SpringGun Issue 7

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SpringGun Press / editor@springgunpress.com Copyright 2012 SpringGun Press Contributors Cover: Joe Milazzo / http://www.slowstudies.net/jmilazzo Erin Costello, Derrick Mund, Mark Rockswold, Christopher Rosales EDITORS

SpringGun V4, N1

Poetry Alice Bolin • Four Poems • 1 Travis Cebula • Two Poems • 7 Elizabeth Gross • from Les Personages • 9 David Levine • After the Event • 12 Sara Renee Marshall • from AFFECTIONATELY... • 14 Alexandra Mattraw • Render • 18 Stephanie Schlaifer • Tender • 19 Paige Taggart • Five Poems • 28

Fiction Laney Arbelaez • With Abbey • 34 T.G. Hardy • The Prospect of Rigby • 49 Jason Joyce • Two Stories • 57 Jenni Moody • Traffic Jam • 63 NOTES • 67

Alice Bolin junk mail

They built a time capsule out of this shiny cardboard. It was red and mottled like the skin of an apple. They said it reminded them of home. Their homes, too, were ineffective time capsules. ... They were bored of the weather. It was always changing but nothing new ever happened. So they built a machine of copper spindles to put the wind in its place. The machine said And. And. ... And most wings were obsolete by that point. If you weren’t a very tiny bird, there was no point in growing them. ... Wings: the great equalizer. Wanted: for selling hookworms to minors. What was in the book? Just a bunch of names and phone numbers. When hollowed out, poison or car keys. ...


And they loved the library. They put their glasses on and stacked the books like stair steps. Then they could reach the highest air vents, where the women hid their junk. ... They were saving up. Receipts, breakfast apples, rubber wire, thermometers and fresh nickels. They collected everything in leather pouches for later. They collected the eggs the wind shook from the trees and cursed the weather. ... And? And? The nights slowed their mouths to a trickle. They put their glasses on and gaped at the big time capsule in the sky.


junk mail

I see inside your spelling. Alphabet magnets glob each other to a single peach-gray mass. I’m not sure you ever existed. Your friends can spell your name but they mispronounce it if they say it to themselves. ... I’m not sure you ever existed. Below my box, there is not necessarily anything. I consume figs and alarm clocks necessarily, for my own existence. ... Insistently. Reach your hand in for the secret prize. Dig around and you’ll feel it, the withering corner. It’s a kind of oasis of soft, foaming sand. The trains draw past at night and the pond water and the camels shimmer in the windows. ... I mean mirage. A kind of oasis. The camels are your fingers and later in the day they smell like peanut butter.


On my box is a list of ingredients. I picture it glistening like a sick child’s neck. Water, woodchips, plastic, plastic bones, real bones, river water, glass. Maybe others, more basic, like white, dark. It doesn’t matter anyway. ... Spell your name on the sides of time. Watch the letters melt and scramble until they spell again time, time, time, time. Time pronounces you, always correctly, time.



Your false hand on the tourniquet sullies everything. When you bled against your mother it was no honest death. Look. Your knotted heart. You in the hard wet. In the overgrowth, your husband rolls twig bark in his teeth when he wedges like a rash inside you. The goose with the rail neck lists a little, racks itself terribly in a wolf’s mouth— you both shudder fluids to contaminate the water. Admit it: these are not dancer’s legs. Your treasured skin is gray against the yellow water, so pollen stains your cheek with guilt. Dress the head wound with a clean and grateful palm. Say a thank you when the goose comes again at dinner, when the tremors take your mother. How could you. You speak death with good milk on your throat.



Teach me a house to fear losing. Teach me the worst that could happen. The ocean spilled through its floor and is currently undoing its own dimension. I spread myself between bedposts like a layer of window light—I try to value the space I take up. My husband used to persuade shadows into frightful shapes. If the island was true, how also was your mouth true? How was the headboard true where you loved me like a pressure, where sleep was a kind of pressure? Dinner speaks a brass hunger, the sound of eggshells ringing. I offer only a shrinking. A fear of flowering.


Travis Cebula

“with a pretty absence of ceremony�

my first attempts to travel through my own life fail. I set out, as all such ambassadors must, by slow train. or by tradition, depending on the ticket. rocking is my first mistake, and different. from trees a forest of books grows into my pocket. dendrology. I develop impressions of dead leaves at one a.m. and write them down. then days. thus the second mistake is a notebook. it grows by minutes into all the birds I fear. as the third and fourth mistakes are. pinfeathers. I craft such lists as I can devise or see, then cull them back to words. the fifth is. paper. and paper becomes reality only after notebooks because the future refuses to meet anyone who arrives bearing an object it can touch. it touches fear like a wind of starlings. the future flies this way, these many different ways into imagination. here, a particular dull imagination hides behind rows and rows of orange chairs. there, I have never had luck bypassing chairs. I have always been distracted by reflections. I struggle against chrome, but somehow there is always chrome. no matter. how I try to arrive, and this white door stays closed. I find myself staring into an empty aquarium. ah, but the seventh mistake is manufactured by someone else. their plastic fichus is greener than life. and this waiting room is much smaller than I expected. 7

“to be indeed porcelain, and along the face�

ponder this midnight, trapped in a mannequin factory. hung. because not every dream is allowed to be about hope. not every arm is allowed to grow, not every torso to live. some limbs are too hard. resin. they dangle from chains, they wait for paint. later, in a room filled with legs in racks, almost a third of them are oddly bent. it occurs to me that severed legs should be straight, it occurs to me that there are always more rooms to fill. echoes of suffering, and footsteps ahead. here are green eyes as well as blue; thirty seconds are far too short to choose a new head. and certainly too little to choose wisely. from such a scintillating gallery. and certainly no time for plastic hair. but there can be no arguing with clocks. they do not care. their numbers shine like hot blood in the sun, and tall, and diminishing with every subsequent discarded face.


Elizabeth Gross

from Les Personages after Louise Bourgeois

landscape is a language, too. in the mountains, I can mean as far as I can see, you can mean anything that moves, or the wind, some bees, the threat of an avalanche. I hear mountains still split the world into two shades of green where you are. likewise, here in the city, tall buildings split the world into two shades of gray. dualism is a language problem, but we can talk about it on the phone, imagining a line stretched out between us, two points plotted on a Cartesian grid (red and dotted as if stitched in). where we imagine meeting on the line, light falls flat-footed over everything equally, as it does in low places like home. distance is 9

a toy we made from folded paper—your choice: bird or airplane.


distance is a toy we made from folded paper—your choice: bird or airplane. let’s practice throwing it across an impossibly long dining room table, dressed with candelabras. let’s practice letting it catch fire. today feels like the kind of party you wish you could just wear the weather to, go invisible, because you don’t know what to wear but you don’t want to miss anything. does it feel the same way in the mountains? I know, I know, that’s impossible. you always know just what to wear. now, the sound of an orchestra tuning up is driving a truck around the neighborhood. I heard it first drifting away but then it doubled back. we are so ready. 11

David Levine After the Event

I. All of the flies in the cellophane west huddled new freedom license for accident a lonely story sees a highway a morning a morning a brick breathes another brick.


