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Northern New England Review VO LUME 4 0 | 2020


Northern New England Review VO LU M E 4 0 | 2020


Copyright 2020 by Franklin Pierce University. Upon publication, all rights revert to the authors. The editors of Northern New England Review request that all subsequent publications acknowledge Northern New England Review as the original publisher of these works. Northern New England Review is published as a creative voice for the Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine region. NNER publishes writers and artists who live in, are from, or have connections to Vermont, New Hampshire, or Maine. If you live here, were once from here, lost or found your heart here, or are currently searching for it among the green hills, sparkling ponds, and rocky coasts, NNER has the poems, short fiction, and creative nonfiction you want to read. Northern New England Review is edited and designed by students and faculty at Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, New Hampshire. Questions can be sent to Margot Douaihy, editor, at douaihym@franklinpierce.edu. Cover Art: View of Echo Lake from Artist's Bluff by Rachel Van Wylen Volume 40 Theme: Almanac

Content Warning: Please be aware some works cover sensitive topics. ISSN 0190-3012


Northern New England Review VOLUME 40 | 2020

E D I TO R Margot Douaihy

ASS I STA N T E D I TO R Michaela Kowalski

A DVI SO RS Donna Decker Sarah Dangelantonio Alan Schulte

FO UN D I N G E D I TO R William “Ritchie” Darling


CO N T E N TS Poe t r y

10 11

ALI C E H A I N ES S E L F-PO RT RA I T AS A D E E R ALI C E H A I N ES T RAV E L W EST W I N D I N G B RO OK

12

ALI C E H A I N ES KE N N E DY PA RK , L EW I STO N

13

STAC EY BA L KU N DES I RE I S B L ACK B E RR I ES

14 15

STAC EY BA L KU N O RCH A RD SA PPH I C STAC EY BA L KU N DA PH N E TO EV E

16

HOL LY PA I N T ER C RY PT I C CROSSWO R D XL I V

17

HO LLY PA I N T E R C RY PT I C CROSSWO R D XLV I

18

HOL LY PA I N T ER C RY PT I C CROSSWO R D XLV I I

22

AN D R EW G EN T I NS ECT & BO O K


Poetry

24 25 26

(CONT.)

AND R EW G EN T E NT RA N CES & E XI TS AND R EW G EN T FOR ECAST SARA H A N D ER SO N A F I E L D I N T H E W EST O F I RE LAN D AT D USK

27

SARA H A N D ER SO N W HAT S H E H E A RS

28

SARA H A N D ER SO N WARN I N G

29

BRA DY T H O M AS K A M P H EN KE L T HRO UG H A N E M PT Y W I N D OW

30

K AT H RY N SA DA K I E R S K I FA L L I N N EW E N G L A N D

38 39 40

MAT T ST E FO N T HIS M O N DAY M O R N I N G, 3A I S A SON G LA N DSCA PE PA I N T I N G THO M AS G R I F F I N HOI ST YO UR VO I CE E L L I E D EXT ER Y E L LOW


41

J OS H N I CO L A I S E N A FA L L CL ASS I C

47

JOHNNY HALL LOST I N T H E F ROZ E N FO REST

60

L AURA BO N A ZZO L I T HI S B R I G H T L I M I T

61

PE T E R VA N D E R LUX AS PRE D I CT E D

65

DAN I E L L A N C E PAT R I C K T HE A D I RO N DACK CH A I R

66 78

RU SS EL L R OW L A N D AF T E R T H E S UN S E TS DU N CA N CA M P B EL L T I N Y SWO RD FO R A T I N Y K I N G D OM

80

DU N CA N CA M P B EL L O ME N S M A K I N G T H E PRO PH ECY IN EVITAB LE

82

DU N CA N CA M P B EL L EC H O ES O F M E M O RY ’S H A M MER

88

ROSA N N A J I M E N EZ T HE E A RLY Y E A RS


Poetry

98 100 102 105

(CONT.)

MIC H A EL J EW EL L T HIS WO RL D O N F I RE L ES L I E B L AC K M A N P O U L I N OU T BACK L ES L I E B L AC K M A N P O U L I N MA I N E WA RD E N S S E A RCH FOR POAC H ER W HO S H OT D O E CA RRY I N G T WIN S RIC H A R D F. F L EC K MA I N E COAST

Cre a t i ve Nonf i ct i on

19

ADA M D I E TZ DYSA RT ’S D OW N -H O M E

62

CO LL E EN FA R R EL L T HE PI A N O L ESSO N

83

AND R EW C . M I L L E R P R ECA RI O US CL I M B

103

HARV EY S I LV E R M A N BU R N T O F F E RI N GS


Fict io n

31

CAN D I C E K E L S EY T HE L AST WO R D

42

J O N AT H A N S EA L E MAYO R O F LY D FO R D V I L L AG E

48

DAVI D SA LTZ M A N S P O O KY AT A D I STA N CE

67

K . A . H A M I LTO N S ECO N D N AT UR E

89

WIL L I A M W I LCOX T HE M O O N OV E R I CA RUS L A KE

In C l osi ng

106

CO N T R I B U TO R N OT ES


Alice Haines

SELF-PORTRAIT AS A DEER after Donald Hall Here is a fragile creature, prey to wolves, who bounds with surprising power over walls and fallen logs and streams. She hides in the shadow of pines, melts into the end of the field, and wallows a snow-hollow, sheltered beneath the boughs of hemlock trees. In winter she yards with her yearlings, come summer, raids gardens with the gang. She grinds acorns between her teeth and seduces the buck in the fall. But shy, shy she is in the spring when she hides her creation: that being birthed from her nether. Feral and fuzzy, the wobbler emerges from her, having gotten in there somehow.

10 |

ALICE HAINES


Alice Haines

TRAVEL WEST WINDING BROOK among the hum of rushes brushed by leisurely muddy currents past the button-flowered bushes shuffle along grass and sedge silver your trees along banks tangled by alder shrubs and willow erupt the startled mother duck rattle the kingfisher’s blue dive border yourself with arrowed-green pierced by amethyst scepters cup the fawn among shadows denser than human feet can tread whisper a falcon’s flight pursued by kingbirds and their mobbing jeers pass polished snags like stranded masts slip by the tumbled beaver lodge dance water-striders on your surface travel onward winding brook we beg for wisdom from your flowing spell with dimpled reflections answers from your silent depths

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Alice Haines

KENNEDY PARK, LEWISTON The gray-green Union soldier stands at ease, companion to a spacious domed gazebo. Genteel elms were long ago replaced by oaks and maples, half a century old. Their columned trunks mark geometric lanes along wide lawns with views nine acres deep. We see our neighbors gathered, visiting on iron benches, picnicking on grass. The park’s carved name commemorates in gold the visit of a president, our pride until two cultures brawled one late June night; a black man killed a white man with a brick. We held our breaths. Some feared, some wished, revenge. The bell-tower blazed with light, police patrolled, curfews stole our leisure. A year of restraint, of cautious steps, and finally an arrest. Now tiny girls in pigtails and pink shorts dart about with friends in miniature gowns. Young men jostle for a basketball, children swing, a college dance troupe leaps. And though we side-step strangers still the bandstand shelters all kinds when it rains. Our soldier grips his rifle like a staff above the plaque to Freedom’s Victory.

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ALICE HAINES


Stacey Balkun

DESIRE IS BLACKBERRIES Apple-Child and I pick blackberries in the field behind the pool, filling a plastic pumpkin from last Halloween. We suck our pricked fingers the juice and blood run together. We met when we were seven, swore to be sisters all our lives but sometimes I hate her, even tangled in honeysuckle and poison ivy. We learn what’s sweet. What hurts.

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Stacey Balkun

ORCHARD SAPPHIC High, on the highest branch where no one but me could reach, Apple-Child hid, pink skin a flash through the burnt red leaves—for a time she was mine. Never completely.

14 |

S TA C E Y B A L K U N


Stacey Balkun

DAPHNE TO EVE No longer a girl, sap in my veins runs cool as amber, was that my name? A birthstone? The old gods, my parents—all long gone and yet this garden thrives around me with its daffodils, hyacinths, a fat snake. I shunned lust shirked a man’s advance and rooted. This fruit unpoisoned, sweetened with rot. When the god wanted, I ran to my father, who masked me with bark but when the girl hungered, I lowered my limb, held out the honeyed fruit.

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Holly Painter

CRYPTIC CROSSWORD XLIV Clues:

Deep black stream. Drink in chaos-born motor warble, a warning

buoyant and mumbly, marauding spirits’ retreating gurgle. Owls fuss, heading off like puffs of snow at night’s first stormy blush,

dazzling secret spiderweb, right move if night’s fragmenting, recreating baked ray of dawn.

Answers: Jet engine whistle Rubbery murmur of snores Bright shifting daybreak

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H O L LY P A I N T E R


Holly Painter

CRYPTIC CROSSWORD XLVI Clues:

On break-up: denial first, solipsism, rejection of daylight, hiding. Next, outrage directed at marriage after recalling tender loving. Useless, hollowed out—that’s you and me. Boundary of house: river, current, sound of sleep being broadcast, unbroken, unmoved, bleary void of faint understanding. Come back. When plucked out, heart becomes strange island country, half-cut engine, child without direction, misshapen coil, never-ending chill.

Answers: No sun to warm us Horizon untouched by light New England winter

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Holly Painter

CRYPTIC CROSSWORD XLVII Clues: Sad trek gets off course on bleakest, shortest day. Dark returns. Season

spreads its wings. Blazes curve around echo of horizon: in light of the half-forest, one starts to await night’s yawn, temperature dropping, spasms of constellations.

Softly hike. Admire that old hidden becoming, pristine and stormy cosmos. Glide down slopes, in one direction after another.

Answers: Darkest midwinter Branches reach for any stars Praise to snowy skies

18 |

H O L LY P A I N T E R


Adam Dietz

DYSART’S DOWN-HOME Staring down at the menu, I had seen it all before. Open-faced sandwiches, a catch of the day special, and even a couple of fun twists on your traditional macaroni and cheese. It was all here, exactly where I needed it to be. In a room surrounded by people, I was completely alone. But the seat was soft, enough. The server was nice, enough. And the food, the food tasted good, good enough. I was hanging on by a thread when I walked into Dysart’s, but I wasn’t the first fella to walk into a truck stop resto with his head in hand and I wouldn’t be the last. The place seemed to have an aura about it, some kind of a glow. Maybe it was just how goddamn tired I was. Dysart’s Restaurant and Truck Stop sits just off of I-95 in the small town of Hermon, Maine. Promising folks “down-home cooking” in a no-frills atmosphere, Dysart’s Restaurant is a 24/7 type of place. Located next to a freshly painted Roadway Inn, I was nervous when I pulled into Dysart’s. Up until that point, my day had been the most mixed of bags. High highs and the lowest of lows. My nerves were grounded in the preconceived notions of the kinds of things that I had heard happen at truck stops, urban legends and TV tales, but that didn’t make them any less real. You see, during the light of day, a try-hard hipster with a jean jacket and pants too tight might walk into a place like Dysart’s with confidence and a sense of security, but it was full dark in Hermon, Maine and I wasn’t sure if I belonged. A collection of Carhartt coats walked into the joint and I followed closely behind, all too aware of the fact that I had never driven a semitruck and that my hands lacked any significant calluses. Upon entry and a quick study of the space, I realized that my fears and concerns were without merit. Littered throughout the expansive restaurant were men and women of all types. There were fathers, daughters, families, a local basketball team, several cool looking teenagers, and even a few NORTHERN NEW ENGLAND REVIEW

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tourists like me, if their hats and sweatshirts were to be believed. You see Dysart’s restaurant and truck stop operates differently than the truck stops of my youth and the scary campfire stories passed down. In the small town of Hermon, Dysart’s is a meeting place for families and friends to congregate and grab some decent grub. I threw myself down at a table for four and began penning various notations into my journal. Though less entertaining than scrolling through my smartphone, I wanted to soak in my surroundings. It was that and the fact that my phone wasn’t getting any service. With the stress of the day sitting on my ever-hunched shoulders, I was plum tuckered. In a day that had involved a canceled flight, a missed connection, and lost luggage, I needed simplicity and I needed comfort. When my waitress, a thin woman with a bob haircut named Sarah or Sally, approached, she greeted me with a sense of hospitality that I hadn’t encountered all day. I smiled and inquired as to whether Dysart’s might serve anything harder than water and soft drinks. While her lips told me that they didn’t, her eyes narrowed as she recognized me for the rube I was. Without the comforts of friends like Sam Adams or Stella Artois, I had to settle for tap water, which was just as well. On tough days, drinks have a way of multiplying and if you’re not up to doing the Math then you might just as well stay away. Sally hurriedly returned with the coldest ice water I’ve ever had in my life, the kind that really hurts going down. I told her as much and she nodded politely. No time for small talk friend, too many tables. I ordered a Reuben and she was off. With that done and dusted, I sank into my well-worn chair and marveled at the sights and sounds of Dysart’s. While the place was buzzing with activity and conversation, there was one voice from the table behind me that came through the most

20 |

ADAM DIETZ


clearly. Though I could never quite get a clear view of the man and his group, I listened intently to their conversations. The man, 40ish, ordered a chicken pot pie with macaroni and cheese as a side. When the waitress informed him that the macaroni would cost extra, he weighed the pros and cons aloud for several seconds before eventually giving in. It’s so damn good. I had too, he said to his wife after the server left. Minutes later, more bad news came as the restaurant had run out of dinner rolls for the evening. Devastated, the man reluctantly accepted the server’s peace offering of some kind of multi-grain roll. His wife, who sat next to him, said very little during the evening. Though she was quite tickled when the man and his son, who never uttered a single word throughout the meal, ordered the exact same thing. It made her proud, I think. My sandwich came out quickly, along with some piping hot steak fries and a generously sized pickle, but it was all gone almost as quickly as it arrived. The hunger of a hard day. I wish I had savored it more because I know it was good. I know it was probably the best Reuben I ever had. When Sally returned, she seemed impressed by how fast I had wolfed it down. My eyes gleamed with sleepy satisfaction as I signed the bill and grabbed my jacket. More than good enough, Dysart’s had been what I needed. Dysart’s sits off of I-95 in the town of Hermon, Maine. It is a restaurant with a truck stop, not the other way around. If you go on a Saturday, be prepared to wait. Don’t ask them if they serve booze, they don’t. Maybe you’ll have a server with a bob haircut who smiles at all the right times, or maybe a local basketball team will be celebrating a close victory over a division rival. Dysart’s offers downhome cooking, regardless of where home is.

