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The Wooden Tooth Review

w Washington & Jefferson College volume 10 : Spring 2009


w

Wooden Tooth Review Volume 10 : Spring 2009

PUBLISHED BY THE STUDENTS OF WASHINGTON & JEFFERSON COLLEGE


w

Wooden Tooth Review

Staff Editor-in-Chief Kat Simon Fiction Editor Paul Pfeuffer Poetry Editor Jackie Cabonor Art Editor Jack Snyder Faculty Advisor Dr. Andrew Mulvania


Table of Contents Editors Note

.... iii

The Pink Abyss, Kennan Killeen

.... 1

Club Zoo, Jess Lemons

.... 13

The Bum, Derek Stobert

.... 14

To the Commode, Kennan Killeen

.... 19

Soapbox Derby Dreams, Paul Pfeuffer

.... 21

Sled Riding, Kennan Killeen

.... 26

Waking Early at Dent’s Run..., Jack Snyder

.... 28

Forgiveness at Beth Jacob, Dan Lifschitz

.... 30

Song of the King, Danielle Taube

.... 32

Of Man and Beast, Dan Lifschitz

.... 34

Easter Sepulcher, Jack Snyder

.... 35

Happiness, David Brown

.... 38

The Museum, Jackie Cabonor

.... 41

Susquehanna, Kat Simon

.... 43

Family Gardens, Jack Snyder

.... 45 i


Pointsettia Park, Dan Lifschitz

.... 47

Wanting the Hook, Kat Simon

.... 48

My Other Half, Michelle Graminski

.... 49

The Past Lives Within Me, Jackie Cabonor

.... 52

Words, Melissa Voltz

.... 53

Art of Life, Adri Palangio

.... 55

Tree in the Wind, Jonathan Hairston

.... 56

From the Commander’s Chair, Jack Snyder

.... 57

Contributer Biographies

.... 59

ii


Editor’s Note When Dr. Mulvania pulled me aside and asked me to run

The Wooden Tooth Review this year, I had no idea what I was getting into. What I thought was going to be a small investment of my time, turned into a project, not only for myself, but for the college community. Between seeing the well of talent that is WashJeff, finding a deeper appreciation for my peers, and opening up new alleys into the creative community at large, I have barely had time to think. But it has been an amazing experience. Luckily, I had the guidance of Dr. Mulvania, as well as the support of my peers, including the amazing group of section editors to help me on this journey. You may notice this issue is a tad bit short in comparsion to previous years. This is simply because the amount of submissions we recieved allowed us to be more selective in our choices. It was also another re-building year for us, as most of last years staff graduated and new staff had to be found. But fortunately, we were able to put together an amazing issue which includes some of the best creative work on campus. We have picked the best of the best, and have tried to gather the most thought-provoking and diverse pieces we could find. I am immensely thankful for the experince I have had here and I am amazed at the talent and accomplishment of my peers here at W&J. I can only hope that you enjoy reading this issue as much as I have in putting it together.

-Kat Simon Editor-in-Chief April 2009

0


The Pink Abyss

Kennan Killeen Stacey pressed the “up” button on the wall of the elevator lobby and patiently waited for the car to crawl down to the first floor. As the bell dinged, she cautiously stepped onto the elevator, careful not to scuff her Bernardo ballet flats. “Can you hold that real quick?” shouted a breathless and sweaty girl from around the corner.

“Sure, not a problem,” said Stacey with a smile. She held the door

open for the girl, whom she noticed was carrying a broken white hamper overflowing with pairs of tennis shoes. The unkempt girl wore a cut-off t-shirt and her hair was pulled up into a messy bun on top of her head.

The elevator ride assumed the awkward silence, as usual. Both of

the girls got off at the fourth floor and headed in the same direction down the hallway. As Stacey unlocked her door, the other girl retrieved a folded piece of paper from her pocket with a room number on it: 450.

“Well, that was weird. I guess we’re roommates. My name is

Taylor.”

“Ironic, indeed. I’m Stacey, it’s nice to finally meet you.” Stacey

forced out the words as she again surveyed her roommate with a quick updown, noticing that her hand was being squeezed like a stress relief ball. “So, do you play a sport or something?” Stacey asked, even though she 1


already anticipated the answer.

“Yeah, basketball,” replied Taylor, her eyes drawn to the abundance

of pink in the suite. “Do you play?”

“Oh, gosh no. I’m a cheerleader here, though. I mean, if you

count that as a sport.”

“Cheerleading, huh? Well, it’s all up for interpretation I guess. Is

our room back this way?”

Slightly offended, Stacey ignored her roommate’s comment and

The bathroom was even more “pink-ed” out than the living

room. Taylor understood the concept of accenting, which she accepted in her living room, but this was something a bit over top. The pink throw blanket matched the curtains, sure, but pink towels, robe, washcloths, shower caddy, toothbrush, bath rugs, brush, straightener? Even the Herbal Essences shampoo and conditioner was coordinated with bright, eyecatching pink.

Taylor continued past the bathroom in disbelief of the stark

contrast between her and her roommate. She was in for a treat. The double bedroom was large, nearly a 20’ x 20’ area. It was all pink. It was absolutely spotless. The comforter, pillows, throw blanket, lampshades, curtains, 0.7 lead pencils, pens, Post-It notes, notebooks, binders, and picture frames were all coordinated with various shades of the historically feminine color. Everywhere she looked, her irises met a bold pink. 2

Kennan Killeen - The Pink Abyss

kindly replied, “Yes, it’s right past the bathroom.”


Thank goodness her laptop is normal. The background on Stacey’s computer, however, revealed a group of five girls. The “Crew” was dolled up with make-up, Ugg boots with long spandex, and the latest fashions. She noticed the picture had been edited using the website “Piknik” and she referred to her friends as “Besties.” Great.

Taylor dropped her stuff on the recently vacuumed floor, stretching

that crack in her hamper a little bit more. “I’ll be back up with some more

Kennan Killeen - The Pink Abyss

stuff in a little bit,” Taylor muttered on her way out the suite door. “It was nice meeting you, man.”

“You too!” shouted Stacey in her best phony excitement. She

couldn’t believe how different they were in only knowing each other for three minutes. ____________________

The next morning, Stacey returned from breakfast with her friends

to find the cap undone on her contact solution and a pile of towels and dirty clothes on the floor in the bathroom.

“I can’t believe this,” muttered Stacey.

Her side of the room was spotless. She couldn’t live any other

way. Taylor had only been there two days and it was like a destructive and rebellious four-year-old had terrorized the living quarters.

“Dude, and did you see how much weight she was benching? I

swear she doesn’t lift at all in the off-season. I don’t get it. Why wouldn’t she? Doesn’t she want to play?” Taylor loudly barged through the suite door and crashed on the couch in the living room, followed by three other 3


girls in similar cut-off t-shirts. The four continued their conversation about weight lifting as Stacey kept applying her mascara in the bathroom.

“Hey, yo, Stace, wanna eat with us? These are my friends from the

basketball team,” Taylor yelled from the couch in an attempt to involve her roommate. “Uh, yeah, that’s fine. Do you want to leave now?”

“Whenever you’re ready.”

“Aren’t you going to shower first?”

“Nah, food definitely takes precedence.”

“Oh… Alright.”

