Faculty Advisor, Rick Bass Editor-in-chief, Alexandria Delcourt Managing Editor, Frank Ard Web Content/Designer, Trevor Gulley Creative Non-Fiction Editor, Alexis Paige Readers: Sheila Boneham, Linda Kobert, John Nelson, Robin Wood, Sarah Baldwin-Beneich, Karalynn Moran Literary Fiction Editor, Richard Squires Readers: Shane Collins, Erin Bodin, Daniel Ball, Cortney McLellan, Rebecca McKenna, John Nelson Poetry Editor, Amanda Johnston Readers: Casey Moynihan, Meg Reynolds, Daniel Ball, John Nelson, Erin Bodin Popular Fiction Editor, Dallas Funk Readers: Sarah Flynn, Genevieve Williams, John Shade, Shawna Borman, Matt Creamer
The works contained within belong solely to the contributors who retain all rights beyond the use for this specific print and digital distribution. This anthology ÂŠ 2013 Stonecoast Review
I would like to take the opportunity to thank all of the people who have been involved in getting this wonderful project off the ground. First and foremost, Iâ€™d like to thank Annie Finch, who had the original idea and vision to start this journal. The Stonecoast administrative staff and faculty have also been incredibly supportive and generous. Without the creative, emotional, and financial support of the Stonecoast community, we would never have been able to accomplish what we have. We have been lucky enough to receive creative submissions from all over the country, as well as Europe, Africa, and Asia. It has been an honor to read all of your pieces. We are incredibly proud to be publishing work from our amazing contributors, all of whom we feel embody the core values of not only our team, but of the Stonecoast MFA Program in Creative Writing as well. I have been tremendously fortunate to be able to work with a wonderful team of readers, editors, and designers throughout this process, and I would like to take the opportunity to thank them for making this journey so enjoyable and enriching for me. Finally, many thanks to you, those who have chosen to pick up and read the inaugural issue of Stonecoast Review. We are very proud of the issue we have compiled, and on behalf of the entire team, we thank you for reading and hope you enjoy! Warmly and with many thanks, Alexandria Delcourt, Editor-in-Chief
On behalf of the Stonecoast Review and its staff I want to thank you for picking up this first ever issue. It has been a long road to getting this publication pulled together, but I'm pleased with the shape it has taken and I hope you will be as well. Trevor Gulley, Digital Media Editor
Issue 1: Fall 2013
Stonecoast Review Issue 1 – Winter 2013 Shawnte Orion Shelved Before Kindled (Poem)...........................................................6 Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé cacoethes scribendi :: mania for writing (Poem)..............................8 Nancy Holder If You Go Out in the Woods (Short Story).....................................9 Alan King Swarm (Poem).......................................................................................11 The Angel Speaks with the New York Times (Poem).................14 Mark DeCarteret Solstice (Poem)......................................................................................16 Kim MacQueen Real Good Police Work (Essay)........................................................17 Uche Ogbuji Convergence (Poem)............................................................................27 Kathryn Kysar When We Crawled Out: Poland 1944 (Poem)...............................28
Lisa Cihlar In the Beginning (Poem).....................................................................29 Bob Piccard Trung Úy (Essay)................................................................................30 Michelle Valois Like the Last Guest at Cleopatra’s Court (Poem).........................36 Karen Bovenmyer Like A Soul (Short Story)...................................................................37 Michael Wasson Coyote Poem (Poem)............................................................................42 Stevie Edwards To Houdini (Poem)...............................................................................43 Overrun (Poem)....................................................................................44 William Bradley Burning (Essay)....................................................................................45 Patricia L. Goodman A Hummingbird’s Tongue (Poem)..................................................50
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Shelved Before Kindled Shawnte Orion autobiography: I collect more books than I could ever read. My attention is often diverted to new books before finishing the last. reference: books are divided according to subject and arranged alphabetically according to author. biography: she borrows rare books returning them with her own bookmarks forgotten within the pages of the final chapter. mystery: a thick anthology leans into the empty slot left behind where a novella should be found. horror: opening the old book with no title at the end of the last shelf will release captured souls of previous readers trapped between pages like revenant bookmarks.
self-help: even compulsive purchases of books I have no intention of reading infuse my subconscious with new ideas and awareness while neglected on a dusty shelf. historical non-fiction: used books contain comments and annotations scribbled into the margins by former readers. romance: the widow next door watches me read classic French novels in front of my bedroom window. Without any curtains. Without any shirt. collected poems: rows of books decorated with abandoned bookmarks rising like headstones from middle pages commemorate where my fleeting passions were abruptly laid to rest. fiction: someday I will return to these bookmarks and resume reading from the point of interruption.
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cacoethes scribendi :: mania for writing Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé Gigi has written a few poems on scraps on paper. She leaves them lying around. “Just don’t paint our walls with it,” Geronimo hollers out to her, eyeing her movements as she walks briskly from kitchen to study, then back into the kitchen where she’s brought back squid ink to make for a bolder calligraphy. “You should add a stem of holy basil,” Geronimo adds, in half jest. “Grind it in, so there’s the metaphysical in every word, to give life and form to your language.” It’s unnerving how the statement is no longer academic. That of language having a real power, one that goes beyond rational thought. The stories of angels tying the keter of Hebrew letters, their crowns, like shoelaces or butterfly knots off a neatly wrapped present. That the Sufi pilgrim said angels could be anything, even the sweat off your brow. A tree you’re leaning against, its bark, the sap that stains your shirt. Even the entire ocean, as if its channel of deep waters, was but the trunk or muscular limb of an angel. “What are their names?” Geronimo asked the Sufi, with a low-throated laugh, as if naming something made it true. Or gave it form. Or made its claim to being clear, a bit more legitimate. One of Gigi’s poems is on the low table by the three-seater in the living room. “High stone walls / around, this welling / telling me their stones will come // stones to kill me / for my appetite.” A bit too morbid for Geronimo, who simply can’t do the New Critic move on this one, involuntarily smiting his forehead like a schoolboy whose reading tumbles over a difficult word. Can’t separate the writing from its author, her biography, or the history both of them have found themselves in. The funny and cruel thing is they immersed themselves in this. As if they chose this baptism of fire. Hellfire, more like it. Or were they chosen? Chosen by some obscure prime mover of things like causation? Like karma. Or retribution, or all the little things that make up our lives. It’s the next line that raises the hair on the back of his neck. There’s a turn in the poem, a soft but dark realization. “But I will never see their valley faces.”
If You Go Out in the Woods Nancy Holder Well, I don’t want to frighten your little girl there, but I do have to tell you that it’s real unfortunate you got off the highway where you did and came to our town. I know something happened to your car, yeah, yeah, you told me about the steam and the smoke but you should have kept going even if you had to walk. That might seem like a dumb thing for me to say, me owning the only service station and all, but I’m a people-person and I got to look out for folks, know what I mean? You see, there is this very strange family, the McIveys, and we finally had them all locked up or so we thought. I almost hate to tell you the truth, but we were pretty close to just stringing them up ourselves. You can’t trust the courts these days and if just one McIvey beat the system, it would be fatal for the rest of us. Don’t think I’m melodramatic. I’m from here. We’ve been plagued with ‘em all our lives and no one on the outside listens. So we had ‘em all rounded up and my best hunting buddy, Sam, said we should just set the jail on fire, and that must have spooked ‘em because somehow they broke out, every last one of them, and high-tailed it into the woods. I got on the phone, which was out, and then tried the radio, while just about everybody else chased after them.
