Founder's Favourites - June 2019

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Founder’s Favourites Issue 7-June 2019

Anita Haas D. R. James Douglas Polk John Grey Ken Wetherington Robert Beveridge Steven Tutino William Goodwin

How to become a Founder’s Favourite

Content contains anything I find memorable, creative, unique, visual, or even simple. Accepted contributors will most likely write about things that are emotionally moving. Not sure I will like your submission? Take a chance! You have nothing to lose. And who knows? You may end up being among the founder's favourites! Submit today!

Founder’s Favourites Issue 6-Jan 2019

Contributors 4 Steven Tutino Naked Truth 5 Photo | c exopixel Adobe Stock 7 William Goodwin On the Water with Frieda and the Bait-Maker 10 Anita Haas Prism 11 D. R. James Poem on Itself 13 Ken Wetherington Lydia 16 Douglas Polk Fly Over 17 John Grey Atop the Sea Cliff 18 Robert Beveridge Svaneti

Why These are my Favourites... P4 Naked Truth Steven Tutino—Phrase “unravel, unwind.” P5 Photo c exopixel—It represents joy, silence and tranquility. P7 On the Water with Frieda and the Bait-Maker W Goodwin—Visuals and sounds. P10 Prism Anita Haas—Word choices, visuals. P11 Poem on Itself D. R. James—As the founder of Perspectives Magazine, I love first-person point of views. P13 Lydia Ken Wetherington—Theme and unexpected ending. P16 Fly Over Douglas Polk— Contrasted ending. P17 Atop the Sea Cliff John Grey—Visuals. P19 Photo c Nomad Soul— Love the mystery in this photo. P18 Svaneti Robert Beveridge—Phrase “ghosts already in your head” and the title (the name of the northernmost region of Georgia, known for its salt mines).

Naked Truth By Steven Tutino A spiritual quest within you, desires to unwind, unravel, peel back the layers of naked truth and false truth and see who and what it was I am meant to follow and be and conquer. Painting uncovers my strengths exalts my weaknesses; I am a free spirit in a land of color, a fantasy world where the pictures are just so fictional.

c Stefan Korber—

Steven Tutino is currently a graduate student at Concordia University in the process of completing an M.A. in Theological Studies. He obtained a double major from Concordia as well in Honours English Literature and Theological Studies. His poetry appears in Concordia University’s Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Sexuality, The Paragon Journal and Halcyon Days. His artwork has appeared in Word in the World, The Paragon Journal, The Minetta Review, Beautiful Minds Magazine, GFT Press: Ground Fresh Thursday, Michael Jacobson's The New-Post Literate, The Omnicult, November Bees: Journal of art and literature, Inside the Bell Jar, and Hour After Happy Hour Review. Steven currently resides in Montreal, Quebec.

c exopixel—

c © W Goodwin

On the Water with Frieda and the Bait-Maker By W Goodwin San Diego, 1981 I’m an ordinary woman who makes a living catching sardines and anchovies with my “bait-maker” – the vernacular down here on the waterfront for my kind of fishing boat. Like a modern day fish-monger, I sell my fish to the bait barges anchored in the bays down in the most southern part of the state. If you saw me, you would probably suppose my genetics are mixed. It seems most of us are these days, a good thing I hope. My father, God rest his soul, grew up in Cuernavaca. His high forehead, bold chin and thin mustache could have made him a leading man, but he was content editing and a writing biographies. No doubt he is where I picked up a term like vernacular. Mom was a curvy blond from Köln with a strong and often hysterical German accent. Mightily Teutonic, her will prevailed in the disagreement with Popi over whether to spell their daughter’s name the German way, Frieda, or the Kahlo way, Frida. Father shifted and began proudly telling people my name was spelled the same way Plath and Hughes spelled their daughter’s name. I’ve never been married and I never had kids. It’s not like I didn’t go through that longing-for-motherhood phase, but it faded. Babies just weren’t in the cards for Frieda Velásquez. It seems I’m destined to live a monastic life as the captain of a noble and somewhat beat-up fishing boat. She’s welded-steel, solid and dependable, kind of like her skipper. Maybe calling her a “boat” is not quite the right word for an 85-footer, is it? But then Bella Godiva’s not grand enough to call a ship either. In the simplest terms, I would say she’s a big motorized box of circulating sea water where, on a good day, tens of thousands of small fish swirl in silver circles until I turn on a pump and send them into one of the bait receivers. I catch my little fish with a big net – in case you know your nets, it’s called a purse seine. That seine and the machinery needed to work it are almost identical to what you see on those big ocean-roaming tuna seiners except my net has a much smaller mesh designed for sardines and anchovies. Bella’s a big, heavy, dark blue machine, but she’s beautiful in a pragmatic, down-to-earth way. The actual physical work of catching fish takes place on the aft deck where a giant spool holds the net when I’m not fishing. A crane powerful enough to lift the weight of the fish-filled net rises above a bunch of other hydraulic equipment with big moving steel parts. Most of that stuff can seriously hurt you.

