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Jake Bartman

Olivia Parent

Gene Bushe

Fredda S. Pearlson

Anna Challet

Jillian Prendergast

Behzad Dayeny

Willy Bo Richardson

Sharon Franklet

Stephen R. Roberts

Elizabeth Geoghegan

Andrea L. Rogers

Darlene Goering

C.C. Russell

William Greenway

Janet Ruth

Pat Hastings

Lisa Rutland

James Hena

Jane Sasser

Ashley Inguanta

Matthew Spireng

Mariah Kavanaugh

Peter Stacey

Nan Keegan

Tovah Strong

Manny Loley

George Such

Gail McCormick

Max Talley

Jade McLellan

Nathan Whiting

Hugh Moffatt

John Sibley Williams

Alyssa Murphy

Michele Wolf

Lynda Myers

Andrena Zawinski

Tommy Orange

John Zedolik

SANTA FE

SANTA FE LITERARY REVIEW

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Faculty Advisor: Kate McCahill Creative Non-Fiction Editor: Holly Beck Fiction Editor: Austin Eichelberger Poetry Editors: Nancy Beauregard and Serena Rodriguez Art Editor: Brittney Beauregard Editors at Large: Sharon Franklet, Darlene Goering, Jade McLellan, and Olivia Parent Editor Emeritus: Miriam Sagan With special thanks to Elizabeth Anthony, Jaime Bencomo, Jennifer Bleyle, Deborah Boldt, Linda Cassel, Cecilia Cervantes, Carole Chavez Hunt, Behzad Dayeny, Julia Deisler, Marci Eannarino, Bernadette Jacobs, Ernest Kavanaugh, Shalimar Krebs, Shuli Lamden, Todd Lovato, Sarah Martinez, Laura Mulry, Rob Newlin, Valerie Nye, Margaret Peters, and Kelly Smith. We’re also grateful to the folks at IAIA and the Santa Fe Public Libraries.

We at the Santa Fe Literary Review gratefully acknowledge that the Santa Fe Community College is located on ancestral Tewa lands. The Santa Fe Literary Review is published by the School of Liberal Arts at the Santa Fe Community College.

Copyright © 2019 by Santa Fe Community College

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FROM THE EDITORS

Populus tremuloides, familiar to many of us as the aspen tree, is an iconic sight here in Santa Fe. The aspens’ elegant white trunks watch us with dark, kind eyes from the mountainside, from private yards, from arroyos and parking lots; in autumn we are graced with their spade-shaped golden leaves, rippling and shimmering in the slightest breeze. A curious fact about the aspen is that a grove of trees springs from a single root system; an unseen tangle unites countless individuals over an area ranging from one to one hundred acres. In this year’s issue of the Santa Fe Literary Review, we’re proud to feature a short story by award-winning and best-selling author Tommy Orange, recipient of the 2019 PEN/Hemingway award for his debut novel, There There. In “Shenandoah,” Tommy explores one poet’s origins, examining how some are born into this world with a natural way of seeing, speaking, and understanding. Akin to the themes in There There, “Shenandoah” makes us aware of the ways in which our ancestry, our upbringings, and our very names can root us to the earth, to the past, and to our passions. When you contemplate “roots,” what images come to mind? A gnarled tree or a new shoot? A place or person of origin? A tradition, a beginning, an anchor? In this year’s issue, we’ve selected writing and art that embraces our chosen theme, “Raíces: Down to the Roots.” We’ve sought to explore the concept of the root in all of its myriad definitions, unearthing stories of trauma and joy, growth and collapse, imagination and memory. This year, we’ve reached deeply to expose the tangles that define the human experience, however thickly nestled in the dark.

Many trees, one root.

The Editors

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Roots are not in a landscape or a country. They are inside you […] We are more alike than different, sharing universal tales that happen over and over again. We are emotionally identical. And the Earth is a rock lost in space where we all belong. Las raíces no están en un paisaje, ni en un país. Están dentro de ti […] Somos más parecidos que diferentes, compartiendo historias universales que ocurren una y otra

vez. Somos emocionalmente indénticos. Y la Tierra es una roca perdida en el espacio a la que todos pertenecemos. Isabel Allende

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

POETRY

POETRY

JADE MCLELLAN A History 1

FREDDA S. PEARLSON leaves over plain fields

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MATTHEW SPIRENG The Poet as a Child

JANET RUTH My Mother’s Garden

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LYNDA MYERS Adam and Eve on E Street, 1952 12 NATHAN WHITING The Rings Unhurried

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MICHELE WOLF The Road 111 JOHN SIBLEY WILLIAMS Internment 125

BEHZAD DAYENY Deep Down 26 ANNA CHALLET In The Garden at St. Vincent’s 30 TOVAH STRONG Choreography 36 JOHN ZEDOLIK Own Depths

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CREATIVE NON-FICTION ELIZABETH GEOGHEGAN Mt. Phousi 11 JILLIAN PRENDERGAST On Intention and Foundation

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GEORGE SUCH Open 47

SHARON FRANKLET try to comb the cindered nest of hair 35

STEPHEN R. ROBERTS Evening Alone with Appliances 54

ARACELIS GONZÁLEZ ASENDORF Fat-Bellied Palms 42

C.C. RUSSELL We Are 71

LINDA MYERS Funeral Rites

JANE SASSER Ode to the Level 73 ASHLEY INGUANTA The Butterfly Doesn’t Know 74

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MAX TALLEY Chaos On Cerrillos Road 96 GAIL MCCORMICK Healing Heartland

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ANDRENA ZAWINSKI I Remember When I Was Six 82 WILLIAM GREENWAY Accidents 94

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

CREATIVE NON-FICTION

VISUAL ART

JAMES HENA Every Day 109

WILLY RICHARDSON Three Muses

PAT HASTINGS The Compliment 113

GENE BUSHE Jaz

LISA RUTLAND Sunflower Faces

CHRISTY PARENT Sunset Orbs

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FICTION

Christy Parent: An Artist’s Statement

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MANNY LOLEY Na’nízhoozhí dí 2

MARIAH KAVANAUGH Admiration 24

ANDREA L. ROGERS Manifesting Joy 16

Mariah Kavanaugh: An Artist’s Statement

OLIVIA PARENT Amae

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PETER STACEY Roger, Rio Puerco Valley, New Mexico 28

DARLENE GOERING Sweet Home Sweet

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Peter Stacey: An Artist’s Statement

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TOMMY ORANGE Shenandoah 69 JAKE BARTMAN Under the Arroyo

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DRAMATIC WRITING HUGH MOFFATT Reaching Out 83

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Cover

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PETER STACEY Winter Forest I

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PETER STACEY Winter Forest II

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PETER STACEY Winter Forest III

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PETER STACEY Winter Forest IV

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INTERVIEW

GENE BUSHE Blind Musician 38

On Sound and Inspiration: Santa Fe Literary Review Speaks with Tommy Orange 60

Gene Bushe: An Artist’s Statement

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

VISUAL ART GENE BUSHE London Pub

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NAN KEEGAN Kate

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Nan Keegan: An Artist’s Statement

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NAN KEEGAN Waiting 59 PETER STACEY Farm House Abandoned After the Acequias Ran Dry, Rio Puerco Valley, New Mexico 72 MARIAH KAVANAUGH Accomplished 81 CHRISTY PARENT Red or Green? 93 MARIAH KAVANAUGH Sanctuary 95 CHRISTY PARENT Aged Gathering

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CHRISTY PARENT Shadow Wrapped

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WILLY BO RICHARDSON Still Sound 119 Willy Bo Richardson: A Cover Artist’s Statement

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CHRISTY PARENT Calm on Concrete

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JADE MCLELLAN

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A HISTORY There, in the ashes, a bone of yew, birch-skinned, bound in flax. Powdery palms cup to gather thunder and snow. The sea’s eyes track willful footprints, blanched runes scratching a poetry in fecund mud of a bear, drunk, who sleeps; of a blind god speaking honey and blood. There, in the smoke curls a whispered litany of bolillos, beans, filling wide nostrils, obscuring the women who wait to be seen. The mesas press their clay soles to the turquoise sky and run a coyote is laughing: moonlit braids unbound, undone. Here in the fire, a twist of mesquite dances, toes splayed, stoking a cauldron of fresh goat’s milk and crushed ants. The river chokes on offerings of copal, ochre, tarot cards. My sacred heart yet burns with the love of a black cat; thorny joints crackle with yearning. Once dreaming, the souls wake, inflamed, are free to seek and to part— but singing, are recalled; tongues weave a root, reunite in one hearth.

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MANNY LOLEY

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NA’NÍZHOOZHÍ DÍ (AT THE PLACE WHERE THE BRIDGE CROSSES) Gallup was a stranglehold, locking tight around brown necks, and still they wanted more: more amber liquid to drown out the force of their lives. Those are the ones cast out by their families, said Naat’áanii’s mother, and so they wander the streets, looking for somewhere to belong. In summer months, when heat shimmers from pavement and billowing clouds glide over the state line, they are abundant. With tattered clothes and sunburned faces, shells of Navajos wander the streets of Gallup, extending their hands for change, searching faces for kind hearts, and wondering what happened. The city sprawls out over hills, around the arroyo cutting from east to west, beckoning Navajos and Zunis from the isolation of their reservations. A dingy brown church perches on a hill, looming over the pawn shops, bars, and loan services that line Route 66, signs blinking long after sunset. At night, sickly orange light invades the tranquil darkness overhead while the refinery in the east spews clouds of chemicals and yadiłhił glows burnt orange. Diné Bikeyah rests in the northwest stretching east, a slumbering land mass of red mesas, plains stretching into the distance, and groves of juniper and piñon. I-40 runs east to west, the dotted pavement separating Naat’áanii’s world from the curious eyes of tourists on their way to Santa Fe or Sedona. Here, near downtown in a coffee shop, Naat’áanii focused his thoughts not on the maladies of the city, but instead watched Anderson’s fingers stir the dark liquid in his mug. With slow motion, Anderson brought the steaming cup to his lips and took measured sips. His tongue licking remnants from his mouth. What does his tongue feel like? Taste like? Naat’áanii thought. He looked away. “What’re you thinking about?” Anderson asked. Naat’áanii glanced at him. “Just thinking.” “Hmm...that doesn’t answer my question.” “I’m wondering why you brought me here.” Anderson looked around. The warm peach walls blushed in sunlight streaming from a huge glass wall facing the street. Landscape paintings dotted the wall, each a mixture of purples, blues, and pinks. Soft music played—something about first love and its mysteries whispered around them mixing with the occasional clanging of the espresso machine.

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“Coffee seemed like a good start.” “That’s not what I meant.” “Ah,” Anderson rested his chin in his palm and smiled. “I want to know you.” I want to know you too. More than know you. “We could’ve gone anywhere.” “I get what you’re saying. Gallup isn’t my favorite place in the world either.” “Then why bring me here?” “Where else is there to go?” Naat’áanii looked into the frothy brown in his cup. He let the silence stretch out, sliding the spoon around in his mug, mulling over where he wanted the conversation to go. “So what did you want to know?” Anderson smiled. The questions kept coming and Anderson seemed captivated by anything Naat’áanii said—everything—even the dullest bits of information like his favorite color was blue or he enjoyed taking long walks in the evenings or he wrote sometimes when he was feeling overwhelmed by the world. “Sometimes it’s just too much,” Naat’áanii sighed. “What is?” “Everything. The world. The reservation. It’s like this life is made up of things that are constantly in conflict with each other.” “That’s just the way it is. Not everything meshes well together. I’m not even sure it’s meant to.” Do we mesh well together? Naat’áanii noted the differences between them. Their height—Anderson was taller; their body type—Anderson was more muscular whereas Naat’áanii was lanky; their views of the world— Anderson was more positive and forgiving; their demeanor—Anderson was more confident. How can I get him to like me? “I believe in hózhó, but places like Gallup,” Naat’áanii said, gesturing towards the street, “make balance seem impossible. It’s in complete opposition.” “The reservation can be like that too, you know,” Anderson said, taking another sip from his steaming mug. Naat’áanii paused. How can he say that? “Meaning?” “Meaning not everyone on the reservation acts in hózhó. Even traditionalists

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can alienate their own people.” Anderson folded his hands on the table and looked straight at Naat’áanii. “Look what happens when young people try to voice their opinions.” “What happens?” “You know,” Anderson said. “Some traditionalists bring up the language argument. What if I don’t speak Navajo fluently? Does that mean I should be excluded from my community?” “But being fluent isn’t a bad thing.” “I didn’t say it was. But when it’s used to exclude or silence your own people, then that’s when it means something different.” “The language and stories are important. They’re gifts from the Holy People.” “That doesn’t mean they can’t change, can’t adapt,” Anderson said. This last comment made Naat’áanii uncomfortable. What would my family think? His grandmother believed in the older stories and to her, it was more about interpretation than changing the stories. “Maybe it’s more about how we interpret them. How we use them now.” Anderson shrugged. “Could be.” The waitress placed a slice of carrot cake between them. Naat’áanii pinched sweet crumbs into his mouth. Anderson sat in silence. Perhaps he was mulling over their world views or just didn’t want to talk while Naat’áanii ate. Was this how things were going to be? Their conversation halting when they reached an impasse. Say something, Naat’áanii pleaded in his head. Anything, just don’t stop talking. Anderson looked up as though he sensed Naat’áanii’s unease. He gave a bland smile, like he was saying well, that’s it, before looking out the window. So much for that. “It’s complicated, isn’t it?” Anderson sighed. “Add into the mix this bullshit with the marriage ban.” “Think things will be different?” “Well,” Naat’áanii stared into Anderson’s eyes, “it’s not like either of us is getting married right away.” Anderson sipped his coffee. Naat’áanii’s heart quickened. Shouldn’t have said that. But Anderson seemed not to notice.

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“If people thought the council wasn’t homophobic before, here’s proof. Bigotry and homophobia are now written into our laws,” Anderson said. “How will the community respond, I wonder.” “What about your family?” “They’ve always been supportive of me. My grandma is upset by the ban and the rest of my family have strong opinions too.” “That kind of support must be nice.” Anderson looked thoughtful. “What about yours?” “Let’s just say they’re mixed in opinion and leave it at that.” Thoughtful silence resumed. Naat’áanii reached for his glass of water. Whether it was because of his nerves or Anderson’s eyes taking in his movements, he didn’t know, but his hand grasped the glass and it slipped. The table flooded with water. “I’m sorry—” fumbled from Naat’áanii’s lips, rushing as if his words were spilling too, while he dabbed the table with a pile of napkins. “Don’t worry about it.” “But—” Anderson held Naat’áanii’s hand. “It’s fine.” He’s so warm, Naat’áanii thought. I want to feel the rest of him—soft, yet firm flesh, warm like sands shifting in the summer breeze. In the distance, a train’s blare rattled the tiny coffee shop, the sound masking the thumping in Naat’áanii’s chest. If he gets any closer, he’ll hear it. Do I want him to? “You want to get out of here?” Anderson’s eyes were chestnut brown floating in creamy white. “There’s something I want to show you.” They walked side by side, out into the noise of traffic, past the bars downtown. Naat’áanii looked up every so often and Anderson smiled in return. A story rippled in Naat’áanii’s memory. A story from his childhood, from the before time, repeated in his grandmother’s voice. “It was told to me like this,” his grandmother would begin: Changing Woman asked, “Where are you taking me?” “I want to show you something,” the Sun responded. They flew east above the clouds

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on an extending bridge made of sunlight. “Will you bring me home?” “Yes, once I have shown you.” So they went.

Naat’áanii and Anderson stopped at the mouth of a bridge that replaced the sidewalk. An orange sign hung on the side. It read CONSTRUCTION IN PROGRESS. Slumped down the corridor was a dark, raggedy figure. It stirred as they drew near. Although the top of the corridor was all windows, heat was trapped inside and flies buzzed around the slumped pile of rags. They probably smell the wine, Naat’áanii thought. Maybe the vomit. Anderson shook his head and Naat’áanii grabbed Anderson’s hand, choking back tears, throat tightening. Naat’áanii blinked hard and covered his mouth and nose with his free hand. They walked around the man. “Sháłchíní.” A gruff voice sounded behind them. “My children.” They paused. The man held out his hand. “Can you spare some change? I just want to buy some food.” Naat’áanii shook his head and began moving on, but Anderson dug into his pockets. The man’s hair stuck out in all directions like black wire; his head seemed unsteady and his eyes squinted to focus on Anderson standing above him. Red. All I see is red, Naat’áanii thought. The lettering on his shirt was faded and hidden behind dirt and grime; blackened toes poked out from his torn shoes. A fly buzzed near his face while another nested in his hair and still another walked across his forehead. Anderson dropped some quarters and a few dollar bills into the man’s palm. As Anderson continued down the tunnel, Naat’áanii stood watching the man crawl on his knees, grasp the metal bar behind him and pull himself up. His knees wobbled and he held onto the bar, supporting himself down the corridor in the opposite direction. There was no place to buy food in that direction, only American Bar with its red, white, and blue front; when they passed earlier there was already a line stretching from the door to the end of the block. Naat’áanii remembered the tightness in his throat. He felt it once before when he was eight or nine. Back then, they combed the city streets looking for an uncle they hadn’t heard from in weeks. He remembered holding his mother’s hand and walking downtown. They stopped at every slumped figure and asked after his uncle. It would be weeks before his body

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turned up in bushes near the wash on the west side of town. Naat’áanii watched the man stumble into the sunlight. He shielded his eyes from the sun and wobbled down the street. He clutched the money Anderson had given him to his chest, like it was the most important thing in the world. How did he get here? Naat’áanii wondered. Is anyone looking for him? The man walked with no expression, his eyes blank. He saw nothing. All that seemed to mattered was alcohol, the burn of amber liquid in the desert of his mouth. Every time he came to Gallup, Naat’áanii saw them. Sometimes there were women too. On most weekends, they lined I-40; thumbs pointed towards town, maybe a few bills in their hand for gas. Why they chose to wander the streets of dusty Gallup, he would never understand. Gallup makes me sick, his mother often said. Those bilagáanas only want our money and our culture. They profit off Navajos that are too stupid to see what’s going on. All the jobs go to bilagáanas with nothing left over for us. They take and take and take. That’s all they know how to do is take and steal. Gallup people knew that Navajos and Zunis depended on the town so nothing ever changed. Navajos poured their money into Gallup every weekend. They came by the truckloads from as far as Chinle. Naat’áanii knew street walkers would find their way home someday. He didn’t know how it happened. Maybe one morning they woke up, no money, and realized their family was home; that Gallup was a dangerous place, full of evil habits and leeches. “Naat’áanii?” Anderson called from the end of the corridor. “What happened?” “Just memories,” Naat’áanii said. “Are you okay?” “No, but I will be.” They found Anderson’s truck, buckled in, and drove across the bridge that connected Gallup to I-40. Naat’áanii rolled down the window, tilted his head back, and concentrated on the feeling of wind. We are made of sacred wind. They merged onto I-40 and drove east.

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JAZ | GENE BUSHE Santa Fe Literary Review

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MATTHEW J. SPIRENG

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THE POET AS CHILD It rose from the earth, dark loam, wormed and warmed as he turned it to the sun. It was grains of dirt and moisture and rich brown, almost a black, almost pure and corrupt at once. He could mold it before it dried, palmfuls squeezed tight and released. He could taste it without tasting, the earthscent thick as matter. And it called him back, out of doors, green leaves, circles, circles within circles, a great openness above, the first glint of air in water spilling over stones. Hover it said, though he had no wings. Look here it said before he could turn. Sleep now it said, though he was alert as a bird. It woke him from his reverie to run, slowed him, laid him down close to the ground and explained through an insect crossing the sand how never was, and always. It hummed like a sound he imagined. It snapped like a thick brittle branch. Isn’t there time? it asked. Where? it said, letting one moment grow into the next. It showed him the sand at the margin of the ocean, put salt on his tongue, offered the waves and took them back and offered the waves and took them back again. It was enormous and small at once. It was everything and nothing. It was never, and always, and sometimes it seemed it had sung.

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ELIZABETH GEOGHEGAN

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MT. PHOUSI Tire tracks and puddles and nobody to greet her. A day earlier she’d wept after hiking up Mount Phousi, arms laden with coconut cakes and a string of marigolds. The sight of the women selling tiny birds, captive in still tinier cages, had her curling into herself and crying on a high ledge. She could neither bring herself to buy one, nor forgive herself for not having set a single bird free. And all the while, the temple looming out of the white wall of stone. Not so much inviting, but obliging her to continue up the remaining steps, even as she no longer recalled her intention. Inside, the temple was more incense than air. She draped the garland near the foot of the deity cloaked in a snake and offered the coconut cakes to a group of children instead. They gobbled them up, taking her hand and leading her to a side altar containing a kau cim cup with its one hundred narrow sticks, each inscribed with a number, the corresponding fortunes printed on small slips of paper and stacked on a table nearby. The kids giggled and smiled and jostled, motioning to her to shake the cup until a single stick bounced out. When one fell to the floor, they all rushed to retrieve her fortune. Number twenty-seven. But none could read or translate it, so they became bashful and scattered. She folded the strange script into her pocket and sat down on the small prayer rug, staying until the darkness whirled around her and hers were the only sandals left outside the entrance. She walked down the long staircase whose banister unfurled in the form of a snake, running her hand along its painted scales. When she got back to town, she stopped in a café, asking the waiter, who recognized her, to read her the fortune. “Whatever you have lost will be returned to you,” he said. But he had no idea what she’d lost.