II. Sticking with wailing, I another word spoken to myself in the corner’s bright nostalgia. You, your storm cloud, catty lightning. The sunrise supposedly a method, a fist.

III. That half-ripe pear’s significance, cast in the shadow of your poor shadow.


Sara Renee Marshall


One name keeps polishing itself all over the place, and so what? And afterward? Enough starts sloughing. The last moans burrow deep in the yard. I even say something about noon’s ripe gold. That’s evidence: my blood unsleeved from laws, the lock unlocking promoted to music, bodied. So the month goes gray; call it a dent, not a commandment to what’s still upright. When the rain, rain. And what might pretty when drowned isn’t lost in the Willamette.


It’s thrift that pulled my blood in line. Thrift pushed the house to the edge of its wooden proxemics. But ducked in the burn in my periphery is the same frame over another range— a grain caught and threshed, fern undirected, my voice seized in the mesh of the microphone. The triggers won’t soften like a leash dropped in the hallway, your wet limbs in butter-soaked grass.


Let’s just say I cleared books off half my bed. I’m not rouged or slain or harp-plucked on the hilltop, but I don’t feel nothing. Here and there, Briscoe’s body skimming above the breach. I can be fucked and criminally distant in the woods; some call vacant what is the fling with a long-gone organ. Cracking limned your chair as chrysanthemums crown what still breathes. I’m thinking of a new religion dispassionately devoted to photographs, where the trick robs the bluff in your eye. That’s how we lived—between word and bond, every turn due dark.


Alexandra Mattraw Render

Mustard flowers wind sweep. Blind edge the coldest water measured two coasts. We walk sunlight confusing lily from eye from ocean; it’s difficult to see ends, but your camera an open mouth swinging. Winter orb reddens, you weren’t a stranger because sudden as rain, precipice a sea-cliff also opens artichoke leaves, rare winter glow. You name them and I see tiny bloom-arrows mustard stem into stem wanting. 17

Stephanie Schlaifer Tender

(originally appeared in Delmar)

You can see it from the boat— that it’s not the ocean; that it is a lake. the lake alone does not allow it— the gull caught stale in sail and rigging; feathers stick the anchor bend, the anchor fluke— the anchor’s digging end. The papers cannot say, of course: he is not survived; Teddy Hays is dead. no Princess slips, but Lady D— Ladies I and II.


I board the revised version, the second wife. a rented yacht, upholstered in the 80’s; has berbered walls— peach-pink, gray-green, the color taupe is. ***


You can see the shoreline from the deck—an ice cream vendor’s selling bottled water. Two girls empty one into the lake and stuff it full of limes and rum and sugar (mindful of their dresses): so much for a little Judith Leiber. Inside I hear they serve champagne. Champagne— why not, it is a wedding. ***


Helen’s husband bought a boat. She said —for fishing for when he comes home on the weekends. He asked her once A baby or a boat? —Boat, he said, for fishing on the weekends. She said she said I get to name it. What? He said, when they went fishing.


The Rough Draft—

She said, standing at the stern, —I’m pregnant. If he were not himself, he would be a fisherman. ***


The deck shows where the sound comes from: a Hasselblad of capping water, the pilings water beats and pins; the netting mossed and hairy as a lung, the logs all stemming starboard at the throat—Champagne!— the Lady cramps and nettles; someone mends a break, new paint— Champagne! —here’s to the sailors on the Dark Horse (To Ted) here’s to your classic schooner! The working rig. The boat’s boat. ***


What to write, the papers wrote. We were told there would be fireworks. Fireworks every Saturday shoot off Navy Pier. After all, this is a wedding—so far they have only handed out kazoos. I know, you were only hired for the night, But my date would like to know where you keep the lifejackets, and we would like to try them on. What people own the Last Man Standing? Yes. I see. And Sassy? Yes, I know you were— I cannot ask the sailors on the Dark Horse. What sort of people name these boats? 24

You have to be the one to tell us. Why it doesn’t— didn’t— won’t you Yes, I see

Ted hanged himself, I know

A plastic bag, rappelling line. I know.

You were only hired for the night.



The papers wrote. The ground is hard. Too, it kills you. The water stops and it is cold for digging. Hot for Tennessee in April. Even that far south. Flat drafts come in through his fireplace. Nuclear. No smoke. No, he didn’t— left his things out Had his things out —this is me— articles, how-to’s, CDs.

No he didn’t leave a—

*** 26

Something like this came for Helen. It got her rag rug easily; the tabletop. the sofa’s feet; puzzles and the tops of frames; nothing from the walls could stay. Nothing wasn’t clean. The shape and size of her, her shoes—the likeness of a woman, resting. Everything at rest is glass or iron; fists and matches. ropes and ropes.


Paige Taggart

from Still Places to Go

{} I have fucked a taboo and rang my head around its white philosophy. For clearly you are meant to critique the solitary pastures of no sky. And in it, what isn’t broken should be. There are ribbons turning quicksand into land. And momentum shifted is change underway. And a charged killing spree is the nuclei for depression. And widows. Widows can see when light breaks. And day takes over and the photo isn’t real.


{} Performance art has been performed with too many windows open. The viewer doesn’t truly exist. The actor isn’t acting. Realness is pleasure but also solitary for the elite who cast it that way. Where does a performance get off? How much light can you come in? There is another lying body on the floor and its outline couldn’t even be chalked. Fake letters stand in the way. For real floors are divided by four. Movement lacks necessity when it stands out as protocol. For eventually somebody gives in.


{} I had my chance for smears and the concept of structure and the rectification of fragmentation. Hid I did, under cockless cloud. I have no motive that isn’t a bell-shaped graph of female ideas. Feel it out and let pain eat you away. Truth is: headiness is over valued. Feel my pussy and you’ll feel me more. I move waters this way. My moon is only yours if you let it out. Natural history has everything to do with physical entropy. To grasp the dynamic is to truly understand meaning through a direct relationship to its referent. Body as art of installation.


{} I am spellbound by the candle of bringing old ligaments onto this train. To act as lights is an insensitive domain. I was purported to have been an August gravitational pull. Here the imaginary pleasure of the vacation scene goes bad, becoming obscene. It’s not pleasing to invite body parts that talk. Land plots triggered by anomaly. A theory of the deceased was the episode that took place both on and off camera, and when the guardrail let loose, the collapse still revealed no explanation. Ligaments on the train power the engine.


{} I still don’t believe in irony. A kind of cynicism in aerial view. Forget the proxy to an airplane, a bird, a hot air balloon. Nothing much changes when you voluntarily float. The landscape seems exceedingly expiatory. The sacrifice, also in the air, looms avantgarde denizens. Not much belongs here. A piano, a spider key, possibly me. Who knows. There is too much to be attentive to.


Laney Arbelaez With Abbey

You have three bruises on your inner thighs that are not from my hands, and they have begun to form a constellation on you. You have bruises on your legs and a scar on your hand now, so you are a relatively beaten up goddess.

