The Round, Spring 2017: Issue XVI

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THE ROUND spring 2017 : issue xvi

Looking, Todd Stong

ink, gesso, and matte medium on wood panel | 6” x 8”

LIT ER ARY ART 1 - Homesickness Baylor Knobloch 3 - Holding Isabelle Doyle 12 - Love Poem 5 Jeremiah Prince 14 - I Love It When We Fall Backward and Deep Kendra L. Tanacea 16 - Junebug Christine Hamm 18 - When a Few Eagle Feathers No Longer Heed Looking Horse King Grossman 21 - For Me To Be Right, You Would Have to Have Been Wrong (About Everything) Alex Walsh 22 - How to Write a Self-Reflection Sydney Lo 24 - Little Dog John Kneisley 26 - Tea Abby Caplin 30 - Mackerel Sky Rick McKenzie 31 - Tunnel Rat S. Frederic Liss 42 - Circles and Salt Water Anna Johnson 44 - Do You Scatter Ashes? Serena Eve Richardson

T HE R OUN D 45 - On Turning 21 Baylor Knobloch 46 - Raleigh 1 Jeremiah Prince 49 - Tylenol Words Benjamin Ostrowski 50 - Sublimation Anna Johnson 52 - Where did you come from, Angel? Kendra L. Tanacea 54 - Zoe Maddie Critz 56 - Aftermath John Kneisley 60- Emily as a Human, a Trespass Darren Demaree 62 - Emily as the Body is Smoke Darren Demaree 63 - Seated Next to a Friend's Husband at the House of Prime Rib to Celebrate Eric's Fiftieth Birthday Kendra L. Tanacea 65 - In Defense of Insomnia, A Lecture to My Reflection Laurie Reiche 66 - Induction from the Fish Spine Sydney Lo 68 - On Hearing of Your Death Naomi Ruth Lowinsky

V IS UAL ART cover - Looking Todd Stong 2 - Summer Storm Shira Abramovich 11 - The Procession of Sighs Bill Wolak 15 - Mind Mandala: the imagining brain Wesley Usher 20 - South/North Emilia Figliomeni 25 - Roanoke Todd Stong 28 - Vase Todd Stong

29 - Single and Domestic AF Rica Maestas 43 - Smoke Scent Shira Abramovich 48 - Hushed iii Jeff Katz 57 - Sleeplessness Rica Maestas 61 - Secret Forest Haemaru Chung 64 - Fireworks Shira Abramovich

“Surely there is something to be said for drawing a circle around our attention and remaining within that circle. But how large should this circle be?”

— Zadie Smith, The Embassy of Cambodia

HOMESICKNESS Baylor Knobloch

My acupuncturist thinks that I’m mourning my childhood. I think I’m mourning my mother too—what I know should be the appropriate distance between us at this point. My therapist wants me to let go of the “should.” I need a new toothbrush and I still don’t have one because my mom didn’t put them in our stockings this year. She knows which shampoo will be good for my new baby hairs filling in my bald spots and she strokes them, talks to them like the big plant in the living room that she showers twice a week. She sings to the cat when she feeds him. She cooks eggs in the microwave and I’m terrified of what would happen if she left me. I used to follow my mom around the house because I thought there were people living in our walls and I didn’t want to be alone with them. I could exist forever as one of her limbs, an extension of her body, crawl inside of her windowpane ribs and just rest there in a spot perfectly my shape and size. I tell her this and she reminds me that I did spend nine months inside of her, and I decide that I would like to go back there someday.


Summer Storm | Shira Abramovich watercolor | 4.5� x 6�

HOLDING Isabelle Doyle

1. One night when we were six, our mothers took us to a bar opening in town, because neither could afford a babysitter, and they both wanted to go to the opening because drinks were free for women, and the sky was black and blue and the stars started at our feet, and we all walked into town to the bar together, and the French doors were thrown open, and yellow fairy lights were strung on the trees outside, and people stretched their long legs out into the street, sweat glistening between breasts and over eyebrows and the air was deep with summer heat, and Miles Davis was playing on the radio, and we colored for three hours in your coloring book on the floor in the corner, and my mother got drunk and felt up outside the bathroom by a bearded man at two in the morning, and I started crying because I was tired and hadn’t eaten in hours, and you brought me some roasted almonds from the glass bowl on the bar, and you kissed my dirty cheek, and you held my small hand. 2. When we were fifteen you said you hated your face because it was round like a roll of cheese but I thought your face was so cute and I loved your full face because your cheek was so soft when you put it on my shoulder and you sighed loudly like a cartoon and I moved to kiss your forehead but you turned and kissed my mouth and I tried to make you stand still for a second so I could put my hands on your cheeks round as peaches and look at your face which was like the moon in a fairy tale but then we were kissing and your eyes were closed and you seemed kind of

Holding / Isabelle Doyle

impatient with me like pushing at my jeans so I didn’t really get to look at you. 3. At first it was kind of tough and uncertain in a way that felt awful and good to me, and I knew that you liked me but I also knew that that might be just because we’d known each other forever, and I knew that people are allowed to change their minds, but you were so nice to me for the whole beginning of the new way we were together, and even your teeth felt soft to me, and I said you know that I’m slow, like this is really fast for me, and you said ok do you want to slow down, and I said no I don’t want to slow down, I want to keep going, we just have to go slowly, and you said ok, you know anything is ok with me, and I said I’m sorry, like I’m sorry I’m like this, and you’d known me so long you said just the right thing, you said you’re just the right way, you’re the way you should be, and it made me want to stand in front of you wearing no clothes and just have you look at me and look at me and say over and over you’re just the right way, you’re the way you should be, you’re exactly good, you’re exactly right. 4. You started saying small things like you chew too loudly and I wish you wouldn’t kick so much in your sleep, like stuff I couldn’t help, and my feelings were a little hurt but not too much, and then one day you kind of grabbed the fat on the inside of my thigh and kind of shook your head, okay you did stuff like that sometimes, like stuff about my body, and that hurt my feelings a lot, but after that time when you did that I think you kind of knew because I cried a little bit with my head turned away from you, and the next day you told me you had a surprise for me 4

TH E R OUND and you gave me this old Lipton tea bag you found in an anthropology textbook you bought in a used bookstore, and on the back of the tea bag there was a shopping list that listed these things: BE multivitamins thread - black, blue, ? spaghetti sewing kit beatnik boots fabric paint brushes packing tape peach fabric butter detergent baking pans And the ink was a little runny and the teabag was beige with age, and it reminded me of that Leonard Cohen song Suzanne when Suzanne brings him tea and oranges that come all the way from China, and just when he means to tell her that he has no love to give her, then she gets him on her wavelength, and she lets the river answer that he’s always been her lover, and he wants to travel with her, and he wants to travel blind, and he knows Suzanne will trust him, because he’s touched her perfect body with his mind, and I loved that teabag, and it made me want to cry that you gave it to me, that you knew it was exactly the kind of thing I would love, and I loved that song too, and when I played it for you after you gave me the teabag you kind of rumpled up my hair and smiled with half your face, and said you had to go pretty soon, and I said 5

