Kaaterskill Basin Literary Journal Issue 1.2 | Spring 2016
Kaaterskill Basin Literary Journal Editor-in-Chief Dana Mele Fiction Editor Chelsea Shea Ennon Poetry Editor Bill Clough III Fine Art Editor Melina McGrew Associate Editors Michelle Orabona Kelsey Batten Clough Elizabeth Jaye Dane Slutzky Monica Foote
Issue 1.2 | Spring 2016
Editor's Note Short Fiction Ser Anderson We Belong to the Sky 3 Barbara Black The Collector 14 Karen Bayly Life as an Albatross 20 Alexander Clark Panvermiphobia 39 A. Riding Plucking Petals 47 Lesley Bannatyne Waiting for Ivy 50 Diana Hurlburt Take the Veil 63 Rebecca Harrison The Cuckoo Thief 65 Gabriel Congdon Bee 72
Hugh Anderson 10, 11, 12 James Croal Jackson 17 Megan Merchant 19 Jade Ramsey 35 Gilberto Galvez 36 Joseph Rupprecht 42 Daniel Moore 46 Gregory Crosby 49 Kristin Camitta Zimet 75 Denzel Scott 69 Erin McIntosh 77 Paris Norris 76
Fine Art Will Lytle cover art, 2 Toti O'Brien 13, 62
Maria Picone 34 Madison Creech 43 L. Lamassu 71
Editor's Note Greetings. For our second issue, we chose the theme "winged things." We sought stories of angels and owls, poems of dragons and butterflies, paintings of ravens and mosquitoes. We envisioned sketches of faeries and fireflies, sculptures of pterodactyls and peacocks, lithographs of phoenixes and flying monkeys. We were not disappointed. In fact, we were so inundated with poetry we loved that we had to close the submission period early. As a result, our second issue is nearly as long as our inaugural double issue. This issue features misanthropic angels, weeping ban sidhe, sinister moth collectors, and more. From this point going forward we will feature a new writer or artist in every issue-- a promising newcomer who has never before been published. One of our priorities as a publication is to introduce new voices. Our first featured debut is the poem The Red-Winged Bird by Paris Norris. We also have a few changes in store. Book reviews and arts and culture will be located on the website in the future and we will be adding additional columns. Don't be a stranger. Enjoy the issue, and don't fly to close to the sun-- or if you do, make sure you have a backup plan. Dana Mele Editor-in-Chief April 8, 2016
Winged Things by Will Lytle
We Belong to the Sky
Anil knew the moment she first set eyes on them. Midsummer and the air smelled like tomato vines. She was crouched next to her mother, a smaller copy of the short, dark haired woman, toes wiggling into the dark earth, arms wrapped around her knees, paying more attention to the orange cat on the garden wall than to her mother’s explanation of how to thin carrots. The dark shadow that swooped over them drew her eyes upwards. “Look, Ma,” she pointed. Together they watched the two men on their huge white swan wings circle lower and lower until they disappeared behind the neighbor’s house. That was supposed to be her. Anil held her arms out to her sides as if she were soaring, but arms were all she had. Anil’s brow furrowed. “Where are my wings?” she asked. Her mother looked over at her and smiled. “We’re human. We don’t have wings.” “I do.”
“Where? Where are your wings, sweetheart?” “That’s what I was asking you!” Her mother blinked and rubbed a hand across her face, leaving a streak of dirt on her forehead. “We’re human. We don’t have wings. Maybe you want wings, but you don’t have them. That would be impossible.” She resumed pulling tiny wisps of carrot leaves out of the dirt. Anil didn’t say anything more, but she knew her mother was wrong. She got to her feet and wandered over to the garden wall. The cat had slipped away while she was looking upwards. She lifted herself up onto the wall and stood up, reaching for the sky and turning in a slow circle. “Wings, wings, wings, wings. Where are you, my wings?” she whispered. # The wings on Kesia’s back shifted, as if in response to some far off call that she could not hear. They were always doing that, part of the reason she knew the wings did not belong to her. She reached for the smooth red rock of the cave wall, another point of contact, and stared down at the brown ribbon of water snaking across the broad bottom of the canyon. She would give anything to be down there, feet dangling in the muddy water, instead of up here. She had stood here at the mouth of the cave every day for two years and she never wanted anything other than to be down there or to back away from the precipice. “You can fly, your wings know, you have nothing to be afraid of,” her mother recited from the center of the cave mouth, impatient rather than reassuring. She tried to imagined leaping from the cave mouth the way 4
her brother had done, the way her mother wanted her to, but all she could see was herself, wingless, reaching for the ground and falling. She swallowed hard. Her mother pulled Kesia away from the cave wall by the arm and tilted her chin back so she was forced to look up at the top of the far wall of the canyon and the blue skies above it. “We belong to the sky. It is long-past time you realized that,” her mother said. “The sky is reaching for you. All you have to do is look up and reach back.” A thin fingered, cool hand came to rest between her shoulder blades. “Look up!” her mother hissed. And then she shoved Kesia with all her strength. Kesia screamed as the red canyon walls streamed by her and the winding river grew larger and larger. She reached for the canyon wall, but it was too far away. There was nothing for her fingers to grasp hold of. It was exactly what she had just imagined. Except the white wings she bore on her back snapped open and caught the air she was plummeting through. There was a moment they would have borne her upwards, but her gaze never left the ground and her will to put feet back down on something solid was more powerful than the instinct to fly. She swooped in a controlled spiral in vast circles between the canyon walls, her breath shallow, heart pounding, until her feet hit the earth and she stumbled, dropped to her knees and let herself pitch forward, arms and wings outspread so she came to a rest whole body flat against the sand. It was then that she began to cry. The wings folded themselves onto her back and Kesia wished desperately that they would just let go of her. # 5
Heart pounding from exertion, Anil gained the top of the hill. Only a few paces away, the hill ended abruptly in a rocky plunge to the red desert that began at its foot. She bent and took her shoes off, stepped to the edge of the cliff, curled her toes around the rock face. Before her there was only red clay and blue, blue sky to the edge of infinity. Her heart seemed to leap in her chest. She smiled and leaned forward ever so slightly, not intending to test gravity too far, spread her arms out and behind her, tilted her face upwards, closed her eyes, felt the wind play in her hair, heard the rush of her own blood past her ears, felt the lightness of being on the edge, pretended, fiercely, that her feet were not holding her and that the air was. Then her heart leapt once more and stilled completely. Her eyes flew open and there it was before her, glistening red and on huge, metallic blue butterfly wings, heart and wings beating in time. She lifted her arms and opened her hands outwards so it hovered between her open palms and she gave it to the sky, as though she had a choice and it would not have continued to rise without her gesture, as though all she had ever wanted was for her heart to take wing. It flew up and up until it was just a pinprick and then she blinked and could no longer even decide where it had been. She took a step back and sat down heavily. She thought that this might be the moment to cry and give up on wishing, but she did not have it in her. # The craggy trunks of the cottonwoods towered over Kesia, their crisscrossing branches and shifting leaves providing relief from the blank blue of the sky. She sank down onto the wet ground at the base of one of the trees, letting the wings partially unfurl to either side of it in an embrace, letting her back rest against the tree and her fingers dig into 6
the soil. Despite feeling almost at peace, a fluttering began in her chest, like butterflies in the stomach, pure energy, except higher, tickling her throat. She coughed, once, twice, and her heart flew out of her mouth on little wings she hadn’t known it possessed. It hovered near her head until it occurred to her to reach for it and then it began to rise on steady wingbeats. Her hand was left trailing after it. Its motion became lost in the shifting leaves. She let her hand drift down to rest on her chest and there was nothing under it. She closed her eyes and leaned into the tree. Once again, there was the sound of little wings flapping. Perhaps her heart had come back. Kesia thought to open her eyes, but couldn’t. The rustling of the leaves overhead and the murmur of the river faded until there was nothing. Maybe this was what it felt like to die. # Anil stared off at the horizon, the line of red against blue. Maybe all the wings she’d ever had or ever would have were the ones on her heart. Maybe that was it. Her vision began to blur and she did not try to refocus it, though the hint of movement drew her eyes upwards. She could just make out a brain in the air above her head, bulbous and borne on dark, leathery bat wings. Her vision blurred further. She felt the wind gust across her cheek and then she didn’t feel anything. # From nothing, Kesia felt the wind, invisible hands pulling at her hair and clothes. There was blue horizon before her, it was all she could see. She caught a whiff of the sharp tang of sagebrush. And she finally felt the rough rock beneath her crossed legs and looked down over the edge of a cliff just a s 7
tep away. She scuttled backwards, but froze when she felt the ground begin to tilt downwards, realizing she didn’t know what was behind her. She looked over her shoulder and didn’t have to peer around the white edge of a wing to see the hillslope rolling away behind her. And she realized she couldn’t sense the wings at all, no weight on her shoulder blades, the wind ruffled no feathers. She reached behind her and was met with nothing more than light linen on her back. She didn’t even feel the absence of wings. She had left the wings behind. She hugged her broader new shoulders, traced the line of a blunter chin. She hadn’t thought to dream of it quite like this, but she wouldn’t change anything. She lay back on the warm stone, feeling its solidity and hardness under her head, her shoulders, down the length of her arms and legs all the way to her palms and heels. She pressed her fingertips into the rock, grounding herself further, and then she pressed one hand over her heart. “Stay here,” she murmured. “No more flying for either of us.” She smiled. # Finally, fuzzily, sensation returned. Dim shapes began to arise from the darkness. Birds called above her. Anil could smell cottonwood leaves. She could feel bark beneath her hand. The trunks of trees took shape around her. A river murmured not too far away. The shifting green leaves above her head and the texture of the bark gained clarity. She wiggled unfamiliar fingers and toes, shrugged thin shoulders, felt her wings shift against the bark of the tree. She sat upright. She glanced over her shoulder and she could see the edge of white feathers. She reached around her back 8
and stroked them, smooth and cool under her fingers. She could feel them. They were finally, finally real. She pushed to her feet. She stretched out her arms and her wings. This was always how she was meant to embrace the world. She started running towards the sound of water, beating her wings as she raced between the trees, leaping from the low river bank into flight. Her eyes fixed on where the branches tickled the sky. She laughed and reached up for it the way the branches were. Her wings beat, powerful against her back, and she felt the sky finally reaching back to her.