The group headed over to the crowded cafeteria with Taylor

leading the way and telling loud, elaborate stories the entire time. Stacey trailed behind, unsure whether to conjure up a fake laugh or to reveal her true feelings of disgust to her roommate. ____________________

After dinner, Stacey invited some of her friends from the

cheerleading squad over to the suite to hang out. “The Crew” sat in the living room, dressed to kill. Taylor walked into the living room to grab her iPod from the table and noticed that each girl in “The Crew” was a clone of Stacey in every aspect.

“Are you guys going to prom after this or what?” Taylor asked on

her way back to the bedroom, cracking up with laughter.

“Oh my God, is she serious?” asked Sydney, one of Stacey’s friends.

“How do you live with her? Does she even shower?” 4

Kennan Killeen - The Pink Abyss


“I mean, well, she’s nice and all, but – ”

“Stacey, you can’t live with her. She’s like a guy,” Sydney boldly

interjected. “I saw her deodorant in the bathroom. It’s the same brand as Luke’s! I don’t know how you do it. Her dirty clothes from yesterday are still in the middle of the floor. Why don’t you just throw them away? They might as well be trash – she cuts off almost half the t-shirt, which is three sizes too big to begin with. Gosh. I would move out.”

Kennan Killeen - The Pink Abyss

“It’s only been two days, girls. Plus, she has basketball a lot. She

isn’t around all that much.”

“I’m just saying…” Sydney trailed off her sentence just as Taylor

walked in and snatched up the remote.

“Mind if I watch SportsCenter for a bit?” she asked.

“Actually, The Hills is on in three minutes…”

The Hills? Taylor wondered how in the world they had been paired

together as roommates.

“Alright, I’ll just check it online, then. Thanks though,” Taylor

angrily muttered as she walked in defeat back to the bedroom.

The next morning, Stacey woke up to find that in addition to her

contact solution being used without permission, her Clean & Clear face wash and make-up remover had been tampered with. Her light pink hand towel was smeared with inexpensive black make-up, irritating Stacey to her boiling point.

Taylor, on the other hand, was also frustrated with the rooming

situation. It was time to get things off of her mind. She decided that this 5


Saturday night would be her chance to escape. One mass text message to her friends said it all: It’s on tonight. Time to get shitty. ____________________

Later that night, Taylor hastily left the suite after taking a quick

shower, throwing on jeans and a t-shirt, and forgetting to take her keys with her.

“Raspberry is the best flavor of Smirnoff vodka; I don’t care what

you think, Aly,” yelled Nicole, one of Taylor’s friends. “Whatever, I’m a green apple fan,” replied Aly.

“Pour me a shot of whatever it is, I’m just trying to get away from

the damn pink abyss for a night,” Taylor chimed in as soon as she walked in the door.

She took down the shot of Smirnoff like it was water. It burned a

little bit at first, but a subsequent big gulp of Sprite quickly eliminated the potency of the 70-proof vodka.

“That wasn’t so bad…Pour me another.”

She could feel the warmth spread in her stomach as the alcohol

began simultaneously impairing her judgment.

“Anyone want to do a third with me?”

After number five, Taylor was already losing her reaction speed.

She nudged her Sprite can and in a drunken effort to stop it from spilling, knocked the Sprite as well as surrounding cans off of the small coffee table.

“Haha, I think you’ve had enough, girl,” Aly chuckled. 6

Kennan Killeen - The Pink Abyss


“Nooo, I—you guys—no I’m sine, feriously. Just let me have one

last one.”

She stumbled to the bathroom to relieve herself before they went

to the frats. Upon returning to the living room, Taylor ran clear into the armchair in the living room and flipped over, causing the room to explode

Kennan Killeen - The Pink Abyss

in laughter. The fall didn’t even phase her.

“Let’s just go already, what’s the hold up?”

About a minute into their walk to fraternity row, Taylor

remembered that she left her keys on her desk. She immediately texted Stacey in a drunken stupor, begging her to keep the door unlocked.

Stacey’s ring tone sounded, but upon opening her phone, she

frowned when she saw who the text message was from.

“What is this supposed to mean?” Stacey asked, holding her

Blackberry out for Sydney to read. Pl8se kepe our foot openn i 4got my kesy.”

“Ugh. She wants you to keep the door unlocked because she

forgot her keys. Stace, just don’t even respond,” said Sydney. “She’s so stupid. Just ignore her.”

“Yeah, she’s pissing me off lately anyway. I don’t even care. She

can find her own way to get into the room. Whatever.”

Taylor was crazy at the frats. She hopped onto the stereo at

Alpha Phi and danced as if she was a caged stripper at a Vegas casino. Her friends loved it, laughing and snapping picture after picture of their incoherent friend. 7


After about an hour of calorie burning, Taylor ventured into a

room on the second floor and found several people gathered around a trash can filled with blue liquid.

“You want some Bill Clinton Blue Jobs?” asked a frat boy.

Taylor was about to experience the wrath of a hotel party. She

drank three entire cups full of the sky blue, berry-flavored liquid.

“Dang girl, you’re housing that! Pace yourself!” shouted the creator

of the dangerous concoction. About a half hour later, Taylor began the frantic search for her

friends. Everyone was starting to look the same to her. Unable to find them in the mess of the dance floor, she began the trek back to her room—alone. On her way, Taylor swerved and stumbled on Main Street, feeling her hands across the fronts of stores, and barely sensing the difference between the smooth glass street windows and rough concrete walls of the various shops.

“Are you ok?” asked a man on the corner of Main and College

Avenue.

“Yeah, I just need my room. My room is pink. Have you seen it?”

“I can walk you there. Don’t worry, we’ll find it,” he reassured her

as he took his last drag of his cigarette and smashed the ashes on the wall of Barry’s Sandwich Shop.

As they approached the dorm building, the stranger yanked the

door open and told Taylor to show him the way up.

“Oh no I know where I am now. The pink is four floors up. But 8

Kennan Killeen - The Pink Abyss


it’s the abyss. So it’s actually down. Whatever that’s supposed to mean. I know where I am, though, I can take it from here.”

“I’ll walk you to your room. It’s ok, I’m already here.”

Room 450 was locked. Taylor jiggled the handle and kicked the

door, trying to get Stacey to let her in.

“She’ll hear me and come soon. You can leave. Thanks for helping

Kennan Killeen - The Pink Abyss

me though.”

“Why don’t you just come back with me?”

“I’m ok, really. I’ll wait it out,” answered Taylor with half-open

eyes.

“Just come with me.”

The stranger yanked her wrist with unnecessary force.

“Hey, watch it dude!” yelled Taylor.

“Let’s just go over here,” said the man as he pulled her with him,

motioning to the floor’s study room. He closed the door behind them and pushed an armchair in front of it.

“What are you doing?” asked Taylor.

“Don’t worry about it. Just take off your clothes.”

“But I don’t want to.”

“I don’t care if you want to or not, I’m telling you to.” ____________________

Stacey turned off her iPod for a second. Was that the background

music in “Damaged” or was someone knocking on the door? She removed her headphones from her ears. Silence. It was getting late, so Taylor had to have 9


been coming back soon. She opened the door to the suite and peered out into the hallway. No one. Weird. Thought I heard something.

“Stop! Seriously leave me alone!” came a muffled scream.

She knew she had heard something. Who could that be? Stacey

ventured down the hall and the resistance became increasingly more audible. It was Taylor’s voice. Panicking, she tried to open the study room door but found it jammed. Is Taylor worth a broken nail? She’s gonna owe me big time. Stacey turned around and surveyed the hallway for leverage. The

red high-pressure container caught her eye. Perfect. She removed the gigantic fire extinguisher off of the hook and stuck the thin black hose into the small crack in the doorway, pushing it open just enough. How do you work these damn things?

