Late-Season Outdoor Wedding

by Chelsea B. DesAutels

Featured Art: “Panel No. 1” (Leaning on a Parapet) by Georges Seurat

 

The night before, we’d eaten fried walleye

with tartar sauce in a big white tent and passed

the quaich filled with Irish whiskey to our loved ones

who sipped and said blessings. There was music.

You played guitar. I went to bed early, happy.

You joined me later, happy. The next morning,

we woke to snow and gray skies. All morning long,

I cried and heaved and my mother and bridesmaids

whispered, afraid I was having my doubts. I wasn’t.

I was rupturing—a violent fissure between

my wanting to be good at loving and wanting

everything, like a river island suddenly shorn

from the bank and flooded by ice melt. Over my dress,

I wore a fur stole that I’d found two summers earlier

in a roadside antique store. We’d been road-tripping

through the northwoods, you behind the wheel,

me gazing out the window at Lake Superior, a body

displaced by thousands of shipwrecks. Read More

If French Kissing Was As Good As Promised, Shouldn’t I Be Happy By Now?

by Emmy Newman

Featured Art: Southern France by Simona Aizicovici

 

I am accidentally thinking

about snail sex when we start. Mouths open.

Tongues. When snails have sex

there is a slightly gruesome amount of suction.

First, a tingling graze of eye stalk on eye stalk.

Then a lack of movement. Wet flesh. Fireworks. Read More

The Art of Longing

by Emily Sinclair

Featured Art: Pandora by Odilon Redon

We knew that we wanted a change, my husband and I, although we were unclear about how—or, more accurately, where we’d make it happen. The change was coming because I had, once again, a feeling of anxiety and inauthenticity. It comes on periodically and when it comes, I think that I am not living the life I was meant to lead—that, in fact, I am leading the wrong life, and I start fantasizing about the right one. So in the spring of 2017, we cleaned out our basement, fixed what was broken, touched up the paint, and put our Denver house on the market. We were leaving.

Read More

“Metaphor Offers the Promise to Move Us”: A Conversation with Nicole Walker, Author of Sustainability: A Love Story

by Kay Keegan

KK: In your essay “On Beauty,” the narrator observes that Michel de Montaigne inadvertently uses the concept of beauty to stitch together his vast collection of essays. When you were writing Sustainability: A Love Story, when did you discover that love would be one of the most prevalent themes in your braided collection and how did that influence your writing on the environment and sustainability as a result? (Or, was love a constraint you gave yourself at the beginning of the drafting process? Why?)

NW: I have to admit, I mean “love story” almost as tongue-in-cheekily as I mean Sustainability. Read More

Couples

by Kenneth Hart

Featured Art: The Bathers by Roger de La Fresnaye 

 

 

Couples who fight in front of you. Couples

who call each other every hour. Couples

who show up early.

Couples who are business partners.

 

Couples who say “Absolutely.”

Couples who met in rehab.

Couples who sleep with other couples.

Couples who make out in front of you. Read More

How I Save My Husband’s Life

by Patricia McMillen

Featured Art: Forever Roses by Simona Aizicovici

 

 

He’s dead asleep at 4 a.m. the day

after my bunion surgery, when I

climb out of bed to pee, rising too fast,

and pass out in the bathroom, landing slumped

against the tub, waking him with my cry,

and he too rises, runs to the doorway,

and catching sight of me, kneels at my head

distraught, cradling me like a mortician Read More

neanderthals

When We Were Neanderthals

by Chrys Tobey

Featured Art: The Visit – Couple and Newcomer by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner 

 

I hunted deer for you. I scratched your back with stone tools

and we swaddled each other in fur from sabre-tooth cats

 

and laughed as we said, burp me. We’d say things like, You know what

they say about a large cranium. I’d chase a woolly mammoth

 

just because you thought it was sexy. We’d snort chamomile

and talk about how after we’re dead others will ponder our

 

big toes and our inability to ice-skate. When we were Neanderthals,

you’d make me necklaces of shell, and because this was a few years

 

before the Pill, we had a kid, but because this was also a few years

before the Catholic Church, we eventually mastered when to pull out.

 

When we were Neanderthals, we had no buses to take, no offices

to be at, no flights from Germany to wherever. I was never

 

lonely. You’d run and hide in the woods and I’d try to spot you. We

thought the stars were ours. We thought the earth was square.