Holding / Isabelle Doyle

ok and started taking my shirt off, and but then I remembered the teabag and I grabbed it and went to tape it into my notebook and you sighed and flopped back down on the bed but it was worth it because I didn’t want to lose it, and I haven’t lost it, and it’s still there. 5. I asked my mom how I would know when I was in love when I was in love, like how could I know what love was if I hadn’t had it before, and she said you just know, you just know, but where does it come from, then, knowing, where does the knowing come from, if the universe is a closed system, like my physics teacher told me, if energy can’t be created, if it can only take on a new form, when a person loves somebody for the first time, and a person begins to have this kind of knowing, where does the knowing come from, and what shape did the knowing take in its beginning, and when it was changing into knowing, did it give off any sparks, or smells, or noises, anything to announce itself, I mean what color was the knowing before it made me think of you as a person I love? 6. Let me tell you something, when we grow up we’re gonna be kind to each other, and we’re gonna live in a village of only daughters tucked between mountains and there is gonna be cold and beautiful rain and mudslides in the cherry-colored spring and the shining mud’s gonna come down like a star slide down the feminine endings of those piles of earth, and we’re gonna tumble over each other in the underbrush, and we’re gonna put our arms around each other and crumble crackers for the insects who live beneath the stones, and you’re gonna put your head on my shoulder, and I’m gonna tilt your chin up and kiss you with my 6

TH E R OUND mouth open. 7. We were in my bed one morning and your hands were pinning my shoulders and you said I just want to be all around you, all over you, like, I want to contain you, and I remember thinking how I never want to be contained, I only want to be held, because I feel like if you were holding me, I would be letting you hold me, which would be my surrender, and surrender is a kind of reverence, but I can’t surrender to your containing me, and I can’t allow you to surround me, I just have to accept it, and now that you are gone from me, there are still sacred pieces of me, and there are still terrible pieces of me, but there is no piece of me left untouched by your alchemy, and I am a bottle spinning on a spinning surface. 8. I still go into my room when I’m angry so nobody can see me and I say things into my hands and I’m crying and I don’t even know what I’m saying and then I’m like out of myself like I’m coming all out with the water and when I fall back into my body I realize I’m saying shit, just shit, shit like you’re going to love me forever, you’re going to love me forever, and I hate that I do that, I hate that I do that, it makes me so mad that I do that, kind of hunger that gets to be so much it’s all shot through my body and I can’t get it out of me, can’t get it out of any part of me, can’t scoop it from the foothills of my wrists or comb it from my eyelashes, and I’m feeding on my own hunger and I don’t even want it gone, and I try to stop needing you because I need to stop needing you but I can’t stop because I need you but the hurt is so bad that I can’t need you 7

Holding / Isabelle Doyle

anymore but I need to. 9. Every time I stand in a path in the woods, your face is in the fog of me, your mouth opening, your arms long beautiful sentences, and you are pronouncing words I can’t imagine, not even in my dreams. 10. Whenever we were together I felt like my own skin was playing tricks on me, like I was gagged with spiderwebs, thin invisible strings, so nobody could see what was binding me, what was stopping me from speaking, but you found me like an extra child in a delivery room, and you pressed your nose against thin glass to glare at me, a prehistoric fish dreaming through the waters of its life, swimming, sweat, body, grief, you, bliss, you put your warm arms around me, you put your fingers around me. 11. Once I mentioned cutting all my hair off and you said but you’re so beautiful with long hair, and that kind of annoyed me because I wanted you to say that I would be beautiful no matter what length my hair was, and I remember feeling really fed up with you, like maybe I was just done, and I can’t believe that that tiny comment, given everything else, was what really made me consider just ending it, I can’t believe that that tiny little thing, out of everything, is what almost made me do it, but whatever, whatever, the point is that you didn’t say I would be beautiful no matter what length my hair was, so I had to say it, and I said I’d be beautiful no matter what length my hair was, and you said I know you 8

TH E R OUND would, don’t think I don’t know that, it’s just that there’s not that much of you to begin with and I don’t want to let go of an inch of you, not a single inch, and my skin just came completely apart because I was loosening and I loved you so much. 12. Even now when you come around again I will slip back into you like soap into an underarm in a hot shower, I will slip back into you, I will slip slip slip into you, my feet may touch the ground but they are clean as a whistle on a teapot, because I still have soap on my heels from days I slipped your mind. 13. One day you came over and didn’t say anything, you just strode through the door and started pulling at my hair and kissing me all over my face, and when it was all over and we were just lying there breathing, you whispered into my hair, something I couldn’t quite hear, and my heart stopped moving, and my heart was a stone in my chest, my heart was a red rock the size of my fist, and I said what did you say, and you whispered I said I’m going to love you forever, and I want to know if loving someone forever can be a threat. 14. If you tell a serial killer lots of things about you, if you make him know you, he’s less likely to harm you, and you’re the opposite of that, and I’m not saying you’re doing it on purpose, I’m saying something has infected me, I’m saying something is still infecting me.


Holding / Isabelle Doyle

15. You’re gonna love me forever, you’re gonna love me forever, you’re gonna love me forever. 16. It’s terrible how it starts and it stops and just when I think it’s gone something makes it begin again and makes it hurt even more but that’s the best part about it, and I’m gonna dial up God on her big yellow telephone and ask her why it hurt so bad when you left me even though I told you to, but before I can call her my electricity’s gonna go out and the snow’s gonna come down like shrapnel on the faces of our houses and all the airplanes are gonna melt in the air so I’m gonna run into the woods behind my house and stand there for centuries getting struck by longing but it’s gonna feel like light and you’re gonna come back to me because I need you to and if we need a person God always finds a way to give us that person and that’s why I’m gonna travel through space and climb a hundred mountains a million birds high and you’re gonna be on top of the hundredth one cupping the bone-white morning in your bone-white hands and when I see you there you’re gonna smile at me and I’m gonna burrow my nose into your neck and we’re gonna rock there while the sun is falling and the snow’s gonna come down like a thousand cold mouths kissing our holy heads and I’m gonna kiss you with my mouth open, I know you’re gonna come back when we grow up and when you come back to me I’m gonna kiss you with my mouth open.


The Procession of Sighs | Bill Wolak collage | 18” x 20”

LOVE POEM 5 Jeremiah Prince

You are rubber, I am glue And I am putty, tape, something melting And when I am grotesque enough, I will be a body-horror masterpiece bounded by three white museum walls, Beside this placard And when you see me, dripping, with a scream trapped in my stuck mouth, Body patch-ironed onto a spider-silk shirt Head (head?) hanging, You will be shaken back and forth, like an eraser, And you will bounce off the walls until You realize you can just leave, thankful you complied And never touched the exhibit.



