SprinA4c..-,i)os; \(dunk, 15, In inihci
multimedia collage Paula Brady ink drawing Sophia Dixon
photograph Carla Pinto
photograph, Newport Coast, California, 2002 Erin Lewis
triptych photographs Satya Bhabha
ink drawing Sophia Dixon
ink drawing Sophia Dixon
photograph Satya Bhabha
Memories ofJoshua Tree National Park, California Nassim Rossi
graphite drawing Paula Brady
photograph Santiago Mostyn
The Yale Literary Magazine Spring 2003 volume 15, number
The Early Poem Rebecca Givens
A Resolution Nicole Dixon
Off-Season Hilary Hammell
Well Water Bryony Roberts
Fathers and Bricks/Sons and Ducks Alexander Spinoza Benaim
Looking at a Map that Shows the Reach ofan Atomic Bomb Adam Farbiarz
Looking at the Crown of the Visigoths, Remembering Christmas Katya Poltorak
Directions Avi Perry
Circumlocutions Allison Stielau
The Early Poem Rebecca Givens
This is the purest invention That ever walked the face of the earth. On air, it was land and water; On sea, it was dust and glue. No man may ever determine What happened to all the clouds. They were men,and turned corn And horses,scattering their heels. They were women,and had their ears Stapled,stamped on the edge of the lobe. It is clear there were things to discover: How happy were the two of them That time, moved beyond sadness At the sight of the narrowest trees. How happy were they, pressing their heels Together, offering no answers, Only sleep. They were so blessed. They were called like oars to a shoulder, Like a village to wheat. This is not so, They once said, deciding their lives Should be longer. This is not so, We do not yet know all that has been made.
A Resolution Nicole Dixon
They bought this house the summer you were nine. It was your stepmother's ideaâ€” she who had begun,that spring,to wear the robe your mother left behind. In its pink folds her body looked both awful and at home. One afternoon she tried to trim your hair and got as far as draping an old sheet around your shoulders when you bolted, wild and crying,to your room.The hardwood stairs were new and you unused to them,skipped one and slipped, your elbow locking as you fell then giving wayâ€” the final sturdy strut which crumbled underneath your sobbing weight. It didn't hurt until she untangled your limbs and touched the swollen,angry skin above the break; you came home with a cast and couldn't keep your balance, tilting out of reach whenever she came near. I think of you then,coltish and aloof, cajoled into the car with promises of warm salt water taffy, freshly pulled in skeins of anise, maple,beach plum,which you dreamed of, then awoke still chewing nothing but the sharp, wet air. The first night here,the sky above the water bloomed with shooting stars. Your brother,four years younger, wondered why don't they run out? then scampered in to your
stepmother's lap. Your father stood with you out on the deck. The Pleiades, he said, and pointed to a still, house-shaped quintet amidst the blur and shuffle of the stars. I know, you said. That stuffis really dumb. Desperate, he held onto your unhurt arm and said, Remember how the doctor said you'd heal, eventually the bone would grow back strongeP than before? You shook him off and raced unevenly down to the shore. Your father picked his way out on the damp rocks, mussed your overgrown hair while you cried and whispered, Please. Let this house be the brace, the crutch, the plaster. Thick and calcified, the sky hangs snow-clogged now above the house you haven't seen in years. You brought me here, you said, to see the meteors removed from all the city lights, and when you stopped the car and I looked up at this pale slate wiped clean of stars I didn't speak. We stood three blocks away behind the Crazy Horse Saloon whose neon sign blinked garishly, a lonely constellation whose broad arc you knew by heart: I took my brother here when they werefighting and we couldn't sleep; we'd stand outside and bet on stupid things— the next song on thejukebox; who could touch the door the longest and not chicken out. You'd planned to wander through the neighborhood, but you moved gingerly at first, as if to test a fracture in the ground.You left the parking lot in silence, remembering the peeling paint against your sweating palms, your brother's panicked laugh.The air hung flat and harsh above the street. We've reached the house. Let's go around the back, you say, and try to keep from seeing everything you know has changed. I catch a glimpse of wind chimes in the eaves and yellow shutters fastened closed before I stand beside you on the shore. The emptiness is what surprises me — you spoke of salt-scrubbed reeds which chatter and clack, hay and honey colored dogs that nip each other's feet and blend into the sand. But all of that was summer. What about
the lobster traps you said you used to set? I ask, and face the water's ragged edge, beyond the slimy, barnacle-laced rocks. You shrug: They never caught much anyway. Careful, these rocks aren't what they used to be. I search your face and wonder what you mean. You clear your throat: We came here once before in winter, God knows why, on New Year's Eve. You had no heat,the pipes had all been drained, your dad forgot his wallet. Dinner was a game of hide-and-seek—whatever you could find, you ate. Sardines and pickled beets three cans of peaches in light syrup which you tackled while your stepmother unearthed a cache of cheap red wine,tequila, gin, and cinnamon liqueur with flakes of gold inside. All four of you hysterical, you dumped the bottles in a box and lugged it, bursting at its rotten sides, around the corner to the package store. We've got some spirits! was your war cry once inside. My stepmother was magical, you say and smile, I'll never understand how she convinced the man to make a trade— our whole stash for a bottle ofDom Perignon. Your eyes are closed, remembering the walk back home,you and your brother tussling for who should hold the bottle; then the search for driftwood for the fire, which warmed enough that you could peel offlayers, deck the room with homemade scarves and mismatched mittens, while your brother nodded off, still bundled tight. You woke him for the countdown,huddled round your father's watch and chanting in one voice: ten, nine, eight, seven, six,five,four, three, two— and in that pregnant pause before you pop the cork,I watch you watch the bottle,filled with tiny bubbles that will rise, and rose, like eager, backwards stars shot from a green glass sea, or snow in sudden updrift, caught above the pulsing waves—you smile, put your weight on 'one.' The moment and the sky, off-white and firmly knit together, hold.
