The Columbia Review Spring 2022

Page 1

An Editors’ Note

I can only talk about it metaphorically.

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The Sunburn

The World’s Smallest I Picture a River Monday in City Park The Bluebonnet

What Grows Here DRIP

Where/Did You Sleep Last Night

Numbering the Day Sinclair send kisses WHITE GIRL

Neighbourly Behavior Examination Room Love The gamekeeper

Perry Parsons

Evan Williams

Evan Williams Christine Kwon

Ellie M. Windsor Abigail Mengesha T.J. Masluk Brody Parrish Craig Allisa Cherry Alex Kapsidelis Alex Kapsidelis Owen Park Bruna Gomes Jennifer Hambrick DS Maolalaí 4 5 6 7 8 10 12 13 14 16 17 18 19 24 27

3 spring 2022
vol 103 issue 2

The Sunburn

Perry Parsons

Eating for dinner, my body

The sun that warms me, my melting planet

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The World’s Smallest

I’ve driven 3,400 miles of road searching for the owner of the world’s largest collection of the world’s smallest versions of the world’s largest things. I have so many questions for her. Like: if they all blew away in a gust of wind, then what? Or: have you introduced the world’s smallest version of the world’s largest ball of twine to the world’s largest ball of twine? Did it seem at all maternalistic? Rumor has it she’ll be at a county fair in Kansas soon. I’m north of Salt Lake City, watching the smoke from the Western fires hide in the water of the Great Salt Lake. It creates one body of water or sky, indistinguishable from the other. There is no one else here. I’m presently the world’s largest witness of this moment. I sit on the former lakebed. The Great Salt Lake before me is the world’s largest version of what the Great Salt Lake once was. There is a praying mantis dead on the salt next to me. I prop him up against my sandal, the world’s smallest witness to the thrum, our collection corroborating the smoking sun.

5 spring 2022

I Picture a River

and get a snake. It sits in my lap all coiled and new. The snake slithers to my shoulders and wraps around my neck. I think I love it. We go for a walk. The snake around my neck and I find a park with a playground. We swing on the swings and slide down the slides. Children everywhere scream. This is because the snake is not small. In fact, the snake is inflating around my neck like a lotation device. I take the snake around my neck whom I love to the river. It is like visiting a grandparent with my child. The snake hisses in my ear and it’s obvious it learned from the water’s gush. I wade into the river and the snake uncoils itself from around my neck. The love stays. It swims downstream.

I go for a walk. I find the same park with the same playground. I swing on the same swings and slide down the same slides. Children everywhere ask if I am okay.

I picture the snake and get a river. It sits in my lap all undulatory and unsure. The river wraps around my waist like a moat. I think I could love it. I dip my hands in the running water from time to time thinking I’ll find the snake.

Evan Williams
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Monday in City Park

7 spring 2022

The Bluebonnet

Everyone knows: don’t pick the bluebonnets. When the wildflowers begin to bloom on highway shoulders and in the empty retention ponds next to grocery stores and Home Depots, grownups tell you one thing with grave faces: don’t pick the bluebonnets. When your mom puts you in a poofy dress and takes you to the vacant lot next to the bank for wildflower pictures, you can take home a little bouquet of Indian paint brush. When the flowers start to appear on the other side of the playground fence, you can put an evening primrose in your hair. Pick the black-eyed Susans, pick the Indian blankets, pick the bastard cabbage from the roadside and the lantana from front yards and the grape-jelly-scented purple clusters hanging from the mountain laurels, but spare the state flower.

Why? Because they’ll find you. Because it’s illegal. Because your teacher will see or your dad will find out, and they will have a decision to make, and you don’t want them to have to make that decision. We all knew this, but Peter did it anyway. He picked a bluebonnet growing next to the slide because Sahil dared him and then Michael double-dog-dared him to go up to the girls on the swings and give it to Rosa. Rosa, of course, wouldn’t take it. Rosa knew better than to be caught with a picked bluebonnet — someone might think she was the one who did the picking.

