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SANTA FE LITERARY REVIEW 2012

S A N TA F E L I T E R A R Y

S A N TA F E L I T E R A R Y

2012


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Cover Photo: Lara Nickel Book Design: David Faulkner Logo Design: Jane Dill Design Printing: Vision Media Rio Rancho, New Mexico Copyright Š 2012 by Santa Fe Community College


Santa Fe Literary Review 2012 Faculty Advisor: Miriam Sagan Fiction Editor: Meg Tuite Poetry Editor: Sudasi Clement Non-fiction Editor and Editor-at-Large: Alona Bonanno Art Editor and Editor-at-Large: Sarah Velez The Santa Fe Literary Review is published by the School of Liberal Arts and Core Studies of Santa Fe Community College. With special thanks to Margaret Peters, Dean of Liberal Arts and Core Studies, and Julia Deisler, Co-Chair of English, Speech and Reading. Santa Fe Literary Review invites submissions of poetry, fiction and non-fiction of a general literary interest, as well as visual arts. Unless accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope, submissions will not be returned. Submissions are accepted on a year-round basis, to be read in the fall. Please address all correspondence to: Miriam Sagan Santa Fe Literary Review 6401 Richards Avenue Santa Fe, New Mexico 87508

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Contents The Dogs of San Marcos Barbara Rockman Wolves: II Daníel R. Martínez Beatitude, in the Urban Joannie Stangeland Love Victorious Jessica Lawless West of the Balkans Marmika Paskiewicz The Purple Book Paul Milenski Dairy Farm Distortion to the Psyche Meg Tuite Majestic Tim Suermondt The Purple Purse James Valvis Paint & Sparrow Alona Bonanno The Language of Drowning Jamie Figueroa The Grove Grey Held Forget Safety Michelle Reale My Father’s Silence Leia Barnett The Poet at Nineteen Ruth Holzer Altered Moon Kristin Roedell Winter Motherland Jennifer Givhan Lying to the Past R.T. Castleberry The Bike Ride Maureen McCoy Notes for an Essay on Points of Crossing Sam Rasnake The Bathroom Wall Ryan W. Bradley You Can’t Always Get What You Want Susana H. Case

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8 10 11 13 17 19 21 23 24 26 28 29 30 31 35 36 37 38 39 42 43 45


Migrating Angel Lori Romero Arithmancy Janet Eigner 11:30 pm by the Marsh John Krumberger Breast Reduction Wayne Lee Ni de Aqui, Ni de Alla Ana Terrazas The Apprentice Photographer at the Edge of the Known World Marianna Hofer Leaving Catherine Ferguson Cosmic Dust Barbara Daniels Fog Area Howie Good Teacher Louise Farmer Smith We Knew Her Janet Freeman Writing, with Parrots Cappy Love Hanson The Rose Lady Sees Her Doctor Jeanne Lohmann Adrift Lauren Camp Ravens Sally Reno Communion Amanda Montgomery Mixed News Deborah Wimberly Old Woman in a Shoe Robyn Hunt After the Dying Judith Toler Anywhere But Me Keith E. Abbot Haiku Barbara Robidoux Creative Solution Libby Hall Forgiveness Jessica Keener

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46 47 49 50 51

56 58 60 62 63 65 68 70 72 73 75 76 77 78 79 82 84 88


Red Lobster Love William Michelmore What I Remember Most about Dissection Lab George Such Yesteryear’s Birthday Blues Kevin Ridgeway Fall Blues Tune Jon Kelly Yenser The Nowhere Kid Frank Reardon In and Out of the Womb Len Kuntz Jaded Laurissa Anderson Clouds Erin Brooks Angel on Crutches Liz Wallace To Struggle with the Moon James McGrath Dreamers Avery Colt Don’t Call Bridgeport a Dump! Susan Aylward Sings with Dogs Susan Nalder A Hat Whose Brim Does Not Face Heaven R.G. Evans On-base drinking percentage Larry Crist Seventy Year Awakening Judy K. Mosher Tranquil Sunny 5 Days 4 Nights Susan Tepper On the Grounds of the Asylum, Worcester, Mass., 1949 Kirby Wright Linda’s Boy Elizabeth Rose Release Ace Boggess The New Poetry Barbara Hill

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97 98 99 100 102 104 105 108 111 112 113 115

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The Serious Writer Occupies Wall Street Marcus Speh New Mexico Haibun Lib O’Brien The Appreciator Michael Fessler Personals Helen Tzagoloff Natalie Sarah Velez Seduction by Soap Marilyn Stablein Perfect Guest Jack Cooper The Hike Ted von Dameck Faux Kenneth P. Gurney Rites of Passage Karen McKinnon Willards Woods Rosanne Sterne Spider Sheila Cowing Timing is Everything Linda Whittenberg Ropa Vieja Sara Lippmann The Day I Met Leonard Behzad Dayeny Where Meat Comes From Michael G. Smith Honest Abe Gregory Sherl Skin-diving William Greenway Tennis Without a Net Garrett Rowlan He Does Not Remember My Name April Michelle Bratten Monarchs in Abilene Michael Hugh Lythgoe Christ in the Desert Arianna Sullivan

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128 129 131 132 133 134 136 137 138 139 140 142 143 144 146 147 148 149 150

151 153 154


Pink X-Ray Brad Rose Loaves Philip Kobylarz Any Other Street Francine Witte St. Valentine’s Day John Macker I Am I Said Robert Vaughan Origins Ana June Teacher Ann Filemyr Why I Don’t Have a Story for Tonight’s Reading Ken McPherson

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Bios

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The Dogs of San Marcos by Barbara Rockman The dogs of San Marcos are turning over, love, rolling on straw mats and on dirt paths. They are changing directions and walking backwards, their roughed fur and curled tails half-satisfied. The dogs of San Marcos are singing, love. The black ones, the ones with pointed ears, the flop-eared, the one-eared, in their separate barrios under the loud stars, in the soft air, they send out their separate verses, love, listen how they take turns, converge a chorus of howl, whine and sharp bark. I think they are patient, one with the other, waiting for the note they should advance, given by the open throat that precedes them. The dogs of San Marcos are sleeping, love, on cobbled streets, in the path of school children. They dream and twitch oblivious to time and hunger, belonging to no one, belonging to everyone. The dogs of San Marcos are orphans as you and I. I look into their eyes, measure intimacy, their hesitation, their shyness, and think, how green your eyes, long lashed, too lovely for a man. The gods of San Marcos are praying, love. The dogs line the streets and we, one breath per stone, fingers in a grip

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easy as pines brushing mist, lift above the dogs of San Marcos. But wait, the stiff-jointed and loose-tongued, the scarred and panting are rising, love, and we are flying with the dear winged dogs of San Marcos.

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Wolves: II by DanĂ­el R. MartĂ­nez Under a blue-white moon pups yap for attention; once, the bitch came to my tree-stump opening, ears drawn back, tail wrapped down; I fed her well. There was not much meat, I do not eat it and the mush in my pot was not to her liking, she took scraps of venison in greedy snatches. Washed clean of the clear heat of the day her den grows cool, in these shadows pups nestle, wrapped in foot scratching and yawns of mischief yet to come. A stranger brought the meat, an offering for a prayer, an intersession I am less than he to perform; a small stone dropped with others in a pool of questions.

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Beatitude, in the Urban by Joannie Stangeland Blesséd are the thin hands, constellations in lamp light from the street outside. Blesséd is the eye of a gull keening over the river on Wednesday, the dull button of a pigeon Sunday morning in the alley, its coo-coo shivering against the trash and a sky too old to be morning. Blesséd is the promise scraped onto the page and then erased, the years stitched by needles you could thread and the tiny lies left in the sink. Blesséd are neon signs on slack puddles, candied jewels for anyone. I have come mute to the all-night diner, a supplicant misplaced — with pie and a pocket of other clichés as blesséd the city burns out all its stars.

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Mechanics of Prayer Collage by Marilyn Stablein

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Love Victorious by Jessica Lawless I used to spend hours looking through the picture files in the Seattle public library, searching for images to reproduce in drawings and collages. The filing system was far from meticulous. The images, stored in industrial-sized metal file cabinets with big creaky drawers, were an eclectic collection of magazine clippings, shoddy black-and-white reproductions of ‘important” artworks, random photocopies, and old print ads. I’m sure the cabinets are now long gone and all the images digitized, but back in the early 1990’s, sorting through these files was one of my favorite escapes. One day I came across a reproduction of Caravaggio’s Amor Vincit Omnia or, Love Victorious. I can’t remember in what category I found it, but if I was the librarian I would have placed it under “Desire.” Maybe, “Love.” All I knew was that I needed to have this picture. I checked it out at the circulation desk, along with a picture of the nurse from Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin, the one with the smashed glasses who was screaming because the baby in the carriage was rolling down the stairs in the middle of a violent revolt. But for some reason this woman was screaming over a HUGE spider spinning a web in front of her. I never returned either. It’s the sort of behavior I resort to when I get confused about the difference between love and desire. How can I describe the deep ache I felt when looking at that poorly reproduced black and white image of victorious love, an ache that led me to steal what wasn’t mine? I see: his flesh’s thickness; His lips are thick. He’s sexy. I’m curious who he is. Who is the boy? What’s his expression? He’s looking at me sexually. I’m not positively sure he’s looking at/desiring me. Sexual desire must be more than need. Sexuality isn’t trustworthy. This picture, the way he is looking at me is mysterious: Desire is unlogical. Thinking about my Caravaggio now, I think about art thieves and Kathy Acker. She intentionally stole others’ words, not giving a shit about rules. She was famous for it. Also, she wrote about Caravaggio in her essay, “Realism for the Cause of Future Revolution.” I stole some of

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her words from that essay to write the paragraph above. Desire is unlogical. This is one of two or three things I know for sure. What I didn’t know that day when I stole the picture from the Seattle library was that I had stepped into my own future revolution. And like all true acts of revolt, I had no idea where it would end. I knew I loved that boy. I knew I had to have him. He was soft and naked and lethal. With a sideways grin on his face, he looked past the mess around him- the unkempt bed, knocked over music stand, scattered instruments, and discarded crown of thorns. Again and again I would return to him, disregarding safety. Like when I fell for Josh, destroying the relationship I was already in and getting tossed into a storm of abuse, homelessness, poverty, and heroin relapse. I hung the devilish cupid up in my room thinking, “This picture captures our relationship perfectly.” I made a photocopy of the image for Josh; a gesture of my love. Every time we had a fight, every time things got destroyed, broken, torn apart, I looked at that boy looking at me and found my identity in that look. In that torn up room where cupid danced on the detritus of love, wings spread out in victory, reeling me in with his sexy soft body, his charming yet dangerous smile, confusing me as he opened himself up, exposing his most private parts, convincing me this was vulnerability so I wouldn’t notice the deadly arrows clenched tightly in his cocked fist, my stomach tightened with a familiar longing. My stomach tightened with desire. Caravaggio’s paintings have always inspired me. As an undergrad studying art history in Rome for a semester, I learned that his painting of Saint Peter was scandalous, total rebellion, because he depicted a saint with dirty feet. He also used social outcasts for his models - beggars and prostitutes instead of wealthy art patrons. Learning this made history three-dimensional. Breaking through the arrogance of my 20-year old self, I realized subversion did not only occur in punk rock lyrics or street protests. Learning about Caravaggio’s resistance to catholic hegemony during The Renaissance was significant for me. While in Italy I was constantly thrown off by the bombardment of christianity that came my way through others’ assumption that I was raised with the bible or their fascination with my jewishness- a part of my identity I didn’t have a particu-

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larly strong connection to. In protest, I made a lot of drawings of jesus falling off the cross. When I was chastised in my art classes for being too harsh, I countered with my newfound knowledge of Caravaggio’s aesthetic protests. I returned to the stolen picture almost a decade later when I came back from traveling in Central and Eastern Europe. My Hungarian father and I were trying to renew our estranged relationship and I had become more curious about my background. As a respectful gesture, he commissioned a piece of art from me. I carved the image of the victorious cupid in the center of the work. I was in therapy working out my own demons. Somehow this mean, sexy boy I both loved and couldn’t be with if I wanted to remain sane, seemed to be the right thing to send my father. Years later and miles away from Seattle I hung my Caravaggio on my studio wall. For a while it was packed away in my own files. I don’t recall which one. Maybe a folder labeled, “Love?” But during some move, at some moment of unpacking, I found it again. My relationship to the picture remains complex as I’ve grown and developed as an artist and as a woman. Even as a faded black and white image interrupted by creases, ripped corners, and pushpin holes, the picture makes my mouth water. Literally. In Italy I learned that when I am in the presence of art that deeply moves me, that touches my core and creates a sort of longing that makes me understand Keats’ words, “Beauty is truth, truth beauty, — that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know,” my mouth waters. That naked, victorious dancing boy daring me to desire him, daring me to feel excited and dirty, and giddy, and sexy, and happy; he makes my mouth water. He obviously made Caravaggio’s mouth water. Like all great art, the layers of meaning continue to unfold over time. In Italy in the 1980s I didn’t learn Caravaggio was queer. I had an inkling he was when I read that Kathy Acker essay, but that was also in the ‘80s, when I only had an inkling about my own queerness. In high school I was having sex with my best girlfriend even though we both had boyfriends. As I got older I knew I wanted more than whatever my relationships with men offered, but bisexual or lesbian didn’t quite fit. When I saw Derek Jarman’s film Caravaggio in the early ‘90s, it confused me. In a good way. The performance of masculinity, of young sexy maleness, of sexuality oozing out

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dangerously, made me strangely nervous. Like my beloved picture did. Is it OK to desire boyishness? Did my devilish cupid know all along that this desire I have for him just needed a little adjusting to be properly located? Could it be those catholic priests persecuted Caravaggio not only for painting a dirty saint but because he called out their desire for sexy, youthful, masculinity like he called out mine? The difference being that I’m obviously not a catholic priest. I don’t actually desire young boys. I love the stolen masculinity of female born gender queers who don’t give a shit about the rules of gender. The boy I am now with in love and life also reminds me of the boy in the picture who has dared me to travel to dangerous places but had my back at every turn. My sweetie is sexy with a softness that keeps him from totally passing. Passing as male, as female, as straight, I don’t know actually. Like Derek Jarman and Kathy Acker I can simply embrace the queerness of Caravaggio, the queerness of his looking, and the queerness of my desire. The violence of the image is now in the background of my life. It peeks out and through the boy’s legs, a reminder that the past is behind me but still present. It still frames how I see the world around me. The violence is also a reminder that no matter how loving a queer love is, in the background lurks a whirlwind of social, moral, and legal battles that can never fully be out of the picture. I love the dangerous territory this picture portrays and I love the excitement and titillation it gives me. It’s a map of my desire. The boy I love knows this. He gave me the gift of Love Victorious tattooed on my calf. The beloved stolen image is permanently mine. It draws a lot of attention- of course. It is a Caravaggio painting put on me by a masterful tattoo artist who refuses to go on the reality TV shows that pursue him. Oh and he’s queer too. So when people ask to see my “angel tattoo” thinking I am a christian, I smile sweetly and show them. One more act of queer subversion in a centuries-old legacy.

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West of the Balkans by Marmika Paskiewicz John taught me everything about Eastern Europe – me a girl from small town New Mexico and North Harris Avenue in Valley View, Ohio. He showed me the maps that lead to towns with strange names, how to look at the Alps from the Slovenian side, how to find Riebnize or the Spodnja Slivna or Triglav Peak and how to say the words: sveti, zˇaba, na planicˇa. He taught me to live in a world without vowels; how to jam consonants together, to love the sounds of CZ and SZK at the beginning of a word or at the end of a name. How carats (ˇˆ ) can make a letter sound like “ch,” “tzs” or “sh.” How an “l” with a slash through it becomes a “w.” How “j” is “y.” He showed me the secret parts of Chicago where Eastern European languages are spoken in stores, where strange syllables and marks are etched across their windows. He sang me Ljubljana’s song – “Stoje, stoje, Ljubljana,” and pointed to it on the map. He taught me how to sing to a baby in Polish. I heard the stories, but I could never sing the songs, even if I could carry a tune. I could never carry it across these mountains and valleys. I could never find that rift where people make music in minor keys. He taught me how important turnips are and how to caramelize them or turn them into kisla repa by fermenting them with salt in a brown stone jar in a dark basement. He showed me how to make Borscht the Polish way. He taught me to appreciate the root vegetables, but I still do not love them. We are friendly acquaintances only. He took me to LaMont where Chicago Slovenians go on Sunday – the men drink beyond their limit and play Bocce Ball; the women fix the food and tell stories; the children chase each other up and down Da Hill. He showed me how to moan like a Slovenian and to swear like a Grandmother, Sapra mishna dezh! – Suffering mice in the rain! He showed me how grandmothers roll out dough for poticˇa for holidays and how to cook the filling of ground walnuts, honey and butter, a little salt, and whiskey or slivovitz. You have to be Slovenian to make a true poticˇa filling. You may make a good filling if you are Irish, but you

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will not make a Slovenian poticˇa. The honey-walnut smell is heavenly, and the little girls show up to “lick the pan.” You flatten the dough, fill, roll, and place the big circle into a round pan to rise. The poticˇa takes an hour of baking and waits until Christmas morning for powdered sugar icing and a sprinkle of nuts. John showed us all how to make the candies for the Christmas tree. You buy Russell Stover chocolate creams, either dark or milk chocolate. You cut squares of white tissue paper and then cut fringe on both edges. You cut red string for hanging the ornaments. Put the candy in the middle of the square and twist the fringed edges closed. Tie the red string around one end. Place a holy sticker of Mary and Jesus or a Manger scene or a Santa Claus sticker on the outside. Hang on the tree so it looks like snow. Wait until Christmas Eve for the first candy, unless you are my mother who will not wait or the children who sneak into the living room when no one is there to strip the tree. Then you may have to make another round of candy ornaments. Christmas morning, you eat poticˇa with coffee in Mrs. Schlockman’s china cups with the gold rims that you inherited when she went to the nursing home. You watch the children open presents under the tree with its tissue paper candy wrappers, hanging like snowflakes. It is all very pleasant and comfortable, in your Christmas robes and candy cane socks, although you are in New Mexico now with red chili lights around the windows. Still a hint of the Balkans remains.

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The Purple Book by Paul Milenski The high window panes, the swift running river and the slate banks of the valley separated Stanley from the world of the other boys. They played violent games with oval balls and abstract rules. Stanley sat in his room, viewing the distance between him and the rest. He glanced down to his purple book with gilded edge. On the page were dancing words that told of gnomes and sprites, galumphing in a forest glade of chubby trees with round green leaves. This was Stanley’s reality, where words sang fictive notes that rang in his ear. “Stanley!” his mother shouted. “We will be late!” The real world was intrusive. Stanley marked his page with a blue ribbon and hastened to her. His mother stood stiffly at the open door, grim mouth, scolding eyes. “How many times do I have to call you?” Stanley did not know. His mother grabbed his hand, it slipped, then more firmly his wrist. He was dragged along at a pace he could not keep, his little running legs loosening beneath him, his knees dragging along the ground, his feet churning to keep up. They headed across the valley or so it seemed, to the world of the other boys. “We will be late,” his mother kept saying. “And then what?” Stanley did not know. As they passed the other boys, Stanley felt terrific pain in his shoulder, his arm detaching from its socket. His eyes wet with tears of pain. His mother stopped and turned to him, her face screwed tight in anger. “What is wrong with you, Stanley?” He sobbed. “I don’t know what I’m going to do with you? I really don’t know. I told Jesus God, give me a girl, and this is what I have. What is it, Stanley?” Stanley’s mouth fashioned, “I am sorry,” in a soft unvocal sound, coming from deep within his pounding little chest.

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The other boys stared. They were not dragged about. Their mothers called them to dinner, told them to scrub clean, and accepted their nature. “Now look at what you’ve done!” Stanley did not know. “You’ve soiled your good pants. Your knees have green stains.” “I am sorry,” he said again. But he was yanked forward anyway, past the boys, to some important place where his mother needed to go. Somewhere along the way, when the pace and pain seemed unbearable, when his mother gave an extra solid yank on his arm, Stanley felt a buoyant physical self, cold air filling his little lungs. His mind kicked in. He realized that he could withstand all the pain in the world, every bit of it. His nose dried of sniffle, his eyes of tears. He sucked in the sweet air of strength that a non-violent boy was required to have. He looked skyward and knew, this would be true: he would make a purple book with gilded edge – to heal the world of aching hearts.

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Dairy Farm Distortion to the Psyche by Meg Tuite A field trip to a dairy farm was not a child’s best friend. Unrestrained stories of milk storage in animal stomachs molded into cheese. They called it an accident. Hell yes, it was a hideous accident. It was worse than a car crash. Some kind of whack job who must have been starving said “Oh, yeah, that is a malted milkball, a Butterfinger, I have to stuff that curd growing inside a dead animal’s stomach into my mouth.” The mold, bacteria and butterfat bombarded about in the kid’s head as she tried to eat the Kraft cheese sandwich with bologna her mom had made her that day. Language came. It was an assault. Coagulation, rennet, pasteurized, fat, nomadic tribes and more despicable fat. They had samples of different cheeses at the end of the tour. Chunks of fluorescent orange and off-white cheese with toothpicks stabbed into them were like some kind of landmark she never wanted to reach. After staring at the asses of cows and the smell of their shit coming out, an ongoing parade, lined up in stalls with their teats, as they called them, stuffed into metal contraptions, entombed into sedentary slavery to produce the milk that would coagulate and acidify into something solid, depraved and never ending. All the white trash kids loved it. They smiled and shoved as many samples as they could in their traps of cheeses shrouded in a history of deceit and bacteria. It was a camouflage of herbs, spices and woodsmoke that kept them as far from the Egyptian tombs as a double-wide trailer to a homespun meal. She told the teacher she wasn’t feeling so hot. She vomited outside the bus for a while and then got on and waited for the cattle in uniforms to join her. Cows had lost their charming spots and precious faces. They were now suppliers of rancid lumps. When she got home her mom was cooking something with cheese on top. She tried to educate. She explained that it was unsanitary, came from doomed, filthy beasts of burden. Her mom laughed and set up the

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tuna melt sandwiches for dinner. The girl said she wouldn’t eat them and stormed out. Her mom fed the rest of the family and let the girl stew up in her room. The girl was hungry. She snuck down after everyone was asleep and unwrapped each Kraft cheese slice as quietly as she could and stuffed it in to her mouth. It was waxy, cold and smooth. She didn’t let images of cows or mold get in her way.

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Majestic by Tim Suermondt I hear the dogs barking on the busy street— the skies turn a menacing gray and an angel outside my study’s window adjusts her bra and her wings, her spiky black hair saturated with light—one angel, unlike the chaste retinue that showed up for Catherine of Siena when she went into her prayerful trances, imploring the celestials to help her understand the meaning of suffering and the joy supposedly to be found in loneliness. My one angel doesn’t notice me, flying off just as I’m about to knock on the glass— the dogs keep barking, the sky turns even grayer but the pain in my knee that’s bothered me for days is gone and I don’t care that I know it’ll be back.

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The Purple Purse by James Valvis The purse rested between the seat and the bus window. Purple leather, with gold snaps that caught light. The boy snatched it. The bus was empty and silent, just the sound of the motor hammering, tires sloshing in rain, the cough of the bum splayed in the back. They were but a few blocks from Princeton Avenue on a bus that ran to Journal Square in Jersey City. He would not get off until then to catch his transfer, and so he clutched the purse and looked around. A woman was staring at him. Some ordinary lady with a blue kerchief masking maybe a hundred hair-rollers. She didn't smile, but almost no one ever smiled, not in Dirty City where even the Statue of Liberty showed people her ass. The boy longed to open the purse to see what was inside. Like a surprise birthday gift, that's how he thought of it. It was his, left to him by some strange benefactor, or luck, a kiss from karma. But the woman would not stop staring. The bus lurched left and right, right again, stopping to pick someone up, drop someone off, but never the lady, never the coughing bum behind him. The bum was probably sleeping, happy to be out of the rain. The woman probably didn't sleep. Maybe she was an angel, though not the kind you see in the movies. One of those Old Testament angels that marked a person's pivotal moments. For the boy knew this was such a moment in his life. He would keep the purse and go one way, or turn it in and go a different way. Rarely in any person's life was it ever laid out so simply. This or that. One kind of person or another. Take your pick. Christ! He couldn't even peek inside without her seeing! The boy stood on that razor's edge all the way up Lyndon Ave, down Martin Luther King Boulevard, around the hard corners of Journal Square, his finger rubbing the smooth metal of the latch, knowing there was money in there, money he didn't have, money whose paper he could feel, ink he could smell.