“Get off of me!”

Jesus Christ, figure it out already, Stace! Stacey pulled the pin out and

fired the extinguisher, spraying a shot of white foam into the study room. She pulled back, along with the tubing, and stood there waiting for a reaction. Again, silence.

A few seconds later, a man’s gruff voice muttered, “What the…”

There was movement in the room, and finally the man opened the

door the whole way. Stacey’s instincts told her one thing—spray the fucker. She let the foam encase him in a huge white marshmallow, spraying until she realized she had knocked him over.

She looked across the room and saw Taylor’s jeans ripped straight 10

Kennan Killeen - The Pink Abyss


down from the zipper and her shirt inside out lying on the couch. This man was bad news. “Oh my God, Stacey. Thank you for getting him off of me. What do we do? He’s a creep. I don’t even remember where he was from. We gotta do something, though.”

“Taylor you’re so stupid. How much did you drink? You look

like hell. Why would you let him in? Seriously. You owe me for my next

Kennan Killeen - The Pink Abyss

manicure. Which is going to be freaking tomorrow. Look at my nail!”

“Ok, ok fine, whatever… Thank you for saving me. But Stace, we

really have to get him out of here.”

While the girls were carrying on their conversation, the stranger

slowly began emerging from his temporary state of blindness and confusion. He let out a grunt as he tried to push himself back to a standing position, although the white foam was making things difficult.

“Hurry, Stace, what do we do?!”

“You bitches.” The foam covered man stood up with the assistance

of an armchair. “What, you think you can overpower a 30-year-old man? I’ll kill both of you and no one will have a clue as to what happened. Hell, they’ll think you killed each other in a monstrous cat-fight.” He laughed at his own comments. “Cat-fight.” He chuckled again.

Kill us? Stacey was not about to die for Taylor. She used every

ounce of strength to hurl the half-empty extinguisher at the stranger’s head, immediately knocking him to the ground. The study room floor began soaking up thick liquid the same color as the fire extinguisher. 11


“Holy shit, Stace.”

The girls walked up to the man, who lay motionless. They surveyed

him up and down, waiting for a sign of movement, a sign of anything. Their eyes moved from the pool of blood up to each other.

“You fucking killed him.”

Kennan Killeen - The Pink Abyss

12


Club Zoo

Jess Lemons Over my head, flashing lights sting my eyes almost to tears. Blacks. Reds. Whites. Fuchsias. Aquamarines. The colors bleed together as the ball turns. All around me, bodies rub against each other, like a hypothermic person grasping for another body’s heat. The look so wild… I almost expect them to salivate. They are on the hunt, waiting for their chance to pounce. To the left, people are congregating to the bar; crows flocking to a decaying carcass, hungry for more. I sit down, Beads of sweat rolling down my face. From movement? Or the teeming bar? Probably both. I can’t decide. Claustrophobia overwhelmingly takes over.

13


The Bum Derek Stobert He awoke with the same hangover that had plagued him for seven years. The sun had just since crested over the rounded plane of the sea and the first pale rays breached the predawn light, streaking the rolling tides as they foamed off into the sand. Seabirds cawed and strunk low in the early light, their blackened silhouettes skimming the waterline for silver flashes of coolfish. Salted air funneled in cool burst over his twin level wooden hut, cooling him and sticking to his lips. His bedroom was the veranda deck on the top floor, his bed a lounge chair stolen from the beach in a distant night of drunken bravado. He could smell the wet pine floorboards coarse with sand, and the stale remnants of tipped cups from red-eyed travelers. Above his head hung a crudely painted sign: Max’s, with a worn picture of a hamburger and a cocktail below it. Faint aroma of fresh fruit husks and limp leaves from lazy palm trees. Max’s first fear was this may only be a dream that lingers after the wake, and should this be the case, he might cry.

He was clad only in cabled cotton shorts he had purchased from

a tourist hut, there being little means toward clothes on the island. Max rubbed the sleep from his eyes with the back of his hand, making his way across the barroom of scattered wicker furniture into the kitchen. He twisted the knobs of the grill, an ancient iron behemoth, listening to the 14


twisted the knobs of the grill, an ancient iron behemoth, listening to the clinks and shutters as it began to heat. Next he laid out trays of burger across the counter to thaw.

He ambled back to the veranda and fell into his chair. At his side

was a squat coffee table, on top of which sat a half fifth of rum and the remains of a spliff he had started to smoke the previous evening. He put it back to his mouth and relit it, taking small puffs and the occasional drag from the bottle.

Derek Stobert - The Bum

The fishermen were up with the sun now, walking ankle deep along

the surf with their poles slung over their shoulders as they sipped beers and thermoses with their hats pulled low and were mostly silent.

A trio of large women with carts of fruit and beaded jewelry set

up on the cobbled walk next to his building, where they talked and laughed amongst each other. They saw him on his deck, and like every other morning, whistled and gave mock catcalls to him. Max smiled and waved back to them, his face flushed, and took another pull from the bottle.

*

Max was taking stock of the liquor bottles, holding the bottles up against the light to gauge their contents, when the middle aged tourist wobbled in. His skin was burnt, and he wore large tacky sunglasses and an almost oafish smile. He ordered a double shot and a margarita.

Starting early huh, Max said.

Oh yeah. I’m squeezing this for all it’s worth.

He grabbed a bottle of tequila from below the bar and poured the 15


double. By the time he began to scoop the ice for the margarita the man had already downed the shot, now rubbing his chest and grinning. He smiles a lot, Max thought. They always smiled a lot easier here. He went to grab the shot glass but the man motioned for another.

I work all year for this week.

Max refilled the glass and slid it back towards him. He took it.

All year, he said to himself, almost under his breath. He drank. His face grimaced and he slammed the shot back against the bar top. Max poured the liquor over the cubes, adding a splash of juice, and began to shake it. You know what time it is?

I don’t wear a watch, Max said, fastening the top of the blender.

He flicked the blender on and the sound of the ice being crushed

was obnoxious and made his head hurt. The man stood there, watching him and smiling, until Max felt compelled to speak.

How are you enjoying the island?

Oh, it’s been great. The wife and I come here every year.

That’s good.

Damn straight. I haven’t been laid this much in forever.

Max smiled, but it felt melancholy and forced. The same men had

repeated this sentiment many times over this bar. He turned the blender off and poured the icy drink into a long plastic cup.

Got to make today count. Tomorrow, it’s back to the suit and tie

for me, the man said, and for a moment his smile faltered. Max slid him the drink.

16

Derek Stobert - The Bum


What day is tomorrow?

Thursday.

Oh.

The man looked at him for moment, unsure, as if he had surely

been joking. After a moment he gave a weak laugh, nodded as he took his drink, and shuffled outside.

All day Max could see him on the beach with his wife, lounging

awkwardly in his chair. Every few moments he would check his watch, as if

Derek Stobert - The Bum

from instinct, sipping furiously at his drink, already anticipating the next.

*

The sky was turning purple. The air stuck to his skin. Max sat at his

veranda again, off the side of his chair and hunched over the coffee table. On his lap sat a small box, from inside he pulled a small baggie and rolling papers. He rolled the buds slowly between his fingers, dark green tinder with a smell both pungent and obvious, breaking them into small pieces and distributing them evenly over the paper. With sticky fingers he rolled it tight and licked the crease to seal it, tucking the spliff behind his ear.

