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The Salal Review

Lower Columbia College Longview, Washington Volume 7: Spring 2007

L. Faye Olason “Fishy Fish” Digital Photograph


Call for Submissions The Salal Review is an annual publication of Lower Columbia College with the mission of involving student editors in the presentation of the best work available from the writers, poets, and artists of the Lower Columbia region. To submit written work for consideration, send no more than five poems or two prose pieces, either by U.S. mail, with a stamped, self-addressed reply envelope, or by e-mail attachment (MS Word or RTF) during the month of October 2007. For artwork, submit up to five pieces, either on paper or by e-mail attachment, during the month of January 2008. We will consider color work for the cover only; all other work must be black and white. We cannot be responsible for one-of-a-kind originals, so please send clean copies. Digital images may be sent on CD or by e-mail, but must be high-resolution jpeg files (SHQ or HQ). Please include a brief biographical note describing your connection to the Lower Columbia region. To answer further questions regarding submissions, to receive a copy of The Salal Review, or to arrange a sponsorship donation, call us at (360) 442-2632 or contact us by e-mail at salal@lcc.ctc.edu. Mail submissions or donations to The Salal Review, Lower Columbia College, P.O. Box 3010, 1600 Maple Street, Longview, WA 98632.

Acknowledgments The editors wish to thank the Associated Students of Lower Columbia College and the LCC Foundation for continuing to fund Salal, the LCC Office of Instruction and Department of Language & Literature for supporting the Magazine Publication course that makes Salal possible, the LCC Publications and Purchasing offices for their invaluable assistance, Printing Arts Center for their help with lay-out and their care and skill in printing the pages, The Peasandcues Press for making its hand bindery equipment available, and our individual sponsors for their financial support.

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Editors: Becky Erickson David Freeman Krista Hill Joshua Lamont Nichole Reid Danielle Shulke Sara Strite

Winter Quarter Staff: Cynden Hayden

Faculty Advisor: Joseph Green The Salal Review Lower Columbia College P.O. Box 3010 1600 Maple St. Longview WA, 98632

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Contents Poetry Jim Hanlen

To My Heart

9

Kristy Burch

Sailor’s Lament

10

Amanda Sirois

Picture Books for Girls

13

Run Away

39

Caroline Wood

Columbia River Woman

18

Brian Harrison

It’s Come to This

21

Lorraine Merrin

Going Home

23

Robert Michael Pyle

Two More Birds That Didn’t Make It

30

Harold Reeves

For Art’s Sake

33

Carolyn Caines

In the Same Bed

34

Hope Chest

35

Looking Back

37

These Times Now

51

Louise Dobbins James

Clearing Out

41

Tony Hill

A Tragic Life

42

Deborah Brink

The Rocking Chair

52

Mark Bergeson

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Prose John Knudsen

My Best Work

14

Alex Whitman

The Order of Nature, the Nature of Order

25

Amber Evald

One More Chance for the Hopeless

45

Untitled

8

Lola Dancing

12

Duet

20

Nicole Bjerke

Yaquina Head Lighthouse

11

Michael Smith

Drifting

17

Three Musicians

36

Dragonfly

40

Willie Johanson-Kubin

Tidepool Waterfall

22

Ludger Wöhrmann

Balance 150

24

Debby Neely

Moon Song

28

Patrick Kubin

Sniff

32

Heather Taylor

Coddled Insanity

38

L. Faye Olason

Hanging Boots

43

Jordan Reed

Jeanine with Glass

44

Sara Kerbs-Ridenour

Goblet of Smoke

50

Art Ray Cooper

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Advice from the Advisor Last week somebody pried the lock off the door to my tool shed and stole my chainsaw. Whoever took it apparently had no use for two nice bicycles, a decent lawnmower, a serviceable weed whacker, or any of the various garden tools stored there. The person who broke into the shed evidently wanted just my saw. I spent Sunday fixing the shed door, mounting heavier hinges and a good deadbolt, knowing the whole time that anybody with real determination to break in could easily do it again. After all, the guy (it was probably a guy, right?) has my chainsaw; all he has to do is cut his way back in—if he isn’t worried about the noise. The only thing I can do is make him work a little harder. Still, I can’t quite get over it. Aside from the fact that it’s cost me time and money to repair the shed, and it’s going to cost more to replace the saw, I have to admit that the real issue is emotional. I take this personally. Yes, my place has been invaded, and that feels creepy, but it’s more than that. When my chainsaw was stolen, something else was stolen as well. I bought that saw twenty-eight years ago, after my son was born. Marquita and I had just bought our first house, and we were heating with wood. We were using cloth diapers with our baby, laundering them in our new washing machine—the same one we use today—and hanging them to dry, either on the clothesline outside or on a folding rack by the woodstove. My father had given us money for Christmas to buy a dryer, but we decided to buy a chainsaw instead. We needed fuel for the stove, and the stove would heat the house and dry the diapers. Despite his certainty that this was just an excuse for me to buy a particularly macho and even phallic piece of machinery, Dad finally said, “Whatever the two of you decide,” and let it go. I cut a lot of firewood with that saw, and I used it to cut blocks and blanks for Marquita to turn on her lathe. When she started showing her wood bowls and sculptures at The Broadway Gallery, patrons would sometimes call her when they had lost a tree. Then, often enough, the saw would “earn its keep” again: more wood to turn, more wood to burn. And then last week, it was gone. By the time it was stolen, it was an old chainsaw. It had no safety brake. The clutch didn’t work right, so the chain would keep running even at idle speed. The new models are lighter, easier to start, easier to adjust, and safer. But they aren’t the same. I had every intention of working that saw until either it quit or I did; I was hoping to get another twenty-eight years out of it. I used to wear a Stihl cap sometimes as a sort of “chainsaw massacre” joke when I edited poems for The Bellingham Review. You’ll be forgiven for thinking that’s

