Creative Nonfiction

Featured image for “Facing Mecca”

Facing Mecca
by Kathleen Tighe

Viewed from the top of the minaret, the desert stretches for miles until it touches a brilliant cerulean sky. On the horizon a blazing sun moves toward its afternoon descent. Even now, all these years later, I can still feel the rays of that sun burning my scalp, still feel my parched lips sucked dry of moisture. The desert sand shimmers in the sun. Read more.

Featured image for “Dead End”

Dead End
by Mary Jumbelic

“Mom, why are all the police cars and fire trucks here?”
“What did you say, honey?” I said, covering my free ear. “Police? Fire trucks?” Noise at the reception counter made it difficult to hear. I gestured to co-workers to lower the volume. A quick reply of silence followed. They listened to the boss, my prerogative as the Chief Medical Examiner. Read more.

Featured image for “Watercolor for Beginners”

Watercolor for Beginners
by Janna Whitney Rider

It was as if all my colors had changed. There was no control or curation to my feelings anymore, only raw and wild outbursts. I tried explaining to a friend, “I’m a Jackson Pollock painting right now. Red! Blue! Yellow! I prefer a bit more nuance. Something impressionistic typically suits me, like shadows that fade in the afternoon sun. Purple and gray into peachy yellow ochre – these are my colors.” Read more.

Featured image for “A Bright Cold Day in April”

A Bright Cold Day in April
by Michael McGuire

It was a bright cold day in April of 1984 when I tested positive for the HIV virus. I remember the date and the weather because not only does the devastation of life-altering news make one hyperconscious of his environment and bring the physical world into magnified bold relief, I was that week also reading Orwell’s 1984 for the third time… Read more.

Featured image for “Ignoring Vital Signs”

Ignoring Vital Signs
by Hilton Koppe

These days I see my mum less often. But I see her better. Since I moved from the city to work as a country doctor twenty-five years ago, she visits a few times a year. She stays for a week or more. We get to share breakfast, lunch and dinner. Tonight, I am sitting with her in our lounge room. My kids are in bed. My wife is out. We are watching Fiddler on the Roof. Read more.

Featured image for “Papa’s Mysterious Rex”

Papa’s Mysterious Rex
by Etya Krichmar

It happened a long time ago in a small town of Kotovsk, located in Eastern Ukraine, which belonged to the Soviet Union. Mama, Papa, and I sat in the back of the menacing-looking, Khrushchev-Era four-story building in front of our ground floor apartment’s window. The three of us enjoyed the last few days of the good weather. It was pleasantly warm for an October evening. Read more.

Featured image for “Dora’s Deathbed: First Movement”

Dora’s Deathbed: First Movement
by Gary Levi

“I can’t feel a pulse,” Mae says, her rose-lacquered fingertips probing the carotid of her dying friend Dora. Mae’s a just-retired nurse, so what she says carries weight. Even though she’s here in her civilian capacity, like the rest of us, to watch Dora die. Read more.

Featured image for “A Father’s Arms”

A Father’s Arms
by Su Cummings

The thermonuclear bomb and I practically share a birthday—that was the first hydrogen fusion device with the power of 800 Hiroshima bombs. They called it the superbomb, the “city killer.” Physicist Enrico Fermi said its “practical effect is almost one of genocide.” I always knew the fear-begotten arms race and I grew up together. Read more.

Featured image for “Antidote to Truth”

Antidote to Truth
by Carol Ann Wilson

Standing in Tiananmen Square that autumn day in 1998, I marveled at its vastness. The few people populating its more than fifty-three acres seemed like ants on an enormous sidewalk. The square could hold many, many more. Multitudes. Read more.

Featured image for “Hope”

Hope
by Madelaine Zadik

Hope is what filled Helga’s letters, in fact, they were overflowing with hope. Hard to imagine so much hope inside a prison cell. That first year awaiting trial moved slowly, with little to do inside that cell. Helga was in solitary confinement for over eight months.
My mother and her sister, Helga, were part of the resistance in Nazi Germany. As teenagers they worked as couriers, smuggling anti-Hitler newspapers across the mountains from Czechoslovakia into Germany. Read more.

