New Ohio Review Issue 12 (Originally printed Fall 2012)

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 12 compiled by Natalie Dupre.

Rituals

By Suzanne Carey

Featured Art: Lorette with a Cup of Coffee by Henri Matisse

After my swim, I sit at a small table at Peet’s
with my medium sugar-free, low-fat, vanilla freddo
that the barista started as I walked in.
I push the whipped cream deep into the cup and worry

about my daughter, who drives
a perilously small car on the freeway,
and my son in New Orleans, too poor to drive,
whose illness frightens me most of all.

My father worried about us until the day he died.
When I came home from college, he insisted
I take the dog or my ten-year-old brother with me
when I drove at night. At eighty-six, he called me daily

from the nursing home to make sure I was okay.
I remember how my mother savored
half a nickel-box of licorice bits and a single cigarette
as she read each evening, waiting for us to come home,

and years later, how she devoured the Hershey bars
and Cokes Dad brought her every afternoon,
long after she had forgotten us all.


Suzanne Carey is a poet, photographer, and artist. Her poems and short prose have appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies, and her chapbook, George Washington Is Dead, was recently published by Finishing Line Press. Her visual art has been exhibited in northern California and is in private collections throughout the country. Carey has BA and MBA degrees from Stanford University, where she worked as a financial manager for twenty-nine years.

My Father’s New Woman

By Fleda Brown

Featured Art: Fruit and Flowers by Orsola Maddalena Caccia

My father has a new woman. He’s 93, the old one is worn out.
They used to hold hands and watch TV in his Independent Living
cottage, but now there is the new one, to hold hands. The old
one is in Assisted Living not 50 feet away but barely able
to lift herself to her walker. He sits in her room after dinner,
her mind wandering in and out. What if she escapes

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The Lawyer Formerly Known as Me

By Craig Van Rooyen

Featured Art: ‘Lawyer’ by Georges Rouault

(after Stuart Dischell)

Three martinis into my going-away party,
I’m explaining the philosophical underpinnings of
“voir dire” to anyone who’ll listen, and the stacked
First-year associate says she’s lost me, and I think
How I’ve lost me too—me, the former me,
The fantastic me, single-handed remover of bras,
Liberator of songbirds, sawyer of sequined women.

And my secretary gives me a hug and says
She already misses me and I take another sip
And think how I already miss me too,
The unlined me, cocksure me, me with
A flexible inner ear, Big Wheels jockey,
Turner of double plays, harvester of honey,
Mullet-haired me, smoker of difficult joints,
Purveyor of life-changing pamphlets and
Multiple orgasms, driver of VW buses,
Ambassador to dolphins, memorizer of
The Book of Psalms.

When the senior partner says he won’t forget me
In a way that lets me know he’s already forgotten
Me, I think how I’ve forgotten me too,
Me without irony, self-inflating me, believer in
The Second Coming, grower of large tomatoes,
Climber of big walls and beanstalks, chatty me,
Debater of Jehovah’s Witnesses, creator of
Bank-teller smiles, lifter of iron, unselfconscious.


Craig van Rooyen’s work has been published or is forthcoming in Willow Springs, Southern Poetry Review, Rattle, Crab Creek Review, and elsewhere. He was a finalist for the 2012 Rattle Poetry Prize.

If Only I’d Met You Earlier

By Adrienne Su

Featured Art: A Vase of Flowers by Margareta Haverman

We’re at it again. It’s hard not to rewrite
the years, though we couldn’t have known
they were wrong, if they were. Life
isn’t longer than it is, so off we go,

picturing how it might have happened,
though one of us would have been taken,
or both, and one of us lived up north, one
by the warmest sea. We had no common

travel destinations, we rarely read
the same books, there wasn’t one same
friend, and either might have fled
if it started to matter. Apologies, if made,

might not have been accepted. In truth
we could only have met on the street,
on one of your trips to the city. We’d both
have held back. The courage to speak

would’ve yielded “Excuse me,” no more,
all vision cordoned off by the sun.
So we might as well indulge in the words
for their sound: You would’ve been the one.