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Andrew Gent

INSECT & BOOK In a way, they are books of their own making, with pages that open and close. This one left open forever after someone snapped shut the book he is encased in. Age: unknown. Location: wherever the previous owner (or the owner before him) slapped the bug silly. The remains left as an unwelcome surprise for whoever next purchased a clean, tight copy with slight foxing around the edges. No other marks except a name inscribed on the flyleaf and the fly itself. Like a fossil imprinted on limestone, each tiny wing legible. The body, less so but still preserved between pages fourteen and fifteen. Sorry, pal. I doubt it was the Greeks that caught your attention. I’d like to think the sepia reproductions of statues and urns

22 |

ANDREW GENT


reminded you of something intrinsically human. The appeal of the perfect limb or profile preserved as you are for future generations. An ugly reminder of what might be the downfall of us all.

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Andrew Gent

ENTRANCES & EXITS I have come to realize these entrances and exits work both ways. Birth is the end of a long voyage in the dark, in a boat a few inches shorter than the ocean that holds it afloat. And death, the beginning of something else. Again, in the dark like the start of a long car ride begun before dawn with the children still in their PJs unaware of the destination.

24 |

ANDREW GENT


Andrew Gent

FORECAST Bleak. My favorite weather. When the last two leaves on the branch scrape together and the wind blows into its hands to stay warm. Black and white without the definition. Blur as an adjective with no accompanying noun or verb. The rain we somehow managed to avoid for days falls sideways like the murder victim in a cheap B movie. Dead, but obviously still breathing.

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Sarah Anderson

A FIELD IN THE WEST OF IRELAND AT DUSK My voice got caught in the marbles, spaces I had yet to discover, an electric fence turned on. I am not in the half-stunning accidental photograph, not in the bedroom alone, watching shadows cross my body, not who you think I am. Two barred rock hens and a rooster vied for attention, earlier on the farm. They had mine as they played the games we play. The field and fence, a blur of lines until we are made of fours: the fourth stone away from me in the stream, the fourth of July your sparkler set her hair ablaze, the fourth word you spoke to me. If someone looks at you a certain way, it is useless to pretend but you must, you absolutely must. Take anything from the night, make it yours. This is it. Be mindful of the daffodils. We are not going to be here again. Recall her cheekbone, her lips pursed in the fading day, how her hair and the forest became one. Right now, she is still a face wanting to be known, while they call, looking back at her, from the island shore.  

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SARAH ANDERSON


Sarah Anderson

WHAT SHE HEARS A woman remembers Ireland, hasn’t been back since Gabriel. In New Hampshire’s deep winter, a man’s gone missing near her property. She has made him Gabriel, has imagined the scene, combing her fingers through his hair, kicking a log farther into the fire, forgiving him. The news says the missing man comes from outside Boston, a football coach. The search crew—his entire team, boys with their lives before them—dig in the snow. Inside her house, family members sing, sip rum, tune fiddles, mandolins. She walks the snowdrift alone. No sign except a pick-up, no stranger, no Gabriel.

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Sarah Anderson

WARNING They say, and I know, it’s like flying over a large country, every field or city block disappearing below. If a man walks you to the top of a hill on the windiest, coldest January day, you risk more than frostbite. They say this, and I know. One day you will be an old woman watching a film of yourself. It will be snowing. You’ll see when you fell for his words. Now, picture theatres filled with people, the edges of their seats, whispering, shouting make the right choice. So, these highway flares are no more than a show. You drove right past them. We all do.

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SARAH ANDERSON


Brady Thomas Kamphenkel

THROUGH AN EMPTY WINDOW The overflowing of A scarecrow we had To take down And the beat Of black wings long Gone

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Kathryn Sadakierski

FALL IN NEW ENGLAND Lilac and cotton candy clouds, Luxuriant, in velvet ripples Unfolding above red barns Trimmed in white. Tall church spires, shingled faces, Cupolas, like wedding cake tiers In wide open spaces, While the moon etches silver outlines Around the clouds As it conceals its face demurely Behind cotton swirls, purpled by The coming night. Horses, blanketed, swish their tails in the pastures, As lacy tree patterns cut into the sky In leafy overpasses Dappled by the prisms made when sun touches earth, Dipped in molten gold by autumn. Summer gives way to fall Autumn leaves fall away Clearing paths for snow And yet, the impressions Never fade.

 

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K AT H R Y N S A D A K I E R S K I


Candice Kelsey

THE LAST WORD The papers rustled in the wind as if harried fingers, licked by the dew, turned each page in haste. More startling was the hot pink duct tape securing the upper corner of the three-page letter, duct tape violently plastered across the tomb stone as across a prisoner’s mouth. A prisoner who knows state secrets. But there was no prisoner—only the corpse of a man six feet underground, a man who had clearly pissed someone off. Doug, an eighty-two-year-old retired hypnotist, and his wife of fifty-seven years were visiting the Mystic Cemetery that windy day in October. Only they were hoping to pay their respects to the last of Doug’s former band members, the drummer in fact. He was struck by the rhythmic leaf crunches with each step across the grass; the quarter beat cadence led his mind to decades earlier, a time when The Rainbow Wigs played Thursday nights at John’s Tavern. His mind fixated on one particular memory—that humid stink of a July night when the old draw bridge would not close. The patrons were a bit rowdy on Sam Adams and the Wigs’ spirited cover of The Beatles’ “Revolution,” but sight of the frozen draw bridge through the windows resulted in mayhem. Jenny, the late owner’s beleaguered wife, began to toss people out into the sticky Southeastern Connecticut air. She started with the tourists. Doug remembered how Fletch began tapping his drumsticks together and laughed wildly. He suddenly missed that laugh in a soul-deep way. Their footsteps and his memory ended. As Doug’s wife slowly bent down to place the white carnations against Fletch’s head stone, she gasped. Doug assumed her back spasmed again and placed his hand softly on her fleece vest. He often chose that gentle response over the course of the years with NORTHERN NEW ENGLAND REVIEW

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her. And she appreciated it. Other couples, she had noticed, responded in outbursts, exaggerated facial expressions, even platitudes. But not her husband. He knew that human touch was the secret to most of life’s unending volley of cares. “I’m fine, I’m fine,” she reassured him. “It’s that, over there. What is it, Doug?” she pointed toward a nearby plot. “Wha— oh, you mean those papers?” She nodded, more curious than concerned. “Can we go see?” “Let’s pay our respects to good ole Fletch first, dear; that’s what we came to do.” And they stood quietly for a few minutes, each a solemn visitor in the house of grief. She placed her hand in Doug’s and squeezed. Her mind wandered to that cold place where she would have to move within the walls of grief, that inevitable day that she would lose Doug. His hand slipped from hers, and she shuddered. But he was just repositioning the flowers. Without speaking, the pair of them left Fletch and slowly approached the other grave site. Almost in unison with their movement, a parade of heavy machinery rumbled by; construction companies often used Route 27 to avoid the draw bridge in Old Mystic Village. Doug turned his head to get a better look at the trucks, a site he always enjoyed. It was a type of pageantry. Seeing the faded gold excavator, the backhoe, and the trencher reminded him of the grueling summer work he did with his brother and his father before he went to college. To Doug, construction was his adolescence;

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KELSEY


construction was his first identity; construction was his also his first betrayal. When he left the family business to pursue his degree in psychology, he felt a shift. Nothing was said, of course. He almost wished there had been words. Even so, he knew his position in the family had changed in a permanent way. But the vortex of adulthood spun him around so fast that one morning he woke up in Louisiana a married man with a successful licensed and bonded practice in hypnotherapy. He couldn’t have walked any farther away from home. Turning back to his wife, he was not surprised to see she had already removed the mysterious papers that had been duct taped to the headstone in question. What he didn’t expect was that the headstone belonged to his sister’s recently deceased second husband, Edgar, or as he liked to be called, Rooster. Mae had married him shortly after her first husband, the father of her two girls, died New Year’s Day on the icy roads of New Hampshire. Rooster moved them west to California weeks after he married Mae, and he bulldozed his way into the role of stepfather. Doug wasn’t thrown off by the site of his brother-in-law’s grave; many of his family members were buried here, even both of his parents. He had spent so much of his youth digging up the earth with his father that when the day came to lower his lifeless body into the dirt, Doug felt a sense of completion. His wife assumed he was sensing the irony. She was wrong. “Doug, this is some sort of letter to Rooster,” she said, handing him the pages after folding over the hot pink duct tape and running her thumb over the tiny pebbles caught within. This is what reading braille must feel like, she thought to herself. “Should we read it or is it private?” she finally asked. NORTHERN NEW ENGLAND REVIEW

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Doug flipped to the third and final page to see who signed it. “It’s from Leanne.” A chill broke across the cemetery. Sudden, swift winds often eddied from the adjacent Mystic River. Autumn was a more peaceful time for the town, the foot traffic of summer tourism transformed into the car traffic of foliage looky-loos. In many ways the rhythm of the tourist trade defined the year more than the actual seasons. “Doug, let’s leave it. I can find a heavy stone or something.” But it was too late. Doug’s eyes had already landed on son of a bitch and rot in hell for the abuse and everyone will know what you did to us now. “She wanted someone to find this, to read this. I’m not going to let my niece down,” he declared in what was more an exhale than a response. His shoulders rounded, and his torso seemed scooped like the stony silt loam beneath his feet. “We’re taking it. Let’s go.” A week later, the morning of Halloween, Doug met his sister, Mae, for breakfast. His wife had suggested the popular Bleu Squid Bakery and Café for its ease of access; the parking lot offered wide spaces and enough room to maneuver their colossal Buick Lucerne. That’s how she made decisions now, focused solely on avoiding a car accident of any kind. That may be the defining symptom of old age, she thought to herself. That, and burying old friends like Fletch. Doug saw it differently now. Old age, he realized, is merely prologue to truth, the truth of death and the varied truths that death unearths. The shock of Leanne’s letter caused another shift in him—this time, he felt the shift between him and his sister.

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CANDICE KELSEY


He pulled into the Bleu Squid and immediately spied Mae’s white Toyota Forerunner, her first big purchase from Rooster’s life insurance. Doug noticed she had parked askew, but he thought nothing more about it. Patting Leanne’s letter folded carefully in the breast pocket of his flannel shirt, he headed into the café. He noticed the sound of his winter boots meeting the puddled gravel with each step, a crunch that was strangely fulfilling. He liked where he lived. But he didn’t like what he was about to do. Confronting one of his seven sisters was for the most part out of the question. That fact was made clear many years ago. Individually and collectively, the Wertheimer sisters were untouchable, somewhat because of their fabricated vulnerability, but mostly because of their venom. Countless victims, young and old, had been felled for even considering a confrontation with one of them. Though in number they were like Zeus’ daughters, the Muses, in sheer ability to avenge, they were more like the Furies. And this morning Doug was next on their altar. He didn’t remember much of what happened. But as he maneuvered his Buick easily out of the parking lot and onto Coogan Boulevard, he realized he had given Leanne’s letter to Mae. He also realized he was still hungry—they hadn’t eaten or even ordered coffee it was that quick. And he never heard from his sister again. Several years later, Leanne’s sister, Louise, learned of Doug’s death. He had broken his hip in a minor car accident at the Wendy’s drivethru and never recovered. His wife kept her hand on his shoulder every waking moment as he lay helpless in the hospital bed. It was all she could do for him. She contacted Louise with the funeral details, but otherwise Louise heard from no one, not even her sister NORTHERN NEW ENGLAND REVIEW

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or her mother, and especially not any of the Wertheimer sisters. And she was fine with that. As Louise’s plane taxied into T.F. Green Airport in Providence, she laughed to herself. She knew her Uncle Doug had found her sister’s letter taped to Rooster’s headstone years ago. She knew that he had confronted her mother, Mae. She knew that he was cut off by all his sisters. And she loved him even more for it. He was a man she could trust. It didn’t matter that he was dead and gone because he had done what her mother never had the courage to do—to confront evil. That must be what it means to grow old with grace, she thought to herself, to drive the heavy machinery of courage into life and reconstruct the truth of it. Mae had stayed with Rooster thirty-one years, not out of love or devotion or even obligation. She had stayed for the promise of inheriting a large amount of money. Louise is convinced that is why she never investigated her sister’s accusations, why she never left Rooster or prosecuted him. Adolescence, to Louise and most likely Leanne, was destruction. And Mae had profited nicely from staying with Rooster until the end. That is, until she discovered her new love, the Mohegan Sun. Other than the luxury car she purchased for herself after Rooster’s death, Mae devoted her time and her inheritance to the blackjack tables at Southeastern Connecticut’s casino culture. A month before Doug’s accident, Mae stood broke and embarrassed staring at three cards: a nine, an eight, and a six. Bust. The number twenty-three had never been so jarring. She had lost the final hundred dollars Rooster had left her.

