New Ohio Review Issue 9. Originally printed Spring 2011.

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 9 compiled by Gryphon Beyerle.

Fly

By Joyce Peseroff

Featured art: Street Musicians by Eugène Atget

A small fly hung around my kitchen mid-October.
It didn’t buzz. Outside wet shape-shifted, drop to
flake: knock-knock of rain, a who’s there of snow.
The fly tiptoed on the meat-cutting board where I aimed
to smash it like a head of garlic. It bounced wall to wall to
wall, baby trapped in the balloon that was a hoax.
Was it my mother’s perturbed spirit warning me that blood
stains? Of course not. Last of its kind, Robinson Crusoe landing
on a kitchen island, the fly needed to be warm.

Read More

Happiness

By Ellen Bass

Featured art: Indian Mother with Her Child by Adam Clark Vroman

I had a student once who was so depressed

she wanted to die. She was a young single mother,

lonely, poor, watching other girls

go to parties and bars while she was home

cutting the crusts off peanut butter sandwiches,

reading The Berenstain Bears and the Bad Dream.

Then she collapsed with heart disease

and spent the next few years waiting for a transplant.

The strange thing is, now she was happy.

Every day, almost every breath, was semi-ecstatic.

She was a modern-day Chicana Rumi,

hanging out with the Beloved, grateful just to touch His hem. I

find I’m telling myself all the time now,

Read More

Solstice

By Maya Sonenberg

Featured art: The Vanishing Race (Navajo) by Edward Sheriff Curtis

Eight o’clock, nine o’clock, ten o’clock on a summer evening—it’s time to close the eyes, allow the breath to deepen, and sleep. The neighbor’s cat sleeps under the camellia bush and the neighbor’s baby has given up her screaming and sleeps in her crib; the hummingbird babies sleep in their nest perched on the Christmas-light wire strung across the porch ceiling; boys and girls everywhere put on their pajamas and brush their teeth; grandparents, all four of them, rest underground. In this house, though, the children call for glasses of water, kick off their sheets and pull them back up, ask for stories about the grandparents they’ve never met, count airplanes going in for a landing at SeaTac, their red lights blinking down through the trees, tell each other jokes through their open bedroom doors, and throw pillows at the back of any parent who dares suggest it’s time for sleep. Yes, darlings, you’re right: while light still fills the sky and the first star appears and then the others, and while your parents sit on the porch steps with their glasses of wine, trading stories, it’s impossible to think that this vast middle—life—will ever end, that anything will ever die. Now, before dark sets in, watch all the colors fade to gray: the last stripe of orange sunset in the west; the blue sky pulsating overhead; the cedar and eucalyptus and dogwood all dissolving into dark—a gray and then a darker gray that is the color of our house walls, headstones, and storm water rushing over Snoqualmie Falls. At the falls today, after playing in the hot sun and the icy rocky riverbed, attempting to catch minnows, you hiked the slowest hike in all creation back up the steep slope you’d run down an hour before, scuffing the gray dust with your toes, and moaning about your aching legs and parched throats and sweaty backs and lack of ice cream, but once we got back to the city, you decided you hadn’t had enough of the outdoors and insisted we stop in Volunteer Park where you, Ezra Jacob (grandson of Jack and great-grandson of Jake) and Phoebe Rose (granddaughter of Phoebe and great-granddaughter of Rose), sat side by side on the swings and pumped yourselves up and up and almost out over the fence separating the playground from the cemetery, out over blackberry bushes and hydrangeas, out over the chain link and then the short clipped grass and the monuments, so that if you’d let go, you would have sailed toward a waiting angel who would lift her stone arms and catch you, happy for the chance to save someone, happy for the reprieve from guarding a grave.


Read More