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LYNDA MYERS

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ADAM AND EVE ON E STREET, 1952 God formed man of the dust of the ground, and into his nostrils breathed the breath of life. Male and female He created them Eve in pink plaid pedal-pushers Adam’s hair waved with Brylcreem like Errol Flynn in a white V-neck tee and set them in Eden Garden a red brick row house on E Street once farmland at the edge of the city inhospitable now even to wiregrass and blessed them and said to them Be fruitful and they multiplied reusing year after year the flowery smocks sewn for Eve’s first pregnancy. And God said For food I give you every herb upon the face of the earth so Eve fixed us PBJs — Wonder Bread with Skippy Peanut Butter and Smucker’s Strawberry Jam. And He said I give you dominion over the fish of the sea, the fowl of the air and every living thing that creeps upon the ground so every autumn Adam went to the woods and brought home to us hidden in the pockets of his hunting jacket cidery apples and, once, a tiny gray kitten.

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And from the squirrels Adam had bagged Eve removed the buckshot one by one and stewed the meat with onions to mask its gamey flavor and pan fried in eggy batter the perch Adam caught in the stream. Evenings we watched Mickey Mouse and Lawrence Welk, sang along with Mitch and laughed at I Love Lucy while Eve smoked her Pall Malls and Adam drank his Schlitz until it was time to tuck us into bed. Then, when we all were grown but before they were very old God said to them From dust ye have come To dust ye shall return. We spread their ashes on the river that runs out of Eden imagining Eve in her pink plaid pedal-pushers Adam in his white V-neck tee young, full of hope, eager to taste the forbidden fruit.

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CHRISTY PARENT

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SUNSET ORBS


CHRISTY PARENT

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AN ARTIST’S STATEMENT “Light in the Wound” is a collection of images captured during the last two years in my kitchen, garden, and the Santa Fe Farmers Market, while I have sought to heal from a chronic autoimmune disease. This disease initially robbed me of the ability to eat or drink anything without suffering pain. After being hospitalized two years ago with drastic weight loss, severe anemia, and other debilitating symptoms, I began a healing journey, with a focus on fresh organic foods, gardening, and beekeeping. This collection captures some of this journey and the light revealed in my daily life. As the Sufi poet Rumi puts it, “The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”

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ANDREA ROGERS

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MANIFESTING JOY “Joy, you only have one earring in,” Dylan, said, as they got into the backseat of their father’s car. Their plane had been delayed en route to DFW and then rerouted as they tried to return from their Grandmother Wilson’s funeral. It was nearly midnight. Joy reached up and found that the earring in her right ear was, indeed, missing. Without asking permission, she jumped out of the car and retraced her steps to the baggage carousel, then the bathroom. Her brother was standing at the bathroom door when she came back out. “TSA made Dad move the car out of the taxi lane. He’ll be back in a few minutes to get us. C’mon.” “They were the bead and porcupine quill earrings that Grandma made me.” Joy’s fifteen-year-old brother grimaced and shook his head. Joy understood it as “sorry.” Joy had been misplacing little things since her grandmother had gone into hospice three weeks ago. Though Joy lived in Texas and her Grandma in New Mexico, they had become close in the three years since Joy had taught her to text one summer. Joy had known something was wrong when her Grandmother hadn’t texted to say, “Good morning.” She had known so strongly something was wrong that she hadn’t wanted school to end that day, to see her parents and be told what had happened. Since that day she had misplaced a glove, a favorite mechanical pencil, and a science paper. Luckily she had been able to reprint the paper moments before class started. But the first important and completely irreplaceable thing that she had lost was her journal. She had left it behind on the plane she and her mother and brother had taken to the funeral in New Mexico. She had been so careful not to set the journal where her mother could read it, or even her younger brother, for that matter. She had even chosen not to leave it at home, afraid that her father would find it. It’s not that she had written anything incriminating, but they were her private thoughts, some she had dashed down “in the heat of the moment” as her mother said, and she found she was not so proud of those

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entries when she reread them. She couldn’t believe she had both left her diary on the plane and not noticed until she got to her Grandparents’ house. It was the closest thing she had to a best friend and she had forgotten it. She got online and filed a lost item claim with the airport, daring to hope, even before she went through her two bags over and over. There was no doubt it was missing. All weekend she wore the pair of blue and white beaded earrings her Grandmother had made her. She checked her phone constantly for the e-mail from the airlines that never came about her journal. She reached up regularly to check to make sure her earrings were still in her ears. She had meant to get some of those little plastic cylinders you could stick on earring hooks so they were less likely to fall out, but she always forgot to buy them when she went to the kinds of stores that sold stuff like that. It had seemed important to wear them when she packed for the funeral. Now she only had one sad earring. She took it out of her ear and put it in her purse’s side zipper pocket. In the front seat of the car her mother was crying and her father was trying to drive and comfort her at the same time. Joy swallowed her own tears and pulled out her phone. She filed a second lost item claim with the airlines. She uploaded a picture of her lone earring, the photo not doing justice to the care her Grandmother had taken with the triangular shape at the top of the earring, the palette of various blues, dark to light, and then the drop of the porcupine quills that ended and reversed in loops of the same blues, shifting light to dark. Once home, she slept fitfully. All day at school she obsessed over the journal and the earring. She vowed she would be more conscious, more present, convinced that she could cure herself of her carelessness. She was thinking about the earring when she opened her locker up after lunch and saw a blue and white porcupine quill earring on the locker’s floor. How had it fallen out of her purse without her noticing? The missing earring had been ever-present in her thoughts, but she had also talked herself through all her actions, noting, “Now I am putting my favorite pen in my backpack.” “Now I am taking my phone out of my pocket.” “Now I am returning my phone to my pocket.” All day she had been so careful of her things. Yet, there her lone remaining earring sat.

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She had never taken it out of the pocket of her purse the night they had gotten home, though she had meant to. She had planned to treat it as the irreplaceable reminder of her Grandmother it had become. But now, it lay in the bottom of her locker. She pulled her purse from her backpack. The side pocket was still zipped. She turned the purse around in her hands to check for a hole the earring could have fallen out of, but it was untorn. Curiouser, she wondered. She unzipped the flawed side pocket. There jingled the other blue and white earring. “Curiouser still!” she said, this time aloud. She put both earrings in the pocket, zipped it up and returned it to her backpack. Throughout the afternoon, she would take out her purse to make sure both earrings were still there. When she got home that afternoon, she took the earrings out and hung them on the scarf above her dresser where she put all her favorite things. She sat down at her desk and thought hard about her diary. Maybe her luck would extend to that. She checked her phone and was thrilled to see an e-mail from the airline. However, when she opened it, it was simply updating her that the item’s status remained unfound. She heard her father call her brother downstairs to get his luggage. He dragged it up the stairs, banging the wheels unnecessarily on each step. A few minutes later he hollered, “Joy, come here.” “What?” she yelled back. “Just come here.” “Aaaargh,” she groaned. “What?” she said, standing in his door way. “Guess what I found?” Joy’s stomach began to knot as the thought of the missing journal. She prayed Dylan hadn’t read the things she had written about him. “Give it here!” she snapped, looking around his room. Had he had her journal all weekend? He gave her a funny look. “Crazy much?” “Give it to me!” she reached out her hand. “Jeez, I thought you’d be happy nice, not psycho about it.” He slapped something small and sharp into her hand. Joy was surprised to see her missing blue earring.

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The shock registered on her face. “Where did you find this?” she said. “It was in that weird pocket on the back of my carry-on. You must have dropped it after we went through the metal detectors.” He paused and looked at her. “What did you think I had?” She held the earring up and turned it, examining it from every angle. “Hey,” he said, repeating, “What did you think I had?” “Did you make this?” Joy said incredulously. “What?” “Did you make this? You know, to replace my earring so I wouldn’t feel bad for losing the one Grandma made?” “Joy, I haven’t done beadwork since we made those tin cans covered in pony beads at camp in elementary school and I sucked at that. Now, you think that I spent the last eight hours making an earring to make you happy?” Joy shrugged and made an “I don’t know” noise. Then she turned and went back to her room. She took all three earrings to her desk. She examined them until she thought she could tell which two earrings matched exactly. It was the losing that let you know how important a thing was, wasn’t it? Had the losing of her Grandmother bound Joy to the earring and brought it back to her? She stopped thinking about her diary and focused on her Grandma. She held the missing earring in her hand. She pictured her Grandmother squinting at the needle as she wove it between and through shiny blue beads. She closed her eyes and brought the earring to her lips, pressing it gently to them. She thought she smelled the piñon wood her Grandma loved to burn, and she felt her chest fill. Joy wondered what the chances that Grandma would fit into her locker.

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NATHAN WHITING

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THE RINGS UNHURRIED In the woods locusts slowly lengthen thorns, an oak’s minute longer than a cedar waxwing’s life. The woodpecker’s spike-beak drills a nest hole, bullet sudden. We’ve waited, waited a hundred years, thin saplings in thick shade wail, each syllable a decade. Mother, drop a branch, feed us light. Her death will take two human generations. Please don’t remember more quiet than a maple. You’ll cease movement, nerves roots for a tower above. We can’t guess a seedling’s dream. It would dominate rays, spread branches and grow. Animal minds look away, bored while one red leaf flutters. A sweet gum seed will replace the great mother, regrace an eon. The other twenty million lose. Survive centuries tiny, slow slow slow the inches trees win.

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Amae OLIVIA PARENT

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Olivia Parent

AMAE Amae cared for FOR (especially by anBY elder) AMAE (甘え) the THE desire DESIRE to TObe BE loved LOVEDand AND CARED (ESPECIALLY AN ELDER) I once lived in a land of tigers.

Where the soil was soft and easy to pinch between my fingers. The water’s edge was warm and the deeper your feet fed into the lake, the warmer the sensation. The people and trees swayed together in the wind once the sun began to rise above the lip of the hills. I once lived in a land of tigers. I once lived in a land where death didn’t exist. Mosses clung to the hips of Douglas Firs and were so full of water that you could curve your lips around them and suck out the dew. The trees had voices, whispering, cracking, sharpbetween on my tongue, would fillThe my breath Where the moaning. soil was The softsap, andsweet easy and to pinch my fingers. water’swith edge was a perfume that can only exist in this place. The hills were our mothers, their curvature like the an lake, aproned surrounding us,The holding us. and trees warm and the deeper your feet fedhips intoofthe the housewife, warmer the sensation. people The sun cast warm eerie shadows over everything, causing our skin to glow We all belonged to the land, our small bodies making swayed together inlike theembers. wind once the sun began to rise above the lip of the hills. nests amongst the pines and we were protected. lived in a land of earth and rocks. From the moment I slipped out I once lived Iinonce a land where death didn’t exist. Moss clung to the hips of Douglas Firs of my mother’s womb, the land was engraved in me, dirt beneath my nails pebbles laughing in my eyes. The thighs of the hills were caked with and were so full ofand water that you could curve your lips around it and suck out the dew. The flora and that is how my lungs filled. The pollen and fern dust swimming in the air. Dragonflies and honeybees would crown my head. trees had voices, whispering, cracking, moaning. The sap, sweet and sharp on my tongue would I once lived in a land where tigers roamed the hills, favoring the trees that smelled of chai. I would watch them rub their wide faces on those trees, the fill my breath with a perfume that can only exist in this place. The hills were our mothers, their rumbling of their purrs filling the forest. At night, I would lie safely in the pines and listen to the moans of the tigers. They traveled in packs, these tigers. curvature like the Ihips of an aproned housewife, surrounding us, holding us. The sun cast warm would watch how they would rub their bodies on not only the trees, but on each other. They would make all kinds of sounds, chirping, grumbling, eerie shadows oversighing, everything, causing our skin to glow like embers. We all belonged to the and moaning. An especially hot night, when the sweat made lines down my ruddy face, land, our small bodies making nests pines and we face werewas protected. I watched as a tiger amongst began to the approach me. Her etched with so many lines, I gave up counting. Her eyes flicked from my face to my hands, I once livedclenching in a landand of earth and rocks. From the moment, I slipped of my mother’s unclenching. Once her whiskers where inches from out touching

womb, the land was engraved in me, dirt beneath my nails and pebbles laughing in my eyes. Santa Fe Literary Review

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The thighs of the hills were caked with flora and that is how my lungs filled with air. The pollen and fern dust swimming in the air. It was in constant movement and an array of alive be-


my skin, she stopped. Her great nose breathed in and out as if taking me in, as if taking my own breath, as if she wanted to know specifically who she was protecting every night. Her ears slowly turned all around, listening to her sibling’s heavy feet moving around us. She moved a couple inches closer and our noses brushed. I was unmoving as she made a little grunt and then slowly swayed away. I remember she smelled of wet moss and juniper roots. I once lived in a land where my head was full of the sun and moon, the stars painted all over my youthful body. I would climb the highest tree of chai, the scent seeping into my skin, and whoop over the rising sun. The waters snaking through the land would quiver from the noise. I would dig my hands in the soft dirt as if it was ritual, and when the smell of the dirt filled my head, I would dance. Dirt was with us in the beginning and only then did we see the beauty and mysticism underneath it. We would caress the worms and shiny beetles until they longed for the earth and we would gently cover them. I once lived. I once died. In a place where death did not exist. I once cried. I once lay still beneath mournful stars and felt the tigers around me. Ready to escort me away. I felt as if a dirt ceremony was taking place, but in fact, my body had grown and the pines could no longer shelter me. I did not struggle, and yet every part of my body was stiff and I suppressed the cries that threatened to throw me to the ground. I walked through the hills with the tigers flanking my body. My body that was now unrecognizable, mature like the aspen groves. A mysterious excitement slid over my skin as we reached the top, but I felt the last of this land clawing its way out of my pores. Dirt.

I now live in a land of seagulls.

Where the sun is unforgiving. It bakes my exposed face, etching itself into the lines of my forehead. The lines getting deeper with each new moon. I now live in a land of silence, where the salt air clings to one’s skin, quieting the voices of many. I now live in a land where I cannot sleep, the whispering voices of the surrounding bodies lay heavy under the velvet night. The dead sea’s edge calls to me, only to throw me back out onto the hot sand. I feel my bones shake under the surface of my graying skin. I live in a land where death is alive. The fingers of it taking, taking, taking.

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Under the canopy of night, during the walk to water, and when we pray by the willow tree. I am unable to breathe when the steam comes off the rocks by the ocean’s edge and rises into our vision. My eyes are already aging like pieces of fruit, I can no longer pick out the detail in my clothing. All I see is gray. I live in a land where hornets are my friends. Their sting piercing through my burnt skin, causing me to flinch and then relax into the throbbing. They hover above my locked hair and hum in my ear as if asking me to sleep, darling, sleep. I cannot, because the day will force me to gather the sand-caressed seaweed and march along the parched land. I live in a land where tigers and chai do not exist, because the mother hills are no more. The sand between my toes and legs and eyes taunt me as I walk miles to fresh water. But fresh water is something that I need and so I go. I live in a land where water tastes of rust and sweet peas. I take long drinks, only to squeeze my eyes shut to force my body to absorb it. I live in a land as flat as the soles of my feet, which are worn down from years of walking. The only relief I am able to feel is when I slip beneath the ocean’s surface, only to exit and feel the sensation of a million ants all over my body. When the night is purple, I scratch my skin from my forehead to my ankles. I yearn for the mother hills and moss. I miss the orange crusted mornings and the smell of sleepy tigers and the way dirt was eaten like we didn’t already know it was not to be tasted. I do not love the way I no longer share the pines with others for sleep, but must tackle rest on my own. Some do not sleep. If I could smell the sweetness of chai again, I would.

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MARIAH KAVANAUGH

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ADMIRATION


MARIAH KAVANAUGH

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AN ARTIST’S STATEMENT I work with digital photographic images to express something old, but not tarnished. The images shine light on the natural, the small, and the sometimes overlooked things in life. I care about awakening the soul to that which is not meant to be explained, but instead felt. Free, yet still; wild, yet beautiful; enduring, yet ephemeral. I try to capture God’s country settings, his keepers of the land, and his livestock. In all of these things, I find that the simplicity becomes overwhelming beauty. Just as there is no lock without a key, there is no problem without a solution. The country life isn’t always easy, but memories of this life will forever be branded on my heart. The simultaneous purity and rawness of the land offer a glimpse into our creator’s artistic side; it’s Heaven on Earth, and my artistic impulse is compelling me to see it all. My art helps me to overthrow materialism, and seizes me to reconnect with my roots. God, family, and love make me not only who I am, but push me towards who I am yet to become.

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BEHZAD DAYENY

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DEEP DOWN Walking with eyes closed Through the fields of golden wheat Running my hand over The tassels, I knew That I was of this earth And the wheat was of heaven When my lips touched the water Of the clear mountain spring Trickling through the cracked rocks I swore I was in heaven When the cool summer breeze Blew in my sweaty face Over the fields of golden wheat I wished I was of the sky And when I hungered for flesh My hand no longer caressing The gentle silk wheat tassels I was certain that I was Nothing but an animal

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JILLIAN PRENDERGAST

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ON INTENTION AND FOUNDATION We sit under patio lights of a rocky parking lot bar where they eat piles of juicy red crawfish and the grease from the food here runs down my smile toward my chin where you will inevitably wipe it with your napkin, or lick it, with that grin hiding under your dark mustache. You will rock back and forth on the bench and smile wide and your eyes will twinkle and we may order some well-whiskey shots or tequila if we are feeling like the night wants to stretch her legs. We will talk circles of the things we care about and about stories we have not lived together and about all of the stories that we want to tuck into this book. We will drive slowly through the historic parts of town and you will say you wish they didn’t change, and the white oaks will lean over the streets to bow in the easy way of all things here. I will want to sit in the sun in any way possible and you will oblige and maybe feel a tinge of annoyance. We will go for short bursts of runs to the bridge and I will ache and huff and then be lighter our hearts will hurt and question and go to dark corners at times but we will know that they are flooded with ripples of light I am learning about realistic expectations and we talk about matters of importance like where will we go and what will we do and how can we be better and all I can think about is the embroidery patch that I have not begun for you yet, and of the Steal Your Face Black Flag pin and where it was lost‌ and of the countless sighs that fill my happy heavy lungs.

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ROGER | PETER STACEY

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PETER STACEY

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AN ARTIST’S STATEMENT For many years I was a professional biologist, where I conducted research on birds and worked to conserve endangered species and the ecosystems upon which they depend. More recently, I have been able to return to an early love of photography. My goal is to combine my background in science with my photography, to seek a better appreciation of importance and beauty of natural things. I am particularly interested in how we relate at an aesthetic and emotional level to simplicity and complexity, since diversity is critical to maintaining sustainable natural and social environments. We are now living in a period of unprecedented assault upon natural world, both locally and globally. It is my hope that art can help play an important role in adverting that disaster.

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ANNA CHALLET

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IN THE GARDEN AT ST. VINCENT’S Every year he calls me. Feliz Navidad, won’t you come back and be with me? This morning it was July, five months to go. But now I hear the song from the bottom of my heart. One of the girls says we need to play it now. There is a cliff up here and I watch my words slide off the edge. I’m not here and I’m not there. Every year that man still calls me. I remember my red dress, the color of bottlebrush. The kids didn’t recognize their grandmother. My ruffle was the glory of Texas. My song was San Antonio Rose. But I didn’t stay out late. I came home and taught them all the lyrics. It’s like the song says, “Beneath the stars all alone.” Over the song I hear a beeping. There is a green line of electricity running through my head, tracking my heartbeat, and the line ruptures into bloom. This morning it was July. The passenger side window was cool when I leaned my head against it. And now my brain is full of prickly pear, And the green line is in bloom, one flower for each girl. One of them pokes through my skull and sits itself on my forehead. No, that’s not it. One of the girls is putting it there. I hope the flower is red. How can it be that none of us know what will become of each other? I will wait for the one who is least afraid to be here alone with me. And I’m starting to think I’ve been planning it this way for 92 years. When I knelt in the dirt in the archbishop’s garden, folded in half at the waist. When I knew everything that would happen, and that someday desert flowers would be woven in my hair.