36 |

CANDICE KELSEY


“Ma’am, would you like to place another bet?” asked the croupier as he tapped his fingers on the shoe, the opposite of a gentle touch. He was eager to deal again. She adjusted her pocketbook, straightened her blouse, and turned to leave the casino for good. As she exited, she heard the dealer’s final words. “The lady is finished.”

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Matt Stefon

THIS MONDAY MORNING, 3A IS A SONG LANDSCAPE PAINTING gray the fog buzzing as warm rain massages gray steaming out of weekend storm snow gray the trees rising before headlights falling gray churning under the overpass gray ends of nothing heaven and earth bridged by 495’s dark course through gray

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Thomas Griffin

HOIST YOUR VOICE Under saucer leaves of silver birch chokecherries and lady ferns rain spitting circles on the pond— look down into the water your shushed mouth with its seal of pride— white roses lean into the pond toss their scent into the water— yet you end up here, stare at the house of promised love windows dark, no cars in the driveway— don’t be foolish, swallow a stupor the hand of despair on your throat is dangerous. Don’t stare long at childhood reflections the spring that feeds your existence stirs below the surface.

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Ellie Dexter

YELLOW I made the fire early that fall, on the north face of the crag. The lake slapped into the hillside, the sky a closed curtain. This can’t be it. Then the sun dropped. There was no place to go. The leaves didn’t stand a chance. There wasn’t anything for Him to do, having already dragged himself down to be crushed like a grape and sucked out, so it was up to me. Those who knew this, kept their heads low. And last year’s wood, dried by the sun, reminded me: Every season offers itself up to taste and be tasted. And whatever it is, is over. I won’t be dancing in the garden, or celebrating another season without strength, or be pushed aside by a growl or grumble. And when it is time, I will go to my new woodpile to pull a tinder stick, I’ll roll pages into logs and my words will draft up a spark to heat.

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Josh Nicolaisen

A FALL CLASSIC Beneath a canopy of changing leaves and a crisply brisk autumn breeze we watch the fire burn fast; flames licking and lapping over logs and sticks we’ve broken like bats because nothing can quite bring us back to boyhood like being in the woods, or maybe baseball— and so tonight we seem so small sitting in the forest on a trailless and unnamed mountain, hypnotized by a chorus of crackles from the glowing fountain, feeding our nostalgic needs like the little box whose handle we take turns turning to hear the World Series while we dry our boots, rest our feet, and cheer our Red Sox.

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Jonathan Seale

MAYOR OF LYDFORD VILLAGE Thank you for our extended family and the patience to put up with them. Renee Girard often heard her Dad pray this grace before dinner during the Christmas holidays, a celebration slow arriving and stuffed with relatives. From her window in the family’s third floor apartment, the nine-yearold looked out over New Warren, Maine, and the vast woods beyond now ablaze with the reds and yellows and oranges of early autumn. The three-decker was in the heart of a neighborhood settled by French Canadians in the middle of the nineteenth century. Mills that had employed immigrants and their descendants were long since shuttered; however, the eight blocks of multifamily homes still remained vibrant, teeming with kids, most related to the Girards. In 1959, the peak of color came to Central Maine sooner than expected. One afternoon in early October, Renee sat in her backyard surrounded by eastern cottonwoods, eating butter tarts and drinking apple cider as the sea of soft yellow leaves fluttered back and forth. With the left toe of her shoe she to began break off the lacy edging of ice which had begun to grace the brook at the back of their yard. By mid-November, the fall rains had turned to snow and Renee’s thoughts to the long Christmas vacation, two weeks of skating, snowball wars, hockey games, and sledding with her posse of older cousins. Marc was Renee’s favorite, the middle son of her mother’s sister, Auntie Cecile. She had three sons and although their paternity was the subject of much gossip, it was of little consequence to Cecile or her husband.

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During fall, Renee had practiced on the front lawn for the snow angel contest which she had never won, but a new flourish would change all that. Cousin Marc agreed he’d never seen such a move before. As vacation approached, rumors of the first big snowball fight spread in the two elementary schools. Walking home one afternoon with Marc, Renee was surprised to hear him say he had something special for the rowdies from New Warren East who usually sparked the battle. “They’re in for a shock,” he said. “I’m going to put rocks in our snowballs.” Renee was speechless. In the ebbing winter sunlight, her mother’s summons, “Re-neeee! Re-neeee!” cut short any questions. The afternoon of Christmas Day finally came. Renee set off to visit aunts and uncles with her cousins. Henri, Fat, who was quite thin, Lana, who was not as girlie as Aimee, Rocket, and Just Marie, who refused any nicknames—all piled onto the street in search of Christmas favors. After shortbread at his house, Marc pulled Renee aside and showed her his presents. “Coming to the other homes?” Renee asked. Marc shook his head then led her into the parlor where the Christmas village was spread out on a large table. Renee looked at her cousin and then at the Village laid out like tic-tac-toe: a small pond nestled in one corner of a town common surrounded by eight blocks of modest homes set on yards framed by white fences. Handmade by a German craftsman from the Black Forest, it was modeled after Lydford Village in England. Marc’s Grandmother had brought it to America when she emigrated from Canada at the turn of the century and he NORTHERN NEW ENGLAND REVIEW

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remembered it displayed during the holidays in the foyer of her large home. “You’ll see some changes this year, Renee?” Marc said. “I named the people after our neighbors and gave them homes. This is where the O’Reillys live. Here are the Chapmans. Across are Mr. and Mrs. DuBoise. Silvie, her sister Michelle and their cats live down the street in the yellow house. Old man MacTaggert lives there. Mom and Dad are in the big one near the center. And my home is the small, gray cottage at the end. It’s quiet and peaceful. No one bothers anyone. Dad calls me The Mayor of Lydford.” As a young child, Marc had always been fascinated by the model village. When it was taken out and displayed, he switched seats at mealtimes to keep it in full view. His Mom often commented to neighbors how much happier Marc was at this time of year. She assumed it was Christmas. “Come on, Marc. We’re going to the Rousseau’s for maple syrup pie,” Renee said. “You go. I’ve got some plastic cats and dogs to place in Lydford, although I don’t much care for cats. Mom is going to set the village up in my room all year.” The New Year and deep mid-winter arrived at the same time. On the coldest of days, neighbors readily opened their doors to chilled kids, offering mugs of steaming hot chocolate. Some days were too frigid even for Renee so she wasn’t disappointed when Marc asked her over to play in his Village, as he liked to call it. As winter crept along, Lydford became more crowded. People, cars and pets soon filled streets and

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sidewalks.. For three days in January, a Nor’easter pummeled New Warren. The stoutest hockey players chose to stay indoors. Renee and Marc moved pieces in the Village. There was milk to be delivered; sidewalks to be cleared; errands to be run to the apothecary, to the grocer’s—all the busyness of an average day in Lydford. “What happened to Silvie and Michelle? They’re not here,” Renee said. “They tried to drive home in the storm yesterday and died in an accident,” Marc replied. When the New Warren Sun Times arrived at noon it confirmed the death of the sisters. The nights her parents were out, Renee often slept in Marc’s guest bedroom. One Saturday in late February after a sleepover, Marc asked Renee, “Do you ever walk through the Village in your dreams? I do. I walk from home to home. I want New Warren to be like Lydford in England.” The two cousins returned to the village that afternoon. “Last night I put two cats in the O’Reilly’s backyard. Did you move them, Marc?” Renee asked. “The coyote that lives under old man MacTaggert’s back porch must have gotten them. I bought it last week and it’s probably hungry. Who’s going to miss a couple of cats anyway?” Marc squeezed his fingers under the porch in the model and pulled out a likeness of the mangy predator with blood on his snout. “What else are you going to add to the Village?” Renee asked with a troubled look on her face and rising concern in her voice.

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“Well, the coyote is pregnant so I’ll bring in a hunter to keep them under control. If one villager has a gun others will want guns too. We’ll turn one of the homes into a gun shop. With all the guns we’ll need police and a police station. Renee went home and put the ribbon awarded at the snow angel contest in the bottom drawer next to her first communion dress.

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Johnny Hall

LOST IN THE FROZEN FOREST An echoed bark on a winter’s night, leafless trees covered in snow. The boney branches pointing in pain, all alone in the crisp silence of cold. A crescent disc sits up high, behind an ominous haze it shines. Illuminating the death of summer, colors of life smothered in white. Crackling and popping the branches warn, an ensuing assault heard not seen. A violent rush that stirs the night, the stinging pain felt of winter’s breath. Alone with nature’s truest form, the only warmth left to stand. Deepest reflections come at this time, thoughts of life during winter’s death.  

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David Saltzman

SPOOKY AT A DISTANCE It is an unremarkable Saturday, aswirl with the bluster of deep Wisconsin autumn, and, all decked out in business casual, I’m preparing to dive back into Lake Mendota. I’ve been diving all day, same as every other Saturday since Sarah. At the end of the pier, huddled beneath a woolen blanket, I am alone, but behind me looms the bustling lakeside terrace, where undergrads trade casual conversation and easy laughter over brightly colored tables, barely old enough to drink and far too young to be thankful. They have no use for the little path that winds down to where I sit amid curtains of spray torn ragged by the wind and a mist constant on the air and above, the dip and swirl of gulls. My button-down clings translucent, my khakis dark and sodden—no matter how I arrange my limbs, the fabrics bunch against my skin in heavy, seeping folds, but I don’t mind. It’s supposed to hurt, I tell myself. That’s how you know it’s working. Leveraging myself upright, I let the blanket slough to the deck atop my brownish, water-stained loafers. I shake the stiffness from my limbs, one by one, then step to the far edge of the pier, scooting out until the gold toes of my dress socks poke, dripping, into empty space. Wind swarms against me off the lake. I close my eyes, breathing deep and mindful, searching for a stillness that never comes. What a fool the terrace crowd must think me. Although I refuse to look their way—I wouldn’t give them the satisfaction—their attentions prick at my neck like feet across a grave and how can I blame them? It is strange, this thing I am doing. It is strange, and I know it is strange, but at least with Sarah gone, I don’t have to explain myself to anyone. So, we’re acting like a crazy person now, are we? comes a familiar voice on the wind. And to think, you’d always been so good with emotion.

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The seagulls whirl in their currents, screaming against a fast-moving sky as, beneath my feet, the planks breathe in time with the waves. We spent a lot of time out here, Sarah and I did, right at this very spot. Sometimes we’d talk. Sometimes we wouldn’t. What felt like love was that we didn’t have to. We’d dangle our feet off pier’s end, toes rippling the water as the golden hour turned all the world to magic, day fading to dusk and dusk to twilight, the long, slow descent into evening. When night fell, we’d snag a table on the terrace, kick up our feet, split a pitcher and some cheese curds. Lamps would flicker on in the high darkness, points of light exhaling clouds of flitting insects like dandelion-fluff we could blow, luminous, into wishes on the nighttime breeze. Nights like that even let you forget, if only for a moment, that there’s any difference between the person you’d been looking for and the one you’d actually found. Poets should write of a joy so simple. Wars have been fought for less. I proposed to Sarah that spring, out beneath the old willow at the gullwing tip of Picnic Cape. Into an emerald hush of lazy branches I knelt, the lake’s crash and yawn at my back, and for the words came easily, with none of the usual complications between desire and its expression. She’d nodded yes without even looking at the ring, hands flying to her mouth and tears joy-squeezed from her eyes and me already rising to embrace her, together reborn as creatures of the season, the two of us—the idea of us—blooming alongside the rest of the world and ours that rarest of blossoms, we were certain, ours the one that never would fall. There are eighty-one planks to this pier of mine, which makes for a NORTHERN NEW ENGLAND REVIEW

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fifty-five-second walk from shore (though often a longer one back). This also happens to be how long I’m able to stay underwater, where each moment has been neatly apportioned: four seconds to reach the lakebed, two to swim back up, the intervening forty-nine time enough to sift through seven double-fisted clutches of silt, my feet churning to the surface like a child. When I need a break, it’s a twelve-second swim from the buoy that happily marks where I dive. Back upon the pier, between one and three minutes will pass before feeling returns to my extremities, measure to my breath, the wasted time building loudly to a boil until again, I yield. Again, I rise. Again, I am doing this thing—again, and again, and again, a thousand times again, stopping only when darkness descends or my body betrays me; too cold to shiver, so cold I’m aflame, muscles worn to rebellion by hard use. Those are my favorite days, the ones I can’t go on: shuffling roadside like a flagellant, at least I know I’ve got nothing left to give. And how’s that working out for you? What’s that? Occasionally giving your best? (She’d always been very funny, my Sarah.) (Memory’s like any other immersion: it leaves a certain residue behind, one that lingers well after you emerge, blinking, into the light. You’ll track it all over the place if you’re not careful.) Now and again, Sarah would offer up these hopeful little suggestions, like, Hey, how about the two of us run off somewhere this weekend? and I’d always respond with one of my stupid quips, like Somewhere’s supposed to be beautiful this time of year, or, Hear it’s always five o’clock there, and she’d shake her head at me and kind of laugh, sometimes, but even when she didn’t the moment would slide harmlessly by

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until one afternoon on the terrace when she’d leaned across the table, gripped my arm, and—with this intense, heartbreaking glow about her—she’d finally pressed the issue. “C’mon, let’s have ourselves an adventure,” she said, “Just start driving, keep going until we run out of gas. We’ll find a cheap motel and hate-fuck like Republicans.” It should’ve been so simple to share her excitement, the least part of what she deserved, but I couldn’t help thinking how terribly stressful the whole adventure thing and I must’ve made a face and I guess she’d finally had enough of my faces. I watched her arm as she pulled it away. Leaning back into the chair, she folded it into the other across her chest. “God forbid you actually feel like doing anything,” she said. “That’s a little unfair,” I said, although it really wasn’t. “There’s plenty of things I feel like doing.” “Sure, there’s plenty, so long as they’re always the same.” Snatching her mug from the table, she hurled down a mouthful of beer. “You’re like the Model T of life partners.” “I like routine,” I admitted. “It’s—” “Comfortable,” she finished for me. “Believe me, I know, you’ve never met a risk you couldn’t avoid. Which is perfect, by the way. What more could a girl ever want?”