He lounged again as the sun went down over the water horizon.

Tourist shops littered the cobbled walks along the island, dark now. Fruit vendors wheeled the last of their goods away to their homes. The lights of a cruise ship hung in the distance. Max opened the box in his lap and peered inside. He smiled. Inside lie a crumpled and unclasped gold watch, the hands unmoving and the battery long dead. Next to it was his class ring. He put the baggie and the papers back inside and closed the box and 17


slid it under his lounger. He watched the lights of the ship grow fainter and finally disappear, and he thought of the man on it, and how that had once been him.

Max pulled the bottle from the table and uncorked it with his

thumb. He took a long pull. He pulled the spliff from his ear and put it to his mouth and lit it.

Derek Stobert - The Bum

18


To The Commod e

Kennan Killeen You were intimidating at first. You were taller than me and I had to learn to accept that you would open doors of opportunity and would gain me respect in the adult world. I conquered you. Slowly, I got comfortable with your running water and your porcelain high chair. “Give the handle a jiggle, Sunshine!” I liked hearing you run for hours on end even though you drove my mother crazy. When you run, I know you’re alive. You developed into the most comfortable pillow at three in the morning when I was too dizzy to stand and too sick to even care. Why is the floor around you the perfect temperature in the middle of the night? I didn’t even need a blanket during those middle-of-the-night escapades. “Must’ve had too many of those wings at dinner last night, mom.” Yes, poor me. But realistically, I spent an enjoyable evening with you, content with my face lying on the same surface as well, you know. 19


“Will you please lift the seat next time?” Sharing you with two brothers was never pleasant. I wanted you all to myself so I could just sit on you and catch up on the hot gossip or pick out a new shirt in the December issue of Cosmopolitan. You saved me from sitting on my brother’s early-morning mishaps by screaming out “YELLOW ON WHITE,” which really sounds like “BOYS ARE SO FUCKING IGNORANT!” I still look forward to that sweet sound of victory every time I push your handle down reassured that you still work properly. I matured quite a bit since the days that you were my mission to overcome. We have grown close over the years and I thank you for being there in my constant and never-ending times of need. And sometimes, I’m happy to find when I reach for the toilet paper that you have hidden it from me, performing a disappearing act, and replacing the thick, lustrous roll with white scraps clinging to a cardboard cylinder. I smile and sit a while longer.

20


Soapbox Derby D reams

Paul Pfeuffer

Life on an Idaho farm is the most idyllic, mundane, boring thing

imaginable. There’s little to do except graze in idle pastures and memorize the license plates of speeding black pickup trucks, wishing you had opposable thumbs and the manual dexterity to operate a pencil so you could write the state trooper’s office and report speeding violations to kill the time. At least, that’s what I used to do. Idaho is ranked thirty-ninth in the nation in population and the sure signs of a male mid-life crisis are manifested in the purchase of a black pickup truck. When Chuck, the owner of our little slice of farming purgatory, drove one home last September, I would have sighed. Then I remembered that I’m a goat, a noble creature that doesn’t sigh for apparent human stupidity. Upon driving it for a month, the truck would pick up the markers that Idaho had claimed it for her own: filmy dust that never rubbed off, a tailgate that required an extra shove to pop it back into place, and a dancing hula girl on the dashboard, the consummate symbol for a human’s ability to collect worthless trinkets that serve only to amuse. I could understand my dissatisfaction at living in this trampled-flat wasteland, but I could never sympathize with Chuck on this point. Humans could board planes on their own and escape into the blue aura of oceans while I scratched 21


out a meager existence on a farm surrounded by cows with superiority complexes and sheep who are too dumb to hold a conversation on the finer points of dining etiquette. Chuck had never sold the farm because it had been in his family’s possession for three generations. When he had been plied with drink, Chuck would sometimes wander into the falling darkness of my pasture and bend his wooden back to examine the white-blue stars in the heavens

life trinket and demanded he return the truck at once. A shrewish woman, Jenny constantly asked why Chuck never made the money necessary for the purchase of diamonds or fur coats. I was fairly certain she was cheating on Chuck. Goats have a sixth sense about this. Chuck quite conveniently claimed he’d lost the receipt in my meadow and Jenny quite naturally feared that I had ingested it as soon as I stumbled upon it. The woman never seemed to learn that I preferred to munch on tin cans over scraps of paper. The man’s solution to the “lost” slip of paper was to look for it at the bottom of a wine bottle and discuss his failures with me, ruminating on the time he had stolen McGregor’s grill and outfitted it with a cockpit to enter it in a soapbox derby. The day of the race, the judges saw that Chuck was very much bearded and not a Twin Falls County youth. He became the fastest individual ever to be disqualified in an Idahoan soapbox derby, and McGregor was notified that his grill had been found. “Y’know something, Boo,” Chuck muttered, “I always wanted to 22

Paul Pfeuffer - Soapbox Derby Dreams

above Idaho. Jenny had been infuriated by the purchase of Chuck’s mid-


enter one’a them derbies when I was a boy, but Ma and Mother Superior always conspired against me.” I gave him my best faux-caring look, hoping he’d buy it, but then I remembered that humans cannot read a goat’s emotions. “This one time, Ma ‘accidentally’ dropped a globe fixture from a ladder while I was helping her change the bulb. It just so happened that it

Paul Pfeuffer - Soapbox Derby Dreams

was on the day of the race, and I had to miss the derby because Ma said I couldn’t tie an icepack to my head and take on those S.O.B.’s.” He lifted the bottle until it was vertical, attempting to force the burning strawberry zinfandel down his throat. Chuck belched, chuckled, and turned the bottle to my face. “Care for some of Idaho’s finest, Boo Radley?” Chuck had taken to calling me Boo Radley early on in our time in the meadow because he joked that I never responded to him and he always had to search the bushes to find me, labeling me a recluse. Unfortunately, middle aged men in black pickup trucks never throw copies of To Kill a Mockingbird from the highway, so I never had the chance to read about my namesake. I’m also illiterate. Tilting the bottle to my lips, Chuck poured the heady spirit into my mouth, making me light-headed. Screw proper dining etiquette. Chuck lay back in the pasture, the bottle drained. “What about you, goat? You ever had any dreams?” “For a long time I wanted to fly to Hawaii and write bar and grill reviews, but that was ages ago,” I replied. Chuck bolted upright. “You can talk!” His eyes were so wide they 23


were in danger of popping out of his head, becoming lost in the Twin Falls grass until a colony of ants discovered them. He stood and proceeded to back away as I looked up at him. “And you’re very observant.” “Unbelievable! A talking goat! I’m rich! I’m set for life. I can make the talk show rounds and milk this for all it’s worth!” He hopped up and down with glee.

I’m only talking to you of my own free will. And I’m slightly tipsy.” I felt confident that I had properly explained the situation. Chuck crouched down and narrowed his eyes, leveling them with mine. “Say, how come I’ve never heard you talk before? Am I hallucinating? Has McGregor been spraying my fields with pesticide again?” “I’ve never talked before because you never bothered to ask me anything about myself. You humans can be quite self-centered. I use as my example of this behavior your initial reaction to the revelation that I have the ability to speak. Sorry, Chuck, but as a member of the human race, your natural inclination dictates that you rush to exploit something wholesome and good before fully weighing the ramifications on your mortal soul or the impact your decisions have on others.” At this point I hoped that the gears were meshing in Chuck’s mind. He slowly reached into the front pocket of his flannel jacket and produced a slip of paper, extending it to my face. “Chuck, I can’t read.” 24

Paul Pfeuffer - Soapbox Derby Dreams

“Chuck, I hate to spoil the occasion, but you can’t make me talk.