Adrienne Su’s fifth book of poems, Peach State, is forthcoming from the University of Pittsburgh Press in 2021.

In the Second Month of Parched Land

By Daiva Markelis

Featured Art: Stroll with Balloons by Hughie Lee Smith

We came across the camels every time we picnicked that merciless autumn, huge herds grazing on sparse vegetation. Camel comes from jamal, the Arabic root word for beauty. From a distance they did look lovely, their curvy silhouettes mimicking the contours of the dunes. Up close, however, they seemed slightly ridiculous, like bad female impersonators, batting their Scarlett O’Hara lashes to keep the sand out of their eyes, their long necks sloping toward us, then coyly withdrawing.

That we saw them so near the city surprised us. We’d heard stories of naive Westerners who’d driven for hours looking for adventure—for camels—and then stopped to explore the landscape with their pitifully small water bottles, supplemented, in some cases, by flasks of 100-proof siddiqi. Some were lost in the Empty Quarter, the largest desert in the world, never to be heard from again. I wrote a friend: If I were to start a literary journal here, I’d call it The Empty Quarterly.

Sometimes we’d see a row of black tents with goats tethered to a nearby post. Once, an old Bedouin waved a gnarled hand back and forth like a weathered stick. I thought we were in trouble, trespassing on his property, but as he ambled closer all he said, in a slow, proud English, was “See my camels.” He invited my husband into the largest of the tents. I waited in the air-conditioned Mazda, fiddling with the radio. Masculine voices jabbered in endless variations of the little Arabic I knew: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah, Allah akbar, Inshalla. The sounds seemed to emanate from deep down the throat, a rush of rough and phlegmy h’s, a conspiracy of k’s.

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The Circus Lion’s Lament

By Michael Derrick Hudson

Featured Art: Circus Clown and Dancer by Marc Chagall

So what happened? I used to be a lion, crashing
the herd and yanking down stampeding

zebras on the hoof. Days spent pissing hot gold

across the Serengeti! The ground gone tawny
with my scat! Those long afternoons

of fly-blown torpor, those gristly jawfuls of prey

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Animals

By Brock Guthrie

Featured Art: Leg in Hammock by Edward Weston

One is what one looks at—well, at least partially. —Joseph Brodsky

All morning in my hammock burning
a tight one, poised with pencil and notebook
and seven-week beard, I look to the pines
outside my cabin, seeking inspiration
from the birds and the squirrels
whose singing and foraging, whose
exclamations, no, arguments, reflect
my inner my inner my inner . . .

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Appropriate Interjection

By Brock Guthrie

Featured Art: Painting with Troika by Wassily Kandinsky

Seven in the morning laying insulation
and wiring electric with a friend and his friend
who make money building houses.

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Play it by Ear

By Claudia Pierce

Featured Art: The Big Red Ball by Ellen Lanyon

Recently I’ve become a “regular” at an especially sub-standard diner called Sam’s World. Although I have no special fondness for the soggy potatoes, greasy burgers or limp lettuce leaves they dish up, Sam’s World is within walking distance. This is important because I have no car and my apartment has no kitchen. There is an old, barely functioning refrigerator in the narrow hallway between the bathroom and the only other room. I don’t hold out much hope for this refrigerator since I can’t bring myself to defrost it. A solid block of ice has formed over the opening to the freezer, and at some point I expect the whole thing will just blow up.

One day I might be out of debt and able to afford an apartment larger than one hundred and fifty square feet. Then again, I may not. When I consider the size of my indebtedness I realize I could quite easily be dead before I pay it off.

Anyway, it’s Tuesday evening at Sam’s World; I’m not very hungry but am in need of comfort so I decide to skip actual food and have ice cream and coffee.