Three Poems Hugh Anderson If this was the dream you would crest the hill, survey the landscape rolling seaward. If this was the dream, you would leap tip to black-branched tip, blazing, glorious, transcendent, spreading wings unnoticed all these years. You would call your scattered cousins, the raucous murder painting blue sky raven, chuckling and cawing, carving diamonds in the glass of heaven. But this is not the dream. You drift. What might be wings, mere wisps, thoughts, trailing inchoate into darkness. This is not the dream; you find yourself translucent, rooted in the forests of the street.
Ban Sidhe I am in mid-sentence when she lays her long white fingers on my wrist, something in her face of tattered clouds across the moonâ€™s skull eyes. I am in mid-stride when she wails, weeping for the world too dulled to mourn its innocence, too bloodied to feel its pain. Ban sidhe, white fairy, woman who weeps, do not name names, show me no biers. The sun challenges me each day to race, hurtling into night, and dreamless sleep. I am too weary for your grief, too busy for your bone fingers to pluck my skirts and demand I pay attention to the dead. Howl in the wind, else the world will burst with grief. Howl, I hear, but cannot stop.
Ouroboros A molecule somewhere in the great fire of my belly, a solitary gull skims the bottom of gray clouds stretching the sky past limits of mere mountains. Likewise, no more than a mote that floats across the surface of my eye, the flashes of supernovae linger. Somewhere on my vast hide an atom holds the unceasing roll of surf on planets long since dead. And here, right here, where my sharpest tooth sinks deep in the flesh of my tail, a kiss.
God of Salt and Stone (Tsunami#2) by Toti O'Brien
The Collector Barbara Black She says she can’t remember when she started collecting exotic moths. “I don’t know what happened to me. It just started out of the blue,” she lied, as her psychiatrist examined dirt under his fingernails, wondering when his irises would be up. It had been a tradition in her family, collecting, but she wasn’t ready to admit this, not even to herself. Whole rooms in their Shaughnessy house were devoted to artifacts of some runaway obsession: silk handbags from the Victorian era, dried reptiles rescued from a museum in Cairo, row upon row of colonial bob wigs from early America, hand and leg prostheses designed by 16th century French military doctor Ambroise Paré, and common prayer books containing profane doodles and marginalia confiscated by the Episcopalian authorities. In this respect, moths were hardly eccentric. But of course, Mme Dion had not yet revealed what she actually did with the moths. What their function was. “Well, I hope, Mme Dion, we will be able to resolve or at least alleviate your anxiety about this er...obsession.”
Mme Dion gathered her cape from the coat rack and returned home to her modest flat on Rue Lorraine. She enjoyed being called Mme Dion even though she was neither married nor French. But inside she felt French. She realized that the situation had escalated somewhat, that she had probably spent too much on clothes, for example. That the authorities might have their suspicions. But it was all working. In the killing jar she inserted her latest specimen: Acherontia styx, a hawk moth that could mimic the scent of bees. She didnâ€™t really need the psychiatrist. Well, yes she did, but not as a psychiatrist. It was his name, Mori, she needed. Once the ethyl acetate had done its job, she removed the moth with tweezers and laid it out on a white sheet of paper. She brought out her watercolours and began to paint it. It was difficult to capture the thorax marking which required an astute skill with her finest brush. It took her two painstaking hours to get it right. The Styx family would be pleased. She placed it in the relaxing chamber so it could be pinned down later. It would take another few weeks to get the tile work completed and the tile installed on the grave stone. It was a unique concept and she was proud to have developed it. But moving from city to city was becoming exhausting. She continued her daily visits to Dr. Mori. Their connection developed slowly, just as she had planned. She noticed he was susceptible to the perfume she had engineered and continued to wear it until, as always, their relationship reached its completion and came to an end, which was to be expected. She stepped into her flat, closed the door, and stood silently on the mat. Night was the best time of day. She always liked to return to a neat apartment. When the moth, Bombyx 15
Mori, succumbed, she got to work straight away, capturing the creamy colour of its body, the myriad individual hairs, and its feathery antennae, so adept at sensing sexual pheromones. This one was a marvel. Her last, she promised herself.
My Father Was A Beekeeper James Croal Jackson I always knew my father was allergic to bees but it wasn’t until his obituary I learned he was once a beekeeper. In those days, I hear, he prayed to his veil– only to re-emerge, hours later, having danced with God under every umber swarm. He was a gifted storyteller but it wasn’t until his stroke at seventy-four made me listen, when his mouth betrayed his brain. In his final years he would repeat, the end of bees is the end of man. So, heaven in the soft petals scattered in the grass. Young violets lined his coffin. All I wanted was to listen to stories he told before, details I had forgotten.
Around the cemetery, bees still glissando through gardens not unlike the ones he dug into his blackened fingernailsâ€“ honey and sweat, story- pollinated requiems, harmonies heard in bountiful fields of bloodroot.
Sparrow Megan Merchant The cracked eggs are a talisman, a mercy.
they would feel undercooked,
The nest— a month of back-porch haircuts spun into warmth.
but grow to attack our precious omen of spring—
I saw them right after birth— boned and pimpled skin, red like clay marked on the old city map.
A reward for leaving our son’s feathered clippings to the wind.
the bluebird for the kill.
I knew if I could touch them, without ruin,
Life As An Albatross Karen Bayly 8 months ago Emeritus Professor Catherine St. Clair is consumed by melancholia but she does not allow others to see her sorrow. Instead she stands behind the lectern, organizing her notes and checking the slides on her laptop. She pays scant attention to the rabble of final year zoology students wandering into the auditorium, giggling and chatting as though this were a social gathering rather than their concluding lecture. She waits until the clock displays 10:00am precisely, then places a hand on either side of the lectern, sets her shoulders squarely and eyes the sea of faces before her. "Good morning, students. Settle yourselves please." Silence falls quickly, not because the student body fear her (although she is formidable) but because she is highly esteemed for her intelligence, her academic achievements, her unfailing belief in the scientific method and her wicked sense of humor. No-one ever questioned Catherine St. Clair's ability to be a leader in her field, not even the male peers 20
who both despised and desired her. Nowadays no-one even thinks of her as a woman. She waits until she is certain she has the attention of every last student. "In this final lecture on sexual selection, we will be discussing mating systems and the relationship of these to parental care. "There are five types of social mating systems: monogamy â€“ the general concept of which I am sure you are familiar; polygyny â€“ where one male mates with several females and leaves them to raise the offspring, a system with which I'm sure some of you would like to become more familiar; and polyandry â€“ where one female mates with several males and leaves them to raise the offspring, also known as Utopia. A smattering of appreciative laughter ripples through the auditorium. Catherine St Clair lets it down before she continues. "There is also polygynandry where several males and several females mate with each other - an open relationship if you like, and if you believe the staff room gossip is alive and well in the Psychology Department. Finally there is promiscuity where males and females mate with anything that moves and which I know is quite familiar to the occupants of the back row in this lecture theatre. "Let us begin with monogamy." She presses a button on the lectern and an image flickers onto the screen behind her. "One of the few examples of lifelong monogamy is the Wandering Albatross, Diomedea exulans. Diomedea from 21
Diomedes, a shipwrecked Greek sailor whose companions were turned to birds. Exulans meaning an exile." She turns to stare at the image behind her. "Strange that such a faithful bird should have so lonely a name." A faint shuffling from the back row snaps her attention back to the students. "One must assume though that the scientific nomenclature refers more to the species' epic flights of solitude over nothing but ocean, journeys which take them far away from their mates and chicks. With a wingspan of ten feet or more and enviable aerodynamics, Wandering Albatrosses have evolved to rule the sky, flying thousands of miles on a single foraging trip, then returning to deposit an oily concoction of squid and fish into the ravening maw of their offspring. "Pair bonds between adults can last up to twenty-eight years. However, given each bird spends most of its life in flight, landing only to breed and feed, one can only wonder if such relationship longevity is a case of absence makes the heart grow fonder." Another smattering of laughter. Catherine pauses, overtaken by the realization that this is her last chance to impart her considerable knowledge, to make them understand the connection between the theory they were learning and the reality they would experience. She has no offspring of her own, only these students, motley though they may be. "I am, at times, too flippant. Many of you assume the lessons I teach you do not apply outside this lecture theatre. Your assumption is incorrect. You know more about the truth of life than you realize." 22
Though far from her best lecture, it would be her best remembered. # 21 years ago Air buoyant under her wings, a young female Wandering Albatross commands the immense blueness of her world. She is called Layla, but it is not her true name, the one that has no sound. It is a name given to her by a strange wingless creature, one who wrapped her leg in a circle of some hard substance before she'd even left the nest. She hadn't been able to remove this object, however much she tried, but it no longer was of any concern. She has lived with it her whole life. It is part of her now. Sea beneath her, sky above, the winds and air currents her allies, she searches for the speck of land where she'll reunite with her mate. He is called Kees by the wingless one and this will be their eighth year as a pair. At last she sees it, a haven of solid earth in the vast, restless ocean. She'd deserted it nineteen years ago on her maiden journey, but five years later it had sung to her over wind and waves, and beckoned her back home. She has returned every two years since then. She reduces her altitude until she can see the pebble beach, the stream shimmering in the gully, the remains of last year's hat-shaped nest hidden amongst the tough wind-swept grasses. He is there! Though her spirit soars, there is a splinter of fear in her heart. This will be their fourth attempt at breeding and they have been unsuccessful so far. Their first chick died 23
having made only a small crack in its egg shell. The next did not even shown signs of quickening. The third hatched, weak and sickly, and died the next day. If this year's egg fails... She must not even consider what that may mean. Best focus on reuniting with Kees. Their bond is strong and their courtship dance will strengthen it further. All will be well. # 6 months ago Catherine St. Clair stands and stretches, her back twinging with pain. She is past her time doing field work in cold and remote locations. Such nonsense is the province of those determined to make their mark in the world of academia the young, hungry graduate student or the ambitious fledgling researcher. She was both once. Now she would prefer to be in her office, reading or editing work written by one of her junior researchers. Someone calls out to her. She turns her head, squints against the light. It is one of the volunteers, a student from Catherine's infamous last zoology lecture. Jaime or Mamie, she never could remember names. She waves briefly and turns away, not wishing to recall that strange disquisition. She'd said more about herself that day than she'd meant to say, and had ended with the immortal words "Never stop learning - know enough so you don't cock it up." Perhaps the sudden lapse into mediocrity was to be expected given the lay of her life now. Perhaps. Her eyes are drawn skywards to an albatross coming in for a landing. She wonders if it is the albatross called Layla. She's been tracking this bird for so many years, and although discomfiting to admit, she feels closer to Layla and the other 24