Up forward is the wheelhouse where equipment like radar screens, radios, depth sounders, gauges and engine controls surround me while I’m driving Bella, charting a course, cooking, writing or reading. The house also contains a sleeping cabin and a little darkroom where I develop the black and white photographs I take of my world. Clearly Bella Godiva is more than a work partner. She is where I live. This is not an easy life. Used to be I could go out and catch a full load and be back in less than twelve hours, but the sea is changing and every year I have to travel farther and farther to find enough little fish to fill Bella’s big hold. Sometimes I’m on the water non-stop three days at a time… Usually alone. My work is as arduous as it sounds and it consumes the total sum of my energies all the live long day, but it’s truly a free-spirited life. Sure, lots of the time I smell like sardines – I’d give up that part if I could – but I wouldn’t trade the rest of it, even the hard work and the storms, for any other lifestyle. A few years ago – hell, I guess it’s more than a few years now – my life as a fisherwoman began when I purchased my boat from a crusty old fisherman named Roy. The deal included a contract to provide fish to the guys who owned the local bait barges. Back in those days she was named Argonaut. I allowed that moniker to remain on the hull for a few years, mostly because I abhorred the thought of dealing with City Hall. I couldn’t stand that name. First, it was masculine and like most mariners, I accept that boats are naturally female. That wasn’t my only nonnegotiable requirement for her new name. I didn’t want anything mawkish, metaphorical, symbolic, patriotic or animal-ish. I needed a name that would still give me a little buzz every time I saw it even after twenty years, if you know what I mean. So one day I had Jimi Hendrix on my Linn LP12 turntable – mounted on gimbals so I can play my vinyl in anything short of a full-on gale. I was casually looking over the album cover when I noticed Hendrix published his songs under the name of “Bella Godiva Music.” The instant I saw that, I knew I had the name for my boat, although it wasn’t official until I visited that accursed office at City Hall. Lots of people have seen my boat’s name but now you are among the few who know its origin. An ideal trip for Bella and me is one where we return from sea with a full load of fish and no new damage to the boat or her captain. One morning at the end of such a trip, I finished pumping most of my fish into the receivers near Shelter Island where the local sport and commercial boats come to bait-up, and Bella and I headed home. We left the bay and motored around Point Loma from whence we continued north, staying outside the kelp beds until we reached the entrance to

Mission Bay only a few miles up the coast. That’s home between trips.

We passed the Ocean Beach pier with Bella rolling in the swell under a dark and bothered sky. The rain began as I steered around the south jetty and into the calm water of the channel leading into Mission Bay. Bella settled down and I throttled back and put her on autopilot. I left the wheelhouse, made sure the dock lines were ready, and kicked her big fenders over the coamings. I’m telling you all this so you don’t get the impression I’m some sort of dilettante fishing chick running around with visions of grandeur. This boat really needs no fewer than two people to get the job done, but most of the time I do it all myself. Before I could dock Bella, I needed to stop at the little bait barge anchored in Quivera Basin. Our home slip is so close I can see it from the barge, but Arnie had called me on the VHF and told me their bait was critically low and would I please, once I finished in San Diego Bay, pump the last of my fish into his cages. He said I’d be making a lot of people happy, including the barge owner, Mission Bay’s commercial fishing boat captains and all the local fishermen. How could I say no? Besides, I like Arnie. The rain stopped as we approached the bait barge. I put us in reverse until we stopped five feet from the fish pens. Arnie was doing something inside the tiny shack clinging to one end of the fish cages so I waited for him to notice Bella’s looming presence – we’re only 85-feet long! My door on the port side was open allowing country music to pour in from speakers mounted outside Arnie’s shack. To keep from going schizo, I had to turn off the Pink Floyd emanating from my own speakers. Arnie, the skinny red-headed kid who’s worked on the barge for as long as I can remember, finally emerged and signaled he was ready to take my wet dock lines. He waited patiently in his rain gear while I harmonized the throttle and rudder with the bow thruster to coax bulky Bella sideways until she lightly kissed the barge.

