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.
All I could do was think of her face. Or not think of it, the way after receiving her letter I felt relief, gratitude, and then lost the actual note she wrote, the tiny, lovely photograph of her children I’d vowed to cherish. And then I saw: my grief was the objective correlative, a hook on which I could hang all the scraps of whatever other sadnesses I was more frightened of. And the grief, like a person, like her in her solicitude, almost prevented me from seeing this
Featured Art: Alpine Scene in Thunderstorm by Frederic Edwin Church
You can see storms in the desert from a long way off: dark clouds building, wind picking up, lightning bolts flashing and touching ground. You listen for the thunder growling up behind, wait for the moment when everything will be synchronized—and then you’re in it, in the thick of it, trees bending and shaking, something rattling the roof, the lightning and thunder now one animal trying to get in. The only thing between you and the storm is the sliding glass door, and you see the jackrabbits going for cover, and you know the power will go out, and you know you’ll have to find the flashlight and batteries and candles and matches, and you’ll try to eat all the food in the fridge before it spoils, before your boyfriend gets home and blames you for the storm. You’ll still have to get up at 4 a.m. and drive your truck into town, dash from the cab in the rain and wind, knock at the locked glass door frantically for the baker to let you in, the baker who had looked you up and down, said: why does a college girl like you want a job like this? You had no answer for that question, but you still got the job because you were white and sober and scared, and so now you run inside, put on the big white apron, start pressing fresh donuts into frosting, sprinkling them with chocolate jimmies and coconut, scooping out the powdered sugar and glaze.
My sister, my brother-in-law, and I order Chinese takeout on New Year’s Eve and my fortune reads “You have to accept loss to win.” This makes me almost hopeful— and maybe, for a moment, even gives me a way to make sense out of 2008. I am going to keep that fortune, I think, but then promptly, accidentally, I throw it in the trash. Later my sister says that she thought my fortune might have read, “Only through learning to lose can you really win.” Or “Maybe accepting loss makes you a winner.” I can’t search through the trash because I threw the bag of leftover Chinese into the condo’s chute which crushes whatever thuds to the bottom. Read More
Featured Art: The Ouroboros by Theodoros Pelecanos
Regret does not descend in a cinematic miasma. It hits like nausea, creaks back and forth on a limited axis like one of those vaguely eggplant-shaped metal cages you used to see in fast food playgrounds across America. Meanwhile, the sky unfurls its violent ribbons and karate kids spar on the green. I am driving or rinsing a dish, or picking zucchini, or whatever it is I do now that I’ve outlived my misspent youth, confused by the hair-trigger pairing of regret and nostalgia, the head and tail of a snake stuck swallowing itself in the relentless ouroboros of endings that beget other endings, memory like a waterwheel that we’re tied to, half-drowned and just trying to make it around one more time. Grimace, I embrace you from the inside. The place is empty, let me stay awhile.
They bought it early in their courtship, at one of the estate or moving sales they avidly frequented, piecing together a life from the treasures and trash of other couples—young then, oblivious, able to profit from others’ losses, to foresee utility and beauty in the discarded and worn. “Contents a mystery,” the tag said, “Combination unknown.” Even so, it was a bargain—a sleek, hard-shelled executive model, its four Read More
Featured Art: Portrait of a Lady with a Dog (Anna Baker Weir) by J. Alden Weir
After seventeen years, I return home to my ex-wife, without the cigarettes and bread, without the woman and children I left her for, older, empty-handed, and yet to the same clothes still in the same drawers, as if nothing has changed.
Featured Art: Houses at Murnau by Vasily Kandinsky
We had been in Michigan only five months when we heard the people we sold our house to back in Salt Lake City had decided not just to remodel but to start completely over. They were tearing it down.
Erik had painted every wall of that house. He painted the moldings with enamel paint—hard enough to last forever. That’s the house Zoe was born in. It’s the house where Erik first brought me oysters and the house where I first made him salmon. It’s the house we brought Zoe home to—where I first nursed her and where I first fed her puréed sweet potatoes. That house was where I learned to make cassoulet and where I made my mom her favorite vichyssoise.
Featured Art: The Collector of Prints by Edgar Degas
It was never a question of age, finally. Time for him had always moved too slowly, wasn’t he faster than time, outrunning it whenever he wished? Even now, he could hear the sound of every second before it clicked.
Oh, he was powerful enough, still wildly aerodynamic, able to leap imagination itself.
Featured Art: Jonge vrouw met een sigaret by Antonio Zona
The famous poet misheard my name after her reading: “Lucy?” she asked as I introduced myself. My ears perked up like an anxious dog off the leash hearing the Beloved Friend call her name, suddenly alert in the midst of the city’s distraction and babble: fragrant pigeons just out of reach, sirens, couples growling face to face in the street. There’s nothing soft or vague about “Lucy.” Lucy’s a dachshund digging under the rosebush someone’s grandmother planted, salivating for scraps of tasty mole, ignoring cries and folded newspaper swatting behind her. Lucy’s a bookie, porkpie hat on her head, cigar clamped in her mouth. She’s running on spit, playing the odds for more time to make good on her bets. Lucy is—bucky. Read More
Featured Art: Variations in Violet and Grey—Market Place, Dieppe by James McNeill Whistler
It’s not so much a heaviness, the oppressive weight of wet wool; instead, it’s as though my molecules are moving outward from the center, mimicking the universal flight from the Big Bang—though I hear how grandiose that sounds.
It’s just that the edges become indistinct and you may begin to see the busy streetlife right through me, in patches of color and noise and volition. And soon I am mixing with the pollen of elms, the billion billion motes of skin cells catching fire in the afternoon.