albatrosses on this island than to any of her friends, lovers or colleagues. People came and went. These birds - and her passion for them - remained. She's researched here for many years, banded, weighed and measured many albatrosses, observed the pattern of their lives. Nowadays, that pattern was interrupted by human activity. She wondered how much longer this species could withstand the relentless rape and human-induced change of their world before they were driven to extinction? Still there is little she, Catherine St. Clair, can do about it now. More the pity. She watches as the albatross lands gracelessly, prays it is Layla. She needs to see her one last time. # 21 years ago Subantarctic winds spread icy fingers over the grass tufted hills. Everywhere young albatrosses find their wings, leaving the familiarity of the nest in favor for a new partnership with sea and sky. The breeding season is almost over. Layla regards the sole egg in her nest somberly. There have been no signs of life from within. She gently taps the shell with her beak, rocking it slightly. Nothing. A white tombed testament to another failed attempt. She looks up to see Kees sailing in from the ocean where he's been feeding. She takes the first position of their courtship ritual as he banks in preparation for landing. He brakes sharply, hits the ground then slides a few feet before recovering his balance, raising his breast and spreading his enormous wings, ready to woo her. He has always landed 25
less awkwardly than most of his peers â€“ it was one of the things that drew Layla to him. At the sight of him, the tug of their bond overwhelms her and they dance as they have done so many times in their life together. Yet there is something amiss. Their movements are uncoordinated, mechanical, lacking in intensity. It is as if the heart of the dance has stopped beating, leaving it lifeless, passionless. Layla stumbles and her beak clacks against his, clumsily, unintentionally. They cease bobbing and bowing, stand motionless facing each other. For one moment, one brief sorrowful breath, they are in synch again, cruelly at one in the knowledge that their bond is no more. Their dance begins again, but this time it is one of departure. They are running in unison, wings flapping, then both birds are soaring upwards, made light by the grace of air, wheeling away in opposite directions to each other, never to be together again. # 6 months ago Catherine first met Layla as a gawky youngster. As she'd banded the fluffy white chick, she'd been entranced by the expression in those dark eyes. Catherine knew most of her colleagues did not regard albatross as particularly intelligent birds, but that is exactly what Catherine thought she saw. A deep, knowing intelligence. The young female's official title was band number 4002255 Yellow B15, but Catherine had named her Layla after the 70's song. She didn't tell people that though. She usually said the bird was named for the tragic lover in the Persian legend. Actually, the song was one she loved mainly because it had been dedicated to her on a radio show by a discarded lover. 26
She'd been a wild one in her youth, hungry for life, free with her affections and occasionally downright promiscuous. It wasn't that she hadn't wanted a steady partner. She had, but relationships and field work were poor bedfellows. For Catherine, success, recognition, and making a contribution to the world mattered far, far more. When albatross chicks fledge and fly away, they don't return to land for many years, so she missed those first years of Layla's life. However, she'd been privileged to observe the old girl for almost thirty-five years now. Layla had not been lucky in love either in the beginning, and her first pair bond ended in a rare divorce, no doubt caused by the continued failures of their nests. These failures irked Catherine. Once she'd had a summer job in a research lab, opening the eggs of dead, unhatched chickens so as to extract the livers for DNA sampling. She could tell by their size and development that some were only hours away from hatching. As she'd carefully, almost reverently, cut into each fragile body, she could find no obvious deformities, nothing seemingly wrong at all. Yet each one had died instead of pecking and fighting its way into the world. It'd saddened her to hold the lifeless bodies in her hands, every limb perfect, every feather perfect, baby eyes closed in a sleep from which they would never awaken. Why? How could something so close to hatching just give up and die? Some mysteries she would never unravel. # 18 years ago The warm sunshine on Layla's back is welcome. It chases 27
away the chill of the wind rustling the grassland and fills the world with light and hope. She snuggles closer to her new bond mate and gently grooms the feathers around his throat. He responds gently, preening her head, moving his beak delicately to fluff then smooth each tiny feather. Life is good. It'd taken three years to find a new partner, but the wait was worthwhile. His name is Lars and his previous partner died two years ago. This is their first breeding season together and they have hatched a healthy male chick. Lars has only just returned from a long ocean sojourn and has brought plenty to feed the hungry young fledgling. Layla will leave soon. She will be separated from her young one for many days, but that cannot be helped. She must travel to find the best food for her chick, to ensure he has the best beginning in life. It is what her parents did for her and their parents before them. It is the way of the albatross. She turns her head slightly and nuzzles Lars' head, returning the favor. He presses up against her, savoring the sweet warmth of her body, their chick sleeping securely between them. Life is very good. # 6 months ago Catherine watches as Layla and Lars perform their courtship dance, enjoying the every moment. She knows she shouldn't anthropomorphize but it is difficult not to do at times. The couple seem so devoted, happy even, in the brief moments they are together. In fact, Catherine is a little jealous. Her own pair bond 28
experiment had not been so successful. After many years of playing the field while building her career, she'd decided she was ready for a partner and a child. So she wed a colleague and tried to conceive. She was a realist - she knew her age would make the task more difficult - but after five years of failed attempts, medical intervention was a necessity. However, her husband proved oddly resistant to traveling the IVF route, and their arguments about what they should do grew increasingly frequent and passionate. Finally, he confessed he'd found someone else, someone younger, someone who already had proved to be more fertile than Catherine. He wanted a divorce. They'd parted amicably enough given the circumstances. She'd wished him well and hoped he could keep up with a young wife and child. He'd commented that it was a pity she knew so much about mating and fertility as her knowledge could only make her despondent about her future prospects. If he'd thought this was a knife in her back, he was mistaken. She'd always known the odds were stacked against her and had been prepared for the best or the worst. Knowledge is never a bad thing even when it hurts. She had numerous random affairs with men half her age, hoping the better quality sperm of younger men would increase her chances of conception. It seemed to work. At first she assumed the cessation of her menses was early menopause, but the increasing curve of her belly, the bloating, mild cramping, slight backache and frequent urination caused her to rethink her assumption. Who cares if the pregnancy was from a one night stand? Who cares if it wasn't the man with whom she had been so willing to share her pregnancy? She would have this child on her own. Yet Fate was determined to damn her. It wasn't a child in her belly but a malignant ovarian tumor, placated into remission 29
with an aggressive treatment regime. The death knell to any possibility of bearing a child. Although grief tore a hole in her, at least she'd gained a few more years to continue her research. Borrowed time runs out too quickly. # 4 months ago Layla is restless. Lars has not yet returned. In their years together, he's been a good mate, devoted, gentle, good provider of food for their chicks. It wasn't like him to be so long at sea. Still, foraging has been difficult this year and all the albatrosses on this island have traveled further and for longer to find nourishment for themselves and their chicks. Layla hopes Lars has avoided the moving metal islands with wingless creatures in the north-east. She's seen other birds dive into the waters near these and never surface again. She almost dived there herself once - the bounty of fish in the water around these odd monstrosities was incredible. Yet something stopped her, some voice whispered of danger and she'd flown on to other safer fishing grounds. In the deep blue of the southern ocean, Lars' waterlogged body swings with the current, devoid of his courage, his devotion, his strength, of everything that he was. He'd dived for a fish, only to be hooked on a longline. Ignoring the pain of the barbed, two-inch, steel hook ripping at his gullet, he'd struggled to break free, wings beating valiantly in the unfriendly medium of water. All to no avail. Slowly, inevitably, he succumbed to the water filling the spaces in his body, drowning him in its cold, salty grasp. His last thought was of Layla, dancing before him, beside him, within his soul 30
in the warmth of their bond. Layla. A cold and bitter wind sweeps over the nesting grounds. Layla has all but given up hope, tormented by a deep knowing that Lars will never return. There is nothing left but to raise her new male chick alone. Despite the difficulty she can do nothing other than try. She misses her partner already, mourns him. It is many days before she stops searching the skies for his familiar form. By then, her attempts to feed her chick sufficiently have failed. It is time to leave. # 4 months ago Catherine watches as Layla takes to the sky, leaving the tragedy of the breeding season behind her. The old girl seemed tired and disheartened, and she flew away without looking back. Catherine knew exactly how she felt. The pain was growing worse now and Catherine could barely breathe at times. She should not have come this season, but she knew she would never get the chance again and she wished to say goodbye - to the island, to her past, to Layla. Her cancer had returned and although chemotherapy awaited on her return, in her heart she knew her time here was almost done. She squinted at the distant shape of the female albatross who seemed a part of her. Goodbye, Layla. Safe journey wherever you travel. # 31
Present Air under her floundering wings, an old female Wandering Albatross commands the immense blueness of her world no more. She is falling, falling from the sky above, the winds and air currents no longer her allies, falling to the cold embrace of the sea below. Her heart has failed for she is weary and has lived a long time. This is her last flight, one which will take her from the brightness of living into the dark night of eternal sleep. She was called was Layla, but it was never her true name, the one with no sound. Now she is only that name. She hits the water and floats there, a stricken angel, mighty wings forming a crucifix on the deep blue ocean. She thinks she can still feel the wind beneath her wings and struggles for a moment to catch the current and soar. It is difficult to breath but she gasps one last fill of air. For a moment, it seems as if her efforts are in vain and she will sink beneath the waves. But no, for now there is a light before her, a beautiful blinding light, gentler than sunshine but stronger, so much stronger. Her heart beats effortlessly and she flies on a current more powerful than any she has ever experienced. She is going home. She looks down one last time at the body of a large female albatross floating aimlessly on the ocean's surface. She recognizes the lifeless corpse as the vessel she once inhabited, yet feels only peace. This life is over, its joys, its sorrows, all over. It was a life well-lived; now she is done with it. She watches as the body sinks slowly into the sea, then turns her eyes toward the light, flies effortlessly into its welcoming glow. 32
# Present Catherine St. Clair lies in a hospital bed in a private room. There is no-one by her side, yet she doesn't care. She is dying. She could ring for the night nurse; however, this one is new and she would rather die alone than in the company of a stranger. The pain is bearable now. One would think that with the amount of painkillers coursing through her, it would be gone completely. She hopes she will the end will come soon. She is tired of the struggle, weary of her existence. She wishes she was back on the island, waiting for Layla to return. As if to answer her wish, a vision of the bird she loved appears. (Now that she is on her deathbed she can admit to such unscientific claptrap as loving an albatross.) It is a young Layla full of hope and promise, her calm, dark eyes urging Catherine to follow her wherever their journey may go. It's only the drugs, Catherine thinks. Still perhaps she could die now, leave because she wants to leave, because there is nothing left to do or be. She breathes out and counts slowly. One, two, three... The monitor beeps a long single note as the shadow of a huge wing passes over Catherineâ€™s lifeless body.