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PETER STACEY

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WINTER FOREST I


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PETER STACEY

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WINTER FOREST II


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PETER STACEY

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WINTER FOREST III


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PETER STACEY

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WINTER FOREST IV


SHARON FRANKLET

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try to comb the cindered nest of hair i didn’t have confidence like yours, but i wanted it. i pursued you, presuming a magical transfer, like convection, your heat slipping over to me, degree by degree until i radiated, my hair curling tighter, coiling, a surge of unmistakable singe, then shrivelling and disappearing. i dreamt of some sweet nonexistent nest. a nest of hair perhaps. your hair, your black springy curls, the softest nest imaginable, airy and warm, and any migrating bird, any bird blown off course, or nestless, would dive in nose first and snuggle down. nestle. nestling. that nest went up in smoke. each nest imagined: your hair, my hair, leaves, sticks, damp earth, each evaporated, eviscerated, burnt to a crisp. and now we are without a way to touch. our fingers charred. our nerve endings scorched and curled upon themselves like petrified fern fronds. our impulses turned to boils to gallstones to ingrown hairs. actually what do i know anymore about your boils, gallstones, your softas-clouds hair. i know that my hair has straightened and flattened, as i have felt myself do. try to put a comb through this: the tangle of years as though something profound and intricate had grown here leaving roots criss-crossed and wandering. yet they were torn out, like the roots of a wisdom tooth, a bloody socket with raw points the tongue touches again, tentatively again. what is it to you? i come to rest at next to nothing, a stone travelling underground, moved by water, gravity, the flow of the earth, lodged in a ravel of roots and held there. roots grow around the stone, stilling it for a barely perceptible moment of its incomprehensibly long life. the roots twine, thicken, tighten their hold, eventually die and sieve off into the soil. how long was all that in the life of a stone? take a comb of stone, ancient and outlasting. come to the web of roots and pause, breathing like rock breathes. after many breaths, the comb finds little resistance and moves forward, plowing the fields: of nests, of love, of dark stone-filled earth, of the rooted world. Santa Fe Literary Review

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TOVAH STRONG

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CHOREOGRAPHY Find a twist of sinew of sapling a symphony of movement captured, phosphorus under closed eyes a spotted owl brilliantly violent bright before the flame. green etches itself into skin, a purple toenail violent with blood— a misrepresented sunset but bruises are just another form of passion/ a consequence for this dance a price paid gratefully— grace is a kettle above flames condense and together they will become a burning swan. unfurl wings fallen feathers—plucked from the floor twine around your limbs silk underneath stage lights turn heads heads turn condense into more than your body flame swan kettle into a graceful veracity—a beautiful power hardened with injury & endless

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imperfection perfection imperfection quest. thread/weave— expand into limbs story inside motion to touch a galaxy. (immaterial, eternal impermanence) build a home underneath splintered comets live within these walls whispering secrets and the end of something new begins again: air is not air but music oxygen/ synergy gather this in and build a world inside with shapes formed by limbs, lines drawn from fingertips ever growing expanding transforming

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38 Volume 14 • 2019

GENE BUSHE

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BLIND MUSICIAN


GENE BUSHE

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AN ARTIST’S STATEMENT I believe that a good photograph should hit the viewer hard with its impact and excite his/her imagination. Photography should be an affirmation of life and its many peculiarities. My intention is to share a particular moment in time with my viewer – as well as what the moment, and corresponding image, means to me. As a photographer, I don’t search for subjects to record. My photographs are simply responses to my experiences. Over the years, my work has taken me on a voyage of discovery, a search for knowledge and understanding, and a constant pursuit of clarity. William Blake writes, “Man is led to believe a lie, when he sees with, not through the eye.” As an artist, I believe that good composition is the key to “seeing” the subject, and results from–and in–personal growth. I also make sure a sense of wonder lies at the core of the art I make. I learned by doing, not by taking classes, and I’ve always been inspired by other photographers, especially André Kertész and Paul Strand, who once wrote, “It is easy to make a picture of someone and call it a portrait. The difficulty lies in making a picture that makes the viewer care about a stranger.”

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JOHN ZEDOLIK

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OWN DEPTHS Whistle breath of grandfather just a touch of black lung rattling through those pulmonary branches, paired, inverted trees that receive the watering of Old Crow to keep down that dust which may still be rising to cutting cloud in the depths now of your tough old body that deserves the benefit checks and shuffles without much trouble despite those years in the blasted channels of million-years-pressed potential fuel for heating homes like yours with its bin in the basement open with a latch to the street for delivery days of those not-really rocks down a subtle chute, roaring into that silent space not as dark as those tunnels and their ramifications so far below the sun, but your hand-rolled cigarettes stuffed with William Penn tobacco from its soft blue box featuring the treaty scene must keep further consequences at bay, the smoke you light with your own matches down by the furnace, set on a sturdy stool, pure, cleansing atmosphere of your own will.

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LONDON PUB | GENE BUSHE Santa Fe Literary Review

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ARACELIS GONZÁLEZ ASENDORF

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FAT-BELLIED PALMS

My American husband and I are aisle-seat people, sitting across from each other when we fly. At takeoffs and landings, I always reach across the narrow aisle and give his hand a tight squeeze: love and luck for safety. On a ridiculously early morning flight out of Tampa on March of 2017, he took his usual aisle seat, his long legs framing the narrow seat in front of him. I took the window. I wanted to see Cuba as we landed. The last time I’d seen Cuba was over fifty years ago, in 1965, when I was eight years old. My parents, brother, and I, along with the entire side of my father’s family: grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins—seventeen of us in total—left during the Camarioca Boatlift. Rarely covered in history books, the Camarioca Boatlift lasted a few weeks from the end of September to the start of November in 1965. Approximately four thousand Cubans left the island during those weeks. My uncle, Tío Onil, who’d escaped from Cuba a few years earlier, sailed from Florida to get us. He and a friend, who was also claiming his extended family, rented a shrimp boat, The Dolphin. Three weeks before we left the island, we’d left our homes in the Pinar del Río province, traveled to the port of Camarioca in the province of Matanzas, and waited for The Dolphin to be permitted to leave. Twice, during the days we spent waiting in a makeshift compound, bullhorns announced that The Dolphin could depart. Both times, we were forced to turn back without explanation before we even glimpsed the boat. Our permission to leave Cuba was finally granted on the evening of November first. Earlier that day, a storm had moved in. I remember my family gathering at the dock to greet my uncle; my father saying to my grandmother, “Mamá, you go first.” Fragments of memories from that night stay with me. Always the same and in the same order. My memory of leaving Cuba is a music box that plays only one song. The shrimp boat was perfectly sea-worthy, but the seas were too high. The sporadic wind and rain from the day’s storm had intensified. There were too many of us, and our boat rode low, taking on water. Because there weren’t enough life jackets, every child on board was held tightly by an adult. My mother held my three-year-old brother, and my grandmother, Abuela Pura,

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held on to me. Dozens of us sat next to each other on deck. I remember Abuela praying while pressing me to her chest as we huddled together against sea spray and rain. When the swells intensified, I panicked. Abuela took a plastic three-inch statue of La Virgen de la Caridad, the patron saint of the island, from her purse and squeezed it in my hand. Turning back was not an option. We had nothing to go back to. There was only forward. The Dolphin’s captain radioed for help, and an American Coast Guard cutter promised rescue if we made it to international waters. When we reached the Coast Guard ship, it towered, big as a building, above the shrimp boat. Grandparents, aunts, and cousins were transferred through sheets of rain from one vessel to another. But Tío Onil, his friend, my father, and two more of my uncles stayed on The Dolphin to help the shrimper sail his boat, the source of his livelihood, back to Florida. The cutter continued to patrol the Straits for the next forty-eight hours rescuing refugees from other boats in distress. For the first twenty-four hours, we didn’t know if the men of our family were alive. My husband of thirty-eight years has wanted to visit Cuba for a long time. I’ve been the holdout. Since the end of the 1960s, both sides of my family have lived in the United States. With the connect-the-dots concatenation of refugee families, everyone settled in Naples, Florida, directly across from Miami, on the west coast of the state. My parents had no urgent left-behind voices beckoning them back. But returning to Cuba with my parents was a dream that pulled me. As did the yearning that every Cuban exile child grows up with—as ubiquitous as an azabache bead dangling from a gold chain—to experience for ourselves as adults the island that’s been our ever-present, yet unknown, companion. My eighty-six-year-old father doesn’t want to visit. Not out of rancor; he simply prefers to live out his life with his memories. My mother would make the trip with me, but she wouldn’t leave Papi at home stressed and worried. My parents share an apprehension about returning to Cuba. They were gusanos, worms, the term used by the communist for anyone opposed to the government. They lived through the times of unannounced house searches, mass round-ups, detentions, and—paredón—where people against the revolution were summarily lined up in front of a paréd, a wall, and executed by firing squads.

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I shared their unease. I remember sitting with my mother in a dark house in a mandatory blackout during the Missile Crisis and waking in the morning to find the roads scarred by the teeth marks of tank treads. We had a bomb shelter dug into the side of the hill behind my grandparents’ house. I grew up knowing my grandparents hid a young man, a counter-revolutionary friend of the family, in the wall behind a bedroom dresser for weeks. Now, getting from where I live in Tampa, Florida to Havana is a quick and easy flight. My husband, respectful of my indecisiveness, had given me a frank ultimatum: if I didn’t want to visit Cuba, that was fine, he would go by himself. But I did want to go, even though I was extremely conflicted: about the apprehension spawned from my childhood, about the still-autocratic Cuban government, about the dissenting opinions of family and friends who saw my trip as dishonorable to those who had risked and sacrificed in opposition, and about the fact that I’d be traveling with American privilege. I could spend on one modest dinner what an average Cuban earned in a month. Early in 2016, almost a year out, I decided we’d make the trip in March 2017: after our daughter’s November wedding, after I’d turned in my MFA thesis, after hurricane season, and before the start of the summer rains. Because I was born in Cuba, I had to apply for my visa months before the trip. That innocuous act left me momentarily paralyzed in my car outside a Cuban American travel agency that was helping me with the trip paperwork. A part of me felt I was making a terrible mistake—I was tempting fate. As the trip approached, my anxiety intensified. Hundreds of thousands of people travel to Cuba regularly without any problems, but that didn’t prevent me from waking up in the middle of the night frightened, heart pounding, unable to breathe. I was being irrational, and I knew it, but I couldn’t control it. A few weeks before our departure my mother called: “I’d like you to bring me back one thing. When you go to Viñales look for una palma barrigona. They grow tall and fat in the middle, and like the name, they have a belly. I’ve only seen them in the valley. Bring me a picture, and if you can, bring me some seeds.” My mother can grow anything. I saw the sun rise over Cuba from my window seat as we approached the José Martí Airport. I’ve heard of returning fellow Cubans cheering, applauding, weeping, kneeling to kiss the ground after landing. I didn’t

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react in any of those ways. I reached in my purse and squeezed my grandmother’s small saint—like reaching for my husband’s hand, a gesture of love for everyone I cared for who’d never had the chance to return, and luck for our safety. I didn’t arrive in Havana joyous and nostalgic. I arrived exhausted from weeks, months, of emotionally conflicting feelings and fear. It’s cliché to say that when one travels to Cuba one travels back in time. Yes, the cars, the buildings. But I did travel back in time—as an eight-year-old girl. Like Cuba, a part of me was frozen. Of all the hash marks that define my life–university, marriage, motherhood, failures, successes, the loss of loved ones–one follows another like the marks of those tank treads on our street, but none bifurcates my life as precisely as leaving Cuba. Within a day of my arrival, I began a transformation. Words I hadn’t used in years came easily to my tongue: chapapote, pregonero, marañon. I explored Havana without fear. Tourists are a commodity to be courted. The Cuban accent—blunt vowels and swallowed word endings—is quite distinct. Within two sentences of commencing conversations, people stopped me to say, “You’re from here.” I am, but I’m not. I was acutely aware of the difference between traveling to Cuba with relative ease for a week and the challenges of surviving there daily. For people living in Cuba, food and goods are still scarce, human and civil rights are still oppressed, and freedom to travel is still restricted. Everyone wanted to talk. What was my story? I told them about Camarioca, The Dolphin, the community my extended family created, and the lives we’ve lived. I anticipated resentment. What I was met with was curiosity and kindness. I was surprised at the candor with which complete strangers expressed their opinions. When we lived in Cuba, my parents were extremely cautious about what they said and to whom. They’d taught me to do the same, warning me never to repeat anything I heard at home. Now, some told me they had no desire to leave; they didn’t want to start over. Others see change coming, slowly, but coming. While still others told me if they could leave with their families, they’d do so in an instant. The spectrum of views and desires is just as broad as the views toward Cuba within my Cuban American community. The chasm between the little girl who left on a boat, and the person I am today was closing, filled by experiencing first-hand as an adult the country

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that only existed in the recounted stories of my family or in the tendrils of my childhood memory. With every different place, I fell more in love with the island’s natural beauty—the afternoon sea breeze coming across the gulf and bringing crashing waves over the malecón; the landscape and colors of el Valle de Viñales (where my mother spent time as a child) with its rounded-top hills called mogotes and burnt-orange soil stole my heart. The spirit, ingenuity, and resiliency of the people I met was admirable, inspiring, and familiar. These were the same attributes of the family and community that raised me. Perhaps Cuba will always be a two-sided coin for people like me. We belong, but we don’t; we’re happy to visit, but grateful to know we can leave. I returned with videos and hundreds of pictures. My parents and relatives pored over them, asking just as many questions. This time the stories and memories to share were mine. I brought my mother pictures of whole fields dotted with palmas barrigonas. I gave her a picture of me standing next to an unusual fat-bellied palm. It grows tall from a sturdy trunk in the earth and balloons at its belly, but instead of growing straight up, it splits, becoming two separate palms.

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GEORGE SUCH

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OPEN Cradling my granddaughter against my chest, my finger feels the fontanelle on top of her head, the soft space between the bone, destined to close – for everyone needs protection. But now I can almost sense the filaments on the edge of her mind, no wall between my finger and her consciousness, as if I could write a message in her soul, a poem she could carry. She wrinkles her forehead and looks up at me, her eyes vast hands that touch my face and this permeable place, this room where sunbeams reach through the window.

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KATE | NAN KEEGAN

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NAN KEEGAN

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AN ARTIST’S STATEMENT Photography provides me with a distinct way to pay attention, to engage the world around me in an intimate conversation. Sometimes, I understand why I am taking an image while I’m doing it, but often I don’t recognize the reason until later. An example of this is my repeated image of the female torso. I believe I struggle to reconcile the paradox of vulnerability and strength, and the duality between the sacred and the profane, both inherent to being alive. I have also experienced epiphanies when creating images. It is as if they are talking back to me, expressing some truth I am only just coming to understand.

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DARLENE GOERING

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SWEET HOME SWEET My pace slows as I approach the front of my apartment building. Its cool gray facade blends into the bland and dirty concrete sidewalk, making the building feel unassuming and ordinary, similar to all the other buildings in this Upper West Side neighborhood. The late summer sky is cloudless, with the bright setting sun reflecting yellow and orange off of the windows. The building looks like an alien with a hundred glaring eyes, searching for signs of life. I remind myself to wear sunglasses tomorrow. As I enter the lobby, my sun-pecked eyes adjust to the dim pre-war décor, the walls and floor mosaiced with black and white tile, the stairs constructed from marble slabs. I wonder what it would have been like to live here before its storied elegance was replaced by neglect and perpetual shabbiness. I wonder if I would have fit in, with my pitifully outdated bob haircut and thrift store pantsuit. I look more like my mother with each passing day. I shift the two A&P groceries bags I’m carrying from one hand to the other and stop in front of my mailbox. I try to guess. An electric bill from ConEd? A letter from Fannie Mae reminding me of my overdue school loan payment? A Citibank credit card offer too good to pass up? Instead, I head toward the elevator. I recognize the sheet of paper taped to the door two weeks ago, already starting to yellow and come loose from the rank heat of the lobby. I don’t bother to get close enough to read it because I know what it says. Sorry for the inconvenence. The elevator will be fixed tomorow. Sined, Mr. Peña. I feel like I’ve read it a hundred times. One hundred and one won’t change the message. Besides, every time I read it, I want to correct the misspelled words, but I don’t. I head to the stairs to the left of the elevator, readjust the bags that are already hurting my fingers, and begin my climb to the sixth floor. Halfway to the second floor, my heavy breathing reminds me of the half pack of Salems I smoked today. I should quit. I started a few months ago because I read somewhere that nicotine curbs the

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appetite and I was hoping to save money on food, maybe lose some weight in the process. Whenever my mom visits, she never fails to remind me how heavy I’ve become since dropping out of college. I think about the groceries I’m carrying and how she’d disapprove. I can hear her say, “Vienna sausages and ice cream? Really?” in that judgy voice of hers. I can see her pursed lips and squinted eyes, silently expressing her disappointment. I shake my head to get her out. Approaching the second floor, I notice the garbage bags accumulated by the apartment closest to the stairs, piled along the wall like a makeshift bunker. The smell of rotten meat and sour milk makes me gag. I walk by hugging the opposite wall so I don’t disturb the flies hovering over their evening meal. Since the elevator stopped working, some people aren’t bothering to take their trash to the basement. People are so lazy. I can’t help but think I deserve better than this. I want more than living in a dilapidated building with little curbside appeal and filthy neighbors. I don’t want a run-down apartment with one working air conditioner hanging precariously from the window in the summer. I don’t want to hear clanging pipes heating a radiator hot enough to melt steel in the winter. And I want an elevator that works. I round the landing and readjust the bags. They’re getting heavier, more burdensome, almost unbearable. Tonight will be the night I start looking for another job. Seriously looking, not just scrolling through the Indeed want ads during The Tonight Show commercials. I know I can’t substitute teach at P.S. 192 forever. I don’t even like sixth graders that much and I need a steady paycheck. My arms are really starting to hurt. Mrs. Lopez approaches me on the third floor, her gait sure-footed and determined, like she has some place to be but I know she doesn’t. I only know her name because she trolls the lobby waiting to ambush Mr. Peña. Mr. Peña. I need to talk to you about those kids hanging out in the lobby all hours of the night. I feel sorry for Mr. Peña sometimes, limping around on one leg shorter than the other, mopping up dog urine, and fixing broken toilets. He can’t be happy living alone in that basement

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apartment, cooking for one. I bet he wished he had another job. Yes, Mrs. Lopez. I’ll take care of it. And another thing, Mr. Peña. Mrs. Lopez always had another thing to say. The laundry room is filthy. I don’t even want to wash my clothes in there. Yes, Mrs. Lopez. I’ll take care of it. As she stomps by me, I notice she’s wearing her uniform of choice again. I would rather see her naked than in those yellow, elastic– waist pants and oversized Mets T-shirt she wears almost every day. I mumble hello without making eye contact and keep walking. By the time I reach the fourth floor, I wish I hadn’t bought those stupid groceries. I’m too tired to cook anyway. When I get that job that pays a lot more, I’ll eat out every night, like normal people, like people with money. Like the O’Rourkes in apartment 4D. They were dressed up and smelling good that evening last month in the elevator, he in a tie and tweed jacket, she in bedazzled shoes and hair in an updo. I looked down at my wrinkled jeans and sensible shoes, trying to remember the last time I took a shower. I was convinced they were going someplace I couldn’t afford. You guys look so nice, Sadie. Going out to eat? I said, trying to mask my jealousy. Yeah. There’s a new seafood place on 23rd Street we want to try tonight. It’s kind of pricey but you only live once. Right? Someday, I’ll eat lobster and clam soup and order only the finest beer, just like I imagine the O’Rourkes did, down on 23rd. Looking around, I notice how this floor seems different from the others. The walls seem a brighter shade of dinge, the tile floors a little less worn. As if everything is freshly scrubbed and more cared for than the others. The strong scent of Pine-Sol hangs in the air. Even the light bulbs seem to burn brighter. I can hear the faint sounds of trumpet and piano and bass. Ahh, Louis Armstrong. Someone on this floor has good taste. I force myself to continue climbing, even though my heart is pounding so hard its beats easily drown out the music. The fifth floor has me seriously considering the abandonment of my groceries. I’ve convinced myself that they’re an unnecessary evil at this point. I’m having such a hard time breathing, I don’t think I’ll ever

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want to eat again. Then, the aroma hits me in my sweaty face. It smells like something my mom used to make, something spicy and greasy and soul-warming. I’m so tired, I think I can see the smell as it travels from somewhere at the end of the hall and into my nostrils. I stop to savor the smell, to enjoy the memory. I linger, yearning for a plate of that fried chicken and those buttery biscuits, the smell of which could pull me from a neighborhood game of tag to my mother’s kitchen table all those years ago. I catch my breath before going on. Almost there. I can’t feel my hands anymore. That last flight seems to take an eternity, with every step becoming harder than the one before. I doubt that my shaky legs will even hold my weight anymore. I picture myself tumbling backwards, breaking every bone in my body, and lying helpless until Mrs. Lopez finds me. I am overcome with elation as I take that last step, imagining this must be what climbers feel when they summit Mount Everest. As I glance over the landing staggering a little, I can see where I started. I don’t want this life anymore and I sure as hell don’t want these groceries. I raise my aching arm over the railing and lean over, enough to watch them drop all the way to the first floor if I wanted. I pull my arm back, reminding myself that I would only be making more work for Mr. Peña. Instead, I steady myself and walk to my apartment at the end of the hall, vowing to make something spectacular with those Vienna sausages.

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STEPHEN R. ROBERTS

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EVENING ALONE WITH APPLIANCES I’m in the mood to bake a thin-crust pizza but the dryer is causing a big commotion, clicking around out in the laundry room. In the meanwhile, the washing machine slowly unwinds a long, bloody tourniquet from around an unidentified appendage. Noise from the kitchen divulges the blender chewing up my last incandescent lightbulbs like a kid with a mouth full of peanut brittle. If I could collect a nickel for every pair of lost underwear I find on the bottom shelf of my refrigerator, I could afford a toaster. Then maybe the stove would quit complaining about all the unsponged surfaces it tolerates after one of my late-night cooking exhibitions. Though that’s not as dreadful as my television posing questions regarding my social & financial circumstances, as I fix to shut it down for the night. The TV loiters in the dusk of the living room, waving soppy tentacles from a Jacque Cousteau epic, as I wrestle something squirming onto the pizza pan.