Off-Season Hilary Hammell
We are wandering lonely like clouds,the trees are tall and our packs are heavy and the snow falls in thick wet blobs,and your voice says'wait here: We stand up to our knees in the wet snow, and our legs turn to prickly ice water.You come back and your voice in your soft slow lilt says:'She said ten kilometers: We nod and keep slushing and the snow keeps snowing,and all is white and prismatic like we are in a snow globe. We are a team of four dark hunched figures among the deep dark whiteness that stretches into the sky and weighs down the trees. Our feet have long since lost feeling, we just pick them up and put them down in the footprints ahead,but they are more than footprints, more like foot holes that we sink our entire legs into. We whistle, thinking this would be joyful if we weren't wet and our long johns weren't frozen to our legs with the sweat of four days' wear. Brown foot-hole after foot-hole, ten kilometers. How many miles is that? Five? Nothing. We went camping in the Siete Tazas National Park during the rainy season.You're not supposed to do that because at altitude,it becomes the snowy season. We ignored such warnings and turned down an offer from a guy named Tito to stay in his cabanaâ€” the point was to camp,we said. But the first day the clouds moved in and the second day the stove broke and the third day we ate all the raw food and the fourth day the snow came,three feet on our tent by the time we crawled out of it. So now we're going down,and it's ten kilometers
or maybe only nine to the'highway' which just means the nearest paved road where maybe if they've cleared off enough snow,a bus might pass. She didn't know,you said,the woman in the cabin;she said 'it is the off-season.'Yes. Wet and sticky cold hands blue face red snowflakes huge like those huge salt crystals and the trunks of trees are black and stoic, they look like guardians, druids. Finally the bus came. It was not any less cold or less wet than the out-of-doors, but at least we were safe from snow-laden branches cracking and falling and endangering our intrepid party. We flex our toes and recover some feeling, and maybe feeling(a sickly, wet feeling) is not preferable to numbness. We arrive on the outskirts of San Carlos, which is not a town. There are no more buses going our way at this time so we walk five more kilometers to the farm we are looking for. Now it is only rain, a warm drizzle and the night is brown and buzzing. Warm mud puddles to step in and cobblestones to step on. We have given in completely to the warm wet nighttime, we embrace it, we love it, we march on because we are Outdoor Enthusiasts,and we don't complain. We have heard that there is a hacienda out here run by Austrians. We trudge and splash to a lighted window at a small gate-house. Push open a chain-link gate, and there is a young man there, dry in a red fleece and with long shaggy black hair, obviously not Austrian. He says the dueftos have gone to sleep, so there will be no food,but there is a room with a fire, and a
bedroom,and there is no one here since 'it is the off-season; and we love this man. Bedroom! Warm round cobblestone floor on dry feet! We peel wet clothes off wet skin and how good our pink wet nakedness feels, there are hot showers and towels and indoor plumbing,light fixtures, splendid shiny white tiles on the bathroom floor. We must skip through the courtyard where it is still raining in our bare feet in order to reach the room with the fire, but bare feet feel good. Then there is fire and light. The room is warm and done in Austrian style, with big rough-hewn rafters. We are all crowded onto the couch with our feet practically in the flames and we chat with Juan until he agrees to heat up some soup for us and then there is soup,ginger soup with garlic and he must really like us or something because now he is making us fried bananas with cheese, our pink feet are still in the fire, you pick up some panpipes and are attempting to play them and it sounds bad but nice still. I still love you,love you so much right now and the rest of us occupy ourselves with the pile of National Geographics en Espanol we found,pictures of mummies, jellyfish, underwater caves. Your mouth spits in the panpipes. I can't help but watch you,the freckles on your upper lip, the way you close one eye and you have such long eyelashes. I love youâ€” tonight we are all going to sleep in little bunk beds all in the same room with sheets and thick wool blankets, and tomorrow the others are going on a trip on the river with this guy Franz who is friends
with the Austrian duefios and with Juan. But you and I will go south by ourselves. I don't know when I will confess my love to you,if I ever will. You are too lovely. What happens is we take the bus down for five hours and make awkward conversation, we do not know each other that well. You tell me about the job you had slicing fruit at the Kroger, all by yourself in a little dark room;or your job delivering donuts, where you woke up every morning at five and drove three hours across the state,and back, before school. I tell you I would've eaten all the donuts. I tell you about my job picking ticks off potatoes up in the County. We bond through arguments,the way I learned I loved you, when back in the tent in Siete Tazas you were always on my side but never saw it my way. Like in the argument over the mythology of the car, where you refused to agree with my position that had something to do with the electoral college. Or when you refused to budge on any of your'issues', why you voted for Nader and why you think we should abolish all money,and why when you have children you will take them to church. We were in the tent for sixteen hours because no one wanted to go out in the storm,and you were the only one who knew all the words and would sing the songs from Jesus Christ Superstar with me.You beat me in the Bob Dylan song title game,I had never heard of'Later Later Allen Ginsburg.'And you knew obscure lyrics like `56th and Wabashaw'and even knew that it is in Minneapolis. In the tent, we were all together
