Issue 28 / August 2019
"I hear a voice calling to me from the charred space, asking to speak – to the sun, the lake, the piney woods, the rare birds waiting to be discovered. It wants to speak for Bella, our Antheia, and the memories it’s stolen.
I listen as it tells me to bury the embers for good."
Whale ScoutsMary Fifield
Three dollars in pennies. A handful of over-the-counter decongestant pills, expired. A piece of fabric printed with elephants from a pair of pajamas he had as a kid. A compact fluorescent light bulb. Folded liner notes from "A Love Supreme." A rusted USB flash drive. Hair in a hair brush. A dried oleander flower. A flint of quartz.
Unwearied in That ServiceTom DeConna
I could use a staple gun to fasten the angled pieces of the wooden frame because it would be faster. But I don’t mind. I drill elfin holes, one-eighth of an inch, and I bore the holes into the wood, not with an electric drill, but with a manual hand drill, the kind with a crank. This also takes more time; however, I like working with my hands. It’s during these moments when I discover myself by being the farthest away from myself; with windows open to morning air and morning light.
This Account Has No FeelingsPhilip Jacobsen
When Peter Petersen entered the Marriott and saw no line at the check-in outside the convention hall, he knew he was late. There was a woman sitting at the table, staring at her phone. He approached her and said his name. She scrolled threw the document on the laptop. “I’m not seeing you.” He pulled out his I.D. “I’m with the Bureau of American Innovation.”
She smiled. “We were wondering where you were.”
The Trickster of Mentor, Part IIDavid Kennedy
The mood was sour that night in Conkling’s suite at the Grand Pacific Hotel. Conkling had spent the day rallying his men for Grant, loping the aisles of the Glass Palace with furious strides to keep the delegates in line. He had observed with some satisfaction that Platt had placed his arm about the shoulders of Benjamin Harrison of the Indiana delegation, and noted with some irritation Arthur was smoking a cigar with the dregs of the New York delegation, who were already entirely committed to Grant. How wise he had been to take the reins from Arthur!
The world was in upheaval, and there was no going back. Or not in upheaval, exactly. There was no heaving and there was no certainty about an “up.” But every day it seemed that the world was being torn up, shredded, and discarded; crumbled up into little balls and tossed away; reduced to trash. But then again it was being remade, day by day, into something new.
Mary’s Memory BoxDamian Robb
Mary kept a box inside herself in which she kept all her unwanted memories.
It started when she was nine, on Christmas day. After running into the lounge room to see what presents Santa had brought her, she had slipped and hit her head, and so her parents had rushed her to the hospital.
InpatientChristine C. Heuner
February. The snow is supposed to start around one P.M., so the school districts have an early dismissal. Your oldest daughter, Meghan, comes home with her shoulders slouched. Her backpack is heavy so this takes some effort. She goes into her room as she always does. Her father, your husband, has bought her everything to make it a haven: a lava lamp, a lighted device that intermittently expels a puff of eucalyptus air, tiny white lights snaking the bed’s metal headboard. A sheet with moons and stars hangs from the ceiling like a hammock. “No wonder she doesn’t want to come out,” you said.
Hazel Come HomeEthan Steers
The Merrick house was on a hill so that, from the porch, you could see down past each farm and, on clear nights, the lights from Moravia. Large cottonwoods blocked the property from Route 11, but from the fields down south you could see directly up to where the home loomed above the town like a castle. If a stranger were to see Hazel standing on her porch, they might simply think she was surveying her property...
A few miles off the interstate, along a pot-holed county road heading into the woods, I pass the intersection where Uncle Mitch wrapped his car around a pin oak. I wince, feel the pulse in my neck quicken, then exhale the memory and refocus on the task at hand, the reason I’m on this God-forsaken stretch of road. I guess I’ve trained myself to ignore the impulse to revisit the sequence of events flowing from my choices that day. The day Aunt Bella died.
Endless MDustin Hendrick
This is my first “solid” memory, by which I mean that I know it happened. I can grasp it firmly with my mind and replay it like an old filmstrip – bad quality, perhaps, but largely intact. It was not a dream. It was not something I saw on television and absorbed. It was not otherwise altered by the unstable physics of childhood recollection.