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LYNDA MYERS

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FUNERAL RITES Where I was raised, in Southeast D.C., the bodies of the dead were eviscerated and embalmed, dressed in their Sunday best and presented for public display in a casket lined with silk (preferably the corpse’s favorite color), then sealed air-tight and interred to await—who knows what. We didn’t actually believe in the Resurrection of the Dead but we accepted without question that bodies should be prepared for a long, comfortable shelf life. The first funeral I attended was my maternal grandfather’s. Granddaddy died at age seventy, ancient to me then—I was in my twenties—and far too young now that I am nearing seventy myself. After the relativecluttered visitation and mind-numbing memorial service, Mom had taken my grandmother, Nanna, home exhausted, and I stood alone in silence beside Granddaddy’s open coffin. Cautiously I touched his face and hands, waxen from embalming fluid and eerily tinted with foundation and rouge, then I cut a lock of his hair, white and baby-soft as it had been in life, wrapped it in a tissue, put it in my purse. That evening my brothers and sisters and I went to a restaurant near the funeral home and ordered a round of drinks including, for our tee-total granddad, a “Golden Cadillac” that sat in the middle of the table as we drank a commemorative toast. He’d always wanted a Caddy. Next day the funeral entourage drove to Cedar Hill Cemetery where Nanna’s family was buried and Granddaddy’s grave was waiting. It was cement-lined, to keep the corpse safe, I suppose, in case of an earthquake before the Day of Judgment. He and Nanna had pre-purchased adjacent sites, the matching gravestones embellished with roses, Granddaddy’s favorite flower. The cemetery contract included “perpetual care” of the gravesite, though when I visited some years later the graves had not been tended: none of us live in D.C. now to see that the contract is fulfilled. By the time Nanna died fifteen years later, we’d buried my father, Tom, and my younger brother, Billy, with the same hoopla of open-casket visitation and quasi-religious funeral service and a procession of cars with

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headlights on, following the hearse to the grave. Dad died in his early fifties: a heart attack. His viewing took place at the same funeral home as Granddaddy’s, but Dad, a veteran of World War II, was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Several of his old drinking and hunting buddies showed up for the funeral, looking worse for wear but full of great stories of Dad’s prowess in the field and his puckish humor. I hadn’t seen these guys since I was a little girl. In those days Daddy was vital and funny and handsome: think Errol Flynn in charge of the Light Brigade. The years had taken their toll. My stomach felt hollow when I looked in the casket and saw that the silver buttons of his Air Force uniform, in storage for many years, were dull gray. When he was in the service his uniform was always immaculate. To see tarnish on those buttons was almost as hard as seeing his corpse. I didn’t go back home for my brother Billy’s funeral two years later. By then I was living in New Mexico and, once we knew Billy’s cancer was terminal, I decided instead to fly east to spend time with him while he was still alive. But I had underestimated how much it means to see and touch the corpse of someone you love. Mom, describing the funeral arrangements, told me she had bought Bill a new suit; she wished he’d had one that nice when he was alive. We both knew it was crazy to buy a good suit to put on a dead body to put in a box to go in a hole in the ground. But I wish I had seen Billy in it. Even in his long illness he was such a good-looking kid. Nanna, my grandmother, died ten years after Billy, when she was in her mid-eighties, shortly after we moved her from the house that she and Granddaddy had built in D.C. sixty-five years before. We had arranged her favorite furniture and knickknacks in an apartment in tidewater Virginia where Mom and my two sisters could visit her often. The four of them played Samba, a take-no-prisoners Canasta variant: Mom and Nanna versus “the girls.” The competition was ferocious, with plays and scores reported in detail whenever I called. Then Nanna had a stroke. In the hospital, as the lines on the monitors flattened, Mom and my sisters gathered around her bed and called to her: “Nanna, sweetie! Don’t go! We need to play another game of Samba!” The monitor lines suddenly turned upward, Nanna’s competitive spirit almost strong enough to conquer death. Then her heart slowed for the last time. Momma made the funeral arrangements. Before the scheduled

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visitation, my youngest sister Susan and I went with her to the mortuary to check that all was ready. Mom and Susie hovered outside the room where Nanna’s casket stood open but I wanted to see up close how the morticians had laid her out. The body in the coffin was tastefully dressed and made-up too tastefully. Nanna, inspired by Lucille Ball, had dyed her hair red back in the day when “ladies” did not dye their hair and she had always worn too much mascara. If we had to look at an embalmed effigy of my grandmother, I wanted it to show some vestige, at least, of her cheeky style. So I asked for Nanna’s cosmetics case and proceeded to tart the old girl up. Mom and Susan soon joined me, cautiously touching, then gently caressing her hands, her face. I can still see Momma standing by the coffin, curling a lock of her mother’s hair around her fingers, then patting it back in place. Who knows how many Toni Home Permanents Mom had put in that hair over the decades. Eighteen years after Nanna’s death, Momma died suddenly. In the interval I had faced many other deaths, of family members, colleagues and friends, but I was completely unprepared for hers. She had had the flu but was getting better, then pneumonia set in. I spoke to her by phone when she went into the hospital: she was to be released two days later, on Monday. We began planning her next birthday trip, to the Virgin Islands to bask in Caribbean sun. As we were hanging up, I said, “I love you, honey.” She said, “I love you, too.” That night her bedside monitors went crazy, nurses rushed in, she smiled, then coded. Mom, grown wise from years of love and loss, had signed a Do Not Resuscitate order. My sisters reached the hospital minutes later and were with her body as it lost its last warmth. By the time I arrived from New Mexico she had been moved to the mortuary and was under refrigeration, but, though pale and cold, she still looked like herself. Beautiful. Strong. And not embalmed. Despite the weight of family tradition, Mom spared us the macabre task of choosing an outfit to bury her in (blue pantsuit? favorite red blouse? dressy heels? flats?): she wanted to be cremated, without any fuss. More surprisingly, she asked that we not inter her ashes in Arlington with Dad and Billy, but that we spread them in the ocean: “I am a Pisces,” she’d said, “I belong in the water. Take a cruise and bury me at sea.”

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A few days later the girls and I went to collect her “cremains,” presented to us in a dark green hermetically sealed plastic cube which we carried away in the shopping bag thoughtfully provided by the crematorium. Where were we going to put this surreal object until we could arrange a family cruise? We knew that our mom did not belong on the mantle in a bronze urn or miniature casket with filigree handles. We needed to find some cozy place where she would feel temporarily at home. We finally settled on the old wooden humidor my sister Susan had inherited from Granddaddy. The ashes of Lucy, Susie’s beloved Sheltie, were already tucked away there and Susie found one of Mom’s beloved Beanie Babies to keep the two of them company. Our mom would have found this riotously funny: she and Lucy and Legs the Frog having a sleepover in Granddaddy’s humidor! We haven’t arranged a cruise yet: it almost seems a shame to break up the party.

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WAITING | NAN KEEGAN Santa Fe Literary Review

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TOMMY ORANGE

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On Sound and Inspiration: Santa Fe Literary Review Speaks with Tommy Orange Tommy Orange is a graduate of and current professor in the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. An enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, Tommy was born and raised in Oakland, California, and currently lives in Angels Camp, California. His first novel, There There, has been praised by numerous contemporary writers, including Margaret Atwood and Sherman Alexie, as well as by editors at the Paris Review, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, and countless other publications around the world. Members of the Santa Fe Literary Review staff were honored to interview Tommy by phone on Tuesday, November 13, 2018. Austin Eichelberger, Editor: As the Fiction Editor for the magazine, I’m going to start off with the first question. Did you always know you wanted to be a writer, and if not, what else was on your mind? Tommy Orange: I definitely did not know until after college. Looking back, I was doing weird writing that I probably wouldn’t have even called writing. I just remember [writing] in the margins of books and the backs of pages–maybe it was poetry, I don’t know. I wouldn’t have ever talked about it with anyone, and I wouldn’t have identified doing it. I definitely wasn’t encouraged to do anything academic, never had a single conversation about going to college with my parents, but I was good at roller hockey, which was okay in the nineties. I played for a travelling team and then I dropped out of school, did a lot of drugs, ended up a musician when I was eighteen, and then I went to school for sound engineering. When I graduated from that school, there were no job prospects. I learned a lot of analog reporting as we were moving into the digital age, so all of it became immediately irrelevant. [Laughter.] So, I got a job at a used bookstore, and I fell in love with fiction while

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there. And then, I figured out I wanted to be a writer after being an avid reader of fiction. That was in 2004 or 2005, so I guess I’ve known for about thirteen years. Austin: What an amazing story! I’m going to pass you to our first student intern now, who’s going to ask the next question. Olivia Parent, Student Intern: Hi there! My question is: Tell us about a few of your inspirations–which could have to do with writing or otherwise. Tommy: I guess my first experience of creating art was music, and I listen to music every time I write. There’s not a single time I’m writing that I’m not listening to music. Music in general is a really big inspiration to me. I play piano, and it’s kind of a nonverbal form of expression that inspires me in ways that are maybe intangible. Writing-wise, [Franz] Kafka and [Jorge Luis] Borges are two inspirations, and I’ve been reading lots of philosophy and religious texts. When I was working at that used bookstore, [my co-workers] were the first ones to kind of turn me on to fiction, and then John Kennedy Toole’s Confederacy of Dunces was a really big book for me, because it was the first time I was moved by a novel. Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar did the same thing for me, as far as novels go. And then there’s a lot of international writing–I kind of avoided the American canon, and even the Native American canon, because a lot of that is reservation-based, and it just made me feel even more isolated from the Native community, reading it. I love the Native fiction now, but I didn’t come around to reading it until much later in my career, and even since I’ve been at the Institute of American Arts (IAIA). Then there’s Clarice Lispector, and the The Hour of the Star particularly is a really important book to me. There’s [writer] Denis Johnson–once I did start reading American novels–and Colum McCann and Louise Erdrich, obviously. More recently, Ocean Vuong–I just got an Advance Reader Copy of his novel, and I always want my favorite poets to write novels instead of poetry, so it’s like a dream come true. [Laughter.] That’s what comes to mind right now. There is a lot of great fiction that came out this year that’s really inspiring–and makes you want to write better. Olivia: Right on! Darlene Goering, Student Intern: Hi Tommy! What’s the hardest thing about the writing process, for you? Santa Fe Literary Review

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Tommy: I think as somebody who more often than not is in a state of self-loathing on the page, revising, it’s always kind of painful , but it’s the work you have to do to make your pages better, so you sort of have to fall in love with revision, and find as many strategies as you can to bear with what that feels like as you’re trying to make yourself better on the page. Darlene: I like that! And I know we’re all pretty familiar with it, too. Sharon Franklet, Student Intern: And what are some of those strategies for you? Tommy: Sure! So, one of the things I learned and that is now part of my writing process is that I’ve discovered that writing is a lot about getting away from the page, and a lot of times I’ll get solutions or ideas away from the page that I wouldn’t have thought of at the page. Also, while I’m writing or doing chores, I have a voice stream app. It’s called Voice Dream, where robots will read your work to you in lots of different voices. I usually use the one with a southern drawl named Micah. That helps me to get perspective that I couldn’t get on my own. I also read out loud. I print out work. I spend time playing with point-of-view and transposing. Sometimes I’ll be doing a really technical job, like transposing from past tense to present, and that to me doesn’t involve even reading my work –I can just be sort of an intern for myself, doing a task I wouldn’t want to do if I were really feeling inspired. Those are all some of the things I do to get a fresh perspective. There are various different stages, from being inspired fully to doing everything else to avoid writing, so you have to find different tasks to keep you coming back to the page. Sharon: Thank you. The question here is, how has your work changed over time? Tommy: The writing that really made me want to write was often really weird–work by authors like Robert Walzer, who’s had a revival in the past several years. I think a lot of my earliest stuff was more internal, experimental, and less accessible to the outside world, and I wasn’t sharing it with anybody, so that worked out. I realized at some point along the way that I really want to be acceptable, to respect the reader’s time–if someone’s willing to read something I’ve worked over, I just kind of respect the relationship inherent between writer and reader. So I try to think about things like pacing more, getting real scenes in. I

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try think about pacing and scene building to respect the reader’s time. Readers love well-paced stuff that has scenes, and that’s just a fact. That’s how [my writing] has changed over time, and I hope it continues to change over time. Maybe I’ll become experimental again one day –and I won’t be accessible anymore. [Laughter.] Austin: Tell us a bit about your recent rise to fame. I know you love talking about this–it doesn’t make you uncomfortable at all, right? What have been the highlights, and what has surprised you? Tommy: Well, it’s all surprised me, because I think you’d have to be sociopathic to envision anything like this happening to your book. It’s all been very surprising. The hard part is there’s a level of over-exposure that makes me feel really vulnerable, and that’s not, I would say, fun. There was a part in the middle of the tour when I was in a different city every month, waking up mid-panic thinking that I was going to have to do another public speaking event in front of, like, a hundred people– and that was after doing it for fourteen days in a row already. But, you kind of get used to everything, and eventually it became less hard. I’m never going to like it, but it became less hard to do, and there have been some cool surprises along the way. Before my first event in Brooklyn I got an email from my editor saying Iggy Pop was going to be there. He ended up getting sick and he wasn’t there–or his kid got sick, and we didn’t want that. I recently got an email from (filmmaker) Darren Aronofsky saying he’s a big fan. And that poet I mentioned, Ocean Vuong, wrote something really nice about [There There] awhile back, and that meant a lot to me. Getting Louise Erdrich’s blurb, and Marlon James’ blurb, were big moments for me, and then meeting readers is really cool. That part I don’t mind at all. The things where they want you to stand up like you have a lot to say, and they give you open space–I don’t like that at all. I like conversations onstage, or Q&A sessions with the audience, but meeting readers has been really rewarding. Austin: That’s awesome–that’s the best answer I’ve ever heard to a question like that. Olivia: Back to me! My question is: Might you tell us a bit about what you’re working on now, or what projects you have in mind for the future?

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Tommy: As soon as I finished my last version of There There for my agent –that was December 9, 2016–I was in complete despair for about ten days because I didn’t realize how dependent I’d become on having a project to be involved with. Out of that came a new novel, because I just needed to work on something. It’s an autobiographical novel about all these members of my family–but also all the objects in the house kind of “tell on” the family, so there’s this R.C. Gorman Native woman painting that I grew up with in my house, and that becomes a voice, and the salt shaker does too, and then it goes into the history of salt and Native people, and settles on childhood secrets about the dad. Anyway, there are a whole bunch of voices. And if there was one consistent criticism I got about There There, it was that I had too many voices, so I decided to double down. Another novel started coming in March of this year–and I do feel superstitious about that one, because I have a deadline with my agent for December 9–it’s kind of like every December 9 I turn in a big chunk of work to her–so anyway, I don’t want to talk about that one. Darlene: Well, we can’t wait to read it. Tommy, my next question is: If an editor or publisher has ever asked you to make changes to your manuscript, would you consider talking about a couple of those asks, and your responses to them? Tommy: Sure. I can remember a few early copyediting asks, and one in particular, which seemed really small but is pretty big at the same time: They wanted me to capitalize internet and decapitalize Indigenous. [Groaning.] So, I didn’t have to fight hard for that, I just was like, nope, that’s not happening. And there was a whole book cover drama: At one point there was just a headdress on the front of the book, so you can imagine that that didn’t go over well with me, and would not have gone over well with a single Native person. [More groaning.] But again, I didn’t have to fight too hard with those–[editors] have been really good to me. The big one came from my actual editor, Jordan Pavlin at Knopf. She’s an incredible editor–but this feedback came like a punch to the stomach, because it was a big edit. There were even more characters in earlier drafts of There There, but she cut out three of them and asked me to write a new one. One of the [deletions] kind of changed things

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at the end, so basically, I had a lot of work set out for me. I don’t mind thinking about a lot of work, but [the edits] felt drastic at first. But they were also talking about a Spring 2019 publication date, when it seemed like nobody would even make it that far-this was spring 2017, and it really didn’t feel like the world would make it to 2019. I said, “If I work really hard, can we move that publication date up?” They said, “Yeah, but you never know with writers how long things are going to take.” So I said, “Well, give me a month,” and I did everything in a month, and they accepted it, and that’s how I got the June 2018 publication date. So after I sat with [Pavlin’s] changes and saw what she had in mind, I totally agreed and it’s a better book for it, and I’m so happy that I get to work with her–and I hope to get to work with her again. Sharon: Hi again–is there a question you wish someone would ask you? Tommy: No. [Laughter.] These are great writer questions and craft-based questions. Sometimes out there in the world, because I’m Native, I’m sometimes automatically politicized, so I get asked lot of questions that have nothing to do with writing or craft. But we’re also in a time when we probably shouldn’t not be talking about political things, so I sort of have a love-hate relationship to it. Austin: We just talked about questions not related to writing or craft– so I’m going to ask you a question that’s not about writing or craft. [Laughter.] This one relates to IAIA and Santa Fe Community College (SFCC): A lot of our students at SFCC end up finding their way to IAIA, and we were wondering if you had any advice for students like that, or examples of what people could gain at IAIA that they might not elsewhere. Tommy: I think on a cultural competency level, even though it’s a Nativespecific program, I think there’s sort of a worldview that’s different for a [Master’s in Fine Arts] program. Even though MFA programs are changing with the times, and diversity in publishing becomes more and more validated, and books that we’re studying become more diverse, and not just old white men anymore, I think MFA programs are getting better, but IAIA is really ahead of the others. It was started four or five years ago and the faculty has always been amazing. The mission statement, aside from encompassing a Native-based program (which is very cool for Native people), also makes it clear that IAIA is a really

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good place for people trying to think about culture and different ways of teaching writing. Many MFA programs are steeped in a certain way to teach that has to do with the “old white man guard,” and so I think that’s a really important aspect of IAIA. As far as what [prospective students] should know going in–I think it’s an excellent program, and it’s not just because I teach there. I went there as a student, so I’m speaking from that experience. Austin: On the same note, how did you find your way to an MFA after going out of academia and taking this different route for a few years? Tommy: I hadn’t planned on doing an MFA, and I actually was kind of anti-MFA for a lot of the reasons I talked about. But, if I started writing in 2005, I went about nine years just reading and writing on my own, reading craft books and making sure I wrote between one and three thousand words a day. That was my goal, because I knew how far behind I was. Some people know from when they are kids that they wanted to be writers, and they’ve been reading since that age, too. I was doing it on my own, and I didn’t have too much interest in an MFA. Also, I knew that writers have been becoming writers not based on MFAs for many years before. I was teaching a digital storytelling workshop in Berkeley, and there was a poet who had just gotten her MFA, I don’t remember where. We were kind of talking before a recording, because I was recording her voice for a voiceover for a short film that I was using to teach others how make short films used by non-profits to get messages out. At the time in that class, she kind of overheard me telling my co-facilitator that I had gotten into the MacDowell [writers’] Colony. It was a year and a half after I’d starting writing There There, and I’d seen the MacDowell Colony on another writer’s resume. On a whim, I was like, I’ll try that, because they accepted this one Native person. So I got into the residency, and this poet sort of knew of MacDowell, and she was telling me how amazing it was that I got in, and asked me why I wasn’t in an MFA program. I said that I had family and work, I couldn’t just move my life. She said, “Well, there are low residencies; let me look some up for you.” And she Googled “low residency MFAs” for me, and IAIA came up in that Google search. I saw that it was affordable, and low-residency,

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and I applied while I was at MacDowell, and I got in that year–2014. If not for that chance encounter, I never would have ended up there. Sharon: I wanted to ask you about sound in literature; it’s obvious when I read There There–that there are riffs inside it that are rhythmic and totally poetic. Those two things–sound and literature seem to be interwoven in There There; did they come together in some kind of convergence, or how did that work for you? Tommy: When I got my degree in sound engineering, even though it was sort of useless afterwards, I think it was really important. I think everybody should study sound for two years. It’s such a cool world to know about. I’ve been making music since I was 18–very different kinds, from really bad electronic to solo piano stuff that’s minimalistic–I think that music is just so important to me, and I bring something to writing that’s maybe more instinctual, because I don’t necessarily think about music or sound when I’m actually writing, other than I read out loud to myself a lot, paying attention to rhythm and how a sentence feels–how it sounds–in the room with me. My best place to work is in a hotel room. I don’t like when anyone can possibly hear me read my stuff out loud, so hotel rooms are perfect for that. I read it in a way that I’m really hearing it, even if it’s just through my own voice. It really is important. Thinking about how each sentence sounds is definitely part of my revision process. Austin: We read some short lists of authors who have influenced you, to whom you turn and return. We noticed that of these authors–you have [Jorge Luis] Borges, [José] Hernández, [Clarice] Lispector, [Roberto] Bolaño–they’re all from South America. We were wondering: are there common elements identifiable in their work that nourish or attract you? Tommy: Yes. And we need to add Javier Marías from Spain, and Jose Saramago from Portugal. I think they’re not afraid to be really cerebral but also somehow have excellent pacing at same time. That combination I find makes something very readable and still very “think-y.” If you’re not taking care of the reader, it can be really annoying to read something cerebral. I also think they take more risks in some cases; there’s more flavor and risk happening stylistically. I’ve never thought of that before, why so many South American writers have inspired me, but at some

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point I realize I love South American writers and just kept finding others, but, I mean, there’s good writing happening all over the place. I had a devastating moment. I was in a short-lived writing group at one point when I was “performing” as a writer, and I told the group about all the writers I love, and one woman said, “That’s all work in translation; you’re not even really reading.” [Groaning and laughter.] It crushed me. I just felt like a total fraud for years after that. I was so insecure as a writer, and because I didn’t go to school for it, and this person had an MFA. [Laughter.] She was the authority. I think I actually ended up reading a lot of American fiction after that comment–just to feel like I was really reading. Since then, I’ve become my own authority, and I’ve stopped being that insecure as a writer. I’m pretty ruthless as a reader now; I’ll just read anything that I love and nothing that I don’t. Austin: That’s awesome. And it occurs to me that translated work is like music; you have these different people fulfilling these different roles to create one product in the end. Well, thank you so much, Tommy. We deeply appreciate this–and we are really happy for you and your book. Before we go, is there anything else you want us to make sure and include? Any final comments before we sign off? Tommy: I’ll end with a New Mexico thing. I lived in New Mexico for two different years, pretty much just to read, write, and play music–and wait tables. That’s how I was getting along–and that’s a New Mexico fact about me. I lived up in Taos, and my parents met up at a peyote commune just north of there, a commune called Morningstar. These are just New Mexico facts that might be interesting–I don’t know. Austin: Totally. That’s perfect.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of “Shenandoah” was published in the Yellow Medicine Review.