As Arnie reached for the first of my wet dock lines, the rain-soaked assortment of barge birds behind him scattered. Cracks me up the way the pelicans and cormorants never tire of staring at the little fish separated from their sharp beaks by nothing more than nylon mesh. Their bird-brains seem happy to ‘fritter away the hours in an offhand way’ watching the gyring fish. Hah! Can you believe how those lyrics from the album I'd been listening to jumped right into my typewriter? Anyway, a thick, malodorous impasto of feathers and droppings, the unavoidable consequence of all those

c W Goodwin

frittering avian metabolisms, covers the planking of every bait barge I’ve ever seen. The feathery goo on their boots is the main reason I never allow a bait barge attendant onto my boat, so I’m always quick to pass my large-bore fish-delivery hose to Arnie before he can step onto Bella and grab it himself. He took the hose from me and, stepping gingerly on the slippery muck beneath his soles, pulled it over to the top of a bait pen. As he worked, he jabbered non-stop, apparently to himself because I certainly couldn’t hear him over his music. I watched him open a small hatch and push the end of the hose into it before giving me a thumbs-up. I turned on the pump and in a few seconds, a thick stream of sparkling fish began gushing into one of the cages suspended under the barge. I see barge attendants do this almost every day, but Arnie’s the only one I know who admits to finding sexual symbolism in his actions. He usually makes a lame joke about it and this time was no exception. I’ll spare you his infantile remark. Once the flow was going, he stopped talking to himself and yelled, “Hey Frieda, how come there’s so much sand in with the ‘chovies today?” I yelled back, “The weather drove the fish inside and I had to chase them into shallow water. They were almost on the beach!” “What? – can’t hear you,” he shouted. He trotted over to his shack, his rubber boots making squishing noises, and turned down the volume. When he returned to Bella, he said, “Sorry Frieda, I gotta play that shit, I mean stuff, LOUD!”

It began to drizzle again so I excused myself and went back into the wheelhouse to pull on my cold, wet foul-weather gear. Arnie continued his monologue while he watched the hose disgorge fish. When I stepped out again, he was saying, “… according to the TV, we s’posed to be getting two more days of crappy weather. Guess I ain’t gonna sell much bait so I prolly gonna be givin’ a lotta dead fish to the seals.” I glanced around and saw several big sea lions hanging near the barge, barking and bickering as usual. “Hey, Frieda, just noticed you’re alone. What happened to your crewman?” “Your guess is as good as mine. Henry’s not worth a plug nickel – he’s lazy and he’s always high. I told him to be at the boat before dawn or I’d leave without him, so guess what? I made three sets and filled the hold by myself. And by the way, you must know by now these are sea lions. Seals are a different animal.” “Damn, Frieda, you’re… unreal! Got no… idea how you drive this big ol’ gal all by yourself, much less how you run all that… gear without any help,” exclaimed Arnie from under his dripping hood. He works so hard at curtailing his cussing around me. His speech seems stultified from all the empty spaces where F-bombs were omitted in deference, I suppose, to my gender. “Sometimes I wonder myself,” I replied. “If I don’t come back one day, it’s probably because a wave washed me overboard and no one was onboard to fetch me.” “Jesus, Cap’n Frieda, I sure hope that don’t happen! Aren’t you gonna hire another… crewman?” he asked as the last of the fish shot out of the hose into the open hatch. I turned off the pump before replying. “I definitely need to. How about you quit your little birdshit-covered island here and come work for me?”

“They have farms in the desert?” “He calls it a farm so I guess it is. I recall some… chickens living there, but I don’t ‘member it too good – I was just a kid.” “Long time ago, I see…” “Yeah, right? Farm or whatever, it’s my uncle’s place, free and clear, and he… swears when he kicks the bucket, it’ll be all mine.” Frieda looked at him thoughtfully, then said, “I can picture you on a farm, Arnie. Just trade out your foulies for overalls – keep the boots though. You’ll still be a shit-kicker, right? Anyway, do you happen to know anyone who might be interested in crewing for me? Someone who actually likes to work?”

