Santa Fe Literary Review 2017

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Santa Fe Literary Review 2017 Mied Coections Faculty Advisor: Kate McCahill Fiction Editor: Holly Baldwin Non-Fiction Editor: Annabella Farmer Poetry Editor: Austin Eichelberger Editors-at-Large: Nancy Beauregard, Jennifer Grogg, Meg O’Brien, Lisa Powers, and Serena Rodriguez Art Editor: Kate McCahill The Santa Fe Literary Review is published by the School of Liberal Arts of the Santa Fe Community College. With special thanks to Julia Deisler, Chair of English, Reading, Speech, and World Languages; Bernadette Jacobs, Dean of Arts, Design, and Media Arts; Margaret Peters, Vice President of Academic Affairs; and Randy Grissom, SFCC President.

Copyright © 2017 by Santa Fe Community College

Santa Fe Literary Review


From the Editors “There was another life that I might have had, but I am having this one.” –– Kazuo Ishiguro

In response to this year’s call for submissions, we received thousands of poems, stories, and pieces of art exploring our chosen theme, Missed Connections. We dove into the slush pile and were handsomely rewarded: Writing and art from the around the world examined the political, economic, and social missed connections that punctuate our realities. We’re proud to present this year’s issue of the Santa Fe Literary Review, which reflects profoundly on the possibilities illuminated by loss, as well as the hope we all share for our future. Wishing you light and opportunity in 2017, The Editors of the Santa Fe Literary Review

Santa Fe Literary Review


Contents Iumination Linda Neal I Walk Alone A.J. Goldman Lakota Thunder Beings George Keithley A Lemon Made of Salt Nathan Whiting Becoming White Overnight Avraham Shama The Exercise of Power W.D. Ehrhart Together Sara Zink The Handle Douglas MacDonald Voice Reading Torah Holly Guran Aspen Leaves Rain A.J. Goldman Family Camping, the Sixties Carolyn Stupin The Ceo Pelato Blues John Yohe Evening Pastiche Frank Coons Audobon Crk,Santa Fe Vir Kaur Khalsa Maple Table George Longenecker Bradford Pear Trs Cheryl Nelms Body of Shame Vir Kaur Khalsa At 5 AM George Staley Sky Lake Wayne Lee Confluence Emily Brisse Lost Coection Theresa Ferraro The Big Island Bridget Ronan Method of Loci Robert Farrell

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10 11 12 13 14 18 19 20 21 22 23 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 41 42 44


ABCDarium Pat Lynn Moses Murder of Crows Nancy Beauregard The Contents of My Purse Austin Eichelberger Mn Bts Janice Willard Right Donald Levering Las Desaparecidas de Albuquerque Janet Ruth La Cieneguia A.J. Goldman The House Where the Boy Died in That Car Aident Michael Mark Things to Remember Kate Erickson Fear Madeleine Steinhoff The Mother Brittney Beauregard Palee Daniel Kilpatric Profeion:Paenger Asya Graf Apology Amber Mozurak A Bodhisava-in-Training ContemplatesMichael G. Smith a History of the Spanish Dream O Season K.C. McGowan Lost Fathers Rick Kempa The Dance A.J. Goldman Baage Cynthia Belmont These Are the Flowers David Sugarman Striers Darryl Wellington Angel Personal Bruce Lader Gift From the Sky Pat Lynn Moses Grace at the Basilica C.J. Giroux 6

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45 46 48 49 52 52 57

58 59 63 64 65 66 73

74 76 77 79 80 81 86 87 88 89

Various Cruelties Annabella Farmer Ha of the Fishes Irina Fialko Girl with Purple Hair and a Boyfriend Madeleine Steinhoff The Game Jennifer Grogg Spark L. Teresa Torres Black and White 11 Allen Forrest When I Listen to Omar Liebert Wendy Brown-Baez Giving Voice to Head and Heart Pat Crow Searching Donna Pucciani Gesture 4 Allen Forrest Confluence Andy Lovato Carver Girl David Athey Smart Like Them Emily Stern Slumber: a Duet Deborah Chava Singer Window Image Meghan Grubb Meghan Gru: An Artist s Statement , Meghan Interior Meghan Grubb The Inadequacy of Condolences Sean White Shadow on the Wa Marguerite Kearns Para Nada Holly Wood Through a Window Byron Beynon Car Smash Michael Keefe The Ice Maiden s 97th SOS Lyn Lifshin , Remains Terry Micco It Was Not a Silent Night Cheryl Marita

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92 94 95 96 101 105 106 107 109 110 111 112 113 116 117 118 119 120 121 124 125 126 129 130 131


A Scar Is Not a Souvenir Matthew Mendoza Enemy Unsn Rick Christman Shoulda Bn a Stranger to the World Jon Wolbers Shoulda Bn a Miner Jon Wolbers Shoulda Bn a Farmer Jon Wolbers Shoulda Bn a Monk Jon Wolbers Death On Friendly Road Hannah S. Wiseheart Soliloquy Robin Hunt What s In a Name Tim Eberle , Elena Botts Untitled Breaking Ground Marylou Butler Crisis Baby s Moa Flies to Colorado Emily Pepin Dp Flael, Eileen Banashek Above Railroad Crk Marjorie Power A Bridge s View of Life Meg O’Brien Coming and, Going Kathleen Gunton Losing Everything (Eventuay) Dewitt Clinton Namaste April Ford Beyond the Imagination of Lo Judith C. Kaye Dark Md Michael Shetley Eleven Haowns Daniel Williams Venus Undone K.D. Rose Listen Jessica Doolittle-Burton The Dpest Wound Susannah Case Haine Suzanne Farrell Smith 8

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133 134 136 137 138 139 140 142 143 148 149 151 152 154 155 158 159 161 163 167 169 171 173 174 175

Freyja Dason Culver Wrien On a Receipt at Work Ben Warzel Just a Haircut Jeff Hood Listening to California Jason Morphew Under Guard Sandy McCord Shifts Dason Culver No Amount of Time David James Mting the Great One Joanne Clarkson Rachel s Run Samuel Thomas Nichols A Long,Distance Ca Lawrence Gregory Iolation Leah Browning Leaf Vignee Vir Kaur Khalsa Backyard Tr with View Basia Miller of the Sangre de Christo To My Other Daughter Serena Rodriguez Waking in the Desert Wayne Lee The Poet Ellen Cooney Mied Coections - Route 66 Will Karp Benediction Behzad Dayeny Contributer Biographies

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180 181 182 184 185 186 187 188 189 192 193 195

196 197 200 201 202 203 205


Iumination by Linda Neal I’ve dreamed her dead and seen her alive, rising out of the blue ocean — Goddess, Joan of Arc, Aphrodite fishing she-bear, mother to all, maternal marauder, foraging through forests and lakes the original Eve lighting the way — each siting a projection of the wild, naked skin I wash in my dreams. A huge fish dangling over her shoulder, she pushes her mask atop her head — as she urges me to speak the real name of god who is and will be woman, teeming with the power to create, certain of her bloody clay. Each time I look toward her through a long beam that lights up the sky, I see the sinewy limbs of an Amazon veiled in translucent naked skin — each time she becomes my secret ache and this time I understand every man’s mystic craving as the moon reaches out illuminating water wet skin fish woman.


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I Walk Alone by A.J. Goldman

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Lakota Thunder Beings by George Keithley Drought is dire weather, lonely and quiet. In an unfenced field a horse lifts its head to taste the air. It’s not to his liking and the chestnut frets the earth with one hoof, then another. He pivots once and halts, standing almost where he was before. And still wary. Nearby an old man prays for rain. He knows the Lakota thunder beings listen to him because, on the prairie, every prayer is answered. He’ll be spared the hard-rattling hail that pelted the northern plains last spring. But the other powers will arrive in abundance. The man devoutly praying for rain believes, at the same time, that he thrives in solitude. He always has. However, he’s not alone; his wife is the proud woman who was born one black morning in a terrible storm. And now she stands beside him and prays by clapping her hands. Hard and loud. He slips his arm around her waist. This tender gesture doesn’t still her in the least.

What he desires is a downpour to soak the parched land; the delirious rain lasting two days and three nights. Nothing more. Let the others come, uncalled. In body or spirit. Each according to its nature. At once a raw wind rides in under a low bank of blue-black clouds. Rolling thunder unnerves the horse so it shies and rears and won’t settle. At the first hiss of lightning the horse balks and bares its teeth. Then the man hears it and fears for himself. For his wife. Her neighing, wild-eyed horse baring its teeth. Bucking, whirling, whinnying. Stirring the wind, the thunder, the quaking light. Each white-hot blaze leaves its afterlight on the sky. Immediately followed by the scent of scorched air just before everything darkens. Finally the rain thrashes the sparse grass, bubbling in sudden pools, flooding old furrows, starting fresh runnels across the prairie. Now the horse stands in the rain with its wet mane matted, its hide soaked. Dripping, it bows its head to feed on the thin glistening grass, before the field is flooded and lightning glares on the deepening pools.

The old man no longer prays. He knows he has an hour, two at most. Soon they’ll all be here. First one power, then the next, until the whole calamitous family is gathered around him, trembling and flashing in the incessant rain. Again he puts his arm around his wife. Now she turns to him as if she’s been waiting for him. All this time.


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A Lemon Made of Salt by Nathan Whiting The ugly trial brings out stories from to be jurors who must escape. “We tried to get treatment for my brother’s schizophrenia but police put him in prison.” In a forest of shadows locusts wear birch leaf masks, stunned by spines when he climbs. “Mother says she’ll be glad when he’s freed but won’t mention he’ll forget when to meet parole officers. She begins to believe she is bad, punished by his punishment. He does not look crazy, He does not look sane even more. He stares. He is lost when bully inmates knock at his fears.” In a marsh where I’m an alligator, I start to eat myself. Which arm should be chewed apart today. I am on the jury. We must decide if a man who committed mayhem is mad. We listen. We can’t hear. I’m on parole. The world’s a jail-gem too. Before they cancel my visitor’s pass, teach me to turn on slopes where holes hide delusions under fast skis and too soft snow.

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Becoming White Overnight by Avraham Shama Nothing color-transforming happened to my skin on my overseas flight to Chicago’s O’Hare airport, at least nothing that I can remember. But when I landed I was all of a sudden White. Just like that. I became instantly aware of this because no one was looking at me the way they used to in the past, trying to figure out how dangerous I could be to them. No doubt about this. I know their quick information-gathering glances once my color is registered, glances at my build, attire and demeanor to instantaneously decide if they should respect and suspect me, or casually run for their lives. Not only that. But the volunteer middle-aged lady at the information booth, usually the type that is most fearful and stunned upon seeing the likes of me, smiled at me and asked, “How may I help you sir?” when I stopped by her booth to ask about transportation options out of the airport. Her question was not asked with a weary, overly polite, quivering voice; rather it sounded sincere and respectful, especially the “sir” part. Sweaty and slightly disoriented from the long flight, my body still feeling the constant vibrations of the plane’s engine, I was taken aback by the welcoming attitude of this lady sitting squarely in front of me on a tall stool at the information booth. And not only her attitude but also the attitudes of the men in the men’s room and of the other travelers at the baggage carousel going about their business. To them, I was a traveler just like them trying to get out of the airport to his next task, without notice of color and the danger it might portend. “How nice,” I thought, stunned at this unexpected development, not sure it was real. But I was most astounded by the behavior of the Black driver of the cab I took to my destination in Evanston, a Chicago suburb. He not only called me sir, the kind of sir that is bestowed on others, but he also opened the door to the cab’s back seat and motioned me to get in. This was perplexing to me because until yesterday no Black cab driver would do this, and I would not have attempted to sit in the back seat and up-class another Black. After I got out of the cab in Evanston, I began adjusting to the world around me as a White man. Slowly, my previously internalized behaviors began to disappear: No more being an overly polite, defensive and supplicant Black man who could be accused of anything anytime. From then on I could be me, not Black, just me. I began feeling freer, lighter, taller. This was absurd, surrealistic. Only yesterday I was Black, expected to behave in a certain way, and now I was


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White, free to do as I please. The next day my proper Rotarian host, Mr. Harold Parkhill, met me with a big grin on his face and a firm handshake to take me for a drive around the different neighborhoods of the little town of Evanston, Illinois. If I had any doubt about my new color, his grin, firm handshake and friendly behavior clearly dispelled it. “I’d better get used to the idea,” I thought, not certain that I would be able to completely shed my former from my present self. Harold drove by the different neighborhoods, giving me a short overview of each. He saved the last for a small area, only a few blocks from my newly rented place on Maple Street. “This is our Black neighborhood,” he said. “If I were you, I would avoid this area; it’s not safe,” he added matter-of-factly. The next day, I walked to that very neighborhood, my kind of neighborhood, to see for myself the dangers lurking in it, but to me it seemed like much of Evanston — quiet and peaceful. And so for years after landing at O’Hare I have lived as White; it was much easer this way early on, and later on my having been Black became a distant memory, forgotten with the passage of time. But until then I had been Black. Though my skin was not very dark, I was nevertheless as Black as can be to the Whites around me. Never an individual, just Black — instinctively feared, always suspected, rarely credited. I was one of almost a million darker-skinned Middle Eastern Jews who had come to settle Israel with the White European Jews. The fact that both groups were Jewish did not matter, it was the color of their skin that divided them into two classes: one was Black, or Shvartza in Yiddish, derogatory for Black, or Sephardi; the other was White, or Ashkenazi. And when I married a Jewish Ashkenazi woman we were referred to as a “mixed couple.” Whites were culturally dominant, more prosperous, lived in cities and in better neighborhoods, and had better education, healthcare and transportation services. Blacks, on the other hand, were a lesser class, poor, lived in tents or in cramped quarters in the peripheries, were less educated, and received poor healthcare services. Despite the fact that the two populations were about equal in size, Blacks were treated as a minority not only by the Ashkenazi population, but also by the state and local governments of a country that declared itself in its Declaration of Independence as “Home for all Jews.” While there was no legal segregation between the two groups, the informal segregation was palpable and painful, like a deep cut into a raw nerve.

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When my family moved to a White neighborhood I ended up going to a White (and better) school. I was a novelty to the other students, and was quickly accepted as their Black, behaving whiter than White and getting respectable grades. Nevertheless, when I began attending college their likes always asked, “What will you do when you flunk college?” As Black I had never been treated as an individual by strangers; this would have been too much work. It was much easier to treat all dark-skinned people as one. Over the years, I not only recognized this treatment, but regrettably may have subconsciously internalized it and may have begun behaving stereotypically — reticent, obedient and respectful. But when it came to the White school that I had been attending, I defied the expectations of others and performed well, which brought me to Evanston on a postgraduate fellowship. Little did I know that even though my education was about to promote me economically, my mere landing in O’Hare airport had not already transformed my color, but had begun transforming my destiny, too. Slowly, however, I began to realize that though skin color brings about immediate reactions as color is so obvious, other factors play into people’s reactions, though more slowly and less obviously. People, any people, have a need to use cues as skin color, gender, religion, country of origin by which to classify others and form attitudes and behaviors toward them. But their greater need is to find ways to use these shortcuts to make themselves feel better, superior to others. For example: Americans see themselves as better than any other nation — as in “The Greatest Nation in the World”— despite the fact that they are composed of immigrants from the very same nations they are putting down; Israelis feel superior to their Arab neighbors even though they are biologically first cousins; and lighter skinned Latinos frown at their brownskinned brothers and sisters. So no matter who you are, some will find a way to downgrade you so they can feel better about themselves. This seems to be a universal tendency, as if it is part of the DNA of the human race. In this regard, the notion of equality may be more Utopia than reality. Some years later I accepted a short term job at a historically Black university in Richmond, Virginia. Like me in years past, my students were the first in their families to attend college, and like me years earlier, they were working hard to earn good grades and graduate to good jobs. After years of being White, I could not readily recognize myself in them until an impromptu class discussion several months into my job at the university, during which a detour reminded me of my past. The discussion was about a shooting that had recently occurred of a Black


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teenager by a White policeman. Soon it became about how Whites and Blacks see and behave toward each other. Then one of the students said, “Whites would never hold the policeman responsible for the death of the youth, never; they are simply unable to see reality.” All the other students nodded in full agreement, perhaps echoing similar past discussions. I was taken aback by this statement and rather than let the discussion continue, as I should have, I interjected almost reflexively: “I am White and I don’t think this way,” forgetting my Black history. As soon as I said this I knew I had thrown an explosive matter onto the classroom floor. Total silence ensued. My students were stunned and looked at me with utter disbelief. Then the student added, “You — White?!” “Yes,” I replied with some self-doubt, but before I had a chance to continue, another student said, “Then some of your blood must be Black, must be.” Once again the other students nodded in agreement. Relieved, I took this as a reminder of my history and as a compliment for my present. Maybe the faces looking at me saw my Black face of years past. They knew what I had forgotten.

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The Exercise of Power by W.D. Ehrhart Say it’s the way things are. Respectable men, for the greater good, nod their heads as if at the edge of a grave. Confronted with facts, they are all agreed. The choice is hard, but obvious: Do it. Done, they gather their papers, head for home and solace, maybe a bourbon with ice, other decisions and pressing affairs. Like lumbering fire, they move into the night. Like slow deliberate stars, they burn whatever they touch: the millions of souls caught in the darkness far from home, at the mercy of nothing kind.


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Together by Sara Zink

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The Handle by Douglas MacDonald


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Voice Reading Torah by Holly Guran Knowing the tones from her bat mitzvah, she reads on Yom Kippur, the song that welcomes strangers. An entire congregation hears echoes shift on different levels their particular frequencies at home in each body. I, a stranger, hear the hum of human, round coin of voice. Oh to leave sirens, electronic buzz of the high fluorescents, the planes always in range to enter the holy place, to inhabit the voice reading Torah. As a young one she pledged her innocence, her preparation singing all she learned from Isaiah with ancestors’ breath, back to the shtetl and further — Abraham, Sara. And I go where the first couple sat together playing the bones of sound until a vowel, a diphthong, a word began. Even then, a rhythm of amen.

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Aspen Leaves Rain by A.J. Goldman


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Family Camping, the Sixties by Carolyn Stupin My mother could be overbearing but I’ll credit her for this: she organized and carried out our family camping trips. There were five kids: William, two years older than me, Barbara, two years younger, Margaret, a year below that and James, two years yet younger. This was no minor undertaking. We had a green Plymouth station wagon (slept two) and a fold-out trailer tent (slept five). And luckily we all began camping during the era of grocery-store S & H Green Stamps. We turned in book after book of those licked-in stamps to get outfitted in Coleman. Granted, the sleeping bags were those lumpy cotton ones and the air mattresses had those little tiny holes you had to blow and blow into, leaving the kid on air mattress duty a little hyperventilated, but, ah, those Coleman lanterns, that Coleman stove, the flashlights, camp stools, nesting cooking pots and aluminum plates. S & H Green Stamps left us camping-equipment rich. There were other things, of course, that needed to be organized — food, for example; clothes, for example. Two weeks before the trip, my mother would stand there with her clipboard with all her magic-marker-labeled crates around her. “Towel box,” she called out. “Seven towels, seven wash rags and everyone’s swimsuit.” And we, her indentured servants, would go out and gather them up. There was a tool box, and air mattress box, cook kit I, cook kit II, coat box, food box I, food box II, and three suitcases which included all the daily folded-together outfits, socks and underwear included. All of this would get fitted into the trailer and what was left went on top of the car. And once we got ourselves and all those maps into the car, we took off for two weeks of America. In the span of our childhood, we hit all forty-eight states. In the car, there was an egalitarian system going: we rotated seats — three in the front, three in the middle, one in the back-seat-facing-backwards. If you were sixteen or older, you drove exactly two hours during your turn and if you were in the front seat, you helped with the navigation. This being before the time of car air conditioners, all the windows were open. There were, of course, mishaps. I remember one story going like this: Margaret, in the back seat facing back, started feeling sick after eating too much Shenandoah apple candy so she got put in the front seat. She threw up out the window and aerodynamics being what they were, it all whished right through the window of the middle seat onto Barbara. But both James and William told me I got it all wrong. We’d just stopped at a gas station, they said, had plenty of time for everyone to go to the bathroom. But when we’d headed out, after just a little while James said he had to go to the bathroom real bad. He was in the second seat. My father handed him a Dixie cup. And the emptied-out-the-win-

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dow-Dixie-cup-full-of-pee travelled all the way to the very back opened-up window of the car where Barbara (at least we agree on this part) was sitting. Barbara got the front seat for a few turns and we all quit sending anything out of any of the windows. We did lose a kid every now and then. In Vicksburg, we left James at the Piggly Wiggly. We only noticed he was gone when, a few miles out of town, my father, at the steering wheel, said, “James, I thought I told you to make sure your mother got some ice. James?” And so it went back through the car, “James?”, “James?” When we got back to the Piggly Wiggly, he was just sitting there on the curb, waiting, not particularly perturbed. It was right around then, on the Gulf Coast, that Barbara and Margaret decided to try their luck at getting a Southern tan, thinking that the Southern sun didn’t know they were of straight Scottish descent and never got anything darker than pink. By the end of the day, they were bright red with Barbara’s eyes swollen shut. Now that was something for the photo album. When we got to the campgrounds, there was another routine that went into play. As we drove around the grounds, should we spot a place we sort of liked, my parents would drop off a kid to sit on the picnic table. They could hold up to five sites that way, then choose the best one before picking up all the other kids from the unchosen sites before the park rangers showed up. At a campsite near Mobile, Alabama, James went missing again along with William. It seems they lost themselves in the woods by the campsite along about sunset. After a lot of wrong-headed attempts to find their way back, they decided to use the Underground Railroad way by following Orion in the sky. It turns out that Orion is kind of a vague direction to head. But it did get them to a ranger’s house who knew something abut getting them back to the campground. This was the mid 60’s, the centennial of the Civil War. We toured, I swear, every Civil War battlefield in the South. And, in between stops, my mother read to us from all her collected-up Life Magazine Civil War articles. It also happened to be the time of the Freedom Riders. One night, in some campground mid-Mississippi, flashlights started flashing all around our campsite. Then the tent fly got whipped open and flashlights flashed all over us. State policeman, of a sort, were behind those flashlights. “We’re just checking,” one of them said. “We’re just trying to protect you good White folks.” There were still Colored restrooms even in the 60’s and James, again in dire need to relieve himself, picked the bathroom most convenient. He says it was Colored Men’s, but the way William tells it, it was Colored Women’s. Anyway, no one gave him any trouble. We went to Shiloh, Pickett’s Run, Appomattox Court House. Saw the great cities Sherman burned on his march to the sea. At Gettysburg, we walked the tombstones and, prompted by my mother, took turns saying lines from the


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Gettysburg Address. War is a cruel thing. At night we’d find a campsite, haul up the tent, blow up air mattresses, and cook up some canned spaghetti with ground beef. It’s something you have to do all together, each one picking a job that hasn’t been done yet. Of course, there were problems to solve. Like the air mattress that always went down — we put that one under Margaret because she slept the soundest. Or that one night when the bugs were so awful we moved all our lights to the next campsite over and just moved around in the dark at our own campsite. And there were times when we’d spend the whole day hanging around some garage because our great, green Plymouth station wagon had broken down. Odd, that that day should play out as important in my memory as the day we toured Monticello or swam in the Gulf Coast. There was something about us all there together, taking it as it came, figuring it out as we went along.

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The Ceo Pelado Blues Chorus V by John Yohe The Dry Line is where moist air coming up from the Gulf collides with dry southwest air anywhere from Amarillo to Santa Fe and causes rain & hail & tornadoes & why sometimes the wind comes out of the southeast here whereas in Arizona at Aztec it always came from the southwest & so even w/a drying trend predicted next 10 days out east past Pecos & Barb in Barillas LO a huge thundercloud burbles w/lighting & could maybe form over here w/high cirrus clouds coming from south signals some kind of moisture maùana or day after or not up here at 10,000 it's all cold & windy even w/the sun shining directly through the windows setting now & I'll have to throw on a hoodie and the full moon rising in the east will do the same later tonight for me & the wolf I think I kept hearing tho sometimes it's a coyote but one night it howled like a wolf which I wonder has come up from the Gila & even if coyote welcome up here if nowhere else but what I want you to consider is this: to be aware of the Dry Line within yourself changing location & storming & raging not that you can suppress it or would want to but to be aware of those currents within


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Evening Pastiche by Frank Coons the kestrel keening over the bracken and fen a harsh and metallic urgency disturbs our walk south side of the marsh — caught us in the blue lateness of the evening, this late stage of our lives with a passion only for stillness the bird demands an audience how can we take umbrage with intensity, fervor, ardency we who have fanned such ames in previous lives how could we pretend not to remember

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Audubon Crk,Santa Fe by Vir Kaur Khalsa


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Maple Table by George Longenecker It’s been in our family since my parents’ wedding in Massachusetts. Everything that year burned in Dresden and Amiens — beds, tables, chairs, books — but finally the fires and guns stopped. A year after the war ended, I sat in my high chair at that table. It’s still with me, several houses later. I sit here and write poems — not so many about wars now, more about pine trees, finches, chickadees, everything I see from my table. Coffee, two eggs each and muffins — often I read a poem at breakfast, but close my book so we can talk or watch birds in the maples outside our window. My father sat at the furthest end, my mother nearest the stove, I to her right, my brother and sister to her left. For years it sat in the basement, replaced by Formica. I rescued it when I moved. It was the only piece of furniture in my apartment, on the table daisies in a jar, books by Wolfe and Keats and cheap chicken pot pies. Later I found a home and a love that lasted. We fed our daughter in her high chair, where she spilled oatmeal onto the table as she watched finches at the bird feeder. We’ve refinished it three times; its maple will outlive me. In a vase on the table, your bouquet of dried bee balm and hydrangea.

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Bradford Pear Trs by Cheryl Nelms like a row of white laced dowagers they dance in the March breeze sweeping north across the red hills of Oklahoma


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Body of Shame by Vir Kaur Khalsa My mother never touched me much, a denial of having feelings, the shame of having a woman’s body. She had always kept hers hidden, along with her sensibilities. She handed to me the strange mixture of Hollywood and puritanical Christian beliefs she was given in keeping up to a feminine ideal, along with the embarrassment of not living up to either conflicting creed. Her ideas changed through the years, but they did not stop projecting about what a woman’s body should look like and what it was supposed to do. Feelings were for others, not for her or her body. In the last few years of her life, when she was bedridden, I was her caregiver. I saw her naked for the first time. Her body lying on the bed in front of me had given birth to seventeen children, working hard to provide for each of them, often at great sacrifice. In her wrinkled, aging form there was nothing to be ashamed of. This beautiful, bare body was the one that gave birth to my own.

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At 5AM by George Staley 45 yrs ago at Wooster Pond the long-harassed 15 yr old classmate falls through the ice a new classmate, Mary, not knowing history, drops inches over the sagging spring ice towards the ailing girl takes the panicked hands rescues her And me, still watching.


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Sky Lake by Wayne Lee

Santa Fe Literary Review


Confluence by Emily Brisse Jill sat on the aluminum steps of the silver trailer she’d shared with Russ these past four months and watched the creek inch not just forward but toward her. She’d seen thunderclouds approach like this, taunting and inevitable, but those she could handle. She could go inside and they’d pass. But this. If she'd known Russ had lived near moving water she might never have even come home with him that first time. Certainly not spent the night. But it had been November. There’d been heaps and heaps of early snow. And all she could see out his small windows were his pickup truck, the abandoned old farmhouse on the other side of the long gravel driveway, and these flat fallow fields. A white ocean was how it seemed. So there’d been that insinuation of water. But under those drifts, Jill sensed, was earth, dark brown and sturdy, another season, and when Russ came behind her that first morning and whispered “Stay,” she didn't want to say no. Now, though — despite these months of relative peace — this rising creek twenty feet from her ankles was making her hands shake. Russ didn't understand these changes. For the four months he'd known Jill, they’d existed in this strange harmony. He'd had his share of rough women in his forty-some years, women who bossed him around and threw things into the yard. Jill, though, was all softness and low murmurs, so different than the others, and younger, that he’d hardly blinked when she admitted in halting apologies that she didn't work, hadn't really worked for years, preferred to tend a home and take care of a man. A lot of things could be worse, he'd decided, so they went ahead, a little nervous at the outset. Their lives, though, fell in together with startling ease. He'd leave mornings for his job at the granite company, and while he was gone she cleaned their daily messes, organized his closets, read magazines. And when he came home she’d have some meal ready, something real nice — goulash or tuna hotdish — and they'd talk as they ate, and with each conversation they seemed more and more surprised that they had so much in common, this being sort of a chance and convenience thing. And the sex was good, too — neither of them expecting too much, just a real easy way of moving together. It wasn’t something they put words to, but they’d each started to glance at each other when the other wasn’t looking with this hope. It was like they were peeking through window blinds, thinking, Maybe.


Santa Fe Literary Review

For Jill, these thoughts were a slow and steady salve, relaxants that seeped into the muscles she'd clenched so long. Sometimes, when they were in bed curled against the cold, she imagined telling Russ everything. At the deep wheeze of his sleep, she'd even whisper a few words into the dark, mention the river she grew up on, the way it had terrified her, especially in the spring with its big liquid jaws. And when she told him, "It was the river that stole my daddy"— because on the first day of her first hard flood her father had been there (he'd told her about water levels and crests and levees), but after she woke the next morning (the river the meanest force she'd ever seen, carrying with it huge logs and patio chairs and some child's red wagon), she stared out her bedroom window wide-eyed and then ran through the house searching for him, but he was gone, carried off by the current, she just knew — when she told Russ all this, she imagined him not smirking or rolling his eyes, calling her blind like her mother had, calling her pathetic like a few of the men had before him. She imagined Russ placing his lips on her forehead, tightening his hold on her waist. Telling her, "I'm here, honey. Keep talking." It shouldn’t have been so hard, still. Admitting it aloud: He kissed me goodnight and then left me. But after those first days of staring out the window, willing the water to recede and leave anything that looked familiar to her former life — her mother screaming first at the memory of him and later at the permanence of her denial — it seemed safer to wait for the wrong details of the story to right themselves. It had become her way. But Russ. It seemed like he might be kind. He might listen, regardless of the details. He might stay. And as one calm night turned into another, she imagined this outcome so vividly that telling him the truth seemed — for the first time in her life — inevitable. It was just a matter of courage. Then March had come, and instead of the blizzards that were often the unwelcome guests of a Minnesota spring, there’d been a sudden string of gorgeous fifty- and sixty-degree days. One whole week of April-come-early. Every day Jill waited for Russ’s truck to bump down the driveway, and as she opened the screen door for him they’d remark on how the snow had melted, how much more of everything could be seen. For Jill it was like watching someone pull back a blanket. Russ, though, watched her. “Guess what’ll show next?” he would tease. And she’d say, “Rain bucket. Ashtray. A little garden you forgot to weed.” He'd only shrug and smile, but as each day passed she imagined more tomato plants, more lettuce, and small spiky cucumbers that she’d wash and slice

Santa Fe Literary Review


and place on their sandwiches. She looked forward to these things. But then one afternoon, Jill peered through the window above the kitchen sink, and there was a gash in the earth. She realized the snow was melting differently about thirty feet from the trailer. There were more bushes. There were trees. What she’d assumed was a weak windbreak was something more: the product of moving water. Water coursing fast and down and up. She went outside and stood a few feet from its bank in Russ's old snow boots for she didn’t know how long, watching the brown water push. With every passing second it swirled faster, grew wider and wilder. Slim sticks skidded past her like miniature canoes and occasional trash bags bobbed like balloons felled by bad weather. She thought she might have seen someone's old yellow sandal, a plastic toy truck. The sun beat down on her matted blonde hair, and she’d started to sweat, so when she shivered it was because of the sound — the thwish thwish of this waking snake. That night Russ had come home to no open door, no meal, just an agitated Jill washing every dish and pan and utensil in his cabinets and drawers. “Spring cleaning?” He’d laughed and untucked his T-shirt. The counter space was small and filled up, so Jill had things drying on the table and chairs, the refrigerator top, even Russ’s big green recliner. “It’s so damn dirty in here,” she said, not looking at him, scrubbing a pan with steel wool. He placed his hands on the counter and leaned forward. Cocked his head. "Well, then seems you're doing what needs to be done, honey." She scrubbed harder. He came behind her, snatched a glass off the counter and raised it to the window’s light. He wrapped her waist in his other arm, a compliment coming. "Don't," she said, shrugging against him, then making her body rigid. "Don’t touch me, Russ, I swear." His arm and smile fell, and he felt the nudgings of an old wariness. He let the glass thunk on the counter. "What the hell, Jill?" he said. "What's going on here? Did something happen?" She spun around, avoided his eyes, started collecting dishes on the table and chairs, holding them against each other in her arms. "I just looked around today and realized what a dump I'm living in, that's all." "A dump." "Yeah, Russ. How many people you know live in a rusted old trailer?" "Plenty." "In the middle of nowhere? In the wilderness?"