And I mean
everybody, moms, dads, little kids. I knew this was a bad idea but I’m just one woman and what could I do?
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But the radio didn’t work, either, so I locked myself in the back room and found religion real quick. I heard a lot of screams. I said a lot of prayers. After three hours, no one came back. Finally Sam fell against the door and I let him in. He could barely talk, said he had been screaming over what he’d seen out there. He told me the McIveys had booby-trapped the forest, setting out bear traps and stringing lines of razor wire between the trees. Just so you’d walk into it, you know? He said it was a miracle he got out of there alive, cuz it appeared that no one else did. He figured everybody else was dead. Then he said, “Lu, I’m so thirsty. My mouth is like cotton. I feel like I have never drunk a drop in my life.” His voice was like sandpaper. I made him sit down and got him a Pepsi out of the soft drink machine. He raised it to his lips and threw back his head, and I swear as I’m standing here, his head fell clean off his neck!
bloodstains and that puddle is the Pepsi. That razor wire had done the job those McIveys must have intended it to. Just sliced him clean through, so clean not even he knew it! So you see, we got to be real careful tonight. The McIveys are out there, and we’re the only survivors. In fact, it’s a miracle you folks are still alive, especially considering you drove that vehicle of yours smack dab into the middle of the forest and walked half the night to my filling station here. I can’t believe you made it past all the bear traps and that razor wire that did in my buddy, Sam. What’s the matter there, friend, thirsty?
Swarm Alan King In a mob of school kids, two boys shove each other before they're on the ground. They jab at air and grass, missing the jaw, cheek and eye. A girl standing at the edge screams at the boy straddling his opponent. Leave him alone, she says. This wonâ€™t make me like you. I watch from my car across the street after cruising through an old 'hood, two decades removed from my childhood. And yet this gust spirals the pinwheel of memory, whirling me back to third grade, when I obsessed over Tia Jones the way my friends swarmed the ice cream truck for grape Pixie Stix. She was a sixth grader, who mistook my lamppost legs and power line arms for a fifth grader.
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She was as old as the boys throwing grass in each other’s hair, rolling around in a kind of awkward tango towards manhood. Watching the chubby kid overpower his skinny enemy, I’m reminded of Darnell, an older boy too short for Tia. That's when I wonder if Insecurity’s the biggest instigator. The one constantly egging you on to prove yourself, like that day Darnell kept asking, Why you so stupid? It was the day I gave Tia a Valentine's card I made with construction paper and magic markers. She kissed my cheek, her lips flipped the switch to the streetlights inside me. Why you so stupid? Darnell said. He shoved me. You so stupid you don’t even speak.
Tia’s fingers locked with mine, Let’s get out of here. I didn’t speak when he snatched her card and tore it, when I unzipped my bag, pulled out cleats, and smacked him. I was a nest of wasps. Each cleat stung him over and over. A woman's yell calls me back across the street. It's the neighbor on her front porch, wearing a blue tattered housecoat and flappy pink slippers. She holds up her phone, and the crowd scatters, Y’all need to stop! I got police on the line! I wish I had someone like her to save me from myself before Darnell’s tears streaked over welts big as bee stings. Tia nowhere in sight.
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The Angel Speaks with the New York Times’ Alan King What, the Garden of Eden? That’s what you think it’s like up there? Back home, I’m a souljah, posted along the perimeter of heaven. You’d think afta a millennial of battlin’ dark forces, we’d get a parade, be allowed to get a lil’ action from da groupies. We can’t leave you mortals alone for a second, without the rogue ones tryna’ kill each otha’. This one’s mad at that one for somethin' that happened before they were born. This one’s darka’ than that one, so that one’s gotta conquer this one. Now, I gotta wipe da milk off their mouths. But I ain’t complainin’. It’s betta than standing around, laughin’ at God’s jokes, pamperin’ and praisin’ Him all da time.
This must be where you end up when He catches you dreamin' of busty Victoria Secret Angels. Now I'm posin’ as a mortal undercover, waitin’ for Lucifer and his henchmen to pop up. Rookies? They get distracted, and there’s a lotta’ that. My mortal body fights tha circus that masquerades as news. It's enough to make a rookie blow his cover, convinced he seen tha devil already. There's a pro-lifa' supportin' tha death penalty. Oh Snap! There’s Mr. Fam’ly Values makin’ it rain at strip clubs. Tha “unbiased” media’s a button on the corporate lapel. Oh, I’ma be here a minute. Gotta reach those knuckleheads. Gotta’ give it to Mr. Big Horns. He puts on a helluva’ show.
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Solstice Mark DeCarteret for Pat Parnell The world has left off at the forest’s lip, slipping past where there is any known season at the plastic fence power sprayed its original white, the flag wavering between arisen and winded. I can still see a passing figure, a little of the street, where these teens have graffitied our sign again, and come December, once the trees are bare, where the deer will steal apples as soft as bagged sap and maybe the grass, this brown worn by mystics, being urged towards the winter by grubs again, or even some violets, contemplating their names, the flawed reason of their half-toppled pots. And though where I stand, barely any light’s met, I can scare up enough to read up on the sun’s path so what hasn’t yet scattered, raced off for the dark can be given over to the care of all those still inclined.
Real Good Police Work Kim MacQueen I. The sheriff won’t show me the pictures of the little boy beaten up by his stepdad. “You’re a mom,” he says, shaking his head. “You won’t be able to handle these.” Instead, he illustrates on his own body. He lifts up his right arm and snakes it around the back of his neck, grabbing the left side of his own face, jerking his head to the right and squeezing it like a melon. Then he lets go and shows me the red indents all over the side of his head. My stomach hurts. The dad’s in jail now, but the sheriff ’s worried they won’t be able to hold him. “Jesus,” I let it slip out, then feel stupid because the sheriff is Christian. I write the cop beat for the newspaper in our little mountain town in Western North Carolina, driving to work down a ribbon of road running between carpety green grass that gives way to mountains with snow on the tops. When we leave the house for work and school in the morning, we don’t lock the doors. I’m told that not a single child has been killed at the hands of a caretaker in our county in fifteen years, but since I started working at the paper we’ve had two such deaths in six months. I covered them both, plus this beating. In the most recent case, a three-year-old died of blunt head
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trauma at the hands of his mother’s boyfriend while the mom was out picking up some things at Walmart. They called me from the paper and told me to go to the hospital, where the little boy’s grandparents sat crying as the police led the boyfriend out in handcuffs. I never met the boy’s mother, but I got her to talk to me on the phone the next day. With her boyfriend in jail, she said, “Who will take care of me? Who will pick up the pieces of my life?” I get a certain amount of stress relief from telling these stories to my friends at our local. I tell them about the boy’s mother; I mimic her whiny voice. I tell them about the abused boy and the sheriff; I wrap my arm around my head like the sheriff did, squeezing to make red marks all over. They always look at me like I’m making it up. II. My youngest is three. We go to the playground, and I stare at the back of her head as she climbs the monkey bars as if she’s headed for the sky. My stare is flicking back and forth, up at her and down at the ground, and I can just see her head hitting, splitting. So I use my hands like giant spoons that I hold just far enough from her body, thinking if she falls in any direction I can catch her. She lets go, leaning backwards and swinging with one hand on the bars, and swats me away. III. The narcotics officers want me to do a story about a white woman named Dawn who kicked a meth habit after years of abuse. She’s been out of rehab two months, and they say she’s doing “just great.” I ask if there are any more recovering addicts I can talk to for
