Read

A recipe for apple pie

Issue 34 by Janette Schafer

First, gather the apples. After the neighbors move out, in the seclusion of nightfall, crawl with your little sister beneath a gap dug by their brown dog underneath the fence between their yard and yours. Shimmy on your belly like a snake. Once you are safely inside their abandoned homestead, reach up to take a large bowl your mother hands you over the wooden fence posts.

read more...

Read

Memorial in Sand

Issue 34 by Mark Carter

Three statues stand together at the edge of the tree line. Alert, deliberately calm, they look in the same direction, though not precisely at the same place. Boonie-rats. Grunts.
They are looking, always will be looking at The Wall: a great gash of black stone slabs in a green civilian lawn. A carefully shaped pile of black sand.

read more...

Read

Loma Prieta

Issue 33 by Helen Beer

October 17, 1989. 5:04 P.M. I’d just left the Moscone Convention Center with my colleague, Jacqueline. We were exhibiting at a conference on water pollution and had just settled into our seats on one of the buses shuttling exhibitors and attendees to their hotels for the evening. And then it struck. For fifteen seconds it felt like a carnival whirlybird ride.
The windows in the buildings around us seemed to breathe in and out, until, released from their frames, these great panes exploded, showering fragments of glass, glittering in the traffic’s lights.

read more...

Read

I Am a Stalwart: Part Two

Issue 33 by David Kennedy

There was shouting along the banks of the East River, but Arthur could not quite make it out.
He stood upon the deck of the Saint John, the steamboat that he and Conkling had caught very early that morning, and peered across the morning fog that now was lifting from the waters of that tributary that shot north from New York Harbor, cleft the island of Manhattan from the cities of Brooklyn and Queens, swept heedlessly through the sharp breaks at Spuyten Duyvil, then rushed into the great Hudson River and ran up to Albany. But the return of Conkling and Platt to Albany had proven less triumphant than anticipated.

read more...

Read

Hashish and Mother Goose

Issue 33 by Jeanne Wilkinson

Val has received a Christmas gift from the old lady of one of his clients: some hash brownies. Hashish is from the cannabis plant but purified and intensified, with a pungent, soil-like flavor that doesn’t do much for the brownies but chocolate and sugar make the hash itself somewhat palatable. I’ve smoked it before – since it’s not from a test tube, it’s on my okay list. Val gets it in a compressed form and sometimes sprinkles it in a joint. I’m not too excited about eating it, but I’ll do it. I’m on the magic bus; might as well go with the traffic. Within reason, of course. Within my code.

read more...

Read

To Walk a Path in Anzio

Issue 31 by Alison Relyea

Every Memorial Day, the lines of this poem interrupt my thoughts, popping in at odd moments as I watch my children jump in a pool or take a bite of a burger. In eighth grade, I had to memorize a poem from a photocopied packet of famous poems as part of an English assignment. In my fuzzy memory, I am sitting at our kitchen table while my mom makes dinner.

read more...

Read

I Am a Stalwart: Part One

Issue 31 by David Kennedy

The first gathering of the Stalwarts was, of necessity, an intimate one. It had been far too long since the social business of politics had occurred under the supervision of Kate Chase. Mary Todd Lincoln being of a sour disposition, and unattractive besides, the great Washington salon of the war years had not been the White House, but the Chase residence.

read more...

Read

Finding Water

Issue 30 by Fred First

Water. All my life it came out of a tap every time I turned the knobs on the kitchen sink or wanted a hot shower. It always worked that way, always would. I was an otherwise science-and-planet-aware, touchy-feely tree-hugger type, but took water for granted for thirty years. I confess this. I swam in pools full of the stuff whose existence in this world began the second it left the nozzle of the garden hose or kitchen faucet. This was true until I found water 1981.

read more...

Read

It’s Spectacular

Issue 30 by Rachel Walton

Sitting upright in bed, wearing his blue checked, button-down shirt, his long, spindly, legs outstretched, covered by his crisp cotton pajamas, my husband’s eyes were closed. His arms were slightly bent at his sides and reaching forward just a bit. His palms were turned upward toward the sky. The room was silent. Some may have seen it as a moment of confusion. I saw a moment of profound communion. Or a gesture of gratitude. It was a holy moment.

read more...

Read

La Vieja, Santa Ana

Issue 30 by Christy Shick

I hadn’t planned on stopping again until after we’d crossed the border. We’d filled the tank and used toilets at a Pemex in Hermosillo. From there it was only a few hours to Nogales, hot dusty hours stretching into desert when a burst of pain, like a metal hammer bit into my driving heel and shot like lightening up my hip.

read more...

Read

A Celebration of Life

Issue 29 by Dan Popoff

The only thing my mind can focus on standing out here at this cemetery in the middle of July in Charlotte, North Carolina, is that it is flipping hot. It has to be a hundred degrees. A myth I always hear—funeral directors get used to the heat—false.

read more...

Read

A Left Turn

Issue 29 by J. Jacqueline McLean

Eleven years later, it is still haunting. The nagging headache is how it started. I stopped kidding myself a year ago. My brain will never return to the zoom, zoom fourteen-year-old who delighted at, “Mom, the paper boy, no, girl, is here.”

read more...

Read

Immersed in the Gorge

Issue 29 by Penny Garnsworthy

I often visit a special place not far from my home. Here I am revived, here I can observe, and here my soul feeds on nature in all its forms. I feel privileged to be able to call this place my own: Cataract Gorge in Launceston, Tasmania.

read more...

Read

When Lucinda Holloway Met J.W. Booth, April 1865

Issue 29 by Sara Kay Rupnik

The Holloway sisters observed the man calling himself James Boyd as they might a work of art. He lay under the apple tree with his black hat angled over his pale face. His dark moustache rose above his straight white teeth.
“A handsome man,” offered Cecelia, the married sister and mother of three sons.
Lucinda, the spinster schoolmarm, was less generous. “One might say so.”

read more...

Read

The Trickster of Mentor, Part II

Issue 28 by 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!

read more...

Read

Inpatient

Issue 28 by 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.

read more...

Read

Endless M

Issue 28 by 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.

read more...

Read

A Story of a Murder I Didn’t Commit

Issue 28 by 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.

read more...