You must be getting old.

The scar is from me, so I know what it looks like when I am the one who

has done the affecting of you, and it’s because of this that I know these days you like to fake it. Slipping out of your sweat pants, you jump under the sheets quick so I don’t see the marks. I can’t even remember the last time you were that eager to get into bed with me.



Laney Arbelaez

Lee’s screams wake the cats before they wake Abbey. The cats have

been sleeping at the foot of the bed, one nestled inside the other in a shape that resembles a crescent moon and its star companion. Both Boy and Girl lift their heads at once from their union of slumber. They look around as if investigating where the screams might be coming from. They dart their heads from the cracked door on one side of the room to the window on the other, every so often glancing up at the ceiling (they have always been under the impression that a creature hides inside the light fixture). While both cats’ ears are back, neither one runs under the bed. Instead, they remain in the warm spot between Abbey’s feet. Boy eventually decides the sound is no threat and rests his head. Girl, no longer curled in a ball but sitting upright and alert, remains on the defensive. She will stay awake until it stops.

Abbey is finally roused when the sound coming out of Lee makes its

transition from holler to moan. Because this has been happening every night for the past number of nights, nothing comes to mind when she wakes except to shake him to consciousness; it is the couple’s ritual. Abbey knows, even though she is only partially awake, that getting Lee to wake up will take some time.

“Babe babe babe,” she stammers. She is still mostly inside her own dream

while she struggles to get Lee out of his. Her eyes are still closed, and she can smell the faint scent of wet wood and dust inside the elementary school library she has been dreaming of. She remembers the look of the stacks, that she had been running her fingers along books just now, but cannot remember much else. 35

With Abbey

Lee’s moans get deeper and longer, so Abbey knows this must be the point

at which he is either dying or about to die in his dream. She knows all about these kinds of night terrors because she used to suffer from them as a teenager. The feel of a blade against your throat. Three men approaching you in an abandoned playground of darkness. And the worst part about these dreams is that you can never, ever move. You are frozen. She is anxious to pull him out of it.

“Baby, wake up!” Abbey is sitting upright now, the movement of her legs

having excited the cats. Both have disappeared under the bed.

She leans over Lee and shakes him for some time, which makes her more

conscious but fails to wake her boyfriend. The dusty library is gone from her, and in its place is a vague sense of fear at her situation. She feels alone in the darkness. It is clear to her that Lee is somewhere very far from her, and the idea of it, the idea of sleep and dreams and their cries frighten her. Lee’s cries frighten her.

Irritable and groggy, Abbey starts hitting Lee, pinching the meaty part

of his arm above the elbow, and with one long and final moan, he comes to. Even with the darkness of the room, Abbey can see the terror in his eyes when he wakes. It is the usual look of fear, but tonight it seems more desperate. His eyes are especially wide, filled with a terror she feels disconnected from. She imagines that his nightmare must have been of some different caliber than the ones she knows about. Perhaps he has seen a ghost.


Laney Arbelaez

“You ok?” she asks. “You were yelling so hard.”

“What?” Lee pulls his hand away from hers as if frightened by the touch.

He sits upright and moves his back against the headboard, away from her. “What happened?” He stares into the darkness.

“Nothing,” Abbey replies, turning on the light. “You were just having a


“Oh,” Lee mutters, confused. Abbey wonders if he even recognizes her.

With the light on, she can see that he is drenched with sweat. He stares

straight ahead and does not look at her. “What were you dreaming about?” she asks.

“I can’t remember.” He wipes the dark hair, wet with sweat, from in front

of his eyes as though being able to see might better help him recall his dream. “I can’t remember,” he says.



With Abbey

The nasty scar on your hand is from the time you accidentally pushed too

hard on the inside of a cheap wine glass while washing dishes: Leeeeeeeeeee! I cut myself Lee I cut myself I fucking cut myself! I came in yelling about how your hand was bleeding and not stopping, but you ignored me and wrapped a towel around your fist without even turning around to let me see the gash. Maybe you thought that if we didn’t see it then it wasn’t really there.

You looked down into the sink of broken glass, blood all over the counter,

and I didn’t even have to see the wound to get sick to my stomach. I held you, though, from the back, chin on your shoulder. I wanted to know that you were okay, but also hoped to god you wouldn’t move that towel away from your hand. The towel had been beige but was then turning red so I had to look away eventually.

I never saw the wound.

But you know I don’t do well in those kinds of situations. Emergency

ones, I mean, where someone has got to take control and make a phone call or pull a car up or come blasting down the hall with a first aid kit. But that day, I did want to take you to the Emergency Room, so I suppose I would not be too bad a father. Do you remember that I wanted to take you there and you refused to go? You said you had been there all day and would rather bleed to death than go back. I told you it wasn’t exactly a hospital you were in. You were very pale when you told me the two were pretty much the same. 38

Laney Arbelaez

When Abbey gets home from the clinic, she is still groggy from the drugs

the nurses had given her before the procedure. There were two of them, and both had been unnecessarily kind to her, asking more than once if she was comfortable or if she was feeling any pain. When she told them no, they still did not leave. The doctor had gone off to his office with some paperwork, allowing her to rest in her half-haziness. She was not advised to leave until she could sit upright on her own, he told her, and she listened. It would be about a half an hour, he told her, and the women stayed with her through it. One sat on the counter and the other stood with her back against it. Abbey watched them from her reclined position, and since she was high from the Twilight they had administered her, she allowed herself to wonder if they were mothers or not. The sitting one was, for sure. The sitting one who had squeezed her hand and smiled a fierce warmth at her when Abbey first arrived and told her she had a boyfriend waiting for her in the next room. Is that your man out there? the nurse had asked, and when Abbey told her it was, there was an expression of relief on the nurse’s face. It seemed to say no worries, then, you will be fine, and while Abbey was not so sure she agreed, it was a relief to have someone there concerned about her in the way her mother would have if she had known.

Abbey remembers the nurses while she sits on the couch with Lee for six

cigarettes staring into the television with a pillow across her stomach. Other than asking her if she was okay twice, Lee has not spoken since she met him in the waiting room. He looks at her every once in a while as if meaning to share 39

With Abbey

something but inevitably cowers each time, which Abbey expects, because that is just the sort of thing he would do in this situation. She wants to take the pillow on her lap and smother him with it. Maybe just this once just this once we could do without was exactly how he had said it. He had looked just like a spoiled child when he asked for it, and as if too tired or too lazy to argue, she agreed. But he was the one who had always wanted a child young. He would point out children and put his hand on her belly. He would say Baby, let’s have a baby, which was cute for Abbey so long as it was a joke. It did not stay a joke, though, because even when they tried the diaphragm he said he didn’t want to use it he said I don’t want there to be anything between us. And yet Abbey knows that everything will change starting today, that once her head is cleared and she is ready to talk, Lee will undoubtedly understand where she is coming from. He loves her, that is for sure, and while he might be disappointed in her for having not wanted this for them, there will be another time where things will be done right, where things will be different, where they will both be on the same page. She will never want anyone but him to share that sort of thing with her.