Santa Fe Literary Review

Russ's hands were on his hips, his eyebrows scrunched together in confused concentration. When she walked by him toward the cabinets he grabbed her arm. "Would you stop moving and look at me?" But instead she reeled at his touch so violently that dishes fell from her clasp — a coffee mug crashing and shattering against the floor, a bowl knocking against her thigh and spinning down, a plate descending like an axe and landing right on Russ's sock-covered toes. He yelped, let go of her. He stared at Jill with his forehead wrinkled and his mouth open, and had she been quick enough in that moment and not so scared, she could have stopped herself. She could have let the rest of the glasses and plates drop too and gone to him, held him, asked him to be patient a little more. But he turned from her, stepped into his boots, and left. This progression was such a familiar fear that she stood frozen. And then all that seemed inevitable was the sight of his back. Russ returned that night, but late, and he slept on the small lumpy couch. The next day he came home at the regular time, pulled open the screen door in a slow hopeful way, thinking maybe that strange scene had been the result of PMS or bad dreams or gas, something temporary that he'd be fine to forget. But Jill was in bed — didn't feel good, wouldn't talk, turned away at his questions. For a while, he waited, his hand working over the stubble on his chin. He wanted to understand, but he didn’t know what to say, or how to be. So he left again, ate in town, came back when he knew she’d be long asleep. But of course she wasn't. She listened to his sounds, deciphering everything from the snap of his shirt buttons to the brushing of his teeth. When, the following morning, she heard him stirring earlier than normal, her eyes shot open from her half-sleep and she jolted up from the bed. She yanked wide the bedroom door more noisily than she’d intended and found him tying his boots. He glanced at her, his face blank except for his raised eyebrows. She walked to the sink without breathing, filled a glass. Drank. Have a good day. See you later. Such simple expressions, such clean white flags of explanation. Why could she not say them? And all this time the snow kept disappearing, soaking into the earth, feeding and fattening the creek. Jill spent whole hours during the day watching it move. She marked its ascent out of its banks and onto land with beer bottles that she stuck upside down into the soggy ground. Today she'd moved them toward the trailer three times. It was astonishing to her that the water just kept coming, that it passed by her for one instant and then was on to someplace else. She assumed the creek led into the Sauk, the river that ran through Albrun — the town five

Santa Fe Literary Review


miles west of them — but then where did it go? What happened next? All this water mixing, these long trails that moved across counties and states and into oceans without anyone accounting for their individual particles — it scared her that there was no way of linking even one molecule to the snow on a hillside in a small country yard. Now she was sitting on the steps of the trailer, cautiously watching the creek — thinking maybe she should leave, tomorrow? wasn’t that best? — when she spotted Russ's truck careening along the driveway, muddy chunks of gravel kicking up behind the tires. It was around noon. He never came home on his break. She stood and felt suddenly conscious of her dirty hair, her sweatpants and ratty undershirt, her smell. But there was no chance to change. He was out of the truck and walking toward her, his steps quick and measured. "Russ?" She had the screen door open. She'd had no time to think not to. But he plowed right past, as if no door had ever existed. She followed him inside. "You want something?" she asked, moving toward the refrigerator. "We have some ham." He rooted around in the little closet, started throwing things on the floor. "The river's getting too high," he said, his hand emerging with old brown fishing waders. He dragged a chair from the table, sat, and pulled off his boots. "The mayor asked Kenny to give us the afternoon to help fill sandbags. It's pretty bad over by the bridge on Highway 2." Jill swallowed, glanced through the window glass and back at Russ. "It's worse than here?" Russ shot off a harsh laugh. "This is just a piss streak, honey." He stopped, looked at her. She was so pale. "We should probably get you out of the house some, huh? At least give it a try?" She met his gaze but then ran her hand through her hair. "In fact, Jill," he said, now sliding the waders over his feet and legs, "maybe that's a real good idea, seeing as how you're so unhappy here. Seeing as how it's such a dump and all." He stood, hooked the suspenders over his shoulders. He was a big man, and it wasn’t easy for him to move quickly, but the situation called for it, called for action, called for a man who’d do what he had to, comfort be damned. He grabbed work gloves and a baseball cap from the floor and strode outside. Jill followed him, every bit of her alert, every movement of his analyzed, but she was momentarily blinded by the full sun shining off the aluminum steps, his truck windows, the remaining crusts of snow, and the muddy whooshing waters


Santa Fe Literary Review

of the creek. It seemed even closer, meaner than five minutes ago. He was walking so fast. She felt a churning acid rise within her. “Russ,” she cried. “Wait.” He took a few more paces and then heaved a great sigh, turned halfway. Rubbed his eyes. "Now? You want to talk about this right now?" She raised her hand, shading her face. "God, you know," he said, shaking his head, taking a step toward her. "I guess it seems like maybe…" He shifted the gloves and cap in his fingers. "This thing in town, it's an emergency, Jilly." Her gaze went toward the creek and he glanced there, too. "That’s just nothing. We're going to have a messy yard in a week and maybe lose a bit of land in the runoff, but in town?" He whistled. "The Sauk is a monster. You should see it, the way the water's taken over. All the trees are swimming. The kids from the high school were even let out to help." "So, don’t go," she heard herself saying. "Can’t you let them do it? Let me make you that ham. You could stay here. We could sandbag here.” She took a step forward. He shook his head again, put on his baseball cap. "You've barely talked to me for two days." "I know," she said. “Barely looked at me.” “I know, Russ.” "Haven't given me any reason, either." She opened her mouth and closed it. He gave a rough laugh. “Back to that, then? You want to go on pretending I’m some man you don’t know?” Her eyes shot to his. She remembered that first night at the bar, the way she let his talk surround and lift her, a thrum of sweetness and light. Between them now, flipping in front of her eyes like schools of fish, was something else: slippery, substantial. But there was too much pounding against her brain, too much throbbing at her temples, and she curved away. He brought his lips into a tight line and pulled the bill of his cap down once more. He turned too, walked to the truck. Before Russ drove off, he lowered his window, leaned over its edge, and looked at Jill. She was facing the creek. "I thought,” he started. “I thought we had something real good here. But I'm worn-out, Jilly, and I ain't got much taste for this sort of thing." He fiddled with the radio for a while, but then found her face. The noon sun was so bright that it

Santa Fe Literary Review


blanched her skin, and to him she seemed to almost combine with the light bouncing up from the water. He opened his mouth. Then closed it. As his tires scraped and squealed against the wet gravel, Jill wrapped her arms around her body and watched the rear of his pickup get smaller and smaller. When he reached the paved country road, flipped his blinker on for whom she didn't know, she thought to herself in a clear rush of words, Run. You can still see him. He is still within reach. But a low, far-off rumble sounded behind her, and she spun toward it instinctively, raised her hand against the glare of the sun to see on the western horizon dark rain clouds. They were headed here, Jill realized — a familiar certainty gripping her — were already adding rain to other creeks and streams and rivers. She glanced back too late toward the road: empty. The driving water in front of her was unstoppable and so near. She’d go inside. She’d wait for the air to turn crisp and cool. Listen to the wind howl. She’d watch the rain pound the earth and sink into the pulsing creek, disappearing. Her beer bottles would lift with the water and then they’d careen away away away, and she wouldn’t go after them. There was no point. Soon they’d be in the Sauk. And there they would either sink or be carried off still farther into country she would never see.


Santa Fe Literary Review

Lost Coection by Theresa Ferraro Did you hear chickadees calling from the spruce trees when you walked up the Winsor in January? Was it sunny? How deep was the snow? Were you wearing your down sweater? You know, the one you sometimes wore in your house when you kept the heat on low. Do you remember our visit last? We sat on your couch talking about how you were gonna beat cancer and your new friend Mary who took good care of you, you told me she wasn’t your girlfriend but you liked her company. Do you remember the things we didn’t say? How painful it was when I left you, how my answer didn’t suit your repeated – why. When you walked up the trail knowing you would never return were you thinking of Mary? Were you thinking about the cancer? Did you see the icicles hanging from the boughs and shadows cast from aspen? Were you cold? Were there tears? Did you see my footprints in the snow? Did you know I wanted to go there too? We could have sat in the same spot in the sun on a dark day held hands for one last time taking one last breath in the new year.

Santa Fe Literary Review


The Big Island by Bridget Ronan Look, I hate this town sometimes but Carmelo Anthony said it more succinctly: Man, fuck New York. Staring despondently at the banking site that displays my lack of savings. Being treated like a criminal at a deli with a nonsensical ticket-payment system, and I had misplaced my ticket. Dear God I only wanted some matzo ball soup and a knish! Being followed by some guy through Union Square late after work one night and he won’t leave me alone — “Sorry man, I’m not interested”— and he still won’t leave me alone. Wishing I could afford a room of one’s own. Privacy is a myth here. It’s reserved for gods. My sister laughs at me when I go up to the wilds of Massachusetts to visit her and collapse in the glorious damp grass, Ahh nature I had forgotten you, as if it’s an ex love. That dirty apartment where something bit my abdomen while I slept and for two weeks ruddy rash crept like ivy across my skin. And other times I’m walking through Union Square on a humid Saturday afternoon kicking up trash as I try to avoid the guy beelining toward me clutching a clipboard because I know he’s going to try to sell me a “haircut deal”— this same guy has approached me a hundred times without remembering that I refused him the day before. It’s like a boring sequel to “Groundhog Day.” When I finally make it to the stoplight at 14th & Broadway unscathed, a woman standing beside me in the crowd of waiting pedestrians calls out “EXCUSE ME —” and I think Oh God please don’t let this be another case of ‘stranger yelling obscenities at other strangers,’ it’s too humid for that, but I glance over to her anyway and that’s when I notice the crutches she grips as she continues, “— would anyone let me hold their hand so I can get across the street before the light changes?” I don’t have time to waver, I simply reach out my hand and react as this city has taught me: Yes. She shifts both crutches over to her left and presses her right hand in mine as we traverse the heavily trafficked road. We don’t exchange names, there’s no need. Her voice is confident and clear and utterly without the shame or apology we too-often convey when we must ask for help. New York City is 8.5 million people and we’re all acting like islands when really we are the sea. Safely across, she gives me one of the kindest smiles I’ll ever remember — “You have a great rest of your day”— and walks on. I’m just bowled over by this woman who will never know I needed her that lonely afternoon as much as she needed me, and as I keep on down Broadway kicking up the trash that whips my way, I feel as though my heart will burst.


Santa Fe Literary Review

There’s a lot of garbage here, but it’s our garbage, our glorious garbage. I keep returning to a few lines Vonnegut wrote in Breakfast of Champions: “There is no order in the world around us… we must adapt ourselves to the requirements of chaos instead. It is hard to adapt to chaos, but it can be done. I am living proof of that: It can be done.” I walk out my front door and into the sea. If I squint just so, this dingy walk-up looks like a palace and I begin to see the unwavering band of light in these my mysterious bedfellows — the stranger who shouted at me on 125th and the stranger who coughed on the back of my head on the A train and the stranger who (I shit you not) threw a muffin at me on the L train and the stranger who marched toward me on 1st Ave wearing nothing but a diaper and a baby mask but maybe that’s just his Tuesday routine and who am I to judge? and the stranger who almost ran over me with his cab and the stranger who almost ran over me with her bike and the stranger who held my hand in complete trust as we crossed mad 14th Street.

Santa Fe Literary Review


Method of Loci by Robert Farrell Youth must be praised, But so must childhood And age. Not in words, No matter how Small, but in the grass above the river. And there are deer, deer that grazed, And the representations of deer. And sky suddenly there For us. A cow In memory. A bell. The good. And we, too, near. Each achieves. But life Is achievement if well Lived. What we see together, we see. It is seen. Lavender in circular fields, The starfish farther west than west, The green more green than green. Light and that which shines in light, Which shields. And the seers. And strife. Water is best, And also leaves, But all are gifts And as such, each demanding, Enjoin care, Is grace That makes us shepherds. And if not, curse. Still the poor bare Shadow of standing Is at times mistaken – the obverse Of the everyday. But what we lack We face.


Santa Fe Literary Review

ABCDarium by Pat Lynn Moses

Santa Fe Literary Review


Murder of Crows by Nancy Beauregard Opening the garage doors at 7am, sunshine peeking through tall green pines, maple leaves, orange, red, yellow, and brown on the ground. The smell of strong coffee, a bite of cider doughnut, the sugar crystals falling on the cold hard driveway. I pull out chairs, my grandfather’s toolbox, mom’s pots and pans, a haunted headboard, the ghost comes with it free. Mom’s Cracker Barrel rocking chair, a heavy cement deer on the front lawn, missing its antlers from the tornado, I wonder who has those. I tighten my wool sweater, seeing the crows, not in the trees, but lined up in the road in pickup trucks, cars, and SUVs. They are waiting for the clock with the golden hands to strike 8, so they can flap their wings, and descend on the house. “How much is this dish, this book, these earrings?” “I’ll take $2 for that; No, I won’t come down to $1.50.” The maple leaf table and chairs where we ate and played cards, “SOLD” with the paintings on the walls.


Santa Fe Literary Review

Old linens in a steamer trunk, glass bowls, and antique dolls, bird houses and bobbing flamingos my dad made, their little pink heads with plastic eyes and straw hats, I am keeping one of those. At 5pm I am exhausted, my coffee is cold, winter is coming, and the crows have flown home. We pull in what’s left, to go to Goodwill, guess that headboard is going in the trash, its ghost too. Suitcases, boxes headed for Santa Fe, filled with recipes, a photo of Dad on a horse, one of the few pictures my mother painted, and memories I would never sell.

Santa Fe Literary Review


The Contents of My Purse by Austin Eichelberger Gum to chew when you're talking over me; cell phone and charger, obviously; glitter pens to absentmindedly swirl your name, those fat Sharpies to blot it out; tampons for surprises — including, to be clear, nosebleeds and spills; that book you told me to read forever ago, with no bookmark and not even one page dog-eared; a smooth stone you found way back when we used to walk by the river every week; business cards — mostly other people's, but a few of the ones for my paintings with my old phone number crossed out; my name tag from work, a smear of long-dried-but-still-sticky gravy over the last three letters; wallet, stuffed thick with receipts and pictures and credit cards I can no longer use; a small notebook for random reminders, phone numbers, grocery lists and angry notes to shove under your door; quarters for downtown parking on the off-chance you offer to pay for dinner — even just coffee — if we meet up; a plastic airplane bottle of chardonnay; mace for might-be-muggers; my keys, plus a few extra keychains to jingle when you call and I'm “just getting home”; that ring you gave me, the prongs around the little glass gem crowned with lint; a coupon for two-for-one steak dinners, probably already expired; the first — only? — letter you ever wrote me — the envelope folded in half and in half again, then tucked into a side-pocket and accidentally through a tear in the lining — the scent of your cologne still lingering rich and spicy on the crisp paper, perfuming my bag from silky depths I can never quite seem to find.


Santa Fe Literary Review

Mn Bts by Janice Willard When I bought the forty acre parcel of Adirondack pine forest, it had a clearing around a two-bedroom log cabin which could only be accessed from a rutted dirt road. The county promised to pave it once a lumber company was finished logging, but never did. I wanted a retreat, a quiet place to make art or write without neighbors, traffic or power lines. I had a gas generator for heat, electricity, and plumbing and a large fireplace with a never-ending supply of wood just outside my door. My dog and I walked some part of the land almost every day. On our excursions I found a grove of maple trees planted in a circle which produced buckets of sap that I collected and cooked down for syrup in the spring. Deeper into the woods I discovered some wild blackberry and strawberry patches that the deer and I shared during the summer. In a field just beyond a small creek that split the property in half, I explored an undamaged brick chimney standing amid the remains of a burnt-out homestead. Behind it was a family cemetery with ten headstones too weathered to read. While hiking the northern five acres one afternoon, I found an old rusted VW beetle that appeared to be planted in the side of a grassy hill. The roofless car was retrofitted with a thick tin slab for protection from the elements. It sat adjacent to a large wooden cable spool, draped with a piece of red and white oilcloth anchored by a cast iron frying pan. There were two flannel shirts and a pair of bib jeans hanging on a rope tied between pine limbs. A large pair of blue moonboots sat near the stone fireplace with no sign of their owner. At first I was upset that someone, maybe a hobo, seemed to be living on my property. The realtor never mentioned it. The bank inspector never saw him, but a few locals knew of a gaunt white-bearded man living for years in the woods “out that-a-way.” I decided to talk to the sheriff in town next time I needed provisions. I continued my walk another mile or so until I came to a cold pristine mountain spring. There were several corked glass bottles wrapped in rags lined up in neat rows. I could see my “intruder” was using the water but barely left footprints or disturbed the environment. I took a pencil and pad out of my pocket and left a note under a rock. “Dear tenant, I’m okay with you using this water. There’s more land here than I need. Please allow me peace and quiet and I will do the same.” I filled my water jugs and walked back just before sundown. The next morning outside my screened porch door I found a large soda bottle filled with

Santa Fe Literary Review


wild flowers and a scrawled note that said, “Thank you.” For the next three years we became pack rats of sorts, exchanging objects and gifting each other but never meeting. He left pieces of cobalt blue glass and Indian arrowheads at the spring, which was halfway between our two habitats. I placed a plastic raincoat and fishhooks under a rock. I left old photos of the flooding of the village homes and land in 1930 when the dam was first built. He covered a flat boulder with shards of hand-painted porcelain plates and cups. I passed on a newspaper story telling about the abandonment of an old locomotive left to be flooded over when the dam for the reservoir first opened. The next morning at the spring I found a rusty train whistle. There was no sign of him in winter, but come spring he returned like predictable maple sap. Then one spring he didn’t. I waited a few weeks for the mud to dry from the March thaw, and went to his camp. His moonboots were sitting patiently waiting to be filled, but there was no sign the owner had returned. I made some inquiries in town but no one had any news about this nameless and elusive character. I was disappointed and surprised that I missed the comfort of our communal connection and our silent neighborly exchanges. About a year later I received an official-looking envelope from New York City. Inside was a check for three thousand dollars and a letter stating that these funds were bequeathed to me from former tenant, John James Houston, for rent owed. That summer I built a graded river rock road to the property. Two flowerfilled blue moonboots stood watchfully flanking the entrance.


Santa Fe Literary Review

Right by Donald Levering Looking back it’s hard to fathom — after his stroke, we still let him drive the family. We knew a blob floated in his sight, shrank from his garbled tantrums. But when he asserted his fatherly right, none among us could oppose him. Like credulous fools, the kind he’d deride for believing Obama could lead, we allowed the angel of dumb luck to steer our Taurus past the warnings for the proving grounds farther into desert, holding our breaths.

Santa Fe Literary Review


Las Desaparecidas de Albuquerque by Janet Ruth I. A woman walking her dog found the first bone. Eleven women and an unborn child, buried in shallow graves, were painstakingly exposed among the sand sage and blowing trash in a 100-acre patch of desert on the West Mesa — the largest crime scene in Albuquerque’s history. They began disappearing in 2001, unnoticed until 2005, at least by anyone “important.” Nothing happened until February 2009. Remnants of lives unvalued by the predator, discarded like abandoned skeletons of wrecked cars rotting along the roadside, bleeding rust into dust. Mother Earth wrapped her arms around their broken bodies. II. Who stood up to ask who they were? to ask what happened to them? In newspaper photos, the victims’ eyes look out from faces in warm shades of latte and cinnamon, mahogany and midnight. Would the response have been different if they had looked like me? if they had been well-dressed? college-educated? had lived in 2500-square foot homes in the Sandia Heights?


Santa Fe Literary Review

The victims were daughters, mothers, sisters, aunts. They were loved. Families reported them missing, searched for them, asked the police over and over, “What is being done?” Parents waited, like silent mothers and grandmothers in the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires, like families in white T-shirts emblazoned with photos of their daughters in Ciudad Juárez. It doesn’t just happen “somewhere else” in Latin America, Africa, Asia, but here in the land of enchantment, opportunity, and equality. Newspapers associate them with a “certain lifestyle”— frequenting the seedy part of town, working the streets, using drugs, tied to gangs. The unspoken theme — perhaps they took their lives in their own hands with their life selections — but they didn’t choose to die this way. Whatever poor options they chose, these decisions did not define them. They laughed, loved their families, struggled with the same demons and angels we all face. We know these women — our own mothers, sisters, daughters, friends — there but for fate, the grace of whatever god we worship, go the women we love.

Santa Fe Literary Review


III. Meet them — scraps of information gleaned from newspaper articles — the victims had names, beautiful, musical names. Virginia’s family tried to find her, pasted her picture to the cab of their truck. But the darkness of losing a brother to violence, a boyfriend to a car accident was too much. Syllannia was 15 when she ran away from foster care in Oklahoma. Michelle dreamed of being a singer, hugged her dad on the last day he saw her. Her naked body, wrapped in plastic bags, embraced her 4-month-old unborn child. Jamie was 15 when she and her older cousin Evelyn left for the park. Both disappeared. Evelyn liked camping and the outdoors, taught her daughter how to roller skate. Monica loved jokes and taking care of babies. Victoria’s mother and stepfather held out hope that she would be found alive. Doreen was a high school cheerleader, loved jewelry and fashionable clothes, threw extravagant birthday parties for her daughters. Julie loved chile peppers and jump rope as a child, worked with Job Corps as a teen. Veronica was 27 when she went missing. She had five children. When Cinnamon didn’t place the birthday phone call, her mom knew something was wrong. IV. I stand on that dreadful spot on the West Mesa. The wind thrashes its way across miles of sand sage to the west seeking an obstacle, pummels my back, twists my hair across my face,


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maintains a hollow howling of sorrow in my ears. No evidence of the ghastly discovery remains. Bits of yellow crime scene tape lie buried beneath blowing sand. Plants that love disturbance — tumbleweed, scorpion weed, broom snakeweed — hide the scars in the earth where their bones were recovered. Among the windblown trash, plastic bottles, splintered glass, discarded televisions and scraps of rug, seven years later, personal family memorials perch in the rubble — a small glass jar encases a candle, two small wicker baskets with white lacey trim, yellow silk daisies and pink lilies, topple among the tumbleweeds. Carefully placed atop a mound of sand and pebbles, a small plastic mermaid with purple hair, a shiny turquoise dress, and a green fishy tail stares up into the wind. These tenacious bits of private pain are placeholders for the unfulfilled promise of an official memorial. Sand gusts against a neat, respectable wall of stone surrounding, protecting — nothing — a No Trespassing sign warns of prosecution for violations. V. If I lie face down in this dirt of memory, will I hear their screams? When I rise, will my shirt be stained with blood? My heart echoes with whispered appeals to honor their stories.

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The wind is at my back, the abyss behind my eyes, while the low afternoon sunlight shines on this place of death and ows on to glint from the windows of Albuquerque, warm the massifs of the Sandias and the Manzanos. I am alone here, safe in the light, and yet something clenches in my stomach when a smiling man jogs by on the path, a passing car slows. There are more. Women are still missing. We, all of us, are culpable; we, all of us, are witnesses. We must remember.


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La Cineguia by A.J. Goldman

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The House Where the Boy Died in That Car Aident by Michael Mark First, the real estate agent takes down the poster of the boy, then, one by one, the colored slips of paper. Hundreds of prayers fluttering from the bent tree’s branches like butterflies. He puts the sign that says Always In Our Hearts in the trunk. It’s been a year. The boy’s mother begged them to keep the cross there – the prayers, at least – for the sake of his friends and neighbors. What choice did they have? He takes down the plastic cross and lays it in his back seat. No family will buy a house with a memorial on the front lawn. Not even in a good market. He digs the hole and plants the FOR SALE sign, his pockets bulging with prayers.


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Things to Remember by Kate Erickson I did not graduate from college gracefully: sloppy finals, no job search, shame for these failures. Gowned, I walked the stage but didn’t receive my diploma until August, when I mailed the bursar an overdue check. After a few months working on a friend’s farm, I returned to Louisville and applied to Ramsi’s Cafe On The World, near my parents’ house. The manager rejected my application. I combed classifieds for the ad with the least number of qualifications. I found a morning internship that would give me purpose — the public radio station — and an afternoon job that would give me six months of cash. Until a grant ran out, I would double the workforce of a year-old community center. It sat in the grassy, disintegrating part of the city, between the racetrack and strip joints. My only coworker had completed her bachelor’s degree the previous May. Since then, she had been running the place alone. On the first afternoon in January, Livia and I watched a school bus screech in front of our clapboard building. Forty-seven children ricocheted down the sidewalk. Livia flung open the door. “Okay!” The kids froze. “You will WALK into this building! You will find your teams QUIETLY!” I hightailed to the arts and crafts basement. All recently-immigrated Somali Bantu, the kids rotated through three after school stations. Volunteers tutored homework on the first floor; an ESL class stuttered toward fluency on the second. Somehow three six-year-olds had beat me down. They were swinging the tallest one by his jacket sleeve. “Okay!” I said, without Livia’s effect. “Guys!” I clapped. A thunder of feet tumbled behind me. “I’m Mohammed,” offered a boy standing rail straight, hands at his sides. “He is not! He’s lying!” A girl shrieked from the stairwell. I clapped and shouted for half an hour. We spent the last fifteen minutes of class lining up. Ten paint disasters later, I harnessed my classes with a taco assembly line. Cooking is an art, right? Livia had told me most kids had grown up in a Kenyan refugee camp. I was probably exploiting their history with food for the sake of order. Though the immediate neighborhood, a collection of subsidized

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apartments, held a diverse population — Mexican and Malian, Kosavar Albanian and Honduran — the after school program had been designed specifically for the Bantu kids. They were the most behind in school, least fluent in English, most likely to have not yet adjusted to American culture. Hassan, one of the Bantu elders, had agreed to send the community’s children to our program only if Livia opened up the center for him to teach his own classes on Saturdays. A year of working six days a week had exhausted my coworker. By February, in addition to tutoring late, I was opening the building on weekends for Somali culture school. To the weekend classes, every Somali Bantu child in Louisville came. Over a hundred filled the building, and as I emailed my alma mater’s career counselor from Livia’s office, their arrival was like rain blowing against the clapboard. I expected we were violating a fire code. One Saturday, Feysal rapped on the window. He had skinned his knee. He couldn’t find his mom. I waved him in, unearthed the first aid kit. “Can I stay up here?” Feysal asked, as I patted down the Band-Aid. The walls vibrated with a song from the basement, and I thought of how precious the office’s real estate was — one whole room, all for one person. Feysal had once pretended to slice his throat with a plastic knife, saying he would kill me. “Sure. For one drawing. Then you have to go back downstairs.” I handed him the basket of broken crayons and a sheet of paper. Somewhere between the tacos and that moment, my sense of competency returned. I was qualified for something, probably, and so I turned toward the future. I decided to apply to graduate school. This time I’d do it right. In March, a new kid, maybe four years old, shimmied in during second rotation. “Whoa, who are you?” I said. He shifted his eyes back and forth. “I’m Miss Kate,” I said slowly, in case he didn’t understand. “How did you get here?” “Miss Cake?” He flicked his eyes to mine and then away again. “Miss Kate,” I said, emphasizing the T sound. “Did anyone sign you up? This group is for bigger kids. What grade are you in?” “Miss Cake.” He surveyed the room, confirmed his rapt audience. “Miss Cake, may I have a piece of candy?” When I devised a relay race with potatoes balanced on spoons, this tiny kid — Abshir — devised a meteor shower powered by catapult. I never knew if the mouse he saw in the supply closet was real or invented, but I will always remember the ensuing riot, which drove us outside for an unprecedented soccer


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game in the spring rain. In April, when a man was shot in front of our building, I looked for Abshir first, because, with all his pranks, he was the first to find trouble and the last to have a buddy. By May, though, Abshir was surrounded by friends. His cousins arrived — along with dozens of others. In the last two weeks of school, our program’s attendance doubled. That spring, families first separated by war and then by refugee placement assignments were reuniting in the middle of the country, in cities like ours. Abshir’s father joined the line of other fathers in Livia’s office, because he, like everyone else, needed to apply for more jobs. There were so many children to feed. As Livia, increasingly drained, stared at the community center’s budget, I categorized the applications by “daytime” and “nighttime.” Filing through, every man took one of each. “Listen, Livia,” Hassan leaned in the doorway. “We are stuck in the mud, sinking farther in.” Livia laughed. “Tell me about it. I am, too.” “But, listen, you’ll pull yourself out. Please don’t forget about us, okay? Pull us with you, okay?” Livia smiled tightly, aware of the promises that she couldn’t make. “Of course,” I said. “Of course we will, Hassan.” In June, Livia assigned me summer camp registration. Going door to door, asking mothers and aunts to sign forms, was an annoying legal formality. Regardless of permission slips, the kids would show up for water balloons — and, despite hours of nosing around, there were whole groups to whom I couldn’t pin details. I wouldn’t even be there for camp. I hadn’t told the kids yet, but the grant which paid me ran out in less than three weeks. My enthusiasm for graduate school had waned — application fees were expensive — so I had lined up another internship, this one full-time, at a publishing house in London. I didn’t want to become an editor, but an old professor had extended the invitation, and the position felt worldly. On the back stoop of the community center, considering how to forge the summer camp paperwork, one of Abshir’s newly-arrived cousins, Muhamud, leaned over my shoulder. He pointed to a birthdate. “Eight years old.” He nudged a finger under a page corner. “Khadiga,” he said, flicking the ‘mother’ blank. “Ten years.” He tapped another. “Sure,” I said. I was seasoned beyond this trickery. “He knows! He knows!” Running circles, Abshir pumped his fists. “Settle down,” I said, though something in his glee made me stand. I started

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toward Khadiga’s address, just to see. “She lives there.” The older boy wagged a finger. “But she’s always at this one.” He was right, then right again. He knew every child’s full name, birthday, biological parents, current guardians, preferred backyard. Soon, the forms were complete. When we returned to the center, a girl named Asha stopped us. “You know why he’s so smart?” For the first time since my arrival, a child mentioned the refugee camp. “Kakuma,” the girl on the steps said. “We lived in Kakuma Two.” She held up two fingers to make sure I understood. She told me that they had all known each other over there. One by one they had all emigrated. One friend and cousin after another had left Muhamud. The last in their group to be placed, he and his mom had landed in Ohio. Finally, two years and many beds later, a lifetime for a child, the two of them moved across the river and found familiar faces again, faces which they very possibly could have lost forever. “He remembered us,” she said, tapping her temple. “That whole time.” Abshir was gazing at his cousin with one eye closed, his hands guiding an invisible telescope. Muhamud shrugged. Asha’s eyes leveled me. “Livia says you’re leaving.”


