers, sailors, emergency links waiting for the order to join up, to do good, to do more.
The debris line stretches from Barbados to Rockport, the length of a life time of vacationing. People with air conditioning are waking to the threat of unrelenting heat and humidity. In 1900, the storm that swamped Galveston brought suicides and insanity in the months that followed, with the tides of flies and mosquitoes. Vermin, demons, madness, all controlled by power, cool fans, supply chains: the bucket brigade of relief and aid. Here, on this tiny island, the rescue has been dashed right inside the docks, wrecked upon the concrete aprons and parking lots, waiting for something as simple as drivers to haul it all the places
Instead we have words and blame and prayers for help carefully calculated for the exact value of a verbal response.
There will come a time, soon, if these times are anything to judge by, when our ability to help will be hindered by our failure to have practiced in moments like this. And it might be exactly us that breaks off, sinks to the bottom, severed, by that missing link, that reflex, to join up.
Ellen Woods MONTEREY AQUARIUM for my daughter i. iii once we were of the sea birthed in water
jellies 98% water humans 72% what have we lost?
transformation: our gills found our breath amphibian reptile mammal ii. custody schedule every other long weekend we drive south 101 to 156 Monterey enter massive doors to the dark walls of lighted tanks swarms of jellyfish contract pulsate wave their tentacles umbrella bell bodies moon jellies never leave their tribe millions of years luminescent emitting the light
MORNING AT THE BEACH His tiny hands dig in the sand and I wince as his fingers unearth everything from concreted cat shit to thin bones with greasy feathers still attached but theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re all treasures to him, he shows them all to me and I nod in appreciation at every single one. The waves come in and sweep his findings off into the ocean, the pile of chewed-up crab claws and fish bones the cloudy bulbs of kelp fruit and half-dissolved plastic bags. He cries for me to run out into the waves, after the detritus I make a big show of stepping into the cold water, pretend to look, shake my head at his loss.
WHAT THE GLACIER SAID TO DARWIN CONCERNING THE FUEGIANS
Why displume a man besmeared red, quilled, singing his bones hollow? Squat on a rock he refutes Kant, praises dead seal and limpet, sings my thunder: calve crack fracture of my birth. I avalanche very noisily, mountains slide down, descend to whale breath. My cyano-belly incubates swarms of blood krill, feeding gentoo & albatross. Not resistant to wind, body fissured & eroded, I dissolve into the unfrozen. Darwin, does this human bray like mated penguins? Can you hear the ululation for the world soon to cease, his song not part of theory, not written in journals, or stored in boxes: skins, fossils, plants, unwritten epistle to mother pressed into the hold? Charles, use the Linnaean system to identify this man-bird lost in Patagonian peaks? Darwin, rejoice! A naked Fuegian sings his noisy song, chants the wild collapse.
M. S. Lynch
On the phone, three zoned hours spanned out like planets that make love to the same sun but never meet you say, this distance lies between us like a country in ruins. I blurt, the Colorado River no longer reaches the sea, because at that moment I canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think of anything to top a toppled country like the death of a river.
MANATEE I was floating with my sister and momma in Marianas Trench. The water was black, and my eyes were drenched in manatee blood. This was our family vacation in greyed skin. My nails began to fall off like sequins and impaled the creatures yet to be discovered. I could only swim backwards, and then I realized how helpful it is to be a flounder, with eyes. I got caught up in the dark and lost it. Lost it.
Mary K O’Melveny SLIPPING BELOW THE SURFACE My brother- in-law drowned looking for bluefish. His mother said drowning was a death preferred by Kings. Looking around her living room, weeping submerging us all, royalty felt distant. We all wanted to be transported skyward, shouting questions to the gods about decisions beyond our ken. Aegaeon, god of violent storms, seemed suited to our quest yet he lay quiet as our tears kept on. Ceto and Cymopoleia, goddesses of waves and torrents, could well have spoken up but they too stayed still, unable to explain our loss or give comfort to the keening widow. As for watery graves, perhaps there are more regal moments than we were privy to that sad summer afternoon. But one doubts it can be so. Sadness reigns even in celestial palaces. My friend of many years died in a rip tide, forever altering my view of ocean vistas, white sand beachfronts and vacation getaways. Once again, meaning eluded survivors huddled together on dry land. No royals showed up to ponder the peacefulness of the demise as the bereft gasped for air, flailed their arms, helpless against fate’s currents. Each day now, from temporary survival’s relative safety, our newspapers spill out statistics of failed optimism, escapes from sorrows greater than we have known –
children fight for breath as sarin gases fill their lungs, homes sink into rubble, families swallowed by whirlpools of war, vanish in smoke at markets and schoolyards. Escapees drown in multiples of multiples. Yellow life rafts capsize on turquoise seas, tattered orange life vests and scraps of colored flags fan out like crown jewels over frigid dark waters.
â&#x20AC;&#x153;Waters of Immigrationâ&#x20AC;? by Mary Matthews
CONTRIBUTORS Matt Alberswerth Matt Alberswerth is a graduate of the Warren Wilson MFA for Writers. He lives in his hometown of Washington DC. His work has appeared in Pelorus Press.