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still my manner with The Salal Review, but things are different here. In the first place, I’m not the editor; I advise the editors. They are all Lower Columbia College students, and although they are learning to do this difficult thing, putting together a journal of regional art and literature, they teach me more than I ever imagined was possible. Every year we have to learn the process all over again. Every group of editors, every batch of submissions is a new experience. We try to do no damage, no chainsaw revisions, but really, sometimes it’s hard to watch. It takes a lot of patience. In fact, Salal would never have been published at all, let alone for seven years, without the patience and encouragement of many people. From the beginning, one of our greatest supporters has been Dr. Laurel Williamson, Lower Columbia College’s Vice President and Dean of Faculty. As she leaves LCC this spring for a new position in Texas, I thank her and wish her well, on behalf of the Salal staff. I wish her a safe and easy journey, and no encounters with thieves. As for my chainsaw thief, I hope he’ll read Salal, suffer a fit of remorse, and return what he stole from me. But who am I kidding? A man who would steal chainsaws won’t read The Salal Review. You do, however, and everyone represented in these pages is grateful for that. We all hope you enjoy what you find here. Joseph Green Faculty Advisor The Salal Review

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Ray Cooper

Untitled

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Jim Hanlen

To My Heart I can tell you, some hearts, long ago, escaped and became horses. These hearts grew tough hides, learned to read winds and lived off the land. These hearts that slipped out of Eden on the ďŹ rst night, wore no clothes and their ďŹ rst words, the oldest sounds, were the sounds of their hooves.

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Kristy Burch

Sailor’s Lament An icebreaker sailor Whose sailing days are done, A red-hull deckie Who’s made her last run, I’ve been from Seattle to Sydney, From Antarctica to Nome, From the Chukchi Sea to McMurdo, And Cape Hallett back to home. I’ve seen sunsets light fires in heaven, Weathered storms when my stomach rebelled, Watched the ocean mirror window glass, And been staggered as she swelled. But now those days are done for me; I travel the seas no more. Today I’m an icebreaker sailor Stranded on the shore.

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Nicole Bjerke

Yaquina Head Lighthouse

11


Ray Cooper

Lola Dancing

12


Amanda Sirois

Picture Books for Girls (Eastern Europe 1904) My father said any girl who studies the Talmud is a demon, but I knew you were no such thing. As a boy I admired your thirst for knowledge, your love for learning so much more than mine. You studied in secret, trusting God would understand, lied to every bookseller when they told you, “You’re in the wrong place, Miss. Picture books are for girls.” Held envy toward the students. It is the students who should envy you. Your passion for knowledge bore so deep, learning your life, tasting what they said could not be yours. In a time when the world of study belonged only to men, there lived a girl.

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John Knudsen

My Best Work Light. Violet yellow light. Sound. Water tumbling over rocks, and a gentle stirring high in the trees. Smells. The musty, bright smell of fresh moss, clean compost, fir and cedar. As I open my eyes I realize that I am home. Oh, not the kind of home that is full of stuff, and has couches and televisions and windows. The kind of home that feels comfortable because there is no time to rush you about. The kind of home that is not warm because of central heating, but because you have to work just to make breakfast. The kind of home where the ingredients for breakfast are kept fresh because they are still on the bush and in the stream where they live and grow, not in the refrigerator. The light is violet and yellow because my tent is, and the sun has to pass through it to get to me. The stream running off to the south is called Siouxon Creek. The trout are small brook trout, one of the ingredients for the best breakfast available on this planet. The huckleberries are tiny and red, and it takes a long time to get a half-cup of them, but they are worth the effort. The fresh huckleberry syrup that I pour over my hot cakes is sweet and tart, and sets off the trout and bacon and eggs like a fine wine. We come here every summer and live on just what we can carry, and what the forest can provide, for as long as a week at a time, sometimes two or three times before the winter rains come and turn the world into a mudpuddle. I am in no hurry to do anything, so I am free to savor the act of catching breakfast—as delicious a task as eating it. Fishing with a fly is a delicate affair. I first read the creek to find out where the best fishing will be. Then I find the insects that are in or on the water, and which of those are being selected by the picky trout. Trout are finicky, but fickle, and will change their diet in the wink of an eye if one bug becomes more abundant than another. God’s own population control program, they are. They take only the bugs that are in greatest quantity, even if that means the little ones, so as I select an imitation and tie it on, I try to stay aware of what is happening in the water. There! One fish comes to the surface! Is there a bubble in the ring left by his rise? No? Then he must be eating bugs below the surface. I think the little brown nymph I have chosen will work fine. I tie a little dry fly about twelve inches above the nymph so that I can see the instant the fish takes my little underwater imitation. The trees near the bank are a problem when casting a fly, and these lean inward as all trees seem to do, so I keep my line close to the water as I strip it out to get to where the fish is. The water is icy, having left its home on the glacier twenty minutes ago, but I wade in to get a better vantage to cast from. My line snakes out,

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first behind me and then in front, then back again. Finally, on the fourth false cast my fly is about ten feet upstream from the fish, and I let it settle in the current. My bug is just a little too close to the middle of the stream and flows past the spot where the fish rose, not through it as I was hoping. I let it drift down another ten feet or so and gently lift the line, fly and all, off the water so as not to startle the fish. Two more false casts and I lay it down again, in almost the exact same spot, but about a foot closer to shore. The fly drifts down to the spot where the fish rose; I pull in the line just enough to wiggle the nymph as though it were trying to rise to the surface. Suddenly the dry fly disappears! I gently lift my rod tip and there he is! Stuck on the end of my line is an eight-inch brooky, just beginning to realize that last bug wasn’t a bug at all. I give a light jerk to set the barbless hook more firmly into his lip and he pulls away from me, helping me accomplish my goal. The fight is not long, but he is a good fish. He hasn’t given up completely, even as I clean him up and send his entrails to his brethren. If you wait for rigor mortis to set in, your meal will taste “fishy” and no one will truly enjoy it. I put a slice of a sweet onion and another of lemon inside his body cavity, sprinkle him with lemon pepper, wrap him in bacon and before he gets stiff he is sizzling in my pan. The aroma of the syrup cooking, the bacon and the fish is too much for my son, and he gets up. He stumbles out of his tent, running a hand through his short hair. His words are slurred with sleep as he greets me: “That smells good. Is there enough for me?” he asks. “Yup.” “Can I have that one?” He looks hopefully into the pan. “Nope.” “Where’s mine?” He is getting suspicious. “In the creek.” “Gee thanks,” he grouses. “My pleasure,” I assure him as I hand him the fly rod, already rigged. “I saw another one rising about twenty feet upstream from the rock where we wash up.” I want him to be successful. “Okay.” Peevishly. He knows how to do this. He’s caught many fish before. So I’m totally at a loss when he walks up to the spot where I had seen the other fish instead of getting in the water 50 feet downstream. Once again the questions that my father asked me come to mind. “What is it that makes an intelligent twelve-year-old become a teenager? By what process is the grey matter totally neutralized so that everything we have taught them is lost for eight or nine years?”