the story, but the cops say right now, Dawn is the only one they know who has turned things around. First they had to bust her, of course, and then she worked as a confidential informant for a while, arranging the busts of several Mexican men who worked nights running drugs in pickup trucks from one town to the next. “Sweet girl. Grew up here in town. But she started running with, shall we say, a bad element,” Larry, the narc, tells me on the way to Dawn’s house for the interview. We drive down a rutted road through a neighborhood of shack-like houses set wide apart, each on its own rolling lawn of red dirt. “She had a Mexican boyfriend for a while. Started using meth. We just watched her for a couple months. We knew what she was up to.” Larry stops talking for a swig from his can of Mountain Dew and shrugs as he navigates the SUV: “Then one night we got a call that a whole bunch of them were over at the Sunset Motel, dealing and using. We just went over there and picked them all up. It was easy. It was real good police work.” We get to her house and stand talking in her little living room. We keep our voices low so her seven-year-old son won’t hear us in the bedroom, and every few minutes the clothes thumping and clanging in her drier drown us out. Dawn has a broad face and pretty blue eyes. Her face and clothes are clean, but some of her teeth are pretty messed up. No makeup; long, blonde hair tied up in a scrunchie. It’s December and cold in the house. She puts both hands inside a blue fleece pullover and we all sit on the couch. Larry points around the little house, telling Dawn it looks
Issue 1: Fall 2013
like she’s really getting her life back together, and that’s why he brought me to talk to her. “And you got a real job, don’t you?” Larry asks her. “That’s right,” she mumbles, staring at a black spot on the floor. “What do you do?” I ask her. “I clean houses,” she says quickly. I’d pictured her planting flowers, maybe rolling flour into balls in the back of a bakery, surrounded by people who weren’t bothered by meth addictions, who kept her far away from any cash or checks. I get a sharp pain in my stomach and attribute it to my rushed, fast-food lunch. Sitting on the couch with us makes Dawn nervous. She gets up after a few minutes and moves around the house, straightening while we talk. I keep wanting to look inside my purse and make sure my wallet is still there. I think of the doors I left unlocked back at home this morning and feel like an idiot, naïve and judgmental at the same time. After a minute, Larry gets a call on his cell, excuses himself and goes outside. I make eye contact with Dawn and she comes back to the couch to talk, as if she suddenly feels silly for buzzing around the room. I don’t know what to say to her, so I say the house is cute. “Thanks, it’s….” and she looks around the room again. “It’s good to have a place. I was on the street for a while. Actually, I was on the street for a really long time.” Without realizing it, I look into the bedroom where her son watches really loud cartoons.
“No, he…” she looks back over her shoulder. “He was with my mom. That’s why we’re here. There was no way…” She can tell I’m confused. “See, my mom had to take care of him when I was using. And she was really pissed off about it after a while. She said I had to get my shit together to take care of Dylan or there was going to be nobody else to do it. She loves him – he’s her only grandbaby – but it was tough love. She used tough love on me.” She looks down at her feet. Dylan opens the door a couple of inches and I see straight sandy-blonde boy’s hair. She turns and stares him down. “Close the door. I told you. Close the door,” she says. She looks right at me then, talking low and fast before Larry comes back. “Now I have to stay here. I can’t go out. I can’t barely even go to the store, because I’ll see them, and I’ll just get sucked right back into…that life,” Dawn says. Her hands are in her lap and she’s looking at the carpet. “It’s like being on house arrest or something.” I mumble something about how I thought she was out free. “Yeah, of course, they’re not holding me or anything, but see, I can’t go out,” she talks faster now. “If I so much as go to the store, I’ll see one of my friends. And even if they’re just out getting hamburgers or something, there are guns. In the car, under the seats. Back at the house. In their backpacks. I can’t have Dylan around that. But if I see them, if I see them at the store even, it’ll just be a matter of days and I’ll just get right back into all that shit. So I can’t leave.”
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She rubs her hands together. They’re rough and white, and I can tell she bites her nails. “I can go to work but then I got to come right back. My mom’s got to keep Dylan while I work anyway, and she’s got her own job.” She glances toward the door again, where Larry’s quietly letting himself back into the house. “Gotta stay here,” she whispers. Larry silently closes the thin plywood door. Dawn looks right at me. “All the time,” she says. IV. I know Dawn’s mother from the Unitarian church, that gathering place for former addicts and refugees from the world’s most abusive religions. I’ve never been a member of any church before, but I go because I’ve got two little girls and am constantly scared they’ll die or get kidnapped, and church is the best place I can figure to bargain with God. Dawn’s mother has the same wide smile as her daughter, blonde hair shorter and styled to her shoulders, a little more sun damage on her face. Some of her teeth are blackened on the sides like Dawn’s, and a little silver cross sparkles around her neck. When I tell her I’m interviewing Dawn for the paper, she just frowns and nods, and I realize we’re here for the same reason. V. I make oatmeal for my eight-year-old. It’s molten, and she burns her hand. She cries, and I’m a stuttering failure. I feel so awful that for a second I can’t even see, can’t even move to go to her.
The next day we go to Kmart, and she starts to run through the parking lot to our car. I forget about her burned hand, grab it and yank her back. She looks at me, in pain but more in shock, like I’ve betrayed her. I squat down right there to hug her and start getting my first-ever migraine, shaking while the parking lot lights start to look like descending UFOs. VI. The paper runs my story about Dawn about ten days after our meeting. The day the story comes out, she calls me that afternoon from jail. She says the cops picked her up the night before; she won’t tell me why. She’s heard about the story but they won’t let her see it. She wants to know if I’ll bring it to her. At lunch that day, I bring her a paper and leave it with the guard. A month later, I’m in Kmart with my daughters, heading toward the toys, when Dawn passes me, flanked by three Mexican men. They smell like smoke and move in small jerks. It feels like they’ve all just been in an argument. She glances at me and then studiously looks away, as though she’s very interested in the women’s clothing. That same week I write a story about a death at a party. A bunch of people, mostly teens and twenty-somethings, sat around a campfire the Friday night before, smoking pot and drinking beer. At some point, two of the men got into an altercation. One of them shot the other with a pistol he drew out of his backpack, and then one of them ended up in the fire, and by the end of the night one of the men was dead. I could never figure out which of the men shot which, or who ended up in the fire. I had the name of the dead man, but no
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information on whether he’d been burned or shot to death. Nobody ordered an autopsy. Nobody involved returned my calls. The day that story runs, I wake up with a pain in the side of my neck that makes me want to die every time I turn my head. I look in mirrors for a rash, but there isn’t one. I read up on shingles, on how childhood chicken pox can sometimes resurface as a stress reaction in people with weakened immune systems. I’ve also clenched my teeth so tight in my sleep that they ache all morning. After four ibuprofen I still can’t eat a piece of toast. Immunity seems to be about my body trying to protect itself by reacting violently, by threatening to shut down. It would take days, maybe weeks, to get in to see my doctor about these things, and I’m not quite sure what I’d tell him anyway. I sit on a bench at the playground while my kids play with friends, and I feel like I’m dying. That Sunday, I squirm in church in the seat behind Dawn’s mother. I know I have to approach her and say something, but I don’t know what. When the service ends, I go and find her before she’s left her seat. She nods when she sees me coming, frowns. I tell her how sorry I am. “I told them,” she says quietly. “Those asshole cops. So incredibly stupid.” I just nod at her. I’m not sure what she’s talking about. She tells me she lost Dawn years ago; her daughter is never coming back. Meth has her daughter now, and there is nothing she can do. She’s made a certain peace with it. The sun from the window actually glints off the cross around her neck as she stares up at me.
