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by the Students and Alumni of Palm Beach Atlantic University


If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.

John 7:37b-38


THANK YOU School of Arts and Sciences • English Department • Art Department • Development Office

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SPECIAL THANKS PresidentWilliam M. B. Fleming, Jr. • Dr. Joseph Kloba • Dr. Barton Starr • Dr. Susan Jones • Dr. Jenifer Elmore • Becky Peeling • John Sizemore • Autumn Raab • Sheryl Estrada

FOUNDER AND FACULTY ADVISOR Professor David Athey • GRAPHIC DESIGN ADVISOR Professor Tim Eichner • MANAGING EDITORS Caitlyn Girardi Kelsey Satalino • ASSOCIATE EDITOR Rebekah Best • ASSISTANT EDITORS Alex Franks Heather R. Lawrence Scott Cotto Joey Hedger Jessi Hiler Rebecca Ethridge Rachel Bartolotta Luke Hoffman Geoff Kishbaugh • COVER ART Ruth Joy Terkelsen

Help support Living Waters. Contact Professor David Athey in the English Department. 561-803-2259

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Table of Contents

6 7 8 10 11 14 15 16 17 18 22 23 25 27

The River Hermit Thomas Lubben

Gunten Amy Andress

Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory Rebecca Ethridge

Mullet of the Millenium Samantha Horkott

Parched Havana Soil Emilio J. Gomez

Macaw Color Spectrum Ashley Taylor

Cuban? Sarah Rowan

Summer Meditation Benjamin Lusk

Tumbling With the Tide Michelle Habegger

Alligator Season Jessi Hiler

Rocking in the Swamp David Denton

Parking Lot Pickin’ Rebecca Ethridge

Manitou Springs Brandon McGuire

Uncharted Florida Ben Greco

Spring 2013

28 31 32 33 37 38 39 40 43 44 45 46 47 48

December 6, 1947 Jessi Hiler

We Are Learning to Make Fire Jennifer Stasak

Threnody Thomas Lubben

Ars Longa, Vita Brevis Noah Thaman

Green, Grey, Gold Johnny Hedger

Turning Green Scott Cotto

Solitude Thomas Sievert

Pigeonholed Emilio J. Gomez

Mosquito Melody Charlotte Rakestraw

Simple Movements Hannah Dempsey

Hard-Earned Hands Joey Hedger

I David Denton

Nighttime Intuitions Joey Hedger

Night Sun Charlotte Rakestraw

Contents 3


49 50

Nick Cave: The Artist, Not the Singer Abigail Ege

My Thoughts on the Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus Alex Franks

Contents 4

54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 63 64

Embarkation Noah Thaman

Clouds Like Ships in the Morning Sky Joey Hedger

Tanganyika Johnny Hedger

Turning the Rudder Johnny Hedger

Perspectives on Anxiety (for John Milton) Chris Jensen

“Dark World and Wide” Olivia Anderson

Modern Bucolic Courtney Houston

Nonna Mammano Caitlyn Girardi

A Postmodern Love Story Alex Franks

Significance Kelsey Satalino

65 66 68 69 75 76 78 79 80 81 82 84 85 86

Untitled Trees Courtney Houston

White-Washed Tombs Anisa Stechert

Inspired by In the Wake of the Hunters Thomas Lubben

All Things Grow Kelsey Satalino

Americana Jordyn Marlin

The Western Rail Rebecca Ethridge

WSJ August 22nd, 2013 Noah Thaman

Curtis Loew Jessi Hiler

And Then There Was Ashley Taylor

The Last Supper Kate Lawson

The Stepwell Peter Copan

Silent in Morocco Nick Koinis

Fruit Quartet Rachel Yeargin

The Garden State Tonya Mateuszyczyk

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87 88 89 91

The Hatching, 1 September 1939 Olivia Anderson

Finding Peace Alicia Stamm

The Book Geoff Kishbaugh

Three Taps at the Back Door Noah Thaman

Contents 5

Spring 2013


The River Hermit Thomas Lubben

Rolling out, the river hermit Rides his wood-craft east through moon-bright Waves, black waves that hold the sunlight Far below, their black-white shadows Tiding thin and quiet like the moontrees Singing softly, singing songs Of hidden, growing green— They fleck the pale sand like silver.

Poetry 6

Rolling out, the river hermit Breathes the swerving air that spins A light-sweet sky of song and wind. And burning east, a crystal morning Breaks away the brittle gray with color. Rolling out, the river hermit Glides along the rolling morning, Rides a path of wonder toward the east.

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Gunten Amy Andress

Photography 7

Spring 2014


Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory Rebecca Ethridge

Creative Essay 8

L

ife dawns with a bugle call in the morning that wakes the lightly layered fog of a sleeper’s dream. A child lies snoring in a warm bed, oblivious, but next to her an early-risen mother presses her nose to the glass of a van she calls a tent. Dreaming has never been as pleasant as a wake-up call in a field of canvas and campfires. The brassy sun marches up behind hooded pines before it rises from the smoke and turns the black sky navy blue. In its full height, it casts a brilliant shade of gold down to those below. “Wake up,” she whispers to the girl bundled beneath the covers. The girl only turns over and grumbles something under her breath. Regretful, the mother allows her daughter a few moments more of sleep while she admires the glory around her. Reenactment soldiers poke their heads out of tents, five o’clock shadows forgotten to overgrown beards. They are rugged, restless men, ready for a fight. Some pull heavy coats of wool over their shoulders while others step out of their tents, already dressed with the blues and greys; they have slept in their uniforms because that is all they have brought with them. The battlefield is not kind to those who overpack and overdress. The mother crawls out of the bed as silently as she can and slides open a door of the van. A cool autumn breeze brushes against her face and she smiles—it is her favorite time of year. Though the reds, oranges and golds of fallen leaves do not paint the landscape, the rising sun makes up for Florida’s lack of changing seasons. Bathed in its glow, the sun is all she needs to survive.

Coffee boiling on the Sterno Stove, she listens to the clangs and scrapes as women warm up Johnny Cake and beef stew in cast-iron pots. A good home-cooked meal never put anyone in a bad mood. This is the best sort of thing for the soul. Finding that time is slipping away all too quickly, she wakes her daughter. “Rachel, wake up. You have to listen to the sounds of the morning. It is beautiful!” Rachel rubs her eyes in protest but rises nonetheless. Having danced with all the gentlemen at the ball the night before, she is sluggish this morning. The mother knows that food in her belly will get her running again. She urges Rachel to get dressed, and quickly too because the meals are hot in the camps, and the church service will be starting soon. After all, she reminds the daughter, a noisy stomach during Sunday service gets all to look at the perpetrator and none to focus on the Chaplain. By the time the mother has finished her coffee, Rachel is dressed. Cloud nine is surpassed as the mother admires her daughter in a checked gingham blouse, navy skirt and burlap cloak. A smile the mother has seen only a few times before peeks out through the fall of golden hair. They walk through the grassy field and into the camps where the bustle of soldiers’ heels click together and dogs bark with excitement. Rounds fire in the distance as men run through Morning Colors, respectfully raising Union and Confederate flags. History walks proud and tall here, with a canteen slung over one shoulder and gun resting on the other.

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Through grit, soldiers and horses, a gleaming white tent gathers churchgoers beneath a wooden cross. Mother and daughter rush forward to find seats to hear Chaplain Rogers speak of the glory of the coming of the Lord. As they join in singing hymns, the mother knows that this is where she is supposed to be, that in finding these reenactments, she can praise and honor God. She listens as Rogers preaches that good comes to those who wait upon the Lord. She clings to that promise even though her house has been divided by a rebel soldier. After church, the time ticks down to the battle, and the spectators flock the field. The tents are busy with shoppers, not excluding mother and daughter. They sift through lines of gowns and touch antiquarian treasures. Rachel picks up a round watch and displays it for her mother to see. “Ma,” she says proudly, spinning the watch around, “it has a picture of you and me on it.” There is a painted picture of two ladies in blue and pink gowns sitting next to each other. Her mother touches the tip of her finger to it. “Yes, it does.” So she purchases the watch as a reminder that it will always be just her and her daughter. The battle begins at two sharp with the wild cry of men. Canons create shockwaves that rock the crowd backward. The mother shouts, “Cover your ears!” and both block the heavy blows and shouts and screams. Like times before, they know that the noise will quiet when the rebel shrinks behind a barricade of deceit. Mother and daughter stand firm against the uproar. The battle, the mother knows, is already won: fighting for survival and learning how to live will come together to bring peace by bonfires and camp music at night. When the battle is over, the winning side cheers and the crowds applaud. Yet the soldiers line up to salute the past and the fallen; war always comes with a price. Mother and daughter head to the canvas camps when the battle is over, and for the remainder of the evening, they listen to the laughter that surrounds them, the voices that make them forget the modern world and its troubles. They do not mourn, but smile because living in the past delivers them to freedom. At dusk, a single canon fires to the sunset a shout of victory, and the stars wink with the promise that even though today has gone, another is marching forward.

Spring 2014

Creative Essay 9


Mullet of the Millenium Samantha Horkott

My Dad had a mullet ’til 2002 and I cried the day it went missing. Life has a way of unraveling and his hair was cut like budgets and his matrimonial knot severed like locks of lust. Strength gained—not lost. Pillars built, not bust.

Poetry 10

My hero was shorn and try as I might I couldn’t find anything left over but the big bad wolf. No lions in this den just a bunch of lizards crawling all over the wretched gates of humidity. It wasn’t a sermon on the mount it was a sermon in the courtroom that broke my heart and buried it away. My crowning disappointment. Sharpie scars seem permanent at 16. Mr. Clean isn’t always so easy to see. No deathly hallows No resurrection stone, but in four refunded years I came back to hang myself across my Father’s arms. My Dad had a mullet until 2002 and now I cringe at the thought of it.

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Parched Havana Soil Emilio J. Gomez

S

alsa music danced from the off-white speakers hung haphazardly around the congested Cuban restaurant. Women with black vests and ivory dress shirts served the traditional Miami breakfast: scrambled eggs with ham and cheese, tostada stuffed with half an ounce of margarine, and, of course, café con leche. Jose sat at the same wooden booth every morning on the east side of the restaurant. He looked above his wife Rosita at the TV hanging from one of the corners of the restaurant, watching the muted news and reading the gestures of the Latin news anchors who signaled more clearly than the blurry subtitles. Rosita stared at Jose, and he felt her watching him. She was always watching him. Jose compressed his eyebrows and lips, nodded at Rosita, and turned to the newspaper. Rosie said, “There’s never anything good on that old television set. Just a young couple flailing like idiots, tan and happy-looking as ever.” Jose dipped his tostada in his café con leche, took a bite, and silently read the obituaries. “Life goes on, Rosie. Nobody’s arms are strong enough to flail forever. Eventually, they cross – either to read a newspaper or to fit in a six-sided box your family dumps in the ground.” Rosita sighed. She was sad but accustomed to Jose’s pessimism. She had trained herself to justify his bitterness. Their kids had all moved away and only called on birthdays and holidays. Their few friends and acquaintances perished so frequently that Jose may well have developed PTSD. They had just enough money to

Spring 2014

maintain a house as old as them, some essential food— rice, beans, palomilla steak—and breakfast at Latin Café. Sometimes, Rosita wondered why they were still alive. *** Outside, Dominoes players shifted with the wind, moving their foldable table under the green canopy that covered the exterior dining area. Black clouds commenced their daily performance of pouring water and flashing light, entertaining a few children before the entire audience abandoned the show and sought refuge. Rosita stared out the window at the entrance to the café. The rain was hitting the glass, adding a light conga melody to the salsa music. Rosita tapped her fingers on the table. She used her other hand to support her head as she looked beyond the rain. Her gaze was interrupted by a young couple who burst through the door, laughing flirtatiously as they bypassed the umbrella stand. Their dripping hands were interlocked, and on every other swing, the fluorescent overhead bulbs lit up a large diamond on the young lady’s hand. The couple repeatedly kissed each other until the returning hostess caught their contagious joy and pleasantly offered them an open table near a large window that extended from the floor to the roof. The hostess congratulated the couple as she set down their menus and silverware. The gentleman pulled out the chair for his fiancée, moved the menu and silverware across the table, and sat down beside her. He whispered into her ear until she giggled and occasionally stopped him to glance over the breakfast options.

Short Story 11


Short Story 12

Holding his hands down, she looked in his coffeebrown eyes and asked, “Do you know what you’re having, sweetheart?” “Yes. I do.” “Well…what are you getting?” “Umm…let me see here…I will have…love. Yes. I am hungry for love.” The fiancé giggled and turned her face, which now reflected the ruby red blouse she was wearing. A faint tint accented Rosita’s face as well. “Are you alright over there?” Jose asked as unromantically as he possibly could have. “Yes,” Rosita said. “I’m just reminiscing, that’s all.” “Yeah, well, you and I know that stuff is short-lived, especially these days. That couple is in the beginning stages of love, what they call ‘puppy love.’” Jose used his index and middle fingers to signal quotation marks. “As soon as they find out how expensive it is to own a house and raise a family, and how annoying it could be to deal with someone else’s crap all the time, they’ll divorce, just like every other couple in America.” Rosita refused to respond. She looked outside at the rain again, and she continued to reminisce. *** Two barefooted teenagers raced down a dirt road that ran between sugarcane fields, playfully weaving in and out of the yellow-and-green stalks, daring the shaded clouds to shower them with love. “You can’t catch me,” Rosita teased. “When I catch you, I’m not letting go,” Jose promised. Jose ran after his best friend and fulfilled his promise at seventeen. They slow-danced in the red mud that was thickening beneath them, under the Havana sun. Rosita lifted his straw hat, and they kissed until their hearts remembered to pulsate, until the sun began setting and they celebrated the engagement with contented families and sweet sugarcane juice. *** Rosita smiled, turning away from the windows to admire Jose. She loved the romantic, considerate man he was, and she knew that he still held on to those qualities despite the burdens they were buried beneath. His weary eyes and petulant disposition could not erase her treasured memories. “I love you, sugar,” she reminded him.

Jose lowered his eyebrows and looked into her eyes. Slightly swiveling his head, he responded, “Oh-kay…” “I just wanted you to know that no matter what you do to convince me otherwise, I know that you love me with all of your grumpy heart, and I love you with all of my heart too.” *** Jose and Rosita left Cuba in 1960. Although the Agrarian Reform Laws were in their initial stages, the government had already seized half of the country’s land, including the majority of Jose’s inheritance. His parents convinced him to leave Cuba and provide for his young family through the resources America offered. Jose encouraged Rosita to trust in him, reminding her that leaving the fields they were raised in was their only hope of leading prosperous lives. Yet, he couldn’t fathom a life separated from his fatherland. Rosita became pregnant with their second child two years after they began renting out a house in an impoverished Hialeah neighborhood. Jose worked under the taxing Miami sun from the time it rose above the Palmetto until it fell beneath the Everglades, earning just enough money to keep the family nourished and protected from outside elements. Inside, storms began to regularly rage as torrents of bitter nostalgia were followed by weeping and backdoor drinking. Jose’s words became less encouraging as he succumbed to a life of poverty in a foreign land he could not escape. A few weeks after his second child was born, scattered salt remained on his sun-stained forehead as he dragged his threadbare boots up the unkempt lawn and onto the rocking chair that rested beside his front door. Jose leaned on the cane backing and breathed deeply, trying to console himself with each swing. “This too shall pass,” he told himself. “I don’t know how—I don’t know why I’m here. I don’t know how to change… anything, really. I just want to go back to Cuba. I want to take my wife back to Havana. I want to take my family home. I want to run after my kids in my father’s cane fields and dance with my wife in the rain, and I want to return to a place that’s being overtaken by tyrants who won’t let me return and are taking everything from my parents who have worked—worked until their calloused fingers bled in the night after working since dawn! These

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rebels, they want it all. But me? I just want to work my father’s fields and raise my family on the red Havana dirt. I just want to go back home.” Jose stuffed his clenched fists in the front pockets of his denim overalls until his breath steadied, his fingers loosened, and his pulse stabilized. Then, he grasped the wooden arms of the rocking chair, forced himself onto his blistered feet, and walked into a house of shouting kids. Rosita approached him at the door. “Can you hold on to Clara, please?” “I’m filthy from working all day.” “That’s fine. I just need a break. Luis has been crying all day and Clara has been following me around the house, begging me to pick her up. I just need five minutes.” Jose was willing to bet that he was far more tired than Rosita was, but he bit his tongue and held his daughter. “How you doing, precious? I hear you’ve been giving Mami a hard time?” Clara raised her eyebrows and playfully grinned at her daddy. He whispered, “Come on, baby, let’s look at the rain coming in.” The pair walked outside and sat on the rocking chair, breathing the scent of fresh rain traveling in their direction. The oncoming storm blurred the horizon, which became progressively unclear as the wind and waters shook palm trees that were six blocks, three blocks, and one block away. Clara jumped in Jose’s lap as the cold water hit her legs, the shingled roof extending over the front porch only enough to protect her pigtails from getting washed. Jose laughed while Clara hopped off of him and ran onto the yard. “Papi, let’s play in the rain!” Jose sighed. Papi’s getting too old for this, he thought. “I’m tired, honey. Just have fun. Papi can watch you from over here.” “Please, Papi. Mami told me how much you love the rain. She said you loved playing outside, especially when it was raining.” Yes, I loved the rain when I was home, but this is not Havana. There are no sugar canes to hide behind. There is no red dirt to run on. The dirt here is black…and dirty. And, I am parched Havana soil, thirsty for the rain of my homeland. “Papi, come on! Please!” *** The beating drops continued to accompany the electronic percussions that mirrored the music of home.

Spring 2014

Jose turned to watch Rosita fiddling with the booth cushion again. “Hey.” Rosita jumped, not expecting Jose to interrupt her during the trancelike state. “Umm... hey?” “Do you think the kids will ever forgive me?” Rosita took an extra breath. “What happened was not your fault. You didn’t push them away intentionally. You were legitimately stressed at crucial moments in their lives, and it affected them—possibly permanently. But you didn’t mean to take out your frustrations on us. You were just tired, and things got carried away. In time, maybe they’ll understand. You can’t let it destroy what’s left of you— or us.” Jose stared at the cold tostada at the center of the table, his fingertips touching the paper placemat with crumb islands surrounding a printed image of Cuba. Swallowing the last bit of café con leche, he looked at the engaged couple. The man was caressing his bride-to-be’s neck while feeding her a coffee-drenched piece of tostada, a sight so peculiar even Jose laughed to himself. “Those kids sure are in love,” he said. “They sure are.” “You ready to head home, dear?” His wife smiled. “Yes.” Jose helped Rosita out of the dimpled seat cushion where she sat for an hour a day. He left the waitress the usual three-dollar tip for the nine-dollar meal and walked towards the exit. “Good luck,” he said to the engaged couple as he passed.

Short Story 13


Macaw Color Spectrum Ashley Taylor

Photography 14

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Cuban? Sarah Rowan

I hear my abuela say it is a shame I don’t speak the language

Their skin is golden and ageless.

and she asks me for the hundredth time if I want

They don’t need the sun to be bronze gods and goddesses.

café con leche—and I say no thank you because

While they dance, I sit, glowing, my white skin a

I have never liked coffee, it is too bitter for me.

translucent oddity. My porcelain arms that stick out of my porcelain body

Bitter things I do like:

evince my peculiarity.

Dark Chocolate Pickles

Dancer I am not, and therefore

Irony

amid the intensity of relatives whirling around each other I am unaccompanied, and yet I dance

Music floods the small house filled with my family and their families

on the couch

and I do not understand the words they are speaking

with my thoughts.

because

Content.