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His fish has already been “put down” for the day and he will have to find another. It takes two hours, but he finally stops thrashing the water for that instant gratification and pretends to be patient long enough to catch a fish. He has not discovered, yet, that time does not exist here unless you bring it with you. He cooks his fish himself and is every bit as conscientious about his cooking as I am. He’s learning the things that he thinks are important to him. In the meantime I load up another rod and catch two more for the girls, who finally crawl out of their bags about noon. The oldest is a real beauty, barely thirteen, with short dark hair and slim build. The youngest is still a child, but is nearly as tall as her older sister. As unlike each other as any two sisters can be, she is heavier and fair haired, and just as beautiful to me. This is the story of my life. At least since my marriage ended. I am a single father working my way through school. I have custody of two teenagers and one tenyear-old. I have learned patience and am learning more daily. My life seems to flow much like this camp-out. Of course I am not camping all the time, but this is how I provide for my kids and teach them to provide for themselves. Then I watch them forget everything I have taught them, everything they have demonstrated a working knowledge of, and figure it out for themselves all over again. I guess if I wanted to put my life into one short story, I would be that teenager: impatient, thrashing around and trying to force the world to be what I want it to be, demanding that the fish be where I put my fly, and that it take my fly because I want to eat it, not because it is trying to slake its own hunger, for maybe thirty years or more, and then I would finally be the father. It takes some of us longer than others to get over those teenage years. I hope I have finally left mine behind.

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Michael Smith

Drifting

17


Caroline Wood

Columbia River Woman When I am with you when I am with you I do not talk of petty things you dislike pettiness you refuse to give it reflection so I open my heart and pour out those things that are the heaviest and you float them and reveal them as ripples as islands of clouds as hillsides of trees as the shadow of a water skipper’s foot crossing your skin. You run through my life you run through my life I tell you as liquid thread weaving through my thickness so that after being with you I am less bulky than before and am left dreaming in my imagination that I could walk across you dive into you and come up beneath the underside of leaves and on the bellies of frogs. I have flown, I have flown I must have told you that I have flown with the osprey the Canadian goose the cormorant the tern and the bald eagle my feathers collecting your spray as the tips of my wings crease for a moment the surface of you.

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I have swum, I have swum I must have told you that I have swum with the salmon the steelhead the sturgeon and the carp and felt you moving in my gills I have pushed against you moving myself through you my scales reading your silent words so that I could write a book I could write an entire library I tell you I must have told you. I have walked I say I have walked knee high in the low tidal waters of Fisher Island inlets searching for arrowhead plants saying I will grind their roots to our as a Cowlitz Indian woman once did but I don’t instead I feel the oozing of the soft river mud between my toes and think of how it must have felt the same between her toes between her toes the other Columbia River woman.

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Ray Cooper

Duet

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Brian Harrison

It’s Come to This Where once we spoke of Malamud and Kenyon and Georgio Seferis and the peeling of a poem, now the topic is age draping itself over our lives like a coastal fog, entangling us in braces and orthotics, pill bottles and hot baths for our arthritic pangs. Searching for natural healing, you and I walk miles and commit weekly acts of silence. We have learned the physiology of our meat and gristle, and the ways anatomy reacts to the slowly drawing blade of age.

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Willie Johanson-Kubin

Tidepool Waterfall

22


Lorraine Merrin

Going Home She is leaving green trees, the taste of rain, and bridges across wide rivers to return to that wild place full of sun and hard questions. One last time she travels familiar roads, becomes dust and empty sky—who she is, not who she has been. Her parents, her aunties, her last uncle, have all vanished into shimmering heat. The old house no longer welcomes her but stands hollow, as if her family has shed its skin, moved on, suddenly thirsty, weary of red rock and pink-owered cactus.

