Page 1

Santa Fe Literar y Review 2015 Faculty Advisors: Kate McCahill and Miriam Sagan Fiction Editor: Meg Tuite Poetry Editor: Sudasi Clement Editors-at-Large: Veronica Anna Clark and Baro Shalizi Non-fiction and Memoir Editor: Libby Hall Art Editor: Lydia Gonzales The Santa Fe Literary Review is published by the School of Liberal Arts of Santa Fe Community College. With special thanks to Bernadette Jacobs, Dean of Liberal Arts and Core Studies, and Julia Deisler, 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

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

1


Contents Match Melissa Cannon The Artichoke Sutra Gwynn O’Gara “What If There Weren’t Any Stars?” Ace Boggess Wistful and Radiant Panic Jessie Bodelson Bobbing and Weaving Emily Stern Ovation Max Underwood Beauty of the Barren Noah Caswell-Levy The Swimmer Baro Shalizi In the Name of the Body Mary Morris Untitled 1 Lydia Gonzales Untitled 2 Lydia Gonzales Untitled 3 Lydia Gonzales My First Day in Heaven James Valvis Facts Kelly Dolejsi Poetry 101 at a Cow College Judith Toler The Crippled Heifer Page Lambert What Happens When You’re Not Looking Oliver Knudsen Spring Forward Sara Lippmann Cutter Steven Gowin The Death of the Land Veronica Anna Clark The Aspen and the Moon Holly Baldwin Stellar Jay Laura Young S A N TA F E L I T E R A R Y R E V I E W

8 9 10 11 12 15 16 17 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

32 34 35 37 40 43

3


The Soldier The Story Ermine

Lucy River

44

Margaret Randall

45

Barbara Robidoux

47

5 From Idle Mountain Retreat

John Brandi

48

Haiku from the Realm of Disability Miriam Sagan and Michael G. Smith

49

Interview with Kate Braverman

51

Acts of Autumn #7

Kate Braverman

Afternoon Between Rains

Kate Braverman

Fall Sketch #2 (Pre-autopsy) Hiding Bee

Kate Braverman

Laura Young

In Search of Healing Teetering

Meg Tuite

59 60 62

Marylou Butler

Chelsea Clammer

63 67

Coffee is Not for Christmas Drunk Ocean Revival

57

Jack Cooper

68

Jacklyn Corley

70

Silver/Cleave Poetry Installation, Great Salt Lake Holly Simonsen

78

Silver/Cleave #4

Holly Simonsen

79

Silver/Cleave #6

Holly Simonsen

80

Silver/Cleave #1

Holly Simonsen

81

If I Want Something Other

Jane Shoenfeld

Why I Am Afraid of Spring Diptych, With Anxious Ewes My Mom is Still There 4

Caitlin Downey Joannie Stangeland

Terry Wilson

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

82 84 85 86


A Memorable Affaire Judy Mosher Child of Prayer Aimee Parkison The Photo Album Erin Parker Kill Shot Michael Gillan Maxwell They Burned a Cross on My Uncle’s Lawn Rochelle Jewel Shapiro Santa Claus Richard Murray Sigmund Freud Had Sex with Demons Dana Stamps II The Little Chicken Mary Oertel-Kirschner Henry Ono Runs for Mayor of Santa Fe Jane Tokunaga Vignette of a Wedding – Kabul 1956 Prita K. Shalizi Honeycomb Marion Wasserman Ayurveda Hasanthika Sirisena Mourning Doves B. Mitchell Cator Breath David Michael Kaplan Thump John P. Kristofco Bumblebee Doug Bootes The Governor Bill O’Neill Hunger Mark DeFoe Saturday Night Robert Tremmel Hold Me Like You’ll Never Let Me Go Susana H. Case Tsunami Doug Bootes Jacks or Better Jim Nye S A N TA F E L I T E R A R Y R E V I E W

89 91 93 96

99 98 99 100

101 103 108 109 110 112 114 119 120 122 124

125 126 127

5


Last Stand Dick Altmen The Unabomber Dreams of the Ice Maiden Mummy, a Woman in a Flesh Dress Unlike Any Other Lyn Lifshin Holiday Inn Express Charlie Kalogeros-Chattan Weight of the World Doug Bootes These Things Carry Me Back Caroline LeBlanc Running Water Robin MacArthur Muerte de Vaca Max Underwood The Book Hilary Craig Two Hundred Dollars Bailey Benton Ms. Twain Paul Lamar No Matter What I Said Then, I Must Have Known Language Would Fail Us Always Marianna Hofer In You Elizabeth Rees Cornsilk Marion Wasserman How to Hide in the Canyonlands Sue Ring deRosset

*

Simon Perchik

129 130 131 132 133 135 136 137 139

142 144 145 146 148

Dodging Ice Elizabeth Raby London Fog Behzad Dayeny Sunflower Landscape with White Susan Aylward For CD Wright Debbi Brody Airport Pigeon George Longenecker The Good Wife’s Last Day Leah Welborn My Responsibility Tasha Duran 6

128

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

149 150 151 152 154 155 158


There’s No Crying in Poetry Bill Yarrow a pheasant Kiik A.K. Syzygy Stacy Brewster 1974 Stanley Cup Champions Danny Rosen Telecommunication C.C. Russell Snow in Callirr Colin Rowe Beans Marion Wasserman Of The Coal Blue Field II Barbara Rockman Newspaper Donald Levering My First and Last Visit to a Whorehouse Meg E. O’Brien Holy Terror Mona Lydon-Rochelle Watching My Mother and Father’s Last Kiss J.E. Reich To the Person Who Test Drives the Used Lexus with My CD Still in the Stereo Jennifer Campbell Subterrainiafuge Doug Bootes Careless Love Ray Lopez Mora Kate McCahill Stained Jennifer Squires Circular Seeds Susan Aylward When I See You Smile Up Burgess Needle Persephone Rita Feinstein The Moments Rick Smith Bios S A N TA F E L I T E R A R Y R E V I E W

159 160 162 164 165 166 167 168 169

170 172

175

176 178 182 185 188 189 190 191 192 193

7


Match by Melissa Cannon seductive – incendiary – my little red-head still you’re coy: so many strokes before you’ll spark then the edge of the dark flares like paper then the night spills its net of stars

8

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


The Artichoke Sutra by Gwynn O’Gara The Kelp Mothers steer her along milky roads to the bright region inside the fog. Coastal lotuses with stalks like oak saplings shimmer in rows to the sea. Wild when time was counted in moons, owl-eyed food of goddess and surfer. Glaucous sunflower of stubborn love, cleansing thistle of longevity. Chakra of arms and hands, our first shield also lifts and bears. Bountiful as the muscles ringing our shoulders, spine-tipped bracts open. With fervent teeth we scrape the meat, shave the choke to the flower bud we eat. My cousin cups a globe in her hands. Scrumptious heart. Core of the song. Remembering her sister, she offers it to me. Blood and oil attend. Food of the blossom. Hub of the blessing. Such loss in flesh as well as sea, such silence in each song. Teach us how to bear. Feed us as we mourn.

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

9


“What If There Weren’t Any Stars?” —William Stafford, “What If We Were Alone?” by Ace Boggess

The astrologers find other jobs: mining the veins of umber leaves for information, predicting futures by digging graves—the easiest answer. Captains of ships, stranded in an age before technology, refuse to sail at night, directionless, each a compass in a room full of magnets. No philosopher muses on the Infinite. No scientist measures the speed of light. No father, lying back on a beat blue Dodge, says, “Look, there’s Orion’s belt, the big & little bears, & there, that’s the face I drew for your mother so long ago when we still loved each other.”

10

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


Wistful and Radiant Panic by Jessie Bodelson I burn the books of authors I love the most. Most of whom scatter themselves to the wind, the blackened pages of their words swirling into the bottom of empty trashcans. Trashcans have since become a known hideaway to inky heartbreak. Heartbreak too easily found at the tip of my own pen, stories unraveling into achy bruises upon my skin. Skin painted like the book covers I so often see in my sleep, black and blue with the hint of a distant yellow sun. Sun, bright like the light of my desk lamp, drying tears that have felt something deeply unsettling and profound. Profound like the love of my first love. Love not written out on crinkly white pages, but on the own surface of my skin. Skin enwrapping shards of broken bone and a poetic heart true to the rhythm of its beating. Beating against the tangle of my own binding, matches lit like little birds at my fingertips. Fingertips like these were not meant to live between smudges.

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

11


Bobbing and Weaving Excerpt from “When Doves Cry” by Emily Stern My mother, Antoinette, or, Toni, wore a red flower that spread with a yellow explosion from the middle; it was pinned into her black-brown hair that was sometimes rolling hills past her shoulders and sometimes dense coils to the base of her neck. It was thicker than my always long, straight blond hair that I’d taught myself to braid so I could unravel it into waves and maybe be as beautiful as my mother. She wore a creamy halter dress trimmed with thick macramé lace edges, along with a pair of dangling gold earrings, a series of circles that nearly reached her small, defined breasts. Her skin changed with the angles of the light, from bronze to golden to brown to a translucent buttery yellow. Random men in the crowd touched her arm and tried to say hello. She’d stop, seeming flattered and amused, and meet their eyes as her chest rose and spread with her smile. They’d stare at her mouth as it took a hit off the joint in her hand then open again to offer its raspy, intimate, feminine, full-bodied guffaw, and then glide away, leaving them looking like cartoon characters who’d been pleasantly punched in the face. My father’s sandy-blond hair was in its inaugural run of what remains his signature style—a sophisticated mullet paired with an iconic seventies mustache, thick and wide and burying his upper lip. He wore a wide-cuffed, longsleeved white shirt made of gauze with blue embroidered birds along its edges. His back always arched right before his foot pressed the pedal that made a note linger or pop, and then his torso rolled to the side and back to the middle as he threw himself into the piece’s next movement. The four of us were among the hundreds of people watching him play Chopin’s Fantasie-Impromptu in the fancy hotel ballroom in Cozumel. I was three years old. My sister, Jessica, was two years old. My half-brother David, was nearly fourteen. Occasionally my mother stopped behind my father to touch his hair as he played the loud classical music. In my hard folding chair at the edge of the room, between my brother and sister, I sat high on my knees and twisted my body to follow her with my eyes, studious and longing. When my father finished the piece, the applause bombed the room. It was the first time I noted his masterful ability to brazenly expand in the spotlight while simultaneously conveying heartfelt reciprocity with a group of admirers. Near the front, my mother’s vibrancy faded into the collective waves of adora-

12

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


tion. Her hands, a chaste knot beneath her chin; her fingers, twisting the thin, gold chain around her neck like she was praying the rosary; her head, jerking back and forth while her eyes bulged with the possession of a devoted zealot. I covered my ears as I watched him shine in the adulation I thought happened only in our family’s living room; my appreciation usually hailed from beneath his piano. I preferred to listen with my head buried in the shaggy green carpet, and my legs entangled in the massive instrument’s wooden intestines, trying to converge with the rhythm. Three days after the hotel ballroom concert, at a much humbler motel in Cozumel, I sat on the rim of an organ-shaped swimming pool, staring at the water. I experimented with contorting my eyes to better isolate each layer of light, mimicking the tiles at the bottom. They seemed to exist independently of one another, with their own distinct edges and corners. The back of my neck had begun to smolder and burn under the sun. I turned and saw my mother walking toward us. She wore a yellow T-shirt, thin and tight, with the word Cancun across her braless breasts. Her shorts were cut off denim with fringy bits reaching to her mid thigh. She had fine legs— smooth skin and brown flat-heeled Jesus sandals. She was a short woman, as many Sicilians are. She had been 5’0 tall since she was a teenager. I thought that her name, Antoinette Rose, suited her. The letters of the word ‘Antoinette’ spilled in every direction. When she wrote it, the ‘A” was always a brazen and untamed loop that crossed the boundaries of its designated space. The rest, a series of sophisticated and coy omissions, was accented by a flailing, misplaced tendril or over-inked splotch, much like her curly hair. “Emily! Where’s your sister?” I didn’t know, and stood to join her in scanning the water, chairs, and tables. She yelled for David, who appeared immediately. His Converse low-top gym shoes walked the edge of the pool until they stopped at the other end, the deep end. I watched him freeze, and then, stare. The overgrown curls of his bark-colored hair fell in front of his eyes, giving what must have been a shortlived and terrible dilemma a moment of privacy. Not entirely sure what was going on, I was more interested in whether or not my brother was going to actually jump into a pool without taking off his jeans and t-shirt. He dove in. My mother ran toward the waning circles in the water. When he emerged with my sister Jessica’s toddler sized body pressed against his chest, her hair was matted against her face and down her back in stringy chunks. Her wrinkled skin matched the color of the water where green met blue, and she wasn’t moving. As David sped toward my mother, he flipped Jessica over and beat on her back, and flimsy drops of water trickled out of her mouth. She still wasn’t moving. He

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

13


laid her on the concrete and started CPR. My mother yelled for help. A crowd formed a circle around David as he continued to try to wake up my sister while my mother spun in circles with her arms out, through the people, yelling, “Please! Please! Somebody help us!” Jessica wasn’t moving at all. A man said he was a doctor, and my brother moved aside to let him in. My mother knelt on the other side of my sister while the doctor did CPR, stopping to turn Jessica over and slap her back hard then breathe into her mouth, counting and pressing on her tiny chest. After several minutes, the doctor slowed his attempts then suddenly stopped completely. I looked at my sister through the many legs of the many people surrounding them. Her eyes were closed, and her face appeared as if it were sinking under the weight of her long, wet, black hair. My throat was clamped in the middle, and I started to cry. The doctor said, “I’m so sorry” and reached for my mother’s arm. She leaned away from him, her body going from the soft, bent, lumpy witness to rocketing erect as she wildly searched his face. Then she yelled, “Noooo! Nooo!” but stopped abruptly. He tried again to gently speak, and again my mother’s mouth opened, but this time no words fell out. Instead, the ground vibrated and swirled as she wailed louder than anything I’ve ever heard. Her cry drowned out the doctor and the ocean and the trees and the people and the sky and wrapped the bystanders in its storm cloud. Over and over, rolling up from the ground as each moan began again; first low then crescendoing with her fists and quaking shrieks; the siren of a mythical animal fighting God with the essence of its soul. It was then that Jessica moved. Then she coughed. This is the love that lived beneath everything else.

14

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


Ovation by Max Underwood

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

15


Beauty of the Barren by Noah Caswell-Levy I like Santa Fe for the colors, for the wildflowers, for the beauty of the barren, for the colors that bleed and pulse, when every evening feels like an acid flashback when the sun, burning and resigned, condemned to die, is escorted across the sky to be drowned in a swirling sea of red, condemned day after day, like Prometheus after giving fire to the mortals. I like Santa Fe for the landscapes, for the hills and river valleys, the scars and lacerations inflicted by an angry god, the etches and scrawls of a violent drama of impacts and incessant grindings, the inaudible sounds of Something stirring beneath us, but our lives like moths are too short, too focused on reproduction and consumption to care or notice the mountains, thrusting upwards into a black and blue abyss, surfacing from a secret sea of magma, breathing deep in defiance of their own perfection. I hope they take me to see my loved ones when they dive again. I like Santa Fe for the truth it bears, for the old Indian woman with the face like worn suede, who has stories to tell, and though her lips are sealed to me, her gestures and glances point through centuries to when the myth of the civilized white collided with the myth of the savage Indian, when, in that orgy of lies, that tomorrow which is ours was born, a tomorrow seized, bound, gagged and split open when we mistook beauty incarnate for the cradle of the atomic bomb. Only man can take so much. Only man desires to. Only man deserves to. I like Santa Fe for the dangerous things, for the junkies, for the trains, for the women adorned in leather and jewels like Turquoise Cleopatras, themselves precious stones, shining brightly in pools of neon lamplight, smoke swirling in the dark, shadows like bungee cords that snap the night back to us.

16

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


The Swimmer by Baro K. Shalizi Carmela walked along the beach, her thoughts focused on Tom, passed out in their hotel room, drunk for the first time. To the casual observer, had any been around, she would have appeared naked, her pale blue bikini invisible in the glare of the midday sun. Her shoulders relaxed and slumped slowly as the hot rays of the sun sank deep into them, melting the accumulated tension. Her toes dug into the soft white sand of Montego Bay, each step adding to the trail of footprints that stretched behind her all the way to the grand hotel, a stunning example of British Colonial legacy. A gentle breeze rustled the red, orange, pink and yellow Hibiscus flowers lining the porch, like so many tropical butterflies. Small waves played on the beach, teasing the sand with moist kisses before withdrawing into the vast reservoir of the ocean. Carmela strolled along the no man’s land that was part ocean, part shore, smiling as warm waves lapped hungrily at her feet, inviting her into the ocean. A strand of hair blew gently in the breeze and fell across her large brown eyes. Just two weeks ago she had felt invincible, master of her destiny. But that was two weeks ago. Born in the slums of Caracas, Carmela had watched powerlessly as her mother struggled to improve their meager lot in life—working three jobs, taking in men who paid for their pleasure while Carmela sat shivering outside. At thirty-nine, her mother had succumbed to hunger and disease. At her shallow grave, Carmela shed not a tear, but vowed not to suffer the same fate. Using every asset at her disposal—her beauty, street-smarts and hunger for wealth to claw her way to the top. By the time she was twenty-five, she had been crowned Miss Venezuela. A year ago, she moved to New York and started a successful line of highend designer clothes, perfumes and accessories. At a party in Soho some months back, Carmela, as was her wont, scanned the room as she entered. Like a bat detecting an insect, she was drawn to the power and wealth radiating from Mr. Jacobs, the founder of Jacobs, Seaman, Rothstein, and Raddin - the most prestigious and feared litigation firm on the East Coast. He was an older man, old enough to be her father, but most captains of industry were and she had long ago learned that older men prefer young, beautiful women and she liked wealth and power. It was a compromise that over the years had worked

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

17


well for her. Mr. Jacobs stood up as she introduced herself before introducing the young man with whom he had been conversing. “May I present Tom Snow, a rising star in our firm,” he said, before walking off to join his wife. Carmela glanced at Tom before looking away. He was tall, muscular and handsome, sky-blue eyes offset by golden-wheat colored hair, but in her line of work, Carmela met many handsome men. They were all the same – shallow, vain, and conceited. She turned to leave when a soft voice, almost a caress, said, “I would be honored if you’d join me for a drink.” Surprised by the gentleness of the request, she said, “Very well, one drink.” When next she glanced at her watch, she jumped up, “Just look at the time.” It was almost 3:00 am. She smiled guiltily. “I hadn’t realized how late it was,” she said lightly touching his hand. Tom walked her back to her apartment, chastely kissed her on each cheek, and went home. Carmela stared after his retreating back; no man ever left her unless she turned him away. She thought about him all night. She had never met a man, who while intellectually brilliant, was so naïve to the ways of the world and who treated her as a human being, not an object to be admired, coveted or exhibited. They had talked about literature, movies and working out, passions they both shared. Not once had he talk about himself or his accomplishments. Even when she asked, he had been modest in his replies quickly changing the subject. She fell asleep, a smile playing on her lips. Tom called the next day. Their first date was at the gym. While Tom lifted weights, she swam laps in the Olympic-sized pool. Carmela was surprised to find her new boyfriend never missed Sunday church service. New York and his success had not jaded his mid-Western sensibilities. She was charmed by his hesitation when she asked him to spend the night. She wished she had had the luxury to live by such values, but they had been discarded one by one in her struggle to reach the top. Only once had he asked her to attend services with him, but when she bluntly stated that all she had achieved was through her own hard work, not a boon from God, he had only smiled gently and went without her. Everyone cheered as Carmela and Tom entered the reception hall. The firm had recently won a big case and all one hundred and forty three employees were in attendance. Tom had been a key member of the winning team. Waiters in starched white shirts and black pants silently circulated trays of champagne, caviar, chocolate-coated strawberries, genuine goose pate fois gras and other

18

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


delicacies. Normally, Carmela’s smile lit up her face, her eyes sparkled as she greeted friends, but not today. Tom’s heart sank; he saw the forced smile that didn’t reach her eyes, the tightness around her mouth. Over the last few weeks, he had noticed other things also; the low grade fever, the aching muscles, the sniffles. When he’d asked her, she’d said lightheartedly, “It’s nothing, just a cold.” When the symptoms lingered, she suspected it was more than that. Her doctor ran a series of tests. The results had come in a couple of days ago. Now she knew for sure. She had shared the results with her two closest friends, swearing them to secrecy, but she didn’t tell Tom. She knew she must, but she couldn’t. He was the only man who had ever loved her for herself, believed in her, and most importantly, trusted her—assuming she was as honest and unsullied as he—unaware of her past. She couldn’t bear to lose him. She knew she would as soon as he found out. Tom, nursing a Virgin Mary, glanced at Carmela from under hooded eyes. Something was bothering her, but what? He felt hurt. She always shared everything with him, or so he thought. Now she had withdrawn into herself. He went around the table and leaned over from behind whispering in her ear, “Let’s blow this joint and walk home. It’s so pleasant outside.” “But we’re here to celebrate your win; we can’t be the first to leave,” she responded with a quick smile, masking her pain. He smiled into her eyes as he murmured, “I could do with some one-onone time with the woman I love.” He inhaled deeply savoring the aroma of her perfume. “I’d like to stay a little longer,” she said, delaying the moment when she’d have to confess the truth. He gently massaged her shoulders. He felt her stiffen. “Please, let’s leave.” Reluctantly she stood up. At his apartment, she resisted his overtures. “I’m more tired than I thought,” she said, rubbing her temples. Lately, she seemed to tire easily. “Are your allergies acting up again,” he asked. “I’ll get you a Claritin,” he said, striding to the bathroom and the medicine cabinet, without waiting for an answer. Fully clothed, Carmela stretched out on the bed. “Turn off the overhead light, please. It’s giving me a headache,” she whispered, turning to face the wall, her back to Tom. He turned off the light and lay next to her. “What’s wrong?” He wrapped

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

19


an arm around her as if he could shield her with his body. “Haven’t your test results come back? Your allergies seem to be getting worse.” She burst into tears at the love and tenderness in his voice, “Oh God, how can I tell you?” She sobbed into the pillow. “Tell me what?” He asked, keeping the urgency and worry out of his voice. “The results of my tests,” she responded, her voice was muffled by the pillow. Taking deep, ragged breaths she sobbed. “I’m HIV positive.” Tom froze, then exploded. “You’re HIV positive?” He jumped off the bed pacing to the window and back. “You’ve been sleeping with other men behind my back,” he accused. “How dare you? I trusted you!” He was trembling with anger. He wanted to break something, anything, but nothing was at hand. In frustration he punched the wall, leaving a hole where his fist landed. Carmela held her breath too scared to say anything. “I swear you’ve been the only one since we met,” she whispered. “Then how?” Tom was devastated. His dreams shattered. “Before we met …wasn’t easy becoming Miss Venezuela,” she forced herself to be honest, to tell him the truth. “There were many beautiful and talented women competing …” Comprehension dawned slowly. “You slept your way to the title!” Tom tried to picture Carmela’s life as a child – poor, hungry, an orphan – he couldn’t. Instead images of his childhood crowed in, the loving family sitting around the Thanksgiving table, gifts under the sparkling Christmas tree. His heart filled with sadness for this beautiful, intelligent woman who may have sacrificed her life to achieve her dream. He sat next to her, holding her close. “Don’t worry, love. I’ll take care of you. As planned, in two weeks we’ll go on our vacation to Jamaica, laze in the sun and figure things out. HIV isn’t the death sentence it used to be.” He rocked her in his arms until she fell asleep, her head nestled in the crook of his shoulder. Tom lay awake working his way through this new and unforeseen problem. It raised so many questions, changed so many things. Sleep came just as dawn was breaking. They slept in, as they usually did on a Saturday morning. Carmela suffered major mood swings all weekend, at times tearful, at times defiant, at times depressed. He felt powerless to help in anyway. On Monday morning, after breakfast, as they were both leaving for work, she said, “By the way, Tom, you’d better get tested.” “Tested? Tested for what?” “For fucking HIV of course,” she burst out. “Don’t be so damned naïve. Men can get it just as easily from women as women can from men. It’s a Sexu-

20

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


ally. Transmitted. Disease.” Those three words hit him like blows from a hammer. His mind went blank; Carmela’s words echoed in his skull, a scream in a cavern. He had been so worried about Carmela, he hadn’t seen the danger rushing to overtake him. He stood mesmerized—a rabbit before an oncoming forest fire—too scared to flee. She saw the stricken look on his face, and wanted to hug him to make it all okay, but she knew she had to be tough, brutal, forcing him to acknowledge the reality of the situation. She walked past him and out the door. At the office, his fingers trembled as they hovered over the keyboard—he Googled HIV. How was it transmitted from a woman to a man, how long did it take to manifest? Trusting and naïve, he had not used protection. Could he be infected already? According to the site, there was a period of time between when a person was infected and when test results came back positive—THE WINDOW. The words on the screen blurred as windows of all sizes and shapes popped into his head. Looking at his computer, he saw Windows 7 printed on the keyboard. He turned his back on the computer only to be confronted by big, picture windows overlooking the skyline of downtown New York. Tom rushed out of the office and ran as if he could outpace his demons—jostling through the crowded sidewalks, till he found himself in Central Park. Exhausted, he sat under the statue of Alice in Wonderland. One sentence from the HIV website flooded his brain: ‘Not every person who has sex with an HIV infected person will get infected.’ Tom laughed out loud. He had overreacted. Had he been infected, surely he would have shown symptoms by now? Deluding himself, he walked back to the office a bounce in his step, smiling at strangers. Carmela, waited patiently for Tom to volunteer the results of his blood test, but when a week passed and he not only didn’t say anything, but seemed his usual, relaxed self, she confronted him over dinner. “You haven’t said a word about your test results. What did the doctor say?” “I haven’t gone.” Carmela shouted, “You’re shitting me!” She stuck her face in his. “Denial won’t fucking save you.” Her body shook with pent up anger and guilt. “Tomorrow morning, we’re going to get you tested whether you like it or not.” Two days later, Tom’s doctor called him at the office. “Your results are in. Please stop by my office at your earliest convenience.” “Are they positive or negative?” “We’ll discuss them when I see you.” Tom slammed down the receiver. “Damned doctor! He could have told me.” Drops of cold sweat ran down his back. He didn’t need the doctor to tell

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

21


him, he knew he had just been handed a death sentence. Slipping into his jacket he told his secretary that urgent business had come up and left. The doctor rested his hand on Tom’s shoulder. “Tom, there’s no gentle way of telling you, you are HIV positive,” he looked down at the papers on his desk as if the results might have miraculously changed. “I had to talk to you in person,” he said, looking up again. “You may not be aware, but there are almost daily discoveries in HIV and AIDS medications, being HIV positive doesn’t have to prove fatal.” “Yes, yes, I know,” Tom said mechanically. “That is exactly what I told my girlfriend.” “Look Tom, I have already written out a prescription for all the medication you will have to start taking. There are also some new, experimental drugs on the market we can try, if you are willing.” “Thank you, doctor. Give me some time to think about these experimental drugs. I’ll call you in a couple of weeks. I am comforted to know that you are aware of all the latest treatments.” Tom took the prescription and absentmindedly stuffed it in his pocket. He knew nothing could save him. This was God’s punishment for living in sin. When he got home, Carmela was packing. Their flight to Montego was early the next morning. “Have you heard from the doctor,” she asked. He nodded. She stopped packing, looked at him intently. “What did he say?” He smiled at her. “He gave me a clean bill of health.” There was no point sharing the results with Carmela. This was his cross to bear, he must bear it stoically and alone. “I’m so relieved, Tom,” she said hugging him. That evening while hanging up his suit, Carmela found the prescription in his pocket. Slowly she walked along the beach, the hot sun beating down on her, tears blurring her vision. She had destroyed Tom, his strong, beautiful body was now crumbling from within, losing the ability to resist even the smallest of colds. Any little ailment could turn fatal. She pictured his smooth, taut muscles, his perfect six pack abs. All would be gone. Wasted. Because of her. Turning toward the ocean, she felt tiny waves lap at her feet, providing some relief from the fire consuming her as they gently obliterated her foot-

22

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


prints, wiping clear all traces of her. She waded into the ocean, her eyes focused on the horizon. She delighted in the feel of the warm water as it embraced her, first her calves, then her knees, and up to her waist. A school of fish were swimming in unison, their scales flashing silver as they swam first this way then that, as if controlled by one master mind. Gulls floated above, white kites on the warm current as they squawked hoarsely to their brethren bobbing on the waves below. Carmela dove in. With strong strokes she swam towards the school of fish. Soon she was in their midst, swimming as one with them. Together, they entered the immense ocean. Exhilarated, she swam vigorously, while in her mind’s eye she saw a weakened man—the man she loved—his body devastated, needing help just to go to the bathroom. On and on she swam, until she could swim no more. Her body relaxed as the undertow gently pulled her down.

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

23


In the Name of the Body by Mary Morris Horses drink the night from Jade Lake mirrored with stars. All thirst, they draw water behind their chess-piece teeth. Once, we swam appaloosas across the Milky Way of rivers. At fifteen, your brother inhaled the vapors of carbon monoxide. In 1969, the word was fag. Wherever you are, kneeling in pastures green as Lorca's emerald world, speak to the others, ambassadors of the dead. Protect them from executioners, the tilted crown leading a swarm.

24

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


Untitled #1 by Lydia Gonzales

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

25


Untitled #2 by Lydia Gonzales

26

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


Untitled #3 by Lydia Gonzales

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

27


My First Day in Heaven by James Valvis Man oh man, is this place empty. You can walk for miles without seeing a soul. There’s not even a long line at the All You Can Eat Ice Cream joint. (I had two Heavenly Hashes. Disappointing.) I’ve tried looking up family. No luck. Then I spent a couple of hours napping in my house, which turns out to be any house I want. The people inside invited me in, and vacated immediately. The nap didn’t go too well. My wings kept getting in the way and you pretty much have to sleep on your side or stomach. When that was over, I looked for God, but he’s no more obvious in heaven than he was on Earth. Except for all the Be Good signs hanging everywhere this place reminds me of Montana: clean enough but cold and unpopulated. And lonely. You wouldn’t expect that, but even here misery not only loves company, but largely gets it.

28

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


Facts by Kelly Dolejsi Imagine the poetry we could write on Titan, in a non-metaphorical, thick, golden haze. We could gaze through spectral windows, wearing 192 sweaters, for 192 hours, or about ½ a day. Don’t worry: the length of time it takes to write a poem on Saturn’s largest moon is not a need-to-know fact. There are 10 need-to-know facts about Titan. What will happen if I share 8? Or 11? 1. The sun is a doorway and Titan is a pea. If the pea looked through the doorway into a mirror, it would improve the energies of its home. 2. Titan’s lakes are mirrors of our lakes on Earth. Ontario. Cayuga. Sparrow. The larger ones are named after monsters. The Kraken. Instead of water, they all contain oil, enough to drive our cars for centuries, enough to manufacture billions of tubs of Vaseline. (We are manufactured from the ashes of the ancient Titans, whom Zeus smote, angry that the Titans ate his son. If not for the Titans’ extravagant appetites, we might worship ritual madness and ecstasy.) 3. If not for Titan’s gravity, Saturn might not have its thousands of ringlets, which are shattered moons themselves, just like those of the golden goddess. 4. Even dark-moon goddesses called crows cannot fly in the bottoms of swimming pools, just like they cannot fly on Titan. Imagine how bored you are with Earth, its doorways worshipping Vaseline. Its swimming pools smiting sparrows. Monsters you have named. Hazes you have caused. The Queen-Moon waits on her throne.