R. A. Allen—poets.nyq.org/poet/raallen R. A. Allen's poetry has appeared in RHINO, Night Train, The Matador Review, Amuse-Bouche, The Penn Review, Gravel, Amaryllis, and elsewhere. His fiction has been published in The Literary Review, The Barcelona Review, PANK, The Los Angeles Review, and Best American Mystery Stories. He has one Pushcart nomination for poetry and one Best of the Web nomination for fiction. He lives in Memphis, where he waits for that other shoe.
Guilherme Bergamini—guilhermebergamini.com @guilherme.bergamini Guilherme Bergamini is 39 years old and was born in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Guilherme graduated with a degree in journalism and has been working with photography for 22 years. Through this art, Bergamini intends to express his experiences, worldview and anxieties. He has been passionate about photography since childhood and is enthusiastic and curious about new contemporary possibilities that this technique allows. Persistent and critical, he uses photography as a way to express political and social criticism. Awarded in national competitions and festivals, he took part in group and solo exhibitions in Brazil, Portugal, Spain, Greece, France, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Lithuania, Turkey, Venezuela, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Ecuador, Colombia, Uruguay, the United States and India. Guilherme has had his work published in several Brazilian and foreign press vehicles.
Darlene Campos—darlenepcampos.com Darlene P. Campos earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Texas at El Paso. She is from Guayaquil, Ecuador but she currently lives in Houston, Texas with an adorable pet rabbit named Jake.
Holly Day Holly Day’s poetry has recently appeared in Big Muddy, The Cape Rock, New Ohio Review, and Gargoyle. Her newest poetry collections include A Perfect Day for Semaphore (Finishing Line Press), I'm in a Place Where Reason Went Missing (Main Street Rag Publishing Co.), Where We Went Wrong (Clare Songbirds Publishing), and The Yellow Dot of a Daisy (Alien Buddha Press).
Hannah Dressel Born and raised in Maryland, she currently works in Baltimore City as a Dietetic Research Technician. Though she didn't choose art as a career, it has always been a huge part of her identity. If she’s not working on a new piece, something is seriously wrong. Only recently has she decided that she should actually try to publish her work. She works primarily with oils, pencil, and watercolors. Sometimes she is brave enough to work with charcoal.
Manda Frederick Manda Frederick holds an MFA in creative writing from the Inland Northwest Center for Writers and an MA in literary theory from Western Washington University. She currently serves as the Managing Editor for a educational bookpublishing company in the tech industry and resides in Philadelphia, PA. The poems draw from her experiences growing up in her native Michigan, where the presence of the lakes affects all people to various degrees.
Anna Gustafson—anna-gustafson.com Anna Gustafson was conceived in Guatemala to an Italian/Guatemalan mother and Swedish father, born in Sweden and raised in Vancouver, Canada. Gustafson's long view has benefited from being nurtured in a multi-cultural family within an immigrant perspective. An important premise of her work is that we best remember information and events through our senses and associated emotions. As Anna’s practice has a strong sensory component, her work encourages each viewer to develop emotional responses and absorb the information presented. An honours graduate of Vancouver School of Art - now Emily Carr, Anna has shown in public galleries since 1974. 53
Doug Hoekstra—doughoekstra.wordpress.com Doug is a Chicago-bred, Nashville-based writer. In a previous life, he was a singersongwriter troubadour who released seven albums of original material on labels in Europe and America. His first book, Bothering the Coffee Drinkers, appeared on the Canopic Publishing (TN) imprint in April 2006 and earned an Independent Publisher Award (IPPY) for Best Short Fiction (Bronze Medal). Several of the selections in the book appeared in other publications, and one story, “The Blarney Stone,” was nominated for a 2006 Pushcart Prize. Other stories and poems of his have appeared in numerous online and print literary journals and a second book of prose, The Tenth Inning, was released independently in 2015.
Mark Jensen Mark is an attorney and writer living in Brookline, Massachusetts. His included poem was inspired by return visits to his famously rainy hometown of Portland, Oregon in his mid-fifties.
Mark Kessinger Mark Kessinger was born in Huntington, WV, attended college at Cleveland state, lived in Oklahoma City and now resides in Houston, TX. Mark is the author of The Exploded View and The Book of Joe, both published by Cleveland State Press. Mark is also a contributor to From Both Sides Now, edited by Phillip Mahony, and Inheritance of Light, edited by Ray Gonzalez.
Amy Lauren—amylaurenwrites.com @amylaurenwrites A graduate of Mississippi College, Amy Lauren authored Prodigal (Bottlecap Press, 2017) and God With Us (Headmistress Press, 2017). Her poetry appears in Sinister Wisdom, Cordite Poetry Review, New Orleans Review, and elsewhere.