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Fear by Madeleine Steinhoff My mother did not raise me for a box and yet I grew to hate the color pink almost as much as shorts that bared my thighs, and I tried not to take up too much space, but fire began to grow ‘cause something’s fundamentally fucked up when we are told to hide. So I became a girl who liked the poems that would burn behind the eyes and rip through throats and twist the ears and wring the hearts ‘till they were dry, that mouths attempt to speak while voices stumble over them, emotion in the cracks of speech. And I became a girl who writes her rants with shaking hands because I wanna fix the world and don’t know how. So out we spit the script: the dollars missing twenty-five whole cents and only twenty-five percent in STEM, the hashtag yes all women, hashtag why I stayed, and one in five, that one in five… Yet haunting as those numbers are what’s more are words like “estrogen channel,” “girly shit,” “stop being such a girl,” “all women want families” that fall from mouths I know and love because what good is full wage when those closest see a partial person? ‘Cause my mom is smart and skilled and lovely but her kindred raised her for a box that read “a great wife you will make one day.” And at nineteen she did, again at twenty-five, at forty-eight she reached again and through it fell yet still she tries because she fears the bigger world outside the “great wife” box.

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The Mother by Brittney Beauregard


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Palee by Daniel Kilpatric The glossy perfection of a yellow gumball inside the glass machine on the counter of the radiant diner beside the beach: I lust for crushing the sweet shell between my teeth, filling my mouth with its purity, more yellow than the sunny side of an egg, brighter than a daffodil, quicker than a canary. Only this true yellow can satisfy me, but when I turn the crank, watch the colors shift, then lift the metal door, I find purple. I try again and again: orange, green. Once more: white. I might as well fill my mouth with dirt and give the gumballs to that little girl with blonde hair a shade more perfect than pure.

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Profeion:Paenger by Aysa Graf Three months after your last memorial I finally searched the public library catalog for your favorite movie. I admit I was procrastinating, but I had my reasons. I believed that the longer I put off the so-called work of mourning, the longer you’d stick around. But three months passed and you were not exactly around, so I figured I’d better get the movie quick. The movie was mentioned by several speakers at both of your memorial services and at a commemorative panel at an academic conference. A clip from the film was even shown. The clip followed a PowerPoint presentation of your photos, assembled by your parents, and the continuity from photos to film made me first mistake the clip for a home video shot by your parents, and the actress for you. I think you would have welcomed this confusion. We were driving to Walden Pond that first summer I knew you, when I was supposed to be finishing my dissertation and you were supposed to be advising me. The windows were down and we were trying to clap and olé to Diego El Cigala, two Russians doing their best flamenco rendition as we fled from our American college town. The wind was tossing your hair around, and, apropos, you told me about Antonioni’s The Passenger, or in Italian, Professione: Reporter, or in Russian, Professiya: Reportyor, with stress on the last syllable like in French. You told me how you first saw the movie when it opened in Leningrad in the late seventies, and how you kept going back until you had the lines down. You were waiting for your exit visa, and because you had been expelled from university as a traitor to the motherland, you had time on your hands. The film reminded me, you said, why I wanted to emigrate: to move across borders with ease and style, with wind blowing through my hair as it did through the hair of the Girl played by Maria Schneider. I hadn’t seen the movie and couldn’t then call to mind an image of Maria Schneider, but looking over at you in the passenger seat brushing back a stray bit of hair from your mouth, your fingers skimming the air currents out the window, I thought, why bother with the movie when here is the real thing? In the winter of last year, when I no longer had the real thing nor any hope of another memorial, I set about trying to locate a copy of The Passenger, a task that proved to be more difficult than I had imagined. According to a catalog search I ran at home, our neighborhood branch of the public library had a copy of The


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Passenger, among other Antonioni films, including L’Avventura, which the writer Geoff Dyer describes as the closest he’s come to cinematic agony. I do not share this impression because you told me to watch L’Avventura and since then, Monica Vitti has never failed to remind me of you, with the result that two hours of Monica Vitti close-ups as she searches for her vanished friend is far from agonizing. Of course that was before, whereas now I might agree with Geoff Dyer in finding the experience agonizing, although for reasons different from his. My search results notwithstanding, The Passenger was very much absent from the library shelves when I went down to retrieve the movie later that day. I did, however, find two copies of L’Avventura with Monica Vitti’s distressed face against a monochrome background in which a pyramid or a volcano is erupting but her missing friend is nowhere to be found. Where the film should have been, between two other titles beginning with P, there was an empty space just large enough for a DVD. On my way out I checked the catalog one more time and saw that the central library at the entrance to the park also showed the film as available, a designation I was beginning to distrust. For three months before your last memorial and for three months after, I was in no great rush to find The Passenger, but now, the movie receding like a mirage as I drew near, nothing could prevent me from exhausting all avenues in a single day. So after leaving the neighborhood branch, I biked to the central library, but there too the movie was not on the Italian shelf, though I did find two copies of L’Avventura. Beginning to think you were behind all this, I even glanced over my shoulder, but saw only the teenager at the helpdesk. Reluctantly, he looked up from his cell phone and searched for the film in the catalog, but his search yielded zero results. However, in his case it was because he typed passanger, twice. I came around to look at the screen and we reviewed the spelling of passenger. After that, our search showed the film as available, and even available here, albeit in the English language section. I’d forgotten the movie was in English. Now I wondered if it had been there all along at our branch, and I had missed it, or wanted to miss it so as to have reason to keep looking. The film packed away in my saddlebag, the urgency to go home and watch it had diminished. In fact, it was now most urgent to find a way not to watch it for as long as possible. Likewise, I had put away for later reading the essays you sent me, in the final weeks of your life, from a project we had begun together, then

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abandoned, and though I have since read and reread your essays, I have not yet reread your email that accompanied them. As long as the email is there, you still have something left to say to me. Just as in your last email you said, I can hear your voice in my head, so I too reserve the right to hear your voice at will, and the way I do so is by putting off uncovering all the clues you’ve left behind. Back home and having run out of excuses to stall, I inserted the DVD into my laptop, but some five minutes after the opening credits, the disc spun and froze. I tried to restart and again it caught on the same segment, Jack Nicholson driving out into the desert in his manly Jeep, some half an hour before Maria Schneider makes an entrance. I tried to eject and replay, but each time when reaching the same segment, the disc whirred with a whiny clatter like alien beings sending desperate communications from another dimension. I conceded defeat and ordered the DVD from Amazon. It was supposed to arrive in two days, but in two days I got a message from the post office claiming that an attempt had been made to deliver the package and a slip left on my door. There was no slip and no one rang my buzzer though I was home all day. At the post office the next day, I waited in line, commiserating with the others about the deplorable conditions of this post office located in a neighborhood that necessitates barbed wire around the roof, though none of us could say who would attempt a mail heist via the roof or why. After an hour I left with, presumably, a working copy of The Passenger, some three months and one week after your last memorial. Not long after one of our Walden Pond excursions, you sat me down and made me watch The Passenger. You joked how, as my mentor, it was your job to educate me, though it had been months since we’d met for any proper advisement. It was early October and the air had turned fragrant and brittle. As the nights grew longer so did the time I spent traveling the familiar sequence of blocks to visit you, around the corner and then another from my apartment. On my way home I’d pass the women’s college common, turn left onto the main street for a short block past the conservatory, and another left onto my street. My building was one door down from where Nabokov lived the year he finished Pnin, his novel of a bumbling, tragic Russian professor in a college town not unlike ours. Nabokov, we agreed, would have shared our crush on Maria Schneider’s character of the peripatetic Girl, having mastered, like her, like you, the art of turning homelessness into inspired emigration, an extended


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expedition for rare butterflies. Now, watching the movie for the second time, I realized how little of it I actually saw with you. Impatient to show me the best parts, or your favorite sequences, which as far as you were concerned came down to the same thing, you fast-forwarded around so that the film has remained in my mind a jumble of scenes from a long, hot road trip, a series of hotels, people languidly leaning against sides of buildings in the Saharan or Andalusian sun, not minding time not passing. This time, I was immediately disappointed by the amount of camera time taken by Nicholson’s character, the reporter John Locke. It’s clear from the American version of the film title, and also clear to any sensible viewer, that it is the Girl, the cute passenger along for the ride, who is the emotional and aesthetic focus of the movie. Antonioni, however, didn’t intend it that way and had meant the film to be called The Passenger, so the story goes, because he imagined Schneider doing the driving, Nicholson the riding. These roles were meant to represent Locke’s, not the Girl’s, existential plight of passenger, someone who is, as the word suggests, both passive and transitory. However, early on in the filming it was discovered that Schneider didn’t know how to drive and Nicholson had to take over at the wheel. Ultimately, the title was changed to Professione: Reporter in the European release, including Russian, redirecting our focus back to Nicholson’s character. But I think The Passenger works much better. The passenger can apply to both Locke and the Girl, and this ambiguity begs the question: if both are passengers in their own lives, how do their styles differ and what’s at stake? If both make a go of self-liberation, I think you would agree that the Girl does it better and has more fun doing it. Minutes after meeting the Girl in one of Gaudí’s apartment buildings in Barcelona, where she says she is studying the architecture, Locke asks her to help him evade his pursuers, which by now include Chadian rebels, his ex-wife, and the police. The Girl agrees and joins him on what turns out to be one of the sexiest, and most doomed, road trips in cinematic road trip history. Just after the two leave Barcelona, we come to your favorite scene. Locke and the Girl are driving down a country road between two rows of trees, every trunk painted with a white band, forming a tunnel behind and before them. Sunlight filters down through the leaves. Through the trees one glimpses the parched land, orchards, trellised grapes. It’s the kind of road made for a road trip movie, more an allegory of a journey than a real road.

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“Can I ask you one question now?” says the Girl after a languid stretch in the back seat. Her pan-European accent has never been cuter. “One you can, yeah,” Locke answers over his shoulder, as playful as Locke gets. “Only one, always the same,” she says, suddenly looking serious. “What are you running away from?” “Turn your back to the front seat,” Locke instructs her. She balances on her knees in the back seat of the convertible, and as she faces backward, her hair blowing in the wind, the trees recede in a tunnel behind her as the car speeds forward. She spreads her arms out, like Locke did earlier in the cable car in Barcelona, floating over the expanse of water and the docks of La Barceloneta. Then the camera changes direction and now we’re facing forward, in the direction of motion, transfixed by Maria Schneider’s face framed against another tunnel of trees, this one sucking her in as the car speeds on. With so much motion going in so many directions, Antonioni here succeeds in showing what may be the essence of the whole film: motion for motion’s sake, anything rather than stasis, which in the film amounts to death in a rented room. This scene always seemed to me light and joyful and exuberant, because I wanted to see it the way you did. Now I wasn’t so sure. As I watched the film again, I wondered what it was that the Girl’s backward gaze clarified — that is, how did it answer her original question to Locke? After the gorgeous shot of Maria Schneider against the advancing treetops, the camera gazes back, to show us what she sees: a never-ending road, always the same, two identical rows of trees, dappled shade on the pavement, white stripes on the trunks like armbands on two rows of soldiers, the elements of composition few and their repetition infinite. Was this a joyride or a forced march? Emigration from the Soviet Union was, even when political, also an existential flight. Any hope for change in the wake of Stalin’s death lasted barely into the early sixties. Even before Khrushchev’s thaw officially ended and Brezhnev’s stagnation began, old habits of paranoia, silence, and conformity had regained their rightful place. The years of monotony and drudgery stretched backward and forward in time. I wonder now if you, coming of age in the stagnant seventies, felt an affinity not only with the Girl, but also with Locke, the man who would rather die a second death than live out his given life. Locke, after all, pastes his own photo into the passport of a dead stranger in order to shed his life, just as you were willing to surrender your passport without any


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guarantee that you wouldn’t linger as a refusenik in Soviet legal limbo. Perhaps for you, Locke and the Girl represented the two tangled threads of emigration — its joyful, nomadic spirit, and its bureaucratically curtailed, prosaic reality. But this is all retroactive sleuthing, watching the film alone to understand what I could have just asked. Whatever the answer to the Girl’s question, the wind in Maria Schneider’s hair seems reason enough to keep driving, and to keep watching. If only I could find a DVD that would stall on this scene every time, playing it on a loop, much as you did throughout your life to remember what freedom could look like, even if, more often than not, it failed to live up to your expectations. This is the scene that was played at your last official memorial, held at the central library where I checked out the damaged DVD. As we sat in the darkened auditorium watching the slideshow of your photos, Maria Schneider’s sudden appearance after your parents’ PowerPoint could not be interpreted as other than a visitation, given how much you resembled Maria Schneider around the time of The Passenger. Since then, your features grew softer and fuller, while Maria Schneider’s became more angular and spare. Maria Schneider died of cancer at the age of fifty-eight, two years older than you were, and three years before you did. What would you have said had I asked you what this movie really meant to you? The idea of freedom? A lust for life lived in motion, resisting the need — legal, nostalgic, romantic — to settle into an idea of home? I know you won’t mind if I mistake the Girl’s answer for yours and say that for you, as for the Girl, passenger did not mean a passive existential resignation. Rather, it was a kind of profession, a calling for exploration, a state of permanent transit and movement, an exit visa in perpetuity. The memorials are long over, as is my quest for a working DVD of The Passenger. I would have liked the disc to arrive damaged from Amazon, to go missing, or to vanish in a post office heist, barbed wire around the roof notwithstanding. I would have liked to keep counting blocks, measuring out my passage from branch to branch of the library, chasing after the eponymous passengers and myself becoming one in the process. And even after I’ve succeeded in locating the movie, I’d like to find reasons to extend the record of these mundane details of my search. So let me tell you in plain language what

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I’ve put off saying by telling you instead of the movie you already knew: I have clocked in more hours and more miles traveling to your memorials, and trying to retrieve your favorite film, than I did traveling to see you in all the last months of your life. And none of those miles or hours will bring me any closer to you than I was that day we first drove out to Walden Pond, when the wind was in our hair and you cranked up the volume on Bebo and Cigala’s rendition of “La bien pagá,” singing along: I owe you nothing, I ask you for nothing, I’m leaving you, so forget me. Just as you edited the film to craft your own myth of freedom, so let me also take creative license. In my version of The Passenger, which I think you’d like, Locke has come to a bad end, as we always knew he would, but the Girl has driven off before the police could confiscate the convertible. She’s still out there, crossing borders without passport hassles, turning up now in London, now in Barcelona, and maybe even going home now and then, wherever that may be, leaving as lightly as she arrived. — for Svetlana Boym


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Apology by Amber Mozurak A new haircut only shows o an odd hair line like this one right here and I saw the line of smokers standing outside with their frantic pus of cold air, but they don't care. They've got their nicotine. They've got their coee. I quit smoking because I couldn't ride a bike without stopping and now I've hiked high altitudes leaving those that are weaker behind. I do a lot of things on my own, like turn the earth with my hands. Run because I actually like it. Swear just for fun. Got dumb drunk and wrote a letter to a woman I admire, but I wasn't nice and I know this because I carry a guilt around like I drive without a destination. And I am sorry for the arrogance, the fact of knowing a lot of things. But I'm sorry that I don't know enough, to stop when I should.

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A Bodhisava-in-Trtaining Contemplates a History of the Spanish Dream by Michael G. Smith - while reading Genesis (Memoira del Fuego, Volume 1) by Eduardo Galeano Guao root acid blisters the Incan mistress' skin she burnt white like a Spanish lady to attract her forgetful master. Such a rush to hold gold and cinnamon, the carts pushed and pulled by black slaves axles spew flames. Master lashes out, more water, more water, faster, faster, the glowing light indifferent to the cuts of his sword. In the old Chinese poems I keep in a small notebook, no culverins or arquebus blast, no slaves brought from the eight directions and branded on the face, no hidden weapons of unknown diseases drawing fevers and blood from the eyes knowingly unleashed, no dead saints then given for protection. Gods having nowhere to hide, only what is pure and transient new moon tipsy in the heavens, ripe, tiny mountain pears, snow softly falling on the eaves, gray-haired concubines washing clothes, a country overrun with war, retired generals, sad and repentant, restless nights, west winds


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blowing through open windows within the village within many trees one year then the next still passing by, the old ways living on. Incan god-king Atahualpa ignores black rainbows crossing blue skies, the dead condor that fell on the plaza. He executes messengers delivering news of the conquistadors' progress to Quito. Elsewhere in spacetime, Fray Diego de Landa tosses the heathens’ memory books on the bonďŹ re. Roasted in their armor, conquering foot soldiers clutch only air.

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O Season by K.C. McGowan Expected you late last night after the storm, shipwrecked, wet with sea smell and sand. Blue crab bisque was brewing, and I ate half a pack of saltines. But this is the season of doubt, and weeks pass when nothing washes on shore. Even the patch I got for climbing the Key West lighthouse won’t stop the bleeding. Left the bedroom window unlocked


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Lost Fathers by Rick Kempa My son and I are shooting baskets on the playground near our home when a voice booms out from the fringe: "Hey, I'm gonna play too!" Shielding my eyes against the setting sun, I squint at the big broad figure of an oncoming man. "Hey Prof, how ya doin'? I bet you never thought you'd see me again!" Closer, he looks familiar: the smooth, dark skin, the wide forehead, the nose flat and broad like mine. I grope back through the years to find the name. What is it, Clyde? "Man, don't you know me? Claude!" "Yeah, Claude! How are you, Claude?" We grip hands, street-fashion. He was in my writing class five or so years ago. A hard worker, got an honest B. The kid who shattered the "dumb jock" stereotype that year. I took an interest in him. "This is my boy Adam," I tell him, and to Adam, a basketball fiend, I say what will matter most: "This here is Claude. He used to play for the Spartans." Adam stares up in wonder. Claude takes the ball from his hands and tosses it up. It clangs off the rim. "Man, I should be in the NBA now, you know that? I'm good enough to be. Some of my friends are there. They're rich. You know Norm Van Exel? Tree Rollins?” (I nod yes.) "We grew up together. I played with them. In fact, I was better than them." I smile at the thought; every kid knows he's the best. But Claude's not smiling. "Man, I'd be there, I'd be a millionaire, I'd have bought my father a house by now. But Coach Thompson, he worked me over. He did bad by me." "Whattya mean, Claude?" It's not right, how he's talking on like this. He was quiet and cool when he was in my class. "I came all the way out here from Buffalo to play for him, remember? I figured I'd put Wyoming on the map. I was doin' all right, but coach, he thought I needed a father, he tried to act like one. One day I told him I already had a father and he got pissed, benched me. Man, I averaged fifteen points and ten rebounds--no, eighteen and ten--off the bench that year, but he never put in a word for me to the scouts, and I'm still here!" The ball bounces over his way and he grabs it, throws it back up too hard. "My father died this May," he says. "Claude, I'm sorry," I begin, but he has already moved on. "But he left me something." He plunges his hand into a pocket, removes it,

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opens his palm to reveal the gleam, brilliant in the yellow light, of a gold watchband. "He left me this, can you imagine? He saved this for his son." I lean forward for a closer look, but he has already put it away. "Were you able to see him before he died?" "No!" he practically shouts. "I been stuck here! My girlfriend's workin', but I can't get a damn job. I'm goin' back to Bualo to start over. I want to take my boys, show them where their dad grew up, but she says no. I got two boys now, did I tell you?" "I knew you had one. How old?" "One's four, and the other's six. Like yours, right?" We both look at Adam, who's standing right up next to me with the ball. "Right." A twinge of memory: once, as proud new fathers, we compared our boys' ages, joked and bragged about them. "These days boys gotta have fathers. They can't make it without them. But a city like Bualo is no place for boys. It's too mean, you understand? Still I gotta go. I'll get something started, I'll send for them..." A silence, which Adam steps into with his small voice. "Let's get back to the game, can we?" He places the ball in my hands. "I gotta go," Claude says again, and begins to turn away. I grip his hand with both of mine, the way a minister might, or a father who never learned to hug. I'm about to say good luck, but that's a meaningless phrase, and a mean one. "Claude, take care of yourself." He needs more than that, I know, but who am I to give it? I was his English teacher once, I taught him how to organize his prose. I can't tell you what to think, I'd always say, and neither can I now. "Yeah, well," he looks at Adam. "Enjoy your game."


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The Dance by A.J. Goldman

Santa Fe Literary Review


Baage by Cynthia Belmont Twilight on Concourse D. This is no metaphor. Ticket, jacket, magazines, suitcase circling somewhere — clothes, toiletries, gifts — I don’t want any of this, I don’t want what everyone else wants: chili fries, a dirty martini, World News Tonight, a carryon with a strap, sex with a friendly stranger, standing up, in a clean stall. Ice cream in a cone. To go home. What I want is for you to appear at Gate 36 like a genie — pour from the mouth of a plane and sail past me in your rumpled blacks. You wouldn’t have to stop, you wouldn’t recognize me now, I’m so sensible, frequently sober, fully dressed. I would know you, Love, of course: you’re the one I’ll never see again, the flutter inside that is no dark moth. It keeps climbing into my throat. I could shed everything — shoes, keys, plans, strings — stuff it all in the gray bin of this forgettable hour if you would please just be here this minute, that flash of sleek bristly hair, tense jaw, silver rings, that same old wool overcoat winging away, funneled onto the escalator, floating down.


Santa Fe Literary Review

These Are the Flowers by David Sugarman At the Wedding Bureau of the City of New York, Martin was sure he’d had enough. “My whole life!” he exclaimed, “I’ve waited in line — for snacks and ballgames and bad news. I simply will not wait to marry my bride. Who’s with me?” A large Chinese party, full from a celebratory breakfast, eyed Martin from afar. The men wore red tulips in their tuxedos and the women white lilies on their gowns. “No? How about you Leonard Blum?” Mr. Blum, a friend of Martin’s father, had been waiting on that queue since 1974. He and Rosa Gold met at a barbecue in the halcyon days after the Yom Kippur War. They dated and decided to marry a few months later, coming to the Bureau, taking a number, and claiming one of the benches beside the westfacing windows. Now they return to their apartment each evening to order in dinner and argue about the children and read side-by-side until calling it a night. In the morning they rise early and get back in line, certain it will be the day their number finally gets called. Mr. Blum deferred to Ms. Gold, who said she never liked that Martin boy — he’d always picked on their little Leonard Jr. (and alas, this was the case; one never lives down one’s childhood cruelties). Martin, seeking support, waved at the photographer, who was not at all charmed by the city’s nearly-and-newlyweds. “Listen,” the guy said. “How bout a picture of you and your bride?” He had been photographing the Wedding Bureau for forty-five years and asked this in a tone of exhausted accusation. “Where is the bride, anyhow?” Martin scanned the room. “Oh dear,” he said, for she was nowhere to be found. He walked from that airy matrimonial space full of bridesmaids and fiancés into the dark and dusty tunnel that links the Wedding Bureau to the many rooms necessary for such a large city to carry on its essential but inscrutable operations. The walls of the passageway were made of grey cinder block, reminding Martin of his elementary school — though, unlike those halls of childhood memory, the doors here had no windows through which one might observe the happenings of each interior. Martin was thus left to puzzle over a hodgepodge of numbers until he heard the muffled sound of a woman singing. He pushed into Room 4162 and saw, in white negligee before the vanity, the Great Tali Toltzis. “Tali Toltzis!” he exclaimed, and leaned against the doorpost. “Well I’ll be!

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What brings you here?” She shrugged and pulled at her cigarette. “I’d been thinking about you I guess.” Smoke floated from her mouth like the steam, Martin mused, of that geyser in Yellowstone where they’d first met. It was a summer program run by the local synagogue; they spent July going down on each other in the rear rows of the coach bus that shuttled some three dozen young Israelites across these United States. “How about you, Martin?” Tali said. Her fingers found their way between his starched collar and talcumed neck. “What brings you here?” She rubbed the stubble of his freshly cut hair. “I’m looking for my bride,” he said resolutely. Tali frowned and let her hand drop. “Well you know I married a banker,” she said. “A very rich man.” Martin had heard, but was she happy? “I am!” she said, and leaned close. “But I miss you.” She smiled and tugged at his earlobe. “Do you ever think of me?” “My bride!” he said again. “Oh, alright.” Tali looped a scarf around her neck and took a large ring of keys from the chiffonier. “Come then.” She traipsed from the room and turned through the hallways, displaying a remarkable knowledge of those labyrinthine corridors. “Tali,” Martin said. “Why do you s’pose they use cinderblocks for such crucial spaces of civic life?” She turned back and blinked at him. She was never one for conversation, that Great Tali Toltzis. From down the hall came the laughter of barrel-voiced men. Tali walked towards the source, apparently room 3020, and put her ear to the door. “What’s this?” she said, and turned a key to reveal Martin’s father and many uncles lounging about. “Dad?” he said. “Uncles?” They had all, in the past few years, left their wives so they could get together to drink beer and listen to guitar music — which is exactly what they were doing when Martin walked in, though they quickly silenced the stereo as Tali sashayed between them, a fresh cigarette set between her red-painted lips. “Woa,” one uncle said. “Who’s the broad?” She plucked a beer from the cooler and bit off the cap with her little white teeth. “That’s his bride,” Martin’s father said. The uncles nodded in approval. “No,” Martin shook his head. “This isn’t my bride.” “Why not?” an uncle said. He leaned back and smacked his belly. “You found


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a nice Jewish girl who’d facefuck you in New Mexico and you let her go? I mean does your bride do that kind of shit?” “No,” Martin admitted. “And can your bride open beers with her teeth?” Martin shook his head, for it was true; his bride preferred the opener. “And anyways,” another uncle said, “You ought to rethink the whole thing. Would we be able to play canasta in the company of this fine young lady if we still had brides?” Tali chewed a few more bottles open and handed them out. “Wowzers,” an uncle said. “Well okay,” Martin said, “but I imagine it gets wearisome?” Martin’s father, lighting Tali’s cigarette, said, “Mm?” “I mean how much does this give you a sense of personal fulfillment or self-actualization?” “What,” an uncle said, “you think there’s fulfillment in married life? In seeing the same face every goddamn day?” “And indeed,” an uncle added, “there is certainly fulfillment in that moment when your lips meet those of someone new, maybe on a dance floor with the music buzzing through you or out on the street with the wind cooling your sweat-wet face and the surrounding cityscape looking, uh, magical?” “Absolutely,” Martin’s father agreed, “and that’s to say nothing of the dark cab-ride back to that young woman’s apartment, perhaps in some neighborhood you’ve never visited but’ve read nice things about in the Sunday Times and there, in the hallway, a hitherto darkened door is opened; you’re let into a space tastefully furnished with this thing and that and you pause: you note the books; you study a photograph; you feel the sheets. You watch a body step from the clothed world into the fleshier one — a world Adam once knew in perpetuity — and you feel, as that body presses against your humdrum skin, that now, in this contact, you’ve been made new.” “Mm,” the uncles said in unison. “You boys are getting lost in the particulars,” Tali said. “It’s possibility that’s important — ceaseless possibility. When I’m putting on my makeup before a night on the town, I look out at a skyline punctuated by so many squares of light, squares framing women at mirrors and boys at pre-games and those squares fill me with a feeling, with awe at the world’s largesse, and that’s the thing.” “What a woman,” an uncle said. “But don’t you all see?” Martin interjected. “My marriage constitutes the actualization of these very potentialities!”

Santa Fe Literary Review


“I’m not sure,” Tali said. “Like there’s no element of infinite possibility — no awe-largesse.” “But that’s not true!” Martin said. “There’re always surprises — always awe! Why, just this morning my bride, while eating cereal with her right hand and struggling to fold the newspaper with her left put both down and said: ‘Isn’t it incredible that we have these lopsided bodies?’ I mean that floored me!” “Hm,” Tali said. “And these kinds of thoughts come pretty often!” “Not the same!” an uncle declared. Martin was tired; more than that, he was lost. How had he even gotten down here and why, on this most sacred day, was he in a basement with his uncles and the Great Tali Toltzis? He was growing distraught — was nearing despair — when he heard: “Flowers? Anyone need flowers?” “There’s an idea,” an uncle said, and waved the florist in. The others concurred. They bought Tali a dozen red flowers and watched her smell each one before pinning it to her chemise. “Sir?” Martin said to the florist. “Do you know where the Wedding Bureau of the City of New York is?” The florist counted his dollars. “I do,” he said without looking up. “Could you take me there? You see I need to find my bride and I’m lost down here. I’d be happy to help with the cart.” The old man pushed back his cap and took Martin in — his tuxedo, his bow tie, his studs. “A bridegroom,” the man said gravely. He fixed Martin’s collar and nodded. Martin wrapped his fingers around the cart’s worn wooden handles and pushed into the dark hallway, where he and the florist turned this way and that. Other than the occasional “left" or “right,” the florist didn’t speak; he arranged his flowers and took inventory. Martin didn’t mind the silence; after the madness of that morning, he appreciated the calm catacombs, the fragrant flowers. But as quickly as he had found this new peace it was gone, for the Great Tali Toltzis was coming from behind, shepherding Martin’s uncles and father and aunts and sisters and his supervisor and some old teachers and several former lovers and his mother. “Oh shit,” Martin said. The florist pushed through a door and led them into the grand bureau, which was now filling with Martin’s people — all of them straining to see what was going to happen, what their Martin would do. The force of the crowd was so great that he and the florist were forced onto the cart, which itself was soon sent


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aloft; it drifted towards the center of the room, bobbing about in that great mass of people. “Hey,” the florist said. He swept his hand across the flower-tops. “Do you want a bouquet for your bride?” The truth was Martin didn’t; the petals were withered and the stems weak and droopy. “No thank you, sir.” “Hm,” the man said. “So you think they’re deficient somehow, these flowers?” Martin nodded. “Well I think you’ve missed the point completely,” the florist responded. “It has nothing to do with perfection, these flowers — with some ideal of the Red Rose or White Lily.” “No?” Martin said, struggling to stay upright on the crowd-tossed cart. “What are flowers for if not to embody the bits of slight beauty we find strewn, as if by accident, across this fickle earth?” “But listen,” the florist said, and grabbed Martin’s arm. “You walk this city and pass a bodega and see those big white buckets out front, right? White buckets full of flowers and you think nothing of them because they’re lined up like the candy bars beside the cashier — but no! It’s not so! Those flowers, you see, they were planted in cold and gathered in warmth, were set onto trucks and driven from afar and sprinkled across the city to lift and bloom and wither and look here, look at these roses and tulips and lilies. These are the flowers I planted myself. I watched them grow and I’ll watch what’s left of them die and you must know what they mean, dear child, for they are not born in white buckets to die in strange vases, no — they are markers of time and love and caution and don’t think otherwise for a moment, for a single moment of a single goddamn day — don’t ever do that and don’t let yourself be fooled. Do you see, Martin? Do you see?” And what he saw, just then, was his bride, coming through the doors like daylight.