We told Peter to throw it away, push it through the links in the fence so no one could know that he did it, but he wouldn’t listen. He carried the bluebonnet in his pocket, sticking out like

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a prize as we stood in the line to go inside, and when it fell out during his turn at the water fountain he picked it back up like it was anything else. During carpool we all watched to see what would happen, but the teacher didn’t pull him aside and the police didn’t pull up, and he got into his mom’s Honda Odyssey with the bluebonnet clutched in the same fist as his craft.

On the ride to school the next morning, I looked at the bluebonnets moving by and thought of poor Peter, who didn’t listen and had picked a bluebonnet and who I would probably never see again. But in the classroom, sitting right there at his desk without a scratch or an orange jumpsuit, was Peter the bluebonnet picker.

9 spring 2022

What Grows Here

An acacia bush, my curls ripen into kinks by red brick villas, beneath a ceiling

of jacarandas. Sunbirds tussle for nectar while I sprout appetites.

Chase guava juice and inkpots, hoard cowrie shells and wät-stained linens—

even things I never mean to keep: this barbarian tongue, these thick slices

of obstinacy, At noon, I root my shadow among mango trees

and make a stew from mud and petals. Eyes, half open. Gums, mossy

from chewing too much sugarcane in the front yard. I take

before as today and today as after. No slithery grudges, no word Abigail Mengesha

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for these scales on my scalp. Oblivious to the power of a glance. I’m a bounty

of venom and omen. A girl with slick plaits, playing seño makseño

at dusk. My parents on the veranda— “Medusa, come back inside.”

11 spring 2022

for Pollock drip it white upon the floor scalpel-slash the boozy paste take a drag of ragged smokes plant your face in wedding cake

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was joy the cattail edge far past the holler the birdsong brush along the mouth between us valleys hillside rolling eyes what throat could overlook the trees seedlings could sprout

along the hollers gap tongue whistled thru the future grasses not unraveled there the dirt mound rocking what skulls left remains herein to tap the stifled clogged up root

& touch the base of limbline soul what pines was moss across the balded field I soar angel above rings topsoil bottomed worm to catch mouth cup the byway trail sounds lure

what none thought edible, see-through forest moist eyes run back and mossing toward the sun

13 spring 2022

Allisa Cherry Numbering the Day

This morning, my aunt is speaking to me before she has put her teeth in. Her face is soft like clotted cream around her consonants. Uncomfortably sweet in her house dress, she says

I can borrow her car to visit my mother in the hospital. And I am grateful for her baby face, her mouth

working hard around its small gummy hole. My brother sits at the kitchen table trapped

in his own thoughts. He picks the meat out of his soup then slurps the noodles. Broth drips on his forearm and he

doesn’t wipe it away until I pass him a paper towel. I know the soup isn’t warmed through anyhow

because I saw him push 1-minute on the microwave then take the bowl out twenty seconds later. I ask him

if his food tastes good. He says yeah. I ask him if his friend will pick him up. He says yeah.

I ask where they met and he tells me I don’t really know. He rarely looks at me, the lens of his medication so thick he can’t see through it. Or maybe it is that I no longer see him clearly as if all his edges have blurred, the brother I once knew swimming like an old trout

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in algae below silty water. And I tell myself to sit here anyhow, stay with him at the table. But my body is pulled toward an easier task.

Later he and I will drive to see my mother. I’ll let him pick the music and he will track past each song

twenty seconds in. He will only say yeah or no. In this way we will turn a thirty minute drive

across farmland quilted with fallow and till into an endless thicket. But halfway between Winona and the room where my mother lies, her calcified heart tick ticking a slow and whispery rhythm, is a farm

with a herd of reindeer corralled right off the highway. The willow is only beginning to shoot its red whips up through the gray green grasses. And the stone outcroppings, much older than the last ice age that rolled over the top of the continent and stopped just miles from here, look just like yellow sugar loafs. Time is long enough.

And I intend to pull over and make him watch with me until the biggest bull with his furred antlers lifts his heavy crown

and shows my brother and me the full length of his white throat, until the deep unblinking well of his eye stares back at us.