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

29


Poetry 101 at a Cow College by Judith Toler Twice a month, at a time certain, the rolling steel doors clanged open and a pulley moved above us, wheeling in carcasses of cattle slaughtered, stretched and strung up by their hind legs skinned and pale on their way to the refrigerated meat lab in the room next door Nothing stopped for them: the professor kept on lecturing and I kept on taking notes on the meaning of metaphor— though today, fifty years later I can’t remember any of the words, only the squeaking of a trolley and the slow parade of flesh and bone hung on meathooks circling our heads note: Land-grant colleges in the Midwest, with Ag-Tech programs, were colloquially known as cow colleges.

30

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


The Crippled Heifer by Page Lambert Today, I cook Broken Tail’s heart. I cut away the tough white membranes and think of the snow-covered draw down which she tumbled the night she was born. For more than a year her heart has lain in the freezer of our log home alongside hand-raised pork and pasture-fed deer. I have resisted cooking it, taking package after package of safer cuts from the freezer – rib steaks and rump roasts flank steaks and tenderloin, soup bones fashioned from a tail deformed that frozen night. Even when I defrosted the freezer for fall’s fresh venison I did not imagine that I would cook her heart. Yet, as it sat thawing on the kitchen counter, a thin trickle of blood found its way from the paper to the floor and it did not seem fair that only one of us should bleed. I clean the red blood from the oak cabinet and the blue tile, remember her wandering lost among the other heifers, a crippled cow among healthy ones, think of how, each morning, she tucked her head beneath my bent arm asking me to rub her crooked spine. At the dinner table I pull the book Land Circle from the shelf and read Linda’s poem “Beef Eater” as we pass the platter that holds the thin pink slices – the embodiment, I realize now, of everything feared, everything desired, everything missing.

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

31


What Happens When You’re Not Looking by Oliver Knudsen She bangs on the floor and causes structures and trees to collapse outwards. I say the weather changes us and we erode according to a rubric of rules we cannot see or understand and the sand that we were becomes drifts and eddies in the corners. Into these piles she spits – her saliva bonding and gluing the grains of sand and she engages in creating sediment, layer and row upon themselves. She calls it a pass-time, cementing our cast-offs into new structures for the earth to digest and modify. I call it frivolous. She tells me that she has shaved the likeness of the Attorney General into her pubic hair. I tell her that clouds are aerosols of our breath, or car exhaust, the electrostatic shuffling of murmurs that produce lightning. She removes her clothes to prove her point. I ask her if it’s supposed to be the state Attorney General or federal – and either way it’s hard to make out. Naked, she causes forests to evaporate in flame – the pall of smoke fills the kitchen, and the shed. Now she wears a pantsuit made of patches of skin. Whose? I ask. Yours, and others – also road kill and whatever I can steal when I hide under the basement stairs in children’s nightmares. I tell her it’s becoming. She hangs herself from the light fixture in the hallway, then she makes us lunch. Summer comes and goes, we corral tornados and cyclones and dense clouds of wasps and bees in the carport. I cut the lawn with a scythe made of finger bones – She rubs a mixture of her urine and cobalt-60 into the exterior paint. This will – according to her therapist – attract the malformed and unwanted, and they will be accompanied by a legion of feral dogs and lean, cruel house cats. We will feed them all to the compost pile by the cherry tree and grow tomatoes on the remains of their unused forms – the vines will cling and wind around rib-cages and spines. She tells me that she is considering the Lexus. I cut out my heart with an old tent stake and burn it to ash on the back steps. She wonders how – if at all – this will help with financing. I tell her she is my Philosophers Alembic, and that in her form all things can be changed. She displays her many arms and writes her day’s list on the bathroom wall with fingertips covered in blood. The sky above us crashes in a wave of butterflies and moths that break against the back wall of the house – it sounds like a sandstorm and the brittle pages of on old western novel. She

32

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


shoots me three times in the forehead with a disposable plastic handgun and I remove myself from the world. She calls me back and I am reborn from scraps of wood and lint in the laundry room. Night invades and we hold each other as we burn our house to the ground. We fuck and sleep in the dirt and the ashes as our home grows around us – first shoot and bud, then – lacking the promise of extinction – into something less than a prison, but not by much.

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

33


Spring Forward by Sara Lippmann Chloe’s in the bath and I’m feeding Sammy on the toilet seat. We just changed the clocks so it’s still bright out. Mommy, my daughter says, toes flicking the water’s surface like silver fish. If space is black why isn’t the sky? Will the sun burn out like a bulb? How come your bits are so hurt and so big? I hook the flap of my nursing bra. Immediately, Sammy starts wailing. Does water make you old? Chloe holds up her shriveled fingers. I pull a towel off the rack. Time’s up, I say.

34

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


Cutter by Steven Gowin Most people don't understand a thing about cutting, about how to act with blades. Finer than human hair when sharp, a good edge eventually bends over on itself, and that's what you call dull. Some fool on Cooking TV said a good knife's a sharp knife, and with yours gone dumb dull stupid, you want me... me, Mr. Pap. I'm easy to find... Friday afternoons at WestTown Mall parking... right across from the Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer Girls' Preperatory. Come on by. You don't need danger. You don't need trauma. You need a good keen knife, and Mr. Pap sharpens with steel... steel that works fine on your two hundred dollar Santuku. Understand me now, Mr. Pap lives to serve. His calling is iron, and he judges not. He's outfitted his F150 mobile salon the way he likes it. Pap got stones, strops, steels, grinders. I keep rivets to repair any handle, got handles too... on and on. You want to talk sharp? Let's talk carbon steel. Holds its edge fine and best of all, and best of best, will go black in time. Dark dark stain, a blood shadow profound in the iron. Peer in. Peer in. The Virgin's in the carbon somewheres. And you got to love the Virgin. Yet even Mary can't will a dull knife sharp, and dull takes more force, and if you slip, a deviant edge bursts the skin, punctures unevenly, shreds epidermis, hacks it, bruises it, goes deep deeper with the extra pressure. Lacerations from a dull steel mend slow and ugly. And then there's the blood. But good iron makes a good knife and a good thin steel slices right through a cell... down to bone, but cleanly, so healing is strong. And just that fine does Mr. Pap sharpen a righteous blade. Its mere weight cleaves a tomato, affords precision and safety with an edge. Mr. Pap's no perrvy, but he notices the tall lass. Every Friday... fourteen, fifteen years of age, a slim Asian girl with fine features... knife pleated schoolgirl plaids, white knee socks, long long legs. She's always alone, bent over with her head pointed down. The Saintes-Maries girls whisper and harp back towards her as they walk away from school. They cover pointy teeth with the backs of their hands. They giggle nasty taunts. It breaks Pap's heart; he sees such beauty, poise, brilliance in

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

35


her, such edge. But Pap's afraid for her. He notices those ragged red lines on her wrists, the uneven scratches that have bled and healed and scarred white. He sees the newer cuts too. No sign of infections yet, but our girl cuts, she is a cutter. Where's the mother? Who looks after her? Who helps her through the blood times? Mr. Pap worries about accidents with dullness and pressure. She is inexperienced with steel. So Pap will stop her next time she passes. I won't invite her inside. No, no, nothing like that. I'll only say her mama must come by, come around to see me, Mr. Pap. Here you go Missy, I'll tell our girl. We all need a good keen blade, truly sharp. And Pap will offer her a paring knife... fine carbon, razor edged... one of his own. And he'll make her promise to bring it to Mr. Pap next Friday and the next and the next... for her protection, for sharpening, for safety.

36

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


The Death of the Land by Veronica Anna Clark Sangre De Cristo – Blood of Christ. Named for the vibrant red they turn everyday at sunset. A mountain range that has been a part of this high desert for longer than any of us can remember. But they haven’t always been there. And neither have the gems and minerals that can be found in and around them. And this land hasn’t always been a high desert. There was a time when this land was flat. A time when tall grass covered endless fields, trees stretched up to the sky and bore enough fruit for all animals to eat, cool, clear rivers ran throughout the land providing enough water for all animals to drink and nourishing the rich soil. A time when two sisters lived more happily than anyone ever had or has since. These two sisters were Land and Rivers. Land and Rivers were as close as any two sisters could be. They were simply happy to be alive, to be together, and to make this land as beautiful as it could be; nourishing the soil and feeding the animals who frolicked amongst them. But one day, this all changed. One day Land looked up, and when she did, she saw the face of Sky. Sky glowed a vibrant blue more beautiful than anything Land had seen. Land fell madly in love. So Land went to Sky and said, “Sky, you are more beautiful than any being I’ve seen. Stretching above me like a soft shawl of light. Please, Sky, will you be my husband?” But Sky said, “You’re too late, Land. For I am already in love with Moon, who is far more beautiful than you will ever be.” Land said, “How can you think so? Moon is barren. I produce an abundance of life. Surely, I am more beautiful than Moon.” Sky answered her, “I have seen the lush greenery you produce, and I am not too impressed. You do provide life for all animals and your gardens are very nice. It’s true that Moon is barren, but this does not make you more beautiful. You could never match Moon’s majestic silver-blue glow that shines through the night. A glow both soft and bright, so entrancing that I can’t look away – not that I would want to. You could never glow like this, Land. And it’s beauty I want, not fruit.” With that, Land left and went back to her sister, but she was no longer happy. Her sister tried to console her, but she was inconsolable. Rivers got the

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

37


idea to talk to her good friend, Clouds. She asked Clouds to help Sky to see how beautiful Land really was. So Clouds talked to Sky, but Sky could not be convinced. He would not believe that Land was beautiful. Clouds kept trying to convince him. Sky only grew irritated by Clouds’ persistence. He went to Land and said, “Land, don’t think you can win my heart by sending your friends to nag me. You will never be as beautiful as Moon. You will never be beautiful enough for me. Try your luck with Wind or Storms or someone else who is more earthly. Try your luck with someone less than me, someone who would better match you. For I am magnificent. And I will have no one less beautiful than Moon. Your lush vegetation is useless to me. It’s true beauty I desire. You will never glow like Moon does. You’d be wise to stop trying. Now leave me alone, Land. I’ve had enough.” So Land left. And she was devastated. She wandered around and wept. She didn’t sleep, she didn’t produce new plants, she only cried. As her tears fell, they crystallized and became quartz. Land could not stop crying. She knew she would never be happy again. She was so deeply in love with Sky and he would never love her. She knew she would never be as beautiful as Moon. She couldn’t go on any longer. She didn’t want to live. So Land cut her wrists and as her blood poured out, it crystallized just as her tears did, and her blood became garnets. Then she lied down on her back and died and she became Mountains. Land had died and would never again produce vegetation. When Rivers saw her dead sister, she was devastated. She cried out, “My poor sister! How could this happen? How can I go on without her? Sky and Moon are to blame!” She picked up a stone and threw it at Sky. It hit him and pieces of him broke off and fell to the earth and became vibrant blue turquoise. Then Rivers picked up another stone and threw it at Moon. It hit the beautiful silver Moon. Pieces of her broke off and fell to the earth and became mica. Sky was outraged! He screamed, “How dare you strike me and deface my beautiful love! For this, I will no longer allow Clouds to come anywhere near these lands! Never again will your banks swell with sweet, fresh raindrops.” Rivers replied, “What difference does it make? The rivers will never be filled again anyway. I wish to join my beloved sister in her grave. Never again will I flow.” Then Rivers left to wander the barren land and weep. As she wept, her tears fell, and as her tears fell, they crystallized, just as her sister’s had, and her tears became opals and agates. Rivers died and all the water was gone from her banks, except for the foam

38

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


of her waterfalls, which refused to leave. It stayed, but without water became nothing more than hardened green foam, which became the pale green turquoise. Then Rivers joined her sister at her grave. High up in the mountains, their ghosts can still be found in the forms of small grasslands and thin, trickling streams. Moon looked down at the barren land and the dried up riverbeds. She felt a terrible guilt, though it was not her fault. She felt there must be something she could do. So Moon went to Sun and told him of all her troubles. Sun was sympathetic and he wanted to do something too. So Sun decided that when he rose and when he set, he would turn Mountains bright red in hopes of reminding Sky of the bloodshed he caused, in hopes that out of guilt, Sky would welcome back Clouds. Moon decided that at night she would shine bright on Mountains and give her some of her beauty so that she might glow silver-blue like Moon, in hopes that Sky would see the glow of Mountains and at last appreciate her beauty and welcome Clouds back. Sometimes their plans for bringing back Clouds work, but for the most part, the Sky remains arrogant, and this land remains dry.

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

39


The Aspen and the Moon by Holly Baldwin Deep in the thicket of the forest, the dancer stood on the moist, sweet earth, waiting for the moon to rise. She was barefoot, white tights running down her lanky legs, her corn yellow hair flowing down her back in waves. Down her torso, she was draped in a silver leotard, with a loose organza skirt tied around her waist. She stood in fifth position, patiently waiting for the moon to reach above the mountain’s horizon. Slowly, the moon began to crawl above the tree line, and the dancer, beginning with a leap, gave of herself in rhythm to the moon. For hours, she professed her love with her body, arms long, legs lifted, curved and rolled in circles. Finally, when her muscles could sustain her no more, she fell to the forest floor and inhaled the savory dampness of the moss, rotten stumps and dying leaves. She looked up, hoping the moon’s gentle light would be upon her, but the moon had drifted above the horizon and slowly meandering away toward morning. For weeks, the dancer came every night. Even if the moon sat hidden behind clumps of backlit clouds, or if rain pounded down and snuck its way beneath the fabric of her costume, she danced until exhaustion came and overtook her body, until she felt she might be broken. One night, after dancing what she was convinced was her very best routine, the girl sat on the forest bed breathing with force. Overwhelmed by the moon’s ambivalence and her endless effort to display her love, her tears began to soak the ground. She lay chest down with her cheek against the soil, and let the watery frustration of her heart pour from her eyes. From somewhere deep and distant, she heard a soft voice: “My dear child, what ails you so?” asked Mother Earth. “My heart has been torn to bits. Every night I come to dance my love for the moon, and every night the moon continues to rise without even a glance my way. She does not love me,” replied the dancer. “How much do you love the moon?” “Oh, I would give anything to bask in her light and know her affection. Can you help me?” The girl pleaded with Mother Earth. “Stand up, dear heart,” Mother Earth directed. After dancer pushed her tired muscles to a stand, Mother Earth asked, “What is your name?” “Aspen,” the dancer replied quietly.

40

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


“Ah, Aspen, take your feet and push them into my skin.” Finding a spot patch of soil, Aspen buried her feet into the dirt and stood waiting. Slowly, she felt her toes growing downward into the earth, stretching deeper and deeper through multiple layers. Her body began to stiffen, and her torso began to sprout upward toward the sky; her arms shot out from her sockets, and her fingers began to divide and push upward in wavy lines. When her body was finished growing, she felt tiny, small buds gathering along the branches of her fingers and arms, where spade shaped leaves sprouted. They were golden like her hair and reflected silver in the fading moonlight. Aspen spent the day basking in the sun, feeling the energy shift and pulse through her elegant limbs as she inhaled its light and breathed out through her cloistered, golden leaves. She practiced shimmying in the wind, and waited patiently as the sun gently fell into the hillside and brought on the black blanket night. Finally the object of her affection began to appear along the mountainside. Looking up, Aspen shook her top limbs, swaying her appendages; she caught the inquisitive eye of the moon, sitting in the corner of the sky, playing peek-a-boo between the backlit clouds that wandered haphazardly through the night. When the moon’s attention fell on her, Aspen began to dance in the wind, shimmering and shaking for her love. With concentration and ferocity, the moon turned all her light toward the aspen, focusing a small, passionate beam longingly on each nook and cranny of the tree. As she honed in on her, Aspen moved her branches, the spade shaped leaves glittering in the moon’s attention. The Aspen trembled, the more she reflected back to the moon; the more the moon shone, the Aspen glimmered, dancing with iridescence. Finally the moon spoke, “What is your name?” Shyly, the tree replied, “Aspen.” “Where did you come from?” asked the moon. “Every evening, when you would rise, I would dance for you on the forest floor but your light never reached me enough for you to see me. Mother Earth took pity on me and transformed me into this tree so that I could be close enough for you to know my love. “Aspen, you have stolen my heart. I want to admire you from the clear night sky and reach your tender limbs as they reach for the sky to touch me. I want to feel you close and find you always in the deep evening velvet that covers the hills. I want you to show how delicate and startling our love is to the world, and know that when I seek you with my light, you are always reflecting the most loving part of myself back to remind me that you make me whole.”

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

41


Aspen shivered with requited love, and the moon laughed. “I love you, my dear moon, and want nothing more than to feel the grace of your moonshine.” Each evening, the moon, when the clouds allowed, would scour the earth for its beloved Aspen, searching for her blanched trunk and silver, lustrous leaves. As their love grew and time passed, Aspen shed across the mountain’s forest floor during the winter, when she felt the most intimate with her beloved during the extended cold nights; in summer, she shimmied and danced with joyous abandon. One year, the Aspen fell prey to pests rooting through the mountain trees, and she grew weak, her branches and leaves slashed. Her loving moon tried to heal her with her light, but Aspen could no longer fight. On a warm summer night, as her love rose full, she shook for the very last time in the light of her love. As she faded away, the moon screamed out into the night sky as though she would crack in half, “I will never shine again!” Aspen, before leaving, lifted her branches as far as she could stretch to try to touch the moon, and told her, “Oh, but my moon, how could I have loved you if I never knew your light?” The moon flooded Aspen, lighting every inch, watching as she slowly shrank beneath the tree line until she lie upon the earth in her human form, barely noticeable in the moon’s focused beam. Gently, Mother Earth swallowed Aspen, and then she was gone. The moon was distraught with heartbreak, and refused to shine for 20 years, hiding behind the horizon and clouds. Finally transcending her grief, the moon rose above the familiar hillside where her treasured Aspen once stood. She felt solitary and heartsick at the waves of ordinary trees shaking in the wind. As the forest greeted the moon, the moon began to feel her loneliness subside, and she threw her beams across the mountain. To her awe, dotting the forest, rising slowly but shining fiercely, Aspen’s tiny saplings waved to the moon as they stood in her luminosity. Taken aback, the moon watched Aspens spread across the hills and country in every direction, dancing in the moon’s bright glow. Her heart leapt in joy and love, drinking in their mother’s beauty, slowly replacing the hole her Aspen left behind. Every night thereafter, the moon rose to remember her beloved by watching her children grow, and felt forever touched by her magic.

42

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


Stellar Jay by Laura Young

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

43


The Soldier by Lucy River The smallest sounds of the sickroom started to make sense: The cough of a colleague, the click of heels on stone, the shut of a door. Behind a blindfold each noise ricocheted like shrapnel on metal: Keys in a safe, wheels on a floor. And her laugh, keener than the rest, Brighter than them all, Woke him the most. And one day when she looked at him, he looked back, And beautiful she was, beauty in a warZone. Young and supple, He took her in the night; under-skirted, furtive couplings In the desert-hospital-ammonia-smelling-air. And heat between the well-tucked sheets, now crumpled and wet; To take the healing given freely and to almost care For she who gave it, Knowing everything would have a cost He was not prepared to pay. And the summer was hot His bones were mending And his eyes no longer burned, And with this, every shell and kill And selfish whim Returned.

44

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


The Story by Margaret Randall —for Denise Bergman Your story is of a young girl, seven or eight, fleeing with her pregnant mother stopping in a roadside trench for delivery. It ends with the girl going for a jug of boiling water, then stumbling, the water scalding mother’s thighs, causing her death. Baby also dies in this improbable story, impossible to erase its horror: guilt, real or imagined, archetypal myth of every human migration. This is and isn’t my story. You speak of your grandmother’s single blurted sentence following years of silence and then silence closing around her once more, blocking every exit, pulling us back to a time before time, non-linear and insistent. One remembers blueberries trampled underfoot. Another holds the part where rain comes too late for redemption. Men place themselves at the heroic center of this story, while women bleed

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

45


along ragged fault lines: fault, fault, fault. The woman I love says she’s heard this story but cannot remember where or when, knows it comes in every color, speaks every language, sinks terrible roots and curls tendrils threatening memory that cowers buried in every undefended throat.

I heard this story from Denise, who has written it much more fully in The Telling ( ervanĂĄ Barva Press, Somerville, Massachusetts, 2014).

46

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


Ermine by Barbara Robidoux The blizzard blew snow sideways and packed it against the windows of the small cabin. Walls swayed in the fierce wind. If the cabin had been built tight it would have blown down. We knew how to build loose and so the cabin leaned in the wind. Tonight I build a fire in the stove so hot the pipe glows red. Alone with only the dog for warmth, I lay on the old iron bed covered with layers of quilts and I wonder if you are caught off the road in this storm. When you left at dawn to hunt for moose or deer, I had a feeling. this endless night moonless — tracks in the snow We are woodland people who hold tight to trees and rivers and lakes. We never light a fire without a prayer for safety and thanksgiving. I lay on my back staring at the rafters and something white catches my eye, it is an adult ermine who has crawled inside the cabin for mice and warmth. Our eyes meet and we are reduced to the need for shelter from the storm. One life no more precious than another.

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

47


5 From Idle Mountain Retreat by John Brandi failed poems— a good start to the morning fire small town barber I leave looking just like all the others Pussy Riot the newscaster afraid to say it drunken party on the head of a stranger, my hat goes out the door years later discovers his lucky charm hanging backwards

48

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


Haiku from the Realm of Disability by Miriam Sagan and Michael G. Smith sky-blue piùata my walking stick adequate tap of my cane accompanies me— autumn crickets the doctor counts my pulse again sunflowers bloom inhaling turquoise even as my breath catches new waters remembering perfect flip turns scar cuts a coastline across my thorax the check engine light reminds me to call the doctor like a child I hold my breath passing the graveyard and yet on the path ahead fireflies keep signaling tears blur the line of prayer boulder rock stone pebble the smallest grain trips me up

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

49


lines in my palm and Rand-McNally atlas showed where I’d been passwords and pins on slips of paper— gold and orange aspens wondering what I’d do differently— praying mantis

50

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


Interview with Kate Braverman by Meg Tuite

MT: I am a huge fan of your work! Your love of language and fearlessness on the page is incomparable. You have just finished a collection of short stories and a poetry collection. This is big news for all of the Braverman fans out there. Can you tell us a bit about the collections? We are honored to be publishing three of your poems in this issue of the Santa Fe Literary Review. KB: The new manuscript of poetry is titled Felony in Yellow. It has poems from the early 1970-s to now. So it’s both an introduction and retrospective. The new short story collection is titled Skinny Broads With Wigs. The stories have recurring characters in a Salingeresque style. Everything resonates. MT: And more exciting news for Santa Fe writers is that KB is teaching an ongoing Literary Workshop that started in February 2015. Please share with us what the Braverman workshop entails, and what a student can expect. The Santa Fe Residency: Tricks of the Trade. KB: This is an on going and intimate hands-on writing group that will practice and master specific strategies of engaging the page. All levels and genres, including fiction, fragments, memoir and poetry are welcome. As there are chemical formulas, and recipes for cooking a stew or baking a pie, there are methods, some simple and others delicate and complex, to improve and revolutionize one’s writing. Writing like all advanced skills necessitates learning and accommodating new information. Learning does not negatively impact creativity, rather it is a component of creativity. Writers are expected to produce material (with copies) at each weekly meeting. The group will critique work and the writer will incorporate suggestions into their revision. The group will evolve a collective sensibility. Through critiquing, the fundamental skill of listening kinetically and editing will be developed. Creative writing is always personal. The sensibility of the writer is exposed. Actual publication level writing, with invention and experimentation, is like

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

51


learning another language. You cannot expect to be understood by those who have not embarked on a similar journey. The only people you can trust are members of your group and your instructor. Group size has been limited to 15. If you would like to contact Kate Braverman if you are interested in getting on her waiting list or finding out more about her Literary Conversations that are free each month at the Op-Cit Bookstore, please email her at: keb60@alive.com. Her residency considers the following:

Diagnostics No writer has a complete repertoire of creative writing skills. Identify your natural strengths, avoid what you can’t do, reject clichés, poor word choices, repetition, modifiers and cartoon characters.

How to Begin Annie Dillard talks about using a piece of your flesh and Hemingway famously said, “You want to write, just sit here and bleed.” What does this mean practically?

It’s Not Poetry but Bring it Anyway Gore Vidal said there is no poetry in America, only deformed prose. Taking a line and cutting it into small lines does not make a poem. Inflamed language, slant rhymes, leaps of faith, shocking confession and improvisational inventions are what fuels the poem.

There is No Writer’s Block Writer’s block is a non-existent condition. When you can’t work on the central piece, write exercises. The writer is always writing. Exercises such as 35 page physical and psychological portraits, 3-5 page landscapes, 3-5 page selfportraits, 3-5 page pieces on texture, taste, and smell prepare the writer for synergistic writing. Exercises can often be incorporated into larger works at a further stage or draft.

Writing in Blocks/Scenes Larger works are not born but rather assembled from fragments, one draft at a time. We will write in blocks and scenes, put them aside and revisit them later. Many scenes will naturally adhere and make their own narrative.

52

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


Using the Real World Writers carry notebooks and tape recorders. The real world can be selectively used, but it will always be both too much and not enough. We will learn how to adjust this.

Dialogue Dialogue is one of the only methods the writer has to directly address the reader. We will examine examples of great dialogue. Great dialogue appears magical and clairvoyant. It has a psychological depth and the quality of surprise. Good dialogue is a learned skill. Good dialogue is not what people always say, but rather what they never say.

Interior Monologue The writer recognizes that she is a laboratory for experiment. Emotions and intensities are measured. The writer takes her literary temperature. What am I thinking? Thought is a fundamental structural element in plot, in how we know a character and how the work is propelled further.

Writing for the Ear We say each word out loud, syllable by syllable, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph. The silent writer is led by ideas that already exist on the page and are therefore predictable. Writing for the ear allows the writer to also be led by the sounds of words. This opens an entire new subterranean palette ideal for experimentation. Writing out loud is the only way to create dialogue and sustain complex rhythms.

Color and Geography We will reject the overuse of color and romantic sounding geography by finding a strata of words more dimensional and psychologically evocative. Exercises will be provided.

Improvisation The most thrilling writing is improvisational. Here the writer is vulnerable and risk is a requirement. The writer doesn’t know where she is going but she is somehow assembling fragments, engaging in wild speculation, moving her narrative forward and surprising herself and the reader. Writing what you don’t yet

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

53


know is at the core of the alchemy of creative work.

Moving Your Characters and Plot In and Out of Time The writer owns the page. One of the privileges of this is time travel. This is a deceptively simple device often accomplished by a few framing words or sentences.

Characters Characters are not born but rather built from composites one inspired draft at a time. The more resonant and surprising characters are ambivalent anti-heroes. We live in the age of the unreliable narrator. Teenagers and neurotics are superb examples of fertile characters.

Set Pieces Set pieces are blocks or scenes often developed from exercises or abandoned work. Such scenes stand alone outside of the developing larger work. Set pieces are easily adapted into larger works and can both anchor and propel narrative.

Illusion of Reality Creative writing is not about reality. It’s about the illusion of reality. There is no set truth or real story that is naturally significant or deserving of publication. It is the writers’ job to fashion the story and force it to be interesting. It either plays on the page or it doesn’t. The page is the final arbiter. MT: Who were the writers that inspired you to work the page with the ferocity that you do? And who are some of the writers that you are reading now? KB: I loved experimental writers and stylists and writers pushing the envelope of the possible. I’m an entirely 20th century person, from Hemingway to Robert Stone. TS Eliot. Blaise Cendrars’ Prose on the Transiberian to the Beats like Burroughs and Bowles, our writing has been about the journey, rather than the destination. Allen Ginsberg has a special place in my heart. He made literature the province of the people. He made the word “citizen” viable again. I love the Spanish-speaking writers from Garcia Lorca’s Duende to Pablo Neruda to Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude. I learned internal monologue

54

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


from Saul Bellow and dialogue from Phillip Roth. I learned ambition from Salinger. Then the first modern female voice, Sylvia Plath. What does the first contemporary woman say? “And I, love, am a pathological liar.” Plath is a monumental experimental poet, her language is spectacular, her daring. Hunter Thompson and Joan Didion. My writers are fearless and passionate. They demolish genres and live forever. MT: What would you tell young writers that have the need to write; those who have ‘that rat in the head,’ as you so succinctly put it? KB: It’s not only what you know, but more importantly what you refuse to know. There’s never a reason to know details of pop culture. I have found that there are always two stories—the one the writer thinks she is telling and the story that actually appears on the page. I’ve never been a good enough writer to tell my story. Rather I have learned to accommodate what is on the page. You do some and the page does some. It’s like a dance. Classic and current literary issues including the difficulties of being female in a patriarchal profession will inform our workshop. We will consider the problems associated with technology, writing in the age of the image and globalization. It is strongly suggested that workshop members enroll in Literary Conversations and everyone is welcome. Please send an email so that I can give you the information on when the next Literary Conversation is being held and what piece of writing we will be discussing. The writer must keep her consciousness pure of the banal and ordinary. Writing is about sacrifice. You need vast acres of solitude. You need to reinvent the universe and then own it. It’s about being permanently eccentric. You collect words. You listen kinetically. I like the analogy of the writer as an outlaw. The writer lives criminally, metaphorically, by breaking and entering, assuming false identities, engaging in fraud and confession. It’s a liberating attitude. It’s empowering to women who must overcome their placating of the male dominated page. Writing is a patriarchal pursuit and for females entering the arena, it’s bloodier than you imagined. If you can live without it, live without it. The solitude, difficulty and demands of writing cause derangement and impoverishment. But when you are writing well, when you’re improvising and discovering and writing what you do not know, you feel you are flying, you’re immune to all human things, you have total recall and are immortal.

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

55


MT: You are immortal and already off the cliff, Kate! Thank you so much for sharing some of your brilliance and insight. We are honored to be featuring you in the 2015 issue of the Santa Fe Literary Review and what a gift to have you teaching here in Santa Fe!

56

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


Acts of Autumn #7 by Kate Braverman The light in autumn is clarified and redeemed. The cobalt sky not a blue humans know but the blue of tapestries, epics, and cities bearing their ancient names. Syracuse and Thebes. This is the last breath of a heart seizure. A sudden descent into purified blue. A singular pause. Yellow leaves on ponds are stained like panels from cathedrals straining the sun like colanders. There’s an architecture to fall, an anatomy of edges and pebbles. Gravel mouth thunderstorms. Abandoned nests finches left. Then that slide into chartreuse and lime like camouflage. Where are October’s maple leaves? You ate them? Crushed them with your teeth the way a starving dog would?