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Striers by Darryl Wellington Evening descends like long black hair unbundled. And beneath the Empyrean stairs three gold teeth, lipstick, a thin, cherry red smile, and devil-may-care.


Santa Fe Literary Review

Angel Personal by Bruce Lader UNTAMABLE: Apollonian/Dionysian synergy, sonar-tuned, solar-sustained, shot from the galactic sling, meteoric moonbows, intuitive, droll imagination, eternal star-guided dreams, hopes never expire, resilient as the waves, sings the moods of the sea, odes to timeless attainments, loves to lighten burdens, chants diurnal skies, cosmic curiosity, nature & art enthusiast, abundant libido, contact asap! Eros & Psyche: Untrammeled@Hippocrene.insp

Santa Fe Literary Review


Gift From the Sky by Pat Lynn Moses


Santa Fe Literary Review

Grace at the Basilica by C.J. Giroux You appear in attachments, girls in front, boys behind in khaki shorts, shirts as pink as four balloons tacked to a homecoming float; you, your classmates carry wine, wafers in another dome in another city. The email offers no text just the subject line “grace at the basilica,” and while grace should occur under vaulted ceilings, I don’t find it there, nor in our leaning farmhouse where each weekday you sink into the couch, lazing in your plaid Catholic-girl skirt, complaining of chores, hating homework, your upcoming recital piece, a Mozart Gavotte that you claim remains out of reach. Even on Sundays when you sit to my left, always to my left, on oiled oak, I feel the space between us grow lengthening, unseen, like resilient spikes of Mary Washington residing in raised beds. This Sunday, worried about terror alerts, lockdowns at the White House, or, perhaps more realistically, boys in your class,

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I tune out the sermon, just as you ignore my regular complaints offered like our daily bread; Father Bill promises to preach of four gifts, but I only catch the last two as he moves into the miracle of the loaves and — and again, I am gone. I sing, sit, stand, bow, but I miss the moment of transformation, transplanted instead to the sharing of peace. I think of you, how we typically make contact in this moment, a temporary truce that becomes another battle a game of squeezing hands that I still dominate though you will grin as you wipe your palms of sweat, this ritual your trump card. But today, with you gone, I find little solace in stone walls, stained glass, and so, once home, I retreat out of doors to finger clods of soil as if they were rosary beads; to kneel, as if at a communion rail, and plant orange-disked calendula, with centers that sink like patens. I separate parsley from purslane unsure if they compare to wheat and weeds — then, as the first notes of “Spiegel im Spiegel” emerge from my iPod,


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I imagine the low vibrations of your viola, its honeyed voice sieving through the screen of your bedroom window sinking toward the ground, or piano notes winding their way from study to dining room to flowerbeds, wrapping around me with softness, like a death shroud — your music continues, migrates elsewhere, always elsewhere, like swallows on St. Joseph’s day moving en masse; like the lone monarch that meanders over pink poms of milkweed cajoled out of clay and then rises to join its peers, a blot on blue, already knowing the way.

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Various Cruelties by Annabella Farmer So, once again you’ve realized that the person you thought was your platonic half isn’t even from the same jigsaw puzzle. What now? Ah, my friend, you have now entered the dangerously entertaining phase of passiveaggressive internet warfare. Armed only with the impenetrable breastplate of the hot new profile pic and an arsenal of vaguely applicable pop music, you are ready for battle. Why resolve conflicts like an adult when you can publicly humiliate everyone involved? While there is endless variety in the possible strategies, here are a few modern classics. The Weepies. You’ve broken the news as gently as possible (in person! Because you’re a brave and decent soul); you’ve been civil; you did your level best to wring a few tears from your dessicated heart - but despite your best efforts, your freshly severed ex has taken it into his head that you are in fact a cruel, borderline sociopathic bitch (an obviously erroneous conclusion). Now he’s blocked you on Facebook, and is using his public Instagram account to air his grievances. He’s taken to posting moody selfies featuring captions lifted from some of pop’s most uplifting tunes — Tainted Love, Cold as Ice, Heartless, etc. You counter with Smile by Lily Allen, because even though you can now heartily relish his maudlin musings, you did indeed feel bad for a while. For nearly the entire length of Bridget Jones, in fact. If that’s not empathy, I don’t know what is. The Can’t Commitments. You’ve just found out that the object of your affections uses the term “group project” very loosely. So you’ve dumped him, and you tell yourself that you have the willpower to stay off his social media, but here it is 3 am on a Tuesday night and you’re creepin’ on his Instagram, analyzing the body language in your photos together, trying to discern the tell-tale toe pointed in the wrong direction, trying to figure out when the duplicity began. And then it happens. Maybe your thumb’s agility was compromised by your fury; maybe it was a Freudian slip. At any rate, somehow you Double Tap. Quick! Quick! Delete! But it’s too late. And sure enough, within thirty seconds he messages you — oh, bitter irony! He sends you Let Her Go by Passenger, using this melodramatic melody to indicate that absolutely everything in his life goes wrong, and it’s his own fault...maybe. This is the lyric equivalent of “U up?” You know a guilt-laced booty call when you read one. You’re not stupid. Usually. The Magnetic Zero. This one was surely your soulmate - even your horoscope thought so. You’d been texting all day every day for months. Then, quite suddenly, you weren’t. He simply disappeared. You begin to rationalize. A misplaced phone


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charger? An impromptu backpacking trip? Maybe he went into witness protection? You are eventually compelled to give up these delusions, and accept that you’ve been ghosted. You post Say Something because, in truth, you haven’t quite given up yet. No dice. You become incensed, and post Somebody that I Used to Know. Then you realize you’ve made a fool of yourself, and try to backpedal with You’re So Vain. Those songs weren’t directed at you! Of course not! Why does everything have to be about you all the time? God. As it turns out, the best part of breaking up is not making up — it’s the chance to indulge your pettiness. If you’re lucky, you can have fun with it. But if, despite your best efforts to the contrary, you’re a mortal with the emotional resilience of a porcelain doll, the stages of your breakup probably look more like this. 1. Oh sure, you’re fine. You’re fixing your mascara and listening to Mama’s Broken Heart. 2. Your Spotify shuffle sabotages you, and suddenly you’re listening to Your Song. You dissolve into a teary puddle of mush. Three days of The Smiths on repeat. 3. You pull yourself together and put on I Will Survive. “Not so fast!” says Fate — your ex posts a pic with someone else and they’re Wearing His Shirt. You relapse. Time for Kate Nash and a stack of novels, Do Wah Doo…because fictional boys are better anyway. 4. It’s been a couple months, and you’re feeling a bit more sprightly. There’s a cute new barista at Starbucks, and you’re listening to Something Good by The Bird and the Bee. Quick! Put on Lick the Tins, because, as wise men say, only fools rush in … but it’s too late. Time to replay the farce. Log in…

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Ha of the Fishes by Irina Fialko


Santa Fe Literary Review

Girl With Purple Hair and a Boyfriend by Madeleine Steinhoff you catch my eye on the first day of class and all i can think is I want to know you. but eye contact freaks me out so i can’t tell if you’ve noticed me. i spend half the class staring at the way your hair falls over your shoulder and the other half participating so that, through the medium of our professor, the class becomes a conduit of our conversation and i start believing that we would really get along if i wasn’t so intimidated by your confidence. and then one fateful day is dedicated to peer revision and i want to credit fate or destiny but it was probably alphabetical order that paired us and for every second of that hour i carefully catalogue every word that leaves your lips. as the course progresses, i cling to you in solidarity because the class is getting personal and you’re the only one i feel comfortable whispering to so i take a deep breath and your smile propels me to speak my thoughts while conjuring new ones like Do I really like that color? Or do I just really like it on you?

Santa Fe Literary Review 95

The Game by Jennifer Grogg The Los Angeles sun was pounding. When her team arrived at the arena, Elaina saw the heat radiating from the pavement. In stark contrast, when they entered the building, the immediate cold nearly took her breath. Pulling her warm-up jacket from her bag, she thought to herself, These Americans sure do love their air conditioning. A row of volunteers with headsets directed the team to their locker room. They were moving their arms and looking around like the Brazilian Women’s Basketball Team was an aircraft instead of people. The team dressed in silence. The gravity of the next few hours was setting in. It seemed like just yesterday that Elaina had found the basketball hoop in the garbage pile in the favela, only to be faced with her father’s murder hours later. If he could only see her now, representing their homeland in the Olympics. She pulled her jacket over her jersey with #47 emblazoned across the front and back. Her father had been 47 when she last saw him laugh. She smiled to herself when she noticed the infinity symbol with “Papa” scripted through it on the outside of her wrist. … Elizabeth stifled her laughter as her teammates were complaining about the heat on the walk from the bus to the arena. She looked at Sonia, who played with her at the University of Kansas, and rolled her eyes. These girls don’t even know what heat is. Spend a week in Kansas in August, then complain about California’s ocean breeze. When they arrived in their locker room, she quickly changed into her uniform. She began blasting the team anthem, Eminem’s “Lose Yourself,” as everyone tried to pretend they were about to play just another game, without the entire world watching. When Coach Wolf entered, Team USA brought the energy level in. “I still can’t believe you girls picked a song that came out before half of you were born,” she exhaled, remembering her own locker rooms growing up. “OK ladies, I know this is an early game, but it’s no less important than later rounds. Brazil is hoping we’re going to underestimate them. We’re not going to do that, are we?” “Hell no, Coach!” the team yelled in unison. “Alright. Now let’s get out there, warm up, and play some basketball!” When the US team exited the tunnel, any inklings of calm that they held dissipated. The calm they felt in the locker room faded away as soon as they saw the Olympic Rings on the floor and on the walls, and heard the crowd start


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chanting, “USA! USA! USA!” as they unfurled their American flags to wave in front of their star-spangled wardrobes. Elizabeth couldn’t help but scan the crowd. It didn’t take long to find the homemade sign reading, “Rock Chalk USA We Love #22” with her mom grinning at her from behind it. When her father had died in a car accident eight years before, a part of Elizabeth had wished it had been her mother. Her father had been her hero, now she was her mother’s champion. “You OK?” Sonia asked Elizabeth as they took the court for warm-ups. Elizabeth looked at her forearm and saw the infinity sign with “Daddy” written under it, looked up to the sky, and smiled at her friend. “Let’s kick some Brazilian ass.” … Elaina’s team practically floated into the locker room at halftime. They knew that they still had twenty minutes of game time left, but they were happy with their eight point lead after the first half. They could tell that the Americans hadn’t been ready for them. “Ladies, ladies, ladies! Great first half! We have to keep in mind that they’re going to adjust to our defense in the second half, but we’re making shots and using the foul line. If we keep making them play our game, I think we’ve got this!” Elaina took a drink of water, trying to focus on her coach instead of her opponent’s arm. She hadn’t seen anyone with the same tattoo as she had in Brazil. How was it possible that the first person she was assigned to guard in the United States had the same tattoo, on the same arm, just in a different spot? The American had gotten by her one time, giving Team USA their largest lead of the half at four points. Elaina then recovered by scoring her team’s next six points with back to back three-pointers. The two stood next to each other while the Brazilian team shot free throws. The American had pointed at Elaina’s tattoo and asked her about her father. Elaina had tried to ignore her, but #22 went on to tell her that her dad had died in a car accident. Elaina didn’t respond. She had managed to focus on the game instead of the tattoo until she sat down on the locker room bench. After two minutes of running back and forth across the court, neither team able to pull down an offensive rebound, Elaina had been running out of breath when she was fouled. She was grateful to have a chance to stop, but wished that it wasn’t on her shoulders to shoot free throws. She tried to focus on the basket with the sea of red, white, and blue screaming behind it. As she lifted the ball, she was able to take a full breath after seeing her own ink, right there, just like it always was, doing what it was supposed to do – bringing her father to

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wherever she was. The ball slipped silently through the net for both shots. She snapped back to reality when everyone stood up to put their hands in the middle of the huddle. “BRAZIL!” they shouted together before trainers finished reapplying tape to shoulders and ankles. … Team USA looked like a fresh beast when they came back from the locker room. The team trainers had made Elizabeth down a shot of pickle juice to prevent her calf from cramping up in the second half. As much as she hated the taste, it worked. She opened the half by grabbing a loose ball and softly tossing it through the basket after bolting across the court. The crowd went insane, screaming so loud that the players’ ears began to ring, and they didn’t let up through the entire third quarter. While in the huddle before the start of the fourth, Elaina was trying to breathe some life back into her team, who had taken an eight point lead and turned it into a nine point deficit in ten minutes of play. “Hey! We’ve got this! You let me take care of that cadela #22. I think I can shut her down. I was left unguarded on the left wing for half of that quarter – stop driving in with every possession – my fingers want to make it rain. Let’s make them play our game. Alright…1-2-3 BRAZIL!” Team USA started the fourth quarter with an inbound pass. True to her word, Elaina made it impossible for Elizabeth to get the ball. The ball made its way in, and Team USA started to set up their offense. Like a flash, a green jersey appeared in the passing lane, stealing the ball. Elaina took off to the other end of the court to catch the pass before the Americans had a chance for their defense to get there. Elaina caught the ball two feet outside of the arc and saw a glimpse of the word “Papa” as the ball left her fingers. It felt like an eternity watching the ball float through the air... Swish… Immediately, Team USA had Elizabeth catch the inbound. She crossed half court and passed it to the wing before Elaina was able to get her arm up to block the pass. As Elizabeth fought to get down by the basket, her Brazilian adversary refused to open a lane for her. Trying to shake her with a spin move, their legs tangled, and both women hit the floor. Elaina popped up and offered her hand to the cadela whom she had promised to take care of. Elizabeth looked to the referee, hoping for a foul call, but was only met with shrugging shoulders. Elaina held Elizabeth’s tattooed arm. Before she released her adversary’s arm, she looked in her eyes and confessed, “My father was murdered.”


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They both took a beat to realize that the ball was on its way to the other side of the court. Running as hard as they could, they caught up with the pack right as Brazil’s center laid the ball into the basket, nearly getting enough air for a dunk. The Americans’ lead was cut to four with 4:17 left on the clock. Both teams were able to set a rhythm, albeit a fast one, with the referees avoiding their whistles to let the women fight through the last quarter like the Olympians they were. When Team USA took a timeout with 54 seconds left on the clock, they led the game by only 2 points. “Ladies…we’ve got this. Under a minute left, our ball, and we’re in the double bonus.” Coach Wolf was attempting to bring the energy back to center like she had when she entered the locker room less than two hours ago. “Hold the ball outside until there’s only eight left on the shot clock, then run the motion. Sonia, #47 is not going to let Elizabeth anywhere near the ball, so I need you to try to get open in the lane. Make them foul you. Got it? 1-2-3 USA!” As they broke the huddle and returned to the floor, they did so with a sense of calm unlike they had been able to grasp during the first 39 minutes of play. For the first time since they had left the tunnel, they were just playing a game. They knew what they had to do. They had all done it before. As expected, the Brazilians didn’t want to let the ball in. Elizabeth was able to launch the ball to the opposite side of the court. Her teammate slowly began the trip to their side of the court, using as much time as possible. They passed the ball around until there were 38 seconds left on the game clock. It was time to go to work. One pass to the top of the key, a screen, drive to the left wing, swing to the right. Sonia was trying to shake the green shirt that was on her. Seeing what was being done, Elaina stepped over to help cover her. That second was all the time needed for Elizabeth to get the ball. Elaina turned and jumped, whacking #22’s arm as the ball was leaving her hand. Whistle. Two shots. 32 seconds left. The crowd fell silent as Elizabeth stepped up to the line. One bounce. Two. Deep breath. Focus. A little boy screamed when he dropped his popcorn. Short off of the front of the basket. An entire nation exhaled and cheered her on for the second. Same lead up. Nothing but net. Three point lead with Brazil bringing the ball down in a deafeningly loud arena. Twenty-eight seconds, driving inside. Twenty-four, a missed inside shot, offensive rebound. Twenty-two, resetting the offense at the top of the key. Eighteen, Elaina caught the ball. Two dribbles to get an open look, she pulled it back and released as she was knocked to the ground. The foul was reviewed to

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see if she was behind the three point line. She was. With sixteen seconds left, Elaina had a chance to tie the game with free throws. She asked her father for guidance before she made the first two. She tried to turn off the crowd before she took the game-tying shot. She looked at her infinity symbol before letting her third shot take flight. She held her breath as it hit the inside of the back of the rim, bounced to the front, rolled around the edge, and, finally, fell through the net. At the end of regulation, the teams were tied. As the final seconds ticked off of the clock during overtime, the winning team could barely contain their excitement. As the buzzer sounded, the teams headed to their benches. One team was celebrating, the other was trying to hold back tears after the hardfought battle. Elaina and Elizabeth caught each other’s eye and walked towards each other. “Your dad would be really proud of you.” “Yours, too.” The two hugged, sharing a moment outside of the game. When the flash bulbs started, they held up their tattoos and smiled for the world to see.


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Spark by L. Teresa Torres It isn’t him I love, it’s the idea of him, and his image haunts me, a ghost standing in blue jeans, his hands rugged and dark with work and sun, partially in his pockets, never reaching out to me. Electricity is used to describe the energy produced when electrons are caused to flow directionally from atom to atom. On a morning without name I am following him on the highway, commuters headed into work. I imagine his gestures as he drives in and along the busy highway that turns into streets and then into freeway. I make believe he is listening to music rather than daily news, classic country at first but then switching to classic rock. I imagine he is sipping on coffee, grazing on a burrito. I am in the vehicle behind his truck, trying to convince myself this isn’t strange, this isn’t dancing on the edge of crazy. I am just a commuter too, trying to get to work, but the fact is, I speed up and slow down just to remain behind the truck, his truck, and this IS on the edge of crazy. “But we are just commuters on the highway, meeting by chance,” I tell myself, and this is enough justification, and a September sun rises over the mountains, commuters in their own cars and my fantasies, my longings, hinging like the needle on the speedometer, edging on an invisible line of despair, desperation, and disaster. Atoms consist of electrons (negatively charged particles) rotating around protons (positively charged particles); free electrons can move easily from atom to atom. A basic concept is this – electricity is used to describe the energy produced when electrons are cause to flow directionally from atom to atom. During church services I see his wife and children. Sitting in the pew at the very back of the church, I see their ordinary movements, young children shifting in boredom and discontent at having to stay quiet and still for so long. The service is long, or so it always seems for children. But we who are solemn adults are used to this kind of holy silence, moving in between ceremony and prayer, appearances and meditation. I sit there staring at the characters in the pews, each with their own lives and intentions, mothers and daughters, husbands and fathers. He sits in church with his family. I watch them, mouthing the prayer responses that I have known since I was a child, mouthing the prayers but I am far removed from holy holy holy.

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Electrons in materials with excess electrons will seek out and move to materials with shortages of electrons. Once he took me to a baseball game. I had only one beer that afternoon, and he may have had two. It was an afternoon baseball game, and he returned me home to my father’s house in the evening, daylight becoming dusk. I did not ask for another get-together. I did not ask for another date. Nor did he. And I exited his pick-up truck like a shy girl who could have used another beer for bravery. I did not take his hand nor look in his face. I got right out of the pick-up truck by saying only a quick and nervous thank-you-I-had-a-goodtime-goodbye. And it was the quickest, most nervous, and regretted goodbye I’d ever make. Resistance is a force that opposes the flow of electrons in a conductor. All materials have resistance. Resistance can be good or bad. We can reduce resistance by choosing conductors with low resistance, or choosing the proper conductor size. He is an electrician by trade. A trade that entails tools and hands and preciseness. A blue-collar trade. And it is this I love, this idea of him, of trade and work and time in the truck and sun. He wears boots and faded jeans. He is tall. He attends church and does not speed on the highway. He carries himself with a soft pride that seems never to have anything to prove but walks strong just the same. But I do not know him. I do not really know him. Like what side does he favor when he sleeps? What is his favorite soft drink and does he like beer? I do not know him. I know only how he appears, the generalization of his trade, that his truck is red. I do not know him. He does not know me. My husband has loved me going on eight years. My son will love me as he grows out of childhood and into adulthood. Neither of them will ever know the things I keep to myself. Neither of them aware of the electricity that lives within me, kept hidden, always hidden. I used to think love was electric. I used to believe love struck like lightning. But what I have discovered is that love is fluid, a biotic element of mass and density and velocity. However, infatuation (the opposite of love) is electric, and it moves like electrons seeking out and moving to materials with shortages of electrons. Infatuation is electric, but love is fluid. Protons and electrons, being positively and negatively charged (respectively), are


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attracted to and repelled by each other. Overall, the flow of electrons will seek a balance of charge. In days past I used to work on rivers, lakes, and streams. Employed as a biologist, I used to float on the belly of the San Jan River, walk the highmountain streams of the Gila, paddle the adobe-colored water of the Rio Grande. Employed to conduct assessments and gather biological data, what I was really searching and gaining was the power of fluid, water, agua. Water is scarce in the great American Southwest, and thus my work and presence on the water was sacred in itself. The notion of water, of fluid, is quite different than that of the electric force. Water in its natural state is a liquid, and it is ever changing (when heated it becomes vapor, when cooled it becomes ice). Water is considered the universal solvent. And water can change quickly, can separate and rejoin without loss. One July morning I woke on the banks of the San Juan River to the sound of water. I lay very still and listened. River water pulled by gravity and gradient and rock spoke a subtle power that science alone could not. I thought about the data we would collect that day – water quality, fish species weights and lengths, river miles traveled. But beneath the surface of rushing water there was more. I lay on the banks of the San Juan river listening to the water, recognizing it for what it really was, an element un-described by science and logic, the most powerful force on earth, fluid rushing with an urgency that both was and wasn’t. I try to define love in this story, in this telling, and I define it for myself, for all that I have known and will never know. I try to define love, and yet I know nothing. The love I have known for most of my life is that of my father and my mother, my brother and my niece; it is a love that is blood-born, blood-kept. But I search and I seek for that other love, the one colored in entertainment and in books. It is the love that is not real. It is the love that exists only in the atoms of our imagination, drifting in and out of spaces, flowing directionally in the way of that direction that was missed. A missed chance at what I convince myself is love. But love is not electric. Electricity is used to describe the energy produced when electrons are caused to flow directionally from atom to atom. Free electrons can move easily from atom to atom. Love – it is both a verb and a noun. Love – it surprises and confuses me all at

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once. What I had with him, the Electrician with a capital letter “E�, was never close to love. Love is mature and wise and old and graceful. Instead what I had with him is a shameless electric infatuation, disguised as something more, disguised as something that I need it to be. Sometimes I live in the electric idea of love, of love with him, and him for me. But life never turned on the light, never hit the switch. So l live in in the dark, pretending that it’s lit, by some kind of light, some kind of spark.


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Black and White 11 by Allen Forrest

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When I Listen to Omar Liebert by Wendy Brown-Baez I think of El Farol, where he used to play. I think of how the air was thick with smoke and tangled with dramas, the locals who met to drink and fight, how the drunks at the bar would piss in their chairs rather than lose a seat, how we danced skin to skin with strangers in the tiny spaces between the tables. I think of how there was a fire, and when El Farol reopened, nothing looked quite the same, the dingy adobe walls fresh painted, a menu we couldn’t afford. We arrived on Flamenco night anyway, enough in our pockets for the cheapest wine. We made up the steps, tapping and stamping, elongating fingers as if we knew anything but our bones answering to rhythm and that defiant grace we had watched on the face of the master Maria Benitez. I loved you as much as anything. That flame as the night slowly circled into dawn and we stumbled home, wings folded for the nest, lovers who recognize the glisten on each other’s tongues of olé, stopped long enough from our journeys in opposite directions to press ourselves together and apart like a fragile fan hinged by muscle and blood.


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Giving Voice to Head and Heart by Pat Crow I say what’s in my head more than I share what’s in my heart. I invite the chamber between them to open for honest expression, but making myself express feelings is like forcing me to eat raw liver. I can easily tell a story without ever touching on my emotions. I talk about them. I intellectualize about them, but when I try to show them they become trapped in my throat chamber’s locked box. I often look to James Baldwin and Rita Mae Brown for guidance. I’m in the habit of shutting down my feelings, and wonder when this began. Was it when I was told to keep my thoughts to myself, or that “curiosity killed the cat” or “children should be seen and not heard”? Who knows? Even now I’m talking about it. I want my writing to grip the reader in a compelling way like James’ and Rita Mae’s words do. They daringly put together scenes and characters that show their feelings. I have courage. But when I get close to a difficult or uncomfortable feeling I dance in circles around it for pages on end. Am I brave enough to embody my feelings, to live and breathe them at the same time, in the flesh the way Baldwin and Brown do? In my early years, I learned to “check out”, dissociate, to get through life. I went to sleep, curled up with my dogs and snuggled because they didn’t need me to talk to them. They just loved me. My writing informs me. When I stand in my bones and breathe in my skin, great words and stories come through. Rising in the gutsy gore of emotions with a discipline allows me to move through the yuckiness knowing I’ll be ok. But staying grounded amidst today’s current events haunts me. For instance, the circus-like 2016 presidential campaign reeked with hostility, vulgarity and crudeness. That combined with horror stories I’ve heard about mass murders with assault weapons, police murders of innocent victims and little girls dismembered and raped, I want to escape. I think to myself. I want out. I want to go home and sleep off this bad dream so that when I wake up my feelings of dismay, hopelessness and disgust about the bizarreness of my world will disappear. My reality is that I am here and I want to contribute. Checking out is chicken. Showing up for myself takes audacity. This messiness of living sometimes feels ridiculous. Whose idea is it that staying in the present is useful? Staying in the present is uncomfortable, itchy

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and ďŹ lled with dis-ease. Who wants that? I do. Making a commitment to embrace the craziness all around me somehow gives me credibility. If I flow with it and move through it then I will create an atmosphere of growth for myself — sort of like a Petri dish. If I intentionally submerse my body and mind into the muck of life perhaps I will grow something new. I invite the spirits of James Baldwin and Rita Mae Brown to surround me and be my muses. I want them to show me, not tell me how to write a great and powerful story. My throat chamber is open to their wisdom.


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Searching by Donna Pucciani Pick out a word, gnarly and full of eyes, like a potato. Could be a carrot with green ferns floating behind it like hair in the wind. Or a bird, singing, or silent on a bough, waiting for the minute to pass. Or brambles, prickly at the edge of a field, or ears like handles on a bald man's head, a marmalade cat with one eye, or a garbage truck or a New York subway, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Mona Lisa's nose. A soldier's gun, proud of blood on its iron-clad muzzle, or a monk with a begging-bowl, an airport with passengers stranded by snow. A rare disease, cobbles in a Liverpool alley, or the way the moon lies back, lounging on a cloud, lighting the dark face of earth as poets float through solitude in search of syllables.

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Gesture 4 by Allen Forrest


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Confluence by Andy Lovato I saw my Mother yesterday… She was a twenty-something check-out girl at an airport in Indianapolis She had those same unmistakable mannerisms and that studied, sideways glance she’d always given me I wanted to hug her, tell her how much I loved her Buy her a cup of coffee and catch her up on everything that had happened since she’d been gone Instead, I bought a magazine I pulled a bill from my wallet and passed it to her with a trembling hand As she reached out, I recognized the long, gentle fingers that I’d know so well My heart began pounding when she peered up at me with the familiar look that always seemed to say, “You’re an odd little boy, but you’re my son and I’ll always love you” We pretended we didn’t know each other but I detected her smile of complicity Then I ran to catch my plane…

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Carver Girl by David Athey Things I Like was the topic given by the nurse, or doctor, or therapist or whatever she was, the white-robed distributor of pens and paper and a pitiful, demanding stare that suggested I might have a chance because of the books and stuff. “I like Raymond Carver,” I muttered, scratching ancient cursive across the blank paper. “And I like the guy Bub who was pissed at the blind man for appearing out of nowhere to mess with his wife. I like the blind man, too, but not the wife so much. She didn’t do much for me and went to sleep before the good stuff happened. I like the old TV. I like how it died and left them alone after the show about the Middle Ages. I like the freaking Middle Ages, okay? I like cathedrals because they aren’t just stacks of rocks like the pyramids the internet says were made by aliens. I like things made by real people. I like glass in my pyramids. I like rose windows because sometimes I look in a mirror and my eyes are so blood-shot they resemble roses full of morning. I like how Carver lets Bub and the blind man build a cathedral after drinking all night. They aren’t perfect, okay? I like how they touch each other. I like how they go back in time with just pen and paper on a table and it’s like the blind leading the blind to make a cathedral of stone and glass. Understand? GLASS. Do you know what broken glass can do to a person? Have you ever tried? I like how cathedrals are still standing, and I like the library during free time when I can stare at pictures of rose windows staring at me for a thousand years. And I like reading through the abused collection of Carver stories and running my fingers across the pages and hoping everything survives damage like that.”


