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SAXIFRAGE

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SAXIFRAGE Volume 28 PaciďŹ c Lutheran University Tacoma, WA

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Copyright 2002 by Saxifrage Pacific Lutheran University Tacoma, Washington ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Saxifrage Volume 28 Saxifrage is an annual anthology created by a volunteer staff of Pacific Lutheran University students. The spring staff selected the works included in this edition from over 260 submissions. ALL WORKS WERE JUDGED ANONYMOUSLY. COVER: “Scottish Slope” by Kevin Freitas.

“A Sort of Song” Collected Later Poems Copyright 1948 by William Carlos Williams Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation

From the Editors

“Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” —Psalms 61:2

IN SEPTEMBER, we began the year with hope of renewal from one of the most tragic events in the history of this university. Only months earlier, an act of unthinkable violence had taken the life of James D. Holloway, an invaluable mentor, professor, and friend. Our community was shaken, the safe haven of our Lutedome broken. And the year ended—an end without conclusion. We returned to our unfinished grief on September 10th—another Convocation, another incoming class, another day. The cliché is all too true: nothing has been the same since. For many of us, our local and national tragedies came to be related—random, meaningless acts that demonstrated what humanity is capable of inflicting upon itself. It is too soon. While we will always remember where we were when each of these tragedies became real to us, they are still too present, too glaring. The rock has been shattered. It is worth noting that this is the first issue of Saxifrage in many years to be produced without the direct guidance of its founding member and most dedicated champion. From student to professor, underground editor to head of her own well-established Publishing and Printing Arts program, Megan Benton has demonstrated an outstanding love for and commitment to the art of publishing. We wish Dr. Benton the very best as she enters her well-deserved retirement from this university. We would especially like to thank her successor, Solveig Robinson, for her boundless energy and professional expertise. We are confident that Saxifrage will continue to flourish under her care. As always, we would like to thank our dedicated staff. We probably could have produced this magazine without them, but it is difficult to use a computer while wearing a straitjacket. Their commitment to a thorough and fair selection process—as well as their tireless endurance—was essential. Thanks also should be extended to Rick Eastman, Kathy Berry, and Mark Faul for their direction and support as the printing deadline approached. While the arts have traditionally provided an opportunity to “split the rock”—attacking, defying, challenging—we see now that when the rock has been shattered by outside, unforeseen means, the arts may also be used to rebuild that which has been broken. The pieces are still too sharp to collect. But perhaps with time we can begin this process of restoration and resolution.

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Matt Cameron Kirstin Vorhes 7

Contents 1

KATIE GILLIAM A Chance Meeting In The Piazza

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SUZANNE AKERMAN Seizures of the Imagination

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REBEKAH OAKLEY Maximum Potential for Flame

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KIRSTIN VORHES she seemed to . . .

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DAN RUSSELL Journey of the Oblivious Believers

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KATIE GILLIAM Market Berries

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KAELY DURWARD $3.38

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MATT NICKSIC blacklights

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KEVIN FREITAS straight lines

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DESIREE WESTLUND Un Mate – Sin Compañía

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BEN DOBYNS Midnight Garden

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SARAH ERVINE November

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ABIGAIL BUCK looking down

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BERNIE ZIMMERMANN The Lunar Realm

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LESLEY JUEL Instrument of Change

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SUZANNE AKERMAN Acidic Tongue

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RIAN BOSAK Untitled

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DAN RUSSELL The Nets Cast with Subversion

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KIRSTIN VORHES . . . but words will never hurt me

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EMILIE ROMMEL Bargain Books (Les livres de bon prix)

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BERNIE ZIMMERMANN the boy had a zest for checkers

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KATIE GILLIAM The Pet Booth

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DEB HAMILTON Survival of the Fittest

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KIRSTIN VORHES Cypripedium acaule

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SARAH ERVINE The Second to Last Temptation of Persephone

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DAN RUSSELL Future Pop Love Romance

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KEVIN FREITAS rewes

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BERNIE ZIMMERMAN Aemulus

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SARAH SANDERS I stabbed myself with an artichoke

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ABIGAIL BUCK Café Terrace on a ‘Dark’ Night

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REBEKAH OAKLEY Homeless

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KIRSTIN VORHES Four or Five a.m. (I can’t remember which)

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SUZANNE AKERMAN Bad Connection

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JENNY PECK Imitation of a Tragedy

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M. SCOTT CAMERON Shadows in the Rain

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SARAH ERVINE The Flags Go North

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KEVIN FREITAS the one that got away

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CONTRIBUTORS

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A Sort of Song Let the snake wait under his weed and the writing be of words, slow and quick, sharp to strike, quiet to wait, sleepless. —through metaphor to reconcile the people and the stones. Compose. (No ideas but in things) Invent! Saxifrage is my ower that splits the rocks. William Carlos Williams

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STAFF CHOICE

Katie Gilliam

A Chance Meeting in the Piazza

photograph

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Suzanne Akerman

Seizures of the Imagination* Sometimes sitting in sterile small rooms with Sterile statues who nod and nay on cue, I feel my heart and its inhabitants Stretch too large for my chest cavity. I Think of leaping out of the small sterile Desk, escaping the stiff square building of Gray. I might scream as I did so to make Them think something, feel something. But it would Be a consensus of head-shaking and Tsks, nothing new. No one would follow. Outside, as my mind turned too small for the Infestation of thoughts, swimming, creeping, Slithering and leaping, I could sprint to A suburban pet shop. Overturning the cracked aquariums Full of rodents, I send a sea of them Squirming across the floor, climbing up the Counters and scurrying into crevices. I wade through the waves of rats and mice to The birdcages. Releasing latch after Latch, I watch, satisfied, the flutter and Flap of greens, blues, oranges, reds . . . feathers drift Silently—amidst the squawks and the squeaks. I move to the felines. Calico, cream, Cuddly and crusty streak across the store. The tiniest waddle in that way, as If their back ends don’t quite work right; halting, And hesitant at first, then bouncing and Bobbing with their newfound freedom. Next come 2

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Seizures of the Imagination

Suzanne Akerman

The kennels. I fling open the wire doors, Allowing golden, fuzzy puppies with Pink lolling tongues to tumble out. Their Ears flopping, paws skidding across the tiles, They lead the way out the doors, followed by Waddling kittens, skittering rodents, And flapping fowl. I think the teacher has asked me A question I cannot answer Because of the congestion on the Highway connecting my brain and My lips. Jammed circuit. No response Because my tongue has swollen to Fill all my mouth. And I am certain Of a wheat-colored puppy under the desk, licking my knee.

To be read with a sense of profound urgency, followed by a solemn pause, in turn followed by chuckling. It is to be chuckled at by those who don’t understand what it is like to have a mind too large for your brain, as if it were ridiculous, and laughed at also by those who do understand and laugh to keep their tongues *

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Rebekah Oakley

Maximum Potential for Flame A cardboard box that fits in your hand, smooth edges turning between your fingertips. One side sandpaper slicing, roughing up around the soft parts of your palm. Inside, a chamber holding treasure and torches, slides in and out and in and out, its one function: to light your fire. Wooden sticks flicker flame, spark, ignite, burn. Smells of sulfur, of smoke, of late nights in a cabin full of fire light and candle shine. A night in a hotel ashtray switching stick after stick, smoke after smoke, together mingling in the gray piles of carbon. In the pitch of night the luminance surrounds, provides power, gives eyes. Makes noises, a click, then a hissssss. And, after it extinguishes, a sizzle sizzle pop. It lets you know where you’ve been. Where you may go again: the rooms full of leather hides, naked skinned, sitting, sticking to the undersides of your thighs and not letting go without a fight. It gives names and numbers, gives excuses for names and numbers. Makes you curious as to why it is living inside your pocket, in your junk drawer, in your house, when you have never been to Copenhagen, you have never been to any Sheraton in any country, you have never been anywhere. It slides around smooth in the sweaty creases of your hand. Feels like a stone from a beach in Africa where the ocean has pounded at it for a thousand years, pushing it, pulling it, licking it up with warm saltwater. Now it appears in your hand, to strike, to ignite, and burn, sizzle, pop, hissssss, choke, sulfur smoke, carbon copy waiting for the same inside the chamber holding treasure sliding in and out and in and out and in and out.