After a long time of quiet, Abbey lights a final cigarette and walks into the

kitchen to do some dishes. Today she is more ready than she has ever been to change something she hates about herself, and as a twenty-one year old woman smoking up to two packs a day, she sees quitting as the perfect opportunity to do just that. Abbey is sure that this will be the last cigarette of her life. The same way she is sure she didn’t want the thing growing inside her, the same way she is sure that telling her mother would have been a mistake. 40

Laney Arbelaez

Her mother would never have scolded her or made her feel guilty about her decision, that she knows, and she certainly would never have attempted at swaying her in the other direction the way Lee’s mother most definitely would have. Abbey’s mother is a caliber of woman who believes deeply in choice and in freedom, and yet Abbey will never tell her about today, because that would mean admitting to her own weakness. It would mean failure in the department that her mother has so mastered in every life choice she has ever made and ever taught her daughter to make: that tricky and so often convoluted department of Strong Womanhood. Even if her mother never acknowledged this failure with Abbey—through a look or a word or even a touch, the way an ordinary mother would—Abbey would know in her heart that she would never be able to see her daughter in the same light again. The truth is that the only thought Abbey cannot bear more than giving birth to a child in nine months is the thought of her mother’s disappointment at her having chosen not to.

It is her own weakness of character, afterall, that caused this whole mess,

so she cannot allow for any weakness in herself anymore, especially when it comes to smoking, which her mother has been adamantly against ever since her daughter started at sixteen. Abbey’s mother has always viewed it as a direct damage she chooses to continually inflict upon herself – and with joy! She is a bit dramatic in this regard, often referring to the act of smoking cigarettes as a form of “cutting,” an indication that someone is, perhaps, “screaming on the inside.” Once, Abbey and her mother were out to dinner with family friends and had fallen into a conversation about habits and how 41

With Abbey

they form. The table had been through three bottles of wine between the four of them when Abbey’s mother said, in reference to her daughter’s unbreakable tendency of biting her nails, With Abbey, you never really know why she does the things she does. It was the single most wounding sentence her mother had ever uttered in her direction. Abbey wasn’t even completely sure of what it meant, but it stung her in such a way that kept her from ever asking for clarification.



Laney Arbelaez

You bite my bottom lip, my top lip, and then you arch your back. You

run your hand along my face and I kiss the scar on your knuckle. You dig your fingernails into my hair, pulling at the bulk of it, the bulk of me. A bulk of me down there and now I am in your hands. You push the back of your head into the mattress so you can feel the stretch of your neck and all the other muscles throughout you. And then I am throughout you, too. Your legs are wrapped around me tightly and some of your hair is caught under one of my elbows. Don’t worry, I won’t move my elbow. Then you look at me for a long time, and I know this is going to be one of those mornings when a tear runs down your face while we do it and you think I don’t notice. When I grow tired and want to rest, I will put my face into your shoulder and let you do the work. You know this about me, and I know you’re always waiting your turn.

But you finish before the tear comes, before I finish, before I can take my

downtime in my sacred nook that is a part of your body. After you come, you fake tenderness with the soft push that allows my body to drop, slimy, at your side, and it is at that moment that I can confirm what I’ve been thinking about those bruises on your legs. I can confirm it because I’ve never seen you see my body that way before. Slimy, I mean.

When you turn over, my legs are still intertwined with yours, and as you

twist yourself and break free of me, I wonder if you were ever there at all.

There are a few things I know for sure about us: (a) You bruise easy/

when you get cut you bleed a lot, and (b) I am made of something different than you. 43

With Abbey

I also know that if I had a dime for every bad dream you gave me, I

would be a wealthy man and then if you kept giving them to me and kept giving them to me and kept giving them to me for the rest of our lives we could actually have the next one because I’d be making a hell of a living.

There are a number of reasons why I wake up in the middle of the night

and find you not there I know there are probably a million different reasons and perhaps one of them is that you are texting him in the dark somewhere another is that maybe you can’t stand the feel of my skin on you anymore and another is that maybe it’s both reasons at once.



Laney Arbelaez

Abbey is no longer feeling the effects of the Twilight when she starts

cleaning the dishes, but it has been an emotional day, and some other form of haze has taken over. She is disoriented and alone with Lee in the next room watching sitcoms, and for a few moments she basks in her loneliness. She wipes her sponge in soft circles around the rim of each glass with a rhythm. She takes the dish soap and squirts it along the insides, then drops the sponge and feels the suds with her fingers. When she gets to the wine glass, she does not put soap in it. Instead, she holds it up while it is still dirty so she can see the lip mark from the pink balm that was on her lips when she drank from it. She wipes the mark with her soapy fingers, feeling the thinness of the glass. She imagines herself as an old woman doing dishes in an old, rundown house with a twenty-three year old son in the living room watching daytime television.

Without fully realizing what she is doing, Abbey puts her right hand in

a fist and pushes down into the bottom of the wine glass as hard as she can. When she does this, the top breaks into some pieces leaving a stem with sharp, jagged petals in her left hand. She pushes the glass flower into the knuckles of her right one. When the blood starts to come, she does not stop pushing because there is no pain there. It is not until the blood has covered the dishes inside the sink and the water is running with it that she starts to feel it.

“Leeeeeeeeeeee!” Abbey yells. “I stabbed myself Lee I stabbed myself I

fucking stabbed myself!”

“Oh my god, what happened?” Lee asks, running into the kitchen. “What

did you do?” 45

With Abbey

“It’s fine,” she replies, grabbing a towel. “I’ve got something for it. Just

please go get me a cigarette from the living room.”


In the dream, you are always a girl of four years old. You are bright and

cheerful and in yellow clothes that match your yellow hair and you bounce around the playground like a star that has been dropped by the sky on purpose. You are the child from the photographs in your mother’s living room. You are that child, but with more color in you. And I watch you…Is it you? You? You. You, in and out of the monkey bars… Flash!... appearing and reappearing for me as I tilt my head to the left and then the right of the tire swing so I can see you in just the right way before you vanish again behind the rubber. I sit cross-legged in the sand there, fumbling awkwardly with the tube. I am a child, too. I want to touch your little porcelain arm with my fingers or my cheeks, so at times I stop the swing from moving and hold it against my face for a moment so I can feel you there. The tire swing feels like you because in the dream, it is from behind it that I watch you. It is my only way of getting at you.


Laney Arbelaez

In my hands, the rubber feels exquisitely shapeable, so I squeeze it until

the muscles in my fingers get sore. I scrape on it something indecipherable: AbbeyAbbeyAbbeyAbbeyAbbeyAbbeyAbbeyAbbeyAbbeyAbbeyAbbey


looks like nothing, since I am writing each letter over the last one). I let the grit get beneath my nails. Where it hangs in the playground, the swing is warmed by the sun. The heat of its surface against my skin is constant.

