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The Salal Review Lower Columbia College Volume 13: Spring 2013
Photograph by Nancy Bauer
The Editors of The Salal Review would like to extend their most sincere thanks to the LCC Foundation, without whom this magazine would never have found its way into your hands.
Senior Editors Travis Andersen Robert Prager
Robert Duncan Michael Gray Lisa Hassett Maryanne Hirning Stephanie Tull Arthur Wheeldon
Jennifer Hughes Drew Lytle Coleen Teresa Search J. Grant Wylie
Advisor Hiedi Bauer
Table of Contents 8
Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s This Guy on the Block Lorraine Merrin
Overcome Summer Jennings
Sometimes There Are No Words Lorraine Merrin
At Dusk the Gardenerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Eyes... Jane S. Poole
Purple Lily Katherine Robbins
Haunted Window Summer Jennings
Bitter Tea John D. Ciminello
Sean Connery Asia Murray
Young Girl Alana Bloomfeldt
The Letter Kris Kibbee
Silent Morning Azamat Berdiyev
Visit of a Genial Fog Janice Haupt
The Bell Trisha Kc Buel Wheeldon Jump Ray Cooper Beyond These Rusty Bones Elizabeth Engel Bite of the Radish John D. Ciminello A Half Bubble off Plumb Kelley Jacquez
Shadow Woman Steve Grob
Table of Contents 34
Jongleur J.S. Anderson
Raven Girl Kendra Skerbeck
The Butterfly Invasion David Hughey
Fall Asia Murray
Autumn’s Silent Beauty Angela Ankenman
Technician’s Verse Darlene deVida
Milk and Honey Kristin Yuill
Dreams Take Flight Nona Nowlin
24 Hour Cafe Angel Ocasio
Lunch Ruby Murray
Prayer for the Night Kristin Yuill
Queue Nancy Bauer Wild Box Ruby Murray Peter Iredale Jenica Lemmons
Locked in the Seasons Amanda Sirois Winter Scene Suzanne Norman The Key of C Katherine Robbins
Cover Art by Elizabeth Engel
Advice From the Editors “Is my stuff good enough?” If you’re asking yourself this question then you already have an edge on the competition, and yes, publication is competitive. Like the Olympics, publishers choose the best to showcase, and seeing something you’ve created available for public adoration is the gold medal. Just like Olympians, we can’t breeze through a first draft and expect to win the gold. Winning is not instantaneous; it begins long before the competition commences as a smoldering idea. The heat of that idea intensifies, growing into embers that glow at the base of your belly like the eggs of a dragon before finally exploding into skin-blistering flames. It’s hard to get your stuff good enough. Sometimes it hurts, but can you think of anything better to pour your sweat and blood and tears into than something that you’ve created? I can’t. So what is “good enough”? Good enough means that you’ve invested so much of yourself into your art that you could close your eyes and envision every brush stroke, every plot twist. Good enough means you’ve had every person possible tear your creation to its roots so you can reconstruct it from its foundations. Good enough means you may have to wake up at three in the morning to change “terrifying” to “horrifying” because it’s just the right word. I say unto thee, good enough means starting over seventy times seven times if that’s what it takes. Good enough means never being afraid to submit your creation. What good is forcing that fire from your gut only to let it turn to ash on a closet shelf? If you’re not accepted, good enough means knowing you will try again. In Greek mythology it took the gods five attempts to create the human race. In our culture, it may take you five years to be published. Or fifty.
However, there is beauty in creation and nothing—not rejection letters, criticism, or discouragement—will stop us from creating and submitting. Creating and submitting. Creating and submitting. Rejection burns, but your passion must burn hotter. So the next time you ask yourself “Is my stuff good enough?” remember that while some people may be blessed with a steadier brush hand, or an inclination for effortlessly smooth sentencing, the rest of us have to practice for years to achieve those things, but natural ability by itself will never beat hard work. To the people whose creations grace the pages of this issue of The Salal Review, congratulations. Your hard work has paid off. To those of you who submitted but didn’t quite make the cut, we are cheering for you and eagerly awaiting your submissions next fall. Don’t be discouraged, but rise to the challenge. Look us straight in our beady little glass-marble eyes, and prove to us that the world needs to see what you’ve created. If your fire burns hot, it might burn a few of us badly enough that we’ll never forget the scars you leave.
Arthur Wheeldon Editor The Salal Review
The Bell after “Free Union” by Andre Breton Trisha Kc Buel Wheeldon
My Washington whose rain is of the judges Whose rain is soft sprinkled diamonds of a broken mirror Whose sky is an ancient slate wiped clean Whose sky is blended eye shadow and an upside down umbrella Whose horizon is Pego, chandeliers in a shop window And knowing you’re still yourself Whose mountains are crescendos in the “Waltz of the Flowers” Whose beaches are rising to check the time and ebbing back to sleep With waves that are each finger of holding hands With waves that are decades of fashion My Washington whose woods are the hand-tied quilt I never had The hand-tied quilt I never made Whose trees are wizards’ wands Whose trees are waiting watchmen Armed with arrows pointing the way Whose trees are stakes for every tent in the Emerald City My Washington whose roads are the spinning of a cobweb Whose road is a blue vein pumping tractors Whose three rivers are slideshows A photo of an old romance, of birthday cakes, first day of school Whose lake is a bowl of fireworks My Washington with a hill ding-donging on the hour With a hill that is forever pregnant with vegetable seeds With a hill that is a turtle shell and a wrinkle in velvet With a hill of a spoonful of sugar My Washington with a hill swelling with courage for the first kiss My Washington, with a hill that is home.