“This is the receipt for the truck. I was just thinking that I don’t want to be self-centered. I came out here to feed it to you because I want to keep the truck, but then you had to give me that speech about being a member of the human race.” His head dropped. I couldn’t stand to see the man so dejected. I looked up at the blue-white lights in the heavens above Twin Falls, Idaho. This man was my ticket off the farm.

Paul Pfeuffer - Soapbox Derby Dreams

“Chuck, I’ve had a revelation. Neither man nor goat was meant to pen himself in and hope for the best life has to offer. We are mandated, by our nature, to find ourselves beyond captivity, beyond imprisonment. By Jove, Chuck, let’s get out of here!” I snatched the slip from his hand and munched heartily, then trotted over to the truck, hoping the talk had sobered Chuck enough to drive. He came over and opened the passenger door, allowing me to hop onto the seat. Sliding into the driver’s side, Chuck asked, “What about Jenny?” “She’s cheating on you, Chuck. Has been for years.” Chuck sobered instantly and keyed the ignition, roaring down the driveway without glancing in the mirror to see Jenny rushing from the house in her nightgown. A few miles down the road, he asked, “Do you think they have soapbox derbies in Hawaii?” “I’m sure of it, Chuck. I’m sure of it.

25


Sled Riding Kennan Killeen We would wake up at 6:00 a.m. on those days praying for a two-hour delay or the always welcome full-out cancellation. It was days like these that we eagerly sprang out of bed, sprinted downstairs, and turn to channel seven. Mt. Lebanon School District: CANCELLED. We bundled up like Eskimos, helping each other hop into our snowsuits; buckling up into sweat traps. “Crap, I forgot to pee first.” We trudged to the top of our never-ending driveway in our fat-suits, not phased by the single digit temperature. Whoever got there first could have the honors. Sadly, our adrenaline always knocked out common sense in the first ten seconds of the round. So we simultaneously pushed off with our mittened hands, swerving down the biggest hill of Mohican Drive, hearing the snow crunch beneath us, pumping harder and harder until our arms couldn’t grip the snow as we flew down. Our sleds scratched across the rocks and the roots of the trees reached out like a mother’s cautious arms, attempting to hold us back. But we make it through just in time for the final thrill: The natural-made, eleven-year-old enhanced jump-o-death. The blue plastic cracks upon the first impact 26


and stops on a dime. But we both keep flying like a child on his first bike ride, feeling the wind in his hair as his dad lets go of the handlebars. Another two crunches of the snow. Then silence. We lay there for a minute, not uttering a word. Too scared to admit defeat, that the arms were right, that the stump had won, that we broke another sled. But in one moment, we jump up as eager as that first leap out of our warm beds. We run back to the top as if we weren’t covered in snow and it hadn’t snuck through the cracks of our suits into the worst crack of them all. We carry the colorful plastic, fighting the whole way up for the right of that “inaugural ride.” We wipe the evidence of nature’s attempt to force us inside from our noses and ready ourselves for the inevitable defeat that waits for us at the bottom.

27


ther Brody a F , n u R s t’ n e D Waking Early at unication m m o c x E t n e c e Ponders His R

Jack Snyder

First sharp sun-glints off the slick snow cover— Flash-thawed then frozen, primed for a boot’s crunch— Stir me to prepare my morning sacrament. Snatching up a black wrought-iron kettle, I fling it under the soap-scummed spigot, Cock back two fingers, like gesturing for a hush, Flick down across the left faucet knob, (Warm mountain water brings a faster boil) And sheathe them in a holster of worn denim. Inside my left jean pocket, I tap in time With the water tank’s steamy steel growl And snap, waiting for it to yield its hot spit. The kettle full, I wade over to stoke old coals Still warm and orange with the hidden life Of last night’s coffee fire, no time to get cold. 28


No desire for me to grab memory’s lucid spoon, to stir up The forked roads that led night so swiftly to mourning; To stir the steep currents I swirled into my stale Sanka. (Nightly I am sucked headlong into that hot black whirlpool. Soaked in moonshine, winter’s sky above is painted in my cup. I raise it, hooked by the same two fingers; I am hushed.) Here’s my humble mug of speckled, blue-painted tin, Its belled-bottom pounded flat to greet open flame; The mouth’s edge curled under to smooth its lip Against mine, for the easy sipping of morning’s brew: Half a hot cupful of faint Earl Grey, Sweetened by two spoons of honey Then up to the tin brim with Wild Turkey.

29


Jacob h t e B t a s s e n e iv Forg Dan Lifschitz The synagogue is bathed in sunlight, but the followers are bathed in shadow. Heads bowed, eyes closed, sidurim open. Men in the middle, women on the sides, divided by tradition but united in faith. The prayers are rote, murmured in predictable tone as we all ask for forgiveness yet again.

My grandmother has parked the car a block away so that nobody will know she drove on the Sabbath. I’ve grabbed a kippah from a bin near the entrance, slightly embarrassed I’ve forgotten my own. We may not be the most orthodox family, but we have plenty to ask forgiveness for.

My mother is absent. I don’t know who she’s lost faith with: God or Grandma?

30


They fought just last night because of me. They do almost every week. Maybe that’s why she’s not coming to dinner anymore. My mother still says the blessings over challah and grape juice, rote and murmured in predictable tone. But I don’t feel God in the house anymore. Maybe that’s why I’m at the synagogue.  

31


g Song of the Kin Danielle Taube I heard the ringing of the trumpets and felt the pounding of the drums, But all earth’s shouts were drowned by the beating of my heart. With healing in its wings the bright, shining sun rose, Casting its blessed light on a twisted blood-kissed thorn. Joined by many sharp companions entwined into a crude crown, This grim accolade sat, festered and dug into the head of a king. “A zealous, blaspheming fraud”, they named this humble king, Whose final breath ushered in thunder, which rolled like drums, And lightning, whose mighty flash illuminated his strange crown. Never had such love flowed so freely from such as was his heart. A love so deep and unfathomable, he lay, stretched upon a great thorn, And one was extinguished for all; now for all one great and mighty rose. The glistening dew, clear and fresh lay upon the red, waking rose, That lay near the tomb which could not hold so high a king. Proof of death and resurrected life were the fresh wounds of the thorn, No witness could forget as the stone rolled away, and earth became a drum Upon which heaven played a praise which still echoes in my heart. He came forth savior and lord with light as his newly earned crown. The dawn welcomed the sacrifice, “Crown him with many crowns!” Then I saw him give a great shout and all earth at the call rose To hear him send his commission for those who’d surrendered their heart. “Go! Take my love, my name to all creation! Tell them of the king Who became a servant for all.” Then the angels beat their drums And he returned to the father. Then the messengers took up their own thorn. With joy and gladness, pain and sorrow they likewise carried their thorns. They went before kings and slaves, told the news to both chain and crown That redemption for all men had a name. Men beat their dreaded drums, And with shouts of violent hatred and mockery in their eyes, crowds rose 32


To kill the servants who strove diligently to reunite men with the loving king. No shame felt they; no regret in life for their message, only peace lay in their hearts. Men could not silence their voices, and the great son felt joy in his heart When he welcomed them home for so faithfully carrying their thorn, Even unto death. They received their places of honor beside their king, Their whole beings were made new and upon their heads was placed a crown. They gazed down on the earth and saw a multitude innumerable which rose And offered sacrifices of praise. Heaven echoed back, their voices like drums. One day earth’s drums will sound his name in remembrance of the thorn. Every tribe will lay down their crowns and embrace Sharon’s holy rose, And all men will sing with joyful hearts, the song of the highest of Kings.