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TOMMY ORANGE

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SHENANDOAH A poet is a poet before she is a writer. But a poet can almost never not be a writer. I don’t know if there ever was a natural-poet, who simply spoke her lines or thought them all the time. Or if that is truly what a natural-poet might be. A natural-poet could also be someone who thinks in a certain way but never speaks or writes their poetry. One who understands poetically. But the word nature or natural at this point in time means about as much as the All-Natural tagline on the cheap wheat bread at the liquor store I buy for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches— the staple of my diet. And though I mostly subsist on a diet of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and almond milk, I would never want to say that I am a struggling poet. I do most of my writing walking, which is to say I don’t write very much down, which is to say I’m not much of a poet anymore, and I’m not actually walking in order to write or think poems in my head but because it always feels as if someone—a man—is watching me, or following me, only I can never find them, so I walk and watch my back and sneak around corners quickly then peak my head back around to try to catch them, or I pretend I’m not thinking about them, or like I don’t care they’re following me, and I’ll think about the sounds of words and how they might go together with other unlikely words, or I’ll think of phrases, or lines will occur to me as something that maybe belongs in a future poem. Last night I looked up at the quarter-moon and thought: satelliteslice, and then: sunlit-plate, and then: orbit-bot, and finally that old Native trope: many-moons, and hated that I was thinking about or even looking at the moon. And then as I approached my bed, the moonlight shone on it a lavender-red blend of streetlight through curtain, a diffused light I should have been used to but was not. Noticing something that was always right there in front of you for the first time should have a name for it but maybe it shouldn’t. Not one part of me wanted to write down anything that night with the moon and my unfamiliar room tone. That the moon had been made so Native, and Natives so predictable, made me want to write anything but the expected. Poems can ruin the meaning of the feeling of words that might naturally Santa Fe Literary Review

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occur to me. Poem and ruin even feel like they belong together as words. Nothing sticks anymore. More and more it comes as it goes, or goes as it comes. Nothing sticks that doesn’t belong. It’s a mystery to me that I ever wrote anything down at all. A poem exists within a head or a heart or a mouth or on a page. But head or heart or mouth, even truth is just a word. And a page is not even a page but the dying process of trees gone to wood, gone to paper, pulped, inked, glued and bound, sold, stored and kept on shelves for consumption—the fate of most known poems anyway. My name is Shenandoah. The sound of it to me is an abomination. My mom told me it means daughter of the stars. One thing is for sure: Shenandoah is no name for a poet. Or it’s just the right name for the wrong kind of poet for anyone who thinks poetry should be written by almost anyone other than a Native American woman named Shenandoah meaning daughter of the stars. But daughter of the stars is a poetic sounding phrase for something as incomprehensible as son of the moon, or planet’s dad. And didn’t stars mean so much more before they were conquered by the American flag and the star of David, also maybe Texas, and the Hollywood strip. Would that we could see what they saw at night, all that shined when nothing else did but for the moon, what might we imagine something to be so unknown and bright? Maybe it’s the screens in front of us, how little we understand of what’s happening to us, the shine of the screen alluring enough to not wonder what it means—so much screenlight amidst a seen darkness descending over everything? A poet is most of all one who writes poetry. And I haven’t been doing it. I’ll do anything instead. Right now I’m walking. I’m halfway around Lake Merritt, over by those white columns and archways, where someone is always selling a crazy assortment of items neatly spread out on a blanket. I want to stop and see the items, see what books he has this time, and to try to figure out the story of how one man could end up with so many hairclips, old shoes and new shoelaces, batteries, wallets, esoteric paperbacks, and CDs from the 1990s. If I stop, he’ll push me into a sale. Anything you see’s a dollar, is a line he’s used on me before. I keep walking. I stay close to the water, almost on the ledge. I think better near water, when I can look into its dark green, murky reflection of the light in the sky. A blue green mess—this world.

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C. C. RUSSELL

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WE ARE Left now to sort through what remains; debris, sunsets over ash.

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PETER STACEY

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FARM HOUSE ABANDONED AFTER THE ACEQUIAS RAN DRY


JANE SASSER

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ODE TO THE LEVEL that you use to measure the angles of the parts of this house: ceiling grid, door, windows, cabinets, trim— all of it settled and sagged from seventy-odd years of sweet living—your parents’ lives, and yours, wearing edges into soft memories, touch of fingers, soles, scarred table where they ate and passed worlds through lips warmed by coffee, hands curled around cups, so like your hands as you hold the old level, eye its gold bubble, and straighten this framework, true, level, and steady like dreams of their thousands of days.

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ASHLEY INGUANTA

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THE BUTTERFLY DOESN’T KNOW that we call it so. And yet, we found that house full of records, unaware that one day we would hold that moment in our hands and say miracle. The miracle does not understand its name. Don’t believe me? Go and stand outside, raise your hand, move your arm like a tornado. Watch. In some poems, the you is a lover, or a very best friend, or both. Sometimes, the you is a reader. In this case, I am talking to those who see the tornado and say storm. I don’t know what to call you, but maybe you will name yourself. Instead, I will tell you the story of our hands turning to marble, an artist stripping us of the clothes of our era, giving us wings, placing us together, like we’ve always belonged in each other’s arms. Your arm is still up, twirling, waiting. My arm is around your waist, hoping you will notice my breast, not instead of the storm, but as part of it (as a flower is part of the ground) while I notice your body– nothing to claim, nothing to own, but something to receive. I remember how you picked up one record after another, imagined its music. You never heard of Loretta Lynn, but I cut you some slack, found a dusty tea cup and said,

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Can we live here? In marble, you give that arm twirl everything you’ve got. And here I am, touching you, and look: There are students taking notes about our positioning as a busy crew encases us in glass.

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JAKE BARTMAN

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UNDER THE ARROYO Mama said not to go in the arroyo. She said a flood could come along any time, that it’d sweep me up and suck me into the tunnel. It happened to another girl three years back. I said, But what if it’s not raining? Mama said, Don’t be a smartass. Only I wasn’t trying to be a smartass. Daddy used to say that it’s got to rain before it can flood. Anyway you could always tell when the monsoon was coming. The clouds would move in from the mountains at the same time every afternoon. First it’d cool down, then it’d start to rain, only a little at first, but then harder and harder. After a while it’d turn into hail. Then, all of a sudden, it’d stop. I figured if you were in the arroyo when the clouds came, all you had to do was hurry out. TV was where I got the idea to be a detective. Sometimes when it was raining I’d watch PBS, and one time there was a Wishbone episode about Sherlock Holmes and a dog. When the monsoon stopped I went to the arroyo. I was looking at the sand and rocks and plants that were all bent one way, and the old Doritos bags and beer cans and tee shirts and other things that were there. I was thinking what Mama said about how Daddy went away. Then I started thinking, What if these are clues? What if they say where Daddy went? Maybe the Allsup’s coffee cup meant the bad guys kidnapped him, and now they were making him buy coffee for them. Or maybe the hat that said NEW YORK was to tell where they took him. Bad guys wore ski masks that made their mouths look funny, and they talked in loud voices. I didn’t know why they’d take Daddy. Later, I was looking at a fried chicken bucket, thinking maybe it meant the bad guys kidnapped Daddy to the KFC, when out of nowhere a breeze came and kicked the bucket off down the arroyo. I went chasing after it, but before I could get to it, it went down the tunnel. I never went so close to the tunnel before. Some afternoons Daddy used to take me and Michael to the arroyo. Daddy would go in the tunnel, but

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he always told us to stay away. He said it was dangerous. Once he said how he used to paint in tunnels, and how sometimes he still got an itch for it. He said that was why he went there. From far off the tunnel looked dark. It made me think of someone’s mouth. Up close there were words and pictures painted on the outside of it. There was a zia, a whale, and a snake. There was another one, too, right where the tunnel started to get dark. It was of a naked lady. She had dark hair on her head and between her legs. It made me think of how Mama looked when she got out of the shower. Maybe the picture said the bad guys wanted Daddy to do paintings of them. I tried to see if there were more pictures that looked like the kind Daddy used to make, but it was too dark to tell. I wanted to stay and keep looking for clues. Then I felt a raindrop, and when I looked up there were big clouds overhead, so I went home. It was Michael who told Mama I was going in the arroyo. Before that, Michael and me would go together. Mama didn’t want us to, but because Daddy used to take us we figured it was OK. Sometimes Michael would bring a shovel, and we’d dig up sand and make a Vantage Point to play stagecoach robbers. Then Mama’s friend Gordon gave Michael an old computer. After that Michael would be in our room all day. Sometimes I needed him to open a can or get something from the top shelf of the pantry, and I had to knock on the door a hundred times before he’d open it. It always smelled funny in there, and he’d have that look on his face that Mama called a Shit-Eating Grin, that meant he was doing something bad. Then he started tattling on me about keeping Chips Ahoy! under my bed, or making a nest in Mama’s closet, or going in the arroyo. That was when Mama told me to stay out. Michael didn’t know about the clues. I figured if he knew, then he wouldn’t have tattled on me. After he told I decided not to say anything about them. At night Gordon came over. He had shiny hair and brown teeth, and he always smelled like leather. Mama told us she met him after Daddy went away, when she started going to church again, but I remembered him

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from before. He used to be Grandma’s neighbor. Whenever he came to see Mama I’d go somewhere else. That night I went back to the arroyo. When I got to the tunnel I sat and looked at it, trying to see if there were other clues. Somebody’d painted CIELO Y INFIERNO right on top, in big red letters. I looked at the words, but if they were a clue, I didn’t know what they meant. It made me a little tired to think about. Only it must’ve made me more tired than I thought, because after a while I closed my eyes, and when I opened them again it was dark. There was some yellow light coming from a streetlight way off. There was a light inside the tunnel, too, a blue one that kept moving back and forth. I could hear voices in there. They were getting louder. At first I wanted to run. Then I thought maybe whoever it was would know something about Daddy. Maybe they could say where he went. I sat up straight and watched the light come closer. In a minute, two guys came out of the tunnel. One of them, the shorter one, had on a big backpack. The taller one had a flashlight. He was smoking a cigarette. Both of them had red bandannas around their necks, like they were stagecoach robbers. Only they didn’t have cowboy boots, and their pants had a lot of paint on them. Hey, there, the tall one said when he saw me. I watched him. I was trying to make up my mind if I knew him from somewhere. I said hi, sister, the tall man said. Aren’t you going to say hi back? I don’t know you, I said. I think I know you, though, the man said. Wasn’t your daddy a painter? I saw him with you kids every once in a while. We used to do business here. When I didn’t say anything, the man pointed over his shoulder with his thumb. He said, This is my office. I guess you could say we’re redecorating. The short man started to laugh. Only it wasn’t a laugh, really, but more like the sound Uncle Rito’s pig would make when it was sniffing around. The tall man said, It’s some pretty nice work we’re doing. Do you want to see? It could flood, I said. Now the tall man laughed, too. He said, It ain’t raining yet. There’s plenty of time. I’m looking for my daddy, I told him.

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Well now, baby, he said. I could be your daddy. Something about how he said it, and about how he stepped forward, made me see that maybe I was wrong about the bad guys. Maybe I didn’t know what they were like after all. I ran then. I could hear them laughing, and even though I didn’t think they were chasing me, I kept running until I was all the way home. After that I stayed away from the arroyo for a few days. Instead I’d go to the park. There wasn’t much to do at the park, except there were a bunch of tall bushes at one end. In the back of them was a hideout, and sometimes I’d find stuff in there. Once I found an Almond Joy. Another time it was a top. There were other things, too, like a blanket and toothbrushes. But they weren’t like in the arroyo. They weren’t clues. A couple times I tried to go to the hideout, but there were boys I didn’t know in it. Whenever I tried to come in they’d throw seedpods at me. I stayed away then. One night I came home from the park, and Mama and Gordon and Michael were all sitting at the kitchen table. Gordon was smiling. He stood up and pulled out a chair. Mama said, We have something we want to tell you. I said, You’re getting married, aren’t you? I don’t know how I knew it. But from how Mama looked at Michael, and how Gordon smiled a little more, I knew I was right. I looked at Mama, and I thought of the painting of the lady. I went out the door and ran. Outside it smelled like piñon smoke. There were clouds moving in, the wind was blowing, and the trees were shaking their heads. At the tunnel, the streetlight made it look like somebody’d dropped an egg over everything. I didn’t think too hard about going in. I did like jumping in a cold pool, and slid down the ramp. As soon as I was inside, I could see something was wrong. All the paintings were covered with grey. The lady was gone. Instead there were words in big red letters, written in a way I didn’t know. My throat hurt, and I felt like crying, but I kept looking. A little further in I saw a half-eaten chicken leg, a metal spoon, and a couple shots like the

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doctor gives. Then I found a can of red paint, the same kind Daddy would use. I recognized it from when he’d let me spray a piece of wood for him. He’d even let me wear his mask to do it. I picked up the can and pressed the button. It made a hissing noise, but nothing came out. There were too many clues. I couldn’t make them all fit. It made me feel the way I did the time Michael and me got home from school and saw the police cars outside. Mrs. Gonzalez from next door came and told us to follow her. Then we sat on her couch, watching TV and eating Oreos until I felt sick. When Mama came she had makeup smeared all over her face, and she was holding one of Grandma’s rosaries. She said she thought Daddy quit, but he lied, and now he had to go away. But she wouldn’t say where. In the tunnel I remembered watching Daddy go inside. I remembered trying to picture what he was doing, until Michael would say Come on, and we’d go play. It was only the bad guys who came here now. I thought how with the paintings gone, I’d never know where Daddy went. The wind blew, and I could smell the rain. When I turned I could see it coming down in the arroyo. I watched until the water started to run around my shoes. Then I climbed out and ran home. I made it just before the hail started.

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MARIAH KAVANAUGH

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ACCOMPLISHED


ANDRENA ZAWINSKI

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I REMEMBER WHEN I WAS SIX “Do what you are going to do, and I will tell about it.” —Sharon Olds I was a runner for my parents’ daily numbers penciled onto folded up slips of white paper I handed on tiptoes to the butcher bookmaker. Afterwards, I’d pay for their Camels and Kools with quarters fed to a vending machine at the door that delivered shiny penny change inside clear and crinkly cellophane wrappers I’d tear into to buy braids of chocolate licorice twists and the honey sweet crisp of Butterfingers for the hike along the sidewalk home. And when my father’s vodka crossed the table, I turned escape artist adventurist off to nearby woods wandering hours under cool shade and dappled sun until streetlights came on. I even devised a disappearing act behind a bureau, under the desk or the bed, when the leather belt slid through its loops, mat of raw rice on the floor. Now I rub the dimples of scarred knees and remember, feel the welt of belt across thighs and remember, sprawl under the shelter of pines, dark Doves in the pocket, and remember.

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HUGH MOFFATT

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REACHING OUT FADE IN: INT. MERYL’S BEDROOM - MORNING MERYL THOMAS, late 20’s, attractive, sleeps wrapped in the arms of her husband, RON THOMAS, same age. She lies on her side facing her night stand. He lies behind her. Meryl smiles slightly in her sleep and snuggles closer, her shoulder length hair across her face. We CUT TO the clock radio on the night stand. Early morning sunlight streams through blinds on the other side of the double bed. The clock rolls over from 06:04 to 06:05. The RADIO FLASHES ON with bluesrock music. Meryl’s eyes open. She startles up. She is alone in bed. It was a dream. She looks around. Strewn about the floor are cards, flowers, a funeral display photo of Ron with his name. There are two sympathy cards on the night stand next to a framed photo of Ron and her. It’s a casual photo in swim suits at the lake. They look good, smiling openly at the camera, but not lightly. Even in this setting they have individual power. Sitting on the bed Meryl stares at the photo as if hypnotized. She is disoriented. We don’t know if she is going to cry, scream, what. The PHONE RINGS on the dresser across the room. She looks at it but doesn’t move. The answering machine picks up. MOM (off screen) Meryl? Honey? Are you there? Won’t you pick up? Meryl steps into plastic shower sandals by her bed, starts toward the

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phone–but stops. She is wearing light weight feminine pajamas, solid cool color, short bottoms. MOM (CONT’D) I need to hear your voice. Meryl? Meryl makes her way to the bathroom through the things on the floor. She steps around a large partly filled garbage bag. MOM (CONT’D) Please call me. I think you should come home...get away from the memories, so you can move on. You have to move on, honey. I love you...please call me. (HANGS UP) INT. MERYL’S BATHROOM - CONTINUOUS Meryl pees, gets up, flushes. She reaches for a hairbrush on the back of the toilet and knocks a washcloth onto the floor. She bends down to pick it up and notices something behind the trash can. She pulls it out. It’s a man’s disposable plastic razor. Ron’s. Meryl breaks down and sobs uncontrollably. Meryl’s despair morphs into anger which ends her tears. MERYL Shit. Shit. Shit. Meryl drops the razor on the tile floor and crushes it to bits with her foot (she has the sandals on). She picks up the pieces and crams them in the full trash can. INT. MERYL’S BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS Meryl steps back into the bedroom, glaring around at the mess. Meryl sees the photo by the bed. She strides over, kicking things out of the way, and turns the photo face down on the night stand. She turns the RADIO UP LOUDER. Meryl picks up cards, envelopes, and photos, and stuffs them in the garbage bag.

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Meryl goes through the half empty drawers and closet looking for anything left of Ron’s. She finds a sock in a drawer, a tie and one sandal in the bottom of the closet. The phone rings. Meryl’s friend, AMY, speaks from the answering machine as Meryl continues. AMY (off screen) Hi Meryl, it’s Amy. No need to pick up. I just wanted to give you the name of that grief counselor. It’s Robin Walker. You can find her number online. Hope you have a better day today. Call me when you feel like it. Love you. Bye, now. Meryl turns the RADIO UP REALLY LOUD now. She finds dental floss, a toothbrush, lip balm, and cologne in the bathroom plus a couple of CDs behind the dresser. She stuffs things in the bag, faster and faster, rougher and rougher. She bangs her elbow hard on the open bedroom door. MERYL Shit. Meryl slams the door shut. A watercolor falls off the wall. She grabs it and stuffs it in the bag. The bag is completely full now. She throws on a light robe and exits with the bag. EXT. BACK OF MERYL’S HOUSE - CONTINUOUS Meryl in robe, pajamas, and sandals stumbles down the back steps lugging the full bag to the garbage can on the alley. Her neighbor, KRISTEN, 40’s, an impeccably dressed phony getting in her car, sees her. KRISTEN How ARE you doing, poor dear? Meryl heads straight to the large garbage can, throws the lid back, and slings the bag up into it. A lot falls out.

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MERYL Shit. Meryl picks the things up, stuffs them in the can, and throws the lid shut. It’s over full. She looks at Kristen wildly. MERYL (CONT’D) I’m moving on. KRISTEN That’s so good for you, I’m sure. Why don’t you come over for a cup of coffee sometime. Maybe tonight. Oh, no, tonight I haveMeryl is already on her way back to the house. KRISTEN (CONT’D) Well, we’ll get together soon. I know you need to talk, and I’m here for you. Meryl trips on the first step, stubbing her toe. MERYL Shit. KRISTEN Call me. Meryl enters the house and slams the door. INT. MERYL’S HOUSE - CONTINUOUS Meryl goes into her bedroom. We hear her dress quickly. She comes back to the kitchen/living room space, turns on LOUD BLUES-ROCK MUSIC on the stereo, and starts to clean. She wears a solid color T-shirt, jeans, and leather sandals. She still hasn’t tended to her hair. She has a scarf over it. Meryl opens a storage closet and finds some papers of Ron’s. The kitchen garbage can is full. She puts them on the kitchen table. As she finds stuff of Ron’s she adds to this pile.

