New Ohio Review Issue 9. Originally printed Spring 2011. 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.


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.

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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,

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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.

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What Comes Next

By Maxine Scates

Featured art: The Girl by the Window by Edvard Munch

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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Luna de Miel

By Melanie Unruh

Featured art: The Herwigs by Edouard Antonin Vysekal

I like to practice what I’m going to say in therapy each week. The opening line is always the most important part because it has to be something attention-grabbing that still makes me sound stable.

I slept pretty well this week, except for Tuesday, when I stayed up all night watching a marathon of The Wonder Years. They played the one where Kevin touched Winnie’s boob.

It’s been six months, eighteen days, nineteen hours, and six minutes—give or take—since I last saw James.

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Dear Doris Day

By Pamela Davis

Featured art: Untitled (Surreal Abstraction) by Benjamin F. Berlin

I trusted you to never change, when I was 15, and needed
to believe men and women sat up talking all night,
like the movie with you and Rock Hudson joking in a satin bed,

both of you in men’s pajamas you buttoned to the chin.
Alone in my room crammed with horse figurines, you
were all that stood between me and what hid under the sheet—

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July 4th, 1984

By Maggie Mitchell

Featured art: Figures by Benjamin F. Berlin

Maddy is thirteen, almost fourteen. Her chest is as flat as a boy’s and she does not own a pair of Jordache jeans.

“I hate Fridays,” she tells her mother. What she means is that she hates everything.

“I know you do,” says Jude, understanding perfectly. “I’m not sure what you want me to do about it.”

“It feels like I’m in prison. There aren’t any windows in there.” She’s referring to her room behind the bar, to which she is more strictly confined than usual on Friday nights: Jude insists that she stay out of the way when it’s crowded. “I can hear people but I can’t see them.”

“Why would you want to see them? They’re adults at a bar.”

“But that’s all there ever is,” Maddy rails, not even caring if she makes sense. “Adults at a bar. I wish we could be normal.”

“That’s what you keep saying. You tell me what normal is, and I’ll see what we can do.”

Maddy whirls around and storms into her room behind the bar, daring to slam the door. She knows only what normal isn’t.

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The Lecture

By Billy Collins

Featured art: Wrestlers by Thomas Eakins

If all of time were poured into a salt shaker,
human history could be represented by a single grain,
the professor of astrophysics claimed
as a shaft of light illuminated his head,

leaving me to marvel at how
there would be room inside for everyone—
for Mary Magdalene and Isaac Newton
and every month of the Hundred Years’ War,

and Andrew Marvell would have a place to think,
a garden in which to dwell,
and you would be in there as well
and your ex-boyfriend, the cheap bastard,

with his ridiculous sports car parked by a lake
in some small boring town and me
shaking the shaker furiously
over a plate of blackened fish and boiled potatoes.

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At the Mall

By Carl Dennis

Featured art: Youth by Frederick Carl Frieseke

It’s a long time now since the cedar tree
That you and Martha Spicer inscribed
With your twined initials was reduced to shingles
For a house later torn down to make way
For the Northtown Mall, the very mall
You walk now on rainy mornings.

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By Carl Dennis

Featured art: Soap Bubbles by Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin

Even in Dante’s inspired version,
Heaven and hell don’t seem like regions
Appropriate for humans, being too static,
Too imbued with notions of the eternal.
Yes, for the sake of justice, the violent
Who get away with murder on earth
Ought to feel a heat more fiery
Than the coals of rage that burned inside them;

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By Adam Sol

Featured art: Reverie (Study for the Portrait of Frank Burty Haviland) by Amedeo Modigliani

The young man knows he’s going to die today, but he’s wrong.
The other young man figures the army is the best way to improve his life, but
he’s wrong.
They both think their weapons will protect them, but they’re wrong.
They both believe their prayers will help.

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The Ugly Law

By Jillian Weise

Featured art: Futurist Garden by Benjamin F. Berlin

Any person who is diseased, maimed, mutilated or
can I continue reading this? will it affect my psyche

so that the next time big Logos comes over
I will not be there in the room & instead I will be

wandering a Chicago street in my dress with my
parasol as a cane, on the verge of arrest, where arrest

could mean “stopping” or “to keep the mind fixed
on a subject,” where the subject is the diseased,

maimed, mutilated self of 19th-c. Chicago, the self
in any way deformed so as to be unsightly

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By Chelsea Rathburn

Featured art: Elephant Combat by an unidentified artist

The island seemed in permanent full bloom.
Through hairpin curves, our driver pointed—mango,
lime, poinciana—this one hanging low,
that one as bright as flames. And in our room,
a riot of blossoms. Across the bed, hibiscus
letters spelled out CongratulationsWelcome.
Bottles of champagne, pitchers of rum
punch. Why would we bring up poverty or loss
or the scorpions we pounded with a shoe
by the bathtub drain, small and densely black?
We ate golden apples, and had a view
of the mountain from the shower. On the third day,
darkness dropped from my towel. I jumped back:
a welcome-flower no one had swept away.

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How It Happened

By Chelsea Rathburn

Featured art: Girl in Checkered Dress by George Benjamin Luks

I blame that little village in Spain,
the one with the whitewashed houses
in a crescent along the sea,
a fleet of pastel fishing boats,
and that celebrated coffee with brandy.

A sour wedge of apple lurked
at the bottom like a tea-leaf fortune.

Because we couldn’t afford the fish
we ate pizza with peaches and oregano
on the beach, the sun and breeze conspiring.