Jump Ray Cooper
Beyond These Rusty Bones Elizabeth Engel
Bite of the Radish John D. Ciminello The fruit of betrayal, like a trickster offering the bright red radish to an unsuspecting three year old. Feigning sweetness, I bite into the fruit, and laugh when she does likewise. She looks at me as if sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s lost a friend or favorite toy. Her lips pucker, sour juices dribble down her chin, and chunks of red and white flesh spill from her mouth. Food as treason, food as sweetness, the thief and the saint enjoy the same apple dipped in honey and rolled in crushed hazelnuts and when poisoned share the same fate. Paul Cezanne claimed a carrot, freshly observed could start a revolution. A crust of bread can be the source of murder, or when in love divided could feed the world. And today I wonder how the silly little prank, the deception of the bite of the radish, forever changed her trust and forever shaped my register of regrets.
A Half Bubble Off Plumb Kelley Jacquez Jimmy De La Cruz stepped from the back of the pick-up truck and thanked the man who’d given him a ride. That morning he’d paid a dollar to shower at the truck stop, then dressed in the clothes he’d washed two days before at the Sparkle Laundromat. He’d vowed to stay sober throughout the entire celebration of El Dia de Eminentes and left his half-empty quart of liquor along with the rest of his belongings in the ’71 Pontiac where he slept at the junkyard. Rosario De La Cruz, Jimmy’s grandfather and El Nido’s oldest survivor of World War II, again this year sat at the head table at the church picnic. The look of Rosario made strangers turn away. Thick glasses gave him a crosseyed look. His right cheek was mostly missing, with only shiny, translucent tissue to cover blue veins, the veneer of skin resembling a shear, dun-colored curtain swept to one side with an invisible clothespin. Rosario rose from his chair, and everyone began to shush the children and settle themselves against the backs of folding chairs. They knew they were about to hear the history of the Bataan 12
Death March. Rosario always began with reminding them that 70,000 men — two hundred times the number of people in El Nido — had been forced to walk sixty-five miles without food or treatment for the wounded. Ten thousand bodies were left along the trail before the march ended. Another 6,000, Rosario said, had taken death into their own hands by escaping into the Philippine jungle. Thousands more died of dysentery, disease, and malnutrition at the prisoner-of-war camp. The celebration always included a local hero who had done something brave during the previous year. This year it was Antonio Manzanares. His act of bravery had been to jump into the frozen waters of an inlet of the San Juan River to save his faithful dog from drowning after the animal had broken through a thin mantle of ice. Antonio listened to praise for his courage, but it brought him little pleasure. The memory of the dog frantically pumping its legs to get a grip on the slosh that kept pulling him deeper made Antonio squirm in his seat. For Antonio, the recollection of jumping into
the freezing water felt like one of the biggest mistakes of his life. As he and the dog suffocated from shock while pounding at slush, digging fingernails and claws into ice that broke apart and disintegrated into the stuff of snow cones, the last thing on Antonio’s mind was saving the stupid goddamned dog, and if he could have used the dog’s body to save his own he would have done it. Then, somehow, Antonio had a hold of the dog, and they were lying on top of solid ground like two icicles dropped in dirt. He now held a plaque, and when he stood to deliver a few words to the crowd he told them honestly that he didn’t deserve their admiration. As with the rest of the crowd, Jimmy listened to the account of Antonio’s bravery and clapped when the plaque was handed over. But for Jimmy the story was painful. He was filled with jealousy and self-loathing. He listened to his grandfather’s story of Bataan, Antonio’s story of cheating death, and felt himself compacting into a small box made of shame. *****
The day Jimmy became a coward, he and the four men left in his unit walked through a village they would have sworn they’d seen before: a lot of women and children and old men, a place to fill canteens, a chance to pilfer food. The villagers tried not to look at the soldiers walking among them, and those who did were old men bowing deeply, smiling, hoping their humility might keep everyone alive. The people went about their work, the routine they’d set for themselves, the things that helped them hold on to a world without destroyed crops and dead relatives. A woman in the village reminded Jimmy of his mother. She looked near his mother’s age and had the same small, strong hands, with work-dried, flaky skin in the cracks of her knuckles. She had the middle-aged round belly of his mother and the assiduous eyes of a woman who does not believe in idle time. She had just washed her hair and now left it hanging down past her waist to dry in the sun. Watching the hair swirl around the woman’s hips as she bent over her work, Jimmy wanted to move close to her. He wanted to smell her hair. Jimmy knew that if he wanted to go up to the woman and smell her hair there would be nothing anyone could 13
Haunted Window Summer Jennings
do about it. But Jimmy did not go to the woman demanding that she supply him with an echo of his childhood. He thought of his own mother and imagined her fear if a soldier came to her house and then wanted to come close to her. He banished his need to stand near to the woman and simply drew in a breath through his nostrils and sniffed the scent of soap that wasn’t there at all. Jimmy knew he was a coward. He knew that when he shot his weapon it was terror that moved him to action. And when it was over, he shook inside his clothes, refusing to speak for hours after an altercation, sucking on the insides of his cheeks to keep down the bile that raced up and down his throat. His moments of longing for home, of not understanding the war were not moments at all. They were not private instances of pondering human motivation or the reasons for war or his place on the stage of human drama. They were moments strung together without spaces of aching to be in his mother’s kitchen, to be working in his grandfather’s garage, to be surrounded by Spanish-speaking people who shared his very same life. The men in his unit knew Jimmy was a coward. They knew he shook. They knew he was the last to return fire
when something started, as if he had to be convinced every single time that this was real and there was no other option but to shoot back. The soldiers left the village after a perfunctory search of rice barrels and huts and walked toward a rendezvous with another unit. Into the late afternoon sun the march became haphazard, the men less attentive than they should have been. They knew better. They knew that when they rocked themselves to sleep with the rhythm of their own powdered footsteps in the dirt, when they dozed on their feet with thoughts of a girlfriend’s smooth skin, or the smell of a mother’s freshly cooked food, or of conspiring with a best friend to pull off a high school prank, that those were the most dangerous times. Had there been a neutral observer it would have been difficult to decide which group of men was the more startled when five Americans and a handful of Viet Cong were suddenly standing less than twenty yards apart. The Americans fell to the ground hoping to make themselves flat and were the first to pull off rounds as the Viet Cong flew toward the cover of trees and tall grass. One of the Vietnamese did a sort of graceful leap, then plummeted to 15