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Kirstin Vorhes

she seemed to . . .

photograph

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Dan Russell

The Journey of the Oblivious Believers Eager ignorance propelled us onward pulling rubber round immense networks of pavement The sun told us through heat that scorched our spinning steps that we were coasting through California A dream lending itself to reality The air that never seemed willing to cool But we tooled along freeways at speeds just slightly chilled when you put the top down The scenery would have been spectacular alone but we were driving like it was our destiny Inserting ourselves into the fantasy they call California Calm, we barely had breath to last, so timeless we might just stop this respiration It was a metal we didn’t know how to work material we could barely influence We felt the boiling point was somewhere south of there felt the calling like something for certain A whisper, “Come down this pathway and explode In the blistering rays of your imagined paradise.” We’d left that cut-rate Oregon behind and rushed downward with the smell of gold in our nostrils

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Journey of the Oblivious

Dan Russell

The trees bent and swayed for us our expectations soared like the wind a shield fashioned from oblivion that lent a bright glow to everything that fell past We blew into L.A., a beast blundering through the palm trees graceless, black, marring the flawless backdrop sensuous, our vibes were all supercharged we felt like landmark human Nobel Prize winners and the heat was something that could only fuel us only force us onward into our inestimable fortunes But the import we projected on our journey was self-imposed It didn’t belong to the movement outside of us and we were too blind to conjure up that notion The city sucked our resources like a well drilled into the earth After two lazy dusks of sad depletion we found ourselves facing our fantasy on our last dawn of day We both procured a lottery scratch card surrounding the birth of each with ritual words and ceremonial sacrifice of wisdom dancing around in circles in the department store We traveled to the place most imbued with magic that we’d ever known we traveled to the edge of the world in a desperate arc pockets empty, souls pulled, dragged out of shape sizzling discomfort within our towering spiral We found our chance at the end of the earth alone and pure in our will, stranded in a place of perfect beauty the waves crashing, drowning out any sound Saxifrage

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Dan Russell

Journey of the Oblivious Believers

We clasped our hands together, danced and spun in the timeless ritual of our forefathers cried out in our urgent need to the goddess of the sea to come, bend fate, bring destiny to our will shed light on our path lend us more paper life again We took our nickels and, bathed in the ethereal currents of the ocean, Began to scratch in eager anticipation

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Katie Gilliam

Market Berries

photograph

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Kaely Durward

$3.38 The weight of the fluorescent lights did little to illuminate the store but rather seemed to drain the energy of those below. Outside it was dark, but a lively dark, following the crashing in of fall, the aftermath of flurrying leaves. But in here, under those lights, it was like stale French bread—cold and bland. The lights made my hands paler, hands nearly fading into the dust on the shelf that I now stocked. Tiny jars of Gerber—split pea, yam, little meat sticks resembling uncooked hot dogs—my awkward fingers strung like beads. I was cutting open another box, chicken and dumpling, when an approaching pair of Doc Martens caught my attention. If their age correlated in any way to their cracking, they’d been around since cows. Suspended from a pair of slender legs, they moved forward timidly. “Sam,” called the almighty voice from celestial heights, “checkout service on check stand one check out service on check stand one.” I walked up aisle three, steering past boxes of EasyMac and microwavable kettle corn and pork skins. Then I saw them—the Hands had left the factory. Two idle customers stood in a queue behind a bell and its explanatory sign: Ring bell for service. Binggg! “I’ll get it,” I said, passing a man of about fifty with an eggplant-colored mole on his eyelid to greet the customer heading the line, a woman in a lavender sweatsuit with silver hair beaten up like egg whites so as to conceal the balding of a shell. I scanned her goods in turn: canned corn, dental floss, cellophane-wrapped mushrooms. “Five thirteen, please.” “Oh, did you get the few things on the back of the cart?” she asked. Now, the English language permits a certain ambiguity in the word few, so that when I turned toward the cart, two Pepsi cubes, a forty-pound bag of dog food, bird seed, presto logs, bulk toilet paper and a box of five dozen eggs comprised a few. As I lifted each item to scan, I felt like kicking the toilet paper package with its fat, bubbly baby. “Forty-nine sixty.” 10

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$3.38

Kaely Durward

She pulled out a checkbook, coupons protruding out, fumbled with the community pen, and, while flipping through the checkbook, put the anchored instrument into her mouth, her tongue hanging fat out. Eggplant Man was disgusted. His upper lip curled, making his nostrils wing out as if preparing his nose for flight, his nose a kamikaze assigned on behalf of fundamental community understanding: lick, bite, chew, gnaw, eat your own damn pen, but keep your mouth off this one. But she was oblivious. She could have been replaying the day’s events: the dentist’s appointment she had at ten, her friend’s Great Dane she had promised to watch for a week while he visited Holland that had, while in her station wagon gnawed a piece of foam out of the upholstery. “Do you want help out with these?” I asked. “Huh? Oh no, but thanks for asking.” “I get paid to ask.” She left. Two boys wearing khakis and ball caps entered. Steve, Safeway’s undercover security and enforcer of law, clump-clumped steadily down the adjacent staircase. When Eggplant looked at Security Steve, I snatched a paper towel and doused the pen with glass cleaner, the only viable solution at my disposal, and rubbed off, or at least polished, the purple sweat suit woman’s saliva. Eggplant lurched forward. The fellow looked nervous. “The Pentagon Dispatches a 3rd Carrier Toward Gulf,” announced the newspaper, which, I soon discovered, revealed the source of this man’s nervousness: a box of Preparation H shrank beneath images of B-52 and B-1 bombers. “Seven-o-two, please.” At this, the man flashed out his debit card, then slid it violently through the debit-card-paying machine. Left, right, up he peered, scanning his surroundings, his eyes wide open as if the weight of the purple mole had evaporated into the overhanging lights. But there was only me. His left hand hovered close above the machine, while his right jabbed at the buttons of his fear—fear that 60 Minutes had planted in him and that distrust had nurtured. Saxifrage

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Kaely Durward

$3.38

“Would you like a bag for these?” He glanced at the newspaper and Preparation H, snatched them with one swoop, and fled the store before I could hand him the receipt. In his haste, he also forgot his twenty dollars cash back, and I, not up to chasing his car, rejoined it in the register among its brothers. The young woman wearing the Doc Martens popped out of aisle five and walked toward the exit. She paused a moment, turned her head back to look at me, and left. I know stealing is unlawful, that it’s wrong, but sometimes I wonder whether the powers that be make any allowance for circumstance. Apparently Security Steve did not. He had been stalking her—watching, waiting with perfect persistence, wanting her to pick up the six-ounce canister of Enfamil, hide it among the reeds of her pocket, and float out of the store. She didn’t fight though, like others do, cursing and yelling and sometimes running. She just hung her head, arms held behind her back, and ascended the staircase fatalistically. A minute later the two boys wearing khakis and ball caps bolted out of the store, each with a case of Coors Light. It was almost midnight, and I had only a few minutes left. A cart approached. It contained an avocado, a box of Chablis, two slender candles, and a Totinos. Yet it also carried a man. I couldn’t catch his face at first; his long, drying hair seemed to pull his neck forward so that I could only see the top of his head. His shoulders hunkered. “Hello,” I said. His head lifted, showing a beard of alfalfa sprouts. I had seen him in here before, though never like this. He smiled, or at least attempted to acknowledge my greeting. “Haven’t seen you in a while,” I said. “Haven’t been in.” “Haven’t been shopping at those second-rate stores, have you?” “My wife ran off with my best friend,” he said, nodding his head affirmatively. “It’s been two months. Our six-year anniversary is today. It’s hard.” And he blushed. 12