More often than not, you stop your running suddenly between two poles

and place your little hands on them (no matter how many times this recurs, I never expect it). You glare at me then through the chain links that both divide us and connect us and you stick your tongue out at me. You stand with your legs spread wide apart, tummy protruding, sneakers turned in with the fronts of them pushed deep into sand. You are wearing the shirt with the big fat sunflowers on it, the one you got angry with your mother for giving away. You said you had wanted to save it for your daughter.

No more flashes, but your eyes are on me so I feel fragile still. You stay

put and look me over.

This feels like it lasts for hours.

Hey! What you staring at? is the sort of thing you holler at me then,

when I find you stopping short between the two jungle gym bars and glaring at me for an entire afternoon. What you looking at, I said! It is the expression on your face when you say this—that animated one I know so well, the one where you are poking fun at me because you love me more than anyone in the world—that immediately plants the seed. The seed is the promise that at any 47

With Abbey

moment you will morph back into you-as-you, and that the you-as-child will be gone for good. This excites me, as do your eyes, which seem to be telling me that this world where we are separate is not real.

By summoning me, you are turning me brave.

It is always at this moment that I realize I am dreaming, and want to

have a little fun. I want to get up from behind the tire, which is now making me feel more like a coward than a voyeur. I want to conjure out of me the guts to scream back at you something silly—I want to say that you remind me of a star!—because I know this will change you back to the woman I know. But I never can, because the little girl behind you who is you only with dark hair is calling your name from the top of the slide and, just like that, you are away from me again.

When you turn to make your way toward the slide, I sink into the sand

and I wake.


T.G. Hardy

The Prospect of Rigby

Her face was the first thing I remember seeing when I came to after the accident: ethereal in the glow of the red night lights, that of a nurse from a Battle of Britain movie, bedside with the RAF pilot who is bandaged head to toe and in traction. I was wrapped and trussed like that, but I was hardly a romantic hero, and though she looked relieved when I opened my eyes and spoke to her, there was none of the adoration that I so desperately needed. Maybe it was the painkillers, maybe it was turning thirty and wanting to be someone a woman like her couldn’t live without.

I didn’t remember the accident but what happened was clear enough. I

had set out to ski Corbet’s Couloir, the 50-degree drop through a narrow chute just below the headwall at the top of the aerial tram. Later I would read the frontpage article in the Jackson Hole News & Review with the photograph of me: limbs and skis spread-eagled, taken from far above in the tram. I looked like a tick on a white duvet comforter. The tenor of the article was derogatory —“another thrill-seeker, this time a young natural gas attorney from Denver, fails his final exam on Corbet’s.” The guide service, to defend itself, had told the reporter that I was a competent skier and in great condition—that I had done Saudan at Whistler numerous times, and that I was a Marine combat veteran who had gone through Seal training.

I was fairly certain that the nurse thought that I was a frivolous egotist,

for I felt so myself. Desperate to make a connection with her, I asked her what she thought of me. She said she had given me no thought, except that I should have to pay the county for the expense of my rescue. I asked if she’d feel 49

different if I were local, and she said it didn’t make a bit of difference. So I said I had to agree with her on the matter of restitution, but coming from “away,” I probably sounded more cash-rich than contrite.

She was from central Montana, raised on a ranch up against the Dry

Range, so I played Ian Tyson out loud on my iPod, but she’d never heard of him. I had read in some magazine that Ian was the genuine article: the cowboy troubadour, the sounds you’d hear in the bunkhouse. Oh well.

When the ambulance brought me in I’d had one of those wrist ID bracelets

on, so they had some contact information. Still, only one of the three telephone numbers on it raised anyone: one was my firm, which was closed for the holidays; another was my father, who was at sea in the Sydney-Hobart race; the last was Gram, and she right away drove over from Idaho Falls in her pickup. She got a room at the Super 8, but spent most of her time by my bed. Sometime during my recovery, it occurred to me that I got the order wrong on that bracelet—Gram was the only one who cared and the only one who mattered.

As soon as she thought I was well enough, Gram started asking me ques-

tions on the matter of selling the farm in Rigby. She was living in town now and Simplot was farming it, but some ranch broker from Bozeman had someone who wanted the riverside sections, would buy it all if necessary. She had once gone to a meeting of The Henry’s Fork Foundation with Granddad where conservation easements were discussed. This was not my area of the law, but she climbed up on the bed and the two of us got on my laptop and got smart 50

T.G. Hardy

about it.

One night when Gram and I were on the bed like this, she whispered,

“Reflection . . . in the window.” I looked up from the screen. In the window across from the foot of the bed was the reflection of our faces illuminated by the glow of the laptop, and behind us, in the doorway, was the nurse silhouetted against the hall lights. Her arms were crossed and she was leaning against the doorframe. I turned toward her, but she was gone.

Around the time I started physical therapy, Gram quit the Super 8

and went back home. But she’d still drive over to the hospital a couple times a week to share her deviled eggs with me. She laid out a plan for my future: as to the farm, I would buy out my mother’s sister for a price Gram would determine, and she would finance me. I would set up practice in Rigby and live in the house where Mom grew up, on the bluff where we’d spread hers and Granddad’s ashes. She saw that the idea had some appeal to me and pressed her case. “Maybe you could recruit a sure-handed young lady like that nurse to keep you company and out of harm’s way.”

“Her family runs cattle. What would she want with a spud farmer?”

“Rubbish. That sort of thinking went out long ago. Your ideas are right

out of the cowboy movies. If she, or any other girl, would have a problem with you, it’d be your city ways and you being a lawyer, but you could rid yourself of the bad parts of that if you put your mind to it. Then she’d have to trust that you’re not one of those easy-come, easy-go, officer-and-gentleman types.” She stood to leave, patted my hand. “Piece of advice for you, Ace: talk 51

The Prospect of Rigby

less—way less in your case—and say more.”

The nurse still had a major hold on me, so I tried dialing it back and

it helped. In fact, we had some fine moments together. But as the time approached for me to leave the hospital she seemed to pull back. All she said when I left was, “Enjoyed your company . . . take care of yourself.” Just gave my arm a quick squeeze. It gave me a shiver—it was like “bless you on the rest of your journey”—like I wasn’t coming back, or if I did she wouldn’t be around. *

It’s April now and I’m back up to fish before run-off. Right away I tracked

her down, asking if we could get together. She was polite about it, but it was a bad week. “Maybe next time,” she said. I gave her my number, said I wasn’t going to stalk her, but that I’d be around for a while.

Two days later I was wading some private water south of Wilson when

she called and left a message: I should meet her in the parking lot at Smith’s at 6:00 PM. She’d be driving a white F-150 pulling a drift boat. I should wear jeans and boots, or sturdy shoes, not flip-flops. No need to RSVP—she needed to stop at Smith’s anyway, for gas and to leave the boat trailer in the lot. I didn’t know she had a boat. My grandparents’ place is near the Menan takeout. She would have known Rigby when I mentioned it in the hospital. She 52

T.G. Hardy

never let on. *

She drives and we make small talk. She admits she got to know Gram.

