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."
- Goodrich by Rachel Browning

Issue 28

Annapurna

Robert Detman

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.

Issue 28

Alice Walking on Water

Thomas 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.

Issue 28

A Worthy Life

Sylvia 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.

Issue 28

Hazel Come Home

Ethan 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...

Issue 28

Goodrich

Rachel Browning

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.

Issue 28

Unwearied in That Service

Tom 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.

Issue 28

Musicians

Robert Appelbaum

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.

Issue 28

Endless M

Dustin 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.

Issue 28

Inpatient

Christine 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.

Issue 28

The Trickster of Mentor, Part II

David 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!

Issue 28

A Story of a Murder I Didn’t Commit

Lazarus 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.

Issue 28

Whale Scouts

Mary 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.

Issue 28

Mary’s Memory Box

Damian 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.

Issue 28

This Account Has No Feelings

Philip 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.”

Issue 28

Bombs Gone

Ian 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.

Issue 28

Chemistry

Andrea Chesman

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.

Issue 28

Before Her Time

Jacqueline 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."