Lamplight, there’s never enough light. Do you call that baby’s coffin hole stained like nicotine 100 watts? Is this your idea of illumination? You thought bells would make you deaf. You thought the river wanted to drown you. Idiot. Rivers think only of bridges, barges, trout. Why would a river know your name? The moon is never in remission.

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

57


You vowed to live partial as ruins gasping in electric spasms capturing air that stings. You read Neruda out loud in Spanish kneeling on tiles cold and hard as an ocean of teeth. You won’t meet him in Isla Negra. He’s dead and you can’t get to Chile. Outside, it’s still hunting season.

58

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


Afternoon Between Rains by Kate Braverman This is not an afternoon between rains but an initiation, a deceptive mime an autopsy of the not yet dead. We think we understand this--analysis and quantum mechanics and the history of Europe as wars about marble and saffron. I cook dinner, rake leaves, tap crystal with a nail painted rose petal pink. We can’t help ourselves. The Coliseum of Rome was encased beneath acres of red and yellow silk, a celebratory canopy across the blood a sort of festive emphasis. Did they have more imagination when augury and tarot cards were legitimate professions? Prophecy by entrails? Juggling? And the Jew with predictions of love and drowning? Did they sense networks between rivers and bridges connecting genius and catastrophe? Could they hear the monologues of bells searching the night for others like themselves, exiles with a taste for the smuggled lotus? Did they trade in pretense? Was deceit another tool like lipstick and a compass? You pour coffee and look at me like you expect an answer.

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

59


Fall Sketch #2 (Pre-autopsy) by Kate Braverman Consider the eerie spawn of rivers After cities are lost. The air is glass. We are abandoned, dangerous Without bridges, without feet. It hurts to remember –– Which side the knife, the fork. Are we married? Should we bother? The raw scalloped edges Where we limp and drink Waiting for amnesia and winter Sick with the longing for morphine. It’s the lie of a healed scar. It’s still there, the fleshy architecture,

The violation like a port Of entry on a map –– Antwerp. Mombasa. I’ll book passage. Try me. There are no victims. We’ve all seen the story. Hollywood does Faust. We know there’s a price.

60

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


The dead father hanging from yellowing Maples with a cigarette and a smoker’s cough. He’s a poison lantern Chewing the sky. I wear garlic and mothballs, Carry a rosary and gun.

Afternoon is paraffin. Lilac and wisteria gone. September accumulates like a half Forgotten mouth. We could not Kiss such ashy lips. Lamplight. At the neck rose mist a cameo Of fragrance. It’s a perfect circle Like fingers around a throat.

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

61


Hiding Bee by Laura Young

62

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


In Search of Healing by Marylou Butler In 1994, I was teaching Counseling Skills at a graduate school in Santa Fe, New Mexico, when a psychic and spiritual advisor moved to town. She quickly wooed my colleagues with her intuitive wisdom about the destiny of each person she met. Reluctantly, I scheduled a meeting with this psychic. I wanted to experience her wisdom for myself and see if she had any guidance worth pursuing. The psychic convinced me to attend a retreat with Vietnamese Zen master and mindfulness meditation teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh. Thay, as he is affectionately called, was coming to the US to give a teaching and retreat on the art of mindful living. The setting was a children’s camp in Malibu, California. I flew to LA and drove to the camp with friends from Santa Fe who were eager followers of Thay and his teachings. Cautious and hesitant, I was also receptive and curious. Thich Nhat Hanh was born in Vietnam in 1926, began his education as a monk at the age of 16, and was fully ordained at 23. Thay led the Engaged Buddhism movement and was invited to teach at Columbia University in 1963. He co-founded the Order of Interbeing back in Vietnam, returning to the US in 1966 to speak about the effects of the War and issue an urgent call for peace. Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Thay was considered an enemy by the Vietnamese government. Because of his position on the War, he was denied permission to return to his own country. Except for two visits there in 2005 and 2007, Thay has remained in exile. In 1982, he founded Plum Village in France, an international sangha, or spiritual community, where he resides today. Thich Nhat Hanh is considered one of the most influential teachers of Buddhism and is a lifelong advocate for nonviolence and social justice. The 1994 retreat I attended was one of the first offered in the US by Thay and his monks and nuns from Plum Village. There were thirty participants, including a dozen American veterans of the Vietnam War, who came in search of healing the wounds of war. When we arrived at the camp, we checked into our rooms, dorms with tiny bunk beds, situated next to bathrooms with child-size toilets and sinks, and a dining hall with miniature tables and benches. Teeth brushing was back-breaking. None of us realized what was in store as we looked askance at the venue for the retreat. We were invited on an inward journey that changed my life.

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

63


My knowledge of Buddhism was limited at the time. Reluctant to sign on to any kind of organized religion, I was raised in the Presbyterian tradition with distinct ideas about heaven and hell, sin and salvation, and right and wrong. After witnessing my mother lose her Christian faith because of a betrayal of confidence by my childhood minister, I avoided formal church membership. I am not a joiner, I told myself, remaining on the sidelines of participation in spiritual groups purported to offer the way. Psychological self-awareness was my path; spiritual questions were simply unanswerable. On the first day of the retreat, I arrived in the seminar room early, eager for a front-row seat. Our group of retreatants from around the US sat quietly as Thay entered. This gentle monk in a soft brown robe carried the most serene countenance I ever witnessed. Thay greeted us with a deep bow. We stood and returned the bow with awe-filled respect, our notebooks and pens falling to the floor. He instructed us to bow to each other as we walked the grounds of the camp. Each day contained four hours of teaching on the nature of consciousness, body relaxation exercises led by Sister Chan Khong, afternoon tea and dharma discussions, and silent vegetarian meals. We learned a verse to assist with mindful breathing; Breathing in, I know I am breathing in. Breathing out, I know I am breathing out. In, out. In, out. Especially profound was our daily mindful walking meditation. We followed Thay along the ocean, aware of reverence for the earth. Walking in silence behind our teacher, we inwardly recited a second verse: I arrive, I am home. In the here and the now. I am solid, I am free. In the ultimate I dwell. I was grateful to downshift into an awareness of how each step and each breath sustains mindfulness. Eating was another perfect opportunity to practice mindfulness. Thay prepared us with his now-famous raisin exercise: we held a raisin, took a breath, placed the raisin in our mouths, chewed, swallowed, and took another breath. Silence at meals eliminated the social pressure to share our lives with other retreatants, focusing instead on the awareness of eating as pure nourishment. I saw how mindfulness practices expose the chatter that occurs habitually in the mind, this time around food. Old conditioning was still alive and well in me regarding food, eating, and family meals. I was anxious about whether there would be enough to go around; whether there would be adequate protein in the vegetarian fare provided; and whether I could have seconds if I was still hungry. Looking back, I see that what I experienced was a glimpse of what hungry people face every day. On the final night of the retreat, Thay invited the veterans in the room to

64

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


sit in front of the group and share the suffering they sustained in combat during the War in Vietnam. I watched in awe as Thay lovingly responded to each veteran with deep listening and then encouraged self-forgiveness. It was a privilege to witness this man of peace hold a compassionate stance toward the veterans as they told stories of killing North Vietnamese soldiers and citizens in a brutal manner, while harming the natural resources in Vietnam in ways that would take decades to restore. The veterans sobbed; we did also. My own anger softened toward the American military and these veterans for conducting a war so filled with atrocities yet based on such faulty premises. I had marched against the War, argued with family members over the issue, and now was finding a wellspring of compassion within myself that fostered my own healing. A difficult lesson for me was Thay’s teaching, captured in an excerpt from his poem, Please Call Me by My True Names: I am the 12 year old girl refugee on a small boat, who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea pirate, And I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and loving. Healing, I learned, occurs, in part, when I recognize that what I judge is also in me; that my own humanity contains the potential for the full range of expression from kindness to brutality; that the rhythm of my heart is the birth and death of all that is alive. I wept quietly each day, hoping to remember what I was learning. On the final morning of the retreat, Thay conducted a recitation ceremony in which we received a transmission of the Three Jewels and the Five Mindfulness Trainings. The Trainings are the basis for a happy life, Thay assured us, offering protection and guidance for ethical living. Never during the retreat was it suggested that participants replace whatever religious or spiritual traditions were held dear with the Buddhist path of mindfulness. Heading to the LA airport, I quickly felt the loss of silence that sustained me in the retreat. The bombardment of sound and movement of life in the world shocked my nervous system. I now had a tool, though – mindful breathing – to help me stay present in my body as we encountered airport delays and incomprehensible, blaring flight announcements. Mindfulness practice is the hardest thing I have ever done. My life con-

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

65


tains suffering similar to that sustained by other human beings: early mother loss; a painful divorce from someone I care deeply about; loss of several close friends through death or misunderstanding. These events make sense in the context offered by Thay. Human life, it seems, is filled with joy and sorrow, in equal parts. When I enter a state of mindfulness, I slow down, stop, and inevitably confront my own demons. These can be physical aches and pains, fear of aging, or the products of my own mind getting caught in anxiety, judgment, or obsessive review of the past or planning for the future. Interspersed, though, are moments of neutrality, where my judgments dissolve. I rest in love and my own true nature. I am inspired by a natural stirring to be of service. Mindfulness practice is one of the most joyful endeavors of my life and Buddhism offers me a path of inquiry that suits my serious nature. It is a place of refuge, a way of life rather than a theology, and a resource for personal healing that sustains me when nothing else soothes the despair of being human and the longing for meaning.

66

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


Teetering by Chelsea Clammer I could begin at the beginning of that first week of this past November. I could begin with statements about death and unfairness and incomprehensible things like some of god’s reasons I will never believe. I could begin with the shock, the sadness, and what I now know: trauma doesn’t pace itself through time but repeatedly strikes within the space of days—five, specifically, for me. The reader should know I'm not going to end this with a scene from a memorial service. I'm not going to end with how I saw pain or perhaps confusion in Sofie’s eyes the last time, but that was okay, because on that night she was still alive. I'm not going to end with the word bawl—the only word that can gesture towards my actions and yet can never describe this insurmountable pain. How I never had a chance to say I’ll see you tomorrow. I could begin with how necessary, vital, essential it is to drive alone, because that’s when I allow myself to cry. I could begin with those tears that flow when I’m in motion, tears I can’t put in reverse, tears of how badly I want her to come back. I could begin with how I called her three hours too late that night—DOA. The reader should know I'm not going to end this with how I blamed myself for a friend who was raped that Sunday. I'm not going to end this with the details of that Tuesday—the day Sofie died. I'm not going to end this on that Thursday when my mentor died and how I now know forgotten facts are a part of denial, part of the left living’s survival—how to make it through a reality that threatens to ruin all sanity. I need to tell you Sofie seemed so alive each time she considered suicide. I could begin and begin again because there’s always more. I could begin with the fact that my dead father’s birthday was two days after Sofie fell. I could begin with how the 10-year anniversary of his successful suicide was only a few days away. I'm not going to end with how I sought out community in the face of so many tragedies happening so close together. I'm not going to end with the poem that grew from the impalpable need to hold onto Sofie for just a little bit longer. I'm not going to end with how we learn and re-learn love, how we learn about ourselves as we learn about each other. The reader should know I'm writing this to bring words to the dead, to realive them. The reader should know I wasn’t successful. Language can’t un-fall her, can’t keep her off that ledge.

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

67


Coffee is Not for Christmas by Jack Cooper I just want to say that I am easily perturbed at the stupidity of my fellow human beings. To start with, I am a relentless critic of dumb ideas, illogical conclusions, confusing communication, mindless consumerism and all forms of tardiness. It will come as no surprise that women piss me off the most. I would go so far as to say that I’ve never met a woman I didn’t eventually want to strangle, metaphorically, of course. I may be a blowhard, but I am no psychopath. My wife, who is one of the most perfect human beings ever created, keeps me in a more or less constant state of fury over the smallest things – the way she can’t wait for the water to boil when making spaghetti and puts it in too early; launching into a day of chores without priorities; being exactly ten minutes late for everything; volunteering to throw a shower for a friend of her daughter from another marriage at our house because our house is bigger than everybody else’s house. Her whole approach to life can be summed up by her habit of treating all sides of everything equally, as if nothing were right or wrong or even better. I get that in an Eckhart Tolle/Deepak Chopra/Esalen context, sure, but two big Santa cups and a pound of Starbucks for Christmas? That was my gift from her last year. Coffee is not for Christmas! And neither is beer, or a polo shirt, or socks, or shaving gear, or gardening tools, or cheese, or a hundred other everyday items that she has given me over time. By the way, C.G. Chesterton once said that the poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese, which proves my point. A bottle of Bushmills 1608 with a book on the great whiskeys of the world, now that’s a holy present. Airline tickets to Hawaii? Yeah, she did that once, too. What a gal. I fault men most for their chronic sloppiness, inability to listen, empty promises, arrogance, meanness and pulling rank, by which I mean, being the first, or the oldest, or most decorated, or highest paid shithead. Who cares? Being the best can sometimes give you a pass, if it’s true, if you’re George Washington, George Carlin, or George Clooney, but if your name isn’t George, you need to clean up after yourself when you use my facilities; let me complete a sentence without cutting in with your bullshit; ascribe to Don Miguel Ruiz’s Four Agreements, which I think are 1) honor your word without having to be reminded; 2) let go of your cowardly road rage and NFL loyalties; 3) stop making assumptions about me, or anyone, which amounts to ignorance, the main

68

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


problem in the world; and 4) do what’s right no matter who you are, for Chrissake. And you know who you are. And politicos, unionists and Wall Streeters, male or female, you’re not off the hook, but your list of failings is so obvious, so long and so boring, I get depressed trying to hold you accountable. Why is there no train to LAX? Why are assault rifles for sale at gun shows? Why are public employees allowed to shut down whole cities? How can banks get away with betting against their own loans? It’s all about money, of course, money in politics being the real bridge to nowhere. Democracy is not for sale, but it is, and that drives me crazy. Listen for once: one person, one vote; one nation, one world; every child, your child; every elephant, your elephant. We’re all in this together. Act accordingly. I’m quite aware that by being so critical I set myself up for getting nailed for contradictory behavior. Whitman said, “Do I contradict myself? Very well I contradict myself.” I say, go for it, asshole. We’ll be better people for it.

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

69


Drunk Ocean Revival by Jacklyn Corley Thin strips of ice glaze the surface of the sea and, inevitably, are tugged into the crest of a wave, melting under the weight of the white caps. The water froths over the sand, washing away a dusting of snow and leaving behind a frozen coat. I brush down the plank on the last step and sit on the wood, hiding the toes of my sneakers in a mound of loose sand. I dig out my cell phone and flip it open. It's too early for the call. There aren't any joggers or dog walkers tackling the Ocean Grove Boardwalk in the pre-dawn darkness. I would be alone on the beach, as well, save for one slouched, older man in loose sweatpants and a worn wool duffle coat. He strolls at the water's edge, tugging his coat against his body, and nods when he sees I've noticed him. I return the gesture as he passes and the shadows under the frayed bill of his Yankees cap shift, rewarding me with a muddled smile. My phone alarm buzzes. It’s time to call. The noise goes but my body's still vibrating when Terry picks up on the other end and mumbles irritably about the hour. "You okay? You need me to come get you?" he says. "Did you go to Peter's thing yesterday?" "Yeah, yeah I did." His voice is strained. He's ambling into oblivion—most of my old high school friends are - into a haze of stolen whiskey, weak marijuana, and basement keg parties they’re too old to be attending. I'm the only one who finished college on time, finished at all, and fled into a steady job. It took me at least two years before I realized there weren't any intangible rewards for such diligence. "Are you going there this morning?" he asks. "I haven't decided yet. Did they have him open or closed?" "Open," he says. "Did the place do a good job with him? How did he look?" "Maybe you shouldn't go," he says. "People would understand if you didn't go. It's really soon after James, people would understand." No, they won’t understand. People will notice my absence. I've always been the responsible one, the one who calls on birthdays and faithfully attends their band gigs at empty lean-to beach bars. I stop by their houses, even when they have disappeared on some New Brunswick coke bender, and assure their parents that they will find their way. I stop in front of the announcements corkboard before the start of my shift at the library archives and look for new job

70

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


openings for them. I've burned up all of my professional contacts at the county because of my friends' consistent inconstancy. I will always be the responsible one and that's why I will be the last one left. Whatever I decide about Peter, the next ten hours belong to me. I filled out the paperwork Monday and handed it to Davis, the boss, who sent me to get a signature from Murray, the clerk. The bureaucratic blanket has always had a soothing, smothering effect on me—the promise of unpleasant banality is better than no promise at all. I was almost relieved when Murray shook his lumpy, wizened face and lifted his hands, palm-upward, in a shrug of non-accountability. "I need a month's notice. They want at least a month." I bowed my head, the docile posture of the unredeemed. "How many days you got open?" Murray said, shifting his ample weight against the cracked back of his chair. Layers of him rolled against his tight button-down shirt like he had an animal tucked under there trying to escape. I gave him my history, the one vacation day last year, no sick days for my years turning yellow, delicate pages with tweezers in the concrete shell of the county library basement. "You have to use them, you know. You lose them at the end of the year if you don't use them," Murray said, which wasn't true—you received a hefty lump sum for your unused days upon retirement if you surrendered twenty-five years to the government—but he was told by unseen forces with better office chairs to say it anyway. Murray huffed and slumped forward on his desk, calling me closer with a chapped finger. "I'll take care of you on this one," he said, his voice attempting a whisper, "but give me a month next time." I forced a smile. He didn’t remember, but he told me the same when I requested the vacation day last year. The wind comes in off the high tide and a bubble of light peeks above the horizon. I take off my shoes, ball up my socks and dig deep holes to bury my feet in the icy sand, then I light a cigarette to keep me warm. It's poor logic, but I'm a temple to poor logic. I feel severed from the basement walls and the clunky industrial desk the county gave me, edged up to a hissing radiator covered with dusty gray asbestos paint—its original color indiscernible—splintering and peeling onto my toes and into my pant cuffs. But somehow, the sharp, clean beauty crawling over the ocean is irritating, uncomfortable. I can't find my place in it. I suddenly want to hide down in the basement listening to Davis slam steel storage cabinet doors, yelling at silver-haired Arlene for files that he probably stuck under a dirty coffee mug. I need noise, incoherent chatter. If it was later, I could at least rap on

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

71


the doors of the historical association members I deal with for work or wander through the boutique shops in Broadway Avenue historic buildings. There are more Victorian houses in Ocean Grove than in any other place in the country. White trim wraps around cream-colored homes like tight lace. Snow collects on top of rounded windows, swirls around turret roofs. Under the soft, yellow street lights, this town can look like a confectionary kingdom. But I can't see it that way any more. Flecks of snow and ice spit back the light in ragged angles, as if they are slow sparks about to take the stacks of centuries-old wood aflame. The middle-aged man has met the end of the boardwalk. He climbs up the dunes and cranes his neck toward town. I wonder how his eyes take in the surface of this place, if the spires and tall windows make him feel vulnerable and small like they do me. Ocean Grove belongs to God, at least the land does. The Methodists bought and built the town last century and held chest-beating, orgiastic Christian revivals each summer. It wasn't until the 1980s that the borough finally escaped lockdown. Before then, every Friday evening, the residents with weekend plans would park their cars outside the town line, a police officer would hang a heavy chain on two tall brick posts that still mark the only road into Ocean Grove, and no one could drive through town until Monday.. The Methodists still own the land and the homeowners can pretend to have a stake in their property for 99-year leases. Peter was the one who introduced us to the town when our high school crowd was still seduced by the ghostly decay of Asbury Park. Stripped of neon and noise, Asbury Park's boarded-up shops and the frames of unfinished construction projects stretched out like a thinned forest line. Peter and his parents found religion his freshman year and rented one of the ancient revival tents the Ocean Grove Methodists loaned out in summer. But by senior year, Peter had lost Jesus. "Where did he go to?" I shouted, tossing a fistful of sand at Peter's feet. James, who was mine, and a couple of the other boys were weaving in and out of the low surf, pelting each other with red-veined jellyfish, that had washed up on the shore. Peter didn't look up from the guitar he was violating until his long fingers finished powerchording through "Here I Am, Lord." He couldn't let go of the songs so he dedicated himself to ruining them. I never got my answer. James tackled me and I squealed as he pinned my arms above my head. He had smeared jellyfish across his face and it looked like an afterbirth horror show. A low growl started in his stomach and purred warmly through his throat. I closed my eyes, smelling his sweet citrus breath,

72

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


and when I opened them he was grinning and his clear blue eyes pierced through his Irish skin, which was stung bright red. I wiped off the remnants of jellyfish from his face and shook them into the sand. "That's going to hurt like a son of a bitch," I said. "You'll be whining at me all week." Then I recalled that next week would bring the next month and I'd be closer to leaving this place for college. I was terrified. I focused my mind on the weight of him, this fierce continent sliding over me. "Who's going to take care of you when I go away in August? What are you going to do without me around?" "Probably get myself in trouble." He started tickling my sides with his probing fingers. I howled and my voice echoed into the bowl of sky. He lowered his greased face closer to mine and when I turned my head to avoid a generous smear of plasma, I saw Peter staring down at us, his chin perched on his hands on top of the guitar. His lips were moving silently. He could have been blowing bored raspberries—I couldn't quite tell with the sun glowing an orange halo behind him—but I told myself he was praying. It seemed more appropriate, somehow. A half-mile of lawn leads up to the Great Auditorium and the dark patches of frozen earth gleam where the grass has worn bare. The surviving blades are encased in ice and stand straight and sharp like James' buzz cut. Light snow never takes on the lawn. The last winter in high school, James decided the lawn belonged to us because it belonged to everyone else in summer. We had split off from the crowd when they went in search of a liquor store where they could shake their fake licenses. James hadn't told them about the full metal flask in his bomber jacket and I hadn't told them that an old blue law kept alcohol from being sold in town. The Great Auditorium looks like an amusement park castle from the outside, but knock on one of those butter-colored boards and you will feel solid wood. I can see the outline of the massive building, gothic and horrible, in the darkness. All the old revivals took place in the auditorium, which can hold about 6,000 people inside among the dark wood and bare rafters. Bands and orchestras perform there and neighboring towns book it for their graduations, but the Methodists still make use of it for worship in summers. We laid on its lawn. James took the flask out of his pocket and tipped it back. His Adam's apple bobbed three times and I wondered what that measured out to. A police car slowed past us and James' thigh tensed under my hand. "They have too much free time this time of year," I said and pulled his chin toward me until he yielded and tucked his head against my shoulder. "Let's find

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

73


the boys." But the boys were gone —all the boys except Peter. We found him down on the beach in just a t-shirt and jeans, pouring shots from a handle of vodka into moonsnail shells. He was sipping off the top of the shell and feeding the bottom to the ocean with a fast sidearm pitch. "Aren't you cold? Where's your coat?" I said. "Where'd you find the vodka?" James lifted his hands above his head in mock horror. "And why are you throwing it away?" Peter's strawberry blond hair was long then, and the wind caught strands and knotted them up. He took another shot off a shell and the vodka ran down his cheeks. He could never hold his liquor. James had probably drunk twice as much as Peter that night, but he barely had a buzz. He had been courting an alcoholic's tolerance for years, which had filled me with pride and terror. "Hey, can I have some?" I said. Peter looked down at his hand as if he was surprised to find a bottle there. Then he pointed over his shoulder at the parked cop car and the officer stepping out of it. One night Peter was in the back seat of the Trans Am, threatening to head to Central America. His parents managed a meager savings and offered to have him join members of their church on a couple months of missionary work in Guatemala. Peter was considering the plan for the possibility of acquiring cheap cocaine down there. James worked through the Trans Am's gears, flying us through sheets of rain on a stretch of beachside highway a few miles from Asbury Park. I gripped the passenger's side door and watched the 10-foot stone sea wall send threads of spray across my window. "If it be Your will… if it be Your will… if it be Your will…" Peter was chanting. He flattened his hand across his chest. "What are you doing?" I screamed. Peter grinned. "I'm tricking the bastard," he said. James said, "Relax, baby," just as the Trans Am hydroplaned, over the curb and toward the edge of the sea wall. James held fast to the steering wheel, and the front tires caught a groove among the stones long enough for the brakes to stick and the back end of the car to spin away from the wall and stop. In the last couple years we were together, I would whisper "if it be Your will," whenever James was taking the back roads too fast. If it was a sizeable enough charm to stop the first accident that mattered, I thought it might help him outrun a few others.

74

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


Eventually, we wandered away from each other: James to tend bars, sway drunkenly at Shore bonfires next to slim, monosyllabic girls and imagine a life outside his parents' home, and I to school and work and feeding the inevitable chain. I started forgetting much of our past, and I had forgotten the mantra that had kept him safe for so long. After he wrapped his car around the tree, I remembered it. At his wake, his mother handed me a tissue and put her fleshy arm around me. She must have seen me gnawing at my lip and thought it was burdened prayer. A tent city surrounds the back of the Great Auditorium. From Labor Day to Memorial Day the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association—the group of Methodists who technically own the town—puts the largest canvases in storage, leaving bare stalks of wood behind. Only a small, squat, brightly-colored back room is walled off on each parcel of land reserved for a tent. In the winter when the tent city is naked, those rooms look like rows of tiny houses and the cross beams that hold up the canvas in summer are thick clotheslines extending out front. Only a row of the tent city is visible from where I've claimed a stake, but it's the row I need. Peter's parents' summer tent has the tiny house with the sea foam green walls and forest green trim. There's rumored to be a 10-year waiting list for a spot in the tent city, but it has a lot more to do with your religious devotion and how much you commit to the congregation. When Peter's parents converted, they tithed money they could ill afford to part with and volunteered dozens of hours. That's how they wound up with a tent site. I know this because I signed on to be the county archive department contact for Ocean Grove's historical association and was promptly buried in the Methodists' old paperwork. I found Peter's parents' names among the documents with notations about their level of service scribbled into the margins of their tent application. The summer after James was buried, Terry called me at work to tell me Peter had a chest that looked like it was folding in on itself. I went to Peter's parents' tent in Ocean Grove and found him alone nursing a nearly empty beer. He waved me toward the back of the tent, where the tiny sea foam green house was tucked beneath the canvas. The room had always belonged to his parents. The cot Peter had slept on beneath the bare tent was in the back room now, edged up against a wooden wall. He shuffled slowly toward the cot, twirling his index finger around once to point out the abundance of Christian wall art. He turned the labels of medicine bottles on his parents' night stand and, finding the right one, shook a large white pill into his hand. "When did it get this bad?" I asked.

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

75


"I was born with it. With most people it's just cosmetic. But sometimes the sternum can start pushing your heart into the wrong place." He stroked his chest, coveting the mystery. "Your lungs don't have as much room to breathe. That's what's happening to me." His skin wasn't just pale anymore—it was barely there. Ridges of blue veins crossed his thin wrists. Walking across the tent had exhausted him. He swallowed back on a hissing wheeze and braced himself to stretch out across the bed. "It didn't seem worth fixing until now," he said. "My parents found some doctor through their church who said he'd do it for free. The congregation has been raising money for the extra stuff." "I didn't know," I said. "I would have come around sooner." "There's nothing to know. It's just debilitating. It's not fatal or anything." He blinked at me. "I'm sorry about James." "Don't worry about it." I stood up and turned toward the Christian art on the walls, the serif print on the beach scenes and verdant pastures. The letters jumbled together, pleasant and senseless. "Do you want to see the hole in my chest?" Peter said. "It looks kind of bizarre." He tugged off his black t-shirt. His chest looked like a dented can, as if someone had kicked him square in the center. He pulled a shot glass from behind the cot and rested it in his body's hollow. The glass stood with just the rim rising up past the plane of his torso. "I warned you," Peter said, grinning. He poured the last drops of his beer into the glass, the foam overflowing and collecting in the cavern. He took down the shot then paddled his fingers in the puddle in his chest. Peter's operation took place a couple months ago but the congregation could have put the funds to better use. He took a few weeks to heal and then started hitting the bars and the house parties pretty regularly. Terry said that one night, Peter and some high school kids were following the train tracks to a trailer park where a dealer with some really good weed lived. Peter was telling strange stories, stranger than usual, so when he pretended to pass out on the tracks, the kids went on without him. Under the new sunlight I see my footprints next to the middle-aged man's, the two sets going in opposite directions. I scan the beach until I spot the man at the far end of the dunes, urinating onto brown plants. I leave the beach, running across Ocean Avenue and through the Great Lawn until I arrive at the patch of skeletal frames the tent city has become in winter. I have to call to mind the maps I've archived at work and count the

76

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


porch floors in the first before I rediscover the sea foam green one that belongs to Peter's family. I step inside where the front door would be. The backroom has a padlock on it. I hold the cold, heavy lock in my hand and tug at it, hoping the bars of rusted metal it links together will give. It doesn't. I rifle through my wallet searching for that prayer card with James' dates on it. I read and reread the words like I would at work with a delicate 100-yearold document, committing them to memory. Then, I get down on my knees and slip the card through a crack in the floorboards. The same crack lets in a slim column of light and I can see the prayer side has landed on the soil. On the front of the card, the Virgin Mary peers out under blue and white satin, stoic and menacing.

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

77


Silver/Cleave Poetry Installation, Great Salt Lake by Holly Simonsen Sliver/Cleave is liminal space between two plots of land dedicated to the preservation of the Great Salt Lake ecosystem. A sliver of “no man’s land” separates the Inland Sea Shorebird Reserve from the Audubon Lee Creek Preserve. Unfortunately, like many of these sites in the West, preservation is a loaded term. The Inland Sea Shorebird Reserve is owned and managed by Utah’s largest polluter. The sliver between the refuges has become a shooting range – it is littered with bullet casings, mostly shotgun, but also .45 mm and rifle. People use the land to hold their garbage – computer monitors, mattresses, liquor bottles. The wire on both sides of the sliver has been pulled apart to create a portal through which animal bodies (coyote, raccoon, pronghorn antelope, jackrabbit) travel from one refuge to the other, across the “no man’s land.” The irony of this term is not lost on me. The portal and the act of transporting through it can be seen as a language act. I first noticed the portal during winter; the language of the animal tracks converged at the opening. I noticed how this language can be read as a glyph to show one the way. I began making the journey with my own body during all seasons. I wrapped the barbed wire portion of the portal with twine. Over the course of many months, I made the passage several times. This drawn line with the body is an act of ritual language. Eventually, the barbed wire was “repaired” and the portal destroyed. The twine was not removed.