“Do you know how they found her? That night they busted everybody at the motel? When they put her in jail for two weeks while I took care of Dylan? Because I fucking called them.” She stands, snatching up her hymnbook. “I called them, and of course they bust in there like they’re on CSI, take all the drugs and guns they can find, and she was the only one who didn’t run. Fucking narcs. Giving themselves all this credit for busting her, telling you to write a story. A fucking story in the newspaper.” I start to tell her how sorry I am if I’ve made things worse. She just shakes her head. “No, see, they should know. They should know that the absolute worst thing you can ever say to an addict is…” and here she chucks me lightly on the shoulder with the hymnbook, smiling sarcastically, “…good job.” Then she leaves. My neck throbs. VII. My husband and I are walking with his family downtown after lunch. Our older daughter holds my hand while we look into shop windows and check out the people in the park, but the younger one just runs. She wants to lead the group, won’t hold an adult’s hand, sprints ahead to every curb. It’s not clear she really knows that’s where the cars are, where death is. I hold my breath the whole way, emitting little cries when I’m afraid she’s going to go too far. My husband shakes his head and grins at the ground. I can’t respond. I don’t know how to say how unreal she still is to me, how I just know the ground’s going to open up soon and swallow her away. I don’t know why nobody sees that but me.
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VIII. The sheriff ’s deputy meets every other Monday morning with the head of Family Services and a bunch of social workers. They call it the Child Protection Team. They asked me to go, and I couldn’t figure a way out of it. Dee, the Family Services woman, runs the meeting. She sits at the head of the table, the deputy on her right, the social workers on her left. She goes through a stack of papers, pulling out children’s cases like playing cards, and they discuss what should be done for each. They come to the beaten-up boy the sheriff told me about last month. Dee asks the deputy if the stepdad is still in jail. The deputy steps out to make a phone call, then comes back in, sits down slowly, looking ashen. The stepdad is out. Dee and the deputy just stare at each other for a second. Nobody speaks. The deputy puts his hand to his mouth. Dee has the pictures of the little boy, the ones the sheriff wouldn’t show me. Nobody says a word as they pass them around the table, one person at a time stopping and staring and rubbing their eyes, or shaking their heads, or just looking down at the table. The pictures slowly make their way to me. When they get three people away, suddenly there’s no air around me and the world slides sideways. I wake up a few seconds later, their hands on my back. Somebody wants to know if I want to go to the hospital. I think: if I ask, maybe they'll let me leave my head here on the table, just for another few minutes.
Convergence Uche Ogbuji You're not like so many others; Not blown by trade winds, dreaming of Quick-rich discovery. You mine self for sinew and science, Trusting your core's own slow heat where Ion metals flow free. Let me lead you to secret fire Which lifts all living things at zero Latitude. Bide by my copper-skied doldrums To shoot the rapids through which all Flames are renewed. You're no mere uniform conductor, Languishing as cosmic rays blow off Life's envelope. From your complex currents such Magnetism that moon-sized bodies clutch Your field vector's slope. Let me mingle my breath in yours where Light falls in riotous alternation With squall and rain. Bide our bright-hot dipole even As you sojourn where it's three degrees Below again.
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When We Crawled Out: Poland, 1944 Kathryn Kysar The bombing finally stopped. We crawled out of the dirt-walled basement: my grandmother, the old cantor, my smudged sister clutching the crying baby. The frozen air was dust-filled, the sky obscured by smoke. The world was unfamiliar--the store on the corner simply gone; where the street was, rubble. We gasped at the razed landscape. My sister, braids frizzy and cotton dress torn, ordered us back in as she shifted the baby to the other hip. Looking for food or water, my brother headed for Schilmer's, my grandmother unmoving on stones, dazed and broken. After gathering a neighbor girl, a few tins of meat, we crawled into a half-open parlor, petted the childrenâ€™s heads as they curled on cushions, prayed in silence as the stench of burning rubber wove the dusted air. The pink sky stilled, the sun low on the horizon. Our stomachs churned with hunger and hope.
In the Beginning Lisa Cihlar She began by crawling in low rooms with pig-iron bars on all the windows and the sun was never anything but stripes across her body. A pale streak of honey ran through her chestnut hair. In fifteen years, if she has not been eviscerated like a salmon by a bear with her soft parts and bladder-air sacs scattered for the seagulls with dirty gray feathers, she wants the sky for a ceiling. Her aunts said she was born under a caul and that made her the lucky one to be protected, and to protect all of them. They would hold her leash tight, even on the bus where there was nowhere to go but there. She was a burden. She would never eat anything green but mint ice-cream. The bus drivers never made mistakes. We trust them completely, the aunties said. They talked and talked of the weight of the times on their shoulders. They didnâ€™t have the sense to consider that things might go awry. That the driver would stop for an eclipse of the sun. That she might slip away when every rider was looking up through pinholes in cardboard. That the trees would offer protection. That moss made a bed. That a caul over her nose helped her learn to hold her breath forever.
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Trung Úy Bob Piccard We called our barracks hootches, which was the same word we used for the mud and bamboo huts the Vietnamese lived in. By 1967 the Army Logistical Command was functioning well enough that along with weapons and food and people, there was a steady flow of building materials. I was in an Engineer unit so we had no difficulty siphoning off whatever we needed from that flow. Our hootches had cement floors and we didn’t live with mud in our bunks. The officers had their own hootch, of course, and their hootch had small cubicles. The cubicles didn’t have room for much more than a bunk and a footlocker, but the officers had some privacy and they could Scotch-tape the Playboy centerfolds to their walls. They called me an operations clerk, which meant I worked in the orderly room so I didn’t have to deal with the worst of the heat and the mud (depending on the time of year), but it also meant I was in daily contact with officers. A couple of times a week a lieutenant named Dugan would tell me to be sure he was up by eight o’clock or some other seemingly arbitrary time. I didn’t understand why he couldn’t get another officer to wake him up, and I didn’t understand why he wanted to get up at all. I never noticed officers doing anything that mattered. But on the days he wanted me to wake him, I would stand in the doorway of his cubicle at the appointed time and say, “Lieutenant Dugan?” Sometimes I would say, “Trung úy?” which is Vietnamese for lieutenant.
