New Ohio Review Issue 19 (Originally Published Spring 2016)

Newohioreview.org is archiving previous editions as they originally appeared. We are pairing the pieces with curated art work, as well as select audio recordings. In collaboration with our past contributors, we are happy to (re)-present this outstanding work.

Issue 19 compiled by Connor Beeman.

Letter to Gone Lover, Late May

By Laura Maher

Featured Art: Idle Governer by Horatio C. Forjohn

If I needed to make a list for you
of all the beautiful things that have gone
on since you’ve left, the first thing

would be the line of bats leaving
the bridge at sunset, hundreds,
flying into the sky until they disappeared,

the effect making the mountains
to the west look more like a scrawled
suggestion of words than a skyline.

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Revery

by Elizabeth Murawski

Featured Art: Sunset by Frederic Edwin Church

Too many women to count
rode behind him in helmets,
clung to his waist, wedded

to the wind in the dark
as the bike’s headlight pierced
the wooded hills, scaring

a deer, sending up an owl
in an explosion of wings.
I knew there were others

in line, grateful to share
one hour with the blue-eyed sun-god
worshiped for his light.

Always the nagging fear
he was never really there.
I saved his green bandanna for a year.


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Prayer While Driving Home After My Yearly Physical

By Robert Cording

Featured Art: The Pink Cloud by Henri-Edmond Cross

Sixty-six, my shoulders rounded, my arches flattening,
I am, Lord, a small man, now a full inch shorter,
I’m told, than I once was. And so I pray

that my end-of-life diminishment might prove
the occasion
for some late opening of my cramped borders,
this no-exit, small country of the self.

Lord, what I wouldn’t give for a lifting up
to be free of this strange human gift of making
something less out of something,

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The Stability of Floating Bodies

By Craig Bernardini

Featured Art: Dublin Pond, New Hampshire by Abbott Handerson Thayer

It was never my intention, when my father came to live with us, that he would live in the pond. Things just worked out that way. This was shortly after my mother died. My wife and I had never really spoken about what we would do in the event that one of our parents died. It had always seemed a little premature to have that discussion, at least where my parents were concerned. They were in their mid-seventies, enviably lucid, and as healthy, according to their physicians, as most Americans ten years their junior. But then maybe it always seems too early to have that discussion. Or maybe it was just that I could never imagine them apart. They had done everything together, my parents, gone everywhere together. There had been something almost tyrannical in their solicitousness about each other’s welfare. One day, it occurred to me that I didn’t have a single picture with just one of them in it. Were I ever to try to crop one of them out, the other would remain in the shape of the border traced by my scissors. Growing together, my mother had said to me not long before she passed, was the key to a healthy relationship; and grow together they had, like skinny trees, the trunks of which wound round each other in acts of mutual strangulation.

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Sky

By Luiza Flynn-Goodlett

Featured Art: Dark Clouds by Louis Eilshemius

The caul we’re born beneath, its gaze drives
mystics to fits. Constant as parents never are,
it blinks back cumulus to examine us, offers
no opinion. Unlike old gods, nothing troubles
it—rains withheld, not censure, just drought.
Some tire of scrutiny, shelter in offices, under
newspapers. It doesn’t mind, proffers an open
eye to all—the seabirds that caw at its margins,
delayed ships, the drowned who clawed toward it.


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Black Ants

By Fay Dillof

Featured Art: Crumpled and Withered Leaf Edge Mimicking Caterpillar (study for book Concealing Coloration in the Animal Kingdom) by Emma Beach Thayer

Unable to sleep,
I imagine a blob
of ants, erupting
from a faucet.

If they puddle,
that will mean sleep.

But if each ant
descends on a crumb,
steals what it can
and lumbers robotically off,
which they do,
branching in veins across the tile floor,
then I’m left
listening to the sound
of my two sisters
downstairs
in the summer kitchen
where they’re making
my mother laugh
without me
again,
carrying their prize
over invisible trails.


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Etymologies

By Krista Christensen

Featured Art: Abstract — Woman by Carl Newman

It is out of a need for precision that I search for words, wading through thesauri and dictionaries and            -pedias, crawling into the tunnels of -ologies and -onomies and -ectomies, mining deep for a more accurate reflection of self than dry medical terms like bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy.

I’m not even sure how to pronounce that last word, though it’s a thing that’s been done to me. Perhaps the two o’s bleed together into one sound, like the two o’s in moon, my two ovaries like white orbs hovering in one sky: oophorectomy. Or possibly the two o’s mirror the guttural softness of the pair in brook, like the one tinkling through the lot behind my home: oophorectomy.