33


34 But what is fear, and what is Hell? Phantasmagoric tricks of trade That blind man to the truth he seeks while rhyme and reason ebb and fade

And yet the simple truth somehow eludes the man, who grasps at straw provided by dogmatic scribes who shrink in fear of Hell’s black maw

And so he stalks the man in life while death hangs in the frigid air Reminding him of sins and strife he’s yet to meet and yet to bear

The beast is naught but conjured smoke the man has placed before himself as he remains a puppet of a book upon his shelf

The beast, in turn, knows that this man seeks naught but ways to save himself Unwitting aid to selfish deeds while clawing at otherworldly wealth

A stranger to this land, aware that should his faith begin to wane, Cruel Nature’s pets are set to take, his life, his pride, his heart profane

The sky runs red, the moon is alight as man and beast trudge through the snow, full knowing that the trees conceal each other, bathed in ghostly glow

st Of Man and Bea Dan Lifschitz


Easter Sepulcher

Jack Snyder Early spring means we visit Holy Visitation Church, With its vibrant Marigold brick skin shining Against the graying sky Just after noontime. Grandfather, you brace to stoop low; I wait on your creased, coarse palm— Part of your living tapestry Depicting a life’s work, Long and varied— To snatch up and swallow My right hand and Force me to follow You into the sepulcher. In its place, with softness Uncharacteristic: How about the two of us Grab a milkshake after this? Enthused by my new purpose, And with youth’s rashness, I accept your promise Of makeshift Eucharist— Offered and taken before The metal-framed 35


Double doors. Our descent is complete. I take to my tasks, eagerly, Once we pass through The tomb’s vestibule. Candles—we light them. Prayers—we pray them, Though mine I leave Half-complete With one eye open. In haste I anticipate Our departure From the sepulcher, Feeling the stinging Pangs of midday hunger Piercing between my ribs. Alone and sneaking, Surreptitiously, I scale ceramic stairs, Toe to tile, two by two, Up out of Christ’s tomb, Retracing steps, unawares. Forgotten sun surprises; penetrates The double door’s wire-glass panes, Cutting through, breaking over My boyish face, casting A crisscross network Of shadow-striped light. Finally birthed forth from The Easter sepulcher, my rapture Still inhabits Thoughts of contracted sweets 36


And the green thrills of spring’s Mysterious caprice. Bounding, running, I halt abruptly, Now feeling the rock and shift Of loose sidewalk cobbles Below, beneath my sneakers’ soles. Back-turning, eye-searching, I reverse my joy, learning Of your proud, pious labors Ascending the sepulcher stairs. My cheeks’ reddening heat Radiates; Milkshake musings melt away. No need for sweet bribery! Grandfather, you and me— Not damned to some yearly duty— Lock eyes across the gap Of yards and years As you slowly cross The tomb’s threshold, With its stone rolled Away, always open.

37


Happiness David Brown There was always this time and that time. There was always time for the wife and there had to be time made for the kids. There were errands that needed running and there were people that required visiting. There were repetitive tasks that called for attention. There were mundane chores that clamored for their moment. There always seem to be another task on the list. There always managed to be another ordeal. Something, anything is due that keeps its finger on your pulse. With every movement the weight grows and with every passing day time does not relent.

The barbeque must be lonely. The car taunts with a wanting gleam,

beckoning a break. A break away from what is here. A break away from what you know. A break away from all that knows you. If only you could take a walk on the pier. Maybe you could stand idle, if just for a moment. You could read a passage, not a book, and drink in all the literary nectar. You want to daydream about words and awaken with time to ponder how aimless and useless that moment was. You want to touch and have the audacity to feel. You want a life. You have a list.

These are the thoughts that pass through the mind of the

overworked, the rundown, those that have long since expired but persevere not for themselves but for everyone else. I am one of those. They, this 38


is me. I sit here, doing this. I am engaged though, in thinking about the twenty other things that I need to accomplish before I make my way home. You see me and I have a smile on my face. I simply don’t know how to unscrew it. I haven’t had time to learn. I do have time to run to the store and pick up milk and peanut butter. If the occasion calls for it, I can oil the chain on a bike, but don’t have time to watch my daughter ride up and down the street.

I want to spend time with my youngest, find out how he sees the

David Brown - Happiness

world. He was a month old the other day; now he’s seven. He has a smile that catches but never releases; I haven’t the time to sit and enjoy it. When my wife needs to talk, I know what words to listen for but my focus lies with tomorrow’s acquisition, so when we embrace I make sure my hand is placed carefully in the center of her back. I can pull her closer that way. I remember when the sweet nothings that were whispered in her ear referred to far off places; now they regularly include titles, movie titles. This Friday we will be viewing Spanglish. It’s a flick with Adam Sandler. On Saturday she’ll refer to a scene in the movie that only the lids of my eyes noticed, but I’ll nod obligingly. We’ll be together as she watches the movie and the movie watches me- sleep.

She seems happy. The glint in here eye telling me, praising me for

being there. She loves me just for being there. She adores me because I make a difference, in her world and the world of my children. I make a difference by smiling, by nodding, by winking, by knowing all the right things to say. I know all the right places to touch. I know all the right 39


buttons to push. I recognize the signs of a bad day and acknowledge all that she strives for in order to make our house a home. Yes, I am there. I am here. I am working, plodding along, maintaining something that seems to make her happy. But I am not present. I am with the twenty different things that I am not doing. I am focusing on the options I gave up. I am focusing on the life I could have had without her. I am focusing instead, on all the pleasures I have had, in spite of her.

It’s just another day. I have twenty more things to do before I go

home‌ I will be happy.

David Brown - Happiness

40


The Museum

Jackie Cabonor $10.00 to get in. Less if you’ve got a student card or you’re over 65. The queues are short today Fridays are not the best days for a trip to the museum. The old things cannot outshine the buzzing hopefulness of the start of a weekend in June. But I’m inside in the cool darkness of memory where the past lingers with the present. The best thing is everything is cearly marked now. WE know what came first and everything that came after. I can trace with my eyes the entire history. From one stage to the next. Flawless. Accurate. There is order and reason to everything No one expresses their doubt now. The fossils are too real to deny. And maybe later over cups of coffee 41


I will wonder why things happened as they did but for now it is enough to know t hat they happened. Every object is an echo. Every glance is a memory. “You have been here before.” it all seems to say. And i know that i have. I have lived each exhibit. I have used every tool. I know every corner. I lean forward to touch the warmth of your skin and I am confronted with the cool glass instead. This is only an exhibit. Rooted firmly in the past. I can feel what I felt but never relive. The rail and the alarms separate the treasures of the past from the shuffling feet of the present. It’s five o clock now it’s time to go. Shut and lock the doors Step out into the rain.