15 spring 2022

Slowing then when there I clocked you, outside, stopping. You, Sinclair murmured: motors churning wax and (gasping). Stalled and vexed. Now, Sinclair, siphon coolant. Reservoirs low those brackish roars, howling longly Oh! Sinclair! We need her heats her stores her meats her motorcade: fileted, fish, skinned, salmon, blanched, trout, fried, cat. Sinclair. Sinclair. Sinclair. No standing in yellow, Sinclair, in yellow. Alex Kapsidelis Sinclair

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Soon seas blossom. Sprouts spin subtle.

Daughter’s fallen tooth gives the greatest start. Wheat stalks wrap garlic braids and yellow honeysugar.

Sugar is this sugar honey. Dew gentle dew. Yes oven’s cake baked sweeter still: honey.

Honey glass in glass on glass like Chrysler steel. On the route there are ways. This is that way this is that way. Ice baths where young sons soak feet. Send kisses. Send wheaten paws and honey braids to hang in glass. Interred in tin.

Turn this carousel. This carousel turns on mirrored glass: glass below glass: glass in thimble baskets.

17 spring 2022

The first time I met her, she sold me something.

Later, I watched her throw pennies in the trash (She really did that) thinking wait a minute, those might be mine.

And after we laid down as if out of boredom, the taste of copper loitered between my teeth.

In the morning, I hunched over a bowl of alternatives, face-to-face with a Lenin shrine, pretending I was playing with his cats.

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Cutting the barbed skin away from a pineapple, Vitoria asks her mother, “will you hem my jeans like you hemmed Tulio’s?” Tulio, Vi toria’s brother, looks down at his ankles, where his mother’s exceptional sewing is displayed. Even though Dona Márcia had to shorten the legs by a few centimetres, the brown thread is still tightly stitched, and the manufactured rips are frayed discreetly.

“Ai, you should have asked for jeans when Tulio got his,” says Dona Márcia to Vitoria, who is now slicing the pineapple into geometric discs. She bites into a piece and frowns, cheeks bulging.

“Well, I want jeans now.”

Dona Márcia picks up the phone and dials Dona Claudia. The latter answers quickly and says, “you have more shampoo?”

“No coconut, just vanilla. I’m waiting for the delivery.” Dona Márcia runs her forefinger up the cartilage of her nose, then sniffs.


“Look, Dona Claudia, look here. When are you going up to Manaus again?” Dona Márcia listens to papers rustle and the sound of her friend’s tongue clicking against her teeth.

“Tomorrow, actually.”

“You’re getting another shipment of Levi’s, yes?”

“You want a couple of pairs for Vitoria?”

“Exactly. I’m sorry,” Dona Márcia sniffs again without need ing to, “she couldn’t speak up when Tulio got his, eh? Head in the clouds, that girl.”

Dona Claudia laughs, air pushing through her nose like the sound of a gas leak. Then the tinkle of ice in a glass.

“Look, Dona Claudia. When you get back from Manaus, you call me. Call me, okay? And I’ll come by with the shampoo. I’ll have stock by then, tá?”

“Great. Great.” Dona Claudia’s voice echoes as if she is holding a glass full of iced water to her lips. The women hang up and Dona Márcia turns to her daughter, who is sucking pineapple juice off her

19 spring 2022



“What do you say?”

“Thank you, Mamãe.” #

Dona Claudia wishes her youngest son would find a vocation in the city. She wants him to love a São Paulo job and stay in it forever. She wants him to build a São Paulo family and feed it with his São Paulo job. She wants him to retire and fund it with his São Paulo savings. She wants it to be like the movies, without all the subtitles. She doesn’t want him here, in the driver’s seat next to her as they push northbound on the interstate, tailgating trucks full of yogurt.

Instead, she wants her eldest son driving her up to Manaus. She wants him to want what he will soon inherent: the copper company. She wants him to become known as the Rich Portuguese Man in his neighbourhood just as she’s known as the Rich Portuguese Woman in hers. It is a shame, really, her eldest has no knack for business and finds the Ama zonian heat at the mines to be intolerable.