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Ludger Wรถhrmann

Balance 150

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Alex Whitman

The Order of Nature, the Nature of Order I am not sure whether my affinity for nature derives from an appreciation for the Earth’s order or a sense of gratitude for its absence of order—as if those were my only two options. On the one hand, nature seems well arranged and regular in its movements. Its static (excuse me, but nothing is truly static) features are patterned; its dynamic principles seem to conform to habit. Most flowers and plants are uniformly designed: Monocots are arranged in threes (three, six or twelve petals, for instance), dicots in fours or fives. Bipeds and quadrupeds are generally symmetrical and regulate their relationships with convention. June comes along every June, and lichens usually grow on the north sides of trees and log houses. Yet lichens also grow erratically, often creeping around to the east for a peek at the rising sun. And sometimes it snows in June. And sometimes symbiotic relationships fail. Amoebae, corals, and many fungi are amorphous. In fact, no two organisms are identical, and no two situations occur exactly the same. The forces of nature—wind, gravity, electricity, cell division, photosynthesis, conduction, magnetism, tectonic plate movement and lava flow, perpetual motion, and Coriolis deflection—while they seem to create an orderly world, also throw things into chaos, at least from a human perspective. While I thank the gods for the freedom that such chaos often affords, I appreciate that the North Pole points constantly at Polaris. At least, I think it does. Two hundred years before the Common Era, Erastosthenes, observing the shadows of vertical poles, measured the angles at which sunlight struck the earth. Using these angles and the distance between the two points at which the shadows were cast, he determined the circumference of the Earth at the Equator: 25,000 miles. Today, mathematicians are more precise; they report the Earth’s circumference at 24,902.4 miles. Modern geophysicists have figured out that the Earth is made up of an outer crust 25 miles thick, a mantle 1,800 miles thick, an outer core 1,380 miles thick, and an inner core 795 miles thick. The oceans contain 1,350,000,000,000,000,000 (one thousand, three hundred fifty quintillion) metric tons of water. At least three methods of measuring time are presently in use, depending on whether one considers the sun’s motion across the sky (solar time), or the position of the stars (sidereal time), or ephemeris time, which allows for fluctuations in the motions of these celestial bodies in relation to the Earth, as well as variations in the rate of the Earth’s rotation—as much as two seconds per year. These fluctuations notwithstanding, the International Astronomical Union and the International

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Committee on Weights and Measures have presumed to measure time, taking all possible inaccuracies into consideration. By international agreement in 1883, and to accommodate railroad time schedules, scientists have divided time into twentyfour imaginary geographic zones, thus integrating their abstract conceptualization of time with the Earth’s physical uniformity, which, of course, is relative. The centers of the four Time Zones in the United States fall along straight and true meridians; the boundaries of the four Time Zones, however, wiggle, so as to follow the Earth’s political and, in some cases, physical irregularities, the former very often having been determined by the latter. While pondering these exiguous attempts to measure such a slippery concept, I imagine the globe to be a plump, spherical navel orange, its rind peeled off to reveal twenty-four relatively uniform carpels, each with a thick, flat membrane (to confine its juices) visible from the exterior, representing the meridians, and the wiggly edges of their seams representing the Time Zone Boundaries. (The image doesn’t work perfectly, because Citrus sinensis couldn’t possibly have twenty-four carpels.) Anyway, looking at my old globe, I notice that the boundary between the Mountain Standard Time Zone and the Central Standard Time Zone wiggles right through the center of Murdo, South Dakota. In Murdo, it can be 5:30 in the morning at the east end of Main Street, but at the same time, only 4:30 at the west end. I telephoned the United States Post Office there to find out how the citizens were coping with this irregularity imposed by the Uniform Time Act—this silly attempt to bring order out of disorder but instead bringing on confusion. The gentle postmistress told me that a few years ago, the people of Murdo, numbering approximately 600, got the government to move the wiggly line to the extreme west end of town, so it could be the same time everywhere in their community. So I guess if one ordering strategy fails, people can manipulate the world alternatively, which implies that there is no true order, despite our compulsion to find some. Time Zones and other geographic properties are carefully represented for visual perception on maps, such as my old globe, which attempt to render all geographic units discrete and bring all natural phenomena into tidy order. Here is a jungle, here is a steppe. As if the very act of recording these phenomena could fasten them. These measurements and separations were designed and contrived by rational human beings attempting to sort, organize, classify, and systemize, all of which operations seem reductive and puny compared to those terrestrial and inexplicable

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extraterrestrial forces that perpetuate things on this planet. Indeed, it would be much easier to rely on the gods to manage things than to work so hard myself, for they best of all understand the theory of relativity and other ephemeral matters. Yet I too feel the urge to catalogue, the need to organize and record, as if recording things could somehow stabilize them. Perhaps some inexplicable extraterrestrial force is operating me, compelling me to strive for order, often to a point of extreme frustration in which I feel my mind and body could explode. I need control, however silly it may be. And besides, I speculate that the world is, in fact, more ordered than it is disordered; further, it is human nature to strive to envision order, for its contrary is anarchy, and with anarchy is fear. I resist fear. Granted, there are other options: a little of each, or both at once, either layered or adjacent. Perhaps the paradox itself, and subsequently the tensive relationship between all the other unresolved dichotomies in the universe, are what keep us going. In the eighteenth century (we have counted the centuries), Carolus Linnaeus tried to bring order to nature by classifying all life forms (that he knew about, anyway) and giving them Latin binomials, such as Citrus sinensis, a delicious fruit; Iris pseudacorus, a doll with a false heart; and Canis latrans, a distinct green-eyed unit known for chicanery. (Undoubtedly, he chose Latin because of its dependable, systematic grammatical regularity.) The Swedish botanist’s favorite plant was Linnaea borealis, a member of Caprifoliaceae, the honeysuckle family. The delicate flower occurs in northern forests around the globe; it graced my own shaded woods from June to September, its buoyant perfume carried on a hot summer breeze. The plant’s distinctive structure is described in its common name: twin-flower. Rising from the grassy forest floor, its four-inch straight stem forks into two pedicels a half-inch from the top; each pedicel supports a single pink trumpet, five petals fused and fluted, a pollen-bearing anther suspended from the throat of each. Pink twins holding pink powder puffs. Little dolls swinging synchronously in a summer wind, nodding in accord, yet separate. Nature has demonstrated her first strategy of ordering: division. And rational man has demonstrated his compulsion to separate, classify, and graduate, by designing the binomial specific epithet and its all-encompassing parental hierarchy.

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Moon Song

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Debby Neely

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Robert Michael Pyle

Two More Birds that Didn’t Make it World domino event marred by dead bird AMSTERDAM, Netherlands—A Dutch television show claimed to have knocked down a chain of more than 4.1 million dominoes Friday in a new world record, but organizers conceded the event was overshadowed by the earlier shooting of an errant sparrow. The sparrow was killed by an exterminator with an air rifle on Monday after it knocked down 23,000 dominoes.