And you would sleep easier if it didn't remind you how sticky fire can be to tires like you. Who can resist investigating when they smell you burning? Â Ultimately, Hatred of love makes Feeling Stick to itself. Â craft glue, hot glue, double-sided tape, semen, egg white, putty, tacks, masking tape, oil, black ink, electric tape, staples, twine, police tape, melted sugar



into cliché and it’s swing time in Paris and then my heart starts beating like a big brass band and when you kiss me bling go the strings of my heart and here come seventy-six trombones so now’s a good time to say don’t bring around a cloud to rain on my parade and with you the sun is a ball of butter now stop thinking of Last Tango in Paris and call my name like it hurts—Stella!— clang clang bang goes the trolley right down the steep California Street and we jump off and head to the Tonga Room where it thunders and lightnings and rains from the ceiling pu-pu platters and mai tais our own Flower Drum Song and we twirl cocktail umbrellas and yes you could be Gene Kelly don’t you love it when we star in our own big production and our room tilts and we dance straight up the wall and flip over backward and never fall 14

Mind Mandala: the imagining brain | Wesley Usher

mixed media on canvas | 20� diameter

JUNEBUG Maddie Critz

high summer and little hands low to the ground have you ever seen a junebug do a backflip? she peered at me and I couldn’t say I had so when the moon flashed her milk and the stars looked away she put her sharp feet in my back and up and up and out the window she went. corn blue, angel blue, rollercoaster blue blue as the eyes I always wanted there on the grass hopping like a popcorn kernel and hissing our eyes open wide and our hands behind our backs and I remember she curtsied so I did too. a queen abducted and lighter than air in my palm because she wouldn’t touch it pitter patter summer feet all the way home and there she went into her white sarcophagus perched on the frost, flicking her scepters and fluttering her cloak as it all went dark.


We sat and ate blackberries on the kitchen floor and waited, waited onetwothreefourfivesixseveneight picked grass bits from our shins and bowed our heads and after a while she goes it’s time and the fog stings our faces and it’s dead in there, it’s dead and I couldn’t watch as she stretched out one long crooked leg on the counter and tied a string about it with her berry fingers and I couldn’t watch the creature twitch awake to find herself bound and seethe and pace and wail except I just had to peek through my hands at her looklook orbiting the kitchen above our heads up and down and over and back and head over heels again and again gasping and squinting against the light and staining the string corn blue and blackberry red.



Numinous tobacco left-handed vicinity of your heart let go into Cannonball River and the cross is Lakota beside the bank a sacred fire of seven the perfect number brought together like trembling hummingbirds cantankerous and beautiful dipping their beaks into forbidden and necessary stamens purple drips from their feathers while stars wink in the daylight beneath a black tarp with holes in it same as the universe riddled under extravagance cops’ beanbag bullets & tear gas answered by tires set aflame in the middle of State Highway 1806 Molotov cocktails tossed at some kind of kinky romance for nightsticks turn Gandhi into a lizard 18


darting through dead grass across North Dakota’s Great Plains Standing Rock asphyxiates itself breathes blackened smoke where red men lock-down everyone here paleface allies’ tongues paralyzed in ashen continuing ethnocide descended on the indigenous prayers ignored beneath cacophonous adrenaline rushes tribal elders are all Sitting Bull temporarily forgotten at the precise moment vengeful pyres of survival overtake sunbeams slipping through the black tarp.


South/North | Emilia Figliomeni drypoint etching | 11.5” x 15”


Between the least upper bound s and s - epsilon, you slip me in, make space for me. [I never asked to belong.] From here, I can see my limit: so close only a contradiction could lead me back out. This is equivalent, you taught me, to kissing in separate planes. Same mouth, different tongues.



Imputation Gestation trickles into the jar of water in rivulets of pink placidity. From them you begin. You write around a bluish tint. You pull in from your abdomen long tendons, lumps of lavender flesh. Limbs extend into their soft elasticity, press gently the swollen marrow knots. You call it expression. Pull out the sinews Progression superimposes the shade of yellow on itself. It juts out ochre and pours into the sink. You say mustard speaking to yourself. Twelve new words are taught but they are all synonyms for wishbone. Do you hate words now? You pause. You swim upwards into depth. Tactile The assumption always being that the entry before was the last green breath of literature. It is all dead language now. You initiate “I� and arbitrary clauses and then restate so as to avoid viridian. You mention briefly an article on color theory. You go blind. .com Here is what I know: they paid twelve dollars for enlightenment and a bullet journal, for a subscription to a blog. Is it a word they are trying to illustrate? They mix primary pigments to proceed with investigation.



Kinesthesia A fractured intimacy rounds the bleeding gray. You sink beneath the thick swatch. You groan slate syllables and choke on the sludge. Is this an intention? Was this wanted? There is a glass prism in your palm now and it makes three precise incisions. They will never scar; you dye the world crimson.


LITTLE DOG John Kneisley

After Francisco Goya’s painting, El Perro (The Dog) Softly, his moon turned off, and the light from nearby stars, un-named, faded. The night sagged with him as he whined, loneliness plastered in shades of brown against the sky. There was a time when green grew out of the soft-earth here, and a blue swath carried the dance of fishtails to a far sea. But now the world was color-sunk and drained, and he lay alone, waiting. Inches away, the artist painted a spectre rising from under-hill and peering into the earth. At first, it seemed a taunt to the little dog, this half-wisp of a human rather than a whole. In search of a better way to paint a self-portrait, the artist buried his work, thought-stained, by shrinking it all, the hill, the dog, into one brown brushstroke in a still-life of the sun.

Roanoke, Todd Stong

ink, gesso, and matte medium on wood panel | 6� x 8�

TEA Abby Caplin

I want to sit in the garden sun, breathe tea all day, watch the porcelain teapot refill itself, a blend of jasmine and lavender, ghost-picked and brewed by ravens on the roof watching me. I want the secrets of chamomile, all the greens, chai, spiced twice-baked apple, Earl and Lady Greys. Steeped too long, it’s bitter; 26

TH E R OUND too short, it’s weak. Only at upscale movies it tastes like a thing, like gulps of gold, when I hold the paper cup of scalding water, then lower a mini lingerie bag of mint. I unfold my rainbow-black feathers to stretch across the aisle, prop my hard bird legs on the seat back in front of me, toy with the hair of the woman lost in her popcorn, annoyed by my squawk. 27

Vase, Todd Stong

ink, gesso, and matte medium on wood panel | 6� x 8�

Single and Domestic AF, Rica Maestas

collaged Room and Board catalog | 6” x 4”


What Dad would have called a mackerel sky, Some Bahamian weather on the way Brings a welcome shade of fish scale clouds. Six-inch ripples make their little noises. Shafts my wife still calls the Jesus rays Spike the ocean from the cloud-banked sun. A young woman wearing butt-floss swimwear, Toes in the very edge of the ocean, Confronts the diligent and endless unconcern.