It is decided then, Dona Claudia thinks, her hand clutch ing at the crank handle but not opening the window, that for everyone’s convenience, she will live, more or less, forever. After all, she reflects, without the company’s international scale, there would be no one to import genuine Levi’s from the States for the suburban kids in São Paulo. Her immortal ity is somewhat vital, then. Dona Claudia still doesn’t open her window even though the car is hot. She doesn’t let her son open his, either. She’s low on good shampoo and can’t let the highway wind ruin her freshly-washed hair.

“Jorge, what do you think,” she asks her son, “about real estate?”

“Are we investing in another property?” He takes one hand off the wheel to scratch at his ear, keeping his eyes on the yogurt truck in front of them.

“No. I mean,” she licks the sweat off the top of her lip, “real estate agents. Smart people, yes? Decent people.”

“Filthy people, Mãe.” Jorge’s gaze frantically sweeps

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the road as if he is a sniper. “Robbers, and liars, and.”

“That is a shame.”

Jorge says nothing, then coughs, his throat dry. “We will stop to drink something soon.”

“You would have been a handsome real estate agent.”


Tulio arrives at his friend’s garage wearing his newly-hemmed jeans and a gold chain tucked beneath his father’s polo shirt. Three of his friends are already there, fingering cigarettes but not smoking them, unsure if the smoke would drift to the house and rat them out. They had set up a record player and strung up some lights. Earlier, his friend’s mother made them a tray of coxinha and the first thing Tulio did when he arrived was eat one. While eating, he stays standing, posing like a mannequin. He doesn’t stand too close to his friends, leaving his jeans in full view. Hearing footsteps, he turns around and sees Vitoria walk into the garage with two of her friends.

“What?” Her voice is high. “We were invited.”

After Tulio eats another coxinha, one of his friends finally notices the jeans. “Man, now those pants,” says the friend, “are the real deal. How did you get them? They’re fake, let me see?” Tulio shuffles closer to him, “no, they’re the real deal, shit. Who’d you rob, Tulio?”

Tulio scoffs about his “connections.” Vitoria overhears and tells the circle of boys about her very own pair of Levis that she’ll be wearing any minute now. The boys whistle. “Who’d you rob?” they go on, “your twin? The fit you perfectly, man.”

“No, no,” Tulio corrects them, “Connections.” Rich Portuguese Woman, etc. Vitoria nods on. Tulio continues to boast about his “friendship” with the Rich Portuguese Woman’s son. “Doesn’t even have a real job! He just drives up and down the highway, I swear! He’s rich and he does nothing. It’s cool, yeah.”

The siblings feel like they own the garage. The denim is almost as thick as armour.

For the rest of the night, the garage hums with samba saxophones and broken teenage voices. Sweaty necks turn salty when a dry breeze swings under the door, and then the streets fill with sons and daugh ters, tired, returning to their beds.

Tulio peels his jeans off. Finally, cotton shorts.

21 spring 2022

Jorge takes off in the back of a pickup along a dusty road that leads to the copper mine. He wants to get involved. He wants to show his mother how suited he is to inherit the company. Little does he know, of course, that his mother plans on living forever, so inheriting it is more or less out of the question. The pickup haphazardly tumbles into the air, the driver not caring to slow down despite the lumps of dirt and knotted tree roots. The drive makes Jorge hungry. He wishes he brought lunch with him, and he is full of regret. His mother, he as sumes, would be disappointed in his lack of preparation. As if spoken into the bottom of a cup, his mother’s voice echoes in his head.

Arriving at the mine, he realises how soft his hands are, how pale they are. Holding them out in front of himself, they are like bowls of milk reflecting the blue sky. A miner, a local man, walks by him with a smirk. Seeing the milky sky in Jorge’s hands, the miner offers his palms out, too. They are gnarly and brown, like the road Jorge just travelled.

“We’ll fix that, easy,” says the miner. This makes Jorge shove his hands into the back-pockets of his cargo-pants. The miner is wearing Levi’s, dusty, like they’re evaporating.