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I shrugged. “I can’t help it,” I said. “It’s just who I am.” “Right,” she replied. “Lucky me.” I cannot decide, thinking back on it all, if what moves me now is the conscious act of remembering or, rather, if only now am I reacting to what should have moved me then, pinned into place on the pier as the world’s kept turning underfoot, my stillness become its own sort of relative motion, but not even nothing lasts forever—and when the lake freezes over, I’ll finally finish losing her. I can feel the absence already, aching like rain in my animal bones. Come springtime, my brittle rituals will be nothing but useless clutter to be swept away with the changing of seasons, the way memory always stands in the way of hope until the two make proper acquaintance. No, autumn is the time, as branches still clutch leafless at the sky over yellowing closecut fields, a killing frost winking silver in the moonlight, this season whose glory blooms for an eyeblink before the long, slow fade into what has to comes next. And so, my eyes still closed, I breathe in the wind, trap it as breath, and, again, I dive, angling my body downward into darkness, where billows of silt eddy past my face as, blind-eyed, I begin to search. Filling my hands with soil, I draw them back through the water, fingers slivered apart to let the silt plume away, leaving only what I’ve found: in my left hand, pebbles, three—no, four of them, and in my right something conical, ceramic. A shell! The fabric of my clothing pulls against the water as I twist upward to the surface and emerge, gasping, to the light. Bobbing through the waves, I examine my prize: an intricate, fractalled cone sits seeping over my palm, white curves whorled with orange. Dirt, and air, and water if you tilt your head just right, the faintest of rushing echoes.

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I slip the shell into my breast pocket, mindful to button the flap before returning to the pier. The metal ladder shrieks beneath my weight as I pull myself up through a storm of dripping water and tip forward onto the deck, knees knocking hard against the heaving planks. Grasping for my blanket, I wrap it into a sloppy turban and tousle it about my head, drying my hair as best I can. Water smears from my eyes. Atremble, I breathe. We would’ve been okay, is the thing. We would’ve made it. It would’ve been a funny story, someday: that one time with the ring —remember? “—of me, then? To keep waiting forever? How long is that?” Sarah had yelled, the two of us standing where now I sit alone. “I don’t want to spend decades just”—her hands aflutter, as if swatting away a sudden cloud of bees—“going through your little motions.” She paused to gather herself, and I let my gaze slip to its usual spot above her right shoulder—some distant gulls were diving to the water along the far curve of shore. When she spoke again, her voice was the voice of the most reasonable person in the world and god, how I loved her for that. “We’re very different people,” she said, and I found myself nodding along. “My happiness doesn’t move the same as yours. Look, I love you, and—” “I love you too,” I said, and she let me say it, but right away I knew I’d gotten it wrong: hers hadn’t been the call-and-response sort of I love you and so there I was, yet again, leaping up mid-verse to cry Amen. NORTHERN NEW ENGLAND REVIEW

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Mercifully, she ignored me. “I can be patient,” she said, “but you’ve got to give me something more to work with.” “I get it,” I said. “You’re looking for a little more…” I grasped for the right word. “A little more passion,” I said. “You need me to show a little more passion.” “Yes!” she cried, then: “No! I mean, that’s the right answer, but I need you to do it. I need you to show me you’re trying, at least. If I could know what I’m getting from you was really all you had, I think maybe I could learn to be okay with that.” Her lips compressed, brow furrowing as she looked down, then back up, directly into my face, into me, that look of hers that sent my eyes skittering off to one side. I tried my hardest to meet her gaze. I swear I did. “I really think I could,” she said. “But you’ve got to help me out.” She stared at me expectantly. All I had to do was nod. I knew this. It was the simplest response in the world, the first any normal child learns, but a million possible complications had already tangled into the space between us and no room among them for words—which I would have explained if only I’d had time to think—except how could I think, with time passing so relentlessly—and it was only a time later, when Sarah broke the silence, that I realized there’d been silence at all.

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She swore under her breath and turned away from me, staring out across the lake. Her hair clung to her face in curves of foreign punctuation and she just let it lie. “That’s what I was afraid of,” she said, the words carried back to me on the breeze. “Even if you wanted to, I don’t think you could.” It was a beautiful day, I remember. A blue, sparkling, magnificent day. When I finally spoke, what I said was “No” (as in No, I wanted to) “and yes” (as in Yes, I could), and even now I couldn’t tell you why I thought that was enough. She whirled, violent in her motion and right to be. “That it? No and yes? You’ve got to do better than that,” she said. “Right here. Now. Do better.” God help me, I can’t even remember what that fight had been about, back before it had been about everything. I slipped off my engagement band (if she was wearing one, we’d decided, both of us should) and held it out to her: my perfect, shiny, hopeful little counterargument. “That’s not passion,” she said. “If anything, it’s commitment.” Maybe so, but it was all I had to offer, so I kept on holding it out, edging the ring gradually, wordlessly closer to her, and I knew it would not help, what I was doing, knew what she needed and knew it was not that, knew I could not help but try, the same way I’d always

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known—back before any idea of us existed, certainly before I knelt on Picnic Cape—that most of what she needed, I wouldn’t be able to give. What I’m trying to say is, I guess I can understand why she kinda lost it. “They’re not!” She punched me in the shoulder. “The same!” She snatched the ring. “Thing!” A flash of motion and an arcing through the air and a momentary glint of silver, like a wink, and then my ring had vanished beneath the water with a terrible, ordinary, barely audible plop. A small rock, poorly skipped. I watched the ripples spreading out from their still, quiet center, incredulous at how a buoy nearby kept right on bobbing away like nothing had happened. Slowly, I turned back to Sarah. I met her gaze. A stricken look seared across her face, eyes almost comically wide. A hand spidered across her mouth. A long, slow tidal shift moved through me. “How would you even know?” I said, and walked away without waiting for her response. A distance of eighty-one planks I walked, uninterrupted to the shore. I kept counting the entire way because, all the way down, the next plank never stopped seeming like the most important one. Now and again, I have dreams where I never left that moment, all the days I’d lived since revealed to be the merest portions of each step, and sometimes, if I’m lucky enough to forget that I exist as a person in time and that the person I exist as is me, when I tilt my head just right I can almost hear a voice at my back and what I want to believe I hear it saying is Wait.

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I shrug off my blanket and, shivering, I rise again. Waves march in lockstep with the sky, gray beneath gray and all the world between. A pair of seagulls drifts out from shore, their tilt and sway so perfectly kitelike that only an occasional, desultory flapping betrays them. Did you honestly believe that someone like you could ever really love a person like me? I’m surprised to find the shell in my hand, my thumb tracing the long, ridged arc of its edge. How easily I could crush it—a momentary fit of pique would do, a poorly chosen thought—and though nothing has changed, every new second it survives starts to feel like a choice. “I know I could,” I say, tucking my shell away again. “Although maybe you wouldn’t know it.” I’d like to think I would, comes the reply, but there is a fuzziness to the last word, a doubling, and what similar sounds, would and did, far too similar to mean such different things, but at root they are of course the same—the gulf between their tenses as a darkness between stars— and I think I do not know which one I heard and know I do not want to and cannot speak for the uncertainty, can barely move against its weight, can hardly think for fear I’ll collapse the superposition of the moment/s. Instead, again, I dive, out and away and down, through the face of a passing, particulate wave, descending to darkness and ritual: four seconds down, grab two handfuls of silt, release, grab two more, release again, grab—my fingers are describing to me something hard, and smooth, something metallic—something, to my infinite surprise, ring-shaped. I shoot exultant to the surface—how often I’d imagined this moment now before me, the triumph as my ring slides NORTHERN NEW ENGLAND REVIEW

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back home onto…but no. There is in my palm a ring (a little silver ring in a little nest of mud) but this ring, it is not mine. Reflexively, I glance back toward the pier, already feigning a shrug to veil my disappointment, but of course it is empty, all the way down its eightyone planks. (Poets should write of times so simple. Wars have been fought for less.) My face goes hot, a lightness bursting at my temples, and I spin to face the terrace, trying to hold a defiant expression until my waterlogged vision clears. But nobody is paying me any attention at all. Laughter floats indifferent across the waters, wordlike fragments tumbling past on the wind, and I find I am drifting, have always been drifting, will never not be drifting, an unwitnessed speck upon the turning face of the world, rising and falling with the waves as the moments tick by, each passing second more important than the last and each piling atop the last and the one that is too much, it is the same as all the rest but all the same, it is too much and I clench some stranger’s ring, raise my arm, draw it back, torque my hips for the throw, and as I do, the shell jabs sharp against my breastbone and, sudden as a heartbeat, I stop, my rage quivering to stillness—close in the dark with my face against her hair, I murmured I don’t deserve you, you know, and her head moved against me in what I took to be a nod when she finally replied her voice made strange by the darkness, she said, you know, I don’t think I deserve you, either—and I slide the little ring into my shirt pocket, hear it nestle against the orphaned shell with a sound of small change, and smile at the thought of their making excited acquaintance, whispering together in the close dark.

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“Supposed to be beautiful, this time of year,” I say, turning back to the pier. And I laugh, and I laugh, and I laugh.

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Laura Bonazzoli

THIS BRIGHT LIMIT this fleeting fire crest of dusk ruddied branch bird hushed shimmer of scarlet clouds in this window gossamer scrim of this denouement remnants of morning’s ripest gleanings memories of meetings memories of leavings anyone’s eyes anyone’s tears anyone’s hands wounds scars poems unfinished questions unanswered journeys under invisible stars blossoming night abscission of memory breath this ecstasy this bright limit

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Peter Vander Lux

AS PREDICTED A jay eyes a drone that forgot to go home And carved the darkness like a birthday cake. In the cemetery, engines are stalling for time, Cleaving jabber with surround-sound clarity. Wrinkled paper isn’t much ammunition but goes A surprising distance, further than projected. Outer layers lit up, fence posts swapped, you can Draw lines around any old thing. Snow like bubblegum.

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Colleen Farrell

THE PIANO LESSON When I was eight, I took piano lessons at the convent with gentle, elderly Sister Claver. At that time, I was the oldest of four children and my mother, just turned twenty-nine, had been two years coloring the gray of her hair. Her hair was now a sort of reddish brown and she had it permed because it had no curl of its own. Everyone thought she was pretty. She always said she wished she had my curly hair but mine never looked neat and smooth like hers, instead always drooping onto my eyeglasses unless she reminded me to use my barrette. To her I seemed almost a grownup. I made the beds, carried the laundry baskets to the first-floor washing machine and later lugged the wet clothes down cellar to the dryer. Most days too, I would feed my baby brother, Greg, change him and take him out to play in the yard or bring him in the stroller for a walk. Sometimes we’d go to the small grocery store a few blocks away if Mum needed something, but mostly we went up and down the streets of our near neighborhood. I was a big girl! Usually I had my weekly piano lesson after school, but for reasons lost to me now this one May Saturday was an exception. The sun was shining and the peonies, the pride of our otherwise drab yard, were in bloom. Mum suggested we prepare a bouquet for me to bring to my lesson. We had never done that before and I was excited. I gathered some newspaper from the stack in the kitchen while Mum got her scissors. Together we went out to the little patch by the side fence where the single clump of white peonies, still tall on straight stems, bloomed amongst the shiny dark foliage.