“Well, that doesn’t describe any of my… friends, but I’ll keep my eyes peeled... Sea lions, huh, not seals? I’ll be damned.” Arnie fed the big hose back to me at the pace I needed to methodically stow it. I’m really picky about doing things right on a complicated boat like Bella. Plenty of dangerous and costly problems can and do happen out in open water, and when a new problem shows up, I don’t need it compounded by tangled lines or misplaced equipment. I repeated what the captain who taught me most of what I know about boats told me.

“You don’t want more than one thing at a time fucking up when you’re offshore.” Arnie stood there for a moment seeming to contemplate my atypical use of profanity before casting off the lines holding Bella to the bait barge. Behind him the bedraggled crew of wet birds, flapping their wings as their feet touch the goo. I let the boat drift while I coil dock lines in preparation for landing at my home dock. It feels good to be back.

“That would surely be an adventure, ma’am, but I got my life all planned out. One of these days pretty soon I’m gonna inherit a… farm.” “Do tell? Where is it?” “Out in the desert near… Borrego Springs. When my uncle passes, I’m outta here. I might just… retire on that farm.” The author is a writer, photographer, parent, teacher and sailor who graduated from UCLA (biology and English) and completed the coursework for a Ph.D. The author has written five non-fiction books, numerous blogs and countless articles and stories, and is presently completing a novel. The author’s short-form work has appeared or will soon appear in: The Dead Mule Review, 805 Lit+Art, Sunlight Press, and Odyssa. The author’s photographic art has appeared in numerous publications online and in print, and in galleries, museums, businesses and homes.

Prism by Anita Haas White light seeks her out, ignites her with abundance. She scatters it in multi-colored fragments, Illuminating the shadows of our lives. “Prism” first appeared in the winter 2014 issue of Poetry Quarterly.

c Didgeman—

Anita Haas is a differently-abled writer and teacher from Kitchener, Ontario, but now based in Madrid, Spain. She has published books on film, two novelettes, a short story collection, and articles, poems and fiction in both English and Spanish. Some publications her work has appeared in include Falling Star Magazine, Poetry Quarterly, Tulane Magazine, Literary Brushstrokes and Adelaide Magazine.

Poem on Itself —as told to its author

By D R James “Reluctant, I’m shy the confidence of squirrels, who clatter across laced branches, reckless when the unmapped way lays itself out or doesn’t, the dead end, the spring-and-give more the living than the solid path. “I fear this next leap— that a soft spot in leaves or a sure next move won’t rise up like a dream or like reason— that I might have to answer to myself or to some perfect image shouldering its vague weight onto a balance, trying to tip the scales favoring significance. “Right now I’m hesitating to inch along this fine line I’m barely feeling between seeing meaning and needing merely being. “Even in this I am afraid.”

c gaby_stein—

D. R. James has taught college writing, literature, and peace-making for 34 years and lives in the woods near Saugatuck, Michigan. Poems and prose have appeared in a variety of journals and anthologies, his latest of eight poetry collections are If god were gentle (Dos Madres Press) and Surreal Expulsion (The Poetry Box), and his microchapbook All Her Jazz is free and downloadable-for-the-folding at the Origami Poems Project.