The Seattle Times, November 19, 2005

I. The Starling in the Tulip And how did that small pink naked bird come to lie within this tulip’s mouth? Well, if you were walking along a hot sidewalk in Denver, and you looked down and saw a tiny nestling in your path; and if it had a great wide yellow gape and wee, rosy buds of wings without a feather; and if it lay dead, but perfect, not yet trodden upon and smeared across the concrete. And supposing there grew a popsicle-pink tulip a few feet away, petals spread to show the paler pink within, sunsetting yellow at the base, night-black, pollen-starred stamens pushing out as if to say “welcome,” well, tell me— what would you have done?

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II. The Barn Swallow in the House “Do you think we live in a barn?” my father asked, every time I left the door open behind me. I guess that’s what the barn swallow thought when I left the door open, and it flew in. When you found it in the living room and brought it out in your hands, I thought it would leap into the air and fly away in frantic relief, like the starlings we free from the wood stove when they tumble down the chimney. It screamed, and launched, but circled only twice before crashing in the grass. After that, nothing got better. Tail tugging right, head bent back, something was broken. I put the swallow into a shoebox and gave it water from a dropper. It drank, but would not take a moth, or midge. Then it slept. And when I offered water again, it started and looked around, as if waking from a good dream into a bad life. Of course it was dead in the morning. I smoothed the blue-scissor wings, stroked the rusty breast, placed it to rest and rot in the plum grove beneath mianthemum leaves and bluebells. It was just one barn swallow, of multitudes that perish on each impossible round-trip. But I didn’t have to leave the front door open. And I wonder, when it slept, its eyelids quivering white, was it dreaming of far, far flights?

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Patrick Kubin

Sniff

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Harold Reeves

For Art’s Sake “A killing frost come last night,” said the deadpan farmer, hands stretched outright in the manner of a maestro stunned by a renegade strain from the bowels of his own city symphony. “Weatherman calls this season spring but something in the land is changing. Take that maple grove over there: Can you find me a bird anywhere with the golden song that used to chime across old New England?” I heard the words and smelled the earth and sky and scanned the warbling countryside, then saw the secret in the crafty farmer-eyes. Here was no gloating oracle but a man who loved to paint a darker picture.

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Carolyn Caines

In the Same Bed I see my mother in the same bed I once shared with my sister. She lies alone, so small against the pile of pillows and ruffle-trimmed sheets that annoy her. I thought she’d like them when I picked them out. I thought she’d like something feminine and frilly, but the sheets won’t lie flat enough to please her. They scratch her nose when she wants to rest. She has Dad put them on the bed so the ruffles are tucked in at the foot. Mother lies still while I wash her lined face with a thin, worn cloth. Her skin seems too loose as she moves her chin side-to-side so I can reach behind each ear. I am mother now, and she, the child complaining about the new towel. The towel is too heavy. She wants the old, worn one that once had vivid pink-and-white stripes. I should have known that heavy towels, however new, are of little use to weary, aging arms and fingers gnarled from arthritis. Her eyes close now, and I lean over her, lingering for a moment so I can remember the scent of her. I can still see my mother now in the same bed— the bed her great-grandson has in his new room.

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Carolyn Caines

Hope Chest It was my mother’s once, when hope was fresh inside, when the veneer was unstained from water glasses, and when it bore no dings from being carried through too many doorways into too many rooms. Pushing in the lock release, I gently lift. The rounded top creaks open and the cedar scent escapes confinement. Most of her treasures have been divided among daughters and sons, but a starched hanky lies in the hinged top tray, folded neatly; beside it a stack of letters written on thin air-mail parchment and a few greeting cards with age spots and worn corners. Once fine linen sheets, embroidered pillowcases, and crocheted doilies filled the chest in hope of future joy. What hope remains beneath a linen hanky? I close the lid against the musty fragrance of time. The chest passes through yet another doorway and down a hall into another room. Perhaps my granddaughter will polish and fill the chest someday. No end of hope; it must be sealed in the cedar lining.

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Michael Smith

Three Musicians

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Mark Bergeson

Looking Back Flower button hours. Panhandle Park Saturdays And Avalon Ballroom nights, When Love, a wildfire, Hot inside infected times Forged to a cutting edge Our beaded, Technicolor selves, Keen-tempered . . . Enduring. I was a face in the crowd— Janis Joplin, High on your flatbed truck, Bright sun glinting off the bottom Of a Southern Comfort bottle Tipped and pressed to your rebel lips— I heard your pain, and I wanted. I swayed among the restless— Jimi Hendrix, Screaming purple thunder Red lights pulsing off the faces And vacant eyes Of the faithful Lost lingering in strobe motion— I saw your fear, and I awoke. Grey tinged and tangible, Dampened now, a restless swoon, The thunder turned to smoulder. And where is that unsheathed Love, Transient . . . And blunted?

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Heather Taylor

Coddled Insanity

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Amanda Sirois

Run Away We crawl under the fence, barking dogs rushing toward us. We hurry to escape their sound. The rough cement ledge beneath the fence is slanted and narrow. I slide down the abrasive rock, tearing skin. My brother grabs my hand. We run like startled cats, barking dogs now in the distance, the noise in our heads gone as the smoke we breathe: out. Exhaling our cigarette talk, we huddle in our safe place. A roof and three walls enclose us: our shelter.

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Michael Smith

Dragonfly

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Louise Dobbins James

Clearing Out My duty is clearing the departed’s dwelling. There are no other task takers. The room holds a heavy quietness. A fly is sticky-footing across the ceiling. Outside dependent birds wait at a depleted feeder. House plants wilt accusingly. The still-ticking mantle clock struggles valiantly with slowing chimes. The newspaper thumps on the porch and a television guide awaits page turning. An answering machine blinks persistently. The fly starts ricocheting against window panes, determined to exit. Everyday events continue unaware something— someone is missing. This is a priority adjusting opportunity, not a task, not a duty. The fly kamikazes into cold coffee.