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MONTAGE - Meryl cleans out closets - Meryl cleans out drawers - Pile on the table grows - Meryl cleans off the tool shelves in the garage - Meryl adds to the pile on the table - Pile on the table grows - Meryl vacuums with one hand while eating a piece of cold fried chicken - Meryl sweeps off the porch still finding stuff - Pile on the table grows - Pile on the table grows - Pile on the table grows - The table is very full BACK TO SCENE Meryl looks at the pile on the table, opens under the kitchen sink, and pulls out a box of large garbage bags. It’s empty. She tears the box to shreds putting the shreds on top of the pile on the table. Meryl picks up her car keys and her purse from the kitchen counter, pulls off the scarf, and goes out the door. EXT. LARGE STRIP MALL - AFTERNOON Meryl drives her eight year-old Camry into the parking lot and parks. It’s a warm spring day with blue skies. INT. MERYL’S CAR - CONTINUOUS Meryl hears and then sees in the mirror a couple her age (MAN and WOMAN, late 20’s) arguing outside their car across the lane behind her. WOMAN If it were your brother you wouldn’t be so pissy about it. MAN Let’s stay on topic, here, we’re not–

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WOMAN Stay on topic. Don’t use your manager talk with me. I’m not one of your minions. My sister needs a place to stay. She has nowhere to go. She’ll– EXT. LARGE STRIP MALL - CONTINUOUS Meryl gets out and walks toward the CVS drugstore while the argument goes on. There are two young children in the back seat of the car being very still. Meryl looks at all of them. A BREEZE BLOWS Meryl’s hair in her face. She alternately brushes it back or ignores it from here on. INT. CVS - CONTINUOUS Meryl enters the store and goes straight to the garbage bags. She takes one box of large bags, then another, thinks, then takes an armful–as many as she can carry. The PHARMACIST sees her. PHARMACIST Would you like some help with those, Ma’am? Could I get a basket for you? Meryl glares at him, her anger trumping his kindness. Meryl turns away and moves quickly down the aisle toward the checkout. She dumps the boxes on the counter. Several fall off. She picks them up, slams them back on the counter and stares at the clerk (timid TEENAGE WOMAN) with a “make my day” look. TEENAGE WOMAN Will there be anything else? MERYL

No.

TEENAGE WOMAN That’ll be fifty-seven dollars and...uh...65...no, 56 cents.

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Meryl gives her a credit card. They finish the transaction uncomfortably. The Pharmacist and A COUPLE OF CUSTOMERS in the store are watching now. Meryl fidgets as the clerk puts the boxes in a couple of shopping bags. Meryl takes the bags and looks around at her audience. MERYL What. They each look away and move along trying to pretend they weren’t watching. Meryl stalks out the door. TEENAGE WOMAN Have a good day. EXT. LARGE STRIP MALL - CONTINUOUS Meryl hears the couple still arguing as she walks to her car. She sees the children in their back seat, still frozen. INT. MERYL’S CAR - CONTINUOUS Meryl gets back in her car listening to the argument. She is as angry as they are. Meryl fumbles in her purse for her keys, knocks the purse over. Her billfold falls out open to a small photo of Ron. He looks younger, in Navy dress whites, a lieutenant. Meryl looks at the photo and looks again at the couple in the mirror. EXT. LARGE STRIP MALL - CONTINUOUS Meryl gets out and beelines straight to the couple. MERYL Stop it. Just stop it. They stop, stunned. MAN Lady, this is not your business. MERYL I know that. A couple of weeks ago, I’d have just driven away. Santa Fe Literary Review

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Maybe I would have said to Ron, my husband, “There’s a marriage that won’t last.”

WOMAN I don’t know who– MERYL Listen to me. Ron is dead. He had cancer. We knew he was dying, but not that day. He wasn’t supposed to die that day. The couple stares at her. They are very uncomfortable. The MAN starts to say something. MERYL (CONT’D) (calmer) We had a fight. Stupid, stupid. He fainted and never woke up. He was gone before I could say another word to him. WOMAN I’m so sorry– MERYL Don’t, just don’t. Look at you. You have two beautiful children. You must have some love left. The couple look at each other and back to Meryl. Partly “this gal is nuts” partly “what should we say?” One of the children starts to cry softly. They are holding hands now. MERYL (CONT’D) Don’t let stupid things get in the way of what’s important. And don’t take a chance that these are the last words you say to each other. MAN We don’t– MERYL (angry again) I know. You don’t have cancer. It’s just so, so– Meryl stops, frustrated. She looks at the children.

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MERYL (CONT’D) Your mom and dad love you very much. This doesn’t make the children feel any better. Meryl glares at the couple again then heads back to her car. INT. MERYL’S CAR - CONTINUOUS Meryl sits breathing hard and looks at the photo of Ron. She finds two paper clips in her purse and a piece of yarn on the car floor. She hangs the photo from her mirror with a paper clip at each top corner so it won’t spin. Glancing in the mirror as she finishes this, Meryl sees the couple hugging each other tightly. Meryl watches as they comfort the children and get in their car. The MAN and the WOMAN drive away. They both look towards Meryl. Meryl doesn’t see. Meryl is looking at the picture of Ron. She makes a decision and gets back out of her car. EXT. LARGE STRIP MALL - CONTINUOUS Meryl walks back to the CVS and goes in. EXT. CEMETERY - THIRTY MINUTES LATER Meryl sits on the ground next to Ron’s headstone. The funeral flowers are still there but dry and faded. Nothing plastic. She picks at the dead flowers a little. MERYL I did something remarkable today. I’ll tell you about it sometime She’s stalling. MERYL (CONT’D) You have a lot of stuff. Still stalling. Finally...

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MERYL (CONT’D) I’ve been so mad at you. You died without saying goodbye. How could you do that? Meryl starts to break down again, stops, regroups. She wipes away tears and hair from her eyes. MERYL (CONT’D) I have something for you. Meryl opens her purse and pulls out an eight pack of men’s razors, the same as the one she found in her bathroom. MERYL (CONT’D) I smashed your last one. I don’t want you out in public with a stubble. Meryl opens the pack and places one razor in front of the headstone, thinks again, stands up, places it on top of the headstone, thinks again, pulls them all out, and scatters them around the headstone. MERYL (CONT’D) What the hell. I’ll be coming back a lot. I’ll expect you to dress. Meryl picks up her purse, starts to turn away, then turns back. MERYL (CONT’D) Thank you for loving me, Ron. From a point of view beside the headstone we see Meryl wait a tiny moment, as if for a response, smile slightly, then turn and walk away taking her cell phone out and selecting a number. Her VOICE FADES in the distance as we DISSOLVE back to the headstone with the razors and the dead flowers. The FLOWERS MOVE SLIGHTLY in the breeze. MERYL (O.S.) (CONT’D) Hi, Mom. Yeah. It’s been a rough day. I’m OK now. Yeah, I got your message. I need to be here right now. I have things to take care of, and...it’s my home. FADE OUT.

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CHRISTY PARENT

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RED OR GREEN?


WILLIAM GREENWAY

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ACCIDENTS She wasn’t supposed to happen— poor-white mother, black father, split (hit it and quit it), Opelika, Alabama. Almost in time for that other birth (alleged) in this snowy season, though cotton-bearded shepherds in bedsheets, bespectacled Magi, and plywood mangers abound. The Assisted Living crèche has real sheep, goats, a mangy camel, even a homesick llama to bow to the rubber baby. An angel announced the news (she said); unto us a social worker, underpaid angel of a kind. And then the long ride back home to Bethlehem, PA. Okay, to Youngstown, Ohio, no star to guide us, but a GPS to bounce one off of. However these little deities arrive, they change everything, mostly lives, and no matter how much we don’t want this comfy old world to pass away, it always does, and the new one will always take us with it.

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SANCTUARY | MARIAH KAVANAUGH Santa Fe Literary Review

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MAX TALLEY

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CHAOS ON CERRILLOS Beyond the careful order of adobes encircling the Plaza, I veer west off St. Francis Drive where all the lanes converge into a clusterfuck of train tracks, cross streets, and traffic signals to glide onto Cerrillos Road. At first, in its Westside four-lane beginnings, Cerrillos comes on somewhat relaxed, almost pastoral. Almost. Pleasing buffers of negative space sit between structures, between the New Mexico School for the Deaf and Santa Fe Indian School. Don’t know what the patches of greensward are for, but they are calming. Fairview Cemetery flashes by on the right—who’s buried there?—while small businesses dot the left side. Is that a bearded man walking into the Brazilian Waxing Boutique? Rather not imagine what he is seeking. Even during this polite introduction to Cerrillos, one must keep vigilant. Cars ahead suddenly retard as they tuck into left turn pockets, and opposite lane drivers make daredevil lunges across—just escaping advancing vehicles. An expensive glassy consignment shop contrasts with a thrift store warehouse. The El Rey Court, Budget Car Rental, Bikram Yoga, and furniture emporiums momentarily inhabit my consciousness until the red signal ahead brings the whole frenetic procession to a halt by Jiffy Lube at the St. Michael’s Drive junction. Green light launches the juddering mass forward and the artery expands into a six-lane, densely zoned, commercial strip. The central business road of Santa Fe. Curse it, avoid it, question it, but at some point residents must all navigate their way through this corridor. Is Cerrillos the source—the crucial flow where our energy and sustenance comes from? Squint to see an asphalt river replacing the Rio Grande as the bringer of all things. Or maybe it’s just the source of anxiety, of useless possessions to help distract us from oncoming death. Catch a glimpse of Hobby Lobby and other bunker-like structures with few windows. Perhaps for protection from the cyclonic high desert winds. Side streets trickle off to car repair shops, to Fast & Real Burrito, and Sonic, Sonic, is there no escape from Sonic? Concentration is tested. I notice a driver veering across the three lanes, never remaining in one

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long, doing some drunken ballet that is ever on the verge of a demolition derby climax. A brown sedan spewing exhaust rolls up alongside me, its front all chewed-up into a snout, and I hallucinate a Serengeti rhinoceros– wounded but still deadly. A dented Yamaha pickup is riding my ass so close that I switch lanes, and the damn truck follows me. The auto plaza looms ahead then recedes into my rear view mirror, forgotten beyond their festive flags. Bobbi, a cowgirl songwriter friend once told me, “Dude, you need an old Subaru Outback in Santa Fe. Anything new or fancy will get dinged at Trader Joe’s, keyed by low-lifes, or worn down by the elements.” Crossing Siler Avenue, the specter of Meow Wolf hovers invisible by Rufina to the near north. A dazzle of lights and perpetual creation and secret rooms tucked inside an interactive art experience. No time to ponder it. Walmart approaches. Stay the hell out of the right lane. Deranged shit is about to go down, is going down, and here comes Richards Avenue with cars peeling off toward Home Depot and afterwards...total vehicular insanity. Too many drivers want to go faster than however fast the fastest person in front of them is going. Accelerate, brake, swerve, foot off the pedal, switch lane, no, don’t do that, someone’s in your blind spot, maintain speed, dodge the Dodge Durango weaving over the stripes. I try to spot landmarks but cars are boiling up to the rear, others turning without signaling. A tan Westfalia van wants to merge ahead but angles toward my front bumper like a Kamikaze shark, so I decelerate, but the assclown just behind me, riding high on giant tires of his monster truck, keeps closing in. White knuckle driving? Mine are translucent. Suddenly everyone is slowing as a wide-screen panoply of brake lights show. Red strobing flashes and a distant peal of sirens. Police black and white cruisers sit parked at odd angles, like discarded children’s toys after a birthday party. People are being questioned near a bus stop bench and a crunched accordion vehicle displays a missing fender, its face all teeth and no lips. With a surfeit of cops distracted and concentrated, conditions become excellent for going fifty in the 40 mph zone, and hey, I’m just keeping up with everyone else. Drive the speed limit in New Mexico? You may as well affix a sign to your bumper: Ram Me Now! Ahead, a young couple stagger-run across three lanes and the traffic does not yield. The man is headstrong and defiant, the woman more cognizant of the effects that four thousand pounds of steel can wield against flesh and Santa Fe Literary Review

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bones. Somehow death and disgrace are narrowly avoided. Just part of the excitement and madness, the calculated gamble of driving Cerrillos. Yes, I might plow into another car, get pulled over, or hit a jaywalking pedestrian. But if I don’t, I win today’s lottery. Get to go home and wash all this shit out of my brain with a binge-watching marathon on Netflix. In a big town masquerading as a city, where multiple ethnicities get along, or tolerate one another, perhaps ancient wounds and forgotten histories are reopened on Cerrillos. Old Mexico against New Mexico, the Spaniards against Mexicans, Native Americans against Latinos, and everyone against the Texas gringo tourists parading around the Plaza in expensive Navajo wraps thinking this is their America. Not the desert, not Mexico, and not the land of Indigenous peoples. Beyond Vegas Verdes Drive, traffic gets more tense, more cluttered, and if possible, more insane. Risky lane-jockeying occurs as Zafarano Drive approaches with its promise of Best Buy and Verizon and Target and World Market and so many bed stores. Because cramped inside my economy rental car, I can imagine how good a really fine mattress would feel if I ever return home. Not this time, Zafarano. I didn’t act fast enough, didn’t jostle my way into the left turn lanes. Destined to continue on this wild funhouse ride wherever it leads. Past Pier 1 Imports and Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and there are malls and shopping centers and motel sprawls just beyond what you dare squint at on the periphery of traffic. Rodeo Road converges and Airport Road curves off northward, leading to furniture showrooms, homes, trailer parks, and eventually the postage stamp airport—last of its kind—and then out to the NM-599 bypass route. For when one can’t possibly tolerate another second of Cerrillos hypertension. And now, finally now, I can take a deep breath, relax a little. The bluster and competition of traffic melts away as the road opens up, actually becoming pleasurable to drive. Businesses are more spaced out here. The width of the sky expands, and after being submerged in a storefront and metallic vehicle tunnel, New Mexico reasserts itself, the mountains coming up into clear focus. At this juncture it becomes apparent that you are not heading downtown anymore but racing towards the outskirts. Cerrillos seems to run west through Santa Fe but actually snakes southwest, tricking you, then the road yaws south—as if on its own accord. First it delivers you into the congested maw of

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acquisition, then, while hypnotized in a defensive driving spell, it flushes you out of the City itself. Neat trick, Cerrillos. The signs say 45 mph and I’m exhilarated. There is a righteous feeling of imminent escape beyond the Santa Fe Police Department, beyond Kohl’s department store hunkered down out there, somewhat far off and remote. Away from it all. Why? Before I can consider it, Cerrillos is routing me onto I-25 South, because the other choices are Madrid or Las Vegas, New Mexico, and I’m not psychologically prepared for either of those eventualities. I find myself flying decidedly south while deflecting paranoid scenarios: Officer, in a 75 mph zone it would be insulting to drive less than eighty-two. Oh, this is paradise, cruising on a high plain of the high desert with vast ranges towering in the distance; the flat mesas summon old cowboy westerns while near mountains rise to the east. Though they are more outsized humps of dirt stubbled with dwarf pines and thrust up like volcanic burps from the plateau. I’m overcome with a delirious feeling of escape, remembering Timothy Bottoms in The Last Picture Show. I speed reckless, glorious, totally imperious for ten minutes until I crest the pass and the route plunges down to Cochiti Lake and Pueblo, toward a more barren, low desert with the Sandia Mountains giving me the only promise of anything heavenly before Albuquerque— which I must compartmentalize at present as a four-minute Neil Young song. Just as Timothy Bottoms found in that movie, I realize there is no escape from town, or no better option for many miles. So I veer off at Cochiti, go under the highway and turn back north. Young people born in New Mexico dream of big cities and make plans to flee Santa Fe, just as old folks yearn to live, to retire or die there. Somehow I must join the middle-aged who harbor all those contradictory impulses deep inside themselves, to have one or more forced up like acid reflux at unexpected moments. To bewitch us; to confuse us. Walt Whitman said, “I am large, I contain multitudes.” Indeed. That fucker understood. You tell yourself: God, all I want is peace and space, maybe head up to Abiquiu, hike at Ghost Ranch and get high on primal isolation. But the gods have forsaken you. And Cerrillos Road laughs. No matter what you promise, swear, or repeat to yourself, Cerrillos knows you will be back. Again and again. We are born in chaos. It is not done with us yet.

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CHRISTY PARENT

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AGED GATHERING


GAIL McCORMICK

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HEALING HEARTLAND They were dreamers with guns and the prerogative to kill darkskinned natives whose land seemed an answer to their prayers. Fleeing poverty and persecution, my northern European ancestors immigrated to this country desperate for a better life. One, a Quaker, invested in the slave trade. At least one joined the Ku Klux Klan. Even the abolitionist John Brown, also one of our people, resorted to killing in righteous indignation. Others fought against slavery in the Civil War and against the British in the Revolutionary War—the “good” wars. Their legacy of fear and violence flowed in my mother’s blood. On our Midwest farm, she slept with a gun under her pillow and a shotgun by her side. I could tell when she smelled danger by the way her body spoke. Her spine straightened. Eyes narrowed. Ears perked. Arms stiffened. I felt her tension in my belly. Eventually that tension became my own. By the time I was seven years old, I’d learned that bankers were greedy men just waiting to take our farm in foreclosure and that strangers might be thieves, escaped convicts, or kidnappers. I fell asleep every night hearing the voice of Walter Cronkite deliver the evening news, his tone of serious danger worming its way into me over and over: Kennedy assassinated. Nuclear warheads. Race riots. Danger seemed to lurk around every corner, even in our little country church when the pianist pounded the keys furiously as we sang “Onward, Christian Soldiers” and other songs that rattled my nerves. I preferred the world that called to me from a sun-dappled corn field. Hidden beneath towering stalks and purple corn silk, I wandered in ease and awe. Sandwiched between the earth and a canopy of blue sky, I felt safe and whole, connected to something holy for which I had no name. There, the wind sang and the earth spoke. Deep down I knew that place was my sanctuary.

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I loved that farm yet the greater world beckoned. After college I moved to the Northwest and built a life that revolved around crosscultural relationships and a career in mental health. When my sister and I inherited what remained of the family farm she wanted it sold. But I was torn. Who was I without the ground that had shaped me? Finally I agreed, but I sensed there was unfinished business between that land and me. I knew I had to travel the two thousand miles to say good-bye to the Midwest land that cradled the bones of my family and ancestors. At last I stood gazing upon the farm where I’d been raised from infancy to adolescence. I was a woman nearly sixty years old. Wispy white clouds separated flat ground from blue sky. As yellow finches floated by on the hot, sticky breeze, a shiver of fear suddenly ran through me. It was the same fear that had filled the veins of my 1950s childhood. I touched the bark of a familiar old hickory tree to steady myself and rested my eyes on the earth. It was a landscape of two quilt pieces: fortyseven acres the new owner had planted with soy beans and a ten-acre forest of deciduous trees. Though fifty years had passed since I’d lived there, the land remained wrapped around me as if it was my skin. Filled with loss and feelings too deep to name, I knew I must move forward. Intent on reaching the woods, I set off between rows of beans. Soon, it dawned on me that I was following the same path walked by the Mexican migrant workers who had for years weeded our fields with long-handled hoes. I thought about the unspoken rules that had governed their behavior: Stay out of a farmer’s yard. Don’t speak to his children. Bring your own water. Don’t ask to use the bathroom. They did not cross those boundaries. Unconsciously I had absorbed the attitudes behind the rules: Brownskinned strangers were not to be trusted. Still, I’d felt drawn to them. Contrary to my shy and wary self, I played on the junk pile behind our garage so I could hear their conversations in Spanish as they dug milkweeds and dandelions. Though unable to decipher the meaning, I was thrilled by the musical sound of the language. Their words sounded like soft drumrolls to me.