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Smart Like Them by Emily Stern Did you know that I fell in love with writing in third grade? I can name the exact moment at which I felt the possibility of brilliance was attainable through my own desire and willingness to learn, accumulate and utilize knowledge. It was also the moment at which I experienced the possibility of transcending the only world I’d been offered, which was one of violence, drugs, food stamps, welfare, intermittent meals, bad checks, and emotional instability. Learning and curiosity have always been alive in me. My obsession with critical thinking, however, was not as a result of an epiphany amidst a cool classroom activity designed to maintain my attention, nor some night of expertly dismantling the claims of two presidential candidates who will never achieve a thing in a sick and impossible system. I became a strong critical thinker because I was determined to survive. In third grade, with a bad haircut, and like a bad TV show, I was one of maybe four or five poor kids at an upper-middle-class/lower-upper-class private school, on scholarship. And like that bad TV show, there were no secrets about who was whom. Yet, it was third grade…so, really, aside from the couple of innate bully types, who were also only third graders and not quite yet savvy enough to effectively strategize a way to build enough capacity to create a culture of entitlement and cruelty because, you know, too many vulnerable moments all around, (the occasional meltdown over the loss of a favorite marker, or the unbearable shame of anything involving the bathroom), the teachers and the leadership were really those who were responsible for clearly and consistently communicating and assigning us the infrastructure and characteristics of our individual and collective roles and identities. The day I fell in love with writing was also the day I understood that my teachers believed that poor equaled stupid, and that struggle equaled less than, and that I’d now somehow gone from the depressing comfort and dark humor of collective poverty, where success was marked by milestones like winning a cafeteria bubble blowing contest in my always-an-hour-from-rotten free school lunch milk, or scoring a brand-new eraser in art class. Commonly occurring experiences I hadn’t yet considered to be successes were impressive stunts like calming my little sister’s freakout about the bugs in the government rice by stealing enough lunchmeat from the grocery store to make a Chicago-Style BBQ beef sandwich on the knockoff

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Wonder Bread that was so void of constitution that the second you added ketchup, it began to disintegrate. Nor had I considered it a sign of geographical prowess and cartographical adeptness that, at seven years old, I could independently and expertly navigate the city of Chicago’s public transportation system, including the on-the-fly decision-making and analysis necessary to work around route changes to get to the grocery store, or to school on time, or in spite of being short fifty cents, or the enormous responsibility of protecting, feeding, and motivating my whiny lollygagger five-year-old sibling. I hadn’t considered the intellectual implications of escaping from lecherous neighbors who were overly concerned about the latchkey sisters or the value of my masterful bobbing and weaving in the streets and in my living room skills; I hadn’t considered my ability to weather and gain perspective on the fallout of pervasive despair and outrage amidst whole circumstance changes following one of my mother’s many breakups and our family’s subsequent evictions which included the continuous refinement of my ability to discern when endurance and silence outweighed logic, self-advocacy, and hopefully only temporary emotional trauma. I also hadn’t considered that my experiences, however difficult, were in service to the human need to both belong to, and transform, my circumstances. Inside the reality of poverty and violence, you don’t spend a whole lot of time considering things. Everything is do. In third grade, I wanted to learn. I wanted to win a spelling bee. I wanted to deliver the right answer in a class discussion, or better yet, say something to propel it forward to the delight of the teacher, but never, ever, to their surprise, which I’d soon realized was more often the case at my new, fancy school. So, I decided to write a letter to the principal. I decided it couldn’t be the average complaining and demanding found in what most might imagine is found in a letter fueled by hurt and frustration — a litany, or a sob story. Rather, it occurred to me that in order to be heard, I would have to have to be convincing, and rational, and above all, I would have to sound smart. Those of you who know me a bit better may not be surprised to hear that my plan of attack was to explain to the principal that inviting kids into classrooms overseen by people who unconsciously or consciously believe that some people are inherently less than, and are in no way capable of contributing equal value to the same environments as those whose parents were: always on time; never cussed in public; or often spilled indignation or excuses for not having the five dollars for the field trip.


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I somehow understood that in order for this letter to inspire a willingness (for the principal) to move past the initial outrage or bitterness, and perhaps hurt and defensiveness, of being wrongfully cast with a student’s inaccurate portrayal and perception of what’s so obviously a well-intentioned and charitable gesture, to admitting and accepting that there’s more to learn, and even then, to valuing students’ safety and well-being more than their own discomfort — and most likely at the risk of collective dissent and incredulousness — and, of course, all the while, at the potential detriment of rattling that same human desire to find oneself in a place to which they feel they belong, by choosing to not only invite, but also to take action on behalf of the students. Basically, I had to sound smart, and not just smart for a poor kid from a dysfunctional family whose life is probably being saved by this opportunity, but, you know, smart like them.

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Slumber:A Duet by Deborah Chava Singer 1. fallen asleep in the crook of you and you skin exposed as the night buzzes on and day rolls away feel the warmth of you close all let go the world is ours inside sweetened slumber 2. now I know I’ve fallen asleep in the crook between your love and settling skin exposed nearby mosquitoes fly spend the night buzzing on and the dreams of the day have all but faded try to keep rolling along I feel the warmth of your body it passes for love inside we are closed all hope’s been let go but this world is our own making ignoble sacrifice of our own taking inside this hollow the floor is sweetly sticky we could be awake we could be alive but instead we slumber


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Window Image by Meghan Grubb

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, Meghan Gru: An Artist s Statement Rooted in sculpture and installation, my practice engages with the physical and visceral aspects of the non-rational and intuitive responses of wonder and anxiety. Through exploring what is at stake when we engage with the fringe of our conscious experience, I am interested in the ways that we respond — both physically and emotionally — to precarious situations. I observe and question the potential realities that arise from experience within confounding environments, and how memory and direct perception mix to produce sensory response. Developing from practices in art and architecture, research into literature, perceptual psychology, optics, and the natural environment, I aim to leverage unease in the relationship between humans and the physical spaces we inhabit, making work that may prove at once playfully reassuring and profoundly disquieting.


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Interior With Meg by Meghan Grubb

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The Inadequacy of Condolences for Tom White by Sean White the bitter fake-fruit taste expectorant of I’ve got some bad news from a telephone muffled voice turns my stomach and induces a fit of coughing stuttered clichés


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Shadow On the Wa by Marguerite Kearns The two best friends put on their coats and hats and purchased train tickets to center city Philadelphia and the Market Street teahouse not far from where the William Penn statue stared down on them from the top of City Hall. The teahouse featured a round robin canister tray filled with éclairs, key lime pie, cherry tarts, hot scones from the oven, and cake with orange icing. As they took their seats, Edna lifted her long skirt from the floor and felt overdressed compared to the plain shirtwaist Bess wore, another fly in the ointment as far as her father was concerned. “If you don’t care enough about dressing properly, how can you expect to land a husband?” Mr. Weiss asked Bess at breakfast that morning. He didn’t understand his comments might instead reinforce his daughter’s determination to defy convention. Bess might have worn a necktie and trousers if she could have left the house without her parents noticing. The two women sipped oolong tea and ate cake with orange icing, just like years before when as girls they practiced drinking tea with rose-decorated miniature teacups and eating scones with lemon marmalade. Oolong tea was Lucretia Mott’s favorite and they wouldn’t drink anything else. “It bothers me how my best friend might become a breeder and a servant to her family,” Bess said to Edna. “An equal partnership with a man is possible. I’m positive,” she responded. “I love having men as friends. Take Wilmer, for example. He’s a good man.” “Just because he’s a good man doesn’t mean he’ll make a good husband.” “He’s a friend. And I’m not living at home with my parents for the rest of my life.” “Why sew patches on inequality? I’m for a very different kind of America.” “An America where a girl wears a boy’s britches?” “Yes.” “Bess, trust me. It won’t happen in our lifetimes.” “At least I won’t die of madness or boredom or overwork taking care of a husband and a herd of children. Remember Aesop’s advice in one of his fables? He’d rather be free than a fat slave.” “Aesop should know. He was a Greek slave.” “And Mary Wollstonecraft believed we women are experts in bartering our freedom for a splendid slavery.” Bess felt comfortable ranting at the Market Street teahouse, a “ladies’ teahouse” that in 1903 didn’t require patrons to have chaperones. Edna listened

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as Bess spoke with emphasis about how much she hated the term “spinster” when referring to unmarried women over the age of twenty. A growing number of young women like Bess preferred “single” as in the Cult of Single Blessedness or “bachelor girl.” Some planned to become telephone operators, enter teaching, social work, nursing, the new field of home economics, business, and even professions such as medicine and law. They sought employment in libraries, stores, offices, hospitals, schools, factories, settlement houses, domestic service, wherever employers would have them. Those who didn’t agree to marriage and second-class citizenship were subject to pity, humiliation, and the stigma of a derogatory label. “You don’t want to be an old maid, do you?” Mr. Weiss asked Bess. He’d been stunned by her answer: “I don’t plan to be anything else.” He regretted sending Elizabeth, the name he called Bess when angry, to Friends Central, a Quaker high school, against his better judgment and only after succumbing to pressure from his wife and daughter. Mr. Weiss complained that at Friends’ Central his daughter not only learned academic subjects, but she’d been influenced by the ideas of nonconformists, especially Elizabeth Cady Stanton who’d written The Woman’s Bible, a fanatical diatribe, in his opinion. He didn’t need to read Mrs. Stanton’s writing challenging a Christian holy book. He’d heard the premise was about how organized religion reinforced the systematic repression of women. “Poppycock.” This is what Mr. Weiss called the notion that women deserved equal rights. “Outrageous hussies,” he said, when Matilda Joslyn Gage praised the Iroquois of upstate New York for their woman-centered culture. “Unacceptable” became the word Mr. Weiss repeated when he could think of no other way to express his displeasure. And while her father fumed, Bess collected the writings of the forbidden women and circulated them among her school network of friends, wrapped in brown paper and tucked under or behind their regular school books in briefcases and hand bags. Mr. Weiss claimed women authors only worsened conditions for their sex. He suggested that the New Woman type had spawned a new generation of manipulative, opinionated, and shrill females with miniscule brains. Women’s emotional natures were better suited to caring for husbands and children, sewing, embroidery, knitting, and playing the piano, he claimed, because flirting with reformist ideas only made women repulsive to men as potential marriage partners. “In a generation or two, young girls will lose their ability to function as decent mothers.” Mr. Weiss lectured all during dinner the day Bess refused to go riding with


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Philip in Fairmount Park. “As you make your bed, so you must lie in it.” He spouted clichés reinforcing his daughter’s determination to remain single. Mr. Weiss provided well for his wife and daughter through his center city business, something he didn’t hesitate to remind them about when his eyes seethed with underlying rage. Mr. Weiss called Bess his “half wild, half domesticated child.” And Bess could be as mean and stubborn as her father. Bess didn’t agree with Edna that the right to vote would significantly shift the balance of power between men and women. Even if women eventually voted, she said men would eventually adapt and close ranks to maintain control over politics and affairs of state. Bess had her mother in her corner in one respect. Mrs. Weiss supported her daughter’s high school education at Friends Central. Even if Bess married early, acquiring a skill and education might become necessary in the event she had to support herself and children someday. Like her mother, Bess also had a fashionable side to her personality. On summer days she washed Edna’s hair and brushed it to being soft and wavy. Bess filed Edna’s nails, rubbed creams and lotions into her skin, and gifted Edna with elegant scarves. But something lurked in the corner of the room at the Market Street teahouse the day the two women met. Shadows lurked, but nothing visible could explain the gray floating forms, yet they remained steady, penetrating the floor and surrounding space. Edna recognized the shadows as fear, her own, the fear of being her father’s daughter — her father, the traveling salesman, someone who kept his life on the road a secret. Edna wondered if she might also drift into the land of shadows and forget her underlying faith about romantic partners having the unlimited potential to evolve together. Bess could be right, and she could also be wrong about marriage. And the shadow persisted in hugging a corner of the Market Street teahouse.

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Para Nada by Holly Wood


Santa Fe Literary Review

Through a Window by Byron Beynon Did young John Keats dying of TB near the famous Heath look out from such a perpendicular window for his neighbour and love Miss Brawne? Frustrated with ill-health he recognised its symptoms, the diagnosis of his poetry scarred on those brittle lungs, a mutability of passion and fear his impatience for her would soon sail away to another, warmer shore, her unopened letters a transparency of impulses lost and buried with him.

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Car Smash by Michael Keefe Jeb Pardew hefted the sledgehammer onto his shoulder. The sky was cloudless and swimming-pool blue — a perfect morning for beating the shit out of his ex-wife's car. Right then, he could've just let that hammer fall, and it would've felt so clean and good, like cannonballing off a diving board. But the moment seemed incomplete. Jeb plunked the head of the sledgehammer down on the ground, kicking up a cloud of dust. He'd parked Cindy's cherry red Impala on the dirt lot at the edge of the town fairgrounds, where parents dragged around bawling kids, and deep fryers filled the summer air with the sweet stench of sugar and grease. Jeb stood maybe a hundred feet away from the kissing booth, the dunking booth, and all the other dopey activities that made up Frontier Days. The only attraction that mattered to Jeb was the Car Smash. He'd been in charge of that event for years. A tow truck driver by trade, he came across plenty of Smash-worthy heaps. And folks were always willing to donate their old junkers — one less eyesore on their front lawns. This year, Jeb would unload some crap of his own. He flipped open his cell phone and auto-dialed his ex. Brittle rings crackled across the airwaves. Behind him, the bell of the old fire engine clanged, and the crowd along Main Street cheered the start of another Frontier Days Parade. Jeb plugged a finger in his ear. Somewhere in the swirl of noise, he thought he heard the beep or ping or ding of Cindy's voice mail. "Hey. It's me. Uh, Jeb." A belch snuck up on him, tasting of red eye gravy and lite beer. "Maybe you forgot, or maybe you just don't care no more. But the parade's today. And Tucker, he ain't never missed a Frontier Days. He's still my kid, too, you know. And I figured he might be old enough for the Car Smash this year. Are you too busy up there in the big city to remember Frontier Days? Well, here's a reminder for you." Jeb wedged his cell phone between ear and shoulder. He gave the sledgehammer a tug, and the sleek little phone squirted free. It tumbled through the air, silver body flashing in the sun. Way back in high school, Jeb had played varsity tight end. He lunged for his phone like it was a sideline fade. He bobbled it twice before completing the catch. "Dang it. You still there? Oh, right. Well, hang on a sec." Jeb rested the phone on the roof of the Impala. He'd removed all of its windows and mirrors, per Car Smash regulations. The altered body had lost its mystique. "Like I was saying,


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maybe you wanna forget all about Frontier Days. Even the kissing booth?" A vision of Cindy at seventeen returned to Jeb: her bleach-blonde hair feathered and teased, shiny pink lip gloss on that extra-wide smile, acid wash cut-offs, and a Bon Jovi concert tee: Slippery When Wet. In his letterman jacket, he'd paid for just one kiss that day, but Cindy gave up plenty more. "Goddamn kissing booth." "Jebe-dipshit-diah!" Deke Beasley appeared beside him, corn dog in hand. "I got your kissing booth right here, Jebbo." He grabbed his crotch and cackled, fanning chunks of corn meal and meat-stuff throughout his wiry beard. "Shut up, Deke." Jeb sighed hard, trying to will away the intrusion of his oldest friend. He concentrated on the mouthpiece of the phone. "Okay, Cindy. Like I was saying —" "Is that your old lady on the phone there, Jebbers?" Deke leaned against the hood, a six-pack grin on his stupid pink face. "What's up, Cin City? Is the little man on the line, too? Hey, Tuck. It's Uncle Deke." "Ex-old lady, Deke." Minutes ago, Jeb's thoughts had been so clear. Now, Frontier Days present and past got all mixed up together. His brain felt like scrambled eggs. Deke's round head bobbled left and right, squinty eyes working to absorb the scene before him. "Holy shit, Jebski." He chewed off another hunk of corn dog. "I thought you loved the Impaler." Cindy had rejected that nickname for the Impala. Hearing it again, Jeb felt his chest tighten with regret. "Nah, no biggie." He tried to shrug, but his shoulders drooped. At the fairground, little kids screamed, barkers hollered for the ring toss, and a shrieking girl splashed into the waters of the dunking booth. Jeb closed his eyes — maybe that'd help him think. But the scrambled eggs remained. Did he love that car? Every Saturday for a dozen years, just to show Cindy just how much he appreciated her being his wife and the mother of his child, Jeb had washed the Impala's bright red body by hand, smoothing it dry with a shammy cloth. Then he'd Armor All the interior — including the backseat, where Tucker had been conceived. And what had Cindy shouted from her sister's Volvo on the day she left him? "Jeb, you had a bigger hard-on for my car than you ever had for me." Her car? Now that Jeb thought about it, the title was in his name. He'd won it at auction, down at the police impound lot — former property of some coke dealer named Raul. Hell, paint the car black, pop in some tinted windows, and maybe Jeb could bring the Impaler back to life. Make it his own. He opened his eyes and turned to Deke, ready to run the idea past his old buddy.

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Deke's pink face turned brick red, and his arms shook from the weight of metal and wood suspended high above his head. He shouted at the phone: "You ready to rock, Cin-bad? 'Cause here comes the heavy metal!" The head of the sledgehammer briey eclipsed the late morning sun. Then burning light ďŹ lled Jeb's eyes. He opened his mouth, but the word "wait" got stuck on his tongue. Just like it always did.


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The Ice Maiden ,s 97th SOS by Lyn Lifshin When I was born, my mother said there was a birthmark in the shape of a tear, an omen, a warning. But what could a woman 500 years ago in Peru do? Soon this long, black hair that many cherish, covered it. Still, when she held me, she said that she held sadness, as if she knew that she would never have a truce with herself, as if the mark was a tattoo of loss. I hardly remember the smell, though I rode many years close to her skin. When they took me to be sacriďŹ ced to the mountain, she didn’t follow all the way, or even come, but she ran, pure terror and rage: How else could she let go of all that mattered?

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Remains by Terry Micco Take away my hands and I’ll sing with the soles of my broken feet. Take away my song and the wind will dance through the tangled porticos of my still beating heart. Take away my heart and my cells will listen for her return in rose petals falling reluctantly from thorny stems.


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It Was Not a Silent Night by Cheryl Marita It's not often that a mother of two teenagers comes out to her husband. It's not often that a star student, a thirteen-year-old boy, is arrested for satanic vandalism in a small town. How both of these rare occurrences could happen in the same evening to the same family is beyond imagination. The mother's plan was well-orchestrated. Both teens would have an uneventful sleepover with their own favorite friends to allow the parents to walk between the shards of a twenty-year marriage. Dinner would be splendid, the father's favorite meal. The same meal cooked by his mother since his childhood: roast beef, mashed potatoes, carrots. It wasn't hard to remember the menu. The mother fit into the paper doll image of her mother-in-law. The marriage itself was well-orchestrated. The father married because his college sweetheart reminded him of his Mom; she could cook, iron, keep life easy. The mother married because his family was so kind, so religious, so safe. She was sure it was a perfect decision. All marriages have their ups and downs, but this one was stranger than most. Playboy magazines are for guys. The parents noticed that they both relished the magazine each month together. She loved the boobs and he loved the butts. They wondered if all couples enjoyed women's bodies as they did. Jobs, dinner, Boy Scouts, homework all became the rituals of life. Happiness lived somewhere else. The mother's therapist gave up on her when it was evident the mother refused to change. She even told the therapist, "I'm married, and must stay married. I grew up Catholic." The mother sank deeper into her role as the perfect June Cleaver, TV's favorite 50's housewife. Years went on. The kids grew into teenagers, pushing and prodding the parents to grow as well. Finally, a therapist cracked June's head open. That crack bled into this fateful night, this planned peaceful exit from a peaceful life that existed on a peaceful plane of quicksand. Dinner over, the couple moved into the living room for a glass of wine. The mother announced that she had something important to say. Her words were basked in soft sounds, descriptive examples of her evolving awareness. She described the Playboy magazine scene, the time as a child when she swam naked with a girlfriend, the time that she had a crush on her female band leader. Finally, he asked where this was going. She said divorce. The phone rang. No one calls at 11 pm. Not on a night like this. Yes, the names were correct. Yes, they had a thirteen-year-old son. Was he okay? Yes.

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But they needed to come to the police station. Their son was an honor student. Their son was in the band. Something was wrong. The oďŹƒcer was reading the son his rights when they arrived. Sobbing, he shook his head in understanding. He believed he was going to jail for the rest of his life. How could he know that there had been a rash of vandalism in the town? How could he know that the very church roof he was hanging onto was the church where the altar had been spray painted with satanic pentagrams a month before? He just wanted to be cool. He and his friend had snuck out of the house to check out the local arcade. The oďŹƒcer looked at the parents. The parents looked at the teen. The teen looked back with fear in his eyes, red, swollen with tears. The only person who wasn't crying was the oďŹƒcer. He was not good with emotions, and this family was way too over-reactive. He was relieved to push them out into the parking lot. The family doesn't remember what was said in the car that night. The son remembers that the parents told him he was grounded for life. The father remembers that he thought his life was over. The mother remembers that her life was opening up before her. She knew she couldn't laugh at the chaos. She didn't know that thirty years later she would write about that night with a smile on her face.


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A Scar is Not a Souvenir by Matthew Mendoza From the lighthouse dark clouds blur the shallows. And then I found this copper coin hidden deep in the pocket of my bloody boardshorts, lint-tangled, strangling sunburn knuckles. Like our car window post smash and grab – my dive watch, shell bracelet, Ray-Bans snatched – but the gray glass re-appeared for years, washed ashore with you from that place that harbors lost and broken things. Somewhere I keep a water-stained box filled with our past, under old comics, Mariner baseball cards, our old vacation pics. No X marks this buried treasure, this debris. We end with the castaways stranded, swimming in the deep sea of plundered memories.

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Enemy Unsn by Rick Christman The fairytale cottage is surrounded By thick mossy oaks, As if carved out of the forest. Heavy green vines hug the house. Hair hangs down from the trees, Caresses windows and roof, Like a mother Caresses her children. . But the enemy creeps unseen, Seeps through cracks in The kitchen floor. And though I cannot see The enemy, I watch, wait, Like an old soldier, A weapon not at port arms, But across my knees. Because I can't shoot What I can't see. I stretch my eyes wide, Powerless, A terrified man Searching for movement: The shaking of a vase, Streaks on the wall, Bitter almonds and lemons Permeating the air. But the enemy creeps unseen, Rises under the foundation, Like a gentle breeze, Fills every shadowy corner Of the dark house, Until there is no air, Poisoning the innocent.


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I remember the enemy In the late afternoon, Up close, though invisible, Creeping through damp, cutting, elephant grass, There but not there, Creeping closer, closer, While we leaned against trees, Dangled our weapons at our sides, Waited to return to base camp, Leaving the enemy With the perfect moment To strike.

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Shoulda Bn a Stranger to the World by Jon Wolbers


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Shoulda Bn a Miner by Jon Wolbers

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Shoulda Bn a Farmer by Jon Wolbers


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Shoulda Bn a Monk by Jon Wolbers

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Death On Friendly Road by Hannah S. Wiseheart On that Saturday in early August of 1894, Jacob sat on the wagon seat, waiting as his dad fetched Salina’s detailed shopping list. They could not afford to buy mistakes. He watched his dad descend the front steps, hair slicked down under the small dark fedora he always wore, in contrast to the broad brimmed hats of other farmers in the New Garden Friends Community here in North Carolina. Robert had never felt one of them, had joined only to legitimize his marriage to Salina. That was years ago, just after their first child Phebe had been born. The sequence had caused quite a stir in the strict spiritual community, and had consequences for the family’s standing. It was all down to his resentment of how they had treated his mother. But that was a long time ago. Robert’s slight stoop and jerky gait from early arthritis gave the impression of age, but he was strong from years of manual labor on this land. As a twelveyear-old orphan he’d been brought here to help out Salina’s grandparents. Now forty-six, his dark hair and moustache were still full, his eyes a clear intense blue, with a little fire in them that could signal humor or a flash of temper. Jacob had those same eyes. This morning Robert climbed up next to his son. Behind them on the vegetables boxes was a carefully packaged blue and green quilt in a Log Cabin pattern. Salina and the girls had labored many hours on it, piecing and stitching. Wrapped in a bed sheet that would come back home with them tonight after market, it should fetch enough for a new pig. “Jacob, hop down to check once more that everything is tied down and put up the back slats to keep everything from slipping off the back, would you, son? There’s that steep hill after we turn onto Friendly Road toward the market. Things could easily slip off the back.” Jacob said nothing, but thought to himself, “He says this every time we go to market.” Half an hour later, they passed Guilford College where Jacob and his sister Phebe had gone together for one year. After that his own labor was needed at the farm, but Phebe stayed on as a teaching assistant in exchange for tuition. She’d always had a thirst for learning and was not robust after her bout with typhoid. Suddenly Robert said: “Son, if anything ever happens to me, take care to look after Phebe, will you? I hope she’ll marry, but if not, make sure she has a safe place to live. She may look


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strong because of her height and how she carries herself, but without a husband to protect her, she’s vulnerable. Maybe tonight we’ll stop off at the college and see her on the way home, if it’s not too late. “ The road began to climb now, crowded with wagons. Progress was slow at first. Then, abruptly, the pace picked up as drivers tried to gain some momentum for the hill ahead. In front of them now was a wagon taking wooden poles with sharp beveled ends to be sold as fence posts. They’d been stacked carefully, tied on with a hemp rope to the wagon’s side rings, points to the rear for the safety of the driver. Jacob‘s attention was drawn to the neat pattern their points made facing him and Robert. Suddenly, a wagon driven by two young men came swiftly from behind and passed. It was too close, sideswiped the rope hitch on the wagon ahead, loosening it. The driver didn’t seem to notice, and, before Jacob could call out to warn him, his horses were startled by the speed of the passing wagon, and bolted ahead. What happened next seemed to go on forever. The top pole slid backward, its sharp end heading straight for Jacob. Robert instinctively leaned over to push his son out of the way. The log hit Robert’s head near the left temple. The reins fell from his suddenly limp hands, his body slumped sideways against his son. Horrified, Jacob gathered the reins and somehow managed to bring the horses to a halt on the side of the road. Only then could he turn to look at his dad’s head. The pointed end had punctured the skin, dividing Robert’s skull at the point of impact. In that moment of horror, Jacob felt something wet seeping through his clothing. He looked down and saw that they were both splattered with blood and gray matter. He knew then that he would not be selling their produce that day, would not be returning with the items on Salina’s list, would be using the quilt for something far more personal than selling it. And his family’s life as they knew it had been split asunder by that fence post. A hundred years later, my uncle Charley would look off into the distance, as if seeing it all in his mind, then say to me, shaking his head, “Dad said he’d never forget the sight of that log sticking out of Granddad’s head. We never even got to meet him.” Then he turned and looked directly at me. “But you got his blue eyes, didn’t you?”

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Soliloquy by Robin Hunt 1. In the music is a trumpet. In the trumpet, a man’s breath. The night is littered with secrets. The path through the dark is lined with manicured hedges that someone has trimmed to resemble cursive letters of the alphabet. Gardener infatuated with the beginning and the end. In the middle is a lone violin. The breath of the instrument is tainted with the death of a child that we realize is the fault of the crowd. The crowd hold their hands taut against their ears for what isn’t missed if they aren’t listening. The trumpet is playing faster. 2. Metal shears are found in nearby body of water. The innocent, put on trial. The crowd has carried a piano into the court room and is splintering it into firewood to burn on the lawn. Final breaths of the sound nearly exhausted, leave only the single horn of a barge on the water. Crawling. We are hungry. Have made our way finally to the table to dine. We attempt to fabricate orchestra with utensils, beating the surface where the child once ate alongside us before she was carried away. Night is inevitable 3. A man tips his instrument to eject its plug of saliva. The hearts of the crowd count themselves fortunate. I am home, safe, in the shower. In the shower are bottles of honeysuckle and images of waterfalls. I hum a little as I soak my back and my legs. These limbs, I pray, will carry me many more years. My husband plays the music again with its pluck of wind. With the sorrow of bells and the long walk of children toward the man holding his breath as if cupping a hummingbird.


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What ,s In a Name? by Tim Eberle It has been said that art represents humanity’s collective attempt to reconcile its own existence against an otherwise cold and uncaring universe. To strip away artifice, to obliterate pretense — to provide a context through which we may hope to define, at its core, exactly what it means to be a person. Which explains why art is so often heartbreakingly, unyieldingly, sad. Because, loathe as we may be to admit it (and despite all of our attempts to the contrary), ours is a conclusively lonely existence — one fraught with sorrow, doubt, and, ultimately, disillusionment. That’s the torment heard in Juliet’s deathbed soliloquy, the longing behind the chords of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” the anguished panic pulsating through Edvard Munch’s “The Scream.” And that’s the reason why, every Spring, I make sure to stock up on extra-soft, triple-ply, Kleenex-brand tissues in anticipation of the season’s most gut-wrenchingly devastating artistic offering: the premier episode of the ABC network’s hit reality television series “The Bachelorette.” For those who may be unfamiliar, a brief synopsis: “The Bachelorette” is a televised dating competition wherein twenty-five presumably eligible men vie for the affections of one woman — the aforementioned “Bachelorette” — an America’s-Sweetheart type generally plucked out of the pool of losing contestants from the latest season of “The Bachelorette’s” identically structured, appropriately titled, gender-reversed sister program, “The Bachelor.” Over the course of ten weeks these men will compete in a series of ingeniously constructed trials-by-fire (“dates” in the parlance of the show) — all designed to prove one’s merit, one’s worth, one’s essential spouse-ability, so that ultimately one contestant may emerge victorious to claim the hand of his BacheloretteNo-Longer, a presumably consenting, presumably love-struck, presumably gushing, Trisha, Kaitlyn, or, most recently, Jojo. However, it isn’t this rose-tinted notion of storybook romance that reliably brings me to tears every May. It isn’t the helicopter rides, the horses on the beach, or even the valiant attempt at poetry (wherein the “Artistic Contestant” will inevitably rhyme the phrase “My Jojo” with “My Mojo” in a metered application for entry into the coveted Fantasy Suite.) It’s the fact that, of the initial twenty-five contestants selected to participate in the show, ten will be immediately turned away at the door. For these men there will be no helicopter rides, no beachfront

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equestrianism, no opportunity to show off a recently acquired mastery of iambic pentameter. Not only will they never enter the Fantasy Suite — they’ll never even enter the second floor of the Bachelorette Mansion. They’ll arrive in a limousine, have a twenty second conversation with their season’s Bachelorette-De-Jour, be flatly and publically denied one of the fifteen roses meant to signify Jojo’s ever cursory interest in getting to know them any further, and then be sent directly back to whatever part of the country it is they flew in from. And then they will be instantly forgotten. All while I watch. All while I cry. Because these men very clearly did not expect this to happen. (In fact, they very clearly expected the opposite to happen.) Why else would they have flown into California — abandoning their careers, abandoning their lives — if not because they were fully convinced that what they brought to the table — their accomplishments, their personalities, their comically inflated pectoral muscles — would be sufficient to not only satisfy the romantic ideals of one starry-eyed young enchantress, but also those of an adoring American public? These men flew into California a group of self-perceived Prince Charmings. They flew out of California a broken cluster of Le Fous. (For those who may be unfamiliar, “Le Fou” is a bumbling, bizarrelyproportioned secondary character in the animated version of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” one whose primary function appears to be absorbing the vitriol spewn at him by his domineering master Gaston, in what hints at an onlyslightly-sanitized version of sadomasochistic role-play.) I cry for these men not out of embarrassment, but out of a genuine sense of empathy. Because these men bear the collective burden of embodying what may be the single harshest truth underlying our shared human experience: that the image of ourselves that we think we’re projecting onto the world is often so comically divorced from the reality as to merit its own television show on the ABC network. We all think that we come across better than we do — we have to. It’s a necessary byproduct of our own self-preservation. If we were ever forced to honestly acknowledge the way that the world truly thinks of us as individuals — how visible our deficiencies, our flaws, our cartoonishly bizarre proportions truly are, we would never be able to muster the simple strength required to get out of bed in the mornings. That’s the reason why the phrase “The Kind Of Place Where People Don’t Even Lock Their Doors” holds such great currency in today’s realestate market. If we never need to lock our doors — so follows the logic — then we never need to re-enter the party we’ve just exited in order to retrieve a forgotten set of keys, thus eliminating the all-too-real risk of inadvertently