TUNNEL RAT S. Frederic Liss

The New York Times published an article the other week about my home sweet home. A nice piece by one of the art or architecture critics. Few thousand words. Photographs. Why not? A great location. New York’s gentrified Upper West Side. Broadway and 91st St. Omitted from the article was the legend of Brunetto Napoli’s ghost. Perhaps the reporter who covered the paranormal beat was on assignment elsewhere. No story about my home sweet home is complete without the phantasmal. Not that I am a believer. I counter with logic and skepticism and a firm belief in the scientific method. I wasn’t there when the reporter and photographer visited thanks to a tunnel rat. If I were, I would have been caught, evicted, arrested, convicted, probably fined, maybe imprisoned. Nasty business. Tunnel rats. There are four legged rats and two legged. And, if the legend is to be believed, one ghost. I protect myself against the four legged with closed tins for my food, traps and poisons, elevating my mattress off the floor. When I was newly moved in, I circled my mattress with a Maginot line of rat traps, but there were always more rats than traps. Rats aren’t dumb. They figured out every trap hosting a dead rat creates a breach in my ramparts, an opening for the others to pour through. What is more embarrassing than being outsmarted by a horde of rats? Such hubris. Rats will inherit the earth long after us bipeds are extinct. As will cockroaches. I share my home with those as well. The two legged tunnel rats are divided into two species, both populated by maintenance workers who clean the subway tracks and keep 31

Tunnel Rat / S. Frederic Liss

the lights and switches functioning and in good repair so the Broadway Local, the 1 train to us natives, won’t derail and end up on the Express tracks—the 2 or 3—or vice versa. As for the ghost, cut and cover was the subway construction technique between 60th street and 104th street when the tunnel for the Broadway line was excavated in the 1890’s. Cave-ins and trench collapses were commonplace, construction fatalities frequent. Napoli, a common laborer two weeks off the boat from Naples, hence his name, died in such an accident at 91st street, his body never recovered. Legend says he lies beneath the track bed, that his soul, never liberated from his body because he was denied Last Rites, haunts the underground to this day. You see, I live in an abandoned subway station, Broadway and 91st St., closed in 1959 when the trains grew too long for the platform. In the 1950’s the platforms at 86th and 96th Streets were extended to accommodate longer trains, but not the platforms at 91st St. Simple solution: close it. In the ‘70s, the station was a taggers’ canvas at the height of the graffiti wars. Don DeLillo may have mentioned it in Underground. I don’t recall for certain. It’s been dog years since I read it. I am at home with graffiti. Art is and has always been an essential part of my life and living in the 91st St. subway station was like living in an art museum. A lot of the graffiti is junk, but the best is genius. I especially like the piece whose perspective point is the declaration, “I just love tunnels!” It’s worthy of the Museum of Modern Art, better actually than many of the things in MOMA’s permanent collection. The “No Fun!” panel is another favorite as is the panel of what Caspar the Friendly Ghost would look like if painted by someone with a severe case of astigmatism. Or, maybe it’s a portrait of Napoli’s ghost. 32

TH E R OUND The Times article used a vocabulary of architectural and decorative terms to describe my home: mosaic, fresco, bas relief, terra cotta. Real artists designed its original decorations, skilled craftsmen installed them, caring workers regularly cleaned and polished them. In my spare time, I restore them. It takes my mind off of the subway tracks, steel girders, concrete floors, air vents, leaks, and turnstiles. Both species of the two legged variety work for the Metropolitan Transit Authority. The dominant species would turn me in if they caught me. Fortunately, their head lamps and loud voices always precede them, giving me sufficient warning to hide myself, my stuff, before they tramp through. Once in a while, if there is a rookie on the crew, he hoists himself out of the track bed and inspects the station as if he were trying to unlock the truth of an urban legend. I know the station better than the rooks and have places to hide they can’t imagine. The other species, so rare to be almost extinct, is the tunnel rats I befriend, people like Bice Portinari who alerted me to the visit from The Times, when it was scheduled, how much time had been allotted for it. I met Bice when I was a bit careless, strolling along the track bed in the early morning hours when the trains are less frequent. She befriended me for reasons she never explained. Perhaps she sees me as another outsider trying to navigate an alien world. I am convinced she is trustworthy and the other Boy Scout virtues, though, of course, she was never a Boy Scout. Nor was I. She offered to get me copies of the weekly maintenance schedules and I told her about my mail drop and each Friday she mails them to me and I get them the following Monday, except for the weeks she’s on vacation. I’m on my own then. It works and my life is a lot simpler. She is my savior whom I shall repay by immortalizing her. 33

Tunnel Rat / S. Frederic Liss

Like I said, it was a nice piece in The Times. I wish they could have interviewed me, but I am not about to give up my home for fifteen minutes of fame. I already have fame. Royalty checks show up regularly at my mail drop. My photograph is in stores throughout the city, throughout the country, overseas too. I have hair in that picture. Now, above ground, I wear a disguise. Nothing radical. Beard. Shades. Hoodie. New York Yankee baseball cap with the brim pulled low over my forehead. Artificial color for the little hair I have left. Not even my legion of readers recognize me. Once, not long ago, I lived in a downtown loft. Paid well over seven figures for it. Almost as much to gut renovate it. Original works of art on the walls. Original works of art in my bed. All the toys money could buy. All because I got lucky at the keyboard. Not the piano keyboard. The computer keyboard. And not from writing code or creating video games or hacking into credit card data bases to steal people’s identities. No. From writing novels, finding the Holy Grail of series books, several Holy Grails, books laughed at by the critics, bought by the masses. Christian literature is the genre; salvation the theme. Fiction by formula. Fall. Struggle. Redemption. Salvation. Ironic for someone who worships the scientific method. On the dark side, whenever I need a fast mil, my agent secures a screenplay rewrite, a few weeks’ work, a pseudonym in the credits. Hollywood never makes decent movies from my rewrites. Too many focus groups to consult, appease. I don’t care. The checks always clear. So, how do I end up living in an abandoned subway station? And, why, since I can afford to live anywhere? I know what you’re thinking. Alcohol or drugs, or both. No. Gambling. No. Sexually Transmitted 34

TH E R OUND Disease from one of the works of art I bed. No. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from multiple tours of duty in the combat zones of the world. No. A fugitive falsely accused of being a terrorist. No. I did not lose my nut in Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. Nor R. Allen Stanford’s. Nor do I have thirty-seven ex-wives reaming me for back alimony. Sorry. None of the above. Just because I write rapturous best sellers doesn’t mean I live a cliché. No. I live underground because the ascent always begins with a descent. The absurdity is not lost on me. Returning home from one of my periodic foraging expeditions, a hobby I enjoy the way mediocre golfers enjoy scavenging the rough for golf balls, I find Bice lounging on my mattress, sipping a beer. She offers me one. Patting my gut, I decline. She tosses me an empty cigar pack, Sigaro Toscanos, as clean and fresh as the day it was purchased. “The favorite of popes,” Bice says. I shrug. “Between tracks.” She gestures uptown. Bice finishes her beer and drops the empty into the bag with its brethren. I crush the cigar pack; add it to my garbage which I haul out two or three times a week. I’m much neater here than I was in my loft. Sigaro Toscano. A brand I do not know; have not seen on the rack in any bodega or Korean green grocer. Too clean, too fresh, to be littered by the Times reporter or photographer. Kids? Prowling the tunnels is a coming of age ritual or gang initiation rite. Half a dozen have died since I relocated underground either fried by the third rail or pancaked by a train. Transit police? They patrol the trains, not the tracks unless hunting stowaways like me. I stuff my mattress, my radio and hot plate, my food tins, my odds 35

