New Ohio Review Issue 18 (originally printed Fall 2015)

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 18 compiled by Meah McCallister.

Believe that Even in My Deliberateness I Was Not Deliberate

By Gail Mazur

Featured Art: Butterfly by Mary Altha Nims

Believe that even in my deliberateness I was not deliberate
—The end words form this line from Gwendolyn Brooks’
poem, “the mother”

We’d be calm, we’d be serene, as long as we could believe

in the blue dragonflies and balletic monarchs that

hovered near us in a kind of peaceable kingdom even

while my love’s illness menaced the peace in

the summer yard, in the fragile house, in the air I breathed in my

deliberateness. My only stratagem, deliberateness:

to accept our lot in that pathless time. I

thought I’d know what he’d want; what I’d want was-

n’t any different. Wouldn’t it be, wouldn’t it finally be, not

to consider how finite our August? Not to deliberate?

Read More

Sintra

By Gail Mazur

Featured Art: Composition by Otto Freundlich

In your office, you, mastering the art of Photoshop,
scanning a crumpled snapshot, 3 inches square,

of your father, poolside, jaunty in a blue swimsuit,
his straw fedora at a rakish angle,

carrying two splashing cups of bica toward your mother.
Beaming, gallant, tanned, grinning for her camera.

Read More

Neighbors

By Suzanne McConnell

Featured Art: Gardener’s House at Antibes by Claude Monet

I wake to the phone ringing like an alarm. It’s the middle of the night. I clam- ber out of bed, hard-won sleep, into the living room, grope for the receiver. “Isabella,” my neighbor Viv says in her throaty, demanding voice. “I’ve lost my keys. I’m at the booth two blocks away. Come downstairs and let me in.” The phone clicks off.

I light a cigarette, and now I hear her raving like a maniac coming down the street. I move to the kitchen window and stand in the dark in my nightgown, trembling with rage, waiting for her figure to catch up with her voice shattering the night, and now I see her at the edge of the streetlight.

Read More

The Anatomy Lesson

By Bruce Bond

Featured Art: The Brook by Paul Cézanne

after Rembrandt

Why they look away is anyone’s guess,
these men apprenticed to the evidence,

gathered at the corpse the dark context
makes bright inside the surgical forum.

Anyone’s guess why, at this instant,
even the teacher looks past his subject,

the harp strings of these extended tendons
raised up from the bed of the open wound.

Read More

Girl with the Red Stockings

By Julie Hassett

Featured Art: The Red Kerchief by Claude Monet

after a painting by Winslow Homer, Boston MFA

Blue skirt a bell, percussive
on her calves, basket full of mussels,
unable to quell the surge,
red hair a banner,
she glares at a ship which lifts,
smacks the swell.
Spumes geyser over hull.
Black shoes plant on granite,
root to her core,
a ballast that will not crack
no matter the force
of gusts from the north,

a gush that rushes her sternum,
alone, again, by the ocean.

Read More

Sisters Peeling

By Julie Henson

Featured Art: A Fisherman’s Daughter by Winslow Homer

Late in the night after my father’s memorial service, my sisters and I stopped our small caravan at a Speedway in the stretch of US-40 between Greencastle and Indianapolis. It was early November.

“Come with me,” my sister Emily said, leading me to the back of her car and opening the trunk. She pointed to a box in the corner. “You want some?” she asked sounding like a drug dealer, which at one point she had been. I saw her slipping back in easy—my dad’s ashes were valuable and sort of dangerous—I felt like it may have even been against Indiana state law to have them, let alone scatter them, though I never checked. When I said nothing, she prodded, “You want even just a little? There’s so much to go around.” Sarah, our oldest sister, was waiting in the passenger seat—she had already been dealt her ash-inheritance. It was late and it was cold; I wanted to go to sleep. Emily looked at me intently. The way the gas station lights slanted cast a shadow across the top of her face, and I could not make out her expression.

“No,” I finally said. “I’m trying to quit.”

The nozzle on the gas pump clicked, and she sighed, shut the trunk.