all four of us in a lump in the middle,because the water was starting to seep in through the seams and in the corners. Through all our arguments where we all really agreed anyway,I was only talking to you.I was only talking to you when we spoke about fishing and Alaska and ecosystems,I was only talking to you when I argued about Catholicism and feminism in Chile. I was only trying to impress you, not trying to really say anything. We were cold in the tent, even in sleeping bags, because we were so sweaty. I argued that time didn't exist without consciousness and I looked into your huge, cartoon eyes and saw the reflection of all of us in the tent and the small, green interior and forgot for a moment the way that cold feels like loneliness. We checked into the lodge at Las Tranchas, near Chillan, and feasted on choripan and chorrillanas. You eat things that I won'tâ€” you ate kabobs with beef heart from the asado they had for the dieciocho. I grilled potatoes. We sat in front of the large fire in the lobby and put our socks in it to dry,and your face was red and you kept me up all night talking about bats. I named your freckles after the things I learned about in Astronomy class. On your forearm, Orion's Nebula,behind your ear the Magellenic Cloud. The cluster next to your nose didn't have a name,but the large one above your bellybutton was Negeb. Betelgeuse on your collarbone.You were my constellation, my observatory. And forget about scale, your teeth were a village with crooked towers, your eyebrows fuzzy
caterpillars, and your huge, naked blue eyes were the two hemispheres of the world. We hitchhiked up to the mountain and practiced Spanish with the drivers. They always listened to bad music, Journey, Boston,seventies soft rock or worse, Chilean pop. We got a ride with an Argentine family in a minivan. We crouched in the back seat with the kids, who were very beautiful and silent and afraid of us. The mom turned around every couple minutes to offer us potato chips. They had the funny Argentine lisp and said `Chisshan:I got to know you through introducing you,as you were quiet and always sat behind.'Where are you from?' they would ask, and I would be the designated talker.'I'm from Maine. He's from Indiana.'Then I would explain where those places were.'In the north.In the middle.' 'What do you study?' 'Me,art. Him,literature: Then conversation about the United States, Chile, Latin America. 'Argentina is very cheap right now.You should go there.' 1, 'We're planning on it. As if we were a couple, as if we were married,they always assumed.
dinosaurs. I looked at you forever wishing you'd reveal all your secrets to me,you only told me about your five brothers and your hay farm and the pets you'd had as a child. Still you let me kiss you,though I didn't know if you liked it or notâ€” you let me touch your hair once in a while and you explained to me that you were going to go north, way north,like Peru and Ecuador,and I hinted that I'd like to go,but you didn't invite me.Then we stood up out of the thermal baths, rolled around in the snow for a while, and shook ourselves dry.
It was still snowing so we snuck in to the hot springs at the fancy hotel, and stole beige towels. We sat and soaked in the water, which was so dark and full of mineralsâ€” it smelled like tar and our skin was raw and winter-white, you just sat there and soaked and only our heads were above water. We pretended the hot springs were tar pits, and that we were
He says I'm selfish. I only bring back one glass of water When I get up in the night. But I've lived with a well, watched it Level in a drought,carried sloshing pots of bath water to the fruit trees To keep from dredging the tank. There at the bottom,years of leaves And potato bugs disintegrate— when the level drops The faucet spits out water more like soil than sky. I should expect mornings like clear water— so cold and so clean With the confidence of life. But I see brown rising in the pipes, Potato bugs resting on the bottom of the tank— their swollen eyes closed, Orange orb bodies half hidden in leaves, waiting to meet the surface.
Well Water Bryony Roberts
The fire was nine years ago but the bark stays black In stubborn self-pity. Green leaves grow away from their mourning roots. Sometimes in the soil we find a twisted knot of sky, Glass turned in on itself. The living room window Now a scar I can hold in my hand. Every morning after it happened my stomach clenched, As if pulled by a rope. But my parents bolted down new beams, Sawed plywood for the window frames and bought saplings. Water came from a silver truck that struggled up our driveway, Oak branches scratching its shiny top. Soon our well Would pump its own water again, replace residues of chlorine With the taste of rust and leaves.