Dona Claudia holds the invoice in her right hand, secured by a clipboard, and a pen in her left. Walking slowly down the storage room of her office, she ticks off each box of imported American goods. IBM electric typewriters, tins of Spam, Levi jeans, even a small package of their denim jackets lined with sheep’s wool. The jackets hardly have any use in the hot city; twenty-somethings hook their index finger into the fluffy collar and sling the garments over a relaxed shoulder (they make it so easy for the thieves and pickpockets!), narrowly achieving double denim.

Dona Claudia rocks back and forth on her heels. She has a migraine. The Amazonian heat is turning her hair limp and she hopes to Deus that Dona Márcia never stops being a sales representative for Sunsilk. She feels old, her ankles feel thick. She finds herself to share too many traits with a big tree. She thinks what a shame it is: three sons and no daughters, and now she is a tree. A tree, she slowly ruminates, whose branches are growing in the wrong direction. Why isn’t she a river? Why isn’t she the sky?

Dona Márcia is on Dona Claudia’s doorstep with two crates of co

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conut-scented Sunsilk. The front door swings open, and Dona Márcia admires her friend who looks like a movie star, truly, with bossy silver hair and lips that look stung.

“My shampoo,” says Dona Claudia. “What a miracle. Come in, will you? I’ll get your package.” She turns around and Dona Márcia follows her into the living room, the two women dragging their feet across the clean tiles so that the room sounds windy. Dona Márcia perches onto the arm of a green velvet couch, its chest studded, and breathes in deeply. She likes doing this in spacious rooms. Dona Claudia produces a plastic bag full of denim from what appears to be thin air and offers it to Dona Márcia as if it were a flan she’s just made. It makes her feel domestic. It makes Dona Márcia feel criminal. Dona Márcia pays for the jeans at warehouse price and Dona Claudia pays for the shampoo at wholesale price.

“You’ll come over, yes?” says Donna Márcia, her head in the plastic bag, sniffing the denim. “For lunch tomorrow. You’ll be over?”

“I will bring something, what should I bring?”

“Don’t be ridiculous.”

“I’ll bring garlic bread. I’ll bring pão de queijo, and beer. But I won’t bring my sons, no.”

“Ai, drag them over.”

“Please! They’re all too confused. They don’t know up from down.” Dona Claudia begins massaging her scalp with the pads of her fingers. Be calm, she thinks, be a river, be the sky.

“Bring Jorge. Let me say hello to him, eh? Tulio enjoys his company.” Dona Márcia can’t stop admiring the Rich Portuguese Woman, her green couch, her coconut hair. Everything about her is taut and unflinching.

“Jorge is stuck in Manaus.”


“Stuck in the mine. The thing crumbled on top of him.”


Vitoria stands in front of the mirror in her mother’s closet. She points her right toes out in front of her, watching as the hem of her new jeans lift slightly above her ankle, and slide back down as she drops her foot and stands steady as a soldier. The tan stitches are neat and tight, the frayed hem asymmetrical but tidy. Her mouth stings from the pineapple she ate days ago. The jeans fit perfectly.

23 spring 2022

Examination Room Love

And in the unseasonable warmth of an early-dark night when my breath should shine before me like ectoplasm and I’ve wrapped myself in a windbreaker dragged out from behind the wool coat my husband calls a shell, a weird sensation takes me to the urgent care place, discomfort mild as autumn air in its adolescence but there, like the humming of street lamps flooding the dodgy black hole of paint-striped macadam in fluorescent chiaroscuro. Across the parking lot, the pre-fab exoskeleton of the planet of the ill, the sick, the uncomfortable and also the planet of those who fill out forms with names and ages and symptoms, every twinge and burn of those of us who enter, of our riff-raff selves slowly – though maybe more quickly than we dare to acknowledge – unraveling at the cellular level until we unite with the breath of the planets spinning above us. And now the nurse unconcernedly takes my blood pressure and my temperature and verifies the precise date on which I entered this chalky biosphere and writes down her version of my symptoms and transports the plastic tube of piss she asked for to those who study such things, to the piss-students somewhere in the dome of this microcosm, and unconcernedly leaves me here in this room alone. She does this no doubt to make me think about the wrung-out desolation of the corrugations called the human condition, about the star I float around on and where I steer it. The skin of my hands looks moon-pale under the lights sunken amid foam ceiling tiles and because my symptoms