I speak only English. And this is uncomfortable for Nieves who is old and forgets easily. They all have long dark hair Curly Straightened Greased back And long eyelashes

Spring 2014

Poetry 15


Summer Meditation Benjamin Lusk

the erect spine moves in a twist cracked like a summer succulent whose fingers drip salve into a deep glass jar a match pulls over the sacrum & the heart whistles across the lips

Poetry 16

who is the boy with warmth in his forehead & a song in his teacup mouth? he is going swimming this summer & he is getting a tan rubbing his shoulders against the sun until they are eight, nine, ten years old again running in the glee of warm, wet air soles striking the pavement like they did then with the same pop as the damp laundry mother shook on to the line in the copper heart of August

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Tumbling With the Tide Michelle Habegger

Photography 17

Spring 2014


Alligator Season Jessi Hiler

Short Story 18

I

t was a summer night in May, right before the school year ended. We had a terrible itch for summer vacation, kind of like the kind you get from poison ivy, but we were allergic to school work. The boys picked me up at my house around eleven o’clock that night. I purposely avoided being specific with any and all responses to my parents’ questions related to my plans that night. We were all piled into Aaron’s Silverado pick-up truck. The South Florida weather was humid and sticky because of the onset of hurricane season, but we decided to keep the windows down and turned up the volume of the radio. We headed west along State Road 80, toward 20-Mile Bend out by Lake Okeechobee. The sugar cane fields were inundated with warm-weather bugs that flew aimlessly in front of the truck and splattered their green guts onto the windshield. Their little bodies produced snapping sounds when they collided with the glass. Aaron would eject windshieldwashing fluid from time to time to wash their squished bodies away with the steady motion of the wipers. After a half-hour’s travel, Aaron turned onto a dirt road and continued north, over bumps and holes. The moon shone in the sky to help illuminate our way through the acres of fields. The sugar cane stood higher than the truck, its highest peaks flopped over like rabbit ears and swayed as our truck sent gusts of wind into the fields. After several minutes of severe bumps, we arrived at the canal bank and made a left to continue along the water. Up ahead of us, I could see a four-foot pole standing alone alongside the canal. Tied to the pole was one end of a rope, and the other fell off into the canal below. We got out of the truck quietly, our eyes fixed on the rope to see

if anything stirred. It was tight. Jesse wrapped his hands around the line and tugged. Tight. “What do you use for bait?” Derek asked. “Chicken leg does the trick,” said Jesse, apparently an expert at the trade. “We got one, boys!” I asked, “Aw, man! How big we talking?” Jesse pulled the rope. “Hard to say. Let’s take a look,” and began to bring the line in. We all stood by, anxious with anticipation. The line wiggled back and forth with each jerk and heave. Suddenly, a scaly nose furiously broke the surface of the water, sending murky canal water splashing in our direction. “Whoa! Get back,” Jesse mandated as he pulled the four-foot alligator onto its belly up the canal bank. “Man, it’s just a baby. We can’t keep that,” I said, bothered by the gator’s size. “You can’t possibly want to keep that. There’s hardly any meat.” “I’ve got a buddy that will buy them, no matter the size,” boasted Jesse. “Yeah right,” said Aaron. “No lie. It’s a decent amount of tail meat. And there will be some from the jowls too.” “I’m game,” said Derek. “Yeah, me too,” agreed Aaron. Jesse bent down and pinned the beast’s head to the ground with his knee while she wiggled back and forth, trying to escape back into the canal. He struggled to free the steel hook that was lodged in the reptile’s mouth. The hook, when jerked free, was the size of my forearm. How he managed to rip that thing out without losing a finger still baffles me.

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“Come on, help me load ‘er up,” Jesse said looking in my direction. “You’re gonna tape its mouth, right?” I questioned, or more accurately, demanded. “You got some tape, Aaron?” Jesse’s question received a blank stare. “Uhhhhh.” “You’ve got to be kidding me!” Derek said. “Dude, you should have told me to bring tape. I’ve got tape. What do we do now?” “Scott, give me a hand. Watch its mouth. Let’s just toss it up over the bed.” I shook my head and laughed. “You’re nuts if you think I’ll…” “Come on, man. Real quick.” I succumbed to the peer pressure, hovered over the gator tail, and on the count of three, we hurled the thing into the back of the Silverado. Her weighty body hit the bed like a rock in a bucket. I couldn’t help feeling bad for the beast. Images of alligator-skin purses and mounted gator faces with jaw open and teeth exposed came to mind. But, I had to admit, gator meat was quite delicious. Gator nuggets, gator tacos, gator burgers. The thud of the reptile must have signaled a long distance distress call because as soon as we tossed her into the truck, a not-so-friendly spectator floored the ignition to his early-two-thousand model Ford police car. I asked, “Isn’t today the official start of alligator season?” “Oh, crap.” Jesse hesitated, eyes widening, “I think it’s tomorrow!” “Get in!” shouted Aaron, hurling his body into the driver’s seat and revving the engine. “Go, go, go!” screamed Derek. “We’re going to jail!” raved Jesse. We all jumped in, and Aaron raced off down the dirt road. The cop, who was driving on the opposite road parallel to the same canal, flipped on his lights and sped west. We floored it east to try to lose him. We stormed through the dirt roads and sent dust flying everywhere. Aaron tried to maintain control, but with all the shouting coming from his rowdy passengers, he was swerving and dipping all over the bumpy roads. A train of puffy white dust clouds stalked our truck and left an ideal trail for the cop to follow after us.

Spring 2014

“Turn right here,” I shouted, shoving my hand in Aaron’s face from the backseat. “Turn off your lights, man,” offered Derek. “He won’t be able to see us if you don’t break.” Oh God, I thought. I’m not getting out of this alive. “Dude, if they catch us with this gator in the back, we’re screwed,” bantered Jesse, scaring Derek and Aaron. “My parents are gonna kill me!” said Derek in a panic. I knew I had to remain calm. Think. Think. I took a leap of faith—or perhaps a fall into absolute stupidity— and I said, “I’m gonna crawl out the back and throw this gator into the canal. Jesse is right: if we get caught with this thing with no permit, we’re screwed.” “Are you crazy?” said Derek, snapping back into reality. “Do you have a better idea?” “Whatever, man. Better you than me.” “Just don’t swerve and throw me out of the truck. Jesse, stick your arm out of the window if he’s gonna turn.” I pulled and pried the back window that was encrusted with years of dirt. After wiggling and pushing and smacking the pane furiously, I managed to crack open a few inches. With my finger finally through, I pushed it all the way open. Seeing the tiny space designated for me to squish through was only part of my panic. More drama arose at the sight of a cranky alligator on the other side of the glass. Thankfully, she was not directly underneath the window. I shoved my arms through first, as if taking a slow, awkward dive into a swimming pool. My shoulders soon jammed in the window’s frame. I turned my body in order to escape diagonally. After my shoulders squeezed through, I turned and grabbed for the top of the truck’s roof. There was no way I was putting my hands down into the bed, followed by my head. One bite and my brain would provide that gator with a tasty snack. Once my hips and legs were free, I grasped the sides of the truck bed for support while trying to fix my gaze on the alligator. In all reality, I could not see except for the light of the moon. I had a general idea of where the gator lay, but the exact location of the beast’s mouth still remained a mystery. With the adrenaline of the chase and the fear of prison surging through my body, I reached out and grabbed an unidentifiable limb, and I threw the reptile into the air. Its large body twirled around like a helicopter’s propeller blades, and she belly-flopped onto the shallow surface of the canal’s water.

Short Story 19


Short Story 20

After the creature left my hands, I quickly realized I was no longer holding onto the truck! I’m gonna fall into the canal! I immediately grabbed for the side of the truck and pulled myself up to the window. The boys were too shocked to applaud my heroic efforts. “I think we lost the cop,” yelled Aaron through the window. There was not much hope in his voice or in the faces of my paranoid friends. The restrictive roads of the sugar cane fields didn’t offer much hope of escaping free and clear. Aaron’s knuckles were white and fixed to the steering wheel. His eyes scanned the sugar cane fields. “You should be coming out to State Road 80 soon,” I said through the window. “There, there, there!” Jesse shouted, pointing at the road to our freedom. Aaron turned the wheel hard, not caring to slow down. I was hurled against the scaly steel. “Jesse!” I shouted. “Wha…? Aw, sorry, man.” The exit was soon approaching. Everyone was beginning to breathe easier (I would have loved to breathe easier, but it’s hard to breathe with a bruised rib.), and we would soon laugh about our ridiculous adventure. We raced down the smoother road, and my body was relieved for fewer bumps and less dust. The street lights from the state road were in plain sight when we saw the white car sitting in a driveway with no head lights on, just waiting for us. Aaron drove right past, and the cop flipped on his lights and pulled right behind us, tailing us closely. “Dude, just pull over. We can’t outrun this guy,” Derek said. “We can just be honest with him. We thought it was the first day of season. What’s the worst he can do?” I said. “Hmmm…let’s see. The worst is we can all get handcuffed and thrown in the back of his police car. They’ll call our parents, have them pick us up at the jail, and we’ll get fined hundreds of dollars, not to mention get grounded for the entire summer,” Jesse said sarcastically. Aaron slowed to a stop. “Derek’s right. We’re done for. There’s no use running.” We looked at each other for some semblance of reassurance and inspected the officer as he adjusted his starchy uniform and slowly walked toward our truck. “Gentlemen…” he began, leaning slightly into Aaron’s window to see all of us. “What in the sam-hill were

you thinking? Let me ask you a question. When you see flashing lights following after you with that shrieking siren sound, what should you do?” “Well you see, officer,” Jesse started, taking charge of the situation. “Shut your mouth, boy,” the officer shouted at Jesse. “Answer the question, son,” he said to Aaron. No reply. “Answer the question,” he barked, scaring us. “I…I should have stopped, er, pulled over.” “Very good, son.” He patted the top of the truck, pleased to get a response. Or perhaps pleased to put us in our place. “Now, your license, registration, and proof of insurance please.” Aaron handed the officer his papers, and the officer walked slowly back to his vehicle. The minutes seemed elongated as the South Florida moon floated in the summer sky. I looked out the window and thought I could watch its slow movements. My eyes focused on the cratered surface of the moon, but my brain churned the possibilities of what could come of the evening. “Here he comes,” said Derek when he saw the officer poke his head out of the car. “Oh God, I hope he doesn’t arrest us,” said Derek in a panic. “Alright, boys, I’m gonna make this really easy for you. I noticed you got yourself a gator back there.” “Uh, yes sir,” we said collectively. “Thing is, officer, we thought today was the opening day of gator season. It’s all a big misunderstanding,” confessed Jesse. The officer laughed. I started to feel queasy. “You’re right, gentleman; it is all a big misunderstanding. Truth is, today is the opening of gator season.” “But…wait, then why were you chasing us?” Aaron asked. “We’ve got our permit, sir,” I said, rustling through my wallet. “Now, hold a second. I was chasing you because I saw that you got that gator. I was trying to pull you over to see if you wanted to make a donation.” “A donation?” Jesse asked. “What the heck is this guy talking about?” said Derek under his breath. “That’s right. I’m a member of Belle Glade Baptist church, and we’re hosting an alligator fry fundraiser

Living Waters Review


banquet. We’re looking for donations for the dinner. Naturally, since I’m an officer of the law, I’ve been searching for donations from hunters like yourselves. What do you say?” He smiled. “Are you ready to make a donation today? I’ll be sure to make this whole thing disappear. What do you say?” “Hold on just a minute,” Aaron said. “You saw us catch the gator, and that’s when you flipped on your lights and chased us at full speed?” “Well now, that’s not my ideal way of handling things. Let me remind you that you were the one who sped off,” the officer said with a manipulative smile. I shook my head. I could barely believe the words out of this man’s mouth. “We’re really sorry to tell you this, but Scott here tossed the gator out when we thought we were going to get caught. She’s not there; you can check.” “What?” His face was filled with surprise. He walked a few short paces and found the truck bed empty. Returning to the window, he said, “Well, I’m not going to lie; I’m very disappointed, friends. That gator would have helped feed quite a few people.” “Uhhh, we’re sorry,” was Jesse’s response, sounding more like a question than an apology. “Yeah, we’re sorry about the misunderstanding,” said Aaron. “Well, I guess we’ll have to make do,” said the officer. “I’ll just have Betty set aside four extra aprons and hairnets in the kitchen for you.”

Spring 2014

Short Story 21


Rocking in the Swamp David Denton

Poetry 22

O in the white-hot days of my grandfather telling me

O in the white-hot days of my grandmother telling me

About the essence of Florida and the waters of the swamp,

About the lights going out at dusk

Which held nothing but river life and the innocence

And the grass grown tough and long

Of my life-long youth and my first true love

Before the weeds of turf grown short

If only a generation lay between me

Give me back my girl

And the life I have now,

She was taken from me

I’d be born a swamp-cracker six miles from Shinny’s Bay Growing up in the way of the willow

Give me back her wild hair, Her piercing blue eyes

No electric lights or chemical flights

Her hot summer skin

Just life to live one fish at a time

Her unbleached teeth And tough, wheat feet

If only a thousand miles lay between me And the cranes of yellowish red,

If only a million people lay between me

I’d be satisfied, alone to rock

And my home of deep-south country

And live peacefully with the cranes of grayish blue

Just good lickin’ chicken And a fishing pole’s good for me

No interstates or government states Just swaying back and forth in my rocking home

Living Waters Review


Parking Lot Pickin’ Rebecca Ethridge

M

y father isn’t in the business of doing anything easy. He picks the hard jobs, the ones where your hands crack open from the weight they carry. A hard life, he always tells me, is better than an easy one; you learn to trust more that way. And he doesn’t pick his instruments lightly, either. Sitting in the back of the van every Friday night used to be a six foot tall upright bass. One thing I know is that my father is always in the business of being ready for a jam session. I asked him once why he chose the upright bass. “I like keeping the beat,” he told me, impossibly lifting the instrument and placing it gently into the back bed of the van. He never let me carry it, and I supposed it was always his burden to lift. He was connected to that bass because it was a bridge closing the measure between music and loving the Lord. When he sang and picked the low-sound strings of that instrument, his face was calm. When we would arrive back home after a jam, he would place the bass and me into our beds, but his face would wrinkle once again. It was like his strength came from that bass, like there was some kind of divine intervention that made him feel good again for the week to come. I never could understand that peace; how could an instrument tell him that God was there? There was one night that I saw my father break for the first time. That Friday evening I would have rather spent at a jam session with him. I wanted my imagination to change everything that was happening to keep that bass from being

Spring 2014

ripped from my father’s hands. But the landlord didn’t care because my father hadn’t paid the rent for three months and it was time that we were evicted. My father cried. That bass was ripped from his hands and it made them bleed. I held onto my father’s hands that night as we sat in our car in a Wal-Mart parking lot—because life was hard and I could trust my father to save us somehow. We got back on our feet, but he never could walk upright. I tried to get my father to listen to music, to play some instrument after we were supporting ourselves again. But our up-and-go mentality kept him from buying another CD or even looking into the music stores we often passed in our travels. I told him it was divine intervention when we one day got a flat tire near a music store, but my father only glared at me and proceeded to pull the spare tire from the trunk. The sharp reverberation of his eyes pierced me into final silence. Tonight, however, our silence reaches a key of burden neither of us can handle; my father’s voice is a crescendo in the stale atmosphere of my car. “I have to be there,” he says, gripping my free hand. Callouses once built up on his fingers are now smoothed surfaces, but their assurance keeps my hand steady. “Where should I turn off ?” I ask, searching for a sign that might be familiar in the area. As sudden as his request was, he waited to answer. His head swivels back and forth with each sign that passes. He finally points to one. “There.” Taking the direction in faith, I turn off on the exit.

Short Story 23


Short Story 24

Either way I can turn, the road is dark, but with surety, my father continues to point to the right. There is something familiar about the way the old buildings crouch low to the ground, something familiar in the lack of cars on the road. And then there it is: the Tastee Freez. The jam behind the abandoned place was the first time my father had ever played music with other people. For a brief measure, the reflection of the haphazard lights shines on my father’s face, illuminating it for perhaps the first time in a long time. I pull into the parking lot, not surprised to see an amassed group of trucks and SUV’s forming a circle there. Even with the car running, the music finds its way through the metal frame and to our ears. My father sighs and bows in the passenger seat, closing his eyes to savor the sound. The group of musicians is mixed: some are older while a few are young. The count of guitarists, fiddlers, mandolin and banjo pickers numbers around twenty. But there is a unifying factor of harmony in this ragtag group that resides in their smiles. My father directs me to roll down the windows of the car so as to listen to the music better. I do so, letting the sweet sound fill the interior; this time, I am the one to sigh. This was what life was like before it got hard: picking and grinning. That rhythm had failed long ago and tonight was a sharp reminder of what had been lost. I scan the group of musicians, searching for the bass player. The beat is set, but there is no bass visible from our point of view. I am not disappointed, however, because we have finally found our way back to the old home. We listen for the rest of the hour that the pickers play. Most tunes are upbeat because tonight is not a night for sad songs—the air is chilly and those fingers need to stay warm. My father taps his foot evenly against the floor, but his hands shake. I see the pain of desire crease his face. I get out of the driver’s seat and walk to the passenger’s side. If my father had ever needed to play the bass before, he needed it now more than ever. I take his shaking hands in mine and lead him to the music. By the time we reach the musicians, most have packed up their instruments and are leaving. There are a few, however, who linger to chat with one another. I clear my throat to get their attention. “Is there a bass player here?” I ask, noting the lacking presence of an upright bass—they aren’t easy to miss. A middle-aged man in khaki pants and a white t-shirt

steps in front of the group. “Yes, ma’am, I’m the bass player. What can I do for you?” “May my father play one song with you? He hasn’t played in a while but I think he’s still got the talent.” My father squeezes my hand and tries to back away, but I keep him firmly next to me. The man smiles and nods his head. “It would be our pleasure.” When the upright bass is removed from the back of the man’s truck, my father cries. The musicians do not ask questions but ready their instruments. My father takes the bass from the man and holds it gently in his now steady hands. He smiles impossibly wide and plucks a note. It is as if the floor shakes with its vibration, but we are steady somehow in its reverberations. And then my father starts in on a lick, and keeps the beat strong throughout the song they play together. Tonight, my father plays the bass again. He thinks he picks for himself, but I am the one who needs it the most. I don’t know when the song ends because the notes keep playing through me, and I never want them to stop. My father hugs the bass to his chest when the song is complete. “The beat is always there,” he whispers. “Sometimes you can’t hear it, but it is always there.”

