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ROW HOME LIT - VOLUME FOUR


an alt lit magazine for Baltimoreans at heart


OUR CONTRIBUTORS: Matt Muirhead (cover art) India Kushner Christine Stoddard David Tablada Christian Reese William Shaefer Caressa Valdueza Asheigh Cox Moe Weimer Samantha Obman Kaleigh Spollen Laura Short Brooke Carlton Katrina Schmidt Sandra Evans Falconer

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A special thank you to all who submitted, our selected contributors, and you the readers. This project wouldn’t be possible without you. Much love.

Š 2015 Baltimore, MD Curated, Edited, and Produced by Arianna Valle iii


Owning the Bones

I've been known to let them flow, every now and again.
 After all, I practically have a heart tattooed on my wrist.
 Its jet-black outlines never seem to fade. But I've never met someone
 quite like her - loud and abrasive. 
 Stories and experiences I'd never tell;
 she waved around herself,
 like sage brushing her shadow.
 Filling it with sarcasm,
 assault and curses.
 Perhaps she enjoyed it,
 putting the shock out there, 
 instead of being shocked. Maybe owning her skeletons,
 making them jump down and dance,
 instead of just gathering dust, was better. 
 I wouldn't spring them on others,
 as she so often did.
 But it just goes to show you,
 we are all victims or perpetrators,
 clutching secrets like scarves to faces on cold days
 or throwing them in faces like confetti. - India Kushner


- Christine Stoddard


I Wish It Were Me

Who tripped that wire, And ate that dirt.

- David Tablada

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Night’s Formstone

Hold your chin level with the moon caught in the traffic cam’s dome. Prove your posture doesn’t buckle like these row houses. Prove to night that you’re an interminable giant, not a burned down husk, stretch until your spine is a crane boom, a white heron, urban, rural, portentous, powerful. Three arabbers hedge the street, breath marking where beards end & mouths sprout. Their murmurs robbed by traffic’s declaration of thrum & bass. The skin of streetlamps across tinted windows purloins their faces from night’s pocket. Gutters eavesdrop on brilliant stories these footfalls tell of how standing in the moments that property-stake dawn you are the key turning in the lock, the deadbolt revived. - Christian Reese

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ON MY WALK HOME TODAY

the pine needles were falling. they stuck to my woolen hat, soaked with rainwater. I watched the water pond, and nodded to a lady with her border collie, who was drinking from the gutter. I wonder if she heard me reciting fragments, aloud, to myself. Maybe she thought I was crazy, or maybe she thought that I had the answers. I could have told her that I didn’t have the answers. I could have told her that there’s soup cooking, warm in the dented pot. - William Schaefer

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I Hope for Warm Things

Night cools its coils and I find myself hoping for a neck’s crook, and the blazing shelter of bodies swollen with sleep.

- Ashleigh Cox - Caressa Valdueza

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sorry

sorry for being such a cosmic space case, a tripping, stumbling bum shooting stars into my arms. i know i know, space suffocates you because there are five missed planetary sighs, tugging, tugging, tugging at my sleeves suffocating me. is the sky falling in the backstreets? i wonder why you’re so sweet when you cry. - Moe Weimer


I KILLED ANIMALS WHEN I WAS A KID

In native american folklore it’s the muskrat who plunges into the bottom of the primordial sea and brings back the peat from which the earth was created. When I was younger, there were muskrats who lived near the stream in my front yard. Every once in a while I would catch a glimpse of one running across the lawn. I didn’t think about the primordial soup, but of how I wanted to shoot the muskrat with my slingshot, and wear the rodent as if it were a coonskin cap. Born in an earlier century I would have been a trapper. Perhaps I could have been the destroyer of another world not yet created. - William Schaefer

Life on the line - Samantha Obman

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send the boys on over

there is something in the way you eat a grapefruit with knife and fork, cupping the globe of salmon pink with two calloused hands and your mouth pale like a tired sun that calls up to mind playing Red Rover in December: sharp echoes over a white meadow, heavy with gossamer fog, the sense of hot breath on ungloved fingers, asleep limbs awaken when Alex and Dylan and Jay charge through chained arms – or the vast expanse of the sky above our wool hats that showed, in all of its nakedness, clouds hanging on sheets of silky steel like strong men, wasted - Kaleigh Spollen

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- Laura Short


Sonnet Zero

I thought that you could slink through the backdoor like we did after dark as wayward teenagers, certain of nothing except our mothers’ sleep and the ravenous hunger we had for one another.  I thought that you could slip through the cavities in my siren-lined sternum and souse into me without sounding-off the deafening plainsong that echoes and echoes until I am alone, again.  One foot in you ask what kind of bird I’d be and here, I will tell you, I am merely the corroding carrion of a once lurid cardinal, filling up the innards of feasting condors who stay to get their share then carry on. 

- Brooke Carlton

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Pain Junkie Love

She rebuked shin-guards.

Each of us born

Welcomed home

one wound from another,

long-lingering promises

hands like adhesive bandages

of lacerations like lost sons.

stick to us, pull us out.

He invited her elbow to sleep

Compression heals by constriction.

in the softness

Construction knits the dire, intimate crush

of his nose, try

of fingers drowning in the seams

its cushion on for skin.

of foreign fingers.

He snuffed an ember

What piles in:

on his cheek.

heat, other smothering things.

She whispered to it, Red rose, Blistered skin,

Afraid of monsters hiding

let me in.

between their teeth they took to flossing twice hourly. Chase bad blood from

Broken teeth smile best.

bold brains where she used to believe

Tell me love pools in the gaps.

she could smell in every seam

The holes in her gums fight to cradle

every secreted yearning

each of his

to pick over the scabs he wore

ingrown fangs.

for a coat.

- Christian Reese

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Design - Samantha Obman

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i feel like i need to be more open with you because

whitman you are dead. like, what the fuck? (im drunk as fuck im cuckoo’d all like cocoa puffs a stupid fuck i like to fuck fucking senseless under rugs of tragic magic cocaine clubs): hey, walt. captain. i am cuckoo’ing cuckoo’d cuckoo because i want to live life with you. i want to slow down time with you. i want to binge watch star wars with you. i want to turn off autocorrect and accept responsibility for my actions with you. to eat cereal, drink tea, and retweet poetry with you. night after night orbiting space with you is not so cuckoo cuckoo cuckoo because the only way to mean something to anyone is to be with them and to be alive.

- Moe Weimer

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- Katrina Schmidt


The Boat (for Peter, in hope)

At the very end, when her breathing had become so difficult, Peter said: “Go mom, Go. It’s ok, go - go to Steven.” There was one breath, then another, then a final breath until she lay completely still, so that the boat, waiting there in the water, could reach her, finally.

And Steven, her eldest son Steven who had been over there all these years lifted her up, very slowly, very carefully, into the boat, into the seat next to him. When she was settled, and when it was time, the boatsman reached down for the long wooden oar, and rowed out, calmly, silently, into the widening river. - Sandra Evans Falconer

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until next time... keep creating

RowHome Lit Volume Four  

Row Home Lit is a publication dedicated to the writers and artists (near & far) whose hearts belong to Baltimore. Submit at RowHomeLit@gmail...

RowHome Lit Volume Four  

Row Home Lit is a publication dedicated to the writers and artists (near & far) whose hearts belong to Baltimore. Submit at RowHomeLit@gmail...

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