78

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


Silver/Cleave 4 by Holly Simonsen

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

79


Silver/Cleave 6 by Holly Simonsen

80

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


Silver/Cleave 1 by Holly Simonsen

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

81


If I want something other by Jane Schoenfeld than a shell at my ear, I have my cell. I may share a thought, a laugh, but it’s not chamber music. I hide secret notes all over the beach, sing songs to the conks, ridged and rippled, washed up on the pebbly shore. I live in the land of the score, and listen for the whale's trill. If you want to call me, use this shell. I wear a tee shirt, no bra. I leave the house with my nippleless front, place shells like breasts on my chest. Music fills my flattened trunk. YES to the mirror of dark polished wood, black and white keys, chords and color a space of silence and wind, of silence and land, of silence and the booms of whales. I forget where my home is here on the northern sea. I prefer my blue blankets close to the surf, my sheets of music that no one sees. At night I sit alone by my wood stove, twelve tapers flicker lit. My thighs are slim. I sip from a fluted glass,

82

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


draw triplets into the clefs. I call Jack or Joan, I need them to hear, but I don't listen. They talk too long and I yawn. I'm changed since the illness, pale and beautiful heroine of indescribable song. Since I've been sick, I'm half dismissive witch, seaweed hanging where there used to be hair. I fall on the carcass of a horseshoe crab, with its one horn for navigation. Time enough, here's the fill and the yell of waves. I resemble the reversible sea, if you see me clutching shells on the beach and holding them to my chest, go away. It takes a lot of solitary walks singing, yawning, hoping to hear the whales ping, what strings and gems of decay lie at the surf's edge. I stare at a desiccated loon - it is only dead a day. I scream at the gulls as I walk back to my family home. I see no one on the beach for miles, I press a shell up to my ear.

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

83


Why I am afraid of spring by Caitlin Downey a trespassing of rocks into the ocean worn in the tide a skeleton –– yellowed ribs protruding from water hooves still clinging to legs the pelvis intact a small stream of almost skin currenting in the water

84

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


Diptych, with Anxious Ewes by Joannie Stangeland Way before early, I wake to a flock on the loose, astray. I read the moon’s slow clock, night’s white face pasted on the glinting glass. I toss, jumble the bedding, fumbled head locked out of dream half-spent. Sheep bells in the shrubs outside, under the sill. I slipped the gin, and so I trip, losing the game. Mother, oh may I— red light. Start again. ~~~ Tick, and the air turns on, a code for breath, or am I scripting thin twists, sheet between my knees, drama-jangled ankles, wrists? Hitchcock without suspense, voice caught, stuck like a knuckle, a bottle cap, a rusty nail. Where’s the wether? Minute, minute, tock walking a grinding gait. Again, the bleating— await with tilting guilt. I wilt, lost in the baa, no tale to tell, no peep, no sleep.

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

85


My Mom is Still There by Terry Wilson My Mom has forgotten how to kiss. When I visited her in Buffalo last time, we listened to Frank Sinatra sing “New York, New York” and I rubbed her legs to improve her circulation, massaging them to the beat. My Mom bobbed her head double time to the rhythm. Then I lifted her legs up and down as Sinatra crooned. At first she liked it, but finally she said, “Run away.” I put her legs down and she looked right at me with her cataract filled eyes. She sees me! I thought. “Come on, give me a kiss,” she said. I noticed that she stuck her tongue out, just a little bit, so I gave her my cheek and she licked me. She grabbed my hand and held on, then licked my wrist and all the way up my arm. Her face seems so tiny now, all her features crowded together. The day I left, one of her caretakers had washed her curly hair, and it lay close to her head, her hairdo also small. Though when she hollers, she’s a lot bigger and not quite as sweet. “I want to go home!” she yells to me and my sister-in-law Donna as she sits on the toilet later. Of course she is already home, so we have to calm her down. It’s getting almost impossible to walk her back and forth to the bathroom and this is what has gotten her all riled up. “Let’s sing to her,” I suggest to my sister in law. She starts into “Mares Eat Oats and Does Eat Oats and little lambs eat ivy…” “NO!” my Mom shouts. “Shut up!” Donna switches to “Row, row, row your boat…” “Stop it!” my Mom bellows, and whacks me on the head as I kneel next to her. She has a lot of strength for a woman with Alzheimer’s who is almost 95 yrs. old. “We have to sing a song she knows,” I tell Donna. I’m hoarse from getting no sleep at my Mom’s and from her dusty house, but Donna is a new sister-in-law and has not been in our family long enough to know that there are only three songs we can sing to my Mom when she’s on the toilet: “Jingle Bells,” “Silent Night,” or “Happy Birthday.” “Happy Birthday to you,” I croak, realizing I have to be the lead

86

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


singer today, sore throat or not. “Happy Nnnnday to you…” my Mom bellows. Then Donna joins in, and my Mom is smiling again, not caring that her birthday is actually in November and this is early June. Donna is assisting me with my Mom today, along with my brother, but she actually is driving me crazy. She’s kind of bossy and she has Swiffers. The thing is, I’m really allergic to dust, and she won’t stop dusting! And then she has to stick the Swiffer in my face so I can see how much dirt she has collected! “I’m helping you,” she tells me. “Stop it!” I want to yell at her like my Mom does. “You don’t even know the right songs to sing in the bathroom!” My husband, who is on a work trip so he’s escaped this journey to Buffalo, tells me later, “You need a training course to be part of your family.” That night is my final night in Buffalo this trip, and I go into the guest bedroom with Pope John Paul II waving from the wall, and I get into the bed with the springs jabbing into my ribs. Before I lie down, I stick my thick socks in the door crack so the door will stay shut, and I switch on my i-pod to the “Tumultuous Ocean” and crank the volume all the way up. Then I put in my earplugs. That way, in the morning, when my Mom’s morning caretaker gives her a bath, I can maybe sleep through her howls. She doesn’t like showers or baths now. But the next morning, I hear her screeching between the waves of the tumultuous ocean. I get up earlier than I’d planned and pack my suitcase to go. Afterwards I walk into the living room to see my Mom one more time before I leave for the airport. “I have to leave,” I tell her. She grabs my hand and won’t let go. “Come on, Franny,” she says to me. Franny is the name of her beloved younger sister who died seven years ago, and I’m told that I look like her. I turn on the CD player with my free hand and there’s Frank again, singing “Night and Day, you are the one….” My Mom’s eyes are closed and she smiles, maybe seeing herself dancing with my father in the old days. He was a big man, a police officer, and he was also quite adept as they glided around the dance floor. She begins to bob her head again, then tells me, “You’re a good man.” I kiss her forehead, her silky cheek, her eyebrows. “I love you, Mom,” I whisper in her ear as I sit on the left side of her

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

87


green recliner, my arm around her back. “I love you too,” she says, reaching her right arm around to hug me. I can’t remember the last time she has done this. Now that she has Alzheimer’s, she doesn’t push me away like she used to. Maybe she can’t remember how to kiss, but at least she still wants to hug and kiss me. That’s the important thing. Somewhere, deep inside, my Mom is still here.

88

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


A Memorable Affaire by Judy Mosher Driving north on US Highway 93 in Montana, we are explorers covering new terrain. The map indicates lakes exist in Flathead County, and rivers too. Montana is known for its excellent fly fishing. Nothing I read prepares me for the beauty of Flathead Lake as the road descends into the town of Polson. Steering my Kia Sorrento onto the shoulder, I want my eyes to have more time to drink in this scene. As far as I can see, a deep-blue lake is mirroring the pale-blue, lightly-clouded sky. The area around the lake is open and visible, not shrouded with trees yielding only peek-a-boo views. On this clear day, rock-peaked mountains are visible ahead. New Mexico is arid-desert beauty and this is my first experience of western-water beauty. We live in complex, challenging times of climate change. On this Montana road trip, I bring with me a secret longing for simplicity. I want to fall in love with Montana, be swept off my feet and promise to return to sign the marriage vows. There is water here, shouts my thirty-year-old, dust-crumbling relationship with New Mexico. Just open your eyes. The grass is greener here, taunts this flirtatious Montana rancher-fisherman. At the lake, I wet my black and white bandana, then fold it and tie it around my neck. The coolness feels so good; a pleasant antidote to Montana’s unseasonable temperatures in the upper 90’s this summer. Jessie, my Golden Retriever, walks in and then lays down at the shallow shoreline. Her smile tells me she feels the same. For one full week, we explore this Flathead Valley, Kalispell, Whitefish, Bigfork, Swan Lake, Lake McDonald, and the Swan, Flathead, and Whitefish rivers. We visit Glacier National Park’s many treasures. Climate change here looks different from New Mexico. The glaciers have dwindled from one-hundred just fifty years ago, to twenty today. The glaciers are melting. By 2030 they will all be gone. In New Mexico the forests are burning; drought and desertification are on the horizon. The cute rancher-fisherman in his white cowboy hat appears in my rearview mirror and says, Darling, you might not even be alive in 2030; we have water here now. Won’t you marry me? One afternoon near Two Medicine Lake on the east side of Glacier NP, we stop for burgers and beer at a roadside restaurant. Jessie is welcome on the patio and served a bowl of water as I sip a cold Moose Drool brown ale. A

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

89


lively group of local motorcyclists take the long patio table, a local writer is discussing his new book with the waitress, and an unexpected sadness bubbles up within. Starting over is lonely. New Mexico is my home; it has been for thirty years. We choose each other. The Sangre de Cristos greet me each morning with snow or shrouded in fog, in shadows. She shows me her purples, mauves, and peach-tones each evening as the setting sun illuminates her. I know that mountain; I see her golden bandana during fall Aspen season, her white tiara at the first winter snow, and her green wide-belt during the best of our summers. Can I really walk away and invest in a new place? I order another Moose Drool and pass Jessie a bite of my hamburger. She sits up, perks her ears as the 14 motorcycles let this strip of highway know they are moving through. She paws my leg, asking for a few French fries, as my mind returns to New Mexico. But how can I stay and bear the summer fire season? How can I watch miles and miles of forest burn to the ground, destroying habitat for millions of creatures? It is too painful, I say aloud. Even the Moose Drool cannot convince me of the illusion of simplicity. Environments are challenged everywhere; there is not one greener pasture to be found. The problems vary, but the imbalance is everywhere. Too hot, too cold, too much water, flooding, too dry, fires, tsunamis, hurricanes, and unseasonal temperatures abound. Driving back toward our motel in Hungry Horse, I look again at Mr. Rancher-fisherman in his tight Levi-jeans. Maybe we can have a summer romance, a memorable affaire, before I have to return home, I suggest. He adjusts his hat and I know he is thinking it over.

90

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


Child of Prayer by Aimee Parkison Blue-black hair, murals over a river, bridge-side guitarists strum their women, pass like visions. Saints and whores dance over dark water. Under a fresco of red stars, lust makes dreams come true. She’s the devil, her father whispers, passing like a train through night. She’s a sick person and all her life will be sick. He senses the child growing inside her forty years before it’s born, taking time to come back to life, hanging its head, still wet, completely alone. He feels the jade beads of her eyes light on him, the other family frozen in time, immobilized by her youth, her hands passing over the cheap blouse. She’s talking through allusions -- her mouth tastes like his money, ashes and dust moths, red wine, pulp slick with blood. She’s intelligent, but not pretty, he said. I warned you. She dreams of Kahlo’s self-portraits, eyes trained to express loneliness, cadmium hemorrhage. A rod inserted into the vagina teaches girls to dance like women. Their bodies sparkle, gold powder. She feels the need to bond to every person, telling details of her suffering. I warned you, he said. She didn’t want to improve what God made ugly, the father who adored her fearful mystery. His pity passed, a hawk through night. Every now and then remember the affection your father has always had for you, lovely as blown glass, a symbolic space she could never truly inhabit. The details of her blackouts taken as a bad dream in firelight, strange shadow moving between her legs, fingerlike, long lines, heat lacing her thighs. Even in younger years, her skeleton is a sign of strength smoldering inside her – child of paper, straw, and clay. Hands trained to fend for themselves claw like dogs, stroke like fiends. Love is always, the far distance, the square leading out of the painting to the unseen cradle. She’s attracted to women, breasts soft as her hands passing under thin blouses, palms cupped, fingers trembling, wrists free. Dance, he said, and she danced until he was gentled by the child as it kicked inside her. Wavering, she walked the house a shambles, her blood trail gathering darkness as she choked on a thin crust of bread. Waking takes all night. Semen flows like wine, breath of ecstasy, gentle torture. Men pass like sorrow, her women drinking alcohol, washing their jeweled nipples, their teeth clacking on bottlenecks. Trains carry sisters between two houses, linked by a bridge. She’s the wounded one living in a blue house with imaginary friends, weightless, dancing, feeling at home in her haven, her lovers light as air as she weaves their wings of straw. Hilarious nights weeping songs of dark-haired women, the river that ran through her life.

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

91


If her love were visible, she could paint it -- how terrible to know nothing lies beyond, a child who went through a world of colors. I warned you, he said, and she promised to become a better painter. Starving herself, her head light as water in clouds, feeling the difference between night and day, elegant fingers stretched canvas, revising drawings. Scrawled captions begged strangers to remember her: dawn sky, girl with a ribbon tied around her waist, woman in white on the blue-house patio, a trained dancer, her naked arms outstretched. Hungry as mouths she wanted to feed, her hands moved over the child who gave her visions, fainting spells, night water. Tonight fingers fly over her eyelids like fireflies above the river. Child of strangers’ dreams, she was the mother of gateways, infamous men waltzing over her back. Rambling trains passed like sisters in the night. She’s the devil, her father said. Take her and feel the workings of the world. The sun and moon hold sway over her eyes, the plastic tiara resting on her hair.

92

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


The Photo Album by Erin Parker Derek was shot while he drove on a freeway in Los Angeles. Who dies like that? His wife calls Mara a few months after the funeral to tell her he was dead. She tells Mara the service was really nice and a lot of people came. Mara sits in stunned silence. She takes it in, hears the sadness in his wife’s voice, hears also the drink she must have downed before she made this call to her dead husband’s ex-girlfriend. A slow motion wave rolls over her, erasing her, dragging her under and back to the day she’d really lost Derek, the day she found out she wasn’t enough, the day she came home from work and he’d moved his things out of their place. He’d left a note apologizing that he’d fallen in love with someone else. It was paper clipped to a check for the next six months of rent. That’s how Derek was. Thoughtful. “I am so sorry for your loss,” Mara says slowly, and then asks how the kids are. “They are having a difficult time. It’s hard,” she says. “Of course,” Mara says quickly, regretting that she’s asked. About Derek’s children. That she’s asked about Derek’s children. “I have something for you, it’s just some pictures…” his wife trails off. “I thought you might want them. He always spoke very highly of you.” Wasn’t that just like him to have married someone who was really thoughtful, someone who would want to return photos to her dead husband’s ex-girlfriend? They’d all met once, running into each other in a restaurant on the West Side a few years after he’d left Mara. Mara was out with her first husband. And Derek’s wife was so warm, so accessible with her generous smile and her expensive haircut. There wasn’t a whole lot to say after the introductions were made, complete with promises to all get together for dinner sometime soon. They all knew it would never happen, but went through the motions anyway and exchanged numbers. It was the right thing, the adult thing to do. Derek’s face had been full of questions that left her feeling sick, and his eyes hadn’t left hers during the quick exchange. The smell of his skin was like a slap when they quickly hugged their surprised hellos. They must have kept Mara’s number all these years, that’s how his wife had found her now. Mara, of course, had thrown their number away as soon

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

93


as they’d left the restaurant, before she even got to the car. Her first husband didn’t like to hear about her exes, and she certainly couldn’t imagine an evening out with Derek and his wife. When Mara gets the box in the mail from Derek’s wife, she studies her name written in the neat, careful handwriting that would have been so familiar to him, looking for clues to what kind of a life Derek ended up having. Organized, she assumes, from his wife’s handwriting. A life of order. So different from their life together. They were anything but orderly, she smiles. It doesn’t matter. He left her and made a whole life with someone else. She is a footnote in his life, but in hers, he is a chapter. And then she opens the package without hesitation, tearing her carefully written name. Derek played guitar in a band when they were together 15 years ago. It was really just a cover band that played bars and small parties, but he took it pretty seriously. Slide guitars and bolo ties, cowboy boots and old punk tshirts. Country-Folk-Punk, he called it. He even had one of those cow skulls wrapped with barbed wire hanging on the living room wall in his apartment. Mara loved that cow skull, and when they moved in together, Derek drove a nail hard into the wall over their bed and hung it up. He taught her how to drink bourbon and sometimes they’d get out the checkerboard and play checkers in bed while they listened to records. Derek had a massive record collection that he kept meticulously organized. “King me!” he’d say, grinning. She was crazy about him. She opens the package and pulls out their old photo album, opening it across her lap. This is the photo album she’d put together when they lived in the apartment on La Brea, and now it’s been given back to her. The photos turn her inside out and suck the air out of her lungs. They were so young, his arms around her, the way his hips felt through his Levis, his guitar calloused fingers running down her spine, his flannel shirt warm against his body. The way he made time stand still when they were alone with the curtains drawn. All the things that she couldn’t think about after he left, after she stopped being angry, after she buried her broken parts so deep inside herself that nobody could find them, not even her. Mara calls in sick to work for a week straight so she can look at the pictures with the lights off, missing the life they had and the future they lost, which is now the past. The bourbon he taught her to drink still makes her sick when she has too much, which she is doing while she lays in bed with the photo album, but it brings him back, God, does it bring him back. So she keeps on drinking it. It keeps him close until she is empty and hollowed out, a husk of the girl he left. And now he’s gone, gone again and gone for good and

94

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


his absence is everywhere. After a few days she stumbles back out into the daylight looking for anything that used to resemble her life. Nothing looks right. She realizes that it hasn’t for a long, long time.

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

95


Kill Shot by Michael Gillan Maxwell I wake in darkness and know only that I must go on. I can’t remember where I’ve heard that line, but it keeps running through my mind and it certainly seems to fit the situation. Vaguely defined, amorphous shapes begin to turn into individual trees in the cold, gray light as dawn gives birth to morning. I feel the weight of the Bible in my upper chest pocket. Funny how I only carry that thing in these situations. It’s absolutely silent and not even birdsong interrupts the preternatural stillness this late in the season. There’s not even so much as a hint of a breeze. I won’t need to calculate wind and trajectory like I did in Afghanistan. Over there I had to take my shot from as far as a mile away. Never got a chance to look him in the eye. To take a life is no small thing. It seems like the least I can do is to look a man in the eye before I kill him. How am I expected to live a normal life otherwise? My mind is as calm as dark, still water. I exist outside of time and space. I’ve learned to slow my heart rate, pulse and respiration and become one with my target. Almost imperceptibly, I draw a deep breath and exhale as much as I can. I hear the rough snort from the other side of the hedgerow. There’s an audible snap as a twig breaks, and a rustle of leaves as the buck enters the clearing almost directly beneath the tree stand and steps into the crosshairs of my rifle sight. My index finger rests as lightly as a butterfly on the trigger. All I need to do is look him in the eye and squeeze gently for the kill shot.

96

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


They Burned a Cross on My Uncle’s Lawn by Rochelle Jewel Shapiro From his narrow second story house in Inwood, Uncle Sam watches at the window, his heart ba-bumping, fire leaping in the thick lenses of his glasses, his wife, his children, whimpering behind him. Is this just another sweat-soaked dream from Russia? But his three boys, born in New York, are behind him, trembling, clinging to the legs of his pants. These white-robed men, like ghosts, on his new lawn. Sam remembers his village, the burnt pines like black fish bones, the years it took to get papers, earn passage. Where are the cops who fined him for burning old newspapers? The whole block is silent, windows unlit. Already he’s sent money to bring over relatives to the safety of his first home in America. All day he stands on swollen feet in his candy store. Now fire leaps on his front lawn.

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

97


Santa Claus by Richard Murray His father told us he recognized the irony of a Jew looking like Santa Claus when he identified the body he hadn’t seen in twenty years, a mythical figure also to the Queens neighbors who rarely saw him come down to earth from his high-rise apartment; where he’d stay up all night on the thirtieth floor in a confusing astrology of stars and lights he didn’t know how to chart; where he ate himself into someone larger than life, and withheld his many gifts from the human race.

98

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


Sigmund Freud Had Sex with Demons by Dana Stamps Three talkative lawyers were standing by the water cooler, wearing suits, looking wise, when one said to me that demonic sex is why Freud had such vulgar ideas about psychology. A security guard, still a student majoring in psych, I listened to him claim that dinosaur skeletons are made up of cow bones, or the devil put the bones here to fool us, or tall lizards lived at the same time as Adam and Eve; the Grand Canyon was caused by Noah’s flood. Psychoanalysis does seem crazy: penis envy, boys coveting sex with their ma while afraid that pop will cut off their pee-pee if found out. But when that meteor hit the earth 65 million years ago, I wonder if evolution took the right path. Rush Limbaugh, high on OxyContin, tells listeners that common sense is superior to science, that if parents don’t spank a child, they must have a PhD in psychology. So I want to know, belt ready like a bullwhip, if the sex Freud had with the demons was good, if dinosaur meat tasted like chicken or baloney.

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

99


The Little Chicken by Mary Oertel-Kirschner “You made such a little chicken that time we came to Albuquerque,” my mother told me years later. What? I look up from a book I’ve been reading. We are together, though not together, in her living room. “And you had other people there too.” cluck cluck She sits in a wing chair, light from the window pooling around her. Her eyes swim behind the thick rounded curves of her lenses. I stare at her with as much incredulousness as I can muster. There was other food, I say, then instantly see I’ve been trapped. “Your father and I took just one little piece.” I don’t know what you’re talking about, I protest again, my voice rising. The size of a chicken? But there can be no fair ending here. It’s far too late in the game for that.

100

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


Henry Ono Runs for Mayor of Santa Fe by Jane Tokunaga Outside Albertsons, Henry Ono set up his folding table and chair. At sixtyfive years old, with short-cropped grey hair, he had a look that drew people to him. He could be Hispanic, Asian, or Native American. When he opened his mouth he was all curmudgeon. Henry had bet his wife Sally that a regular guy could run for political office. He thought he’d start with mayor. All the guys at the Casino and the Pool League, Dunkin’ Donuts and Lotta Burger —they’d get a kick out of it. This’ll be a piece of cake, he told himself. Sporting a weathered Camel Rock Casino baseball cap, and a tee-shirt that had “For Sale” on the front, Henry neatly stacked flyers on the table and secured them with a rock from the parking lot. Clipboard in hand, he nodded to each shopper who walked by. He tried smiling, but smiling that much hurt his mouth and tired him out. After an hour, he still hadn’t got one signature. Nobody came close enough to talk, so he decided to sit down and have a smoke. “Hey, mister, what’re you selling?” Henry looked up to see a skinny kid with falling-down pants balancing on a skateboard. “The name’s Henry Ono and I’m running for mayor of Santa Fe, kid. You’re too young to vote. So get lost. And get a belt for those pants.” Henry coughed and took a last puff on his cigarette. In a few minutes the kid was back. Gliding over to the table he snapped a picture of Henry with his iPhone. “Let me see how I look,” Henry reached out and took the phone. He admitted, “Pretty good. What’s your name, kid, and what else can you do?” Fourteen year old Ben Salazar showed him the miniature screen. “Is that thing connected to the internet?” asked Henry. Ben nodded and proceeded to demonstrate. This kid might be good for my campaign, Henry thought. Keep me in touch with technology and show I care about juvenile delinquents. “I just put you on Twitter and Facebook, Mr. Ono. That should get you some votes,” said Ben. “Thanks, kid. How would you like to be my technical consultant? And what’s a twitter?” A young mother with a toddler in tow leaned over his clipboard. “What are

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

101


you taking signatures for? Save the Santa Fe River?” “No, I’m running for mayor and I need signatures to get on the ballot. I’m sort of a Man of the People.” That last phrase seemed to get her interest; she was beginning to glow. “Well, what exactly are you going to do for us?” she asked. Reaching down with one hand, she scooped up her little girl and, not missing a beat, picked up the pen with her other hand. What coordination! This woman can really multitask, Henry thought. I could use someone like her on my campaign. “Well, for a five dollar donation you can own a piece of me. I’m totally for sale.” “You’re kidding, right?” she asked. “Oh, this is your way to expose corruption with irony and humor. I get it. I went to St. John’s College, you know. Studied Greek, Latin, all the Great Books.” She paused and looked at her daughter. “Before I had Jeanie Lee, I had plans to change the world.” Henry stood up, offered Amy Whitehall his chair and a volunteer position as campaign manager. Ben took their picture and wandered off. Middle-aged women who had walked right by Henry on the way into Albertson’s now stopped to fuss over Jeanie Lee, sign the petition and leave donations for the Man Who’s for Sale, But Cannot be Bought. A couple of his buddies from the Casino recognized him and added their signatures. His first day on the campaign trail was turning out better than he had anticipated. He might have to curb Amy’s enthusiasm a bit, however. Just how was he supposed to end homelessness, support small business, put people back to work and save the prairie dogs --all on five dollar donations? But when he looked at the crowd growing by the table, he decided to enjoy his new role as Man of the People. Time for a smoke and a nap before supper. Tomorrow morning he just might head over to Dunkin’ Donuts for some more signatures. Sally stopped by the campaign table and said she had a hunch that he’d win the election on the Curmudgeon ticket. Henry suspected she was pulling his leg. Ben thought it was a great name. He said Henry reminded him of his grandfather who was also a curmudgeon. Then he snapped more photos for Twitter and Facebook. Henry told Ben to lose the ones of him yawning. “I need to look wide awake, kid. No one wants a sleepy mayor.” As Ben rode off to order Curmudgeon tee-shirts Henry noticed he was feeling something he hadn’t felt in a long time. Hope.

102

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


Vignette of a Wedding –– Kabul 1956 by Prita K. Shalizi A trio of sisters-in-law arrived to invite us to a wedding, the first I was attending since marrying an Afghan in New York in 1945 and moving to Afghanistan. It involved cousins; the groom being the son of one of my brother-in-laws; the bride the daughter of another. To exemplify the intricacies of relationships through which I had to tread delicately avoiding sensitive toes bared prominently: of the trio of ladies, two were co-wives. In Islam, up to four wives are permitted with the stipulation that they be treated as equals in every respect! To my brother-in-law equality represented a single shared household with no partiality shown, each wife producing an infant in alternate years. Now his family ran to four children by wife #1, of whom the groom was the oldest child, and five by wife #2. To return to my story, one sister-in-law announced: “The children and you must come to the bride’s house by three o’clock.” “At three!” I exclaimed, “But the invitation you just gave me says eight o’clock.” “That’s right,” they acknowledged laughing as if at some shared joke – probably my ignorance as a foreigner – but women relatives and friends gather earlier for another event. “You must come see for yourself.” I gave in, realizing that the occasion warranted a certain amount of enthusiasm on my part. The day of days arrived bright and sunny. At the bride’s recently acquired home, we were escorted through the bare, unfinished courtyard. Mounds of earth and stones, left over from construction, lay in untidy piles. However, the path leading to the house was lined by a long, green vegetable patch. A characteristic of every Afghan home, be it rich or poor, large or small, is a garden. There may be only a meager number of plants, but they are tended with care and enjoyed to the fullest. Here was no exception. A pumpkin vine spread its dark green leaves in elbow-jostling profusion, delicate tomato plants waved tendrils around their stakes; broad-leaved eggplants and a tracery of carrot foliage were in evidence. Edging the steps to the entry stood pots of bright red geraniums and deep purple petunias, a mass of blooms enlivening the dull façade of mud plaster.

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

103


Welcomed with cries of joy and a sound kiss on each cheek by the bride’s mother and aunts, I was led to a room thronged with women guests seated on “toshaks,”—the well-padded mattresses ranged along the wall—leaning comfortably against gaily embroidered cushions and bolsters, till we reached a seat prepared specially for me on a broad windowsill. They knew I was unaccustomed to sitting on the floor. It was attractively draped with a small carpet in a geometrical pattern of muted colors. Being raised in India and the US, I was unwilling to bend and kiss all and sundry as was customary in Afghanistan. However, to be friendly, I nodded and shook hands as I was introduced to the guests on our processional. As it ended, I discovered that I had shed my children on the way. Each was now cozily ensconced on the lap of some loving, gushing female. Zmarak, my 8 year-old son, had been co-opted by cousins and taken to the groom’s party held elsewhere. I must digress and explain the strict protocol observed by Afghans at all social events. An honored guest is always seated, after appropriate demurring, at the head or top of the room, which is the spot furthest away from the entrance. My husband’s position as a government official of some standing and as the tacit head of our extended family automatically bestowed on me his status which was further enhanced by my being a foreigner. The room was not large, but it was neat and spotless. Scattered about on the walls, somewhat above eye level, were a few landscapes, cut out of magazines and framed, interspersed with a calendar and a few fading photographs of family members. High up on its own small shelf, upheld by brackets, carefully wrapped in expensive old silk, was the family Koran. Below it was a glassfronted cupboard, its doors flush with the wall. An upper shelf held a large decorative platter, a teapot, sugar bowl and milk jug with gold-edged flowers against a blue background, old Russian Gardiner china—heirlooms of the family—survivors of feuds and wars. The same design, now reproduced on cheap commercial china from Russia, has flooded the market all over Afghanistan. The cupboard’s lower shelves, screened by starched, white curtains, undoubtedly held school books and other oddments hastily shoved out of sight. Kitty-cornered near me, yet dominating the room, stood a large armchair covered with shimmering green brocade. Its significance was a mystery to me, but it oozed importance. Before I could formulate a question about it, niece, Rahima, appeared beside me with a tray bearing a teapot, cups and small plates of walnuts, raisins, slices of cake, and “noqul,” the sugar-coated almonds which are ubiquitous at all social occasions. As she set it down, I smiled and said in English, “Thank you, Rahima-jan, I

104

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


see you remembered the sugar bowl.” The remark was made as I like each cup of milkless tea sweetened with a teaspoon of sugar, whereas Afghans drink their first cup, also without milk, but with a third filled with sugar! The rest are drunk unsweetened. Since Rahima was a student at Robia Balkhi, the girls’ school where English is taught as a second language from the 7th grade onwards, I spoke English to boost her prestige among the guests eyeing us with interest. “Where is the bride?” I continued. Rahima murmured a soft, “She is coming,” and hastily retreated. Like flies to a jam pot, Tahmina, Momand and Zalmai, my three children, decided to return to me to demolish the goodies between sips of tea. I kept a wary eye on my chomping offspring, knowing that in their enthusiasm for food and drink they were apt to spill tea on someone’s new outfit or wipe grubby fingers on my festive sari. But all the while I was consumed with curiosity. Where was the bride? What was this event to which we had been bidden? No one else seemed concerned. They were completely engrossed in greeting new arrivals and gathering luscious tidbits of gossip between snatches of reciprocal, polite, but superficial queries as to each other’s health and welfare. Suddenly the front door flew open. There stood the bride clad in a house dress, hair in fat curlers under a brightly flowered kerchief, towels peeping out of shopping bag dangling on an arm! Flashing a dazzling smile at the assemblage, she popped into the storeroom as quickly as a rabbit into its burrow, followed by three giggling young companions. Astounded, I asked my neighbor, “Where has she been all this time?” “Getting a permanent, where else?” was the riposte. I was speechless. Presently, with the facility of a conjuror’s trick, out of the box room slid the three girls, each bearing a tray of cosmetics. These they arranged carefully on a table standing beside the green-draped chair. I viewed them with interest, not recognizing the majority of items stacked in this profusion of jars, bottles and boxes. The room buzzed with whispers. I looked from one person to the next trying to figure out from their animated gestures what was conspiring, but with only nominal command of Dari, the old Persian spoken in Afghanistan, I was lost. From the confabulators arose one who bore the unmistakable mark of a spokeswoman. With determined mien, she was approaching me. I quaked. A request was in the offing, but what? “Khanum Sahib,” she said, using my title, “will make up the bride?” “Oh, no! I can’t. I don’t know how.” Ignoring my dissent, with a broad, toothy smile, and a “Thank you, that’s

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

105


fine,” she turned and walked away, leaving me dazed and panicked. Enveloped in uneasy conjectures of my ability to cope with the forthcoming task, I was startled when the bride and her entourage appeared. Though a lovely, ankle-length, green taffeta dress twirled about her well-rounded, rather mature figure, her hair was still in its graceless curlers! Unfazed by this anomaly, the attendants installed her ceremoniously on the imposing green brocade-covered armchair. Wrapped in a brand new shoulder-apron of white cotton, Karima, the bride sat mute, the perfect picture of unhappy gloom required by custom of a young girl about to be ejected from her family. But her bevy of companions, all smiles, indicated that her well-scrubbed face was ready for my ministrations. Nervously, I glanced at her. How did one beautify such a grim visage? In trepidation, I turned to the over-stocked make-up table, hastily opening container after container till I recognized a few of the unguents. I scooped up a glob of pale pink cream and smoothed it gingerly over Karima’s face, conscious of being watched avidly by the assembled women, eager critics of a foreign wife unversed in Afghan customs. Pretending unconcern, I continued doggedly. Picking up a bloated new powder puff close at hand, tapping it into Coty face powder blessedly familiar in its well-known box, a favorite of Indian women, I patted it carefully all over her face to obtain an even texture but for longer than necessary so I could savor to the full its delicate, well-remembered fragrance of yore. Snapping out of my absorption, I took a quick look at the bride. The general effect was fine though rather pale. I quickly added a dash of rouge to highlight the cheek bones, a deeper shade of dark pink to the colorless lips, and a dab of Vaseline to enhance the sheen of dark winging brows. Now I felt her face looked attractive. Even if unsmiling, it was soft and alive, the look I wanted her to present. “That’s it,” I said, returning to my window seat from where my children had been watching with fascination, a procedure they had never witnessed before. I was pleased that I had achieved an effect similar to the natural but enhanced look seen in many Western wedding portraits. However, whispered conferences were once again in full force. A quiet, “Thank you,” reached me as the bride was escorted back to the box room by her retinue. The guests returned contentedly to their tea and munchies. Time dragged on, till an hour later, the bride and her companions re-appeared. The green dress still swirled about her. Her hair, devoid of curlers, fell in fat curls around a face that was a clown’s mask of white, eyes heavily lined with “khol” beneath ebony-dark brows and a vivid crimson cupid-bow mouth. Spontaneous clapping

106

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


broke out. I could only stare, astonished. No wonder my effort at a pleasing “natural” look had been such a dismal flop. The bride resumed her chair; the guest reverted to their idle chatter, their cups of tea, and their snacks. Eventually, there was an exodus, everyone was headed, my sisters-in-law and nieces informed me with many a gesture, to the home of a relative for the “Nikka”—the marriage rites—and the actual wedding ceremony that followed.