c Simonetta—

Lydia By Ken Wetherington I wept for Lydia. At home I cried aloud. When out, I shed silent, internal tears. Her absence filled my thoughts and days. I wish I could say I loved her. I first saw her on a crisp, fall morning at the Epilogue Bookshop. The shop, a converted convenience store, boasted an interesting collection of used books and music CDs on its dusty shelves. That day, the local classical station played a string quartet from speakers set high above the self-help section. I stood in the literature aisle, thumbing through a copy of Stapledon’s Sirius, recalling the aching sadness of that story. When she walked in, heads turned. Only the clerk at the register and two other customers, all male, were present. To describe her features, one by one, would be to paint a portrait of many attractive women. What immediately set her apart was the way she carried herself. She projected a confidence, not born of beauty, but sprung from somewhere deep within. She surveyed the aisles in her fine, white blouse and navy skirt, seemingly unconscious of the reactions she provoked, though surely she must have known. Each movement, however small, flowed with a natural grace, only increasing her appeal. I had been content to watch her from afar, but she took me by surprise when she approached and began perusing the shelves a few feet from me. Her closeness seriously disturbed my own browsing. The likelihood of saying something inane dampened my desire to make a clever remark. I stood there, surrounded by great words, unable to summon up a coherent sentence. She took a side step in my direction, and it broke the spell. I eased around the corner, parked myself in front of the blues CDs, and plucked a Luther Allison disc off the shelf, pretending to check the track listing. I became angry with myself, first for not speaking to her and then for allowing myself to consider it. Irritated by my failure to act, I shuffled to the register with the CD and the book I had not intended to buy. As I pulled out my debit card, she appeared beside me. “What’s that piece of music?” she asked, smiling at the clerk and gesturing toward the speakers. He gave a surprised shrug. “Borodin’s second string quartet,” I said, seizing my opportunity. She turned to me, and I followed up. “It’s unusual in that the third movement is the slow one.” “It’s lovely, isn’t it?” She paused. “Are you a pessimist?” “What?” Her question startled me. She nodded toward my book. That impressed me. Few read Stapledon these days. “Sometimes,” I said, hoping it was the right answer.

“I know what you mean.” She rewarded me with a smile. The clerk tucked my receipt into the book and handed it to me along with the CD. With my business concluded, I found no excuse to linger. I took a slow step toward the door, and she turned away. My chance gone, I went out, silently berating myself. As I stood out front trying to decide what to do, she exited and glanced my way, offering an unexpected reprieve. I approached. “Excuse me. May I interest you in some lunch?” She wrapped her right hand around her left and gave her wedding ring a slight twist. Though I felt certain she would turn me down, I persisted. “You can tell me what you think about Stapledon.” She eyed me thoughtfully. “Okay. Someplace not too crowded. My name’s Lydia.” “I’m Ernest.” “All the time?” she asked. I laughed at the familiar joke. We walked a couple blocks to an out-of-the-way Mexican café with bland food and cheap prices. We spoke of our shared affection for used-book stores, with their musty smells and unpredictable collections. We were soon riffing on a wide range of favorite authors – a superficial, name-dropping conversation, though it laid the groundwork for finding our common interests. Emboldened by the easy banter, I invited her back to my apartment to listen to the Luther Allison CD. To my surprise, she accepted. She followed my aging Chevrolet in her late model Volvo. I kept checking the rearview mirror, unable to believe my luck, however her wedding ring loomed large in my mind. Perhaps she had separated from her husband but continued to wear it, as some women do, to ward off unwanted advances. I lived in the back half of a brick duplex, the last residence on a dead-end street. It was one of those streets severed by the freeway a decade ago. The space between my apartment and the freeway had grown into a thick tangle of weeds, bushes, and young trees struggling to escape the creeping kudzu. At least it blocked the sight of traffic, if not the sound. On the other side of the freeway the street continued, unaware of its missing half. My shabby, messy apartment embarrassed me, though she seemed not to mind. I put on the music and sat beside her on the worn sofa, pretending to pay attention to the words, but thinking only of her nearness. As the first track played, she leaned toward me and looked into my eyes. We kissed. Fumbling with zippers and buttons, we left a trail of clothes from the sofa to the bed. The next couple of hours passed in an intoxicating rush of awkwardness and pleasure. Then she had to go. We kissed at the front door.