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Mum dropped to her knees by the clump and I hovered at her side with the newspaper while she chose the biggest blooms. We both loved those peonies—their lush exuberance and exotic fragrance. Soon I was holding a gathering of fluffy blossoms. Though it was close to a mile, and I sometimes was nervous walking alone, on that day I did not mind. That day I felt happy, the peonies a special treasure in my arms, the brief time spent together with my mother preparing the bouquet, another. Sr. Claver was always kind and encouraging and I had practiced diligently, so I knew the lesson would be successful, not that Sr. Claver would ever yell, or even raise her voice, not like Sr. Julius, who had been my first-grade teacher. Four grey steps led up to the glass paned outer door of the convent. The round doorbell was on the left and I reached for the central little black button while still caressing the peonies, inhaling that delicious scent as I looked through the wavy glass to the dark solidity of the inner door. I pressed the bell, but the button stuck and the buzzing sound did not stop. It became an unrelenting alarm. I stood, unable to move. I had no idea what to do, how to make it stop. I felt paralyzed. My panic deepened as Sr. Julius pulled the front door aside. I quailed at the grim set of her mouth, the glare of her small dark eyes, face squeezed by the wimple into a frown as she rushed at me, black habit flying behind. Storming across the vestibule, her large hand yanked open the outer door with me, gripping the peonies, still frozen on the top step. “What have you done?” she boomed. NORTHERN NEW ENGLAND REVIEW

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“Nothing, nothing, Sister, I just rang the bell. It stuck.” Her veiled black head shook. The horrible sound continued, and spluttering, she turned and gave the bell an open-handed whack. Silence. She scowled at me and I knew the interrogation was not over. The peonies felt limp in my clammy hands. Sr. Claver must have rescued me. I handed her the flowers, now a pathetic gesture of atonement. I remember nothing about that lesson. But I am sure of one thing, I did not cry. I would not let Sister Julius, or even Sister Claver, ever see my tears. Trudging home, head down, eyes now moist I saw nothing but shadow, filled with foreboding for the humiliations that would surely await me in school on Monday. The girl who broke the convent doorbell. There was no limit to the prospective tortures I could imagine. I dragged myself through my own front door, dissolved in tears as I told Mum. I remember nothing of what she said, only what she didn’t say—what I had wanted her to say—that she’d protect me, that no Sr. Anybody would humiliate her daughter. Sick with fear, I retreated to my bedroom. There on my top bunk perch, curled up, eyes blurry with tears, I sobbed about my dire future. I remember that Mum came upstairs once to check on me but said nothing. When the tears dried, I lay staring out the window at the maple tree that shaded the front of our house. The spring green leaves waved in the breeze, a changing pattern of shapes. Mum was afraid of the nuns, too. I was on my own.

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Daniel Lance Patrick

THE ADIRONDACK CHAIR like the Adirondack chair— they were made to be in pairs. and now it’s Christmas morning and I’m at my job at 6am and not with you— not that I’m feeling religious and all —I lost that many years ago, but the idea of being without you on a day like today reminds me of that one lonesome Adirondack chair, the one we saw while driving through Maine on our way to I don’t remember where. that chair that sat empty and bare outside in the middle of that meadow, far back from the old weathered farmhouse and barn, tall uncut grass scratching it’s back, keeping a firm grip around its legs. it’s slanted back facing the rolling hills and farms of Lincoln county, empty, waiting for a sunset, or something lost.

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Russell Rowland

AFTER THE SUN SETS At last—unassertive darkness has waited since before first light to snuggle itself around villages, forests, like a maternal mammal. Lamps on in windows. Singles, couples, families, come to terms with the sort of day this was. Its encounters, welcome or otherwise, get put aside for later reflection. Amends and apologies are weighed— ingredients in love’s recipe. After dark a youngster may fear his closet; a widow, noise outside her door. But in nursing homes and upon beds of pain, this hour means sleep, solicitous heaven’s narcotic. With the healthy, life can try again, once dawn edges night from the sky. For now, the angelus sounds via tweet in the pocket. Vespers glows in neon from a tavern sign. Saints rest from doing good, stores observe closing time.

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K. A. Hamilton

SECOND NATURE The air is cold, but the boulders of Mount Monadnock are warm against their backs. Or at least, they would be, if Sophie would just lie down and watch the sky. Instead, she hops from rock to rock, casting “spells” with her dollar store flashlight/princess wand. Jane doesn’t say anything. Nine-year-olds run out of energy eventually, and at that point Sophie will join her. There is a gasp of delight. Sophie points the beam at a spot near Jane’s head. Not two feet away, there is a mouse. Its body is frozen in place, save for the twitching of glossy whiskers. It watches Jane with tiny black eyes. Jane doesn’t breathe. It’s so close, she thinks she might be able to take a good photo, even in this dim light. She reaches for her phone, but her hand brushes a loose rock which tumbles away. The mouse disappears. “Aww!” Sophie says, making a desperate search with the light. Jane sits up and finds herself staring directly into the lens at cheap incandescent filament. She squeezes her eyes shut, but it’s too late. When she opens them again, her night vision is gone. Everywhere she looks there’s a curly afterimage carved into her field of view. Sophie delights in the new chaos, making wild light patterns across the mountain. She wiggles it in every direction, entranced by the trails it seems to leave. “Sophie, honey, don’t you want to make a wish?” The flashlight stops at Sophie’s chin, illuminating her features from below. She looks a little like the mouse, caught in a situation for which she’s unprepared. She points the flashlight downward NORTHERN NEW ENGLAND REVIEW

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and complies, assuming the stargazing position. From there, she assembles an altar out of nearby rocks and places the wand at the center. It’s propped up like a nightlight. Jane has no children of her own. Sophie is her godchild. Most days, Sophie goes from school, to after-school, to her mother’s apartment, to bed. Jane was invited into the picture on her credentials as a “strong woman,” to get Sophie into “all of that outdoorsy stuff.” So far, Jane is doing a terrible job. She feels more like a nagging aunt than a woman worthy of the prefix “God.” At this rate, she thinks, Sophie will have painted nails and a permanent pout by her twelfth birthday. The sort of preteen who falls asleep to a glowing rectangle of social media and YouTube under the covers. Jane grips Sophie’s flashlight and slides the plastic heart-shaped switch until it clicks. Sophie’s body tenses. “It’s so dark and scary.” She cranes her neck to the side, keeping an eye on the shadows. Jane looks too, but only darkness lurks. “If you focus on the sky you’ll forget to be scared.” “Okaaay.” Their eyes adjust together. Jane extends a finger toward the Big Dipper, following the line of its ladle to the North Star. Next, she points out Draco, hoping to pique Sophie’s interest with the mystique of dragons. Nothing. Jane leans in close so that their cheeks touch. She traces her finger

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along the arch of the dragon’s back. She can almost feel the shape of its spine against her finger, one vertebra for each star. She describes them to Sophie: Eltanin, Rastaban, and Thuban. They sound like characters from a fantasy epic. One of them used to be the North Star, back in the time of the Egyptians, because the Earth was tilted a little different back then. Jane can’t remember which. Now the great dragon merely coils protectively around Polaris, its new northern hub. Sophie’s apathy to these facts is palpable. Her body lies passive, save for a foot tapping against a rock. Jane searches for Andromeda, who is technically a princess, but she’s too low in the sky to see. She doesn’t look much like a princess anyway. Jane imagines Andromeda chained up to a cliff and waiting to be eaten—not exactly a great role model. Jane sends some ill wishes the way of the ancient astronomers. Why couldn’t they have named a constellation after a Disney princess? A few meteors streak hot-white to the East. Jane points them out, but Sophie looks too late. “Aww!” she says, this time with the caving inflection of real disappointment. “No wish for me.” “You need to be patient.” Jane regrets her choice of words. It sounds like she’s chastising. She puts an arm around Sophie’s shoulder. “You’ll get it next time, don’t worry.”

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Sophie gives the sky her full attention. She cranes upward, watching in earnest this time. Her nose is the summit of her profile. Jane is bursting with every fact that she knows about meteors and all of the astronomical knowledge that she could impart to Sophie. But she keeps her mouth shut. Now it’s the sky’s turn to be stubborn. Hardly a minute has gone by this evening without at least a few little streaks passing overhead. But now that Sophie’s watching… nothing. “Aunt Janey,” Sophie whispers. “Just give it another moment.” Sophie’s foot sways again, and her features relax. She picks at her fingernails. She sings under her breath, a song from Pocahontas. Jane bites her lip. At least it’s about nature. There will be plenty of time to discuss cultural appropriation when she’s older. “Aunt Janey?” “Yes, Sophie?” “Can we take a little break?” “In a minute.” “Aunt Janey?” “Yes?”

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“I have to go to the bathroom.” They get up. Jane rummages through her pack for the trowel and asks Sophie if she wants to dig her own latrine. Sophie shakes her head vigorously. The whole thing is an ordeal. Sophie demands that Jane stay close, and clings to Jane’s pantleg as she squats. When she’s done, Jane hands her a pack of tissues and holds open their Ziploc “trail trash” bag. Sophie emits a little “ew!” for every used tissue she tosses in. “I hate when they touch the food wrappers!” “You can see that in the dark?” “I can imagine it in my mind.” Jane piles on the soil and leaves and compresses everything down with the flat of her trowel. She doesn’t bother to explain the decomposition process as she goes. Then, a curious thing happens. The ground is bathed in an otherworldly light. It passes over the leaves, lifting their shadows like marionettes to a dance. At first, Jane thinks Sophie is misusing her flashlight again. But when she turns to stop her, Sophie is gaping at the sky. The meteor must be right above them and it must be huge. Jane should really look for herself, but she can’t break her gaze away from Sophie. Sophie’s toes are pointed inward, and her arms pulled close NORTHERN NEW ENGLAND REVIEW

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to her chest. She’s been sucking on a lock of hair, but it falls away as her jaw relaxes. Her skin is illuminated in a brilliant magnesiumgreen glow. The flashlight rests at her feet, dropped and temporarily forgotten. The image ends there. There’s a final flicker before the meteor burns itself out. “It was green!” Sophie cries. “Why was it green? And there was no sound!” Jane wills her joy to be small, lest it eclipse and smother Sophie’s. “Good eye,” she says. “They come in all different colors. It just depends on what they’re made of. Did you make a wish?” “Oh!” Sophie exclaims again. A moment of silence, then: “Yeah!” Jane makes a wish, too. She even closes her eyes. There she sees Sophie as a young woman, a lone ultralighter who summits fourthousand-footers on the regular. She boils water over a camp stove that she’s fashioned out of an upcycled soda can, and she carries ethanol in a reusable travel bottle because it’s more eco-friendly. She’s majoring in something unglamorous on paper, but it allows her to live this lifestyle. Forestry. No, ornithology. Or why not both. She mixes her freeze-dried beans by the light of the setting sun and eats in the company of eagles. She need not look up to see them. They are skimming the clouds below.

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* * * Sophie and Jane descend the White Dot trail. Jane hasn’t had to consult the map once, but she knows exactly where she is. This is the part where the trail grows wide and sandy at the foot of the mountain. She recognizes it by the logs embedded in the path, put there by the rangers to stave off erosion in heavy rains. The log-steps are miniature mountains for Sophie. But she has a process. Sophie walks up to each one, sits on the edge, stretches her toes, and pushes herself off each little “cliff.” Her sneakers flatten against the sand and she skips on to the next. Jane follows close behind, shining the beam so Sophie can see the way. Jane considers offering Sophie her hand but decides it’s better to let Sophie feel independent. Sophie is about fifteen feet ahead when Jane hears the first rustle of leaves. Sophie halts like a chipmunk at attention. There’s a crash. Sophie looks back to Jane, searching her face for a sign that she should be afraid. Thankfully, the headlamp is so bright she can’t see Jane’s expression. “What is it?” Sophie asks. There are snorts and heavy footfalls. Jane briefly wonders how a horse got loose in the woods. As the percussion multiplies, she realizes what they’ve wandered into.

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“Oh, deer,” she says. “I mean the animal.” “Are they going to eat us?” Jane closes the distance between her and Sophie and wraps a protective arm around her little body. She quickly explains the difference between carnivores and herbivores. She also rattles off several other facts about white-tailed deer: diet, ecology, lifespan, behavior. Everything except for how protective the mother deer can be, or how aggressive the males are, or how a few dozen unlucky people, often hikers like them, die every year from attacks. These documentary-style facts pour of her in a tone of perfect calm. But Jane is terrified of showing fear. Jane imagines a posttraumatic Sophie choosing to live in a world without trees. Some place crowded and half-submerged in asphalt, like LA or New York City. Sophie wears thick-rimmed glasses and offers snide, private commentary on every latte she is served. She has plenty of “peers” and “colleagues,” but lacks the human connection of friends. She’s the sort of person who uses Lysol. When she sees a park on one side of the street, she crosses to the other. All because of the night that Jane, her fallen hero, was mortally frightened. More crashing. Jane sweeps her headlamp across the trees, and she’s met with a herd of pearly eyes. There’s a snort from behind and the passing of hooves. She looks back up the trail to see the ghostly outline of a buck staring back at her. “Can I pet one?” “Oh, no no no no. No.” Jane hears her own voice trend upward.