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stumbling into the cacophony of terrible things that everyone has been saying about us starting the second we left their apartment. Look — it isn’t as if we’re wholly unaware of the image that we present — we generally have the basic outline down. But the devil, as they say, is in the details. For example, I am generally aware of the fact of my whiteness. Which is to say that it doesn’t tend to take me by surprise as I stare into my bathroom mirror in the mornings — fraught with a crippling sense of internal anxiety as to the question of whether or not an open second shirt button projects an image of bravado that I can’t possibly be expected to live up to — that the face staring back at me is textbook definition Caucasian. I own a seltzer maker, I have a “tea connection” in Connecticut, and I’ve started more than one conversation with the phrase “You know, if you really stop and think about it, Matchbox Twenty is actually a pretty underrated band…” I’m white. There isn’t a lot of ambiguity surrounding that fact. And yet, despite the overwhelming empirical evidence to the contrary — evidence suggesting that the image I actually present is that of a “bookishly approachable stranger you can rely on for accurate directions to Banana Republic” — I simultaneously maintain the completely un-founded illusion that I also project a palpable sense of danger. For example, I recently started wearing a bandana on my forehead in an attempt at a look that can only reasonably be described as “newly-unemployedadjunct-professor.” Last weekend, on a jaunty stroll to my favorite neighborhood cheese shop, Vampire Weekend in my ears, America’s first Haagen-Dazs to my right — the thought honestly occurred to me that someone might see me wearing my blue bandana and worry that the tree-lined streets of Brooklyn Heights had been infiltrated by a street gang. (More specifically, I thought, “I’d better take off this bandana before someone sees me and thinks that I’m in The Crips.”) Never mind the fact that my very next thought was “I hope this place sells a more spreadable Brie than the unpasteurized Somerset I’ve been buying recently…” I was legitimately worried that someone was going to see me in a headband and draw the immediate conclusion that I was a member of the most feared and repudiated prison gang in the history of American criminology. (Look — I’ve been in gangs over the course of my lifetime. But they’ve been gangs of people who look like I do. Also known as “improv groups.”) Which brings me to my own personal moment of devastating self-realization — the moment when the entire façade-of-delusion that I’d spent years carefully crafting for myself came cascading down in a crushing avalanche of reality. The moment when, confronted with the complete set of options available to her, Jojo

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looked me in the eyes — squarely, deliberately — and mumbled, simply, “Nope.” I was in the beautiful city of Charleston, South Carolina, touring with a show I’d written and absolutely confident in every aspect of what I was bringing to that particular Southern table — my accomplishments, my personality, the New York City residency that I assumed would have everyone I met throwing themselves at my feet begging to be regaled with tales of “life in the big city.” The night before the show the cast and I decided to hit the town — experience some local boozeculture, meet some native Charlestonians, and hopefully muster up a small sense of hype surrounding our ensuing comedy performance. Several hours (and as many drinks) later, we found ourselves in the company of Brittany and Elena — two beautiful young HR Recruiters from Raleigh, North Carolina, fellow travelers in town for a consequence-free Girl’s Weekend. (Which was, it should be noted, exactly the experience that I assumed I was providing for them.) From the moment I inserted myself into their conversation (a conversation which was, I could only assume, severely wanting for some fascinating insight into “the time I saw Joaquin Phoenix on the subway because, you know, I live in New York City, and that’s the kind of thing that happens all the time in New York City, where I live, in New York City…”) I could tell that Brittany and Elena were little short of enchanted. I was witty, I was charming— the banter between the three of us bouncing seamlessly between the kind of flirtatious repartee and respectful intellectual challenge that would have Aaron Sorkin openly weeping with envy. (In fact, I was so convinced of the effect I was having that, while walking over to the jukebox in order to queue up my go-to Matchbox Twenty playlist, I actually thought about taking off my wedding ring and hiding it in my pocket. Not because of any inclination towards infidelity, but because I was sincerely concerned that Elena might be thrown into a fit of actual hysterics were she to realize that I had a spouse back home in Brooklyn, which is part of New York City, where I live, in New York City.) So engaging was the conversation, so ripe with potential, that, fifteen minutes in, I realized that I’d never even found a window in which to properly introduce myself. Of course, as a long-time resident in the kill-or-be-killed word of longform improv comedy, I decided to take this glaring omission as a moment of unique opportunity. “Here,” I said, smiling smugly, “I’ve got a great idea. Instead of me telling you my name, why don’t you try and guess what it is based on everything that’s happened over the last fifteen minutes.” I leaned back slowly against the bar, a cocky Rumpelstitlsken waiting to be anointed with the moniker of “Pablo,” “Jean-Luc,” or perhaps even “Ryan Gosling” — some name evoking mystery and adventure and the type of forbidden dalliance heretofore confined


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to the pages of the ancient Kama Sutra. The name that I was actually given (and given, it should be noted, with a deliberateness and speed in defiance of everything I thought I knew about the physics of sound)…was Gary. Fucking Gary. I ask you: has there ever been a name that connotes an image of a more sexless, amorphous, broken sack of human desperation than Gary? Gary isn’t the name of a person you flirt with at the bar; Gary is the name of a guy who wears sweatpants to The Olive Garden. Gary isn’t the guy who fulfills your romantic fantasies; Gary is the guy who still gets hernias as an adult. You never ask a guy named Gary “Hey, how’s it going?” because you just know that his answer is going to begin with the phrase “Well, it’s been a rough couple of months…” and end with the phrase “…and that’s how I got my latest spider bite.” I don’t care what small town you live in; if there’s ever a headline in your local newspaper reading “Area Man Falls Into Yet Another Sinkhole,” the name of that Area Man is Gary. If Gary was an instrument he’d be a used tuba. If Gary was a book he’d be “Everybody Poops.” If Gary was a band he’d be — I can now say, with the benefit of hindsight — Matchbox Twenty. Here are a series of phrases that have never been uttered in the presence of anyone named Gary: “Well Gary, the results are in, and it isn’t terrible.” “Congratulations on not getting caught up in that Ponzi scheme.” “Please Gary, just a minute. My body can’t handle another orgasm.” And lastly, perhaps most devastatingly: “Gary, will you accept this rose?” There would be no rose in the offering that night in Charleston, South Carolina. No sun-drenched evening horse rides, no walks along the beach. I tried to comfort myself with the thought that perhaps Brittany and Elena were simply compensating for their intimidation at being in the same room as someone who might be in The Crips, but even I couldn’t maintain that illusion for more than the minute it took for the final notes of “Smooth” to fade away from the bar’s sound system. (And though I can’t say for certain, I distinctly remember that the song that came on next was Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”) And yet, though I stood in that moment alone, I can honestly say that I wasn’t lonely. Because somewhere, at that very moment, there was a man boarding a plane for California, on a one-way ticket to the Bachelorette Mansion. And to that man I say this: “It’s nice to meet you, Gary. My name is Gary too. I live in New York City, although I suspect you already knew that.”

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Untitled by Elena Botts


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Breaking Ground by Marylou Butler I knew I was different when, in the eighth grade, I applied to the Philadelphia High School for Girls instead of our local high school. I rode three buses for four years for an education that stretched me miles beyond the commute. As a working-class student with parents having only an eighth-grade education, I was a minority among my peers. Most had highly-educated parents, resources, and confidence to reach their goals. Self-confidence awoke in me, too, at Girls High. I knew I was different when John F. Kennedy’s assassination devastated me. At Thanksgiving dinner that year, I offered the blessing. Silence descended on my family as I wept through the prayer. Such overt expressions of grief were uncomfortable for my proper East Coast family. I knew I was different when I proclaimed, I will adopt if I ever have children. My family’s silence coated the living room like our faded beige wallpaper. An opportunity to live my values came sooner than I imagined. In 1967, when I was just 23, my eldest sister phoned me. I am pregnant. I need your help with the adoption of the baby, as I have no plans to marry. PLEASE do not tell Mother or Daddy; I am certain they will not survive the shame. As she begged, I froze. She named her son Robert, after my father. Tears welled in her eyes as she handed him over to the social worker. My sister died prematurely of the effects of alcoholism, burying her secret along with her ravaged body. I held her confidence, until now. I knew I was different from my Counseling colleagues at Seton Hall University in 1968 when I provided confidential draft counseling sessions for students opposed to the war in Vietnam. Outside the norms of my profession at that time, I helped a student find a safe, yet illegal abortion. Others sought support for their gender confusion and hunger to explore cross-dressing. If I was to advocate for students living their values, I had no choice but to risk job loss. I knew I was different when I responded to students’ needs with leadership training workshops, psychology of women courses, and assertiveness training groups for women at the University of Pennsylvania in 1973. Silence from my Counseling Center colleagues was as deafening as my family’s silence in our living room. The stories entrusted to me by women survivors of campus rape and sexual assault could not be ignored. Their truth telling launched Take Back the Night marches, an explosion of consciousness-raising groups, and the growth of feminist therapy. I knew I was different when I joined the Feminist Therapy Collective of Philadelphia. We were eight women engaged in the creation of a feminist

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approach to therapy. We lived parallel lives – professional and academic psychologists by day and feminist therapists at night. Our female clients blossomed before our eyes, and so did we. In a Mother’s Day administrative meeting with Collective colleagues, my grief erupted over the death of my mother six years earlier. Like my clients, I had locked away my own sorrow to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Within this safe crucible, I finally faced the most profound loss of my life. I knew I was different when I accepted the presidency of Southwestern College, a graduate school with master’s programs in Counseling and Art Therapy. A college presidency was never my goal. College presidents were primarily men and I did not aspire to break that glass ceiling. My mission was to defend the College’s unique philosophy with accreditors, donors, and financial aid funders; ensure the best academic and experiential education for aspiring counselors; and support staff self-determination. I drew from a lineage of women leaders before me, and my own awakening that broke ground on those long bus rides to and from Girls High. Now, I know I am different. My life of advocacy has meant fostering equality and self-determination in support of all life. As ordinary citizen, I work for change — a member of Codepink Women for Peace, a voter registrar, a promoter of environmental and social justice. The call to activism, to bear witness, even to engage in civil disobedience is more urgent as threats to life become more dire. My hope is that our collective seeds of activism will break ground in time to make a difference. The responsibility to protect the vulnerable and underrepresented, wherever they show up, is greater than I imagined when I first proclaimed my values in our Philadelphia row home with the faded beige wallpaper.


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Crisis Baby ,s Moa Flies to Colorado by Emily Pepin And, just like that, you were gone. And with you gone the year we did of digging in, of lost weight and threaded breaths. The moments side by side on the hospital bed watching his fine china chest go up and down, a flutter breath which made you hold yours until I reached out my hand not from pity but shared pain until slowly you looked up again. The hours on your floor holding him so you could sleep. The budding belief that somehow there’d be more for you two than just talking, just sitting, just wanting, just reeling. And now I have to walk away. I have to take a deep breath, hold up my strongest face, walk into another room with another girl and another baby, another urge and another life that I have no hold over — Another form of love, of flight, of fight.

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Dp Flael by Eileen Banashek I cannot take it in all at once. The quilt, hanging on the gallery wall, is full of secrets. It's personal, like the journal of someone's life, each piece of flannel a snapshot of something that happened along the way. It is full of color, solids and plaids, splashed all over a backdrop of muddy green. It has depth and hidden corners, spaces that draw me in without letting me see all that lies beneath. There are plenty of loose ends, lots of squares and triangles, yet the boundaries are soft like the way a child colors outside the lines of her coloring book. I am reminded of my sister, Jill. Not her art, though she too is an artist. The quilt is more like her lifestyle - colorful, expressive, complicated, thick with layers and random in its boundaries. Her apartment is her studio. There is no room to separate living and working space, utility and art. The front door opens to a view of the hot water heater and next to that is a tiny kitchen with a cornucopia of pots, pans, widgets and all that goes into the daily task of feeding herself and her two dogs. To the right, past a doggie bed, is her living room, barely able to contain a 4 X 8 sheet of plywood, covered with the clutter of a working artist – brushes, paints, table lamp, unpaid bills, magazines, recipe books, pens and pencils – and a vase of fresh flowers. In a corner is a terrarium, furnished with wood shavings, plastic greenery and a faux log. It is topped with a couple of heat lamps, warming and lighting the space of its single occupant, a box turtle named George who wandered into her backyard one day last summer. paper skeletons dancing in the chinaberry tree fall comes to Tucson

The walls are filled with Jill's art. Lately she has taken to stitching pieces of canvas together to make a square or rectangular surface to paint on. The stitching is bold and is part of the image. Her colors are riveting. I wonder what she was thinking while she painted, but it doesn't really matter. It's like watching a sunset — all form and color, no thought. Her other canvas is her body. She


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enjoys playing with makeup and hair, and has a great collection of hats, boots and earrings to complement a style that is sexy and coy. She sleeps all morning and stays awake all night, puttering, painting, or sitting outside in front of the fire in the chimenea with a wine glass in one hand and a cigarette in the other. When I wake her in the morning to say goodbye and get back on the road, she slowly rolls up her eyelids in a face that is round and smooth like the face of the five-year-old I left when I was eighteen. She is wrapped in layers of soft cotton blankets with her dog Bella resting against her. Between wake and sleep, she makes her way up through layers of consciousness like the layers of flannel hidden beneath the outer surface of the quilt in the gallery. Her brilliance is muted, her age lost in a look of childlike innocence. I am back in the mind of the teenager who loved holding her baby sister close when she was just a seedling of a woman, one who blossomed while I was away working out my own life. walking along the wash waiting for a thunder storm to color the sky

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Above Railroad Crk by Marjorie Power Snowmelt in mid-August. The cold river tumbles. From this bridge I glimpse each stone’s particulars as if the water intends this. After a loved one dies and enough seasons come and go the missing essence returns, a stone seen through a river in sunlight. Late morning sun warms my upper back. Before me looms a mountain peak whose runoff feeds the river, whose gleam could attract lost souls. I’ve lost one friend, now two, who would not change course when clouds were closing in…. They’re not dead but I long to mourn. The river reveals, moves on.


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A Bridge ,s View of Life by Meg O’Brien Ah, my favorite weekend of the year, alumnae weekend. So many women of all ages descend on my campus. Most I recognize from the sound and weight of their footsteps. Amazing that ten, twenty, fifty years later their walk is the same, even if their stories are not. I welcome them trampling my grass-covered surface, sitting on my railings, and reliving a memory, or patching up a decade-old broken relationship, just enjoying the peace of the almost gone autumn colors that surround my banks. I wonder what they will seek from me after all these years. Will I still be their confessional? Their retreat haven? Their crying towel? Or perhaps their healing venue. Matters not. I welcome them all. This may be my last alumnae event. My future is uncertain. I hear people with tools and instruments who don’t know my history say I am unsafe. Their report speaks of my crumbling and missing supports, my separating railings and my hole-pocked surface. They see me as a bridge to nowhere, more picturesque than useful. If only they paused from their measuring and pounding and enjoyed the solitude and listened to the ghosts of the past, they would never say “it will cost more to fix than it’s worth.” Imagine saying I’m not worth it! Imagine them recommending my demolition! Have to stop thinking about the future. I hear footsteps, someone I recognize from my past. Golly, the years have not been kind to her: her stooped walk, the larger waistline, the gray hair. I overheard her classmates discussing her depression. Shannon trudges toward me, as if meeting an old friend. Twenty-five years earlier, during her college years, she crossed me hundreds of times, with roommates but mostly alone. My concrete railings heard hundreds of her anxieties, failed love stories, and jealous and angry thoughts. Particularly heart wrenching were her angry tears, shed over her sister’s suffering from spousal abuse. She stares at my twenty carved concrete columns. She pauses at my center and looks for her image in the water below. No luck. She chose the algae covered side. If I could talk I would direct to look to the other side, the clear side. Unfortunately, I can’t. Whoever heard of a talking bridge? I never understood why some of my girls chose the view they did. Some always found my more stunning ones. Others did not. Shannon was one who never did. On this trip, she only sees a few air bubbles and asks aloud, “What life could survive in this murky mess?” If she’d only look on the other side, the clear side, she’d see minnows scavenging for dinner. A few red maple leaves bob in the

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water below, a sure sign autumn’s end is near. She breathes in the distinct fall fragrance from the many trees on my banks that are transitioning to their winter look. Soon they will wear snow and ice. “Golly, I remember when you were saplings. Now you’re a reminder that nothing remains constant.” She pauses and reflects upon the many tears she shed at this spot. Her eyes become moist. I imagine she has memories of broken friendships and family dysfunction. In her college days I was a safe haven, where she experienced the comfort from my long arms. Some of my permanent salt stains are hers. My arched railing distracts her. She rubs her hand over my dangerously cracked supports. She has to know I’m old, almost one hundred years. Shannon stops as she realizes I need help. She shouts at me, “How could the college let this happen to you? Doesn’t it know you are my place of solace? I came today to heal my grief. My divorce and mother’s death are more than I can bear. Now I find you’re crumbling, too, like my life. Will they ever repair you? Or, like me are you beyond hope?” Shannon hesitates as she pulls out the pill container hidden in her red backpack. As she does, she trips over one of my hidden potholes and loses her balance and her bottle. We both watch it slowly roll out of her reach and into the water below. Really, it was an accident. Foiled, she shuffles back to the shore, her sagging shoulders miscommunicating her age. They perk up and I see her smile as she talks to someone else making a pilgrimage to me. I only hope we’ll both be around for her next big reunion. Another friend. I recognize Caitlin’s light step, also from twenty-five years earlier. She looks as athletic as she did when she crossed me hundreds of times, with roommates, boyfriends and alone. My concrete railings heard hundreds of her love stories, friendly confidences and meditative thoughts. Such juicy stories are buried within me. She’s lucky I can’t talk. She smiles at my twenty carved concrete supports that stand like sentinels. She pauses at my center and looks at her image in the clear water below. Red maple leaves float to the water below, celebrating autumn’s glory. A few minnows dart in and out of the bridge’s shadow. She was one who always chose my best views. Caitlin strokes my railing and reminds me how important I have been in her life. She pauses and contemplates significant events she experienced on me. She and John, her husband, kissed their first time here, enjoying a spring sunset. He gave her an engagement ring on me. After their wedding in the campus chapel, she insisted upon a bridal party photo here, with a summer sunset in the background. Caitlin takes a closer look at me and notices I show serious signs of wear. Some of my sections settled at different rates and no longer fit together. Several


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supports are missing chunks and the grass-covered path has holes that act like periscopes to the water below. The section of my arched railing, where she paused so often to search for minnows, is now dangerously cracked. No wonder. The bronze plaque at my west entrance indicates I was built in 1922. Caitlin recognizes I need help. “My friend, I will help restore you. My latest novel was a huge hit. Funny, I even titled it after you, The Bridge to Nowhere. Was I psychic or something? Part of its proceeds are yours.” I want to hug her, but not only can bridges not talk, they can’t hug either. Guess I’ll have to hope she sees the glistening dew under her feet and know those diamonds are meant for her. She takes a deep breath, as if resolved to do something difficult, steadies herself and reaches into her oversized black handbag, pulls out a sizable ceramic container and opens it. She gently scoops up a handful of the gray powdery contents. “John, I miss you. Why did you have to leave so soon?” I choke up as she slowly releases the ashes she holds. Together we watch them float on the gentle breeze until they settle on the water’s surface, amidst the colorful maple and oak leaves. Caitlin remains for a few minutes, as peaceful as I have ever seen her. She came to me to let go of the love of her life. She leans over my railing, throws a kiss toward the lake. As many times as I saw her and John kiss, none was as emotional as this one. Caitlin stands tall, looks around one last time, and struts back to the shore. Next, I witness her march toward the administration, resolved, I hope, to fund my restoration. So, Tool People, did you listen to these stories? Do you still think I’m unnecessary? Are you blind to my life-support essence? You only see my deterioration. You don’t see or hear the thousands of stories like these. Think seriously about your recommendation. Money isn’t the only thing to consider. Next reunion, I plan to savor every footstep, every word, every laugh, every tear and every silent moment with my friends, if you’ll let me.

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Coming and Going by Kathleen Gunton


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Losing Everything (Eventuay) by Dewitt Clinton “The art of losing isn’t hard to master.” Elizabeth Bishop I wish I knew what’s going on, or gone, As I can’t quite remember what I’m Doing here with you but I wanted Very much to just drop by but Now I wonder just why I left The house for something so simple As a coffee and a bagel and there I’m standing at the counter wondering Where’s my billfold or even cash Driving home a back route to stay Out of range of waiting patrol cars That just might stop me as I look Just like that old guy out for a drive Without his wallet or even a wad of cash But it’s worse you see just yesterday I left a satchel full of old snails, shells And only later knew I’d left them On their own in the quiet dark It’s been like this for days and days I can’t remember how many days of losing keys, forgetting cash, leaving paper and pen in places I never should but then I’m quite relieved knowing how I’ll lose a lot more than just these, or maybe not just lose, but forget that I’d better be here with than

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without, but it’s true I’m also losing height, down an inch, and can’t see all the way back to the back of a room I’m in, or grey cells which seem to be absent without any thank you or permission for leave, or friends who I can’t quite figure out why they aren’t around or the time it used to take to run a race, but for now let’s not appreciate the art of losing things as Elizabeth made so beautiful as losing is a lot worse than wandering around looking for more that’s missing.


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Namaste by April Ford The pup had come pre-named: Lily. The first thing David said, after Luke got home from work and met the demure animal in the entranceway, was, “Happy five years, babe! I won’t be hurt if you want to call her something different.” They had not been in any reasonable shape to adopt a pet. Luke’s start-up computer-repair company had sunk them deeper into debt, and David’s furloughed salary from the firm barely stretched from one month to the next. Luke’s unscrupulous online expenditures had worsened the situation, though David promised to forgive him if he promised to start taking his medications again. “Not the Seroquel,” Luke had said. “And just enough Lithium to blunt the edge.” Luke didn’t leave a note before he left with Lily that morning. He never left notes. That was David’s thing: Post-Its at every intersection. I love you on the bathroom mirror. You are the BEST thing that has ever happened to me on the microwave. See you in therapy after work on the television. Don’t forget to give Lily her antibiotics (and PLEASE take your pills) on the treadmill. David liked Luke to place the notes in a shoebox he kept under his side of the bed. “In case there’s ever a fire and we lose everything else.” The non-oral mode of communication had started as a couple’s homework assignment from Dr. Kraus, and David had made it a way of life. Perhaps he should have left a note this time, Luke thought, as he gazed down at Lily. But he had nothing to say that could outdo the set of Audi TT keys on the kitchen counter. For the tenth consecutive year, David had been extravagant on their anniversary. In the pre-dawn darkness of full-bodied coniferous trees, Lily settled in the snow and licked the air, sneezed when a flurry fell from a branch onto her nose. She peered up at Luke and whined, but just barely. Luke smiled, and the Shepherd’s splendid tan-colored tail thumped the ground. “You’re such a good girl,” he said. Lily’s tail swished back and forth, creating a canine snow angel that made Luke weep and nearly lose his balance. “Down,” he said when Lily sprang to her paws, tail chopping the silence of the new winter as it knocked against a tree trunk. She circled him, tilted her head from one side to the other, nudged the cuff of his pant leg, then took the fabric between her teeth and tugged. Luke, though trembling, remained still. Finally, Lily returned to her spot and settled carefully into the indent her body had made

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in the snow. She rested her head on her paws, keeping watch. “Good girl. You’re such a good girl, Lily. I love you.” Luke listened. He heard nature sleeping, slowly waking up, in various states of peacefulness. He turned his eyes to the crown of spruces and firs and said, “Namaste,” and then kicked the chair away. It had felt so heavy as he carried it to the tree, but it fell from him like an inhalation of pure air. Just after sunrise, David ran through the forest behind the house, calling for Luke. Lily answered, and without stopping to button his shirt or tie his bootlaces, David ran and called to her until her howls and yips guided him to Luke, who hung silent and blue. Lily lay hunched beneath, her splendid tan and black coat quilled with ice, her nose raw like an unoiled nub of leather. The Shepherd thumped her tail as David knelt and threw himself around her. Back at the house, the kettle screamed.


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Beyond the Imagination of Lo by Judith C. Kaye I. Deathwatch She was my person before, during and after every sorrow. Still is. In the frenzy of youth, we searched souls while finding our way on mountain trails, shape-shifting from foot-loose to erudite in a single day. Her body willowy like mine, we could share barbecue ribs, Tom Kha Gai and lovers. Despite miles, the years deepened us, commitment unspoken, bond closer than blood, a marriage of sorts. Illness and loss became notches on a lifebelt, each setback made fluff of childish drama. We always believed it wouldn’t get worse. One weekend tears flowed with no possibility of consolation, her heart mate vanishing. Something about love makes the impossible possible, her for him, me for her.

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I close the miles gap to join her vigil. She lies with him, all the time, whispers “I love you” to a soul and spirit in an unconscious, diminished ghost of flesh and bone. I wipe his forehead, stroke his hand, do laundry, dishes, prepare food, answer calls, make lists, write an obituary, anything to make it go away. The room is in quiet repose, light soft in the afternoon’s warm sun, jazz playing softly in the background, friends coming and going to purr their goodbyes. The cat sleeps continuously at his side. Even as we sleep, we listen to the texture of his breath becoming less, our own hearts beating as we wait for his to stop. I want this to go on, greedy, not ready to let go, to let mortality get so close. Pears were his favorite fruit. An ornamental flowering pear tree will be planted in the garden, out back, amidst apple trees, rose bushes and beloved cats.


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II. Afterlife Loss deeper than ocean, grief a dark slippery slope. Dinner has become celery sticks with peanut butter. Night belongs to the couch, a tv blaring meaningless noise to block out deafening silence. 2 a.m. drags her to a bed built for two, where she hopes the cat, his cat, will spoon and hold the nightmares at bay. Her words tumble out in a cascade of grief, any prompt a chance to unload a helter-skelter blend of tenderness and anguish. I see the raw, naked hole. Days marked on a calendar with time a commodity to chalk o. Turns heartbreak into a journal, still a private conversation, that stains only the surface, written in a room cluttered with him, transposed to one of nurture and calm. I ache in our daily conversations, where all I can say is I’m here.

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III. Two Hour Lunch Buddies Still unfresh from my brush with death, the air filled with mourning, I meet a friend to break bread. We sit across the table, her conversation excited by anticipation of food at the Jambo Cafe. She picks the coconut chicken curry, mouth watering as she describes African spices and basmati rice. I hadn’t seen her for months. What’s new, she asks. I spit out a sentence or two. Yes, she says, I’ve been through that. Then she talks about plans for a new house, delays in breaking ground, construction loans. About the Hawaii trip, the golf and snorkeling. Her words are swallowed by the remains of sautéed spinach. I want to resolve the fugue in our contrapuntal conversation, make melody from the dissonance. But, it’s too late. She has to leave.


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Dark Md by Michael Shetley Melancholy is a bad business I know it and I wish I had a great story like the guy defusing some time bomb with humor going off in every snip and every turn of the screw But melancholy is too dark to pretend with, such is my luck, it, the mood, hits like a truck in the night running without lights and never stopping for any body. It can start with fur flattened on the asphalt, the refrain of soft stringed Sparticus, a whiff of new sugar magnolia, a photo of my young son at a piano,

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the steady beep of a hospital’s heart monitor machine, or damn near to any thing. It makes for me to want to cry for just a couple or a few more tiny teaspoons of time.


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Eleven Haowns by Daniel Williams My mind always sees River Phoenix as a 12 year old when I knew him I was middle aged without a steady job a stand-in on 7 Brides in Murphys CA — just before Halloween one day we both wandered from the set out to a gravel pit full of rainwater Escaped from his entourage he was full of fun enjoying bright autumn — always irrepressible he scooped up a flat stone held it for me to see grinned and said “c’mon Dan let’s go for it” Cocking his slight body to the right he took aim his arm a sling his stone leaping from spot to spot on the pond 2-3-4-5-6 leaving concentric circles in its wake as the surface remembered its touch I too tossed a stone but without the flexibility of youth and feeling less able mine leapt twice then simply sank beneath the silvery water a future so buoyant it carried his marker blithely along mine dropped through muddy depths to find the silt of a half paid mortgage a pending divorce an aging Pinto wagon — then River handed me a stone he’d selected “here try this one” but we were both called back to the set

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back to the entourage back to Hollywood wheels churning There was something I wanted to tell him that autumn day but didn’t get the chance I remembered what it was eleven Halloweens later reading of his tragic death — It wouldn’t have mattered


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Venus Undone by K.D. Rose My voice has grown dead, a desert in need of a lozenge. Aphasia is a dirty word. I have pointed thoughts that lose their way amidst cowardly synapses and perhaps the medication required to sleep. The song I try to sing — it's always there, it's always there. But like Venus undone (what was she supposed to do without arms?) the lyrics, they calcify, become statues locked away in museums and secret gardens. My mind is an open verse. It feels the winds sweep across the willow trees, their magical canopies, a fairground ride swinging me back to childhood. It hears the cicadas, No, not locusts. The cicadas are ours, their crossing of bows over Baroque violins to our glass pitchers of lemonade. The melody of songbirds keeps me alive. The snapping of birdseed in a cardinal's beak. I wear bare feet today and that's so rare. It's not like we live in Montana. Neither do I have sand between my toes but the mind can still feel waves washing upon them in absolution

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of Earth, of Mind, of all plausible things, for Venus in the garden, frozen until touched by the blood of the living. The song she sings, it's always here. It's always here.


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Listen by Jessica Doolittle-Burton

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The Dpest Wound by Susannah Case In Zimbabwe, I slipped off a ferry, gouging my shin. For months, my leg oozed yellow, a gooey stigmata. A sales clerk in a clothing store approached me to ask what had happened. I think he was scared I had a disease, would infect his store. I will pray for you, he offered. Someone already had: I could have crushed my leg between the boat and the dock, been lost to crocodiles in the Zambezi River. Instead, I wear a scar that looks like a man’s face. I look at the man-face every day. He’s fading. He’s fading and I’m getting older. Another year, and like so many others, this man, too, will be gone.


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Haine by Suzanne Farrell Smith My brother-in-law’s father just died. He’d been feeling ill, and doctors discovered an abdominal mass. But they couldn’t perform an MRI because he was too obese. His demise seems sudden and peculiar. My mother, my fiancé, and I drive to the graveside service, a little unsure. “I don’t know what to expect,” my mother says of the traditional Jewish ceremony. “I hope we’re not intruding.” But in our tight-knit family, skipping the service or the Shiva is out of the question. We made potato salad and we know how to grieve. “I’m so glad you’re driving, Justin. Look at this rain,” says my mother, pulling the sides of her jacket closed as if she feels cold. “I’m so glad it’s not me.” I’m not sure what she means. My mother speaks most clearly when she has her standard prompt: “Happiness is ...” The sentence starter, written in her formal cursive on a notepad hanging above her kitchen sink, reveals that for my mother, happiness is a collection of people she’s produced. I remember when the note read, “Happiness is four daughters.” Right after Beth’s wedding: “Happiness is four daughters and a son-in-law.” Deb was married, Beth had a daughter, then twins. The latest note hangs fresh and smooth: “Happiness is four daughters, two sons-in-law, two granddaughters, and a grandson.” Somewhere in storage is a crisp yellowed paper that reads, “Happiness is my husband.” “Are we getting close?” she asks. We’re crawling, just like we were warned, through Boston’s Big Dig, and we’re barely going to make it in this rain. My mother wants Justin to pump the gas a little harder. We shouldn’t have lingered so long at Beth’s house, which was somewhat on the way, but she had gifts to drop off for her grandchildren. We shouldn’t have stopped for gas, either, but she had a coupon for ten cents off a gallon. “Not too bad,” I say as we pull up to the cemetery only a few minutes late. We perch on the outskirts of the crowd, a mosaic of black raincoats and dark suit jackets and grey slacks. Hovering just outside the small canopy, we get wet. My mother’s lips disappear into a crease and she leans heavily on her cane. I don’t know what’s upsetting her most — the surroundings, the way the man died, or the pain in her knees. I spot my brother-in-law and sister. Josh wears dark sunglasses despite the rainy day. Deb rests one hand on his back, the other on her pregnant belly. There’s always room for more grandchildren on the note above the sink.