Living Waters Review


Manitou Springs Brandon McGuire

T

here is a land of true soil left in the west, and a family of rivers running into the Arkansas, which is the great river. There is a town that fits right at the base of the mountains, and it is a good town. The great river is in the town and somewhere hidden in this almost invisible world is a garden of life. The garden is filled with the smells of innocence. There are trees ripening with the sweetest fruits and mountains ripening with seeds, and rivers are bending through them. The rivers are alive, flowing all throughout the town. There are deep wells in the mountains that pour out into springs in the town. There are seven springs there. The old bronze Indian spring. His pitcher is welded frozen onto his hands and inside of it is all the water of the mountain. And there are six other springs that produce different minerals. People come to drink from the springs and sometimes mix the waters together because they are all good to drink. All the springs are good but the Bronze Indian is the biggest in size, and it produces the most water from the mountain, and so it is the best spring. The town is called Manitou Springs because of the Bronze Indian and the others, and because of the mountains and the plain, and even the garden. The land is called Manitou and it is the truest soil left in the world, the most ancient and primitive. The mountains over Manitou are clean and brave. There is nothing evil in them, even the mountain lion and the bear are not evil. The bear eats a trout from the stream because it is hungry and the lion eats a small deer

Spring 2014

because that is what it was made for. Life and death in the mountains are both beautiful. The trout was made to eat the larva and the worm. The bear was made to eat the trout. This is the community of the mountains, filled with life and death, and so the mountains over Manitou are both clean and brave. The tallest of the mountains is called Pikes Peak and even in the summer there is snow. It is a perpetual winter there and a place of resurrection. There is a lodge and restaurant on the top that serves free pancakes to the hikers who have reached the top. There are two giant bears carved from wood at the entrance. Everyone is happy at the top. Everyone is tired, but proud, and they always act like family. There is respect there perpetually, like the winter and the snow. It is always lined with white. The town is filled with people who come and go like the rivers, like the snow, and the seasons. They fill up the antique mining stores and the old arcade in the spring and summer and sometimes into the fall, but in the winter there are few people on the streets. I followed a pair of footprints in the winter that I picked up on Neeper Valley Road. They went out of the town and up the canyon to the cave of the winds. They crossed the river of ice and up the bank, up the slope for about two miles. Finally they lead to a structure of rocks and there was a cave with a door on the front of it and a crack on top with smoke pouring out of it. I could hear the sound of a man singing to himself inside and the clanging of pots. I think he was making a stew. This is the kind of man who lives in Manitou in the

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Creative Essay 26

winter. He is like the mountains. Just as true. Just as clean. Just as brave. I followed his footprints back into the city and all the way in the opposite direction to see where he had been in the town, and they lead me up to the old Church with the swings. The prints stopped in front of a tombstone in the grave behind the Church and there was a woman’s name written there. There was a bundle of Indian paintbrushes laid there, which are the flower of the mountains. There are all kinds of things acting like this in the mountains and in the town. Even the plain, which is filled with barren winds, has ground hogs burrowed inside of it, huddling in small dens like a family. And the garden of the gods is in the plain too, and that is one of the greatest places of all. The rocks are red and shaped like kissing camels. There is a hole between their faces that can sometimes frame the moon, and if it is snowing on a night like that, there is nothing more beautiful. The moon in the snow falling makes the sky as bright as a sunrise, and the camels kissing through the framed moonlight are like ancient animated dinosaurs. My mother came to the mountains above the town and put down her roots there like an aspen, forming out of herself a whole family, connected underground by touching roots. I first remember being naked in the snow, because it was so cold. My feet were completely numb but I remember stretching my arms out like branches to the sky, feeling the cold but not being afraid of it, shivering long enough to open my mind’s eye wider to the world and then finally running back inside to a warm room and a fireplace. I was four years old. My brother was six. He stayed in the snow longer than I could and I watched him through the open window running in place, burrowing a hole in the snow. Finally he came in too. His smile was as wide as the valley. His eyes were wet and dewy and looked like deep wells ready to pour over onto his cheeks. “Can you believe that!” He could hardly talk because of how much he was shaking and there was still a thin layer of snowflakes melting into his hair and running off his ears. He was all running water, inside and out, and that was the first thing I remember about Manitou or about the mountains. My brother is as much a part of that place as anything else. As much as the lions and the man in the cave. He led me through Manitou. Opened me up to all of it. Helped

me to bloom in front of it, or bend before it. He took me to the mining shaft and the old fire house. He showed me how to find quarters that had fallen through the cracks of the wooden arcade floor and into the river. He walked with me in everything, connecting us triangularly to all of it. The town allows the truest fellowship. The bending rivers made both of us stand still and see that everything must belong somewhere. It only takes one thing to help you find out where. For me that thing was my brother who helped me see. To see the spring fly on the river and the brook trout underneath him in the creek. The man and the lion singing in their caves. The camels kissing in the garden, nearly swallowing the moon. All of this is Manitou and all of this is me.

Living Waters Review


Uncharted Florida Ben Greco

Painting 27

Spring 2014


December 6, 1947 Jessi Hiler

Historical Fiction 28

W

aters residing below the surfaces of the foliage flowed leisurely as a river, though not easily detected by the eye. The subtle currents vibrated the tall grasses, swishing through, calmly traveling. Lazy alligators and alert crocodiles floated on the rim of the waters while spoonbills and wood storks filtered the wetlands, craning their necks and scooping up mouthfuls, all within grasp of the reptile predators. Winter had not blemished the river of grass; the sun shone warmly as people on the nearby land arrived in automatic carriages and began taking their seats in thatch chairs. That day, the squawking of birds and monotonous humming of various insects provided a background chorus for the afternoon: the summit of species taking place on the border of wilderness. A dignified man of average stature walked proudly across the quaint stage, spurred on by handshakes and furious clapping. He positioned himself in front of the metallic microphone and quietly cleared his throat. “Here in Everglades, there is an atmosphere of beauty, a piece of the tropics. Southeast of us lies the coast of the Everglades Park, cut by islands and estuaries of the Gulf of Mexico. How long have these deep rivers, these massive groves of vibrant trees, these marshes, and these numerous lakes and streams been hiding, begging to be seen?” President Truman paused, and motioned with his arm in a wide loop to indicate the sawgrass marsh behind him. He continued, “In order to conserve the essence of the human spirit, America needs a refuge like Everglades National

Park where each citizen can remember, or discover for the first time, God the Creator’s infinitely diverse, infinitely marvelous, and infinitely abundant handiwork.” The crowd erupted in applause, and then crooning trumpets of a Big Band troupe beckoned scientists, politicians, local activists, and naturalists to gather under one canvas roof, to mingle and share in the festivities dedicated to the new national beauty. Servants poured tea and coffee for the guests and offered bite-sized treats on towering platters. The mumble of collective chatter included polite introductions and acquaintances, mixed with inquiries pertaining to the park’s preservation and operations. On the outskirts of the large tent stood a woman dressed in a white suit. She was gazing out of the tent toward the sawgrass. “Mrs. Stoneman Douglas?” “Yes, yes,” she mumbled, still admiring the wilderness. “Mrs. Douglas,” the Governor of Florida said, “I’d like to introduce to you President Truman.” Confidently sticking her hand out, the woman in white beamed. “What an honor to meet your acquaintance, Mr. President. Please call me Marjory.” “Marjory, how do you do? I understand the National Park Service is indebted to you for your perseverance in insisting that the Everglades become the United States’ newest national park.” “Mr. President, it’s like you said in your speech; here we become more keenly aware of our Creator’s handiwork

Living Waters Review


surrounding us. Those were some beautiful words and powerfully spoken.” “Forgive me for my ignorance,” Truman said, “but what is it about this place, in your opinion, that is worth preserving? You are an educated woman. I have read your pieces in the Miami Herald and understand you have a book coming out this year. How can the preservation of this swampland be more profitable than giving it over to Miami for development?” Marjory smiled. “Napoleon Bonaparte Broward drained hundreds of acres of the Everglades for development. He brought in non-native plants to soak up the water, not thinking about the consequences. Now Melaleuca and Brazilian Peppers invade our native flora causing a slew of problems. The land is a treasure—much of it undiscovered—but what we have discovered is fragile and needs to be nurtured. That’s where the National Park Service comes in. I have made it my mission to make the public aware of the natural wealth we have here in South Florida, right under our noses. And it’s not ours to be exploited. No, we should protect it as if its very existence directly affected ours.” “I see,” Truman said. “I commend you for your life’s work. Your enthusiasm is quite infectious.” “Mr. President, there are panthers, fish, deer, and even bears. Did you know that this is the only ecosystem that is home to both the crocodile as well as the alligator?” “I did not know that,” he replied, genuinely impressed. “And the hundreds of thousands of wading birds… Mr. President, I would very much like to show you something.” Truman chuckled. “Well, I guess that would be all right. Am I appropriately dressed? We won’t be treading through water, will we?” “Oh no, sir. It shall be a leisurely boat ride.” “Splendid.” Marjory rallied up a few members of her team, whispering discreetly in their ears, and when they boarded the petite vessel on the dock by the banquet tent, the guests stared and cheered. President Truman stood in the boat and waved, allowing the photographers to capture a few shots. The boat drifted away from the dock and the tall grass bordering the narrow waterway, and after thirty yards or so, a gateway appeared and the boat emerged as a tiny cell in a large body. Water was the vehicle on which they

Spring 2014

rode, but islands of mangroves, layers of white water lilies, and walls of sawgrass directed their journey. Marjory sat peacefully in the stern of the boat while others spoke with President Truman about the distinct features of the glade, pointing out baby alligators, manatees and exotic bromeliads of vibrant greens and oranges. Each word was spoken in a whisper out of respect to the holy serenity by which they were all surrounded. The warm rays of the sun lessened as the human guests reached a dense island surrounded by acres of shallow sloughs. Marjory said, “Mr. Truman, we are going to rest here for a little while.” The President looked about him, a bit confused. The view was neither spectacular nor inhabited, but the silence was peaceful. He peered into the sky, watching the fluffy clouds drift from one horizon to the other. Colors slowly transformed from a lively celestial blue to a richer royal shade. A faint squawk of birds caused everyone to fix their attentions above. Like a bulbous cloud floating overhead, a thick flock of wading birds flew over their heads, descending lower and lower toward the surface, and before their scaly feet touched the brackish waters, they opened their wings wide to reduce the impact. Splashes of water erupted from the shallows, and the birds flapped their wings and craned their necks every which way. Birds plunged their elongated beaks into the shallows for morsels to eat. Then they strutted to the mangrove island, the site of their nests. The great return had begun. As in waves, the first arrived, but many more were journeying in their wake. The noise grew louder and louder, the birds descending close enough to the boat to send water splashing on the guests. Unlike the land birds whose calls are often sweet and melodious, these waterbirds emitted guttural barks, much like a frog. President Truman was in awe. And the whole crew sat with heads tilted back, watching as the sky continued to change colors. Royal blue met the horizon and exploded into orange and purple, each layer becoming more intense. Marjory gazed at the President and smiled as he chuckled with amusement. His face emanated all sentiments of disbelief and astonishment. The aerial invaders continued to land by the dozens. Tricolored herons, egrets, wood storks, spoonbills, and ibises all made an appearance. Feathers emitting different

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Historical Fiction 30

shades depending upon the sun. Orange eyes glowing like tropical fruits. Brown heads upon cotton-white breasts covered in plushness. Beaks that jabbed the water like ancient spears. The species separated into their distinctive groups and waded home to their dormant young in calcium carbonate fortresses. Deep colors had penetrated the heavens, and the sunlight faded. While the birds nestled back into their nests, the people in the boat decided to do the same. They dipped their oars in the enchanted waters, returning to the banquet. As they retreated from the island sanctuary, President Truman remained quiet, although a slight smile marked his face. “Well, Mr. President,” Marjory inquired. “What was your impression?” “Robert Sherwood,” he replied. “I beg your pardon?” She looked around at the others, who seemed equally puzzled. “Robert Sherwood wrote the speech I delivered today.” “Ahh,” Marjory remarked, releasing the word into the slightly cooling air. She studied the water outside the wooden boat while the sawgrass rocked to and fro with the marsh breeze. Marjory whispered, “Historians say the word ‘glade’ refers to a bright streak or a patch of light. And those of us who know the glades know that ‘ever’ is an ideal description of this place. It is ever bright and forever leaves an impression on us. Mr. President, I’m convinced that this place has made an impact on you as well. Has anything you’ve seen today changed those beautiful words you read in your speech?” “No, ma’am,” Truman said. “What I witnessed today most assuredly reaffirmed that our Creator has bestowed upon the glades a most unique display of His handiwork.” “Well, then it’s settled,” Marjory said. “Mr. Sherwood can keep his job.” Upon her comment, the entire boat erupted in laughter. Pleased with how the day had gone, Marjory settled back into her seat and enjoyed the calm drifting motion that carried them along through the branched estuaries. Nearing the banquet area, President Truman dipped his hand into the wilderness water, wiggling his fingers to create a myriad of ripples that followed in the boat’s wake. The reflection of the sky flickered in and out of the shimmering surface, the colors blending together and vanishing off into the infinitely bountiful Everglades.

Living Waters Review


We are Learning to Make Fire Jennifer Stasak

slowly, our failed attempts drift back to us on breezes thick with unfurled smoke. we gasp for the cold air that stings our throats, and lay our ears to the earth. the heartbeat hums through the dirt – steady and slow, so we wrap our arms

Poetry around each other and exhale. but we are learning to make fire, to lift embers with our fingertips from damp leaves, to tickle them in our palms, and wish them away. we watch them dance along twigs; we weave our fingers together; we whistle to the flecks and the sparks. and they kiss – with innocence, without hesitation. the earth hums low.

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31


Threnody Thomas Lubben

There is a path in the forest That, as far as I know, goes on forever. So many have trundled out of sight, So many have disappeared, dissolved To join the horizon’s blend of wind and light. Finally, under a waxing moon, We rustled out and faced the roving road. Standing still, our expedition

Poetry 32

Saw that endless path as if it flowed— A star-bright stream that coursed to who knows where. And in that moment, vast, alone, We stirred with fires that reeked of mystery, And knew, from leaps of spirit, That this was in our lives our great discovery. Behind us, wreathed in shadowed doubt, Hung our pasts, our meager earth-day rations, Years, those countless days now sham and swift. All those starry dreams, the earth-day passions, Falling, falling back. We take a step. That step would be our last in earth’s slow record Our last on leaves of history and dusty books; That step became the end of man-bred Thomas— And the one real step on earth I ever took.

Living Waters Review


Ars Longa, Vita Brevis Noah Thaman

T

he world is a great machine composed of stone and seed. It spins on invisible string and runs its invisible track cut through the obsidian, outer night. Our Earth’s mechanisms are alive and they dance a symbiosis of mortality. Its cogs are wooden and its gears are iron ore buried deep within forgotten chambers like storerooms. Beneath the notice of the eye of man, tectonic plates shift like vagrants and adolescent winds blow the rain like tears to soften the soil with their longing for the sea. These are things that go unnoticed, like the physics that hold us to the ground and keep our planet spinning around its marathon loops, ever suspended from invisible to invisible. An acorn is one of the Earth’s overlooked things. An acorn will grow from the fingers of a tall tree and then fall, as if by chance, by a gust of wind or be brushed aside, perhaps accidentally, by the soil-stained knees of a child in ascent. The acorn will grow in the air and die on the ground; its life cycle, its span of existence only lasting the duration of the plummet from sky to earth. Father Gravity pulls downward with an acceleration of negative nine point eight meters per second squared and the elder acorns, the sages and the saints, they fall the longest from the reaches of the highest limbs. An acorn is a seed by nature, a treasure chest of life. Its hard and wooden exterior harbors inward the tiny spark of existence and each seed that falls wishes upon the grace of a chance; a chance that it might fall and crack its casket open upon the seed scattered forest floor, for “unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it

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remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” A furrow in the dirt will suffice. A shallow grave for a seed is enough of a hope and buried therein, an acorn may pass from the land of moving things. It will die surrounded by the damp green smells of loam and moss as a composition of decaying things covers its head in forgetfulness. Lost from sight, an acorn ceases to exist as it once did when it gazed down from the firmament on history unfolding itself like a parchment rolling out from a scroll. The forest floor is a field of battle. The mighty pine cone collapses defeated next to the wisp of a dandelion gasping its last breath upon lichen-stained timber. The small and the great expire together, entwined like hapless lovers lost in Shakespearean tragedy. Yet somehow, in the midst of the staggered breathing of a billion tiny bursts of God’s imagination, one or even perhaps two of these divine thoughts connect with the enchantment below. A beam of light and a drop of rain, yes these and a dash of mystery compose the photosynthetic elixir of resurrection. Somehow these are enough to pierce past the clammy cool hands that reach up from the netherworld to pull a soul down and down, deeper into the depths of the earth. The elements of nature whisper a small sentence of the Divine secret into the ear of the acorn and this unexplainable conversation serves to reignite the broken hearth of the life within. Few have seen the glory of an oak tree surfacing its head to breathe in its first lungful of air, yet this tiny green leaflet will grow to watch generation after generation of men pass beneath its watchful boughs. Summer and winter,

Creative Essay 33


Creative Essay 34

autumn and spring: these will flow together once, twice and two hundred times. The acorn tree will dig downward as it pushes upward, higher and deeper over and over. The oak will spend a time growing, but like the sons of men, it will torment its way through adolescence, buffeted through the rites of passage yet championing them with the bud of its first acorn. This is the cycle of life. The fortunate son becomes the father tree and some thousand new sons are born with each summer season. This is no mere sleight of hand, this is deep mystery. *** Lost in the rolling hillocks of Northeastern Texas are a few square miles of terra firma that I once called my home. FM 1253 is a short, two-lane highway and it winds in and out farmland meadows and on through the beating heart of Texas. Somewhere under that stretch of sky is a certain dirt road partially hidden by a small bank of trees. The path doesn’t go far; in fact, it goes nowhere at all. If it ever had a destination, its memory has evaporated into the scorching thirst of the shimmering summer sky. This road stretches on for a short distance and eventually dead ends into a thin line of Austrian Pines standing tall and whimsical against the incredibly open aqua blue sky. Walking down the road, each footstep leaves a small cloud of dust behind, like the heartbeats of ghosts stirring up their forgotten histories for anyone who will dare to listen. The left side of the road is bordered by another line of trees, also pines, but along the right side slopes a vast meadow where I have often sat in reverie. In this field there are four large oak trees that stand in weathered solitude as giants in the land of little folk. It is under one of these trees where I have spent many moments of silence, stolen away from the time clock and the taskmaster. Transfixed by the glow of the diminishing Texas sunlight, I would unlock the musty chambers of my mind to allow the smells of a meadow cooling in the dusk to fill the neglected recesses of my spirit, cleansing all the darkness away. I close my eyes now and remember my haven. A sigh and a smile. Three tiny gusts of wind stream down through the branches above with only the faintest touch of the apple crisp strain of the melody of fall to come. The sun is setting over the tops of the Austrian Pines and the western sky is a conflagration of fire light. Burnished copper in the center stretches out into extremities of alternating ochre and tawny hues before fading into a brooding, eastern

depression of deepening blues. I feel the warm red clay beneath my feet and the soft rush of the breeze running through meadow grasses. My hands touch past the diving tree roots and close around a discarded thing. Between my fingers I hold a wishful acorn, dying in the dirt. The state of Texas is known as “The Lone Star State,” and its field of blue contains a single luminary, symbolizing its former status as an independent nation. This proud state may have but one star on its flag, but if you travel out far enough away from its metropolitan areas, the cobalt blue field flying above the tree line becomes drenched in starlight as the Milky Way plays across the heavens like a child’s laughter. The lights of industry mask the lights of the cosmos, but in the solitude of a virgin meadow the universe comes out to play. This is the art of the great beyond. I can see the stars from my oak tree and I think to myself that the same art that paints the twilight sheen must also sketch out the simple duty of the acorn. The great and the small are both indwelled by measured amounts of the art of nature. In the chill of the early evening, I continue to roll the acorn between my thumb and index finger. I feel the young, smooth wood sliding against my skin and the striations of the seed run straight against the swirling river bends of the marks in my fingers. It is known that oak trees live anywhere between two and four hundred years, and as I gaze up at the arms that stretch out over and above my head, I wonder how long they have been shadowing the earth with paternal gaze. Its branches are long and are clothed with leaves. Its terminal twigs droop, weighed down by growing acorns, sons and daughters alike. The tree is older than me. Who can know how it was birthed, but its sprout grew out of its acorn shell years before I was but a thought, and I imagine that it will continue to brave the seasons years after I am but a memory. One day, perhaps a hundred years in the future, my oak tree will also pass from the earth. It may be that its life will end in tragedy, cloven in two by a burst of ionized plasma while peals of thunder bellow through the heavens, sounding out a colossal dirge. I like to think, rather, that it will continue on, static against the storm of human development, until at last, with a weary sigh, it shall breathe a final time and drop one last seedling from a withered and gnarled hand to chance the meadow below. With the cosmos, those ancient of ancients, watching from on high,