Featured image for “Bobby’s Irish Goodbye”

Bobby’s Irish Goodbye
by Joyce McKenna

It’s always been remarked upon in my family — by family I include all my cousins — that whenever there’s a large gathering, my brother Bobby, youngest of all the twenty-one cousins, will slip away unnoticed, thus aptly demonstrating the “Irish Goodbye.” He began his disappearing act at the age of two and a half. Read more.

Featured image for “Born Still”

Born Still
by Anna West

I was watching a gothic tableau play out from the corner of a hospital room. A pale girl lay on the bed below. Dark hair on white pillows. White sheets between her legs stained with blood. I felt compassion for the pale girl and the three people bending over her. Two nurses and a young doctor. A cry caught in his throat. “We’re losing her!” Read more.

Featured image for “Durango”

Durango
by Jeff Schnader

Back in the seventies, J-Bee drove a cab in New York. Tips were in nickels and dimes. When he’d saved enough, he hitched across the country. He arrived in Berkeley in summertime, land of eucalyptus trees and soup kitchens where the sun sets backwards, over the vast, sleepy, amnesic Pacific. Read more.

Featured image for “The Other in Paris”

The Other in Paris
by N. M. Campbell

Marianne paced as she walked around the space praying. It was a lull between the movements, so she took a moment to stretch her legs. Fourteen years ago and a month, she did not remember this being so hard.
“Mama!” Marianne ran back to her daughter’s side and squatted down next to her. Read more.

Featured image for “Lost And Found”

Lost And Found
by Aida Bode

The decade of childhood – 1981
The little girl’s red hair looked like a splash of sunrise on the white pillowcase. She moved her head to the edge of the bed and then opened her hazel eyes that shone like two big pieces of amber that had just started to cool down. Read more.

Featured image for “Who Do You Trust?”

Who Do You Trust?
by Bridget Verhaaren

The baja sauce zings my tastebuds with fire from the ancho chili peppers. The light, flaky sauteed mahi mahi and fresh guacamole with lime make for fish taco perfection. Digging my toes deeper into the sand, I take another bite – a Chronic Taco party in my mouth. Gary and I sit on the warm sand and watch the waves crash onto the beach. Read more.

Featured image for “Men Will Be Men”

Men Will Be Men
by Andrew Sarewitz

We haven’t spoken in years, but I almost always remember George’s birthday. The first day of summer. This year, it landed on Father’s Day. Without a message attached, he texted me a photograph of his family. Not the one that raised him when he and I were growing up. This is of him, his wife and three kids. Read more.

Featured image for “A Run Home”

A Run Home
by Jennifer VanIwarden

It is important that you know that I am a very sensitive person. So much so I have worked really hard to not be. I have found it too difficult to feel all the world’s problems on top of my own. I have worked to build walls so as not to feel it all. Read more.

Featured image for “Oubliette”

Oubliette
by David Kennedy

New York City had never seen such dreadful weather. The rain poured on Sunday with such ferocity as to relieve wavering worshippers from attending services, for it suggested that the heavenly deity would rather that they stay at home. No sooner had night fallen, however, than a bitter cold set in, first freezing the remnants of the day’s precipitation upon the streets, then turning the rain into heavy snow. Read more.

Featured image for “Carry On Baggage”

Carry On Baggage
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. Read more.

Featured image for “Climbing in Vain”

Climbing in Vain
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. Read more.

Featured image for “The Man Can Dance”

The Man Can Dance
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. Read more.

Featured image for “Why We Should Synchronize With the Sea”

Why We Should Synchronize With the Sea
by Michael McQuillan

We can delve into pictures as we would with a text. This one shares insights. To find them I shed sneakers, drag toes through moist sand and breathe deeply. Eyes face the horizon. On a weekday there is no one else here. I drink in the air, sights and sounds, a healing balm for the chaos of our so-called civilized world. Read more.

Featured image for “The Lost Room and Everyday Objects”

The Lost Room and Everyday Objects
by Debbie Robson

Now that I have finished watching The Lost Room mini-series on catchup tv (actually catching up with a show first screened in 2006), I have a new respect for objects. You know, they are not as simple as they appear to be. They sit quietly minding their own business. But in an indefinable way, they do have lives of their own — as I will try to demonstrate. Read more.