Tunnel Rat / S. Frederic Liss

and ends, into the storage closet where I keep my clothes, my refrigerator, and take refuge in a hotel. Hiding from what, I do not know. By the end of the first week, I am claustrophobic. It is too quiet to sleep. I miss the rhythm of the subway, the white noise, the comfort and consistency of a predictable schedule. I check out and return home. Someone has been there. There are gouges around the key hole in the door of the storage closet. I inventory my belongings. Nothing is missing. This would work as a minor plot point in one of my novels, a minor fall leading to a minor redemption, but not in my day-to-day life. I thrive on predictability, depend on consistency and all its hobgoblins. I check into the same hotel. I manage two weeks. Back home again, there are no signs of unwanted visitors except for tunnel rats, the four legged species. I settle in. A week later, another visit from Bice. She hands me another empty cigar pack, same brand, as clean and fresh as the first one. “Found yesterday,” she says. “Think the pope wants my space?” Time passes. At the local public library, I check my email, something I do two or three times a week. I have two accounts, a public account listed in the bio note on the flap jacket of my novels and a private account whose address is known by very few, my agent, my lawyer, accountant, one or two former lovers with whom I am still close. On my private account, an email from an unknown address, The way it does not betray the identity of the sender impresses me. “I know where you are,” it reads. “Come see me some time,” I reply. My secret admirer: “When you least expect it.” Several nights later scratching from the area of my food tins awakens me. It’s louder than usual, the scratching, too loud to be tunnel rats. I lie 36

TH E R OUND still wondering why my Maginot line of traps has not broken any necks. The 1 train roars through. As its noise fades, the scratching resumes. I debate whether to turn on my flashlight. Rats scatter when I shine the beam in their eyes, return when I shut it off. I sneeze and the scratching stops. Not a pause, but a full stop. The 3 train, faster and noisier than the 1, squeals and whines, a sign the rails need attention. In the morning I pry open the cracker tin. There were four; now there is one. I examine the tin for scratch marks; none. I hit the side of my head with the heel of my palm trying to knock memory into it. I must have eaten the missing crackers, but I don’t remember when. I spend the morning trying to figure out how to work this incident into my current novel, but there are no abandoned subway stations, no subways, no underground except the devil’s lair where the novel is set. Night after night the scratching persists until it becomes another white noise and I no longer hear it. Time passes. On the morning of the summer solstice I awaken to a new graffiti. A piece which I dubbed The Lennon because it reminded me of one of the sketches in John Lennon’s In His Own Write has been overlaid with white paint and replaced with a portrait of a laborer, unshaven, wearing a dirty cap, a kerchief loosely noosing his neck. Dust smudges his coveralls. The laces of his work boots droop with exhaustion. He sprawls on a mound of rocks, cradling a sledge hammer as if it were his infant son. In the upper left corner smiling like a shining sun, the artist’s tag, BN. There is a realism to this portrait not found in graffiti. Distortions do not deform the face or body. The colors are muted rather than gay and vibrant, browns and grays and blacks, except for the eyes which are bloodshot red and bulge like the eyes of a dead fish prostrate on a bed of chipped ice. 37

Tunnel Rat / S. Frederic Liss

A week later Bice drops by. I tell her about the squealing, whining tracks, then say, “I fell asleep to The Lennon and awoke to this.” “Someone looking for you,” she says “Who?” “Showed us book picture. Ask if we see you.” “How many?” The 1 train swallows her reply. “I have to report this.” Bice vaults on to the track bed. Before I can say anything, she’s gone. I lean against the portrait, resting my head on the pile of rocks so it looks like the sledge hammer is poised to crush my skull. Above me, the face changes. Now, it’s me. A photographic likeness. Not the young me of my book covers, but today’s me, balding and bearded with pouches beneath my eyes and a hairline which is missing in action. No longer does a sledge hammer threaten to crush my skull; rather a quill pen hovers above, poised to penetrate. The artist’s tag has descended the left boundary to the lower corner. The Broadway Express, racing the Local, rumbles through the station. The Local slows. Stops. First time since 1959. Doors open. Rush hour commuters stampede. Doors close. Train lurches forward. Realizing they exited at the wrong station, the mob pounds on the doors and windows. I lock myself in the storage closet. Something is happening and I don’t know what it is. Shivering, I hug myself. I press my ear against the door. Silence. I wait. I illuminate the face of my watch to check the time. An eternity of minutes adding up to seventeen. A knock. “Durante. Durante.” It sounds like Bice, but the thickness of the walls, the door, muddy 38

TH E R OUND the voice and I can not be certain. Bice knows my Americanized name, Dano, from my books. She does not know my birth name. My lawyer and accountant do, my agent, one or two of my lovers. The worker bees who make out the royalty checks I receive. No one else. Another knock. “Durante. Durante.” I wish for a peep hole. I wish for something more than a Christmas fruitcake, rock hard, for a weapon. I wish I had chosen another abandoned station to live in, Worth St., the lower levels of Nevin St., 9th Avenue, Bergen St., all stations that do not come with live-in ghosts. I check the time. Five more minutes have been added to eternity. I feel like a prisoner in solitary, an experience with great literary potential if I survive with my mind intact. I huddle in a corner, still shivering. I have several days’ food and water, more if I ration it, more than enough to outlast my sanity. I have empty tins to store bodily waste. I have batteries for my flashlight. All the comforts of home if home is a storage closet in an abandoned subway station. More knocking. “Durante. Durante.” I squat in the dark. The Broadway Local, did it just stop and unload another gaggle of commuters? Does graffiti morph from a portrait of a laborer to a portrait of me? Does a voice call me by my birth name? This world is as make believe, as made up, as the world in my novels where I disregard, discard logic, causation, all the immutable laws of science when, as, and if the demands of salvation dictate. I check the time. My watch has stopped. I shake it. Nothing. I open the door of the storage closet. My flashlight illuminates the station. No mob of shoppers. Whoever knocked on the door is not there. A colony of tunnel rats, four legged, leap on to the track bed as my light 39

Tunnel Rat / S. Frederic Liss

advances on them and disappear into their nests. I am alone. “No,” says a voice from the far end of the station. “Non da solo.” I beam light in the direction of the voice. A shadow sits on a bench where subway passengers once rested while awaiting their trains. The shadow stands, steps into the light. “Boo!” The shadow laughs. Steps toward me. Drops to its knees. Extends its arms, palms face up. Brings them together like a penitent deep in prayer. “Sacerdote. Per favore. Confessione. Ultimi riti. Viaticum.” I do not know this language, but I speak it. I point at myself. “Ateo. Agnostico.” “Abbiate fede.” The shadow bows its head. “Aspetterò.” I click off the flashlight. The shadow melts into the other shadows which populate the abandoned station. I phone Bice. She must know a priest. Days pass. I sense a presence, but voices no longer speak to me. The following week Bice appears accompanied by a man old enough to have witnessed Constantine proclaim Christianity an accepted religion in the Roman Empire. “Father Garibaldi,” Bice says. The shadow materializes, lying on its back on the platform, hands clasped over its chest. Father Garibaldi motions us away, then kneels beside it. He wraps a set of rosary beads around the hands. He anoints the forehead. He murmurs prayers. I strain to listen. “Che il Signore che ti libera dal peccato risparmiare e aumentare fino,” Father Garibaldi says. “Amen.” He makes the Sign of the Cross. Lights appear, downtown trains, local and express, but there is no sound, no roar, no rumble. The lights accelerate, merge, illuminate the 40

TH E R OUND station. The shadow rises and, in a flash, vanishes. Father Garibaldi crawls to the bench where the shadow once sat. He struggles to leverage himself on to it. The pupils of his eyes are the size of pinheads. Tears bathe his face. The station transforms. Graffiti vanishes. The frescos, mosaics, bas reliefs, terra cotta, are now all as virginal as the day the station first opened. Bice helps Father Garibaldi to his feet. She bids me farewell and I know I will never see her again. They journey uptown along the track bed and dissolve into the darkness. I gather my belongings and stack them in the storage closet. I do not lock the door. I will not need them.