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The boy looked out the window at the rainy streets. Why wasn't anyone happy? They all had more money. Would the money in this purse make him rich enough? Richer than those unhappy people? How much money could one purse hold? He placed the purse under his arm, the lady still staring at him, as if she never blinked. He sighed and stepped into the aisle. The moving bus was a funhouse floor, tossing him side to side, and even when he reached the driver he wasn't sure he'd give up the purse. Without looking inside! That was the worst. He knew for years after he would wonder about it. What had he traded for this warped sense of nobility? But now he discovered himself talking to the bus driver, a bluehaired man with a yellow face and empty eyes. I found this purse, the boy was saying, like a ghost choking on its own dust. I want to return it. The bus driver grunted something, then took the purse. The boy headed back to his seat. If he expected the woman to congratulate his upstanding morality, he was mistaken. She said nothing. It was almost enough to make him laugh. Or cry. Later, waiting for his transfer, he saw the bus driver leave his idling bus and carry the purse into the public restroom. He was in there only a short time, but when he came out again he carried nothing except his empty eyes. He cursed to himself, hopped back into his bus. The boy waited until the bus drove off. When it was out of sight, he strode into the restroom. In the third stall from the entrance he found the purple purse. Its contents, mostly make-up and sticks of gum, lay scattered around the toilet, some inside the toilet. No money. There probably wasn’t even some change. The boy went to catch his next bus. He waited in silence, watching the people walk by, most of them looking at nothing but their own feet. After the bus came, he hopped aboard and sat all alone near the front. The new bus turned a corner, then another. The rain had slackened some and the boy could feel the promise of sun.

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Paint & Sparrow by Alona Bonanno There are no words between us Only movement and song The rhythm of your hooves against the red dirt Lends ground to my airy tune It is your voice that causes me to gallop giddy Across open stretches of desert Your familiar call Which beckons me back again Your whistle from the branch of an aging oak Calms my racing heart When your thick body rests in the deep night I find comfort in the warmth of your mane Remaining there till morning Our chests rising and falling in unison

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You Will be Missed Photograph by Eleanor Bennet Santa Fe Literary Review

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The Language of Drowning by Jamie Figueroa Sixteen pairs of lips one tongue. There is the mouth I use to tell you come closer, there is nothing wrong with this. There is the mouth I use to bite, then smile, an innocent mistake. The mouth that will damn and bless you just the same. The mouth I will use to scream when you are leaving. There is the mouth that won’t forget the shape of your earlobe, the taste of a silver earring, harder than bone, between my teeth. There is the mouth that will confess deny lie. There is a mouth for every excuse, not now, not like this, not me. Two eyes or two sets of eyes. Who sees, your hand as it grips the muddy expanse of my inner thigh. All sixteen pairs of lips raw and hiding. All eyes, two or four blind now. One tongue to rest limp. Nothing left unsaid.

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The Grove by Grey Held On the south side sunlight ripens apples faster, not all apples, just the utmost one of which I want the first bite. My less observant self is hoping for enjoyment’s gauzy wings, a place where sky always rises like milk fat and rivers run unsmudged, a place where the past has no pulse and tomorrow doesn’t bicker on the mind’s bright screen. I wonder, do I really want that plucked apple, or just the detachment?

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Forget Safety by Michelle Reale The birds were all frantic motion that day as though delivering bad news. They hovered, their shimmering blackness stirring a fear in me. I pulled my eyes shut like a shroud that might protect me. Talk radio was all background noise and static, but I listened anyway. You pulled once on the cuff of my coat and I thought you might want me more than before. Instead, you spoke of new sensibilities you felt important to embrace with vigor. There was room for me, inside the expanse of my eyelids, but nowhere else. Look at me, you said, dangerous, like the rusty edge of a razor, but I could only fiddle with the old radio, the dial yellow plastic, a sharp, broken edge, with my thick fingers, feeling like they belonged to someone else. Those birds threw themselves against the windows and somehow the sound pleased me. I felt their desperation. That dial went around and around until I hit the hiss of dead air. It said more to me than you’d said in a lifetime that would matter. You stood in the doorway, the scene of so many comings and goings, with your head on your arm. My eyes squeezed shut and the drone of the radio sent signals that only the most sentient beings might understand. When I opened my eyes, you were gone. The birds smacked into each other, flew reconnaissance missions around my windows, and took residence in my gutters. I spit the feathers from my gaping mouth, while that old radio, like a miracle resurrection, played our song, a tune I could recognize, but couldn’t remember the words to if my life depended on it.

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My Father’s Silence by Leia Barnett I watch as three ravens swoop through the arching branches of a yellowing broad-leaf cottonwood, calling out to one another, in conflict or in play I’m unsure. Their cries attract three more birds. I want to call them a murder, but they are not crows. How sad that the early collective noun has been rendered obsolete; there’s something so succinct and fantastically descriptive about a conspiracy of ravens. With my back to a waning October sun descending farther and farther to the south and west, I want to say that I am here to write about my father, but that’s a lie. I’m here for more selfish pursuits. I’m here to write about myself and how my father and his silence have seeped into my being and my becoming, how what he chose not to say expressed more than a thousand words ever could. My father’s intrepid eyebrows spurn the notion of conformity, hanging precariously over dark eyes (dark in color only, not intention), eyes that are often obfuscated by dense bi-focal lenses. In his earlier years, my father grew a thickness of facial hair, dense and black covering more than half of his face. Between his beard and his spectacles, the onlooker was forced to depend on a sliver of exposed skin above his cheekbone to reveal any hint of emotion. Given the infrequency of either smile or frown, any form of physiognomy was nearly impossible. Father, mysterious man, disappearing and reappearing with never much of anything to say. Into and out of AA programs, cracking open beers as my brother and I peered out from the back seat, marveling at the skill required to steer with a knee while popping the tab of a Heineken can. Even alcohol could not provoke those mustachioed lips into expression; he was undoubtedly a more quiet drunk than he was a sober man. Speak, papa, speak. I have so much of you in me. These days, we ride our bikes together deep into the wilderness, Papa and me, letting Nature’s enormity and our desperate, gasping anaerobic breathing snuff out any desire to converse. On a late spring day we pedaled to a low-swinging saddle overlooking the Rio Nambe drainage. We simultaneously dismounted our bikes and wandered off in

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opposite directions, humble pilgrims willingly standing witness to whatever gifts a season’s birth might have to offer. After thirty minutes or so, we reconvened, cameras in hand, each display screen proffering an image of a miniature matucana cactus in early bloom with sweetest pinkness of flower. We’d unknowingly photographed the same plant. Speak, papa, speak. I’ve so much of you in me. Just yesterday we again took to our bikes and pedaled high over Atalaya Mountain into the wild ponderosa forest below Thompson Peak and Glorieta Baldy. As we began the steep ascent, I was vaguely aware of a mild impatience stirring in my belly. My dad was the instigator of my love of bikes. When I was in my early teens and he in his early fifties, we would ride together on weekends. It took everything I had to keep up with him; I would have never imagined that a day might come when I would beat him up a hill. Leaning against a bristling pinon, I watched him dismount below me to catch his breath. My skepticism of his ability to summit was growing. How would we ever venture far into the wild backcountry and make it out again? Finding shelter from the biting wind atop Atalaya peak, we propped ourselves against a warm lichen-covered sedimentary deposit and I listened as he mused on past adventures: backpacking naked with his first wife alongside the Rio Grande in areas that have since been flooded by Cochiti Lake, exploring remote forests of northern New Mexico and ancient Indian ruins above Cochiti pueblo, young man with dark eyes, Vietnam veteran at 22 in search of respite and rehabilitation in the backwoods of New Mexico, not unlike so many other vets of that time, perhaps seeking meaning, purpose maybe, the same things I have sought in my travels around the country and overseas. Strange how we perpetually expect change, particularly within familial cycles, when, in truth, that is the one place we can count on for repetition. He spoke about the growth and clarity provided by 5 years of sobriety and the experience of feeling as though he was seeing the world for the first time. The profundity of that utterance coming from a man of 65 left me awed and grateful for the guidance of AA and my father's own resolve to live a life free of the tethers of alcohol. On a three week climbing trip to Yosemite National Park, I thought often of my dad as I dangled precariously 150 feet above the ground on a

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300 foot granite rock face. Was it you father who instilled in me this insatiable thirst for adventure? As a young girl I spent days with furrowed eyebrows resenting him for forcing me onto a bike, into a climbing harness or down a snowy slope. These days, the time I spend out of doors is both sacred and unquestionably necessary for my survival in this world. Whether skinning deep into a silent winter landscape on backcountry skis, scaling vertical rock formations with little more than small bits of metal securing me to the cliff face or mountain biking far beyond the reach of cellphone reception or motorized vehicles, it has occurred to me on more than one occasion that my comfort in and passion for wild outdoor spaces was brought into existence by my father’s stubborn insistency during those early years. Are these the gifts we receive as little ones? Slow burning passions fueled by the infinite resources of inspiration and challenge, exploration and curiosity. Perhaps, as young beings in search of wisdom and guidance, we are profoundly influenced by those moments which bring life and heat into the eyes of those we love. Even now as we venture into the woods, my father's face is capriciously subject to strokes of adolescent animation. On a ski trip to Crested Butte during one of the coldest spells of the season, we insulated ourselves in as many layers of wool and down as we could manage and waddled out into the 30 below gloaming of the day to skin up the mountain as far as we could before the sun set. It's hard to describe the stillness of that frozen twilight. Per our usual routine, little was said during that hour of movement and breath. My dad trailed behind me, icicles forming on his beard, his cheeks rosy and full of joy and wonder. When he decided he'd had enough, we parted ways, he skiing back down while I continued the trek uphill. Just as the remnants of the pale mid-winter light was sucked behind the looming Gothic peaks, I began my descent, the flickering beam of my headlamp illuminating tiny crystals of water vapor as they froze in mid-air. A few hundred feet down, I caught a glimpse of something scampering across the snow. I stopped just in time to catch a red fox devouring the remains of a squirrel. She looked up at me only briefly, my presence in her frozen habitat of less significance than her supper. I apologized for the disruption and left her there to eat in peace. The sweat that had dripped down my spine on the climb up began

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giving rise to thousands of goosebumps. I envied the fox her impenetrable, furry red coat. Despite our miraculous ability to adapt and survive in a myriad of climates and conditions, as humans we are still such small and vulnerable creatures. It's this realization that keeps me venturing into unfamiliar, sometimes uncomfortable terrain. How important to feel small and weak and at the same time still unequivocally tied to this vast and beautiful web of existence. Shivering, humbled and full of awe and gratitude, I wandered back through empty streets and fell asleep with a penetrating vision of some kind of enormity dancing behind my eyelids. This is the depth of my father's silence. There is no need for him to speak. It took me most of twenty-five years to comprehend all that had been passed along to me in what he could not say. And my understanding of love is that much deeper because of it. The flashes of life that rattle through our bones and shift the very structure of our being, those flashes exist in a plane beyond eloquence or verbiage. Best to let them work their magic in silence.

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The Poet at Nineteen by Ruth Holzer They made us remove from its shell the ten-day chicken embryo, pale as a pearl and laced with lively red. Its legs were long and slender, its head with heavy-lidded eyes was bent toward the keel of its breast. Feathers had formed, and tiny claws. I saw its beating heart. My lab partner threw up, but I followed instructions and slid it into the small beaker of formalin we had prepared previously where it drifted, nearly half-way through its journey. What was I doing, carrying it along to the snack bar and placing it like a trophy in the middle of the table? My friends and I discussed our weekend plans, beer money taken from the lit mag slush fund. Afterward, I flushed it away. All gone, but for a shred of shame.

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Altered Moon by Kristin Roedell In 5th grade, I made your science project, painting paper machÊ planets orbiting beneath coat hangers. You orbited yourself, quiet, at the edge of the laundry room. In 9th grade, you failed geometry. I graphed parabolas while you slept, your changing curves an altering moon. You went to college, and I understood; you have always been further than the edge of the laundry room. Nightfall you make your own elliptical patterns, which I can not follow. You are grown now. Astronomers still watch the galaxy, tracing delicate nebulae. I wonder what planet you walk beneath. In the quiet dark only I am breathing — but I still hear the cadence of uncharted stars falling all around you.

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Winter Motherland by Jennifer Givhan Snow has been nothing more than a white word before this high desert where winter blues turn me red. I understand why Sylvia baked her head, if my husband were not here lighting candles. I scream when the baby crashes her forehead to my lip, my teeth clamping skin. And blood the blood I’ve seen too often. My son who started the dog-pile fiasco in the first place hums It’s okay, mama. Sister. The sounds of his soothing like the soothing sounds I made to dead clots the years before they were born. The clots I fear each second I’ll find in their beds, the tub. Red rocks at the dinner table, the high chair. Cold red mud on the placemats.

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Lying to the Past by R.T. Castleberry Each day is rendered in vocabularies of tension and tease: A hawk climbs past the waning moon. Monday’s sun rises like a butcher blade. I waken in my illness, make my prayers to the dawn. A dream of scorpions, a dream of warning seasons seeps from arid memory. I check my watch, the dust-raked avenue, pack a bag in the TV’s plasma light. Viewing this sackcloth country, I turn to the scripture of survival, repeat the joke of the world like it was my own construction. Mouth filled with water chasing bourbon, I hit replay on the remote and watch Mitchum call again to Greer. Stretched in years of errors, I know enough to shade cruel lines of indiscretion, to shake a gallows path. Ice rattles in my glass, melts and mixes when I pour another drink. When sunlight yields bright cover, I’ll take my suitcase to a sidewalk seat and wait for one of three cabs I called.

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The Bike Ride by Maureen McCoy What was my excuse? A grieving heart is never benign. Out biking my usual ten-mile stretch along valley land shaded by cottonwoods, I passed entrances to the small homesteads that call themselves ranches, the swinging signs on country mailboxes or great metal archways proudly declarative. I saw down the long stretch ahead, again, the large couple struggling along, roadside. I had watched them, passed them without comment for several days, or many days, or just about forever this fall: their torpedo arms hanging, defused of their might, from the launch of sleeveless knit shirts. I stopped and watched their approach. My mother had died weighing seventy-eight pounds—less, no doubt, as that last week in which she was bedridden the scale did not figure. None of us ever consulted the grim statistics after the fact. I had lost a little weight in the process of her dying. I was, in fact, underweight. Like her, a small woman, underweight, and taking some time out west, where the maudlin in need go to forget and renew. To be a stranger is to experience the power of grief. This I would learn. I removed my helmet as I waited, knowing that my legs made a taut V straddling the bike, a woman’s model of a mountain bike, thick-tired and sturdy as childhood’s. On these roads tough tires were essential. I wore bike clothes, shoes, socks, shorts, wicking shirt and held that helmet, cop-like, waiting, and piercingly keen to hurry up and lie to these people. The significant lie can set all of life right in a way the truth never will. With intent comes precision and, at last, maybe, control. The truth has no such guarantees. The two moved toward me, close enough now to show faces worried with effort, yet beautifully malleable in the way that larger faces often are. Thighs chafed, ankles worked in overdrive. Hope comes with its hot little face on high. I would encourage these two toward better health. I smiled, waiting. My theory, shared by my mother, allows that three types of human walkers exist. The fastest category—it includes far more men than women--has what we call hip walkers: legs swing from generously hinged

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hips. We approved this, as it is our gait, and so a legacy of action I perform every day, unconsciously, connecting me to my mother. The surge comes from within my trunk, and I glide by others. Effortlessly, I pass knee walkers, who make up the majority of all walkers. In front of me, alas, came category number three, the real strugglers of our human American race: ankle walkers. Most of the overweight are grimly consigned here, though a good share of the thin are hinged to lag too. Anecdotal exceptions exist of overweight hot-footers: my uncle whose body had come to resemble a great cherry of a globe, the earth aflame, in slow rotation on a stand. I had seen him dancing once, my mother, his small sister, clapping. Most ankle walkers may as well have bound feet, so hobbled are they by the extremely foreshortened movement. Oh, the work they must perform to get—anywhere. I love them, I do. “Hello,” I said to the couple before me. “Every day I see you out exercising.” The man scowled his richly expressive face, and the woman’s eyes ran quickly to the sky, the ground, and then to the one squawking bird in a tree. I blurted out that I had lost weight by exercising, and I failed to gasp back the lie’s elaboration, that I had once tipped the scales past two hundred. I breathed at the walkers, stared and breathed. They did not speak or budge. My giddiness turned to shock. Facing them, I faced doubt, perhaps even revelation. If instead of being thin from the get-go my mother had tended toward hefty, might she have had more chance in the fight; or, certainly, more time in which to wither to her seventy-eight pounds, and thus, well, more time to live? With me? Do the big ones live longer as they die? They must, I thought, looking into these faces that would lose form and breath surely more slowly than the smooth nut face of my dear mother that became beakish and glowing in the end. This thought, that the overweight live longer as they die, threw me down. I was tempted to cry, “Eat up.” Even, “I intend to gain!” and pedal off at top speed. Why would I gush forth a story of my concocted whittling down of self, my former imaginary trek to thinness? If not gagged by doubt, would I have poured out unasked-for details of diets and rituals of prayer and cleanses that required drinking gallons of oddly spiced water—all gibberish the opposite of my pleadings with my mother

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to eat, please eat up? I might have. I was ready to say any strange death bed sort of thing. I might bargain or plead or condemn; pray, confront, repent; laugh the hyena laugh; keen. I was still bedside and I could not yet be trusted out in the world with my grief talking. The lie that was sticking its tongue out at me I’d mangled into suspicious encouragement. I remembered the woman on cable TV, too massive for clothes, and her husband who wrestled her into standing for ablutions one hour of the twenty-four each day. When she finally dropped a couple of hundred pounds and was readying herself to have slack skin sliced off, he acknowledged her health but added, plaintively, “There is less of her to love now.” Callow youth at the time of my viewing, in possession of a living mother, I laughed. Now, on this road, we, biker and walkers, stood frozen in our cautions and furies, thrumming bodily hopes and damnations, while overhead the cottonwood leaves flashed in morning sun, in a land so free of humidity, the air only deferentially touched my skin. It could not be said here that one could sweat off weight. The magpie in the tree was sawing out its ugly laughter. The smell of water and sediment, mixed, came from a nearby stream, running low. Distant swayback mountains suggested hammocked gods. Somewhere, lay peace. What internal struggles, what recognition of gashing grace, what desperate sense of our own outlines framed the three of us there, unmoving? The two stalled walkers seemed to heave up from their personal oceanic depths a cursing x-ray vision of my insufficiency and, so, a great shield against mad-girl talk, fixing me in place. “We are out strengthening our hearts,” said the man. The woman’s eyes had settled into a bright stare shooting light along the top of my head. My urge to pinch their flesh lurched me forward, then abruptly back as the handlebars stopped me. I had forgotten I was gripping a bicycle. “Of course. That’s what we do,” I said. I broke down, which satisfied the team into moving past me, continuing their walk in this world. When I looked back, through tears blobbing my eyes, I saw that they were floating, big bright balloons floating against those mountains, as mighty and firm as lost love.

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Notes for an Essay on Points of Crossing by Sam Rasnake

I will be happy if the English reader sees behind descriptions of the life... — Mikhail Sholokhov, forward to Quiet Flows the Don “Where have all the graveyards gone? Long time ago” – That’s Pete Seeger. He’s singing at my writing table into the soft darkness of my room — my comfort — my changing with every letter that clicks to the page. It’s the power of song. And I wish I had it — with my own writing, I mean. I wanted some music to let me know just how short it all is. Something to let me know how impossible my words are. But it’s a trick I won’t master. Something to say, but no way to get at it. I can write what it’s about — I can’t write the thing itself. So I write the words: heart, chair, candle, phone. It’s all math. There’s nothing real. Just symbols, figures, marks against the stillness. A sign? Maybe. Something to learn? Who can say — I do like flowers though. I do. My favorite? Hibiscus. It changes color from morning to afternoon — or at least the hybrid I have does. So short. A striking breath of lovely, then it’s gone. What we say and do matters — or at least that’s what I’d like to believe, to know. The truth is — it’s an empty well. A dark abiding. But I’m ok with that. Every loss lets me know there’s more where that came from. There’s nothing I can ever do to change that. And this “nothing” looks and acts like something. A spin to darkness. The terrible waiting. The pointless smooth stone rolling down the pointless worn hill. Here I am again — picking it up. Where have all the flowers gone? They never left. They’re still here.

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The Bathroom Wall by Ryan W. Bradley The bathroom wall’s got a funny texture about it. When I stare I start to see patterns. Pictures. Lions with sunglasses, old men in funny hats, melting palm trees. It’s never the same thing twice, even when I go searching for one I’ve already seen. I get lost in the game, when I’m sitting on the toilet, drying off after a shower, or when I should be brushing my teeth. Sometimes Dad yells for me and snaps me back to what I should be doing. The pictures scramble away. The wall goes back to just being a wall. Sometimes I see Goose, our dog there. He died last fall, got trapped in a heavy snowfall and couldn’t find his way home. At least that was Dad’s best guess when he found him frozen solid in the woods a few days later. Dad drank more than usual that night, so I spent as long as I could get away with in the bathroom. Even flossed. Twice. “Don’t understand what you’re spending so much time in the john for,” Dad says. But I’ve never seen Dad in that wall. In fact, the harder I look the less I see of him, or his knee, or the belt coming down behind me to meet with my rear end. So, I keep staring, figuring if I look hard enough I’ll find a way out.

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Loafin Fishes Pen and Ink by Jim Griffith

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You Can’t Always Get What You Want by Susana H. Case Want — as in to crave, as in I want your conga, your maracas, your bracelet around my hips, my bedroom man, as in you’re my favorite flavor, your footloose lips. You lead to blood-stained hands (see metaphor); you’re my London Bach Choir, what I desire. As in who said you can’t get what you want? As in require. I met you when I wasn’t young, but I was young enough. Want — as in I can work out the difference between want and love. I’ll take the whole cherry red cake, the whole 50-amp fuse.

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Migrating Angel by Lori Romero She will shop with the rest, items crossed off her list with a pencil, lead as black as Faust's magic. The streets will no longer be safe and children will go missing. People will live above her, and she will grind her teeth when they drop their shoes. She will grow weary of dented pans and Easter egg dye, and of game boards fluttering open on dining room tables. At night, after a painful ascent, sheets will cover her crumpled body like severed wings.

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Arithmancy by Janet Eigner July, the Solar, Seventh month, its moon in Cancer, equaled my body’s pinched pain carrying her. Three weeks late she slipped into this world. In my veins ran worry. How might I know I’d swallowed with her chollah, the old-world, unconscious habit, superstition — that cancer, a bad-luck tattoo, would brand her, for my cherished Romanian Gramma had warned — a cat will steal the baby’s breath. Gramma had blown three times on the baby’s clenched fist, to scare away the Evil Eye. Seventh, July, her birth month, but the Eighth, August, Seven and Thirty years later bore her away. After she died, we applied ourselves to a math of the living — her sons, and our son, his wife alive. When the insurance man had us fill out the long-term care application, the number that dissolved me was one.

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The form’s question — how many children?

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11:30 pm by the Marsh by John Krumberger The lilacs have survived so far in June to chatter in moon glow while the streetlight cautions yellow saying I’m no one’s son anymore. This late at night a hoodlum could bash his name on my skull, or the police seeing me loiter beneath the window of the Marsh Funeral Home could throw me in a cell. I wear your face. The leaves shiver, the grass sways, this in-between world of shadows and shapes suiting my mood as I linger here two stories below your absence, your kindness, whoever you were.

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Breast Reduction by Wayne Lee You tried to tamp your shame down like the cherrywood blend in his walnut pipe, those thoughts that you, a mother now with a pre-teen daughter of your own, made him leave when you were three, but like shingles it returned after decades, inflamed by the swell in his khaki slacks as he sat beside you watching reality TV. You reasoned that your father, like every other boy since junior high, was rendered helpless by the sheer proportion of your bust, a theory confirmed by all the lurid stares from every male who tried to hire or console you, how their focus always drifted to your chest. Afterwards, in a morphine drip of a dream, you took white-out to his red-rimmed eyes and stapled his liver-splotched hands, yet could not Scotch-tape the Xerox leer, its countless photocopies in black and white.