42


Susquehanna

Kat Simon Smooth silver stones skipping across the water at dusk with the Canadian geese who seem to be lost. This isn’t frozen tundra at least not until October. This is our river, and it’s always been here, the old pier, strewn with pill bottles and casings and lighters, past the railroad, where we have to follow the rock path worn smooth by decades of trespassers. The conductors call the cops ‘cause no one’s supposed to be here. But here we are, And will be here tomorrow. At least until Officer Franklin tells us to leave. — There’s a waterfall, a small one, where we go to get drunk and play in the murky water despite the governments warnings that the water isn’t clean. 43


But we’ve always played here. So, keep your government out of our stream. This is our river, And it’ll always be here. But now it’s swollen with rain and we have nowhere to go, as the places where we used to camp and swim —our secret islands and grottos— are surrounded by swirling angry suck-holes. Our beer bottles have been replaced with fish and frogs and they’ll know we’ve been there. We never did destroy our fire ring.

44


Family Gardens

Jack Snyder Three generations of grown men— Grandfather, father, grandson— Survey, through glass, the winter-beaten gardens: Each year’s drab wintry veil uncovers little— A single weathered wheelbarrow Stranded, waiting for spring. Neither snow nor ice can fully erase The tireless wheelbarrow’s ruts Cut so deeply by last spring’s toil Into last spring’s soil— Not simply any man’s Scratch of earth, But dense, proud Pennsylvania clay— A soil racked by its infertile pedigree. So, like seasonal clockwork, Like putting her babe to bed Each winter with such barrenness— Preserving only a shadowy, surgical sterility— Mother Earth reneges on promises of plenty, Sapping our hard dirt-work of its Tangible redress, rich in merit. Self-blinded with pastoral vanity— A mock-bucolic sensibility— We perpetuate her plotted precision, Inventing delight in the comforts of form. Scrap cedar stakes strangled by plumb line, Holding hemmed—so tense and taut— The strict stamps and parcels of impotent earth; Chalking out sharp right angles; Defining the mattock’s path with cold geometry. 45


Clean dusty blue lines built the beds intended For green pepper and blood red beefsteaks. But that limy blue powder, Less parched than every late springs’ arid topsoil— Always faintly masking denser dregs Of untreasured shale and clay— Will never be as fresh as my growing memory. Our triumvirate, season and again falling Short of cultivating consistent life In Pennsylvania’s reluctant muck, Rejects nature’s old olive branch— Coolly, continually, indecorously. Our efforts in excavating plots for planting— Always linear, and growing violent— Were paid with seeds, neatly buried; decomposing. Yet my lessons exceed those of mere crop mortality: Young and looking out, lost upon displaced dirt, Clumped and frozen, I dig deep; Sift out, shake loose, carefully, The root’s root of my budding Curiosity. Beds and plots and boxes become Human homes when humanness ceases To corporeally exist; When fleshy hands yield to time, revert to bones. Three distinct pairs—bracing, resting, clenching— At the windowsill, Each inscribed with its own textures of history, Speak silently of transience In the family gardens.

46


Pointsettia Park

Dan Lifschitz Rivulets of murky water crawl through the mottled grass, giving scant nourishment to what was nature’s sole refuge in the city. Once happily trampled underfoot by children chasing kites and dreams, now it only plays host to the wind echoing a sad song through the reeds. A dirge for innocence. Rusting iron gates swing on their hinges, contorted faces begging to break. They have seen too much. But the wind won’t let them forget.

47


k Wanting the Hoo Kat Simon I move to the window careful not to wake her, the form curled beside me. There’s a boy smoking down below the pane, hidden from the moon by a tree with leaves of fire. The orange glow of his cigarette burning to his lips with each slow draw. I want to sit next to him. To ask for a light. To ramble about how the trees change. How the shapes that pass beneath the streetlamps are big fish in a lazy river wanting the hook. How cold the winter is when you’re alone.

48


My Other Half

i Michelle Graminsk The bright yellow light creeps in through the cracks between the window frame and the shade. “If only the sun had a snooze button,” I think as I burrow deeper beneath the covers. Maybe it isn’t Saturday and maybe it isn’t exactly “morning,” but it is my day off. From under my queen-size down comforter, I still manage to hear the sound of my phone vibrating on the maple side table. “He’s just put his ring on my finger and now he feels compelled to fill up my inbox,” I utter. The phone vibrates side to side and I close my eyes, waiting for it to finish. “He’s a wonderful boy,” I try to remind myself.

The warm flannel sheets and cozy blankets are not worth

relinquishing for a phone call, voicemail, or any other form of communication. I roll over, away from it, and notice the streaks of last night smeared on the pillowcase; fake bronze, deep black, and shimmering gold. I close my eyes, reach under the pillow beside me, and feel for the silver remote. “If I can turn up the sound loud enough, maybe the phone will disappear,” I say to myself. I search for the volume button. I turn on the weather and am pleased to see today won’t be as cold as those before. The purple plastic alarm clock on the dresser glares bright red with the signs of mid-morning. My neon green sticky note on the television 49


reminds me to meet my other half for coffee. We’ve learned that arranged meetings are the way to stay in touch.

I let my body roll itself out of the covers and onto the floor. Sitting

on the fluffy white carpet and opening the bottom dresser drawer I pull out my favorite, dark denim. An appropriate top requires me to stand. “The tortures of being a female,” I laugh and reach for a light pink polo; like the ones she used to wear. I lather on a fresh coat of make-up, brush my teeth,

keys and the purse she bought me for my birthday last year. “That stupid phone,” I remember as I shut the door, “well, I’m not going back for it. He can wait.”

I trudge through the thin layer of snow on the sidewalk. Soon, I

find myself at the entrance to the family-run coffee shop. Anne waves at me from the little round table in the back corner. It has been so long since we got together, but I can see her new wedding ring sparkling from across the room. Her husband has been so good to her and the ring is only one example. “You’ve cut your hair!” I exclaim as I go to hug her.

“Yeah, I just wanted to try out the short hair-thing again. And what

is this?” she questions, picking up my left hand.

“You know my goal in life is to be just like you. Plus, I know Alex

couldn’t be upstaged by your ring.”

We sit down across from each other in two painted, wooden chairs.

I offer to order our drinks, but she has already done so. We realized years ago that we’re never as adventurous as we want to be. “Her short red hair 50

Michelle Graminski - My Other Half

and put on my suede winter boots. On the way out the door, I grab my


looks so different, but frames her face and freckles well,” I think to myself. She takes my hand in hers, “I can’t believe we don’t get together more often. I miss hanging out with you.”

“Well, you know I agree with you. Our boys will just have to get

over it,” I say without thinking.

She fiddles with her rings as we talk. She moves them between her

Michelle Graminski - My Other Half

thumb and middle finger; side to side, up and down, on and off. I look down at the smaller sized rock on my finger and wonder if it fits. “It’s beautiful,” she tells me, before I have the chance to say my thought aloud.

“Yeah, I guess you’re right.”

I hear her phone move inside her brown leather purse, which is

never a good sign. She reaches inside to check her message and looks up at me. “I wish we could stay here longer,” she whispers as she reaches for my hand. I always forget about the freckles on her hand. They must have their own order or pattern. They seem so organized and connected.

“You know you can call me anytime and I’ll meet you or stay awake

and talk to you,” I offer.

“I know I know,” she replies as she plays with my new ring.