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

107


Honeycomb by Marion Wasserman

108

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


Ayurveda by Hasanthika Sirisena When our stomachs grew distended, reddened, hardened, the flesh not yielding to the caress, when we struggled to form words, “Amma, aney, it is paining us,” the ayahs lopped the roots from the male pawpaw tree and dabbed our parched lips with an infusion that tasted of earth, and brine, of albumin. This to flush the blood poison or purge the embryo forming inside the female of us. Now, there aren’t enough pawpaw trees to cure the countryside, sluice our sins, or rinse the basin that cradles the withered paddy field.

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

109


Mourning Doves by B. Mitchell Cator I am a backyard gardener, but not much of one. Even the dog looks on with doubt when I dump bags of store-bought soil and step heavily on a shovel to fold it into the dense Texas clay while cursing as it sticks to the shovel. I’ve never done a soil test; generally I just try for dirt that will run through my fingers well without too many clods of black clay left in my palm. The trick, I figure, is to never let on that you even attempted to grow something that didn’t work out. Carrots and cucumbers? Mosaic virus, blossom end rot, nematodes, horn worms: I know them when I see them but that’s about it. Some adjustments, though, strike me as evidence of irony at the cellular level. A spray made of nothing but garlic turns out to be great at keeping basil—grown for pesto—free of whiteflies. The fine white powder of baking soda, mixed with a little super-fine oil and water, thwarts powdery mildew on the zinnias and squash vines. And perhaps most strange is the turning of pests against themselves. A half cup of a particularly abundant bug, collected, smashed, strained into water and sprayed, has the effect of a horror movie shown to children ready for bed. All of this is old hat to serious gardeners—those who move through a system of tasks like a season of smiles. I guess I tend to focus too much on the peripheral aspects of such work. Like the sound of things that don’t know you are working in the garden. I’ll be weeding the beans in the late evening of a weekday, and the sound of a vacuum cleaner will reach me from inside the house next door. And suddenly the garden becomes a secret—an unknown place amid the winding down working world of delivery trucks and mail carriers, among a select few who are out like weary warriors, while all others are distantly inside. And the birds. I hear them all around, societies of them, ready to simultaneously bolt away to another place and loiter like unemployed teens. Sparrows playing tag, grackles walking with attitude or bathing in a gutter like Pentecostals recalling baptism. Mourning doves sit on a wire prettier than any other bird. With tails pointing back sleekly from high and rounded breasts, they observe this and that like mild champions of races not recalled. They balance with nonchalance, and when they take wing it is like an instant of swordplay, until suddenly they are rowing sharply, cutting the air with a swiftness that should make a sound but does not. I keep a dead tree at the back of the property for the doves. It was a young live oak that lasted a season and then died. The doves seem to like an open

110

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


view and flock to it, usually in pairs. Their cooing calls trail off like a lonesome song crossing a river on a hot evening. I listen and work the hoe, sometimes stopping to pick some vegetable or flower I’m ready to proclaim the presence of, something appearing almost in spite of attempts to conjure it. I don’t know what killed the tree.

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

111


Breath by David Michael Kaplan It is a month after the funeral, and the mother hasn’t been able to do much of anything, spending hours sitting on the porch, watching the leaves move in the trees, listening to the breath of the wind…or else wandering from room to room as if she were the ghost, the dead one, and often, after entering a room, just standing there for minutes on end, as if she had come for a reason she can’t remember…she wonders sometimes whether she might be losing her mind and the thought fills her not with fear, but with a strange elation, as if she’s buoyed for that moment on a light wind, bobbing up, away, sustained no longer by this house, this husband who seems older and more ashen, she will be translated into something—to someone—else. In her daughter’s room, she looks at the child’s bed with its chenille spread, the stuffed animals lined up against the pillow, the picture books on the bedside table, the last one read to her daughter, something about a brave little duckling, still on top…and she waits, and then feels foolish, because she will not be borne away, nor ever become anyone else. She picks up the book, and silently reads the words, glancing every now and then at the pillow on which her daughter lay, but she has never yet read to the end of the story, and she knows she never will, there is no need, no desire, for an ending… And then one morning, the idea of cleaning the house comes upon her, almost as a whisper, a breath, in her ear—and she, who has had no interest in such things, is suddenly possessed with an almost demonic energy. She gathers pail, mop, vacuum cleaner, duster, scrub brush, and goes first to the foyer, where she mops the hardwood floors, cleans the mirror, vacuums the Persian rug, dusts the marble top table, then stops, almost out of breath she has been working so hard. She listens. Outside, the breeze, the leaves again. And still possessed of this fierce energy, she turns to the living room, first dusting bookcases, lamps, the television, then vacuuming the upholstery of the sofa and armchairs, the curtains, finally turning her attention to the floors. Underneath the sofa the vacuum cleaner hits something—a shoe? a book?—and she kneels down, and feels…something small and plastic…and pulls it out. It is a little green purse—a child’s wallet—with a snap closure in the form of a grinning frog. Her daughter’s. She remembers buying it for her for her fifth birthday, a place to keep her small allowance, a few photos they chose together. She holds it for a long moment, then opens it—the snap is worn, it might break with too many more unfastenings—and yes, there’s the photo of her daughter

112

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


sitting between her and her husband on the picnic table bench last Fourth of July at her sister’s house, and the first grade photo, her first—and last—school picture. Behind the photos, a small mirror. Something sticky in one corner—a bit of the strawberry jam which her daughter loved? She holds the mirror up and sees her blurred image in it, it’s only a cheap mirror for a child’s plastic wallet. She holds it closer…and sees two small smudges on the glass, like little fingerprints…yes, they are—her daughter’s fingerprints. She hesitates a moment, then blows on the mirror. Her breath condenses on the glass, and they are outlined more clearly now, the whorls and ridges of her daughter’s fingers. She touches one, then the other…and feels weightless again, feels her breath slipping away from her. Outside, the breeze in the trees carrying its messages, and here, a mother breathing her daughter to life, until her breath, and her daughter with it, fades from the glass.

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

113


Thump by John P. Kristofco Phillip was in the kitchen when he heard it. Thump! Like a box dropped on the bedroom floor above him or a chair shoved against a wall. He stepped into the living room and looked out front to see a brown car halfway on his lawn, crashed into his maple tree. The bumper hung askew, and the grille was wrinkled where it met the tree, but it wasn’t very bad, about worthy of the simple sound it made. He had seen more damaged vehicles pass him on the interstate. As he looked out, another car turned into his driveway. A short, blonde woman in a bright red top and black shorts swung out as the door flew open. Phillip stepped out on the porch. She looked up, startled. “Did you see that?” she said, agitated. “Did you see? He just looked down for a second, and the car jumped the curb!” Phillip shook his head as she trotted toward the brown car. “That was all, and thump! He hit your tree,” she managed as she moved. He turned to look. In the car there was a man, his head resting on the wheel as if he was asleep, though his eyes were open, staring at the sideview mirror. Phillip stepped off his porch. The woman stood beside the car, peering in. “Mister,” she tapped on the window. “Mister.” The driver didn’t move. She cupped her hands around her eyes, pressed her face against the glass. “Mister!” she tapped louder. Phillip stepped beside her and looked into the car. A small trickle of blood ran from the driver’s nose onto the steering wheel, dripping on what looked like denim pants. He did not blink but glared as if transfixed upon the mirror where the sun was captured in this segment of its arc. The woman stepped back, trembling. “He isn’t moving,” she looked at Phillip. “What the hell?! He wasn’t going fast; he just looked down for a second, maybe reached to change

114

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


the channel, and the car jumped up the curb and hit your tree.” She shook her head. “He didn’t hit it very hard, just a ‘thump,’” she hit a fist into her other hand. “Just a damn ‘thump!’” Phillip reached for the car door just as the whine of sirens sounded down the street. His neighbor ran out from his side door. “I just called them,” he said as he arrived. “Is he o.k.?” Phillip drew the car door open. As he did, the man’s left hand slipped from its hold on the armrest, the fingers spread like a pianist’s reaching for a chord, perhaps in harmony with the cyclic sound and redblue lights expanding up the street. Phillip looked into the driver’s eyes and knew. Though he had never seen before, he knew. He lifted the limp left hand and pressed his thumb against the wrist. He knew. Though he had never felt before, he knew. He closed the door, looked over at his neighbor, and slowly shook his head. The woman gasped, her left hand covering her mouth. The neighbor stepped back from the car and turned to watch the red lights flashing. The Buick was shaded by the tree, a garnishing of bark splashed across the hood from the exhale of the maple when it was struck. A faded red ‘Wittenberg’ decal stretched across the back window; an umbrella and a jacket rested on the back seat. The twisting flash of red light found them standing on the lawn, spraying them with shrieking waves of sound that assailed their ears. An ambulance and police cruiser pulled along the curb. Three men jumped from the truck. A cop rose from his car, clipboard in hand. He looked at the Buick as the medics reached the driver, then slowly walked up beside the woman in the bright red top. “Did you see this?” he asked cooly. The woman looked up, nodding, tears now in her eyes. He motioned her aside as two medics worked quickly on the driver, one thumping on his chest as the other held a clear mask over his nose and mouth. The third drew the stretcher from the truck. `The officer continued with the woman who now barely whispered, wiping reddened eyes. Phillip and the neighbor watched in silence until each was called over by the cop.

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

115


A second cruiser pulled up just as the medics pushed the stretcher into the back of the ambulance. The vehicle did not move for several minutes, the garble of its radio chewed upon the air. Then it pulled away; its siren pealed once again. Phillip was still talking with the first cop while the second took pictures of the car, the tracks, the tree. He rolled the little wheel on the stick along the skid marks on the driveway and the sidewalk. He took a long time jotting in his notebook. When he was done, the two officers met together by the first cruiser, looking back at the car, pointing here and there, nodding their heads, looking over at the three of them. `The woman got into her car and slowly drove away. Phillip and the neighbor stood silent until the first cop came over to them. “This your house?” he looked at the neighbor. “It’s mine,” Phillip offered. The cop nodded. “O.K.,” he said, “we’ll have a truck here in about ten minutes to tow the car away.” Phillip shook his head. “If we have any more questions, we’ll give you a call. Thanks for your help.” He looked at them both, turned, and walked back to the cruiser. Phillip and the neighbor stood and watched the policemen pull away, no flashing lights, no sirens. “I gotta call Sarah,” the neighbor said. “I gotta tell her about this,” and he patted Phillip on the shoulder and headed back to his side door. “Yeah, sure, O.K.” Phillip managed, still looking at the Buick sitting at the edge of his lawn, half on the sidewalk, half on the grass that he just now realized needed to be cut. Cars slowed as they drove by. Phillip felt their eyes on him a second but mostly on the car, shaded by the maple tree in the growing afternoon. He stood there maybe five minutes staring at the brown alien that was now the center of the neighborhood, the center of the world, then walked slowly up the steps to his front porch where he plopped down in a chair. Clouds were building in the south, down the street where the squad had gone. It would not rain, but it would be dark early.

116

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


The car sat there waiting, just like him, silent just like him, mute, uncaring witness, staring now cross-eyed at the tree on which it leaned. Before long, a black tow truck with gold lettering rumbled up the road and pulled into his drive just like the woman did. Phillip leaned forward in his chair. Two men hopped from the cab, and with a blend of nonchalance and skill had the reluctant car pulled up on the tow bed, locked down, and ready to take away. Before he got back in, the older man, the driver, looked up at Phillip. “You’ll get a call tomorrow or the next day, you know, in case you got damage, O.K.?” Phillip waved his left hand and nodded. In a minute they were gone. All that was left at the front of his yard were the wounded tree (that now almost looked like it was smiling), muddied tire tracks, skid marks, and a spray of tree bark that would fade into the growing grass or blow away in the moments of the wind. That night Phillip couldn’t sleep. The light beside his bed seemed louder than the night before. The dark outside the window seemed to reach further through the blinds, as if to separate the slats and peek inside. He pulled “Under the Volcano” from his shelf, found the marker where he stopped the night before, and started back in: The Consul felt a pang. Ah, to have a horse, and gallop away, singing, away to someone you loved perhaps, into the heart of all the simplicity and peace in the world; was not that like the opportunity afforded man by life itself? Of course not. Still, just for a moment, it seemed like it was. Phillip rubbed his eyes and laid back on the pillow. The maple tree’s smile turned into a siren laugh. The woman in red lay covered with tire marks and tree bark. The first cop ate a sandwich as he listened to the radio while the second cop drew his picture in a huge notebook and the medics played cards in the back of the ambulance, and his neighbor raced down the street in a brown Buick with a

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

117


wrinkle in its grille‌‌. Thump! Phillip sat up straight in bed, sweating, breathing fast. He swung his legs out and walked slowly to the dresser, stepping over the book that had slipped from his hand. He looked into the mirror and saw his eyes. He knew. He had seen before, and he knew.

118

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


Bumblebee by Doug Bootes

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

119


The Governor by Bill O’Neill The charm is in her absolute attention, unlike her distracted and dissociative predecessor. Her office is a relief, really— spare, ordered, not the sagging aqua couch of her antecedent. She knows where she is, and the calendared duties awaiting her, unlike the guy before her who would go in and out, sitting there on that marshmallow couch, his torso overhanging his belted waist. Striped pants, plaid shirt, whatever. No, she is all business as she zeros in on your vote, along with her two aides, and you are suddenly aware of how clean the carpet is. “We would really appreciate your vote in committee tomorrow…” she begins. One of her aides keeps smiling at me, as if remembering the thrill of his first elevator ride, or more probably in the dawning awareness of just how doomed I happen to be, politically. The prom corsage is gone, hers is a tight universe— unquestioned in its accuracy— like her carefully drawn eyeliner and courteous smile. Called up to the principal’s office, the other legislators vaguely envious. On their side: the weight of the visible, an iron seal, their confidence, silent money accumulating to take me out, the unhappy many.

120

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


On my side: only one thing, really‌That I can leave at any time. All of this. There are so many reasons to be in the freedom of the ignored. My pagan ancestors in their icy bog graves, dreaming of extremely sharp blades.

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

121


Hunger by Mark DeFoe Once, when a grad student, his wife had sent him to fetch bread, carrots and formula. They had squeezed their turnips dry of blood, were down to wrinkled Washingtons and food stamps. In the isles of seduction he wandered, half-stunned by the plenty, almost drooling. His fingers trembled toward strawberry tarts, lamb chops, lobster tails and scallops. He forgot his charge—to return to cave post haste with dry crusts, rank roots, phony milk. Suddenly he was a grand chef, savoring the lure of each box and jar. He heaped his buggy, shopping for the maharaja’s lunch: hearts of artichokes, slabs of salmon, dainty crackers, brie, gorgonzola, mushrooms—Portobello and shiitake--Moscow caviar, jugs of golden extra virgin olive oil—and coffee brought by donkey from far Ecuador, plump tangerines from Turkey, fat black cherries from Rumania. His booty filled the belt, each choice a brick in his grand castle of extravagance. The checkout girl’s stare was rich with contempt. He drove by his house twice, practicing his lines-“a-man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do” --“it’s all on plastic, so it won’t count”—“look, chardonnay from Bulgaria.” He lugged his loot up his walk. Suddenly he knew he was no scholar, that his work was hash,

122

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


a foul stew, a pot-boiler. He would agree when she said he was not the man she married. Just some stranger who succumbed to appetite, to impulses neither ever tasted.

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

123


Saturday Night by Bob Tremmel There is a naked man out in his garden with an open bottle of Budweiser and an old pie pan from Baker’s Square. As the sun begins to tilt toward evening the naked man tilts the bottle over the pie pan like a priest over the chalice and pours out half. Then he stands, drains the other half and thinks about his drinking buddies the slugs, already stirring deep beneath the lettuce leaves, aroused by the scent of beer and starting to make plans for the short trip up to the darkening air and a long night of carousing, orgy and drowning.

124

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


Hold Me Like You’ll Never Let Me Go by Susana H. Case In the street, I find an acoustic guitar, no name on it, so I decide it’s mine and learn some chords from a pretty boy ten years younger whom I retrieve from a SoHo party. He plays in a garage band. He likes my long, ironed-straight hair, how I remove my clothes, their erratic cuts, easy to toss onto a chair. For a week we don’t leave the apartment. He makes no plans to go home, but home is Sweden, so that’s understandable. I strum and roam through rooms, feeling like a folk goddess. I’m leavin’ on a jet plane, I sing. You ever spend a whole week naked, talking about nothing but folk rock? But then we run out of food and being with him begins to seem like shoplifting. You ever do that, take what you want just to see how it feels?

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

125


Tsunami by Doug Bootes

126

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


Jacks Or Better by Jim Nye Outside parachute flares dripped light beyond the perimeter. Puddles from the afternoon rain gleamed. In the bunker we tired of shooting rats and sat down to play poker. A single, hanging light bulb lit red, blinking eyes in dark corners. Someone asked Teacher if he thought we were damned for what we did. Teacher, all of 22, but with a year of college, was looked up to. What, he said, the killing, it’s what soldiers do. Are you in or out. I’m in, I’m in, I’m in, said Harry, and I’ll raise you an ear.

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

127


Last Stand by Dick Altman The agave launches, without warning or fanfare, an obelisk fit for Augustus. Thousands of tear-shaped blooms crown the tower, twenty years poured into a single, regal moment. Bees and hummingbirds empty the pillar of nectar. Butterflies drain the husk of sacred blood. Roots shutter. The spire wavers. A gust fickle as a Roman god topples it for good.

128

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


The Unabomber Dreams of the Ice Maiden Mummy, a Woman in a Flesh Dress Unlike Any Other by Lyn Lifshin Peru’s Ampato Ice Maiden, believed to be 500 years old, found near the summit of 20,700 ft. Mount Ampato, was probably offered as a sacrifice by Inca priests. a woman used to sacrificing herself, used to sleeping under stars in ice, with no one to talk to. He wants a woman who won’t make demands, is ok with icy behavior, would not dream of computers or clocks or planes, or even know they exist. Forget women with soft de-odorized skin, he wants someone small, someone who can speak Spanish. Juanita is the name he dreams he calls her, his ice maiden, waiting in her flesh dress, the one she’s worn 500 years. It’s what is inside her that matters he whispers but dreams she has good teeth, all the better to survive in the trees. He nuzzles his night stick. He’s seen her open mouth but he doesn’t remember where, her black hair glistening as if she just came out of the womb. And her womb, still virgin after so long will be the one room he’ll feel welcome in, not a stranger, not shy. She’ll know, from being drugged and shoved into snow and whacked on the head, what it’s like to be pinned down on a hospital bed, in a crowd of rich Harvard students, spread eagle without any control. He dreams her hair, a pillow he can sleep on, wrap in, how he’ll burn wild rose leaves for her, hum a lullaby in Spanish, maybe teach her to read by candlelight and because she has not spoken 500 years, she’ll under stand his silence

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

129


Holiday Inn Express by Charlie Kalogeros-Chattan Black leather boots arranged on the tile— a seat of checkered chintz, I am out of place in this manicured motel. Flanked by dwarf magnolias, I curl in on myself. Fatally fetal, I balance a fragment of writing paper atop USA Today. The weather map is my muse. We are mostly yellow and orange this week, with some green and blue in places I used to live. Before me, embedded in the wall, CNN sputters—split screen drama accompanied by staccato remarks. Ticker taping across the bottom, to combat the boredom of federal corruption, the war in Iraq: a family of four is murdered in Florida— in Buffalo, a tree limb falls on a man shoveling snow during last night’s blizzard. He is dead. The Dow is up. Behind me at breakfast tables, friendly chatter, the muffled sweetness of strangers. Beyond the bubble, through sealed plate glass— a flock of English starlings, drizzle on the mesa, the mountains in fog.

130

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


Weight of the World by Doug Bootes

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

131


These Things Carry Me Back by Caroline LeBlanc Shelves and bureaus create narrow aisles cluttered with stacked cardboard canyons full of goods moved from East to West. Crammed spaces carry me back to Mrs. Goldberg's Water Street shop. Ream upon ream of fabric draped her window, more spilled from shelves. She knew each bolt's story, its best use. Her yards were a generous thirty-eight inches as long as you showed interest in her son, his great promise: a future doctor without a doubt, god blessed, now Mr. G. had left this world. Every change of season, my mother and I roamed lanolin drenched aisles, their spills of texture, scent, color. Impregnated cloth ready to be crafted by my seamstress mother, unsung and unpaid. Just one more single mother eager to drape blessings & beauty upon her fatherless child's back.

132

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


Running Water by Robin MacArthur All my grandmother wanted was running water. Not water from the copper hose that trickled spring water from the top of the hill into a wooden bucket in the cellar, but running water that ran hot or cold out of a tap, or into a washing machine, or, (she lay in bed and dreamed of this sometimes), hot and clear into the porcelain white walls of a bathtub. But before one could have running water one needed electricity. And in order to have that one needed neighbors. Not the two miles of overgrown fields and brushy woodland that lay between her and all the major roads. She had no neighbors. What she did have was one husband and four sons and one daughter, two hundred and fifty acres of southern Vermont overgrown swamps and woodlands, and a wind-broken farmhouse two miles off the highway. She was lonely, if one could call being around your five children lonely. It was 1951 when she moved there. She had dreamed when she was younger of being an artist, a writer, a singer. Mostly, now, she dreamed of running water. But she did without. For ten years she washed the faces and bodies of her children by heating water on the wood stove (or in summer on the gas burner) and pouring it, scalding, into the metal bathtub. She rubbed their bodies down with a rough cloth, hung it to dry above the stove, sent them scurrying like skinned rabbits into the cold and drafty upstairs rooms of the house. Herself she cleaned at night when the children were sleeping—boiled more water and took off her clothes item by item in front of the woodstove. She stood there in the dark with the light from one kerosene lamp flickering against the white walls and dipped her rag into the hot soapy water, running it over the tired and aching parts of her body—her legs and arms, neck and shoulders, breasts, and, last, between her legs. When she was done she slipped into her nightgown and put on her boots and coat and took the tub of water outside to dump it at the edge of the field where no flowers grew in summer. Then she went back inside and blew out the light and climbed the steep stairs in the dark to her cold bedroom where her husband, not one for cleaning himself often, was already asleep and snoring. Lights would have been nice too, but those she didn’t yearn for in the same way she yearned for water. She had grown up in rugged places—logging camps and Forest Service company houses in the mountains of Arizona, the Ozarks of Missouri, the deserts of Utah, the humid and claustrophobic hills of Kentucky. She was used to doing without.

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

133


When my grandmother was in high school she lived for two years in Southern California. She rode twenty miles to and from school on the back of the mail truck with a boy named Miguel whose parents picked lettuce in the fields that surrounded them. Miguel and my grandmother rode with their legs dangling over the tailgate, Miguel teaching my grandmother songs in Spanish, while she taught him the names of the things they passed in English. On the way home from school on the back of the truck their throats were so dry neither of them could speak, or sing. Then too she had dreamed of water. My grandmother had a miscarriage once, and this is what I picture: a night in July, the moon pulling. She walks out alone to the edge of the woods near the outhouse, pulls her underwear off, throws them into the grass, and sits there moaning and shaking in the dark with the too-familiar and too-soon aches and contractions of labor, her sobs blending with the sound of coyotes and crickets and the occasional down-wind hoot of a barred owl. When it is over she cannot bear to clean herself in the dark and dirt of the basement and so she walks down the road to the brook and steps up to her waist into the ice-cold water and runs her hands over the smooth skin of her thighs, cleaning off all remnants of blood and tissue, and then she walks home, still barefoot, in the dark, to her husband who stands in the open doorway with a lantern. When, in 1961, the Southern Vermont Power Company decided to run power lines to every house in that part of the state for free, these are the things my grandmother had my grandfather install: a well pump, a washing machine, a toilet, a shower, a dishwasher, a hot water heater, and, in the upstairs bathroom, a porcelain claw foot bathtub with a brass faucet that ran hot and cold. My grandmother cried as she slipped into her first bath. She let the limbs of her body go limp in the steamy air. She was thirty-two years old. She thanked a god she did not believe in and laughed a full body laugh so loud it could be heard through the rooms of the house by all five of her not-yet sleeping children.

134

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


Muerte de Vaca by Max Underwood

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

135


The Book by Hilary Craig I live between the Harry Potter series and Lord of the Ring series. It’s intimidating, ensconced between two famous collections. They get picked up and checked out again and again. I am not famous. I am not a series. I get passed over more than I get picked up. But, I don’t feel like less of a book. I wait on the shelf for however long it takes. Someone makes the choice to take me home. I watch the way they smile or frown as they turn the pages. Sometimes they get excited or nervous. They get attached to characters. I feel happy or sad with them. When they finish I am returned to a shelf. If they are the only person to read me, I am content. I have made someone feel something.

136

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


Two Hundred Dollars by Bailey Benton Despondency brewed in my blood like hot tea on a brisk day. I sat alone on a stone bench outside the bus station. The sky was an uneasy slate color, a profound deviation from the normal blue. A small duffle bag sat at my side, and a suit I had worn only twice lay on top. I held a bus schedule in my hand, scanning the arrival times and destinations. I had fifty-six minutes. Fifty-six minutes to buy a ticket. Fifty-six minutes to muster up the courage to step onto the bus. For twenty-three minutes, I had sat on the bench, watching people and wondering what kind of lives they went home to. What secrets they had. Regardless of what they kept locked away, they walked the streets with smiles, as if nothing mattered. Everything around me felt so simple compared to the complexity of my tied up heart. A job interview would be waiting for me more than six hundred miles away the day after tomorrow. A woman I no longer loved waited for me at home. I’m going out to go look for a job again, I told her. Things are getting desperate; we can’t pay this month’s rent. She told me that we needed groceries. She handed me the last two hundred dollars from her check as she asked me to pick some up on my way home. I never told her when I was coming back, and I didn’t mention my devious plans. We had lost our spark. Likewise, my life had lost its color. Everything was dull and nothing had hope anymore. I was justified. Los Angeles was full of opportunity. It was a blank page, full of room to write a new story. The pages here were crowded with forlorn tales I wanted to forget. I could leave everything behind so easily, clear my mind, turn the page. But the past tugged at me. Begged me to stay. I could see her face the moment she learned I was gone. Horrified. Helpless. I had our last two hundred dollars in my pocket. I was leaving her with nothing, she would be hungry and alone. But she would make do after the initial shock. She was strong and independent and didn’t need me. Our spark had faded. It was okay. She would be fine. I wasn’t one for commitment; I was a wanderer. A tumbleweed. The streets of downtown Albuquerque were busy as always. A person of every type roamed about. A group of teenagers with Rastafarian clothing played hacky sack nearby and I sat and watched in my worn out jeans and sneakers wishing I could be so carefree. I grew tired of waiting when I had finally built up my justification. I stood up, picked up my belongings and made my way through the door. A new life

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

137


was waiting behind it. A new chapter. Inside the bus station somehow everything felt so new and fresh and alive and undiscovered. Color was rejuvenated and it was all mine for the taking. The station was made up of ticket counters and benches full of people. Bypassing all those sitting and waiting for something, I walked up to the counter, for I had no more stalling to do. I was greeted by a cheerful brunette whose teeth were too big for her face and her smile too large for the life she probably led. “Hi Sir! Where will you be going today?” “One way ticket to Los Angeles,” I said to the woman. I knew how much it was and I had the hundred and twenty-five dollars in my hand. She typed rapidly at her computer’s keys. “Sir,” she said finally, “seems the bus departing today is full, just filled up. There’s another bus leaving tomorrow if that would work for you.” “Oh,” I said. “Do you want to purchase a ticket for tomorrow?” “No, it’s okay,” I sighed. A bus the next day wouldn’t give me enough time. “Thank you though.” I smiled at her. “No problem, have a lovely day!” she said through her teeth. And suddenly, everything had lost its luster once again. Black and white was restored, my blood was brewing. I recomposed myself, gathered my things and exited the station, paying attention to nothing else. I stood in the dismal grey weather, thinking of old stories and prospective stories and everything in between. I thought of the woman I no longer loved and the interview I would no doubt miss. An opportunity down the drain, and it was my fault. Two hundred dollars rested in my hand, exposed, and my apathy prevented me from putting it away. A man standing nearby noticed the bag and suit slung over my shoulder. He had his own luggage at his feet and dressed like me. He made eye contact. “Where ya going?” he asked. “Nowhere,” I replied. “Just get back?” “No, I was just going.” “What’s with the bags?” I glared at him. The man backed off from the conversation. I left the area to catch a bus that had room for me, heading towards a store to buy those long awaited groceries.