Fathers and Bricks/Sons and Ducks Alexander Spinoza Benaim
Now that we arefreefrom the burden ofimperial dominance, we must prayfor ourfallen brethren in Syria, Lebanon and Egypt... Prince Mohammed of Morocco,1967 The only country whose economy was not ravished by the horrors of World War it was our 'alma,'Argentina... Argentinean Bureau of Tourism 1967 Israel is still, and will always be the true home ofJews... Israeli Government Office of Immigration,1967
In 1967, between the houses of beatnik experimentalist William Burroughs/ Gringo Loco and an unknown British novelist/ pederast in the former Spanish / French colonial city of Tangiers/ Tanger, Morocco/ Maruecos,Shalom / Diego Ramon Cortazar/ Fluffy was born.Years later,some still claim that Shalom / Diego Ramon Cortazar/ Fluffy's soft yellow fur would have never changed to feathers had he not been decapitated. After a teary-eyed Carlos Shalom Benatar recounted the tale of the duck's demise to his neighbor, William Burroughs/ Gringo Loco,the man claimed that the first time he saw the boy and duckling together, he had witnessed 'eternal youth manifest.' He then took a bite out of an apple and passed out for two days and nights. Shalom / Diego Ramon Cortazar / Fluffy met Carlos Shalom Benatar only seconds after the duck's birth in a small coop connected to Carlos' house. The duck's mother had been whisked away by Carlos'curious father who wished to run scientific tests on the duck,and Carlos was the first thing that it saw. The duckling squinted up at this little boy, wide eyes deeply sunk into his head,sable hair slicked back like a matinee idol, dressed in a Spanish sailor's outfit as if to taunt the British novelist/ pederast, and fell wildly in love. Though Carlos did not share the young water fowl's passion, its ogling eyes flattered him. 'I will call you Fluffy: said Carlos in Spanish.'But around my father I will call you Diego Ramon Cortazar. Do you know who that is?'
'I will never leave you:said the duck's eyes. 'He is the greatest soccer player the world has ever known. My dad says that Argentina's going to win the World Cup just because of him.You're a lucky duck: In joining with you we arefree! You bleed the same blood as we!Allah has delivered our landfrom Imperial struggle! We will fight alongside our brothers in the Middle East!Allah Akbar! Once Carlos' Grandpapa Shalom caught him humming the tune of the familiar chant and took him by the shoulders. Though Carlos was inclined to dance, his grandfather admonished that instead he should run inside when he heard this song. Carlos had a Caballero's eyes and a Jew's neighborhood; this meant trouble. The duck's eyes burned with glee as Carlos picked him up, held him close to his chest and ran toward the house.Perhaps the duck loved young Carlos more than a seven year-old human could possibly reciprocate, but Carlos took good care of him. He cut up his pillowcase to make a cotton leash for the duck and absconded with Ensalada Coacha and bread from the kitchen to feed him. Carlos'father, Menashe Spinoza Benatar,stood at the threshold of his son's room smiling and watching his son pat the top of his duck's head while trying to feed him a tomato from the Ensalada Coacha. 'Carlos, honey,come sit with us. It's almost 12:30 and your Papa Shalom just arrived from synagogue.You can go after we say all the prayers:
'Dad, meet Diego Ramon Cortazar the duck.' 'Hello, Mr.Cortazar. I believe your namesake is going to win the great nation of Argentina its first World Cup this year; said Menashe,stroking the most neatly shorn mustache in the Old Jewish/New Lighting and Appliance Quarter.'Carlos, you have to come say the prayers with your Grandfather. After we're finished eating we can get that duck of yours some real food. A baby duck needs certain specific amino acids to grow healthily. Now,come on,honey. Oh,I almost forgot, I have a special new prayer,' he said, winking at Carlos.'I think you'll like it...or at least you better. You're my only real audience,' he said smiling broadly. 'I'll be there in a minute. Dad,what does that newspaper say?' 'This,' said Menashe, holding up an underlined newspaper headline,'is a clipping from an American newspaper a friend gave me.It's a picture of Detroit,see? I can't quite understand all the English, but it looks like the people are celebrating on the streets. What a magical place, no? I bet all the great singers are at the celebration. You know,one day people will look back on Detroit in the 1960's as a real renaissance,'said Menashe dreamily gazing out his son's window at a brick wall. He left the room in silence. Moments later, as Carlos tucked his duck into a shoe-box, he heard his father and Papa Shalom discussing the duck.So popular! He is already the talk of the family.
'Will my duckling be born in time for the holiday meal, Menashe? It's a very important tradition, you know,'said Papa Shalom. 'I don't think he will be:said Menashe. Menashe coughed,stood up straight like Sam Cook/ El Cantor Negro Americano Guapo,and began to sing. Oh Woman, Oh Woman, Why you treat me so mean? You're the meanest old woman that lever seen. Well I guess ifyou say so. I'll have to pack my things and go. That's right, hit the road Jack, and don't you come back no more, no more, no more, no more. Hit the road Jack, and don't you come back no more. Menashe winked at his son immediately after he finished but had to turn away from him to keep from grinning. In his haste he didn't notice the tears glistening in the corner of Carlos' eyes. The first time Menashe sang such a song he noticed Carlos laughing. Why was his father singing gibberish in these strange melodies? His father noticed the smile, winked at him and explained to the table that these were prayers created by American rabbis. He so badly wanted to prefer these prayers his father came up with to the dangerous chants on the street, but they just didn't make him feel the same way. It was the language,Carlos told himself, wiping his eyes. He understood some Arabic but no English. 'Breathtaking. I am not completely sure what he was saying but it felt so strong,'said an Uncle Simon.'Kicking out the sin from our lives is it?'