Whether I called him “lieutenant” or “trung úy,” he would immediately answer, “Right” in the most normal voice, and sit up. Then he would reach under his bunk, pull out a can of beer, and drink it without removing it from his mouth. He told me he opened the beer before he went to bed so that by morning it would be hot and flat. “It fucks me up faster that way,” he said. I was nineteen and would occasionally drink a beer in the morning (at the time I preferred pot), but warm, stale beer before getting out of bed was beyond my capabilities. Once an errand took Lieutenant Dugan to Saigon and for some reason he rode in the regular convoy in a flatbed truck that was delivering the carcass of a bulldozer. When he came back the next day, there was a jeep on the flatbed. Schmutzler, who drove the flatbed, told me Lieutenant Dugan woke him up in the middle of the night in Saigon, reeking of bourbon, and said, “Get your goddam ramps hooked up and get this goddam jeep on your truck.” When the jeep was on the truck, Lieutenant Dugan produced a tarp, told Schmutzler to cover the jeep, and passed out in the cab, which was where Schmutzler had been sleeping. “So I hadda sleep on the ground, under the damned truck,” Schmutzler told me. “Listen,” Schmutzler said, “That jeep said MACVHQ on its bumper and it was sitting on my truck all the way from Saigon. Somebody looks under that damned tarp of his, I’m going to jail.” MACVHQ
Headquarters. It was where Westmoreland had his office. I was in the orderly room when Lieutenant Dugan returned
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from Saigon. His uniform was wrinkled, but there was nothing unusual in that. We all (except for a few majors) wore wrinkled uniforms. Lieutenant Dugan’s eyes were clear and he had shaved; he said to the First Sergeant, “Brought you a jeep, Top.” The Table of Organization and Equipment didn’t authorize a jeep for the First Sergeant so the guys in the motor pool had to do some tricky business with the ID numbers. And, of course, they had to paint over the MACVHQ. But if anyone ever wondered how our First Sergeant had his own jeep, I never heard about it. I don’t want to make it look like Dugan and I were friends. He was an officer. He talked to me from time to time about wanting to be in an infantry unit, but he talked to everyone about that. A couple of times I saw him ask the company clerk to type up a form that had something to do with his transfer request. One morning, about a month after he got the jeep, he finished his beer and said, “I’m going. It’s definite. Either this week or next. You want to come with me?” I had to check his face to see if he was joking. “No, sir.” “Come on. You didn’t join the Army to be an office pogue in a candy-assed Engineer unit, did you? This is war. Don’t you want to see it?” “I know a couple of guys in the 25th division,” I said. “They go out in the field and they spend most of their time trying to find a drink of water. They spend all day humping their gear in the sun and they get rained on at night. They never have beer and they’re happy when the choppers bring them canned food. The war they see is they
get ambushed once in a while.” Dugan snorted. “The guys you know are goofballs. What’s going to win this war is infantry. Same as any war. Find the enemy and destroy him. And you do that on the ground.” He belched. “Those chopper pilots and redlegs are little kids playing with firecrackers. They make an explosion and they think they’re doing something. I’m going to help win this thing.” Redlegs was an old Army term for artillerymen. Lieutenant Dugan was the only guy I ever heard use it. He threw the empty beer can on the floor. “And when I go home, I’m not going to say I watched a bunch of yo-yos sweep a road or replace a blown culvert. I’m going to say I fought in a by god war.” When you go home, I thought, you’re going to say you fought for a lie. But I kept the thought to myself. And then, a few days later, he put his footlocker in the back of a three-quarter ton truck, shook hands with whoever was standing around, including me, and told his driver to take him to twenty-fifth division. He didn’t say anything special to me when he shook my hand. What’s impossible to explain to people who weren’t there is the repetitive dullness and monotony of the days. Even at the time, the days blurred into each other and it was difficult to remember events in their chronological order. Schmutzler got drunk and punched the motor sergeant and went to the stockade in Long Binh, but I don’t remember if that happened before Lieutenant Dugan left or after. Two of the cooks got into an argument that ended when the
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small one grabbed his bayonet and stabbed the big one in the back of the leg. It was the only time, in the year and half I spent there, that I heard of anyone using a bayonet for anything other than opening a can of beer. We took rockets and mortars from time to time, but they wanted to hit the airstrip, usually, or the artillery, so it was rare for anyone I knew to be hurt. A rocket hit our mess hall once while I was eating. It was the loudest noise I’ve ever heard. That day I knew some of the people who got hurt. But those were mere spikes of excitement or interest or fear. For the most part, we went about our chores, or tried to avoid them, and we complained, and smoked pot, and got on each other’s nerves. Day after day. A story filtered back to us that Lieutenant Dugan’s unit was in danger of being overrun and one of his men, certain that he was going to be captured, tried to shoot himself. The guy missed, the story went, and hit Lieutenant Dugan in the upper arm. I wasn’t buying it. I didn’t doubt that Lieutenant Dugan could be wounded by a stray round. It happened a lot, really. But I didn’t see how a guy could miss himself with a rifle. I also didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. The next story to work its way back to us had it that Lieutenant Dugan’s platoon was bivouacked for the night and his perimeter guards “heard something.” Lieutenant Dugan went out to investigate, there was an explosion, and no one ever saw him again. I was doubtful about that story, too. Perimeter guards always “heard something” and there was a fairly routine way of responding to night noises. The idea that a platoon leader would go outside the perimeter
at night, alone, was difficult to buy. Just for one thing, he’d have to worry about getting shot in the back. But I could imagine a scenario: Two scared guys in a hole, convincing each other they’re about to get hit; they pass the word back and Dugan comes to see for himself. If he had had enough to drink, and I don’t for one minute doubt that he took booze into the field, I could easily picture him saying something like, “Don’t be little girls. There’s nothing out there. Hell, I’ll go out there myself.” He was, after all, the guy who stole a jeep from MACV. So to demonstrate his bravado, he walked into the bush alone and tripped a booby trap. However it happened, he was killed. His name is on that wall in Washington and I’ve seen it. I left an opened can of beer in front of it in 1986 or ’87, I think. I once heard him say he had graduated from Penn State. So I figure him for having been twenty-three or twenty-four. And I think of all the things I’ve done since I was twenty-four.
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Like the Last Guest at Cleopatra’s Court Michelle Valois If you come into my chamber, I might present you with pearls or a place setting of solid silver. If you come into my arms, I might grant you a gazelle or a horse in gilded armor. But if you come you might go; take your leave, as guests and lovers sometimes do. But I would want it back, your leaving, as you said you’d have taken me back, had I left— Not with pearls or armor; no fan fare: only remorse, these damaged cells, and an unfinished map.
Like a Soul Karen Bovenmyer Me and Mamma went to see the pod in the hayloft just before sunrise—it spun out of the shadows ever so slow, sheen glittering in the pale light, all black and dotted with gold. The pod looked like a little jewel, something a rich man wore on his neck, but when I reached to take it down, Momma caught my arm and hugged me close. “Leave it. Butterfly gonna hatch out of it.” I didn’t know what she meant, not then, because hatching wasn’t ever a good thing. Not here. Not with the Clickers. We moved quick when we came down, so the Overseer wouldn’t catch us. Everyone had to be outside the barn by sunrise. If sombody weren’t on time, or was maybe drunk or sick, he got whipped. If somebody went missing and the Overseer thought he’d run off, his kin were whipped until he was found. Almost nobody took a chance like that. The Clickers hung Jefferson from a tree when they thought his brother was gone—him gone only two days, and the Clickers killed Jefferson just to show everyone they could. Then they found his brother anyhow. Lettie said he went for a piss in the night and fell down into the river and died—but Momma said maybe he jumped. Maybe he thought he could swim past the Clickers. But nobody ever got away. We were trapped, waiting like that butterfly inside that pod, maybe fixin to hatch into something else. Anyway, both of them were dead for no reason at all. All the Clickers stomped up a big fit, snapping their saw-tooth jawbones, clacking their graspers together. But they didn’t eat no one, and nobody hatched. Not that time.