138

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


Ms. Twain by Paul Lamar While standing in line at the bank the other day, trying to decide how much to put into the checking account to cover two checks that were no doubt about to be cashed by my new landlord and National Grid, I saw a young woman behind a frosted glass partition with a sign saying “Relationship Manager.” I smiled. Indeed. There were three people ahead of me. I walked over to the partition. “This is a new service, isn’t it? Relationship? Like me to my money?” I smiled again. She swiveled around from her computer and smiled. “Come in.” She stood. “I’m Margaret Twain. No, no relation to that other one. And you are?” “Ernie Piermon.” “Glad to meet you, Mr. Piermon.” She shook my hand. “Sit. I can take care of what you were waiting in line for.” She held out her hand for the cash and the deposit slip, clicked away at her keyboard, printed out a receipt, and returned it to me. “That’s done. Now, let’s talk about your relationships.” “Well, I have a rather fragile one, I’m afraid.” “Male? Female? Love? Business?” “I mean, to money. Isn’t that what we’re talking about?” “Is it?” “Well, yeah. I don’t have much. And I just moved into a new apartment. I have a job, but I’m barely keeping my head above water. I’m always robbing Peter to pay Paul.” “OK, let’s dispense with the clichés and get serious.” “What?” She tapped her pen on a legal pad. “To whom do you owe money?” “Eric, for one.” “Boyfriend?” “Um—former boyfriend.” “What do you owe him?” “About a thousand dollars, for the car I got in the breakup.” She wrote something on the pad and circled it. Then she took out a highlighter and ran it over Eric’s name.

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

139


“Why did you break up? Who initiated it?” She looked at me placidly; she was not interested in gossip, just information. “I don’t know.” “You’re how old?” “Forty.” She wrote that down. “You do know,” she said. “Just say it.” “Mid-life crisis?” “Yours or his?” “Mine.” “Right. Another cliché. So now you find yourself where?” “In an apartment. He’s in the house.” She scribbled something down and punctuated it with an exclamation point. No, two. “And the crisis was what, exactly?” She looked at her watch. “I’ve got about 15 more minutes, so let’s hurry up.” I started to tear up. “I don’t know. Sex. Boredom. Other people. Different interests. Health.” “OK, cut to health. What was going on?” “He began to get obsessed about what we were eating. He wanted to change the way we ate. He wanted to stop drinking, God forbid. I couldn’t enjoy food anymore because everything was all about eating right. Cut this out; don’t forget to take these every day. He wasn’t the same guy. He fancied himself a kind of food guru. Then he started getting into electromagnetic field concerns.” “The two often go hand in hand, believe me. Serious stuff, food. But not insurmountable. The other stuff, you know, was all superficial. Big deal. Everybody gets bored, right? Sex? Overrated.” “Pardon?” “The point is, you walked for a stupid reason.” She reached for the phone. “What’s his number?” “Eric’s?” I told her. “He’s at work.” She held up her hand. I told her the number. “Hello, Eric? This is Margaret Twain, the relationship manager at Plains Bank. I’m here with Ernie. I’d like you to come down now. We need to talk. Good.” She hung up and told me to go wait in the parking lot for Eric while she did a few things. He arrived about 20 minutes later. “What’s up?” he asked.

140

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


“It’s kind of hard to explain, but just give me about 10 minutes.” When we got back to her office, she shook Eric’s hand and motioned us to sit down. “I want to show you something.” She produced a folder with our names on it. Inside were three brochures: one for Mexico, one for Egypt, and one for Turkey. “Has either of you ever been to any of these countries?” “No,” we both replied. “They’re all fabulous, but if you haven’t travelled much, you might want to go with a tour the first time around. Which looks good?” She glanced at her watch. “Everyone who has been to Turkey says it’s so unusual,” Eric said. “That’s what I’ve heard, too.” “Great food there,” Margaret interjected. “Different flavors. Nutritious, Eric. Lots of vegetarian fare, like dolmas, lahana, which is a delicious cabbage soup. Fruits. You like apricots? Dates? Figs? So, Turkey it is.” She wrote it down on the pad, then flipped past the brochures. “I’ve got passport applications here. The post office is open until five. They’ll take your picture. Bring ID. You can get there today. And here’s the loan application, 3% interest. We have a special Relationship Plan, with big savings on travel, which is usually the quickest way to heal any relationship.” “What?” Eric said. “I’ve been in the business for 15 years. I know what I’m talking about.” I took the folder. “Don’t think about this.” She handed us an envelope of coupons for three restaurants in town. “Have a drink. Eat. Talk. Plan. Commit.” The phone rang. “All set? If you have any questions, call me or email me. And good luck.” Then she waved us away while she picked up the receiver. “Darling,” she said, “is that you?” And when the time came, she arranged our wedding, too.

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

141


No Matter What I Said Then, I Must Have Known Language Would Fail Us Always by Marianna Hofer I think of you. I think of me. Out of the blue, though the neighbors in the trailer next door have bickered unevenly as overcast day turns to overcast evening here in the back garden, iris & daylilies, milkweed & strawberries, hard at work, young bean plants’ leaves folded down for the night. We made a go of it, tried awfully hard to stick together, succeeded only in matching each others’ chronic fears, infidelities, the sharp words not exactly hurled, instead carefully flung at each other in between those moments where our counterfeit marriage would fool even us. We were, though, depending on definition, a terrible husband, a terrible wife, too smart to back down, too smart to give up. You handed me books, a sharp-edged competition—Joyce, Gardner, Fowles, Salinger, Conrad, among others—at the very least I ended up well read. What kept us trying? The first, maybe, night I stayed with you,

142

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


we woke up skittery, surprised to not be alone in the blueblack of your small overgrown bedroom. In the kitchen we talked so low, so little, as if we might wake the plates, the frying pan, the table strewn with egg shells, toast crumbs. Maybe when I scrubbed the stovetop, you remarked I looked like a good kind wife. I probably said I guess so, not too sure how one of those acted in the small private moments or even the bright light of the day. I still don’t know, honestly. But I still have all those books, heavy and scarred from each move since then, all stacked tight in a bookcase, my name scrawled inside the covers in my hopeful young girl handwriting, ink still a vibrant blue, clear and steady.

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

143


In You by Elizabeth Rees I lost my last worry, turned Why over to the reliable richness of chance and just like that, the key clicked, I called and you answered, burned a path, offering a way back in, away from words. Like reading the moon's hidden hand, like minding the miracles that I accidentally find: this one a secret and that a vow to guard each other's solitude, for whatever else this is, it is silver spilling over, a loon's trill trailing after the trees’ howl. You know the sound, that same cry you've loosed over me as your lissome wings beat, scattering feathers in ascent, flying in, closer, shivers up my arms around you as you fall, both of us coming through fog, touching down in each other's shapes.

144

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


Cornsilk by Marion Wasserman

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

145


How to Hide in the Canyonlands by Sue Ring deRosset Down Down Down your canyon dark shivering scarps of storm rise up—a monsoon, thunder ruin, calendar of unfaceable tomorrows Your brown river a clattering train of rain and silt my float a surrender, crash-ending, origin in something so small and benign as a word — Ooh, I said, crossing the bridge. Ooh, Let’s pull over here. Canyon walls older than the oldest gods towering, watchful, orange blind castles. I spend all day looking up so I don’t have to look Down Down Down into the silent pink crystalline rift of rattlesnakes, sorrowsung along faultlines, cottonwood struck down smoldering coalfire Down Down into your sandstone mineshafts, uncharted moonlight on otters at night antlered driftwood lashed to kayak’s bow spoken to no one but my dog in days Raven’s

146

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


crawk, crawk! stuck in my own throat this skin inked with sun, adorned with mud arms welted with mosquito bites scored with scars from ritual Down Down Down the green-glass river bladed aftermath; waterstone ballads at the bottom, one cannot fall farther and on sandstone slabs one is smaller small, so small exposure conceals— when I’m this naked you can’t find me down down among burnished blue-black brick-red of the Wingate—older than clay, impermanent ashes ignited, blown away

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

147


* by Simon Perchik Inside this monument a rain it doesn’t want, coming by with winds and the flag this way and that reaching out as if the war ended smelling from all your letters home wet – they had to be wet, scented with thunder and kisses left on the ground, already this harvest – stones becoming other stones and blood that no longer returns to your heart.

148

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


Dodging Ice by Elizabeth Raby At last this morning a little snow, for minutes so violently windblown we can’t see through it. The ground covered then uncovered, not enough to overcome the deficit of months and years. Still an argument as to how much it is our fault that trees will succumb to grass and then to cactus and sand, but today a junco, undaunted, dodges tiny balls of ice that melt in a moment. Daffodils survive their brief entombment. I remember flesh, smooth and milky, now become dry and mottled corrugations. My natural process mirrored in what is happening more slowly to the land. The earth might regenerate given enough time and luck. My body moves in only one direction, past the miracle of ever having been here at all.

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

149


London Fog by Behzad Dayeny We met in between train runs Weaving under the city We loved in between Bus arrivals and boat departures Between the deli store on Bute street And the pastry shop on Beaufort We exchanged a glance here A caress there by Marble Arch A kiss on the bench at Hyde Park And shared a drink Holding hands in the gardens of Kew I waved at you from the double decker You shook your red umbrella at me Now, barely distinguishable, in this Fog

150

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


Sunflower Landscape with White by Susan Aylward

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

151


For CD Wright by Debbi Brody I I was the poet of El Trains clacking And guinea pig weddings. I was the poet of pink rubber balls And bleeding through white dress pants. I was the poet of palpable tachycardia And sticky peonies. I was the poet of frozen-to-death cats And back screen doors slamming. I was the poet of bees and birds And of smoke turning the moon orange. II And the crockpot in the kitchen said, Fill me until my lid won’t fit, And the parsnip on the bottom Said, I am drowning. And the laboratory computers said, Let me run all night and day, And the eyewash faucet said, I want some action, too. And my mother’s house said, Come see my new fountain, And the hummingbird said, I want sugar in my water.

152

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


And the highway said, I have just begun spreading across the horizon, And the coyote said, You taste like armadillo.

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

153


Airport Pigeon by George Longenecker A pigeon picks for scraps of burritos, chips and hamburger buns on the carpet near Gate 73—white with black feathers on her wings and head— she ekes out a living trapped inside Newark International Airport hopping around the feet of weary passengers. She thinks she came here willingly, perhaps through an open passenger gate, but now she’s trapped like us, eating what she can find. She can fly miles inside the terminal, up over Hudson Books and Vino Volo, but she can never reach the sky. Meanwhile we’ll escape, board our jets and— for a few hours— soar for miles over mountains and tiny towns, thinking we’re free as birds.

154

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


The Good Wife’s Last Day by Leah Welborn All night long my fingers drummed, drummed, drummed the old pilled blanket while beside me Chuck's guttural snores ripped the blessed silence to shreds. Like bubbles in a cold glass of Coke, my thoughts percolated to a final still flatness in my brain. By the time the sunlight's belly swelled into our narrow bedroom, I had settled into a buzzy contentment. I guess I would've gone on like this forever, if it hadn't been for Buster. A quarter century ago, Chuck singled me out from the three other girls who sat in the back of his truck. We were parked on a gravel road on the edge of his family's farm, and Lynyrd Skynyrd, mosquitoes, and the odor of cow shit permeated the air. "What's your name, pretty girl?" he winked and smiled as he passed strawberry wine coolers out to my 15-year-old friends and me. He and his sullen cousin swigged whiskey straight from the bottle. Each had an empty beer can he spit tobacco juice into. "Tammy," my voice came out in a squeak and sweat bloomed in my palms. "Well, you're awful cute, Tammy." He didn't bother to introduce himself. Everyone in town knew Chuck. He'd been the star quarterback in high school when he graduated three years earlier. If I could go back there, would I tell myself to run? Would I have even listened? Would it have mattered whether I did or not? I was desperate to get out of Mom's trailer, where her drunk boyfriend pressed me against the wall when she was at work. If it hadn't been Chuck it would have been someone else. I was an easy mark. Just like Buster. Chuck rolled over in his sleep just then and I looked at him. Oddly, I didn't feel the loathing I generally felt. I studied him, reminding myself that today was the last day I'd have to see his fat face. The stubble that grew on his greasy skin was now mostly white. A thick trail of drool flowed from his blubbery mouth to the pillowcase. I hated those sheets. White with absurd little bunches of yellow daisies. Chuck's mother gave them to us when she got new ones, and he insisted we use the threadbare things. No matter how often I washed them, they smelled like her powdery old lady self, and I’d go to sleep every night gagging on hate. Ha! Won't she be surprised? I nearly laughed out loud at the thought, but stopped myself for fear of waking Chuck. It was always the two of them against

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

155


me. Conspiring. Whispering. "Teach her a lesson, son. Show that bitch you own her. Do it early and she won't give you no trouble." He beat me. I lost his child, so there would never be another. But that was a long, long time ago. I should've known better than to let Buster in the house. I'd been feeding the skittish little black cat for a couple of months, during the day when Chuck wasn't home, and he finally warmed up to me a couple of weeks ago. That's when I started to call him Buster. I never liked cats before, but something about the halfcrippled little guy just broke my heart when I'd see him out the kitchen window, hobbling after some prey he'd never catch. Maybe I was just a stupid bitch, because I really loved that cat. Today would be my last day as the woman I was. Who knows what would happen next? At this point I stopped caring, but I was curious. Maybe I'd be a new baby tomorrow and start the whole thing over. I tried to remember what it was like to be pregnant. I cupped my hands beneath my belly and imagined my tired old soul suddenly zapped into what would soon be a brand new person. I hoped the couple who became my parents would be in love. I hoped it would be different for them than it was for everybody I'd ever known, like on TV. What if I become a boy? I clenched and unclenched my fists. Clenched, I was a man. Fingers extended, reaching out, I was a woman. Would I hit like all the men I'd ever known? Maybe it'd be good to be a man. Less than 24 hours ago, I was sitting at the kitchen table eating cold pork chops for lunch when it started to rain and Buster came limping up to the screen door. I'd never let him in the house before, but he looked so pitiful that I opened the door and fixed him some warm milk. He followed me around while I did chores, and it was really nice to have him there, just to have company. I smiled while I scrubbed out the tub. Buster napped on a folded towel I'd put on the toilet lid for him. That song where the lady sings, "lovin' you is easy cuz you're beautiful" was playing on the clock radio beside the sink, and I sang that line to Buster and laughed at my own silliness. I felt happier than I had in a long time. Now was a new day and I had choices to make. Chuck's gun? Chuck's sleeping pills? No. MY oven. Perfect. Sure, Chuck owned it. He owned everything, even me. But he never touched it and it was mine. I kept it clean, like everything. This place would be a pigsty inside a week. He came home drunk in the middle of the afternoon yesterday, and I didn't care. When I heard the screen door slam, I knew I was in trouble. "Tammy!" The slur in his voice couldn't find my voice to answer him. It didn't matter. Nothing I did or didn’t do would change what would happen next. He followed the sound of that sappy love song right to us.

156

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


I lost a tooth. I buried Buster in the yard after I rinsed our blood down the drain. I put on makeup and my only nice dress: the red one with the little white dots. I cooked all of Chuck's favorite meals. He said the only thing I was good for was cooking. So I made everything my bastard husband loved, and put it in the freezer. Instead of a suicide note, I wrote out detailed instructions of how to warm them...exactly how hot the oven should be.

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

157


My Responsibility by MuXu Gato McGee III Esq. as transcribed by Tasha Duran She talks to me in a baby voice, reminiscent of Rugrats, full of squeaks and high tones. It may have applied when I was younger, but I’m not infantile anymore. She doesn’t understand what I do for her day in and day out. It starts in the morning. I politely nudge her because she is NOT a morning person. I cuddle with her in bed until she stirs, smiles, and pats me condescendingly on the head. I circle the room, find objects that make noise, crash to the floor so she gets a taste of the clamor of the waking world. If she still doesn’t get up, I pounce on her. My methods vary to keep it fresh and exciting. I poke and sometimes bite. Occasionally, I have to sit on her face until she chokes on my fur, gasps for air. This usually does it. She gets up and heads to the bathroom. I wait patiently, check to see if she’s fallen asleep on the toilet. Then we go to the kitchen. She walks soooo slow, often bumps into things because her eyes are closed. I nudge her in the right direction and lead her through the maze of clutter. She feeds me because I cannot reach the food, mind you. I am not incompetent. She drinks water, makes coffee. I go outside for a walk. I come back only to find her sprawled on the bed AGAIN, sleeping! This is no easy task. I go for her hands and bite down. She curses and swats me away, but drags herself to the shower where I have to sit and wait to make sure she does not drown. I watch the sun rise over the mountains. I find her dressed, but passed out on the couch. I am forced to find another way to wake her, get her out the door. UGH! I’m exhausted. And this human has the audacity to talk to me in a baby voice.

158

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


There’s No Crying in Poetry by Bill Yarrow “There’s no crying in poetry. There’s no crying in poetry!” says Coach Bukowski, barnacle-gnarled, stomping on the ground behind third base. But the poetry pitcher is crying, the poetry catcher is sobbing, the poetry short stop is bawling, the poetry center fielder is doubled over, weeping bitterly. Bukowski shakes his head. Jesus, how the hell did I wind up here? He yells, “Hey! There’s no crying in fucking poetry! Ya hear me?” but no one on the poetry team is listening. But in the beer garden across the street, the bar poets, looking up, are waving their gloves at the ball sailing towards them. They stretch their hands above their heads and call out “I got it!” “No, I got it!” “I said, I got it!” Then they collide and lie like kinks in a tangled hose. The ball lands and takes a bad hop, hits the barmaid smack on the lip. "Don't you cry. Don't you dare," she hears Bukowski saying, and, though it really hurts, and though she really wants to, she doesn't.

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

159


a pheasant by Kiik A.K. That magazine mailed me A ten-dollar check For the first stanza But this stanza I give to you Is worth nothing In the spirit of encouragement Take this ten dollars Buy yourself a soda Think about what could’ve happened To make this other thing better Both stanzas were somehow About pheasant Dipped in fire Plucked bird ripening over coals Skin raised In a dark sail of caramel Strangers blowing on the meat Licking the glaze on their fingers But one pheasant I’d wound with riddles I understand why He was the expensive pheasant As I know why Some roots and vegetables not wrapped In bacon aren’t worth ordering But what’s a riddle worth Once solved or even recognized And shrugged at So many friends Studied how to make money I was the only one Moron enough to study poetry About why the idea Of one pheasant

160

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


Is worth more Than the ornaments Hanging off another This must be the ultimate Insult to my teachers To have revered Their every word And to not have any success despite them To collect their plates And rub the poison around in circles And cast what’s been gnawed Into buckets of tar and putrefaction To show raising your hand Means nothing Even the deal I could Get them on a pheasant There will always be a younger, leaner poet Willing to do my job cheaper

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

161


Syzygy by Stacy Brewster Once I found a dog, a grey mutt with half the fur on its hind leg chewed off, or else they were scars from surgery. It was hard to tell because it was dark and the thing was old and shivering there at the beach, wandering like an exiled drunk. I walked down to the water the nights I couldn’t sleep, often timing my trips when the booklet from the grocery store told me it was low tide. It switched by an hour each day, so sometimes I was down there early in the evening, sometimes late late. The grey dog was there one of these midnight strolls. It must have smelled some food on me and come over to say hello, even though it was scared, until I talked to it and told it that I was scared, too. It howled skyward once in reply and for a long while we basked in the moonlight together. I didn't ask it to, but it followed me back to my cabin and slept in my room. In the morning, I could see she wasn’t an old dog at all, just one with a lot of clumpy fur and a funny looking snout, hair hanging over her mouth like an old captain's mustache. I’m the only one that spent the winter at my family's cabin. There was plenty to do to keep the thing up and that was the only job I had. Clear gutters, replace siding, fight the ocean, the salt and the sand. Once a winter it snowed enough that I got to shovel the drive. This was when I got the giggles, the joy of making a line four blocks straight down to the beach, until I was shoveling both snow and sand, making a line just for me straight from my porch to the water. But that night we only got a dusting and all paths were mushed together. I took my new friend in town to ask around. Turned out she belonged to one of the volunteer firemen, a big white boy with neck tattoos and tobacco pushing at his lower lip. He collected garbage most days and was there at the dump when I brought her. He took her back with his hand on her butt, right along the scar, hoisting her into his pickup and clasping her collar to a chain. I stood there and the boy must have felt guilty or realized who I was, because then he nodded and grumbled thank you before going back to work. The rain didn’t get to me, nor the cold, just the short days in winter. If I'd been down to the ocean and back and still couldn’t sleep, I stood in the living room and stared out in the direction of the sea. Or I cranked up the heat and lay naked on the couch willing sleep to come, or some wild sex fantasy, but that was pretty rare for me nowadays. Clear nights were the worst. There were too many stars and I wanted to know what all of them were named, how their

162

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


pieces and my pieces fit together. After I gave the dog back, I walked the beach alone for a long time collecting driftwood in one little sack and whole sand dollars in the other, the kind you can only get on the northern end of the beach, when the tides are past the berm. I lined everything up on the porch to dry. Longest driftwood to shortest. Biggest sand dollar to smallest. And that night, the first of many, I grabbed all the blankets and turned down the heat and I slept upstairs in the room where Dad died. There were no lights up there. No clock or nightlight, and no streetlamps outside. Just darkness. And with the clouds we had that night, no moon. In that room I could sleep. And when I woke up in the middle of the night, thirsty and having to pee, I saw a single star up to the right, not where the window is, but just over the door. Not a star, but the light from the smoke detector, a little star shining just for me, keeping me from harm. I thanked that star and I prayed for the dog. No one knows I used my SSI, but I saved up and bought a used tablet, one of the smaller ones, and now each winter when the night sky is misty and impenetrable, I point my tablet upward and see the hidden stars on my screen. And when I touched them, their names popped up. Sometimes the star was not a star but a planet, or a moon. No matter what it was, it told you how big, how many miles or light years it was from Earth. And if it was part of one of the great constellations, Gemini or Aries say, then a sketch of the twins or the crab popped up when you held it a certain way. Nowadays, if I was up in the dark room and it was cloudy out and I woke to the little star above the doorway, I’d pull my tablet from the shelf and point it up there. There may not have been a star like it right there, not right then, but I knew that if I waited long enough or tilted the angle, one would come and two would line up right for a change. Syzygy right there, between me and my little star and the star beyond, three of us in a row, quiet and tidy and unafraid.

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

163


1974 Stanley Cup Champions by Danny Rosen What was not there five minutes ago is what I now step right into. Oh, shit, that bastard dog, the one most self-absorbed, has yet again laid a turd by the back door. I shoulder the shovel and walk the yard. The dogs follow. I look into the tall grass. The dogs look away at nothing fast, or watch me, but not real close. The dogs pause when I pause. They are above this work. I scoop their crap into the broad flat blade of the shovel, and turn to take a wrist shot over the fence into the net—of cattails. Or, I go for a quick backhand, shooting for the corner of the goal, like Dornhoefer in ’74, when the Flyers played for the Cup in overtime, how that announcer cried, “he shoots, he SCORES!” I made mash-ups late on school nights, on a recorder in the room at the top of the stairs… “Barber dumps it up the wing, Clarke gets it in front, he turns, he shoots, he SCORES!” (He grins a toothless grin, always takes one for the team) “Ashbee goes down to his knees, lays down on the ice, his head bleeds… MacLeish grabs the rebound, spins, shoots, he SCORES!” I hear the turds plop against the pond’s far shore. The sound of that word, plop, makes me laugh out loud—as I turn triumphantly, waving to the crowd—of three dogs sitting still—no cheers, no thanks, no thrill; they have no fear of shit rolling downhill.

164

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


Telecommunication by C.C. Russell When he has forgotten his new phone number, he will dial the old one slowly to see if anyone answers. At first, there will only be a short, tinny recording in which a happily electronic voice will explain that his particular series of digits is no longer in service. This will please him as he feels that lost things should go on forever, belonging to no one. After a few weeks, the recording will be replaced with only a high-pitched whine like the tired tail-end of a siren. The man will know what this portends – that the number is waiting now to hold someone else’s life, to bear someone else’s news of lives held elsewhere. He will become anxious, will slide quarters into any callbox he passes, waiting for another voice to sparkle out from the line. Hello, they will answer. Who are you? he will reply, hoping that it is himself on the other end. One day, it will ring. He will be startled by this new sound, having given up hope or fear by that point. He will slam the receiver down, shocked, then slowly pick it up and punch in the number again. He will let it ring for a long time without an answer. He will become interested in conceptual mathematics, the possibilities of tracing numbers back to their source. He will calculate by hand the sum of numbers that can be reached before a new area code must be created. He will count the number of payphones wherever he walks, compute their significance, their place in this vast grid of wires. He will dial repeatedly at all times throughout the day, wondering when someone will be home, when someone will finally take the call. After a month, he will give up. Sometimes he will stare at the keypad – its illuminated green tiles – into the night, until another voice tells him to hang up and try his call again later. One night, as he is falling asleep in his recliner, his phone will ring. He will rise, startled at how loud the sound is. He will stare at the plastic, its small vibrations from the sudden cadence. It will continue to ring. He will place his hand timidly over the receiver still snug in its cradle. His chest will tighten. What ghosts are trying to reach him? What worlds are calling him back home? He will lift the phone, slowly raise it to the side of his face. Hello, he will say. He will hear his own voice echo, surprised by the sound of fear behind it.

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

165


Snow in Callirr by Colin Rowe White is the color of everything under snow. White streets, white rocks, white land. The sky is white, with white clouds in it and white flakes falling always; slowly or quickly, but always. Behind white fences, the horses and cows that you can see are white, and the ones you can’t see are inside white barns. The ice on the lake is white and the snow that covers the ice is white - indistinguishable from the white meadows or the white dirt or any kind of white land that used to be here. There are white pines with white needles and white leaves on the birch and aspen which, choosing conformity, have white bark. The hare turns white to hide from the fox and the fox turns white to hide from the hare. The breath that comes out of you forms white clouds in front of your face. The cold will make you white, inside and out. Pale-skinned and shivering, the blood fleeing the surface and gathering inside to protect the vital organs. White skin never touched by the sun, only exposed inside the white-roofed buildings with the white walls where the white tables with white tablecloths are set with white plates and you eat potatoes. Not sweet potatoes, white potatoes. With milk.

166

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


Beans by Marion Wasserman

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

167


Of The Coal Blue Field II by Barbara Rockman At four, my daughter learned coincidence, re-named it clinky dink; for years our defining of fate’s collisions. Ink in that and the rings round Saturn. Last night the Mercury moon, sated sorcerer, staggered out of the foothills, having pushed back from a groaning table. What we see is his slow stroll home through a coal blue field and the street’s oval glows morphing into buds, snug in the leafing out, safe as the tucked in child. The writer at the glass podium said seeing is his subject and rendition his obsession. Venus, torched and steady. Rabbit in the moon. Dog in the sun. I come full circle, back to morning’s red finch on the black mailbox, belly like an apron of cornmeal edged with crimson strings the monk scattered after blessing the house. Reap and rapture. A day swings on its beam, balances and scales back, hovers and falls. Just so, the caught lesson, the sought after news.

168

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


Newspaper by Donald Levering Trying to unplug the plumbing, I plunge my arm down the toilet, and begin pulling up wads of wet newspaper. Soggy newsprint about Allende’s overthrow, Chairman Mao’s cultural famine, the Cuban missile crisis. The bulk of it, though, is merely black ink bleeding from a glut of crime and celebrity pablum: the martyrdom of Princess Diana, the fate of Michael Jackson’s jeweled glove. The pulp flushed for decades now is rising like sour stomach burps. Someone must have thought the daily reportage was nothing more than waste, but some of these editions would garner eBay fortunes, like the hasty headline dripping wishful thinking—Dewey Defeats Truman. Or the photo of Khrushchev's shoe raised like a mudfish from the muck. The heaps of horror each morning delivered here—from Jeffrey Dahmer’s butchery to the carnage of Pol Pot to the latest US bombing mistake— are plugging up my home with their sodden peep show.

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

169


My First and Last Visit to a Whorehouse by Meg E. O’Brien I was a twenty-three year old nun when I visited a whorehouse. In high school I thought The Scarlet Letter and The Red Badge of Courage were the same book. I can still hear my classmates howl and even embarrassed poor Ms. Reed. One would think college would make an eighteen year old more worldly. Not in my case. I simultaneously earned a degree in Chemistry while climbing the nun ropes. We were not typical college students by a long shot. We spent five years of life in one place. I don’t mean one city, I mean a 1500 acre campus, home to a four-year college, a nun motherhouse and an active farm. The first three of those five years you only left campus for a doctor’s appointment, if you were lucky enough to have an ailment requiring a visit. I was not. This isolation from the real world was compounded by not having access to the media. Television was only accessible when there was a world crisis, or a special event, like the moon landing. The current newspaper was read by the lucky one with the daily chore of serving breakfast to the chaplain. We were starved for news, knelt on the floor reading old newspapers placed in the shoe shining area. News is news, even if it’s old. After five years of restricted living I was sent to teach in Texas. My first year teaching I asked a group of senior girls about their math homework. “How did you make out last night?” They responded, “Oh, Sister!” They laughed. I blushed. Our convent was lucky enough to have a pastor who liked to treat “his sisters” well. Periodically he’d do things like bring a case of beer, or take us on a road trip. The culprit in question is a road trip to Monterrey, Mexico. While checking out the accommodations, one sister found a business card in the hotel desk drawer that read, “Finest Art Objects of Mexico”. It sounded like a good place for souvenir hunters. The pastor and three of us, dressed in nun attire, were game to check it out. (Two nuns stayed behind and planned to attend Benediction. Maybe they knew what lay ahead.) As we walked the ten blocks to our destination, we noticed a dramatic change in the neighborhood, looking less and less touristy. We arrived at the address to find it was a mansion; not a gallery or shop as we expected. The front

170

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


door was locked. We stopped a man on the street, showed him the business card. He laughed and pointed to the back of a building. He surely laughed all the way home relaying the story of three nuns at the whorehouse. We made our way around the back of the house and observed ten or so women eating dinner. No one spoke. They stared. No one asked the obvious question, “Wonder what this is?” A non-English speaking man came running out of the eating area. We showed him the famous business card. He hesitated and then took us up the back steps and into the kitchen, unlocked another door and brought us to a basement, where indeed there were souvenirs covered with dust and untouched for maybe years. One sister kept repeating, “This is a front for something, this is a front for something.” Feeling the same thing, I said nothing. In my heart I wished she would shut up. I wasn’t sure we weren’t in danger. It became clear we were some place we shouldn’t be. Our priest companion sweat but didn’t know what to do. We needed to leave as fast as possible. We quickly retraced our steps back up the stairs. This time, our guide led us toward the front door, passing several people carrying tables who exchanged “what the heck are nuns doing here” looks. Once out the front door we miraculously lost our naiveté. We roared with laughter. I imagine our escapade entertained many for years. Forty years later, the details are so clear. I feel as if I am standing in that basement today. That summer we passed through New Orleans on the way back to the Motherhouse, I recognized the Doll House, open from 10 to 4 was not exactly our kind of place.