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$3.38

Kaely Durward

I swallowed hard his words. They tasted like green persimmons. I wished he hadn’t told me. It would have been easier. I didn’t know what to say. Sorry. Better luck next time. There are other fish in the sea. None seemed right. Yet I wanted to say something, something that might thaw out his eyes. “Sixteen sixty-two,” was all my experience could muster. He dipped his hand deep into the pocket of his trench coat, while his eyes continued to stare blankly. “Shit,” he said softly, “I left my wallet on the counter.” Up till then, I thought I knew everything about my job—shuffling groceries across a laser beam and slapping them into bags. And smiling. But I discovered something. It’s a wonder that grocery stores don’t control local media. If corporate heads were as clever as they thought, they’d realize their workers know more than just the difference between rutabagas and turnips. They know the town’s affairs and its psychology. I stood in my box, imagining this man eating burnt pizza and drinking boxed wine under the cold glow of candlelight. He moves among the town’s people, among others who would find themselves telling a stranger about family reunions, graduating children, car problems, lost pets, and broken hearts. Most times, I could only listen. “Don’t worry about it.” He looked puzzled. “It’s a gift from Eggplant.”

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Matt Nicksic

blacklights makes blues magentas whites whites bring dandru detergent dead teeth to life

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Kevin Freitas

straight lines

digital photograph

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Desiree Westlund

Un Mate—Sin Compañía Tomo sola, siempre solita, mi mate La bombilla metida entre mis labios me hace compañía Mi termo vacío me recuerda de nuevo que estoy sola La yerba lavada flotando encima del agua Sueño con mis compañeros y los alfajores más dulces de las américas Suspiro Che, ¿Querés un mate? Sentate conmigo y nos platicamos La vida es dura Ni siquiera mis ilusiones me pueden salvar de la soledad El mate es mi único compañero y la bombilla su amiga El agua nos llena de esperanza y seguimos juntos mi mate y yo sin compañía

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Desiree Westlund

A Mate—Without Company (Translated from the Spanish for Saxifrage)

Alone, always alone, I drink my mate The straw settled between my lips accompanies me Even as my empty thermos reminds me That truly I am alone The spent yerba floats atop the water And I dream of my companions sharing the sweetest cookies in all the Americas I sigh, Hey, wanna drink a mate? Sit awhile and we’ll chat Life is hard And even my fantasies can’t save me from my solitude The mate is my only companion and the straw its friend The water fills us with hope and we keep going, together my mate and I without company

*Mate (Mah-tay) is similar to a very strong green tea and shared by passing a hollowed gourd from person to person during small afternoon gatherings in Argentina and Uruguay. Saxifrage

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Ben Dobyns

Midnight Garden Once when dark fell soft and heavy Far from daytime’s sway, He crept gently to my garden, And I let him stay. Then with hands held close beside Our hearts with passion fell, Shone with deep and darkling golden sighs. He reached out and sang to me a Grief that I knew well, And by moonlight, mouths in blue night: Then he left my midnight garden But is with me still.

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Ben Dobyns

Midnight Garden

musical score

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STAFF CHOICE

Sarah Ervine

November November has returned, an unwelcome guest. It is always wise to count the spoons after November visits. This light-fingered unpleasant month, with nights that leave me wondering why I bothered to sleep in the first place. The low-grade fever and scratchy throat that last for eternities of short gray days, puctuating restless nightmare plagued darkness. I’d ask for a tonsillectomy, but insurance would call it elective surgery even if it would preserve my sanity. The inside of my head feels like a convocation of ADD tigers complaining in New Jersey accents about bad pedicures. The idea haunts me in the studio, at the computer, at dinner with friends, that I could more directly influence the human race for good by dropping out of college and doing something real, like growing potatoes. Things don’t get much more real than potatoes. But that’s November for you. 20

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Abigail Buck

looking down

ink

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Bernie Zimmermann

The Lunar Realm A crown of clouds And sunset eyes Adorn sweet Ms. Twilight Skies Beneath the scarlet Edge of earth From common dreams And common birth Came sweet Ms. Twilight Breeze From frozen ďŹ elds And snowy seas But in the end The two were one Fallen bits Of a blooming sun Or a blooming moon It might have been Before the tides Came dashing in

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Lesley Juel

Instrument of Change I sit here, a suspicious citizen Watching U.S. the savior, saving the saved with missionaries in suits and ties and squinty government eyes saying, I’m sorry ma’am I’m sorry sir I’m sorry kids… not today. But feel free to try again in a year! Special Federal Agent Able Naser has a special mission: “My job is to protect undocumented aliens. Really—it is!” he says in his Texas-Mexican accent, accenting his pressed black suit and shiny wing tip shoes. Waggling his privileged fat finger in front of my privileged fat face, he bestows upon me the word he shows to me the light: being a legal alien is a privilege not a right. Right…right…write… You must write in English, talk in English, wish in English, hope in English if you want to be an American.

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Lesley Juel

Instrument of Change

This is the land of opportunity, all Americans are created equal. “That is,” Able adds, “how the law was written.” What other laws are there, I wonder, that somehow some people just seem to forget? Able explains: “We are federal employees. We obey Congress. We don’t have no choice about it.” Next up: the Deportations Officer. This man heaves into an aerobic exercise; lectures and sweats, lectures and sweats about the removal process. The process of getting fucked over The process of being looked over The process of being run over, bump-bump By the super-power of Mister Removal, bump-bump. The law-abiding lawyer of The Applicants smooths his tie, smooths his hair, jokes to us: “Heh-heh, looks like we need some deportation certificates here, eh?” We stand there furious, immobile until I propel myself across the ugly fence dividing the courtroom, smash his face in with my words my words my words. Waking from my dream I continue to stare at this man. 24

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Instrument of Change

Lesley Juel

“I represent the American people,” he says. “I represent you,” he says. We leave the suited officers and cherry wood tables, walk innocently into the barbed barracks, past the limp red, white, and blue, with pink VISITOR badges clipped to our lapels. as if they would be confused otherwise. Hundreds of men are detained as they wait, as they wade through the process of immigration. Color-coded outfits segregate these men: Benign berry blue, Cautionary canary yellow, Dangerous risky red. Men in blue jumpsuits hang on the fence. Fingers and eyes come through, cross the six feet that separate us and wrap themselves around my privileged white skin. The moving animated tour of the U.S. legal system lurches and jerks to a stop. Wobbly, I stand, Nauseous, furious, helpless. Like them I dream of home, safety, warm food. I hold on tight to their stories their testimonies of faith. I pack them next to my privilege and set out as an instrument of change.

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Suzanne Akerman

Acidic Tongue Bitter tongue. The taste of sucking on metal, orange juice and vodka, or ginger ale. Burning, it flicks out like a frog’s after a fly, sending a stinging, sizzling slap to her cheek. An icy stare bursts from frosty eyes, freezing my frog-face. Acid tongue is no match for Arctic eye. I hadn’t meant for her to hear.