Read More

Talking to My Dead Mother About Dogs

By Stephanie Gangi

Featured Art: Dog with pups by India, Rajasthan, Ajmer, probably Sawar school

That damn dog.
Which one, Ma?
The first one.
There is no first one, there was always a dog, Ma.
The shepherd, the one who kept the baby
from rolling in to the road down the hill in front of the house.
That was me, Ma. I was the baby.
I know that. Rex. Rex.
And what about your father’s, who jumped
out the car window at a toll booth, headed for the hills. Skippy,
ungrateful mutt.
Then we got Duchess, because of Lassie on television.
Duchess was weak. Duchess didn’t last.
The toy poodle came in a hat box. She matched the décor!
I swear to god, she did.

Your chateau phase.
What about your dogs?
My dogs? My dogs, Ma?
The fear biter who darted in the dark at the ankles of my bad choices?
The herder who swam himself spent, circling me circling me when I was at sea?
The too-happy dog, who I couldn’t keep, I forget why?
Now this one, the big one, this horse of a dog who braces himself
so I can stand? Who, the slower I go, the stronger he gets?
Who can’t rest until I rest? This dog, Ma?
This last one? Ma?

Read More

At the Columbarium

By Jackie Craven

Featured Art: Edge of the Woods Near L’Hermitage, Pontoise by Camille Pissarro

“We’d invite you in,” my mother said, “but where
would we put you?” I must have seemed enormous
squatting before her door, third drawer from center.

If not for the marble nameplate, I might’ve seen
a diorama of Jacobean chairs, tiny forks and spoons,
and my stepfather’s bonsai.

“There’s barely enough room for the two of us,”
my mother went on. Deep inside the granite walls,
my stepfather growled, “I blame the Realtor.”

Read More

After the Funeral

By Holly Day

Featured Art: A Funeral by Jean-Paul Laurens

When my father was ten, his mother died
and he went outside into the street after her funeral and screamed
at God. He said, “Take me,
you fucker!” to God, and his younger brother, my
uncle, was so scared he ran
into the room they both shared and hid. Later, when
my father came back, my uncle asked him what Hell was like,
why God had let him come back, if he had seen
their mother, what she was wearing.

Read More

An Evolution of Prayer

By Stephen Dunn

Featured Art: Genesis II by Franz Marc

As a child, some of his prayers were answered
because he prayed out loud for a kite or bike,
which his mother would overhear, and pass on
to her husband, his father, the Lord.

Later, he understood that when he prayed
he was mostly talking to himself—albeit a better,
more moral part of himself—which accounted
for why he heard nothing back from the void.

Read More

Rock Harbor

Second Prize, New Ohio Review Fiction Contest selected by Maud Casey

By Susan Finch

Featured Art: Early Morning After a Storm at Sea by Winslow Homer

When Bob Miller slipped and fell from the rooftop deck of his ex-wife’s houseboat into the inky black of Rock Harbor, it almost appeared as if he’d done it on purpose. The fall took him feet over head, his flailing arms tightening into a V like he was performing a cartwheel. His fingers spread open in sunbursts, his legs stretched wide and long like a dancer’s, and his toes tensed into sharp points. As he tumbled the twenty-five feet into the shadowy water, his whole body seemed to expand and explode into a star.

The entire party saw Bob’s fall or, at least, when the police conducted the official investigation, partygoers would claim they had. And in truth, the spinning and twisting of Bob Miller’s body end-over-end was so spectacular that in hearing the story later in whispers passing across the marina from slip to slip, everyone felt they had seen it. Those who knew Bob assumed he’d been dared to do it. He had always been a bit of a showoff and couldn’t say no to a challenge. When he was thirteen, he’d purchased a dirt bike and had performed stunts for his friends on the weekend, vaulting over a campfire, navigating the narrow wall between the cornfield and the river, and once, after a double-dog-dare, he’d launched the bike from the hayloft of his father’s dilapidated barn and taken a nasty spill on the landing, fracturing his femur.