the ground as if suddenly erased from the landscape by a dissatisfied artist. The rest of the Viet Cong disappeared into the terrain. For the Americans there was nowhere to go, so the men began pushing themselves backward like skittish lizards trying to fit under a low rock. Their elbows akimbo to their sides, their legs flayed out as if femur muscles had been cut, the men couldn’t see where they were going. They kept up their backward slither until they felt the ground beneath them give way. A shelf of land tapered off, giving them a threefoot drop into precarious safety. “So this is home,” said Private Matthews, a man who had become Jimmy’s friend since they’d been assigned to the same unit. “What now,” said another man. “We wait,” answered Trigger, the unit’s leader. His men despised him, but they knew Trigger was right. They had orders to join the other unit, and they couldn’t let them walk into an ambush. The body of the Vietnamese soldier lay halfway between the American soldiers and the Viet Cong. The Viet Cong would not leave without the body, and the Americans couldn’t 16
leave without warning the forthcoming unit. The two sides settled in for a night of waiting, listening. Now it began — the incident that removed all doubt that Jimmy De La Cruz was a coward. ***** “Pssst, Jimbo, my turn yet?” Private Matthews’ voice came from among a huddle of bodies. “Go back ta sleep,” said Jimmy, looking at his watch. “Not your turn yet.” “Can’t sleep any more.” Jimmy watched Matthews unwind himself from the sleeping men. They lay together in a crook of the shelf looking like the bodies of dead men put to one side after a battle, and Jimmy had to remind himself that they were only sleeping. “Anything happening over there? Is the body still there? Maybe they got the body and left.” “It’s still there,” said Jimmy. “What do you think they’re up to?” “I think they’re tired and hungry — jus’ like us,” said Jimmy. “Well they ain’t like us.” The
fierce whisper like a needle poking into flesh was Trigger. “They’re gooks, and something is going to happen real soon even if I gotta make it happen. I say we go get the body,” said Trigger. “What the hell for,” snapped Matthews. “To force ‘em into something. All we’re doing is sitting here —and besides, the dead guy’s got ammo.” “That’s suicide,” said Jimmy. “Yeah, you’re nuttier than I thought you were,” said Matthews. “You’re a bunch of pansies. You guys just cover me in case the gooks are up watching the late show.” “Wait,” said Jimmy, pulling at Trigger’s sleeve. “I’m going,” said Trigger, jerking his arm from Jimmy’s grip, and he began snaking his way through the grass toward the body. He did it so silently that at first Jimmy and Matthews thought he wasn’t moving at all. But then the silhouette of the dead body in the distance suddenly came alive. As if resurrected, the body moved its arms, raised its head just slightly. The Viet Cong saw it too, and the darkness became a backdrop for the fire spitting out of automatic weapons. Jimmy and Matthews returned the volley, unable to see what they were
shooting at but keeping their guns raised away from where they knew Trigger and the body were entangled. The sleeping men jumped up to help, blasting treetops with bullets. When Trigger first got to the body he thought the job would be easy. It looked as if the ammunition pack would slide straight away from the dead man’s shoulder with just a tug. But the pack got hung up on an elbow, and Trigger had to raise himself a bit to get a grip on the pack, had to raise the dead man’s arm to untangle the strap. Trigger pulled the dead man on top of himself, and began moving back toward his men using the body as a shield. He could feel that the body had been hit several times. His nostrils were full of the body’s stench, and now he would be wearing the body’s putrid ooze on himself. Trigger got the body back to the men, and in a few minutes the shooting subsided. “Now you’ve done it you stupid mother . . . ”, Matthews hissed. “That’s right ass-hole, now it’s done,” spit Trigger. The first inference of daylight had shone itself during the foray, and now the men could better see the object that had kept them all waiting to move 17
on. They saw the wound that killed the man, and the bullet wounds he sustained while saving the life of Trigger The body resembled an effigy stuffed with straw, bloated to twice the size of the man who once lived inside it. The face looked like a cartoon character who’d been hit with a frying pan. Next to the man lay a small melange of possessions. As Trigger pulled him down the draw the man’s pockets had emptied, and the contents lay in a line along the drag marks. Instead of a wallet, the man carried a pouch. The leather strings had loosened, and now the things the pouch once held lay beside him. Jimmy was the first to notice the contents of the man’s pockets spilling out on to the earth. “His stuff,” said Jimmy, making a move toward the body. There were piasters and a cross with Jesus stretched across the face. It struck Jimmy that this man carried for the same reason the same symbol of the same God his mother assured him would save his life. Next to the coins, and under the cross, lay pictures. One of the pictures showed a family gathered at a celebration. Next to one woman sat a man Jimmy thought might be the dead man. Next to them sat an old couple, arms interlocked, 18
smiling. The old couple were the dead man’s parents thought Jimmy. The other men seemed more mesmerized by the body itself, the fluid sieving out, the stench of the decay, the disbelieving hypnosis of death. Jimmy broke the trance by leaning down to the man and picking up the last of his belongings. He gathered the things that belonged in the pouch and put them back inside. Then he kneaded the pouch into the man’s pocket. “I wanna give ‘em back’,” said Jimmy. The men thought Jimmy meant he wanted to do just what he had already done — give back to the dead man his possessions. They stood mute while Jimmy went beyond putting the belongings into pockets and began straightening the man’s shirt and smoothing down his hair. They watched without comprehension when Jimmy pulled out a rag usually used for wiping down his gun and began tying it to the muzzle of his weapon. The men watched the fingers tie the knot, watched the hands raise the barrel above Jimmy’s head, watched the oily, soot-streaked flag flutter like a molting bird tethered to a pole against its will. Then they watched as Jimmy took the dead man by the back
of the collar and began pulling him. They were so hypnotized by the flutter of the flag and the tracks left by the pull of the dead man’s body, they did not try to stop him, nor were they able to give warning before Trigger came from behind and smashed the butt of his weapon between Jimmy’s shoulders. “What do you think you’re doing,” screamed Trigger, “you coward, you god-damned sissy coward.” Jimmy did not stay down. Instead, he grabbed at dirt, trying to pull himself along while still holding on to the gun flying the dingy rag and the scuff of the dead man’s collar. Without looking at Trigger, he said only, “ I’m goin’ home.” “I’ll shoot you myself,” and Trigger took aim. “Either way,” said Jimmy without looking at Trigger, “ I’m goin’ home.” Leveling his weapon was the last thing Trigger did before he saw scores of pinpoint diamonds hurtling into an abyss. Matthews stood over him, poised to deliver another blow, but it was not needed. The diamonds traveled at the speed of light until they disappeared, and Trigger slept long enough for yet another man to save his life that day.