We take our time standing up from our seats, getting our purses,

and putting on our winter attire. She hugs and kisses me goodbye, like it has been forever since the last time. As we walk out of the shop, our hands stay close enough to touch, but not enough to hold. Maybe next time we’ll have more time together in a place that isn’t so public. 51


Me f o e id s n I s e iv L The Past Jackie Cabonor The past lives inside of me. It is in the rings of my Bones. The ridges in Fingernails. The inches Of hair that grow without Being clipped. The past never dies. I inhale and the air I take in Will be the breeze that Teases up the ends of scarves And turns noses red with cold in winter Fifty years after I die. The past is forgotten but Never lost. Walking down the street, We pretend like we know nothing But the cracks in the sidewalk – Casual. Like we exist in a world With no history. No memory of the bones We’ve left in graveyards Or the nails – lacquered And bitten and dumped Or the hairs once touched by lover’s hands cut and swept away.

52


Words

Melissa Voltz Initial sensation crept through the air Wandering, wafting to the concsciousness. The hope of the smell, of the memory, Of the soul shaken into the highest reaches; Stars, but with the pulse of the souls Intertwining the failure of such stars Lingered at every glance, but mostly through words. The mind that freed a soul, unlock its Mind and release the figure that confines Them. The hands that write follow curves, Define the curves; they created those boundless, Tempting, lines that construct the figure that traps Spirit. They work to liberate the form within those Gracious lines. Moments that passed were Never to be misplaced but cared for, hoped for, Yes, those were stored for the times of despair for None like this were to be matched. Highest respect of those tiny seconds as waves crashed into the circle of the ears, Calling the tears to the eyes that displayed Nothing more than Amazement; how could a Form speak such words, the ones that Enthrall and free those of confinement. Yes, the words. They shall not be cared for But burned into the mind, those are that which Will never die. Memory will be back and those will Live on within. Those moments captured through The sounds, but mostly in word. The cherished will always be the coy smiles Both given and recieved through the beauty. 53


The laughs and jokes that passed with time and Amounting hope toward the never-ending certainty of it. Those were the times of comfort that created The moments that were passing, the ones that will Live on in memory. Those were the things of Undoubted confidence, the ones that gave purpose. Those times, and touches, smiles, but mostly words.

54


Art of Life

Adri Palangio Toolbox of art filled from years past of a colorful youth maturity and truth owned by an individual looking back, delovely life and creativity a dry sense of humor a dream, complete with dedication and devotion, now dreaded pretend, pull away from pain and fear a mere death complete loss of breath last dance and lack of feeling thrive thrills and chills devine sparked rebirth and a lovely evening

55


Tree in the Wind Jonathan Hairston I am bent and broken a twig cracked by the weight of constant adversity. The pressure strengthens, causing my will to stand tall to splinter. Nothing but the cold wind as company; a chill that permeates my soul, my roots, as gently as frost spreading in the night soft; an empty kiss and empty caress. The wind plays, flirts with my emotions; my precious leaves, then leaves. Loneliness blocks growth, blocks nourishment causing my branches my connections to the outside world to wither becoming brittle vacant of love from others. The absence of these connections eroding my spirit, my strength that I once possessed as a young tree strong, durable, lush. A lone tree bending in a garden of emptinessI am becoming decrepit, aged, rotting.

56


From the Comma n

der’s Chair

Jack Snyder Grandfather, I still have the old Hamilton wristwatch You entrusted with me to hold, To wind; and to keep alive. It was yours, Got in those fabled European tours. The fine animal hide strap, Once supple on a young pilot’s wrist, Has since surrendered to crisp brittleness. Yet still it emits odors familiar— Old Spice musk, the smoke of fired oak. Its tattered texture triggers Sweet recollections of worn leather, Of the Commander’s chair— It held you so high above me. And with your countenance In stubble-white clouds, I, ten years young, sat Cross-legged on the carpet With my wide-eyed interest: From an old man and his leather chair I tasted Roma in the afternoons, Sitting and sunning on a bistro gallery Overlooking vineyards in the valley. With you, the Navy man in his chair, 57


I fired my service revolver at Nazis, Wounding and killing from my low-flying plane Overlooking German subs in the bay. Only you, the pilot in a chair, Could walk me down streets of Shanghai, Mourning and weeping on a different stroll Overlooking children fallen into hell. The Commander’s chair has gone away And so too have you, my grandfather. I cling to the smoke and aftershave Ingrained in your watchband’s leather. Life lessons learned through our mind-travels Live in me till I too am reaped by time. Until every watch-spring unravels, I continue to hold it and wind.

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Contributer Notes Cover by: Jared Mutschler, class of 2011, is a Biology and ITL double major. He grew up in Volant, Pennsylvania and attended Wilmington Area High School. Kennan Killeen is an English major and Sociology minor. She plays for the W&J Women’s Basketball team and is a team captain. She also works for the Red & Black as the Sports Editor. Jess Lemons was was born and raised in Washington, PA and graduated from Trinity High School in 2006. This is her third year at W&J. Derek Stobert is currently a Sophomore, majoring in English as well as Psychology. After W&J, his goal is to become the best writer he can, and hopefully scrape by a living with it. He writes mostly short fiction and non fiction stories, and at the suggestion of one of his English professors, has started writing a novel this year. Paul Pfeuffer is a senior English major and is planning to attend Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in the fall. A member of Sigma Tau Delta, he enjoys pulling from life experiences in writing both fiction and poetry. He hopes to one day write and publish full-length novels. Jack Snyder is a senior at Washington & Jefferson College, pursuing a double major in English and Political Science, and a minor in Communication. His creative work is inspired and influenced by the power of poetic voice, and by his work with dramatic monologue and confessional poetics. Jack plans to attend a Master of Fine Arts program next Fall, with a concentration in poetry.

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Dan Lifschitz is a Senior, a double major in English and Political Science, as well as a minor in East Asian Studies. He is part of three honor societies and is going to Law school in California in the fall. Danielle Taube is a Junior and an English major. She believes that we, as a culture, starve and deprive both ourselves and our posterity of intellectual nourishment, and make our lives far more destitute than the beggar on the street, when we do not read at least some of the great books. David Brown is currently a junior. He was raised in Pittsburgh. Planning on declaring a double-major in Philosophy and English, he hopes to attend Law school and practice family Law. In the mean time, David is well on his way to becoming a certified Legal Advocate With the Washington Women’s Shelter and has hopes of interning at their legal office in the Washington Courthouse this upcoming summer. Jackie Cabonor is a senior at W&J and going on to a graduate program in the fall. Kat Simon is a Sophomore and an English Major. She is never found without her iPod or her book sack that she recieved as a gift from her Belizian Aunt. She reads when she has a moment to breathe, which is rare, but has happened before. You will never see her on campus on the weekends, but is most often found in the Oakland area, taking a walk or hanging out on someones porch. Michelle Graminski is a Sophomore as well as an English and German major. She also has a concentration in Professional Writing. Melissa Voltz is a Junior and an English major. Adri Palangio is a Sophomore and an English Major. She is also minoring in Theatre and Communications. Jonathan Hairston is 22 years old, a Senior, a French Major, and has a GWS Minor. He enjoys creative writing, specificially poetry and has been writing since middle school. He is excited to share his poetry with the W&J community during his last semester with the college. 60


Featuring:

Kennan Killeen Jess Lemons Derek Stobert Paul Pfeuffer Jack Snyder Dan Lifschitz Danielle Taube David Brown Jackie Cabonor Kat Simon Michelle Graminski Melissa Voltz Adri Palangio Jonathan Hairston


The Wooden Tooth Review: 08'-09' Issue