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“We wouldn’t want to scare them. We’re guests in their home. But we can look at how pretty they are as we back… away… slowly.” There’s a solid ten yards between them and the buck when they begin to move. He’s tall and still as a mannequin. Twenty yards. The glittering eyes disappear. Jane starts to think that they might just be okay. But she fails to account for the next log in the path. There’s a sudden lack of ground underfoot, and down they go. Jane throws her hands behind herself and barely keeps from crushing Sophie. Sophie lets out a high-pitched “Oof!” when she lands. There is stillness. Then, hoofbeats. The buck marches toward them, legs rigid and antlers-first. Jane half-expects to see sparks fly where his hooves contact the ground. She doesn’t dare stand up. “Stay behind me.” Jane is frozen. The unfairness of the situation hits her. This night should in no way reflect on her skills as an outdoorswoman. She always carries pepper spray in grizzly country. And who brings a gun to a meteor shower with a child? Day-hiker Jane would never end up so close to a herd. The darkness made her ignorant to the landscape and proximity. This whole thing is a setup. The buck is close enough that Jane can make out the individual whiskers on his snout. He smells of something spicy, like cinnamon, and his nostrils steam. His antlers are tipped in something dark. Could be mud. Could be the blood of another deer. “Stay back,” Jane commands. The words come out as a whisper.

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“Stay back!” Sophie echoes, only louder. Something arcs over Jane’s head. It’s a rock. A rock thrown by Sophie. It lands a few feet from the buck’s hooves, rattling against the packed earth. He startles, and the forest comes alive with footfalls. Jane can’t tell if the herd is coming or going, but the sound is enough to get her moving. She scrambles to her feet, scooping Sophie into her arms and running as best she can. Jane can hear someone screaming. It’s Jane screaming. Hollering, really, is more like it. She hopes that the sheer volume of her voice might scare the rest of the deer away. It works. Or maybe it has nothing to do with her voice and they’re just lucky. Jane somehow navigates the boulders and logs without tripping and finds herself alone with Sophie once more. Ahead, she can just make out the lights of the parking lot. She sets Sophie down. Sophie’s hair is a curtain of tangles over her wide eyes. She looks down at her feet and says “oh!” when she realizes she’s missing a shoe. It’s her favorite pair. Jane crouches down to Sophie’s level, pulling her into a hug. But Sophie squeezes back as if Jane is the one who needs comforting. “It’s okay if deers aren’t herbivores,” she whispers into Jane’s ear. “I’m old enough for the truth.” Jane pulls back to look at her. In that moment, she is Sophie. Just Sophie. One light up mermaid sneaker, the other foot bare and dirty. Jane reaches into her pack and hands Sophie the princess

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wand. Sophie brandishes it like a weapon and walks slightly ahead of Jane. She is the hero, unafraid, protecting Jane from the night.

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Duncan Campbell

TINY SWORD FOR A TINY KINGDOM I’ll say a little more: the fable is a generally reliable machine. Often producing a coin for the listener. The coin may be exchanged for a sword, which also has two sides. When this blade is brandished, it sings in the voice of the bearer’s lover, a fire worth remembering. Everyone wants to hear their paramours’ songs again, to turn the alloy into a tongue. But we’ve gotten away from the story. The princess cut her hair & fled the castle to, from a dragon, demand a cure for her lover’s illness. Still, the fable isn’t about the McGuffin or the resolution. There’s a journey to get stuck in. Which is why, with a sword-tip, the princess digs holes into the floor of the labyrinth & plants breadcrumbs. These become trees she can climb & escape through. I didn’t mention the specifics of the illness: the betrothed transformed into a church mouse. Dragging breadcrumbs into the labyrinth behind the castle wall. I wish I could continue. You see, the fable is a maze I’m hiding within to keep myself here. The truth goes like this: it’s June & the garlic Inez planted last October is becoming a preoccupation in the small garden. Someone needs to dig up the bulbs, the angular form of the trowel a cradle for the hand or soil. These two are the same in an eventually. In the rooms of orderly corners, pale, empty corpses of spiders curl like ribcages. There’s a reckless economy of calculators & latex gloves which is profoundly boring. Everything—this life—is ephemeral, but I’m not going to start counting the days, not now. There’s dinner to be had on the glass table outside, served on gold-trimmed dishes. Blossoms squandering the trellis. Wine from the cradled bottle poured into thirsty teacups. Two contrails against the sky like dagger slices in a sail.

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A chill on the air & goose bumps, cutis anserina, pool under the straps of her dress, skin puckering as if to spark. Not even the blood-smug mosquitos are enough to urge us indoors as the moon shoulders out from the trees.

 

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Duncan Campbell

OMENS MAKING THE PROPHECY INEVITABLE Consider the pollen everywhere as laughter rendered physical, a frantic gold mostly gone to tears & breathless coughs. I can’t remember the joke that brought us here, can you? Maybe it started with a chickadee dive-bombing our heads, flying into the canopy like a nun ripping open a birthday gift. Maybe it was the nest that fell from the gazebo rafters, speckled with eggshell & feces, & the magic or contagious danger in there as you reached to cup the thicket in your hands. Summer afternoon like a headache, the creep into night slow enough to stand still. Tell me it wasn’t the barroom where three odd strangers parse out love or the afterlife, wondering if memory will persist beyond the senses’ end. Whichever ornate ship of death waits for them, for us, waits as a bramble of hull-beams & treasure woven onto dark water. Laugh at its margin, but for love, kneel & pour over the volumes in a clearing of mud & sunlight to discern an interlude between contentment & greed. I have several unrealistic notions for myself, but again a happy song over the radio

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& in rapture Inez & I instinctively fuck like two wet bars of soap. I believe survival can be shared rather than hoarded. Who will inherit the scraps? Name the suitable responses to a beckoning hand. Where is your soul or spirit, & where fastened to the season of plenty? No matter. Above us the moon is a balled-up bed sheet, & the shadow of the weathervaned steeple in town center passes slowly over the city just like an arm would, or penetrates the city like a barbed spear.

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Duncan Campbell

ECHOES OF MEMORY’S HAMMER Again—desperation, the mania of travel: sky like your cheek against the window at 4 AM, the bus gliding past quiet, blue towns you’ve trusted enough to sleep through. An early shopkeeper in a suburb polishing apples into dull mirrors for the display, redeyes coming down to roost at their yawning gatehouses. The curvature of streetlights in a blistered illness against the dawn, & tomorrow your arrival to the strange city. This is the celebration, your confused relatives dominating the conversation with the specificity of your hair, the complicated weather. A bruise safely hidden from them beyond your shoulder, & the table of stars set an impossible distance away. On the postcard you carry, smeared ink converts unintelligible experience into unintelligible script. Everything loved, far enough gone to be inaccessible, past anger or despair. You wake to a sound in the early hours. Not an arrow on the breeze but an arrow of breeze nudges the screen door against groaning hinges & a slack jaw latch. Motion denotes—what? Eventually, all matter dispersing beyond contact. A coda after the ending. In this way longing wanders into us like a flint edge.

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Andrew C. Miller

PRECARIOUS CLIMB The sky was clear, the air hot—maybe 80 degrees—and all I could think of was ice. I wasn’t on a frosty hill, but a steep pile of discarded slate, remnants of an abandoned quarry near Monson, Maine. The shards under my feet weren’t white, but bluish-gray, eggshell smooth, hard as porcelain. And, all sizes, from thumb-nail sized chips to flat slabs. Afraid that I might lose my footing and clatter back down, I searched about for a handhold. But no trees grew here, no exposed roots or clumps of vegetation to grasp. To my left was a fledgling mullein plant, but it was only a few inches tall and stalkless, just a rosette of furry leaves. Once on top, I stood at the rim of a coliseum-sized, rectangular tomb: the excavation site. At the far end, at this distance looking like toys, crouched the machinery that worked this pit. A dull orange excavator with metal tracks, a yellow front end loader on rubber tires. Some distance away, a rusting crusher, then a wobbly conveyor belt that carried pummeled slate to a red dump trunk, tires flat. Outside the pit was a massive wooden building, its vertical siding weathered black. Likely used to store vehicles and equipment, but now abandoned, surrounded by broken glass and weathered strips of asphalt roofing. Close to the building was a yellow dump truck, last licensed in April 2015. Next to it was an old black car, windows broken out, tires flat, no license plate. Scrap slate was scattered everywhere inside and outside the pit and heaped in piles like the one I just climbed. Vegetation was sparse, just a few feeble clumps of grass, scattered oxeye daisy, red clover, poplar saplings, and mullein from last year, their stalks brown and crusty. Miners first worked this pit in the 1880s. They cleaved out huge slabs of slate to be processed into floor tiles, countertops, sinks, walkways, shingles, and blackboards. By World War II, when NORTHERN NEW ENGLAND REVIEW

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alternative products became available and market conditions changed, operations slowed. Once it was no longer profitable to mine this site, it closed. Likely there was no thought of making restitution for the animals, plants, and soils that had been displaced or destroyed. Now this quarry is only used occasionally as a source of scrap slate for roads or parking lots. This chiseled slatescape gave me an eerie sense of vertigo. Yesterday I hiked near a rocky stream along a section of the Appalachian Trail. Quite a contrast. In this quarry there wasn’t even standing water, and the scraggly herbs and undersized poplars couldn’t provide much food or cover for small mammals, reptiles, or birds. Clean it up. That’s what popped into my mind when I first saw the slate piles, unused building, rusted vehicles, and idle equipment. The wooden structure could be dismantled and, along with the machinery, hauled away. Guidelines for abandoned quarries require that wastes be removed and the terrain restored. Steep slopes should be revegetated with rapidly growing plants. That’s exactly what happens at Rolling Rock Building Stone, Inc., in Boyertown, Pennsylvania. According to the president, Gary Weller, after a segment of their mine has been stripped of useful product, they cover it with rock bits and soil, then plant grasses and trees. Very appropriate, and it would be unreasonable to ask for more. A mature forest can’t be instantly created—likely the Monson quarry replaced one—but given enough time, one will develop. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection has Performance Standards to regulate mineral excavations. Exhausted pits must be graded to a slope of 2.5:1 (2.5 horizontal units to 1.0 vertical unit) or less, and vegetation must cover at least 90% of

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the terrain. Continuous restoration is required so pit size is always less than 10 acres. These regulations don’t apply to Monson since operations initiated prior to 1970 are exempt. When activities are "grandfathered in," there’s tacit understanding that early owners could not have anticipated present-day concerns. "Grandfathering" is often bantered about in reference to environmental issues: stack emissions, wastewater discharges, unneeded dams, even personal residences built near natural waterways. That term was first used when the 15th amendment, which prohibited racial discrimination against voting, was adopted. The legislation caused some states to create requirements—literacy tests, poll taxes, constitutional quizzes—to keep Black people from registering. But because many poor, uneducated southern whites couldn’t meet those requirements, and since they had voted previously, they were "grandfathered." The Supreme Court later ruled that these clauses were unconstitutional, although they continued to uphold segregationist laws. As I picked my way back down the tailings slope, I spotted more mullein. So intent on climbing up, I didn’t realize there were lots more, all about the same size. I wondered, how do they hammer out a living on this shattered slope, find water amongst this slippery jumble of slate? Referred to as a pioneer species, Verbascum thapsus is often found in disturbed areas, neglected construction sites, and abandoned farmlands. During summer, they produce a single stalk clustered with soft, buttery flowers. Each one lasts about a day, and produces a capsule packed with seeds that germinate best on flat surfaces exposed to direct sunlight. Bury them in loam like you would beans NORTHERN NEW ENGLAND REVIEW

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or squash, and often they don’t sprout. Like carrots, these plants have tap roots, perfect to store water and nutrients. Years of natural selection adapted them to thrive in harsh, exposed areas without much soil. They appeared to be doing well and didn’t have to wait for a legislative mandate to begin restoration. Occasionally, abandoned quarries are reclaimed rather than restored. In Portland, Connecticut, an adventure park was built where limestone was once mined. In San Diego, California, a former quarry was used for multifamily housing, retail stores, and commercial offices. The city of Atlanta plans to construct a combination water storage reservoir and park in an unused stone pit. A 19-story hotel was built in a former quarry near Shanghai, China. It took 12 years and 5,000 people (architects, engineers, designers, construction workers) to complete the project. It’s called the Groundscraper Hotel since 16 of its 18 floors are below ground. I can’t imagine the abandoned Monson mine being reclaimed for other uses. Multifamily housing, a below ground hotel, or retail stores to support a Maine village with less than 1,000 residents? And, since it’s ‘grandfathered in,’ there are no restoration plans. The quarry must heal itself. It could take several thousand years and just as many mulleins clinging to tailings piles before enough organic matter is captured to provide habitat for grasses and herbs. And, many more years before those plants are replaced by brambles, sumac, evergreens, possibly even hardwoods. It’s easy to be despondent about the world’s environmental crises. Whether it is climate change or toxic effluents, biodiversity loss, destructive fires, or diminished freshwater, we have lots to ponder. As a youngster, the first environmental essay that I read was "Death

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of a Pine Tree". Even then, I appreciated Thoreau’s bitterness, his sense of irony. If he could be irate by loss of a single tree, then I can be bothered by a neglected slate quarry in central Maine. Thoreau lamented the absence of mourners when the pine tree fell. I am grieved by modern society’s collective indifference to environmental issues, large and small. In the grand list of important issues, the Monson quarry must lie near bottom. But leaving its restoration to a handful of mulleins can’t be appropriate either.