Matthews watched Jimmy’s silhouette pull itself upright against the gloam of morning. The gun with the flag fell to the ground, and the silhouette pulled the dead man’s body behind it. Then Matthews heard the silhouette calling out to the trees, to the grass, to the sound of breathing where no faces could be seen. “Hey,” called Jimmy, “Here’s your buddy. We den’t take none a’ his stuff.” Jimmy reached for something in back of himself, and Matthews was sure the move would foment a volley of fire. But no shots came from the trees, no sound, no movement. “Hey,” called Jimmy to the phantoms, “I wanna go home.” He held up his wallet and set free a ladder of photographs. “These are my parents.” Jimmy continued to walk forward in a simple saunter that might have made him look like a small boy preoccupied with kicking leaves except for the body he dragged along behind him. “This is my sister. She’s going to college.” Jimmy tripped over uneven ground but righted himself without going down. “This is my brother, Alfredo.” Jimmy stopped midway 19
between where the Vietnamese men hid in the jungle and where his own men huddled in the draw. Jimmy let go of the body and let it fall gently into the grass. “’I’m goin’ home,” said Jimmy. First a rustle to Jimmy’s left, then another to his right. “OK,” said Jimmy, turning around to walk back toward the draw. “OK.” Jimmy walked away with his back to the phantoms in the trees and faced the men with whom he had shared youth. He saw disbelief on their faces, but missed the look of admiration behind their eyes. He missed it altogether as he walked slump-shouldered and weary back to where Trigger still lay in the land of stars while the other men stood in a land of morbid reality, never questioning until that moment why they had agreed to kill people they would have never otherwise met on the streets of home. ***** Jimmy waited for the speeches to end, knowing he could slip away when people got up to fill their plates. At the El Nido highway he put out his thumb as he walked backward. He renewed his daily vow that tomorrow would be the 20
first day of a sober life. He would finish that one bottle left in the car at the junkyard and tomorrow he would ask someone for a ride to an AA meeting. Or maybe he’d go all the way and ask his brother to spring for a ticket to the VA rehab in Albuquerque. It was settled; tomorrow for sure. Or he could wait until the first of the month when he got his disability check and buy his own bus ticket. After thirty days sober, his parents would be happy to see him and his mother wouldn’t look at him so sad anymore. Maybe he could hold a job. Get a car. Have his own apartment. Yes, the first of the month for sure. Jimmy’s grandfather watched him disappear into the crowd and reappear on the highway. He knew, the family knew, about the bottles, the years of bottles. He knew that Jimmy had become someone the town called Bubbles because, they said, he was a half bubble off plumb. A little crazy, they said, when they happened to see him walking along the roads, but harmless. “A Half Bubble Off Plumb” is used with permission of Bilingual Press (Hispanic Research Center, Arizona State University). A longer version of the story will appear in the author’s collection Holding Woman and Other Stories of Acceptable Madness, forthcoming in summer 2013.
Sean Connery Asia Murray
The Letter Kris Kibbee Marley glanced at the paper in her hand, reading over the words with a rutted brow. She carefully evaluated the turn of phrase, the intonation and even the penmanship. Had she said too much? Too little? Would anyone feel excluded? Her lips mouthed the words as her eyes passed over them. She’d selected each of them so carefully, like a newborn’s name. Satisfied, Marley closed the final line, folded the sheet into thirds and slipped it into an envelope with three words printed neatly on the front. A pair of glass salt & pepper shakers that glistened with a fresh cleaning sat on the table before her and Marley propped her letter against them. She stared at it for a time, picked it up and rose to leave. With the suddenly heavy letter in hand, Marley ambled down the hall and through a dark doorway. Flipping on the overhead lights, she watched herself in the mirror as light filled in all around her. Her pencil-thin lips traced her face in a flat line, like the equator on a globe. They weren’t full and kissable, as lips should be. She smiled and they grew thinner. She stopped. 22
Marley propped her letter up behind the sink and as she withdrew her hand, the gold band on her ring finger clinked on its porcelain rim. As her eyes lingered there, words past yet still vivid plundered her mind. I just don’t see you that way anymore. She looked at her letter. It looked back. In a mechanical fashion indicative of years of repetition, Marley withdrew a makeup bag from the top drawer and proceeded to mask her blemishes, trace her eyes, and line her lips. Her mother had always called it “puttin’ on my face.” As Marley labored to create the perfect face, she realized it began to look more and more like her mother’s, only plain. She looked away from the mirror and down at her letter. It looked back. Marley had lain out her clothes the night before, and as she pulled the neck of a long navy dress over her head, its tag caught on her wavy hair. In school they’d called her Snarly Marley. All the girls ironed their hair back then. “Dammit!”