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When Jefferson hung from that tree, the morning rays lit up a sheen in the sweat across his thick face. But there weren’t no gold dots. And there weren’t no jewel at all about Jefferson. Lettie said it’s been goin’ on a year or more since someone split open to show a Clicker inside, all white bones and graspers and grabbing arms, uncommon long, and time for it to happen soon. Clickers hide deep inside folks, and nobody knows until someone starts screaming and the Clicker splits on out and scares everyone. Then the big ones come take the new one away. Lettie said it doesn’t matter. Someday we all gonna hatch Clickers, because that’s how they make young. That’s what we’re for. Momma said that didn’t have to be true, that we aren’t all going to hatch into Clickers. She said so up in the hayloft when she saw that pod. “Rudy, do you know what’s in that pod?” We watched it together. “Butterfly,” I said, just like she told me. “He’s gonna fly up out of here.” “That’s right,” she said. “Fly up, up and away. Like a soul.” “He’s gonna die?” I knew souls were things that flew away from people when they died, God said so. Lettie said a soul and a Clicker can’t live inside a person at the same time. “Yeah. He’s gonna die. But first he’ll fly up out of this pod and look over the whole wide world. He’ll find a girl butterfly and make babies, and then he’ll die, just like he ought to.” Then she hugged me again and rubbed my arms. But I thought about that. Jefferson had no business being hung. Letty said so, and she got a slap ‘cause of her mouthin’ off. But
she only said what we were all thinking. If the Overseer had just waited, the Clickers would’a only lost one man, not two. “Why does he have to die?” I said. “‘Cause that’s what God made him for.” “Then why’d God make Clickers?” She didn’t answer, just hugged me to her again, so I thought maybe God wasn’t the one who made them. “Nothing lasts forever, Rudy. Not you, not me, not the butterflies. Not even the Clickers. Everyone has to say goodbye sometime.” I nodded my head against her chest, hearing her heartbeat under my ear, feeling the drops of her tears tickle the back of my neck. But I didn’t want to listen. I didn’t want that butterfly to hatch and fly away and die. That night, I walked in the dark and I stole that pod. I wanted him to stay black and beautiful and glittering. I wanted him to stay safe in my palm. So I carried him around with me, in my pocket. I had him with me through the long hours of working in the field. I hid him during bath time. I tucked him in my pocket when it was time for cookin’ and eatin’. I even put him in my mouth once when the Clickers came and touched us all with their forearms, poking and rubbing, spending extra time on me like they knew I was hiding something. He tasted like dried leaves. At bedtime I held him close to my ear to see if I could hear that soul inside getting ready to fly away. He was in my pocket the morning Momma was gone. They looked for her everywhere. They tied my ankles to a stool in the middle of the yard. I felt so bad my stomach hurt something awful. Every time a search party came back with no
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Momma, the Overseer hit me real hard to make me scream, so if she was hiding, she’d come running. I tried not to—but I screamed after all, and loud too, because the Clickers came and snapped and poked at me. But they didn’t string me up, just left me tied there and hurting. Lettie limped up and gave me some water when no one was looking, and gave me some bread, but she couldn’t do more—and I couldn’t eat it anyway, my guts feeling all upside down. I had to stay there tied to that stool ‘til they found Mama. At night I cried. Then I found the little pod in my pocket and turned it over and over again, waiting, just like that butterfly, for sunrise. In the morning I held it up to the light and the sun shone right through it. I saw all that glossy black was thin as paper. Something started pushing the sides like a flower blooming, coming out striped orange and black. A crumpled ball sort of fell down like a drop, its wings soaking wet like it was in the river. It clung to the pod in my hand and rocked there, the wings getting bigger, flatter, fanning themselves, while the sun got higher, brighter. I heard a clack, clack, clack. I looked over into the edge of the woods and saw a big group of Clickers coming, carrying something black that glistened in the light. It was Momma, but she was all wet. She was all limp and her eyes were staring. She wasn’t split open and there was no Clicker wiggling out of her. She didn’t move at all. I looked back down to the butterfly in my hand. I didn’t want to look at Momma. The wings were full flat fans now.
Lettie came over to me with tears washing her face and the Overseer took off his hat and nodded his head. Someone untied me from the stool. I looked at the butterfly. It fanned its wings and took off, flying up, up over my head and above the barn. Like a soul. And something deep inside me cracked open.
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Coyote Poem Michael Wasson You forgot about Coyote twisting his tongue into two other languages: Battered, another battering, a cut smile searched in the field. He drew ghosts of you, patted your back: Go and die. The fire eats for water: trickling suicide. He knelt down and split mines, knife held down, searching the earth we stuffed into mudholes we found praying for sun. He dragged your bodies over songs you sang under your breath. At one point, maybe punishing sound with loss, with howling whispered into rising rice. Donâ€™t come back, he tricked, placing stars toward the sea. Werenâ€™t you lost, nibbling on bullets? Racing through your head, language sputters on the shrinking map of earth.
To Houdini Stevie Edwards There’s a theatrics to escaping ruin that has to be honed. The world wants to see you struggle at loosening the straitjacket’s hold; chip your teeth on the buckle; worry your brow; throw your body violently against the water tank walls. There must be real danger. Let them bury you, the unreal weight of the ground bearing down upon your chest. I have said that my dreads are like this: February’s drear, new evidence of roaches, that loss after loss inhuming the living room. I have never undergone lightless like you. Disinter yourself in the full terror of knowing the dirt ceiling of death. We are all waiting to clap and gasp and photograph this miracle you've been preparing for us to believe in.
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Overrun Stevie Edwards
Burning William Bradley Smoke rises from the fissures in the ground, blending into the gray February sky. A fire rages under your feet, in the mineshafts that used to produce anthracite coal, and has done so for over five decades now. This is Centralia, Pennsylvania, American ghost town, a place that’s almost equidistant from your apartment in upstate New York and the house you and your wife own, where she lives apart from you, in eastern North Carolina. This is your second visit to this place, and once again it inspires a reverent silence in both of you. Up on this hill near the Greek Orthodox cemetery, the ground is sticky and brown. The snow that has been falling since last night evaporates on contact with the warm earth, though it’s sticking down in what must have been the town proper, where grass and weeds have begun to spring up through the pavement and reclaim the landscape. In fact, much of the town is surprisingly lush, for a place that was evacuated due to fire. How does such a thing happen? There is some disagreement about how the fire was started—might have been volunteer fire fighters burning trash at the nearby landfill in preparation for the town’s annual Memorial Day celebration, might have been that a garbage man dumped hot ash or coal into the landfill. Regardless, a spark, an ember, a tiny bit of flame made its way towards an exposed coal vein on a spring day in 1962. So call it carelessness, then, or— once people became aware of the fire burning under their homes—a lack of imagination, a failure to see what this disaster would mean when officials proved incapable or unwilling to invest the thousands
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of dollars needed to extinguish the fire. Still, it’s a hard thing to imagine, that your community—your home—is being slowly destroyed from within. The fire burned for decades before people began to notice any ill-effects. Although efforts had been made to extinguish it, the fire didn’t seem to be much of a priority until reports of rising carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide levels in the late 70s and early 80s. It wasn’t until 1981, when 12-year-old Todd Domboski was swallowed
grandmother’s backyard, that people began to understand the extent of the problem, and its larger ramifications. Things fell apart. The center could not hold. Few buildings are left in Centralia today, but you can still find sidewalks that lead to nowhere. Driveways that do not connect to houses appear between massive patches of overgrown green. It’s easy enough to imagine what this town was like. Parades down Main Street. Barbecues and picnics in the park. Kids like Todd Domboski playing in the yards. It wasn’t a perfect place, of course, but it was a real place. It was a home for many families. And now it’s gone to smoke and sinkholes. As your wife snaps pictures of the white plumes of smoke rising around her feet, you struggle to figure out why this town has such an effect on you. Part of it is that you and your wife are living apart this year, and this is a place you’ve come to associate with love, because it’s where you’re able to be together. Part of it, too, is in your desire to find the metaphor here, in this town that isn’t. Something horrible and destructive exists just below the surface here—just like in other small towns you know.