“I count the number of letters on signs Or on flyers or in titles of books And if there’s an odd number…” I stumbled; My fingers traced circles round each other. “I have to find a word close by that makes Them all add up to even.” Embarrassed: Not for me, but for the revelation Now floating, amorphous, crab without shell. Then you told me about the instrument You invented as a child: ten fingers, Endless wheels of notes. Visions of circles Of fifths teared behind my eyes, tread water. Your jokes and tears and finger instruments: I am of them all, the cells of my soul.


Smoke Scent | Shira Abramovich watercolor | 4.5� x 6�

DO YOU SCATTER ASHES? Serena Eve Richardson

We don’t. They sit on my mother’s dresser, buried under artifacts: a heart-shaped rock, a clutched photo of my brother eating an apple when he was three. A red jewel, just paste and plastic, but precious because he meant it. These small things now cover him. I dream that I strap his ashes into the passenger seat and drive, looking for a special spot of sea or soil. I never find it. This is how I come to accept the ashes sitting on my mother’s dresser. A heart-shaped rock buries my brother under artifacts. I clutch at the photo of him eating an apple when he was three, paste my grief to a red plastic jewel, precious because of what he meant. This small box now contains him. We don’t.


ON TURNING 21 Baylor Knobloch

To the girl who is soft and smells good but is not my mother, to the boy who gave me the bible with a broken wrist: when crossing the street look both both ways. I picked out the sea’s deep pink beings, placed them into three pitchers: one for each eye that they see me with. I sneezed a stomach ache, threw up chocolate cake, and other things of darkness, Buckled the equator over my belly button: do not touch bits of earth-flavored thigh. The right side of my back laced up like a corset, the wrong side of my front stretching to face dusk, to fit donuts. I wear wasabi beads around my wrist. I am not an entrance.


RALEIGH 1 Jeremiah Prince

I wouldn't call it ash. Ash implies a phoenix at rest— the dust to dust of a perilous merit. Rather, I can see an Ancient slowly pushing a finger through the crust of the earth to scratch this city like dandruff. It lives to make noise and die but refuses death and noise alike. A blind, deaf architect smelling grass and old brick, working until he can feel his pores yawning and his skin glazing over. Another Ancient looks disappointed, sounds a loud, arthritic sigh into someone else's heavens. It is—more accurately—ruled by huge grey eggs, speaking their little crunches as they break against the wind. The aftermath is on the buildings streaks of greenish-browns both humble and mad, hidden like sticky children who are Just as repulsive but only half as romantic as lepers. 46


If you bury me under these hills my bones will turn to chalk. I will write and rewrite my Dispassions into the dirt. The worms will deliver them to a volcanic throat somewhere too far away.


Hushed iii | Jeff Katz ink | 11” x 9”

TYLENOL WORDS Benjamin Ostrowski

Pops called them ‘Tylenol words’ and oh they were. he drove me to a museum in some sort of spacecraft humming the ballad of a thin man and dropped me onto crater terrain in an oxblood jumpsuit with faux gold zipper trim with a stick of ink (never lead never graphite) did a triple backflip with his heels tucked and pointed in the general direction, in which I walked on balls of feet humming Devil in a New Dress and quickly got kicked out for touching the art



Enter my door, Nourish me, dear − Softly smoke me, Send me swimming: « Pas de soucie ». Fall me back In waves without moments, Seulement mouvements. Feel me feel you, enormously – And in it, something sad, Like new green. (Like music I’ll be singing Through tall grass In golden light. All sways You, me, the grass The wind itself. We are almost there Breath away from sublimation, Matter to floating shine, So close to being golden light itself.



Like a whisper A rush of air into pillow, soft Across the shore I lap Forever upward until, Like the sea, You pull me back To matter To your hard breast Where we breathe.) If you want me, Mon chou, I’ll be an inch above you (Just another breath) Shimmering like scent.



More often than not, I struggle to feel grateful. There’s a sudden freeze, the water pipes burst, and in an instant, all the roses are dead. In the hard ground, we buried our dog this fall. Put on Hot Chocolate: I believe in miracles, since you came along, you sexy thing. Sing with me. Yesterday my brother-in-law told me that the earth will heal itself, so I’m grateful plastic bottles will become gems, miracle of miracles! I bit my tongue, no outburst at the dining room table, I let his comment fall like the napkin from my lap. It’s the Day of the Dead and I want to believe Jesus rose from the dead and that I’m sinless when he forgives me. But I keep hurting the world, my constant fall from grace. Oh Lord, hear my ungrateful and urgent prayer: I hate to burst your bubble; we need a modern miracle.



For dinner, I made a tuna sandwich with Miracle Whip and the evening news showed the dead in Syria and after just one bite, I burst into tears, thinking, thank God it’s not me. All I can say is you bet I was grateful I live here, where I can fall into your arms and then fall into a deep sleep where I perform miracles like walking on water and feeding multitudes, grateful I’m just dreaming, not haunted by the dead. Now you’re lying close to me, making love to me, and we both feel a stunning burst of energy, endorphins and strength. Sweat bursts from your forehead in fat beads, then falls like a surprising summer storm all over me. How we fit together is an everyday miracle proving we are the quick, not the dead. I kneel in front of you, truly grateful. Like in Vegas when we saw the Grateful Dead that fall, just a young couple wearing starbursts holding our fingers in the air, saying: Miracle me.


ZOE Maddie Critz

it was 4 pm on christmas day and you told me to close my eyes. I remember you were so small that your head was barely dawning over the kitchen counter and your feet wore two different shades of pinky plum and bubblegum. That was back when you’d stomach pink. Dad had pulled the chocolate orange out of his stocking that morning and it was there on the counter next to a squash and the earth and the moon looked just like that on the poster at school. I followed you into the kitchen and you held out your hands and told me to shut my eyes so I did. I waited and counted to 10 20 30 40 and although I knew the rest I didn’t go on because I couldn’t make out the patter of your sock feet. I opened my eyes and the chocolate orange was ripped open and half was gone and so were you. It was bedtime two years later and you were supposed to be asleep but there you were at my door. You used the word “humiliating” even though you couldn’t say it right yet but all I could do was taste the blood from biting my tongue. You told me not to tell so I didn’t say a word for two whole weeks. His mother didn’t care and neither did the teachers and a little while later he moved away but I still remember how much I wanted to rip out his long hair and give it to you to burn. At least he’d told you to close your eyes. It was 2 in the morning last April and you had a D in algebra. I came home too late and shut the door softly because I knew you slept lightly but there you were on the couch by the fire. I held you as you cried about triangles and about my name on the plane tickets that were burning a 54


hole in the kitchen table. I couldn’t carry you anymore so I walked you to bed and as I turned out the light you said “remember when mom used to sing me to sleep” and all I did was nod because I knew my voice would shake if I tried to sing or tell you that she never did that for me. I went to the kitchen and put my forehead down on the counter until I could feel the lines of the tile dug into my skin. The next day you asked me to shave your head. I had all that hair in a ponytail and I flicked on the trimmer and when you heard the buzz I saw your face go so white I wanted to switch it off and drive to the beach and smash it on the rocks but before I could move a muscle you shut your eyes and said “go, go” so I did.