The dress was a size too small, and a grunt of effort escaped as Marley pulled it down over her hips. She made a face and looked at the letter where it lay on the bed. It looked back. Under normal circumstances, Marley detested drugs. As a rule, she even avoided prescription drugs. She liked to keep her wits about her; keep charge of her body. But the letter was in charge now. Marley unearthed the two amber bottles she’d nicked from work and poured their contents on the newly made bed. The bedcovers had tight, hospital corners with crisp dart lines and the pills bounced across them like children on a trampoline.
Swallowing forty pills in two heaping handfuls is no easy task. Once, as a child, Marley had inhaled fifty-eight M&M’s in three handfuls in a rush to hide them from her mother, who forbade confections of any kind. Boys don’t look at little fat girls, she’d said. Marley’s eyes glistened with strain, but in seconds she had ingested the contents of both bottles. The pills weren’t nearly as sweet as her ill-gotten M&M’s. Her vision so blurred, she could barely make out the words on her letter as it stared back at her. Look at me.
Shadow Woman Steve Grob
There’s This Guy On The Block Lorraine Merrin He doesn’t know I watch him. Well, no, I don’t watch him. really. It’s more like I glance up now and then when he’s nearby or when, at night, his lights are on and I can see him in his kitchen or his living room. I don’t mean to spy on him. just kind of keep an eye on him, you know. I like to listen when he plays. He makes that sax wail, mournful; it’s like my lonely got caught on the wind. Sometimes I wish he’d see me and be even just a little interested. ‘cause I’d like to get to know him. but then, I suppose if it didn’t work out I’d have to move, ‘cause walking past his building, living in the same neighborhood, well, it could feel kind of awkward and more lonely than before I ever met him, you know. 25
Overcome Summer Jennings
Sometimes There Are No Words and the distance widens in the space of silence.
Sometimes language spins itself out into an empty room and the pain howls, reeling, glancing off objects and walls and the rain, always the rain. thundering down, unrelenting. unwilling to allow mere tears to get the best of it.
At Dusk the Gardener’s Eyes Stray Upward Lavender waves its purple spires Veiled by baby’s breath cloud; Pea tendrils grasp Cascading grapes Under which chickens scratch. Sparrow’s song cheers this small world Of sun and rain and green, Which though by others never seen, Reveals one gardener’s dream. Light of day wanes to purple skies Vela sails Milky Way’s cloud; Pegasus gallops Cygnus the swan Follows Aquila’s trail. Lyra soars above this dome Where moon and planets gleam, Which shows to those who wish to see, The gardener’s greater dream.
Jane S. Poole
Purple Lily Katherine Robbins
Bitter Tea John D. Ciminello Green tea afternoon in the land of the maritime â&#x20AC;&#x201C; ocean breezes salt my knuckles, as my fingers play with the curls of your lavender scented hair. Ken pounds another nail into the wall next door, one bang closer to his dream of restoring the old house on Franklin Avenue. A whiff of witchcraft in the hemlock outside our bedroom window. I hear the melody from an accidental radio, a song in search of lyrics, a spell between the hammer and the saw, one beat away from the perfect sigh spinning dust and light above the transom. Down the alley, little girls laugh in chimes and speak in honeysuckle tongues, a dialect in present perfect preserved for childhood and old women serving bitter tea and scones on moist summer afternoons in the land of the maritime.
Young Girl Alana Bloomfeldt
Silent Morning Azamat Berdiyev
Visit of a Genial Fog Janice Haupt This fog is not from yesterday or today. It is the breath of a white pony on the moor, the shadow of a snowfall. It sneaks from hidden hot tubs and fills the night like children’s dreams of Christmas, rises from flower designs in next summer’s apple pie, wisps into sweet mist from a hunter’s thermos. It light-years down from some moist planet where creatures make love behind waterfalls, creeps from smiley places like gingerbread ovens and Grandpa’s chuckle behind his pipe. In high northern seclusions it crannies against cliffs to cushion the air when young eagles learn to fly. While no one is watching it drifts out to sea, where over deep watery graves, it rests as soft as a prayer.