 

We thought the sky was a song, and then the Homo sapiens came. Read More

All That Shimmers and Settles Along the Roads of Our Passage

by Mark Cox

Featured Art: Still Life by Ben Benn

 

After seventeen years, I return home to my ex-wife,

without the cigarettes and bread,

without the woman and children I left her for,

older, empty-handed, and yet

to the same clothes

still in the same drawers,

as if nothing has changed. Read More

Love You Excavation Work

by Donald Platt

Featured Art: Stained Glass by Simona Aizicovici

 

I am texting you

some trivial message like “Am at grocery. Where are you?”

using Siri,

 

the intelligent personal assistant and knowledge navigator,

oracle inside

my iPhone. But when I sign off, saying “Love you

 

exclamation point,”

Siri translates it as “Love you excavation work.” I send the message

anyway.

Read More

Entropy

by Tracey Knapp

Featured Art: Life by Simona Aizicovici

 

All those times I crossed the bridge to see you

and not one lap dance. We haven’t held hands

since that time in the rain forest, chanting Lord

knows what in Sanskrit. I saw my first wild boar there but

even he took off for the brush. Someone always ends the

moment. Another call dropped on your iPhone,

the cosmic forces at work. My dog sighs and stares

at my flip-flop from his pillow. At work, the office is

separated into orderly earth-toned cubes. Read More

Why Men Don’t Write About Their Wives

by Dennis Sampson

Featured Art: Crouching Nude in Shoes and Black Stockings, Back View by Egon Schiele

 

It took him a lifetime to figure out

he hadn’t the slightest idea

who she was. Rereading

Milton’s Paradise Lost one night,

he elected to set things right. He would recall

 

what had never dawned on him

in an epithalamion of all their vows,

her face as gray and drawn and haunted now

as that which miraculously appeared

to Milton in his sonnet “Methought I Saw.”

He’d been blind

Read More

Solo in the Skeleton Key

by Elton Glaser

Who would plant, in this stony ground, narcissus and love-lies-bleeding?

It’s too late to be young among the primitives. Winter withers the stalks.

 

The air reeks of it, decay and the odor of innocence gone to seed.

The time for riots and tattoos is over. Who dances the Dazzle now, or the Swerve?

 

Long before the armada and the asp, Antony must have tired of Cleopatra,

Those heavy breasts, that midnight skin, a name that thickened in his throat.

 

In the heat from eating an incandescent pepper, there’s neither passion

Nor apocalypse, just tongues in hell, just retching and the runs.

 

What honey comes from old drones? Forget the hoodoo and the holy water.

Pray only in Jerusalem, at the Church of Our Lady of the Spasm.

 

Love’s no trick of ecstasy, no lightning strike in the mind. Each new child

Struggles out, bloody and stunned, one more last chance to get it right.

Read More

“Endangered Hawaiian monk seals keep getting eels stuck up their noses and scientists want them to stop”

title of an article published in the Sante Fe New Mexican, Dec. 8, 2018

by Emmy Newman

Featured Art: White Lines by Irene Rice Pereira

 

All teenage seals, the foolhardy lummoxes

of their families, the ones with belly rings and chokers,

vanilla frosting flavored lip gloss and no car payments.

Four seals with eels up there, the scientists write, so far.

 

She looks unconcerned: blissful, the snapshot seal,

her eyes shut tight, the supple buttery wrinkles

of her neck skin folding over like a pair of winter socks

and two visible inches of eel dangling from her left nostril. Read More

Marriage at 17 Years

by Gary Dop

Featured Art: Proposed House, Coral Gables, Florida, Interior Perspective by Stuart Earl Cohen



“Come here—quick!” You know it, her serious, nearly

whispered call. She says, “I think it’s a squirrel.”

Brown bulb of fur, it’s tucked behind an old chair.

The kids sleep upstairs; you have both abandoned

your evening’s screens. You are here,

a step away from a baby flying squirrel. You grab

the wicker hamper. She says, “Don’t scare it.”

Hamper in one hand, towel in the other, you wonder

how to catch it without scaring it. The big-eyed squirrel

knows you’re there. “Be careful,” you hear as you swipe at

the squirrel who scampers, fast as life,

into the wicker trap you lift and close. Read More