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Four wobbly folding chairs sit graveside, empty. My mother will not approach them for fear of doing something improper. The dead man’s parents, ex-wife, girlfriend, two sons, two daughters-in-law, two step-grandsons, and granddaughter stand close, sharing umbrellas. Several minutes pass, but the ceremony does not start. Instead, the rabbi and others grab shovels and begin digging out the grave. I have no idea if digging is an official part of the service. I look at my mother, guessing the harsh sound of metal striking rock is disturbing her, and glance, beneath the hemline of her green paisley cotton skirt, at her swollen feet. Even in the cold rain, my mother wears sandals, because her feet no longer fit into closed shoes. The skin is stretched tight and dotted with sores. I believe she has diabetes, which caused the deaths of my grandmother and aunt. Cancer runs in her family and I suspect a malignant mass is already growing somewhere. Lyme disease from a decades-old infection can also be blamed, but its effects on her body lurk so deep that treatment is out of reach, or perhaps just not worth the effort. She doesn’t see doctors or take medication. Despite her daughters’ accusations of self-neglect, she follows her body’s failure. To my mother, the man’s sudden death may not be as upsetting as it is appealing. Knuckles white on the cane’s lacquered handle, my mother struggles to keep her footing on the soft, uneven ground. “Can you get her a chair?” I ask Justin. The digging continues as he returns with a wooden chair from the gravestone sales office. It’ll get wet, but who cares. My mother smiles at him and accepts the seat. Several years ago, while teaching fourth grade, I won my school’s annual faculty travel grant with a proposal to follow my mother’s footsteps. I wanted to visit the American school in Germany where she taught before she folded into the mother I know. By visiting the school, I believed I could create a connection that had long eluded us both: mutual understanding. I wanted her to know how much I loved and admired her, and I trekked four thousand miles away to prove it. With the money she earned as a grocery-store bagger, my mother put herself through a Catholic college for women, where the top two majors were teaching and nursing. She chose teaching and used it as an escape route from her blue-collar, Polish-immigrant neighborhood: she signed up to teach Army kids abroad. Based in Landshut, Germany, in the 1960s, my mother was even considered a sort of noncombat soldier. At Checkpoint Charlie she tried to take pictures but was quickly stopped by German guards. I like to tell people my


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mother served in the Army, that she bravely faced the enemy. On my trip, I found the base in Landshut. Its squat, pastel buildings looked shoddy in the overcast daylight. A partially removed chain-link fence barely protected the perimeter. The school building had been torn down. A German official, one of the base’s only remaining staff members, said dryly, “Things have changed.” In town, I asked Justin to take a picture of me in front of the medieval St. Martin’s Church. I framed it for my mother. After moving back to the United States to teach middle school, my mother met my father, a Navy officer and conservative Catholic. She loved him within three minutes and expected an engagement within three months, using her forefinger to squash each chocolate in a Valentine’s Day gift box he gave her as she looked hopefully for a ring. They were married in 1971, not in a big ArmyNavy wedding, but in a traditional ceremony at St. Stanislaus, Bishop & Martyr. Next on the itinerary: a family-sized home, a classic New England saltbox with three bedrooms and a considerable front yard. While eight months pregnant with Beth, my mother leaned far over the living room railing to finish painting. Now she holds her breath when one of us climbs a ladder to fill her birdfeeders or change a bulb. But back then, worries about accidents didn’t materialize in my mother. She hung on that wall a framed Landshut scene — St. Martin’s — although she would never return to Germany, or to a classroom. One of my earliest memories is of our last big family trip: an Alaskan cruise. My mother always said if she hadn’t taught in Germany she would have taught in Alaska. To her, the trip fulfilled a long-time dream. At nearly twelve years old, I loved the glaciers, but struggled with the rest. My family — teenaged girls with permed hair and bright dinner dresses — confounded me. Having just hit puberty, growing quickly to my sisters’ heights and weights but without the accompanying breasts or pear-shaped physique, I stood out in our gaggle of girls as the androgynous square. Plus, the ship rolled through the ocean just enough to cause me, and me alone, seasickness for three wretched days. My mother, on the other hand, from what I can see in the vacation photos, looked radiant. In one picture, her hair spreads out long and loose and curly, each strand lit up as if by a spotlight. She smiles widely at the ship’s rails, her skin bright as the ice of Alaska’s eerie blue and white glaciers, her flowered skirt caught on one side by the breeze. This surprises me. Perhaps I didn’t notice her radiance before, or I’m misreading the pictures now. Perhaps the photos are just overexposed. Or, like a dying supernova, my mother was emitting one final burst of light.

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Shortly after we returned from Alaska, my mother was bitten by a tick. She developed Lyme disease that went undiagnosed, and therefore untreated, for several years. The infection wrecked her joints. Then my mother’s best friend died of a brain tumor. And then her world shrank. “It caved in,” my mother says after the service. Her shoulders are tensed up toward her ears. “I asked Deb,” she says. “The plot next to it was still such soft earth, it caved in. That’s why the rabbi was digging.” I’m afraid to ask the next question, but I do. “Who was buried in that plot?” I hadn’t seen the stone. “Jeremy,” my mother says. Jeremy, Josh’s younger brother, died not long ago when a faulty heater ignited a gas explosion in his home. The father and his youngest son now share a gravesite — it’s chilling. But I wonder if, to my mother, it’s a silver lining. Her second daughter, Karen, was stillborn just ten months after Beth’s healthy birth. My mother was not allowed to see Karen in the hospital. My Catholic parents wanted a proper interment for their daughter, but my mother couldn’t stomach knowing where it was, so my father buried her alone. When my father died at forty, leaving my mother with four girls aged ten and under, she dug out the paperwork from deep in his oak file drawers. She had the baby’s body exhumed and placed at rest next to my father; they fill a quarter of the family plot my mother purchased in our intimate village cemetery. Karen’s name is engraved on the headstone. My mother’s is already etched there too. Some time passes before we settle into the car for the drive to the postinterment reception. Family members must be kissed, deviled eggs must be secured, and my mother must be buckled in. Back on the highway, I try to distract her from the rain hammering the windshield, and from Justin’s hands on the wheel, by chatting about our wedding and honeymoon plans. Like my mother years ago, I’m a traveler. “We’ve decided on our trip. We’ll drive through Sicily, then fly to Greece, to the island of Santorini, and rent mopeds. It’s all mapped out, down to the snails we’re going to taste in Palermo.” Happiness is in all of it. In the mopeds, the snails. I hear her teeth; we share TMJ syndrome, and our jaws click when we grind our molars. “Just be careful on the beaches,” she says. “When I visited the Mediterranean, there was so much tar in the sand from the ships that the bottoms of my feet got all black.” “When did you visit the Mediterranean?” I want to open her up a bit, but I script my questions carefully, only asking her things I know she’ll want to answer. “Oh, while I was in Germany, I toured all over. Italy, Greece, Egypt, Israel. In


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those days, I’d just take the next train and see where it went.” “You were quite the adventurer.” “I wanted to see it all.” “Sounds like you had some serious wanderlust, Mom. Despite the tar.” She pauses, and I wonder if I’ve overstepped. “The mom you know now is a totally different person than who I was then.” She once told me that after my father died, she grew protective of her property. On one side, she had arborvitae trees planted in a straight line, creating a pine wall between her and the neighbor’s exposed back deck. On the other, she asked the neighbors if she could redraw the property line from jagged to straight, which she then lined with a stone wall. “I just wanted everything to be neat and orderly. I wanted my property to be within a perfect rectangle.” I am curious about my mother before: before disease, before my father’s death, before my father. But how does a daughter ask a mother when she stopped living and started plotting her burial? When she stopped being happy? For now, I let the rain talk. One day, I foolishly convince myself, I will sit with her over coffee and photos and meet the woman with wanderlust. Surely, her Lyme, diabetes, and cancer will hold out long enough. From my seat behind her, I study my mother as she studies the slick road before us. The self-sufficient college student, the black-footed woman on a Mediterranean beach, the middle school math teacher, the mother of five, and too soon, the grieving widow. Catholics believe in heaven, in eternal happiness. But I can’t picture her happiness as an eternal life. Not anymore. Rather, my mother, on a long return journey from a faraway former self, will step straight from train to cemetery mound. Her body will mingle with the bodies of her husband and daughter. Happiness is just a gravitational force that attracts bodies to one another. Happiness is lying down at last. Happiness is the possession of people, collected within straight property lines, on the square of a sticky note, in the rectangle of a freshly-dug grave.

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Freyja by Dason Culver


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Wrien On a Receipt at Work by Ben Warzel As you turn up your collar to the chill of December And you turn up your nose to the beggar sitting cold Don’t remember your old friend The one whose parents divorced and fought over who kept him Not because they both wanted to but because neither did How after that “how are you” “fine” became the standard convo The kickball teams were uneven then, 6-5 instead of 6-6 The sixth player was too busy burning ants with a magnifying glass and not talking It’s brisk and you walk briskly The temperature’s plummeting quickly That little boy who burned ants alone at recess sits alone with a rattling can and his rattling cough And it’s the snow you swear that starts to sting your eyes

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Just a Haircut by Jeff Hood Tuesday, I got a haircut. No sooner in the door than a four-year-old, big eyed boy announces to me that his arm hurts. “I’m sorry. What happened?” “Can I help you?” Name on the list, I sit with a magazine. Here he is again, “What’s in your pocket?” OK cutie. Your mom cuts hair. This waiting room is your preschool. Men are scarce in your life. Your inquisitiveness has explored women’s things, no doubt. But what does a man carry? What masculine magic lurks in that khaki pouch? He draws me out. Or is it in? Recalling my innocence 50 years ago. My pride, his vulnerability, exposes the talisman; my Swiss Army Knife.


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As if the crown jewels have been revealed, he sighs, squirming onto the bench. First the cork screw, mysterious pig tail, is traced and explained in sign and simple imagery. We go primal. Leaving time, we are in a fire lit hut, smoke and leather, knapping flint. Then blades and can opener and back to the cork screw. In his hand now. He knows to stay away from sharps. I help open the others. Toothpick and tweezers occupy us for hours. When they call my name. “Who does that bright little boy belong to? We’ve just spent the last ten minutes exploring the contents of my pocket.” Her look of alarm brings me back to the 21st century where it might not be safe for a strange man to show a young boy anything in his pocket, not even a jackknife.

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Listening to California for Jason White by Jason Morphew I don't get out of my head much — babies books TV at night glass in hand murdering the dream — sometimes in darkness I think of friends it was impossible to keep we were too starving alongside each other's ruthless bodies scavenging sent us to eyelined carcasses in adjacent fields. Some nights rolling over I hear a coyote cry in hunger and I pause from the private feast of my secret life. I peer into the canyon. Perhaps it's a friend come from another field to sing out to me I love you. Then I feel the emptiness from such assumptions in the past and I resume my feasting free to be as faceless as any passing scream.


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Under Guard by Sandy McCord It winked at the end of the itinerary like a free-turn card in a game deck: the market maze of Khan el Khalili. Push past trinkets, it is said, to where you hear no English, and you can buy incense from Sudan, lotus oil, za’faraan, hibiscus petals, hammered copper, an oud, a camel. An ace in the hole, a last chance for souvenirs and a pilgrimage to El Fishawy coffeehouse, the table where Naguib Mahfouz sat for years writing Amina into freedom. But almost as quickly as you can read this, we were in and out. Some months ago tourists died in the square, and the incoherence of terror still screams us down the alleys between armed guards. No picking through pretties, no haggling over prices. The Palace Walk is locked away from us as securely as it was from Mahfouz’s women peering into the street from carved screens that barred the windows of their homes.

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Shifts by Dason Culver


Santa Fe Literary Review

No Amount of Time for Julie, 16 by David James How and when you lost yourself doesn’t matter now, but the why of what you did will burn in us until the last light goes black for good. As the old folks like to say, “You had the world in the palm of your hand.” At what point after you opened the car door, barreling along M-19, and jumped out, did your short life flash and tumble through your brain? In those milliseconds before impact at 55 m.p.h., did you wish you had stayed in the back seat and cried instead? Did the cement rise up in slow motion, scraping the flesh clear off your small hands stuck out to break the fall? No amount of space or time can keep you away. Every single day, you assemble your mangled, bleeding body and come home to sit in the brains of your father and mother, but the words you need to say will not be spoken. You simply stare back at them, crying, shaking, until you can no longer hold your bones in place.

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Mting the Great One by Joanne Clarkson I had stood in line in my mind for weeks, inching forward, child by child, to shake the hand of the famous man, the one whose television show I never missed. The one whose script I re-enacted over and over with animals and dolls. The one whose face I sketched, whose name was worship’s address. My mother had cancelled appointments to drive me. Had saved for my ticket. I must have been eight or nine, third grade. I was alone among hundreds of bodies my age, the one not laughing or screaming. As I moved closer, I could see him bending and nodding, handing each one a small bag, some souvenir. I could hear his murmur easing closer, moving into my heartbeat. I could not breathe, sure that if I reached him, I would disappear. When I was three childhoods away, I stepped out of line. Head down, I walked out of that hall. My mother said nothing on the long ride home, her straight-ahead stare loud and shaming. On the phone later, she described a disappointment. Yet I still looked forward to Saturday mornings, my hero intact in his technicolor world. Face to face he would have vanished forever. Only the unknown is real.


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Rachel ,s Run by Samuel Thomas Nichols Rachael charged through the entrance of the Greyhound Bus Station and crashed head on into a grey-haired man and sent him sprawling backwards into the arms of an attentive young woman who dropped her jumbo soda on the floor and sent a wave that splashed over the front of Rachael’s already shredded slacks and left a pool which sent her feet sailing into the air. She landed hard on her tailbone in the middle of the puddle sending daggers of pain that undulated up her spine. The ensuing eruption of profanities forced nearby mothers to cover their young children’s ears and reddened the faces of the uniformed Marines who turned to hide their embarrassment. Rachael pushed herself up from the puddle and slipped forward as she tried to resume her course. She landed square on her chest, smashed her breasts, and bounced her chin off the laminate floor in the middle of the pool of soda. She cursed and cautiously raised herself up to her knees and slowly stood. The young woman and the old man backed off as Rachael surveyed the room. She spotted the ticket counter and sprinted up to it as she ignored those who already stood in line and edged aside the couple being waited on. “Where’s the bus to New York City?” she demanded. Not wanting to antagonize the young woman any further than she already seemed to be he asked meekly, “Which one, miss? There’s three leaving in the next hour.” “Damn, damn, damn. The one with Michael Jenkins.” The agent quickly consulted his computer terminal: “That’s Route 653, Gate 17. It leaves in ten minutes.” Rachael turned and started to run then stopped and sheepishly turned around to ask, “Which way?” The agent pointed and Rachael turned to run for the gate as the already nervous onlookers hurried out of her way. Rachael was not having a good morning. She had awakened to an empty apartment already lonesome for Michael, who had left early for the office to clear up some paperwork before he was to catch the bus home for his family’s annual Thanksgiving reunion. She was famished after the all night fast, selected a paring knife, and attempted to peel an orange the way Michael always did it. Instead, she succeeded in slicing the end of her index finger open. She wrapped the

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bloody finger in a paper towel and used a rubber band to hold it in place. She ignored the orange and reached for the handle of the whistling teakettle and was rewarded with scalded fingers as they passed through the steam. She held the fingers under the cold water for several minutes and then settled for two slices of cold wheat bread from the refrigerator. She searched for the box of bandages in the bathroom cabinets and received a nasty bump on the forehead. Exhausted, and in tears, she wrapped several of the bandages around the wounded finger and finished the dressing with a wrapping of scotch tape. She showered with a plastic bag over the wounded hand, dressed, and was ready to leave the apartment for work when she noticed the note taped to the door handle. She smiled at his assumed thoughtfulness and stopped to read the note. When she read the part that said: I left a time bomb ticking and when it goes off a lot a people down at city hall are going to notice this time, she shrieked and dropped the note on the floor. She knew he’d been really angry about the corruption, and frequently ranted and raved, but to actually plant a bomb. He just couldn’t have. Could he? God, she knew she had to stop him before it was too late. She ran out of the apartment, slammed it locked behind her, then tripped over the neighbor’s cat, which sunned itself below the window at the top of the stairs, and somersaulted to the landing below. Dazed but undaunted, she picked herself up, caught her slacks on the planter holding the silk tree, and ripped them from her thigh all the way down to her ankle. She ignored the disgrace and descended the remaining steps, first two, then three at a time, building up such a momentum she was unable to stop herself from being propelled painfully into the wall of the hallway. Stunned, she pushed herself off the wall and staggered down the hallway. She fell through the front door of the building where she caught the sleeve of her blouse on the doorjamb and ripped it suggestively. She swore silently as she trotted to the parking lot, slid into her Corolla, and threw it into reverse as soon as she heard the motor sputter, which caused the automobile to lurch backward across the drive and into the dumpster where she smashed a rear tail-light. She angrily slammed the transmission into drive and sped out onto the street where she ignored the horns that honked after her and turned onto the boulevard where she scattered several cars. She drove recklessly for several blocks and then turned onto Main Street where she barely skidded to a stop before crashing into the barrage of stalled automobiles. When she saw the red lights that flashed ahead, she shoved the transmission into reverse, and then heard a horn that blared behind her. Once she understood that she couldn’t back up or go forward she pulled the car off to the side, locked it, and ran


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towards the bus terminal as fast as she could manage. She slipped and fell to her hands and knees in the gutter as she crossed First Street and lay stunned for a moment as her shredded slacks soaked up the putrid soup. She struggled to her feet, turned, and fell over the webbed trash can bolted next to the traffic light, which ripped the other leg of her slacks and left a long bloody scrape on the bare skin. She limped slightly as she jogged the rest of the way to the bus terminal and even now rushed down the corridor and prayed that she’d make it in time. At Gate 17 Rachael saw Michael as he walked to board the bus and shouted; “Michael, Michael,” and as he turned to face her she continued, “You can’t leave!” She rushed forward and grabbed his arms; “You just can’t.” “God Rachael, you’re a mess,” and then, after he sniffed expressively, added; “and you stink. Why can’t I leave?” “I know you’ve been really pissed at the aldermen taking the bribes but I never believed you were capable of setting a bomb off.” Rachael now cried uncontrollably, “You’ve got to stop it. You’ve just got to.” Michael studied her, his own face an ashen array of embalmed puzzlement. His mouth gaped open as he searched his dazed brain for something appropriate to say. He was about to utter something completely unintelligible when he suddenly smiled and shook his head sadly. “Rachael, you’re a beautiful woman and I absolutely adore you, but I keep forgetting you just don’t grasp metaphor. All I did was write a letter to the editor.”

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A Long Distance Ca by Lawrence Gregory A long distance call from just south of anxiety. A calling out in the middle of the night despite our resolution and my gratitude for the swirling snow — the way it obliterates distance and stills the constant clatter. You did not answer, knowing from experience we are far better off dwelling in the silent spaces when you are north of the border, in the comfort of yesterday, standing in the rain.


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Iolation by Leah Browning Beijing — A Tibetan man set himself on fire and died outside a police station in the western Chinese province of Gansu on Tuesday, becoming the 134th person to self-immolate in protest of Chinese rule over Tibetan areas . . . — “China: Tibetan Dies in Immolation” by Dan Levin, The New York Times (December 18, 2014) The exiled Tibetan writer Jamyang Norbu has written of the need for “an actionoriented tradition of Buddhism,” in contrast to what he sees as a “quietist, passive, even escapist perception of Buddhism which has gained more widespread acceptance, especially in the West.” Norbu recounted a story from Buddhist scripture in which . . . the future Buddha came across a starving tigress and her newborn cubs. In an act of supreme compassion, he found a sharp piece of wood, cut himself open, and fed himself to the famished mother. Today, a monastery about forty kilometres outside Kathmandu marks the spot where this is believed to have happened. It’s a popular pilgrimage site, at which people leave offerings of money and food, hang prayer flags, and light butter lamps. — “Aflame” by Jeffrey Bartholet, The New Yorker (July 8, 2013) All that summer, it seemed, people were dying. First my aunt, whose cancer came out of remission. Then the neighbor, whose memory had grown increasingly spotty. She rested a ladder against a tree in her back yard and climbed all the way to the top, one-handed, dragging a heavy pair of hedge clippers behind her. The medical examiner said that she’d suffered a stroke. A few weeks went by. Newspaper headlines were screaming about a serial killer in a nearby city. A childhood friend and her family drowned in a boating accident. Some days I had trouble getting out of bed. I was afraid to answer the telephone. I spent a lot of time baking lasagnas and writing condolence cards. My friend Jackie took me out to dinner. We sat outside on a patio, ate vegetable moussaka, and smoked a hookah. Next to us, two tables had been pushed together to make one long table. A group of college kids were smoking from two different waterpipes, one on each

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end of the table. Jackie was telling me a story: something about a coworker and a red sweater. I was tired that night, and I was having trouble following along. One of the boys at the next table reached for the pipe closest to him. He picked up the hose, but his chair was pushed back and he was too far away to smoke. He pulled, hard, and the pipe tilted toward him. His jacket caught on fire. It was nothing serious. A small flicker, a river of flames along the tablecloth, and a radiance from his sleeve. A few of the girls were jumping up, calling for help, trying to pat it all out. The waitress ran over in her black half-apron and said, Take off your jacket, get up. The boy was high, and if he understood the words he gave no indication. He stayed in his seat, watching the scene unfold around him. At last someone pulled him to his feet; the girls pulled the jacket off and threw it onto the tiles. They stamped out the fire, pouring a glass of water onto it for good measure. He watched them do it. He seemed dazed, uncomprehending. The kids pulled their chairs back in toward the table. They helped him sit down again. One of them clapped him on the back. They were laughing, that frantic laugh that follows a close call. This will be one of the stories they bring up ten years from now. We roll forward, we roll back. Everyone eventually turns away from the boy who set himself on fire. I don’t want to trivialize the political by speaking about the personal. I only want to say that the impulse to self-harm is a strong one. Jackie and I split the check, and she drove me home. I stood at the front window watching her taillights disappear in the dark.


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Leaf Vignee by Vir Kaur Khalsa

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Backyard Tr with a View of the Sangre de Christo by Basia Miller She’s a poor example of an apple tree. For a start her trunk’s split in three. She’s all arms, no body, lop-sided and, like old growth, wind-bent. I say her tilted limbs stand for a divided heart. I imagine myself lakeside, in summer, fingering down through muddy water to capture a submerged ring, while she sends her fingers sideways, going forth toward a dream of balance, I suppose, at true North. This year’s covered her in blooms, the same as if there’d never be another spring. Yet she speaks, in the way of apple trees, of what’s unattained : her white branches yearn for snowy peaks.


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To My Other Daughter by Serena Rodriguez I met Carlos for breakfast before the funeral. We sat in an uncomfortable silence while we stared at the shared meal we had ordered, an attempt at normalcy. We had only been dating a month, yet we shared eggs as if we’d been together for fifty years. But today was different. The breakfast went ignored. I watched in silence as our server placed my drink on the table. The water took on the hue of the red straw that stood suspended in the ice. Its reflection filled the glass with colors of the bloody toilet I had cried into the night before. I had stood like a statue, unable to move while I watched the colors swirl and wane in the watery coffin below. I held my stomach, now empty, as I flushed your life down. The fresh memories rushed over my body and left me quietly sobbing at our table. We left the restaurant, and the food. Afterwards, we purchased a bouquet of roses mingled with daisies, their day-old price camouflaged by the purple tissue paper that cradled them. The only ones our adolescence could afford. The light, hazy and yellow, illuminated the fall aspens. Their golden leaves gracefully fell to the rain-soaked dirt. White bark chipped away by the antlers of mountain deer surrounded the base of the trees, collecting the burden of the cold air. Colors of crimson and honey reflected the flashes of autumn light. They recoiled from the sun to the water and back. The triangle of light almost seemed tangible, unlike the untouchable. You. I knelt onto the wet soil, sinking into the earthworms and knotted roots that occupied my small space of forest. The roots reminded me that all things have history and grow from places I don’t always understand. My knees found solitude and steadiness in the ground, something I had yet to feel since you left into the spirit of my memory. The Pecos River splashed on the surface of the smooth rock and kissed the offering we brought for you. The silky red and white petals bobbed in the cold November river. The smell of soaked earth and river trout permeated the air. I inhaled the scent, savoring its rawness as I watched the flowers and your memory float down the icy river. The clouds seemed to validate my feelings with their fine black silhouettes as the ominous pillows hung perfectly in the smooth sky. I felt the late autumn breeze slap my cheek, chapped and red. My eyes felt smaller than yesterday, burning with the absence of you.

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“I can’t feel my fingers, babe. Are you ready to start?” The tears welled in Carlos’ eyes. “Yeah, sure,” I choked. My fingers had gone numb hours ago. Hell, the only thing I felt was the warmth of the snot and tears that painted my cold face. I wrapped my hands around the stems of the flowers, pricking myself with the obtrusive thorns. I heard the crisp leaves crackle under the hoofs of animals as I watch the blood bubble up from my icy fingertips. “I believe you are in my spirit,” I began, “watching and lighting my way through darkness. I believe that I have known you before, and that I will again. I believe that I am forgiven, and you will not be forgotten.” My tears fell fast, matching the speed of the rushing river below. Carlos’ hand squeezed my shoulder, his chin resting on top. His presence was warm and compassionate. We had met in a whirlwind of infatuation and here he stood by my side, his empathy never wavering. Before we even had a chance to meet each other’s family, we found an intimacy that only comes with time and trauma. I had no idea this would not be the last time that I would say goodbye to a child that I would never get to hold. I mourned them, like you, wrapped in my heartache and exhaustion, Carlos always close by. I had no idea at the time that your death would be what would prepare us for the child that would stay. *** Z dances along Monastery Lake, wrapping herself within the vines, amongst the aspen fortress, their leaves green with spring. She leans toward her reflection that floats in the cool May water. Her eyes are wide with amazement. She turns four this month. Quicken water snakes and baby fish swim through her echo, intertangled in the image. The crisp yellow light shines through her big brown curls, reflecting the gift from her daddy. Her smile meets the fishermen and women. They are happy to see such delight and curiosity in a young child. “Mommy, a dog!” She points off into the distance, toward the forest of trees and the Pecos River. Her voice makes my heart beat to the tune of motherhood, something only a few years ago, I had begun to see as an unlikely possibility. I look at her daddy, his dimples like the caves within the wilderness; dark, mysterious, and beautiful. We are no longer young lovers. When we were here before, Carlos and I mourned a spirit; this time, we


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celebrate a living miracle. The water is warmer now and my fingers aren’t numb. They are full of enthusiasm, dancing along the leaves that rustle with the sounds of new beginnings. My right hand holds his, comforting, warm, familiar; my left holds the treasures Z has collected with her curious hands. She trips over the roots that gnarl in and out of the ground. She lands on the soft dirt, looking back for a reassuring smile; the air is filled with the sound of laughter.

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Waking In the Desert after Elizabeth Bishop by Wayne Lee The sea forgot my name. It stranded me like smelt on the beach, my bright regalia in disarray, infested with parasites. Last night I could not sleep, jetsam on the pebbles, blocked from the black birthing trench of dreams. At dawn, I tasted vast anarchy swimming inside me, the microbes and brachiopods who play outside the light. Midday, I revived in a cloudburst, given delicate salvation. After nightfall, I appeared on the waves, searching for something more than self.


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The Poet by Ellen Cooney making love with words caressing the skin of them playing with their openings their danglings letting my tongue play with the sounds of their names slipping new worlds into the centers of their pleasure as they slip new worlds into mine going deeper into each other where all words all worlds mix mingle swirl together like fallen leaves holding each other through the nights through the days reassembling each other new again each time

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Mied Coections - Route 66 by Will Karp


Santa Fe Literary Review

Benediction by Behzad Dayeny Let this foot touch the shore Let these tears be accounted for Let this mind reach contentment Let this heart know fulďŹ llment Let your love spill over me Let these eyes ďŹ nd the dream Let this voice silence the scream Let these hands rise to your praise Let this tongue whisper your name Let all dreams be of you Let all roads lead to you Let this soul be spared the pain Let this skin feel the rain Let the book be opened Let the words be spoken Let this man be sturdy Let this life be worthy Let your love spill over me

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Santa Fe Literary Review

Contributor Biographies David Athey

’s stories and poems have appeared in various journals, including The Iowa Review, Southern Humanities Review, California Quarterly and Tampa Review. He teaches creative writing at Palm Beach Atlantic University.

Wendy Brown-Báez

is the author of the poetry books Ceremonies of the Spirit and transparencies of light. Her poetry and prose appear in journals and anthologies, such as Mizna, We’Moon, Poets & Writers, The Compassion Anthology and Wendy was awarded McKnight and Minnesota State Arts Board grants to facilitate writing workshops for youth in crisis and in non-profits and teaches creative writing in state prisons and at Pathways health resource center.

Eiln Banashek

is driven by curiosity and a love of Nature. She loves to wander beyond KEEP OUT signs, see what's around the next bend, go where she's never gone before. Her studies have included shamanism, woodworking, photography, gardening, and the healing power of plants. She makes flower essences in the wild and is working on a memoir about her African Grey parrot and a novel about two young girls with magical abilities.

Briney Beauregard

is a student at SFCC studying Teacher Education. She has a passion for photography, especially capturing both the beauty of the macro world and her two very photogenic cats.

Nancy Beauregard

, originally from Massachusetts, moved to Santa Fe five years ago. She is presently pursuing a Creative Writing Certificate from SFCC. She has been published in the Palmer Journal, the 2016 SFCC Accolades, and online. She was winner of the Richard Bradford Memorial Creative Writing Scholarship. Nancy lives with her daughter and two Maine Coon cats.

Cynthia Belmont

's poems have appeared in a variety of journals, including Poetry, The Cream City Review, Iris, and Eclipse. She lives in Ashland, Wisconsin.

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Byron Beynon

lives in Swansea, Wales. His work has appeared in several publications including The Grey Sparrow, Muddy River Poetry Review, The Worcester Review (USA), London Magazine, Agenda, The Yellow Nib and The Human Rights Anthology In Protest (University of London and Keats House Poets). He coordinated the Wales section of the anthology Fifty Strong (Heinemann Publishers). Collections include Cuffs (Rack Press), Human Shores (Lapwing Publications) and Through Ilston Wood (Lapwing Publications).

Elena Bos

currently lives in Northern Virginia. She's been published in over twenty literary magazines in the past few years. She is the winner of four poetry contests, including Word Works Young Poets. Her artwork has won numerous awards and has been exhibited at the Greater Reston Art Center and Arterie Fine Arts. Check out her poetry book, a little luminescence at, or her chapbook at Red Ochre Press. Go to to see her latest artwork.

Emily Brie

has her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her fiction and essays have been printed in a wide variety of publications, and are forthcoming or have recently appeared in Atticus Review, Hippocampus, under the gum tree, The Fourth River, and River Teeth. She teaches high school English in Minneapolis.