Hebe and the Eagle by Maria Picone 34
Ensuring Fidelity Jade Ramsey But what if I cannot find a swan feather to sew into my husbandâ€™s pillow? I finger lost plumes on the porch floorboards or clinging to the windowsill but these are not swans. These are swallows, finches, crows, blue jays, nothing grand; nothing powerful or pure. His visions of her are bird-like, he says, her grace. Somehow this superstition seems futile: more feathers in his pillow would ensure her victory. What is the remedy for the flight of a spirit who desires flesh? What is the opposite of feather and flight? I skin the scales from perch caught in the nearby pond. These fleshy toned grits twinkling in the sun I sprinkle in his loafers, his cap, his wallet, until his belongings conjure a birdâ€™s appetite and not her ache.
The Beekeeper Gilberto Galvez
In their voices, I hear divinity, she says to me as they buzz and buzz around her, squirming bodies of black and yellow. I flinch at the sight of them, those thousand bees. I remember what the villagers said, of the beekeeperâ€™s strange ways. She speaks to them. She understands them. Sheâ€™s touched, crazy, a foolish dreamer, nothing more. Her honeyed voice, warm and sweet: Come, let them touch you. Shaking, I take a step.
The beekeeper gestures towards me, a wave of her hand, and the bees they buzz towards me, a thousand voices, all begging to be heard, sounding wordless, empty, but rhythmic. Iâ€™m lost then, twisting, turning to insect thoughts, a simple flower, a suddenness of color and sweetness, the scent of fruit lost, stolen by the blowing wind, the commands of a queen, every decision part of a whole. The beekeeper sings, a song of flower fields. I close my eyes, see again the beginning and the end. 37
Describe to me your most peaceful moment, held tight in your memory, and Iâ€™ll respond with a tale of blueberry fields, the moon chasing the sun behind the mountains and the beekeeperâ€™s words punctuated by the vibrato of those thousand bees.
Panvermiphobia Alexander Clark It’s a foggy night. The kind to swallow outsiders and narrow the whole world down to something intimate and secure. It’s a night safe like a padded cell, where it’s ok to go a little nuts on Miles Davis, liquor, and dope, and to see the world how you know it is, how you only almost remember it when you’re sober. That little memory enough to shake you, not because you recognize the horror of it, but because you know something’s wrong, and like a baby in the dark, you can’t define it. Like a chill in your spine on a hot day or the DTs. I guess it’s better this way, to see things for what they are, even if it means the walls squirm just outside the narrow beam of lamp light. The fog crawls too, but that’s just in your head. Just shadows in the night, nothing more. The things that make solids pulse don’t like the natural world. Brick walls, especially ones without windows, concrete, plastic, Plexiglas, those are what they like. They turn those into jelly, into darker than dark. They don’t like the real dark, only the dark we make up, like in basements or attics or dungeons maybe. Caves are ok. Maybe if I get money someday I can buy one, 39
but I’ve never seen one for sale. Plus, I don’t know, if I put lights in there, that makes man-made day, so when I turn them off does that make man-made night? What about when they’re on? The edge space isn’t like it’s supposed to be, that spot where I can see past the light but that the light doesn’t really touch, that’s all artificial. Maybe that’ll start squirming and I’d have to sell this half made cave house and no one will take me seriously ever again. People will remember me as that crazy guy who bought a cave and then ran away from it and I’ll have to move back in with my sister in Baltimore, again. For a while colors just swirl around in my head. I think I lost some time. I got so worked up I had to take another big hit and things just sort of melted. The colors aren’t like they are when they stop. It’s like I see something new, some colors that never was seen by anybody else and then somehow they are the same old browns and yellows and grey I always see. The harder I try to keep them the faster they move until suddenly they aren’t moving anymore and they aren’t new anymore and I’m still here, like I was before, hiding in the this oval of light, watching the walls reach in at me, testing the edge of the glow like some kind of sea monster squid trying to reach inside a bottle. Testing with a million tiny little feelers and no real fingers, like it’s any form it want to be and it always want to be something sick and boneless. I swear one of them just touched me. I couldn’t get my trousers off fast enough; I tore my pants trying to scrub away the spot so hard. I got stupid; I relaxed a little too much and let my legs slide under the desk. I don’t even remember turning to face it. Good dope, but I can’t feel so good I let them snatch me. Maybe I just bumped the desk. I bet I did. The torn spot is just me trying too hard to wipe away invisible demons. 40
In that rare moment of clarity I can see how crazy all this is, sitting alone in a cluttered room, smoking, drinking and muttering about monsters. I need to take my meds. I need to stop giving into this paranoia and letting myself believe all this shit I see. I need to take those pills and just stop seeing it. I really feel a weight lifting. I may be nuts but I’m sane enough to know it, that puts me ahead, right? Ha, yeah. First thing tomorrow I’ll… Hell, it almost is tomorrow. I might as well walk down to the clinic now, maybe be first in line. Sun’s almost up. Feeling the best I have in a long time, I fish my pants out from under the desk and pull them on, gently on the ripped side. I shake my head at myself. I take a moment to look at the hole I tore. I don’t want to look like no homeless man. Maybe I can stitch them if the tear’s not too bad. Got some dental floss in the bathroom. But here’s the thing. The edges don’t match up. There’s a piece of fabric missing and something that looks like a tiny tooth sticking out of the gently weeping scratch on my thigh.
Plucking Feathers from a Somewhere Bird’s Dead Body Joseph Rupprecht Strange buzzing power lines must have zapped it dead—a carcass in the roadside grass now— I was 11 years old. It was all black and from somewhere. I was from Syracuse. Its body shined. No blood anywhere. Don’t touch that they said the word diseases —worms crawling in my stomach pit. & while cars passed & grass patches cradled the black talons unfurled, I saw its strange dead eye animal & wet, nestled near its beak. By dusk, I’d have a pocket full of feathers for my brand-new bird costume complete with a beak I made from paper and wings I grew from my back. 42
Migrating Below | Madison Creech
I believe most of us have an instinctive bond to anything that is living and vital. I am inspired by birds' nest building abilities, and amazed by their instincts to migrate. However, an attempt at an authentic human connection is hardly possible. The hunter yearns to possess the bird, so he kills and mounts it. The scientist desires to understand the animalâ€™s instinct, so he domesticates the bird to gain access into its world. The birder longs to count the fledglings in a nest, but his presence causes the animals to retreat and seek alternative shelter.
Are You My Mother?
The Act of Collecting
Something happens when we encounter an animal, it cannot be translated into human knowing without distortion or loss. Iâ€™m interested in confronting the idea of the egocentric human. The notion of the conscience animal is a direct threat to the philosophy that humans are the center of all things. In my art practice, Iâ€™m constantly searching for tools and symbols to illustrate and challenge the fragmented and confusing relationship between animal and human. What is viewable is nameable and knowable; it is only surface deep. Surfaces are pliable objects under human dominion. Art making creates a space to take an ambivalent stance on these thoughts. In this space nothing is ever resolved and what is learned is always questioned. Madison Creech
Black and White and Gray
The featured exhibition Migrating Below - A Masters of Fine Art Thesis Exhibition was held at the Step Gallery in Phoenix, AZ. 44
Madison Creech is a multimedia artist with a dedication to mixing digital fabrication with traditional methods. She received a Bachelor of Fine Art degree as well as a Bachelor of Science in Textile, Merchandising and Fashion Design from the University of NebraskaLincoln. Creech has also received a Masters degree in Fine Art from the fibers program at Arizona State University (ASU). Creechâ€™s research involves the relationship between animal and human. She considers the parallels that bird migration has to her story of navigating and deciphering what is familiar and what is unfamiliar. She is currently teaching at ASU and working as the Curatorial Assistant to Dennita Sewell at the Phoenix Art Museum. Included in her exhibition record is a Surface Design Association juried exhibition Explorations as well as juried public art show Prints in Peculiar Places for the 2015 Southern Graphics Council International Conference. Creech held a residency at the nationally recognized Techshop in Chandler Arizona where she had comprehensive training on digital equipments as well as general wood and metal shop equipments. To learn more about Madison Creech visit www.creechers.com. 45
Lake Ornithology Daniel Moore Nature isn’t happy with being restrained by names like beautiful or bad. So says the prairie now miniature sea, now Main street aquarium, fifty yards from our door. For the past few weeks the clouds have wept all their grieving gray as Lake Ornithology fell from the sky giving birth to a landscape of wings. All swimming, eating, and floating around as if this was why Jesus came. The miraculous paddling through acres of cornfields, dipping their heads into the prairie’s black sea. Then suddenly ascending as if shot from a cannon, when the lion of the air in his black and white tux swoops like death from a Bethlehem sky, proclaiming the King Eagle’s reign.