Seeing us there beneath the cliffs
and the postcards of the cliffs,
who wouldn’t have predicted luck and beauty?
Can I be blamed for loving it all
and thinking it was you I loved?

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By Maria Kuznetsova

Featured art: Seated Female Nude in Profile, Bending Forward by Arthur Bowen Davies

I met a man in Russia, after my father’s funeral. It was only appropriate.

Papa always knew how to make things harder for me and I didn’t see why his death should be an exception. This is how it happened: after the service, I was taking a walk through the cemetery, hoping to get lost. The throng of admirers and chemistry colleagues had left long before, and it was just me there, staring at the grave of this little girl who died on her second birthday. I don’t know how long I must have been standing there, considering this, when I heard a voice say, “Excuse me, Miss. You dropped this. And this. And this.” A man came up from behind, holding my wallet, my passport, and the headphones from the airplane. He gestured toward my purse, which was hanging open.

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Wet Carpet Awakening

By Kevin Stein

Featured art: Europeans Embracing by an unidentified artist

Cursing the stubbed-toe 2 a.m. call—my father?

I picked up a woman’s feather-brushed gush, “Wilbur,

it’s a grandson! Jamaal José O’Bryant.”

And I, unhappily not Wilbur, croaked Wrong number as one does

when plucked frog-eyed off sleep’s lily pad.

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Playing My Part

By Sharon Dolin

Featured art: Dancers by Edgar Degas

I let him go. I complied. Adjusted. Saw. Did not see his disappearing
act of staying while leaving the body. It felt so familiar.
My zombie-mom (on Stelazine, Thorazine to tamp

her paranoia down), would be there/not there to make
macaroni and cheese, do the wash, help me with my Spanish.
I knew she was sick, I knew she loved me though she lay in bed until noon,

again in the afternoon, comatose with the New York Post, her arm bent
at the elbow to cover her face. This was what love could feel like—
somnolent, absent. Why be paranoid when he slept in the same pose.

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By Todd Hearon

Featured art: Purple Stylized by Hannah Borger Overbeck

What was the tongue we spoke when the lotus first
unfolded from the navel of the god, the one who dreams
the universe, and in whose ear we must have whispered
our hunger to hold each other? What were words
must now be reflex, shudder, blood, be impulse, pulse
a palimpsest of longing written over
eons, eons ago. If we could scrape
back bone, back blood, back breath to the original
dust the dreaming god himself has long
become, the universal dream a drift of ash
settling in some dark corner of the sun,
would we find ciphered there the DNA
relation to the tongues we speak today
when we want words to say what words can’t say?

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Hominid Up

By Neil Shepard

Featured art: Portrait of a Man by Wilhelm Morgner

I write at night when the old hominid
climbs up to the highest branch of the brain

and crouches there in a leafy crotch
listening to the night-sounds snarling below . . .

his heart outracing the big cats of the savannah.

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The Two Lances

By Scott Nadelson

Featured art: Disturbed by Henry Keller

The summer I should have hit puberty but didn’t, I went to a Jewish sleep-away camp in the Poconos. It was an uncomfortable summer for me, full of insecurities, and not only because of my slow physical development. Most of the kids in camp came from Westchester and Long Island, and even if their families weren’t much wealthier than mine—we were solidly upper-middle-class—they showed off their wealth in ways that mine never did. Their parents dropped them off in Mercedes, BMWs, even the occasional Ferrari. Around their necks they wore 24-karat gold Chais and Stars of David. They were obsessed with brand-name clothing—Guess, Polo, Benetton. They talked about vacation homes on Nantucket, Cape Cod, Hilton Head. They had rolls of cash to spend at the camp store, which sold shampoo, toothpaste, soda, and candy.

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Any Time Soon

By Joshua McKinney

Featured art: Maine Landscape by Preston Dickinson

Folks said it was about the worst thing anyone in our town had ever done. Afterward, friends stopped calling and wouldn’t answer their phones. Coworkers avoided me. My accounts folded and the VP asked for my resignation. I moved out, rented an apartment on the bad side of town. Had my food delivered. Only went out at night. That was months ago. Lately, I’ve taken to going out days. But in disguise: dark glasses, Raiders cap, knee-length trench coat. I sit on a bench in the park and feed popcorn to the pigeons and squirrels. I never have to wait long. Somebody will amble by and make small talk. Ask if I’ve heard about it. An old man tells me my wife cried so hard a vessel burst in her eye. A girl in a tracksuit says a neighbor chased me down the street with a tire iron. A red-haired woman, who looks vaguely familiar, says she heard that after it happened we had to put our German shepherd to sleep. That the crepe myrtle by our front gate blighted and died in the span of a week. I’m not sure how much is true. “One thing’s for sure,” she says, “folks around here aren’t going to forget any time soon.” I tell her I probably don’t want them to forget. I say that I probably feel more alive than I did before, and some people will do anything to feel alive. A pigeon flutters to rest at the end of my bench. I tell her I’ve heard I lost my job but still live in town. I say I’ve heard I have taken to venturing out during the day. That I might be wearing a disguise.

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Soul Patch

By Tom Noyes

Featured art: Two Nudes in a Room by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

Fresno, Fargo, Toledo. Albany, Tallahassee, Boise. I hit every town in a tux. When the crew and I crash the wedding—I try to time it so I’m rushing the aisle just as the bride and groom lean in for their kiss—the church erupts in confused gasps and worried whispers. Eugene, my best friend and agent, himself a three-time groom, holds the opinion that, in terms of nerves and anxiety, weddings are worse than funerals. With a funeral, what’s done is done. With a wedding, futures are at stake.

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