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Rian Bosak

Untitled

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Dan Russell

The Nets Cast with Subversion I am aspiring to the position of cult genius of spontaneity I think the plaque they hand out is somewhere up there on this missing-handle ladder So I fell a few times I always bounce, always ricochet, it’s the plushness of my skin I wouldn’t want to whisper at the bottom the truth of my bored stillness I want to rear up like a firecracker in the middle of the horse races and send them all sprawling Say nothing of the sordid truth The imagination is faltering suddenly or did it happen here a while back Now you just pace back and forth on the carpet in the living room Your mouth tasting of carpet, your brain crammed with carpet, the flavor of your movements, carpet Fingers from strange corners all point at me sitting, having fallen, trying to tread oh so quietly, Perhaps no one will notice me

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The Nets Cast with Subversion

Dan Russell

I am aspiring to the burning figure of influence You know, that impeccable spirit, tied up and lit So out of touch with Hunter’s “grim meat-hook reality” That all the attraction of the myriad others is drawn But those silly aspirations are wounded worthless Being an out-of-touch rebellious genius of counterculture was easy in previous decades Now it’s like struggling to grab the water and drag the ocean up on shore I only snap back into the conformist position smiling, beaten into shape, allow everything to make sense like it always does My childish complaint is that every position otherwise has been taken up and championed into the depths of worthlessness Until some charming capitalist came along propped up its broken, wrinkled form and remanufactured it in endless arrays of marketing, product placement, and domestic penetration On any given Wednesday I can go and buy rebellion at the department store in molded neon action figure form plastic of course, but a relatively good imitation,

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Dan Russell

The Nets Cast with

Every time I try to stumble into any type of protest to the plastic pre-fashioned puppy world I only get conned into buying buttons and putting them on my vest, endlessly Until I realize I’ve been duped again and my rebellious genius is nothing again I’m not making a stand, I’m accessorizing Even marijuana is more like a fashion statement now than a true act of rambling defiance People put their arm around it to establish a personality trait this is my friend, have you met her caress? soft forgetfulness, you’ll tingle, uh-huh See, watch it seep into our consumer culture 420 hats on the shopping racks at Spencer’s eat this Establish your individuality just the way we want you to Look at you, at your subversive shoes, those ones from that commercial, they looked so cool, Struggling for breath next to the kitchen counter I’m aspiring to starve myself like the best explosive demonstrators before me Staring at the banana in silent, seething need While on TV a special about inexpensive caskets has caught my attention

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Kirstin Vorhes

. . . but words will never hurt me

photograph

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Emilie Rommel

Bargain Books (les livres de bon prix) Olympia, Edouard Manet, 1865 She reclined across two glossy pages, propped against a mound of square white pillows, so that one white shoulder, one white breast was slightly raised above its asymmetrical twin. Her dark hair parted smoothly above the straight line of one eyebrow, tucked neatly behind one long and delicately pink-tipped ear. The other ear was concealed by a thick-petaled flower, too colorless against the dark hair and white skin to be called exotic. The rounded expanse of her pale, naked body appeared as a single brush stroke, interrupted only—only!—by a pale, rounded arm stretched across the shallow rise beneath her navel. At the end of that arm, spread fingers, white and round, curved over a pale thigh. At the end of one crossed leg, a heeled slipper barely hid the toes of a white, arched foot. Edie snapped the book shut and put it—nearly threw it—back onto the table. Unsettled by her own response to the painting, she breathed sharply, in through her nose, out through her mouth, and glanced over each shoulder once. She ran a self-conscious hand through her own straight, blonde hair, convinced someone must have seen her. But Edie was alone in the second story back corner of a large and almost clinically impersonal chain bookstore, alone under the yellow sign proclaiming “Last Chance Bargains,” and protected from view by tall shelves filled with surplus-ordered non-fiction, unpopular first novels, and over-ambitious hardback biographies. Stacked in untidy piles across a low glass table, were several oversized art books. It was one of these, The Impressionists that had scalded her. Impressions? Impressions of what? Edie wondered. Nonchalance. Nudity. Sex. She bit her lip. Such unabashed nakedness in front of a lens or a mirror was completely foreign to Edie, and didn’t seem very safe. As for posing—really posing—for an artist, it was unthinkable, as was the idea that such an impression could be left so quickly by a woman in a painting. 32

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Emilie Rommel

Bargain Books

Edie stepped back from the table, pulled her coat closer across her chest and turned as if to leave. But a few minutes later, her feet were still planted in the same piece of mottled blue carpet, her eyes boring into the suspect covers that hid round, pale reclining limbs and soft, lopsided breasts, trying to suppress this sudden impulse to disrobe, right there in the corner under the yellow sign. Gingerly, Edie took up the book again and flipped through the colorful images, stopping deliberately a few pages from the index. She used the heel of her right hand to spread pages 127 and 128 wide open, bending The Impressionists’ spine and stretching the new white stitching to expose the innermost edges of the portrait. The woman’s pale, fleshy body shimmered on the pages, her undetailed and altogether ordinary paintspot eyes staring right back into Edie’s own lined and shadowed lids. Slowly sweeping her eyes over the painting a second time, Edie realized the woman was not alone. Dressed in shell pink and holding a wrapped bouquet of white and orange oil-painted swirls, a servant stood behind the woman’s raised white knee, barely visible in the shadowy background, her chestnut face and hands emerging from white collars and cuffs. Tail hooked, spine arched, a golden-eyed black cat stood at the foot of the white-draped settee that supported the long white body. Both cat and servant seemed habitually unconcerned by their mistress’ state of undress. They’d been painted in, Edie decided, as an afterthought, something to fill the empty space around the naked woman; naked of shadows, bright, luminous, and nearly flat, she alone was meant to hold the observer’s eye with her uneven shoulders, the too pale and uncontoured skin. And those eyes. Simple brown strokes, certainly nothing extraordinary, nothing haunting, indistinctly focused as if this unmistakably French woman—mistress or model, mother or maid, possibly all four on different days—was resigned, accepting, or bored. Edie, who knew the importance of names, thought of her as Sophie. Perhaps it was her own unfortunate name that had drawn her to this Sophie of round shoulders and pale, rosy nipples. In school, best friends Saxifrage

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luckily called Kimberly, Sarah, or Jenny had speculated that a name like Edie seemed more at home on a Parisian whore than on a sunny, moon-faced blonde with a second-hand South Carolina drawl. As Edie matured into a sunnier, milder-faced young woman, new friends noted the incongruity of someone named Edie finding pride of place as third-chair clarinetist in the university’s symphony orchestra. Politely, they suggested “Edie” might be more suitable for a kept mistress, or perhaps a ten-franc “studio model.” Now, at twenty-six, a dental hygienist who spent her mornings peering into red caverns studded with white stalactites, Edie had thought she was at peace with her own name, no matter how absurd. And yet, Sophie. The whispered christening had no sooner slipped from between Edie’s plump lips than it dawned on her: surely Sophie belonged to someone else. She searched for a name, any name, within the painting itself. Finding none, she dragged her eyes away from the fluid whiteness to the more concrete print along the bottom of the painting. By means of a clear, capital sans-serif font that echoed the round, lashless eyes only inches above, Edie acquainted herself with Edouard Manet, who was not himself an Impressionist, but was claimed to hold great influence over them. She read on. Manet had confined Sophie to “Olympia” more than a hundred years ago in 1865. Olympia. Edie snorted audibly, having by this time entirely forgotten her surroundings. Men. With the possible exception of Adam—and even that was debatable—men always failed to name things as they really were. The more she studied the lines and textures of Sophie’s lightly borne nakedness, the more certain Edie became of Manet’s mistake. In all fairness, it may have been a stalwart, decorous, curious Olympia who entered the painter’s studio so long ago, who disrobed before him, who accepted the flower and the slippers, and who laid herself down upon the white square pillows. It may have been Olympia then, but it was Sophie, serene and knowing, plainspoken Sophie, who emerged from Manet’s brush, who now stared up at Edie and the yellow sign. Practical, sensual, sensible Sophie who, despite all that white, white nakedness, had left around her neck a simple black ribbon, a clean swoosh of black oil, neatly severing her noncommittal 234

