What Comes Next

By Maxine Scates

Featured art: A Flowering Cactus: Heliocereus Speciosus by Pierre-Joseph Redouté

Life’s police car, lights flashing, on the sidewalk

in front of McDonald’s and two boys on the bus stop,

one boy moving quickly away from the other

who raised his hands and dropped his pack as the officer

approached, gun drawn. But how did the cop know

which one he wanted since both wore watch caps

and gray parkas and carried backpacks? He seemed

certain enough as he handcuffed the boy

then helped him into the back of the cruiser

his now gunless hand almost gently dipping the boy’s head

into what comes next, all we don’t see swallowing him, the

signal changing, day swallowing me until this morning

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Small Boy

By Joseph Scapellato

Featured Art: Pepita by Robert Henri

The small boy says to his big sister, “Why did we kill all the Indians?”

They’re in the basement playing a video game. Both of them are white.

“We didn’t kill them,” says his big sister, “our ancestors did.”

“Why did our ancestors kill all the Indians?”

“Okay, not really our ancestors because Dad’s family came in the 20s and Mom’s in the Sixties and the Indians were already totally dead by then, mostly.”

“Why did ancestors kill all the Indians?”

“But I guess you could say it was us, pretty much, because today we’re basically the same culture as the culture of the people who killed the Indians back then. And it’s ‘Native Americans,’ not ‘Indians.’ ‘Indians’ is ignorant.”

The small boy says to his angry stepmom, “Why did we kill all the Native Americans?”

They’re returning from the grocery store in hardly any traffic. Plastic bags stuffed with food rustle in the back seat.

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Someone Threw Down a Wildflower Garden in an Empty Lot in Newark

By Theresa Burns

Featured Art: Flowers in a Vase by Odilon Redon

And now, instead of staring at the weeds
and broken bottles from the train platform,
we’re taking in a scene from a Monet.
Asters, cosmos, little yellow fists
of something. All random and confetti.
I’m half expecting a lady in a high-waist
dress and bonnet to appear on a diagonal
stroll through its splendor, pausing
with her parasol so we can selfie with her.
Maybe she’ll hop aboard the light rail
to the Amtrak station, get off in D.C.,
step back into the painting she escaped from.
Who was the genius who thought of this?
What meadow-in-a-can Samaritan
got sick of passing the four-acre eyesore
on the way to work? Shook pity into blossom.
To whom do I write my thank you?
Mayor, surveyor, county clerk, church lady.
Who marched down to city hall, begged
anyone who would listen?

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Putting Girls on the Map

By Irene Keliher

Featured Art: Orchid Blossoms by Martin Johnson Heade

Only a few students competed in Kingston Junior High’s first geography bee  and nobody came to watch. We lined up in the band room submerged in our  flannel shirts, fidgeting, happy to escape sixth period. Pine trees pressed the  window. No one expected to win except me, though I wouldn’t admit it and  tried my best to look bored. I tucked my hands into my baggy Adidas jacket,  the only brand-name clothing I owned—I almost never took it off—poised to  triumph if I could answer the next question. Mrs. Raymond, chubby purveyor  of the world to our damp county, read us questions from a stapled packet  stamped National Geographic Society. 

“What world river has seen the greatest number of refugees cross its  shores?” She pronounced ref-u-gees in three careful beats and looked mournful, as if uncertain there could be an answer to such a question. 

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Mango Languages

By Linda Bamber

Featured Art: Still Life with Birds and Fruit by Giovanna Garzoni

—For Chris Bullock (in memoriam) and Carolyn Bernstein

In that world people are not discussing The End of the American Experiment.

Yo soy de los Estados Unidos. ¿De dónde es usted?
(I am from the United States. Where are you from?)

In that world people are not in a rage at their relatives for voting wrong and sticking to it.

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One Night

By Jeff Knorr

Featured Art: Sarina’s Flowers by Sarina Winner, Nancy Dick, Wendy Minor Viny

But not just any night,

on the 26th floor of the New Otani Hotel

the night of your aunt’s wedding

your new uncle and I threw centerpieces,

beautiful flowers in glass volleyball-sized

vases out of the window of their hotel room

in downtown L.A.  We dropped them, in 

amazement, the air flattening petals of roses,

the baby’s breath.  They blew out

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California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations: Dial 2 for Inmate Information

By Jeff Knorr

Featured art: Winter Dreaming of Spring by Nancy Dick, Norman Calkanic, Kate Goreman, Patty Mitchell, and David Dewey 

What information could you possibly deliver—

            that he’s safe, that the kite he put in

                        for the GED has come through.