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Return of the Media Five

By Maya Sonenburg

Second Prize, New Ohio Review Fiction Contest
selected by Charles Baxter

Featured Art: The Eventuality of Destiny by Giorgio de Chirico

I am this heart, this brain, only these, right now—no other. This is what Susan (that’s her name now) tells herself every morning upon waking. She opens her eyes and sees the flaking ceiling above her, sees the wash of sunlight coming through leaves. She touches her chest, feels her heart beating steadily—no rush of fear—and exhales. She’s alone. She touches her head, hair just starting to gray
and she’s not bothering to color it. “This can be my new disguise,” she thinks, “my new self.” One of the million selves she’s been in the last twenty-odd years. She rubs her eyes and before she can silence herself again, she remembers days when she thought more, remembered more: a million legs all running toward the Pentagon or induction center or federal courthouse. Flowers in the barrel of a
gun. A Viet Cong flag. Giant puppets of Kissinger, Nixon, McNamara. Or their heads atop the bodies of gigantic hawks, perched among the blackened trees of a burned landscape. Bring the war home. A placard of a napalmed child. If people see, they will join us and this atrocity will have to stop. A million hands waving. A million arms, fists raised in salute. They were the million legs and
hands of her—her legs and hands—the million-limbed body of resistance, then revolution. Why does she allow these things to come back to her today? Because it’s spring and her curtains are the color of a daffodil she handed to a child once at a demonstration? She remembers when the remembered voices were always with her, singing off-key but loudly together. She never felt alone. But then suddenly she was alone, amputated from everyone and everything she knew. Most mornings she silences these memories of memories, she manages to.

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Timeline

By Amy Pickworth

Featured Art: Chrysanthemums by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

1880: John Stine proposes to his dead wife’s sister, Eliza. He is a farmer, about forty, she is a spinster midwife. She accepts, telling him, “I will marry you for the sake of the children, but I will never sleep with you.”

This sounds strange—would she have said sleep with in the nineteenth century?—but these are my grandmother’s words. It is 1993 and we are sitting in her house, which smells like cigarettes and meat. The curtains are drawn. Her second husband has been dead for fifteen years. She hasn’t gone blind yet.

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The Hittite

By Alex Myers

Featured Art: Trees Against the Sky by Alfred Hutty

In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab with
his officers and all Israel with him; they ravaged the Ammonites, and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem. (2 Samuel 11:1)

11:6

He was halfway to Ramstein, the dust of Afghanistan still on his boots, when it finally hit him: home. In April no less. The cherry blossoms would be spinning down from their trees, sweet, light, floating. It was a military jet—noisy, hard, and sidewise—that took him to Germany, him in his camis, sand still hidden in the folds, hardly believing he was out of the desert. Four months into his first deployment to Afghanistan and, after the training and orientation at central command near Kabul, he’d spent his months out in the mountains, riding Humvees along what they called the main corridor, though it was pockmarked and potholed and barely paved, and humping alongside mules to little villages. Escorting the arrival of humanitarian aid, waiting while some brain from intel, some secret squirrel, interrogated the village elder.

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The Down

By Molly Ficek

Featured Art: Bath of Venus by Sir Edward Burne-Jones

My mother is immersed in membrane when I find her. Eggs cover her body, some cracked and spilling their spoils, some whole, resting on her belly, her breasts. White flecks of eggshells gravel her skin and the runnings of yellow yolks have dried, look like the peelings of a summer burn. Her head is underneath this mess when I look over the side of the tub.

“Mom?”

She surfaces, wipes film back into her hair, the glossy middle of the egg from her cheek. She blinks.

“What are you doing?” I ask.

She looks at me as if it’s quite obvious, which I guess it is. She is taking a bath in chicken eggs, dozens and dozens of them.

“I heard it’s good for your skin,” she says.

“Um…for your hair, maybe. Egg whites are supposed to be good for your hair.”

“Hmm,” she says, inhales a big gulp of air, and sloshes down under the eggs, the water beneath them. She waves her hand up at me. Eggs spill over the sides of the tub and drop onto the bathroom floor, cracking open.

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Craigslist

By Maya Jewell Zeller

Featured art: Morning, Interior by Maximilien Luce

Winner, New Ohio Review Poetry Contest
selected by Billy Collins

It’s all there—the stuff
no one wants to say is theirs anymore,
the single-slate pool table, the six-person
tent, a complete professional tattoo set
complete with analog power supply.

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