'Something like that...' said Menashe, massaging his mustache. 'I truly believe that it is your vocation to stay in that laboratory of yours and make such beautiful prayers while we're at synagogue:said an Uncle Raoul. 'I feel this music in my soul,'concluded Uncle Jose. Papa Shalom sat with his hands folded neatly on his lap and his eyes shut gently. It was difficult to tell whether he was dead or alive even when he spoke.'Perhaps you could say a prayer for Israel after this time of great peril. In Hebrew with a more traditional melody for God's ears: he rasped at his son.The baby duck's mother in Menashe's laboratory quacked loudly for its child, as if mimicking the old man. ... Fluffy/ Diego Ramon Cortazar would need some clothing. A navy blue sailor suit like his own that the duckling might look as tough and majestic as he. Then he, his father, and even his sisters and mother would pack their bags and offer the Old Jewish / New Lighting District to the young, happy,and angry Arabs who wanted it so badly that they marched in the street singing almost every day. But he'd be careful, because as his grandfather pointed out'you never know with these people.' Waving goodbye to William Burroughs/ Gringo Loco and the unknown British pederast/ novelist they'd depart for Argentina,like his father had promised. They'd be so glad to see them there and perhaps they'd all meet the duckling's namesake. And when Argentina won the Cup there would
be celebrations in the street. There'd be a huge parade like the French and Spanish ones his father told him about, with all of the singers and beautiful women (and ducks,Diego Ramon Cortazar/ Fluffy had no need to worry). And they'd be famous too! His father had already told him,his sisters, and his mother,that once they got to Argentina he'd start sending his songs to the American singers like Sam Cooke and that blind Negro from the picture on his record. `Menashe, what about psalm 143? I've always understood that to be about Israel,' said Papa Shalom.'You used to sing it as a little boy before we got you your first chemistry set. I remember that when we finally bought you that thing you sang it because you wanted to praise God and that was the only psalm you knew. But you sang that psalm like an angel, Menashe.You were born with your heart in Israel.' 'Israel?' asked Carlos,confused... Israel! How could he have forgotten? Before they'd go to Argentina they'd go to Israel. They'd congratulate the victorious soldiers. Papa Shalom would probably ask them for help in Tangiers but his dad would tell them they don't need to come.Things are as they should be. Maybe afterwards Carlos would go back to Morocco and tell all the Arabs that Israel was not all the things .they said it was when they wrote about it in the newspapers and on the walls. His little duckling could easily find a Jewish bride in Israel. And they'd be famous there too! His dad had an idea for a pill that you can take that has three meals worth
of nutrition in it. The army will be so happy about this that maybe they'll make his dad a general...or even a boat captain. 'Why would Dad sing a psalm about Israel?' asked Carlos. 'Why not one about Argentina? I think he likes that country better: A brief moment of silence occurred. Followed by a few seconds of psalm 143(mountains skipping like lambs, etc.); ancient rhythms newly syncopated and upwardly flailing melodies molded into arches that suited Menashe's soulful baritone. Then cacophony;it is difficult to say whose cries arose first. It is safe to assume that the'Down with Israel' up with'New Lighting and Appliance District'chant came from the large group of marching Arab protestors outside. It seems that the phrase'Israel is a holy land' was said in an awkward atonal cadence by both Menashe and Shalom.In all likelihood it was Shalom who said that'Argentina is a secular man's fool's gold'and Menashe who claimed it'a land of opportunity', However,something about the illogical harmony of their similarly intoned voices made their words temporarily indecipherable. At least to Carlos. Another pause,followed by a stream of illogical harmohy from which Carlos was able to extract familiar words and phrases like'inquisition; 'glorious Argentinean economy;'glorious God:'freedom,' 'Convivencia; and'Jewish Quarter/New Lighting and Appliance: but no precise meaning. Carlos and Shalom stood at opposite ends of the tableâ€” their words sailed and landed as a knife might. Carlos ran out of the room and hid with Fluffy/ Diego Ramon Cortazar under his bed; their eyes and ears covered by Carlos'arms. A brick, red like the new Morrocan flag,stood brazenly on the Saturday lunch table. A window was broken. Menashe sat Indian style by the table and motioned upward to stand when Carlos entered the room but did not. For a few moments, they did not speak. Carlos walked over to the table and gently but hurriedly brought the brick down. Fluffy/ Diego Ramon