M. S. Lynch—@Biotink M.S. Lynch lives and writes in the old mill town of Roswell, Georgia on the Chattahoochee River, where she escapes into the forest as much as the world will allow. She is an educator, partner, mother, and chef-wannabe with a penchant for music, art, photography and nature. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing/Poetry from Lesley University and her work has been published in Memoryhouse Magazine, The Iron Horse Literary Review, Lunch Ticket, Postcard Poems and Prose, the anthology Nuclear Impact: Broken Atoms in Our Hands, and elsewhere.
Mary Matthews Mary Matthews is an illustrator and photographer living in Portland, OR. She travels the country documenting the U.S. labor movement and a lot of her drawing inspiration comes from those experiences on the road, current events, pop culture and politics.
Kelsey McGee Kelsey is a Junior English Major at Boston College with a concentration in Creative Writing, who just returned from studying abroad in Aix-en-Provence, France. She was born in Long Beach, CA but now live in New Jersey. Her past work been published in Stylus, The Laughing Medusa, and Pivot Literature.
Mark McKain—@mamckain Mark’s work has appeared in The New Republic, Agni, The Journal, Subtropics, Blue Mesa Review, Superstition Review, and elsewhere. His poetry chapbook Blue Sun was published by Aldrich Press in 2015. He teaches screenwriting and creative writing in Orlando, Florida. His poems take their inspiration from writing expeditions to Antarctica, Arizona, Virginia and memories of Louisiana.
Susan Mooney In her professional and personal life, Susan spends much time exploring the relationship between human beings and the rest of the beings on this planet. This has led her from biology (BS & MS) to philosophy (PhD), and into sociology and social psychology. This interest leads her into the fields, forests, and wetlands most days for her own solace and for stories with which to reach others. As a professor, she helps young people think about this same complex relationship, teaching courses like environmental science, environmental ethics, ecofeminism, nature writing, and climate change.
James Nicola—sites.google.com/site/jamesbnicola James B. Nicola's poems have appeared stateside in the Antioch, Southwest, and Atlanta Reviews; Rattle; Tar River; and Poetry East. A Yale graduate, he won a Dana Literary Award, two Willow Review awards, a People's Choice award (from Storyteller), and four Pushcart nominations—from Shot Glass Journal, Parody, and twice from Trinacria—for which he feels both stunned and grateful. His nonfiction book Playing the Audience won a Choice award. His poetry collections are Manhattan Plaza (2014), Stage to Page: Poems from the Theater (2016), Wind in the Cave (2017), and Out of Nothing: Poems of Art and Artists (2018).
Mary K O'Melveny Mary is a recently retired labor rights lawyer and "emerging" poet living in Washington, DC and Woodstock, NY. Her poetry has appeared in various print and online journals and blog sites. The current unstable state of our world is one of the topics that she writes about. Her first poetry chapbook, "A Woman of a Certain Age," was published by Finishing Line Press in September 2018.
R. S. Pyne A freelance writer/researcher and mental health first-aider, their background is in Marine Science (BSc Geological Oceanography from Bangor University, MSc and PhD Micropalaeontology from Aberystwyth University). They live in rural West Wales but have always been fascinated by the complex communities that live in the super-heated waters of the deep sea centered around hydrothermal vent systems the black or white smokers. 56
Nicole Scott—nicolescottpoetry.com @nicolescottwv Nicole Scott is a West Virginia native and graduate of Marshall University with BAs in Creative Writing and Classical Studies. She is currently pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing at Lindenwood University. Her poetic work is forthcoming in Mud Season Review and Kaaterskill Basin. She has also been published in The MockingHeart Review, Water Soup, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Four Ties Lit Review, and elsewhere.
Katrina Slavik—katrinaslavik.com @katrina_slavik Originally from Cincinnati, OH, Katrina currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She has a BFA in Painting from the Maryland Institute College of Art. She has also studied art at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem. Recent exhibitions include "30 Under 30," curated by Whitney curator Chrissy Iles, Viridian Artists, NY, NY; “artBangall,” Bangall, NY; The 83rd Juried Art Exhibition, Cooperstown Art Association, Cooperstown, NY; "The Earth Speaks," curated by Raymond Barnes, ARTSPACE Gallery, Stroudsburg, PA; and "City Lights," a three person exhibition organized and curated by Katrina at the Brooklyn Summer Wildlife Festival, Brooklyn, NY. Katrina is highlighted in Issue 12 of the publication Lunch Ticket, published through Antioch University, Los Angeles, CA. Katrina has curated shows at Field Projects Gallery, alternative spaces, and art fairs. She has exhibited her paintings and installations in New York, Baltimore, and Jerusalem.
Ellen Woods Ellen is memoirist and poet. She is the author of Warriors in Transition: A Memoir in Twenty-Eight Stories published in 2014, with individual pieces previously published in numerous journals, including Inquiring Mind and About Place Journal. She has been studying and writing poetry for three years and "Monterey Aquarium" came into being after reminiscing with her grown daughter about their day trips to Monterey when she was young. Her poetry appears in Street Spirit and Marin Poetry Center's 2018 Anthology, to be published in Fall 2018.