New Ohio Review Issue 18 (originally printed Fall 2015) 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?

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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.

That was in Portugal, in Sintra—
the village Byron called “most beautiful in the world.”

In the old cracked photo,
part of his naked chest had flaked away:

under the glossy surface an ashen patch.
Forty years later at your desk,

filial, in a fantasy of surgery,
you worked your laptop to repair the wound,

dragging pixels of skin tone, of mortal coloration,
from his right side to his left.

A new skill mastered, new language, new tools
that restored but couldn’t save.

I watched you transplant a blush of skin—
a tender ministry, your digital touch

lighter than a kiss—not unlike a kiss—

exactly where his heart four decades
earlier began to falter. As yours, invisibly, did now.

—One of those days we both still thought that somehow
with the proper tools, there was nothing you couldn’t fix.

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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 clamber 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.

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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.

A spectacle, it seems, for no one there,
for though they lean in, wide-eyed, severe,

they look instead at the anatomy volume
propped up in the center of the room,

or at us, the viewer, the painter, the future
that stares back with the blindness of a mirror.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.”

Dogwoods fluttered, casting stained blossoms
into the fountain. Down the hill, a procession of bagpipes
let out a skirl. “She promised us a view,” my mother shrilled.

I think my parents imagined themselves still
at the retirement home, rolling along a tulip-edged path
from the Independent Wing, past Assisted Living,

over to Memory Care, where the Admissions Lady
touched my arm and whispered, “Don’t worry.
We’ll help them downsize.”

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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.

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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.

Lord, he’d begin, because he was afraid
to alter the language of prayer, Lord, deliver
me from envy and mean-spiritedness,
allow me to love people as I love animals.

Then his father died, and he became the sad Lord
of himself, praying for pleasures immediate and grantable.
Let me tango the night long with Margot the receptionist,
he’d say to no one. Let me do unto others.

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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.

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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—

until they read her tag,
the cetologists had thought
the gray whales off the coast of Baja

were of a different species
from the ones in Minsk.

When I found your lacquer boxes,
so small they fit into my hand,
with their depictions of our home,

the pots above the stove,
their odd discolorations,
the cheerful curtained window

that looked out at the pines,
I felt sad I had not known your heart
would swim such distance for us—

you had never shown us one.
And how small you had to make yourself
to see each scene and paint it

like an ant stepping carefully along
one of those dark passages
in its hill of dirt that nobody sees inside.

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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,

the air around me darkens—
and then the sound
like thunder pressing closer

as I think of my own flaws—
and then they all
come charging toward me

like a herd of bison,
so dense it’s hard to see
from all the kicked-up dust.

So loud I cannot think.
How much easier to be won over
by a living room’s worn rug,

the reds and blues, faded,
even threadbare in those places
I have most often stood.

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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.

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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,

    “and all promises, representations, understandings,
and agreements,” theories, whispered assurances,
messages in code, three-martini lunchtime conversations,
husky-voiced proposals to meet in back of the bank by moonlight,

“have been expressed herein, and all prior negotiations

    and agreements are merged herein,” forgotten, a haze,
only this document remembers, everything else is indistinct.
“no change, modification, or assignment hereof”
shall surprise the sociologists, or Erda the earth-spirit
who knows how all things end,

    and no contract, no music or poem worth the paper,
no valedictory address or deathbed testament,
no blood sacrifices, voodoo rituals, fire sales,
or promises spoken out of a burning bush,
no house finch spilling its enthusiasm into the gutters,
no final snow covering the earth like a last sigh,

“shall be binding against the Company unless in writing
and signed by one of its officers.”

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