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expression from the bared and leaning body beneath. It was Sophie whose calm acceptance first encouraged Edie to acknowledge the quiet power of her given name and of her sex. Locking eyes with the pale woman dressed simply in a flower and slipper, Edie silently set down her heavy purse with too many compartments. She shrugged off her slubbed cotton blazer. Balancing The Impressionists with some difficulty in her left hand, she reached for the top button of her blouse. * * * Edie took a lover. Strong like his name, Jake fell in love the first time he looked up from the dentist’s chair to find her sweetly rounded chin and soft pink lips hovering over him while dimpled fingers deftly clipped a paper bib around his neck. Jake loved that after two months of regular nights together in his crowded double bed, the sex just kept getting better. He loved that Edie cancelled her weekly tanning sessions and began wearing Chanel #5. She smelled mysterious, womanly, and good enough to devour, he told her, good enough to wash down with an entire decanter of Chianti. Jake loved that Edie gained a few pounds eating baguettes for lunch with runny, herbcrusted Brie, and he adored the simple satin ribbons she laced around her throat before they tumbled into the too small bed. Edie knew that Jake wasn’t the one. She knew it in the same way Sophie must have known the painter was not the one for whom she would give up the life she lived away from the cat and the cushions and the heeled slippers. It wasn’t that she didn’t love him. They were close, almost friends, and she liked the nearness of the tiny bed. She enjoyed being wanted, even on nights spent absently watching the blankets rise and fall while he sweated love poems into her neck and breasts and full white thighs. On those nights she was content to tie ribbons around her throat and reflect on her newfound knowledge that sometimes the physical body leaning on the pillows was not really an issue; it simply was. Saxifrage

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She liked that their names didn’t sound quite right together: Jake and Edie. Edie and Jake. The quiet dissonance of the hard vowels assured her of inevitable separation. Briefly she considered asking him to please call her Sophie next time. But, she decided that really was going too far. Instead, she continued frequenting the second story back corner of the bookstore. Each visit with Sophie gave her a new measure of boldness, and soon Edie learned to stretch comfortably on top of discarded floral smocks and scrubs, leaning naked and unevenly shouldered on her sleek new handbag. She studied the effects of fluorescent lighting on the female form. Woman as still life in book store. Sometimes she propped The Impressionists against a bottom shelf, or against her own bare white shins while she idly flipped through Teddy Bears on Parade, James Polk: His Life and Times, or 1001 Lighthouses. Sometimes she brought her own reading material. No matter how the fading cover sagged beneath layers of discount stickers, Edie could not bring herself to purchase the book, take it home to slip between uninspired others on her side of the shelves in Jake’s apartment. To buy The Impressionists would be to pay Sophie for some service rendered, make them owner and possession, mistress and servant, or lover. Here, in the bargain aisles they were friends, co-conspirators in the frank femininity of their lush pale bodies and their childish, foreign names. Sophie and Edie. 2 gether 4 ever. Things could never be the same between them anywhere else. * * * Edie lay on her side between the aisles, flanked by last spring’s Easter stationary on one side and nautical paint-by-number sets on the other. Her round left hip received full benefit of the fluorescent lights while the right, as she reached for her purse several inches away, was flattened into her cardigan and wool winter coat. Settling back, purse in hand, Edie was startled to hear the quiet scraping of a woman’s heels across the short, blue Berber. 236

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Bargain Books

Whipping her head around so frosted blonde hair fell across smooth moon cheeks, Edie found herself confronted by trim ankles, plump knees and the full red lips of a pretty, soft-jowled woman in her early forties. Before Edie could move to cover her own nakedness, the woman slipped off her cherry vinyl raincoat, pulled from its pocket a satin ribbon as red as her lips, and looped it around her throat. As she lowered herself to the carpet on the other side of the narrow aisle, Edie caught a faint but distinct whiff of Chanel #5 —and was that Gruyere? The woman kicked off her pumps, and easy laughter parted her lips. She lifted one pale arm to indicate The Impressionists where the book stood propped open against the shelf. “Don’t you just love Manet?” Edie grinned. Sophie almost smiled. Olympia was speechless.

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Bernie Zimmermann

the boy had a zest for checkers the boy had a zest for checkers which his mother surely did not i saw her on sundays and left early monday before the sun had grown hot the boy had a zest for checkers and pickles and ’stronomy too i met him on monday played checkers ’til sunday and then took the boy to the zoo the boy had a zest for checkers and his mother was great in the sack i shagged her on sunday played checkers on monday but then i just never went back

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Katie Gilliam

The Pet Booth

photograph

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Deborah Hamilton

Survival of the Fittest Flip-flop, tube top, non-stop hussle, Down the marked corridors of bustle, Buns and tummy tucks. She assures you her foot is only a size 7, And her ass a size 3. She is so small she can fit into anything, Play any part, go anywhere; As long as they have a mall and She has charge cards. Capri jeans, three-quarter sleeves, oh please, Say you believe in fashion! Style, sex appeal, and creating a veil of femininity Is her passion, Polluted, diluted, substituted, While watching ads she’s prostituted On self-renewing, self-serving, self-tanning Solutions to identity. The continuing ebb and flow Of perms and relaxers, astringents and moisturizers Help to hide those pesky marks, Given by the hand of fate, and her own. Silken hairs shed, swivel-head, bumpy red flesh appears. Soon sandpaper skin will be stripped fresh, Frequently and fervently in this cycle to maintain her youth. Small nicks, blood flows from pricks, Band-Aids now stick To her wounded legs. Concealed lines, biding time, Eyebrows plucked into fine, Regimented perfection.

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Survival of the Fittest

Deborah Hamilton

Taken out, put in, start again, Her inner beauty starves. Slim down, trim down, her fingers slide down Her callow, callused throat. Up it comes, bloody scum, You can’t hide from this type of hate. Depressed, repressed, Lee press-on And on she struggles to wake. Sale-shopping, club-hopping, pill-popping, A girl’s gotta do what girl’s gotta do, To survive?

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Kirstin Vorhes

Cypripedium acaule I always thought lady’s slippers look more like single, broken testicles— hanging, drooped and crying— than the slippers of a lady, and I wonder why my father— head hanging, drooped and crying— loves to capture, expose, enlarge and frame them.

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Sarah Ervine

The Second To Last Temptation of Persphone “Bite in, child— it’s only seeds at the center.” She turns the bloody pomegranate in her too pale hand, stares into the urbane subterranean darkness seated in a leather chair ten stories above plastic bags in dumpsters holding suffocated dreams and the lips and ears of women who listened and spoke the aloneness of her inner sanctum. In the lobby of Tartarus Plaza full color animagraphs of mystic cyclers adorn glossy airbrushed magazines three millennia out of date. Thin giggles of patient shades waiting for a hearing answer her hot stifled curses.

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Dan Russell

Future Pop Love Romance She was standing in the green lights on the second floor of the shopping mall She had my favorite new song tuned in above her, turning the airwaves around her into a shimmering blue She wandered about the buying opportunities in a daze as if an answer to all my questions i could tell by the curve of her mouth, and the glimmer in her eyes that She would end in a shower of sparks and overpowering beauty, that each moment would fill the air with electricity i edged in next to her & could smell the fireworks igniting oceans of creativity, rivers and streams of opportunity falling each and every way around her i felt the music come up as it often does a clear signal enveloping my immediate area of sound creeping over to meet up with hers i took the song and made it mine shaping it forming it to fade in and keep rhythm with hers She noticed quickly and I felt the sonic touch returned She spun and pierced me with those startling eyes our fields of energy mixed and spasmed 244

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Dan Russell

Future Pop Love Romance

We began to trade musical notes and dance along the fluorescent hallway the light of the myriad images and advertisements flickering, following our path, casting reflections off of our synergy We twisted and turned, caressing each other, bouncing sound waves in rhythm to our movement overwhelming all sound-space, overcoming all senses overshadowed by visions of perfection marks

comfortable hot tub mania with giant exclamation of incomprehensible savings on elegant virtual cruises

surrounded by envisioned lifestyle, spinning, turning through a shopping mall i followed her all the way to the Nordstrom’s purchase line inescapable, important little trinket clutched in her hand, gleaming with the beaming grin of pure old-fashioned consumerism when it came time for her account number i felt her cadence slightly change sending a tingle all the way up through me She turned to me with an expression filled with luscious affection

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Future Pop Love

motioned me to train in on her hand movements She entered and revealed her PIN number to my curious, compliant eyes ďŹ lling my mind with numbers, spreading out, mingling with the chorus of the song, evoking undertones of unconditional commitment felling me in one swift stroke to come out starry-eyed and purely convinced that this will be forever