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Ni de Aqui, Ni de Alla (Not from Here, Nor There) by Ana Terrazas Elementary school, that place where innocent children learned what it is like to be different. Where who they are and who they played with was determined by the color of their skin, or their fluency in English. Where they learned that being first generation Mexican Americans resulted in a battle of identity, in which no culture can fully take over and neither can they live together in perfect harmony. I learned this lesson in third grade. I had expected this year to be like my previous ones. I would spend time with my friends talking in Spanish, while eating our homemade Mexican lunches. I hadn’t expected that I would be changed from bilingual classes to English that year, and would have to leave my friends behind. I knew I was going to see them at recess, but what I didn’t expect is that I would make a new friend, Jessica, in my English class. I remember walking with her to the playground anxious to see my other friends. I could see them by the water fountain and I ran to greet them, bringing my friend along. “Come over here,” said Alicia waving me over. My four other friends turned to see me and I ran towards them. “This is Jessica,” I said as I reached them. Alicia, Carlos, Pamela, Kimberly, and Gaby ignored Jessica. “Let’s do the butterfly,” Pamela pulled me away. I looked back and realized Jessica wasn’t invited. I pulled back and hesitated. In that instant I wondered why they wouldn’t share me, and why I couldn’t play with Jessica and my other friends. Then Jessica tried to pull me away. “Let’s play in the monkey bars,” she said as she pulled harder on my arm. Alicia and my other friends quickly gathered around and grabbed my other arm. “No she’s going to play with us!” Alicia screamed. They began pulling me with all their strength, and I started laughing as I went from side to side. Finally, I was pulled to one side and fell to the ground. I looked over and Jessica was looking towards us, clearly mad. I never understood until later that the reason they didn’t like each other was a much deeper issue that I would have to live with. It was not

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being able to be a part of both worlds completely, and each fighting to keep me at their side. In that little game of tug of war my old friends won because there were five against one, but there have been other battles where the other side won too. Too American to be Mexican and too dark skinned to be American, Ni de aqui, Ni de alla. I have lost myself in search of identity, torn between my family and the place where I live. I remember the first time I experienced discrimination. It was when I was still in elementary school. I had changed schools and now went to a school that wasn’t on the south side of Santa Fe. I was standing outside the walls of the building, with my new friends that were from Mexico, when a little white kid and his friends across from us yelled “Go back to Mexico!” I couldn’t help but think, “why, and what would I do if I went there?” I have never lived in Mexico, and I didn’t know how I could go back to a place I had never lived in. I knew he was just being racist, and I knew what that was by fifth grade. Racism was something I learned from my older brother every time he would get in a fight with another white kid who wanted to start something. My brother was always confident in who he was, and would always deny being American even though he was born here too. He always said he was a 100% Mexican while listening to country and hip hop on the radio, with lighter skin than me, and having been one of the most popular kids in high school with both Mexican and white friends. Eduardo was proud of his name, and of his Mexican heritage, and denied the influence of being born in America instead of Mexico. I realized how much better my brother was at finding himself than I was, my freshman year in high school. He was a senior, and one of the most popular kids in school. My first day, I didn’t have to worry about someone picking on me because both my brothers would be there for me. We were going to school during the time when people were protesting for immigration reform, and racial tensions were high. We all went outside to protest, and sure enough there was my brother showing his support. All the Latino kids were outside protesting. We were all wearing white shirts, and holding signs up high. There were so many of us, we filled up the front of the school. Eduardo was with his friends, a big smile on his face. I could just hear him boasting: “Mexico!” “Mexico!”

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The feeling was exhilarating we were all a part of something that would be remembered. My brother’s Mexican pride felt so real to me at that moment. Then something happened that infuriated me at once. Some white kids from my class were protesting against us. There were only about six of them. I recognized a girl from my class who I recall boasting “I hate Mexicans” and there was no doubt in my mind that her actions were rooted in that hate. I looked toward my brother, and saw as he encouraged us to shout louder than the white kids. Everyone shouted louder and drowned out the white kids’ shouts. “They were nothing compared to us!” Eduardo said proudly. I learned that this identity issue would be there in every aspect of my life, but I never thought it would affect my relationships. I was in high school where the most drama occurred in my life, and most of it had to do with boys. My sophomore year I went to outward bound in Texas to go backpacking, and I came out with a new boyfriend. His name was Jonathan Trujillo, but despite the clear Latin heritage he was white, and definitely acted white. He was probably too detached from his heritage to realize he even had it. We had been going out for less than a month when I heard that some kids wanted to beat him up. He had said that he didn’t want to be partnered up with a bunch of undocumented kids, during a school activity. This had happened some time before we even went on the camping trip, and I had been in the classroom, but not at his table. It was during an activity where people born here heard the experiences of people who were born in Mexico. They shared how they crossed the border. Jonathan was sitting at a different table, but I could see something was going on. The teacher took him out to the principal’s office, and the kids that were at his table looked very mad. When I found out he had openly discriminated against them, I was furious. So what if I was born here and I was fluent in English, I am Mexican, but he didn’t see me that way. I heard many of my friends say that I’m not like the kids that were born in Mexico because I was born here. Yet, sometimes they would let me know that I was not like them either because I’m not white. The funny thing is that while a friend told me: “Don’t take this the wrong way, but you don’t have an accent,” another told me that I couldn’t pronounce some words to his satisfaction.

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I broke up with Jonathan after he refused to talk about it, and some kids kept telling me that they were going to beat him up. Later, I decided to try to be with someone that was different, so I went out with a guy I met through my friends. He was born in Mexico, and had no papers. I thought this time it would be different, and that I wouldn’t feel criticized for not being white enough. I was wrong; I was criticized for being too white. His name was Estevan, and he was an older guy who was darker skinned than me. He had only been here two years, and didn’t speak English at all. It was a good thing I’m fluent in Spanish. The first bad experience I remember is going to the movie theater with him and all my friends. Of course, we were all Mexican and the girls working were white. We were at the lobby deciding what movie we were going to watch when we were kicked out. The reason was obvious: we were Mexican, and they thought we were going to cause trouble. I was with two other girls, my boyfriend, and his friend. We were deciding what we wanted to watch, and we were obviously speaking Spanish. The white girls behind the glass seemed to be getting restless. “You have to get out because you’re not letting people pass through,” said the one with the braces. We looked around and realized we were the only ones around. I wanted to say something as I would with my white friends, but my friends just left without a word. One of my friends, Valeria, was clearly pissed off just like me, but the others didn’t say anything. We just stayed outside the theater for only five seconds when a security guard came. “You have to leave or we’re going to call the cops,” he said nervously, as if he was confronting dangerous criminals. I had never experienced anything like that with my white friends, but these friends weren’t as pissed off as I was, maybe they were used to it. Secretly I felt pissed off at Estevan because I knew that if I had been with a white boyfriend this wouldn’t have happened. There was another time we were kicked out of a public place, and again I was with him. Soon, I learned that if I stayed with him I wouldn’t be happy. He wanted a Mexican girl that would only live to please her man, Mexican machismo. I felt like he controlled everything I did. I knew that he wanted to marry me, and if I accepted I wouldn’t be happy. He would reproach me for being too white, and wanting a college education. He

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wouldn’t allow me to go to college if I married him. He wanted a free maid that would submit and live only to please her husband. I knew he would want to have kids, which I don’t want because I want a career. He was used to women in Mexico who were uneducated and wouldn’t rebel against the dominance of a man. He would want me to be just a house wife, which my inner feminist would not allow. I guess this is why I am too white. Too white to live like a Mexican. In this situation I remembered Sandra Cisneros’s story “Never Marry a Mexican,” and how her mother had regretted marrying her father. I knew I would be like her mother if I ever did marry Estevan. I broke up with him several times for different reasons, but the last time I was firm. I knew I had made the right choice when I found out he only wanted to marry me for my papers, and for sex. That is when I knew I had to safeguard my heart. I have learned that I’m never going to be like my brother. I will never choose a side and will be sure to embrace each side of my cultures along with the customs, people, food, and language. I can only hope that people will learn to respect and even cherish each side of me. If I could go back to elementary school I would make sure I helped Jessica a little more to make a tie. I believe each side complements the other and they each make up who I am. Now I guess I’m from here and from there.

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The Apprentice Photographer at the Edge of the Known World by Marianna Hofer By the time her aunt and uncle sold the farm, moved to an old house on one acre outside Apple Creek, she was 11 or 12, and her father and uncle had provided stacks of practical instruction to handle, in theory, whatever might rise up — floodwaters, winter wheat — in front of her. How to hold a camera. Why she needed to hold it. To run a milking machine, a rusted tractor. Recognize the farm’s played out, get out before it’s all gone to wreck and ruin. That damn near any situation, no matter the start, can turn difficult at times. But she needed to just buck up, go on, there’s never a question of not doing, not finding a way, but making it as best she can. She wades into thigh high grass, into the meticulous beauty of this emptied farmhouse. She can never bring herself to walk in a door left ajar or swung open, hinges cracked, instead content to aim the Minolta through half open doors, glassless windows, sure she never

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wants to stand in the middle of the intimate revelations left behind carelessly or with full intentions, what love or despair or flat out frustration couldn’t shove into a suitcase. Redwing blackbird on a fencepost. The shambles of the grass, wiry roses, handfuls of white peonies, mock orange grown boisterous. Yellow iris drift at the far corner of the property, beauty placed deliberately where she has to look a ways off down the road to find it. She cried when the farm got sold. Her uncle walked off so easily. She didn’t see then how anyone could leave all that beauty, all the redundant work and uncertainty that kept it all going and seem to never look back, ever regret anything. She frames up a shot, glances back over her left shoulder, a ritual at every house. Always she finds only all that romantic notion so hard to keep pristine and functional without some heart breaking down at any given moment.

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Leaving by Catherine Ferguson I came across Prudy washing her hair in a stone bowl part of the blue mountain above the waterfall boys played in the shade behind her sorting coral beans from wavy pods below the rock ledge a black vulture tied the sky in knots the jeeps were parked facing the unknown I could not have drawn the map of how to get there later Charlie drew it showed me how we drove over the spit of sand how we camped on the other side of the lagoon where the beach was still wet I woke to Prudy blurred by fire cooking tortillas in a red iron frying pan

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for years I dragged that pan around smelling the dark edges of the desert hot almost-burnt night hard wet surface of rock below falling water waking to the sound of breathing the bodies around me boy curled like a shell around Prudy’s knee

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Cosmic Dust by Barbara Daniels I’m looking at four copies of Putting Your Best Foot Forward and watching a man in a large black hat open a book on pregnancy. Beside him a girl in bronze satin, her feet in mismatched lace-up shoes, looks at books as if they can’t be trusted. In the center of my chest, pain. Pain in the backs of my hands. I’m looking at A Beginner’s Guide to Love. I lift the paper cover to touch the book itself, rough cloth pasted to cardboard, cold white spine. Something like the memory of wind sweeps through the aisles of the bookstore. I think of my body — the distance it’s covered. I have new knowledge: what fails in the body — cartilage in the knee, the delicate bones of the ankle, the sad and conscientious heart. I read that dust scattered between the stars is visible as luminous patches. It’s like pain, but it’s shining.

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Decrepit Door and Window Photograph by Michael Gallagher

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Fog Area by Howie Good I’m dressed in a French-cut suit the color of a cloudy day. A cadaver dog approaches, hesitant and mannerly. There’s no effective pill. There never was.

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Teacher by Louise Farmer Smith During the war it was difficult to fill the ranks of the faculty here at Lincoln. I wouldn’t have been a student here myself if I hadn’t lost an arm at Anzio, so I shouldn’t talk, but the college hired some pretty peculiar people—half-deaf retirees, foreigners, women. The most peculiar was Dr. Anna Schleiermacher, my psych professor. She was sixty if she was a day. I’m sure she’d never married or had children or any kind of normal life. No bigger than a child, she had a heavy East European accent and was in trouble almost from the beginning with the powers that ruled our little corner of Nebraska. Some said she was crazy, but I was thankful she’d hang out with me, a useless, one-armed soldier on a campus where all the fit men were gone and all the girls were busy writing to them. “Look darlink, vat I made for him,” she said one afternoon as she helped me build a snowman. In her old hands she held the two snowballs I’d seen her packing, and sticking out between them was the biggest johnson I’d ever seen. “The snow,” she said, “ees perfect.” “Gee, Dr. Schleiermacher, I don’t know. The Dean’s wife can see this from her kitchen.” “Oh, of course, how schtupid of me. You make a good sober front for Mrs. Waterhouse. I’ll work on the back.” I relaxed. What if she put a big obscene rump on him. The snowman’s back was to the Old Chapel, a dark monstrosity nobody used. After over an hour’s work she came around to admire my handiwork. I’d put in some smooth dark stones for eyes, a row of smiling gravel for a mouth, and a green pinecone for a nose. And here’s what made him unique—resting on his folded arms I put a little wolverine with long claws for the Lincoln Wolverines. The proportions weren’t quite right, but it looked pretty good for one-handed work. Dr. Schleiermacher’s little raisin face squinted at my snowman. “Ah,” she said, “very proper public man. Little smile for the ladies. Arms crossed, protecting his big pillowy Christian body. And vat ees dis? A little dog to guard his heart?” “No! That’s the Lincoln Wolverine!”

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“No. Dat is a little dog, just in case all the big body isn’t armor enough. True?” Her and her psychology were ruining the whole thing. “It’s just a snowman,” I said. “No!” My only friend was pointing her finger at me. “You are not a child, Sergeant Morris. You are the only man on this campus, at least the only one worth knowing.” I just stared at her. It was almost dark now, all the snow blue with evening. “Come. Come,” she said, waving for me to look at the back. “Ve make a Janus of him. See. He looks both ways. Behold, the private man.” She held out her hand like introducing a big shot. You could have knocked me over. It didn’t even look like snow. She’d rubbed the entire surface so it melted and refroze, and in the dying light, it looked like marble. She’d installed the great frozen balls and made bent knees like he was dancing. An awful face— howling lips and eyebrows arched way up—bayed at the gray sky. I couldn’t believe this crazy man was sharing a spine with my Wolverine booster. “This isn’t the private man,” I said. “This is the id.” “Very good, Sergeant Morris. But he’s more.” “Yeah,” I said. “He’s drunk.” “Maybe, a little. But at least mine can fuck.” I’d never heard a woman use that word, so I knew she was truly mad. I went out into a howling midnight to tear it all down. As I approached, the moonlight made those balls gleam like chrome on a Buick, and I could see all of him more clearly now. The mighty chest rose at the opening of a cape, which hid his arms if he had any, and the face, not so grotesque as I’d thought, sang into the wind like his heart was breaking. I scooped up a handful of snow just to cover his privates, but by the time I’d scooped up another, the wind had blown it all away. How could I hide him? On the other hand, wind was surely an act of God. I sank down in the whirling snow, threw back my head and howled.

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We Knew Her by Janet Freeman We knew her as the girl who stood on the corner sucking a butterscotch as the men passed by on the way to get the mail or catch the bus, stopping to pull a pigtail or cuff her chin, tell her she was looking good with a smile this morning. She stayed put until it was time to sweep the porch and her grandmother called her in, swatting the back of her thighs with a broom and telling her she better not catch her standing on the corner again. The boarding house had three stories and twenty-seven rooms and started out as a hospital for vets during the first world war. As they polished the mahogany banister her grandmother told Sam its history, starting with a patient who leapt to his death from the roof and another who had an affair with one of the nurses. Eventually her husband caught on and stormed the room on Christmas Eve, shooting them both with a pistol. He was heaving their bodies out the window when he lost his balance and tumbled from the window, breaking his neck. After that story, Sam started lingering in Room 24 between renters, lying on the bare mattress with her hands tucked behind her head, gazing dreamily at the window where the jealous husband had met his fate. She wanted to find such a love one day, get out of this hick town and head west. Plenty of people had done it. Why couldn’t she? That’s when she started rimming her eyes with shadow and black liner, hanging out on the stoop instead of the corner with her skirt drawn above her knees. Walt from 9 took to bringing her cigarettes and Davis in 5 gave her a baby poodle but her grandmother made him return it to the pound. She had a strict rule about pets, though Rick in 23 kept a rabbit and Chess, in the basement, had an albino python. Once when Sam carried down a load of laundry he came strutting out in a pair of boxers, the pale snake coiled around his neck. Sam was scared out of her mind but played it cool—she told me that, later—and even went so far as to stroke the animal’s backside. She said it was softer than you’d think. She also said Chess had a tattoo of a naked milkmaid on his upper shoulder and that after she petted the snake he asked if she wanted to come

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into his room for some vanilla wafers. She waited in the doorway while he put the python back in its cage. Chess worked in construction and had lean, muscular arms and skinny legs that didn’t quite seem to match. He didn’t seem embarrassed that he wasn’t dressed and Sam decided she wouldn’t be embarrassed either. They sat at a little table shoved under the window, Chess pouring her a glass of milk with something dark mixed in. She didn’t ask what it was but the wafers were chewy the way they get when the box is left open, and when she gulped her milk to help glide them down something bitter stung her throat. She drank up anyway, not wanting to look like a kid in front of Chess, slamming her empty glass on the table and standing to leave but the room swooned and the next thing she knew she was lying on his bed and he’d gotten out his little camera, asking her to pose this way and that, telling her he’d help her get to California or New York or wherever it was she wanted to go. “Canada,” said Sam, punching the pillow as she laughed and laughed. “I wanna go to Canada.” “Quiet,” said Chess, hoisting her skirt a little so more leg showed. “We don’t want your grandmother to find us.” She told me this the next day at school and I told her she should be careful, that if her grandmother knew she’d been in a boarder’s room she’d whip her something fierce. Sam just ducked her head, laughing. Ran to the corner of the playground where the boys hung around, puffing cigarettes and stamping their boots. It was cold that day and one of them put his leather jacket around her shoulders, her wrists thin as she closed the gap near the top with two fingers. She was taller than the boy, and when they kissed she stared over the top of his head at something in the distance. In that moment I knew she’d lost something deep inside herself after her parents died in that plane crash, and that her biggest fear was not getting it back. I also understood that knowing parts of her were missing only made the boys want her that much more, that they hoped they could be the thing that lit her eyes in the absence of faith. Only they didn’t realize it wasn’t faith she’d lost, but something else. What that something was we wouldn’t know until years later, after she kept returning to Chess’ room in the basement and he took more pictures and soon enough she was

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posing in the nude and he took that picture of her after the first time they had sex, the one with her dark hair fanned on the white pillow, her arm above her head as she turned to the camera. Anyone looking at it could pour themselves right into her empty eyes, get swallowed whole in the darkness. It was quite a good photo, really. It’s the picture I’ve got now, in my store. A gentleman brought it in the other day and I told him it had very little value but I’d try and sell it anyway. As soon as he left I flipped the sign to CLOSED, then sat in back smoking a cigarette and looking at that vacant face. We never knew what happened, how she turned up dead in Chess’ bed. The coroner said he did it, that he forced his hands around her neck and strangled her but in court Chess testified it was a game, nothing more, he hadn’t meant to hurt her. The grandmother sat in the front row, staring stonily at the flag on a stand behind the judge’s bench. She’d been just as quiet at the funeral, staying in the front pew a good hour after the service, until the church cleared and no one waited for her in the parking lot. In court she refused to take the stand, to discuss Sam’s character or if she’d been behaving strangely in the months leading up to her death. When the reporters gathered on the stoop she shouted, “God damn you all to hell!” and slammed the front door. We didn’t see her again until the trial. All of us had questions we wanted answered, but perhaps none more than Chess, who stared at this pitiful old lady with tears in his eyes. Not that she knew, the way she gazed straight ahead all through the trial until the day the prosecution brought out the picture—the one I have now—and she twisted her head a little. “May I touch it?” she asked, in a voice stronger than we would’ve thought. The judge nodded his assent. The prosecutor carried the picture over and we held our breath as the old lady lifted her hand to the glass, her fingers grazing Sam’s pale cheek, the one the men used to pinch on the days she stood at the corner, working a butterscotch between her tongue and cheek.

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Writing, with Parrots by Cappy Love Hanson Four little free-flying parrots violate the first imperative of writing: create a situation quiet, calm, and insulated. The youngest thumps onto my desk like a feathered rock, rips up an eraser, fat-foots the computer keys until the monitor spasms and seizes up. While I huff and run a finger down the user manual index toward Troubleshooting, she wriggles down my blouse, punctuates my concentration like a possessive apostrophe. This, as the unattached male squabbles like a fishwife with the pair over leftover brunch. He lights my shoulder, drops a sticky tidbit of waffle down the front of my white shirt, scrambles after it. The other two land in my lap and wipe their egg-smeared beaks on my clean jeans. A sharp-shinned hawk shoots through the wild flocks at the fence-line feeders, and the parrots scream, launch, orbit like comets trailing colorful tails. Down the hall they wing to who knows what mischief, perhaps a tasty snack of closet molding, curtain cord, or, in a moment of better taste, the delicate, Bible-like pages of Neruda’s Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair.

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Dancing Circles Drawing by Regula Onstad

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The Rose Lady Sees Her Doctor by Jeanne Lohmann Who could have helped an old lady like this, with green juice in her veins, and her hands already changing, curled into pink and white petals? Dr. Schmidt took note of the ragged edges of cuticle, the faint brown lines where flesh met the fingernails. His patient was soft and small, and a faint perfume followed her into the examining room. Touch her and you’d probably get a thorn for your pains. Proud of her teeth at eighty, who needed a knife? Her daughter said that she bit the stems off her roses, chewed the ends, fraying them so they lasted longer. Her daughter said, “Mother has this funny bitter taste in her throat.” Dr. Schmidt knew about the town rose society. Members had their own systems and schedules, private potions and fertilizers, their unique ways of dusting, planting and pruning. No one cared for roses in exactly the same way, and he’d have to reckon with her idiosyncrasies. She told him she worked every inch of the beds by herself, scrabbling on her knees in the dirt. Roses are heavy feeders, she said, and a pinch of sugar in the water kept the flowers fresh. She mentioned a recurring dream. It sounded like poetry when she told it, like a memory of music. Nobody he knew talked like this. But the old lady repeated her dream without a break, without hesitation. As if she saw what she was saying and was there, in the dream. I’m waiting at night for the train, and the signalman holds out a spray of bright roses. They grow in his arms, like a bush or a small tree, flowers the color of tangerines but softer, a delicate orange with the glow of warm light. He swings the roses like a lantern, in slow deliberate circles. They make arcs of fragrance in the summer night, sweetness that hangs in the air and covers the town like a cloud. The railroad tracks shine like ladders pointing away in the dark, until they reach that point where they turn into nothing. Inside the station, people wait on wooden benches. They don’t seem to care if the train ever comes. They look almost asleep. When they will stretch and get up depends on the signal-man outside. He’s walking up and down the platform, swinging his beacon of orange roses like a censer. Is he the priest of roses bless-

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ing the air and the train? When it’s time to board, will he come and tell them? End of dream. In the chair across from him, the woman sat with her eyes closed. A special case if ever there was one. Who could help an old lady like this? Chewing on the stems of roses! He could encourage using a knife or a pair of scissors, prescribe something for the throat, warn her about the chemicals. But he wished he lived in her town. Where the trains still came through at night, and he could walk that railroad platform with his arms full of such roses.

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Adrift by Lauren Camp No one made the bed; she entered the moon even when it wasn’t there. Distracted by herself, her conversations were soft as mangoes. At night, she introduced herself, and morning bloomed with prongs of pain. Her body jutted, disintegrating muscle and fat unwrapped in many dimensions. She searched for memory in the sheets, then surrendered to the TV’s gloss, her face broken into parts. She was defeated by those fluttering voices. I rubbed her back in circles to fight the rhythm of her disappearance. In those days, before I knew how locked in we were, I was hoisting up forever, confident of the fastenings and how well they’d hold. She was curious and left without argument, crawling through her own strange door to find something that wasn’t already familiar.

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Ravens by Sally Reno I have been watching the house since Wayne locked me out. When the light comes on in the baby’s room upstairs, I climb the trellis to look in at the window. At first, I was afraid to climb up there but now I don’t think about it. Wayne is changing our little boy’s diaper. I can see that he is talking to him but the window is closed and latched and the storm windows are up for the winter so I can’t hear what he is saying. I can tell, or I think I can, that he is saying the same thing, or almost the same thing, over and over, like people do when they talk to babies. He is shaking his head, nodding, smiling. I want to see him say the baby’s name. “Heron,” I say, my breath making rainbows on the glass. “Heron,” I say again. Wayne looks up and sees me. He stares at me before turning away to finish snapping the baby’s sleeper. Then he comes to the window. We are practically nose-to-nose. He closes the curtains. After awhile, the light goes out. It is cold. The bright moonlight burns. It is unjust that Wayne has shut me out. You aren’t supposed to be able to remember the actual labor and the birth but I do. I don’t remember how I got home. I must have lost that much in my panic on finding every door and window locked against me. I am sitting in the single porch chair, a chair that should have been put away with the others for winter, when Wayne opens the back door and steps outside. “Jamie?” he calls out. “Jamie?” I step into the circle of the porch light. He blinks. I take a step toward him, “Wayne, please…” I plead. He shakes his head, steps back, turns and quickly bolts the door. The light over the stove is on, so Wayne goes from the backdoor to the refrigerator and takes out a Heineken before he turns on the kitchen light. Bills, correspondence and legalities cover the kitchen table. Just then there is a sharp rapping at the window. He jumps. A branch of the persimmon tree tapping in the wind. What had he imagined it would be? A raven, perhaps? He laughs, like a dry cough. He puts the Heineken back in the refrigerator, takes the Jim Beam and a glass from

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the cabinet. Then he sits at the table. He blows his nose on a paper napkin and opens his email. He types: “I saw her again tonight. She was looking in at a second floor window. When I went outside there was only cold moonlight and wind.” On the subject line he writes: “Jamie” and for the address…. He can’t think of a single person he could send that to. He closes the email without clicking “send” and looks at the wavering blue screen as at a thing underwater.