AFTERMATH John Kneisley

To get there, I took plunges into jungle earth. Young, wet mud covered old, dry mud, and with every frigid squelch, a methane burst. The monks told me to drop my head under Mt. Shari’s rhythmic falls, a way to cleanse myself of yesterdays. “Listen,” they said, but I only heard the City crying, not “the healing sound of falling water,” and every cell phone ringing, dying. Falling water. I tried. Falling water. But I couldn’t erase the toxic morning of 9/12. T.V. a poison. Falling water. By instruction I sat lotus-folded, back upright, muddy layers hardening through frigid night.


Sleeplessness | Rica Maestas collaged vintage spy novel | 6 x 4"


I had three puddings left in the fridge & Emily ate two of them. That is the cost of marriage. I had one piece of Strawberry Rhubarb pie hidden from the dogs in the microwave & while I was teaching one night Emily ate it, as well. What a cruel way to tell me she was pregnant.


Secret Forest | Hamemaru Chung photograph | 8.5” x 11”


The fire shot up & we crashed to separate & permeate the atmosphere & for one second we were one in the wind & that is what I remember about the first time I had sex with Emily. I used to drink a lot. We were probably rectangles, both of us hard-edged & desperate for a soft angle, but who knows, there is a lot of magic in this world & most of it I’ve learned has something to do with Emily.



When he hits you with a bottle, glass shards in your hair, your forehead will bleed all over the sourdough bread. After that, you’ll see his face everywhere. To prove you wrong, he held his iPhone in the air, “You’re too stupid to vote,” was what he said. When he hits you with a bottle, glass shards in your hair, you’re relieved you just enrolled in Obamacare. Trolling LinkedIn, Facebook, a Reddit thread, you’ll see his face everywhere. How you wish you were never there. You should have discussed the weather instead. When he hits you with a bottle, glass shards in your hair, the police, a concussion, an unshakable scare. The doctor will say, Tonight, don’t go to bed. You’ll see his face everywhere. He knew you weren’t looking. It came out of nowhere. Sometimes you pray he’ll just drop dead. When he hits you with a bottle, glass shards in your hair, you’ll see his face everywhere. 63

Fireworks | Shira Abramovich watercolor | 4.5� x 6�


Don’t tell me to go downstairs to sleep. Don’t tell me the hour’s getting late. Don’t complain that for twenty-four years I baked no bread in the oven. Don’t tell me I need to dream. Don’t offer me a bribe to do the dirty work of lying still for eight endless hours. You do not know swords sleep inside my thighs and shave my flesh when I lie still. You do not know the feel of the burning sparks of darkness that rain in the cabin of my bedroom. Don’t tell me it’s all in my head, that death isn’t watching and waiting with his sadistic midnight acrobatics. Don’t tell me love needs the refreshment of sleep, that my body is a freshwater spring bubbling up from the well of dream. Don’t tell me what to do, don’t even look in my direction but stay there where you’re safe and sound on the other side of the glass window, O’ chicken-shit reflection, one step up from a lowlife shadow but still a wimpy second-rate me. I’ll do what I’ll do and it won’t have anything to do with you. My flesh-lids are finally heavy and soon, any minute now, we’ll both be lost to the darkness—me in the meadow of my mattress and you in a cold flat pane of glass.



I theorized of a woman but woman was found on the bay and burned. Woman was driftwood arched in ashen arrangement and essays about what is man and man’s ice and snow and non-tropical solitude, outstretched, as if in transformation to a jellyfish. Woman was the sea in its softest shallows, turned again in her sleep, pulled by coraled crevices which drew me beneath her shore. Woman was skin dissolved in sand. Epistemology will argue to her remoteness. Here she was half-pure in leisure and epiphany with tamarind seeds sticky in her palms, and eyes upturned to watch the albatross arrive on the backs of ships bent over in their voyage. Here she was gathered by metaphysics, assembled by night-blooms of cursive literature, constructed according to what was believed to be woman. Woman was waiting at the docks to return.



Euclidean geometry proved woman existed relative to a congruent figure with less expanse when she pulled glass from knots of seaweed and looked through it to see the universe, when she chased down the morning tides, made rivers from the movements of her toes. Woman was assigned an equation, was derived from mangrove roots and minnows, Woman was hidden in twisted branches. Consolation was woman’s language and she sold it with ripened fruit by the coast, hands strung to their repetitions, caught half-beholden to water winds and repetition. Woman was turned to the west when the match was held at her feet in recognition of the past. Woman was thinking about eternity. Woman burned quickly.



for Michelle

I lie in the dark still in my skin where are you? I poke around the kitchen handling knives peeling a winter pear where are you? I go hurtling over the ground in my green metal machine to work to shop sweet potatoes kale where are you? 68


So much I have forgotten your birthday the lost Mayan language your ex-husband studied the location of that childcare center with the three-legged dog named karma where our children played house while you and I talked blood mysteries Was it a slow-blooming red flower in your brain? A blinding flash? Did Buddha leap out of full lotus and clap his hands? 69

On Hearing Of Your Death / Naomi Ruth Lowinsky

or did you a bit abstractedly go floating off like those flaming lanterns I saw rise this past New Year’s over the river at Chiang Mai?


C o n t r ibutor s Shira Abramovich is very happy with her first name. Abby Caplin’s poems have appeared in Adanna, The Binnacle, Burningword, Common Ground Review, Crack the Spine, The Healing Muse, OxMag, Poetica, The Southampton Review, Third Wednesday, Tikkun, and Willow Review. She was a finalist for the 2015 Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Award and an award recipient of SF Poets Eleven 2016. Visit her online at Haemaru Chung, a violinist, write, and athlete, is currently a sophomore at Trinity School in New York City. He is a recipient of many writing and visual arts awards, including several Gold Keys from the NYC Scholastic Arts & Writing Awards. His works have been published in such national anthologies and magazines as Cicada and Skipping Stones. Maddie Critz is a freshman studying Neuroscience at Brown University. She’s a little bumpkin who hails from the northernmost town in California. Her poetry and prose have appeared in local literary collections and have also been featured as best-of-show in her county fair. Her little sister is her ultimate muse. Darren Demaree is the author of six poetry collections, most recently Many Full Hands Applauding Inelegantly (2016, 8th House Publishing). He is the Managing Editor of the Best of the Net Anthology and Ovenbird Poetry. He lives in Columbus, Ohio, with his wife and children. Isabelle Doyle is studying writing. She has like ten hearts in her mouth.