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Kevin Freitas

rewes

digital photograph

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Bernie Zimmermann

Aemulus Amboaed eminus Distantia: invenustusaum Erato endymiononis Redamoare eminus Amboaed demoriormortuus Coagmentoare Coeoireii Compuli Aeternum

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Bernie Zimmermann

Rival Together from a distance The distance: invention Muse of poetry and man of the moon To love from a distance Together but longing Connected United Reconciled Forever

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Sarah Sanders

I stabbed myself with an artichoke I stabbed myself with an artichoke and the damn plant broke the skin the spiny little devil horn might still be stuck within my swollen thumb is painful whenever it is touched the pink and puy underside makes streams of blood and pus the war against the artichoke waged by my fearless thumb was strategically endeavored but the violent veggie won

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Abigail Buck

Cafe Terrace on a ‘Dark’ Night

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Rebekah Oakley

Homeless Feet were no longer pounding up stairs, winding through hallways. Voices no longer warmed the air with their vibrations. The familiar sounds of sleep and wake were absent from the bedrooms. The refrigerator: a house for festering condiments. Childless; motherless; missing persons. The walls stopped caring, stopped waiting for doors to open. Rooms lost more pieces and possessions. Beds remained, chairs went away. Couches stayed, pictures disappeared. Teasing the doors when they unlocked once every other weekend. Some rooms empty, drained of their moving uids. Some rooms untouched, toothbrushes left out crusted over with dried paste and dust. They were keeping it alive, but barely breathing. One day it died; from esh to fossil. No one lived between the walls and windows. No more dog barking at the opening squeak of the door. No more smells of Monday night casseroles. No more sounds of television commercials hidden in the background. On weekends the little one would go back looking for her family, her friends, her memories. There was nothing but cold, the heat inside eternally set at 50 degrees.

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Kirstin Vorhes

Four or Five a.m. (I can’t remember which) With the creeping, ensuing light of dawn— the full moon still strong in its stance— I exhale the breath of my last cigarette and realize for the first time that smoke has a shadow.

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Suzanne Akerman

Bad Connection The telephone I sigh I squeak A carsalesman voice Audibly smiling I am nineteen years old. The man who But credit cards I stutter a lie to the man She’s busy. I drop the receiver Will answer

Jangles And pick up the receiver A childish hello Responds Is your mother there? I say nothing Is not selling cars Repeats himself And his American values Call back at five Hoping Dad When it rings again.

Maybe his lonely The meaning mine

Lips can convey Are embarrassed to say:

She’s not coming back

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Imitation of a Tragedy

oil on canvas

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STAFF CHOICE

M. Scott Cameron

Shadows in the Rain “Upon earth there is not his like, who is made without fear. He beholdeth all high things; he is a king over all the children of pride.” — Job 41:33-34

“. . .how can you explain . . . shadows in the rain?” —The Police, “Shadows in the Rain”

O N E

HE WOKE UP IN HIS CLOTHES AGAIN THIS MORNING. His days trickle, his nights slurry together. In bed: Things come. Things go. Here’s a scene: They walk through his city. She pulls him back from the traffic. What was that, she says. Didn’t you see the cars. Do you think they see you. You want to get yourself killed, she says. She breathes her words into the airless space between them, where they hover between faces and dissolve. She never asks questions. She lets him punctuate her sentences for himself. He won’t look at her. I don’t know. Whatever. Yes. A bird falls from the sky. The scene passes. S. is still himself in the bed and his eyes aren’t opening like they should. He stumbles down the carpet to the cold tile, stands there for awhile in front of the mirror with his eyes fighting hard. He rubs them, splashes some water around, rubs harder. Shamelessly uridescent, the liquid waste streams and bubbles unbidden from his body. He blinks quickly four times as he hears it sparkle into the bowl, watches it mingle like wine into the water, blinks again for effect. He leaves it there to find its own peace and starts the coffee. 256

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Hours later, he is enjoying the rain in his hair as he walks home from work through his city. He shortcuts across the grass, focusing carefully on each trampled blade as it goes by. He smacks into a bundle nestled carefully under the arm of a passing art student. It falls to the ground, a charcoal sketch peeking out from the black gar bage sack. The startled artist turns as S. stares at it, a night scene of a country chapel. The rain is mercilessly editing the artwork, quickly smearing the cross on the steeple into a sort of crooked, leering parody of a cross on a steeple. He sniffs quickly. An internal shudder. He is transfixed by the crooked cross. She glares at him as she scoops up her ruined projects. Paralyzed by the smeared cross, he forgets to apologize. Her eyes will him out of existence as she runs a hand through mousy hair and gives up. And walks and it happens not in the blink of an eye, maybe a blink and a quarter, maybe even a blink and a half. Her shadow moves away into the rain behind him. She disappears. Pretty much just like that, except maybe a little more. He doesn’t see it. No one does. The coffee is really the dominant force in his life right now. It’s a sad thing, but there it is. Now he is on the couch, hours later, divining the dregs of this morning’s pot in one of his styrofoam cups. Styrofoam cups cover every square foot of his living space, each containing organic remainders of other mornings no different from this. For years, he has been dating them with a magic marker after enjoying the contents of each, a sort of diuretic diary of coffee past. S. enjoys thinking about that time thousands of years from now when he and his country will be known only by the things that they will have left for future generations: styrofoam cups, plastic bottles, nuclear waste. He is thinking that he may as well do his part and leave something that will really last. Someday urban archeologists will excavate his home. They will find a large safe full of these things, lovingly organized and ready for study. That will be a glorious day. Saxifrage

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11.14.98 says one of his cups: night out w/N. 07.20.85 says one of his cups: switched brands again 12.31.90 says one of his cups: happy new year 05.23.92 says one of his cups: paranoid sparrows He marvels again at styrofoam. He is holding in his hand molecules that will survive intact for a good millennium longer than those in his own body will. Unlike his body, styrofoam is not designed to biodegrade. Thousands of years of existence for an afternoon’s cup of coffee finished in three hundred seconds. 07.09.00 says today’s cup. He rubs, yawning, his chin with a palm. Magic marker between the fingers. Like most days, today has left him with nothing to write about. Smeared a cross, he writes in his careful junior draftsman’s block. He walks the cup over to the mantel, positioning it carefully next to 07.08.00 (fight with N.). This is the game that he plays with the daily iterations of his own consciousness. The present selves try to trick the future selves into confusion with their cryptic memoirs of previous events. Will his future self remember the cross incident well enough to place the reference? It’s all part of the game. So lonely.

T W O THE AIR IS THICK THIS MORNING; HE STUMBLES TO THE WINDOW TO OPEN IT AND HEAR THE RAIN. He stands for minutes, lost in the chaotic choreography of the traffic and the weather. This is the beginning of the end of the middle of another day. He has slept too hard and too long yet again and there is nothing left to do but take the bus. S. makes the coffee and takes the bus. He likes to sit at the back of the bus, in the very center of the dirty bench where someone will have left this morning’s paper. This is where the king of the aisle, the lord of the 258

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bus people, the czar of the commuterati is supposed to sit. He can see it all from here. A crazy man gets on the bus. He is talking to no one, and no one is listening patiently. As the bus moves on to the next stop, he begins to lurch from seat to seat trying to unload his Japanese portable cassette player and his customized screwdriver, “for bus fare,” he says. The crazy man was turned out on the street months ago when public funding had been cut for the specially trained staff that was supposed to be helping him not be crazy anymore. He makes money however he can and spends it on bulk foods and Newports. And here he is now, on the bus. Begging for change at eleven eighteen in the morning on the number forty-seven going north on Mill Plain. When the crazy man reaches the back of the bus, he seems surprised at what he finds there. They look each other over in that way that desperate men do. S. hates this kind of thing. Never ends well. The crazy man looks deep into his shoes and asks the question. What do you know, he asks. What do you know about the sea monster in the forty-first chapter of Job? There is a moment between them. S. knows that he should be surprised by this question, but he is not. He went to Sunday School. The leviathan, says S. Yeah. Yeah, man. The crazy man is very happy. Leviathan. Yeah. Thanks. He reels back up the aisle, swings into a seat. And disappears. S., watching him, blinks. Looks around the bus. No one else seems to have noticed the crazy man’s crazy exit. Saxifrage