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an elderly oak tree will expire. Leaves will wither, bark will become dry and slough off in strips, and that weary crown will bow and return into the soil from whence it came. This is the cycle of life, and its progression is the purest form of art. *** In the gathering gloom, I stand and begin to wade back through the meadow grasses, searching out the dirt pathway hidden in the dark. The stars pulse from above as they track their course across the night sky and in the silver caress of their gaze my feet find hard purchase on the road leading home. The ghosts are all abed now and my feet do not wake them as I round a bend and catch sight of the country highway before me. I can hear the cars before I see the outline of their headlights. The dull thrumming of an engine builds into an urgent whine and a blur of rubber, plastic and steel framing screams past, diminishing quickly as the Doppler Effect holds true yet again. As I navigate FM 1253 back home, I begin to think about the cycle of life and the natural beauty of its artistry. Human beings also create art, but our abstractions are, more often than not, only chromatic reflections of the brushstrokes of the created realm. All around us the stars continue to circle overhead and acorns drop into the dirt, always shedding their skin to grow into young oak trees. Birth and growth, death and decay; these and the thousand wonders of the in-between make up the colors of the living rainbow, yet somewhere into this planet of wonder we humans are placed. We begin as humble as any member of creation; a simple seed trading one form for another in concepted darkness. *** I was born into an alien world and spent a good deal of time sorting one thing from another. Noise became sound and before long I learned to separate sounds into words and sights into schemas. This is a moving thing, this is an animal, I believe that this is a dog, my grandmother calls this a Dachshund. In short order my tongue became loosed and I began to speak the first of my million words. These legs that were once awkward and useless lumps stretching away from my shapeless torso began to find their courage. One step, two steps, three miles of steps I learned how to take. With my legs and hands now working in concert, I learned about resistance and so the muscles beneath my mottled skin began

Spring 2014

to thicken with use. My bones stretched and I was given new clothes. Curiously, this happened again and again as my legs continued to push past the hem of my jeans. A consequence of growth was the sentence of an education and schoolmasters began to pour facts like water into the vessel of my mind. I learned the horror of long division about the same time that I learned to throw a football. Shortly the world began to grow fuzzy and I was given glasses to wear over my eyes. This was an improvement, but not too long afterwards I learned all about the school yard stigma against having two sets of eyes. This was a setback. Things began to happen faster after that. I discovered that astringent prevents acne and I learned how to drive a car. In hindsight, however, after wrecking a car, the driving lessons didn’t seem to be very useful after all. An adolescent has needs, and part-time work bought contact lenses, Nike shoes, and styling gel. Eventually it bought razor blades and, a few years later, my currency was trading hands for textbooks and tuition. Thereafter the flow of money thinned to a trickle and the possessions had to last longer. When my heels began to wear through the bottoms of my shoes, I learned that several layers of duct tape stretched over the soles would give them a few extra months of life. Those shoes walked down many paths. They left prints on both Florida and California and crossed the Atlantic Ocean twice. Late one afternoon, they walked down a seldom used back road in the heart of Texas and rested their burden against an oak tree as the sun began to set over a distant row of Austrian pines. This human progression of life is also art, and my painting is but one of seven billion works of majesty, each in various stages of completion. I was formed once in silence but am continually created on each of my thousands of days. Each stretching out in bends and turns like the path winding between the sunlit meadow of my birth and the fallen oak tree of my death. *** An acorn will grow in the air and die on the ground, but the mystery of creation is the resurrection of the seed. Somehow the death of the acorn gives birth to the oak tree. The tree will grow large and it will create other acorns which will continue the cycle of life. This is the manner in which the oak propagates its species.

Creative Essay 35


Short Story 36

The trees watch over us humans as we too grow tall and then grow old. The trees watch us pass like the seasons and the stars above watch over the trees as they grow from sprout into shade tree. Somewhere suspended over all of this birthing and dying and resurrection again, God sits over the sphere of creation and watches over His artwork. It must be His. The fierceness of the stars cry out His name and the tiny acorn whispers a praise as it dives into the earth to bring forth the louder hymn of a larger body. And yes, somewhere between prism colors of the nebulae and rivers of prairie grasses, mankind is painted into existence. Our artist sculpted us a sentience peculiar to the entire created realm making us, of all creation, the vessels most suited for worship. We are the image of the invisible and our brevity only accentuates the value of our praise. Not the stars, not the acorn tree; it is humanity which is the pinnacle of the divine art form. We were created to live an art with our days. We were created to bring the Painter praise. *** I make the trek from the meadow to my rented room in darkness, lost in deep reflection. The stuffy warmth of artificial air buffets my face as I step through the doorway and my jacket is shed in haste. As I move to hang it in the corner closet, I reach into its pocket and withdraw a small acorn. Minutes later, still holding the small seed between my thumb and index finger, I switch off the lights and lay my body down. Laying in my bed with bare feet and bared heart, I breathe in the Texas twilight flowing in through my window like ether and make a simple wish. I roll the acorn around in my hand and wish that, when I pass on from this world, some kind soul will place an acorn above my casket. Perhaps, as the earth covers the place where I will sleep, a dying acorn will shed its cocoon as my soul sheds its carbon prison. With hope, the death of a body will bring forth an oak tree that will live on and grow to watch over my children, and in the passing of days to come, it will praise the Creator in my absence for life is short but art is long.

Living Waters Review


Green, Grey, Gold Johnny Hedger

Little days grow up fast with long stokes of golden sunlight. I count the weather marks in the bark of the grey oak outside my door. Traces of green tarry on the fringe among the gold and grey. Little days grow up like those leaves on the tree, slowly sipping on brackish streams, fresh springs to inspire beyond the sirens of sleep. The sleep-seeker dreams as the days grow old and drinks in the green that goes grey and the grey that is golden; and the breath-breather sees beauty beyond reach of the sleeping sirens, at the whispering tips of treetops.

Spring 2014

Poetry 37


Turning Green Scott Cotto

I saw a dead branch turn green. I saw it rise like twisted, tangled Artifacts buried beneath a temple. It crawled onward to the steam covered sun, like the lie of a new nuance

Poetry 38

and creative marvel‌ I witnessed it as an art so pure, that it claimed the southern Hemisphere for its own games. It recalled Warped Life as it draped over breathless caves. I saw a dead branch break the Bones of Man and, in turn, turn into a Weeping Willow hovering Over the Hill. And I welcomed the living branch that made all souls.

Living Waters Review


Solitude Thomas Sievert

Drawing 39

Spring 2014


Pigeonholed Emilio J. Gomez

Short Story 40

M

y name is William of Orange XXII, and nobility is in my blood. The first soldier to bear my name aided the British secret service during the Second World War. Like his predecessors, he transported classified documents for the military at recordbreaking speeds. On September 19, 1944, he flew two hundred fifty miles to deliver a message that saved over two thousand soldiers. My mother’s ancestors were born in the States and worked alongside one of the greatest pioneers of modern behaviorism, Dr. B. F. Skinner. Together, they developed theories on human behavior that continue to heavily influence American science and culture. My puffed-up chest bears a royal breastplate of iridescent emerald and alexandrite. The outer layers of my eyes embrace the fierce warmth of the sun, rising in heat and brightness as colors melt into the dark pupils at their core. My sharp-edged, onyx beak wields the sword of truth I use to defend myself from the onslaught of attacks I receive from those who have forgotten the lineage of my forefeathers. I was born on the streets of New York City. On the day I turned two months old, my parents took turns wishing me luck before asking me to leave the nest for the first and final time. The autumn air was harsh, as was the landscape, and I soon discovered that the city was not made with pigeons in mind. My parents didn’t prepare me for life on the streets. They were dreamers and historians who spoke of the good

old days before overpopulation threatened their existence, before humans began to consider pigeons nuisances polluting their streets, as if we uprooted the plants and trees and replaced them with concrete and asphalt! I learned to beg before I turned three months old. It isn’t worth soliciting the locals; they’re stingy and unsympathetic and scarcely toss us even a few crumbs. They’ve forgotten about our revolutionary contributions to the society they idolize, and most of them are so uneducated they don’t even know that the patriotic blood of warriors flows through our veins. The Yankees see our plight and carry on, unconcerned with our survival and praying for our extinction. Tourists, on the other hand, are willing to splurge. They’re notorious for buying more food than they can eat, especially if they have kids with them. Children love to feed us! I discovered that nonlocals tend to flock towards Battery Park in order to wind down by the Hudson River, and I began spending most of my days there. Far from the nutritious meals my parents spoke of, I found myself eating the high-calorie, ultra-processed foods the children fed me, food I knew was erasing years from my life. My waist tripled in size within a few months, making it feel like I was flying with a full combat load strapped to my back whenever I flapped my wings. I would sometimes perch on one of the forest-green benches that curve around the outskirts of the park, staring at my reflection in raised taxi windows and wondering what William of Orange the First would think of his out-of-shape, panhandling posterity.

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Like my parents, I’m not much more than a dreamer. I imagine myself in my greatest grandmother’s missile machine, wearing a miniature M1 helmet while leading a host of other pigeons in a rampage against the American Herring Gulls that hoard all of the respectable food in the park. The other birds and animals would join us too, allying against the tyrannical regime that defiles the World War II memorials where they set up camp. Breaking my trance, a tourist dropped a Cheeto in front of me. “Here you go, buddy,” came the voice from above. While I reached for it, one of those wretched gulls snatched it from beneath me. “Hey, shoo,” the tourist said. “I’m trying to feed the pigeon.” This pigeon has a dignified name with a proud history, I wanted to explain, but the tourist wouldn’t have understood. Besides, I was grateful for the small offering he proposed. He tried to kick the gull away, but the Herring foot soldiers are fast. As soon as the man dropped another Cheetos in front of me, the enemy rushed in and seized it. The tourist chuckled in disbelief, shaking his head from side to side. He turned to his two friends, who were blatantly appalled by the injustice occurring at such a beautiful park, their mouths wide open as they exchanged glances. The leader walked back to his platoon. He was of average build and was wearing a nest-colored heavy jacket with a matching beanie, thick jeans, and brown work boots. He had a tall friend and a pudgy one, and they were both dressed in comparably warm winter attire. The unit huddled together, looking to and fro to ensure that none of the birds were listening. There, they devised a plan. The enemy’s base was beyond a paved plaza designated to honor the 4,601 missing servicemen who lost their lives in the Atlantic Ocean during World War II. The name, rank, organization, and state of each fallen soldier was inscribed on eight granite pylons that framed the plaza. Between the easternmost pylons, a bronze eagle atop a black pedestal bowed toward the Statue of Liberty. One American Herring Gull stood on the eagle, and one more was assigned to each of the pylons. The gulls studied the tourists’ scheme from a safe distance like secret-service snipers. On the floor, five gulls were posted in front of the southern pylons in a curved formation. Two stood

Spring 2014

just a couple of feet away from the outside columns, one on the west and one on the east side. All of the gulls were watching intently. The coup commenced. The Good Samaritan began walking west towards the memorial. He slowly turned to his right and carefully raised his left hand high in the air, flashing the colorful Cheetos bag above his head so all of the gulls could see it. They watched carefully, but none of them budged. By now, I had relocated to a safer location. I hid behind a pylon where none of the gulls could see me. From there, I saw the other men approach the battlefield. As their boots made contact with the pavement, the pudgy one pulled out a Cheeto from his camouflage jacket. He raised it enough for the gulls to see and slowly joined the initiator. Meanwhile, the tall man had slithered his way towards me undetected. All gull eyes were on the other two men. I stepped out to meet the philanthropist, but he froze, staring over my left wing. “It’s impossible,” he muttered. I slowly turned around and stared into the eyes of a giant foot soldier, personally assigned to spy on me while the others monitored the bag. I ran full speed for the Cheeto in the man’s benevolent hand, but one of the gulls was faster. He charged the man, viciously shouting foreign obscenities at him until he dropped the food in bewilderment. The gull scooped up the Cheeto and ate it in front of my face, watching me with his contemptuous, corn-colored eyes. The man retreated to his platoon and briefed them on what had occurred. The mission was unsuccessful. The leader looked at me with soft, sympathetic eyes. I knew he wanted to do more, but it was unnecessary. The city was simply not made with pigeons in mind. I thanked the men for their bravery by closing my eyes and nodding my head. They returned the gesture and walked away. I circled the park for some time, reflecting on the day’s battle, encouraged by its potential success. After some time, I decided to head north, far away from the Herring Gulls and their condescending gazes. I closed my eyes and imagined myself at the edge of a field lined with barbed wire fencing. Smoke was in the air, and two British servicemen were on the ground, firing Enfield 303 service rifles at German soldiers. Behind them, a dried-up bush covered several men who stuffed a secret message inside of

Short Story 41


Short Story 42

a tiny capsule. When they finished, they carefully placed the capsule on my back, and I flew over the field, over the enemies, and delivered an urgent message in recordbreaking time. When I opened my eyes, I noticed an elderly man watching me. He sat next to a bench on a piece of cardboard that barely covered his filthy, navy pants. His Velcro shoes were coming apart at the base, and a cottoned gray toe poked out of his right sneaker. A brown T-shirt was covered by an Army-green jacket and a flowing, ragcolored beard. The man held on to an aluminum cane with one hand and extended the other hand towards me. He held his palm up, rubbed his thumb against his index and middle fingers, and called out,“Hey, buddy. Come over here, will ya?” I checked my surroundings. This wouldn’t have been the first time I got caught up in a daydream and walked towards an unwelcoming stranger. “Yeah, you. I’m talking to you, little guy. Come over here. I have some food if you’re hungry.” I walked over to the old man, and he fed me pieces of bread from the edge of a sandwich. “Does that taste good, buddy? Yeah, you look like you’re enjoying it. You know, you remind me of brave young pigeons we flew during the war. They helped save a lot of lives, you know?” I nearly choked on the bread. This man knew my ancestors. More than that, he fought alongside them! “Other people might have forgotten about you pigeons, but for us who live because of your bravery, we could never forget.” Just like my parents never forgot. And just like I will never forget. My name is William of Orange XXII, and nobility is in my blood.

Living Waters Review


Mosquito Melody Charlotte Rakestraw

The Leon County stars made me forget All the mosquitoes that breed out in the country And how those skeeters can’t get enough of me, Craving the sweet tea that runs through these veins.

Just to stare at the sky, I fell In love with the constellations all over again, And how when the sun sinks below the southern treeline The sky is darker than the ocean.

Big Bend nights are blinding, eyes ignorant of all below The stars tremble like lights strung on a clothesline Speckled across the sky Across a matte that is void of darkness.

The fire died down to burning coals, and I felt stings From mosquitoes who feasted or fled from my shivering flesh Yes, I earned these marks with pain, A reminder of home until I return again.

Spring 2014

Poetry 43


Simple Movements Hannah Dempsey

There is not a bone within me not porous to your nudging. Though I cannot claim to always be aligned, I am endlessly connected and unable to draw breath without your allowance. Unable to stand

Poetry 44

when you place me in the ocean to swim. I am without effort to move when unguided by your mystical nature to compel. I am free as far as I am made by a hand not my own.

Living Waters Review


Hard-Earned Hands Joey Hedger

These are the hands that broke bread, And the brittle crust crunched and crackled Under these callous fingers that gripped The surface of the newly risen dough, Tearing its flesh apart so it might be shared. And yet, I wanted it to be kept in one piece, Steaming in an aroma of splendor And filling up the room with nostalgia Of days when the world was not so harsh And Eden was more forgiving. These are the same hands that bled In a flowing rhythm of deep red motion That seemed more like a dance or a song Than any tear-inducing tragedy, And the blood stained the earth beneath. These are the scars of disbelief, The same that gave hope along with fear, As they were grasped in eager effortlessness, Because they were the same that gave the truth: That healing is not without mark. These are the hands of carpentry, As they carved those shifts of wood into a masterpiece, Smoothing out the blemishes and cutting out the rot. And these are the baker’s hands Of which it all began.

Spring 2014

Poetry 45


I David Denton

Us and them, please Learn to breathe— Relax for once. We’re not fooled by your story. You’re not up there to express, to create, To shape character through characters And show the truth about the good world Humble yourself, O Speaker

Poetry 46

To be honest, We’re not amazed by your elegance Your use of words and syntax The rules and laws of language Fly to the moon, and we’ll hear Cover ground on the mount of snow, and we’ll see Take hold of what you deem worthy of death And heed to the tortures of breath. The Greatest Poem? Go hear the psalm of the bees And taste the sap of the elm By all means, speak of those, and we’ll stay awake. Poetry through snow Through canyons Through brooks through woods Let the atmosphere be the sonnet

Living Waters Review


Nighttime Intuitions Joey Hedger

T

he problem is I’m always looking for the metaphor. *** “I’m not feeling very sane tonight,” I said to myself as the leather wheel hummed in my grip. The windows were rolled down, letting in the cold coastal air while my feet bundled themselves in a current of manufactured heat from the pedal vent of the car. It was an oddly refreshing contrast. I stopped the car, almost forgetting why I had even driven it in the first place. My grey Ford was placed in a two-hour parking spot on a dark street about a block from the Atlantic shore; I could hear the ocean from the open windows. It was one of those private neighborhoods where everyone is angry about everything. I slipped out of my door and gently shut it, hoping in my mind that no one would notice my presence: I didn’t feel very sociable at that moment. I also didn’t want to alert the haughty house owners that I was about to intrude on the holy grounds of their secluded beach. I knew I didn’t belong, but that was always the biggest lure in the first place. So I strolled toward the intermediate zone of private property that blocked the ocean from the street—a simple wall of sea grape trees— and made my way through it. Stepping over ostentatious roots and sand spur thorns, my bare feet suddenly sunk into the rigid sand that reached beyond me. I stepped on the clearing and presented my silhouette against the water. The moon was full and orange—a color that it does not often bear—and its fiery reflection burned into the black waves of the Atlantic. They barreled and crashed into the earth and I was the only person there. *** I bleed salt water. It’s an emotional occurrence to be sure, but when my skin is broken, it is the ocean that comes out. Of course I’m exaggerating, but what is a world without hyperbole? Words are symbols of images of memories and, at its deepest root, every word is truth: truth that cracks and squeaks in a world where the voice is unharmonious and sways with the tide of the sea. I can lie with my back to the earth, but if I have not truth… There are really only a few reasons why a person would drive into the private beaches of a cold night and play the

Spring 2014

blinking game with the moon. The first is insanity. I’ll plead that everyone suffers from this malady, but that would be an easy plea, so I can skip it. The second is that there is something in the distant horizon that they are trying to find. An example of this might be a marooned privateer desperately waiting for a passing ship to see his fire signals, or maybe an astronomer, staring into the sky in worshipful expectation that something will be there that he had not seen before. This is also very obvious, and can find itself as the motive of all these reasons in the first place. Finally, there is love. The world requires no more reason when love is thrown into the picture. Yes. It is true. I drove my soul to the earth’s end in frenzy towards love. She was the most beautiful person I had ever met. Okay, you can stop accusing me of hyperbole; that discussion has already ended, but sure, you have a point. She was a modestly attractive being who unknowingly owned a piece of my heart. This is never a good thing. So, in all my best intentions, I sought a conclusion at the Atlantic. *** I stood for an hour, staring into the depths of the horizon and listening for anything the sea had to say. It spoke in rhythm and jazz—a beautiful language yet disappointingly unintelligible when it comes to content— and I sand-tapped my feet to the song, but frowned at the disappointment that it gave. I had already suffered the sacrifice of the peacefulness of pleasant disposition, and I knew that whatever came next was going to be a downpour. Within the next twenty seconds, the sky was suddenly ablaze with the bright shock of a firework. This wasn’t just a Roman candle or cheap bottle rocket. No. What lit up the clouds on this night was a real firework. It flashed upwards in a hissing line, finishing with a burst of cascading red fire-fall, followed by a whole parade of lines, creating a battle scene above me. The moon watched the demonstration from behind my shoulder, cowering from the reverberating explosions. And when everything finished, the night became silent. Even the ocean’s song sank into a pianissimo. It all worked in an artistic splendor—the human hand-paint and the pale inspirer—and I was the only person there. I smiled as I pulled my arms across my shuddering chest and walked back to the two-hour spot where my car was parked. I was confident that I had just been shown something incredible. *** The problem is… I’m always looking for the metaphor.