Cortazar hurried in, but for once,could not look up into Carlos' eyes. Perhaps if Carlos were a brick,the duck would push him down. His face resting in his hands,Carlos lay flat, propped up at the elbows. He looked up at his father's face. 'There was a problem outside...Your grandfather got hurt and your mother and sisters are taking care of him in our room. Go see him and let him know you're alright,'said Carlos'father. Carlos knew that now would be the time to tell him everything; how he didn't like the songs in English as much as the Arab songs and how Fluffy/ Diego Ramon Cortazar probably didn't either. The moment passed. His father suddenly looked like a bull; eyes black and bloodshot. 'Dad,I have an idea that might make Papa Shalom feel better.' His father squinted as if he were looking directly into the ocean on a sunny day.'I don't think you should sing any of those songs I taught like'What'd I Say, Now'or anything, Carlos. Maybe you could sing him a psalm...actually, better to just kiss him and hug him.Something about Israel maybe... I can't think very well: 'I'm going to name my pet duck after him: 'Diego Ramon Cortazar?'asked Menashe 'Flufâ€” yeah: 'This is not a good idea...perhaps it is better that you not have a name for the duck.You must understand,Papa Shalom is in very much pain...it is almost the holiday...1 know you like your duck very much...Do you think you could give your duck to him as a present? I know it would please him very much,'said Menashe,looking away.'Your grandfather is a very well-respected man in the community and I'm sure Diego Ramon Cortazar would be honored to be his duck: Carlos bit his lip.'You're probably right:
Looking at a Map That Shows the Reach ofan Atomic Bomb Adam Farbiarz
You set your fingers to the legend One mile apart, they creep uptown, here, to us. But it takes too few steps, and we won't likely live Through the hovering slice of countless Point fire-flies, when an enormous miniature Sun burns in the backyard,snowing Gray these many city radii. Myths of fire and ice â€” Nature keeps a purer form of decay: decay. and remove them.
You set your fingers to a legend It starts with with with with when when when What
The devil breaking a town's knuckles, A date book falling as town buckles. The schedule, a new what-to-do-and-when, The one-word fortune,folded,forced into its hand. The town takes pause before it opens it. The town suspects there is no hope in it. The town says, Let us take our time. Let us sigh. if the next thing to do is die?
but cannot finish.
You reset your fingers And splint their healing fractures; The distance from thumb to pointer Measures full continents. You deny the future Ash storm; take comfort in the great expanses That separate our tiny worlds; trust That the map is not to scale, That matter is held together by the Strong Force in the cores of(words?) words. and set them to a legend.
Looking at the Crown ofthe Visigoths, Remembering Christmas Katya Poltorak
A carousel with shreds of golden skin, The treasure is adorned with Latin letters, From one head to another gravely handed. Still filled with the breath of Visigoths, the crown Rests untouched,remembering how pallid kings Grasped Europe by the throat— a helpless toy. The jewels hung and swam like toys In seas of soil-scented hair, brushing the skin Of chiefs who melted Rome. Those iron kings Refired it with their foreign spice, but kept the letters — Enigmatic charms for their costumes— crowned With an unfamiliar spell. They cradled in their hands The strangely curving corners of the g,the hands Of y, the metal dots and circles that are toys Of i and look like stars or pebble crowns. The tiny tarnished bodies hang like rabbit skins, Letter the air with foreign words,chopped In the throats of murdered kings and tenderly reordered. And now—I am inside my own kingdom, Of fox and penguin days, when hand-made Costumes,cabbage pirozhki, and Christmas letters Invade the red brick house above a toy store. The flats are stormed by fish with tinfoil skin And ranks of trees in uniform with painted crowns. Dressed in my costume and a paper crown I help Babulya bake mazurka— raisin-filled kings On tarnished pans. A skin-toned Court of dough emerges from our hands. But what returns through all those days that bloom with toys: A silver lantern with p-e-k-i-n painted in golden letters. I do not know the foreign English letters In their metallic dancing circle, crowned With a hundred stories. I watch the spinning body of the toy, Imagine it a talisman of some forgotten king Whose mummy with a rusted foil of skin Lies in the Hermitage, his breast covered by fragile hands. The letters spin,like on that ancient crown, The magic toys of unknown gods or kings Whose hands, with childlike awe,kept secrets hidden underneath their skin.
Directions Avi Perry
Stay on 1-25 South from the Colorado Springs airport. Drive straight through the city, with its White Supremacists and its mechanical bulls that buck for eight seconds and then shut down,embarrassingly like your first sexual encounter. Right after the Nascar racetrack, probably Exit 124 or 125, turn off the highway. Don't go as far south as Pueblo—not even for its orgiastic hot springs or for the burritos at La Casita;just get off the highway,even though no one else is taking that exit. Follow the road where it wants to take you; there are no turnoffs, no choices to make—let it wind you past the schoolhouse and past the horse farm,through Jed Winter's place where he grows the green chilies you'll use for your salsa. Then shift into fifth when the Rockies are directly behind you, and drive straight and fast for eleven miles. Pike's Peak won't get any smaller as you drive away from it; it will always loom behind you as concerned and constant as the parents you left behind on the East Coast,telling them this is something you need and that you've always wanted to be a cowboy and always wanted to see America,too. And they understood, which was the remarkable thing, as it occurs to you now;or maybe they didn't, but they said they did and that counted. So,smiling and telling you about the time he hitchhiked across the country before he met your mother and before he converted, your father drove you to the Hartford airport— a boy and his dad, who loved each other almost too much to say so as they embraced at the terminal.