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Lieu d’hiver mémoire

By Angie Estes

Featured art: The Sky Simulated by White Flamingoes (study for book Concealing Coloration in the Animal Kingdom) by Abbott Handerson Thayer

You can find them each year
                for a brief while only
in winter—a drop of red and yellow
                              sealing wax dashed at the end of
                 their stems to prevent the loss
of moisture—because the squat,    
             copper-russeted pears of the ancient
variety Passe Crassane will not ripen
                                 on the tree no matter how long
                you let them hang, as if they had taken
St. Catherine of Siena’s advice
                 to Make yourself a cell in your
own mind from which you need never
                               come out, the way the goldfish
            on late autumn evenings
circle all night, flicking
                their tails in the fireplace.

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Stick Season

By Sydney Lea

-for Peter Gilbert

the one that precedes my season is the one that always shows
in those quaint calendar photographs, the one that brings the tourists
to a scene that is sumptuous, granted—exorbitant on the sidehills,
most of the leaves incandescent, drifting or plunging downward
to scuttle along the roadbeds like little creatures reluctant
to be seen, yet wanting us to notice them after all.

But give me this: middle November, season of sticks,
of stubborn oak and beech leaves, umber and dun, which rattle
in gusts that smell so elemental they stab your heart.
The trees—the other, unclothed ones—are standing there,
gaunt but dignified, and you can look straight through them
to the contours of the mountains, stark, perhaps, but lovely

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Good for What Ails You

By Elton Glaser

Featured Art: Winter, Monadock by Abbott Handerson Thayer

He too would live: like the rats among the ruins,
but nonetheless alive.
                               —Antal Szerb, trans. Len Rix

It’s the first fresh day
After a winter so hard
I disappeared inside myself,

Nothing out there but cardinals
Like drops of blood against
The creamy desecrations of the snow.

Ah, there’s the shit we need,
And the shit we don’t need,
And the shit we end up with.

I seem to be returning to
Some form of infantile intelligence,
On the sloppy side of the brain:

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A Meadow

By Lee Upton

Featured Art: Autumn (L’Automne) by Arthur B. Carles

The wife isn’t supposed to know, but Lucy knew. She knew about her husband and her best friend, Maria. Had known for nearly two years. And now Maria’s brother—a stranger—was coming to visit. Did he know about Maria and Owen? Did he think he was visiting to reveal the affair, to confess on Maria’s behalf? Lucy hoped not. She would resent that.

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Necessaries

By Tina Tocco

Featured Art: Still Life by Earl Horter

We’re in Omaha when I know. You’re out bootlegging—running, you call it—for that man from Tinker’s, a deacon at First Baptist, he says, though his name is Kinsky. I curl on a cardboard cot imagining my quilt from Pomeroy’s when the big Chicago woman, hair steam-strung from the laundry pots, stands downwind. “Only two reasons to stay with a man, but only one to stay with a man like that.” She has brought the necessaries. They clink in a feed sack the pattern of girls’ dresses. There is not much for me to do, but I do it quietly. It’s one jug of Tinker’s mash for quietly. The Boston girl, she warns, paid three.


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That Boy’s a Catch

By Tina Tocco

Featured Art: Country Road in France by Henry Ossawa Tanner

“Your daddy and I just figured all this nonsense would be over by now.”

My mother has just dropped six spoonfuls of instant coffee into a mug filled with hot water from the bathroom sink. Her spoon chinks and chinks and chinks and chinks the side with the chip. I sip the tea I brought from Berkeley.

“You’re thirty-one, Tanya Grace. I hope someone’s told you what that means.”

My father has read what he can of the newspaper. He has shaved off the end of his pencil and is circling the houses locked in foreclosure. He and Uncle Rex can be in and out in under an hour, the knobs and faucets silent in the sacks my mother sews.

“Four sweatshirts wide,” she used to tutor, “so the stuff don’t clang so much, like.”

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The Present

By Billy Collins

Featured Art: Oak Leaf Edge Caterpillar (study for book Concealing Coloration in the Animal Kingdom) by Gerald H. Thayer

Much has been said about being in the present. I
t’s the place to be, according to the gurus,
like the latest club on the downtown scene,
but no one, it seems, is able to give you directions.

It doesn’t seem desirable or even possible
to wake up every morning and begin
leaping from one second into the next
until you fall exhausted back into bed.

Plus, there’s the past to wander in,
so many scenes to savor and regret,
and the future, the place you will die
but not before flying around with a jet-pack.

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