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are as slight as the last damselfly of summer, as wispy as a fading vapor trail, I am suddenly grateful that I will walk out of this sick-box before long and, if I may be completely honest, that I won’t die here –at least not today – which is unlike many behind doors just steps away whose courses will leave no wake in unreachable waters. But at this moment and like the places we visit and long to return to – quaint seaside villages, the colleges that mothered our souls – I find myself loving this room for its immortalizing comfort. I love its pre-fabness, the particle board medical supplies cabinet, the Naugahyde upholstery on the chair I’m sitting in. I love the nurse’s stool, a plastic stand five-pronged like a starfish, each arm angled the same distance away from the next, and I love that each starfish arm sits on its own plastic wheel, an adaptation to land life, like the polymer car that propelled me through the fluid chaos of the interstate and here to this moment in this room, in this wonder of dry wall and medical science. I love the fake wood floor and the fake grain in the planks, and the thousand emails and meetings that went into dreaming up the dyes, the mechanical processes, the precise mode of production for an army of supply-chain workers to make and build this fake wood into the floor of this room when there’s a bunch of trees full of real wood in the tree farms that run on wood-pulp memos to make up for the vanishing forests that god almighty, or whoever, already made. And I am falling for the painting to my left, an English garden crazed around the base of a fieldstone house, red and yellow blossoms beaming up toward the four-paned window, wisteria vine scaling the wall, blue and pink blooms dangling like a teen girl’s bangs, the freshness of the scene for a moment washing over the scent of antiseptic. And there to my right is the medical supplies cabinet mish-mashed from out of a box. I suddenly love

25 fall 2021

columbia review the box and the cabinet and especially the cabinet’s plastic finish designed to look like marble, veins of beige streaking warm-hued white reminiscent of Our Lady of the Milk, the nursing virgin mother of god in so many paintings made in Italy not far from where the marble in this cabinet door would have been quarried, if the marble in the door were real. And yes, I love that quarry, a quarry right next to an olive grove, where each spring the sweet scent of the first pressing swaddles the hills and blankets the grapevines nearby, where the air’s cool edge carries just the idea of warmth, where time stretches into longer days – and the clock in this room with the second hand that clicks the passing of each moment, the way those who fill out forms put check marks in all the boxes – I love this conscientious clock that tracks each blink of every life until we are alone in a place where someday we could find our end in mild discomfort, in unseasonable warmth.

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The gamekeeper

hairs spike your legs as some wilderness detail: twitching black rabbits in fields of white snow. twitching and visible, just like wild rabbits. I lie on our bed on my belly and elbows – you’re asleep and you’re warm and you’ve kicked off the duvet. I’m in a ditch, quite dirty-trousered, soaking, invisibly watching wild game.

27 fall 2021the columbia review


Allissa Cherry grew up in a rural religious commu nity seated in an irradiated desert in the southwest of the United States. She has since relocated to Portland, OR where she works as a writing tutor and small-scale urban farmer and has recently completed an MFA in poetry at Pacific University. She is working on a man uscript that explores the way faith, like landscape, is often reshaped by violence. Some of this work has re ceived Pushcart and Best of the Net nominations and can be found in Poetry South, Westchester Review, the EcoTheo Collective , and at SWWIM Daily .

Bruna Gomes is an Australian-Brazilian novelist and poet. Her writing plants cultural and emotional his tory with new seeds. In 2021, she published her debut novel How to Disappear with Encircle Publications. Her debut poetry collection, Triple Citizenship, is forthcoming in April 2022. Bruna’s work is featured in various online journals such as the Cordite Poetry Review, Paper Crane Journal, Cacti Fur , and The Pan golin Review. In June of 2022 she will be a writer in residence at The Museum of Loss and Renewal in Italy. When she’s not writing, she enjoys eating almond croissants and reading at the beach.

