Waiting for the Bikaner ExpressChristopher Johnson
On a journey to ‘discover’ myself, or at least try and escape the blur and whirl of dead-end jobs and lacklustre ambition, I decided to embark on a trip to India, jewel of the now defunct British Empire. I had hoped that such a voyage could liberate my restlessness, give some catharsis to the plague of self-obsession and stagnation that consumed me
Twisting TimeGary Bolick
JENGA, yes, JENGA and rain. Both are safe for all ages, right? At the beach, sheets of rain rather than rays of sunshine coating the beach. JENGA! Throw in a slumber party game, a few choice words, a little alcohol, nothing too severe: Pinot Grigio, and wait. Now add a little, no, a lot more rain, bingo! Problem solved, right?
To Hunt and Be HuntedAlexander Koch
It was a quiet October day, drizzling and cold as dusk edged its way over the hills. In southwestern Wisconsin, out in the hollows far from any civilization, a small cabin renovated into a viable home stood by an outcropping of trees. Smoke was billowing from the chimney while chickens scuttled around the wet grass. A glass storm door was the only thing preventing the cold breeze from seeping its way into the house. Through that glass door, a woodstove squatted low to the floor, casting heat to fight back the cold of the crisp autumn day. However, this wasn’t just any October day.
The Road to BohemiaMartha Branson
There should have been French-Creole farmhouses overlooking the Mississippi River, wide gallery porches under deep overhangs, rockers waiting for hot, humid summer evenings spent in society with neighbors. The yards should have been surrounded by weathered brick and iron fences and concrete statuary.
You are moving forward! You are moving forward. You’re cruising down the road in your jeep, on the way to work. The leather seat is cool beneath you; the world that’s passing by is overcast, but the yards and flora surrounding the nearby houses are almost a fluorescent green. There was a thunderstorm the night before.
Keep GoingForrest Brown
It’s October in British Columbia and unseasonably warm. This means it’s also hot in the cabin of the twin-prop Cessna carrying me northwest, so I twist out of my sweatshirt and squirm in my seat to find a comfortable way to sit. No success.
I’m on assignment for Outdoors, going to interview Diana Li at her vacation cabin up north.
How We Got HereCory Essey
We danced on my porch on the night I buried my dad. My feet were bare against the weathered wood, smooth under my skin. My dress, black and wrinkled, shifted in the cool night air and I remembered my father holding me up to the sky above his head. My arms outstretched, face toward the sun and flying, flying.
Heat WaveAaron William
Gooooooooooood morning Woodfield! This is Kap Freeman with your drive time weather update. It’s gonna be HOT again today! [cue: sizzling bacon sfx] Mostly sunny with a High of 92, heat indexes creeping into the triple digits. Continuing into this evening with tonight’s low only getting down to 81. [cue: loud barfing sfx] Then HOT again tomorrow!
Extreme VettingRoxana Arama
Livia Holban arrived at the Seattle Immigration Court that morning determined to fight like hell for Félix Dominguez’s children. Sixteen-year-old Cruz and thirteen-year-old Clara Dominguez sat beside her at the counsel’s table looking terrified at the prospect of being sent to Honduras, a country they didn’t even remember. At the government’s table, Immigration and Customs Enforcement trial attorney Josh Henderson appeared relaxed, as if he’d already secured the kids’ deportation.
Elephant in the RoomLucas Klesch
these days the smiles are scripted
to induce the flow of joy
they amplify an initial step
to overcome the inertia
of years of climate induced apathy
i still remember the days
when i did not have to remind myself
to smile or breathe deep
Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?Vicky Oliver
I was in a meeting when the mysterious email arrived: “Need to talk to you today. What’s your phone number?” The message was so curt, that I didn’t think my friend John could have possibly written it. He was a native New Yorker with the soul and demeanor of a Southern gentleman.
Certain Savages: HyperinflationGreg Johnson
On low marshy islands in the middle of the River Seine, an encampment of Celtic fishermen, the Parisii, once founded a village. The fishermen worshipped the horned god Cernunnos whom they believed united the earth, sea and sky. To this stag-horned hunter they sacrificed goats and pigs to ensure the fertility of their women. They doused statues of him in holy water to ensure their nets returned filled with fish. They laid flowers at his feet and fought enemy invaders who attempted to desecrate the Lord of the Dance.
The headland rises before the horizon like a giant lion’s paw, sun bleached and golden. Morning mist lifts above it in a soft mantilla of grey gossamer. You can just hear the breakers over the heavy equipment, the banging of gears and the blades of the bulldozers scarring the earth.
“The Serpent: Smog in the City” and “To Soy, My Soul”Nam Nguyen
Mascara swirling down her face,
the woman with sagging eyelids
stands on the chipped concrete
like the tall factory pipe
connected to the power plant machines.
She doesn't think about her plight,
only the fact that she must make the ends meet
in order to feed her 2 children.
“The Last Days of the Dinosaurs”Kathleen Holliday
In third grade, one afternoon,
we were ushered into the auditorium
for a 16mm animated film
As comets and asteroids fell,
pocking the earth,
so did the huge creatures,
“Prisoner Earth,” “Suffocation” and “Melting Wax”Jennifer Schneider
I served 20 years 4 months 3 days
for a theft I didn’t commit.
Solitary. Abuse. Neglect.
Victim of mistaken identity.
Suggestive questioning. Self-interest.
Gross negligence. Prosecutorial misconduct.
“Kismet,” “Walking as Loren Eiseley” and “An Ominous Greeting”Sandra Fox Murphy
We’ve had enough! We’re taking it back!
The earth once belonged to the docile and us—
the wild—but no more will you, the puffed-up,
two-legged man, raze our forests and our swamps,
no more spew your chemicals into our homes
or fell our forests and set our lairs ablaze,
“For the Polar Bear at Joburg Zoo”Donatella du Plessis
They’ve painted your tank blue so you forget
how your paws flung moonstone stars across the
Northern Lights, how your cubs, seal-small, clung to
falling spires of snow and scarred, songless ice,
“Enchanted One” and “On Loneliness”Emily Stout
How can two words capture the magic of such a creature?
How can a name hold the essence of anything? I wonder, cradling
huckleberries from the bush, how to express the way my hands
are left a misty purple,
“Death By Bleaching”Lara Colrain
They tell me that I’m not dying.
That my limbs aren’t burning.
That my face isn’t as ashen as I make it out to be.
But what do they know –
the false prophets with their loose lips, tailored suits, and painted-up lies?
“Cold Salad,” “At Shore” and “Sightless”Leon Fedolfi
In a cold winter thought
I grabbed the earth by its head of trees
and ripped upward to free the firmament
No earthworms or other secrets.
Human figures entwined
in angered roots.
“Amazon Burning,” “Slow Creep” and “So Long”Brad Garber
I will never see your secret spaces
listen to the bold songs of birds
or the screeches of primate tribes
in trees along slow muddy waters.
Nor will I spy the silhouette
of the silent jaguar’s shadow
“A Walk on the Edge”Jill Bronfman
Let’s go to the beach today
It’s closed, I know, the Great Highway, the great expanse
But I know a way in-
I’m a scientist.
I’ll show them my credentials, say you’re my assistant
We’re here to study the shoreline, what’s left of it
“A Sestina for Turbulent Times”Ada Jo Mann
Our kids march in the streets for Climate Change.
They’re chanting we are running out of time
disturbed by watching all the rising seas
from hurricanes, huge fires, torrential rains.
Their fears and tears give me a bit of hope
that our vast world will flourish when I’m gone.