Short Story 47


Night Sun Charlotte Rakestraw

Photography 48

Living Waters Review


Nick Cave: The Artist, Not the Singer Abigail Ege

There is a celebration going on, and I am not a part of it. Fervent feet are stamping and the sounds of the trees are rattling like bones while the bells of his chest are thrilled to be alive, bouncing and beating to the rhythm of his heart as they are swept into the whirling of the dance. The nightmares of children create a cacophony of color as they twirl hand in hand with the wookiee from outer space, his silky fur the hues of the galaxies. Buttons and beads and sunhats stolen from grandmas, howl to the moon, while wild wildebeests chant in euphoric harmony

Poetry

about the days when they were teddy bears.

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I know this is happening, because I too have felt the delirious intoxication of our tribal frolics, the drums beating fit to burst as the frenzied dance continues on through the night and I feel the movement of the planet and it is swaying in exaltation with our song, until I open my eyes and remember that I am alone. Neglected in the back hallway waiting for someone to walk by and know my joy.

Spring 2014


My Thoughts on the Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus Alex Franks

Creative Essay 50

S

hocking reds, oranges, and pinks electrify the shades of blue. In this new world, there is no space boundary and I saw the light and dark in the same space. It was like a sphere where the upper hemisphere was dominated by the light, and the lower hemisphere, the dark. They were being pushed from both sides. The light was raining through the filter of the water’s surface, and below the darkness rose up like heat, and as I sank, it eventually filled the entirety of the space. I could no longer see what was surrounding me, and it started to get colder. No one told me that it was going to get colder and more dazzling the further I ventured down. I purposefully didn’t watch any of the SCUBA documentaries my dad suggested because I thought that I would miss the reality of the experience by comparing everything to the footage in the experiences others had in the real movies. It ran the risk of becoming too cheesy and overtly fun; I didn’t want just to have fun; I wanted to find pieces of myself hidden down there. But maybe I should have watched one so that I knew it would be cold, and would have been prepared for more than the expectations that were set by The Life Aquatic. I did have a red hat like the main character of the movie, and wore it on the boat to bridge the gap between the magic of their adventures and mine. The SCUBA course was taught by a guy with long bleached blonde hair who could have been only a couple of years older than I was. Every time he gave us new instructions, he smiled as if it were a joke he was telling his

friends next to a surfboard on the beach. At the beginning of the lesson, he stood up in front of everyone, and chuckled before he said, “You guys came to the right…place.” (He emphasized “place” as if it were ironic that we were there.) He also stuck out both his thumbs and pinkies in a “hang loose” sign and laughter bubbled out of my mouth like it was coming out of the regulator. I held my hand over my mouth for the remainder of the instructions and daydreamed in slow motion about the fire coral and great whale shark that would swim above me like a giant cloud. The first time I went underwater, and breathed, it felt like I was being born. It was a new discovery of self. It was dark outside the first time we learned how to use the regulators, and looking up, I could see the atmosphere and beyond it into the living room of the stars. The surface of the water was a magnifying glass to explore and rake through the secrets of the cosmos. “Open up!” I tried to say to the door of the thermosphere, and only bubbles emitted from the regulator. But I’m sure the stars heard because the air contained the words and burst at the surface, continuing on. I marveled at the irony of the situation. The further I delved into the surface of the earth, the closer I began to feel to the external forces outside of the greenhouse. The last pool training before we went into the ocean, we were comfortable enough to put the gear together ourselves and slip into the pool. We said very few words to each other, not that we talk very much anyway, because when we are underwater we can’t talk to each other. However,

Living Waters Review


it was interesting that we didn’t feel the need to get out the quota of words a person is supposed to need to say before we were enveloped by the pressure of silence. It wasn’t as hard as I thought to giggle though, and that’s a relief. The antics of my friends delighted me and yet again, I had no control over the release of joy that broke at the surface to share with others. It floated up like I sometimes think my dreams do, when I sleep well and peacefully in my bed. Every time I entered the water, there was an unexpected world awaiting me. There were never the same expectations for adventure. I spun around and when I looked up, there were raindrops that looked like blinking lights above me, and pool dive was like the rehearsal of a circus. The dark curtain looked like it was being pulled behind the surface as the rain began to fall. It was as if the lights were starting to go down at the beginning of a stage production, enhancing the anticipation for the actual dive. In the deep end of the pool was a stage that was lit from behind with the pool light. The quietness drowned out any possible realities of the outside world, only this one was present. To my left, an acrobat in my class turned over backwards and did three flips in a row. A beautiful girl floated gently to the bottom and I heard a faint clank as her tank met the stage, and the noise commanded our attention. She took her regulator out like a brave woman walking the tightrope and began to blow bubbles that spun into rings like she was breathing fire. Towards the end of the class that day, my friend sat very still watching the end of the pool and when I stared long enough at the direction he was facing, he reared back and pretended to whip me with an invisible taming whip. Startled, I laughed and we pretended to fight in the water, and I knew he was going to be the lion tamer. The sun rose like the giant head of a lion the day of our first dive and made the sky and the water golden. But my stomach hurt and churned on the boat while the boat sped up and we began introductions. Also, it was chilly and not ideal weather for diving in the water. “Oh…so, you’re from Texas?” I had been zoning out up until this point when a man named Wayne spoke to me. He had beautiful eyes but you couldn’t tell unless you went diving with him because they are all you can see framed by his mask. From then on, he added nicknames like “Cowgirl” and phrases along the lines of “It’s just like

Spring 2014

climbing up a hay bale, isn’t it?” to all of his addresses to me. It was annoying but nice; it distracted me from the stomachache I was fighting. I wandered into the attention of one of the other instructors and he felt obligated to tell me that we wouldn’t see much sea life on the first dive, and to not get my expectations up. His name was Chip. I appreciated the honesty, but there was a part of me that was shattered that he wasn’t going to feed my imagination with fantastical myths and stories, so I asked, “Why are you a SCUBA diver?” He thought for a minute. Then, he smiled and rubbed his hand underneath his beard and said, “Because you never know what you’re going to see under there.” He started to smile bigger, “It’s really an adventure.” Both of our eyes widened as images of adventure, different for each, flashed and drifted across our irises. It wasn’t until the shadow of a ship passed over my eyes that I was brought out of my vision. Then Wayne shouted, “Ok, everyone, we are getting close to our dive site, so why don’t you all suit up, and we can help you if you’re missing anything.” I suited up quickly, and then waited patiently to be all checked out. My stomach was feeling better and I was anticipating the plunge. Wayne ran through too many instructions and I still have no idea what he was saying. All I remember is that I blinked a lot putting on my newly rinsed mask, and then it was my turn to fall backwards into the open water. I held onto my mask tightly and let the cold water gulp me before I resurfaced moments later. Almost as if I was jumping into a cold mouth that decided immediately that I was a bad taste. We all bounced next to each other on the surface for a while before Wayne took out his regulator and used a lot of pointing to communicate: “Let the air out of your vest.” It felt like the beginning of a ceremony as I raised my arm above my head and pressed the gray button that released the air slowly from my vest and the weight I added to my belt coaxed me down. One of the most exciting images was seeing halfway above water and halfway below. It was as if I had taken an oath of silence for a certain amount of time, and that made the act reverent. I took my time sliding down the wall of water for the first time and I swallowed air the whole time. I was worried that my ears wouldn’t pop like they were supposed to under all the pressure. Before long, my knees glided to the bottom, lifting sand.

Creative Essay 51


Creative Essay 52

At first, we looked like explorers on the moon, but then more like aliens invading our planet in the desert. It was desolate as far as I could see and the light was streaming down onto the surface in patches. Even though we weren’t going down any further, the gap between the bottom and the surface of the water seemed like it was continuing to grow. It started to get quieter the less I focused on my own breathing. And gracefully we glided along, following Wayne with his orange slack line. A girl with striking red hair below me found a gigantic sand dollar, and I was stunned by its size. There was little to no wildlife to be found below and in the ghost town. We came upon one lazy flounder and when Wayne put his hand underneath him, the fish wiggled a little, seeming to not want to be disturbed. It was like waking a sleepy man from a nap then being brushed away in a grumpy disposition. I kept swimming and looking in every direction; there was nothing in particular that stood out to be explored and it wasn’t long until I started to feel very dizzy and nauseated again. At that point, I heard a tapping on a tank and whirled around to see Wayne pointing his index finger up. He raised his hands up, and then put his palms out facing us warning us to go slow and not to surface too soon. Like bubbles, we floated up towards the surface, pausing and taking our time so that we didn’t damage anything in our bodies. Looking at my friend, he had a comfortable position, sitting with his legs crossed underneath his body and rolling back and forth a little. I giggled, and Chip swam over to him and pointed at his position and gave him a “hang loose” sign. His eyes beamed at being recognized for his comfortable existence in this new aquatic world. In my imagination, I saw him being crowned and his subjects floating below him to pay their respect to his position. He continued to glow until we all broke at the surface, returning to the normalcy of the world above. Our tanks sank into their placeholders and we sat in the blaze of the sun, unmoving, breath jarred. Wayne yelled, “Alright, folks, don’t get too comfortable, we will be going back in pretty soon!” Then he turned to me, and said, “That wasn’t so bad, was it, cowgirl?” I was still catching my breath and thought that no… it wasn’t; it wasn’t what I expected, but it was nice. The getting in process moved much more quickly the second time because we all knew what to expect this time. And like breaking glass, I plunged into the water.

This time, my goggles were stripped from my face and I felt paralyzed until I grabbed them, and was able to put them back on. Shaken up a little, I went under later than the others, and watched them sink while I composed myself. I don’t know what happened between this dive and the other, but there was a trembling in me that felt like a foreshadowing of terrible events. When I finally went down, the pressure in my ears started to be too much. It was so painful descending the water’s ladder this time. I had to go back up and try to go back down, slower the second try. It was still light, but I felt surrounded by a certain type of darkness. It reminded me of when you are in a church service and can feel the demons whispering in your ears, pleading for you to let them in. I kept checking behind me, as I was the last one behind the group of divers that kept swimming ahead, following the slack line like aquatic sheep. I felt something on my mask and reached up, swatting away a fish that was biting my mask. And then, slowly, darkness overtook me. The muted horror grew as we saw a gigantic whale corpse was causing the shadow. It was floating ephemeral and silent above us, decay peeling away, and the reverence we were feeling was conveyed without words. We wandered close without getting too close to the white and I had to close my eyes. They widened with fear and then began to fill with tears. I took my mask off and let the ocean water mix with my salty tears. I put it back on and cleared my mask immediately, and I noticed then that I was alone. They had left me underwater and I couldn’t see the slack line. At least that was my first irrational thought. Reality hit me in a way it never had before in this previously magical underworld. Panic. I closed my eyes again. Opened them. Whale. Closed them, and focused on breathing. Two waves of panic. Focus harder. Another wave. I rested my knees on the bottom of the ocean floor and slowly look around and in the distance I could see the whale finally drifting away. Then, I felt a tap on my back and I came face to face with Chip, and his eyes were smiling with so much light

Living Waters Review


behind that I thought that he was a star about to burst. But my heart soared at being found and I still hadn’t even checked my tank to see how much air I had left. Back on the boat everyone was smiling and laughing in the sun. It was harder than ever to get up on the platform and I heard, once again, “Just like getting up on a hay bale, darlin’!” I was soaked, and cold, even though the sun could be felt through the wetsuit. I sighed, and took all of the equipment off, making sure everything was in its proper place before I looked over the side of the boat. It was in vain, though; I could no longer see the whale. But instead, as I gazed in the water, I could see a multitude of colorful fish, all of them swirling around like ribbons in a dance. Then, in the distance, a pod of dolphins, as if they knew that there was grief to behold, started jumping out of the water, many at the same time. It was as if everything had been switched and instead of this side of the water being the one with the dull reality, fantasy from the water was making its way out of the depths. It was restoring itself. I gasped and held my hand to my mouth before laughing out of necessity after the strength of the misery I had just experienced. Chip’s laugh was loud and full and I could hear it booming next to me. “You never know! You really can just never know what you’re going to find out there, missy!” After I got home, I grabbed my bike and rode to the beach close to sun down, and went out to watch the waves and marvel at their richness. The bike’s wheels rotated steadily; it was like they were practicing the art of letting go and of going on, steadily. There was constant movement of spinning without any obstruction. The horizon rounded out the more I looked at it, and I took a deep breath following the width until, at moonrise, there was something on the horizon that caught me off guard. It looked like a massive wave breaking, but I couldn’t be sure. It was a whale. Breaking the glass surface, sending shards flying everywhere, and it was sublime.

Spring 2014

Creative Essay 53


Embarkation Noah Thaman

Kerry Park in the gloaming. The prior vault all crinkled up at the edges, like foil’s burnished rim. As if you could swear there is a peripheral sheen just beyond that partition, starpunched and sprinkled with other-sided luster. It’s cold tonight. I haven’t a lining

Poetry 54

thick enough for this troop through Queen Anne. Seven blocks back to The Hawkmoon, unnamed lanes, where the street lights flicker and dissipate the expelled cloud, evanescent mist curls like shoulders hunched and pockets, warm caverns for hands. I know the starfrothed waves. I’ve seen the couriers follow them in, landing lights sparking and vanishing within the black-brined Sound. Oh, the sea! You Melvillian seducement; I’m far away from your docks. I’ve spoken to Boreas. He’s splintered each bone’s step. What tethers us here, old friend? How strong is your magnetic North? Polaris, let down your ladder! I don’t think I’ll stay here long.

Living Waters Review


Clouds Like Ships in the Morning Sky Joey Hedger

Shrimping boats litter the waterway with dirty nets and tired sailors, wishful and wide-eyed as they wait for the sun to leap. Their callous hands hold tight the woven strands of thick rope, as if their cast had somehow caught home, and each heave would bring them closer. It is these mornings when the shrimpers find new breaths to breathe in the cool tidal winds that whisper, like hopeful secrets, that the sky is about to change with an explosion of colors as the sun rises amongst a fleet of cumulous ships, floating far off in the skyline.

Spring 2014

Poetry 55


Tanganyika Johnny Hedger

Photography 56

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Turning the Rudder Johnny Hedger

I drift through sky and sea, on a starboard breeze through leaves and torn bark that bleeds through its teeth a sticky sap that traps my fingers as I run them over the rough, again and again, examining the tarnished weather-worn hide, that covers softer skin within that once laid deep in the heart of the Redwood. I’m afraid she’ll let me go, and that once loosed and unbound from the ruddy mast, to which I fondly clung, I must swim the open sea alone, until the clouds collapse my sight and the fog, like bad breath, soaks my eyes, and the taste on my tongue is salt and brine. The captain changes course without second thought.

Spring 2014

Poetry 57


Perspectives on Anxiety (for John Milton) Chris Jensen

When I consider particles and strings that weave unbroken orbits into dust  and spin from supersymmetries a world  in perfect picoscopic parallax,

Poetry 58

this universe of nebulae and nerves,  each filament a finely tuned array  of vibration on vibration to a tune  unheard, at times unwanted, on the earth,  I also stand and wait, my eyes still strong  but unaccustomed to the curiosities  of light, knowing I should listen, but  forever fearing that I’ll one day hear  and gather from the grumble of the spheres  that I have wasted my entire life.

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“Dark World and Wide” Olivia Anderson

It’s never dark after sunset. Street lamps and home bulbs are on, reminding wanderers of home. Night dawns with a spangled host of shimmering street stones and the glass eyes of shop windows squinting soft smiles. Never dark after sunset; moon, stars, constellations, time told by the red and white flashing of a plane bringing someone home. Even the stygian depths of whirls and waves are made good to God’s eye by the fisherman’s lamp or the lighthouse keeper’s vigil. The mover of the tides dreams in her bridegroom’s sky. Never dark; for hope keeps all lights alive. Separated, yet glimpses of the beloved, dawn and sunset mark the changing of the lights who guard our home.

Spring 2014

Poetry 59


Modern Bucolic Courtney Houston

Painting 60

Living Waters Review


Nonna Mammano Caitlyn Girardi

C

aitlyn, these are your favorite cookies, right? I have been making them ever since your father was a boy. You know, I make them every year. Do you remember, you used to ask me all year for the “cove cookies?” You were so cute. You were not able to say “clove.” They were your grandfather’s favorite cookies, too. You girls are lucky to know how to bake and run a house. Between me, your mother, and your father, you girls will be great cooks and wives one day. My full name is Maria Stella Scire Mammano Girardi. I was born in Manhattan, New York on the first of September. It was back in the stone age: 1926. Well, I only lived in Manhattan for about four years. I was a child; I was very happy. I remember that there were many others from Italy there, so my mother and father felt at home. My parents were born in Sicily and immigrated to America after they were married. My father was born in Militello, Catania, Sicily. He and his family grew up in a cave by the sea. Don’t look so shocked. It was just like a normal house. They had nice furniture inside—a kitchen table and chairs, beds, and lamps. He grew up like any normal child. My mother’s family was very wealthy. She was born in Vittoria in Ragusa, Sicily. When her parents went to meet his parents before their engagement, my mother’s parents stayed in a hotel. They were not used to poverty and neither was my mother. She was very spoiled. After four years in Manhattan, we moved to the Bronx, then to Queens. Things were different back then—you could walk down the street without worrying about where you were going. People looked out for you in the neighborhood. Back then, we stuck together. Everywhere you went, people were looking out for you, especially if you were Italian. There was an elderly lady who lived on my block, who had come from Sicily, and she used to sell goodies on the corner of the street. She sold dried sausages, cappicola, sopressata, finocchia, and svogliatelle, all the things you’ve grown up eating but you do not find in a supermarket. There are less and less places to get these things. Well, one day, this young man went up to her to buy something, but he was not from our neighborhood. But, what did I say? Do you remember? Things were different; we stuck

Spring 2014

together. Two large young men on the opposite corner approached the man with the lady, but she waved them off, smiling and saying, “éniente,” or “it’s nothing.” I didn’t understand what went on at first, but then I realized that they thought she was being bothered, and they went to protect her. These young men were the bookies in the neighborhood, but it didn’t matter. If you were a paesan, they looked out for you. If you came into the neighborhood to start trouble, you would find more than you could start. One time, I was very ill with the mumps. I had to miss a lot of school. A few days into my illness, the Superman comic came out. My brother skipped school that day and rode his bike to the comic store so he could be first in line. He waited all day until the store received the comics, and he got me the first edition. I was so happy. No, I don’t still have it. I never really thought about what I wanted to be when I got older. My father worked every day, and my mother worked very hard at home. She did what we called “home work“: cooking, cleaning, sewing, embroidery, and crocheting. She is the reason why I love to sew and crochet. I learned to be happy with little things. I still fix my glasses with safety pins, and I still re-use my plastic bags and milk cartons. When I was a teenager, we used to make necklaces out of colored rubber bands and paper clips. I grew up in a time where things were very unstable. You know, my mother was used to having nice things, but she had to start working in a dress factory when I was twelve, right before the second World War. Then she worked in New York City on Seventh Avenue. Seventh Avenue is in the Garment District. I thought it was very chic. My grandmother lived with us when we lived in Queens. She would bake all the time, and she often just used egg whites in her baking. She let me keep the yolk when she used an egg white, and on Sunday, I would bake with the egg yolks. I remember being so excited every time she let me keep one. It was my special thing to do. I did not have many chores at home, because my mother and grandmother did most of the cooking and cleaning, but I have always loved to cook. I helped out in the kitchen just like you girls do. When your father was young, the store near our house used to have canned tomatoes on sale for three-for-a-dollar, but the offer was only one per-customer. I used to take all the children with me to the store, give them each a dollar, and have them purchase three cans each in the express lane.