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

171


Holy Terror by Mona Lydon-Rochelle ‘What would I give for a drink from the old well in Scituate,’ Woodworth remarked to his wife Lydia. She replied ‘put that in a poem.’ Samuel Woodworth There was no possible way I would stay in that day. At eight in the morning Mum started ‘Go outside and do not come home until supper.’ Gone –– two miles of smiles, cruising the elm-leafed seaside street, weaving helter-skelter on my powder-blue Schwinn. I am beautiful in cousin Mary’s a-bit-too-largehand-me-down shift. Deb’s waiting at her picture window wearing that shite eating grin, again. Dolled up in her fancy-schmancy seer-sucker-pink pedal-pushers. I say ‘Come on, let’s go, we’re wasting the day.’ We beg fresh-baked-Portuguese sweet-bread from Pitcock Farm, pilfer June-bearing berries. A three-mile strand –– past potato fields, past Meeting House Lane, past lichen-covered stone walls and the old well, through saltmarsh and beach plums –– leads to town.

172

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


Father Sullivan’s off today. We lay our bikes on a white clover meadow swarming with 60,333 honeybees. Deb resists all the way. We tip-toe into the House of God –– with Jesus, with the saints, with the dead. We cleanse berry-stained hands in the Conamara marble gold-gilded font, cross ourselves, incanting ‘Protect us from all evil,’ giggling like Laughing Gulls. Summer sun heats empty pews through blue-milk windows. Deb’s flip-flops pitter-patter-clatter-clatter off the ghost-like emptiness. ‘Shh, take ‘em off or I’ll kill ya.’ Away from disarray, feeling anarchic, I commandeer" my musketeer‘Let’s go rob Peter to pay Paul.’ ‘That’s a sin!’ she snivels. ‘Eejit, quit your hullabaloo, or I’ll gobsmack you.’ We poach pennies, nickels, dimes too, lost treasures under kneelers, offering coins and prayers to Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Light seven white candles for our dreams,

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

173


for the dead, for my dad. My mood shifts — we slip out into sea gusts, sea music, sea asters, and the smell of marshlands. One narrow bridge connects to the three cliffs. The infamous sign states ‘NO JUMPING OFF BRIDGE.’ ‘I won’t do it,’ Deb protests. High-tide. I scale the rail, high-dive with Black-legged Kittiwakes, I am this-side-of-heaven. It’s only noon.

174

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


Watching My Mother and Father’s Last Kiss by J.E. Reich My mother told us not to touch the fishhooks at the lip of the riverbank, right where the silted land met water, as clouded as a cataracted eye. My solemn eleven-year-old voice promised that no, we would not go anywhere near them and yes, we would keep our shoes on. My mother and father brought a picnic basket with grapes and assorted cheeses marbled with age, a large straw bag that carried a neon-green Frisbee ring, a football (my father, with all of his British-isms, being British himself, had meant to say a soccer ball), and a forlorn extra pair of sandals darkened at the heel. Mom splayed these out upon the picnic blanket from Santa Fe. The Hopi sun pointed in all directions. My sisters wrestled and took the ball with the red and white hexagonal patchwork, and I wandered off with the Frisbee ring towards the metal-glinted sand, tossing it in the air, catching it, toss, catch, rehearsing a circus trick, keeping an eye on my writhing sisters. Mom and Dad needed to talk. No fishhooks. Not yet. I perched myself on a small rock that could have easily been a face, if you looked at it right. My sisters played catch and conjectured if one could walk across the Allegheny if it were frozen over. You’d drown easy, said Robin to Emma. Fucking, fucking easy. She wiped her mouth with a free sleeve and her face reddened, waiting for one of us to tell. We didn’t. I dropped the Frisbee in the river, an object I do not miss. What is lost is the solitary sight of my mother and father’s last kiss on the brightest day of lesser stars. Their shoes were off, tented over the extra pair of sandals, suffocating those useless objects. Their lips were the stuff of movie stars, reaching to mean something, saying nothing. This was before we dropped my father back at the first of his many subsequent apartments. My sisters avoided the fishhooks that could pierce the tender, unused soles of their feet, even though I locked my mouth in a line I could trace with my tongue. My calls would have been forgotten in an endless cavern, if I tried to warn them. The Frisbee ring floated down the river, out of my grasp, to waft on and on, trumped by the mouth of water that widened and gaped, adrift in a waveless sea.

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

175


To the Person Who Test Drives the Used Lexus with My CD Still in the Stereo by Jennifer Campbell Track four will sell you the car. Works every time. The song convinced a young couple my rusted model was worthy. Haunting operatic vocals, powerful drums explode in crescendo: Where the streets have no name… Every person yearns to escape above the city, twilight jacketing the open road. I bet you’re a man. On my way to make an offer, I got a lead on a newer version up the road. The salesman too busy closing another deal, I returned the key, my cd left behind. Every test drive needs the right ambiance, I thought, finding the jewel case empty. But I deserve some of the commission, having aligned the bass and treble with the highway’s easy flow. Perhaps your father’s voice rings in your head, You work hard. Treat yourself— all you need to make the decision.

176

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


Do we pass on the road sometimes, smiling in twin silver sedans, just a year and 12,000 miles between us? It occurs to me we are very similar, drawn to comfort over cloudburst, moods tuned to volume 36, a notch or so past our prime.

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

177


Subterrainiafuge An excerpt from the forthcoming novel by Doug Bootes Sweat rolled down my spine like the ass-crack of God on the sixth day of Creation while Dot the probation officer chirped about personal responsibility and time management. Dot was wound tighter than the ponytail expanding her forehead into a new continent and I was trying to keep from looking at the rusty, backpack-sized blemish screaming at us from the uninspired beige carpet. The bloody pack had vanished with X and the safe, after the knock on the door announcing the prearranged, but since forgotten, home visit to determine if my living conditions and employment status met probationary requirements. I didn’t know exactly where he was hiding in the five hundred square feet of the rented bungalow, and Roman Nose, a woman who I met in a bar last week and had inexplicably shown up at my door with new hospital sheets and towels earlier that morning already explained her presence to the P.O. by lying that she was my sister. I inspected Dot for an indication that she had picked up on the inconsistency; if she read my case file she would know I’m the only living branch of my diseased and broken family tree. “How is your job going? Did you get that promotion you mentioned last time we spoke?” Detecting the residual scent of the morning’s thwarted sexual encounter with Roman Nose on my hand, I struggled to keep from giggling hysterically, recalling a joke told on fishing boats where the guy who baits the hooks gets promoted to Master Baiter. “You seem like you have a lot of nervous energy. Is everything alright?” “Yeah, I’m fine,” was all I could say. “So the promotion?” Not sure how to explain losing the job, I searched her I.D. badge and mannish white shirt struggling to diminish her robust bosom for possible answers. Dorothy “Dot” Carmack resembled a stern Jerry Springer with a boob job, a sight I wouldn’t have imagined possible if not witnessed by my own two eyes. My solar plexus trembled with another surge of laughter, so I looked out the window for distraction in time to see K pushing his bike through the gravel parking lot, no doubt roused from his drunken slumber by hopes of replenishing his depleted stash. Dot’s eyes narrowed; the unexpected sound of a strangled duck burped from

178

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


my lips. She scribbled intently on her yellow legal pad, looked at her watch and then out the window. K knocked on the door, which hadn’t seen this much action since I moved in. I pictured X hiding in the bedroom closet with Fat Barry’s safe and gruesome backpack full of premature weed soaked in Shalimar’s blood. I figured it was about time for the landlord to show up; maybe a spontaneous inspection of the water heater or to ask why I still hadn’t paid last month’s utilities. “You’re popular today. Do you always have so many visitors?” “Just a fluke.” “Just a what?” “An expression. It means an unusual occurrence.” Jerry/Dot gave me a menacing look, appearing offended by my definition. The silence was broken by Roman Nose dropping a cup in the sink as she washed my sparse collection of dishes which held more than a passing resemblance to those used at my former shit-fry-cook job. “Whoops!” She turned to me and said, “By the way, I think your toilet’s clogged.” I didn’t know if she really meant it or if she had created another alibi; maybe that’s where X was hiding. Not knowing what else to say or do, I got up and opened the door for K, who wore no shirt and brought to the subtropical morning a potpourri of last night’s strippers, stale beer and a variety of burnt materials. He strolled in, stood in the middle of the shrinking room and took note of the two women adorning it. He lit a Marlboro red and gave me an approving nod. “What’s up bro?” “Just chatting with my probation officer here.” K extended a tattooed arm to Dot, who was surprisingly receptive to his unexpected appearance. She daintily extended her mannish hand and said, “Dorothy Carmack.” “Pleased to meet you,” he said as he took her hand in his. A thunderous BOOM! shook the floor. I visualized the safe falling from wherever X was hiding. I watched Dot, ready to explain that it was traffic on the bridge nearby that caused the noise while choking back a fresh wave of nausea. She barely noticed. Like a snake handler coaxing a cobra from a basket, K had her hypnotized with the sometimes self-inflicted body art covering his extended arm. “This one’s new,” he said, pointing to an angry splotch of ink forming an ornamental Sin-D. Checking her watch again, the P.O.’s overworked sigh indicated she had

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

179


another appointment elsewhere. “Oh my,” she said as her forehead worked intently against the ponytailbondage device to furrow her brow. She finished her notes and thanked me for introducing her to my sister and brother. I watched out the window as she bustled to her car, amazed and thrilled at her seeming inability to detect the scent of blood, the killer hiding in my house somewhere along with ten pounds of green marijuana and whatever unholy treasure was held in Fat Barry’s safe, of the smell of seven screaming crackheads incinerated in the night. “She’s kind of hot,” K said. “If you like Jerry Springer.” K frowned, then drew poetic on his cigarette and exhaled before announcing that he and his nineteen year-old girlfriend, none other than the illustrious Sin-D, who he met two nights ago at Uncle Nasty’s, would be getting married. The ceremony was to be held on the beach the following Saturday with a reception at her place of employment, the aforementioned titty bar, sole decrepit remnant of a decades long moral cleansing of the beaches by fundamentalist Christians empowered with paid-for city council positions. Soiled and haggard, X limped from the bedroom and asked, “Am I invited?” He turned to me and in his most backwoods drawl asked, “What’s the matter with you? You look like you bit into a raw persimmon.” It was that exact moment when I realized just how much I missed my .44 magnum. Roman Nose swished across the room, causing my groin to blossom anew while I wondered if this was the thousandth or millionth time I heard him use that expression. “I don’t know shit about persimmons.” His glare told me I’d crossed a line, but I didn’t care, I could feel the tension and anger built up from the last week unrolling from my gut like a convoluted tapeworm. I thanked Roman Nose for washing the dishes and asked if she could wait for me in the car, then wondered if she had any idea what she was getting into. As if anticipating my thoughts, she leaned in, nipped my neck and whispered, “Anything you want, baby.” K looked at me with puppy dog eyes, telepathically communicating his need for weed. I shook my head no. He looked at X, then back at me and said, “I guess I’m gonna’ roll then. I’ll catch ya’ll later.” “Yeah, later,” I said, not taking my eyes off X. Heaven and earth last forever. Why do heaven and earth last forever? They are unborn,

180

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


So ever living. The sage stays behind, thus he is ahead. He is detached, thus at one with all. Through selfless action, he attains fulfillment.* * Excerpt from the Tao Te Ching, translated by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English. Random House, NY. 1972.

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

181


Careless Love by Ray Lopez You threw your bag in the back of the truck and heaved yourself into the passenger seat. Frank coaxed the engine to life and slipped it into gear. Between you sat Mussolini, Frank’s English bulldog, 37 pounds of mouth breathing ugly beast. The creature stopped slobbering for a second, tilted his head at you and extended a grin resembling a ’56 Buick after rear ending an 18 wheeler. After five miles your friend felt an obligation to reassure. “You know we can fall in love in no time but time can cause you to fall out of love.” You looked out the window and thought, this from a guy whose primary relationship is with his dog. “For example,” Frank said, “this dog loves me and I know it’s a delicate thing. Another two miles. Cautiously, he asked, “What happened?” You reached back a couple of hours. Irene was in the kitchen, rattling around after fixing herself a cup of coffee. “I’ve got to be going,” you said. Over her shoulder, “Okay. What about dinner? Want me to heat something up? Get takeout?” You rubbed the kitchen counter. “No, I’m leaving. I think we should break up. I think it has run its course.” You couldn’t look at her but you could see her set down the mug. She cocked her head to the side and inspected every pore in your face. “Sorry?” “I don’t think I can make you happy.” The blaze in her underappreciated brown eyes crumbled your soul. “I just want to be truthful,” you said, drafting a quick defense but a small voice told you to take two steps back. “Run its course?” she asked with a dash of sarcasm drawing her lips over her perfect teeth. “Happy?” She threw the word on the floor and pulverized it with her heel. Her nimble hands reached up and tucked her lavender scented hair behind each ear. “Truthful?” A deep pause. “You

182

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


wouldn’t know the truth if it slowly crawled up your ass and sprouted wings, you selfish, self-centered door knob.” This wasn’t going well. Accelerating from zero to 60 in half a heartbeat the coffee mug sang by your ear and disintegrated on the wall. You twisted around and saw it was the cup you made for her in pottery class. Your head snapped back at a simple sound and she had another one in the chamber. No! Not the Broncos cup. You tried a ninja move but it deflected off your hand, ricocheted off the ceiling and burst into orange and blue kernels. You admired her stance; she kept her balance and had a well-timed release with good follow-through. Locked and loaded she gently balanced another cup in her palm, waiting for the right signal: a fastball, change up? No. She went side arm, a slider, low and inside just catching the corner. It was the freebie from the credit union when you opened a joint checking account. You never cared for that one. Three strikes and you were out. You laid your arm on the window sill of the truck. Not like this was your first real relationship nor was she your first real girlfriend but it was your first real breakup and it happened right in front of you. “Like a car wreck?” Frank offered. No, you mused. You didn’t slam on the brakes. You didn’t skid. You’re not even sure why you did it. All the promises you made. All the coffee mugs you collected. What had you done? What was wrong with routine, sameness and always walking through the same door? Now you were in a time warp. There was time before her, time with her and now nothing but time. Frank caught you glancing at your watch and waxed, “Ever notice the more you look at the clock the slower times goes?” Damn it, can’t you just look at your watch? He refined the issue. “The art of passing time is doing something other than what you are doing which is drifting from the past to the present and back again.” You did wish you could freeze time. You had done it before. At the bookstore Irene was kneeling before a collection of Russian authors. You had never understood the concept of beauty or emotion or art until that frozen moment. All you could do was stare. She turned, saw you and her smile was an orgasm. You gripped the shelf so you wouldn’t be propelled

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

183


from the earth. You are haunted by the experience of seeing her and then not being able to see her. “You must never be careless with love,” Frank said. “Because if you are, you must atone.” You glanced at Mussolini and you felt like a lost dog.

184

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


Mora by Kate McCahill For twelve months I have been travelling alone. I’ve taken buses from Guatemala City to Esquel, Patagonia. I have made a life of rented rooms, of fleeting friends and early-morning goodbyes. In Nicaragua, I turned twentyseven. I have a backpack filled with dirty clothes, a laptop whose mouse stopped working in Peru, and a US passport with one last empty page. In seven days, I will board a plane to New York City and fly home. * In Mina Clavera, a river the color of amber flows. In the sunlight, the water flickers, and from the banks slides a soft, pale sand. Willows dip their long boughs, and bridges connect the town, split by the water. To get to Mina, I ride buses all afternoon, past canyons that remind me of the American Southwest, past rivers that remind me of my home in New York State, past sedge-speckled plains and once, a pine forest. This is central Argentina, the high desert, and the sun beats down. I reach Mina in the early evening, and wander and wander around the little town, grateful for the long summer light. People have come out of their houses and are sitting in the park. I ask a man in a little shop where I might find a hostel, and he directs me to one by the river, where a beautiful, longhaired woman with a baby on her hip rents me a room. Two cats, orange and enormous, swirl around her legs as she unlocks the door. Her husband, a darkskinned, dark-eyed, muscular man, works in the garden, and he smiles at me when we pass. Later, chatting beneath the carob trees, the couple gives me a beer and tells me to go to Nono, eight kilometers from Mina Clavera. Nono’s museum, the long-haired woman says, is the town’s main attraction, and it’s a pretty walk from the bus station to get there. In the morning, I ride a bus through canyons and fields and am deposited in the center of Nono. There is a neat, tiny plaza here, a few tiendas, a rust-colored cathedral. “El museo?” I ask a boy leaning against a crumbling blue wall, and he points the way down one of four blank dirt roads that stretches from each corner of the plaza. I thank him and offer a piece of gum. He takes it. The sun is low but warm already, and the air is buzzing. Water from the plaza’s spindly

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

185


fountain smacks stone. I walk out of town, following the road up the river for miles. Coral mountains rise up against a brilliant sky, and only two cars pass. At the end of the road, the museum stands jaunty and red beneath cottonwood trees. One man’s lifelong collection is housed within these walls, and I enter to find skulls and dolls, crucifixes and car parts, hundreds of lamps, old teeth, old boxes of matches, shells, bones, a two-headed cow. I wander the dusty rooms—one smells just like the hot stones in my grandmother’s sauna, another like a wet cellar. A third, the room of playing cards and board games and old paintings, smells like dried flowers. There are a dozen sets of cutlery fixed to one wall, and thirty old radios, forty ancient sewing machines, the taxidermied remains of Argentina’s biggest cow—nearly twenty feet long and eight feet high. There are glass boxes of bones, dozens of statues of the Virgin Mary, a hundred spatulas in every conceivable size and color. Over everything rests a sheen of dust and the scent of old wood, stored for decades behind creaking doors. On my way back to the bus stop, a car pulls over. “Want a ride?” the driver shouts. He’s an older man, and he waits while I run to the car and get in the front seat. I am not afraid, here where the water runs so close to the road, where a thousand skulls live beneath a red roof. In this town, shaded by canyon, I feel at ease, as if I am barefoot. The man drives very, very slowly, and does not ask me where I’m headed. Cars and buses pass, mopeds and once a horse. I’m amazed at the sudden traffic. The dust from it rolls up in clouds ahead of us. He asks me the standard things: where I’m from, what I’m doing. I tell him I’ve been on the road a year, and I leave in a week. He looks at me, frowns a little. “We will miss you here,” he says. “Come back to us soon.” I ask him what he does in Nono. “Me,” he says, “I sell sausage.” It takes me a moment to translate fiambre in my head, then a moment more to realize that he was the one outside the museum with the strings of sausage in his hands, calling out to the cars that passed, cajoling them to stop for just a taste. “I saw you!” I tell him. “I remember now.” And then he remembers too. “You were the girl all by herself walking in!” Now we have much to talk about. We discuss the museum, his work (once a pharmacist in Cordoba, now a sausage salesman in Nono). He points out his house as we pass it, a little white ranch-style casita with a small, pretty yard, a couple of trees. “What a nice life you have,” I say. I put my hand on the spotless dash; the

186

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


mirrors look recently wiped. “What a nice car.” I add. “How old do you think I am?” he asks. I peer at him, at his ruddy cheeks, his receding hairline, his big belly. He looks at least sixty. “Forty….two,” I tell him. He grins, nods. “Well,” he says, “I’ve celebrated forty-two years.” The conversation shifts to my age—he guesses I’m twenty-seven. We talk about Córdoba, the nearest city, and about how life there can wear on you, all the dust and pavement, and the sun is setting ahead of us. After a short silence, he says, “I have to tell you something.” He pauses to wave at a family we pass, rolling down his window and then raising it again against the dust. “You know how I said I had celebrated forty-two years?” He glances at me. “I’m much older than that. How old, do you think?” “Fifty…one,” I guess. He laughs. “Seventy-five!” he cries, slapping his hand against his forehead. “Seventyfive.” I tell him again how good his life seems, with the trees that sing here, and the river that runs amber around stones. He drops me off at the bus stop, leans over to kiss my cheek. “Thanks,” I tell him. “You’re welcome, daughter,” he replies. “All the luck.” And then he’s gone. In Mina Clavera, I eat the sweet, enormous blackberries that grow over the bridge in the center of town. Mora, the people call them, and most everyone’s lips here are stained the color of wine. At my hostel, I go and sit by the river and the husband comes over with his baby in a sling. We say hello, and then nothing more, and the silence feels easy and right. The air is heavy with water, and it settles down on us like clothes. Later, I eat rice and beans while the night clerk, a redheaded man from Ireland, tells me he met a woman here eight years ago and never went home. He brews us cups of tea and tells me he was married a year ago, and his family is coming to visit from Ireland in the fall. “We’re expecting,” he admits shyly, and his voice holds so much ill-concealed delight that I reach out, spontaneously, and give him a hug. And when I’m lying in bed that night, I think: I must remember all of this forever.

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

187


Stained by Jennifer Squires You wore red lipstick on Sunday. It matched your church dress that fell to your knees and covered the bruise on your thigh. I gave you a glass of ice water that you didn’t want but took anyway. My dead aunt gave me that glass. She said it belonged to Hitler’s second wife but I still don’t believe her. Maybe Hitler’s wife wore red lipstick just like you. My mom told me about girls like you. She said that I shouldn’t be friends with you. She didn’t meet you. She wouldn’t like you. She’s dead, gone like Aunt Lana. She hated that glass. That’s why I gave it to you. It speaks of hatred and lipstick lies but you didn’t know that, as the poison took you down. Thank you for being polite. Now that you’re gone, I don’t use the glass. I used to drink white wine in it on bad nights but now I don’t. It still has your lipstick stain on the top.

188

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


Circular Seeds by Susan Aylward

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

189


When I See You Smile Up by Burgess Needle three small boxes of raisins shocked me into memory you wanted more protein with oatmeal you wanted it with brown sugar all those years of stepping on a scale exhaling a fraction of an ounce grasping some dream of slimness then we entered topsy-turvy world when your only hope was to gain add some raisins and brown sugar just before sleep I am happy seeing you smile up from blueberry faces on pancakes your only hope was to gain alchemy the name of my new game apparent eggs were glucose boosted minute chicken was tricked out with cheese pellets then a friend came and did your hair hospital bed aside you sat proud why do I have only these raisins now and not the hair clippings from that day technicians checked would that curling iron explode was the plug compatible you were beautiful then I called you that my beautiful one who wore the slim wrist watch still by the bed ticking ticking ticking away worlds that may not be stored except just before sleep when I see you smile up

190

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


Persephone by Rita Feinstein Out of pomegranates. Again. She sighs in frustration and shifts her overloaded shopping basket to her left hand. Where the mottled magenta fruits usually loll on a bed of spongy mesh, today there are only navel oranges—pocked and pale and pithy. She’s been craving pomegranates for weeks now. She wants to rip one open and feel its tart warm juice leak between her fingers. She wants to pop the blood-drop seeds in her mouth by the handful. She wants to eat them alone at the kitchen island where no one can see her red-stained mouth and hands. Like her, pomegranates are defiant and unyielding unless you know the right way to approach them. He knows. He’s worked here almost as long as she’s been shopping here, and though he never says anything, he’s always there in the background, stacking apples or spraying the eggplants and parsley with a fine mist. He’s suddenly beside her now, half a pomegranate cupped in his palm. Wordlessly, she takes it. His face breaks into a black-toothed grin.

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

191


The Moments by Rick Smith Rising off a lake at early light, at first I didn’t recognize you there. But somehow, in an afternoon, we were in the same place at the same time, catching the right bus at a corner in a different town. Chance sat us together, but there is no chance. We talked all night from Fontana to sun up. Now, when the river passes, we see the same paper boat, the same wild flapping of a heron rising, the smooth depth charge of a western grebe. We see the visual, then we hear the back beat. It’s all music, it’s suppose to happen, it’s happened before and we’re here for all of it.

192

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


Bios Kiik A.K. is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley and Santa Clara University. He earned a MA from UC Davis where his poetics thesis was titled “The Joy of Human Sacrifice,” and an MFA from UC San Diego where his collection of counter-internment narratives was titled “Everyday Colonialism.” His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Pleiades, The Southeast Review, iO, Washington Square, Spork Press and Alice Blue Review. “a pheasant” is dedicated to the writer, scholar and professor, Elizabeth Losh. Dick Altman finds himself more and more turning plants into poems. Their survival, especially in the extremes of the high, hot desert plains, remains, he says, an endless source of inspiration and mystery. The Santa Fean earned an MA in English Literature from the University of Chicago. Susan Aylward is a local writer and photographer who blogs Prose, Poetry, and Pictures at susanaylward.wordpress.com Holly Baldwin is a birth worker in Santa Fe, NM, who loves writing, creative pursuits and dreaming out loud. In between school and her passions, Holly is busy nurturing her family, including her husband and four children. Her story was written as a bedtime folktale for her children, and she modeled the dancer after her beautiful, ballet-driven daughters. Bailey Benton

studied creative writing all through high school and enjoyed it thoroughly. Now 19 and a student at SFCC, Bailey majors in Respiratory Therapy. Though she is not an English major, she keeps the creative spark alive and still writes often.

Jesse Bodelson was born and raised in the wonderful town of Santa Fe, New Mexico. She has lived here for the entirety of her short life. At an early age, she recognized her passion for writing and has continued to write since then. Jessie’s literary inspirations include, but are not limited to, her beloved mother and her amazingly talented friends, all of whom are the secret centerpieces of her work. It is without question that Jessie will continue to write in the many years to come for she hopes to one day publish her own book of collected works.

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

193


Ace Boggess is the author of two books of poetry: The Prisoners (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2014) and The Beautiful Girl Whose Wish Was Not Fulfilled (Highwire Press, 2003). He is an ex-con, ex-husband, ex-reporter and completely exhausted by all the things he isn't anymore. His writing has appeared in Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, Atlanta Review, RATTLE, River Styx, Southern Humanities Review and many other journals. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia. Doug Bootes is straddling an undefined realm between painter and poet, sculptor and novelist. He has two amazing daughters and a half dozen cats to fill in the white spaces. He is a recipient of the Richard Bradford Memorial Creative Writing scholarship, along with several poetry awards has published his first chapbook, Maelstrom. He’s currently enrolled in the creative writing program at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. John Brandi

has recently returned from a third visit to Cuba where he continues to seek dialogue and exchange as poet, painter, and activist for world camaraderie, sin fronteras. Two new limited-edition books are forthcoming: En Cuba (Bancroft Library Press, Berkeley) and Into the Dream Maze (Press at the Palace of the Governors, Santa Fe).

Kate Braverman is a poet and experimental writer of a singular and ruthless breed. She is author of four books of poetry, the novels: Lithium for Medea, Palm Latitudes, Wonders of the West, and The Incantation of Frida K. Her Graywolf Prize for Creative Non-Fiction award winning memoir, Frantic Transmissions to and from Los Angeles: An Accidental Memoir, was published in Feb. 2006. Her works have been translated to Italian, Turkish, Latvian, Japanese, French and German. Her short stories and poems are widely anthologized. "Tall Tales from the Mekong Delta" appears in the Norton Anthology of Short Fiction, Vintage, Vantage, and Scribner’s anthologies and many others. “Tall Tales from the Mekong Delta” won a Best American Short Story prize and O.Henry Award. Her short story "Mrs. Jordan's Summer Vacation" won Editor's Choice Raymond Carver Award. She received a Pushcart Prize for her short story, “Cocktail Hour.” Other awards include the 2005 Mississippi Review Prize, and a Christopher Isherwood Foundation Fellowship for lifetime recognition of achievement and another Best American Short Story prize for her story “Pagan Night.” Most recently Kate Braverman won the Margie J. Wilson Poetry Prize from Margie Review. She has also received a Recognition Award from the California Legislature Assembly, and a San Francisco Public Library Honoree. Her certificate reads: "For your success as an influential novelist, short story writer, and poet, and for your literary achievements that have garnered great acclaim, numerous awards and a Pushcart Prize, thereby making California a better place to live." Kate Braverman taught creative writing for 20 years at UCLA and privately for 9 years. Her private workshop produced hundreds of poems and Janet Fitch’s Oprah Book Club bestseller White Oleander, Mary Rakov’s Lannen Grant novel, The Memory Room and Christina Garcia’s National Book Award nominee novel Dreaming in Cuban. 194

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


Stacy Brewster is co-founder of the Full Frontal Writing Collective at http://www.fullfrontalwc.com/ and runs writing workshops for Write Around Portland http://www.writearound.org/, a non-profit that provides 10-week workshops at no cost for those who may not have access to writing in community because of income, isolation, disability, or other barriers. Stacy’s short fiction and poems have appeared most recently in The Summerset Review, qu.ee/r Magazine, and Plenitude Magazine. He lives in Portland, Oregon with his husband. Debbi Brody

is an avid attendee and leader of poetry workshops throughout the Southwest. She has been published in numerous national and regional journals, magazines and anthologies of note. Her new full length poetry manuscript, In Everything, Birds, (Village Books Press, OKC, OK) is due for release spring 2015. She was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. She received a B.A. in Sociology from Southern Illinois University in 1979, the same year she married. She and her husband have one grown son, Dylan and a daughter-in-law, Leigha. They have resided in New Mexico since 1991. Debbi works for a small scientific research and development laboratory in Santa Fe. She can be reached at artqueen58@aol.com or 505-603-5930.

Marylou Butler, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist and President Emerita of Southwestern College in Santa Fe. She hails from Philadelphia, Pa. where she was a founding mother of the Feminist Therapy Collective, one of the first in the nation. More recently, she co-founded a local chapter of Codepink, a women’s peace organization. She practices mindfulness meditation with the Desert Rain Sangha in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh. Her professional publications can be found in the Psychology of Women Quarterly, Professional Psychology, the Journal of Sex Roles, and The Counseling Psychologist. She also has a chapter in the Handbook of Feminist Therapy. Jennifer Campbell is an English professor in Buffalo, NY, and a co-editor of Earth’s Daughters. Her second book of poetry, Supposed to Love, was published by Saddle Road Press in 2013. Recent work appears in Saranac Review, Comstock Review, The Prompt, Oyez Review, Common Ground Review, Sow’s Ear, Fugue, and The Healing Muse, and is forthcoming in Seems. Visit her at www.jennifer-campbell.com. Melissa Cannon, born in New Hampshire, grew up in Tennessee.