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Tony Hill

A Tragic Life Keys think of themselves as prisoners, forced to do a thankless job. In their youth they relish their metallic bite and the paths that open up before them, but the turning of their lives becomes repetitive and mindless. The keys wish for new doors to open and new locks to turn and start making plans to escape. They scheme with cellmates, if they have them, and whisper conspiracies in the dark. The first attempts at freedom are always small—usually nothing more than a mad dash to hide beneath a discarded credit card offer on a kitchen counter. But the plans become more complex over time. Soon the keys try tunneling below couch cushions or hiding in piles of dirty laundry. Sometimes the plans work for hours or days, and some keys even manage to evade their captors forever, but most find that their moments of freedom are brief. In the end the oldest keys are worn and weary when they are finally discarded and given the freedom they have wished for most of their lives. They find themselves in drawers, or the trash, or lost among the corpses of their brethren in some forgotten box. And then these old keys wish they were still bound and enslaved. They wish that they could feel the cold metal of their lock on their lips and hear the same old paths open up with a revolving clink. But all they taste is dust, and all they hear is silence.

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L. Faye Olason

Hanging Boots

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Jordan Reed

Jeanine with Glass

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Amber Evald

One More Chance for the Hopeless She turned away from him, but Micah knew what she was thinking. All of her comfort had been compromised, and now she was crying. “I’m so sorry. I never wanted to make you sad,” Micah whispered as he reached out to put his hand on her shoulder. But as he touched her, she collapsed over her knees, and the quiet in the park came to an end. Micah didn’t know what to do. He couldn’t stand the sight of her breaking. He didn’t know how he could be the cause of all this pain. Now he was afraid to speak, or touch her, or even sit there if it was going to hurt her. He had always loved her. He thought love was a good thing. He thought that everyone wanted only to be loved, and he couldn’t understand what he’d done to make her cry. Anna calmed herself and wiped the tears away enough to look at Micah. She didn’t say anything, but she held out her left hand toward him, revealing the diamond. With its beauty, it needed no explanation. Micah stared at it. He knew what it meant, and he could not argue with it. He was too late. Weeks later, Micah had fallen right back into place as one of Anna’s closest friends. They were excited to be around each other again, and somehow Micah had talked his way out of what had happened in the park. He told her he’d missed her so much while he was away, in college, that when he moved back to town and came to see her, he lost track of his own feelings, as well as hers. Anna could accept that. In high school they had been practically inseparable. Micah, who eventually graduated as the class valedictorian, had always helped Anna study and get through her classes. And he went to all of her plays, bringing her flowers for afterward. Everyone knew they were the best of friends, and neither of them had ever dated anyone. People talked about how someday the two of them would get married because they were so perfect for one another, but Micah and Anna just laughed at what they said. At the end of their senior year, Anna was practicing for her biggest role in a play yet. Micah was sitting on the edge of the bed in her room, reading the other parts. It was late, and his eyelids were becoming heavy, but he knew how important it was to her. While his eyes were fixed on the page, barely moving enough to read ahead, Anna made her way across the room to him. He was so focused that he didn’t notice until she placed her soft fingers on his chin to lift his face to hers. It was in the script, but they had never kissed, and suddenly their lips touched. The kiss was slow and sweet, and Micah fell into it. Then she backed away, smiled at him, and recited her lines, walking back and forth in her room as if she were dancing around him. It was that kiss that made him realize he had always loved her. It was that kiss that pulled at him when they went to different colleges and grew apart. It was that kiss that had caused him to

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move back home now, instead of starting graduate school, and that kiss that had led him to tell her in the park how much he loved her and always had. And now, he had to forget about that kiss. He had to forget so he could be her best friend again and help her get through the wedding. She said she had forgotten how much she missed him, and now she realized that she needed him around for this moment in her life. So Micah stayed. He couldn’t stand the idea of letting her down just because it was going to hurt him to watch her disappear. Now the wedding was only a few days away, and Micah had been really busy helping with the preparations. All of the bridesmaids had demanding jobs, so Anna said she was grateful for the time he spent with her. They had gone to look at flowers and dresses, and they had picked out candles and taste-tested food together for the catering. Every morning he woke up early, met her in town, and continued the wedding planning. His job was to make Anna laugh and to help her get her way when anyone else tried to make it difficult for her to have the perfect wedding she had dreamed of. He did this only because he loved to see her smile. Today was different, though, because today he had to meet Trey, Anna’s fiancé. Trey had been out of town for several weeks getting as much work done as he could before the wedding and the honeymoon. Before taking Anna away for good. Just after 6:00 that evening, Anna and Micah arrived at the little sushi restaurant downtown where Trey was going to meet them for dinner. Now Trey was standing in front of them, and Anna left Micah’s side. Her smile lit up and she threw herself at Trey. Micah was caught off guard. He wondered if Anna had ever looked at him that way. He could see her throwing her arms around him like that and imagined the way her body would feel if it were pressed up against his. Anna pulled away from Trey, both of them smiling, still gazing at one another. “Trey, I want you to meet Micah,” she said. “Micah, this is Trey.” “Hey, Micah,” Trey said, shaking his hand firmly. “It’s really great to meet you. Annabelle says you’re an awesome guy. Thanks for keeping her happy while I’ve been gone.” Micah thought of Anna crying in the park, but he said, “I’ve been doing my best. I’m sure she’ll be much happier now, though.” He tried to smile and be respectful, but he couldn’t relax. All through dinner, sitting on one side of the table by himself across from the happy couple, he had to focus intensely on the conversation to keep his mind from wandering as he watched Trey touching Anna, and caring for her, and kissing her cheek.