As you drive, wave to anyone approaching you on the road, not because you know them yet, but because that's what's done. This instinctive gesture will become so much a part of you that you'll still do it from time to time after you get back to New England, where your school is and where you can name all the trees.(Oak—like the decaying ones in front of your house, which the city won't replace even though your mother worries every time a strong wind blows. Elm— for which your city is named,though they all died from disease thirty years ago. Maple—like the syrup tree they planted when you were born,grounding you permanently in Connecticut). But you won't get a wave back as you drive between Sturbridge and Boston— it's not what people do here, you suppose; it's not impolite, it's just New England. When your girlfriend comes out to visit you in Colorado, to hold you for a week and to tease you about your affected speech patterns and newly-calloused hands,she'll see you wave as you drive, and she'll tease you for that, too. But it will be months until she arrives, measured on alternating nights in 'Sweet dreams,angel'and'How could you say that? He's just a friend: But you don't know any of this as you drive the road that first time,and would you even have turned around if you had? Continue until you're sure that you are lost, until you are convinced that,somehow on that forever road, you missed a
turn. Just about then, you'll see a STOP sign. Don't. No one is coming anyway. Turn right and coast about two hundred yards— there is no rush anymore,no rabbi to challenge your decisions(you, who were his son's best friend for 5 years and who shook his hand Shabbat Shalom every Saturday); you've made it. Brake underneath the hanging sign welcoming you to the Pike's Peak Ranch— that's where the STOP sign should be; where your old persona stops and gets out, waits patiently outside the fence for six months,and then climbs back into your truck as you return to the airport and,six hours later, to Connecticut and your home. Lie awake that first night,in a house miles from your home, and think of a boy your brother knew at Harvard who had worked on a ranch and had learned to roll a cigarette with only one hand; recall also the reverence you had for this feat; soon you, whose fingers blister from a lighter and who never smoked anyway, you,too, will be able to do this incredible thing. And then surely your parents will gasp and say yes! now we see why you had to leave and do this crazy-ass thing and go where there are no other Jews and become a cowboy.(You will show them all, won't you, and yourself, too.) But first, pull another blanket— which your family called a 'puff' when you were younger and sometimes you forget and call it that in front of other people— over your body,because it is February and the crumbling adobe ranch house you are occupying has only a small wood-burning stove for heat. But that is all right,
because you are tough and not the little boy who used to cry when Sean Murphy punched your nose and made it bleed; reassure yourself that you have come a long way already. The soil is drier in Colorado than at home;the air, too. Sometimes, while you sleep, the dryness settles deep within your head,and you wake to find your nose clotted with blood, your throat parched and raw,and you feel like a child again. It is a hard land,this, where the air chokes you in your bed â€” a land which devours its inhabitants. Located on eighty-seven thousand acres between El Paso and Pueblo counties, the Pike's Peak Ranch is the welcome mat at the doorstep of the Rockies, mountains you'd previously known only from the John Denver tape your family always played when they drove anywhere because it was the only music everyone could agree on,though no one actually enjoyed it. And then sometimes,as you got older, and it was just you and your brother in the car with your parents because their other four kids had grown up, you all sang along with John and missed the old days and realized that maybe, all along,everyone had actually liked it. Below the mountains, the great American desert devours the southern parts of the ranch; every year more sand blows in from New Mexico,littering the land with sagebrush and eating away at fertile pastures. When your girlfriend comes, you'll drive out to the sand dunes and spend the night there with her, more to say you've done it
than because it is enjoyable. To the east, for hundreds of miles, sleeps the prairie, with its tall grasses and herds of antelope; you will shoot these for steaks sometimes but never tell your parents, because a hunted animal isn't kosher and the last thing in the world you want to do,even out here where you're trying to be your Own Man,is disappoint them. On this land,around their campfires at night, men sit beneath the wind,talking of troubles greater than disappointment and whispering real worries into the thin night air. A sickness stalks the land,they tell you; the earth is barren and can be grazed no further. The seven years of famine have arrived. Ranchers east of the mountains are declaring bankruptcy one by one, watching impotently as their wives quietly pack up their belongings and lie unconvincingly to their children, girls with sandy hair who are achingly beautiful even at twelve and gap-toothed boys who speak softly and deliberately. The conversation is mournful and nostalgic tonight; the cowboys talk of a land which was once wider than it is today and of a way of life seeping forever into the earth which bore it. But do not fool yourself. You had never heard of the hushed depression haunting the ranchers south of Denver,poisoning their minds and massaging deep lines of worry into their wind-burned faces. You did not know of this threat to their lifestyle, because the New York Times had never run a feature on it. You did not come to Colorado to save something worth
saving—you came because it was difficult to be a Jew and because it seemed somehow easier to be a cowboy.You did not come searching; you came escaping. Things you learned:1) Bicycles contain no surprises;they do not buck for seemingly-no-apparent reason except that everyone forgot that she was in heat that day and would not tolerate any testosterone near her and you were secretly flattered that you were man enough that a horse would take notice. 2) Bicycles are really pretty close to the ground so you don't get too badly hurt when you do fall. Horses are at least twenty feet tall. 3) Bicycles have training wheels. 4) Horses have no training wheels because God is angry at you for breaking his rules and not observing the Sabbath that time,and like everyone else He is wondering why you are in Colorado anyway and not in yeshiva like you should be or at least in college where maybe you could learn something valuable and be a leader for Our People like Joe Lieberman ... The bicycle is a superior invention.
