Featuring stories by Barbara Ganley, Kate Wisel, Laura Jok, and Alan Sincic: an essay by Kay Gram; poems by Francesca Bell, Dan Clark, Janice N. Harrington, Matt Prater, James McKee, Kathryn Jordan, Adam Tavel, Jacqueline Balderrama, Katie Pynotek, Maria Nazos, and Kerry James Evans. With art by Madara Mason and others.
by Barbara Ganley
Featured Art: “Holy Holy Holy” by Yan Sun
Because it’s Thursday, nearing five o’clock, Lucie is well into a doozie of a headache. Every week at this time little Jenny Baker hands her one as they sit side by side in the dining room and Jenny busily tortures the piano. She’s a narrow slip of a thing with a distracting, gum-baring smile made stranger today by a drift of tiny metallic stars sweeping across her cheeks like cosmic freckles.
Her orange high tops smack the stool’s taloned feet bapbap as she bludgeons the keys in an apparent heavy-metal version of “Long Long Ago.”
The piano, old and patient, takes it. Lucie, who is neither of those things, says, “A bit slower and softer now. See if you can find the melancholy.”
by Francesca Bell
Featured Art: “The Sea of Memory and Forgetfulness” by Madara Mason
I always knew
a man waited for me somewhere
with hands that fit the particular curves
of my treacherous body.
Whether I watched for him or not.
Whether I believed.
Sometimes, in dreams, he entered me from above,
like a coffin lowered slowly into a grave.
Sometimes he held me hard from behind.
by Dan Clark
Featured Art: “Basa de Maya” by Madara Mason
The priest swings a thurible. Incense,
swirling and nebulous, encircles the cremation urn.
A few feet away, a husband weeps.
He’s not thinking how Oregon came to fill the ocean
of itself, how island arcs docked like icebergs
against the Idaho shore, where Mesohippus,
diminutive proto-horse, grazed beneath the juniper.
He’s not considering how Oregon drifted through
several versions of itself—savanna, jungle, desert—
then settled for a time as a placid, inland lake.
by Janice N. Harrington
Featured Art: “Squall” by Madara Mason
My skin, my confessor, my cubicle,
scrivener, touch screen, touch-collector.
Frame and shawl and portmanteau. Wait,
wait, don’t go. The sun’s too high,
too hot. You’ll burn for sure.
by Matt Prater
Featured Art: “Bull and Bird” by Madara Mason
There was a roaming troubadour in the years of maille & sword
who lunched on wild strawberries,
communing with the Lord.
But his creed was not dogmatic, & he didn’t bow the knee;
so found himself impaled by a roaming soldier, eventually,
when he would not sing the praises
of the ravenous Crusades. He held G-d
was the father of Muhammad & the Moors,
so went to Heaven softly, whispering amor.
by James McKee
Featured Art by Courtney Bennett
You know how it is: going in to work,
Who looks at anything? You’re late, it’s cold,
hot, raining, no buses again, whatever.
You’re long past fighting this fast-forward blur,
pure A-to-B time, better numbed than bored.
by Kay Gram
Featured Art: “Cradle of Kleptocracy” by Madara Mason
[arms & legs]
Be my arms and legs. You’re strong. You can do it! Mom would say. Mom’s body was small, fragile, needed time to move, moved differently than other bodies. I always thought she was beautiful. She was—blonde, blue eyed, narrow nose, all symmetrical. Mom had a determined presence that demanded respect and she had mastered the performance of a Eurocentric female beauty. Outfits were planned, makeup was worn, perfume was sprayed. We were late to everything. Sometimes she fell down. Read More
by Kathryn Jordan
Featured Art: “Bird Notes” by Madara Mason
It hits the window like a woman being thrown
against a wall. “Must have been an owl,”
I say to my grown girl emerging Read More