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That night when he got back home, he couldn’t get Trey and Anna out of his head. While Trey was out of town, Micah had somehow comforted himself by imagining that Anna was preparing to marry him instead. That was the way it was supposed to be. Everyone had always known that. He wondered where all of those rumors from high school had gone, the ones that he and Anna used to laugh about. He wanted to be with her, and he wanted so much for her to love him that it was making him sick. He could feel his stomach churning and aching with jealousy. Lying on his bed, staring at the ceiling, he could not sleep. He got up and wrote a letter to Anna, but as he read it over, he realized that he had already said all of these things to her in the park. For a moment, he wished that something bad would happen to Trey, but then he imagined how much that would hurt Anna, and he immediately felt guilty. Nothing had ever affected Micah like this. Nothing had ever made him regret anything in his life this much. But he was sure that Anna was “the one.” Now he wondered, if he had told her that he loved her after that kiss, or if they had gone away to the same school, if everything would have worked out the way it was supposed to. He was dizzy with disappointment, and his love for Anna was still making his stomach ache. How was he ever going to get to sleep? Micah opened his computer to amuse himself. He checked his email, listened to some music, and played solitaire for a while. Then an idea came to him, something that could solve his problem. He would find a time travel machine and go back to the night when Anna kissed him in her room. He grumbled as he searched the internet for time travel machines. He had convinced himself that anything had to be possible, that maybe this whole situation was a dream. Perhaps he could travel back to the kiss and tell Anna that he loved her, and then prevent himself from ever falling asleep in the first place. Eventually he found a Website called One More Chance for the Hopeless promoting a Superior Pocket-Sized Time Machine. He barely glanced at the specifications before he ordered. He typed his credit card number and expiration date into the order form, typed his billing address and clicked on the box marked “same” for shipping. Then he closed his computer and began to cry. He felt like a joke. Was he really hopeless? He didn’t even believe in time travel, let alone feel that it was something people should do. He had always been known for his “regret nothing” attitude. He imagined how everyone would laugh at him if they knew what he had just done. How silly he was to believe in such a thing, or to care so much for someone who could never love him back. Embarrassed, he

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turned out the light and soon fell asleep. The next morning, Micah woke up with sunlight on his face. The room was quiet and peaceful. Then he remembered what he had done last night, and the embarrassment quickly overtook him. How stupid, he thought. He imagined once again how everyone would ridicule him if they knew. What kind of guy loves a girl so much that he would turn to time travel if it meant he could have her? What an idiot! He opened his computer again and logged on. In his Search History, he found One More Chance for the Hopeless, but when he tried to open the page, he got an error message. He tried again, and the error message still came up. Finally he decided to just forget about the night before. He would erase it from his mind and move on with the day. When Micah met with Trey and Anna to help organize the rehearsal dinner, he tried to push aside his thoughts of Anna, and for the most part he was successful. It was a busy afternoon, and he didn’t have much time for thinking anyway. By the time he finally got to bed that night, he felt proud of himself. He was ready to move on and accept the fact that Anna loved Trey, and that Trey would take really good care of her. This could make him happy, at least. As long as Anna was loved. The next morning, Micah laid out his clothes for the wedding—his navy blue “funeral suit” and a pale blue shirt with a maroon tie. He took his time with breakfast and looked through the newspaper. Then he stayed in the shower longer than usual, until the hot water didn’t feel so hot anymore. He couldn’t be late, but he wasn’t going to rush. He was tying his shoes when the doorbell rang, and by the time he opened the door, the FedEx van was already pulling away. There on the front porch was a small package taped-up in brown paper. At first he was confused, but when he saw the return address—One More Chance, Paterson, N.J.—he knew what was in the box. On the way to the church it was raining, and as the rain fell, all of Micah’s thoughts about Anna were coming back. He tried to fight them like the wipers on his windshield fighting the raindrops, but they were too heavy. He loved Anna. He had always loved her, and after today he was never going to have her. He remembered how she had looked at him after they kissed so long ago. Then he remembered how she had looked at him that evening in the park. When he thought about what was sitting in the box next to him, he felt as if it were mocking him. As much as he hated himself for buying it in the first place, he wanted to believe it could work. He thought, “It’s worth a try, isn’t it? I can’t just let her walk out of my life without trying.” He laughed. But it

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was a laugh that served only to make him feel better about the fact that he was actually considering the idea at all. In the church parking lot, he turned off the car. He reached over to the passenger seat and picked up the box to peel off the wrapping tape. Inside was a small, black rectangular device, about the size and shape of a TV remote control. It had two round red buttons and a screen like one on his digital clock. One button said “Travel,” and the other said “Return.” On the side of the device were little dials that seemed to control the date and time on the screen. Micah remembered the day: May 1, four years ago. And he remembered that they had kissed sometime right after the clock had switched to 8:00 p.m. He remembered how beautiful Anna had looked. He couldn’t wait to see her like that again. He couldn’t wait to have her smile at him again, and to feel her lips against his, and to tell her how much he had loved her and how awful his bad dream had been. As he sat there with the machine in his hand, he could see that it was small enough for no one to notice it. He used the dials to set the time, slipped the machine into his pocket, and walked into the church to find a seat near the back. Sitting there, he couldn’t help but smile. He knew everything was going to be better soon, but he wanted to wait a while so he could see Anna in her dress. As she walked down the aisle, he stood in awe. Anna was everything that he had ever dreamed of. No one was as beautiful, or as sweet, or caring, or funny. As the wedding carried on, Micah grew more nervous. His palms were sweating as he reached into his pocket to pull out the machine. He was losing track of time, and the room was starting to spin. He saw that the date on the screen began with 05.01 and the time read 2000, and he heard the preacher say “You may kiss the bride.” With those words, Micah pushed “Travel” as hard as he could. His eyes were closed, and all he could feel was the breath falling out of him. The room exploded with cheer, love bouncing off of the walls that trapped him. Micah was excited for the moment when he could open his eyes and see Anna looking at him. He sat there in the darkness of his eyelids, waiting for the scenery to change, imagining her bedroom where he would soon be. He imagined what they looked like when they were younger, and how beautiful she had been. Then he slowly opened his eyes to watch Trey and Anna disappear out the doors of the church.