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On Saturday nights the migrant families gathered in the churchyard across the road, and I watched, fascinated, from behind our living room curtains. If I could travel back in time, I’d encourage my younger self to cross the road, express my desire to know their hearts and stories, experience the thrill of communicating a simple hello in a language new to me. It sounds so easy now. But then, taking such a risk was inconceivable and would have invoked a terrible scolding from my parents. Those were lines you didn’t cross, lines that still exist. It would be many years before I’d realize I needed to know and love people from other backgrounds and cultures to feel connected to the world. Fear and unacknowledged history have kept us from having relationships we need with each other in the present. When I finally reached the edge of the trees the underbrush appeared thick and brutal. I had forgotten that Michigan forests were dens of thistle, ticks, poison ivy, and mosquitos. The path I’d walked as a child with my grandmother in search of four-leaf clovers no longer existed. I stood in the liminal space between woods and cultivated area. Queen Anne’s lace flowered like summer snowflakes, yet I felt nauseated. Was it the heat? Then I remembered the reaction I’d had earlier that morning when, driving to the farm, I’d seen a billboard looming over the highway to promote the sale of semi-automatic assault weapons. My stomach had churned with fright and confusion. Now, I tried to imagine who would buy military-style firearms and who those buyers planned to kill. Then I shuddered with the realization that guns had begun to creep into conversations even with my family, city dwellers who were not hunters but had suddenly felt compelled to purchase firearms and learn to shoot. I felt like a stranger in my own land, How had I escaped this impulse? After all, I was no stranger to danger or violence. In my mid-twenties I’d had a terrifying encounter with a man who planned to attack me on a deserted street. He looked out of place and his behavior seemed odd. When I realized he was about to assault me, an inner mechanism I didn’t know existed took charge of me. Without stopping, changing my pace, or making a sound, I locked eyes with the pasty-white man, so close to me that I could smell his pungent odor. Hate flashed in his stone cold eyes. A

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single thought played in my mind over and over: You don’t want to hurt me. He cocked his arm, prepared to stuff a rag in my mouth to muffle my screams. Each moment passed as though it were a movie played in slow motion. My heart pounded against my chest. You don’t want to hurt me. To my astonishment, the steely willfulness in his eyes suddenly changed to startled confusion. With his arm still loaded and locked, he spit in my face but didn’t strike. I didn’t realize it then, but I was learning to walk through the eye of a storm unarmed. I had found strength by responding to danger not with helplessness or aggression, but with humanity and intuition. That lesson served me well when, on another occasion, my life was threatened by an intruder who’d broken into my apartment. Now, nearly swamped by despair, I planted my feet in the earth, stood still, and listened. An invisible community of crickets, grasshoppers, and bees raised their sounds together like thousands of monks chanting. The familiar orchestration of humming, buzzing, and clicking reminded me that I belonged. This was my sanctuary. Closing my eyes to listen deeper, I heard what sounded like the Earth’s pulse and heartbeat. Just as I was about to calm, I became aware of a different tone, an ominous undercurrent. Though I was alone, all around me voices whispered, Arm yourself! Startled, I froze. Here on the land my family had claimed as their own, I’d heard the voices of those whose terror and shame still lay festering in fertile soil. I realized the legacy of fear and violence that had fueled my mother’s hypervigilance and my own anxiety was not ours alone. This epic was folded into the story of all U.S. citizens. No matter how or when we came to live here, we all are part of a nation conceived by a commitment to equality and slavery and attempted genocide. That legacy ricochets through our lives. My head dropped in despair. My heart ached for the centuries of unnecessary pain and violence. I sighed, wishing I could distance myself from that heavy burden. But now it was mine. My beloved friend and mentor, an African American scholar, had been accused of plotting a home invasion when she knocked on a white woman’s door

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to ask for directions. Mass shootings had become so prevalent that my own nieces and nephews were being trained to stifle their screams and hide if a shooter appeared in their schools. I felt like a counselor rowing a leaky boat in a sea of trauma. Suddenly, a hot wind rattled through the trees. A bird warbled. The land was pulling me back from despair. In that moment I understood these lands are haunted. The ghosts of those whose lives had been enmeshed with fear and violence, urging me to arm myself, were trying to protect me in the only way they’d known. But this corner of the earth that had raised me had a message of its own. The land was showing me my path in the healing of history and heart. Standing next to the forest of my childhood, I felt the pieces fall into place. I could finally see the confluence of my early connection to the earth and my life’s work—walking a path that didn’t require me to arm myself or live in terror. I was learning to face fear, not with guns or violence, but with compassion and an open heart. I’d been called to witness the emotional entanglements of past and present, and given the task of healing familial and ancestral wounds. The pain of selling the farm had suddenly lost its power. A sense of healing and rebirth had replaced my sorrow. I knew in my bones the spirits of the land had released me. Sensing it was time to go, I retraced my path. As the sun bore down I understood that the seeds of Emerson Township had bloomed in me. From the moment of my birth I’d been imprinted by this patch of land. My spiritual connection to the earth and my deep love of farmland, simplicity, and quiet would ground me for life. I placed my palms together in awe. I circled back to the hickory tree, paused, and looked up. Sliding west, the sun burned wicked hot, as my grandmother used to say. Dazzling refractions of white light blazed through a silhouette of leaves and branches like a guiding star. I closed my eyes as tears slipped gently down my face. Grace and hope washed over me.

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FREDDA S. PEARLSON

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leaves over plain fields

further north than usual

the sun in an act of grace

dips a sleeve through the frost

relaxing the air and the woman with an ax

near the pile of fresh cut wood

in front of the pale unshuttered house

the trees have gathered, dark

and down, dropping leaves

in the house shadowed

by low mountains and high windswept sounds

come the clear voices of women at dusk

a chorus of common flowers in winter

in the kitchen warm arms

over the bones of water

tend to the cauliflower

the yam the bean

while the spider in the corner of the window

dips against the smoke, dancing to her dinner

on the strings of her iridescent music

composed in a sinister language of threads

the heat gathers into smells

familiar soft cooking odors

and later the sharp exhales of the unexpected

woman’s body in winter

in the morning a woman opens

the door to leaves on the stairs

the cupped hands of leaves on water

the cascading sounds of leaves against wood

while a leaf rests in the hood

of a thick red jacket

and beneath a north sky

a woman lifts an ax


JANET RUTH

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MY MOTHER’S GARDEN —after Nicole Callihan’s poem, “The End of the Pier” I walked to the back patio with a spade. In the crepe myrtle’s shade beside winter jasmine I dug a deep hole and poured your ashes into its center. Upon your remains I settled a young Peace rose like the one in your garden whose thorns pricked when I was a child. I back-filled the emptiness—sand mixed with crumbly compost harvested from our lives— mulched with bark, watered with tears. When you bloomed back to me in heavy hues of gold, peach and rose, I plucked you for the vase on my kitchen table, inhaled your scent, no longer sorrow. You came back again at dusk as hovering hawkmoth in pink-and-gray wings of angel cloth resurrected from your pupa in the earth. I reached for you, fluttered my fingers over the whirring wind of your lingering. And when you flew away, again, I thought that you had left me, but then you became rain. I raised my arms, opened my mouth to drink you, allowed you to soak into my body. You evaporated with me into the silver and gold cumulus clouds

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boiling over the Sandias, then dropped me back to earth, distilled in raindrops. In the end, you became earth as well.

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JAMES HENA

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EVERY DAY Every day, I wake up to a picture of you and a light sizzle of eggs in a pan, toast shooting into the air with a golden crisp, and the grease from the bacon popping everywhere. I place these items onto a plate alongside a coffee, light cream, two sugars and an orange juice, no pulp. I walk out of the kitchen leaving a trail of smells, through the hallway filled with plaques and awards with your name engraved: James Hena. I gently push your brown door open; a wind of heat tackles me and an electronic scream enters through my ears, like the slowing of a car with beat-up brake pads. “Grandad,” I say. “Oh hah, good morning, Okuwah Ta,” he says. My Grandad is an old wise man, with long black and white hair flowing down his shoulders, a prickly beard, thick glasses that change to shades when a ray of sunlight hits them, two light brown hearing aids sticking out of his ears, and wrinkles engraved into his face, the type of wrinkles you would see in a dusty picture of an old Native American chief looking a little pissed off. But Grandad wears a smile of pure happiness. He’s dressed in a plaid collared shirt tucked neatly into his Levi jeans, strapped up with a black belt. A gold and silver watch on his wrist and the cleanest Nike shoes you will ever see, plus a white and blue Dallas Cowboys round-brim hat. “Here Grandad, I brought you your breakfast.” “Thank you, do you want some?” he says. “No Grandad, I have mine in the kitchen. Do you want to come eat in the living room with us?” I ask. “Nooo, it’s too cold in there, I like the heat in here!” he says with a big smile. “Okay, I’ll let you eat and watch your old Western. Call me if you need anything.” “Huh!” he says, confused. I project my voice a little louder: “Call me if you need anything!” “Okuwah Ta!” he says before I leave the room. “Want to go fishing?” he adds, with the biggest manipulative smile. “Heck yea! I’ll get the stuff ready.” As I leave the sauna of a room, I close the door a quarter of the way,

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leaving it ajar, so I can hear my Grandad call for me. I’m excited. Fishing is a big part of our family, and it is very special to go with my Grandad, the centerpiece of our family. He is the glue that sticks the pieces together. He is looked up to by all of the family, community members, leaders from around the world. He devours knowledge and shares what he has learned with his community, to make each of us stronger and more knowledgeable. He is an Army Veteran; he has traveled the world; he has met many past Presidents of the United States. He was there to witness Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. All the gear is packed and we hit the road. First we stop at Walmart. My Grandad needs his Sunkist soda, which he calls his “orange one,” and a yellow bag of peanut M&M’s. The snack mission complete, we hit the road again. Everywhere my Grandad goes he has a Sunkist. Oh! And napkins, always a stack in his pocket, along with some butterscotch candies in yellow tinsel, a Swiss Army knife, and a fat wallet. In my hands it’s more like a hamburger. After a couple hours of driving and listening to Pow Wow songs, we hit the river. Two poles in the water, nice fresh air, and a quiet, yet not soundless place – it all makes a person think, why go anywhere else? There is only one other place I would rather be and that is the baseball field. However, only if my Grandad is in the stands cheering me on. He comes to every game, no matter the travel and always, always, always, gives me a high five after the games. Even if I was so mad and slammed the back car door closed, I would see his hand slowly appear from the passenger seat, not looking at me, head turned and waiting patiently for me to give him a little slap. The rod makes a spinning sound and we start pulling fish out like nobody’s business. Fish packed into the cooler and placed in the truck bed, we’re ready for the long drive. Back home, I place the fish in the freezer and help my Grandad to bed. I help him take off his shoes and pants, then empty his pockets out onto his bedside dresser. After I’m done tucking him in, I sit on the edge of the bed and watch his Western with him until he gets tired, and when he does, I say, “Goodnight Grandad, I’m going to get ready for bed.” “Okay, goodnight,” he replies. A soft and quiet goodnight, a hug and a kiss.

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MICHELE WOLF

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THE ROAD “China, After 35 Years, to End ‘One-Child’ Policy” –The Washington Post, October 30, 2015 At the fruit and vegetable market, as the daylight Starts to stir, then stands up, a breathy squeaking rises From among the cabbages. The boy in the peaked Bamboo hat cannot hear this as he passes, guiding Two oxen up the rutted road, packed with vans And bicycles, each plotting its zigzag path, churning up Dust. Another infant girl awakes among the cabbages. The squeaking amplifies to yelps, then builds to yowls. A farmworker lifts the swaddled newborn to her chest. The crowd swells. This time it was Grandmother Who insisted: Try again. At vegetable markets, hospital Parking lots, and iron gates at baby-rich orphanages, Girls are deposited, in a basket or a box, before dawn. The girl in the cabbages, joining a nation of one hundred Forty thousand girls, will climb up the road and learn, As the others did—scattered from Perth to Chicago To Copenhagen—how her second parents, with open Arms, had wanted to be golden thrones. Years later, her little Brother will bike to the market to buy oranges, juicy luck.

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CHRISTY PARENT

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SHADOW WRAPPED


PAT HASTINGS

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THE COMPLIMENT We had just pulled into line for the tollbooth to the San Francisco Bay Bridge. The previous twenty minutes, in the driver’s seat of my little blue Honda station wagon, with Dad as my passenger, I had merged through heavy traffic onto Interstate 80. My father had started this journey vigilant, craning his neck to watch for enemy cars. He’d barked out a warning to me once, while his left leg pumped like an oilrig as he worked his faux brake on the passenger side. By the time we reached the Bay Bridge tollbooth, he’d fallen silent. He stared straight ahead. I knew that, as a driver of country roads and small cities, Dad had never seen traffic like this. And now he was in his daughter’s hands. A sense of power over my father—a first—made me smile. I had driven this route hundreds of times, having lived for five years in the Bay Area. I was a confident driver. At fifteen, I took Driver’s Ed in summer school, but I didn’t learn to drive in class. That happened after school, when my father met me at the bus stop in his sparkling maroon Buick. Descending the steps of the small, yellow bus, I would start to sweat, as if heading to a guillotine. Dad would get out of the car, walk slowly around to the passenger’s side, and watch while I plunked myself clumsily into the driver’s seat. Self-conscious, as gawky as a newborn calf, I’d always do something wrong: drop my books in the road or slam my skirt in the door. Once, finally settled in to start the lesson, I turned on the ignition, only to hear a terrible grinding sound. Instinctively I turned the key a second time. Same loud teeth-on-edge, grating noise. Had I killed the car? No. My father had left the Buick running. In my anxiety I hadn’t noticed. I remember his half-sigh, the tick of his tongue: disgust and resignation at yet another one of his daughter’s mistakes. It was never what my father said to me: it was the silence and the little sigh/snort when I cut a turn too close or braked too suddenly. His standard was perfection, his belief in me: zero. I always felt I had fulfilled his expectations.

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Freedom was worth his scorn. It was something every kid in tiny Sandy Creek, New York, understood. In that town, where the population was sparse but the distances long, driving meant you could get away – from your parents, from your neighbors, from all the constraints of small town life. Twenty years later, as I wove through the heavy Bay Area traffic with my father silent in the passenger’s seat, I knew he was watching me. It evoked those summer afternoon driving lessons. I felt fifteen again, uneasy, too aware of my body. The cars were backing up ahead of us, and I downshifted into second. Then he said it. I guess you’ve become a good driver after all. This was the only compliment he ever gave me. My father cared deeply about his cars: Studebaker sedan, 1959 Chrysler with its elegant tail fins, the Buick, a Ford Mustang. He always kept them spotless, with fresh oil and a full tank. In my thirties as I trained to be a psychotherapist, I had a supervisor who said something I never forgot. Always listen hard when your clients talk about their cars. They’re really talking about themselves. I couldn’t help but think of Dad. I think my father’s cars reflected how he wanted to be seen: smooth, stylish. He took care of them in a way he could never take care of himself. I can’t remember exactly when the alcohol took my father over. It was coming on, I know, when I was in high school. Dinners became tense. Gradually the scotch was turning my father mean. I didn’t come back to Sandy Creek much during college. And in May of my senior year I found a job to put a thousand miles between my father and me. With bachelor’s in hand, I’d go to South Carolina. For graduation, my father gave me a used red Ford Pinto with a standard transmission. I’d only driven automatics. I was going to have to learn to drive all over again, and Dad would have to teach me. Trapped with my father in that small, red tin can, I‘d be sweating, frantically moving my hands and feet as if playing a pipe organ. Next

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to me, silent except for sarcastic little laughs and the occasional cry of Clutch! Clutch!, my father worked his imaginary pedals while his right fist simulated the shift. Motivated to put Sandy Creek in the rearview mirror, I learned more quickly this time. In 1984, Dad drank his way through my mother’s fatal bout with cancer. I took a leave of absence from my San Francisco job to come home to be with her. It was autumn in Sandy Creek, leaves yellow, orange, and dying, and the evenings getting colder. By the ash-laden fireplace with no warming blaze, he’d sit in his recliner, sipping scotch, the television tuned to football. In the next room, beside the newly delivered hospital bed, I would read to my dozing mother. Back in San Francisco, I telephoned him every few days in the months after my mother died. I made sure it wasn’t in the evening, east coast time, but it became clear I could never call early enough if I wanted to catch him sober. There wasn’t much to talk about. I don’t think he even drove the two blocks downtown anymore. The liquor store delivered. I’d end my cross-country conversations with “I love you, Dad.” There would be a pause before he’d slur, Thank you. My father died in 1991 at age seventy-four. Kidney cancer. He drank until he couldn’t hold a glass. My brothers were grateful that I’d go to Florida to deal with the body. I found myself at a Dunedin funeral home, in a dimly lit, burgundy-colored room that smelled like cheap perfume. I was alone with Dad’s body. He was wearing a limp, brown suit, his face already skeletal. I stood there for a few minutes, then left my father, closing the door behind me. I have a photo. Black-and-white, 1954. Side by side: my father and his amber Studebaker, Dad’s hand placed lovingly on its roof. Both the car and my father’s dark hair glint in the sun. My father’s expression is pure satisfaction–with himself and his handsome, elegant car.

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LISA RUTLAND

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SUNFLOWER FACES On the way to Nanny’s house for a big family potluck, I know what to expect. I am Deaf, and I observe every detail. I remember all the casseroles and cakes sitting out on the table, with people crowding around chatting, laughing, hugging and filling their plates–a sight that overwhelmed my eyes. Then the tall people find places to sit, eat and talk. I stand until it is my turn to get my food and then I walk, as expected, to the TV room. There I see all the kids sitting and watching TV, with their full plates on their laps, seldom taking a bite. I sit politely to the left of the circle around the TV set. I am happy to sit there, where I could exit easily without disturbing anyone. As I sit and eat, I notice that the other kids’ jaws hang open as they stare at the TV. I try to figure out what is going on in the show. I understand nothing. I decide, happily, to excuse myself. I do not want to watch TV anymore, because there are no captions, and no one talks with me. None of them know sign language, except for my sisters, who forget about me as they settle in to eat and stare at the screen. I have a better idea than to sit here and do nothing. I return to the kitchen and glance to see where my parents are. The adults are busy with their conversations, and all the laughter and facial expressions are like nice music in my eyes. I can see through the kitchen window how lovely the weather is outside, so I walk out to the backyard. To my surprise, I see a field of sunflowers. How fascinatingly tall they are. Joy wells up inside me as I walk toward them. I stand and look up and appreciate how glamorous, friendly and welcoming they are. I am almost seven years old, and I am walking through towers of lime-green, lanky sunflowers. At one point, I feel an urge to stop, and I discover the round sunflower heads glowing, bright gold faces smiling down at me. I can sense their warmth, friendship, comfort, and inspiration. I continue to walk and walk, without thinking about the time. I notice my sandals are stepping onto the train track, so I stop and look around, realizing that Nanny has a train passing by her house every day. Still, I feel safe among the sunflowers, each flower grinning. Their leaves are hands waving. I run joyfully, feeling their prickly stems. I am lost in my happiness, alone with the flowers in the field.

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Something reminds me that I am far away from the house, so I become concerned that the people there will worry about me. I walk toward the house, my internal compass leading me back. I concentrate on the dirt as I walk, looking for my starting point. All of a sudden, I see my dad’s classic loafers. He has the reputation of being a genius, a driven and sensitive person. I look up and he is as tall as the sunflowers. His facial expression is no different from theirs. Dad signs gracefully, “Are you ready to go home?” I reply instantly, “Yes,” with a nod. As we walk away holding hands, I look back at the field and I see my sunflower friends waving their leaves goodbye. My experience in that TV room with those kids, where I felt so disconnected, fades away. I feel richer and safer. Whenever I see sunflowers now, I still taste a sweetness.

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WILLY BO RICHARDSON

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STILL SOUND


WILLY BO RICHARDSON

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A COVER ARTIST’S STATEMENT

Dad, Why Do You Paint Stripes? My eight-year-old daughter asked me if I could paint anything other than stripes...and she has a good point. Brilliant minds I respect in the art world have asked me the same thing. Yesterday, over breakfast, I sketched a bagel for my family. I exclaimed, “There! See, I can draw something!” We had a good laugh, but this pressing issue will not go away. So why this? Why stripes? By the way – they aren’t actually stripes. Two decades ago, I began my journey, understanding only faintly that what I need, and what the world needs, are consistency and quietude. I decided to try and make art that had staying power. To do this, I married myself to a single mode of working. My paintings recognize the power of gravity, which forces all objects and liquids to fall towards the center of the earth – and which anchors each of us to this planet. The lines I paint blur and travel along the arc of my body, and I imagine I’m looking at a large circle that continues to arc beyond the canvas, and then returns. Tethered to the ground, anchored by gravity, my aspirations to create lasting, meaningful, primal art take root. Diligence, patience, and a willingness to grow and mature are the values that guide me. I recognize that pursuing a meaningful commitment is a rare and precious opportunity, since our culture seems always to be conspiring to change out the old for the new. Informed by history, rooted in the craft of traditional glaze layers, and inspired by the vast and colorful landscapes around me, I surrender as my brush hits the canvas. I see vertical strokes as my launch pad. I love the tension of knowing that freedom is possible

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within the laws of gravity, color, and compositional structures. When I paint, I am aware of my condition as a human, an artist, a New Mexican, a partner, and a father. My paintings will not be perfect, nor will anything else in this world we share, but I strive towards perfection, which I define as freedom itself.