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What is this, he thinks. What is this. He asks about the leviathan and vanishes. People don’t disappear that quickly. Isn’t there supposed to be a shimmer, or a haze? He thinks about this. Then he stops thinking about it and reads the newspaper. There is an informative piece about pet snakes in the newspaper. His stop. He steps off into the wet, shaking the dry warmth of the bus from his body. Face up to the rain, he walks to work thinking about snakes. Hours later, he sprawls on his couch to finish the last of the day’s coffee. It didn’t go so well today, the coffee. Some of the grounds have spilled into the pot. He drinks it all, rolling the gristle around on his tongue and rubbing it over his teeth. Small cracking sounds from all over his body as he stands to spit the grounds into the sink. The Bible on the bookshelf reminds him, and he pulls it down. The cross on the front … He opens to the forty-first chapter of Job. Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook, or his tongue with a cord which thou lettest down, it begins. He has read this before, years ago. The leviathan … He pours another cup and he reads the chapter, imagining Job huddled before God in the whirlwind, abhorring himself in dust and ashes. He finishes the coffee and reads it all again out loud in what he imagines to be the voice of God. Who then is able to stand before me, asks the voice of God in the tenth verse. S. paces around the room, Bible open, balanced in his outstretched hand like a small-time revival preacher on his first day. But this gets boring. 260

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Even the coffee can’t keep him awake now. He lazes on the couch, grogged and dazed by the rain, the strange day. Time to end this. 07.10.00, he writes carefully. Crazy leviathan man disappears. He strikes out disappears and writes vanishes directly underneath it. Vanishes, he thinks. Yeah. With his remaining energy, he throws the magic marker across the room.

T H R E E BACK TO LIFE ON THE CARPET, BLADDER SCREAMING FOR ATTENTION. N. darkly above him. Left arm numb. He has been sleeping on it. Forty-five seconds pass: comfortable, intense. His gaze travels from the depth of her eyes to the bottom of her dirty sole. He loses his focus. Too much. Too early for this. She can’t say anything, not yet. She is the only person to have spent any time in his world. She tolerates the styrofoam cups; she is now almost to the point of understanding. She frowns at the mantel, reviewing the days of his life that she has missed in one pointed glance. Leviathan, she says. It is almost a question, and she is smiling. This means that she is serious. Leviathan, he says. It’s a story. What… I wasn’t going to, she says. But. Saxifrage

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She handles 07.08.00 (fight w/N.), turns it over without thinking. A few brown dribbles escape her notice and speckle her shoe. She reads the cup four more times and makes a fist. It flattens, cracks, and splits in that way that only polystyrene products can. He is on his feet. Hey, he says. Hey. She turns, her eyes flaring as she walks to the sink. What do you do now, she says. Looks like Wednesday never happened. She shreds the pieces of 07.08.00 (fight w/N.) over the bulging trash bag in the kitchen corner. She is right, of course. By the rules of the game (as yet unwritten), the day didn’t happen if there isn’t a cup there to record it. He watches her mind wander as she fingertips the tomato stain on his sleeping shirt. S. has been smelling her for years. He can’t get enough. He inhales her as he walks his fingers up her forearms. No, he says. No. Guess it didn’t. Through his city, the way they used to on Sunday afternoons. The memory of rain. Their hands touch sometimes as they walk; she lets him take hers for a few blocks. For many years they have been them. They became them very naturally when he had first waited for her after an engineering class. We should talk, she had said before he could say it. Yes, he had replied. And they did, for a while. Now they are lonely. N. tries to get conversation going again. She wants to talk like normal people, she says. He turns to watch her again, but now there is a more appealing subject: an attractive first-year accountant late for her meeting to patch things up with a client. Her name is Ana Song, and her life is almost over.

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S. idly follows the natural outline of her powersuit, the studied frenzy of her pace. And then she is not there. Just like the art student that he didn’t not see and the crazy man that he did. Gone. He walks N. to her car. Unsmiling, he tells her: don’t disappear on me. Please. No guarantees, she says. I’m still giving you a chance. And I’m already wishing I hadn’t. Good night, S. He brings her close and holds her just long enough to take in the roasted peaches in her hair. He kisses her quickly above the right eyebrow now wrinkled in a deep scowl. He turns and walks. Nothing to say, not yet. Hours later, he finishes the day’s pot on the couch. 07.11.00, says the cup, still glistening in his sleeping hand. Made up with N. He dreams that his credit card is a time machine that can take him exactly three days back in time. He begins to buy expensive things with his time machine and take them back in time and sell them without ever having to pay for them. He becomes very wealthy this way.

F O U R THE BOSS DISAPPEARS MIDSENTENCE. S. isn’t surprised, exactly. Not after the past two days. Something in him knows that things this unusual are so unusual that they couldn’t just happen twice. It was bad timing. The boss was reviewing his assignments for the next three months, things that S. is going to need to know to stay employed. That’s the end of that, he thinks. In the lunchroom, the man he hates is unwrapping a vegetable burrito. S. has a deeply seated, utterly irrational hatred for the man he hates. This is the only man that he has ever truly hated. Why not, he thinks. Everyone has to hate someone. Saxifrage

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He is carefully coiffed, tailored. Otherwise, he is just like S. It wasn’t always this way. Seeing S., he unsmiles and goes for the microwave. Nice work yesterday, S. says with no trace of irony. The man he hates had been pressured to delay an important presentation to a client after admitting that he didn’t have it together. His mother had passed away the week before and he had been seeing after the funeral preparations. Look, says the man he hates. Aren’t you done yet. You just don’t let go. It’s been a while. I’ve had a rough week, if you hadn’t noticed. No. I hadn’t.And I don’t like you, you know, S. says dryly. This is intended to be straight irony, but it comes off wrong. The microwave beeps its annoyance at another veggie burrito finished. The man that he hates daintily lifts it with his fingertips and carries it over to cool on the table. Across the room, S. waits, willing him out of existence. Disappear, he thinks. Come on. Nothing. S. leaves the lunchroom. Just as the door is closing, the man he hates disappears. It is unfortunate that S. had to miss this one. He really would have appreciated it. The man he hates doesn’t go gently like the others: his exit is a sparky, fiery rainbow. He takes the rest of the day off to watch people. He cycles through several dirty park benches, loiters at a crowded bus stop, strolls down Second. Scanning, waiting. Nothing. Home to two pots of the darkest coffee he can make. He scribbles a design on the back of his hand with the magic marker. Holds the cup carefully and: 264

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M. Scott Cameron

07.12.00 boss disappears He studies those two words, turns them over with the cup. A workingman’s fantasy. But he can’t accept this. He doesn’t like where it is going …

F IV E S. STAGGERS, TRIPS, AND STUMBLES. Starts the day’s coffee. Doesn’t feel like he’s slept at all. Might not have. He lets the phone ring and ring and ring and ring and ring. It rings again. Her voice from the machine: I can’t do this anymore, she says (too tired to realize how trite and clichéd this sounds) and you’ve got to. Call me. I know you’re there. Call me. He carefully listens to the message again and is out the door for the long walk to work. The office is completely empty now. He knows that he will never see any of them again. He gleefully trashes the office of the man he hates. He throws all of the computers on the sixth story into one office and defenestrates them. He spins, he toils. But this gets boring. He stands outside the building for a moment, waiting for what must come next. A lawyer named James Carlyle is eating a ham and cheese sandwich on the bench across the street. And then he isn’t. S. tries the bench out for himself as he waits on the inevitable. He counts six more within an hour. Saxifrage

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Shadows in the Rain

07.13.00, he writes later. More gone. Cleaning time. He harvests the older styrofoam cups and stacks them with the pride that only an accomplished diarist can know. Humming softly, he organizes the stacks and locks them into the large safe in the wall. He cleans his coffeemaker with care and washes some dishes. This is all. Pleased with the new floorspace, he pulls the blanket from the couch and stretches out. A fifty-foot leviathan in his dreams tonight. It eats and eats and eats.

