Previous Issues
A Child Is Not Furniture

Issue 28 / Fall 2008

One time when I lived in Chicago I spent an hour talking to a woman who was wearing a dress of the brightest red I have ever seen in all my born days and I have lived fifty years. This was on the Cicero Avenue bus at three in the morning. She said she was...
Snail Picking

Issue 27 / Summer 2008

I was, at age nine, a god of snails. On the quiet San Francisco cul-de-sac where my family lived, Helix aspersa, the brown garden snail, was by far the most plentiful and least evasive wildlife around. Snails plied the long green fins of our neighbor’s agapanthus like barges transiting green canals. I’d unglue them from their...
The Sloth

Issue 26 / Winter 2008

There is a nothingness of temperature, a point on the body’s mercury where our blood feels neither hot nor cold. I remember a morning swim on the black sand eastern coast of Costa Rica four months after my twenty-two-year-old fiancé was killed in a car accident. Walking into the water, disembodied by grief, I felt...
Lost

Issue 25 / Fall 2007

Walking to the Tattered Cover bookstore past the lacy battlements of Denver East High and Pete’s Greek restaurant, I hear a faint scrabbling of plastic on concrete. Not far down an empty side street I see a shaggy figure in an army surplus jacket waving a blind man’s stick and turning uncertainly in the corner...
Wordwrack: Openings

Issue 24 / Summer 2007

Jewelry, tides, language:things that shine.What is description, after all,but encoded desire? Mark Doty A nor’easter smacked into Cape Ann last night, and this morning the wrack’s dark line lies tangled and heaped. Hundreds of shells have settled sideways and tilted on the beach, half in, half out, sand-dribbled, seaweed-draped, partially rinsed. On the outside, they’re...
The Shriek They Knew So Well

Issue 23 / Winter 2007

When Chico, my parents’ beloved pearl cockatiel, flew away, Father drove circles around the lake—windows rolled down in ninety degree heat—calling the bird’s name in a thick, coconutty Indian accent while Mother paced the sidewalks carrying Chico’s three-story white iron cage hoisted high above her head, doors blown wide open in hopes that Chico would...
The Origin of Sausage

Issue 22 / Fall 2006

i. The origin of sausage is the boar. Spices are added because it’s a bad cut of meat, all tough and bland. I refused to eat it when I learned its source through a 4-H project—one that had me tour a meat packing plant as an adolescent. ii. For as long as I live I’ll...
Palindrome

Issue 21 / Summer 2006

I snuck into my teacher’s house with L.—she’d never been inside. I lived in the apartment out back, up three flights of rickety stairs. For hours every day, the dalmation, Pal, clanged her chain up and down my stairs, like Igor, some damned thing. At the landing, she’d peer into my window screen, a shadow...
What We're Good At

Issue 20 / Winter 2006

It is morning, winter solstice, the darkest day of the year, and you are lying with your boyfriend on his bed. You are from New Orleans, but you are now in Pittsburgh, where you came for a job and, where you fell in love a few months ago. There is snow on the ground and...
Fish

Issue 19 / Fall 2005

1. The fish jumped a ladder built of electricity and concrete. Swimming up the Columbia is a lesson in progress. Even before the dam, the waterfalls would have battered her forefathers. The rocks would have packed a wallop, broken the skin, bruised the flesh. Now the flesh starts bruised, already whaled on by 40-pounds-per-inch spray...
My Mother's Touch

Issue 18 / Summer 2005

When my mother tries to touch me, I flinch. I don’t like her to touch me at all, ever, and I don’t remember a time when we cuddled or hugged or she took me “uppy,” although it happened. My grandmother has proof, the old black and whites of me in my mother’s arms, in a...
Thumb-Sucking Girl

Issue 17 / Spring 2005

Look at me. At me, over here. Look and shake your head all you want. At my uneven bangs, these broken-down shoes, my momma, all us kids, and all our belongings shoved into just one car. Whisper and sigh all you want because I have something better than good clothes and a permanent address. I’ve...
Things That Will Make You Cry in the First Six Weeks of Your Son’s Life

Issue 16 / Fall 2004

The shape of his mouth when he cries—like a thick rubber band stretched to breaking. The arc of his back as he stiffens away from you, his belly filled with gas. Your hunger for him to be soft and be held. Exhaustion so deep you sleep through a feeding and wake in a pool of...
Bowling

Issue 15 / Spring 2004

I remember my father with his pot belly, polishing his bowling ball, standing on the lane, taking a deep breath, getting ready to swing his arm back and then forward. I never told my father how beautiful he looked and how grateful I was that when he threw a strike, he always turned around to...
Hochzeit

Issue 14 / Fall 2003

I remember circles—the swirling cuff of my father’s pant leg, the layered hem of my mother’s skirt. A neighbor lady polkas by, the one who yells so loud at her kids every night when she walks to the barn that we can hear her across the still fields. She has a delicious smile on her...
Genesis

Issue 13 / Spring 2003

I am sitting in the sanctuary, a few rows from the front, to my left my mom and dad, my little brother Timmy in Mom’s lap and sleeping, to my right my older brother Brad.  Brad and I have just received these thin blue books, every kid in the service passed a brand new copy by...
Ed

Issue 12 / Fall 2002

Summer reminds me, God knows why, of my friend Ed, who is a whole species of man unto himself, the only one of his kind, the very archetype and all possible subsequent permutations of Edness in his own singular person. He is sensible, brilliant, unusually accomplished – he’s a neurosurgeon of great skill, a self-taught...
Split

Issue 11 / Spring 2002

I could split my heart on the anvil and put her inside…” — Anne Carson My heart, these days, is much too dense to break. It would require a difficult configuration of tools — mallet, wedge, hatchet, and maul — to make this kind of severance possible. It’s tough as those deep knots in the...