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Rosanna Jimenez

THE EARLY YEARS Up at 4am to scrape Ice off the car to Punch in on time Do what is ugly What is necessary What is unthanked There is laundry and There is food to cook And there are holes Needing repair and hair Needing detangling Requiring a hand on The head of a child Stiff brush and soft touch Injuries disregarded Hands cracking, feet Aching, backs breaking Mouths yawning, eyes Twitching for a break Legs kneeling and Fingers pressed for God Tongue pleading for a Break. Body in a coat And gloves under sheets Up at 4am to scrape

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ROSANNA JIMENEZ


William Wilcox

THE MOON OVER ICARUS LAKE Icarus Lake is a beautiful lake in the Quetico-Superior wilderness in Canada, just a short portage southeast of Northern Light Lake, where, as the story goes, someone had once transplanted a small colony of emperor penguins that thrived there for years. I and the other six twelve-year-old “voyageurs” from Camp Bearskin hadn’t seen any penguins on Northern Light Lake as we navigated the choppy waves in strong headwinds and drizzling rain. We were so happy when we finally made it over to Icarus Lake, where the remorseless weather broke and we found a campsite atop a hill on an island covered with Norway pines. Dave Leudke, our guide, said he picked the island to camp on because he could still see some forest fires in the area despite the rain. “I’m not sure it’d save us, but there’s something about camping on an island when there are forest fires about,” Leudke said. “Seems comforting somehow.” Leudke was a bear of a man, with a bushy grey-brown beard and barrel chest, who towered over the seven twelve-year-old campers. He was a teacher in Cloquet from September through May, but during the summer he ran Camp Bearskin with his wife Marian. Normally he stayed in camp and ran things and let the younger guides take boys out on the canoe trips, but this trip—the “Voyageur Challenge”—was supposedly a more advanced group of boys who were invited because they had been on trips before. I had been invited on the trip by my cousin Jim. I was the only one who hadn’t been on a canoe trek before, though Jim assured Luedke I had taken many day trips with my mom and dad. Our little voyageur band had encountered some rugged country, mostly because of the dry conditions that summer. The trip began NORTHERN NEW ENGLAND REVIEW

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on Saganaga Lake and followed south along the United StatesCanada border, then east up a tiny stream to Northern Light Lake and Icarus Lake and then would turn south again through the challenging Greer Lake portages. It was an ambitious 10-day trip for twelve-year-olds under the best of conditions, but this summer was even worse. Streams we could normally paddle up easily became dry creek beds where we had to carry the loaded canoes through mud and over rocks. I can remember my arms feeling like they were going to fall off as we hauled my canoe upstream. In camp, we had trouble scrounging up enough dry wood on the small island, which had been pretty well picked over by previous canoe groups. But we managed to find enough kindling to spark a fire to cook dinner and heat the water for our cocoas. “You’ll need a good rest tonight, boys, because we’re doing the Greers tomorrow,” Leudke declared after we had pitched our tents and scarfed our dinner stew, which we made from some freeze-dried, packaged mix but declared delicious. “Aw, c‘mon Dave,” said Bobby Barnes, an affable kid from Milwaukee, who at 120 pounds was the biggest Voyageur camper, “you said we could have a layover day.” “After the Greers,” Leudke responded. “You haven’t earned it yet. Besides, you’ll need a rest more then.” The other boys and I thought Leudke an eccentric, with strange ideas about getting back to nature, but otherwise harmless. He insisted we all skinny dip when we swam, telling us we were in the wilderness and that nobody cared that we were naked. He also had

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us go a whole day wearing leather breechcloths instead of shorts, because, he said, "that’s what the Indians did. Nobody will care what you look like out here,” Leudke said. “Nobody knows who we are. If anybody says anything, I’ll give you all a day off.” (At one point, Billy McCarthy, another one of the Milwaukee boys, whispered to a stranger on a portage, and when the guy reached the landing where all the junior voyageurs were loading the canoes, he declared, “Hey Billy McCarthy! Fancy seein’ you up here! What’re you doin’ wearin’ them funny lookin’ duds.” So, we would get our day off.) We all thought Leudke was weird, maybe even a little perverted, but he never touched us, and we liked that the old man mostly stayed out of our business. Leudke planned the route and directed where to camp and helped set up tents and watched us swimming but otherwise stayed to himself and let us hang out with Michael Ledesma, the sixteen-year-old junior counselor who related to us more. We had earned our day off, but Leudke wasn’t going to let us have it until he was good and ready to. I was jarred out of a deep sleep with a hand over my mouth. I was disoriented and stunned as I was lifted out of my sleeping bag. “Keep quiet Danny,” I heard Leudke say. I thought it was a joke. Then I noticed a sharpness against my throat. “Keep quiet,” Leudke whispered menacingly in my ear, “or I’ll have to cut you right here.” I complied as Leudke hauled me out of the tent and casually carried me down the trail. At only 60 pounds back then, I probably weighed about the same as a loaded Duluth pack. It was a clear night with a full moon, so everything was bright and I could see that Leudke had rigged some kind of contraption up to NORTHERN NEW ENGLAND REVIEW

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a tree at the end of the trail, which overlooked a little cliff. Fear was building in me, but I was afraid to try to break free. I couldn’t get loose, because Leudke was way too strong. Plus, the knife. I had no options. I had to keep a cool head. The contraption, I saw as Leudke manipulated me onto it, was a makeshift rack. It was made out of narrow tree limbs. “So that’s why we couldn’t find any good wood on this island,” I thought sardonically. "He was keeping it for himself!” Leudke faced me away from the tree and tied my arms apart, above my head on the rack. He tied my legs apart as well, but not too far apart. Then he slipped my underpants down below my knees. I already had no shirt on so I was completely naked. I was starting to cry a little bit. “Keep looking at the moon,” Leudke said. I cried but kept quiet. Then he held his knife to my balls. “I said keep looking at the moon.” I looked up at the full moon as I was told, so I couldn’t see what was happening down below. I didn’t want to. I could feel Leudke playing with my genitals. I kept looking at the moon and crying, silently. I implored God not to let me get an erection, because I realized that would complicate things much, much more. But I stayed flaccid. There was no pleasure from his fondling. Only terror. I kept looking at the moon, detaching myself from what was happening. I tried not to, but I started to sob out loud. I prayed it would be over soon. Then it was. Leudke removed me from the rack as casually and matter-of-factly as he’d been throughout the whole episode. He

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motioned for me to sit down next to him. I pulled my underwear back on and complied, sitting down near Leudke as he directed, with my arms wrapped around my knees and my head resting on top. “Don’t be so hangdog,” Leudke started, still casual as ever. “Did you know you just crossed the continental divide for the first time?” “No, I didn’t know,” I answered, not knowing where Leudke was going with this. “I thought that was only in the mountains.” “No, Danny, there are continental divides all over the continent,” the schoolteacher explained. “Basically, all the water west of us flows north, toward Lake Winnipeg and eventually into Hudson’s Bay. But the water where we are now and eastward flows into the Great Lakes, and onward into the Atlantic by that route. We crossed the continental divide, see. Had you ever crossed it before?” “No, I suppose not.” “Well, I thought not,” Leudke said. “That’s why you needed to be initiated. Do you know what an initiation is?” “Sure, it’s like when my older brother joined a fraternity at Gustavus,” I said. “I suppose it means you’re joining something, some secret order.” “That’s exactly right, and when the old voyageurs would cross over the continental divide for the first time, they would go through a secret initiation ceremony just like you did. They were then veteran voyageurs and not just greenhorns. Do you understand?”

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“I suppose,” I played along, still holding my head against my knees. I was careful not to cross him. “But you’ve got to keep this between us. You’ve got to keep it secret. Some of those other boys, like your cousin, crossed the continental divide with an earlier group and maybe didn’t get an initiation like you did.” “I understand. I’ll keep it a secret.” There would be no problem with keeping the secret, just like he said, I thought. But I would keep this secret not because I was worried the other boys would be jealous, but because I was ashamed and embarrassed and would never share it with anyone, not even with my cousin Jim. Mostly, I was just relieved to be through it and alive. When we broke camp the next morning, I was still in a daze. I looked into each of my friends and fellow voyageurs’ eyes and saw no hint of suspicion something had happened. I noted no sidelong glances or inquisitive stares. Everyone was quiet, too busy getting ready for what they had been promised would be a long, hard day. The other boys were anticipating the challenge. Only my cousin Jim seemed to notice any difference at all. “You look tired, Danny, are you all right?” Jim asked. “I’m fine. Just a rough night. I was sleeping over a rock and couldn’t get comfortable,” I lied. “Well, take your time,” Jim said. “This isn’t a race.”

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“C’mon boys, we’re burnin’ daylight,” Leudke exhorted, contradicting what Jim had just said. “It’s gonna be a long day. Did I ever tell you they call the Greer portages a death march?” “You tell us that about every day,” said Billy McCarthy, the smallest of the group yet brave enough to talk back to the massive Leudke. “If I had a dime every time I heard you say what a terrible portage this is I’d be a millionaire. Why can’t we go back to Northern Light Lake and find out if those penguins are still alive?” After paddling across a couple small ponds with short portages in between, we had arrived at the Greer Lake portages. Leudke, Michael and big Bobby Barnes would carry the canoes. I got a Duluth pack to carry that had cooking stuff—pots, pans, plates, cups—and some of the food. The food made the pack heavy and awkward. Packed in a hurry, the food was above the cooking equipment, so the pack always seemed out of balance. If I ever needed to climb around rocks, fallen trees or other obstacles, it would be difficult. But as I got going, I soon learned that the imbalance of the pack would be the least of my worries. Within a quarter mile I could feel the edge of a large kettle jamming into the middle of my back. However I shifted the pack on my back, I couldn’t get that kettle to stop jabbing me. I considered stopping to repack everything, but the cloud of mosquitoes swarming around my head ruled that out. Stopping would be a nightmare. The best thing to do, I decided, was to keep moving. And that’s what I did. I kept moving despite the pain against my spine and the mosquitoes and the smell of the swamp. The north NORTHERN NEW ENGLAND REVIEW

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woods are beautiful, even enchanting in places, but they can also be harsh and forbidding. The methane swamps carry the stench of decay, the dead trees and rotting vegetation within them make them seem haunted, and the incessant buzzing and biting of mosquitoes made my misery complete. We all hiked for about a mile through the muddy swamplands until we reached a small lake, but it only provided a brief relief as we paddled across it. It wasn’t Greer Lake, just some unnamed water not much bigger than a pond. The portage trail continued for a whole additional mile after the small lake. The kettle continued to dig into my spine as I hiked, but at least with the pain in my back and my feet hurting and the mosquitoes torturing me, I wasn’t reliving what happened on Icarus Lake so much. I was miserable, but I was miserable for a different reason. I was distracted. Oddly, the pain in my spine was a relief after the night before. Maybe I was already starting to forget a little? I could only hope. “Keep looking at the moon.” The boys of the Voyageur Challenge made it through the rugged Greer Lake portages and out of the wilderness. I never did forget. I never told a soul what happened to me up on that island on Icarus Lake. Mostly, I was afraid of what the other boys would say—that they would think I had wanted it somehow, or that I was singled out because I wasn’t tough enough. Timid and small back then, I was afraid the other boys would tease me mercilessly, and doubtless some would if they knew. Leudke got more brazen over the years. He was finally arrested after he took a group of boys winter camping, bound them nude

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outside in the snow and tortured them with sticks. He told them it was their initiation. Those boys didn’t buy it. Neither did the jury. Leudke went to prison for eight years, no thanks to me. And I still carry the nagging memory, the pain of the moment and the guilt of not stepping up to say something before Leudke hurt others, of being frozen by my own fear. It’s a knot in my stomach that won’t go away. The more I try to forget, the more I remember the horror of that night on Icarus Lake. “Keep looking at the moon.”

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Michael Jewell

THIS WORLD ON FIRE Trapped between two panes of glass with materials including lead foil, fuse wire, and dust, shattered in transit, I study the day's Obituary Section, looking for people my age, strangers I regret never knowing as children. Or I watch the news about a flight that went down in the Pacific. Though they searched for a week, they found no trace of the missing plane. Tonight the stars burn with a clarity that takes strength to endure. Soon a layer of fresh snow will cover the ground and stay until next April. Splitting this week's wood in an hour, I take pieces from the row we stacked last summer, uncovering a desiccated snake skin

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caught on a splinter and turning steadily more immaterial. I think of our final argument as an analogy, transferring meaning from one place to another, without however relating source to target in any reasonable manner, while I carry armloads of firewood back into the house, replenishing the supply next to the stove, and I try to accept that you leave no sign where you have fallen, no black box to explain your absence. It is impossible to chart your true location.

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Leslie Blackman Poulin

OUT BACK Inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe’s ‘Out Back of Marie’s II’ Imagine the day at sundown. The red light streaming in rivers down the mountain’s cheeks my hand to its face don’t cry... It is dusty and no trees line its face. I like the sound of wings passing over my head. Back home they would be sea gulls, but now they are desert birds. Claws instead of webs. Imagine the day encased in a full moon. Silver melting the mountain down into a puddle I can drink. I’ve come across bones in the pools, of poor cows or some catcreature starved of something

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like I am starved and turning bone-like. Imagine feeling the jut of my cheeks intricate map of throat a missing tongue. This is how it is.