Queue Nancy Bauer
Wild Box Ruby Murray The day Rita told me she quit, I walked the wooden planks to the cannery, toward the hoist and the red plastic totes stenciled Northwest Fish Company that were stacked four high against the old building. I didn’t come down here much. The fishermen hung out in an apartment in back, drinking and talking about their fathers and grandfathers. My shoes made no sound on the thick boardwalk, but I could have been walking into my boss’s yard. Her windows were open; light fell on a wall in a hallway. She lived in what was called the China House, named for the men who lived there, and worked gutting and canning fish by the thousands for San Francisco and the world. She had talked about the remodeling, the taupe shingles and the cannery-style light on the small house, the row of opium bottles on the windowsill. I felt myself shaking, I didn’t know what I’d say if she called out to me, pictured that wild brown hair, her standing tall and thin on the deck. I
passed inside the cannery and went upstairs. Pete stood beside a hanging board, alone in the long room. Light from a window made the mesh bright. He held the net needle in his palm and passed it under the line and looped up, added a cork and tugged. I went to stand beside him, my hands in the front pockets of my jeans. “This room would have been full of guys hanging net when I was growing up,” he said. His stories were long. I walked to the window, toward the smell of mud at low tide, the gray river, the Halpern’s silo on the island. Twenty sport boats were splayed across the river like polka dots. “This floor is varnished tongue and groove cedar. It won’t snag the net.” His stories reminded me of my father’s. I’d been listening, wanting to put my finger on the time when the Cathlamets and the Wahkiakums were replaced by the whites. They brought in the Chinese to work, and by 1880, there were 551 Chinese men in a county of 1500. I pictured them, sitting on the wall
behind the China House in the evening, talking with people who passed on the path uphill, eating vegetables they’d grown. Pete worked slowly with careful tugging between knots. He had ivory and wooden needles on shelves in the house his father built. He was as solid a man as I’d known. “Can I go out fishing with you tonight?” I said. “Yeah, the opening is from seven until eleven. Depending on the catch could be a late night.” “I don’t care,” I crossed my arms. “Rita’s gone.” He looked up, “Fired?” “Quit. She couldn’t take it anymore.” “That’s crap,” he said. I waited to see if he’d put the needle down. When he didn’t, I put my arms around him, and spoke into his shirt. “I can’t work for Marilyn anymore.” He put the needle down, both arms closing around me. It was sprinkling when I found a park at the marina. Sportsmen were taking their boats out of the water; a line 36
of trailers crawled up Una Street. Spud Anderson was backing his trailer into the water and Big Art was giving someone on the Mary J instructions. Pete was on the El Dorado, circling as he did before we left for camping, packing one more field guide, another gazetteer. He lifted the cover to the fish locker. He said, “Ron Johnson’s coming, but he’s late.” “Marilyn’s son?” I followed Pete into the cabin. He said, “Yeah. He’s a good hand.” “Did you have to get him?” I looked at the greasy burners on the turquoise stove. “Maybe I could help you.” He was looking at the channel on the plotter, his back to me. “He doesn’t work with her.” “She’s trying to fire me.” He sat on the stool by the wheel and turned slightly. “He doesn’t even live with her.” “Don’t you think they talk?” “I don’t know what they do,” he said. I tilted my head back; the lights were getting brighter in front of the
Pedersen’s’ house on the cliff. “I guess I can go home,” I said, and saw the pained look he got sometimes. Ron stepped onto the boat carrying a small cooler, rubber boots and a duffle bag. He wore blue sweat pants, Romeos and a limp gray sweatshirt. “We got egg salad,” he said, putting the cooler just inside the cabin door. “This is Lisa,” Pete said. “She’s going out with us.” Ron nodded, threw the bag under the table. “We should hit it just right, high tide in Astoria at 6:30,” he said, and started taping a spoon to a wooden handle with black electrical tape. “You work at the hospital?” he asked. “No,” I said, leaning against the edge of the bench with its vinyl cushion. “She works for the county,” Pete said. “Oh, the health department?” I stared at him, wondering why he assumed I was a nurse. Pete turned to him, “You want to get the water running to the wild box?”
“I guess it’s time,” Pete said. Ron bent to untie the line, stepped in, and we were off, moving between the lines of gillnetters and sport boats, past the yachts and the lights like stars in the wet air, into the Elochoman Slough, then the gray world of the river. Pete powered toward Three Tree Point, the engine loud beneath our feet in the aluminum boat. We ran beside ridges like whale’s backs, so familiar they were family. When we got to the drift, Pete steered close to the buoy, then over to the cliffs and a sand beach no one could reach by land. The trees on the point stood out against a navy sky for a while, then all that was left was the thought of stars beyond the rain. I imagined my friend, Diana, on the Jaguar in Bristol Bay, the Russian Orthodox icon on the bulkhead in the little cabin, her articles about the Aleut’s internment. She had married a local and from the outside her life looked perfect. We put on rain gear, then it was seven and time to lay out. Ron threw the buoy over. The net spun out floating in the air, the corks making a long curving line. 37
Peter Iredale Jenica Lemmons
The end of the net was lost in the dark, the buoy a small red light, while we floated downriver with the ebbing tide. Pete kept looking at his watch, standing near the bow, and then he was at the control, taking up net. Ron was watching the net that shined white under the light, but there were no fish. No fish the second drift either. But on the third, Ron was picking fish, his hands spinning as he unrolled them from the net, and Pete was sliding them along the deck. The boat was half full of salmon, sleek, silver and shining, their tails thwacking the deck hard. We lay out again. The world was the deck, the darkness, the number of salmon we’d sell, and the time we had left to fish. Tightie Erickson called to see if we were catching anything. Pete said, “Come over here, if you want.” I took Ron’s place, my thighs against the gunnel, leaning over the water, watching for fish in the net as it came up. When the fish was in the boat, I started pulling at the net as I’d seen them do. But the filament seemed to evaporate when I touched it. I was trying to separate the layers, feeling awkward in the
rain pants, the sleeves of the rain jacket folded up, the hood cutting my vision. Ron stepped toward me, but Pete said, “She’s okay.” I tried loosening the net; it looked so easy when they did it. The more I held onto, the more remained. I felt my face getting hot. My fingers were cold in the gloves. “Take it easy,” Pete said. I slowed down and tried again for the motion they used, and finally the fish was in my arms, but it was wild. Ron took it to the box. Pete was taking up net again, while I leaned over the side. “We’ve got two,” I said, starting to pick when they were in the boat, but I wasn’t doing any better. I took off my gloves, but it didn’t help, the net was light in my hands. The fish stayed tangled, its gills moved showing red, and I thought I’ll never get this. Ron came to stand beside me. Pete was waiting to take in more net. When he didn’t say anything, Ron took the fish from the net and slid it toward Pete. I stood in the door of the cabin, and watched them under the light, one on either side of the net, Ron in orange and Pete, taller, in yellow rain gear. 39
They moved together easily in the light rain, in a rhythm theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d followed many times. Each of the compartments of the wild box held a fish, the running water was restoring them, but the space was too small for them to turn. One was rising, its eyes above the water, but it sank back as the boat rolled. My knees moved with the rise and fall of the swell and I imagined the fish sailing out, over the side and into the river.
Fall Asia Murray
Technician’s Verse Darlene deVida
Confusion reigns within reflect, hope, and Ctrl-alt-del Order will return
We should never be get here The memory could not be “read” Keyboard error, press F1 to continue
My file, my life Cannot be found No one hears you scream
Terminal application error Press ok to continue All is lost – press trigger?
