Witnesses, or, Who Will Take Out The Trash?

In Issue 53 by Michele Suzann

For a while I had friends who used phrases like “holding space,” and “I had to get really quiet in order to receive guidance,” and “it just is,” and “so I allowed him his feelings.” They’d say “I’m not religious, I’m spiritual,” in a way that implied persons who might claim membership in the former camp were clearly more benighted than those of the latter, but hey, “we each have our own path [mine just happens to be more evolved].”


Seven Journals

In Issue 53 by Daniel Laing

While visiting a city filled with canals, the name of which I forget, a gentleman thrust a copy of this slender pamphlet into my hands. He made off into the night. Strangers are often handing me bizarre objects and making off into the night. Perhaps they sense I am waiting for an event, that I am perched here with my binoculars, scanning for noteworthy material.


Surface Tension

In Issue 53 by Nicholas LaMendola

I started with the globe, then zoomed in. I narrowed my focus over one city, over one neighborhood, onto one block, onto one man. That was a long time ago.
I’ve watched him for decades now. I watched him start small, and rise into himself. Now that you’re here, we’ll watch him together. He’s finally started to come together. He’s finally started to come apart.


Carry On Baggage

In Issue 53 by Erin Conway

The flight wasn’t long from Guatemala City to Dallas, two hours. It wasn’t long from Texas to Wisconsin either, two and a half hours more. Finding something to do for that timespan was nothing compared to the twenty-four plus hours it took to visit my brother and his family in Tel Aviv.


Keepers of the Light

In Issue 53 by Brittany van der Merwe

“Hurry.” She spoke softly, her demeanor quiet yet emphatic as she stared into the horizon. He slipped on his remaining boot and stood, joining her in the doorway, eyes squinting towards the focal point. A winter storm loomed portentously.
“Well, let’s get moving then.” Warm breath and a quiet fear chased his words and hung in the late October air for a fleeting moment before dissipating.


Climbing in Vain

In Issue 53 by Stuart Baker Hawk

I was sitting in a poolside chair nursing some mixed concoction at Bally’s Las Vegas. Two days earlier, I stood atop Mt. Whitney via the Mountaineer’s Route, the same route first climbed by John Muir in 1873.
I had several more peaks to grab on my list. Denali in Alaska at 20,237 feet was next up, the highest peak in all fifty states.


A Gift of Fire

In Issue 53 by Laura Walker

When you first drive into Riverside, it has as much distinction as any other town in this smear of Southern California cities—that is to say, virtually none. But if you look closer, through the haze of pollution that browns the summertime air, beyond the stark graffiti that coats the concrete surfaces, past the drooping palms and withered storefronts lining the freeways, you’ll start to see some character.


The Man Can Dance

In Issue 53 by Alyssa Katz

My father, George Katz, was drafted into the U.S. military in 1942. Life in the military began in Roosevelt Field, Long Island, where he received a physical examination. The exam revealed flat feet and a high IQ. Owing to the high IQ, he was not sent overseas for combat.
Rather, he stayed on the mainland in the U.S. Army Air Corps (today the Air Force) working on airplanes.


Dogs, Post-Polio and the Poetry of Living and Dying

In Issue 53 by Alpheus Williams

You have to wonder what it was like when the L’Esperance and La Recherche came into these uncharted waters. The young ensign Jacques-Bertrand Le Grand high in the rigging of the frigate’s mast, pitching and yawing precariously in big swells and rough seas, guiding ships and crews through the treacherous waters of the archipelago. Here they were thousands of miles from their homeland.


The 23rd Hero

In Issue 53 by Rebecca Anne Nguyen

Sloane Burrows was racing down the train station steps, holding her bicycle by the handlebars, trying to keep a birthday cake from flying out of the basket as the doors began to close on the northbound line to Downtown Vancouver. “Hold the doors!” she called as she reached the bottom of the steps. Of the ten or so passengers she could see through the glass, a few looked up, but nobody budged.


Golden Seagulls

In Issue 53 by Megan Monforte

Elizabeth Boyd was staring at the big yellow M beyond the windshield of her car. She’d been doing this for so long it had gone blurry and distorted, becoming a pair of small hills, a set of rabbit ears, a golden seagull the way her daughter, Caroline, used to draw them. Every single picture that child drew had birds of some kind, plus trees, flowers, a ragged strip of turquoise sky along the top.


Don’t Be Such a Drag

In Issue 53 by Andi Van den Berge

The sound of the crowd reverberated backstage like a mallet roll on a timpani drum. Wim tried to calm his heartbeat with large gulps of air, but the sweat that slid down his spine let him know there was no calming this frazzle. Stage time was in less than ten minutes.


A Cat’s Tale

In Issue 53 by Marvin Cheiten

I was born by the shore. Or, rather, I was assembled by the shore. The lady who put all my pieces together was an excellent doll maker, commissioned by an artist who knew exactly what he wanted: a toy cat for his son. My fur and eyes and ears were all there, as well as my long, fluffy tail, but the artist wanted me to look like the captain of a 17th-century sailing ship…


The Engineer

In Issue 53 by Everett Roberts

There’s no place on this ship where I can find complete dark. The floor panels light up beneath our feet as we walk. Overheads immediately come on when we enter a room. It took some getting used to, but once my eyes adjusted to the constant blue-white of the glowing floors, it’s become second nature, like living with a constant low-grade hangover