Jennifer Hambrick is the author of In the High Weeds, winner of the Stevens Manuscript Award of the National Federation of State Poetry Societies; Joy ride ( Red Moon Press ), currently shortlisted for the Touchstone Distinguished Books Award from The Haiku Foundation; and Unscathed ( NightBallet Press ). Hambrick is featured in American Life in Poetry , is a frequent recipient of poetry commissions, and has received many awards, including the Sheila-Na-Gig Press Poetry Prize, First Prize in the Haiku Society of America’s Haibun Award Competition (2018), and First Prize in the Martin Lucas Haiku Award Compe tition

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Alex Kapsidelis (often stylized as Owleks Capsadullus) is a writer and translator of fiction and poetry. Born in Richmond, Virginia in 1988, he’s a total Sag ittarius. After a brief stint as a librarian in Salasaca, Ecuador in 2010, he moved to New York City, where he’s been living and working since. Currently, he is working on a novel and is an MFA candidate at Co lumbia University.

Christine Kwon lives in New Orleans with her part ner and Trotsky, Twombly, and Lady Murasaki, her three cats. She writes poetry and fiction, and reads both for the editorial board of Tilted House. She has been published in Joyland Magazine, The Yale Review, and Sweet Mammalian . Look for forthcoming pieces from Recliner Mag, b l u s h lit, and Hot Pink Mag!

Samson Malmoli is a writer and poet from Brooklyn, NY, currently in Boston with the love of his life pursu ing a BFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College. He takes great influence from his foundations in NYC and connections to writers he’ll never meet. Samson’s writing conveys the intricacies of experience, whatever you think it does, or would like it to. You can explore more of his writing or contact him through his website:, so long as you know that he would like to be remem bered long after he dies.

DS Maolalaí has been nominated nine times for Best of the Net and seven times for the Pushcart Prize. He has released two collections, “Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden” ( Encircle Press , 2016) and “Sad Havoc Among the Birds” ( Turas Press , 2019). His third col lection, “Noble Rot” is scheduled for release in April 2022.

T.J. Masluk has master’s degrees from Columbia Uni versity and a PhD from Sofia University. He also

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the columbia review

studied neuroscience and statistics at the University of Virginia, and creative nonfiction at the University of Oxford. His latest poems appear or are forthcom ing in S chuylkill Valley Journal, Writer’s Block Maga zine (Amsterdam, Netherlands), New Contrast (Cape Town, South Africa), Hong Kong Review (Kowloon, Hong Kong/Tianjin, China), and in the anthology Without a Doubt (NYQ Books). He lives in Northamp ton, Pennsylvania, a blue-collar town once the cement capital of the world. Quarrying and life in small-town America are leitmotifs recurring throughout much of his work.

Abigail Mengesha is a recipient of the George Har mon Coxe Award for Poetry and is currently a Jan Gabrial Fellow at New York University, where she is an MFA candidate in Poetry and a first-year writing instructor.

Owen Park is a senior at Columbia University study ing creative writing.

Brody Parrish Craig is the author of The Patient is an Unreliable Historian (forthcoming, Omnidawn 2024) and Boyish (Omnidawn 2021), the winner of the 2019 Omnidawn Poetry Chapbook Contest. They are the editor of TWANG , a regional anthology of transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming creators. They currently create & teach in Arkansas.

Perry Parsons is a poet and artist from San Francisco. They are a recent graduate of Barnard College where they were a 2021 student artist-in-residence at The Movement Lab and a recipient of the Dasha Amsterdam Epstein Prize for Directing.

Evan Williams is a poet and essayist based in the corn fields of the Midwest. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in DIAGRAM, Pleiades , and Joyland ,


among others. He is the author of the chapbook Claustrophobia, Surprise! (HAD Chaps), and can be found on Twitter @evansquilliams.

Ellie M. Windsor is a senior in Columbia College studying Creative Writing and Math. She is from Aus tin, Texas, and lives with her cat, Loretta.

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the columbia review




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Cover Art

Natalie Christensen Jim Eyre

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This issue is sponsored in part by the Arts Initiative of Columbia University.

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33 spring 2022

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