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Communion by Amanda Montgomery I sit in the second pew infused in a spring sun that spreads like honey through divided light windows The ceiling here is free Of an angry God pointing The congregation worships in the low tone of bees I am still a little dizzy from the joint we smoked last night Semen seeps into my cotton white underpants — As I receive the body of Christ I am careful not to chew After mass, dozens of jelly donuts ripped apart scalding coffee in Styrofoam cups Yet to come, a diary uncovered after midnight, a sobering slap at the front door — Slut, a mother’s brand

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Mixed News by Deborah Wimberly When you cross the Mojave in heat of 111 degrees the windows are shut to keep out the dust, to keep in the snap of the car’s cool air. Passing the cacti and Joshua trees the world is emptied of all of its frills. At Barstow the radio news tells a tale of Hurricane Irene gathering force; the winds and the rain predicted to bring massive destruction to all the East Coast. In the back seat your teen-aged daughter, who asked to be taken along on this trip, is carrying a storm of her own in her womb, the pregnancy she is determined to keep. The contrasts in weather, both outer and inner seem far too great for one mind to contain, far too complex for one soul to endure. Here in the dryness the torrents seem phantom, as unreal as the future that presses for life.

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Old Woman in a Shoe by Robyn Hunt is not so old, hair like butter, but years of stooping to clear the clutter, children’s clothes, smart magazines has worn her hips right through fingertips too Raising a child can keep one young but two dozen are a sharp pebble lot too many marbles to spit or chew Hardly 40, trying to recall why she wished this hungry abundance Her husband sleeps, his glasses embedded in the bridge of his nose, a New York Review falls from his fingers, deep in the pungent orchard their home, tattered heel, stubbed toe, laces so knotted they will never thread.

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After the Dying by Judith Toler For months they linger in the bardo of our words caught between the is and was of the present imperfect. How long do we stumble on verbs in our still ticking time, lost between the then and now of their being? On what day of the dead do we let them go into the whirling winds of all who were — buried beyond all tenses beyond the singing of birds?

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Anywhere But Me by Keith E. Abbott Sudden light pinkens my eyelids. One shadow, then another, flit above and beyond me. I pretend they are gulls, maneuvering and hungry, or heavy-laden bombers, off to war with no regard for collateral damage. Their voices reach me. At first soothing, greeting, consoling. All too soon, they’re rationalizing, bickering, debating – love, death, liberty and God. He’d want us to end his suffering, argues a daughter; it’s in God’s hands, a sister retorts. They’re philosophers, saints, goddesses and revolutionaries; their strife is my self – me. God, to be anything – anything but here and anywhere, but me. I never appreciated hypotheticals, but now I wonder – what if? What if they knew I can hear their callousness, their sorrow? What if they knew that I can feel their touch, both prickly and empathetic? What if they knew I can see the silhouettes of their flailing arms as they argue their opinions as cardinal laws and virtues? My other senses are irrelevant as all I taste is technology and bile, all I smell are diverse chemicals bred for killing and seduction – both temptations to me. Now the poets are touting love and loyalty while the others – I believe may be striges – clamor the rights of gold and property. The estate stays in probate as long as he remains like this. What began as simple, softly spoken phrases of compassion have erupted into talon slashes and gorings. Opposing spirits scramble, the pilots shouting warnings of the ordinance balanced precariously in their bellies, but respite comes in the form of a witch. No secret, black and midnight hag, but a faint shadow that steals in to poke and pinch without malice or remorse. A white witch perhaps. Nonetheless, condemnable. The witch departs. The shadows remain silent (though one coughs quietly). They only want what’s best for me, one says at last. What’s best for me is beyond me and my three-sensed ken. However, I know what I want and it’s not what they want, or the bulk of them at least. I wish to see my maker. Not to ease any conscience or financial burden, none

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such heroism, but the natural conclusion to what is my own purgatory. A natural end that I cannot hurry along for all my efforts of will. As Emily Dickinson wrote, “Crumbling is not an instant’s act.” I fear – I am afraid that I’m an Elemental Rust upon those gathered about me. I’d hurry along if I could – the crumbling, the dying – but to be on His terms, not mine, and certainly not their terms. So I’ll simply lie and wait, watching the gulls and listening for the poets. I’ll wait for God to decide and to act or for them to pull the plug (truly a mere button to be pushed). I shall wait. I have no choice. Dear God, Anything but here, anywhere but me.

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Haiku by Barbara Robidoux on Good Friday at the foot of the altar a stray dog sleeps Holy Week I pray my mother's dementia is only a dream after you left lilacs and purple irises ghosts in the fog on the envelope of your Dear John letter a forever stamp in a nutshell there is no room for discussion spring blows in you leave me with the wind and dirty laundry

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Old Man on Dirt Lane Photograph by Michael Gallagher Santa Fe Literary Review

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Creative Solution by Libby Hall My husband, John, agreed to lend his pickup to his son-in-law, Harold. He didn’t realize the registration tags had expired months before. I didn’t have enough money to take care of it before Harold came to get the truck. Rather than tell anyone, or ask for help, I got a small white sticker and a sharpie pen and copied the numbers from the old sticker on my Ford station wagon, simply changing the year from 1978 to 1979. I threw a handful of mud at the license plate, so it would be somewhat obscured. The truck was muddy anyway. The chances were good that Harold could make the trip uneventfully. When Harold picked up the truck, I handed him the keys and wished him a good road. Off he went, bound for Oklahoma. Three hours later I got a call from the Sheriff’s Dept. in Santa Rosa, New Mexico. “Do you know a Harold Gibson?” “Is he ok? Has there been an accident?” “No, ma’am, we have arrested him for driving a stolen vehicle.” “Why did you pull him over?” “He was spotted weaving from lane to lane and was suspected of driving drunk. When we ran the license information through Motor Vehicle we found the registration sticker is different from the one on the registration for the truck, so we suspected the truck was stolen.” “It isn’t stolen. Harold borrowed the truck from his father-in-law.” I knew Harold didn’t drink and had probably nodded off and that he had the papers proving the truck belonged to John. He knew how to contact John. So, I denied knowing anything. “Look lady, you’d better speak up, Harold is looking at some serious jail time for several felonies. He’s very upset and confused about this and says he doesn’t know how this happened. He’s a nice gentleman. He says you will explain everything. I’d like to let him go, but I need to know what’s going on here.” “He’s telling the truth. I was aware the registration tags were expired, but didn’t have the money to take care of it. So, I made a new sticker for the truck. Harold didn’t know anything about it. I didn’t

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think he’d get in trouble for it. Can you please let him go?” “We have to impound the truck, but we can put him on a bus to Oklahoma in the morning. You’re going to have to talk to a Judge here asap and make arrangements with him to turn yourself in at Police Headquarters in Santa Rosa.” He said he would arrange Harold’s release as soon as the Judge gave him the word. I called John and explained what I’d done. I heard only silence, as I told him the story, then thunderous laughter. “Harold is a clean freak. The first thing he did was wash the truck. I guarantee it. You know he can’t read, so the papers in the glove compartment were of no use to him. Poor guy, he has a lot of pride around the fact that he has never had any trouble with the police or been arrested. Umm-mmm, you really did it this time.” “What should I do?” “Call Steve. He’ll know what to do.” I called Steve, a lawyer, told him what happened and waited for him to stop laughing. “This is serious, but I don’t think you need a lawyer yet. Call that Judge and tell him the truth. And if you can, cry. Let me know how it works out.” I called the Judge, told him who I was and recounted my long, sad, foolish story. I was so scared and upset by that time, producing tears was not a problem. He listened, laughed and told me to breathe and calm down. “You know if I was the judge on this case, I’d have you turn yourself in tomorrow. I’d probably dismiss the charges and charge you $10 court costs. I believe you made a stupid mistake. I will order the State Police to release Harold tomorrow morning.” Relieved, I thanked him. “Will you be the judge on this case?” “No, I can’t be since I’ve had this conversation with you. How soon can you be in Santa Rosa?” I told him I would be there the following morning. He instructed me to go directly to the garage where the truck was impounded and the Police would handle things from there. My friend Patty agreed to drive me there and take care of my kids if I did get arrested. I piled all three kids in the car and coached them on

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their parts. If I was arrested, the kids were to cry out, “Mommy, don’t go. Don’t take my mommy! Who will take care of us?” We had fun imagining different outcomes but none of us were prepared for what actually happened. We arrived at the gas station and went inside. There sat the sparkling clean truck, sans license plate. I told the mechanic on duty who I was. All worked stopped and several people came into the office and just stared. Someone called the Police. A squad car, lights flashing, siren blaring, pulled into the station. A tall trooper, with polished black boots, creased pants, and a belt loaded with gun, handcuffs, and nightstick strode in. His hand played across his gun. He ordered me in an ominous tone to accompany him. The kids and I got ready to go. “No, ma’am, your children cannot come with you. They can wait for you at the Court House where you’ll be facing the judge.” We arrived at a small, square, cinder block building, dark and locked. He made a call. Soon, the front door opened and I was escorted inside. Someone was sitting at every desk in the building and a few people were standing around in the hall. Hadn’t this place been locked and empty just a few minutes earlier? I began to feel that my crime had gained substantial notoriety. The officer brusquely escorted me into the Evidence and Interrogation Room. One wall of the room was a floor to ceiling display of evidence confiscated by the Police in various criminal investigations. Guns, knives, various other weapons, and drug paraphernalia covered the wall. Prominently displayed in the center of this wall, was my license plate. I laughed out loud at the sight of it. “Lady, this is no laughing matter.” The officer read me my rights and proceeded to read the charges against me. Five counts of felony, each carrying a 3-5 year prison term, forgery, attempt to defraud the government, tampering with evidence. The list went on. If he was trying to scare me, he succeeded. “Do you understand the charges?” “Yes sir, I do.” He left to make another call. “The Judge is at the Court House and will see you now. Let’s go.”

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He shook his head and smiled at me in the rear view mirror. “You’re lucky- the Judge likes redheads.” “Which Judge will I be seeing?” “Lady, this is a small town, there’s only one judge.” We arrived in Court. My children and Patty were already there. They looked nervous. I winked at them and told them it was o.k. I still had to face the Judge alone in the courtroom. His desk seemed ten feet taller than me. He was a young, handsome man, but he was not smiling. He read all the charges against me and asked me to explain in my own words exactly what happened and why I had done it. As I recounted the story again explaining why it made sense to me at the time, the Judge leaned on his desk and stared thoughtfully at me. “Is this really how you think?” he asked. “Well--yes, it is, Your Honor.” He slowly shook his head. “This sounds like something out of the Lucille Ball Show.” All charges were dismissed and I was charged $10 in court costs. “I hope you’ve learned your lesson. Pay the fines, then you can claim your truck and license plate and go home.” He was still shaking his head and laughing as I thanked him and left. After taking care of the fines and getting a legal registration sticker, we stopped for pizza and returned to claim the license plate and the truck. This time everyone we encountered was very friendly and joked about my misadventure. Relieved and happy, we headed home. I still worried about facing Harold after causing him so much trouble. I fretted over what he might say, or whether he would even speak to me again. When Harold called, I apologized profusely for what had happened. There was seemingly endless silence. Finally, Harold spoke. “There’s just one thing I have to say to you-- your 9 needed to be a little rounder on the top.” My ‘9 needed to be a little rounder on the top?’ That was it? It was never mentioned again.

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Forgiveness by Jessica Keener 1 That restless summer I craved my only sister like hunger craves food, like fatigue craves sleep, like loneliness craves love. 2 That was the summer after our father died. 3 I took a temporary job transcribing medical reports. It was easy good money, mindless, all fingers and letters—my laptop balancing anywhere on tables in coffee shops, my bed, my studio apartment floor. 4 My life was missing air. My older sister was coaching a woman’s wrestling team in Florida— That’s odd, right? And she was living with a woman. “She never hurts me,” she said. 5 That summer I went to bars, waiting, running, chasing, tagging for guys. One guy took me for a ride in his convertible. After he dropped me off at home, I sat at my bedroom window, blouse ripped open, too flushed with sex to sleep. One man down, how many more to go? 6 When we were kids, Ruth climbed the highest tree on our street, a crowded block lined with brick apartment buildings and two-family houses just outside of a Northeast city. While she was playing ball or hanging upside down on a limb, I was upstairs on my twin bed, grooming the plastic hair on my dolls. Father called me princess. He said Ruth should stop acting like a boy.

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7 Our house was narrow and crowded, everything echoed off wooden stairs and floors. It didn’t take much. Her homework not done, a misplaced comb sparked outrage and a hand slap across my sister’s face. Ruth told him to shut up. More slaps. It didn’t stop. 8 Each time, Mom whispered her desperate need to leave. She was pretty in a sad kind of way. Small shoulders, slumped; thin feet. 9 Each time he hit Ruth, I wanted to flee. Where would I go at age four, six, eight? One night, Ruth came home late. I heard a car drive up, the car door click shut and his silence waiting for her on the front step. She didn’t see him in the shadow. But I saw his hand flashing up and down, up and down, her wet, red face gleaming in the streetlight. “Screw you, dad.” She ran for blocks. Down the hall, Mother pretending sleep, and me? The next day, father prostrated himself, groaning. He called Ruth over and over. “Come home. Do you hear me?” I lay on my side paralyzed, watching her empty twin bed. When Ruth returned, he bought her a spotted mutt from the pound. He built a doghouse and put it on our small front porch, gluing shingles to the roof, leaving open holes on the sides for windows. You see, our father was nice, too. My sister named the puppy, Happy. 10 That summer after Dad died, I walked to the park near my apartment, a small green square between brick buildings. I watched sprinklers spinning, spitting waterblades whipping a net of spray over everything. Little rainbows flew up and twinkled in the daylight. I sat on the bench wondering if Ruth tired of gym sweat or the smell of mildew growing in

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terrycloth towels? Did the sound of metal lockers echo an empty feeling inside as it did for me? 11 I craved her like questions yearning for answers. 12 In the car, mom had dozed off in the passenger seat. The monotonous dark rains turned greasy, the narrow road heading south onto a sleek surface that spun them into a guardrail. Dad, unbelted, smashed against glass. Mom survived broken ribs. 13 That summer I went to a hotel bar and met a man from Argentina. He didn’t speak much English. My Spanish was worse. Ola. Yo no hablo — that was about it. We dove into bed, loveless drunks. After he conked out, I escaped into the cool summer night, crossing a street to catch a bus. I didn’t see a car speeding toward me. The man at the wheel braked, skidded away, almost hitting me, his face scattering with barely missed disaster. “Watch where you’re going,” he screamed. I’m going to Florida, I thought after that. I need to see my sister. 14 Not long after she graduated from high school, Ruth moved to Florida, met a woman and stayed. That was seven years ago. 15 On the plane to Miami, I fell asleep next to a man in a plaid shirt and khaki pants. When I awoke, he passed me a glass of orange juice. “I saved it for you,” he said. “I just dreamed I had twelve children,” I told him, smiling, accepting his drink. “And I’m not even married.” “Well, you’re young,” he said. “I’ve got two blessings. A girl and a boy. 4 and 6.” Take a look.” He showed me two stamp-sized school pictures. “The boy is the oldest. Great kid. Obsessed with baseball. A real

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boy.” “What do you mean by real boy?” I looked closer at the photo. “Well,” he said, tilting his head as if he’d never considered this. “He’s a good kid.” When we landed, the married man wished me good luck and we parted ways at the end of the exit ramp. I got into a cab. 16 In my hotel room ten floors overlooking Biscayne Bay, I washed my face. The bed was king-sized—so enormous—I lay on it and floated while two clouds crossed the picture window. Once, when Ruth’s puppy hurt her paw from a nest of thorns, Dad carried her for a mile to the vet’s, whistling the whole way to keep the puppy calm. But Happy died young from a rare immune disease. 17 The sun pressed against the hotel curtains. I unwrapped a glass at the mini-bar and poured my father’s favorite drink-Gin with a splash of water. I adjusted the thermostat and opened the closet door to explore. When I was little, I hid in our closet behind my sister’s clothes and pretended I was a rich lady waiting for my train ride to start. Mother would come into my room and say: Janey? Janey? Where are you now? That hotel room on Key Biscayne was my rich lady’s suite. I walked all around, squished my toes into the rug. 18 Ruth owns a wood bungalow home on Marathon Key. The front porch slopes and one of the stairs is broken, the corner bitten off. Pink flowering Bougainvillea streams down one side. “Ruth, hey! It’s me,” I called through the screen door, then opened it up and let myself in. She had a beige couch that sagged on one end. Laundry was piled on a dining room table. Sneakers in a pile next to the door. “Janey, What the hell?” We hugged. She felt solid with good health—browned arms, her hair streaked with sun. Ruth is small. Her hands and ears shaped like mine.

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As it turned out, she was leaving that night for a tournament in the north part of the state. “My luck,” I said. “I should have called.” “We might be champions this year.” “I’m not surprised.” She had been winning blue ribbons since first grade. “Do you need a place? Where are you staying?” I told her about the hotel. In the kitchen, she poured two glasses of icy water. “Come on. I’ll take you out on the boat. I have time for that.” I followed her down a sandy path through tall grasses behind her house. She was so comfortable trudging through thorny leaves, but I thought those thick roots looked like snakes and they made me jumpy. “It’s okay, Janey. Don’t be afraid. It’s just plants,” she said, knowing me. The trail ended on the beach, lined with Australian pines. They bowed over the sand like long feathers in a light wind. As I walked, the ocean emerged looking vast and chlorine green, almost fake. I had never seen such color. Her small motor boat was anchored in the shallow water. She held it steady as I climbed in. “This heat,” I said. I was burning up and pulled my skirt over my knees. The sun wrapped a thousand rays around my neck. The boat rocked gently. I clasped the sides while Ruth pulled the string to start the motor. She yanked and the waterblades roared. “The one time you come to visit,” she said. “Not one time. I’m coming back. I’m glad I’m here now.” The waves glittered in the breeze. I watched six pelicans sweep inches above the water. She pointed to a fish jumping, then a sailboat in the distance. Clouds near the horizon changed color like distant waters. Slowly, individual trees on shore joined together into one, solid mass. She turned the motor off and we drifted. “How have you been since dad died,” I asked. “Pretty much the same. Mother seems to be doing fine.” “She’s selling the house.” “Finally letting it go,” Ruth said. In her boat, she looked fragile and pretty in a way I’d never recognized. No anger marking her face. “Don’t you hate him?” The question blurted out of me like a cough.

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“How can you forgive him?” “I don’t hate him.” She pulled the anchor line through her hands, looping it through her hands. “I never helped you,” I said. “I should have kicked him, screamed. Done something. I did nothing to protect you.” “You were too young, Janey.” She looked toward a tiny island far from our boat, far as the distance of six years between us. A flock of birds glimmered above that island. “He was a broken man, you know. A broken man. I tell myself this every day.” “It must have taken everything inside you to come to that,” I said. “More than everything. More than everything,” I said, repeating. We didn’t speak for a bit, allowing that truth to soak in. But time interrupted. She looked at her watch. “Let me steer,” I said, reaching for the tiller. We switched places, carefully moving around each other, stepping over the middle seat. I pushed the tiller too hard at first, then discovered how minor adjustments of the tiller, an inch left or right, kept us on course. “Easy,” she said. “Works best.” I felt released from the shadow of violence and settled into that eternal moment of bright sun and sea: watching her relax, leaning back against a gently rising bow, her fingers skimming freely through salty waters.

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Red Lobster Love by William Michelmore Perce Nez drove from Fargo to Key Largo. Perce was a poet. In the phone book he was an Indian. He wore his long black hair in a ponytail. He built fences for farmers in North Dakota. Dug the holes, laid out the wire, strung it together, tight as violin strings. He carried a pair of powerful six-inch pliers on his belt. But at twenty-seven Perce’s life was no violin, or even a fence. It was an open gate. And one day he drove through it. It was 32 degrees when he headed out of Fargo in his old Chevy Impala, the pliers on his belt. He drove ten hours and stopped overnight at a Motel 6 outside Kansas City, ate a twelve-ounce steak, drank six beers and tried to pick up the waitress. Perce was slightly built and not tall, but as strong and taut as fencing wire. The waitress looked like a bale of hay, dirty blond and ready to burst. But Perce wasn’t fussy. He was a single man in a diabolically conceived safe-sex age where a hurtin’ need outweighed being particular. Not that it mattered. He struck out and slept the loneliness of the longdistance driver. The next night, in Chattanooga, after another long day’s drive, he got lucky. It was one of those instant-horny eye-contact things. She was a thin plain woman in her early twenties with long smooth black hair. After serving Perce his meal she sat down in the opposite side of the booth and told him her name was Isabel and she was part Cherokee. Her lonely eyes looked at him with what he later (in his bed at the Super 8 motel) correctly diagnosed as a crying burning depth-of-the-soul need to touch another body. Perce thought it would be a one-night stand, but this little Indian kept circling his wagon and he kept firing. And next morning, the darnedest thing. He was in love! He asked her to come down to Key Largo with him, where they would catch lobsters and live a wonderful horny life together. “Do you think you can capture a lobster?” he asked her. “I captured you, Perce Nez,” she said.

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And down they went. At a final stopover, in St. Augustine, they continued their courtship, tangled up in yellow sheets and pledging eternal red-lobster love. They drove across the top of Miami with all the windows of the beat-up Impala rolled down and when I-95 ended they rattled down U.S. 1 through the urban environs of Greater Miami and then hummed onto a two-lane highway bordered by flat sandy barrens and scrub pine, Florida Bay on their right and the Atlantic Ocean on their left. “Yahoooo!” went Isabel, sticking her head out the window, her long hair streaming like the torn strips of a black silk flag. Perce smiled at her joy. Damn, this happiness was good. They checked into the Edgewater Motel at Mile Marker 101 and immediately and hungrily made love. “I love it here, Perce,” she said, nestled up in his sinews. “Let’s live here forever.” “I’m going to die here,” Perce said with absolute contentment. They went next door to the Bonefish Bar & Grill. They sat on stools at the bar and Perce ordered a beer and Isabel a white wine. They looked at the grease-stained menu. They couldn’t have been happier. In a booth against the wall, two men in black, low-crowned cowboy hats watched them. They climbed out of the booth and walked over to the bar, one a tall powerful man around thirty and the other a shorter, younger man with no neck. “Don’t I know you?” the tall one said to Perce’s lean back and ponytail. The second man stood firmly behind the first. Perce half turned on his barstool and looked at the tall man. Didn’t look good. “I don’t think so,” he told him. “What’s your name?” the tall man said. “Perce Nez,” said Perce. “Is that Spanish?” the man asked. “It’s Indian backwards,” offered Isabel, to whom Perce had explained on the way down. “Is that right?” said the man. “Well, I’m a cowboy, a Spanish cowboy.” “I can see that,” Perce acknowledged. “I still say I know you from somewhere,” said the gaucho, squinting

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mean. “We’ve never been down here before,” Isabel said protectively, sensing trouble for her Perce. Perce was wiry and strong, but he was no match for this guy. All she could think of was Perce’s words after they had made love in the Edgewater Motel: I’m going to die here. “We just came down here to be happy,” she added plaintively. The cowboy turned toward her. Under the flat brim of his hat, his eyes looked her up and down. “Well, look at you,” he said, smiling crooked now. “I sure know you from somewhere. Are you a backward Indian, too?” Perce shifted his narrow frame sideways on the barstool so that it was poised between the gaucho and Isabel. “You’re out of line,” Perce told those dangerous eyes. “You got me scared to death,” said the cowboy, turning his head slightly to take in his backup sidekick. “Look at me, Carl, I’m shaking in my boots.” Carl chuckled. Perce was getting pissed off. “We’ve been in this bar five minutes, in Key Largo less than an hour, and we run into two of the biggest jackasses in Florida.” The gaucho’s hands lunged, grabbed Perce by the shirt collar and yanked him up to his face as though to bite his head off. He wasn’t watching Perce’s hands. Perce took the pliers from his belt.

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What I Remember Most about Dissection Lab by George Such opening the heart with a scalpel, my left hand holding what once thumped inside a man’s chest as my right hand fingered the valves and vessels. I felt the hollow spaces, abandoned rooms and corridors that once thrummed with jazz.

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Yesteryear’s Birthday Blues by Kevin Ridgeway that day the rain pounded on my garage cave while Nilsson wailed about jumping in the fire, the fire burning on both ends of my candle, picking up my grab bag of goofballs at the pharmacy watching “Taxi Driver” and friendless, identifying with Travis Bickle in my old Marine overcoat The kids called me Hemingway because of my scraggly beard and knit cap, my sorrow and my way with words. they expected me to die soon, either from drunken charades or a hemorrhage. and then they could visit my body by the railroad tracks and poke at it with sticks. Nilsson went into putting the lime in the coconut, and that day with the rain pounding at my door, the dark gray pallor of my parlor room of mind fucks, I drank it all up and wept.

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Fall Blues Tune by Jon Kelly Yenser What’s done is done almost now almost all the dun leaves have come undone come spinning down in tiny clatters on frozen ground in the cold cold wind the wind unloosed thus undoes us all almost none ever our doing what’s done was done long time coming down.