The first time Chloe kicked Brian out, they weren't even married. And she didn't really kick him out. Chloe was the one who left, though the house was in her name, though he was the one who transgressed. She thundered out of the house before she could do something she'd regret—like throw the pot of boiling sauce at him.
Bombs GoneIan Evans
My best friend when we were growing up in Hamilton, New Zealand, was Stephen Walker. The only thing we had in common was that we were both born on D-Day, 1944, just a little ahead of the baby boom. I liked camping, fishing, swimming, cricket, and riding my bike. Stephen liked playing the piano, reading, and listening to Ray Conniff records. But we were mates and during school vacations I spent my time at his house.
Before Her TimeJacqueline Schaalje
"Let it go for a while," said Fem when the alarm rang again from Mrs. Johanna (Hannie) Raven's room.
I flicked my women's magazine close that, a bit early in the season, displayed colorful spreads for Easter brunches that my parents would be quick to condemn, and got ready to get up.
Fem shot me a withering look. "She just wants to get turned over again onto her other leg, Steph."
I began: "She's in pain. She can't sleep when she's lying on her fractured leg."
I awake as we glide in over the haze of a city the color of concrete, the sun a glowing orb in a pink sky. On the horizon, the buildings materialize from the mist. After an eight-hour flight from London, I arrive in Islamabad at Benazir Bhutto International Airport.
I brought the bandage gloves with the prosthetics, but in London I feel the first gust of freedom and decide to bare all for an indifferent world. two hands with their odd scarcity of fingers.
Alice Walking on WaterThomas Weedman
They work past midnight. They work past the time scarab June bugs and even Jesus should be asleep, walking behind a rusted, yellow tanker holding modified fire hoses. Instead of pressurized nozzles, they dip mud-flapped deflectors into banked furrows the shape and color of baked pie crusts, watering a thousand dry apple saplings. Their boots and denim bell-bottoms get soaked.
A Worthy LifeSylvia True
Sabine stood in the vestibule and looked at the steel door that had a wire-mesh window. She knew that air was a mixture of nitrogen and oxygen and traces of other gases. She knew there was no molecule that made fear, yet fear was what she breathed on that cold, damp, November night.
A Story of a Murder I Didn’t CommitLazarus Trubman
I was the only diner in this tiny restaurant on the eastside of town, and the only thing that irritated me was the mirror behind bottles. Every time I looked up, I saw myself looking like a portrait of one of my own ancestors: Lazarus Trubman, deep in thought, in a gilt frame. I had circles under my eyes and a few scars on my face; apart from that I looked all right for a man who was liberated from the labor camp in Northern Russia five months ago.
“trou au centre de la terre,” “Black Hole” and “French Lessons”Dotty LeMieux
Inside Notre Dame is a black hole
where worshippers find a secret passageway
After the fiery birth, sodden mementos:
A crown of thorns
Sculpted stone and paintings
The smell of charred faith
“Self Portrait with Georgia on My Mind,” “Growing up Townie” and “Believer”Liz Abrams-Morley
And no, not the state, though the state
of the state is cause to fret,
no, O’Keeffe, I say, and we
are painting red poppies. We
are sliding crimson beyond the edges
of our canvases and we
“On Trial,” “Canzonet” and “Non Dolet”Jack Harvey
In the bedlam
happy as babies,
active as rabbits,
“Little Miss Black Hole,” “Girls” and “Why Are All the Poets Sad?”Grace Piotrowski
She hid all these years
aloof, afraid of the camera
knowing it would add ten pounds
to an already unmeasurable amount of mass
No wonder she kept hidden
in support groups with
bigfoot and the lochness
“Can Poetry Matter?,” “A Brown Study” and “Away from It All”Michael Schiffman
Left the wine importer's tasting,
denied a restorative cup of joe,
I passed out on a Manhattan subway platform.
The ambulance drivers lugged me
me up to the street, where I signed and was
allowed to go. Before wine the arid years
“A Rainy Day at Newman’s Grounds,” “Headed Home” and “Derby Days”Luke Harvey
The raindrops dribble down the shopfront panes while back behind the counter the barista drips her own creation into earthenware cups. He's always liked the tables here, the way they're cut with thick pine tops and sturdy legs two inches thick, like they were made to last