“Nice lady,” she says, “probably the reason you’re sitting in that seat today.” That doesn’t surprise or offend me, but she turns on the radio, pretty loud and tuned to the wrong station and I give up talking and will myself to stay positive. Still, by the time we take the left at Hoback Junction, I’ve bled off the romantic head of steam I built up all afternoon. Maybe she is just too big a project. Oddly I feel better, having shrugged off the outcome, the silence now comfortable. I study the Hoback: no holding spots for fish in this straight chute. Postcard-pretty though.

Maybe ten minutes pass and she pulls in at a gravel turnout on the left,

close to the river. There is a flatbed semi parked under the cottonwoods next to the bank, loaded high with baled hay covered with translucent tarps. We park off to the side and get out. She hands me an old-fashioned medical valise, lowers the tailgate and drops a pair of her sandals on the ground underneath.

The driver of the truck climbs down from his cab and nods at her. He is a

tall, rangy young guy with a lantern jaw, not bad looking, dressed like a rodeo cowboy.

“Cade,” she says, not real friendly.


The Prospect of Rigby

He looks at me, and she explains, “Here to help.”

“No need now. Made some improvements—put in a trap door.”

“Show us,” she says. “Then you can stay in the cab—looks better that

way.” He doesn’t object.

We crawl under the truck. He bangs some toggles open with a crowbar

and a hatch hinges down. He stands up in the opening, then squats in place pulling down a garbage bag, bits of straw falling on him. He pushes a jug of bottled water, a bucket of KFC, and the medical bag overhead through the opening. He stands again, his legs twisting in front of us like he’s moving things around up there, then he squats and moves aside. With a sweep of his palm he motions us to climb aboard, a gesture that strikes me as theatrical, mocking us. I wonder what their connection is.

She hoists herself up on her bottom and clears the opening. I arrow my

arms through the hatch and stand. The smell of fried chicken is otherworldly. My eyes adjust: I am standing in the middle of a small crypt hollowed in the bales, narrow, about three feet wide and seven feet long. There is four feet of headroom—two bales high, the roof a sheet of plywood. Rip-sawed in the plywood is a skylight of sorts, for light and ventilation. It is comfortable, the temperature, but the space feels close, crowded. Behind me the nurse is attending to a small child under the skylight. Forward, practically in my face, a Hispanic couple huddle with their daughter. The girl is maybe six, more handsome than her parents, too pretty and formal in her yellow dress, like she’s dressed for mass. The man, my age I guess, looks bone-deep weary, his 54

T.G. Hardy

eyes sad. The mother and daughter hug their knees, staring at me without expression, their cheeks moist from tears.

I hoist my butt up next to the nurse. I will have to twist to help her; there

isn’t space to pivot. The patient is a sloe-eyed boy, about four. He has a ripe boil the diameter of a beer can on his thigh, a roundel with a yellow shirt button of pus at its center, a plumb-colored circle around that, fading red-to-pink on the perimeter—like the national insignia on a vintage European warplane.

She cleans the boy’s leg, unsheathes the disposable scalpel and lances

the center of the wound. I hold a spongy absorbent pad against the wound to soak up the pus, while she lays out materials for dressing the wound. I go through three of these blotters and begin to feel light-headed, afraid I might faint. Just then the boy squeezes my wrist and we make eye contact, and then I’m steady again.

She dresses the wound and wraps the tape clear around the thigh, using

plenty of it. “How’s your Spanish?” she says. “Mine’s sketchy.”

“Better than that,” I say, and start translating her instructions, as one-by-

one she puts dressings, ointment and sample antibiotic capsules in a shopping bag. She opens a packet of sterile wipes and demonstrates their use. I do the same and she has me emphasize the need to use them, that the infection is contagious. She takes over then: asks in Spanish where their people are, then tells them it will be after midnight when they get there, and that the boy will be okay. They beam then, noisily grateful, and she shushes them and exits without ceremony through the trap. I wish them a safe journey and the 55

The Prospect of Rigby

enjoyment of the pollo frito, then drop through the opening myself.

The two of us huddle underneath the truck bed and peer out through the

banks of tires, scanning the area: the coast is clear. We crawl out from under and she rousts the driver. They talk and he tries to give her some cash, but she waves it away with an angry look. He just shrugs and crawls underneath. I hear him toggle the hatch. *

We are at the river’s edge, scrubbing down, when I hear the rig pull

out. We stand together, drying our hands and forearms. She studies my face intently, hers hard for me to read.

“What?” I say.

“You okay?”

I don’t know where to start. I want to tell her she just takes my breath

away, more even than before; that I’m nearly there about Rigby. And there are questions about today—I am an attorney after all. But I swallow all this, and again, like on the trip down, it feels right and natural—elemental: talk less and say more.

I kiss her on the hair. She makes the sign of the cross with her thumb on

my forehead, leans against my chest. I listen to the water. That water will be slipping right by the farm, in what, three or four days? 56

Jason Joyce Goblin Walk

The morning the wildlife came into the house was the day I lost my car keys. There was a stack of fish on wood plaques next to the toilet. There was a bobcat under the table. Around mid-afternoon my wallet disappeared too.

I asked her why couldn’t she put the fish near the fridge’s water

dispenser or behind the washer in the laundry room. She said that made little sense. She said this is why we can’t have nice things.

Each time we get back together, the eccentricities escalate. Last time

it was refinishing all of my furniture to match the coffee table she owned. This time it’s an ad posted online asking for old, unwanted taxidermy. The creatures will give the new apartment we are looking for a natural, earthy ambiance. “Back to the basics,” as she likes to put it.

I remember being thirteen years old and spending the night at my

friend’s house. His parents went out for the evening and left us with pizza money, Scream, and a PlayStation game we picked out from Blockbuster. They said, “Don’t tell your mom we are leaving you two alone.” It was the night we decided the house was haunted. Two teen sleuths in sleepover clothes.

That same night the neighbor woman threw a metal sprinkler through

her front window as the sun went down. It was small and shiny and spun like a throwing star or an out of control Ferris wheel, off its hinges, pin wheeling through town.

There had been something off about the moon that night too. Like a

couple switching sides of the bed, it was restless. It had a vague tingle, like words that lead to breathy kissing. Or maybe it was too yellow. 57

For half an hour the neighbor woman had stared at the shattered living

room window. She rocked up onto the balls of her feet once and a while to peer inside at the mess. I remember thinking of the sprinkler as a tiny ship anchor, but then realized it’d make more sense if the sun-bleached hose was attached.

When the neighbor woman’s husband had come home and the shouting

began, my friend asked me to turn off the porch light. He would close the garage door. “If we split up we’ll cover more ground,” he had said. Later, from his bedroom window, we listened silently, holding dim flashlights.

She says that there are still some animals in her backseat and in the trunk.

She tells me there are also some waiting on the curb in a large plastic bin that people have dropped off. It’s nice to see people following specific instructions.