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The Nowhere Kid by Frank Reardon On those darkest and loneliest of nights when the dog would rather growl at the shadows than look for a bitch, i remember how you treated me for smoking pot and reading Dylan Thomas in the school parking lot, you told me that i was living up to my family name and that soon after i was headed for a life of community college, 5 kids, minimum wage, the military, or prison, i can still feel how cold the chair was that you forced me into, the steel bolts lodged like bullets into my legs and your hand, the one that gripped my neck, pushed my face into an open science book, and as i fought against you with my shoulders you laughed like a jailer in control of the electric chair, those minutes passed in the disguise of hours as you gazed at me from your desk, and your face curled up like a pig standing in front of his mud bath when you forced me to read about your protons and electrons, i was the dying mouse to your screaming hawk when you found out that i had slipped a book of poems in between the pages of the school book, another no good Reardon livin' up to his name, you said while throwing Arthur Rimbaud into the garbage, why can't you be like the other kids, you said, they're at parties, driving around town, going out on dates, getting ready for graduation, they're going to college, what are you going to do...read poetry forever?

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after i left, for days, months and years i roamed, and like you said, i amounted to nothing much, i'm poor, women have left me on the side of the road after screwing me, i have been in jail, i have abused drugs, been a drunk, gone to the madhouse, seen shrinks, searched for god and came up empty handed, i remember that time a few years ago when i ran into you, i was drunk in a liquor store and losing my balance in front of the cooler, you asked me what i was doing with my life and i said that i have been writing and not doing much else, you looked me over and said nothing, but your eyes said typical, and now, here i am, at this very moment, its 2 am, i'm still on the poverty level and still thinking about you, and i've realized, that while looking into the darkness of my room and watching the Christmas lights, that each one of the different colors lights up only small portions of the darkness at certain times, but sometimes, its just enough and just the right amount of light to see that the farthest that i will ever need to get away from you will be found within the words of my middle finger as you read your students the first lines of my poetry.

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In and Out of the Womb by Len Kuntz The guilt is real and so is her hatred for this thing she’s created. In her lap it sits, a loaf, a swaddled globe warming the tops of her thighs, weighing less than a cat, not a worthwhile thought inside its bald head. Aww, she looks just like you. She has David’s nose. What a little bundle of joy! You’re so blessed. Cursed is how she feels. Since the birth, a kind of asthma has leeched into her system, making it hard to breathe, as if a cape of 1,000 sand bags has been lobbed over her shoulders and chest. It takes too much effort to see, to taste, to scratch her cheek or pick her nose. Her tongue is swollen so thick it might as well be a python. Her eyes are dry chick peas. Had she wanted this baby in the first place? How did it happen, how did today become this day, bleak and oppressive despite Indian summer outside, the sun obscenely bright? And why had they named the child Maya? It’s an exotic name, ethnic-sounding, ridiculous now that she allows herself time to ruminate over the four letters. The moniker Maya and the gurgling-thing-stuffedin-cotton Maya have nothing in common. One suggests mystique and bronze skin, the other doom and pasty cottage cheese. “What are you doing here?” she says to the smelly lump in her lap, or to herself, she is not sure. “Why have you failed me so?” The baby’s chocolate pupils search the air, as if for a streaking starling, then speak. “Ca-Coo,” it says. The woman sees through the infant through the floor through earth. She sees herself, age eight putting up construction paper posters with her name then, FOR PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. But next she is nine years old, the posters are gone and she is staggering down the hall, knocking photographs off the wall. Once she makes it to her bedroom, she locks the door, but on the other side wolves are laughing, then cannon blasts that shake the door until a bolt pops free, teaching her

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then and forever that doors are really not meant to be open or closed, that nothing can be hidden or protected because innocence is just an idea, a heartless hoax. She’s read news stories about women who leave their newborns on porches, toss them into dumpsters. She’s not about to do that. Instead she takes Maya, puts her in the bassinet. She pours water into a kettle, puts it on a red-coiled stove, dumps dry pasta noodles into the hissing liquid, stirs. When he comes home she will kiss her husband and tell David it was a good day. She’ll repeat this routine for the years to come. But when Maya and the other female children she will have are old enough she will share the dark secret so that they might know it is normal—this dead sensation—so they won’t, like her, feel trapped inside the dark womb.

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Jaded by Laurissa Anderson Metaphysical movers did the heavy lifting Behind the psychic curtain they set the stage They lit the scenes we stumbled upon The ferry, the forest, and the jade green sea Three celluloid worlds played out And I was late to all of them They ambled across the screen A dream I couldn’t quite hold Too painful to remember So beautiful I could not speak Haunted by ephemeral porthole memories Liquid sadness ebbed and flowed On that day I lost my heart And found my voice There was you, me, And the jade green sea

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Clouds by Erin Brooks Don’t you remember driving the silver Eclipse down the highway after school? It had rained all day, and there was this moment of crossing the new bridge over Oak Hollow Lake— sound opening up as the car crossed onto the fresh white concrete, the empty pounding of the wind over the bridge like the rushing of air and waves inside a conch shell and the sky an unreal blue because the grey oppressiveness of the clouds at that moment cracked open, unexpected fissure of cloudbank and a sun somewhere throwing glitter on the water underneath us— it felt like flying— like being kids palm-up on our backs in the grass, watching clouds move in and out of the tops of trees and don’t you remember?

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we became seers, interpreters of messages from a world in the crowded sky, readers of tea leaves discerning our futures.

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Ancient Steps Photograph by Eleanor Bennet

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Angel On Crutches by Liz Wallace The ribbon is still there. I tied it around that tree six months ago. Where it faces the sun it’s faded to brown, and almost camouflaged on the bark. In the shade, the limp, knotted bow is still blue. If you look closely, there’s some foil confetti in the grass where I tossed it. The tree grows above a stone wall where on Valentine’s Day (evening, actually), 2011, my “Daddy” crashed his car. I was there the next morning, and you’d never have guessed anything had happened. It was all landscaped and pristine, no broken glass, car parts, or blood anywhere. Cool, clean cement. I’m surprised, really. Every time I pass I look for Vanja’s ribbon out of the corner of my glasses, afraid it’s gone and afraid it’s still there, all lonely and faded. The rest of campus is so carefully kept and clean. Orderly. All warm red stone, gravel, and desert tolerant plants. Why hasn’t anyone else left anything? I had grand visions of a whole memorial sprouting up with wreaths, flowers, poems, and love notes. “Vanja Aljinovic, beloved film instructor”. When I pass through the film department I feel like a ghost. Sometimes my head jerks up, waiting to see him drag his six foot plus body along the carpet on his crutches. He never complained about the MS, or let anyone help him. I’d ask how he was doing, and he’d say, “Fantastic!” in that Croation voice that was like chartreuse going down. It was the best man’s voice I’d ever heard, and it was even richer on film. My first memory ever was when I was a toddler, 2 or 3, I don’t know. We lived in a trailer park in Coloma, CA, and Alan (my birth father) was yelling at me and threw me onto a bed where I bounced like a ball. I was crying with my whole body, and the sensation of flying backwards through the air and landing on my back would have been terrifying, but I was too little to know terror. The blanket was a yellow and orange abstract floral pattern with swaths of green. He and Kathy (my birth mother) had matching belts; embossed brown leather with white lacing on the sides, but hers was a bit narrower. Jeremy and I had to go fetch them when they wanted to hit us.

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Sometimes they’d corner him (he was the littlest) and lecture him about how bad and disobedient he was and he’d cry until he threw up. Once he accidently drew his bath too hot and Alan made him get in the scalding water. I can still hear him screaming; loud and piercing over Alan’s bellowing and Kathy’s meek protests. He was seven or eight, I don’t recall. Most of what happened to me is locked away, deep in the shadows of my mind. Sometimes a memory breaks free and takes over whatever I am doing at that moment. I thought they’d stay hidden, that karate and self-sufficiency would bury them forever. I wanted to be so tough that I could endure anything. If I only did things perfectly, thought perfect good thoughts and did perfect good things they would be nice to me. My greatest hope was to be loved and admired like my cousin Stacy, even for a minute. I’d never be as funny or pretty or clever as her, but if I could say something clever just once, and make everyone laugh, maybe the tide would turn for me. The only thing I did right was to be obedient and submissive. Movies helped save my childhood. Thank heaven for HBO, Clash of the Titans, Star Wars, and The Dark Crystal. I could escape into the story and become a character in the adventure. I could leave scared, stupid, ugly, awkward, timid “Inky” behind and be a brilliant vixen with a sword and magic powers. A lovely, strong, and faultless heroine that everyone loved and admired because I saved the day. Someone completely different. When I was twenty six, I walked into a western store and they had a rack full of brown leather belts, embossed with white lacing up the sides, and I started shaking. For two days I was a trembling, crying, helpless kid again with Alan lashing me with his belt and towering over me. It took a week for the flashbacks to go away. Finally, I got up the courage to take an acting class, and I met Vanja. That first day a self-possessed, authoritative man talked for the first twenty minutes about the film industry. He was exactly how I thought a film teacher would be. When he ran out of steam, this old, skinny guy with a mustache started speaking slowly and carefully from his corner, and I realized he was the real instructor. Vanja would go on and on about Stanislavsky, Mamet, and Meryl Streep. It was hard to believe this was a serious class, but as he liked to

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say, “I am sneaky bastard.” I cannot articulate what I learned, but it’s there and it filled me up, like when you lie on your back under the sky. We’d get monologues and read them in turns. No matter what jewelry show was coming up or what the economy was doing (or not doing) I’d walk away from him feeling like every possibility lay at my feet. He was just as likely to lecture us about continuity as he was about an isolated shoot in the mountains, where they had to truck up food, liquor and prostitutes for the crew. One moment he’d be going on about over the shoulder shots and then espouse the benefits of fresh sauerkraut juice. “Pure vitamin C! Sobers you up instantly.” During the first semester, I was doing a scene from Good Will Hunting, and between shots he said, “You know what this scene needs? You folding lingerie.” When his eyes were on me, I felt like the warm, red center of the universe. Later, I got up the courage to give him a stack of my short stories. In front of the entire class, he announced, “I grew up reading Chekov and Maupaussant. This,” and he laid a bony hand on my stack, “is as good as them.” He went on, but my cheeks were so hot I didn’t commit it to memory. How can any teacher (or Alan) ever measure up to that? The last time I saw him, it was in the parking lot and he was getting into his van. I ran up saying, “Daddy!” I was in makeup and a bellydance costume, and he said, “You look good.” He seemed very tired and distracted, and I was in a rush, so I decided to catch up when class started in a few weeks. My favorite class with my favorite teacher. But Valentine’s Day came. While I was on the phone to my brother, telling him about Vanja, my Daddy was breathing his last. Jeremy is a film student too, and I finally shared that I had a real Dad and an amazing film teacher rolled into one. Maybe they’d meet each other someday. They’d get along beautifully. That ribbon is still there.

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To Struggle with the Moon by James McGrath Each night as the moon grows larger he breaks into the darkness beyond the gate into the deserted field where he holds the moon between his hands. He squeezes it, molds it into a shape mirroring his eyes. Nights pass. The moon is full, round, capricious. He must spread his hands more open, stretch his fingers to write a poem. By now he has calluses on his palms where the moon struggled to get free.

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Dreamers by Avery Colt Black sky upon a cobalt sea, where little orange steamboats float, grey puffs of smoke, Raoul Dufy’s, imagination in my mind, whenever I dream. Night’s little joke on daytime me, who’s practical in every way, a spade’s a spade and reality, ought not to be tampered with this way, even in dreams. Ironic then that my wife Joan; can love the person I become, asleep at night, deep in my mind, which she can’t see yet does commune, dream-to-dream. Like tin cans linked by tight drawn string, imagine walkie-talkie sounds, conveying messages ear-to-ear, which only fellow sleepers hear, in their dreams.

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Don’t Call Bridgeport a Dump! by Susan Aylward Bridgeport, Connecticut, a train ride outside New York City, is the home of the Subway sandwich and Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey Circus. My great-grandparents were immigrants from Canada, Wales, and Ireland, who made their way to Bridgeport during the late 1800s to early 1900s. My parents graduated high school and had me when they were 19. During my childhood, my parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents worked at the same factory, at the time when employees were referred to as part of the family. My father took college classes after work, and did his homework at the dining room table. Sometimes we would put Chubby Checker on the stereo and do the Twist, other times it was the Beatles. How clearly I remember getting my own bedroom. Since the age of 4, when my brother was born, we shared a room. The first home I remember was one of the handful of brick apartments in the shape of a horseshoe along a busy road. When I was 8, my brother and I were outside playing in the grassy center, when my father pretended to be stern and told us to go clean our room. When we got upstairs we saw new bunk beds with blue ribbed bedspreads with a matching rug. They had redecorated our room! My brother Richard and I spent what felt like hours giggling, as I put on arms-and-legs puppet shows for him nightly from the top bunk, and at the gastronomical sounds coming from our Nana on the other side of the wall. Our mother shocked us the first night after the stairs in our apartment were carpeted. We had always been able to hear her coming up the hardwood stairs from the first step....but not that night. We were whispering and laughing when all of a sudden she was at the doorway, saying, “Knock it off!” It was a big deal when my parents bought our two-family house on Eaton Street in the north end of Bridgeport from my uncle’s parents. My new room was on the third floor and unfinished. Even so, I was incredibly excited to show my room to all my family when they visited. My father and Uncle Bob posed with yardsticks against the walls as my mother took the “before” pictures. Then she took me to a store full of huge

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wallpaper books and I found the perfect one - a white background covered with sixties flower power in pink and yellow, She also refinished an old four piece bedroom set with a technique called “antiquing” and let me pin up all my cool posters. This is when my mother passed along her love of decorating to me. After I graduated from high school, my family joined many others in the suburbs, and it became the norm to say, “Bridgeport is a dump”, ‘the armpit of Connecticut”. At the time, I took it as truth, and became petrified to drive through there. Since I left that area in 1993 for New Mexico, I have been in many cities all over the country and when I visited Connecticut eighteen years later, I saw Bridgeport with new eyes. I saw street after street of huge historic homes, so different from my own humble Santa Fe adobe. Our home on Eaton Street was one of these homes, and I realized it’s not a dump, it’s just a city.

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Sings with Dogs by Susan Nalder You want me to sing? Ah no, not really. When I do, birds fall from the sky. I wanted to sing “We Are the World” with Stevie Wonder. But like Charles Lamb, I too am ‘sentimentally disposed to harmony but organically incapable of a tune.’ That 17th century essayist never made it within quavers of ‘God Save the Queen’ nor me to get to ‘the rocket’s red glare’ in the Star Spangled Banner.[1] My voice cracks on ‘Happy Birthday’ or the even less challenging, ‘Row, row, row your boat’. I don’t remember exactly when I started mouthing the words to songs. Maybe the summer of 1950, when I was about eight – something about the way some kids looked at me when we’d sing ‘America the Beautiful’ before nighttime roller-skating under the lights on the tennis courts. My mute mouthing evolved from years of sidelong glances in church or the stupa, in the car, at birthday parties or holiday caroling. I can, however, sing with a dog and it is so satisfying. Circa 1975, crouched down on the floor with Bones, a Doberman mix, I could sing with him as no other. A growl sound and a low ow-ow-ow by me and he’d sit right up, jowl to my cheek, and do his ow-ow-ow. Back and forth, and finally, the long mournful aaooouuuww. With crescendo! I long to sing with people. In years past a dear friend would call me up from her Rio Grande Pueblo at midnight to sing Auld Lang Syne“because that’s what friends do” she’d say. I couldn’t mouth it so I would chime in here and there. She too missed the notes, she simply sang out of friendship which has its own melody. I miss her and I have a strong urge to find my voice, to sing with my friends. Just last summer, I enrolled in a class ‘for people who can’t sing’ at our community college. It was held in a far off basement, down several corridors to an area where even the walls were carpeted, so it seemed. On the first day the classroom filled up! We assembled bravely and told our ‘worst-fear-come-true’ stories as an amusing way of self-introduction: “Hello. My name is Susan. One Christmas holiday I found myself teaching primary health care to a group of young doctors along the banks of the Blue Nile in Wad Medani, Sudan. My colleague Bill Bower

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was there as well. On Christmas Eve they had a party for us; after dinner they asked us to favor them with some American Christmas songs. Neither Bill nor I could carry a tune but we mustered our courage and we sang – a cappella – “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” and bits from other songs. Gamely our hosts clapped and cheered the effort, even some foot stomping. Finally they let us sit down and the young doctor next to me, took my hand, gazed into my eyes with his own big brown eyes, and using that voice of ‘dear, you have only a week to live’ ... “Dear Professor Suzanne, you sing like a goat.” Our instructor had a wonderful variety of exercises to help us find a note, stay in pitch or whatever musical term applied. My favorite was the beanbag – we got in a circle and then holding the beanbag low, we’d toss it in an upward arc to the person opposite, following the arc with our voice as it flew. No beanbags shattered and spilled as I bravely produced as much sound as I could, but even the instructor looked sideways at me – she meant only encouragement, of this I’m certain. How can anything be that bad? My efforts were akin to those awkward and somewhat unearthly sounds made when someone sings along with a Walkman plugged into their ears. Funny sounds that ring above, below or to the side of the real note. Strangely enough I have a musical ear. As a child I learned to read notes and play the piano –but I played by ear more often than not. In grade school it was the black plastic flutophone– remember those? Others followed: the subtle timpani in college, the Afghan sitar, a Martin classical guitar, even a silver Armstrong flute. Classical music thrilled me and was part of family life –by that I mean we went to concerts and played records. Unlike Charles Lamb, who was pained by such as concertos and opera, I am fueled by many forms of music. My body moves to music. I studied ballet for nine years; Philippine folk dance for a summer. I have loved the cha-cha, salsa moves, reggae dancing, even line dancing. I walk with music in my ears. My mind – even my spirit moves to music. Although I am new to creative writing and have only briefly met up with the dread ‘writer’s block’ – music seems to be one way to hurdle the mental brick wall. Rhythm soothes, focus sets in, my pen moves, the music disappears into its own realm and I into mine.

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A Hat Whose Brim Does Not Face Heaven by R.G. Evans Once, your body held my flesh together. Surface tension, a raindrop in the wind. Now, my muscles sag like kudzu on a wire, my face in every vacant mirror. Your memory (the blue/blur of a plastic eye) calls during dinner and hangs up just as I answer the phone. When I burned your pictures, all the empty frames looked the way our mothers looked when our fathers looked at them. Everyone was naked, long before the fall. When it rained, their skin got wet and glistened beautifully in gray and muted light. Then, even the trees weren’t enough to keep them dry. My father’s hat was handsome, red feather in the brim. It didn’t stop the rain, only held it above his head, a reservoir of constant motion, until he took it off. I have to watch my step in all my empty rooms. My hat’s in one of them, crown down on the floor. There’s no one here to pick it up.

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On-base drinking percentage by Larry Crist I’m uncertain as to whether baseball got me drinking or drinking drew me closer to baseball I went from not drinking and playing to playing and drinking to drinking and watching to not playing at all I played in several beer leagues We played a lot and drank a lot sometimes after, sometimes during With beerball it’s not whether you win or lose It’s how you drink that matters My father introduced me to the game, drinking in his chair with me on the floor He explained everything involved except for the crucial enhancement of drinking while watching which i discovered by watching him watch it He’d lob a white plastic baseball that i’d swing at with a red plastic bat with a neighbor kid or two, fielding The frantic race between plum and apple tree and back with my dog chasing round, beamed by the ball, as good as an out I admire the game’s symmetry, try and recall whatever became of that glove i massaged with oil or that bottle-neck bat i never quite grew large enough for

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Dream of that which i can never return to and all that i have left behind Remembering dad where the beer cans flew and the hits kept coming

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Seventy Year Awakening by Judy K. Mosher Mother told me her Mother was Rosie the Riveter. She would rivet, drill, weld, meld metal into weapons of war with the same patriotic pride as baking apple pie. Mother told me youth were wrong about Vietnam. A knife sliced our nation in two; generations severed, families divided. Street protests, tear gas, flights to Canada shook the chaff from the grain. After September 11th, Mother was stunned as patriotic young women and men enlisted to don guns, combat boots, fight terror in this war du jour. Retaliation gets us nowhere, Mother told me.

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Tranquil Sunny 5 Days 4 Nights by Susan Tepper It snowed most of January into February. Kevin lost his job at the Library of Science on Ground Hog Day. It felt like a horrible omen. I kept playing this stupid ground hog thing: if the ground hog sees its shadow, will Kevin be out of work another six weeks — that sort of craziness. It really threw me. People I know reacted casually to this news, saying things like: oh your boyfriend worked at a library? Practically yawning. As if he was a guy who stamped books at the front desk, or stacked books on shelves or kept up the card catalogue. Card catalogue? When I mentioned their reactions, Kevin seemed amused. “My friends are idiots,” I said. “What century do these people live in?” “I’m sure they mean well.” Stretched out on the sofa he was flipping pages of a book. In the blackened hearth the fire was starting to die. “Poke that log, honey, will you. You’re better at it.” “Nobody means well.” I felt a flush rise from my chest on up through my neck. “Maddy you need to get a grip.” Actually, I needed to get away. Somewhere tranquil, sunny. A nice package. 5 days, 4 nights. Kevin went on reading his book. The whole source of the problem! Nobody reads books. Last time we went to Bermuda, a few years ago, practically the whole beach was quietly reading. Books! Even hardcover books. Big books with big titles you could see when you passed them going to and from the water. Books that you might also buy after you’d glimpsed the title and intriguing cover art. Idyllic on that beach. Pink powder sand, water like an aqua bath, lightly breezy, sunshine. Most everyone reading. So much quiet thought churning. “Remember Bermuda?” I suddenly felt like crying. I’d saved the travel brochure in my desk, taking it out from time to time to stare and soak up that beach. Now with Kevin out of work a trip was pretty much out of the question. Jobs were scarce these days. And Kevin had turned

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fifty in July. They could hire someone half his age at half his salary. Probably already have. I poked the log until it flared, watched the sparks and embers flickering, rising, only to disappear in a room turning dark as dusk settled over. Standing the poker against the brick fireplace, I squeezed in next to his feet at the far end of the couch. “I hate technology. I wish the terrorists would take down the cell towers. Get it over with. Once and for all. And fuck kindle.” “Oh, Maddy.” He sighed placing his book on the floor. “Do you like your self- cleaning oven and frost-free refrigerator?” “Yeah?” “Well that’s technology.” He cocked an eyebrow. “Don’t worry, I’ll get another job.” “But you loved your job. You loved it.” I squeezed his foot in the big brown sock and felt even more like crying. “I’ll love the next one.” Was it that simple? Lose something you love and love the next thing just as well? Out the big window endless snowflakes swirled. It was a strange time. White and circular— a cycle of cold. I thought about Bermuda again. All that sunshine, the pastel houses, hanging bougainvillea. We sat waiting for the pink bus on low block walls built from ashy volcanic rock. “You’re a genius,” I told Kevin. This was not hyperbole. He was a genius. He was a systems analyst at the highest level. He understood inner workings. “You’ll find something else you love. I know you will.” Inwardly, I was praying. He smiled picking his book off the floor. “Undoubtedly.”

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On the Grounds of the Asylum, Worcester, Mass., 1949 in memory of Paul Ford Nolan by Kirby Wright The four story asylum blooms out of your shoulders. You carry the flagstone and brick weight well. Yes, I see your window in the basement, just below your left hand. How convenient that the Therapy Room’s only a few doors down. You lean into the slope for balance, smelling of bleach. Are you wearing shades? No. Those are your deep-set eyes living in shadow. You look good in your white short sleeve, paisley tie, white pants and shoes. The breeze curls your tie like bacon. You could pass for a doctor or, at the very least, a well-groomed attendant. That’s great about square dancing Saturday night in the ballroom. I agree, you’re a lady’s man. Your sisters are visiting. They sit on the lawn, cheeks fatigued from smiling without showing teeth. Gert’s got on a Church hat. Virginia clutches her purse. Their lips are parched from chitchatting about Mother and Pops, even after glasses of asylum lemonade. Playing pretend is hard. “You’re no son of mine,” Pops had said, after catching your hand in the Nolan’s Restaurant register and then under Virginia’s lacy skirt. I imagine a younger you riding the rails west, watching cities, farms, and buffalo land whiz by. You dined on pork and beans. A hobo sharing your spoon passed a corncob pipe. You reached the Pacific, ran for the blue, floated belly up fully clothed. “I’m sorry, Pops,” you whispered as the tide carried you out, “I’m so so sorry.”