“No one must know,” she said. I gave a casual, understanding nod. She seized my shirt in her fist, drew me closer, and hardened her stare. “No one must know,” she repeated, with gravity. “I have an eightyear-old son. He must not suffer for my actions. No one must know. It’s my only request.” “Yes, of course,” I said, trying, but failing, to match her intensity. She left, taking my cell number without leaving hers. I worked from four to midnight, unloading semis at a home-improvement warehouse. The mindless job allowed time for contemplation. I kept telling myself that one day I would return to college and finish my degree, although I had little patience for structured education. My intellectual journey consisted of following my own curiosity. I learned a lot about many things, but missed out on the broad base of knowledge that college professes to offer. Thoughts of Lydia eased the dreariness of my working hours, summoning up memories of sensual pleasure and shared passions for music and books. I wondered if I would see her again. She was too good to be true. My phone chimed at 9:30 the next morning. Twenty minutes later, she was in my bed. When noon approached, we got up and cobbled together lunch from the leftovers in my fridge. Afterwards she explored my apartment, closely examining my book shelves and music collection. Eventually, I steered her back to bed. We spent the rest of our time together talking, each still groping for a sense of the other, but we spoke only of the things we liked and not of ourselves. Our meetings fell into a pattern, as all relationships do. She arrived around nine o’clock and stayed until noon, usually two or three times a week. In the beginning, lovemaking dominated the morning as we steadily expanded our range of sexual adventures. Later, conversations grew, moving with ease from the arts into social issues and politics. In those days everything seemed to be related. Soon we were finishing each other’s sentences. Each day I longed for the phone call which would announce her visit. She always called. In the afternoons I spent hours in dreamy reflections of her presence. I took to jogging in an attempt to regain the trimness of my college days. I could do little to improve my apartment other than keeping it picked up and swept, however I did clean out the refrigerator, a long overdue task. Lydia rarely mentioned her son and steadfastly refused to talk about her husband, other than to say, “he travels.” I didn’t care to discuss my own stalled life, preferring to escape from it into her arms. The winter months passed in a blur of sexual and conversational

bliss, the cold weather heightening the warmth we drew from each other’s body. When spring arrived, it brought a desire to be with her outside the cocoon of my apartment. I wanted to walk with her in the sun and bask in the envy of other men, but she feared being seen with me. She repeated her mantra, “No one must know.” Undeterred, I proposed a day-trip. Leaving at eight, we could make the two-hour drive to the capital, spend some time at the museum, go out for lunch, and return before school let out. Chances of running into anyone she knew were remote. She resisted, calling it too risky. Despite her reservations I persisted, and she finally consented. We left around seven-thirty on a Wednesday morning. When we reached the interstate, she slid over next to me and rested her hand on my leg. For the first time, we were a real couple. At the museum I took her hand. She instinctively withdrew it. I gave my best wounded look, and she surrendered to my unspoken request. As we roamed the galleries, she often released my hand to point out some aspect of the artwork before us. Each time I reclaimed the connection, although her ever-increasing reluctance diffused the pleasure of that contact. She approached each new gallery with quick, nervous glances. My dream outing rapidly deteriorated. We cut our visit short and returned home without lunch. The trip back passed largely in silence. We spoke about the traffic and other mundane things. At my apartment, she gave me a kiss, got into her car, and left. Maybe our affair had run its course. In truth, it was hard to see where our relationship could go. I went to work in the afternoon, hoping activity would dilute my disappointment, but the monotony of my job gave me too much freedom to think. Love should make one cheerful, positive, and outgoing. The secrecy of our affair suppressed those feelings, but did not temper the surge of excitement I felt each time she appeared at my door. When she didn’t call in the morning, I feared the worst. Our unlikely romance had no hope of a future. She never suggested she might leave her husband, and I couldn’t compete with the security he offered. None of that prevented me from lamenting her absence. The urge to be with her grew throughout the day. I devised plans for reconnecting with her, each scenario more foolish than the previous. Finally I gave up, realizing the choice rested entirely with her. I tried to count myself as lucky to have had even a little time with her, yet my desire for more kept me from appreciating what I once had. As I lay in bed a couple of mornings later, my phone chimed. Her number flashed on the display. She

sounded as she always had. My hopes rose. I hastily showered and straightened up the apartment, which I had neglected since the museum trip. She arrived looking as beautiful as ever, though a trace of weariness revealed itself in the corners of her eyes. We fell into bed immediately and made love with a hunger that left us both breathless. In the silence that followed, we each lost ourselves in our own thoughts. Finally she spoke. “Ernest, I need some time.” “What do you mean?” “I’m worn out. It’s too hard living like this.” “You don’t want to see me anymore?” I asked, thinking only of myself. “It’s not that. You’ve been wonderful.” It sounded like a goodbye. “I just need some time to recharge my batteries. It’s just for a little while. I’ll call when I can.” We made love again, slowly this time as if trying to wring every ounce of desire out of our bodies. I stood at my front door long after her car disappeared down the street, thinking just how improbable our meeting had been. If, that day at the bookshop, she or I had arrived a few minutes later our paths may have never crossed. A contrary stoplight might have been enough. If the Borodin quartet hadn’t been playing… If Stapledon’s book had not been in my hands… There were so many ifs. For several weeks I went about my life. On the weekends I went out to the bars with some of the guys from the warehouse. They were rowdy, fun-loving fellows, and I enjoyed being with people again. Those outings helped push Lydia from my mind, if only for a few hours. But soon I grew tired of their repetitive jokes and declined their invitations. I set aside my hopes for her next phone call. She said she needed time, so I decided to give it to her. I took Sirius from the shelf and began to read. Stapledon’s biologically engineered dog is a tragic figure, too advanced for his fellow canines, though physically inhibited from interacting on a par with humans. The novel transcends its philosophical underpinnings and social critiques and engages the reader with an intense, melancholy tale of unrequited love. After Sirius, I reread the books Lydia and I had discussed. Many of the passages brought her voice back to me. As I read, I listened to the music we both