She’s the type of person who could be your parents’ best friend. And

if we were one of those British bands she listens to on vinyl, we’d be called The Healing Itch. Fuzzy and ready for the world again, but still bearing this barely-there pink reminder of where we’ve been.

Each night before we fall asleep in my bed, we talk about what we hope

our new apartment will look like. I want big windows. She wants a puffy white chair. And she nods off like this, rattling off other easily stained items, using her fingers to trace the burn marks on my hands from birthday cakes past.

Last night I dreamed we went to an air show in the forest. We stumbled

about. We were wearing dress clothes. Our fancy shoes made us walk like goblins. I pulled on her hand. Hurry, I said, we’re losing ground. We can’t miss the start. 58

This Was Before Things Had Gotten Out of Hand

“Hi David, I just wanted to follow up about the yard. I imagine you’re real busy so would it be helpful if I try to find someone that can come cut the grass? Or should I look into renting equipment for us to do it?”

Valerie is leaving a voice message for the landlord while Josiah sits

beside her on the front porch. He is proud of the bench they refinished together. Though if he knew that Valerie would continue to rub out her cigarettes on the wooden slats, he would probably not have agreed to the project in the first place.

When he was still able to go to work he had to change out of his dress

pants before joining her outside on the bench. It only took going into the big box electronic store on two different occasions unknowingly wearing primitive cave drawings to become protective of his khakis. This was before undergrowth began climbing the concrete walls surrounding their off-thestreet house.

“Hi David, I was worried that you may not have received my voicemail

last week so I wanted to call again about the lawn. Josiah and I have been taking turns calling in sick to work as we can barely make it to the front gate. And when we do, it is nearly time to come back home for lunch. But anyway, if you can give me call we can hopefully figure this mess out before the weekend.”

A few years back, celebrating Cinco de Mayo, they had been at a co-

worker of Valerie’s house. Everyone was sloppy drunk. Josiah found Valerie on the back deck wearing fake sunglasses in the shape of beer mugs. Her breath reeked when she opened her mouth to talk. It was a bear waking from 59

hibernation after eating only shrimp marinara pasta.

At that moment, feeling peculiar, Josiah wanted to gather her

up. Not simply into his arms, but gather her wholly then squeeze and squeeze until all of Valerie had been absorbed into him and he radiated, smelling of Herbal Essence shampoo and an impeccable taste for interior design. Or squeeze until her body fell gasping to the ground.

“David, it’s Val over at the Dolores Street property. If you’re still upset

about the dogs and this is why you’re not returning my calls, you’ll be happy to know we are down to only two of them. Something appears to be living out in the yard and has been eating them one by one. They go out into the grass to do their business and don’t come back. We are afraid that whatever is living out there might come for us next. I’m sorry if I’m being dramatic, but we really need to get this yard taken care of. Ok, well hope to hear from you soon. Thanks, bye.”

It will always be Valerie, never “Val” to Josiah. He cannot bring himself

to possibly one day marry a “Val”.

“Hi, it’s Valerie again. Still haven’t heard back or seen a gardener at the

house. Fortunately we called the Korean take-out place down the block and they figured out a way to deliver us food using a system of kites and small cloth parachutes. Though I don’t know how many more days we can eat Karate Chop Chicken and Black Dragon Rice. Please call me back before tonight.”

This particular night Valerie is wearing an alarming red shade of lipstick.

Rescue planes could fly right down her throat. She thinks it’s what Josiah 60

Jason Joyce

wants. Aren’t I beautiful and desirable? Don’t you want to take me to bed?

They tried anal once. They did the things they thought they should. She

brings him home Subway every now and again, remembering everything he likes on his sandwich without prompting. She pays attention. And it is better than being alone.

“Mom, you can’t even imagine! I’m going to take a picture and send it

to you. It’s totally like Jumanji out there. Ok yeah, I’ll send you a picture and then call you back.”

Of course she would make that reference. He knew it before the synapses

connected, before she said the words. And this makes Josiah want to walk out into the churning grass and lie down. A flightless, splayed fool in a nest determined to build itself. An offering to the crawling vines and crab grass, hoping they lay claim and burst him apart within the hour.

“David, I’m not sure how many more times I can try to get a hold of you

about this yard situation. We are unable to pay the phone bill because we can no longer reach the mailbox, much less find it.”

The legs on Josiah’s khakis have been cut off above his knees. That way

there will be less chance of something snaring the loose material and pulling him down when he goes into the yard. He is cinching up Valerie’s old college backpack.

News came yesterday that the doctor’s found prostate cancer in

her uncle. It silently crept into his bones, his lungs, and his throat on all those days he was sleeping in. He had become a father figure after Valerie’s 61

This Was Before Things Had Gotten Out of Hand

dad was killed in a railroad accident.

Once Josiah makes it out of the yard he plans to go to the grocer down

the block for a small chocolate cake with white frosting, then across the street to rent a movie. Probably The Nutty Professor or Austin Powers. Something with people playing multiple roles. Hopefully, he will return before Valerie wakes. Or at least before she notices that he is gone.


Jenni Moody Traffic Jam

We’re stuck in the middle of the pavement. Just Scott and me. He’s got his work badge still on, and that stressed out, not quite there edge to his side of the conversation that comes from being five minutes out of the plant. We’ve just got the one car. Well, the truck. So we have to make do. It’s nearing 9:30 and we haven’t eaten dinner yet.

There was some event at the civic center, and we’re stuck in the road, in

between it and the parking deck. Awash in a sea of people. The truck’s still turned on, the headlights pointed at the crowd in case there’s a break somewhere that I can push through. A little kid drops his basket ball, runs to pick it up, and his mother screams as he stands there in front of my headlights. She grabs his arm and pulls him to the sidewalk.

I look over to my left, and there’s still a wave of people coming out of

the civic center. I push the gear into park and let my foot off the pedal. In my purse there’s an energy bar, and I offer it to Scott. He sits there chewing at it, quiet.

There’s a bump at the back of the car, and some old guy with a half drunk

plastic cup of beer holds his hand up and nods. Then someone pulls him back into the crowd, out of the range of the taillights.

“Zombies,” Scott says. “Fucking zombies.”

“They’re not.”

It’s spring. Tornado season. The weather keeps getting warm and then

going cold again all of a sudden. You can tell it in people’s clothes. Some people have bare legs and sandals on, and they’re shivering, rushing to get to 63

their cars.

“Just start moving. They’ll get out of the way.”

“No they won’t. They’re deer.”

I inch forward and the five people in front of the truck stop and stare at

us. I motion through the window. Sorry! Proceed.

Scott laughs and a hunk of the energy bar falls out of his mouth onto the

floor. He picks it up, rolls down the window, and throws it out.

They’re still coming out of the civic center. Droves of them. In the sky

there’s a high up lightning, and it makes them quicken their pace a bit.

“If they were zombies. Would you run them over?”

Scott takes a minute to think.

“If they were zombies, they’d probably be coming after our brains, and

we wouldn’t have time for a conversation like this.”

“But what if they weren’t all fast and mean.”