Yesterday it saved Today kernel panic Zen engineering?
Enter password Keyboard error, press any key to continue You don’t exist go away
Yesterday it worked Today does not compute network down.
Out of memory The blue screen of death Lost in space
Request is valid Server refuse to respond 404 file not found
Dreams Take Flight Nona Nowlin
Locked in the Seasons Amanda Sirois It remains locked in the seasons tree trunk dark sienna, broad structure grasping at the earth two hands entwined, rooted in a history that grows and changes as the earth moves and erodes between them. The branches weave through one another each season scarred with its moment in time. The winter branch braided with oleander, the petals cling to the etchings of memories that time has left. Springs branch whispers its descent over winter, with green renewal. Undefined vines weave their way just above the etchings; they do not cling but grow toward the unknown. Summers branches work hard to keep the budding leaves of memory and change alive. Fall is melancholy, despite the beauty of its branch, golden yellow red leaves burn to brown and stay stuck in their descent towards death finding their way they crumble and fold back into the hands beneath the soil binding reminders of the connection they share.
Winter Scene Suzanne Norman
The Key of C Katherine Robbins
Jongleur In verse and in song, in prose soaring and long His grandfather told stories in village and town. In swales and plains and mountains he roamed Led by the sun where the weather fit his clothes.
Traveling south in the winter, north when hot, West to east, east to west was as good as not. Stopping to sing, to tell a story for a pence. To lift a draught, to give a laugh, to court a wench. His voice was pure and amber and sweet. At every stop, townsfolk gathered round to hear him sing. And to listen to stories of presidents and kings. Knights in armor and ladies with braids, Cracked mirrors and iguanas and damsels afraid. Now he, the grandson, hitches rides in trucks and cars Carrying a knapsack, bottled water and two guitars. Cities and suburbs and townships he covers Led by visions of stardom and being discovered. He croons in clubs and casinos and small town bars. Stories he tells are of missed chances and second-rate stars. In cities, he plays on the street for nightly rent For dimes and quarters that are quickly spent.
Few stop to listen, many more stride past Talking on cell phones or just walking fast. One day in a cold and foggy city He found his way to a great library. There, in the childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s section he began to sing And tell stories of presidents and kings, Knights in armor and ladies with braids, Cracked mirrors and iguanas and damsels afraid. And children began to gather, and wiggle, and listen. Their mothers and father found them in rapt attention. For his songs told stories and his tales were deep With romance and history, with delicious mystery. And his voice was pure and amber and sweet.
Raven Girl Kendra Skerbeck
The Butterfly Invasion Several butterflies crowded into a painting where roses were always blossoming at dawn.
Autumnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Silent Beauty Angela Ankenmen
Milk and Honey
after “Free Union” by Andre Breton
my bed whose blankets are every Christmas morning whose sheets become a chrysalis whose springs are the first snowfall in December waiting for words whose pillows are cool blue moonlight whose pillows are the first stars of the Perseids whose pillows are a cold drink from a garden hose washing the heat of August past my tongue whose frame is alabaster clouds shaped like horses and mice whose frame carries men to battle armed with sabers and sashes swirling through eddies of tropical bird down whose frame is a rocking chair tapping the slippered feet of my future: a cadence on the forest floor my bed whose mattress is a fountain of purple foxglove whose favorite remedy is one elixir of life whose box spring is the Spanish Armada whose box spring is the second star to the right straight on ‘til morning my bed whose pillowcases are two elephants carrying a golden sedan through a shivering rainforest my bed whose sandstorms envelope me in graham cracker crust my bed with a mouthful of milk and honey
24 Hour Cafe Angel Ocasio There’s only a few of us here: the cook, two waitresses talking about the Christmas Eve party last night, and a bus boy—clanging dishes together. There’s a young couple in the corner with eyes only for each other, and on a stool at the counter sits a beggared old man slowly sipping on some hot soup to warm the December cold away. I sit in my booth and look outside of my window. No one walking—too early, too cold. A taxi cab drives by—lights on, it’s available. From the restaurant’s radio, “White Christmas” as only Bing could sing it. I look out the window again and a light trace of snow falls slowly to the tempo of the festive song. One of the waitresses refills my cup, covering the remains of what went cold. She smiles and remembers me from past visits. I was already done with my coffee, but I take a final sip.
Lunch Ruby Murray
I stand up and put on my coat. I reach inside my pants pocket and pull out a few dollars for my purchase. I count to make sure there is enough for a tip and leave it on the table. I turn and walk outside. The snow is falling hard. I check the time on my watchâ&#x20AC;Ś3:10. I lift up the collar of my coat and step into the flurries of frozen rain. I begin my walk through Christmas morning with only one thought in my mindâ&#x20AC;Ś I miss you.
Prayer for the Night Kristin Yuill I want to offer a prayer to the night, whose moon is the breast of my mother; twenty-one flowing freshly into life a river. I want to praise the night whose moon is the song of my birth day; twenty-five and counting each star a blessing. I pray
to the night whose stars are the prayers of my family whose late-August Perseids are my Absolution: each falling star a prayer for me. Amen.