But it’s cheap and disrespectful to take such liberties with this place and its legacy, to turn it into literary conceit, mere wit. You know this. And you also know that this place causes you to reconsider some of your own recent anger. You do not like living apart from your wife, and you feel bitter about the fact that you have to be so far apart so much of the time. You reflect on your hatred for the people who fired you from your previous job, necessitating this long-distance relationship. The campus minister read your creative work and proclaimed to all who would listen that one work in particular—an essay you were proud of—identified you as an immoral man who should not be employed at a Christian university. You think of the Associate Provost, who had been your best friend at the school, telling you, “You can say what you want about academic freedom, but if the president decides you’re bad for fundraising…” and letting his voice trail off. You think of the Provost, the man who hired you and encouraged you to publish the essay that so offended the campus minister, assuring you, “Our academic freedom policy will protect you from any complaints.” The same man who told you at your pre-tenure review that your tenure application would be a “slam-dunk.” The same man who, a year later, told you that your essay—a personal essay that discussed sexual compatibility in long-term relationships, including your own monogamous relationship—would cost you your job, no matter what promises he had made in the past nor how encouraging he was when you wrote and published it initially. You have spent many nights thinking of these people, getting drunk and plotting elaborate revenge fantasies that you know will never happen. You imagine becoming a famous writer,
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someone they’ll be sorry to have lost, but you know that’s not likely either. Mostly, you just think to yourself, we should be together. We shouldn’t have to each drive six hours to get to a Pennsylvania ghost town just so we can touch each other. This isn’t fair. This isn’t fair. And that’s the thought you usually fall asleep on. But standing on this hill, gloveless hands shoved into your pockets, you understand that the devouring of an entire community by unseen flame wasn’t fair either. And it’s a hell of a lot worse than what happened to you. You lost a job. The people of Centralia lost their homes. Gazing across the snow-covered valley, it seems to you in this moment that fairness is often a concept employed by the privileged when they feel like their privilege is being taken away. It’s not fair that I have to pay taxes so other people’s kids can get an education. It’s not fair that my kitchen ceiling sprung a leak just a few weeks after I paid a lot of money to have a guy re-paint the tin roof. It’s not fair that so many dumb and talentless people seem to rule the world. Centralia, Pennsylvania, doesn’t give a fuck about fairness. And it doesn’t give a fuck about you either. Maybe someday, someone will figure out exactly how the fire started, who deserves to be blamed and punished. And maybe someday you’ll have the opportunity to deprive the people who fired you of something they want very badly. Neither is likely, but let’s say it happens. In the end, would it matter? The damage can’t be undone. Fairness will not be asserted. But careful there—you’re coming close to exploiting real
tragedy for literary affectation. Don’t do that. Instead, think of John Lokitis, the subject of Chris Perkel and Georgie Roland’s documentary The Town That Was. When the film was released in 2007, Lokitis—a handsome, friendly young man whose neighbors might have said had a bright future ahead of him had they not moved away when the town’s future turned to cinder— was one of 11 people still living in Centralia. This was after the state had declared that it was seizing all of the property in the town and relocating its remaining residents. Some people—people like Lokitis—refused to go. “This is my home,” Lokitis insists throughout the film, even though there’s very little of the town left outside of his own memories of happier times. Lokitis insisted he would never leave, but authorities bulldozed his house in 2010, so you guess it really wasn’t up to him. You wish you knew how to find John Lokitis. You’d like to send him an email, find out how he is doing. You want him to be happy, at peace with his loss. His devotion to a town that no longer existed made him seem somewhat deluded in the film, you have to admit, but you are nonetheless certain that the pain he must have felt when they tore his house down was real, even if his idea of home was an illusion. You would like to talk to him, maybe meet him at the Druken Monkey bar in nearby Ashland and buy him a beer. You would like to tell him that everything is going to be okay. You would like for him to speak from experience and tell you that everything is going to be okay too.
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A Hummingbirdâ€™s Tongue Patricia L. Goodman You see it against a dark background if the light is right. When the bird lifts its head from the nectar, its tongue flutters in and out, a flick at the end of its long beak and you know you have witnessed something private, something transcendentâ€” like that tiny moment of happiness that flits in unannounced, and because there is enough darkness, it shines.
Shawnte Orion’s first book is due in 2014 from NYQBooks. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Georgetown Review, New York Quarterly, Barrelhouse, Gargoyle Magazine, Crab Creek Review, and many other publications. His chapbook The Infernal Gaze won Red Booth Review’s annual contest and he was runner-up for the Will Inman Award two years in a row at the Tucson Poetry Festival. He organizes a monthly poetry series at Glendale Community College and he is often invited as a featured reader at bookstores, bars, universities, hair salons, museums, and laundromats. http://batteredhive.blogspot.com
Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé helms Squircle Line Press as its founding editor and publisher. He is the author of I Didn’t Know Mani Was A Conceptualist, forthcoming in 2013. He has also edited more than ten books and co-produced three audio books, some edited pro bono for nonprofit organizations. These titles span the genres of ethnography, journalism, creative nonfiction, and corporate literature. A former entertainment journalist with 8 Days, Desmond has traveled to Australia, France, Hong Kong and Spain for his stories, which have included features on Madonna, Björk and Morgan Freeman, culminating in
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the authorship of the limited edition Top Ten TCS Stars for Caldecott Publishing. Trained in book publishing at Stanford University, Desmond studied sociology and mass communication at the National University of Singapore, and later received his theology masters (world religions) from Harvard University and fine arts masters (creative writing) from the University of Notre Dame. An interdisciplinary artist, Desmond also works in clay, his ceramic works housed in museums and private collections in India, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States. He is the recipient of the PEN American Center Shorts Prize, Swale Life Poetry Prize, Cyclamens & Swords Poetry Prize, Stepping Stones Nigeria Poetry Prize, and Little Red Tree International Poetry Prize, among other awards.
Nancy Holder is a New York Times bestselling writer and the author of approximately seventy novels, including numerous tie-in books based on TV and movie "universes" such as MTV's Teen Wolf, Hulk, Hellboy, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Smallville, and Saving Grace. She has written four young adult dark fantasy and horror series as well as adult romance, horror, and fantasy titles. She is a five-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award for superior achievement in horror writing, and has received a Scribe Award for Saving Grace: Tough Love, and a Pioneer Award from Romantic Times for young adult fiction. Her work has appeared on recommended reading lists for the American Library Association, the American Reading Association, and the New York Public Library's Stuff for the Teen Age. She has sold over two hundred short pieces, and her short stories have appeared in many "Best of" Anthologies including The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror. She writes and edits comic books and graphic novels for Moonstone Books. She has taught at universities and writing conferences all over the world, and has served as faculty in the popular fiction department at Stonecoast for six and a half years. Forthcoming publications include a young adult thriller titled The Rules, a story based on the ballad "Barbara Allen," and a story in a Clive Barker tribute anthology.
Alan King is an author, poet, and journalist. He is currently the Creative Writing teacher for the Literary Media and Communications Department (LMC) at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts. His poems and essays appear internationally in more than 160 anthologies, journals and magazines. Heâ€™s a Cave Canem Fellow and an alumnus of the VONA Workshops sponsored by Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation. He holds a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the Stonecoast Low-Residency Program at the University of Southern Maine. He's a two-time Best of the Net nominee and was also nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Drift (Aquarius Press, 2012) is his first book.