SIX TIRED WITH BEING AWAKENED TOO EARLY, HE HAD MEANT TO GET THE LOCKS CHANGED. But here she is again. He keeps up appearances for awhile from his place on the floor, lets her inspect his livingspace without getting in the way. She reads the newest cups on the mantle. Stares at 07.13.00 (more gone), shakes her head without shaking her head. Plays her message from yesterday on the machine. Her voice, still unaware of how trite and clichéd it sounds. I can’t do this anymore, she says and you’ve got to. Call me. I know you’re there. Call me. She plays it again. Sits on the couch looking down at him. The tears surprise them both. He finally drops the sleeping act, drags himself up on the couch to stare. it. 266

There is nothing to say. He watches her cry for as long as he can stand

Saxifrage

Shadows in the Rain

M. Scott Cameron

So you are, he says. You’re going to disappear like the rest of them. If that’s … she says. Disappear. Yes. I’m leaving and He falls slowly to take in the couch, still warm from where she had been. He draws gasping, hungry breaths until her smell has gone, too. In the street below, the children of pride are vanishing by the tens.

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Sarah Ervine

The Flags Go North In Anchorage every store ran out of flags. The flags travel north on slow barges, packed deck on deck with red, white, and blue. Twenty minutes south of Port Townsend, in her fragrant kitchen, my grandmother says, “I’ve never been much of a flagwaver, but I wish I had one now.” I stir swirling clouds of milk in my English breakfast tea. And the barges go north up the inside passage between islands spicy with ceder and spruce. I think of my brother, in his ill-fitting, stretched-out body, ambling affably towards his eighteenth birthday. I grunt noncomittally around a mouthful of buttery-fresh scone. Look through the sliding glass doors to the bonsai on the deck with the rock that looks like Mount Fuji. Unloaded in Whittier or Seward under perpetually gray skies, all those bright stripes and stars packed on to jerky, grimy box cars. What are my brother’s daydreams in AP Psychology? His girlfriend? Mountain biking? I place my cup and saucer by the sink, and get my laundry out of the dryer. Grandpa watches the news with the sound turned all the way up — the same news of falling towers we’ve seen for days. The flags lurk slotted in their shelves at Fred Meyer, Safeway, Wal*Mart, and Eagle Hardware and Garden. I see my brother’s pale body, the shadows under his ribs as he stands at the sink washing his face. 268

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Kevin Freitas

the one that got away

digital photograph

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Contributors SUZANNE AKERMAN is an optimistically cynical idealist nose-thumber. SUZANNE AKERMAN tried to avoid cuteness, pith, and witticism in her biography, but failed. SUZANNE AKERMAN likes to say the word “smock” to herself. SUZANNE AKERMAN is whomever she feels like being today. Tomorrow she will be J.D. Salinger. Leave her alone. RIAN BOSAK says that while photography is an interest of his, his real trade lies in cleaning fish tanks. He hopes some day to support himself just like Deuce—by being an algae scrubber! ABIGAIL JOY ”LOVES SOURDOUGH, COKE AND SALAD WITH CANDIED NUTS, WEARING CLOTHES THAT DON’T MATCH WITH THE SCARVES IN HER HAIR, PLAYING IN THE RAIN WITH MICHAEL, SITTING IN MUSEUMS FOR HOURS PEOPLE WATCHING, LAUGHING OUT LOUD AND DOODLING DURING CLASS” BUCK is a junior Fine Arts major, minoring in Art History and Printing & Publishing Arts. M. SCOTT CAMERON thought that Matt just wasn’t literary enough. BEN DOBYNS speaks for himself. Unfortunately, he is currently lost in the desert. We don’t know how to find him. Neither does he. KAELY DURWARD is a fish—indecisive, idealistic, and prone to overeating and disastrous liasons. In the future, she will avoid: dating Libras and reckless love. SARAH ERVINE knew everything when she was sixteen. She sometimes wonders where all that wisdom went. It’s probably lurking in the back of the dryer with all of her lost socks.

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KEVIN FREITAS is a senior geosciences major and staff webmaster at PLU. From Parkland to Scotland, the urge to capture the world through the chip in his digital camera has led him to snap over 22,000 photos in three and a half years. www.kevinfreitas.net KATIE GILLIAM sometimes closes her eyes and finds herself drinking cappuccino and watching people stroll through an Italian piazza. When she opens them she finds herself in Parkland, which really is the next best thing. Still, Katie holds on to the hope she will be an Italian in her next life. Until then, she settles with studying journalism and publishing, and pestering Rick Steves to hire her. DEBORAH ANN HAMILTON is an introverted Scorpio with many things on her mind. As a critic who has just begun to develop her voice as a poet, she will spend the next two years studying literature in a city she has never been to. LESLEY JUEL revels in the endless possibilities of semi-colons, em-dashes, and parentheses. She hopes to someday work as a garbage collector and a bike messenger in a large city. She loves a Cheshire-smile moon and the power of the Muse. REBEKAH OAKLEY cannot be described in fifty words or less. She likes to poke alligators with sticks, but is momentous regardless. JENNY PECK, Espotia kristona—a perennial plant native to obscure woodlands, it flourishes outdoors. Grows well in average soils, but prefers supplemental organic matter. It will not tolerate soggy conditions, which lead to rot, especially during winter months. Full sun is ideal, but it can survive in dense shade. The blooming period remains sporadically unpredictable.

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EMILIE ROMMEL ran away from Parkland. She has been learning to appreciate a ’95 Bordeaux, and was last sighted thigh deep in the Mediterranean. DAN RUSSELL is wearing a linen-and-cotton three-button suit by Salvatore Serragamo, $1,450. Cotton shirt, $220; silk tie $130; both by Ermenegildo Zegna. Leather shoes by J.M. Weston, $525. Grooming by Losi for the Wall Group. SARAH SANDERS has had many misadventures with malignant vegetation and has started eating only Twinkies and Ding Dongs as they are soft and cannot hurt her tender thumbs. The thumb in question has recovered from its injury. KIRSTIN VORHES is a proud Yooper and Combos connoisseur (pepperoni and cheddar cheese are her favorites). She can list the fifty states in alphabetical order in less than seventeen seconds. Her future plans include (but are not limited to) winning a trip to Yeman on The Wheel of Fortune and joining the circus. Any circus. She’s not picky. DESIREE WESTLUND has yet to find a language that is her own. And she has yet to find a people she didn’t love. But she has still not found a place she would call home. Although she wanders, she is not lost. And although she often must say goodbye, she is forever saying hello. BERNIE ZIMMERMANN will graduate in May of 2002 with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. His poetry has largely been inspired by the works of Leonard Cohen, Irving Layton, T.S. Eliot, W.H. Auden and Pablo Neruda. For further reading, please visit www.pleasureunit.com/bernie/poetry. html.

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Saxifrage was composed in Garamond and Futura Book. The cover and yleaf are Feltweave, and the text block pages are Cougar Opaque. The book was printed by Johnson-Cox Company of Tacoma,

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Editors M. Scott Cameron Kirstin Vorhes

Fall Sta Matt Agee Suzanne Akerman Kaely Durward Lesley Juel Alice Maahs Carissa Meier Rebekah Oakley Emilie Rommel Travis Zandi

Spring Sta Matt Agee Suzanne Akerman Sean Bendickson Erin Burgess Kaely Durward Deb Hamilton John Henry elizaBeth Jerabek Lesley Juel Carissa Meier Rebekah Oakley Jenny Peck Travis Zandi

Advisor Solveig C. Robinson

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