Oral History 61


Oral History 62

I used to tell them, “Pretend you don’t know each other.” But now that I think about it, all the kids waited in one line, with one dollar each and only three tomato cans each, and I stood in the line behind them. I am guessing the cashier was not that much of an idiot. Caitlyn, I was not allowed to date when I was in high school. I still dated though. One night, I told my parents I was going to the movies with my girlfriend, but I was really going to meet a boy. When I left my house he met me down the block, and we rode the trolley to the movie theatre. My cousin-in-law was on the trolley too, but he nodded to me, as if he were saying, “Don’t worry, I won’t say a thing.” He winked at us when we left the trolley, and I was relieved. When I got home, my father called me to the kitchen. I was so nervous that my cousin had said something to him. My father said, “I was driving by the movie theatre, and I saw you with that boy.” My face must have gone milk-white, but he then said, “But I’m not going to tell your mother because she will get mad.” Later that night, my mother called me into the kitchen too, and I thought my father had told her. She said, “I saw you with that boy, Maria Stella! But I won’t tell your father, because he will get mad.” At first, I had been so scared, but then it ended up being a comedy. I wonder if my mother and father ever found out that the other knew what was going on. Not many girls went to college in those days for anything other than finding a husband. While I was in college, I also was working at Metropolitan Life Insurance Company as a secretary. Well, I think women should work. I was lucky because my parents wanted me to work. You have to be independent in case something happens to you. Then again, I really think women should stay home with the children. But there are so many opportunities for you these days. You can really do whatever you want. I did not meet your grandfather in college. Our families did not know each other, even though he was Italian. His father was from Sicily and his mother was from Napoli. He was the cat’s meow. He had jet-black hair that he slicked back, and bright blue eyes. (That’s where your cousin Maria gets her blue eyes from.) Our neighborhood used to have many clubs and dances to get the kids off the streets and doing something fun. When I say clubs, I do not mean those terrible places people go to today, but clubs, you know, like Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts,

or the Sons of Italy. I met your grandfather at an Italian Charities dance. We hit it off right away. I had dated before I met him, but not much. He fit perfectly with my family, and most importantly, he was from a good family. I got married on February the fourteenth, 1953. We did not pick the date because it was Valentine’s day, but it was nice anyway, and very romantic. I was actually twentyseven when we got married, which was older than usual. Twenty-seven is a good age—your aunt got married when she was twenty-one, but don’t get any ideas. That boy your sister went with was nice, but you tell me when she finds a nice Italian Catholic boy to take care of her. But things are different today and you girls are in no rush. When you get married, though, you must think of how you are to discipline your children. Oh, your father was such a little troublemaker. We called him “Little Destructo.” When he was four, he went around with a baseball bat and hit all the mailboxes in the neighborhood, just for fun. And one time—oh, I was so dumb—I was driving the kids to see my uncle in the Bronx, and they were misbehaving. Florestano and your father were bothering Francesca, but Violanda was in the front seat asleep like a little angel, bless her. She’s so good. But I had enough of it, pulled over on the parkway, and got out of the car to spank them. Well, I left my key in the ignition, and your father and uncle locked me out. I was pounding on the car like a madwoman, but the kids thought it was so funny, and wouldn’t let me in. Francesca finally let me in. Of course, it was funny, but at the time I was livid. Caitlyn, I just have one more thing to say. Girls do not know how to be ladies these days. When I grew up, I understood it. There were rules set down; no one told them to me, but I saw. I saw ladies, and I always wanted to dress like and behave like a lady to the best of my ability. I think we should dress ladylike and always act like others are watching. I never leave the house without my jewelry. Even when I worked with your grandfather in the store, I always wore a skirt or a dress. I loved it—I met different people and learned about people, but I never forgot that I was a lady. Now, would you like to take some cookies home?

Living Waters Review


A Postmodern Love Story Alex Franks

1. “We’re in the greatest city in the world,” you said. 2. We are in the city by the river where most days golden scales shed faster when the fish swim with excitement. You and I were jumping across river rocks two weeks ago when you found a pebble covered in those golden scales. You picked it up. You pretended you were going to eat it, gain superpowers, grow 5 times bigger than you are with muscles and superhuman strength, and then we laughed. 3. You used to work too hard, not come home, and drink all of the (remainder of the morning) coffee before the little man at the heart of the heart of the heart of your heart woke up. from the coma stretched drank a coke and whistled as he energetically cleaned the room. 4. That first night after you came home restored, we danced by the river next to a fire and you reminded me that you were glad you married me.

Spring 2014

Poetry 63


Significance Kelsey Satalino

I found love disembodied in a second-hand book, an ee cummings poem punctuated with crayon hearts and a dated inscription: “I carry your heart with me…” signed Julie, to Darren, with “all my love.”

Poetry 64

I was arrested by the instability of Julie’s declaration. The signing of this shelved romance recalls a fear of forgetfulness, as if Julie scrawled affection that holds captive Darren’s aging pulse on a stranger’s bookshelf. For in her words April is never-ending, ellipsis capturing poem and promise of perpetuity in translation: in the interval of years this love that was not my own has somehow become my possession.

Living Waters Review


Untitled Trees Courtney Houston

Painting 65

Spring 2014


White-Washed Tombs Anisa Stechert

Short Story 66

T

he house whispered its grandeur over the tops of the oaks and made playthings out of the towering pines nearby. The deep blushing of the red paint looked as if it had been slapped on the day before and the black trim around the windows made the ravens’ feathers look dull and weathered. I stood before the dark wood doors that mocked my earlier confidence. I cowered before them and my trembling hands resisted my brain’s commands to push the doors ajar as they fell defeated to my side. I closed my eyes and the wind laughed in my ears, tousling my hair, infantilizing me. I glanced at the perfectly manicured lawn surrounding the house. Little groups of daffodils excluded themselves from the flamboyancy of the wandering bougainvillea and some short shrubs had been cut into agonizingly exact circles; not one rebellious leaf dared show itself. Tasteful lawn adornments sparkled here and there and the water bubbling from the extravagant marble fountain created some semblance of a melody that no one knew the lyrics to anymore. The inexplicable visual draw that this impeccable house showcased was rarely matched. I turned back toward the doors. In one simultaneous moment my lungs inflated to capacity as my hands flew forward and shoved the doors open. I was met with no resistance and each door obediently halted when its commandeering hinges would allow it to open no further. The easily opened doors left the heart of the house as susceptible prey. It was dark. Not pitch black, but the grey dark that

makes fortunate intruders eager to open old wounds not quite properly healed and reminisce on lost chances from better days. Eager for concealment, I slammed the doors shut. The finality of the now sealed entryway echoed through the empty belly of the mansion. Thick layers of dust had blanketed itself over anything left—which wasn’t much. A ravaged couch whose frame had been used to fuel a fire sat languishing in a corner that didn’t matter anymore. A once intricate and beautiful lamp lay broken and sprawled out in the middle of the dining room. The heavy drapes mimicked lifeless criminals left to hang. My stomach began to claw its way up my throat. My weighty skirts demanded attention, grasping at my moving ankles. I clutched some of the fabric to dispense the weight and allow my gait to widen. I headed for the stairs. I raked my eyes over the second floor and knew there was only one option: pressing forward. Each step reverberating beneath my foot was so loud it seemed to come from the walls. Unexpected relief came when I reached the top of the stairs. Winding down hallways with nothing but old holes from old nail marks and peeling paper caused the familiar uneasiness to thud through my body. I ran my finger along the wall as I walked, allowing it to slip into established divots and familiar scrapes. Some doors were half open, some shut fast, others completely unfurled to expose the innards of gutted rooms. Finally, I reached the room. To come this far and not go into the one place that had been calling to me would be an unforgivably hellish mistake. My hand turned the knob

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and the door seemed to spring open. I stood beneath the frame and let my eyes adjust to this new darkness. It wasn’t the grey dark that provided a grotesque sense of comfort. This darkness knew me more intimately. I stepped into the forlorn room that contained a mere two objects: a travesty of a bed and an ostentatious mirror tilted despondently in a sad corner. I glided to the mirror and looked at myself. My gaze perused my figure in its entirety, my curls that slipped on my shoulders and fell down my torso. The inexplicable visual draw that this impeccable house showcased was rarely matched. It’s one thing to look at one’s features, the shallow aesthetics, but it’s entirely different looking into oneself. I began to scrutinize the murky reflection of my eyes in the mirror, and suddenly, an animalistic yelp caught in my drying throat. I pivoted from the mirror and walked to the bed. The once lavish centerpiece of the room lay in irreparable rot. The showy reds and golds of the bedding had morphed into couplings of maroon and the color of sand after rain. The heavy, solid framing bared cavernous gouges and whole chunks were missing. I pressed my hand down into the decaying linens and provoked the puffs of smoke that had been lying dormant. I hoisted one leg up onto the bed and situated my skirts. I brought my other leg up and positioned myself cross-legged and awkwardly atop the disintegrating sheets. I breathed in the decomposition and let tears blur the greys, dark, and black into a gothic’s Monet. Something unreachably deep within me was broken past the point of restoration. I fell back onto the sheets and allowed the bedding to enshroud me. A few solitary heaves racked my lonely frame and tears took their time sliding out of the corners of my eyes before taking up wet residence in my hair. I let myself wallow there for maybe an eternity and then slowly sat up and flung one leg off the side of the bed. I let it dangle while I moved my sticky, disheveled hair with both hands from my face. I felt a hundred years old. Moving from the bed, I centered myself in the middle of the room before slowly falling to my knees. My heavy skirts and the layers of dust did little to cushion my knees from trying to dig into the unrelenting wooden floor. I covered my face with both hands. “Oh, God, please.” Supplications began as whispers and evolved into cries that pushed their way through the hallways, down the stairs, over the broken

Spring 2014

lamp, and across the wilted curtains. My petitions were met with dust and grey. The body-heaving sobs slowly grew tired and subsided. I had somehow maneuvered myself into being prostrate and began the arduous process of standing upright, moving myself onto all fours before pushing up onto two feet. I moved my hair that had now stuck itself to my face again, shook my head to clear itself of any thoughts, and collected myself. I swept myself from the room, down the hallways, and down the stairs. I reached the front doors that had been so threatening maybe an hour ago and yanked them open. I couldn’t even force myself to give a cursory glance at the lawn I had so meticulously studied before. I headed straight to my favorite corner illuminated by my favorite lamppost.

Short Story 67


Inspired by In the Wake of the Hunters Thomas Lubben

What do you see, Wyome, Draped in your blanket of many colors, Staring boldly toward the stooping sun? I, your mount, am tired, need the rest Of crystal, cliff-born streams Of echoing canyons, soft dreams of the West. What do you see, Wyome, Hidden from my animal eyes?

Poetry 68

The prairie, the windswept everlasting, The sky as big as thoughts, The stars as bright as new eyes in the night. The mountains fall behind us like a story. We sing of legends, Breathe the rite of the past. The hunters raze the running earth, But now their dust has settled. What do you see, Wyome? The clouds that float to the East, Are touched by the evening.

And every color of the prairie finds its splendor.

Living Waters Review


All Things Grow Kelsey Satalino

I

rarely remembered to water Lazarus. Thankfully, miniature cacti are hardy plants because Eve seldom remembered to water him either. It was a miracle that the poor plant had lasted this long. Eve and I alternated watching Lazarus on a weekly basis, though, and our combined—if sporadic—efforts had so far kept him alive. Unfortunately, Eve had been out of town during her designated week, and in the midst of studying for my GMAT exam, I had forgotten all about our potted friend. In the past three weeks, his stalks had turned brown and shriveled and drooped pathetically. I nudged the fossilized soil in his ceramic pot and winced. We’d performed some miraculous resurrections before, but this time Lazarus was almost certainly dead. I grabbed my keys and headed out to Eve’s apartment, mentally preparing myself to break the news. Eve had just gotten back from her business trip, and I was supposed to meet her for dinner—and bring Lazarus. In the pre-twilight silence, the gravel walkway crunched loudly underneath my soles. Orange orbs of lamplight cast a shadow over my short walk, and I wondered how I should break the news of Lazarus’ death. Eve and I had had this plant for two years now; we found it at a farmer’s market the day I got my first real job… *** It was late July, and I was fresh out of college, having just graduated in May. After months of interviews and phone calls, rejections and resume revisions, Johnson and Burns, an energy service provider, had offered me a job as

Spring 2014

a clerk in their accounting department. I planned to go to graduate school for finance, but in the meantime, this was a decent way to gain some professional experience and pay off my student loans. The day I got the job, Eve, who had secured an internship at a travel agency weeks before she’d graduated, had decided a celebration was in order. We were taking our usual Saturday morning walk to the local farmer’s market when I’d told her the news. “That’s amazing!” She hugged me enthusiastically. “This is a momentous occasion.” Her enthusiasm was infectious. “Well, I am pretty relieved,” I admitted. “We should celebrate.” She plucked a twig from a nearby bush and made me stop walking. “Kneel.” “What?” “Kneel.” I obeyed, looking self-consciously at curious passersby. “I hereby initiate you, Lane Victoria Parker, into the illustrious club of the agreeably employed.” She passed the stick from shoulder to shoulder in mock ceremony. “You may rise.” “Thanks, “ I chuckled, and we continued to walk down the sunny Long Island street. “But I was thinking more along the lines of going out to dinner or something.” “We can do that, too. Maybe I can even get you to put on a dress.” I gave her a look. She continued, unfazed. “Regardless, we need to commemorate this important milestone in your life. We need something tangible, a visible marker.” At this point, we had reached the farmer’s market. “I have an idea!” Eve exclaimed, dragging me towards a nearby booth. Clay pots with vibrant flowers lined the tables and a hanging vine twisted out of its container to strangle one of the stand’s four poles. I was overwhelmed by the strong blend of fragrances. “You want to get a plant?” I asked. “Yes, a plant is just the thing. You’ll have to tend to it, so it’ll be a constant reminder. I can help, of course.” I glanced around, my gaze trailing from blue hyacinth to sunshiny buttercups. “That one,” Eve spoke up, pointing. “A cactus?” I laughed. “Can’t I at least get something pretty?” “A flower would die too easily. A cactus is… hardy. Besides, it’s pretty unique.”

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Short Story 70

“Well, that’s true.” I picked up the plant in question, touching one of its stubby green stalks with my fingertip. “I guess it is kind of cute.” Eve grinned and reached a freckled hand into her denim purse for her wallet. “Then I think we have a purchase to make.” *** I knocked on the door of Eve’s apartment and was greeted by a flash of color: Eve’s smiling face was tomato red, a hue almost indistinguishable from her hair. Her business trip to Florida must have gone well, then. Sometimes I was jealous of the exotic locations Eve got to visit as part of her job, but it was hard to hold too much resentment for someone you’d been friends with since the fifth grade. “Hey!” I said, entering. “How was your trip?” “Fabulous, as usual.” The vibrantly colored apartment was covered in layers of unpacked clothing. “Did you miss me?” Eve asked, plopping down next to her suitcase and continuing to sort through piles of wrinkled bathing suits and gym shorts. “Without me around, you must not have had anything to clean all week.” “I know. It’s been a real struggle.” I grinned, clearing a seat for myself on the couch. “Looks like you had a fight with the sun.” Eve touched her burnt face gingerly. “Only a few battle scars. You can rest assured I won in the end.” “So, what’s new?” She paused in her flurry of unpacking and took a deep breath, her chapped lips breaking into a smile. I looked at her quizzically. “Well?” “Okay. Lane. I was going to wait until after dinner to tell you this, but you know I’m no good at being patient. I’ve got great news.” She squirmed, grinning, and I could see her flush with excitement even through her sunburn. “What is it?” “You know how Advance has been talking about relocating me?” I knew. She’d been itching to leave the country for months now. The travel agency had promised her a new position at the beginning of next year—location to be determined. I tried not to think about it. “Yeah, what about it?” “Apparently some guy in the Australia office quit last week. They called me this weekend and asked if I could transfer immediately.” She beamed. “It was really short

notice, but I thought, well, why not? I start in two weeks!” “You mean—” “I’m going to Australia!” I blinked, speechless. I really shouldn’t have been surprised; this was always the way. Eve bounced from one idea to another like an indecisive bee in a greenhouse full of equally vibrant flowers, ready to uproot herself at a moment’s notice. With her, there was no middle ground. When we were in ninth grade and Eve had broken up with her boyfriend of three months, she swore she’d cut off all her hair in mourning. I had to hide every pair of scissors from her for two weeks before she decided she rather liked her red locks after all. I thought this transfer was just a rumor that would never come to fruition; at least, I had reasoned, it was a very distant possibility, an idea Eve would grow tired of in time. “Wow,” I said. “Yeah.” Her grin faded slightly. “Well, what do you think?” What did I think? We were supposed to have three months left together. She couldn’t just go gallivanting off to her perfect job, changing continents on a whim. What about our late night conversations? What about our Saturday morning walks? What about our lives? I wanted to storm out of the room. Instead, I said, “Wow, Eve. That’s awesome. I’m so happy for you.” Her smile returned. “By the way,” I added, “I should tell you: I think Lazarus is dead.” *** Due to our conflicting work schedules, Lazarus’ funeral was not held until three days later. Imagined family and friends gathered around the grave and shared fond memories. Eve and I had put a cardboard burial marker into his pot, as neither of our small apartments came with a backyard. Tossing dried flecks of dirt off my fourthfloor balcony, we shared memories of Lazarus and sang impromptu elegies until the downstairs neighbors decided to comment on the noise. The reception was held at our favorite diner, with Eve chewing macaroni while I drowned French fries in a puddle of ketchup. “So, I’ve booked my flight out of Newark,” Eve finally said. My throat felt dry. “Oh?” “I’ve even found an apartment in Melbourne.” She pushed her plate away. “I know I should be sad, but I’m so excited, I can hardly even eat.”

