In the Morning I Wake Up Feeling Unmoved

By Emily Lee Luan

Featured art: Into Something Rich and Strange by Caleb Sunderhaus

   In the morning I wake up
feeling unmoved   hardly
   particular   the house

around me quieted by early
   rain   I feel hungry and so
I eat   I wash  my face

   measure the relative length
of my hair    to my shoulder
   Sometimes I let myself  feel

exceptional   stretch my arms
   in open   grasses   
the suspension lasting only

   until dinnertime   or upon
learning he once loved a girl
   with collarbones   just like

mine   But today isn’t remarkable  
   I’ve stopped looking at my
body   naked in the mirror or

   washing in between my toes
It feels as if nobody   has seen
   me in days   Something in that

makes me want  to be   object
   caught in a window frame
or otherwise  violently   found

   I scatter brightly colored
candies into my palm   frame
   my hand  against the white

of the porcelain sink   It makes
   so much sense  that someone
would love me  until it    doesn’t Read More

The Mooneyeds

By Sarah Minor

Featured art: American Rural Baroque by Ralph Steiner

The landline clapped as Dinah set the phone in its cradle and saw five new mini-Butterfinger wrappers in the can beneath her desk. There was a drizzle going on in the office parking lot—Giant lake weather. Billy Lloyd the Tobacco King, her Grandad, had finally died. Dinah stared into the gray matter of her cubicle, calling up the blue-frosted window in the fifth-floor bathroom, weighing whether at this hour she could finish an organic cigarette in there before someone noticed her shoes.

Dinah hadn’t spoken to her father in five months and then there he was, Billy Lloyd Jr., pronouncing emphysema, crying blubbery on the phone. Today and tomorrow would be for the examiner. The Lloyds didn’t embalm on account of a fear initiated by Lincoln’s rail-traveling corpse, though most of them had forgotten why by now, and with the heat they wouldn’t want more than three days for a body, even then. If Dinah went, she’d have to fly in the morning through Hotlanta or Dulles to land in time. Read More

Rhizomes

By Tamara Matthews

Featured art: Golden Egg by Maddy McFadden

I didn’t want to start a fire.

I didn’t want to walk out the door with the letter that morning either. I didn’t want to shut off Ken’s 5:45 AM alarm and find his side of the bed empty. I didn’t want the lingering cologne in the bathroom and the trail of beard tips tapped from a razor along the sink’s edge. But what I wanted was beside the point.

This is how we lived during our separation, coming and going through the house we still shared. Ken avoided me, and I tracked his traces like a botanist searching for a rare species of plant. I tracked him to the coat rack where his bomber jacket was missing, and there he disappeared, destination unknown. Read More

Sevens

By Deborah Thompson

I.

“Watch out for the number seven,” my mother tells me at the start of my recent visit to her Florida apartment; I’ve just mentioned that I will soon turn 57. “You know sevens are big in our family, right?”

I’m still getting used to how old my mother has gotten. A chaos of cross-hatched wrinkles nest her graying eyes. She’s convinced those wrinkles were caused by her cataract surgery, but more likely she just wasn’t able to see them before. She huddles in her powder blue bathrobe even though it’s 80 degrees outside and she doesn’t use the air conditioner. She’s been wearing the same robe since I was in high school, the blue now paler and more powdery. Because of the arthritis in her fingers, she can no longer button it, so she does without.

 “Sevens? Big?” I ask. “What do you mean?” Am I witnessing my 82-year-old mother’s fall into dementia? Without her dentures, she slurs her words, which doesn’t reassure me. I know, though that when she says something nutty, it’s often because she’s now nearly deaf. Not hearing a question properly, she makes up her own question and then answers it. This time, however, she’s watching my over-enunciating lips and guesses correctly. Read More