loved, never tiring of the Borodin quartet. In this way, she continued to be a part of my life as the weeks turned into months. One evening in late summer while taking my break at work, I picked up a newspaper in our staff room and by chance opened it to the obituary page and found her there. I read it several times before reality began to sink in. Voices of those around me receded, and in the solitude of my mind, anger grew. Her silence felt like a betrayal. The notice didn’t give a cause of death but suggested donations to a cancer charity. She should have told me she was sick. I claimed a headache and left work early. On the day of her memorial service, I drove to the funeral home, parked across the street, and watched the mourners file in. I wondered any of them knew. It seemed unlikely, but she might have shared our secret with a close friend. Unable to think of a suitable narrative to explain my presence, I returned home. I would have to grieve alone – the cost of secrecy. Later, I called the funeral home, identifying myself as a friend of the family and inquired about her burial site. “Cremated,” they said. No opportunity for closure presented itself – no companion with whom I could seek solace, no grave at which to say goodbye. I sent a small check to the cancer charity – the only tribute I could muster. In my isolation, grief opened the door of fickle speculation. Maybe our relationship hadn’t been as special as I thought. It had been clear from the start she liked me, but what tipped it over into the affair that lasted for half a year? And what of her illness? Did she know from the beginning? Regardless, why did she not find some way to tell me? I had so many questions, but she took all the answers with her. I recalled her words that first day. “No one must know. It’s my only request.” But it wasn’t true. She demanded much more. She asked me to forego a complete relationship, never sharing the mundane chores of daily life, never facing the difficult decisions all couples must work out together, and never spending a night sleeping in each other’s arms. Without those experiences, how could one be certain of love? To this day, I have no idea why she chose to come into my life. I counted it as luck rather than the romantic notion of fate. I told no one. It wasn’t her only request, but I honored it as if it were.

Ken Wetherington lives in Durham, North Carolina with his wife and two dogs. His stories have appeared in various publications, including Ginosko Literary Journal, The Fable Online, Borrowed Solace: A Journal of Literary Ramblings, and The Remington Review. When not writing, he is an avid film buff and teaches film courses for the OLLI program at Duke University. He may be reached thorough his web site:

Fly Over By Douglas Polk walking trails rarely tread by human feet, the man-made, unseen in this sea of sand, grass, and yucca plants, time unmarked, the same as the land, seems eternal, until a vapor trail, noticed overhead, fly over land, seldom if ever, the trails ever tread.

c nnaPoka—

Polk resides in the wilds of central Nebraska with his wife, son and one dogs and three cats. Polk has had over 1000 poems published in hundreds of different magazines, journals and websites.

Atop the Sea Cliff By John Grey wind whippy enough to unbraid a young girl’s hair suction cheeks like leeches from within flap the blouse like an unpegged tent

rattle the lips redden the eyes with salt no need to do anything the air has you in hand

c Marco Regalia—

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Midwest Quarterly, Poetry East and North Dakota Quarterly with work upcoming in South Florida Poetry Journal, Hawaii Review and the Dunes Review.

c Nomad Soul—


By Robert Beveridge I am sprinkled in every doorway to keep the zombies out But no one ever told you I don’t work on the ghosts already in your head

c nikhg—

Robert Beveridge makes noise ( and writes poetry in Akron, OH. Recent/upcoming appearances in Soliloquies, The Coachella Review, and The Greensilk Journal, among others.

Founder’s Favourites Issue 7-June 2019

Thanks for spending time with my favourites.

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