Leah Browning

is the author of three nonfiction books for teens and pre-teens and four chapbooks. Her fiction and poetry have recently appeared in Superstition Review, Newfound, The Homestead Review, Santa Ana River Review, Waypoints, First Class Magazine, Coldnoon, Clementine Unbound, Bellows American Review, Thin Air Magazine, Nebo, Chagrin River Review, and several anthologies, including The Doll Collection from Terrapin Books and Nothing to Declare: A Guide to the Flash Sequence from White Pine Press.

Marylou Butler

For inspiration, travels, hikes with her dog, and practices mindfulness meditation with the Desert Rain and Santa Fe Vipassana Sanghas. She studies creative writing at SFCC after a career as a counseling psychologist and administrator at the University of Pennsylvania, College of Santa Fe, and Southwestern College. As a citizen activist, she advocates for girls and women, voting rights, and the preservation of the earth and all its inhabitants.


Santa Fe Literary Review

Susana H. Case

’s newest book is 4 Rms w Vu (Mayapple Press, 2014). 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.

Rick Christman

is the author of Falling In Love At the End of the World, a collection of stories and prose poems, which won the Minnesota Voices Project and was published by New Rivers Press. His second book, Searching For Mozart, a collection of poems, won the 2014 Brighthorse Books Prize in Poetry and was published by Brighthorse Books. His writing has appeared in anthologies, as well as in many magazines, including Indiana Review, Descant, Margie, The Chariton Review, Cold Mountain Review, Wisconsin Review, The Briar Cliff Review and Connecticut Review.

Joae M. Clarkson

’s full-length poetry collection, The Fates, won Bright Hill Press’ annual contest and will be published spring 2017. Her chapbook, Believing the Body, from Gribble Press, was published in 2014. Poems have appeared in many journals including Poet Lore, Western Humanities Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Fjords Review and Rhino. Clarkson has Master’s Degrees in English and Library Science, has taught and worked as a professional librarian. She lives in Olympia, Washington.

DeWi Clinton

recently retired from teaching in the Languages and Literatures Department at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. He continues to write and publish creative non-fiction and poetry in a variety of national and international journals including works recently published in Wise Guys: An Online Magazine, Negative Capability, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Verse-Virtual, New Verse News, Peacock Journal, and Stark: The Poetry Journal, which featured a shortlisted poem for the Wisehouse International Poetry Award.

Een Cney

was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1948. She has lived in San Francisco, California, since 1963. Cooney has published nine books with Duir Press. Her tenth book, Bite Into the Moon, is due out this year.

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Frank H. Cns

is a veterinarian and poet. His work has appeared in The Eleventh Muse, Malpais Review, The Santa Fe Literary Review, Imprints, Fruita Pulp and elsewhere. His first chapbook, Finding Cassiopeia, was published by Lithic Press in 2013 and was a finalist for the Colorado Book Award. His second collection, Counting in Dog Years, also from Lithic Press, is just out. He lives in Grand Junction and Denver with his wife, Teresa, and two dogs.

Pat Crow

, a fourth-generation Floridian, earned her Master’s Degree in Counseling and focused on alternative ways to integrate somatic psychotherapy and energy psychology. Her intrigue with curandero and native spiritual practice broadened her healing perspective to working on a cellular level, and her writing emerges from that visceral expression. Recently retiring in Santa Fe, New Mexico, she began writing her memoir about coming out at sixty.

Dason Culver

is a multi-disciplinary artist and designer born and raised in Madrid, New Mexico. Living in a small town rich in history and culture led to a path of unbounded creativity. Culver's interest in the natural world as juxtaposed with urban/societal decay is prominent is work.

Behzad Dayeny Jeica Dlile-Burton Tim Eberle

is Poetic Chef from Iran. The director of Food Services at Santa Fe Community College, he has been living in Santa Fe since 1984. lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

is a New York based writer and comedian. His writing and performances have appeared in McSweeney's, Splitsider, DNAinfo, Jewish Life Television,, Heeb Magazine, and Madcap Review, among others. Most recently, he was seen performing at the Peoples Improv Theater in "I Am Not A Man: A One Sort-of-Man Show" and in the sketch review "Sad Men And The People Who Love Them" at Theater 99 in Charleston, South Carolina.

Bi Ehrhart

teaches history and English at the Haverford School in suburban Philadelphia, where he also coaches Winter Track and sponsors the Poetry Club. His most recent of 22 books is Conversations with W. D. Ehrhart: Vietnam, America, and the Written Word, Jean-Jacques Malo).


Santa Fe Literary Review

Austin Eichelberger

is a native Virginian who teaches as much English and writing as he can manage in sunny New Mexico. Over sixty of his stories have appeared in journals and anthologies, including Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, Eclectic Flash and Nanoism. More of his writing lives at

Kate Erickson

Kentucky native is based in Los Angeles, where she has written for AMC's “Fear the Walking Dead” and USA Network's “Mr. Robot,” for which she received a Writers Guild Award. She has also written for BBC America’s Copper. Erickson’s essays have appeared in various publications including Wellesley Magazine — magazine of her alma mater, Wellesley College — and the New York Press. She can be found on Medium at @ericksonkate and elsewhere at @katefromky.

Aabea Farmer

is a homeschooled high school senior and student in the Santa Fe Community College creative writing program. She writes primarily creative nonfiction, and plans to launch her blog, “Adoxographie,” in January, 2017. When not writing, she can be found playing cello, singing (probably Schubert), or engaging in various forms of bedevilment.

Robert Fae

lives and works in the Bronx, New York. His poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Underwater New York, Unlost, The Brooklyn Review, NOON: journal of the short poem and REAL: Regarding Arts and Letters. Originally from Houston, Texas, he’s a librarian at Lehman College, CUNY.

Theresa Fearo

has spent the better part of thirty years working as a ranger, researcher and educator in parks, refuges and forests throughout the country. Theresa is also a licensed doctor of Oriental Medicine. When she is not rambling in the forest or practicing acupuncture Theresa spends her time writing.

Irina Fialko

is a New York based artist and fashion designer who fell in love with New Mexico back in 2007, and never failed to visit ever since. Her art style is influence by European medieval art, Japanese anime, the art of Frida Kahlo and Salvador Dali. With a strong background in fashion design, Irina hopes to do costumes for theater and film.

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April Ford

grew up in Quebec. Her short story “Project Fumarase” is among the winning pieces in the 2016 Pushcart Prize anthology XL, and her debut collection of stories, The Poor Children, won the 2013 Santa Fe Writers Project Literary Awards Program for Fiction.

Aen Foest

Graphic artist and painter was born in Canada and bred in the U.S. He has created cover art and illustrations for literary publications and books. He is the winner of the Leslie Jacoby Honor for Art at San Jose State University's Reed Magazine and his Bel Red painting series is part of the Bellevue College Foundation's permanent art collection. Forrest's expressive drawing and painting style is a mix of avant-garde expressionism and post-Impressionist elements reminiscent of van Gogh, creating emotion on canvas.

C.J. Giroux

A lifelong resident of Michigan, is an associate professor of English at Saginaw Valley State University, where he also serves as the assistant director of the school’s Writing Center.

A.J. Goldman

is an emerging artist who is continuing to experiment with form. He is a photographer, sometimes actor and monologist, and documentary filmmaker. While his thematic preoccupations often concern identity, he investigates it in moments of union and communion. There is an undeniable soulfulness to Goldman’s work, a yearning for a more peaceful world with closer more mutually beneficial relations. His photos are frequently taken outside, in public or open spaces and their stories move between solitarily and solidarity.

Asya Graf

’s poetry, essays, and translations have appeared or are forthcoming in Absinthe, Aethlon, Boxcar, Cimarron Review, Comparative Literature, Sport Literate, and Vestal Review, among other journals. She is currently completing a collection of essays about swimming.

Lawrence Gregory

is the author of Stretching Silver Through Blue Haze (Shanti Arts, 2017). His poetry has also appeared in a number of literary reviews and journals, including most recently Crosswinds Poetry Journal, The Malpaís Review, Red Rock Review, and Santa Fe Literary Review. He lives, loves and collaborates with his best friend and fine art photographer wife, Birgit Gutsche, in northern New Mexico.


Santa Fe Literary Review

Jeifer Gro

has had works published in Accolades and Santa Fe Literary Review. After graduating from Santa Fe Community College in the Spring of 2017, she will be relocating to Lawrence, Kansas, where she will be attending the University of Kansas. Her plans include writing, teaching, cooking for family and friends, and also world domination. Rock Chalk.

Meghan Gru

's exhibition record includes group and solo shows, collaborations, and site-specific installations. Her work has been exhibited internationally in Norway, Finland, Spain, and Thailand, and nationally at the Sculpture Center (Cleveland, OH), the Shoshana Wayne Gallery (Los Angeles), Heaven Gallery (Chicago), and the Urban Institute for Contemporary Art (Grand Rapids, MI). She received her M.F.A. Art + Design from the University of Michigan in 2012, and her B.A. History + Studio Art from Wellesley College in 2005.

Kathln Gunton

is a photographer and poet. She agrees with Henri CartierBresson that “photography is a way of freeing oneself.” Her images appear on the cover of Arts & Letters, Potomac Review, Flint Hills Review, CQ, Thema, and Westview—to name a few. She lives in Orange, CA and posts to her blog “Discursion.”

Hoy Guran

, author of River of Bones (Iris Press) and the chapbooks River Tracks and Mothers' Trails, earned a Massachusetts Cultural Council award, and is a member of Jamaica Pond Poets. Her work has appeared in journals including Poet Lore, Poetry East, Hawai'i Pacific Review, Borderlands, Worcester Review, and Salamander. Holly resides in Boston with her husband, Phil, and their dog, Ginger.

Je Hd

: “I am pleased to work at Santa Fe Community College, where I help address professional development needs for staff and faculty. My poetry emerges out of the joys and challenges of a well lived life and an attempt to wake up to their wild and soulful roots. Like dreams, I find that poetry gives voice to the mystery and makes a good place for asking questions.”

Robyn Hunt

is grateful for her Southwestern lineage of confident women who sang in the choir. It is here that she learned to praise. Today she is Development and Communications Director for Las Cumbres Community Services in Santa Fe. Her work appears in various journals. Her debut collection of poems, The Shape of Caught Water, was published in 2013, Red Mountain Press. She maintains a writer’s blog, “As Mourning Doves Persist” (

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David James

’ third book, My Torn Dance Card, was a finalist in the 2016 Next Generation Indie book award. His sixth chapbook, Going Down, Friend, came out from Finishing Line Press. More than thirty of his one-act plays have been produced. He teaches at Oakland Community College.

Wi Karp

: After a career in the aerospace industry Will moved to Santa Fe in 2004, and looked forward to changing directions by focusing his interests in creating visual art. With the support of the local art community he has had his photography, painting, printmaking, and book arts shown in many exhibits, shows, and publications and is grateful for the creative opportunities that New Mexico provides. Examples of his work can be seen at

Judith Kaye

has not yet grown up, but lived in London, Los Angeles, Berkeley, San Diego, and in Santa Fe since 1982. She has written extensively on science education and education reform, and has published a book of science activities for children. She won second place in the 2014 Santa Fe New Mexican’s annual writing contest for her poem, "Transience." She is indebted to her loving husband, Howie Alpern, for his unfailing encouragement.

Marguerite Kearns

is a writer of memoir and creative nonfiction. She loves the stories her grandfather told her as a child about a time in American history when women couldn’t vote and equality must have seemed like an impossible dream. This selection is from Marguerite’s memoir of family legends. She has been blogging since 2009 about her suffrage activist grandmother Edna Kearns and the “Spirit of 1776” wagon she used for grassroots organizing (

Michael Kfe

A graduate of Santa Fe High School, now lives in Portland, Oregon, where he is the Events Coordinator and Publicist at an independent bookstore, Annie Bloom's Books. He has studied with Jon Raymond and Natalie Serber at the Attic Writer's Workshop. His short fiction has been published or is forthcoming in Thin Air Magazine, and his essays and reviews have appeared in PopMatters and Sound on Sound's Performing Musician Magazine, among others.


Santa Fe Literary Review

George Keithley

, author of the novel Ring of Fire, has published fiction in TriQuarterly, Sewanee Review, Quiddity, North American Review, and other publications, earning a Raymond Carver Short Story Award and Pushcart Prize nominations. His award-winning epic poem “The Donner Party,” a Book-of-theMonth Club selection, has been adapted as a stage play and an opera. He’s been a visiting writer in Russia and traced the Emigrant Trail from Illinois to California.

Rick Kempa

lives in Rock Springs, Wyoming, where he Former Santa Fean teaches at Western Wyoming College. Rick is editor of ON FOOT: Grand Canyon Backpacking Stories, (Vishnu Temple Press, 2014) and co-editor of Going Down Grand: Poems from the Canyon (Lithic Press, 2015). His latest poetry collection is Ten Thousand Voices (Littoral Press, 2014). His essay “Alms for the Birds,” a meditation on excarnation, received the 2017 Alligator Juniper Nonfiction Prize.

Vir Kaur Khalsa

is an artist of both words and imagery. Her deep love of the natural world provides the main inspiration for work. Currently her main form of artistic expression is photography.

Daniel Kilpatric

earned his MFA in Writing-Poetry from Vermont College. He currently teaches in the creative writing program at Santa Fe Community College. His work has appeared in The Santa Fe Literary Review.

Bruce Lader

’s poems have appeared in The Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish American Poetry, Poetry East, Talking River, Poetry, Yellow Medicine Review, Front Range, and other magazines. A 2015 Pushcart Prize nominee and recipient of a writer-in-residence fellowship from The Wurlitzer Foundation, he is the author of five books, including Fugitive Hope (Cêrvená Barva Press 2014), Embrace (Big Table 2010), and Discovering Mortality (March Street Press 2005), a finalist for the Brockman-Campbell Book Award.

Wayne L

( is a Canadian/American who moved from Santa Fe to Hillsboro, Oregon, in 2014. Lee’s poems have appeared in Pontoon, Tupelo Press, Slipstream, Adobe Walls and other journals and anthologies. He was awarded the 2012 Mark Fischer Poetry Prize and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and three Best of the Net Awards. His collection, The Underside of Light, was a finalist for the 2014 New Mexico/Arizona Book Award in Poetry.

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Donald Levering

is a former NEA Fellow and won the 2014 Literal Latté prize and was runner-up for the 2015 Mark Fischer Poetry Prize. In 2016, he was runner-up for the Ruth Stone Prize and finalist for the New Letters Award. His 7th full-length poetry book, Coltrane’s God, was published in 2015 by Red Mountain Press. His previous book, The Water Leveling with Us, placed 2nd in the 2015 National Federation of Press Women Book Award.

Lyn Lifshin

has published over 130 books including three from Black Sparrow. Recent books: Barbaro: Beyond Brokenness and The Licorice Daughter: My Year with Ruffian. Recent books: Ballroom, All the Poets (Mostly) Who Have Touched me, Living and Dead. All True, esp the Lies, Knife Edge & Absinthe: The Tango Poems. NYQ books published A Girl Goes into The Woods, For the Roses and Moving Thru Stained Glass. Other new books include Femme Eterna, Secretariat: The Red Freak, The Miracle, The Istanbul Poems and aliveasaloadedgun. Forthcoming: Degas’ Little Dancer and The Silk Road. Her web site is

George Longenecker

taught history and writing at Vermont Technical College for many years. His recent poetry and book reviews have been published in Vermont Literary Review, Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, Isthmus, Poetry Quarterly, Rain Taxi and Saranac Review. He lives on the edge of the forest in Middlesex, Vermont.

Andrew Lovato

is an Associate Professor of Speech Communication at Santa Fe Community College. He is the author of Santa Fe Hispanic Culture: Preserving Identity in a Tourist Town, published in 2004 by the University of New Mexico Press and The Year Zozobra Escaped: Featuring Zozobra’s Great Escape, published in 2011 by the Museum of New Mexico Press.

Douglas Macdonald

is a member of the Evanston Writers Workshop. He has published poetry widely and recently returned to the short story/ flash scene. Formerly he taught English literature at the New York College of Music. He has won several prizes for his short stories and poetry. Recently his short story, “Sharing Daniel,” was published in the volume of five stories, Visions of Life.


Santa Fe Literary Review

Cheryl Marita

is a long time resident of Espanola. Her days are divided between palliative care at Presbyterian Espanola Hospital and classes at SFCC. Both offer a wealth of words for writing. Cheryl has been published in the Santa Fe Literary Review and has two chapbooks. An anthology of poetry written in collaboration with friends brings nature, New Mexico and the bosque together. As a late comer to writing, Cheryl is grateful for the mentoring, sharing, and support of SFCC and the Santa Fe community.

Michael Mark

is a hospice volunteer and long distance walker. He’s the author of two books of stories, Toba and At the Hands of a Thief (Atheneum). His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Cimarron Review, Cutthroat Journal, Poet Lore, Prelude Magazine, Rattle, Tahoma Literary Review, Sugar House Review and The SUN Magazine. His poetry has been nominated for three Pushcart Prizes and the Best of the Net.

Sandy McCord

’s poems have appeared in Colere, Earth’s Daughters, Illuminations, The Kerf, and Plainsongs, among others. She was a featured poet in Tiger's Eye and in The Listening Eye. Her chapbook Dragon Well was published by Finishing Line Press.

K. A. McGowan

currently teaches electronics in Lafayette, Louisiana. He was born and raised in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and is adding music (guitar) to energize his poetry readings.

Mahew Mendoza

has published poetry, fiction, and non-fiction – all from prison. Recently, his work has appeared in Big Muddy, Comstock Review, and The Kerf. His play, “Legend of John Crow,” won First Prize in Drama from PEN’s Prison Writer’s Contest. To read the first act or learn more about mentoring a prison writer, visit

Teri Mio

is a visual artist, designer, writer and teacher. She received a BFA from Washington University in St. Louis and an MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Formerly a professor of art, her writings have been published in venues including Cézanne’s Carrot, Ceramics: Art and Perception, and Westword. She lives now among the piñons, cholla and ravens just outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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Basia Mier

In 1988 when moved from Chicago to Santa Fe, it was the blue arch of sky that was most compelling. Then, after retirement from St. John’s College, it was the city’s history and its nooks and crannies. Now 80, what’s become most intriguing is right outside her door, where, cup of coffee in hand, she makes leisurely acquaintance with her backyard trees, stray cats and insects. Her website, updated occasionally, is

Jason Morphew

started life in a mobile home in Pike County, Arkansas; at UCLA he's completing his Ph.D dissertation, “Hamlet's Petrarchism.” He's published the chapbook In Order to Commit Suicide and been interviewed about it in Quarterly West. His poems have appeared in the journals Bellevue Literary Review, Storm Cellar Quarterly, and Venus Magazine, among others. As a singer-songwriter he's released albums on the labels Brassland, Ba Da Bing!, Max, and Unread.

Pat Ly Moses

is a retired art therapist, born and spending early years in high desert country, who felt she was returning home when she moved to Santa Fe. She sees involvement in creative process as a part of her own spiritual path, and cites it as a big part of her own healing journey through life’s many twists and turns.

Sheryl L. Nelms

is from Marysville, Kansas. She graduated from South Dakota State University. She has had over 5,000 articles, stories and poems published, including fourteen individual collections of her poems. She is a four time Pushcart Prize nominee. She has recently been published in Abbey, Waterways, Feelings of the Heart, Bryant Literary Review, Jerry Jazz Musician, Baseball Bard and Plain Brown Wrapper. For longer credits listing see Sheryl L. Nelms at

Linda Neal

wrote her first poems in high school. She's always been fascinated with words and the feelings they generate, which led her to study literature at Pomona College, earn a degree in linguistics and a master's degree in clinical psychology. Her life at the beach, passion for story and work as a therapist create a richness of expression in her poetry. Dodge & Burn (Bambaz Press), her poetry memoir, came out in 2014.


Santa Fe Literary Review

Samuel Thomas Nichols

is an uprooted Oklahoman who came of age on the south end of the Santa Monica Bay. He is the author of several novels, numerous short stories, poems, songs, and musical compositions. He resides emptynested with his wife Denise in the foothills of the San Bernardino mountains.

Meg O'Brien

is in the process of transitioning from a career in educational and IT administration to a life of writing. O'Brien, who spent thirty-two years as a Catholic nun, remains forever committed to education and social justice.

Marjorie Power

’s poetry collection, Seven Parts Woman, was published in September, 2016 by WordTech Editions in Cincinatti, Ohio. Her poems also appear in six chapbooks and one other full length collection, all from small presses in the U.S. Over 400 of her poems are in journals and anthologies, including Iconoclast, The California Quarterly, Main Street Rag, The Kentucky Review, and The Random House Treasury of Light Verse. Marjorie lives with her husband in Denver. They have six grandchildren.

Doa Puiani

, a Chicago-based writer, has published poetry on four continents in such diverse journals as Poetry Salzburg, Istanbul Literary Review, Shi Chao Poetry, Journal of Italian Translation, Acumen and Feile-Festa. Her work has been translated into Italian, Chinese, Japanese and German. In addition to five Pushcart nominations, she has won awards from the Illinois Arts Council and The National Federation of State Poetry Societies, among others. Her seventh and most recent collection of poems is Edges (Purple Flag Press, Virtual Artists Collective, Chicago, 2016).

Serena Rodriguez

resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with her husband and daughter. She is a graduate of Santa Fe Community College, where her poem, “Paper Wings,” won first prize for poetry in the 2017 Student Writing Awards. Her work has previously appeared in the Santa Fe Community College Accolades,, and elsewhere. More information about her writing can be found at

Brigid Ronan

is an emerging writer based in Brooklyn, though she originally hails from Wilmette, Illinois. A graduate of Vanderbilt University, her humor writing has been published by McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. This is Brigid’s first time appearing in the Santa Fe Literary Review.

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K.D. Rose

's poetry, essays, and short stories have been or will be published in Word Riot, Chicago Literati, Poetry Breakfast, BlazeVOX Journal, Ink in Thirds, Stray Branch Magazine, Literary Orphans, Eastern Iowa Review, Northern Virginia Review, 2016 Paragram Press Anthology, Nuclear Impact Anthology, and others. K.D. has won Readers Favorite Silver Medal for Poetry and an Honorable Mention in the 2016 New Millennium Writings Poetry Contest. She possesses a BS and an MSW.

Janet Ruth

is an emeritus research ornithologist. She has lived in Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., Virginia, and Colorado, and moved to New Mexico 15 years ago. She has published scientific papers on bird ecology, migration, and conservation, and natural history essays in Birding and Birdwatcher’s Digest. In 2015, she participated in the Bread Loaf ORION Environmental Writers Conference. Her poetry focuses on connections to the natural world where she does her best to walk in beauty.

Avraham (Avi) Shama

: “I am a writer and a retired professor of International Business at the University of New Mexico. I was born in Iraq near the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. When I was a child, Iraq issued my unwanted Jewish parents and their children a one-way visa to Israel, where we were treated as Blacks because of our darker skin color. In 1970 I flew to the US to complete my education. Upon landing in O’Hare Airport I was suddenly treated as White. This short story is about my surprise overnight metamorphosis from Black to White. My memoir, Finding Home, is available at Amazon.”

Michael Shepley

has had around four dozen poems published since ‘97. Since late 2014 poems have appeared in California Quarterly, Muse International (India & world), Seems Danse Macabre, Penumbra, Xanadu, & Pinyon, IPR and Vallum (Montreal). Otherwise, on IRS forms, he is a freelance writer/researcher in Sacramento, California.

Deborah Chava Singer

is originally from San Diego, California where she studied truth with the Mesa College Theatre Company and Queer Players. She currently resides in Vancouver, Washington. Her writing has appeared in Cirque, MUSE, Jonathan, Chaffin, Heart and Mind Zine, Snapdragon, Twisted Vine, Labletter, Off the Rocks, Rockhurst Review, Trajectory and Steam Ticket. She is the grateful recipient of a 2012 Grants for Artist Projects (GAP) grant from Artist Trust. Her website:


Santa Fe Literary Review

Michael G. Smith

’s poem in this issue of Santa Fe Literary Review is one in the series of Bodhisattva-In-Training poems. His poetry, tanka and haiku have been published in many journals. No Small Things was published by Tres Chicas Books (2014). The Dippers Do Their Part, a haibun and katagami collaboration with Laura Young, was published by Miriam’s Well (2015). Flip Flops, a haiku collaboration with Miriam Sagan, will be published by Miriam’s Well (2017).

Suzae Fae Smith

’s work explores memory, trauma, education, and parenthood and has been published in numerous literary and academic journals. Recent work appears in Copper Nickel and River Teeth’s Beautiful Things. Essays have been listed as Special Mention by Pushcart and Notable in Best American. With an MA from The New School and an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts, Suzanne teaches at Manhattanville College. She lives with her husband and sons in Connecticut.

Madeleine Steinho

is a recent graduate of the University of California at San Diego with a bachelor’s degree in creative writing, with honors, and theater. Residing in Goleta, California, she is exploring opportunities in backstage work and publishing. Though she writes mostly prose, she experiments widely with form. Her work tends to focus on women and their relationships, drawing inspiration from the most important people in her life.

George Staley

is retired from 25 years of teaching writing and literature at Portland Community College. He had also taught in New England, Appalachia, and on the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation. His poetry has appeared in Chest, Four Quarters, Loonfeather, RE:AL Artes Liberales, New Mexico Humanities Review, Fireweed, Oregon East, Evening Street Review, and many others. Arc of the Ear is his 3rd chapbook of poems and was released by Finishing Line Press in 2015.

Emily Stern

has an M.F.A. in Creative Nonfiction with a critical emphasis on women and AIDS in literature from Goddard College, and a B.A. from the Evergreen State College. In addition to her memoir, she and author Liz Latty are co-editing an anthology, entitled Visceral Cartographies, about crafting trauma and the human need to recreate the circumstances necessary to restore the flow of truth within systems. She has been teaching, consulting, writing, and performing for nearly 25 years.

Carolyn Stupin:

“I teach math in a community college. I am married with two adult children. I live in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I’ve published in Santa Fe Literary Review and A Ghost Ranch Anthology.”

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David Sugarman

is a doctoral candidate in New York University’s Department of English. His fiction and non-fiction have appeared in Origins, Tablet, and Textual Practice. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland, and can be reached at

L. Teresa Toes

is a native of New Mexico and has been published in literary magazines including Conceptions Southwest, Scribendi, Bosque (the Magazine), and Pilgrimage.

Ben Warzel Dayl Lorenzo Weington

is a freshman at St. John’s College in New Mexico. He enjoys ice cream and holding hands. is a journalist, essayist and poet living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. His articles on poverty and race relations, civil rights history, Katrina and rebuilding New Orleans have appeared in The Nation, The Progressive, The Christian Science Monitor, The Atlantic, Dissent, The Washington Post, New Politics and Crisis (The NAACP magazine). He also wrote an article “Blacks in Santa Fe” on Black Americans residing locally, for the Santa Fe Reporter.

Janice Wiard

, a former New York artist, teacher and attorney, recently retired to New Mexico. It was the stark contrast between the New Mexican landscape and the cherished upstate Adirondack Mountain memories that . became the settings for her first novel, Circling the Moon and this entry “Moonboots.” Santa Fe, a robust community filled with older women creatively reinventing and expressing their lives continues to inspire her writing.

Sean J. White

arrived at prison in 1997 at the age of nineteen. His short fiction and poetry have appeared in several journals, most recently Natural Bridge, Xanadu, and Connecticut River Review. PEN American Center has granted him awards three times in various genres for their annual Writing Awards for Prisoners. He is an artist as well as a writer. Learn more about him at

Nathan Whiting

’s poems have appeared in many publications including American Poetry Review, Denver Quarterly, Texas Review, Cairn, Antioch Review and The Virginia Quarterly. He has performed modern dance in New York and Bhutto in Japan.


Santa Fe Literary Review

Daniel Wiiams

is a poet of the Sierra Nevada in California. As a stand-in on various film projects he worked with River Phoenix, Richard Dean Anderson, and as Christopher Lloyd’s stand-in in “Back to the Future III,” in which he is consistently in the background. His Haiku “Starmates” is engraved on MAVEN, the Martian atmosphere explorer, and his poems are found in Yosemite’s time capsule to be opened in 2140.

Haah S. Wiseheart

’s first flash fiction piece, “The Pouch,” was published in Dark Matters, Dorset, England, 2013. She is a published and prize winning poet: First Prize, New England Poetry Club, 1976, Cambridge, Massachusetts; First Prize, Poetry, Southwest Writers Association, 2004; Second Prize, Poetry, Pasatiempo Writing Contest, 2015, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Hannah is currently writing a Memoir/Historical Mystery, Looking for Phebe: The Hidden Life of a 19th Century Southern Woman.

John J. Wolbers

was born and raised in San Pedro, California. After earning a BA in History at the University of California, Santa Cruz, he moved to San Francisco and then Oakland where he worked building and remodeling homes. He has lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico for over twenty years where he works in the arts. He paints, sculpts and makes films when he is not herding cats.

Hoy Wd

has been living and making art in Santa Fe, New Mexico for 40 years. Her story-telling cartoon surrealism features a mix of humans and other animal characters playing parts of equal importance and often switching roles. “I work according to an underlying concept of primal laughter. For me, consciousness pervades everything, and in the back of my mind I’m always hearing a mighty voice shouting with laughter (or maybe that’s just tinnitus).”

John Yohe

grew up in Michigan, lives in Oregon, and Born in Puerto Rico, works as fire lookout in New Mexico. He has also worked as a wildland firefighter, deckhand/oiler, runner/busboy, bike messenger, and wilderness ranger, as well as a teacher of writing.

Sara Zink

: “‘Together’ is an acrylic painting I did in Painting II with Julia Catron. It is one of a series of paintings about the Quay Brothers. My creative passion has been developed through the supportive arts department.”

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Santa Fe Literary Review

Please suort the Santa Fe Literary Review. Make a donation to the Santa Fe Literary Review through the Creative Writing/English Department SFCC Foundation Fund. Make checks payable to "SFLR and the Creative Writing/ENGL Department Foundation Fund," then send to the SFCC Foundation, 6401 Richards Ave., Santa Fe, N.M., 87508. To donate by credit card, call Linda Cassel at 505-428-1855, and mention the designated Creative Writing/ ENGL Department Foundation Fund.

Submiion Guidelines The 2017-2018 theme is Panoptic. panoptic: | adjective pan·op·tic \,pa-’näp-tik\ | "Being or representing a comprehensive or panoramic view." Postmark Deadline: November 1, 2017. Submission Guidelines: Only typed, double-spaced submissions will be read. Please include a cover letter with your name, mailing address, email address, and phone number. Kindly include a SASE — a Self-Addressed, Stamped Envelope — for our reply. Word limit is 2000 words; please include Word Count at top of submission. Mail submissions in a 9×12” envelope, please. We appreciate receiving submissions without folding or paper clips. Staples are fine! Address submissions to the SFLR editor you’re targeting – Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, or Poetry Editor. Mail to: SFLR, 6401 Richards Avenue, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87508. SFLR Contributors receive two copies of the magazine and are invited to read at the annual SFLR reception, hosted on campus each fall. SFLR is dedicated to sharing the contributions of SFCC students, Santa Feans, and writers from around the world. Questions? Email or call (505) 428-1903. Visit SFLR online at

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