The exodus continues in front of us. There are more cars trapped behind

the lines of people. They’re beginning to honk their horns.

“What if they were slow, and sad?”

He finishes up his energy bar, rolls up the bit of wrapping and puts it in

his pocket.

“They’d still want our flesh.”

A big rumble goes through the engine. It does that sometimes, when

we’ve been sitting at a stop light too long. The people in front look up at us, as if we’re honking the horn. Scott’s getting testy. I watch the line of people, 64

Jenni Moody

looking for a space big enough to fit through.

I think of my father in his suit. The line of people who knew him, but

who didn’t know me. All of their hands passing in and out of mine.

There’s a splash of beer on the windshield, and a Thock! The plastic cup

stays wedged in between the windshield and the wiper blades. I can smell the yeast, woken by the warmth of a hand.

Scott’s got the door to the truck open before I can grab his arm, but he

doesn’t step out. He stands on the floorboard and pushes with his left hand on the roof of the truck, his body in between the open door and the rest of the car.

“Hey!” Scott yells.

The guy who threw the beer has his baseball cap turned sideways. He

flips us off.

“Rachel,” Scott ducks inside the cab and pulls an empty beer bottle from

underneath the seat.

The line of people is already beginning to break. They stand in the

median, beneath the cherry trees just coming into blossom, waiting to see what happens.

I rev the engine, shift back into drive, and look up at Scott.

“Let’s go,” he says.

We peel out. In my side vision I can see the cock and release of Scott’s

arm, and in the rear view mirror the guy in the sideways hat pitches forward, shoulder first, onto the pavement. His buddies run after us, but they give up 65

Traffic Jam

before we hit the end of the street.

At home the potatoes were colder than they should have been, but Scott

was in too good of a mood to complain.

When the sirens went off they started in the mountains. Then the ones

in the valley kicked in, and they wound in and out of each other. Meeting. Rising. Breaking apart. A long, discordant sound that spun in the air.

From the kitchen I could see Scott in the yard, illuminated with the

flashes. I pulled out the candles and put the lighter in my pocket. The weather radio snapped on. Flat, piercing beeps.

My hands worked at the dishes. I thought about the zombies, the ones in

the movies and the ones coming out of the civic center. My father was always there with them, with a blade in his hand, trying to cut his eyes open. Scott was there, too. His jeans patterned with dirt and chemicals from the plant. He kept his eyes on me as he made his slow, steady shuffle towards the truck.

I rocked onto the ball of my right foot and pressed down hard.



Laney Arbelaez received her MFA in Creative Writing at The New School University in 2011. Her work has since appeared in The South Mountain Review. Alice Bolin’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Ninth Letter, FIELD, Blackbird, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and Washington Square, among other journals. Her essays are featured regularly on publications around the internet such as This Recording and the Paris Review Daily. She lives in Missoula, Montana. Travis Cebula lives and creates in Maryland, where he teaches creative writing and publishes chapbooks under the imprint, Shadow Mountain Press. His poems, essays, stories, and photographs have appeared internationally in various print and on-line journals. He is the author of five chapbooks and one full-length collection of poetry, Under the Sky They Lit Cities, available from BlazeVOX Books. In 2011 he was gratefully awarded the Pavel Srut Fellowship in poetry by Western Michigan University. Elizabeth Gross just landed again, on her feet this time, in New Orleans. She left her furniture in New York and part of her spine in Prague. Her poems have appeared in the New Orleans Review, the Prague Revue, Versal, Vlak, B O D Y, and in the anthologies The Return of Kral Majales: Prague’s International Literary Renaissance, 1990-2010, and Why I Am Not A Painter. 67

She currently teaches literature and creative writing for Bard Early College in New Orleans. T.G. Hardy spent what he considers his formative years in Rio de Janeiro. He has been a greenskeeper, sorority busboy, naval aviator, businessman and corporate headhunter. In 2006 he quit Manhattan for good and moved to Colorado, where he has devoted himself to learning the craft of writing literary fiction. Working with Denver’s Lighthouse Writers Workshop and the Boulder Writing Studio, he has written a short novel entitled Where the Sabiå Bird Sings, which he hopes will be agent-ready before fishing season. Jason Joyce graduated in 2009 from the University of Wyoming and now lives in Los Angeles, working in event planning at Loyola Marymount University. He plays keyboards in the band The Rubbish Zoo, co-owns the clothing company Weekend Society and is working on his first fulllength collection of poems and short stories. You can find out more about his writing and published poetry on his blog at jasonrjoyce.tumblr.com. David Levine grew up in the poorly named town of New City, NY. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Colorado, and is pursuing a PhD in Literary Studies at the University of South Dakota. His work has appeared in UCity Review, White Whale Review, and other journals, and is forthcoming in Painted Bride Quarterly. 68

Jenni Moody holds an MFA from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Her stories are forthcoming in River Oak Review and the anthology Missing Links and Secret Histories. She collects stamps (inked, not licked) and writes in the company of her two black cats in Huntsville, Alabama. Sara Renee Marshall grew up in the Southwest. She edits for The Volta and Noemi Press. Recent poems are out or forthcoming in places like CutBank, Colorado Review, Poor Claudia’s Crush, Octopus and OmniVerse. Her chapbook, AFFECTIONATELY WE CALL THIS THE HOUSE, is forthcoming in 2013 from Brave Men Press. Sara lives and writes in Denver, Colorado. Alexandra Mattraw is a third generation Northern Californian. A former resident of Vermont Studio Center, she received her MFA in poetry from University of San Francisco. Her chapbook, Projection, is available from Achiote Press. Alexandra’s poems and reviews have appeared in American Letters and Commentary, Denver Quarterly, Seneca Review, Word For/Word, Cultural Society, Shampoo, Verse, VOLT, and elsewhere. Joe Milazzo is the author of The Terraces (Das Arquibancadas) (Little Red Leaves Textile Series, 2012). His writings have appeared in H_NGM_N, The Collagist, Drunken Boat, Word Riot, Black Clock, and elsewhere. Along with Janice Lee and Eric Lindley, he edits the online interdisciplinary arts journal [out of nothing] (http://www.outofnothing.org). Joe lives and works in 69

Dallas, TX, and his virtual location is http://www.slowstudies.net/jmilazzo. Stephanie Schlaifer has an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and her work has recently appeared in the Chicago Review, Colorado Review, Verse, and Verse Daily. Her manuscript Clarkston St. Polaroids was a finalist for the Beatrice Hawley Prize from Alice James Books, The Colorado Prize for Poetry, and the 1st/2nd Book Prize from Tupelo Press. Paige Taggart lives in Brooklyn and is the author of three chapbooks: DIGITAL MACRAMÉ (Poor Claudia), Polaroid Parade (Greying Ghost Press), and The Ice Poems (DoubleCross Press). Poems are forthcoming in Typo, Conduit, Action,Yes, Jellyfish Magazine and others. Additional publications and her jewelry can be found here: mactaggartjewelry.com, ad hoc she curates Bling That Sings, a site that promotes beauty and poetry.