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Linda’s Boy by Elizabeth Rose Still warm, the doe’s legs and hooves pointed into the road, head twisted, eyes open glistening, sighted on the green hill she’d so nearly reached before the metal whirlwind struck. The boy riding on his bike from school seeing death for the first time stopped, curious. He wanted to find the now dead seed that had so recently sparked within her. Dismounting he unsheathed his knife, and with the laptop from his pack as his guide, pierced the flesh below her chin and drew the bloody blade full length. Carefully separating flesh from translucent facia, he held it to the light and saw the sky but not the world the doe was looking for. He found instead a perfect fawn waiting inside its mother’s womb ready to take its first breath. He found death inside her belly. He dug a hole and covered it with earth weighted by a stone. Leaving the doe’s raw carcass to feed the crows and flies he folded her soft hide, head dangling, carried it home and pegged it on the ground to dry. Later he’d hang his trophy, decorate his bedroom wall. He smiled. Not half a year had passed when his mother slipped from his side. The boy stared, remembering. He placed two lighted candles by her bed, cradled her still warm body in his arms and cried. Her eyes open, still shining, she lay looking at a place beyond the shadows cast by the flame. He took out his knife. He drew the blade. He scraped the cancer from her flesh. He emptied her carcass with his hands and washed away the blood. He filled the space with red pomegranate seeds of everlasting life he’d gathered from his mother’s garden. He crawled inside her belly where he’d once lain before his birth. He put his thumb to his mouth. He curled his knees towards his chest and closed his eyes. He held his breath. Blanketing her parchment skin about him, the boy discovered life.

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Release by Ace Boggess without bars still there would be sunlight to confine me in a box of shade I want the freedom midnight offers to walk along the Ohio River swimming in the stars I beg Your Honor’s pardon to put aside the penitentiary to disregard the day I am lonely without a moon’s solemn mouth warning me wooing a glaring goodbye a soundless lullaby

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The New Poetry by Barbara Hill I see now that poetry has changed while I, foolishly, have continued writing the old poetry in which one tries to tell a story succinctly, using a few harsh and glamorous words. I am watching a woodchuck find a meal in the low grass. I shout to my sister in the kitchen. I remember the war. In the old poetry I would have said which war. And I would have kept going.

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Drawing Conclusions Pen and Ink by Jim Griffith

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The Serious Writer Occupies Wall Street by Marcus Speh When thinking of the commotion surrounding Wall Street, the serious writer gets very upset. But he is distracted by his personal life: a letter reminds him to pay his taxes, which makes him want to go back to sleep every time. His helper, herself in her mid-eighties and therefore barely younger than the serious writer himself, reminds him to throw in the yellow pill “every hour on the hour, if you please.” She says this sitting on the side of his bed in the morning. She says it again later in the day when he has moved from the bed to the chair by the window, looking at the latest news from the ongoing occupation of Earth. “We used to do this stuff,” he says to his her, “and if nobody came to beat us up we knew we hadn’t hit a nerve.” — “Don’t forget to take the yellow pill every hour on the hour,” says the helper. “Thank you,” says the serious writer, “the yellow pill does calm me down. It pacifies the effects of all the other pills in my system.” The helper looks out the window. There is nothing to see. All the action is on the small blueish screen where a young, fat man is now being led away in hand cuffs. He shouts a poem at the policemen. It’s a funny poem and even though he teases them they smile. You can see the policemen relax their grip. The serious writer thinks this is heartening and wants to tell his helper but he cannot find the right words just then. He often cannot find the words these days. He thinks and feels in colors and sounds rather than letters. “Who knows,” says the helper in that moment, “if they’ll ever invent a happy pill. That’s the one I’d like to take.” — The serious writer points at a row of black bound books in a shelf next to his bed: “I’ve been reading my grandfather’s journals,” he says. “he wrote them in Neuengamme concentration camp where he was imprisoned at the end of the war. He explicitly says that there is no ‘happy pill’.”—“But science has moved on so much since then,” she says, “things have changed.”—“Yes they have,” says the serious writer. He carelessly drops the yellow pill behind the chair where all the other yellow pills lie already like a confused army of yellow ticks, and makes a fist under his blanket. “Yes, they have indeed.”

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New Mexico Haibun by Lib O’Brien

I. You’ve been gone four years now. I walk the beach at Ocean Grove, the Atlantic steel-gray under March skies. Foam swirls in my footsteps, as I scan the sky, horizon, water, the sand at my feet. I address the sky, “Four years, now. Please, what’s next?!” I walk ten more minutes in the mist—my impatience calms. Ahead I see a piece of watermelon on the beach just above the waterline as a gull lifts away. Watermelon? In March? A few yards beyond, an enormous green watermelon—a wedge missing— appears and disappears in the surf. March ’04 evening Albuquerque patio Sandias turn pink * *[Sandia: watermelon in Spanish] II. I walk the asphalt path through the arroyo and remember you, gone now seven years. My chest constricts so tightly I gasp to catch my breath. Under hazy blue November sky, yesterday’s snow etches the folds of the Jemez. Finches flit from piñon to juniper, tweeting their familiar call. I stop over a tiny plant—sage-green leaves, less than an inch—push their way through the asphalt, cracking its hard, black surface. In this desert place Dusty soil little water Fierce insistent green III. Eleven years you’ve been gone. Sometimes I forget your face, your voice. Today, as I head to Albuquerque, I wail aloud. In my belly I feel the umbilical cord snap yet again. Out of the corner of my eye I catch motion in a dusty field—a Northern Harrier rises above the chamisa on steady, light-brown wings, a white spot at the base if its spine. It soars and dances in a circle to my right, shows off its striped wing feathers and white underbelly, then dives back into the brush. I see you whole—smiling at your drop shot, dancing James Brown, carrying the children piggyback. Brown hawk dips and dives

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Catches field mice and thermals Descends through the mist IV. The Santa Fe orchestra strikes the opening chords of Faust—rustling programs, quiet coughs cease in anticipation. Tension mounts as Faust makes his pact with the devil. To the west tornado-shaped flames—blood-red—erupt over Santa Clara Canyon, punctuating Gounod’s libretto. Waves of flame dash across the mesa, subside into glowing yellow embers, only to burst upward again as Méphistophélès drags Faust away from his beloved Marguerite. You would have luxuriated in the tenor and bass voices and would have acknowledged the theology of fire. Flaming canyon Human disregard unleashed Scorched earth the reward

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The Appreciator by Michael Fessler The Grove was a housing development in Maryland where I lived, mid-1970s. Slept on Roger's couch — Roger was a dentist & lectured at one of the universities. Greg bunked there too--neurosurgeon recovering from a divorce. (Claimed the cure for depression was eating rocks.) When you got up in the morning, there'd be brain scans and dentoforms under the newspaper. A street or so over were Ricardo (he did stained glass), Tully (philosopher), Jake (painter, oils). I was the poet. Pretty bohemian actually. And then there was Tim. Tim did nothing. He had no job, drank lots of coffee, lived with Melanie, and was always ready to postpone plans, and just talk. Tim was an appreciator. Every morning he read the Washington Post straight through, got up on all the latest events and topics, and knew exactly what openers to use to get people to sit down and do nothing with him. Most of the people in The Grove had written him off (after having succumbed to his gambits). "Tim? Never did a damn thing in his life," they'd say. But I liked him. Actually, I wasn't doing much myself. So maybe I was just afraid to judge. Judge openly anyway. If I said, yeah, Tim was a loser and wasting his life, I might have to include myself in the same category. I never judged him, therefore. We had quite a few interesting conversations when we should have been out doing something.

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Personals by Helen Tzagoloff If you like to tell jokes, I’m your girl. I’ll laugh at anything, even if I don’t get the punch line. After an explanation, I’ll laugh some more. I go to bed wearing socks, but during the night my feet and the rest of my body warm up and I throw off the blanket. No calling me honey, sweetie or Blondie and no hands on my neck. People my age say they’re retired, but I feel unemployed. I believe Elizabeth Taylor when she claims she did Debbie Reynolds a favor, relieving her of Eddie Fisher. My greatest weakness is freshly-baked bread. I’ll tear off a chunk and eat it as I walk home. Also cheese. If the moon were really made of cheese, I’d fly there, bringing loaves of bread along, like Verdi transporting spaghetti when traveling to Russia. Don’t think I’m fussy about food. I’ll eat and drink anything and don’t think I fly first class. In High School I won an award, a clock radio, selling the most magazine subscriptions to my parents’ friends. Thinking about this, makes me feel guilty and I wish I could return the radio. On Christmas I’ll surprise you with a handknit scarf and on your birthday with a handknit sweater. I will cross the state line to dance polka. I no longer think that laying an egg is easier than giving live birth.

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Natalie by Sarah Velez For days I moved. Water limbs, ivy vine ribs, landslide veins; always dappled in sunlight. It was the heat, or it was the damp. Maybe it was the month. Everything sounds like an excuse. I’ve become so weary of excuses. Words stopped making sense. Music became abrasive. I cared for nothing but movement. It was excruciating, as if each muscle was suffering from tender heart break. Falling in love and then falling apart for a stillness I could not attain. But I was unstoppable, I reveled in my power. People gaped. My brother tried to steady me with his calloused hands, worried that I would become like the girls he chose to destroy, picking them apart the way children eat cereal. First the red ones, then the blue, then the green, until there is nothing left but sugary milk. My mother placed white pillar candles at the foot of my bed; secretly stuck hand written scripture between my mattress and box spring. She walked prayer mazes and at the end, wished for the abstract form of who I was. She blessed the water I drank, before handing me the glass; whispered words only spoken by frightened and grieving mothers. She was a victim of my father. He was a victim of his gender. I was unstoppable and I loved it. It was excruciating, like the first time lived a hundred separate times, but my legs were petals of stargazer lily, and my lips were pulsating fruit. I had nothing to want for, but that prudent silence. I was unstoppable, and they loved it.

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Seduction by Soap after Francis Ponge by Marilyn Stablein Granny clipped buttons from old shirts, saved crusts for breadcrumbs. Once I watched her coax every last swipe of mayonnaise out of a depleted jar with a new-fangled rubber scraper. A soap strainer hung in her pantry. To save a dime she hoarded soap ends to melt then molded a fresh bar to use for her weekly bath. Last week a woman at a yard sale put a dollar price tag on an old candy box filled with dozens of soap ends. “I hate to throw them out,” she confessed. No market today for used lavender, pine and sandalwood bath chips. When Father returned from business trips he brought back small rectangular bars of soap wrapped in white paper embossed with names like Winnemucca Roadside Inn or Bakersfield Travel Lodge. His stack in the bathroom medicine chest reached ten inches. Once for Christmas I gave him a men’s cologne soap to hang by a rope in his shower. Soap is a luxury. When I lived near the Ganga in Benares,

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silty ash from the cremation grounds upriver toned my skin. Ash scoured my aluminum rice pot better than a sudsy steel wool pad. At the hot springs last week I slathered handfuls of soupy red mud over my body till only my teeth and the whites of my eyes gleamed like those of a sooty coal monger in a Charles Dicken’s novel. The wind buffeted; my earth caked-skin cracked like a drought-parched river bed. Beyond cleanliness and thrift, lovers share the seductions of soap. Hotel room tryst in a strange city, love all afternoon, then sudsing each other’s amazing, love-worn body in a brimming bubble-filled tub.

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Perfect Guest by Jack Cooper He'd arrive in his old Alpha Romeo with identical boxes of clothes, files, puzzles (he loved puzzles) and loads of that charm, that delicious warmth, that Cheshire smile. He had mastered the art of the perfect guest, taking up the barest corner of my place, listening to my stories in a way that gave them unexpected radiance, then regaling with his latest adventures and passions. On an early visit he was into the Tarot and offered a prescient reading of a happy marriage on the horizon. His name, appropriately, was Don, Don Juan, Don Quixote take your pick. Around him, women were defenseless and men did silly things like measure their penises and practice smiling in the mirror. He was a peerless competitor, his favorite game being Scrabble. I never saw him lose. Words like, well, quixotic, were old hat. He'd spent time in Findhorn and ashrams and communes in Copenhagen and Mendocino, giving him much arcane knowledge and mystical vocabulary. In the same Scrabble game, he got two W's, two Y's and a V and came up with wynd and wyvern back to back. The last time I saw him, we played a farewell round and he won with the word tetrazzini, a favorite food of his (he loved to eat). One of his Z's landed on a triple letter score. We had dinner at Miceli's that night and he disappeared forever with our singing waitress.

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The Hike by Ted von Dameck Saturday morning was dishwater gray. There was a chance of rain But nothing could stop our expedition to the forbidden temple. Grandma said it would be all right. Ben insisted on wearing his baseball cap. The one with the Brooklyn B. So he had to be a hunter from New York. Johnny had a roll of caps stuck in his sock. His pistol would protect us from the snakes. I had a cardboard belt to carry all the diamonds we would find. The showers came that afternoon while we ran along the moated wall. We dreamed and laughed while soaking wet and hid the treasures from the ghosts. That night, in bed, the women safe, the animals put away, I counted jewels, began to cough. But listen. We did see snakes.

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Faux by Kenneth P. Gurney You never guessed which friends rained on your parade and which friends never believed you could have a parade in the first place. It left you wondering about the dictionary definition of friend and how its application appears so different in reality. There is a distorted bond, but where is the mutual affection? When did they ever rally to your cause? Their only qualification is that they are not your foe.

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Rites of Passage by Karen McKinnon Summer and I’m four. We visit Mother’s parents in Indiana. I’d slide down the rail of my grandfather’s cold steel voice. “I’ll give you a nickel if you can keep still without saying a word for five minutes.” How could I possibly do anything other than what he told me to do? And what would I do with a nickel? But I tried and failed, as he knew I would. Grandfather was always hanging around the house, humming hymns. His favorite was Onward Christian Soldiers, marching as to War. On Sundays he was the preacher at the church next door where ladies fanned themselves in the stifling air with paper angels on thick wooden sticks. I had to have my straight hair curled for Sundays with strips of twisted rags. That was the summer of the scolding voices of grownups with mouths of “No” and “Don’t”. My older sister hated me and my little brother was too young to play with. My father was off in Colorado, finishing a Master’s Degree. Apparently we would distract him. We were removed from him for the summer. There was a little girl about my age down the road. I longed to play with her, but I was forbidden because her parents were divorced. I was allowed to play with the contents of Grandfather’s wastebasket by his desk. I scribbled and shuffled papers around, pretending I was a writer. Evenings of fireflies and clover blossoms on the lawn. I’d knot long green stems of clover together to make a chain, punctuated by little white blossoms. I dreamed and dreamed I was walking through water toward a boat of safety. Jesus could walk on water. But my steps were like weights of stone in the unyielding liquid of memory, devouring the hours.

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Willards Woods by Rosanne Sterne In those woods: silver-grey maple, weeping willow, red-berried poison oak, peeling white birch bark & dark black spongy earth, repentant from years of fallen leaves gone to rot; And, oh, the softness of milkweed seed silk, grey pussy willows, chocolate velvet cattails, and so many safe places to hide; And the day we dropped down onto the weedy dry pond floor, crawling willfully, dirt-kneed, into the wide corrugated pipe, back up the droughted birth canal till we could no longer see light — fearless of drowning and emerging triumphant into summer’s black-eyed susan heat, a sort of humid, bright rebirth — before the long walk home.

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Escalante Canyon Photograph by Maureen Howles

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Spider by Sheila Cowing Near the crack where the drain board meets the stove, a tiny spider sips from a drop of rinse water. Rare, like the breath of the finch on the feeder in this icy air. You and I miss so much in a waste of together unhappiness. You let me choose this antique farmhouse you hate but didn’t tell me. In this corner room with its bare pipe, its books, its rippled window looking out into the stunted horse chestnut where the squirrels are born, dart in and out. The spider’s gone. I loved being alone with that minute creature whose heart beat —

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Timing is Everything by Linda Whittenberg The pie is done when fruit oozes at the lip of the tin. When temperatures go above 50, it’s time to plant peas. You learn to read the signs — a horse kicking at his belly means colic. One day, when it’s time to give up this place I love, I hope I’ll know the signs and not be one of those hangers-on who lets things go to ruin. Still, there’s appeal in the thought of perching on the barn roof like a withered weather vane and staying until a helicopter or an angel carries me off.

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Ropa Vieja by Sara Lippmann “Be careful,” Venita was saying. We were at this Tex-Mex place she’d chosen to go over things. I knew about Guatemala. My brother had gone too, but once they came back that’d been it for them, and this Christmas the Student Outreach Club went to Saskatchewan. Next year, it would return to Guatemala. I’d be a senior. Venita was graduating but insisted. I figured she’d heard. Wasn’t that the nature of heartbreak? “Erica,” she’d howled into my empty locker, “We could’ve been sisters.” “If you want to experience village life take a camera but go when the sun is shining.” She was wearing a fussy chain of blue beads that stood on her neck like a ruff. The trip was months off and nothing felt linear, but I asked about distances between points anyway. She plucked a greasy plantain chip. “I had to hike forever but Daniel breezed over to the work site fresh as the freaking Jonas Brothers in five minutes. Leave it to your brother. I mean, you could try getting your hair braided but it won’t look good.” Her black curls, looped around a pencil, fanned out from the back of her head like a peacock. Campus police had found my brother’s beard blown like ash through the parking lot where he’d last been seen. I shredded my straw’s wrapper into a pool of confetti. “Ropa vieja,” Venita said, slapping the menu. “You already know what you want?” “God, you’re just like him.” We sat there. “Get the pollo buena vista,” she told me. “It’s auspicious. It means Good Trip.” I did not correct her. “Bring socks.” Venita’s elbows pressed into the festive tablecloth, her lids smudged with black ink. “At night it gets bony ass cold. There are never enough socks. Socks will get brown and disgusting. You will always want more. I hid my last pair of white socks, I mean, I saved myself the messiah of socks, but when Daniel discovered them in my bag, what

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do you think?” My brother has beautiful feet. When the food came Venita asked about Guilford. I hadn’t joined the search party, but back in September his school seemed scenic enough, big on solar panels. College granted freedom, which is what mattered, or so everyone had us believe. A cactus clock counted seconds. Venita said, “Seriously, how can he not have a Facebook?” On the wall hung a poster of an impaled bull, the dying animal festooned in pink, red, and yellow roses. My brother had been missing three days. I picked the cheese that had seeped out and hardened along the rim of my quesadilla. “Visit my page and you’ll see just how gnarly we were. But ugly is real and real is good and pictures are all that you have. Daniel can go fuck himself for what I care but Guatemala brings out the best in people.” Venita shook hot sauce onto her plate. “What else can I tell you?” she said, licking a finger. The red mess grew. “Bring Uno.”

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The Day I Met Leonard by Behzad Dayeny He arrived on the island On a cold winter day He was sitting at a table At a port café Facing the roaring sea Sipping coffee spiked with Five star Metaxa cognac He was wearing a wool sweater That barely kept out the storm So full of moth holes It looked like a fishing net But he didn’t really care He knew that he could count On the women to take turns Keeping him warm all winter. Suddenly, feeling the bite of the wind He looked at the boats in the port Rocking from side to side And jotted down on a napkin “The bed is kind of narrow” “But my arms are open wide”

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Where Meat Comes From by Michael G. Smith Long ago on a catamaran the sailors threw out draglines and caught a big fish. They said to the tourists, “Let it go or shall we eat it?” They screamed for flesh. One sailor held the fighting fish down; another bludgeoned it with a hammer. Silence, and the catamaran cutting the sea. On the return trip the sailors caught a second big fish. Again, they asked “Let it go or shall we eat it?” “Let it go!” One sailor held the fish; a second poured a pint of rum down its throat. Never had we seen an animal die that fast. Big grin, teeth flashing, the first then yelled, “Sushi”!

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Honest Abe by Gregory Sherl I am cutting down apple trees. The apple trees I am cutting down have speakers in them. The volume from the speakers is so loud I have to wear earplugs. Even with the earplugs I still hear the thumps, the hits, the base so sturdy. I tell Adam Give me a new Strokes album that doesn’t suck. He holds my PBR while I cut down the apple trees with an axe I sharpened myself. When each tree hits the ground, it turns into a composition notebook. Adam holds the axe while I drink my PBR. Neither of us know how to bake an apple pie but we both have debit cards. We decide to pretend it’s 2002 again, so our playlists are all Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots and White Blood Cells and Is This It even though that album came out in 2001. In 2002 the hole in the ozone layer was smaller than it is now or maybe we just thought it was a fragment of an idea that was made up. That Al Gore movie never existed. Really, that stupid hole was only the size of a 1913 Buffalo Nickel or some shit. Every year the sky chews itself open a little bit more. In 2002 I didn’t know K. I wonder if she thought about meeting an idea of me, if she knew we’d lose ourselves in a motel in Hollywood, and then soon after in a townhouse in Boca Raton. I wonder if I looked like any of the posters on her bedroom wall. There are no pictures of us being us and neither of us think that’s weird. If we had a picture, I’d bury it in the center of the thickest iceberg. I’d think Not even the Titanic could sink this iceberg. In 10,000 years our picture would wash onto the shore of Kentucky. People would get turned on, rub themselves inside out. Present tense: I like not getting phone calls. It’s like the cookbooks always say: nothing thaws if you never look at it.

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Skin-diving by William Greenway At Silver Springs, mermaids smiled and sucked on air hoses, the water clear and so cold all my toes had toothache. I floated briefly over the maw where the icy water welled up from someplace deep and dark to cover cypress knees. Men in black rubber descended, diving through limestone caves to find bottom. Girls in their pastel nylon and white skin wouldn’t look at me, and I shrank to a nub. Then I grew up and swam in the warm Gulf, my cock floating like a jellyfish, suntan lotion and those bikini lines that lap the shore of white skin mapped with blue veins, sand and oil in the shower, and the salty water gushing from down deep.

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“Just imagine me playing tennis,” Jorge Luis Borges, 1978

Tennis Without a Net by Garrett Rowlan Borges gropes along by touch, instinct, and the vaguest of shadows that his eyesight permits. One hand feels the walls, touching the hardbound spines of books. Borges, nearly blind, knows the sections now more by touch than sight. The smooth feel of the literary section, the slightly coarse texture of History, and so on. The other hand holds a walking stick. He has never reached the library’s end. He has only gone so far in certain directions until fear of the infinite obliged him to turn back. On this occasion, he thinks he’s in the sports’ section. The books have that slick feel of tomes dedicated to ersatz heroes. Or maybe it’s the voices he hears. They are not in his head, he knows that: Laptops are allowed in the library as long as the user wears earplugs, which he thinks are responsible for the announcer’s leaking voice and faint cheers. Borges pauses, confused. Where is the cheering coming from now? It seems to be from some milky light to his left. He walks that way. The light grows brighter and the sound too. He realizes that he’s in some kind of court, and the walking stick he has been holding has been changed to a tennis racket. He feels the laced wires of catgut. He frowns. His poems and stories ponder, recreate, and even celebrate the heroism of the battlefield, not the hyped idolization of grown men playing a game for the passive entertainment of others. His fingers grope the sides of the court. He recognizes the feeling of glass. He knows he is facing a mirror, that harbinger of infinity. His opponent arrives. It’s that shadow Borges, the Other that always haunts his work. The match, Borges realizes, will be conducted in front of a mirror where the symmetries match, forehand returns forehand, backhand returns backhand, but the frame is reversed. Borges lofts the tennis ball and knows that his reflection, in another dimension, will do the same. The ball rises, is struck, and flies into infinity.

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He Does Not Remember My Name by April Michelle Bratten The bathroom was tiled green and shiny, the sink flickered like a dying bulb, and the mirror reflected back the face of my grandfather then, younger, with gray streaking his black hair, his face more stern, but with a handsome chin, a roguish side-grin. He shaved his face slowly, methodically. He used his hands. As I watched his process, the foam on that sharp chin was so thick. I wanted to sweep my forefinger across it. I wanted to taste what I was so sure to be sweet, but the skeleton arms of memory circled my ribs, swiveled me forward 20 years to the couch in his small apartment where he lives now, where he no longer remembers my name. We watch the Redskins lose again, and he tells me stories about his childhood, thoughts that stick with him like hoar frost to pines. He tells me I need to speak to my mother,

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that he needs to speak with my mother, that someone somewhere must speak to my mother. He cries and he misses his dead wife. He tells me he has quit cursing, then 10 minutes later he yells, "shit!" as the opposing team scores. His face seems shorter now, rounder, less obtrusive. He tells me I am pretty and that I should be married. He tells me he does not remember my name, but he remembers he loves me. I say it is all okay. I say he knows what I am called, somehow, somewhere. I bring thoughts of peonies to his feet. I bring the robin to his tree, and listen as those little feet fall softly on its perch.

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Monarchs in Abilene by Michael Hugh Lythgoe West Texas bluff country: Abilene. I go to Mass west of Dallas; mission church guitars welcome; button accordion harmonies; congregation sings Spanish hymns, like Franciscans. All of Texas smokes. Smoke-jumpers set fires to save homes around Austin. I see fire-fighters, U. S. Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife crews, emblems, uniforms. A man-made pond, parched near Abilene, beside a hill country highway, a water hole where only three white horses drink. Stock sold off. Cactus, mesquite, oak. B-1 Lancer bombers land south of Abilene. A black bird whistles. Abdomens fatten in autumn for flight. A green campus in a butterfly swarm. They sail on a blue norther to look for nectar along Dead Man Creek. Pecan trees offer a haven en route to El Paso, the border. They name the B-One BONE in Abilene. With the harvest moon I wait at the depot. Wildflowers sucked dry. Thirsty monarchs flutter down on a barrier isle; brine wastes their lace wings. They perish on a beach with empty shells, languish in the Gulf’s cursive lines.