by riding these horses. These are not your horses. You have your own stories, your own traditions, and they, too, are worth remembering. Homesickness spreads over you like a rash that you can cover no longer. Go; you have been absent too long. Go back to your family—you have found what you never intended to. Think now of your home,where you were young, where your mother still weeds the garden in her Jackie 0.sunglasses, sifting through the soil, clipping off the weeds that threaten next year's flowers; she is cultivating a land that is your own. Smell that earth and rejoice—how many hours spent, pen in your mouth,trying to give voice to that smell? Think now of things which matter,of Interstate 25 and distant mountains, of horses and bicycles, and of the men who ride them. Think, too,of a land which promises a future even as it cradles the past. This is your Promised Land, pilgrim; this is your homecoming and your inheritance. You have arrived.
But cowboys never use bicycles on cattle roundups,even if they are more efficient, because cowboys never have and some things should never be changed,so get used to your chafed thighs and stop your moaning.Instead,they willingly mount horses(though not in the way people impossibly did when you and your best friend would watch the scrambled Playboy channel on sleepovers, before you graduated to magazines behind bathroom doors and finally to girls on your living room couch as your parents slept upstairs) and they slap their thighs and yell things out of movies— things like hee-yah and giddyup,things which are desperate and earnest— things which sound ridiculous coming from your talmudic mouth. These are their traditions,and they bear a solemn beauty. But they are not your own. Your lips are blaspheming by telling these stories, which belong rightfully to others. Your hands,bookish hands,are idolatrous for digging this pagan earth. Your legs betray you Nassim Rossi
Circumlocutions Allison Stielau
And the censors sit at their dust-covered desks reading novels and newspapers with a magnifying glass. And while they keep watch, suspicion curls into their laps like a lonely housecat. And the air in the bureau office begins to bristle. And they hunker down. They wait.
Auditory phantoms: the coffee percolator, the radiator's winter drip, plastic pipes, aluminum sheets, metal roofs shifting in enormous heat.
Soon,that old irony of the shut umbrella shop, or the umbrella in the umbrella-safe that's locked,the key,lost. ***
Just before, the house shudders like a lost ship.
His face so handsome it called to mind a thunderhead on the horizon â€” made you suck your breath in, made you want to shutter all your doors and windows. ***
Just after, a sigh on the shingles, a bang,a hiss. ***
Amassing on remote hillsides, they hold council in the mud then meld together, rush the streets: seething mob,flash flood.
The editor of the Yale Literary Magazine would like to thank Philip Greene,Francis Bergen, J.D. McClatchy, Katharine Weber,Susan Bianconi, Dean Laura King, Nancy Kuhl at the Beinecke Rare Books Library, Langdon Hammer,Joe Maynard and George Guman at RIS, the Trumbull Sudler Fund,the Pierson Printing Press, the ghost of Paul Mellon,and Ricky Melgare and his colleagues at the Kipp Academy Literary Magazine. The designers would like to thank Joe Maynard and George Guman at Yale RIS for all their hard work and help, GIST,and Timothy Gambell for the wisdom of his years. Editor-in-Chief C. Morgan Babst
Online Editor Allison Stielau
Designer Grace Silvia
Events Coordinators Meredith Kaffel Emily Anthes
Design Staff Jonathan Sherman-Presser Alice Phillips Designer Emeritus Timothy Gambell Publisher David Gorin Managing Editor Helen Phillips Associate Editor Nicole Dixon
Circulation Managers Katherine Poltorak Steven Nam Meral Agish Art Editor Andrea Hill Selection Committee Thomas Cannell Jason Farago Diana Feygin Hilary Hammel! John McEachin Sonja Ostrow Avi Perry Eliot Robson Matthew Schneier Julia Wallace
The contents of the Yale Literary Magazine are ÂŠ 2003. No portion of the contents may be reprinted without permission. All rights reserved. The Yale Literary Magazine is a non-profit, registered undergraduate organization at Yale University. The views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the editors or staff members.Yale University is not responsible for the contents of the magazine. The winner of the Francis Bergen memorial prize for Poetry is'Looking at the Crown of the Visigoths, Remembering Christmas'by Katya Poltorak. The winner of the Francis Bergen Memorial Prize for Fiction is'Directions' by Avi Perry. J.D. McClatchy was the judge for poetry, and Katharine Weber was the judge for fiction. Subscriptions to The Yale Literary Magazine are available for $15 (individuals) and $35 (institutions). Contributions to The Lit are welcome and tax-deductible. Make checks payable to the YLM Publishing Fund and mail to: The Yale Literary Magazine PO BOX 209087
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