Living Waters Review


I averted my eyes from her illuminated expression, discovering an intense interest in the rusted state license plates hanging from the ceiling. “My flight leaves at like 3am on the 31st; unfortunately, it was all I could get last minute.” She rolled her eyes. “Now I just need to start packing. You know how much I hate that.” I nodded, admiring a particularly colorful New Jersey plate. “I’ll probably just pack the night before anyway. Otherwise I’ll end up packing and repacking ten times.” I wondered if the diner took the plates off scrapped cars or if they were donated. Surely, the painted metal could not have accumulated that much wear unless it’d been exposed to some rough roads. “Will you take me to the airport?” Eve’s voice cut through my musings. “I know you’d have to get up really early.” I met her eyes. “Of course,” I said. “I wouldn’t miss taking you on your next big adventure.” We were silent for a moment. “Poor Lazarus,” Eve said eventually, then chuckled. “Remember what I almost named him?” I cracked a grin. “Gerd? I still think that’s an awful name.” “Well, looking back, it wasn’t the best choice. However, I still think it very appropriate for a plant—symbolic.” I rolled my eyes at that, taking a mouthful of burger so I wouldn’t have to respond. I definitely remembered the naming process… Eve, the would-be world explorer, periodically went through phases of obsession with other countries and cultures—both current and historical. In sixth grade, her primary obsession had been Russia; by eighth grade, it was Finland; in twelfth, ancient Greece; in college, New Zealand. At this particular time, Eve had been in love with medieval Iceland. She had pored over Icelandic sagas and any book about Norse mythology that she could get her hands on. Odin, Thor, Yggdrasil—foreign-sounding names that meant nothing to me—were constantly on her lips. As we were walking home from the farmer’s market the day we found Lazarus, balancing a newly purchased miniature cactus among fabric bags brimming with produce, Eve had stopped short with a “brilliant” idea for a name—based on a Norse myth, of course. I remember giving her a disdainful look when she suggested “Gerd”—a name as ugly as the cactus—but I let her make her case. According to Eve, the Norse fertility god Freyr fell in

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love with a giantess named Gerd. This was pretty taboo, but he was so in love that he asked his servant Skirnir to go to the land of the giants and convince Gerd to come back with him. When Skirnir approached Gerd with the news of Freyr’s love, she flatly refused to return his affections. Skirnir offered her a magical ring and apples of youth, but she would not be bought. Eventually, he threatened Gerd with an awful curse—involving her spending her days destitute, abused, and scorned by all men—completely cut off from society. In exchange for Skirnir lifting this curse, Gerd finally agreed to meet with Freyr in a field and accept his love. Eve said the whole story was probably a harvest myth. Freyr, the god of fertility, professes his love to Gerd, who represents a frozen field; the frost will not melt easily; it takes the full strength of Skirnir (the sun) to thaw her. When Gerd finally yields, she and Freyr meet in a field associated with barley, and the result of their union is a plentiful crop. This makes the ending seem inevitable—one season progresses seamlessly into the next. The ice must melt for spring to come. Death must precede life in an endless revivifying cycle… To be honest, I never really grasped all these highminded literary metaphors. I could never get past the details of Skirnir’s actions to see the bigger picture. It always seemed like violence to me. “Are you okay?” Eve asked, bringing my thoughts back to the diner. “Hm? Oh, I’m fine.” I absently twirled my straw, watching the ice crash into the sides of my glass. Suddenly, the memory of naming Lazarus became too much. “I could’ve given you a piece of him to take with you.” “Lane—” “I mean, I know he’s only a plant. I’m not overreacting or anything.” I could see my fractured reflection in the ring of water from my glass. “It’s just poor timing.” Eve stared at me for a moment, her blue eyes piercing. “Let’s jump off the bridge.” I blinked. “What?” “Let’s jump off the Long Beach Bridge and into the channel,” Eve said with a mischievous grin. “I’ve heard of people who’ve done it before.” “Where did that idea come from?” I laughed. A pause. “Also, isn’t that illegal?” “Technically,” she admitted. “But come on. We used to

Short Story 71


Short Story 72

go on fun adventures all the time.” “Yeah, if you mean jumping in fountains and putting Kool-Aid in people’s showerheads in college. Really adventurous.” Eve was unfazed. “We are now older and wiser—” She glared at me to quell any possible objections. “So our adventures should have higher stakes.” “That doesn’t even make sense.” “Look,” she said, suddenly serious. “I’m leaving. And I’ve wanted too jump off the bridge for forever. You know I have, and I know you secretly think it would be fun. We’ll do it at night, so we won’t get caught.” She squirmed with eagerness. “C’mon, Lane, don’t you think this would be a great way to end this chapter in our saga of friendship?” She was always using phrases like that, as if her life were an epic poem waiting to be written—or at least an exciting made-for-TV movie. “I don’t know…” She looked me in the eye. “If I’ve got to leave, at least let me go out with a splash.” “I’ll think about it.” Eve grinned. She knew she’d won. *** The night of our final adventure, Eve and I stood nervously outside of an empty seafood restaurant bordering the Reynolds Channel. The moon shone like a spotlight on the browning weeds beneath our feet, and I gazed across the street toward the glistening water with apprehension. There never used to be a law against jumping off this bridge, but two years ago a boy had dived off on a dare and broken his leg on the rocks below. Most agreed that his buddies had pushed him off as a joke, which explains why he hadn’t been able to jump off far enough to land in deeper water. Of course, the new restriction merely increased the desire of the young and rebellious to jump. Ever since, the police had been cracking down on wouldbe bridge jumpers, taking large groups of college students and giggling teenagers in to the police station for questions. Still, there were tales of a few successful dives from the bridge. Catching divers was hardly a priority for law enforcement officers, and, this time on a Tuesday night, the streets were practically deserted. A light drizzle began to fall, and I looked to Eve for confirmation that we were going through with our plan. She nodded, undeterred. Dark green oak trees offered

feeble protection from the downpour of the purple sky. Wrapping my jacket around me, I followed her down the road toward the water. By the time we reached the center of the bridge—the safest place to jump—the walking path was slick with rain. Dark clouds extended toward the horizon, and I shivered. Eve hoisted herself onto the thin metal railing of the bridge. “Come on—the view’s great from up here.” “Isn’t it too wet?” I asked. “It’s fine.” Shakily, she stood upright. Throwing her arms open wide, she giggled. “I feel like I’m in Titanic.” “What are you doing?” I whispered. “Do you want to hurt yourself ?” “It’s fine. I’m balanced.” Eve mimicked slipping off, laughing at my jerking motion to save her. “Don’t worry so much.” She looked like an apparition, her reddened skin glowing eerily in the moonshine. “Are you scared?” “No.” I stepped up on the ledge before the railing, then hesitated. “This is our last big adventure—at least for now.” Eve extended her hand, which I took. “Don’t let me down.” “Don’t let you down?” I looked up at her in disbelief. “You’re the one who’s leaving. You didn’t even talk to me about it.” Eve frowned. “I don’t have to consult you about everything I do.” “No, but it would’ve been nice to have some warning before you up and left me.” “Well, I’m sorry you’re too scared of taking risks to do anything exciting in your life.” Her blue eyes were ice. “But I can’t stay here forever.” “Not everything has to be a risk to be worthwhile. Sometimes, stability is wonderful, and it doesn’t mean I’m scared just because I recognize that.” “Don’t take this so personally.” “How else am I supposed to take it?” I let go of her hand, scoffing. “Maybe it’s better that you’re leaving, after all.” A siren pierced through the rain. Eve twisted her neck around to see the flashing blue lights on the mainland approaching the bridge, but her movement was too fast. Her hair whipped around in a fiery halo even as one of her feet slipped off the railing. She reached out a hand. “Lane!” I froze.

Living Waters Review


Her eyes met mine as she fell into the turbulent water with a splash. “Eve!” Too late, I raced to peer over the railing, searching for my friend amid the whirling waves. The ocean writhed a muted green, but the haze of rain washed out any other movement. I strained my eyes in vain. The sirens grew louder, and I could see a police car approach the bottom of the bridge. Looking back and forth between the water and the pulsating light, I panicked and ran. An officer shouted, “Hey, Chuck! I think there’s someone in the water!” Panting, I hid behind a pillar on the far end of the bridge. I watched as if in slow motion as two men in uniform got out of their car, looking over the railing at the foam where Eve had fallen. “Look, there’s someone there!” The man who’d spoken hurried to the base of the bridge. “I’m going in. Keep a look out for anyone else who may be around.” His partner nodded, and the officer jumped off. The rain had grown so strong that I couldn’t even hear the splash. I should’ve offered my help, but what help could I be? I shook, blonde hair hanging in tangled rivulets and arms curled around my legs, watching as the police officer emerged from the river with my best friend. The other man drove the cop car to the foot of the bridge to meet them, and I could see, to my relief, that Eve was walking on her own, though limping. Eventually, the blue light and shrieking faded into the night, the police car speeding away with Eve in tow. Though too far away to see her, I imagined the look of betrayal in her eyes, burning through the haze of rain. I had the peculiar urge to catch the water in my hands. *** The next morning was overcast and cool. I went to Eve’s house at dawn—I knew she was an early riser. Buzzing her apartment, I cast a look around the overgrown front lawn. No answer. I tried again, absently playing with a leaf from one of the yellowing bushes by the door. I waited for twenty minutes before I heard footsteps behind me and turned to see Eve, left ankle bandaged, limping along the sidewalk. She met my eyes and continued on without a second glance, wincing each time her injured leg hit the pavement. “Eve!” I called, jogging after her. “Eve, are you okay?”

Spring 2014

“What do you care?” She sped up. I could see angry scrapes running down her calves, extending like roots into the pavement with every step. “You shouldn’t be running on your ankle like that.” There was no response. “Can we talk?” The sun was slowly rising, bleeding rose-colored light onto the horizon. I wondered how long Eve had been up, pacing the streets with a broken ankle. “I saw you were safe,” I called to her retreating back. “I wouldn’t have left otherwise.” She whipped her neck around to glare and turned into a park. I guessed she was trying to lose me in the innumerable forking paths, but I was too quick. I grasped the back of her shirt. Growling, she slapped my arm away and ran faster, gravel flying behind her. The pebbles stung my skin, but I quickened my pace. “Eve!” Despite her injury, she was still faster than me. She forced herself onward with a strangled cry. Just as I was about to lose sight of her, she landed hard on her left ankle, causing her knee to bend. Eve shrieked as she collapsed onto the gravel path, hyperventilating. I ran toward her. Her resolve to evade me had withered, and I fond her sobbing into an ant pile. “Eve, I’m—I’m sorry. I—” I found myself at a loss for words. She raised an arm—imprinted with pebbles—to cover her swollen eyes. “I didn’t mean to— There was nothing I could do.” I could tell my words were inadequate, so I just sat there while she cried. I could hear a bee further down the path, its infernal buzzing punctuating Eve’s weeping. The silence was worse than if she had screamed. I cleared my throat. “You were right,” I said. “We should’ve named the cactus Gerd.” Eve cracked open an eye. “What?” “Lazarus. We should’ve named him Gerd.” Even covered in sweat and ants, Eve was able to convey disdainful disbelief. “For the myth—I mean, I still think what Skirnir did to her was awful.” I twisted my blonde hair nervously. “But, even though Gerd had her own idea of how her life would go, all the mess and manipulation and that fertility god’s love resulted in something good. Just different.” Eve stared. “It was good, right?” I half expected her to

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Short Story 74

throw dirt in my face, but she didn’t. “They let me off with a warning.” Eve shifted to sit upright. “The police, I mean.” “Oh.” I breathed audibly. “Well, good.” I watched as she absently picked an ant off her leg. “And your ankle?” “Will be fine in a few weeks. Though I probably shouldn’t have been running on it.” “Look, about what I said last night—” “It’s okay.” “Really?” She shrugged her shoulders and gave a small grin. “Yeah. I’m sorry, too.” Getting up, Eve dusted herself off. “Well,” she said, “aren’t you going to ask me about my police station adventure?” I smiled. “So how does it feel to be on the wrong side of the law?” She flipped her hair over her shoulder with a dramatic sigh as we walked back toward the park entrance. “Well, I wouldn’t expect a straight-laced law-abider like you to understand, but I’ll do my best to explain.” We kept up our giggling conversation all the way back to her apartment. The wet grass yielded beneath our feet as we trudged along, glittering bronze in the remnants of the rain.

Living Waters Review


Americana

Jordyn Marlin

Photography 75

Spring 2014


The Western Rail Rebecca Ethridge

Short Story 76

T

he train stopped on a bridge facing the fading horizon of a setting sun. Marta shifted carefully to peek out the window and over the side of the seemingly bottomless gorge. One wrong movement and the train could tip. She stared over the edge thinking that if she fell, she would have enough time to spread wings and fly. “We apologize for the delay in your travels, but the train has come to a stop due to a minor glitch in the track. We are in the process of fixing this error and will be along shortly. All passengers should remain in their seats until we have begun moving. Once again, we apologize for the delay. Thank you.” The intercom crackled out, and Marta sat back in her seat with a heavy sigh. There had been only two times before when a train stopped while she was on it: the first, when she had married her husband, Patrick, and was on the way to their honeymoon in Paris; and the second, when she travelled alone to his funeral. Now, the conductor was playing a continuous trick on her, stopping and starting her life. There were only so many stops until the end of the rail. Across the aisle, Marta caught the eye of a young boy who rammed a toy train into the seat in front of him. With a gap-tooth smile, he waved it in her direction, flying the toy through the air like an aeroplane. He let his hand slowly open, and it fell to the floor with a loud crack. Marta flinched at the sudden noise. How careless were little children with toys; they would play with them one second and then forget that they ever owned such a thing

the next; something sparkling and new would catch their newborn eye. If Marta had known to hold on to those gifts, she would have never let them go. Did I make the most of loving you? she thought. Had she ever given herself the chance? There were only brief glimpses of the past when she knew that the twinkle of a bright blue eye meant more than all the stars combined. Fleeting smiles and passing glances were all that she gave him, but he had whispered tender words that left her with things unsaid. Meeting Patrick had been like crossing the railroad tracks: on one side, she would never have to take the risk of jumping, but for the other, she would have to place a foot between the rails and cross uncertainly. At any moment a steam engine could come and wipe them both out. She had been tied to the tracks, one arm reaching eastward to home and the other stretching westward to him. The train did come, but the ropes were already untied, and she settled into the arms of the west. And she was heading west once again, but this time with the certainty that she was going home. Another crash from the toy train brought Marta out of her reverie. The train was still stopped and the passengers were uneasy. A young man behind her worried he would not get to work on time while another fretted that an appointment would not be made—futile thoughts for a world that has been spinning on the same axis for millennia. Without the adventure on which Patrick led her, life spun with the same momentum day to day, year to year. Today was one chance that she had to escape, but the train had stopped.

Living Waters Review


Without thinking much of it, Marta stood up from her seat and began walking stiffly to the back of the train car. A coach attendant said to her, “Ma’am, I must ask you to return to your seat.” The attendant shook with what was most likely fear that the train would plummet down to the depths of the gorge. Marta answered, “I very much would like to return to my seat once I have used the restroom. I am not as young as I used to be.” “But—” Marta cut her off with a wave. “One old woman crawling to the restroom will not tip the train, darling.” The attendant looked at her and then back to the restrooms at the end of the car. She nodded her head and allowed Marta through, sliding away carefully. Marta thanked the young woman and proceeded to the back. Her destination, though, was not the restroom as she had said. It was instead to reach the sliding door that led to the next car. She walked slowly while glancing occasionally over her shoulder, making sure no one was watching. The young attendant had made her way across the aisle and was sitting gently down in a seat. Marta took the opportunity of anonymity to crack open the door and slip into the freezing evening air. An eager breeze lifted the ends of her frosty hair to tangle it as she stepped out onto the platform. She gripped the rail with skeleton fingers, the light layer of ice pricking into her warm palm. Inch by inch, she peeked over the side of the railroad tracks; the expanse yawned beneath her. Jagged cliff fingers reached upward and candlelight eyes of homes blinked in sleepy wonder. The emptiness was waiting to be filled with bedtime stories that would ward off monsters of the world. Marta remembered the fairytales she had whispered to her son, Gregory, before he would close his wandering eyes to dream. Most were of valiant knights that rode through dangerous land to save damsels in distress. But the gorge needed stories of life, true and honorable. Marta opened her mouth to speak, but the words froze on her tongue. Even after Patrick’s death, she never had trouble talking of their life together. Why was it that now when she went to speak she could not do so? I love you. The words were easy to think, but to say them would mean to lie. They had been companions mutually discovering that the world was an attractive and breathtaking phenomenon.

Spring 2014

He had introduced her to unknown roads, and she had fallen in love with meandering pathways. The train jerked forward, wheels screaming against metal. The emptiness shrunk in fright against the sparks of movement. Though she stumbled backwards, she spread her arms wide and balanced. The headlight of the train mapped a road over the cliffs for her to follow. So she soared over the gorge and around the clawing depths, the speed lifting her heart within her chest. There were many miles left for her to go because the journey was home and west was never-ending if she chased the sun. She let her arms fall to her side while looking away from the darkness to the light within the train car. The little boy with the train stared at her with blinking blue eyes; she slid open the door and stepped into the warmth.

Short Story 77


WSJ August 22nd, 2013 Noah Thaman

It’s hard to stand when tectonics are shifting So difficult to separate a shape from its gloomy shadow, And last night phantasms rose from the pallid earth. Far away and overhead, the crescent moon sickled Metallic star dust, glinting as if wet Grinning like dripping silver lips. Damascus lay prone, face down and motionless, And out of the ashen sands, clouds lifted with wisps like fingers Scratching their way and expanding like a blanket of mist.

Poetry 78

There were rattles and screams, as if a dream choking on the dream And the pale horse charged the Syrian sky. Grim victor A thousand shivering captives in his train. It’s told that Joshua of old stayed the sun That the stars paused their dry-eyed rhythm to watch the desert dwellers But now, what prayer would return the Western sun? There are new eyes in the stormy heavens, and they see The deeds of men exposed. Naked. The birds of the sky weave Synchronous nets, arachnoid watchfulness, ever hearing The eyes in the sky, the ears on the electric wind My father withstood the motherland, and his threw down the fatherland But for the sake of the homeland they x-ray my shoes. They keep the peace. Brave world. Buried child. And as I turn into my darkened drive at night With clouds drawing across the crescent moon like shades… I look twice before stepping out.

Living Waters Review


Curtis Loew Jessi Hiler

N

o one was at the funeral that day old Curtis died. Nobody except me and the preacher. I snuck out of the house so Mama wouldn’t see me. She didn’t approve of Curtis Loew. She said he was a no-good drunk. I tried to tell Mama that he was the finest picker to ever play the blues. She didn’t believe me. She didn’t like the blues. She loved only the old-time hymns. I tried to tell her that Curtis played the dobro; he played it sad and lonely. I couldn’t help but go down by the corner store to listen to him. His music made me feel funny inside—like I was witnessing something shameful. Shameful—that’s what Mama called Curtis and his music. Mama, she had to be the one to keep me in line—she tried her best at least. Pa died in an accident at the factory when I was just five years old. Jimmy was three and Sue Ann, she was still on Mama’s breast, so she must’ve been a year or so. Mama attempted to keep us fed and out of trouble. But ever since Pa died, she had to take over work at the factory, so she was tired all the time. She never noticed me sneaking out in the morning even though she slept on the couch. The three of us kids got to sleep in the bed, and Mama took the couch. The house was small, but it was all I knew. We never did fuss about it. Some mornings I would slip out early, before that worthless rooster crowed, and walk the four miles to Johnson’s country store, picking up empty soda bottles along the dirt road to cash in. I did that most summers. Had I done it during the school year, Mama would have tanned me for skipping school. And one day I heard him. Old Curtis was outside of

Spring 2014

the country store, leaning against the brick building playing the swankiest something I’ve ever heard. Thing is, I’d never heard the blues before Curtis. I was mesmerized. I stood in front of him and just stared. He smelled like alcohol, but that didn’t bother me. I was pure mystified. His weathered, wrinkly hands worked the strings of that dobro sitting across his lap like a woman fingering a loom. I watched him for song after song. He didn’t stop to talk to me, just to take a swig of his wine. But he looked into my eyes when he wailed his song, too entranced about his woman leaving him for good or something like that, and he gazed right through me. After a while he stopped. I was so shocked it took a moment for me to come back to reality. “You got a quarter?” he asked. I reached into my blue jeans pocket. “No sir, I don’t.” I had an idea. I shot into the store with the four soda bottles I’d found on the way, cashed them in for forty cents, and returned to find Curtis plucking a sultry saga of a mistress from New Orleans. I dropped the four dimes into Curtis’ black guitar case, and they clinked against two empty wine bottles and stray coins down inside. “Do you know this one, son?” His voice was raspy and gruff. It was the perfect complement to his achy tune. “No sir,” I told him, “but I like it all the same.” He tottered his head back and forth and stomped his foot with each downbeat. I swayed back and forth in rhythm, slapping my hands on the outside of my thighs. On days like these, lunchtime would roll around, and I’d have to head home. After a few days in this routine, Mama found out where I went, and she’d whoop me and tell me, “Curtis is useless… everyone in town knows it.” I thought all those people were fools. They said he was a drunk. I knew he was. Each time I came to hear him play, the coins in his guitar case were gone, and new bottles littered the sidewalk where he sat. I don’t know if the wine killed him, or maybe he died of a broken heart. All those women who left him sure did make him lonely. Curtis did tell me once that he was sixty years old. But he was my friend and the oldest, best picker I’ve ever known. And when they buried him in the clay, and me and the preacher were standing by, he said some words and I said a few things in my head to Curtis. Nobody else came to pray or thank him. But I did. I thanked Curtis for his blues and hummed his sad song all the way home.