Read More

Gray Whale

By Sally Bliumis-Dunn

Featured Art: Submarine Series Introductory Lithograph by Eric Ravilious

When they read the metal tag
on her pectoral fin—
a surprise of dark Cyrillic letters

on this Gray Whale
who had swum some fourteen thousand miles,
inter-braiding continent

with continent—
strange that I think of you now, father
though you too had lived

mostly below a surface,
the breadth of which we could not know—

Read More

Aesthetics to Change the Way You Live

By Sally Bliumis-Dunn

Featured Art: The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons, 16 October 1834 by Joseph Mallord William Turner

“Aesthetics to Change the Way You Live”
—Growth Magazine

For instance wabi sabi,
a Japanese view of life
that celebrates the imperfect,

the light-hearted sound
of the two words
like figures balanced on a seesaw,

behind them, cloudless sky,
and in the spread, the photograph
of nicked and tarnished silver spoons

arranged in rows on lilac velvet—
how perfectly imperfect.
But separate from the printed page,

Read More

Plato and You

By Christopher Flannery

Featured Art: Reading by Berthe Morisot

I was reading Plato

and thinking about you.

So I wasn’t really reading.

I was thinking.

And I wasn’t thinking about reading,

if you get the idea.

And that’s the thing.

With Plato,

it’s all about the idea.

Read More

This Contract is Complete

By Kyle Norwood

Featured Art: Crescent Moon from Album of Paintings by the Venerable Zeshin by Shibata Zeshin 柴田 是真

“This contract,” this machine with knobs
to be pulled, buttons to be pushed, inexorable gears
leading from
A to B, but so easily sabotaged,
mucked up by a fallen coin or shirtsleeve or
dangled lock of hair caught in the works


“is complete,” encompasses entirely the world
of its transaction, has an inside but no outside,
everything else is forever foreign and beneath notice
in the penumbra of this dazzling light,

Read More

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: PINK

By Bryan Owens

Featured Art: Ananas (Pineapples) by Charles Martin

Is it against school dress code for a student to wear sweatpants
that say PINK across the rear? I have CC’d the school director.
Please advise.

Though it is not stated explicitly in the student handbook,
I think it is safe to say this article of clothing
is not school appropriate.

If we do not adhere to the dress code policy
as it is stated explicitly, we are doing these kids
a tragic disservice in their preparation for the real world.

Read More

This Bed You’ve Made

By Samuel Ligon

Featured Art: The Large Plane Trees (Road Menders at Saint-Rémy) by Vincent van Gogh

We killed Kitty’s husband with a harpoon her grandfather had given her, but it could have been a skillet or the steel ashtray from her kitchen table. The band would sit around that table at night, smoking and drinking and filling the house with music, and as it got late, Billy Wayne would make Kitty feel bad about who she was and what was best in her, calling her ignorant hillbilly trash and blaming her for everything that was small in him. He married her when she was fifteen, two months after he discovered her in Spokane, though everybody knew she didn’t need to be discovered. She only needed to sing the sweet, sad songs we wrote, and America’s heart would melt.

Our first single, “A Stone of Ice,” told the story of Billy Wayne trampling Kitty’s love with whiskey and womanizing, leaching all the goodness from her once pure soul. Every song we sang was about him. We wrote “This Bed You’ve Made” a month before he died, with the chorus that would make Kitty famous:

Read More

Open Mic

By Jesse Wallis

Featured Art: Dancers by Edgar Degas

I don’t know how, but I knew as soon as he said it, he would get lost
after the bridge. “I’m still working on this one,” he began, tightening
the strings. “Hope I make it through.” It was the third song the young
man played. He was really quite good, if new. His tenor voice earnest,
fingers deliberate in finding the chords along the neck of the acoustic.

Read More

Accelerated Learning

By Laura Read

Featured Art: Seated Man and Woman by Célestin François Nanteuil

At the middle school meeting for parents of children
in Accelerated Learning, I sit at a lunch table across

the cafeteria from him. At first he is just
part of the scene, like the board listing prices

for soda and chips, or the English teacher addressing us,
famous for tearing up a kid’s paper if it wasn’t

double-spaced. She is talking about the importance
of Latin roots, this new language made from taking apart

Read More

Mute Swan

By Fleda Brown

Featured Art: Swan by Mary Altha Nims

1
I am full of irritation this morning
which makes folding the fitted sheet
a disaster, wrinkles smashed inside.
Down at the dock, the swan hissed
at me and I thought, good for you,
swan, what business do we have
in your life, anyway, making up myths
in which you rape, or die?
Beautiful things often hiss if you get
too close. Or if you try to neaten them up
like clothes. A swan’s neck is tough
enough to twist you into knots.
Beauty, I don’t know how to feed it
without getting bitten.