Her first career was teaching college English; her second, working in the fast-food industry. Her work has appeared in many small-press journals and anthologies. During the past year, she has been a frequent contributor to Ship of Fools.

Susana H. Case’s newest book is 4 Rms w Vu (Mayapple Press). Author of four full-length poetry collections and four chapbooks, including The Scottish Café, which was re-released in a Polish-English version, Kawiarnia Szkocka, by Opole University Press, she is a Professor at the New York Institute of Technology. http://iris.nyit.edu/~shcase/.

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

195


B. Mitchell Cator is a writer and technology consultant with twenty-five years in the Information Technology industry. He grew up primarily in the Texas panhandle. In his free time, he is currently working on a novel. He is an ice cream enthusiast, a selfproclaimed geek, and a horrible golfer. http://geek.catoronline.com http://about.me/bmitchellcator. Twitter: @bmitchellcator Charlie Kalogeros-Chattan is a native New Englander who followed her heart to Northern New Mexico where she writes and lives with her husband and her three dogs. Her work has appeared in the Santa Fe Literary Review, Conceptions Southwest, Trickster, the Harwood Anthology, and the Harwood’s How To…Perspectives on Growing a Garden. Chelsey Clammer has been published in The Rumpus, Water~Stone Review, Essay Daily, and The Nervous Breakdown, among many others, and forthcoming work in Black Warrior Review. She is managing editor and nonfiction editor for The Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review, as well as a columnist and workshop instructor for the journal. Clammer is also the nonfiction editor for Pithead Chapel and associate essays editor for The Nervous Breakdown. Her first collection of essays, There Is Nothing Else to See Here, is forthcoming from The Lit Pub, Winter 2014. Her second collection of essays, BodyHome, is forthcoming from Hopewell Publishing in Spring 2015. You can read more of her writing at www.chelseyclammer.com Veronica Anna Clark is an aspiring writer who has been writing since her very early childhood. She writes mostly fiction in a variety of genres, but also writes memoirs and screenplays and is currently developing her art in poetry. Her recent memoir “Break Down” has been published in Accolades. She will be receiving her Associates in Arts with a creative writing concentration in spring of 2015 and will continue to study creative writing. She hopes to one day earn a living from her writing and share her creations with the world. Jack Cooper's

first poetry collection, Across My Silence, was published by World Audience, Inc., 2007. His work has been nominated three times for a Pushcart Prize. His poetry and microfiction have appeared in many publications, including Santa Fe Literary Review, Connecticut River Review, The South Dakota Review, The Evansville Review, North American Review, and KYSO Flash.

Jackie Corley

is the founder and publisher of Word Riot and Word Riot Press. Her work has appeared in Redivider, Fourteen Hills, 3AM Magazine and in various print anthologies. A short story collection, The Suburban Swindle, was published in 2008 by the now-defunct So New Press.

196

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


Hilary Craig is an 18 year old senior in high school taking writing classes at the SFCC. Writing since the age of 10, she focuses on realistic fiction, spoken word, and poetry. She plans on attending college in Colorado and furthering a writing career. Behzad Dayeny Director of Food Services at Santa Fe Community College, born in Iran, has been living in Santa Fe since 1984. Mark DeFoe

is Professor Emeritus at West Virginia Wesleyan College, where he teaches in Wesleyan’s low-residency MFA Writing Program. His tenth chapbook, In the Tourist Cave, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2012. DeFoe won the 2005 Chautauqua Literary Journal’s poetry competition and the 2009 Tennessee Chapbook Award.

Kelly Dolejsi’s poems have appeared in Phantasmagoria, The Bitter Oleander and September 11, 2001: American Writers Respond. After graduating with her M.F.A. from Emerson College, Kelly stopped writing poetry for several years. She started writing again, probably out of desperation, after having children. Caitlin Downey I graduated from Vermont College of Fine Arts with an MFA in Poetry in 2010. My work has been featured in a cross-genre exhibit, Romancing the Stones, was a finalist in the 2014 Burlington Book Festival Writing Contest, and has appeared in The Salon. Tasha Duran is loved by her cat MuXu Gato McGee III Esq. MuXu is a hybrid form of cat/sphinx proficient in playing the jewelry harp. She enjoys her food in the center of the bowl, redecorating her boxes, very clean luxurious fur, and torturing her scribes’ new man leash. They hope to continue writing for your amusement. Rita Feinstein has never seen eye-to-eye with reality. As a child, she was convinced she was a long-lost dragon princess, and as a twenty-two-year-old, she writes about the human experience through a magical, mythological lens. She is currently pursuing her MFA in Poetry at Oregon State University. Her work has appeared in Adobe Walls, Menacing Hedge and Moonshot Magazine. Lydia Gonzales

is an artist and student in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The three photographs featured in this book were shot in B&W film. She developed them and printed them in the darkroom. This process, she feels, brings out the beautiful details of life and the desert within the photographs.

Steven Gowin is a corporate video producer in San Francisco. His work has appeared in the Camroc Press Review, Literary Orphans, Mojave River Press and Review, and others. Gowin is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

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

197


Marianna Hofer

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

David Michael Kaplan is the author of the short story collection, Comfort (Viking-Penguin) and a novel, Skating in the Dark (Pantheon). His short stories have appeared in Five Points, The Atlantic, TriQuarterly, Redbook, Story, Crazyhorse, Prairie Schooner, The Ohio Review, and Quarterly West, among others. They have been anthologized in Best American Short Stories, O. Henry Prize Stories, Sudden Fiction International, and the Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Short Fiction, among others. He teaches fiction writing at Loyola University Chicago. Mary Oertel-Kirschner is a poet living in Albuquerque. She previously had a career as a news writer and editor, and also has written two novels that are awaiting discovery by a publisher. Her poems capture life experiences that she doesn’t want to lose to time and memory failure, and she hopes they produce a ping of connection for the reader. She has been part of a group of Albuquerque women poets for 25 years. Her work has appeared in Fixed and Free Anthology (2011 and 2015), Adobe Walls (2014), Poetry from the Other Side (2013), and two chapbooks, Quartet and Quintet. Oliver Knudsen was born in lovely and exciting Salt Lake City, Utah. He currently lives, writes and works in Santa Fe. John P. Kristofco, from Highland Heights, Ohio, is professor of English and the former dean of Wayne College in Orrville. His poetry, short stories, and essays have appeared in over a hundred different publications, including: Folio, Rattle, The Bryant Literary Review, The Cimarron Review, Poem, Grasslimb, Iodine, Small Pond, The Aurorean, Ibbetson Street, Blue Unicorn, Blueline, and Sheepshead Review. He has published three collections of poetry, A Box of Stones, Apparitions, and The Fire in Our Eyes. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize five times. Paul Lamar received a BA in History of Music from Yale but has taught English at the high school and college levels for decades. When not writing poetry and short stories or reviewing theater for a local paper, he's the pianist for a couple of choral groups in the Capital Region. Paul lives with his partner, Mark, in Albany, NY, not far from their three grown children and delightful nine-year-old granddaughter.

198

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


Page Lambert Author and leader of creative adventures, Lambert is the recipient of numerous writing awards. Her poetry, essays, and stories can be found inside monumental sculptures at the Denver Art Museum, online at Huffington Post, inside the pages of The Writer, and in dozens of anthologies about the West. She writes the popular blog, All Things Literary. All Things Natural. www.pagelambert.com. Caroline LeBlanc’s

art, poetry and essays have been published in juried print and online publications. Oiseau Press (Maine) published her chapbook, Smokey Ink and a Touch of Honeysuckle, in 2010. As Writer in Residence for the Museum of the American Military Family, Caroline spearheaded the museum’s ongoing Postcard Project, and wrote the script for the museum’s 2014 traveling exhibit, “Sacrifice & Service: The American Military Family.” She directed and performed in 4 Voices on the 4th, a veteran and family member collage poetry program. In partnership with the national Telling Project, the MAMF sponsored Telling Albuquerque, which Caroline Co-produced and Co-wrote. A military family member and a former Army nurse, Caroline is a member of the Women Veterans of New Mexico, and hosts a bi-weekly Writing Salon for Women Veterans and Family Members. Since relocating to New Mexico, her art pieces have been included in a number of group shows. As a founding member of the Apronista Women Artists Collective, Caroline has participated in and helped mount the groups’ annual installations as part of the Women & Creativity programs each March.

Donald Levering

is the winner of the 2015 Literal Latté Poetry Award. He is a former NEA Fellow and has been featured in the Academy of American Poets Forum and the Duende Poetry Series. His 12th poetry book, The Water Leveling With Us, was published in 2014 by Red Mountain Press. Visit donaldlevering.com.

Noah Caswell-Levy

was conceived by accident in Los Angeles, CA. He enjoys surfing, playing the banjo, writing, and watching movies. He believes black comedy to be the most honest genre, though he has been known to enjoy Southern Gothic, postmodern horror, historical epics and buddy cop movies. He swears in casual conversation entirely too goddamn much, and is often accused by women of being callous and distant. He has never eaten a pear, and nor does he wish to. His favorite president is James K. Polk aka “Young Hickory,” because “2nd terms are for hacks.” Though deeply wounded by his drunken, racist tirades, Noah forgives Mel Gibson. Noah wishes to spend his twilight years in relative obscurity, in a quaint cottage by the sea surrounded by concubines and fresh fruit.

Lyn Lifshin’s

new books include Knife Edge & Absinthe: the Tango poems; For the Roses, poems for Joni Mitchell, All The Poets Who Touched Me; A Girl Goes Into The Woods; Malala, Tangled as the Alphabet: The Istanbul Poems. Secretariat: The Red Freak, The Miracle, Malala and Femina Eterna: Enheduanna, Scheherazade and Nefertiti. Web site:www.lynlifshin.com. Coming soon: Thru Maple Stained Windows and an update to my Gale Research Series LIPS, BLUES, BLUE LIPS: ON THE OUTSIDE.

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

199


Sara Lippmann is the recipient of a 2012 Fellowship in Fiction from the New York Foundation for the Arts. Her debut story collection, Doll Palace, was published by Dock Street Press (2014). Her work has appeared in Tupelo Quarterly, Joyland, Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood, PANK, The Potomac Review, Fourth Genre, Slice Magazine, and many other print and online publications. Raised outside of Philadelphia, she lives with her husband and children in Brooklyn. George Longenecker teaches writing and history at Vermont Technical College. His recent poetry has been published in, Atlanta Review, Sixfold, The Kerf, and Memoir. He’d rather be hiking in Utah or Vermont than waiting in airports. Ray Anthony Lopez is a native New Mexican. His writing career began as a reporter for the Las Cruces Sun-News and continued with The Taos News, writing about Hispano-Anglo cultural issues. Ray lives in Santa Fe with his three cats, Chico, Omar, Tucker, and his wife, Genevieve. Aside from writing, he is an avid art and music enthusiast and retired legislative analyst. Robin MacArthur is a mother, writer and musician who lives on the hillside where she was born in southern Vermont. She is the author of Contemporary Vermont Fiction: An Anthology and one half of the indie-folk duo Red Heart the Ticker. Her work as appeared in Orion Magazine, Alaska Quarterly, Shenandoah, and on NPR. Michael Gillan Maxwell is a writer and visual artist in the Finger Lakes region of New York state. Maxwell writes short fiction, poetry, songs, essays, lists, recipes and irate letters to his legislators. His work has been featured in a number of journals and anthologies. He served as associate flash fiction editor for JMWW quarterly journal from 2012-2014 and he is editor of MadHat’s Drive-By Book Reviews. A teller of tales and singer of songs, he’s prone to random outbursts and may spontaneously combust or break into song at any moment. Maxwell can be found ranting and raving on his website: Your Own Backyard http://michaelgillanmaxwell.com Kate McCahill

is a graduate of Wellesley College and the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her essays and poems have appeared in Best Women’s Travel Writing, The Lowestoft Chronicle, The Evening Street Review, and The Santa Fe Literary Review. “Mora” is excerpted from her first book, Time Like Water: A Year Alone on the Patagonian Road.

Mary Morris received the Rita Dove Award and the New Mexico Discovery Award. Her writing appears in Prairie Schooner, The Columbia Review, and Quarterly West. Morris has been invited to read her poems at the Library of Congress and NPR. Water400@aol.com.

200

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


Judy K. Mosher, Ph.D., has called New Mexico home for almost 30 years. She has prose and poetry published in Adobe Walls, CALYX, Malpais Review, Noyo River Review, Santa Fe Literary Review, 200newmexicopoems.wordpress.com and elsewhere. In 2014 she co-authored the book Bosque Rhythms, an anthology of poems of the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Besides writing, she hikes with her rescue golden retriever Jessie wherever they go. Richard Murray’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Slipstream, Poetry East, Rattle, The Broome Review, Albatross, Connecticut River Review and other literary journals. He teaches creative writing at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Burgess Needle is a retired librarian, Tucson poet and former Peace Corps volunteer (Thailand) whose poems have appeared in Blackbox Manifold (UK), Concho River Review, Under the Radar (UK), Kritya (India), Of Zoos (Singapore), Brittle Star (UK) and Iodine. His collections include: Every Crow in the Blue Sky, Diminuendo Press, and Thai Comic Books, Big Table Publishing. Jim Nye went through OCS, subsequently served with 1st Battalion, 3rd Infantry (Honor Guard) in Washington D.C., the 101st Airborne Division and 5th Special Forces (MACSOG) inVietnam. Cinco Puntos Press published a collection of his works in After Shock: Poems and Prose from the Vietnam War. His poems have been published in A Measured Response, Off the Record, Puerto del Sol, American War Poetry, From Both Sides Now, Adobe Walls and works of criticism: Dismantling Glory, Memories of a Lost War and Der Krieg in der Amerikanichen Literatur. After leaving the army he graduated from the University of Tampa and Dickinson School of Law. He is married to Joan with one daughter and two grandchildren. Meg O’Brien, in the last two years, has transitioned from educational and IT administration, curriculum building, strategic plans, and digital media to memoir writing that escorts the reader through the challenges, sorrows and joys of living in two primary communities, eighteen years in a family community and thirty-two years as a Catholic nun, committed to education and social justice. Gwynn O’Gara served as the Sonoma County Poet Laureate 2010-2012. Her poems have been published in Spoon River Poetry Review, Calyx, The Evansville Review, and the Beatitude Silver and Golden Anniversary Anthologies. Her books include Snake Woman Poems and the chapbooks Fixer-Upper and Winter at Green Haven. She has taught with California Poets in the Schools for over twenty years.

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

201


Bill O’Neill grew up in rural central Ohio, graduated from Cornell University, and took to an extreme his sibling tradition of not immediately entering into the world of job, family and home ownership. Decades later he finds himself to be a New Mexico State Senator, entering his seventh year of service as an elected official. Bill's poems have appeared in regional and national publications, including The Malpais Review, The NM Poetry Review, Rolling Stock and The New York Quarterly. Erin K. Parker currently lives in Long Beach, California with her cat and her very patient boyfriend. She is thrilled to be a nominee for Best of the Net 2014, and was a short story finalist in the 2012 Naked Girls Reading Literary Honors contest. Her work has been published in Uno Kudo, Lost in Thought, Drunk Monkeys, Red Fez, Altar Collective, and Ka-Pow!. Look for new fiction from Erin in Uno Kudo, Vol. 4 and the forthcoming Alice in Wonderland Anthology from Silver Birch Press. http://www.erinkparker.com/ Aimee Parkison’s books are The Petals of Your Eyes (Starcherone/Dzanc 2014), The Innocent Party (BOA Editions 2012) and Woman with Dark Horses (Starcherone 2004). Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from the following magazines: Mississippi Review, This Land, North American Review, The Literary Review, Nimrod, Quarterly West, Santa Monica Review, Other Voices, Crab Orchard Review, Fiction International, Fugue, Yalobusha Review, Seattle Review, Feminist Studies, So To Speak, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and Denver Quarterly. A winner of the Starcherone Prize for Innovative Fiction, she has received grants and fellowships from the American Antiquarian Society, the Christopher Isherwood Foundation, and the Puffin Foundation. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Cornell University and teaches creative writing at Oklahoma State University. In past years, she has won a Writers at Work fellowship, a Jack Dyer Prize from Crab Orchard Review, and a Kurt Vonnegut Fiction Prize from North American Review. More information can be found at her website: www.aimeeparkison.com Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, Osiris, Poetry, The New Yorker, and elsewhere. His most recent collection is Almost Rain, published by River Otter Press (2013). For more information, free e-books and his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” please visit his website at www.simonperchik.com. Elizabeth Raby is the author of a memoir in prose and poetry, Ransomed Voices, and three full-length poetry collections. A fourth collection, Beneath Green Rain, will be published in early 2015. She has lived in Santa Fe since 2000. She and her husband conduct a monthly open poetry reading at Santa Fe’s Teatro Paraguas.

202

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


Margaret Randall (New York 1936) writes from Albuquerque. She lived for 23 years in Mexico, Cuba, and Nicaragua. When she came home in 1984 she was ordered deported because of the content of some of her books, but won her case in 1989. About Little Charlie Lindberg and The Rhizome as a Field of Broken Bones are among her most recent poetry collection (both from Wings Press, San Antonio). Elizabeth Rees’s first collection, Every Root a Branch, was published by Codhill Press in 2014. She is also the author of three award-winning chapbooks. Her poems have appeared in Agni, Kenyon Review, Partisan Review and Prairie Schooner, among many other journals. J.E. Reich's fiction and nonfiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Luna Luna Magazine, The Toast, LIT Magazine, Nerve, HEEB, Armchair/Shotgun, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Everyday Genius, gigantic sequins, fwriction : review, and many other places. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2010 and 2012, and was a 2013 recipient of the TENT Creative Writing fellowship. A Brooklyn resident, Reich is currently working on her first novel, and her novella, The Demon Room, is out now. Follow her on Twitter @jereichwrites for future endeavors and vaguely amusing dad jokes. Sue Ring deRosset, MA CNF, has floated a few rivers. Her poems, stories, and essays have been published in regional and national journals and magazines. She lives with her husband in Fort Collins, where she teaches creative writing workshops, edits books, and is at work on a memoir and novels. Lucy River was born and raised in Ireland. She now lives in Santa Fe with her New Mexico-born daughter. Lucy has an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice, runs a local civics and leadership development non-profit, and is a former law enforcement officer. She now advocates for women’s rights and several other causes during the state legislative session, and is a published author of women’s fiction as well as poetry. Barbara Robidoux

is the author of two books of poetry: Waiting for Rain (2007) and Migrant Moon (2012). She has had her fiction published in Yellow Medicine Review, The Santa Fe Literary Review and other journals. She has recently completed a collection of short stories which is awaiting publication and set on a reservation in northeastern Maine where she lived before relocating to Santa Fe, NM. Her poems are widely published in journals and anthologies worldwide. She is currently a student in the MFA program in Creative writing at the Institute of American Indian arts where she also works. She can be reached at Bgoodfood@aol.com.

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

203


Mona Lydon-Rochelle’s first poetry chapbook, Mourning Dove, was published in 2014 by Finishing Line Press. Her poems have appeared in Floating Bridge Review, About Place Journal and Journal of Medical Humanities (forthcoming). She has worked as an epidemiologist for Médecins Sans Frontières; a professor at the University of Washington and University of College Cork Ireland; and a midwife in New Mexico. She lives on an island in the Pacific Northwest. Barbara Rockman teaches poetry at Santa Fe Community College and through Wingspan Poetry Project with victims of domestic violence. Her prize-winning poems appear widely and her collection, Sting and Nest, received the 2012 New MexicoArizona Book Award. She earned her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Danny Rosen A former itinerant planetarium director, Danny studied geology and astronomy at Wyoming and Harvard. His second chapbook, Ghosts of Giant Kudu, was published by Kattywompus in 2013. His poems have appeared in San Pedro River Review, Fruitapulp, Comstock, Pilgrimage, The Rampallian, and Malpais Review. He lives among dogs and the Dolphin in Colorado’s western desert, where he runs the Lithic Press. danny@lithicpress.com. Colin Rowe has authored several articles for Cracked.com and his flash fiction has been published in Pure Slush and The Boston Literary Magazine. He is also a screenwriter, novelist, and editor of the RPG game book GenIsys Tome. He lives in Santa Fe, NM and works as a Mineral Abstractor. C.C. Russell

currently lives in Casper Wyoming with his wife, daughter, and their two feline overlords. His writing has appeared in The New York Quarterly, Pearl, and Hazmat Review, as well as on Kysoflash.com and MicrofictionMondayMagazine.com. He holds a BA in English from the University of Wyoming and has held jobs in a wide range of vocations – everything from graveyard shift convenience store clerk to retail management with stops along the way as dive bar dj and swimming pool maintenance. He has also lived in New York and Ohio.

Miriam Sagan teaches creative writing at Santa Fe Community College and is the author of over twenty-five books. Her haiku "conversation" with Elizabeth Searle Lamb was published as "Dream That Is Not A Dream." She loves artistic collaboration.

204

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


Baro K. Shalizi, a long time resident of Santa Fe, grew up in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Russia. He obtained his B.A. in Languages and Literature from Brandeis University in Boston, MA and his M.A. in International Law and International Business from The American University in Washington, DC. He is currently President of the Realtors Association of New Mexico. Baro recently completed his first full-length novel and is currently working on a second one. Prita K. Shalizi was born in Palamcotta, South India in 1918. She obtained her B.A. in Psychology from Barnard College, NY; her M.A. in Childhood Education from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. While studying for her PhD at Columbia University, NY, she met and married a student from Afghanistan. She lived in Afghanistan for over thirty years where she raised her family. Her travels have taken her to over 30 countries and she has had two books published, Here and There in Afghanistan and Transitions. She currently resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Rochelle Jewel Shapiro

is the author of Miriam the Medium (Simon & Schuster, 2004), Kaylee’s Ghost (2013) an Indie finalist, and a short story collection, What I Wish You’d Told Me (Shebooks, 2014). She teaches writing at UCLA Extension. http://rochellejewelshapiro.com.

Jane Shoenfeld is a painter (www.janeshoenfeld.com) and poet. Her paintings are represented in NYC at the First Street Gallery in Chelsea and in Santa Fe at Wheelhouse Art. Her poems have been published in Sin Fronteras and 200 New Mexico Poems, edited by Lisa H. Jackson. Her poem “Harry's Table” was a prize winner in the New Mexican Poetry Contest, Dec. 2013. Shoenfeld also teaches art and art therapy both locally and nationally. She lives in Santa Fe with her husband, the poet Donald Levering. Holly Simonsen

lives and works in her native Utah landscape, where her work explores the relationship between language and ecologically disrupted environments. Although primarily a poet, her work often migrates off the page into 3D spaces. She earned her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She was a recent fellow at the Vermont Studio Center and at the Djerassi Resident Artists' Program. To learn more, please visit www.hsimonsen.com.

Hasanthika Sirisena’s

work has appeared in the American Book Review, The Kenyon Review, Narrative, Glimmer Train, Epoch and other magazines. She is a recipient of fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo and a Rona Jaffe Writers Award. She is currently an associate fiction editor at West Branch and teaches creative writing at the City College of New York.

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

205


Michael G. Smith taught mathematics at Santa Fe Community College. His poetry has been published in many literary journals and anthologies. No Small Things was published by Tres Chicas Books in 2014. He loves wandering in the field. Rick Smith Harmonica player and lyricist with The Mescal Sheiks and Music Formula. Recent books: The Wren Notebook (2000), Hard Landing (2010) and Whispering In A Mad Dog’s Ear (2014), all from Lummox Press. Smith is a clinical psychologist specializing in brain damage and domestic violence; he practices in Rancho Cucamonga, CA. Jennifer Squires is a sixteen-year old biology major with a passion for the literary arts and musical theatre. Native to Santa Fe, she was homeschooled until she graduated high school in May 2014 with her GED and homeschool diploma. She plans on attending Santa Fe Community College until 2016 before moving on to pursue her Masters degree in molecular biology and pathophysiology. Dana Stamps II I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Cal State University of San Bernardino, and I have worked as a fast food server, a postal clerk, a security guard, and a group home worker with troubled boys. My recent publications include: Plainsongs, Main Street Rag, J Journal, Bayou, and Slant. Joannie Stangeland is the author of In Both Hands and Into the Rumored Spring, both published by Ravenna Press, and two chapbooks. Her poems have also appeared in Clockhouse, Off the Coast, Superstition Review, and other journals. Joannie works as a technical writer and helps out at the family winery. Anne Staveley is a portrait photographer whose distinct dynamic style explodes in vibrant color or classic black and white. Based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Staveley has established a business based on personal connection, vision and passion, and a crack sense of humor. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, Staveley sees herself as a storyteller with a camera, looking for that one telling image—a wrinkled brow, tear starting to form, open-mouthed laugh—that needs to be captured in time and place forever. Simply put, Staveley dreams in photos. She’s ready to grab her camera and create a portrait for you that captures much more than just surface. www.annestaveley.com.

206

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


Emily Stern is the author of When Doves Cry, a memoir about her childhood and her mother’s death in 1993 from complications of HIV/AIDS. She has been writing, performing, and teaching for over twenty years. Credits include The Portland Review, Entropy Magazine, Connotation Press, the anthologies Fireside Popcicles, Wishful Thinking, and Make/Shift Magazine. She performed in and co-created The Transfused, a full-length Rock Opera written up in Time, Bust, and Bitch magazines, has performed spoken word at Ladyfest Olympia and Los Angeles, Homo-A-Gogo, and The Sex Worker’s Art Show national tour with Michelle Tea and Penny Arcade. She performed in “The Opening of the Mouth,” with Ariana Reines and Jackie Wang. She’s taught all over the country, including Portland’s The Rock and Roll Camp for Girls and Tucson’s Casa Libre. She has an MFA from Goddard College in Creative Nonfiction with a critical emphasis on women and AIDS in literature, and a BA from the Evergreen State College. She’s currently the head of curriculum for first year students, the Integrated Learning Coordinator, and Liberal Arts faculty at the Santa Fe Community College, where she was named Phi Theta Kappa's Teacher of the Year for 2013-2014. In addition, she is a contributing faculty member in Creative Writing, Liberal Arts, and Humanities at The Institute of American Indian Arts, and Santa Fe University of Art and Design. Jane Schramm Tokunaga has been writing short fiction and poetry for the last few years, thanks to the creative writing program at SFCC. Henry Ono, one of her favorite characters, can usually be found playing pool with his buddies from the Curmudgeon campaign in his garage or trying his luck at the casino. He avoids green vegetables and meter maids. There has been talk about the 2018 Mayoral Race. Judith Toler

has been an editor, an English professor, faculty union organizer, artist and award-winning poet. She began writing poetry after retiring to Santa Fe, New Mexico, from Rochester, New York. Since then, dozens of her poems have appeared in a variety of anthologies and literary magazines. Judith recently published a limited-edition chapbook, Picasso’s Horse, and is currently completing another chapbook, My Grandmother’s Name Was Grace, as well as her first full-length book of poems, In the Shine of Broken Things, both due for publication in 2015.

Bob Tremmel I’m living and writing in Ankeny, Iowa. Naked man poems can be found in Hotel Amerika, Rattle, Pearl, Aethlon, The Listening Eye, Red Mountain Review, Lalitamba, Alimentum, The Silt Reader, Chiron Review, A Cadence of Hooves: A Celebration of Horses, and others. A chapbook titled There is a Naked Man was published by Main Street Rag.

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

207


Max Underwood was born and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the beautiful and enchanting southwestern landscapes have inspired him to pursue photography as a hobby and a career. Underwood graduated from the University of New Mexico’s College of Fine Arts (Fall 2010), with a BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) in photography. Underwood’s artistic influences include photographers such as Ansel Adams, Sebastiao Salgado, and Henri Cartier-Bresson, as well as painters like Claude Monet, Pierre Auguste Renoir, and Edgar Degas. Underwood is available pro-bono and professionally as a free agent. www.MaxUnderwood.com James Valvis is the author of How to Say Goodbye (Aortic Books, 2011). His poems or stories have appeared in Arts & Letters, Barrow Street, Chiron Review, Natural Bridge, Ploughshares, River Styx, The Sun, and many others. His poetry has been featured in Verse Daily. His fiction was chosen for the 2013 Sundress Best of the Net. In 2014 he was awarded a King County 4Culture Grant for the Arts. A former US Army soldier, he lives near Seattle. Marion Claire Wasserman is an artist, mother, yogi and gardener who is ever fascinated with nature’s forms - as intricate in form as function. The fragrant corn silk is the umbilical cord to the matrix of the corn. The honeycomb, home to hive is made of bee spit and so conveniently stores honey. Vibrant red flowers transform into these speckled, shiny, beans. marionclairewasserman.com. Leah Welborn is a writer and poet who lives with a small menagerie of animals in Denver. She graduated with an MFA from Antioch University. Terry Wilson has done stand up comedy and theatre in Los Angeles, and she’s performed autobiographical monologues in New Mexico, most recently, her one woman show, “Confessions of a Failed Saint.” Her pieces have been published in local publications like The Santa Fe Reporter and Santa Fe Literary Review, and nationally in Silverleaf Humor Anthology and Artemis Literary Journal. She taught creative writing to women in New Mexico jails as an artist in residence through the New Mexico Arts Division and has taught creative writing at SFCC for many years. Her new book, published in 2013, is also called Confessions of a Failed Saint. Bill Yarrow is the author of Blasphemer (Lit Fest Press 2015), Pointed Sentences (BlazeVOX 2012), and four chapbooks. His poems have appeared in many print and online magazines including Poetry International, RHINO, Contrary, DIAGRAM, FRiGG, Uno Kudo, Gargoyle, and PANK. He is a Professor of English at Joliet Junior College.

208

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


Laura Young is a photographer and artist living in Nashville, TN. She can’t settle on just one artistic medium and usually experiments with way too many techniques in her search for the perfect way to capture her travels and experiences in nature. Her recent residency at Oregon State University’s Spring Creek Project in the Coastal Range inspired her to try ephemeral artwork created on site, relief printmaking and the katagami style stencil included here. She has exhibited nationally and is included in the Art Photo Index, Photo Eye’s online visual database of photographers. See her work at www.laurayoung.net

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

209


Santa Fe Literar y Review 2015 Cover Photo: Anne Staveley Book Design: David Faulkner Logo Design: Lydia Gonzales Printing: Vision Media Rio Rancho, New Mexico Copyright Š 2015 by Santa Fe Community College

Contributions to the support of the Santa Fe Literary Magazine can be made through: Santa Fe Community College Foundation 6401 Richards Avenue, Room 111 Santa Fe, New Mexico 87508 Office: 505-428-1704

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.

210

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

Santa Fe Literary Review 2015  
Santa Fe Literary Review 2015  

Poems, stories and artwork by Santa Feans and nationally published authors and artists.