C o n t r i butor s Emilia Figliomeni was born in Bologna, Italy, in 1996. After spending the first fourteen years of her life in Bologna, she attended a boarding school in Massachusetts and is currently completing her B.A. in Visual Art and Literary Arts at Brown University. She has exhibited documentary video work at various New England universities, including Dartmouth and Wesleyan. In recent years, she has explored painting and printmaking as new mediums where language and image can meet. Her upbringing between two countries has fostered her interest in language, memory, and the mutability of cultural identities. King Grossman is a novelist, writer of short prose, and poet. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Burningword, Caveat Lector Magazine, Crack the Spine, Forge, Tiger’s Eye, Qwerty, DMQ Review, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Ignatian, and Licking River Review. A longtime fugitive from the worlds of Wall Street and Capitol Hill, she is also a social justice activist who participates in nonviolent public actions to address climate change, economic injustice, inhumane immigration policy, oppressive violence, and militarism. Anna Johnson grew up in Rockport, Massachusetts and is currently a junior at Brown University, where she studies Comparative Literature. She enjoys going to the beach, hiking, and spending time with friends. She finds inspiration for her poetry in art and interpersonal relationships. Jeff Katz is a first-year student in the Brown/RISD dual degree program. Someday he's going to live on a rocky island, in a haunted mansion, or on a train that never stops.

C o n t r i butor s John Kneisley is a graduate student at Brown University and a student-teacher at Moses Brown, a nearby Quaker school. His home is outside Washington D.C. (the preposition varies by administration), where he learned to love museums, music echoes in metro stations, and protests. He’s always learning how to write. Baylor Knobloch is a junior studying Nonfiction Writing and Modern Culture & Media at Brown University. She loves returning to her home city of Baltimore (although she didn’t used to think that would be the case), and she misses her cat dearly while away at school. She spends hours lost in the depths of the internet and believes that memes are the future of art. S. Frederic Liss, a multiple Pushcart Prize nominee, a nominee for the storySouth Million Writers Award, and a finalist for the Flannery O’Connor Short Fiction Prize sponsored by University of Georgia Press, has published or has forthcoming 48 short stories and has received numerous awards and other forms of recognition for his short fiction. Liss earned a MFA from Emerson College, Boston, MA and was the recipient of a Grant-in-Aid in Literature from the St. Botolph Club Foundation, Boston, MA where he leads a workshop in writing fiction. Sydney Lo is a first year student at Brown University. She does not know what she will concentrate in, but is currently interested in Biology, Literary Arts, and English. She is a member of the League of Minnesota Poets, and her poetry has placed in the Minnesota Manningham Student Poetry Competition Senior Division and the League of Minnesota Poets Annual Contest. In addition to writing, she enjoys painting, drawing, traveling, and making coffee.

C o n t r i b u tor s Naomi Ruth Lowinsky is a Jungian analyst in private practice in Berkeley, CA, and the poetry and fiction editor of Psychological Perspectives, which is published by the Los Angeles Jung Institute. Her poem “Madelyn Dunham, Passing On” won first prize in the Obama Millennium Contest. She has also won the Blue Light Poetry Chapbook Contest, and her fourth poetry collection is called The Faust Woman Poems (il piccolo editions, 2013). Rica Maestas is just a post-modern New Mexican with a soft spot for inappropriately placed religious iconography and a passion for making connections between things that don’t seem related. Rick McKenzie earned a bachelor’s degree from Oakland University, taught as a preschool teacher for years, and then worked as a park ranger. His work has been published in Minnetonka Review, Pearl, Wisconsin Review, Gingerbread House, Front Range Review, and Hiram Poetry Review. His poetry has also appeared in HIPology (an anthology published by Broadside Press, 1990) and in the Sun-Sentinel newspaper of South Florida. Benjamin Ostrowski is a senior at Brown University studying Psychology. His poems have been published in the journals Sink Hollow, Catalyst, Gyroscope, Dark River, & Blue Muse, and have received honorable mention and runner-up commendation in The Poetry Society of New Hampshire’s 2015 and 2016 undergraduate contest, respectively. He also co-authored a chapbook, Seen/unseen, with his father, which Cervena Barva Press will release later in 2017.

C o n t r i butor s Jeremiah Prince is a senior at Brown University studying Public Policy. He wants to make a living either analyzing anti-poverty policies or over-analyzing second-rate blockbusters. Laurie Reiche was born in Detroit, Michigan and has been a writer and artist all her life. She is also a photographer, mixed-media artist, blatant bibliomaniac, and an archivist of her life and times. She lives and works in Marin County, California, but resides part-time in London. Her work has been widely published and she has won numerous awards. Serena Eve Richardson is a spoken-word artist and a singer/songwriter. She received her BA with a concentration in Creative Writing from Montclair State University. Her forthcoming album, Some Imaginings, features songs translated from poetry. Serena enjoys motorsports and practicing Siljun Dobup, a samurai sword martial art in which she holds a second-degree black belt. Todd Stong is an artist based in Philadelphia, PA. He has participated in a number of residencies and was most recently an apprentice at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia, PA, where he has work in the permanent collection. He has shown in a number of venues including New Urban Arts (Providence, RI), The Banana Factory (Bethlehem, PA), and Trestle Gallery (Brooklyn, NY). In addition to his practice, he teaches middle and high school painting and math at the Kimberton Waldorf School in Kimberton, PA.

C o n t r i b u tor s Kendra L. Tanacea, an attorney in San Francisco, holds a BA in English from Wellesley College and an MFA in Writing and Literature from Bennington College. Her poetry collection A Filament Burns in Blue Degrees (2017, Lost Horse Press) was a semifinalist for the Washington Prize and a finalist for the Idaho Prize for Poetry. Kendra’s poems have appeared in 5AM, Rattle, Moon City Review, The Coachella Review, Stickman Review, and Juked, among others. Visit her online at Wesley Usher is a licensed professional counselor and multi-disciplinary artist. Her clinical and creative work focuses on the art of narrative and how it evolves through the influence of psychology, modern technology, mythology, and the expressive arts. She is also a graduate student at Columbia University, where she is completing her degree in Narrative Medicine. Alex Walsh likes poetry, math, and few things in between.

Ed i to r i a l S ta ff

MANAGING EDITORS Sarah Cooke Sally Hosokawa

ASSOCIATE EDITORS Isabelle Doyle Maggie Shea

EDITORIAL STAFF Shira Abramovich Rachel Foster Grace Johnson Jane Kim Abigayle Konys Emily Martland Paige Parsons Jeremiah Prince Maia Rosenfeld Kayli Wren

We are grateful to Brown Graphic Services and the Undergraduate Finance Board at Brown University for their help and support.

N o t e f ro m the Editor s The Round is a literary and visual arts magazine based at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Our name is adopted from the musical “round,� a composition in which multiple voices form an overlapping conversation. Like past issues, this issue of The Round brings together writing and art from across the country and around the globe. We are so excited to present Issue XVI and to open up another conversation with the stories contained in this issue. The Round welcomes submissions in all genres and media, and we publish students and professionals. Send your work, comments, or questions to: View our submission guidelines, past issues of the magazine, and more information about us at: As always, thank you for picking up The Round. We hope you enjoy the issue. Sincerely, The Editors