Mark DeCarteret has met up with some luck as of late at BlazeVOX, coconut, Confrontation, Gargoyle, Hunger Mountain, St. Petersburg Review, THRUSH, Toad Suck Review, Welter and Whole Beast Rag.
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Kim MacQueen has published essays in The Morning News and The Fiddleback; short stories in The Southeast Review and Creative Loafingâ€™s Annual Fiction Contest; and by this point probably hundreds of pieces of journalism online that are now behind annoying paywalls. Her first novel, Out, Out was published in 2011, launching her into the ever-growing and always interesting world of indie publishing. A second, People Who Hate America, is slated for early 2014. A 2012 transplant to New England from Florida, she teaches and serves as managing editor for Champlain College Publishing Initiative in Burlington, Vermont.
Uche Ogbuji (@uogbuji) was born in Calabar, Nigeria. He lived, among other places, in Egypt and England before settling near Boulder, Colorado. A computer engineer and entrepreneur by trade, his collection of poetry, Ndewo, Colorado is forthcoming in 2014 from Kelsay Books. His poems, fusing Igbo culture, European Classicism, U.S. Mountain West setting, and Hip-Hop influences, have appeared widely, most recently in IthacaLit, String Poet, The Raintown Review, Featherlit, Outside In Journal, Don't Just Sit There, Qarrtsiluni, and Leveler. He is editor at Kin Poetry Journal and The Nervous Breakdown, founder and curator at the @ColoradoPoetry Twitter project.
Kathryn Kysar is the author of two books of poetry, Dark Lake and Pretend the World, and she edited the anthology Riding Shotgun: Women Write About Their Mothers. She has received fellowships and residencies from Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts, the Oberholtzer Foundation, the Minnesota State Arts Board, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies. Kysar has served on the board of directors for the Association of Writers and Writing Programs and was recently appointed to the Rain Taxi Review of Books board of directors. She has a BA from Hamline University and an MFA from Wichita State University. She chairs the creative writing program at Anoka-Ramsey Community College and writes book reviews for the Minneapolis Star and Tribune. She resides with her family in Saint Paul.
Lisa J. Cihlar's poems have appeared in Blackbird, The South Dakota Review, Green Mountains Review, Crab Creek Review, and Southern Humanities Review. She has been twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her chapbook, “The Insomniac’s House,” is available from Dancing Girl Press and a second chapbook, “This is How She Fails,” is available from Crisis Chronicles Press. She lives in rural southern Wisconsin.
Issue 1: Fall 2013
Bob Piccard lives near Moretown, Vermont.
Michelle Valois lives in western Massachusetts with her partner and their three children. Her writing has appeared in TriQuarterly, The Massachusetts Review, Pank, Brevity, Fourth Genre, The Baltimore Review, and others. She teaches writing and humanities at a community college and blogs at http://www.readmelikeabook.net/. Her first book Lost Gods and Hungry Sailors will be published in early 2014 by Big Table Publishing.
Karen Bovenmyer makes her bacon training future professors at Iowa State University. On the side, because she absolutely can't help it, she teaches novel writing and speculative fiction classes. Her dark fantasy and sci-fi horror stories have appeared in Erin Underwood's Pop Fic Review, Paul Genesse's The Crimson Pact series (volumes 3 & 5), and Bonnie Stufflebeam's Art & Words Show (2012 & 2013). She graduated from the Stonecoast MFA program in July 2013. Karen regularly attends GenCon Game Fair, World Science Fiction, and World Fantasy conventions and loves to meet people. If you see an uncommonly tall, boisterous extrovert in the front row of a session at one of the conferences, say hi and ask her if she wants to play Telephone Pictionary or Cards Against Humanity with you. Also, look her up on Facebook to see her epic fail at frosting Star Wars cookies.
Michael Wasson is originally from Lenore, Idaho, on the Nez Perce Reservation. He is niimĂipuu and an enrolled member of the Nez Perce Tribe. While growing up, his mother often moved him and his older brother between contrasting landscapes: rural and urban, rainy forests and the high desert, as well as both modern and historical settings of the reservation. Michael served several years as a language transcriber and technician for the Nez Perce Language Programâ€™s revitalization and preservation efforts while earning a BA from Lewis-Clark State College. He is now an MFA poetry candidate at Oregon State University where he teaches writing. His work is included or forthcoming in Weave Magazine, American Indian Culture and Research Journal, Yellow Medicine Review, and Talking River among others. In addition, Michael has volunteered every summer in Fukushima since the 2011 tsunami disaster to work with an elderly farming community that holds onto its traditional weaving practices. He currently lives in Corvallis, Oregon. Stevie Edwards is a Lecturer in the English Department at Cornell University, where she recently completed her MFA in creative writing. Her first book, Good Grief, was released in 2012 by Write Bloody Publishing and has received the Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY) Bronze Prize in Poetry and the Devil's Kitchen Reading Award. Her poems have appeared in Verse Daily, Rattle, Indiana Review, Devil's Lake, Southern Indiana Review, Vinyl, and Aim for the Head: an Anthology of Zombie Poetry. She is Editor-in-Chief of Muzzle Magazine and Assistant Editor in Book Development at YesYes Books.
Issue 1: Fall 2013
William Bradley's work has appeared in Brevity, Creative Nonfiction, The Normal School, The Bellevue Literary Review, and The Missouri Review. He lives in Canton, New York, where he teaches at St. Lawrence University.
Patricia L. Goodman is a widowed mother and grandmother and a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Wells College with a BA in Biology. Her life has consisted of running an internationally known horse business with her orthodontist husband on their farm in Chadds Ford, PA, serving in many capacities in The American Trakehner Association, accompanying her husband on hunting trips around the world, and very successfully raising four children. She now lives on the banks of the Red Clay Creek in Wilmington, close to the natural world she loves. She is a regular at Wilmington’s Second Saturday Poets and has twice been a featured reader there. She is a member of Rehoboth Beach Writers Guild, Delaware Literary Connection, the Poetry Writing Workshop at the University of Delaware’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and the Red Clay Poets workshop group. She has had poems published in The Broadkill Review, Fox Chase Review, Aries, Requiem Magazine, Jellyfish Whispers, Sugar Mule, Your Daily Poem, The Weekly Avocet and many anthologies and is completing her first full-length manuscript. Her poem “Snow at Midnight” won the 2013 Delaware Press Association Communications Award in the poetry division and placed second in the national NFPW contest. In the past five years Patricia has suffered three major losses, and claims her poetry has saved her sanity, helping her through these difficult times. Contact her at email@example.com.
A Brief word about the Stonecoast MFA Program One of the nation's most diverse, exciting, and rigorous lowresidency MFA programs, the Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing offers a superbly comprehensive yet thoroughly individualized two-year graduate education in the art of writing. Each Stonecoast semester begins with a stimulating ten-day residency at the legendary Stone House on the coast of Maine's Casco Bay. During the semester, our award-winning faculty guide Stonecoast students in intensive one-on-one tutorials in creative nonfiction, fiction, poetry, and popular fiction, with possibilities for elective work in other areas including scriptwriting, translation, and cross-genre studies.
Published on Oct 26, 2013
Fall 2013 - The Stonecoast MFA program presents the Stonecoast Review inaugural issue. A literary magazine publishing works of poetry, liter...