Contributors J.S. Anderson’s mother was born in Steilacoom in 1911. After retiring from a health care career, he moved from Tuscon, Arizona to make “a permanent home in the city of trees.” Angela Ankenman is a student in LCC’s Business Technology program; however, she is an artist, as well. She didn’t approach painting until her freshman year at Mark Morris. Nancy Bauer has spent a lifetime in Cowlitz County and used the eyes of her camera “to capture this beautiful area on film.” She uses photography to tell a story and leave a legacy for her children and grandchildren. Azamat Berdiyev is a medical student at LCC. Photography is his hobby. It helps him remember “not to forget about beautiful aspects of life.” He hopes you will enjoy his photo. Alana Bloomfeldt is an art major at LCC. She came here to play soccer, expand her learning, make art, and earn her DTA. Ray Cooper teaches for the LCC Art Department. John D. Ciminello is the author of the chapbook Shrine Above High Tide (2009). His poetry and short fiction has appeared in various publications including Mentor, Lower Columbia Reader, Salal, and RAIN MAGAZINE. He has lived in the Pacific Northwest for 30 years. Darlene deVida teaches computer subjects at LCC. She wrote her first computer program in 1967, “and yes there were computers back then.” She loves the brevity of words in poetry and the “deep and sometimes unexpected meaning.” Elizabeth Engel is the Program Director for Medical Assisting at LCC. She loves to take pictures. Steve Grob started in photography at the age of nine in a class at a local art center. 56
Janice Haupt says, “I have lived my whole life in Cowlitz County and don’t plan on leaving.” Much of her knowledge of poetry she learned from Judith Irwin and Joe Green. She has four daughters and twelve grandchildren who try to get together at least once a year. David Hughey lives in Longview off of Columbia Heights Road. He is a former professor and college dean. His poetry has been published in several anthologies including Driftwood East, Feelings, and The Hollins Critc. Kelley Jacquez lives “across the river,” in Clatskanie, Oregon, is an active member of WordFest in Longview, and annual particapant at WordCatcher in Kalama. Summer Jennings moved to Longview at age 16 and began taking college courses while in high school. She is now a full-time intermediate photography student at LCC. Kris Kibbee began her college education at LCC. She was a contributing writer to The Vancougar while attending WSU. She is currently a columnist for Just Frenchies, a nationally syndicated magazine out of Maryland. She has lived most of her life in Cowlitz County. Jenica Lemmons grew up in Cowlitz County. Photography is both her hobby and her fulltime job. She runs a professional photography business called Lemondrops Photography and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Lorraine Merrin’s poetry has appeared in various journals and two anthologies. Her first poetry collection, Holding Tight To Gravity’s Tail, “is on a shelf in Poets House in NYC.” She can be found under a tree or at email@example.com. Asia Murray is a student at LCC. She loves art, so she decided to send in a few drawings to see if one would find its way into the Salal. Ruby Murray lives on Puget Island in the lower river estuary. Her essays have appeared in several publications and on NPR. She is an enrolled Osage Indian and licensed professional counselor. 57
Suzanne Norman graduated from LCC in 1998 and from WSU with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology degree. She currently lives in Toledo, Washington and has several pieces of art on commission at the Pacific Northwest Gift Gallery in Castle Rock. Nona Nowlin is a transfer student at LCC. She is currently working on an art degree. Though she plans to move on in her education, she will miss being here. Angel Ocasio is a clown, writer and performer. He has published two books: Santa & Me, a holiday children’s book, and a how-to book about the art of clowing, Clowning: Keep It Simple, Keep It Real, as well as several poems. Jane S. Poole has lived in the Pacific Northwest for 38 years and is a member of Cedar Creek Writers. She has published several books including Adam’s Astronomy: The Original Zodiac and The Forbidden Answer. You can find her blog at theheavensspeak.blogspot.com. Katherine Robbins has lived in Longview her entire life. She is a full-time Running Start student. She loves photography because it’s a chance to show the world “in a way some people might not see it.” Amanda Sirois is a graduate from LCC and believes that “the natural cycles which occur in nature are the perfect metaphor for life, paralleling beautifully the human experience.” Kendra Skerbeck is a student at Kelso High School and in Running Start at LCC. Her future interests lie in making movies, animation, and video game design. Trisha Kc Buel Wheeldon attended LCC prior to completing an undergraduate degree in English with an emphasis in creative writing from BYU Idaho. She’s always considered Longview her home “because it’s where I fell in love.” Kristin Yuill attended LCC from 2003-05 and took all the writing classes she could. She then studied English and Scottish literature at the University of Edinburgh. She currently lives in Kelso, constructing her greatest work: her first baby. 58
Sponsors Cary Rhode Wayne Muzzy
To be among the sponsors listed in the next issue of The Salal Review, make a tax-deductable donation of $10, $25, $50, or more to: LCC Foundation: The Salal Review
Acknowledgments The editors wish to thank the Associated Students of Lower Columbia College and the LCC Foundation for continuing to fund and support The Salal Review, the LCC Office of Instruction and Department of Language & Literature for supporting the Magazine Publication course that makes The Salal Review possible, CoPrintCo for turning a dream into something physical, and our individual sponsors for their financial support. We would also like to thank Northwest Voices for being superb team players, Danielle Shulke for being an organization wizard, and Debby Neely for being the Queen of InDesign. 59
Call for Submissions The Salal Review is an annual publication of Lower Columbia College. It involves 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 prose pieces, either by U.S. mail with a stamped, self-addressed reply envelope, or by email attachment (MS Word or .RTF) to firstname.lastname@example.org during the month of October, 2013. For artwork, submit up to five pieces, either on paper or by email attachment, during the month of January, 2014. We have limited space for color submissions, so black and white work is preferred. We cannot be responsible for oneof-a-kind originals, so please send clean copies. Digital images may be sent on CD or by email, but must be high-resolution .jpeg files (300 dpi minnimum). Please include a brief biographical note describing your connection to the Lower Columbia Region. To answer further questions regarding submissions, to receive a FREE copy of The Salal Review, or to arrange a sponsorship donation, call us at (360) 442-2630, or contact us by email at email@example.com. Mail submissions or donations to The Salal Review, Lower Columbia College, P.O. Box 3010, 1600 Maple Street, Longview, WA 98632. 60
â&#x20AC;&#x153;While no one is watching it drifts out to sea, where, over deep watery graves, it rests as soft as a prayer.â&#x20AC;? -Janice Haupt Visit of a Genial Fog