Short Story 79


And Then There Was Ashley Taylor

Photography 80

Living Waters Review


The Last Supper Kate Lawson

I

could see a year of his life for every buckskin wrinkle on his face. Something about the way his ragged knapsack swung in determination asked me to follow him. Dusk sank low as he turned the corner on the busy street. I peeked around to see him jump up the stone steps of a church and I noticed the bells ringing. I almost turned away at the thought of entering a church, but decided to continue in pursuit. As I walked through the doors, I saw the nimble old man disappear at the top of another set of stairs. Music from an organ was playing in the room across from me. While I stood in the lobby questioning my own dedication to this whim and the depth of my boredom on that Sunday night, an old woman took my hand for a shake and began to nudge me up the stairs. I was soon in the darkness above them. Lights shone onto the pulpit and I could see dozens of scrupulous singers in the pews below. I saw hats on some and crumpled brows on others. The dark wood walls held statues of great thinkers and strugglers. Aside from the homeless man sitting at the front of the balcony, and a weeping couple to my right, I was alone, looking down onto somewhere I didn’t want to be. I sat down rigidly in the closest chair, watching the homeless man in front of me and trying to ignore the people downstairs. The wiry-haired man still had his sack on his back, but his head was down. He was still

Spring 2014

and quiet. The song began to tug on my ears. The people spoke ancient words that I didn’t understand, but I could hear the sting in the tones and the sore in their bones. They were tired but they were trusting. It was sanguine. The song ended, and the people sat down. I paid no attention to what the man in the front dressed in black said, but soon the people got up from their seats. They moved to the sides of the church in lines like ants, and I remembered the scene from when I was young sitting between my stony-faced parents in the pews. Now, people ripped the bread and dug their hands in the cups. The homeless man began to move for the first time since he sat down and approached the candle-lit table at the head of the balcony. He hung his head low over the table for a few moments and I watched his beard tremor. His hand slowly reached for the cup but took hold of it with resolve. Not like the people below, he brought it to his lips and drank the entirety of the wine in one swallow. He took the loaf of bread from the plate and turned toward the stairs. Taking a large bite from it as he reached the top, he descended until he disappeared. I watched the remaining people take their jagged bits of the Lord’s body and sit back in their seats with a grumble in their bellies. The man in black returned to his post at the pulpit, but he was still hungry, too.

Short Story 81


The Stepwell Peter Copan

Creative Essay 82

S

ufi Nizamuddin was a thirteenthcentury dervish who renounced the world and sought God through loving others. He is revered and even deified in south New Delhi where he lies within an ornate marble ossuary. Thousands of Muslims visit his dargah, or shrine, and count themselves blessed to enter his tomb and kiss the marble encasement. The shrine draws not only the devout, but also the curious. Travelers come from the four corners to this site to see about the man, the mystic, the legend. Such were the four of us that day. We were clad in kurtas and chappels, but we were hardly part of the typical Delhi landscape. The way the vendors stared indicated that my blonde hair was indeed an anomaly. I tend to avoid the limelight, and so I walked through the humming hive that was the market place and tried not to count the sets of inquisitive eyes that had come to rest on me. I lowered my head slightly and stared at the ground in front of me. It seemed the most chameleonesque action I could take. Of course they’re going to stare. Get over it, I thought, as I threaded my way through the crowd of people. When at last we neared the entrance to the shrine, the attendant asked that we remove our chappels. He was the local burning bush, informing us of the holy ground upon which we were about to tread. We stepped into the white marble courtyard. All at once we felt a searing pain shooting up through the soles of our feet, and remembered what the noonday sun does to the stone. We walked, then hopped and skipped, and

then ran to the shaded sections of the courtyard—all this in a manner that conveyed only the utmost respect for the Sufi. We must have looked absurd as we darted from shadow to shadow across the white marble courtyard, all the while attempting to appear poised and collected. This was a fine temporary solution, but the cumulative effect of the heat upon our feet would no doubt reduce our feet to charcoaled stubs unless a better system was worked out. It was in this moment of desperation and panic that relief washed over me. I mean this quite literally. I heard a splash nearby. I followed the sound of shouts and laughs and more splashing. At the far end of the courtyard, there was a balcony that overlooked a deep-set stepwell. Though I stood at ground level, it was a twenty-foot drop into the water below. The architecture of the surrounding walls allowed for easy climbing, with numerous grooves and ledges, and so children and adults alike would nimbly scale the walls in search of a suitable ledge, and then leap from the ledge into the well. Some were content to jump from twenty feet, but others would climb up thirty, forty, even as high as seventy feet and dive headlong into the reservoir. I followed the balcony walkway, which wound around the stepwell and formed the barriers that contained the water on two sides. As I ambled the final bend in the perimetric walkway, I could see steps fashioned out of the rock, which led down to the edge of the water. After braving the intense Delhi heat, and the even hotter marble floors, nothing sounded more refreshing than a quick dip in the depths. But as the swimmers

Living Waters Review


and bystanders began to look up and take notice of the arrival of the tourists at the top of the stairs, I realized I couldn’t dive without scores of eyes watching. It would be a spectacle, and I would be the spectated. The idea suddenly began to lose its initial appeal. Some swimmers called out to us. To swim or not to swim: that was the question. I turned to my companion, and we held a brief conference. “I’ll jump if you jump,” he posed, grinning. The decision rested with me. I furrowed my brow and pensively weighed options and contingencies. No change of clothes. Completely unsanitary, no doubt. And, if I want to avoid the spotlight, this was the time to walk away. “Let’s do it.” I stepped into the dressing room, which was little more than a crawl space carved into the side of the wall. The small room was covered by a curtain, on the off-chance that someone wanted privacy. I did. I entered and began to disrobe. To my everlasting dismay, I realized that I happened to be wearing my most bizarre underwear: they were bright yellow and covered with little stacks of Aunt Jemima-style pancakes. Buzzing around these stacks were little smiling bees with jars of honey singing about pancakes. However, I bought these briefs in Hong Kong, and there was a slight problem with production-line proofreading. Thus, the text bubbles next to each and every happy little honeybee read not “I love pancakes,” but “I love pancake.” I groaned and didn’t want to leave the hot and humid crawlspace. Here goes nothing. I pulled back the curtain, exited the chamber, and walked loud and proud into the Delhi sun. Cheers went up and mingled with uproarious laughter. There was nothing I could do but smile and wave at the onlookers. Between my pasty, pale torso and the stacks of “pancake” I was sporting, there was nowhere to hide. We approached the edge of the granite precipice and peered down into the murky depths below. Based on the pea-green hue of the molasses-thick water, there were no less than three trillion microorganisms swimming in that stepwell, but there was no time to give thought to the impending microbial invasion. Intestinal complications you will always have with you, but you will not always be in India. I mulled this thought over for a moment. It felt strangely sound. No doubt from a guru far wiser than the good Sufi himself. I assumed a swimmer’s stance and prepared for the plunge. My confidence was mounting

Spring 2014

as the cheers and shouts began to build. I glanced to my left and smiled at the more sensible comrades who looked on with their arms folded at the top of the stepwell. The risks carried more weight than the thrill for them. My companion and I disagreed, and we proudly stated our case with a belly flop, falling like pancakes into the muck. *** “Have you been drinking the water, sir?” a nurse asked me a week later. “No, I have not,” I responded weakly from the hospital cot. Despite my nausea, high fever, profuse sweating, and dizziness, I managed a wry smile.

Creative Essay 83


Silent in Morocco Nick Koinis

Silent in Morocco I remember Colorado: the tamarisk and willow in the canyon red with shade. On the river, I learned about friends, the speed of acquaintance, how you could triple-touch the brotherly strand of love and confidence set deep into your thoughts and failures.

Poetry 84

Today I imagined the dust of my great grandfather curling from his jacket with a clap of his ageless hand. Last week I was in the Sahara. It is a world of dust: stamped earth houses left to sift, boys selling folded fronds. The dust rose in rounded ways, took its time. Well, we had to be going. Silent in Morocco, there’s a gorge. The sides are yellow orange. They’re sharp; tall. Near the bend there is a spring, and from high on the face I look down and see an orange and yellow catfish stuck, large, and gasping in the mouth of the spring. And dressed in her skirt a girl who I am not allowed to meet, reaches her hand to take his gill, pulling, and releasing.

Living Waters Review


Fruit Quartet Rachel Yeargin

Painting 85

Spring 2014


The Garden State Tonya Mateuszyczyk

From postal hat to slumped shoulders, the mailman sits fervent through urban sprawls and toxic blood tainting its evening tea streams

Poetry 86

and mortifying traffic cones, ruining his rich skin. Deep in the evergreens and nebula of cranberry bogs angels flock with their birch bark wings. And His blessed beryl green canopy cloaks, gracing their bodies, and they defend the mammoth timberland and blessed garden riffraff of the land of the pines.

Living Waters Review


The Hatching, 1 September 1939 Olivia Anderson

A

n accepting hush smothered Europe that morning. But we were marching again, as we did most days; boys training our bodies for the war that we did not yet know had begun. That day we marched through the countryside, occasionally lifting our serious brows upwards, allowing our eyes to catch a glimpse of planes. White x’s were painted beneath each wing, like a pair of dead eyes gazing back at us. Or maybe they were supposed to be crosses. The eyes—or crosses—soared in circles and we imagined being pilots one day, revered men like those in the air. We were kids, and the closer we got to manhood, the farther away it seemed. We squinted while we watched the planes slicing through the unclouded sky that was heavy with the dying summer’s humidity. Two aerial faces looked down on us with a hint of pride, judging to see if we were an adoring audience. Apparently we were because the faces burst into smiles, wings zooming down towards the dirt before lifting their noses at the last second and chasing the sun again. The sleek planes reflected the radiant ruler of the sky with such mirrored glory that our eyes were hypnotized into forgetting the true source of the light. Our marching had ceased, and with our hands uplifted toward the heavens, we roared with a worshipful cheer and flashed smiles like the hundreds of shadow-creating cathedral candles, lit from the flames of those gleaming wings. The performing planes twirled and circled, rising and falling with grace and smoke that followed them like incense. The mechanized duet mingled with the choir of

Spring 2014

treetop birds; our hearts leapt with pride like the chirping grasshoppers from green blade to green blade. Some of us older boys watched the faces of the younger ones glowing with green exuberance. Together we adored the pride of our land. We tried to tear our eyes away from the sudden flames in the sky—the lustful consummation of aerial beings, head on, crushing each other until the cockpits were one and the wings embraced. The machines gripped one another with those flaming arms as they fell from heaven, time and space passed us by as we watched their fall, watched the brilliance and brightness fade. All was marred beyond recognition. After the crash, something deeper than silence fell over our assembly. Even the wind seemed to hold its breath while the swaying trees stilled, the treetop birds looked away, the chirping grasshoppers hid their song in the dirt, and all I could do was stare. Instead of reaching out to comfort each other, we each were suddenly brotherless souls, distinct and separated from the others on that stage of bewildered grief. Our parade was now a funeral procession, and a young mourner cried out, “Look!” The older kids hushed him for his irreverence. Soon tiny gasps were released throughout the solemn congregation, beginning at the back, furthest away from the dead, coffined in the thorny arms of nature. “Look!” “Quiet!” “Don’t you see them?” a voice squeaked. “Just look.” I pushed my way through the boys, who suddenly all seemed dressed in their Sunday best, and found the source of the new commotion. In the dark soil, there were ripples of life, rising and pushing aside the womb of blackness, emerging into the sunshine. Among slender grass-shaped shadows, the dark-green bodies marched uncertainly; paneled shells, still soft, shielded the humble victors from harm. Long necks stretched forward to test the air, and tiny eyelids began opening to a world of images and light. The turtles gazed up at us giants without fear, only wonder. Marvelous wonder. Yet we gazed down at them with a sort of awed fear. Our two worlds had melted into one because of fallen flames. Those tiny wells of life looked up at us silently, and seemed to smile, and we were filled with hope because of the hatching.

Short Story 87


Finding Peace Alicia Stamm

Drawing 88

Living Waters Review


The Book Geoff Kishbaugh

H

e entered the office through the synthetic polymer door that was manufactured to appear like genuine wood. Most students passed by this office every day, assuming the door was bona fide wood, but Adam had opened and closed it too many times to be fooled by the imitation. He was one of the few students who knew what a real wooden door felt like—the textured grains, the dark finish to seal out the elements and keep the wood from warping. He thought of the oak door his father kept hidden within the closet of their utilitarian house of plastic, polymer, and polyurethane. Adam had once stumbled across the door looking for holiday presents. When he had asked his dad about the door, he was given a hush-hush reply and a strict policy of secrecy concerning the object of curiosity. Now at the age of thirteen, Adam understood that if the Government knew his father had real oak, they would imprison him. Wood was illegal because it was natural and trees did not conform. They were unique. The blonde secretary looked up when the boy walked through the door. She was “pretty” behind a mask of florescent make-up and synthetic enhancements. She smiled a wide smile that stretched the already tight skin taut across her surgically raised cheekbones. Within her gaping smile glistened a row of unnatural, straight, white teeth—ceramic implants with the option of customizing colors and shapes. Adam noted that she’d stuck with white as a professional choice, with lime-green lipstick. “Adam, is that you?” Her voice was syrupy sweet with a thick southern accent that was made thicker by her collagen-enhanced lips and thick dentures. Adam approached the desk, crossing his arms and resting them against the tops of the counter. “Miss Fauna, how have you been?” The boy caught a strong whiff of her perfume, a sweet manufactured scent meant to be appealing

Spring 2014

but instead producing a gag reflex. Adam always got the impression of a smiling, reeking candy whenever he saw her. “Oh Adam, I’ve told you, call me Angela.” The secretary pretended to blush and ran her vibrant green nails across Adam’s arm. “You know how I’ve been. You see me every day.” Adam smiled and clenched his jaw against her touch. “Well, you know how Dr. Monroe enjoys seeing me on the daily.” He tried to keep the conversation light, hoping for an end soon. Angela smiled thickly and spoke coyly, “I keep hoping someday you’ll come in here just to see me.” She winked her heavy, black eyelashes at him. “Maybe you should see me for punishment, my child, instead of Dr. Monroe.” Adam retracted his arms from her poisonous touches, wishing his uniform was long-sleeved. He knew what she referred to had once been illegal—pedophilia or something like that. He struggled to keep his smile friendly. To show intolerance for another’s lifestyle was illegal and punishable by Government decree. “Angela, you wouldn’t want to see me. Besides, Dr. Monroe is the only one allowed to punish me.” Angela giggled a sticky laugh. “Oh, go on then, Adam. But I’ll be here tomorrow if you change your mind.” The boy gave her a gentlemanly half-bow and smiled. “And I’m sure I’ll be back tomorrow.” He turned his back to her giggles that made his stomach churn and made his way to his usual seat, one of multiple plastic chairs that lined the walls of the office, white-backed on silver legs. Adam’s favorite was the farthest one from the secretary’s desk. He had taken the time on one of his first visits to mark the bottom with permanent ink and a scrawled “A” now resided below him. He doubted anyone knew, but it made the chair feel special and unique to him. The office was a white square with florescent lights and a yellow rug meant to produce an effect akin to sunlight. A gentle white noise played in the background, meant to soothe and distract—anything to escape the thoughts of one’s own head. Adam thought the ambiance rather similar to a prison, except no one ever fed him while he waited, a fact he did not resent. He had made a habit of avoiding the supplements and lunches the school provided, instead choosing to ignore a growling stomach—outside lunches were prohibited to avoid alienating anyone through food choice.

Short Story 89


Short Story 90

He had not always made a habit of visiting the Headmaster’s office; in fact, he had been a star pupil until this year. As the ambient noise filled the air, his mind slowly drifted from the office and away from the present as he revisited a time not long ago. *** It had been a scorching summer day, the radiation from the sun especially potent as it poured through the depleted ozone layer. Citizens had been confined to their homes or offices until nightfall when the radiation dissipated from the air. Adam had been sitting in his room, a small ten-byten space that came pre-decorated with bed and dresser. With a rising population of one billion and counting, the Government had built up the ’Combs—square houses of equal measurement designed for space and efficiency. The name came about as more and more ’combs were pushed together, eliminating yards and any personal space, forming enormous honeycombs. Each ’comb came pre-stocked with furniture and appliances, a way of ensuring equal division of resources. It was in his ’comb segment that Adam passed the day, watching Government-regulated programs on his tablet. The boy could not remember the reason for leaving his room, but eventually televised programing was not enough and he had wandered from his space. Adam had his favorite rooms in the house, mainly closets and crawlspaces—places where his father hid valuables from the olden days like the oak door. His father and mother had been alive to see the world change. Sometimes he was told stories when he was old enough to keep a secret. He remembered stories of burnings, although he could only picture what he had seen in his Government-regulated education as they viewed pictures and videos of the burning of small, rectangular objects full of writing and the cutting down of large appendage-like structures with little rustling extensions upon the limbs—“leaves,” as the video called them. Adam had decided to visit the space beneath the steps where his father kept a picture of his grandparents, a smiling couple with weather-worn faces amid a vast forest of trees. He liked to look at the picture and attempt to fathom a forest. He had been told his grandparents took the picture while hiking through the great redwood forest of California. He had asked all sorts of questions about “hiking” and what a “redwood” was and where California existed.

As he had searched for the picture, he instead found an old box, soft and brown. The box had a solid structure but was softer to the touch than plastic and was a natural brown color. He had lifted the lid and inside was a book, black leather-bound with gilded gold writing on the front. His hands had roamed the cover, feeling the texture of the leather. He lifted the book from its nest among the crumpled paper, his hands shaking because the cardinal crime of the Government was possession of a book. With trembling curiosity, Adam had begun to read the real paper, slowly at first as he struggled to comprehend the rhetoric in which text was written. Time lost meaning beneath the staircase as the boy lost himself within the book, reading incredible stories of miraculous happenings. It had been late when his parents arrived home from work amid the darkness of night, kept late due to the solar radiation. They had found him beneath the stairs, engrossed within the pages of the book. He had expected anger or a promise of secrecy as they normally did, but instead, his parents glanced at each other and beckoned him out. His father’s tone was light but serious. “Adam, do you know what you have in your hand?” The question had seemed foolish. “Of course. This is a book. But how do you have one?” Adam’s father seemed to gaze back into the past. “I saved this book at the risk of my life. This is the book that sparked the burnings, the object of persecution. It was declared hateful and intolerant.” Adam’s father shook his head, the tears of memory in his eyes. His mother said, “Adam. That book is life, love, and truth.” *** “Adam.” Angela’s sticky voice oozed through his conscious like syrup. “Dr. Monroe will see you now.” The boy stood up from his seat, shaking himself back to the present. His house vanished in his mind, replaced by the white walls and yellow carpet. He walked past Angela’s desk and smiled, “Thank you, Angela,” and strolled towards the silicon glass door before she could respond. Adam’s hand grasped the handle and he pushed the door open. “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.”

Living Waters Review


Three Taps at the Back Door Noah Thaman

Be at ease, sister There is no tacit knowledge for this rain. Your walls aptly deny the instinct of dark woods. Take comfort in this. Most things migrate, but the children are wrapped in dreaming, unspooling mysteries, yet strange gleaming lights ascend the shaded drive. Forgive me this intrusion. See, I leave my drink half finished, for there are soft treads on the porch and eyes in every dense thicket. Wait for clouds before the moon, and a boot-printed leap from the garden hedge. But before I leave you, a warning: most things migrate, some are scorned by the stars.

Spring 2014

Poetry 91


Title Author

Poetry 2

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Living Waters Review 2014  

Living Waters Review 2014  

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