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Leslie Blackman Poulin

MAINE WARDENS SEARCH FOR POACHER WHO SHOT DOE CARRYING TWINS Through the trees anyone can smell it. It is thick like the ocean and just as deep. Over here I whisper a prayer to hope it eases something. She is hooked and not forgotten, how could she be— this is not something that can be buried. At night, it hollows you. It didn’t matter that he looked her in the eye, he pushed himself into her till— The hills around here look blue and sometimes violet and the snow falling doesn’t cover every track.

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Harvey Silverman

BURNT OFFERINGS New England autumn played the senses of a young boy though I would not have thought of it like that then. There was the sight of the colored leaves, those fallen commanding attention more than the tree bound, the reds and yellows and oranges and all the colors in between, sorting through them in search of the most beautiful to present to my mom. The sound of my feet shuffling through piles of fallen and dried leaves that collected at street’s edge, crunch and swoosh, a sound that could be nothing else and so enjoyable as to cause me to seek more and alter my path just to do it, hear it, again. The pleasant feel of the autumn breeze, fresh and clean, so unlike the warm and heavy humid currents of summer or the painful cold wind of winter. The crisp taste of a just picked McIntosh from a daytrip to a nearby orchard. The smell is gone. The colors are still there, appreciated even more now in a single leaf, a tree in sunlight or a landscape on an October drive. Walking through a pile of dried leaves, the sound unchanged all these years, still tempts, still diverts the path taken. An autumn breeze still pleases, welcomed all the more. An apple, carefully chosen and polished, still delights. But the smell. The smell of burning leaves was different and special – a unique smell that the burning of wood in a fireplace or wood stove, while often pleasant, does not replicate. Special because it was part of a process that involved a day of work and fun and family. A day was set aside for raking. The scratching sound of the rake moving at a regular and unhurried pace that a grandparent could maintain. The discussion about rakes – which was better, metal or bamboo, and who had to use the one with the broken tine. The old peach baskets from the grocer, made of wooden slats so thin that NORTHERN NEW ENGLAND REVIEW

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it amazed that they did not break, with wire handles, and carefully stored in the basement to be used each year. The piles of leaves that demanded running through and tossing about until a parent gently suggested the return to the task at hand. At last, when enough leaves had been raked and gathered the fire was lit and while others continued to rake, to fill baskets, to carry more leaves to the fire, somebody watched and carefully controlled the burning so that it remain safe and so that all the leaves were burned. The hose, always brought nearby “just in case� was never needed. As the day slowly moved along the smell of the burning leaves soaked into our clothes. Dusk approached and the fire was allowed to die down and burn itself out. But that wonderful and special smell lingered in the air. When we were finally inside our clothes reminded us of the good day we had enjoyed and we shed them almost reluctantly as if unwilling to end it all. After bathing we might sneak into the laundry to get one last whiff. We do not burn leaves anymore. Concern about having clean air, about pollution, has long ended the ritual. Progress has supplanted the pleasant and pleasing sound of the rake with the noise of the leaf blower. The piles of leaves gathered for burning are replaced with brown leaf bags adorned with logos and corporate colors standing in a row like unarmed soldiers having surrendered and awaiting their pickup by a large truck that rumbles along. But every once in a while, from where I do not know, I will smell, or think that I do, just a hint of burning leaves and journey for a moment in my mind’s eye to a time and scene too long passed.

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Richard F. Fleck

MAINE COAST Foghorns blare in the mist as blueberries ripen in nearby spruce and tamarack forests. Large waves roll in to crash against rugged grey granite releasing a strong celery scent of seaweed and mussels and periwinkles, tiny riddles. A lighthouse bell tolls somberly to warn lobster boats of rocks. Safe in a pinewood cottage, I slowly fall asleep by the dying embers of a salty driftwood fire as seagulls circle the moon.

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CONTRIBUTOR NOTES SARAH ANDERSON holds an MFA in poetry from the Warren Wilson Program for Writers. She has 15 years of high school teaching experience. With her husband, she owns and operates The Word Barn in Exeter, New Hampshire, a gathering space for literary and musical events, where she runs a reading series (The Silo Series) as well as writing workshops. Her poems have appeared in various journals, including December Magazine, The CafÊ Review, North American Review, and Raleigh Review. STACEY BALKUN is the author of SWEETBITTER (Sundress 2021) and co-editor of Fiolet & Wing: An Anthology of Domestic Fabulist Poetry. Winner of the 2019 New South Writing Contest as well as Terrain.org’s 10th Annual Contest, her work has appeared in Best New Poets 2018 as well as other anthologies and journals. Stacey holds an MFA from Fresno State and teaches creative writing online at The Poetry Barn & The Loft. LAURA BONAZZOLI is a freelance writer and editor and teaches English at an independent high school in Midcoast Maine. Her poetry has appeared in dozens of literary magazines, including Connecticut River Review, Reed Magazine, and SLANT, and has been anthologized in Balancing Act 2: An Anthology of Poetry by Fifty Maine Women and A Dangerous New World: Maine Voices on the Climate Crisis. DUNCAN CAMPBELL lives in northern Vermont and works in social services for children and young adults. His poems have most recently appeared in The Mackinac, Rust+Moth, and Tinderbox.

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ELLIE DEXTER is a writer, singer, therapist and teacher who lives and works on the New Hampshire seacoast. Her poetry has been published in The Chronicle of the Horse and the Tipton Poetry Journal. ADAM DIETZ is a writer and Content Manager living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. COLLEEN FARRELL, native Bostonian, is on the “better late than never” life program. After acquiring a ridiculous number of advanced degrees (Chemistry, Medicine, Medieval Studies), she continues working as a physician, and is now happily returning to her earliest abiding passion—writing. RICHARD F. FLECK's most recent collection of poems is Bamboo in the Sun: Poems of Japan. His work has appeared in The Christian Science Monitor, Appalachia, The Cape Rock, PoetryNippon, and Trumpeter (Canada). ANDREW GENT lives in New Hampshire where he works as an Information Architect. His first book, [explicit lyrics], won the 2016 Miller Williams Poetry Prize. THOMAS GRIFFIN’s poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, recognized with an Academy of American Poets Prize, and continues to be published widely in journals, magazines, reviews, and anthologies. His most recent poetry collection is All That Once Was You. NORTHERN NEW ENGLAND REVIEW

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CONTRIBUTOR NOTES

(CONT.)

ALICE HAINES’s poems have appeared in Off the Coast. She was a finalist in the 2019 Maine Postmark Poetry Contest and won the Fall 2019 Maine Poetry Society’s Member Contest. A family physician, she works in inner-city Lewiston, Maine, and lives in nearby Auburn in a rural farmhouse with her husband. JOHNNY HALL was born in 1980 in Detroit, Michigan. He is a military veteran and will be soon graduating in 2020 with a degree from Southern New Hampshire University in English and Creative Writing. He is a member of the International English Honor, Society Sigma Tau Delta. Johnny is currently writing poetry and fiction, and volunteers at the Military Veteran’s Center. K. A. HAMILTON is an instructional designer from New Hampshire who writes speculative and literary fiction. She earned her MFA in Fiction from the Mountainview Low-Residency Program in 2019. MICHAEL JEWELL lives in Calais, Vermont and has had two chapbooks published by Wood Thrush Books. More recently his poetry has been published by Mizna, The Shanghai Literary Review, Negative Capability Press, Roanoke Review, and The Manhattanville Review. ROSANNA JIMENEZ is a tech writer and researcher covering workplace technology trends. When she is not writing about tech, she is working on her poetry. She currently resides in Boston with her chihuahua, Edith.

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BRADY THOMAS KAMPHENKEL lives in Duluth, Minnesota, where he teaches at the College of St. Scholastica. He has an MFA from the Stonecoast in Maine. CANDICE KELSEY's debut book of poetry, Still I Am Pushing, debuted in 2020 with Finishing Line Press. Her poetry has appeared in Poet Lore, The Cortland Review, North Dakota Quarterly, and many other journals while her first micro chapbook THE PIER HOUSE is forthcoming with the Origami Poetry Project. ANDREW C. MILLER retired from a career that included university teaching and research in aquatic systems. Now he has time to pursue his long-held interest in creative writing. Recent work has appeared in Typehouse Literary Magazine, Front Porch Review, Blue Lake Review, The Meadow, and The Magnolia Review. JOSH NICOLAISEN taught English in high schools for more than ten years. He organizes and officiates snowboard and freeski events and is the owner of Old Man Gardening LLC. Josh lives in New Hampshire with his wife, Sara, and their daughters, Grace and Azalea. His poems have recently appeared in So It Goes, Tiny Seed Literary Journal, Writers Resist, Centripetal, The Poets of New England: Volume 1 (Underground Writers Association), and Indolent Books' online project, What Rough Beast.

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CONTRIBUTOR NOTES

(CONT.)

HOLLY PAINTER lives with her wife and children in Vermont and teaches at the University of Vermont. She is the author of My Pet Sounds Off: Translating the Beach Boys (Finishing Line Press) and Excerpts from a Natural History (Titus). DANIEL LANCE PATRICK is a poet, songwriter, and musician. His poems, music, and lyrics have appeared in print, record albums, CDs, and on television. He knew he wanted to be a writer of verse after hearing I Am The Walrus. LESLIE BLACKMAN POULIN earned her MFA in poetry from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. In 2015, she was nominated by faculty for the Best New Poets competition. Her work has appeared in The MacGuffin and Ink & Nebula. She currently lives in southern Maine. Seven-time Pushcart Prize nominee RUSSELL ROWLAND writes from New Hampshire’s Lakes Region, where he has judged high-school Poetry Out Loud competitions. His work appears in Encircle Publication’s Except for Love: New England Poets Inspired by Donald Hall. A full-length collection, Were All Home Now, is available from Beech River Books. KATHRYN SADAKIERSKI draws much of her creative inspiration from nature, especially the New England landscape where she was raised. Kathryn graduated summa cum laude from Bay Path University in Longmeadow, Massachusetts with her B.A., and is pursuing her Master’s degree.

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DAVID SALTZMAN is a graduate of the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers. He lives with his wife and dog in Boston, MA. After graduating from Brown University and an assignment with the Peace Corps in Africa, JONATHAN SEALE joined the administration of Becker College in Worcester, Massachusetts. His stories have appeared in Quill, Dan River Anthology, Vermont Review, and Kestrel. He lives with his wife, Helen, in Holden, Massachusetts, where he is working on a memoir in story form and a collection of linked short fiction about Central Maine. MATT STEFON is the author of The Long Contraction: Twelve Rejected Poems (Smashwords) and Shaking the Wind (Finishing Line Press). He is the poetry editor of West Texas Literary Review and the former religion editor of Encyclopaedia Britannica. He lives north of Boston and has 463 wiffle-ball home runs. HARVEY SILVERMAN is a retired physician living in Manchester, New Hampshire. His nonfiction stories have appeared in such journals and reviews as Ocotillo Review, 3288 Review, and Hadassah Magazine. He was awarded the 2016 Hal Prize for Nonfiction. RACHEL VAN WYLEN is a painter based in New Hampshire whose work investigates the human form and the landscape. She is interested in places, spaces, and the way we inhabit them. She works on-site whenever possible and considers the experience of being present in a location essential to understanding it. She is currently the chair of the fine arts at The White Mountain School.


CONTRIBUTOR NOTES

(CONT.)

PETER VANDER LUX is a poet and fiction writer in Montpelier, Vermont. Born in Belgium, he has lived in the US for more than two decades. In 2019, he returned from the Pacific Northwest to his beloved Vermont. WILLIAM WILCOX is a former newspaper reporter who lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains outside Front Royal, Virginia.

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Northern New England Review is published as a creative voice for the Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine region. If you live here, were once from here, found your heart here, or are currently searching for it among the dappled forests, luminous ponds, and ghostly coasts, NNER has the poetry, short fiction, and creative nonfiction you want to read.

C ONT RI BUTO R S | VOLU ME 4 0 SARAH ANDERSON

CANDICE KELSEY

STACEY BALKUN

ANDREW C. MILLER

LAURA BONAZZOLI

JOSH NICOLAISEN

DUNCAN CAMPBELL

HOLLY PAINTER

ELLIE DEXTER

DANIEL LANCE PATRICK

ADAM DIETZ

LESLIE BLACKMAN POULIN

COLLEEN FARRELL

RUSSELL ROWLAND

RICHARD F. FLECK

KATHRYN SADAKIERSKI

ANDREW GENT

DAVID SALTZMAN

THOMAS GRIFFIN

JONATHAN SEALE

ALICE HAINES

MATT STEFON

JOHNNY HALL

HARVEY SILVERMAN

K. A. HAMILTON

RACHEL VAN WYLEN

MICHAEL JEWELL

PETER VANDER LUX

ROSANNA JIMENEZ

WILLIAM WILCOX

BRADY THOMAS KAMPHENKEL

Profile for NNER

Northern New England Review Volume 40: ALMANAC  

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