Read More

Leather Coat

By Maxine Scates

Featured Art: Star Flower by Mary Altha Nims

“It’s only a matter of time before eternity,”
reads a sign in front of a church, turning the day
epigrammatic. But rather than think of the time I have left,
I think about all that goes wrong. For instance,
how did that cow, an Angus, red tag in its ear, die
by the side of the road? Did someone shoot it
because it stood as still as the time I’ve already spent
does not? Its coat was still shining, sleek as that coat
I’d only dreamed of buying all those years ago

Read More

The Devil’s Best Friend

By Vincent Poturica

Featured Art: View of the City and London Bridge

About nine or ten years ago when I was not yet twenty, my friend Carlos asked me if he should sell his soul to the Devil’s best friend in exchange for a better world—I am not kidding, son. I told Carlos that selling his soul sounded a little hardcore, even for him, and that he should probably meditate on the potential consequences for at least a week. I also suggested that he contemplate his motives, i.e. whether or not he was really doing it for a good cause—though I confessed that I distrusted anyone who thought they knew what was best—or because he felt desperate regarding the recent death of our dear friend Ivan. I then told him—and he agreed—that he also probably needed to consider whether the Devil’s best friend was the best person or demon to sell his soul to, whether the Devil’s

Read More

Not Holding the Gun

First Prize, New Ohio Review Poetry Contest selected by Robert Pinsky

By Keith Kopka

Featured Art: Spring Flowers by Claude Monet

Knowledge of crime is a crime
even if one is not committed
by participation. At this cookout,
in a parallel universe, a version
of me lifts the gun, considers
its weight a handful of peanuts.
Another variant lets off a shot
into Godless sky, a traditional
celebration of manhood, in
the dimension of Texas oil barons.

Read More

You, Strung

By Keith Kopka

Featured Art: The Race Track (Death on a Pale Horse) by Albert Pinkham Ryder

Young John Wayne leaps, without effort,
onto the back of a Palomino, and I know
he’ll catch the leader of the Taylor Gang
for what he’s done to his woman. He’ll swing
for this one. Wayne is ruthless, but it’s hard

to forget him cut open for cancer research,
the forty pounds of meat wadding through
his colon like a saddle strap. You and Wayne
have a lot in common: doctor’s hands

searched the mineshaft of your stomach,
catalogued what they took, then fastened
you with a wandering stitch. Still, nothing
extracted from anyone can explain why
the body takes revenge on the body.

Read More

Change in Hat or Glove Size

By Darrell Spencer

Featured Art: Twilight in the Wilderness by Frederic Edwin Church

Our joke was either Molly sells a kidney—under the radar, off the books, $40,000 cash up front in England we discovered online, no questions asked, wink-wink, and also, I came to this understanding in my bones, not really all that funny as an option—or reality was we hock our gold.
We hocked it.

Okay, Molly did. Her gold. Every last effing piece of it Molly’s. Earrings. Necklaces, long and dangly and three-tiered, one of them leaf-like, all the chains intertwined and hard to separate. You know how they get twisted up in their boxes like they have a secret life. None of the jewelry rolled or washed gold. Molly did her online research at the library. Brooches, one an open hand, palm out, standing for generosity and giving, one a butterfly whose catch was missing. It had been her mother’s. There was a heart Molly liked to wear on her sleeve. Only one ring. Her grandfather’s on her father’s side. It had a pair of serpents circling an in-set ruby. Brewster was his name, and he had been an M.D. The kind of G.P. parents named their newborns after. The man part of a long line of doctors stretching back to the Civil War. Molly had photos back home in Ohio. The old-timers a bunch of bearded hacksaws, grim butchers.

Read More