Plucking Petals A. Riding My whole life, every flower I saw was Icarus … And to me, everything and everyone was a flower … really, a flower, a precious flower. I did everything I could. I warned them of the sun. I warned you. I nagged at you until you drooped. I tried to place myself as a shield between you and the sun. I tried to be your visor. But you can't help everyone at once. You can't make everyone stay still. Stay still. Behind me, you floated up … up … up. I must caution you, as I caution anything or anyone that tries to open. Follow the fear. Hide in the numbers. Let me catch you. Pluck you. No one needs to make mistakes anymore. None of us needs the pain of learning for ourselves. We have the evidence. The wax will melt. Mine did. My body. Don’t run. I’m here to help. But I can’t move fast. My movements are melted. Why do you keep leaping into the air? It's the same as being drawn to a certain death that lies beside a warm, comfortable bed, stuffed, fluffed, with the feathers from all our wings. Squished together. Don’t jump on the bed! A bed where we should be lying. And they did not listen. And you did not listen. And when you did not listen, I began to catch you in my big butterfly net. What I mean to say is. To save you. I began to bind you. All. To my beds. I took away your arms 47
and legs (also, your wings). I took away your sight. And you grew happier. I took their away your reason. And you grew happier. But even limbless, thoughtless and blind, you snapped your stamen and crushed your petals as you squirmed towards the certain death of the light.
Owlish Gregory Crosby More ridiculous than terrifying until I swallow a life, bones & all. Project whatever expression you like upon the radar array of my face, my immobile eyes. When you hear nothing in the night but the night, that would be me: talons full of breeze, heartbeats in the grass, riding shadow's back, back to Parliament to cast the shadow that serves as my vote, the perpetual question in my throat, rhetorical as sleep. I turn my head so the stars stay in place. I'm my own omen: I predict myself. The moon gives thanks. In the dark, wisdom keeps itself to itself.
Waiting for Ivy Lesley Bannatyne Marianne felt the fog of sorrow engulf her, and when she turned to see who it was, she instantly recognized the carefully put-together clothing of loss on the young woman. “Please,” the younger woman whispered. “Please, tell me where.” Marianne knew this phase. She herself had talked too much to strangers, recited her story each time as if it were the first, too quickly, holding each listener by the forearm to keep them from backing away. “She was born last August. She was only a few minutes old. We called her Ivy.” Marianne ducked away from the stranger and quickened her pace, head down. She crossed Central Park South, hurried through the gates, and turned onto a path that led deep into the trees. A cloud passed, snuffed out the city’s light. Ahead, an older man in a dark gray L.L. Bean coat sat on a bench smoothing the feathers of a pigeon perched on his lap. Marianne sat on the next bench and hid her face, pretending to rub the dirt from her shoe. She felt a flutter of pain in her belly—her body did this to her now. It roused itself in small ways that forced her to acknowledge her own blood, bone, 50
skin; the watery bed where Ivy had lived, unmet but loved dearly, for twenty-nine weeks. She squeezed her eyes shut against it. “Please. I’m begging you.” The woman had run after Marianne and now stood, breathless, in front of her. “When I saw you, I had a feeling—I was sure that you knew. Please tell me where they’re coming next.” Marianne looked up into the woman’s face, then took off her sunglasses. Who was she to judge? “Baltimore. 16th Street at North. There’s a bodega there, Qwik Stop. The grate will be pulled over the storefront. Two-thirty in the afternoon on Sunday, this Sunday. We get texts. There’s a list you need to get on. Ask one of them how.” Tears filled the woman’s eyes. “Thank you. It’s—” Marianne stood quickly and buttoned her raincoat tight against her chest. “For you?” the woman said, stretching thin, bluish fingers out to Marianne. “Was it a daughter or a son?” Marianne ran. “I’m so sorry,” the woman called after her. “I don’t have anyone else to talk to.” Marianne kept running—out of the park, one block, two— until she felt the blisters start at her heel. She kicked off a shoe, scanned the street for something to hold onto, but then it came, unbidden, as always: Ivy. Tiny coffin, tiny hole dug in the ground, tiny stone. Marianne tried to force that day in reverse, to right it. Take Ivy’s body from the incubator, 51
breathe into her mouth until the bird-size heart taps softly. Carry her back to her ER bed and lie down with her, soft blue baby on her chest, lazily watch the doctors and nurses whiz past. Lungs too small, spine too twisted. Marianne worked this loss every chance she got, trying to smooth the ripped edges into something she could live with. She kicked her foot back into the loafer. Tim was waiting for her at home; they were seeing friends for dinner. Tim, who she could barely stand to look at. Tim, who’d taken down the nursery before she was released from the hospital so she wouldn’t have to see, who filled the house with new, brightly colored things to distract and comfort her. But she’d lost her ability to see color, and the new things hadn’t mattered. Marianne raised her arm to hail a cab. The alley in Baltimore was packed with cars by dawn on Sunday. It was a short street, rimmed with trash. Broken cement sidewalks crashed into the worn stoops of row houses, and televisions droned on through open windows: Tsarnaev, air strikes in Syria, a Canadian gunman. Marianne and Tim had walked from a parking lot nearby, and as early as it was—not yet eight in the morning—there were already more than one hundred parents crammed in ahead of them. Marianne spied the woman from the park and tugged Tim in a different direction. They huddled against the brick front of an empty bank building. Tim took out his phone and thumbed through messages. “Tim, no,” Marianne said, touching his hand. “What?” “It doesn’t feel right. “ He glanced at the crowd, nodded his head towards a woman 52
arguing with her bank about a late charge, cell phone pasted to her ear. “It’s like talking in church. You just don’t. I don’t know why.” Tim pocketed the phone and arched his eyebrows. Marianne pulled a hank of limp hair from under her coat collar and wrapped her scarf more tightly around her neck. Only October and it was already cold. She brushed a chalky smudge from her dark pants—navy?—she really couldn’t tell. Tim had to organize her clothes into matching outfits now; the differences between dark brown and olive, blue, black or purple, she couldn’t see them. No one else knew, even at work; but then again, she could write technical manuals blindfolded by now. “Almost two,” Tim said, “I’m guessing we’ll see them within the next five minutes.” Marianne smiled faintly at a pretty brunette leaning against a rusted railing. Claire, maybe? Yes, Claire—they’d met in Maine, and once again when the gathering was in Providence. Claire noticed Marianne, and pushed through the crowd to stand beside her. “It feels like there are more of us each time,” Claire said. She eyed the other parents warily. “Our odds just get worse.” “Monkey’s Paw,” Tim muttered. “Come again?” the Claire asked. “It’s a horror story. About a child who came back.” Marianne elbowed Tim, hard. “Claire, tell me,” she said, 53
“When people—new ones—ask you about this, do you tell them?” “I pretend I don’t know what they’re talking about,” Claire said. Marianne snuck her hand into Tim’s coat pocket and he closed his hand around hers. She stared down at the cigarette butts and lottery tickets swarming in puddled water and tried to breath slowly through her nose. When she looked up at the crowd, she saw only a sodden mass of dark gray coats. The parents of dead children, she knew, bleed sorrow, their insides trailing behind them like rusted anchors that catch on picture frames and small blankets, lost doll shoes, a pacifier hidden in the webs spun under the couch. They convalesce alone, ragged-hearted, even when they live in pairs. They spend their days trying to imitate the shape they were before, but their nights are spent drowning, suffocating, then surfacing, suffocating, then surfacing. Why, why, why, she thought, her mantra for the year. One friend lost a son, got pregnant again within a year, had a healthy baby girl, Olive. Her college roommate Macy lost her beautiful ten-year-old to leukemia, and tried for eight years for another. When she finally did get pregnant again – twins—Macy said that, in retrospect, she probably wasn’t ready to move on until the eight years had passed. Eight years? She squinted up at the weakening afternoon sun. A row of colorless pigeons lined a roof’s edge. From behind them, a misty cloud from someone’s clothes dryer. When the padlock dropped at last, the battered metal grate jangled and slid up to expose the front of the bodega. The crowd pushed closer. The door opened and three figures appeared: two angels and a baby. The female angel’s face was freckled, and her brilliant amber wings stretched nearly the span of the storefront. The male was covered in a thin layer 54
of rust, his wings barely etched on bulky shoulders. The crowd focused only on the tiny creature he cradled. It was a glorious little girl, toffee-colored, only a few weeks old. From somewhere in the crowd, a mother screamed with joy as she stumbled forward to claim her daughter, arms agape. The parents around her grasped at her and pushed her forward. The mother enveloped the tiny, burbling girl child with her body, convulsing with the miracle of it. For Marianne there was only the familiar drag of failure. She could see it in everyone, on all the pinched faces. Why her. Why her baby and not mine. Every arrival was different. A parking garage in Minneapolis. The boat ramp at Peak’s Island, Maine. An abandoned fruit stand in Penn Yan, New York. The parents came, no matter how far the trip, tortured by hope. Marianne couldn’t find a pattern, or even criteria. As she had dozens of times before, she wondered, is this real? Is it really happening to us? “Tell the truth,” Claire said, lighting a clove cigarette and blowing the smoke straight up to keep it from Marianne. “Aren’t you getting tired of this?” God yes, Marianne thought to herself. “Remember that time, in Erie?” Tim said, suddenly animated. “The timing seemed so right for us, remember, Mar? Ivy had been gone nine months to the day. And it was May, remember, there were lilacs? And there were only a dozen of us waiting on that dock? Everything about it pointed to it being our turn: a boat, for a new journey; a dozen people, not a hundred, a big anniversary, everything blooming again. But when they came, remember, with driedup ailanthus twigs stuck in their hair, all three of them hanging in the fog with their callused toes sticking out of their shoes, they had a baby no one recognized. Wow, I 55