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ALYSSA MURPHY

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AS WE BECOME In the end, there are five kisses that end up changing your life. The first one, you won’t remember until years later. You’re seven years old then, you defiantly wear your long blonde hair in a simple braid instead of the ponytails your mother prefers, and Jake Carter is your favorite person in the world. He lives next door now and he’s a couple months older than you and you suppose you’d probably like him even if he had a second head or something, but it helps that Jake’s nice. It helps that Jake likes you just as much as you like him. And it helps, in your little seven-year-old mind, that his dark brown eyes glow in a certain kind of light. You press your chapped lips to his cheek exactly once, while your mothers are a few feet away and talking about babies. Once is enough to get you in trouble, once is enough to get you a year’s worth of lectures from your mother about how good girls don’t do silly things like that, and yet once is also enough to make you decide that someday, when you’re old enough and fearless enough to do what you want, you’re gonna get addicted to the taste of Jake’s skin. It’s a solid decade before you get that chance again. You’re seventeen now, seventeen and laying on your backs in the tall grass between your respective houses, seventeen with your whole lives ahead of you yet all you want is wrapped up in the person beside you. Jake’s a head taller than you and not quite done growing yet either, ambitious yet actively planning a quiet life, beautiful and perfect and yours. You, meanwhile, watch your older sister prepare for her wedding and swear you won’t walk her path. You won’t marry at twenty, you’re damn sure, and you won’t cut yourself into pieces to survive. You say as much after a round of silence, and Jake laughs and rolls onto his side to look at you better and suddenly this distance between you isn’t anywhere near as much as you thought. “What’s so funny?” you ask, a little lost and hot in a way that’s got nothing to do with midsummer night air. “I’d marry you, Rory,” he murmurs. His voice is low now, low and dark-

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sweet and makes you want. “If that’d make you happy.” “Maybe I don’t wanna get married,” you counter, and then you decide to hell with distance and smash your mouth against his like only a newly awakened teenager could. You think about it a little, after. If you ever settle down – an idea that’s just a little less than repulsive right now – you’d want to do it with someone good. Someone gentle. Someone an awful lot like Jake. Third kiss that changes your world, you’re twenty-three and you’ve spent the last ten minutes howling while Jake holds you close so your ear is over his steady beating heart and lets your tears fall against his bare chest. He’s smart, this man you love, smart enough to know it’s not worth the trouble of letting your sadness ruin a perfectly good t-shirt. Kind, too, stroking your back as your sobs turn to whimpers and – “Why me?” you breathe, “Cause I love you,” he replies, moving you a little bit and leaning down to kiss your forehead so his three-day beard rubs against your skin and you can’t help but laugh. “Not an answer.” “What? I’m not allowed to have feelings?” “I like feelings. Just not sure what to do with ‘em.” “You don’t have to do anything at all, Rory. I want you happy.” You laugh again, pushing away the last of the tears in your eyes. “You wanna be able to wear a shirt when we cuddle, you mean.” “Skin to skin has some advantages too,” Jake points out, and then he reminds you for good measure. Almost in the blink of an eye, four years pass and you’re twenty-seven and again you’re lying in the grass, but this time your bodies are wrapped tight around each other. This time, you want to feel like an actual person, and Jake’s very good at knowing what you need before you even say it. He wraps his lanky body around your petite one, a human shield against anything that might want to turn you into a cosmic chewtoy, and your trouble breathing isn’t just ‘cause he’s holding you a tiny bit too close. “I need a huge favor,” you breathe after a while. “What kind of favor?” he asks, giving you a look that makes you know he’s already got his answer. “Remember how you said you’d marry me if I wanted?”

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“Thought about it every day since. Why?” “I need a rescue. Figure you’re the best option I’ve got.” He rolls your bodies so he’s hovering over you, and his smile is brighter than any constellation you can see. “Well if you put it that way,” he laughs as he leans down, and this particular kiss tastes a lot like the beginning of forever. And sure enough, six months later he kisses you all dramatic in front of a hundred and twenty people. You’re wearing a godawful white lace dress, you hope that whatever asshole came up with the idea of bridesmaids is burning in hell right now, and at the same time you’re the happiest woman in the world. You’re still not sure about getting domesticated, but spending the rest of your life with the man you love? You can do that easy. “How long before we can do that again?” you breathe so only your newly minted husband can hear you. “Great thing about weddings is they’re the world’s best excuse for PDA,” Jake replies, playful as ever. “We’re expected to gross everyone out, babe.” And boy do you ever, and it’s one of the best nights of your life. Worth every moment of waiting, you decide. Completely, unspeakably worth it.

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JOHN SIBLEY WILLIAMS

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INTERNMENT — for Vanessa Angélica Villarreal

Draw a line

from the river’s

to where it empties

bloodlessly

into a larger

throat down body, assimilating

salt & gull & all the narratives

of the West. Unspeak

your source language

& salmon, frost, all 1,243 miles it took

to reach open sea.

Whatever you were promised

here has been rescinded; like the light

of mountain

waited at the end of all tunnels.

This country goes weak at the knees at the thought of you,

how you nourish the earth

& give the animals something to drink.

Still the animals are thirsty.

sterile

This new sky still the same

white

sheet you might wrap around a child

separated from her parents.

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CHRISTY PARENT

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CALM ON CONCRETE


CONTRIBUTOR BIOGRAPHIES Aracelis González Asendorf was born in Cuba and raised in Florida. Her work has appeared in TriQuarterly, Kweli Journal, Puerto del Sol, South Atlantic Review, The Acentos Review, Litro, Saw Palm Journal, and Black Fox Literary Magazine. Her stories have been anthologized in All About Skin: Short Fiction by Women of Color and 100% Pure Florida Fiction. She has an MFA from the University of South Florida. Jake Bartman’s work has appeared in the minnesota review and elsewhere. Formerly a denizen of Portland, Oregon, he lives in Santa Fe. Gene Bushe has been engaged in fine art photography, mostly on a personal basis, for over thirty years. He was born in Brooklyn, New York, then lived in Berlin and San Francisco for many years before moving to Santa Fe in 1998. To learn more about his photography and process, please visit www.genebushe.com. Anna Challet is a graduate student living in Boston. Her grandmother, who this poem is about, lived at St. Vincent’s Orphanage in Santa Fe in the 1930s. A former journalist and English teacher, Anna is now studying speech language pathology. She was born and raised in San Francisco. This is her first published poem. Behzad Dayeny, born in Iran, is the director of Food Services at SFCC. His poetry explores the natural world, the human heart, and the ever-shifting nature of home. Sharon Franklet was born on the coast of Texas, and lives in rural northern New Mexico where, in eir favorite moments, ey sits and watches. Eir writing often focuses on resistance and submission to the forceful control of our bodies and lives, and sometimes on Earth-rooted beauty and joy. Elizabeth Geoghegan was born in New York, grew up in the Midwest, and lives in Rome. She is the author of the best-selling memoir The Marco Chronicles, Natural Disasters, and the story collection eightball. Her work has appeared in The Paris Review, The Best Travel Writing, El Pais, Words Without Borders, and elsewhere. Darlene Goering holds a bachelor’s degree in geology from Williams College and is a native New Yorker. She has worked as an environmental scientist for both the private sector and government. Her main writing interests lie in the fiction genre. Her short stories have been published in the SFCC Accolades magazine and in the Santa Fe Reporter. William Greenway’s Selected Poems won the 2014 FutureCycle Press Poetry Book of the Year Award. His tenth collection, Everywhere at Once (2008), won an Ohioana Poetry Book of the Santa Fe Literary Review

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Year Award, as did his eighth, Ascending Order (2003), both from the University of Akron Press. His publications include Poetry, American Poetry Review, Georgia Review, Southern Review, Poetry Northwest, Shenandoah, and Prairie Schooner. William lives in Ephrata, Pennsylvania. Pat Hastings has been taking writing classes at SFCC for the last two years after retiring from a long career as a psychotherapist and social worker. She won first place in the category of Adult Fiction in the Santa Fe New Mexican’s 2018 Pasatiempo Writing Contest. Pat lives in Santa Fe with her spouse, Coletta Reid, and their dog, Elfin. James Hena is a Native American writer from Tesuque Pueblo, New Mexico. This publication is a tribute to his Grandad. “Every Day” is Hena’s first published essay – and there’s more on the way. Find him on Instagram at @jameshena_2. Ashley Inguanta is a writer, artist, and educator. She is the author of three collections: The Way Home (Dancing Girl Press 2013), For the Woman Alone (Ampersand Books 2014), and Bomb (Ampersand Books 2016). Her work has also appeared in publications like The Rumpus and SmokeLong Quarterly, where she served as Art Director for five years. Her forthcoming collection, The Flower, is due out next year with Ampersand Books. Mariah Kavanaugh was born in 1997 in New Mexico. In 2018, she received her associate degree in Arts Photography at Santa Fe Community College, where she’d become fluent in Photoshop, film and digital photography, web design, and some American Sign Language. She has been a lifelong “4-H’er” and is now a 4-H leader. Mariah strives to show appreciation for her creator’s artistic work and present it to her viewers so they can face their own emotions. She currently works and lives in New Mexico. Photography has been a lifelong pursuit for Nan Keegan. Recently retired from Santa Fe Community College, she worked in Student Accessibility Services for fourteen years. Also, during that time, Nan earned her degree in Photography. She continues to take classes to take advantage of the excellent instruction and state-of-the-art facilities. Nan’s images have been published, displayed in many exhibits, and have received numerous awards. Manny Loley is ‘Áshįįhi, born for Tó Baazhní’ázhí; his maternal grandparents are the Tódích’íi’nii and his paternal grandparents are the Kinyaa’áanii. He received his Master of Fine Arts in Fiction from the Institute of American Indian Arts. His work has appeared in HIKA and Pollentongue: An Indigenous Poetry Salon and Reading, and is forthcoming in RED INK and a Navajo writers’ anthology from the University of Arizona Press.

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Gail McCormick is a Seattle writer and psychotherapist with Midwestern roots and a global heart. Her work has appeared in The Timberline Review, and she has published a book, Living With Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, Narratives of Coping. She is currently writing a memoir about a transformative kinship sparked to life by the nuclear explosion of Chernobyl with twin sisters and their extended family in the former Soviet Union. Jade McLellan is an avid reader, life-long writer, and ongoing student. Raised in New Mexico, she is often inspired by history and nature. When not dancing or nerding out about cheese, Jade can be found deep in a book, preferably with tea and her cat close by. Songwriter and dramatic writer Hugh Moffatt has had dozens of his songs recorded by artists ranging from Johnny Cash and Patti Page to Dolly Parton and Kesha. As a librettist, his four operas with composer Michael Ching have each had multiple productions. For three years Hugh produced the annual Pulp Friction 10-minute play festival in Nashville. He holds an MFA in Dramatic Writing from Spalding University’s Low Residency program. Learn more at www.hughmoffatt.com. Alyssa Murphy is currently based in Cincinnati. Her work has most recently appeared in Red Fez, Dual Coast Magazine, Downstate Story, and Spadina Literary Review. Sometimes she tries to blog at thelittlestlioness.wordpress.com. After teaching Western philosophy, mathematics and languages for forty years at St. John’s College in Santa Fe, Lynda Myers spent her first year of retirement as a visiting professor at Sun Yat Sen University in Guangzhou, China, traveling wide-eyed through China, Japan, Thailand, and Cambodia. Now returned home, she lives minutes from Santa Fe Community College, whose fine arts and creative writing programs stoke her creative fires. Tommy Orange is a graduate of the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts, where he now serves as a faculty member. He is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, and is the author of the novel There There, published in 2018 by Alfred A. Knopf. Tommy was born and raised in Oakland, California. Christy Parent’s immersion in photography began almost twenty years ago with documenting the everyday moments of life with her four children and soon branching out into product photography, then travel, food, portrait, and architectural photography. Based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Christy photographs every day. The unparalleled light and beauty of the region compels her to capture beauty in what she shoots, always looking for the light. Olivia Parent enjoys exploring all aspects of creative writing and is especially intrigued by the depths of poetry and wide world of fiction. Her inspirations come from the small details that make

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up life and her favorite things to write about are bones, beehives, sensual energy, and women. She has been writing for over three years now and is graduating high school with her associate degree with a focus in creative writing. Fredda S. Pearlson is enjoying her third career as a cardiovascular RN. Her poetry has appeared in The California Quarterly, The Wisconsin Review, The Centennial Review, Panoply, Helicon Nine, The Feminist Renaissance, Chrysalis, Stone Country, The Little Magazine, The Dolphin’s Arc: Poems on Endangered Creatures of the Sea, Connecticut River Review, Common Ground Review, Miramar, Bryant Literary Review, Earth’s Daughters, and Pinyon. Jillian Prendergast has spent the last ten years traveling, working in the outdoors, writing, and composting the days into what she hopes will be something of benefit. She resides now in New Mexico, where she writes and studies poetry and prose with the deeply gifted people of the high desert who have welcomed her in. Jillian is happiest writing from the road, covered in stories and dirt. Born in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Willy Bo Richardson received an MFA from Pratt Institute in 2000. His works hang in numerous collections, including The Albuquerque Museum, and have been included as part of prestigious retrospectives. Accolades include an exhibition of a body of watercolors at Phillips Auction House in New York. Willy was featured on the PBS weekly arts series ¡COLORES!, and was honored to be a SITE Santa Fe SPREAD finalist in 2014. Stephen R. Roberts collects books, geodes, gargoyles, poetic lariats, and various other objects of interest to enhance his basic perceptions of a chaotic planet that pays little attention to him, as far as he knows. He’s had poems published in Rain City Review, Sulfur River Review, Blackwater, Black River Review, Talking River, WaterStone, Riverrun, Connecticut River Review, and, to get away from all the moisture, Dry Creek Review. Andrea L. Rogers is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and a graduate of the Low Rez program at the Institute for American Indian Arts. At IAIA, she completed her short story collection Man Made Monsters, a meditation on love, loneliness, family, and monsters seen and unseen. She centers native people in this collection next to vampires, werewolves, zombies, aliens, ghosts, two handsome Princes, and a Goatboy. C.C. Russell has published poetry, fiction, and non-fiction here and there across the web and in print. You can find his words in such places as Split Lip Magazine,the Colorado Review, and the anthology Blood, Water, Wind, and Stone. He currently resides in Wyoming where he sometimes stares at the mountains when he should be writing. He can be found on Twitter @c_c_russell.

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Janet Ruth is an emeritus research ornithologist from Corrales, New Mexico. She has published scientific papers on bird ecology. Her writing focuses on connections to the natural world. She has recent poems in The Ekphrastic Review, Manzano Mountain Review, and regional anthologies including Poets Speak and Weaving the Terrain: 100-Word Southwestern Poems. In 2018, Janet published her first book, Feathered Dreams: Celebrating Birds in Poems, Stories & Images. Lisa Rutland was born Deaf to a hearing family that loved books, traveled, and, most importantly, supported her independence. Lisa has two hearing daughters who are bilingual/bicultural. Lisa graduated from Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., then backpacked through Europe to pursue her love for travel and languages. She is passionate about teaching American Sign Language and instilling an understanding of Deaf Culture at SFCC and beyond. Lisa lives in Santa Fe, where she enjoys hiking and sunflowers. Jane Sasser was born and raised on a farm in Fairview, North Carolina. Her poetry has appeared in JAMA, North American Review, The Sun, and other publications. The author of two poetry chapbooks, Recollecting the Snow (2008) and Itinerant (2009), she is retired from teaching high school English and creative writing. She lives in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, with her husband and rescue greyhounds. Matthew J. Spireng’s book Out of Body won the 2004 Bluestem Poetry Award and was published by Bluestem Press. His book What Focus Is was published by WordTech Communications in 2011. He is also the author of five chapbooks. He is an eight-time Pushcart Prize nominee and winner of The MacGuffin’s 23rd Annual Poet Hunt Contest in 2018, judged by Alberto Ríos, and the 2015 Common Ground Review poetry contest. Peter Stacey focuses upon landscape photography and portraits of birds and flowers. He is working on a book which combines photography and cultural/ecological history to tell the story of Indigenous and Hispanic farming communities in northern New Mexico. He has exhibited his work at the Red Dot Galley and at SITE Santa Fe. In 2018, he was made a SITE Scholar, meant to honor emerging visual artists in New Mexico. Tovah Strong comes from a small train town in New Mexico where rainstorms are precious and ravens build nests in sandstone crevices. A graduate of the Alpha Young Writers Workshop, she is currently studying creative writing at the Institute of American Indian Arts. Her poetry has previously appeared in Isacoustic* under the name T. M. Strong. George Such teaches academic writing at the University of Houston Downtown and Lee College. He recently completed a Ph.D. in English at University of Louisiana, a significant change from his previous incarnation as a chiropractor for twenty-seven years in Washington State.

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Max Talley was born in New York, has lived in New Mexico, and currently resides in California. Talley’s fiction and essays have appeared in Del Sol Review, Fiction Southeast, Gravel, Hofstra University - Windmill, Bridge Eight, Litro, and The Opiate. His novel, Yesterday We Forget Tomorrow, was published in 2014. Talley is a contributing editor to Santa Barbara Literary Journal. Nathan Whiting has performed dances in New York City and Japan. His work has appeared in Abraxas, American Poetry Review, Antioch Review, Denver Quarterly, Best American Poetry and other magazines. He has published ten books of poems. John Sibley Williams is the author of As One Fire Consumes Another (Orison Poetry Prize) and Skin Memory (Backwaters Prize). A fourteen-time Pushcart nominee and winner of various awards, John serves as editor of the Inflectionist Review. Publications include: Yale Review, Atlanta Review, Prairie Schooner, Massachusetts Review, and Third Coast. Michele Wolf is the author of Immersion; Conversations During Sleep, winner of the Anhinga Prize for Poetry; and the chapbook The Keeper of Light. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, The Hudson Review, North American Review, The Southern Review, and many other journals and anthologies, as well as on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily and Poets.org. A contributing editor for Poet Lore, she teaches at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Andrena Zawinski, born and raised in Pittsburgh, has made the San Francisco Bay Area her home. Her third and recently released full poetry collection is Landings, with poems that have received accolades for free verse, form, lyricism, spirituality, and social concern. Veteran teacher of writing and feminist activist, she founded and runs the San Francisco Bay Area Women’s Poetry Salon and is Features Editor at PoetryMagazine.com. John Zedolik is currently an adjunct English instructor at several universities in Pittsburgh. He has published poems in such journals as Aries, Ascent Aspirations (CAN), The Bangalore Review (IND), Orbis (UK), Transom, and in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He has a full-length collection forthcoming in July of 2019. His iPhone is his primary poetry notebook, and he hopes his use of technology in regard to this ancient art form continues to be fruitful.

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SUBMIT TO THE SANTA FE LITERARY REVIEW The Santa Fe Literary Review (SFLR) is published annually by the Santa Fe Community College. An in-print literary journal, SFLR features work by local, national, and international writers and artists. From June 1 to November 1 each year, we invite submissions of poetry, fiction, dramatic writing, and creative non-fiction, as well as visual art. SFLR aims to promote a diverse range of writers and artists, and to present a wide variety of stories, styles, and cultural perspectives. We’re especially committed to promoting voices that aren’t always empowered in the publishing world, so if you’re a writer of color, a female, LGBTQIA+, a disabled person, a nonbinary person, a trauma survivor, or anyone else frequently silenced or ignored by the modern media, please submit to SFLR. We care about sharing your voice with the world. We will open for submissions on June 1, 2019, and close on November 1, 2019. The 2019- 2020 SFLR theme is “The Spaces Between.” Writers and artists are invited to interpret the theme however they wish: literally, figuratively, metaphorically. Poetry, Prose, and Dramatic Writing Submission Guidelines: Only typed, previously unpublished submissions will be read by SFLR staff – kindly double-space prose and dramatic writing. Please include a cover letter with your name, mailing address, email address, and phone number. Kindly include, as well, a SASE – a self-addressed, stamped envelope – for our reply. For all genres, word limit is 2000 words; please include Word Count at top of submission. For dramatic writing and screenplay excerpts, SFLR recommends a limit of ten pages, and we ask that you submit a full-length piece or a standalone scene. We appreciate receiving submissions without folding or paper clips – staples are fine. Please address submissions to the SFLR editor you’re contacting: Fiction, Dramatic Writing, Poetry, or Creative Non-Fiction Editor. Then, mail or hand-deliver submissions to SFLR, 6401 Richards Avenue, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87508. Simultaneous submissions are okay, but we ask that you email sflr@sfcc.edu if your work is accepted elsewhere. Previously published submissions will not be considered by SFLR staff. Visual Art Submission Guidelines: We accept visual art submissions, including but not limited to graphic novel excerpts, photographs, visual photography, digital media, and photographs of produced art from any media. Aside from our cover, we’re only able to print in black and white, Santa Fe Literary Review

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As such, we ask that artists submit works in black and white or else ensure that their works will reproduce well in black and white before submitting. Kindly submit visual art submissions as emailed attachments in .jpg or .tif formats, at 300 dpi. In the body of your email, please include the title of your submission(s), the estimated dimensions, your full name and contact information, and a brief biographical statement. Visual art submissions should be emailed to sflrartsubmissions@gmail.com. SFLR contributors receive two copies of the magazine and are invited to read or showcase their work at the annual SFLR reception, hosted on campus each fall. The SFLR is dedicated to sharing the contributions of SFCC students, Santa Feans, and writers and artists from around the world. To learn more about SFLR, visit us online at https://www.sfcc.edu/santa-fe-literary-review/. Or, follow us on Facebook @SFLRSF and on Twitter @SFLR_.

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SUPPORT THE SANTA FE LITERARY REVIEW To support the Santa Fe Literary Review, consider making a donation. Your gift will help students and faculty members to continue creating, printing, and distributing this publication, and will empower writers and artists from Santa Fe and around the world to showcase important work. To donate by check: Checks should be made payable to “The SFCC Foundation – SFLR/ENGL Fund,” then mailed to: SFCC Foundation, 6401 Richards Avenue, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87508. Kindly write “SFLR/ENGL Fund” in the memo. To donate by credit card: Call (505) 428-1855 or visit https://www.sfcc.edu/give-now/. Be sure to indicate, over the phone or in the “Comments” section online, that you’d like your gift to be designated for the SFLR/ENGL fund. For other ideas about how to support the Santa Fe Literary Review, email sflr@sfcc.edu. We look forward to hearing from you!

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COVER IMAGE “Three Muses” by Willy Richardson Graphic Services and Printed by

DESIGN BY Jaime Bencomo

Profile for Santa Fe Community College

2019 Santa Fe Literary Review  

2019 Santa Fe Literary Review  

Profile for sfcc_pubs

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