 

If you know the party’s extension you wish

            to speak to, you may dial it at any time.

 

To dial his reference number

            and have a phone ring in his cell.

 

Otherwise hold for a representative—

 

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Passion Works

The art in this summer online edition emerges from Passion Works Studio, a collaborative community arts center located in Athens, Ohio, at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. “At the heart and soul of Passion Works is a core group of practicing professional artists with developmental differences. Offered a responsive structure, quality materials and welcoming space the artists reciprocate with wildly imaginative, beautiful creations that are fresh and approachable. Passion Works Studio invites makers of all abilities to work and thrive within partnerships celebrating the power of creativity, connection, and purpose.” New Ohio Review is proud to present these vibrant pieces as complements to our contributors’ writing.

We Can Fry Anything

By Abby E. Murray

Featured Art: Sunshine by Bill Dooley, John Marquis, Wendy Minor Viny

I’m at the fair to test

   how American my blood cells are

      and whether my heart

is the monster pumpkin I forced

   from the mouth of a flower,

      big as a tractor and thirsty AF.

When I say give me something fried

   I don’t mean cubes of cheesecake

      or spools of battered bacon,

I mean give me what I never thought

   could be skewered in the first place,

      give me executive orders,

give me stolen land

   served on a stick and wrapped

      in white paper smeared with oil.

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As Always

By Robert Lynn

on the first not quite warm day of March the park filled with the delusion of spring       

our friends napped by the half dozen against a tree           dogs gathered loose             

bikini tops from sunbathers made maenads by 53 degrees          we gave time away        

in handfuls to the ducks              pairs of men emerged from winter to wave lures        

at the water an excuse to love each other without looking       I read your        

cheekbones’ anger at how I got more time than you before the good earth was       

over     fed you grapes the closest I could get to an apology for something I didn’t         

choose      someone sitting at our tree and very high asked Is this the Golden        

Hour?    and the light answered with yellow silence the way it does all questions        

so obvious       later walking you home I told a story how my parents fell in love       

first drunk then again sober only after I existed              I didn’t think you were         

listening until the moment you stopped mid path mid sentence a way of making       

me turn around        you told me There isn’t time to do anything twice        How        

come?     you let the light give its yellow reply      I don’t want the world to end        

you said     when it does I will remember it this way     the sun picking mulch from        

your backlit hair      your fresh burnt shoulders making the gesture for All this?        

and I give up at the same time       this last first day before the good earth was done        


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Fourteen Meals

By Stephanie Early Green

Featured Art: Happy Couple Jason Douglas and Mallory Valentour

The first meal we share is ribeye steak with scalloped potatoes and three wilted strands of asparagus cowering on the side of each plate. He takes one bite of potato. I pretend to cut my steak but don’t eat any. I don’t want to ruin my lipstick, or get steak-fat caught in my teeth. We talk about our families, and how we both value the concept of family, and how we both hope to have families of our own someday. We agree that we have a ton in common. We find out that we both enjoy country music and have corny senses of humor. We tell each other knock-knock jokes. Mine are better, but I laugh at his, while still trying to look pretty. It’s difficult to laugh out loud and not look a little ugly, a little wild. The trick is to keep your eyes open, and gently scrunch your nose, but not open your mouth too wide, so as not to expose your gums. When a man sees a woman’s gums, he is put in mind of a horse, or a chimpanzee. That’s what my grandmother always said, anyway, and she was a smart woman.

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Featured Art: Family by Harry Grimm, Nancy Dick, and Carolyn Williams 

I Should Know a Millionaire

By Erik Wilbur

I’ve been in America long enough. I’ve worked beside enough

two-jobs-having-scrubbers-of-piss-stains-from-pitted-grout-in-fast-food-bathrooms.

 

I’ve met my fair share of honest hunched-over-the-dish-pit-scraping-

nibbled-on-fork-fucked-duck-confit-into-trash-bins-SOBs.

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