thought, they’re just as messed up as we are down here.” Claire snorted. “I think the whole angel-thing has devolved into crap, just some sort of sick grief-counseling scam.” Claire scanned the wan faces of parents shuffling out of the alley. “Do you know Alice, over there?” she asked, nodding her head in the direction of a smartly dressed redhead. “She goes to a Spiritualist Church every week to wait for messages from her dead son. And her,” Claire nodded to a tiny woman dressed entirely in animal prints, “She listens to occult radio shows every night. They don’t even start until midnight.” “People do crazy things,” Tim said with a strained smile. “Frankly,” Claire continued. “I’m beginning to think it’s all just plain cruel. Last week we had to give away the dogs. We’re never home.” She dumped her cigarette into a half-full diet Coke can. “Fuck the angels.” Marianne gave Claire a half-smile, shrugged her shoulders. “Move on, Marianne,” Claire said. “Have another, and move on. The sadness will still be there.” Marianne reached for Tim, but he was gone. Where did he go? She scanned the crowd for his striped shirt, the familiar rhythm of his walk. Where was he? Marianne searched her coat pockets for her cell. Damn. She’d left it back in the glove box. Tim was probably waiting for her there, at the car. He hated these crowds. Murders of crows, he called them, with their dark clothes and black thoughts. They were all streaming from the alley now, banking right towards the main street. They did look like spooked birds, Marianne thought. Each time, when it wasn’t Ivy, she worked the shard of loss buried deep within her. Yes, she’d move on. She’d be kinder 56
to Tim. She’d look him in the eyes, and when he talked about having another baby, she wouldn’t shut down, or argue, or sulk. Things were getting better, she thought. Last week she passed a stack of pumpkins and picked one up thinking it would be so much fun to throw another costume party, especially with the new apartment that so many of their friends hadn’t seen yet. Then she remembered. She dropped the pumpkin back on the stand and hurried away. But she hadn’t cried, so that was good, wasn’t it? What once was hot torn flesh inside was cooler now; the shard had softened and the edges smoothed. Sweet Tim. He just had to cut her open and see. She followed the crowd, head down. When she turned off the main street towards the parking lot, the garage wasn’t where she thought it would be, and the buildings around her looked wrong, like buildings imitating buildings, like an architectural model or movie set. An older man in a sweater vest and a soft knit cap the shade of dolphins opened the door of a dingy hardware store and motioned her closer. “You need to come with me,” he said quietly. She locked her hands under her armpits. “Are you one of them?” she demanded. “Do you have Ivy?” “Follow me. Please?” he entreated, guiding her through the store toward a cluttered office filled with boxes of coiled rope and cases of WD 40. A tiny window let in a sliver of sunlight, but the rays were weak. The cuffs of the man’s faded shirt were softly feathered and he seemed to float a half-inch off the floor when he walked. Marianne had an urge to touch the cap; it looked as if she could put her hand right through it. “It’s just cruel, what you’re doing,” she told him. “The hoping. And only at the right time and place?” Under his breath the man muttered, “Einstein.” 57
He pushed open another door and stepped inside. He motioned for her to enter. Marianne felt a sudden sweetness envelop her as she trailed the man down a hallway. There, around a corner, in a room filled with honey-colored light, lay hundreds of babies in bassinets, warm, smelling of milk, their tiny tufts of hair reflecting sunshine. Marianne felt her chest fall open. She stared, barely breathing. The man rolled his eyes. “Good God,” he said, suddenly frustrated. “We spend so much time mopping up after you all.” Marianne didn’t hear him. She was wandering the aisles of the nursery, touching a child’s perfect ear here, bending to press her cheek to another’s soft skull, hoping. “You won’t find her.” “Where is she?” “With Jesus. Gone to the light. Spark in the godhead. However you think of it. Choose another.” “No,” Marianne shot back. “I want Ivy.” Tears came and she mashed them into her cheeks with the heels of her hands. He handed her a handkerchief, exasperated. “Proprietary beasts,” he muttered. The man reached into another pocket and pulled out a tin of lavender candies. “We wring ourselves dry working on returns. And you, you just wait, cry helpless, flutter around looking for something to point you in the right direction. You don’t think this is fair? Nothing is fair. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we work for you.” He opened the tin and held it out, eyebrows raised. 58
Marianne shook her head. The man bent his enormous head sideways and rolled it around on his neck. She was shocked to see a line of dirt caught in his chin folds. “Why are you all so in love with your loss?” he said, sighing. Marianne stared at him, chastised. She scanned the nursery. “But how can I tell if one is right for me?” “Me, me, me,” the man murmured, rubbing his forehead. He opened an eye and looked at her, almost surprised that she was still there. “I apologize. I’m sorry for my tone. Please, take your time.” He sat on the windowsill and tipped his head to the side so that the sunshine fell square on his face. His eyes were closed, and the frayed feathers on his shirt collar softly lifted and flattened with each breath. He opened one eye. “It’s just that,” he said, unable to settle himself, “You’re selfish. You don’t love people, just a single person or two. Would you have them muck through a life of being too weak, too simple, too frightened just because they’re yours?” “In a heartbeat,” Marianne answered. “Don’t you think it’s a bit, I don’t know, self-destructive?” The man emptied his pants pockets of sand. Where was Tim? Why was she doing this alone? Tiny bodies, like perfect shells rocking lightly on the edge of a lake. The sounds of sleep. Their arms, bent at the elbow, raised above their sweet heads, their mouths sucking. “There are no guarantees, you know.” The man hoisted his thick form up onto his feet. “That’s the deal. You could lose 59
another. Raise a monster, love one that never loves you back. Do you want that?” “Yes! Yes, I do,” Marianne shouted at him, her voice sounding too loud, even inside her head. She cupped her hands together and pressed them to her mouth, took a long breath. There was a tingling in her palms, and when she opened her hands a mass of honeybees teemed in each of her fists. She cried out and spread her fingers. A deep yellow swarm spiraled out around her neck and head and lifted up towards the ceiling above. For the first time since Ivy, Marianne felt weightless. She smelled diesel exhaust and shut her eyes tight against a cloud of acrid smog from a backfiring truck. Televisions, electricity, bass lines from car radios, a siren somewhere farther away. “Woah!! Watch out!” a man in a hard hat yelled at her from scaffolding above, as a rusted wing-shaped piece of metal fell noisily into a dumpster. “Street’s closed lady, you’ll get yourself hurt,” he hollered. Marianne looked up at the electrical wires that crossed clumsily and attached themselves in knots to buildings on either side of the street. A half-block down on the left, she was relieved to see the parking lot. Tim was sitting in their car checking his messages. She slid in beside him. “Where’d you go?” he said, not looking up at her. “You were next to me, at least I thought you were, then you were gone. It’s crazy over there now, looks like they’re taking down one of those big brick buildings.” “I ducked into the hardware store for a second,” she 60
answered. “Have you seen my phone?” “Yeah – it’s right there between the seats where you left it.” “Oh good.” Marianne picked up the phone and scrolled through her texts until she came to the notification from the angels. There was another destination waiting. “Looks like it’s somewhere near Pittsburgh,” Tim said. “Delete it,” Marianne said. “What?” “Claire’s right. This is cruel. She thumbed down to the bottom of her menu and pressed delete on her own phone, then took Tim’s phone and did the same. There was a sudden ominous hiss of clothes driers from a laundromat across the street. The sky clouded over, but what Marianne thought was the sun sliding behind the clouds was really a thick black mass of sorrow searching for its next landing place. The pull was as strong as gravity, but she reached over and held onto Tim and Tim held onto her and they both gripped the car doors until it passed. “Jesus,” Tim muttered. Marianne could still see dark feathers swirling in the black behind her closed eyelids. She forced them open. Soft brown pigeons fidgeted on wires overhead as they rode away from the alley. On a clothesline stretched between two buildings, she saw the dark blue of several pairs of work pants. Color. Were all miracles as small as these? Tangerine sunlight slanted across the ramp to I80 as Tim accelerated up onto the highway. Ivy. Marianne felt the familiar shadow shape that lived in her heart slide over a fraction, as if offering a seat to a stranger. 61
Journey #12 (Lions and Angels) by Toti O'Brien
Take The Veil Diana Hurlburt Mother Superior offers me a crown of pale lilies, and one of roots. She puts scissors to my hair until it is shorn down to the scalp, patches of flesh showing bloody and tender. She covers me with the new-sewn veil and the dark robe until all that I am is ushered away. She takes my name and bestows a new one, ancient and plain. A ripple, an itch, crawls down my back, as though wings are growing beneath my skin. This is what it means to be subsumed. A sacrifice must be willing. At night there are steps outside the door of my cell, a brief pattering and a low thud. My door is locked from the inside. In the morning there is a box with the remnants of my worldly self, set to trip when I open my door. The shirt is bright copper, the curls of my hair braided tight and flat, a modest garment that will cover my arms and chest when I put it on. I have heard it said that Mother Superior always knows what to do with a postulantâ€™s hair: sometimes it is burned, sometimes buried, sometimes laid in a box with holy artifacts and then tossed over the wicket gate. She knows how to control novices, each to each. In the place where I come from such knowledge is called magic of sympathy. My hair is a reminder.
Our order is one of ecstasy and mystery, not quite acknowledged, just this side of heretical. We are encouraged to seek for ourselves, to see; we are to be true helpmeets, handmaidens, the instruments of deliverance and the harbingers of solace. Our canon is tolerated because we provide a service. There is a word for us in Greek that twists my tongue. It means something like shepherd of souls. My older sisters with their belts and staves seem to embody this more fully. I strive to conduct myself in upright ways, to be worthy of my black garments. My hair does not grow. When I take my final vows a ring encloses my finger. It is of some pale matter, and cool against my skin. The community accepts postulants only rarely. There is little need. At night there is nothing between me and the one to whom I am wed. He covers me as my robes do in daylight. This is called diabolophany in the liturgy. Night is no gentle time; no sleep is attained; the corridors quiver with chanting, with moans and lashing, with promises. It is pregnant. We take flight. By day there is solemnity. In the small hours, beneath the moon, there is sisterhood. I have heard it said that some orders wear the black robe to remember that they will die. Some orders relinquish their names to annihilate the self. In our order there is no such need, for who is capable of forgetting death, of remembering themselves? We are one in His bloody grip--we are honeybees in amber--the spread of our wings blot out the light. This is what it is to be a bride of Death.