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Sara Kerbs-Ridenour

Goblet of Smoke

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Mark Bergeson

These Times Now One evening late, Time on an empty mind I conjured a game show host Carnival Man To ask us each in our own backstage An empty question. Name, He would say, An item under your wife’s side of the bed, and Name, He would say, An item under your husband’s side of the bed. What is the weight Of my telling him—a worn pair of leather hiking boots And you—an old red skateboard On this measure of our lives?

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Deborah Brink

The Rocking Chair for Carolyn You say it’s one of your best memories, when your first boy couldn’t sleep for days, when it took medicine 48 hours to ease the pain in a child’s ear. His crying would stop only against a warm body. You had been holding Chris for two days, rocking him, the worn velvet under you, his hot ear against your heart beating, the sun rising dimly as tears wetted your face. You hadn’t slept for a long time when the door opened and your neighbor, your mother-in-law, walked into the room. She had seen the light in the house and thought you might need to sleep. She took the boy into her arms so gently that he hardly felt the change of comfort. You go, she motioned, until tears flowed from cheek to pillow as you fell asleep in the dark room feeling no human being could love you more than this.

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Contributors Mark Bergeson has been on LCC’s faculty since 1980. An occasional poet, his strongest artistic commitment is to theater. He lives with his wife, Eileen, west of Longview, up a hill, where he has a backyard frisbee golf course covering two acres. Nicole Bjerke’s darkroom education started with photo classes at the Newport Art Museum in Rhode Island. She continued taking classes at the Oregon College of Art and Craft. She enjoys trying new films and processing techniques. Deborah Brink teaches at LCC and lives in Longview. She’s on sabbatical, traveling in Central and South America with her husband, Ludger. Kristy Burch, an LCC graduate, spent 7 years in the U.S. Coast Guard, 3 of which were on the U.S.C.G.C. Polar Star (WAGB-10). She’s a Golden Shellback, Emperor Penguin, and Polar Bear. The sea still calls to her. Carolyn Caines is a third-generation resident of the Longview-Kelso area, as is her husband, Michael. She has been a teacher in both public and private schools for over 30 years. Carolyn has had more than 60 poems and a dozen short stories published. Ray Cooper teaches fine art at Lower Columbia College. Amber Evald is a recent graduate of LCC who likes music, dance, art, politics, and religion. Jim Hanlen taught 15 years at Kelso High School. He lives in Anchorage, Alaska. Brian Harrison is an archaeologist and fencing instructor living in Astoria, Oregon. He was born and raised in Washington; through no fault of his own, he is a native of the odd little town of Millwood.

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Tony Hill is a shameless procrastinator who was inspired to submit his own work after working as a production assistant for Salal #6. He is happy to be published for the first time and plans on trying it again—whenever he gets around to it. Louise Dobbins James is a long-time resident of Cowlitz County who graduated from LCC and taught in the Kelso schools. She writes poetry because it is a concise mode of expression. John Knudsen is a single father of five, with two still at home. He was an optician for almost 10 years and is now pursuing his dream to learn to write. He is a full-time student of English at WSU in Vancouver and hopes to someday teach middle school. Patrick Kubin enjoys photography, especially shots in unusual locations and from unique perspectives. He also writes fiction, non-fiction, and notes to the school excusing his children’s absences. Willie Johanson-Kubin is 17 years old and a junior at R.A. Long High School. He has always liked taking pictures. He plays sports for his school, his favorite being baseball. Lorraine Merrin, a child of the desert, moved here to soak up rain and to look at green trees. The stories will be told no matter where she lives—they will insist on it. “I breathe. I write. I breathe again.” Debby Neely likes woodcuts because of the strong images they create, the feel and smell of the wood, and the challenges of getting the results she wants. She is a member of the Broadway Art Gallery, in Longview, and teaches at LCC and Clark College. L. Faye Olason has worked at Lower Columbia College for several years. She has always enjoyed photography and finally decided to share her photos with others. Robert Michael Pyle is the author of 14 books, the most recent of which is Sky Time in Gray’s River, recording a closely observed year of life in that place.

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Jordan Reed will graduate from LCC in June and transfer to Tel Aviv University in the fall. Harold Reeves is retired from the US Air Force and alternately lives in Athens, Greece, and Longview, Washington. His interests include writing short stories and poetry and studying foreign languages; he speaks Greek, Turkish, and “a smattering of English.” Sara Kerbs-Ridenour has been featured in The Salal twice before. She was also an editor of Salal in 2004. While working with Salal, she met her husband, Taylor. They currently live in Spokane, where Sara is finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education. Amanda Sirois is a former editor of Salal. When she graduates from LCC this year she plans to attend Washington State University. It’s either that or return to the porridge factory. Michael Smith, a Pacific Northwest native, explores art using various media: printmaking, photography, painting, and ceramics. He has taught art at Woodland Middle School since 1997. His art can be seen at Sixth Street Gallery in Vancouver, Washington. Heather Taylor is a mom, artist, and English professor originally from Switzerland. Alex Whitman is the chair of the Language and Literature department at LCC. She is skilled at making order out of chaos—and vice versa. Ludger Wöhrmann has lived in Longview since 2003 and is amazed by what nature provides in the Northwest, once he starts looking. He is currently traveling in Central and South America. Caroline Wood says, “Columbia River Woman was written out of pure love, respect and instinct. I want to live in a deeper intimacy with the natural world around me; it is a relationship I must have, not in the margins of my life but across the whole page of my my days.”

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Sponsors Elizabeth Austen Arlys Clark Charolette J. Conklin Tom and Laura Deschner Marquita Green Janice Haupt Susan James Marjorie Kundiger La Belle Lettre Penny Lightfoot Judy Madden Arthur Miller Annette Perrin Judith Springer Ann Thomas Lola Vestal Laurel Williamson To be among the sponsors listed in the next issue, make a donation of $10, $25, $50 or more to: LCC Foundation: Salal Review. Your donation is tax deductible. The Salal Review Lower Columbia College P.O. Box 3010 1600 Maple Street Longview, WA 98632 360-442-2632 salal@lcc.ctc.edu

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2007 Salal Review