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Christ in the Desert by Arianna Sullivan Irony: Seeking solace in the desert. There isn’t even water here. A wildflower That migrates Through the years piled upon years Up the hills In search of higher ground Water. In the monastery’s desert seclusion There are no friends; Only God. I want to know, Do you too Throw your eyes up to the gap between clouds Listing aloud To a patch of heavens These are the things that make me happy Just so you don’t forget? Perhaps this is why we come to desert: The world is loose The startling stars Are rivets They hold us in place And our days become cast With dusty rivulets. *Christ in the Desert is the name of a Benedictine monastery tucked into the Chama Canyon near Abiquiu, New Mexico.

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Bayo Canyon Photograph by Maureen Howles

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Pink X-Ray by Brad Rose In the shower no lights on, none necessary, I know where everything is or should be. Nevertheless, I hold my breath, anticipating a reeling emergency, but it’s just a feeling. Some people fear almost everything. I am a professional. I know what I’m doing. Bullets of hot water, steam sketching a cloud, soap scumbling my face and hands, I am a cleansed ghost, shining in the pink dark. Only my x-ray charm and infallible sense of direction prevent me from swirling down the giddy vortex, south to the equator where everything, even the undertow of this careening planet, swirls in reverse, except death.

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Loaves by Philip Kobylarz Everywhere he went, he thought, or rather, he thought he thought he smelled the smell of shit. At first he would check his shoes, then the space immediately around him knowing that we do not know what the shade of trees can conceal, and then, not seeing the expected patty of universal fear and condemnation, he would in a blur of shame and anticipation pass his fingers beneath his nose and brace himself for the worst – this ritual he would execute in the crowded silences of churches, in the snug leather-scented privacy of his car, at formal and informal dinner parties, even on the deck of the ferry he had to take to cross the seaside bay. Of course he smelled this ever so vague scent of something more serious than manure as if it were freshly deposited in the waste baskets of the post office, as if it were an ingredient in the dish he had just ordered in the two star neon bistro, inexplicably at the dentist and at the bakery and most recently in the air at his uncle's sudden and unexpected funeral, who, as he noticed with slightly twitching nostrils, had left this world in a most curious mound.

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Any Other Street by Francine Witte would be made of asphalt, black pitch pillowing in the August heat. But this street is woven with bones and ash and anything else leftover when a dream dies. It’s the kind of street you try to avoid when mapping out directions. Once, for a party, I entered a destination, and no matter how many alternate routes I tried, this street kept coming up. So all right, I thought, I have a dream or two I don’t mind killing. I’ll just dress in them that day. But how was I to know that life dreams are like night dreams, and you don’t get to choose. So, even though I was willing to give up winning the lottery or having my own reality show, this street wouldn’t be interested. It would want that secret dream I had tucked away down in my shoes. That dream of having one simple day after another. It’s not much of a dream, but it’s the one I really want. A quiet sleep followed by not much of a morning. Coffee going down to reliable cold. And I wanted to keep that dream so much, I thought about turning back. Who needs another party after all? But, before I could turn around, that hidden dream, maybe curious, maybe up for a challenge, started to itch my feet, made me keep on walking, maybe just to see how far this street would really go.

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St. Valentine’s Day by John Macker “Angels (you Know who you are), come back When you’ve aged a little, when the outdoors Is an attractive curiosity no longer.” -John Ashbery

I left Our Lady of Lourdes, Mt. Olivet cemetery, crossed the Canadian River and its creaking ghost homesteads to feel the sun’s guileless weight break the back of winter. I brought some wood in, found Ashbery’s Can You Hear, Bird at the Salvation Army thrift store, you (just washed your hair), put on an old sweater and together we listened to the bold birds herald the morning end of zero and below and we know that you know that we know here in the great outdoors it’s still cold, curious and attractive and winter is a curious distraction that summers over in the heart where the watersheds flow full and everything greens up practically telepathically while we grow together a season older, probably no bolder or wiser but hand in hand, listening to the birdsong, watching for the first fevered flowers.

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I Am I Said by Robert Vaughan “I like how this feels,” I say. She is massaging my head at the shampoo bowl, and I notice two dead flies trapped in the overhead lights adjacent to her head. Well, I think it’s a her, hands feel like a sumo wrestler pummeling my thoughts into submission. “Just relax,” a voice says. “You’re so tense.” Not a she. Whatever, I don’t care. “I am,” I said. I close my eyes, thinking of that Neil Diamond song, the lyrics begin repeating against the Dancing Queen backdrop of salon trance. When I open my eyes again, another person approaches. Cloaked in black, including the eyeliner. “Are you Reggie?” I sit up, nod, while a towel catches the drips onto my cape. “I am.” And then it hits me, I know him. We’d met a few years back at Sugar Maple. One tap beer led to another. I never told my wife. What’s his name? “Come with me.” As he turns, that Neil Diamond chorus repeated.

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Stack Photograph by Regula Onstad

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Origins by Ana June

I come from Daisy Street, which lies between Pleasure Way and The Street of Dreams. But, nobody referred to them like that when I was growing up… I lived on Calle Margarita, the short street between Camino del Gusto and Calle de Suenos, and I didn’t translate any of them into English until I was much older. Instead, I learned how to spell the name of my street by riding my bike down to the end one afternoon, the bike with the banana seat and the white plastic basket between the handlebars. I dropped a notebook and a pencil into the basket, rode down the street popping the smallest wheelies on the upward slope of driveways as I passed. I knew which driveways offered just the right curve for catching that little bit of air, and which were too jarring. When I got to the end of the street, I stopped on the cracked sidewalk and squinted up at the street sign that reflected the hot afternoon sun at my back and wrote the letters carefully in my notebook before riding home. It was the same street corner where my younger sister’s attempt to run away from home, the previous winter or so, came to an end before anyone aside from me even knew she was gone. Jennifer stood ankle deep in the snow with our golden lab, Princess, at her side. Over her shoulder she carried a grapefruit in a bindle stick that was lovingly constructed by, moi. The older sister who felt like she could do with a lot less YOUNGER sister in her day to day life, the one who came up with the whole running away idea in the first place. “Go find a cave somewhere,” I told Jennifer, patting her on the shoulder with encouragement. “I’ll bring you more food soon.” I figured the grapefruit would suffice, for a while at least, and didn’t trouble myself with any thoughts about where, exactly, Jennifer would find a cave…in Santa Fe, in the middle of winter. Nor, further, how I would even find her if she did. She was surprisingly agreeable, especially when I told her she

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could take the dog for protection. Princess snored in front of the wall heater in the hallway, oblivious to an impending mission (one that she would happily suffer much as she put up with such things as being bandaged by yours truly, an enthusiastic, aspiring veterinarian). It would be easy to think I was nothing more than a cruel older sister, turning her younger, more vulnerable sibling out into the blowing snow and cold. But the simple truth was this: I was jealous. I wanted to run away, and depart from the monotonous, predictable life I was being forced through, in lockstep, by my family. I wanted to find some cozy cave somewhere, live at the edge of a rising fire, and watch the days turn through tree-scattered sunlight. I wanted to run away somewhere on horseback, the wind in my hair and several dogs at my heels. I imagined riding everywhere, building a house (out of bricks) in the woods, adopting lost and abandoned animals. Eating what, I didn’t know, but in my imagination I never lacked for anything. I was just afraid I’d get in trouble. And so I tried to live vicariously through my younger sister, with the added benefit of becoming an only child once again. My sister, you see, could be a bit of a pain. She was gone less than half an hour. She trudged down the street, snow falling on her green wool poncho, and apparently stopped at the end, just next to the street sign. She tells me she wanted to eat the grapefruit, but couldn’t peel it with cold fingers. She considered her options, as she grew colder, then turned around and came home. When I saw her come back up the front walk I was actually surprised. She had seemed at least a little enthusiastic about the cave idea, and it seemed to me that she was giving up far too easily. No matter, I told her, as she brushed the snow off her pants. Maybe you can try again when it warms up. She never did. In lieu of the drama surrounding a runaway sister, that I imagined would somehow directly benefit me (maybe my grieving parents would become suddenly indulgent with their last remaining child! Maybe they’d get me a horse!) I continued to concoct a far

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more fabulous existence for myself in my head. I imagined walking to school with two pet mountain lions by my side. I fantasized about being kidnapped…by, of course, benevolent people with many horses, puppies, and kittens. Or maybe they owned a zoo, with horses, puppies, and kittens. But no matter how colorful my imagination, the reality I lived, breathed, and resisted, every day, was this: I went to school, rode my bike, played with my friends, practiced my flute, forgot to feed the dog, neglected my homework, fought with my sister, collected stickers, played Donkey Kong at the 7-11, and explored the arroyos. And then I grew up, moved away, came home, moved away again, and came home again- back to Daisy Street, and away again. My older daughter was born in this house, and now, for us all it is a haven. A predictable, familiar landing place when the world seems a little too big, a little too bright, a little too chaotic. Somewhere along the way the monotony died, and it became the baseline.

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Teacher by Ann Filemyr My students, potent, beaten, explosive, ready, are late to class again. I hear them coming down the hall carried forward by the endless tide of language. My door is open, what enters the room enters me, as in the dark lodge when a single voice lifts the red rock breaks open, certain ceremonies never end. We begin with words and end with words hurrying after the humming dark undertow of the unanswerable. We open the book to a page to a title to a sentence to a word to a letter to a sound in the breath of the body. We open our mouths. We speak together. I tell them. I tell myself. Do not be afraid. Dive deeper. To learn is to live. Keep the door wide open. We remain unfinished for the teacher is every one every thing every moment

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Why I Don’t Have a Story for Tonight’s Reading by Ken McPherson I love to write. I love to imagine a scene and lay it out with words— words and letters and the world that is created with them. I like to think that someone might read what I write and have just a moment with it. Alas, I suck at getting past the first paragraph. Friends ask me if I’m writing. Sure, I tell them. The branch could not hold his weight for long. He knew it, and the bear below knew it. In a way Jeremy loved the bear, but couldn’t imagine his wife letting him keep it. Where to go after that? Sure, there are many ways to proceed. Maybe that’s the problem, I make misguided choices. So should I buck up and force the words? With that comes the risk of it turning into a boring treatise on black bears or nose hairs. What about this? Alejandro wore his suit the way a bullfighter wears his costume, with an abundance of confidence. He strutted now as if approaching the bull, his black hair shining under the cool fluorescents. The women in the office stopped and stared as he walked down the hall toward Gerry Benson’s office. Once he arrived, after one slight glance back at the women he had passed, he stepped inside and closed the door. And…? If terrorists wanted to torture me, they should put me at a computer with a half-written story. I may not turn against my country, but I’ll soon do anything, say anything to escape the throbbing vein at my temple. Has anyone yet created a book of just opening paragraphs? Sign me up. Ginger’s husband, Bill, spent 20 minutes explaining why he couldn’t have had a strange woman in his car despite the aroma that Ginger picked up on. He told her about Gladys, his boss’s secretary, who needed a ride home from work the previous evening. “Gladys,” he explained, “Fifty-eight year old Gladys who wears entirely too much perfume in her sadly fruitless attempt to win over Edgar, our accountant.”

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Do I ever finish a story? It has happened, yes, although more common is the feeling a story is never truly finished. I can revise forever. He touched the pen to the page and watched horrified as the viscous red liquid flowed slowly onto the paper. His story now lay shredded upon the desk, the victim of multiple revisions. Look, I made it to the end! Or have I?

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Bios Keith E. Abbott is a tyro writer from New England. His work has also appeared in Thema. Laurissa Anderson is a student pursuing a degree in Fine Arts. She is new to writing poetry, but plans to continue, and incorporate it into her art work. Laurissa hopes her work conveys the hidden beauty found in small everyday moments. She lives in Cuarteles, N.M. with her teenage sons, Sebastian and Matthew. Her sons are her pride and joy, and the guiding force in her life and art. She is pretty sure the answer to world peace lies in chocolate, and continues to work on the details. Susan Aylward has lived in Santa Fe for two decades and is currently enrolled in the Creative Writing program at Santa Fe Community College. She enjoys writing nonfiction, fiction and poetry. Other interests include genealogy, photography, and Native American studies. Follow Susan's blog at: http://shaylward.wordpress.com. Leia Barnett was born in Nambe, New Mexico, and has spent the ensuing 27 years exploring the vastness of the southern Rockies and the subtleties of the high desert. She is grateful to be a part of the Santa Fe Literary Review. Eleanor Leonne Bennett is a 15 year old photographer and artist who has won contests with National Geographic, The Woodland Trust, The World Photography Organisation, Winstons Wish, Papworth Trust, Mencap, Big Issue, Wrexham science , Fennel and Fern and Nature's Best Photography. She has had her photographs published in exhibitions and magazines across the world including the Guardian, RSPB Birds, RSPB Bird Life, Dot Dot Dash, Alabama Coast, Alabama Seaport and NG Kids Magazine (the most popular kids’ magazine in the world). She was also the only person from the UK to have her work displayed in the National Geographic and Airbus-run “See the Bigger Picture” global exhibition tour with the United Nations International Year of Biodiversity 2010. She was the only visual artist published in the Taj Mahal Review, June 2011, and the youngest artist to be displayed in Charnwood Art's Vision 09 Exhibition and New Mill's Artlounge Dark Colours Exhibition.

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Ace Boggess currently is incarcerated in the West Virginia correctional system. His poetry has appeared in Harvard Review, Notre Dame Review, Poetry East, RATTLE, Atlanta Review, Santa Fe Literary Review, New Mexico Poetry Review, and other journals. His books include The Beautiful Girl Whose Wish Was Not Fulfilled (Highwire Press, 2003) and, as editor, Wild Sweet Notes II, an anthology of West Virginia poetry (Publisher’s Place, 2004).

Alona Bonanno is a student of writing, and of life. It is her desire to write meaningful stories, so pretty that they are made into worthy films. Ryan W. Bradley has fronted a punk band, done construction in the Arctic Circle, managed an independent children's bookstore, and now designs book covers. He is the author of three chapbooks, and a story collection, Prize Winners (Artistically Declined Press, 2011). His debut novel, Code for Failure, is available from Black Coffee Press, 2012. He received his MFA from Pacific University and lives in Oregon with his wife and two sons. April Michelle Bratten is a writer currently living in Minot, North Dakota. She has recently been published in Southeast Review and San Pedro River Review. She co-edits the online literary journal Up the Staircase Quarterly.

Erin Brooks moved to New Mexico in 2003 and earned a B.A. in creative writing and politics from the College of Santa Fe. She has received awards for her poetry and creative nonfiction. Interested in wine, Erin is currently pursuing her second level toward a Master Sommelier certification. Lauren Camp is motivated by the mysterious worlds of visual art, poetry and sound. She is the host of KSFR’s Sunday “Audio Saucepan” show, and an acclaimed fiber artist. She is also a blogger, author, and teacher. (www.laurencamp.com)

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Susana H. Case, professor at the New York Institute of Technology, has recent work in many journals, including Hawai’i Pacific Review, Portland Review and Potomac Review. She is the author of the chapbooks The Scottish Café (Slapering Hol Press), Anthropologist In Ohio (Main Street Rag Publishing Company), The Cost Of Heat (Pecan Grove Press), and Manual of Practical Sexual Advice (Kattywompus Press). An English-Polish reprint of The Scottish Café, Kawiarnia Szkocka, was published by Opole University Press in Poland. Her book, Salem In Séance (WordTech Editions) will be released in 2013. Please visit her online at: http://iris.nyit.edu/~shcase/. R.T. Castleberry is a widely published poet and social critic. He was a co-founder of the Flying Dutchman Writers Troupe, co-editor/publisher of the poetry magazine Curbside Review, an assistant editor for Lily Poetry Review and Ardent. In 1999, his work was chosen for the Metro Downtown Transit Streets Project “Texts In Context,” which uses historical documents, poetry and prose from authors with a Houston or Texas connection to illuminate Houston history. The 100 texts chosen were engraved on 2ft. x 2ft. granite paving stones and placed at sites in downtown Houston, TX, in 2004. His work has appeared most recently in Comstock Review, Green Mountains Review, The Alembic, Paterson Literary Review, Caveat Lector, Perigee, Silk Road and Argestes. He was a finalist for the 2008 Arts & Letters/Rumi Prize for Poetry. His chapbook, Arriving At The Riverside, was published by Finishing Line Press in January, 2010. An e-book, Dialogue and Appetite, was published by Right Hand Pointing in May, 2011.

Avery Colt was raised in New York City and Stormville, NY. He has been writing poetry and short fiction since his undergraduate days at college in 1960. His most recent work has appeared in Memoir, Slant, Oracle, and Sierra Nevada Literary Review. He currently lives and writes on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts.

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Jack Cooper's first formal collection of poetry, Across My Silence, was published by World Audience Publishers, Inc., New York, NY, 2007. His poem, “Shrew,” published in The KERF, was nominated for a 2012 Pushcart Prize. His work has also appeared in Bryant Literary Review, Santa Fe Literary Review, South Dakota Review, Muse & Stone, Argestes, The Evansville Review, Tundra, Runes, The MacGuffin and many other publications.

Sheila Cowing lives with her coon hound Louise in the shadows of two mountain ranges. She has published award-winning children’s nonfiction and two collections of poetry, Stronger in the Broken Places and Jackrabbit Highways.

Larry Crist grew up in the California wine country, moved constantly with his school-teaching mother before settling in Humboldt County where he dropped out of high school and later went on to earn a BA at HSU. He also attended Temple U, earning an MFA in theatre arts. Besides Philadelphia, Larry has lived in Chicago, Houston, London and now makes his home in Seattle with his wife and cat. He has been widely published. Some of his favorite publications are Pearl, Slipstream, Rattle, Dos Passos Review, Alimentum, Evening Street Review, Floating Bridge Press. He also appears regularly in Real Change, Seattle’s Homeless Newspaper. Barbara Daniels’ chapbook Quinn and Marie was published by Casa de Cinco Hermanas, Pueblo, Colorado, in 2011. Her book Rose Fever: Poems is available from WordTech Press. Her poetry has appeared in Mid-Atlantic Review, Solstice, The Literary Review and many other journals. She earned an MFA from Vermont College and received two Individual Artist Fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. With her husband, David I. Daniels, she wrote English Grammar, published by Harper Collins.

Behzad Dayeny is Director of Food Services at Santa Fe Community College. He was born in Iran and has been living in Santa Fe since 1984.

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Janet Eigner’s chapbook, Cornstalk Mother, was published by Pudding House Publishers in 2009. Her book, What Lasts is the Breath, is forthcoming from Black Swan Editions. Selected journals & anthologies: Blue Mesa, Earthships: A New Mecca Poetry Collection, Echoes, Hawaii Review, Manzanita, Mudfish, New Mexico Poetry Review, centennial issue. Forthcoming in 2012: "Isaac's Blessing" on Poetry Foundation website’s “American Life in Poetry,” week of April 23; Santa Fe Literary Review, Adobe Walls; in 2013, Chamber Music, a Grand Canyon collection. R.G. Evans's poems, fiction and reviews have appeared in MARGIE, The Best of Pif Magazine, The Literary Review and Weird Tales, among other publications. He writes, teaches and plays Americana music in southern New Jersey. Catherine Ferguson is a poet and painter living in Galisteo, New Mexico, where she garden and walks with her dog. Since 1973, she has been painting retablos, a New Mexican tradition. Inspired by landscape, animals and trees, she creates watercolors, oils and poems that express her love of nature. Catherine teaches retablo and watercolor painting.

Michael Fessler is an American writer & teacher, resident in Japan. His work has appeared in many periodicals and anthologies, including Kyoto Journal, Harvard Review, QLRS, Baseball Haiku (W.W. Norton), and The Broken Bridge: Fiction from Expatriates in Literary Japan (Stone Bridge Press). Jamie Figueroa is a student of the Institute of American Indian Arts where she majors in Creative Writing. Her work has been published in various literary journals including Split Oak Press and Eklecksographia. Her blog “With This Pen” explores race, identity, and relationships and runs in the Santa Fe Reporter’s online edition. Jamie is a recipient of the Truman Capote Scholarship.

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Ann Filemyr, Ph.D., has published two recent collections of poetry, Growing Paradise, LaNana Creek Press, 2011, and The Healer's Diary, Sunstone Press, 2012. She serves as the Academic Dean at the Institute of American Indian Arts.

Janet Freeman lives in northern Colorado. Her award-winning stories have appeared or are forthcoming in numerous online and print publications, including PANK, Cottonwood, Chicago Quarterly Review, Monkeybicycle and elsewhere. She can be found online at: janetfreeman.com.

Michael Gallagher is a fine art photographer and resident of Santa Fe. Upon visiting the Rocky Mountain west to ski during college, he knew someday he'd have to live here, but it was Santa Fe, and not Colorado or Wyoming, that captured him. He loves the outdoors and photographs landscapes both natural and urban, thought-inducing abstractions, and travel. The SFLR has published some of his previous photographs. His work is exhibited locally at Johnsons of Madrid Galleries and Gallery 66 in San Fidel, NM. A sampling of his work can also be viewed at: www.pbase.com/michaelgg/. Jennifer Givhan was a 2010 PEN Center USA Emerging Voices Fellow, as well as a finalist in the 2011 St. Lawrence Book Award Contest through Black Lawrence Press. Her work has appeared widely, most recently in Rattle, The Los Angeles Review, Stone Telling, The Acentos Review, Crab Creek Review and The Southwestern Review. Originally from the Southern California desert, she now teaches composition at the University of New Mexico and is working on her first novel In the Time of Jubilee. You can visit Jennifer online at www.jennifergivhan.com. Howie Good, a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of the new poetry collection, Dreaming in Red, from Right Hand Pointing. All proceeds from the sale of the book go to a crisis center, which you can read about here: https://sites.google.com/site/rhplanding/howie-good-dreaming-in-red. He is also the author of numerous chapbooks, including most recently The Devil’s Fuzzy Slippers from Flutter Press. He has two more chapbooks forthcoming, Personal Myths from Writing Knights Press and Fog Area from Dog on a Chain Press.

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William Greenway’s seventh full-length collection, Everywhere at Once (2009), winner of the Ohioana Poetry Book of the Year Award, is from the University of Akron Press Poetry Series (2003). He has published in Poetry, American Poetry Review, Georgia Review, Southern Review, Poetry Northwest, Shenandoah, and Prairie Schooner. Jim Griffith: The Santa Fe Literary Review is looking for Jim Griffith so that we can thank him for his work and send him his contributor's copies. Kenneth P. Gurney lives in Albuquerque with his beloved Dianne. He edits the anthology Adobe Walls, which contains the poetry of New Mexico. His latest book is This is not Black & White. Libby Hall is a 70-year-old inspired new writer.

She has lived in New Mexico since 1973, working as a massage therapist for 32 years. Returning to school last year she enrolled in Miriam Sagan’s memoir class and made a decision to call herself a writer and continues to do so. Her work has been published in Adobe Walls and The Sun literary magazine.

Cappy Love Hanson has lived three distinct lives:

on the California beaches, in the New Mexico mountains, and in the Arizona high desert with her husband, parrots, dogs, and cat. Her work has appeared in Writer’s Digest, The Santa Fe New Mexican, Blue Mesa Review, New Millennium Writings, CutThroat and other publications. She is on the editorial staff of the local community college’s literary and arts magazine and is working on a memoir about her life with parrots.

Grey Held is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Creative Writing and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He has had poems included in numerous anthologies including O Taste and See and My Heart’s First Steps, and magazines including Potomac Review and Slipstream. His poem Vending Machine was set to music by Paul Carey and has been performed by a cappella groups all over the country. Grey’s book of poems, Two-Star General, is being published by Brick Road Poetry Press and is currently available for pre-purchase from their website. When he’s not writing poetry (which is most of the time), Grey is the Director of Client Services at a market research firm in Cambridge, MA.

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Barbara Hill is a poet, bead artist, and interfaith minister who lives in Santa Fe and Wequetoquock, CT. I wrote "The New Poetry" after a workshop with the poet Daisy Fried last summer in Provincetown, MA. This small, sudden poem has opened a door to others.

Marianna Hofer has Studio 13 in the gloriously haunted Jones Building in Findlay, OH. Her poems and stories appear in small magazines, and her black and white photography hangs in local exhibitions and eateries. Her first book, A Memento Sent by the World, was published by Word Press in 2008.

Ruth Holzer’s poems have appeared recently in Southern Poetry Review, RHINO, The Broome Review, The Chaffin Journal and many anthologies. She is the author of chapbooks, The First Hundred Years and The Solitude of Cities (Finishing Line Press) and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She works as a freelance editor and translator.

Maureen Howles was born and raised in western Pennsylvania.