The Cuckoo Thief Rebecca Harrison
The cuckoo clock bird pecked Beth’s hands. Cramming him into her pocket, she scurried through the hall and out the door. The streets tangled in cobblestones and drizzle. She felt his wooden wings fluttering as she raced along alleyways and puddles, darting between folk. At the town edge, she clambered up a tree and settled him on a branch. They sat among leaves and rainfall. She glanced at the clock tower. The minutes counted down. When the hour struck, he sang the time. Across the town, over the rooftops and chimneys, in the corridors and rooms, chimes and cuckoo calls jostled the sodden day. She pointed to the damp skies; they saw heron glide and magpie swoop. He flapped his wings. She watched him fly. Beth had grown up opposite a clock maker’s shop. From her window, she’d glimpsed oak and pine, sawed and smoothed, carved and painted. She’d seen birds shaped from wood and shut in clocks. The town was cramped with cuckoo clocks. The shadows smelled of cogs. In her home, she watched the clock’s hands and gave the cuckoo a name. When she played games, tumbling on hill sides and scuttering into hiding places, she spied birds diving and soaring. She thought of the cuckoos in their clock prisons and wondered if they had room to open their wings. She wanted to tell them the sky wasn’t made of wood. At night, she lay awake listening: the 65
hush was hollow with wooden wing beats. One night, she tiptoed downstairs, propped open the clock doors and pulled the bird free. She smuggled it in her satchel to the school rooftops, and brought it knitting scraps and moss clumps. All spring, the cuckoo nested between tall chimneys. One day, from the playground, she saw it flapping its wings. She hurtled down corridors and up stairs, but as she climbed onto the roof, the cuckoo rose and followed wagtails on rattling winds. She watched the sky until he was gone. Years passed. The bird didn’t come back. On her last day at school, Beth wobbled across the rooftop, plucked the nest from the chimney gap, carried it home and wedged it under her bed. Her dreams were full of rustlings and dropped clouds. At dawn, swaddled in stiff cottons, she tramped to the mayor’s chambers. She was ushered past statues and squeezed into an office corner. All day, hunched between paper piles, she wrote letters in gliding ink; her words looped and scrawled until dusk. Before sleep, she warmed her aching hands in the cuckoo’s nest. Every day, she scribbled and scribed while stately folk bellowed and bragged. Letters swamped the desk and puddled on the floor. She glimpsed her worn face in ink wells. A clock ticked in every room, and when the hour struck, her quill pens quivered from the cuckoo calls. But one bird had a feeble chirp. From her narrow corner, Beth saw the mayor point at a clock in the hallway. His men forced it from the wall. Beth heard them mutter about firewood. She inched closer, following them as they took the clock down stairways and past portraits. The rooms smelled of gold chains. They shook the cellar door, found it locked, dumped the clock on the floor and left to hunt the key. Scrabbling at the wood, she grasped the cuckoo, shoved it up her sleeve and ran back to her corner. She hid the bird in an 66
empty ink pot. The wooden bird huddled in the nest beneath her bed. Every hour, the quiet tweep drifted into her dreams. Back at her desk, cuckoo song stamped the dragging day as her hands strained and stiffened. At lunchtime, after gulping tea and gobbling bread slabs, she crept corridors counting clocks, ducking behind statues when stately folk blustered by. She sneaked ink dregs home, drew maps of the mayor’s chambers and plotted. One afternoon, before leaving the offices, she lodged a low window ajar. Later, while the town was stuffed with sleep sounds, she tip toed along the night streets and crawled and heaved through the window. The mayor’s chambers smelled of named swords. Darkness clogged the air. She moved along passageways, up spiral stairs to a dim archway where a forgotten clock squatted. Peeling paint scratched her fingers as she prized it open and stole the cuckoo. Every night, she pushed another bird under her bed. Her room became noisy with the clacking of wooden wings. They pecked her blankets and jackets to rags. She took birds from corner clocks first, where no one noticed the silence left behind. But soon, she thieved them from halls and board rooms, and when the hours struck, her quill pens no longer trembled. The mayor’s men patrolled the chambers thumping clocks to wake birds which weren’t there. Fearful of being caught, Beth stopped taking the cuckoos from the mayor chambers and began sneaking them from shops and homes. Her room was loud. She slept with wooden birds nested in her plaits. One midnight, she opened her window, pointed to bat paths and watched the cuckoos fly. She took more birds. She released them to the skies. Townsfolk began to spot them in flight. In their homes, they pressed their ears to empty clocks. They queued in a clamor outside the clock maker’s shop while he sandpapered and 67
scraped, but he couldnâ€™t keep up. Beth watched from her window, and when she saw a clock carried away, she followed and tracked the shopper in the alleyways and waited and listened by their cottage walls. Then she broke locks and let the new cuckoos free. People whispered of the bird thief. They petitioned the mayor. In her office corner, Beth heard shouts outside denting the air. From his balcony, the mayor bellowed back. Meetings were called. The townspeople gathered in the great hall. They bickered and barked, nagged and nodded. And meanwhile, Beth raced through their deserted rooms. They returned home to silent clocks. Above them, wooden birds roamed between chimney smoke and clouds, singing the hours. That night, Beth perched at her window, counting the cuckoos gliding the moonlit winds. She woke to hammering; the clock maker was boarding up his shop. She freed the final birds. All of the clocks were quiet. The townsfolk threw them away and told time by the cuckoo flocks in the skies.
When I was little Denzel Scott When I was little and still held fondness toward outside play, where tree climbing meant speaking with the woodpeckerâ€™s holes and making wrinkled tree flesh into a loverâ€™s torso meant pressing hands and sometimes genitals against viscous trails of golden blood, I ate azaleas with my older brother. We ruthlessly snatched the flowers from their branches, like tearing legs off writhing toads. We stole the sweet nectar into our mouths as if to drug ourselves into the state of gods.
Petals were torn apart while inspecting their miniature pink cheetah spots, and mashed beneath our feet into a dirty paste of pink and brown. We stuck the bottoms of the stamens into our mouths, pretending that they were toothpicks. And as pollen peppered our upper lips and cheeks, we seduced the monarchs.
Lamassu by L. Lamassu 71
Bee Gabriel Congdon A fuzzless bee was buzzing around my friends’ and my feet. My large print Pascal seemed a divine miter for the mission, but my friend beckoned leave the bee be. Times are different. People can’t just kill as many bees as they want to like when we were kids. There was a shade of the pathetic about the bee. We weren’t near any flowers. He looked lost. Like he didn’t know what the hell he was doing. The little guy landed on my friends’ foot. “Good god woman!” “Quiet! It might accidentally sting. A shameful death for a born flower fuc-OUCH!” But the bee lived on! “If that’s one of those killer bees then the scene’s worse than I suspected. I have to meet up with The Adroit. Come along little bee.” The bee followed us to my drug dealer’s house. The Adroit
was wary of the bee at first, but when the little guy got stuck in a pot of Dutch Dream, it was adorable enough to melt any stone’s heart. Soon The Adroit felt so close with the wee bee that she gave him a pinch of molly from her own personal snuff box. The bee was anti-social on the walk home. We spotted our friend Bari walking. She’d befriended a butterfly and was out on a stroll. The two immediately hit it off were soon dry-humping behind a bough, leaving me to make small talk with the bee and butterfly. “I assume you two know one another.” Back at the house, I didn’t pull that honey shit like they do on the internet-television. We ordered Chinese and the bee was so mollified it pollinated everything. The next morning a few bees stopped by the house. I made some coffee and the hung over bee eventually faced his kin. It looked like a real rowdy-dow. They eventually left and he flew back to his room. “I guess he’s crashing here.” I’d get home from work and who should be eagerly awaiting me? Vautrin the bee! He’d kiss me on the cheek and then crawl over my hands and feet (devilishly relaxing). He and the cat frolicked all day and at night when I pray he orbits my head like a halo. I splurged and picked up an ant farm for Vautrin. He was quick to sting the queen and take control of the colonies. Soon he had all the ants at his command. I had to dedicate half of the basement for his ever-expanding tomb. I found this image of Vautrin as an Egyptian pharaoh, pretty 73
audacious, but I kept my opinions mum because I loved him so damn much. Throughout this process, this life, occasional bees would show up, and a closed-door conversation would ensue. But there was no reunion. He was yet a bee estranged. And the situation grew dire as Vautrinâ€™s six weeks dwindled, and, during a football game, sadly passed from this world alone. Vautrin the bee was buried in the heart of his volcanic pyramidal tomb in a sapphire studded casket of amber. Rimsky-Korsakov was played for posterity and the pathos of my eulogy brought tears to all his ant workers. Even the queen bee attended the service and buzzed a few words around the microphone saying that Vautrin was a common bee of low-birth, but refused his lot, and since he clearly had the soul of some great Egyptian pharaoh, defied life in a way that creates life. For why else would we different species be gathered, if not to honor the life of a great bee. The tomb erupted honey and flowers dropped from the ceiling. The next time I was in the park, I saw no bees, but I did see myself as a man, once loved by a bee.
The Heron Kristin Camitta Zimet Sunup: my red canoe slides into rose. Mist above the saltmarsh marks my way: rise over this mud body streaming rivulets, soul brushed up, doublings visible. On single stalk a heron stands: hunger and strike, fin-slip down gullet. His gold eye divines over and under waves. Mine makes God swim bent. Gliding oblique, I close on him. One pinion of sun strokes feathered air. Iâ€™m curling, soft, a great bird curving down to tuck me inâ€Ś
Scraping a cry, my heron slips his knot, legs it aloft. So lazy I believe, this time if I stop flapping, Heaven will hold me up.
