Issue 42, March 2013

Issue 42, March 2013

We receive so much good work in our submissions process that it is truly painful to say ‘no’ to so many people, but time and money keep us limited to just three issues per year. Except this year, when we’ve decided to add a fourth issue, with new work from Barbara Hurd, Dinah Lenney, Rebecca...
Fracking: A Fable

Fracking: A Fable

for our grandchildren, with apologies In the past, everything took forever. Rain fell for centuries, and millions of years after that, the ancient Appalachian Basin just west of what is now the East Coast spent even more millennia becoming a sprawling, shallow bowl. And then nothing much happened. Another million years passed. Mountain ranges slowly...
Things Gone the Way of Time

Things Gone the Way of Time

Not that you can’t outbid perfect strangers in online wars for your history – that vintage flour sifter, this Lionel train complete with smoke pellets and uncoupling track, the white cotton gloves you’ve been dreaming for months. My mother had gloves like those, with hand-sewn beads and scalloped edges, and as I leaned against her...
Mildred

Mildred

When she comes to the water, we don’t see her. We don’t see her when she goes. We hear the splashing, we see the paw-prints, the five long claws. She lives under the cottage, in our life’s shadow. We see where she enters. With our allusive and complicated brains, we decide to make her stand...
On the Occasion of My 20th Wedding Anniversary

On the Occasion of My 20th Wedding Anniversary

When I eat breakfast at the kitchen table, I see a Ziploc full of something crumbly and gray that looks like pot. My eleven-year-old son explains: “These are mouse bones and a mouse skull.”  He removes them, places before me a tiny criss cross pile of miniature sticks so delicate I don’t dare touch them. ...
Instructions, As If

Instructions, As If

If I were brave, if I could commit to anything, I’d say scatter me in Elysian Park. You don’t want me to take you to Nantucket? Fred asks. And this is absurd. This is the sort of thing that puts me in a fury—as if I have any connection to Nantucket, as if he does—that’s...
Before Sunrise

Before Sunrise

A taxi, its driver silent at the bruised and bandaged sight of you, navigates the ten blocks to your apartment building. You exit from the cab slowly and stiffly, a parent grasping each arm. In the lobby, the doorman nods. Other tenants stand there, watching. What you don’t know is that all this time you’ve...
Two Bodies

Two Bodies

1. I erase my father in parts. We share a nose, eyebrows, and ears. I cover my mouth up in the mirror and see him staring back at me, so that even when it’s been two or four or six years since we’ve seen each other last, there he is!  I hate my nose with...
Rusalki

Rusalki

The sprinkler whispers as the water crawls up, arches its back, and then drops to the dark grass. My sister Kat and I keep our toes on the wet line, giggling when the cold beads crash our feet. The water doesn’t know what the grandmothers told us: Any day now, my sister and I can...
Last Dance

Last Dance

The pickup was more perfect than it should have been. Vintage. Cream yellow. Fat-ish and soft-curved like the ladies who drove it. We met Flanders and Anna in a bar in Monterey in the days when any lesbian seemed rare enough to qualify as a friend. They immediately asked us to dinner the next weekend....
Life, Love, Happiness: A Found Essay from the Twitterverse

Life, Love, Happiness: A Found Essay from the Twitterverse

#Pisces often wonder what the meaning of #Life truly is. The meaning of life is to give life meaning. #WorkHard. For an example: Me: “Mom you look skinnier.” Mom: “Thanks, now what do you want?” About to take my son up on the mountain and show him the meaning of life by having him kill...
An Open Letter to the 5th Grader Bullying My 4th Grade Son on the Playground

An Open Letter to the 5th Grader Bullying My 4th Grade Son on the Playground

Dear Daniel, Let me preface this by acknowledging that there are two Daniels in 5th grade at Willow Creek Elementary, and this letter will address the Daniel with floppy blonde hair and braces, so if you are the taller, nicer Daniel with the dark hair, please disregard this. To floppy-haired Daniel, I understand that you’re...
The Memory of My Disappearance

The Memory of My Disappearance

The last time I saw Mother was that day in the yard when she snipped off the heads of perfectly pretty flowers—snipped them right off with the same orange shears she used to meticulously make my dresses, mostly smocked and embroidered with rose buds or tulips or sheep. Do not come after me with your...
With and Without Care

With and Without Care

I. I miss the ease of walking into a doctor’s office without my checkbook. I like knowing I can visit a hospital without first figuring out what my deductible may be and whether or not I am about to have a pre-approved procedure. I do not enjoy receiving repetitive invoices each week from doctors, anesthesiologists,...
Variant Table

Variant Table

(the last conversation with Austin, revisited)                                                 for          beloved                read         broken read       fleeting                            burden    ...
We Have Peace

We Have Peace

Former President Jimmy Carter arrived in a small plane at what everyone referred to as the “Doba airstrip;” though how anyone could distinguish it from the other vast, empty tracts of land in southern Chad I didn’t know. Agents wearing vests with dozens of tiny pockets secured the area.  A man with a walkie-talkie insisted...