She obtained a B.F.A. degree from the University of Connecticut where she majored in painting and minored in photography. A love of the outdoors and the aesthetic appeal of the Southwest brought her to Santa Fe, where she has resided for many years. Her images vary in style from subjective naturalism to the abstract and non-representational.

Robyn Hunt lives in her native Santa Fe with novelist husband and teenage daughter. Her writing is found in various publications, among them, Saludos: Poems of New Mexico, Mothering Magazine and more recently the New Mexico Poetry Review, Earth’s Daughters, and Sin Fronteras. A collection of her work is planned for future publication with Red Mountain Press. Ana June became a writer of more than just street names when she lived on Daisy Street. She also wrote and designed the one and only issue of The Animal Gazette, in pencil on newsprint, back in 1979. Nowadays, she is mom to 4 kids and 5 chickens and works as a writer, graphic designer, photographer, and jewelry designer from her home on a new street with an ironic name – Ruta Sin Nombre – as well as a studio she shares with her husband in her old bedroom on, you guessed it, Daisy Street.

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Jessica Keener’s debut novel, Night Swim, was published in January 2012, and hailed by The Boston Globe as "thrilling” and "exhilarating,” and The New York Times as "earnest" and "moving.” Booklist said "This memorable debut will strike a universal chord with readers." Her short fiction has been listed in The Pushcart Prize under “Outstanding Writers.” Writing awards include: a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist’s Grant Program, a Joan Jakobson Scholarship from Wesleyan Writers Conference and second prize in Redbook Magazine’s fiction contest. For more than a dozen years she has been a features writer for The Boston Globe, Design New England, O, the Oprah Magazine and other national magazines. She lives in Boston and is working on a new novel set in Budapest. Philip Kobylarz lives in the East Bay of San Francisco. Recent work of his appears or will appear in Connecticut Review, The Iconoclast, Visions International, New American Writing, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Salzburg Review and has appeared in Best American Poetry. His book, Rues, is forthcoming from Blue Light Press of San Francisco. John Krumberger received an MFA from New England College in 2006. He lives with his wife Cris Higgin in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he works as a psychologist. A volume of his poetry entitled The Language of Rain and Wind was published by Backwaters Press in 2008.

Len Kuntz is a writer from Washington State. His work appears widely in print and online at such places as Pank, Juked, Storyglossia, Elimae and others. Every few days he talks about things at lenkuntz.blogspot.com. Jessica Lawless is an artist, writer, and educator. She teaches at the Santa Fe Community College and is on the faculty of the Academy for the Love of Learning. She is also a regular contributor to Make/Shift: Feminisms in Motion.

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Wayne Lee’s poems have appeared in Tupelo Press, Slipstream, New Mexico Poetry Review, Adobe Walls, The Floating Bridge Anthology and other journals and anthologies. His collections include Doggerel & Caterwauls: Poems Inspired by Cats and Dogs (Red Mountain Press), Twenty Poems from the Blue House (co-authored with his wife, Alice Lee, Whistle Lake Press) and the forthcoming Leap, Float (Red Mountain Press). He lives in Santa Fe, where he works as an educator and journalist.

Sara Lippmann holds an MFA from the New School. She has written for GQ, Details, American Baby and other publications. Her fiction has appeared in WomenArts Quarterly, Slice Magazine, Potomac Review, Big Muddy, Our Stories, PANK, Smokelong Quarterly, The Brooklyner and elsewhere. Her column, "Read it Loud: Notes from Storytime," runs regularly at Used Furniture Review. She co-hosts the Sunday Salon, a monthly NYC reading series, and lives in Brooklyn with her family.

Jeanne Lohmann has published two books of prose and has five volumes of poetry in print, all from Fithian Press, which will publish a collection of love poems, As If Words, in spring, 2012. "The Rose Lady Sees Her Doctor" was a first place winner in the Tacoma Arts Council competition in 2003. Her work has been read on The Writer’s Almanac, and on local NPR. She lives in Olympia, Washington.

Michael Hugh Lythgoe won the Kinloch Rivers chapbook contest in Charleston, SC with BRASS. His full collection is Holy Week (Amazon.com). Mike is a retired Air Force officer with an MFA from Bennington College. His creative nonfiction won a literary prize from the Porter Fleming Foundation in 2011. He was one of three finalists selected by the South Carolina Academy of Authors for the 2012 Poetry Fellowship. He has reviews of contemporary painters in Windhover, forthcoming, and a poem in Slant. He lives in Aiken, SC.

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John Macker has lived in Northern New Mexico on the Santa Fe Trail for the last 16 years. His latest book is Underground Sky, (the second volume in the Badlands Trilogy). He is also the author of Woman of the Disturbed Earth, Adventures in the Gun Trade, Las Montañas de Santa Fe (with woodcuts by Leon Loughridge) Burroughs At Santo Domingo, Wyoming Arcane (in mad blood magazine #5, winner of mad blood magazine’s first annual Literary Arts Award in 2005.) Reading at Acequia Booksellers (cd) and The First Gangster. He recorded a cd in 2001 with John Knoll, black/wing. Most recently, his work has appeared in Malpais Review, New Mexico Poetry Review, The Mas Tequila Review, The Rag and Adobe Walls. In 2006, he edited the Desert Shovel Review. He won the James Ryan Morris Memorial “Tombstone” award for poetry in Denver, 2001. His books were featured in the Mile High Underground exhibit, Byers-Evans House Gallery, Denver, summer of 2009, sponsored by the Colorado Historical Society. John’s work has been nominated for 2 Pushcart Prizes. He continues to conduct writing workshops throughout the West and his work continues to be published in magazines, anthologies and on-line journals throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe.

Daníel R. Martínez graduated from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln in 2004 with a doctorate in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing. A BA in Media Arts and MA in English were conferred by New Mexico Highlands University in 1997 and 1999, respectively. Daniel achieved tenure at NMHU in 2008 after completing his degree on a Minority Doctoral Fellowship co-sponsored by the New Mexico Commission on Higher Education and NMHU. His areas of specialty are poetry writing, writing instruction, Chican@ discourses, including creative writing, cultural / literary theory, drama, and folklore studies.

Maureen McCoy is the author of four novels: Junebug, Walking After Midnight, Summertime and Divining Blood. Short fiction was recently published in Antioch Review and Mississippi Review, and is forthcoming in Epoch. A personal essay, “Vickie’s Pour House: A Soldier’s Peace,” published in Antioch Review was a 2009 finalist for a National Magazine Award. Another, “Sentimental Deportation” is forthcoming in Antioch Review. A new novel is in the works. She is a professor at Cornell University and part-time resident of Taos, New Mexico.

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James McGrath, Santa Fe poet, has three books of poetry with Sunstone Press. Next, VALENTINES AND FORGERIES, MIRRORS AND DRAGONS, is due out in 2012 with Sunstone Press. He teaches painting and writing at the Ponce De Leon Retirement Center in Santa Fe as well as at the Hopi Indian Reservation. Karen McKinnon’s writing has been published in numerous poetry reviews and anthologies, most recently, in Iodine Poetry Review and Adobe Walls #3. Ken McPherson lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he attempts to finish short stories and a novel. He has been published twice before in the Santa Fe Literary Review, and questions the editor's sanity. William Michelmore, a former reporter who lives outside New York City, has turned to fiction, and in the process, is following the advice of a couple of great writers and modified his craft from writing novels (unpublished) to long short stories (unpublished) to this flash fiction piece. Logically, he says, the next step in this simplification process would be poetry.

Paul Milenski has been writing flash fictions (variably called prose poems, one-page novels, tea-length stories, etc., depending on time and place of publication) since 1980. He has placed hundreds of these fictions in the US and abroad and has been translated into a number of languages including Greek, Italian, German, Polish, Chinese, Japanese, Farsi, and Turkish. Paul lives in Dalton, MA, with his wife B-Mile, a local television personality. Full-time he writes fiction. Part-time he is a court investigator on appointment by the Massachusetts Trial Court.

Amanda Montgomery is a resident of Santa Fe.

She gravitates to-

wards the intersection of the sacred and the profane.

Judy K. Mosher, Ph.D., is a member of High Desert Poets and has studied poetry in New Mexico with Miriam Sagan and Joan Logghe. In earlier incarnations, she was a college professor, counselor, and Jill-ofall-trades. She hikes and writes in Santa Fe.

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Susan Nalder lives and writes in Santa Fe, a place she has called home since 1975. Lara Nickel was born and raised on the hot and windy mesas of New Mexico. She received her BFA from The College of Santa Fe in 2007 for Painting and Art History. After living in Europe for the past three years she is currently back in Santa Fe and exposing at The Ernesto Mayans Gallery. To see/read more of her work go to laranickel.com.

Lib O’Brien is a semi-retired professor of American Literature from Drew University, Madison, NJ, who now lives in Santa Fe. She has been studying poetry with Miriam Sagan, Joan Logghe and Jon Davis for the past two years and is a member of the High Desert Poets.

Regula Onstad grew up in Switzerland, and was always captivated with form, color and architecture. In 1970 she moved to the USA for a short 2-year opportunity and never left. She has been fortunate to experience the diversity of this country, living in Denver, the Roaring Fork Valley of Colorado, Phoenix, and New York City. In 2005 she moved with her husband to Santa Fe. After 30 some years in different professions she discovered her passion for fine art, and enrolled in classes at the SFCC fine art centers. She also attended many workshops with an established local artist. She worked in a number of mediums and found herself hooked on printmaking, at least for now.

Marmika Paskiewicz lives and writes in Santa Fe. Happily, she has become friends with other writers and writes with High Desert Poets and MUSK. She is working on a memoir about life and death, memory and love. Sam Rasnake’s works, receiving five nominations for the Pushcart Prize, have appeared in OCHO, Wigleaf, > kill author, Big Muddy, Connotation Press, BLIP, Literal Latté, fwriction : review, MiPOesias, Best of the Web 2009, BOXCAR Poetry Review Anthology 2, and Dogzplot Flash Fiction 2011. His latest collection is Inside a Broken Clock (Finishing Line Press).

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Michelle Reale is an academic librarian on faculty at Arcadia University in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications, including Gargoyle, Pank, JMWW, Smokelong Quarterly, Staccato, Word Riot, and elimae. Her work was included in Dzanc's 2011 Best of the Web Anthology. Her short fiction collection, Natural Habitat, was published by Burning River in 2010. Her short fiction chapbook, Like Lungfish Getting Through the Dry Season (2011), is available from Thunderclap Press. Her most recent chapbook If All They Had Were Their Bodies has been published by Burning River. She has been twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Frank Reardon is from Boston, but has spent the last ten years all over the USA by way of the Greyhound Bus system. Frank put out his first full length poetry collection a few years ago on NeoPoiesis Press, titled Interstate Chokehold. Frank has a second book coming out later in 2012 on Neo Poiesis Press, titled The Nirvana Haymaker. He has been published in various print and online publications. As of the last few years, Frank has been locked away in the Badlands of North Dakota working on his first novel while looking for another way out. Sally Reno is a writer, producer and newscaster for Pacifica Radio and CFO of Shining Mountains Press. Her stories have appeared in numbers of digital and print journals as well as several print anthologies. She was a winner of National Public Radio’s 3-Minute Fiction Contest and Moon Milk Review’s 2011 Prosetry Contest.

Kevin Ridgeway is a writer from Southern California, where he resides in a shady bungalow with his girlfriend and their one-eyed cat. His work has appeared in a wide variety of publications, including Connotation Press: An Online Artifact, Underground Voices, Hobo Camp Review, Carnival Literary Magazine, Gutter Eloquence and The Dead Mule School for Southern Literature, among others. Mr. Ridgeway's first chapbook of poetry Burn through Today is now available from Flutter Press. Barbara Robidoux lives in Santa Fe. Her poetry has been widely published in journals and anthologies nationwide. Her first full length book of poetry, Waiting for Rain, was published in 2007. Her second book, Migrant Moon, is scheduled to be published in spring 2012. It is a collection of tanka, haibun and haiku. She is currently working on a collection of short stories. Santa Fe Literary Review

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Barbara Rockman teaches poetry at Santa Fe Community College and in private workshops in Santa Fe. Recipient of two Pushcart Prize nominations, the New Mexico Discovery Award, The MacGuffin Poets Hunt Award, Persimmon Tree Southern Writers Prize, and the Baskerville Publishers’ Award. She is the editor of Women Becoming Poems (Cinabar Press), and author of the collection, Sting and Nest (Sunstone Press), winner of the 2011 New Mexico Pen Women’s Poetry Prize.

Kristin Roedell is a Northwest poet and retired attorney. Her poetry has appeared in Switched on Gutenberg, Damselflypress, Flutter, Soundings Review, Tacoma’s City Arts, Ekphrasis, Eclectica, Cliterature, Open Minds Quarterly, Touch: a Journal of Healing (Editor’s choice, September 2010), Puffin Circus, Chantarelle’s Notebook, The Fertile Source, Breath and Shadow, Frost Writing, Four and Twenty, Autumn Sky Poetry, Quill and Parchment, (featured poet January 2010) Workers Write, Ginosko, The Mom Egg, Pilgrimage, Chest, Soundings Review, Seeding the Snow, Sierra Nevada Review, Quantum Poetry Magazine, Poetry for the Masses, Wazee Journal, Amoskeag, Voice Catcher Anthology, Glass Poetry Journal, Time of Singing and Mused. She is the author of two collections of poetry: Seeing in the Dark (Tomato Can Press, 2009) and Girls With Gardenias (Flutter Press, 2011). She was nominated for the Pushcart prize, 2010, and DZANC’s Best of the Web, 2010. She is the Senior Editor for Flutter Press. Lori Romero won the Spire Press Poetry Chapbook Competition (NY) for her entry The Emptiness That Makes Other Things Possible. Her first chapbook, Wall to Wall, was published by Finishing Line Press (KY). Her short story, “Strange Saints,” was a semifinalist in the Sherwood Anderson Fiction Award. Lori’s poetry and short stories have been published in more than one hundred journals and anthologies. She was nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize. Lori made her directorial debut in the short film she wrote entitled "Surreal Estate."

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Brad Rose was born and raised in southern California and lives in Boston. His poetry and fiction have appeared in print and on-line. Burnt Ghosts appears in the Fall, 2011, issue of San Pedro River Review. Slash and Burn appears in the January, 2012, issue of Old Dominion University's, Barely South Review. Honey Gets Her Wish and The Locksmith’s Touch appear in the Spring, 2011, issue of Third Wednesday. Links to his poetry, fiction, and flash fiction blog, can be found at: http://bradrosepoetry.blogspot.com/

Elizabeth Rose emigrated from England to New Mexico on the last day of 1985 to start anew. She has made her career as a sculptor. Three years ago she joined the South West Writers in Albuquerque to pick up tips on how to turn her father’s memoir into a novel. A Galisteo poet friend suggested they write together weekly although she’d never written anything beyond a journal. That was it. She put down her chisel and took up her pen. Since then she’s worked on honing the craft of writing and building up a resume by attending the S.W.W.’s meetings and entering contests in diverse categories. So far she has had only one short story published; “Anna” placed second in the 2009 New Mexican Annual Christmas competition. Currently she has just finished her 400 page novel, Poet Under a Soldier’s Hat, and now has to work on getting it published. Next novel: Spain? India? Who knows? Writing is her passion. Garrett Rowlan is a sub teacher in Los Angeles. He has published about thirty stories and essays, with an essay due to appear in College Hill Review.

Gregory Sherl is the author of Heavy Petting (YesYes Books, 2011), The Oregon Trail is the Oregon Trail (Mud Luscious Press, 2012) and Monogamy Songs (Future Tense Books, 2012). Louise Farmer Smith grew up in Oklahoma. She has taught English, trained as a family therapist, and served on the staff of a U.S. Congressman. Her stories have appeared in magazines including Virginia Quarterly Review and Bellevue Literary Review, which nominated her story for a 2005 Pushcart Prize. Her stories have won first place from Antietam Review, Potomac Review, and Glimmer Train. She lives on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, always a good source of material, where she has just finished a novel, Mrs. Snow. Santa Fe Literary Review

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Michael G. Smith is a very early-retired chemist. Lately he has been developing workshops and lecturing on what he terms the confluence of poetry, mathematics and science. His poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Cider Press Review, the Kerf, Matter, the New Mexico Poetry Review, Nimrod, Santa Fe Literary Review, Sulphur River Literary Review and other journals. His website is michaelgsmithpoetry.com.

Marcus Speh is a writer, ex-particle physicist, professor, executive coach, father, former fencer & paratrooper. His fiction has been published in > kill author, Mad Hatters Review, elimae, Metazen, Atticus Review and elsewhere. He lives in Berlin, Germany and blogs at http://marcusspeh.com. His flash "The Serious Writer Occupies Wall Street" is part of the Occupy Writers collection of original stories at http://occupywriters.com.

Marilyn Stablein’s book Splitting Hard Ground won the New Mexico Book Award and the National Federation of Press Women’s Book Award. Her memoirs include Sleeping in Caves and Climate of Extremes. Fiction collections include Night Travels to Tibet; The Census Taker: Tales of India & Nepal and Vermin: A Bestiary. She teaches workshops in memoir and poetry in Albuquerque and owns, with her husband Gary, Acequia Booksellers, a fine used bookstore online and in the North Valley. Her collage, assemblages and artist books have been featured on the covers of Gargoyle Magazine, Rattle Magazine, Malpais Review and in museums and galleries in the US and abroad. Joannie Stangeland’s new book, Into the Rumored Spring is available from Ravenna Press. Joannie’s also the author of two poetry chapbooks. Her poems have recently appeared in Journal of the American Medical Association, The Cape Rock, The Midwest Quarterly and other journals. Currently, Joannie’s the poetry editor for the online journal The Smoking Poet.

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Rosanne Sterne is a poet, watercolorist and flutist whose poetry has been widely published in literary journals. Her first book Dancing in the Gaps was published in 2010 by Finishing Line Press. She is a graduate of Harvard University where she studied poetry with Alan Williamson. Rosanne is principal flutist of the Littleton Symphony Orchestra and a Consultant to foundations with a special focus on arts and culture. She resides in Colorado with her family. George Such is an English graduate student at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington. In a previous incarnation he was a chiropractor for 27 years in eastern Washington. Besides reading and writing, he enjoys hiking, cooking, and traveling, especially to India and Southeast Asia. His poetry has been published in Arroyo Literary Review, Blue Earth Review, Cold Mountain Review, Dislocate and many other journals. Tim Suermondt is the author of Trying to Help the Elephant Man Dance from The Backwaters Press, 2007, and Just Beautiful from NYQ Books, 2010. He has published work in Poetry, The Georgia Review, Southern Humanities Review, Bellevue Literary Review and Prairie Schooner, and he has poems forthcoming in Tygerburning Literary Journal and Stand Magazine (U.K.). He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, the poet Pui Ying Wong.

Arianna Sullivan grew up in Santa Fe. From 2008 to 2010 she attended the UWC Atlantic College in Wales, where she finished her high school education. She spent one year at the New School in New York, before returning to Santa Fe the fall of 2011 to attend the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, where she is currently studying creative writing. Susan Tepper, a poet and fiction writer, is the author of four published books. Her recent title From the Umberplatzen (Wilderness House Press, 2012) is a quirky love story told in linked-flash and set in Germany. www.susantepper.com/umberplatzen.html

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Ana Cristina Terrazas was born in Santa Fe on June 28, 1991. Her parents are Cosme Terrazas Aragonez and Irene Ornelas de Terrazas, and she has two older brothers. Her parents grew up in Chihuahua, Mexico. As a child she found herself in a struggle of cultures, that she believes gives her a great opportunity to tell a story not too often heard. Judith Toler has been an editor, an English professor, and a faculty union organizer. Currently retired, she now divides her time between making art and writing poetry. Her poems have won a New Mexico Discovery Award as well as awards from Passager and the Santa Fe Reporter. Most recently her work has appeared in Adobe Walls, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal and Lilliput.

Meg Tuite's writing has appeared in numerous journals including Berkeley Fiction Review, Epiphany, One, the Journal, Monkeybicycle and Boston Literary Magazine. She has been nominated several times for the Pushcart Prize. She is the fiction editor of Santa Fe Literary Review and Connotation Press. Her novel, Domestic Apparition (2011) is available through San Francisco Bay Press and her chapbook, Disparate Pathos, is available (2012) through Monkey Puzzle Press. She has a monthly column, “Exquisite Quartet,” published up at Used Furniture Review. The Exquisite Quartet Anthology-2011 is also available. Her blog: http://megtuite.wordpress.com.

Helen Tzagoloff has been published in anthologies and literary journals, most recently in Barrow Street, PMS and Interpoezia: A Stranger at Home anthology. A poem had been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and she was a first place winner of the Icarus International Literary Competition. A book of poems, Listening to the Thunder, is forthcoming from Oliver Arts & Open Press. She has worked as a research scientist and a patent attorney. She lives in New York City.

James Valvis is the author of How to Say Goodbye (Aortic Books, 2011). His writing can be found in Anderbo, Arts & Letters, Daily Science Fiction, Nimrod, Potomac Review, River Styx, and is forthcoming in Crab Creek Review, Midwest Quarterly, New York Quarterly, Poetry East, storySouth, and others. His poetry has been featured at Verse Daily and the “Best American Poetry” blog. His fiction has twice been a Million Writers Notable Story. He lives near Seattle.

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Robert Vaughan lives in Milwaukee where he leads writing roundtables at Redbird-Redoak Writing. His prose and poetry is found in numerous literary journals such as elimae, Metazen, Necessary Fiction and BlazeVOX. His short stories are anthologized in Nouns of Assemblage from Housefire, and Stripped from P.S. Books. He is a fiction editor at JMWW magazine, and Thunderclap! Press. He co-hosts Flash Fiction Fridays for WUWM’s Lake Effect. His blog: http://rgv7735.wordpress.com. Sarah Velez is a current student at the Santa Fe Community College. In her free time she likes to write poetry and prose, take pictures, and practice banjo.

Ted von Dameck/Architect ---semi-retired wife Glenda --4 daughters, 2 Dogs (Chow Chows)--------Zoey and Buddy Born: New York, New York lived in Savannah, Houston, New Orleans Bach Arch degree: LSU Graduate School- Virginia Tech Painting/Writing along with arch. practice for years. Began writing in High School. Still reading all those “Williams”: Faulkner, Shakespeare and Styron.---and William Carlos Williams Guess I love (the) language! Poetry and/or artwork has been published by: BlueStone Review, Delta, Confrontation, Thema, Varied Colors, Jelly Bucket, The Broome Review.

Liz Wallace is a full time jeweler (lizwallacerocks.com). She is taking film classes and writes whenever she can.

Linda Whittenberg’s poetry is often inspired by daily life at her rural home near Santa Fe; however, most recently, she has published Somewhere in Ireland, poems inspired by the place of her ancestry. Besides early mornings spent at her desk, she enjoys quilting, gardening and dancing. More on her website: www.lindawhittenberg.com. Santa Fe Literary Review

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Deborah Komaiko Wimberly was born in 1947 in Chicago where she attended the Francis Parker School. She attended Radcliffe College, earning a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Social Science followed by an M.Ed in Counseling from the Harvard School of Education. She worked as an educator and mental health professional for many years in Pittsburgh. She moved to Santa Fe in 1998. She maintains a private practice of psychotherapy here. She lives with her husband of 35 years and two dogs. She has two daughters and four grandchildren. Francine Witte lives in NYC. She received her MA from SUNY Binghamton and her MFA from Vermont College. Her flash fiction chapbook, The Wind Twirls Everything, was published by MuscleHead Press. She is the winner of the Thomas A. Wilhelmus Award in fiction from Ropewalk Press, and her chapbook Cold June was published in 2010. Her poetry chapbook, First Rain, was published Summer 2009 by Pecan Grove Press. Her poetry chapbook, Only, Not Only, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. She is a high school English teacher. Kirby Wright was a visiting fellow at the 2009 International Writers Conference in Hong Kong, where he represented the Pacific Rim region of Hawaii. He was also a Visiting Writer at the 2010 Martha’s Vineyard Residency in Edgartown, Mass., and the 2011 Artist in Residence at Milkwood International, Czech Republic. He is the author of the companion novels Punahou Blues and Moloka’i Nui Ahina, both set in the islands. Jon Kelly Yenser was born and raised and educated in Kansas. He worked as a teacher, a journalist and a fund-raiser and lived in a number of places, including Illinois, Iowa, Idaho and Oregon. His poems have appeared in a number of places, including Diagram, The Massachusetts Review, Natural Bridge and Adobe Walls. He lives in Albuquerque with his wife, the writer Pamela Yenser.

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Cover Photo: Lara Nickel Book Design: David Faulkner Logo Design: Jane Dill Design Printing: Vision Media Rio Rancho, New Mexico Copyright Š 2012 by Santa Fe Community College

This book is printed on elemental chlorine-free and acid-free stock to meet and exceed archival standards. Contains 30% post-consumer waste fiber and 50% total recycled fiber.

The Santa fe Literary Review  

A Santa Fe literary magazine for writers and photographers