The Red Winged Bird Paris Norris there was this bird with red wings and a charcoal belly that left traces of ash in its path it reeked of misery with its violently arrogant flight i, incapable, no taller than fears height there was this ocean-eyed bird and it laid small with its charismatic wing span lily padded breaths lost in the valley… forming a shadow of pious currents purging the red winged ones' fiery eyes to darts i, incapable, was bound to her nest thinking i could help her wings grow… the cotton clouds swirled like the love her poise could resuscitate but her lungs cringed as sand overwhelmed by the water’s chill crumbling and my eyes grew wide because that was my Grandmother going with the orange peeled sky
i told her the Moon Erin McIntosh i told her the Moon. i told her taste, i moved my mouthless lips and stars. and lights. we were everywhere, crossing bridges. dangling our legs off lanterned ledges. slotted archways and casino-lit towns nobody dreams of visiting. underneath the proscenium i told her about my mother that diseased chromosome and he so dapper like an acronym of somebody beloved. you make me feel a hundred purple lanterns blown out covering canvas-like the blurred night sky. this one remains
hopeful, a yellowed trust in the center of my chest like a limitless vacuum infinite and without vanity. we covered the mirrors the morning destiny woke her skyscrapered teeth and yawned. welcome home she said, the place you once knew is nowhere now to be found.
Contributors Ser Anderson is a photographer, writer, and naturalist, most likely found chasing inspiration, birds, insects, or frisbees somewhere in northwestern Montana. As a genderqueer person, they are interested in exploring identities and bodies and how we know ourselves. Hugh Anderson is a Vancouver Islander, long enough removed from the prairies to loathe the cold. His many incarnations have ranged from bus driver to actor to teacher. His poems have appeared most recently in Popshot, Right Hand Pointing, Conclave: A Journal of Character and Write to Woof 2015. Lesley Bannatyne is a writer living in Massachusetts who writes about popular culture (Halloween in particular), the arts, and science, and has published pieces on druids, relief workers in Bolivia, and tree ring dating. She is the author of five books (three non-fiction, one edited anthology, and a children’s story). Karen Bayly is a writer, ex-actor, ex-muso, sometime scientist and IT bod. She recently completed the first draft of a Steampunk-inspired, undead thriller novel and is writing her second full length screenplay. She loves animals and has a huge gooey spot for cats, horses and birds. Barbara Black was a finalist in the 2015 Canadian Authors Association Vancouver Short Story Contest and semi-finalist for a 2014 Disquiet International Literature scholarship in Lisbon. Her poetry has appeared in Contemporary Verse 2, FreeFall, and Poems from Planet Earth. Other publications include non-fiction in Chicken Soup for the Soul: It’s Christmas, non-fiction in Island Writer, and fiction in The New Quarterly. She lives in Victoria, BC. Alexander Clark is a cross-genre writer of fiction and creative non-fiction living in Central Pennsylvania. He is a recent graduate of Penn State University, having studied English, philosophy, and art. When he isn’t writing he practices Pai Lum Kung Fu, herds cats, organically urban farms, and blacksmiths. Gabriel Congdon lives in Seattle where he is one of the creators of the web-series &@. His work can be found in Inklette Magazine and is forthcoming from No Extra Words Podcast and his childrens play "The Biz" is available from A Pocketful of Plays. Madison Creech is a multimedia artist with a dedication to mixing digital fabrication with traditional methods. She received a Bachelor of Fine Art degree as well as a Bachelor of Science in Textile, Merchandising and Fashion Design from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Creech has also received a Masters degree in Fine Art from the fibers program at Arizona State University (ASU). To learn more about Madison Creech visit www.creechers.com. Gregory Crosby is the author of the chapbook Spooky Action at a Distance (2014, The Operating System); his poetry has appeared in numerous journals, including Court Green, Epiphany, Copper Nickel, Leveler, Sink Review, Ping Pong, & Rattle. He is co-editor of the online poetry journal Lyre Lyre and teaches creative writing at Lehman College, City University of New York. Gilberto Galvez is currently studying anthropology, French and creative writing at Linfield College, where he served as editor-in-chief of its literary journal. Writing has always held a special place in his heart, and since he discovered how liberating it could be to write a poem, he hasn’t been able to keep his fleeting thoughts from making marks on the page. Rebecca Harrison sneezes like Donald Duck and her best friend's a dog who can count. Through the WoMentoring Project, she was chosen by Kirsty Logan as her mentee. Rebecca’s been nominated for Best of the Net and her stories can be read at Maudlin House, Luna Station Quarterly and elsewhere. Diana Hurlburt is a freelance writer and librarian in Florida. Her short fiction has appeared in the online journals The Prompt, Magnolia, and The Rumpus, and the collection Beyond the Pillars; her essays have appeared on The Toast and witchsong, and in the collection The Queen’s Readers. She can be found online at dianahurlburt.tumblr.com. James Croal Jackson has work forthcoming in Thin Air, Rust+Moth, and Skylark Review. He grew up in Akron, Ohio and now lives in Columbus, Ohio, though he had a few wild years in Los Angeles in between. Find more at jimjakk.com.
L. Lamassu is a mystic artist concerned with understanding the breadth of consciousness in the universe and works primarily from her dreamscape. She received a B.A. in Anthropology from Trent University where she enjoyed immersing herself in ancient worlds, and has studied astrology and tarot for 15 years. Will Lytle is a Catskills-based illustrator and comic artist. He self publishes short works under the moniker thorneater, and contributes to many local and international publications. You can find him at thorneatercomics.com, and on social media. Erin McIntosh is a writer and actress currently living in Los Angeles. Her poetry has appeared and is forthcoming in various journals including Bone Bouquet, Lavender Review, Cleaver Magazine, Hawai’i Review, apt, Gravel, Plenitude Magazine and Pine Hills Review. Visit her at www.erinmcintoshofficial.com. Megan Merchant is the author of Translucent, sealed. (Dancing Girl Press, 2015), In the Rooms of a Tiny House (ELJ Publications, October 2016), Gravel Ghosts (Glass Lyre Press, Spring 2016), The Dark’s Humming (2015 Lyrebird Prize Winner, Glass Lyre Press, 2017) and a forthcoming children’s book forthcoming through Philomel Books. Daniel Moore’s work has been published in The American Literary Review, Western Humanities Review, Cream City Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, Rattle and others. He has poems forthcoming in Dewpoint, Atticus Review, Wayne Literary Review, District Lit, Columbia Journal of Arts and Literature, Red Savina Review, YAY!LA Magazine and the Birmingham Arts Journal. He lives in Washington on Whidbey Island where he is working on his first book, “Waxing The Dents.” Paris Norris is a native of Los Angeles, California, and currently pursuing a B.A. in Cinema with a Minor in English at San Francisco State University. As her first, she would like to dedicate this publication to her grandmother. Toti O'Brien's mixed media work has been exhibited in group and solo shows. She has illustrated two children books and two memoirs. Her artwork has appeared in Colorado Boulevard, Like a Girl, Six Little Things, Hystrio, IFF, Speechless, Sein und Werden, Maudlin, The Adroit and Rogue Agent. Maria S. Picone is a writer and artist who lives in Boulder, Colorado. She takes inspiration for her artwork from the embedded relationship between man and nature. She often works in oil with metallic acrylic accents. Her website is mariaspicone.com, and her Twitter is @mspicone. Jade Ramsey holds an MFA from Bowling Green State and is the author of Yawns Between Strangers (Finishing Line Press 2014) and Ghost Matter (Dancing Girl Press Forthcoming 2016). Her fiction and poetry has appeared in Whiskey Island, Best New Poets 2013, The MacGuffin, Goblin Fruit, and many others. A hater of dogs, A. Riding lives among a large pack of them, in a one-bedroom apartment in the center of the universe. Heat and electricity are generated from the charged rubbing together of all the dogs, and vision is obscured by a smoke cloud of black, smoldering dog hair. Joe Rupprecht is a poet and student at Hamilton College. At Hamilton, he is an editor for the campus literary magazine, Red Weather. He was a finalist for the 2014 Syracuse Stage Young Playwrights Festival, winner of the “Oh, How Upstate” Creative Writing Award, and winner of the Rose B. Tager Prize for Fiction. Denzel Xavier Scott earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Chicago. He currently works towards a Writing MFA at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in his hometown of Savannah, GA. Kristin Camitta Zimet is author of the poetry collection Take in My Arms the Dark and editor of The Sow's Ear Poetry Review. Recently she published in Salamander, Natural Bridge, and Poet Lore. She performs poetry from arboretum to concert hall. She is also a nature guide and Reiki healer.
Submission Guidelines Kaaterskill Basin Literary Journal showcases unique and beautiful writing and artwork. We love the strange, the experimental, the disastrously gorgeous, and the simply lovely. We publish short and flash fiction, poetry, poetic prose, word art, found art, and anything else that strikes us as wonderful. We accept fiction and poetry submissions at: http://kaaterskillbasin.submittable.com/submit Artwork should be sent to email@example.com.
Reading Periods Winter issue: reading from October 15th to December 15th Spring issue: reading from January 15th to March 15th Summer issue: reading from April 15th to June 15th Fall issue: reading from July 15th to September 15th Submissions received between reading periods will be read during the next reading period. Submissions of artwork will be considered year round.
What We’re Looking For We are looking to publish short and flash fiction, poetry, and artwork that can be considered “strange and beautiful.” Literary sci-fi and fantasy, weird tales, bizarro, or quirky literary stories. We encourage submissions by women, people of color, disabled and neurodivergent writers and artists, and queer, trans* genderqueer, nonbinary, and two spirit people.
Format, Etc. Please include a brief cover letter with a short (50 words) bio and word count, and attach your submission as a .doc, .docx, or .rtf file. We strongly prefer standard manuscript format and ask that you please use times new roman or courier font, 12 point, 1 inch margins. We happily accept simultaneous submissions as long as you inform us at the time of the submission and notify us immediately if your submission has been accepted elsewhere. We do not accept unsolicited reprints of literature, but may accept reprints of artwork. Please query at: firstname.lastname@example.org. We are all volunteers and cannot pay contributors, but that may change in the future. Thank you and we hope to read your work!
Published on Apr 8, 2016
A Catskills-based journal of art and literature that celebrates the strangely beautiful and beautifully strange. This spring 2016 "winged th...