New Ohio Review Issue 7 (originally printed, Spring 2010)

New Ohio Review is archiving previous editions as they originally appeared. We are pairing the pieces with curated artwork, as well as select audio recordings. In collaboration with our past contributors, we are happy to (re)-present this outstanding work.

Issue 7 compiled by Rylee Reis.

My Sky Diary

By Claire Bateman

Featured Image: Sunset over the Catskills by Frederic Edwin Church, American, 1870-1880

Because it’s my book,

I will treat it however I want.
I will crack its spine, though not its spirit.

I will bend back the corners of its pages along the margins of whose cold fronts

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Tree Talk

By Claire Bateman

Featured Image: Trees by Maurice Prendergast 1918

Everywhere in town you hear: “The forest’s on the move again”— our forest!
Not ours, exactly,
but we feel it to be so, since its visitation ensnares our limbs
as, at every crosswalk, neighbors duck and flinch, weaving carefully through, apparently,
nothing at all—

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A Pocket Introduction to Our Universe

By Claire Bateman

Featured Image: The Throne of Saturn by Elihu Vedder 1883-1884

What does our universe most like to do?

To contort without any warning into nothing but corners,
an awkward though not unbeautiful configuration.

Of what elements is our universe composed?

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What Bliss, When Exuberance Overruns Its Banks

By Lance Larsen

Featured Image: Ocean Swells by Winslow Homer 1895

As in a certain exit ramp outside Seattle,
a glissando of cement and steel
that promises release, or at least a shortcut
to the Sound, then sheers off into sky,

or stretches of Hemingway when dialogue tags
fall off the page, leaving only God
and a passing scrap of cumulus
to discuss troutness or the ontology of clean,

or my favorite, a tiny Rembrandt etching
of a milkmaid canoodling with her beau,
spokes of sun, hay at her back, why,
why shouldn’t she reach with three arms?


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Between the Heaves of Storm

By Lance Larsen

Featured Image: Approaching Storm by Edward Mitchell Bannister

We have buried our aunt with words and hymns.
Now to finish the job with dirt.
In the front of the church, a hearse
waits to lead the cortège of headlights
to the cemetery two miles away.
But here, in the back parking lot,
a grandniece, perhaps six, has squirmed
out of her itchy skirt and grabbed
a pink hula hoop from the family van.
We put the morning on pause,
three or four of us, car doors flung open.
Plenty of time to take in this emptying quiet,
her skirt puddled now on asphalt
like a secret entrance to the underworld.
And plenty of room for her little girl hips.
She jounces and gyrates, as if trying
to coax rain out of the wispy clouds
floating above our fair city.
Twelve, thirteen, fourteen . . . She counts
with a wheezy underwater voice,
the kind one uses to address homemade dolls—
limp dolls, badly stitched, x’s for eyes,
velcro on the hands to hold
an embrace after the arms grow tired.
Little grandniece swings her hips.
Green undies, dishrag sky, a waiting 
that fills the parking lot even as it clears.
Any worries about the next life set
spinning for now in reassuring orbits, rattly pink.


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Brushes with #3

By Emily Toder

Featured Image: Abstract by Carl Newman 1858-1932

I was being chased by a rhombus I had gone up to it

a medium-sized rhombus the size of a float it had enchanted me standing in its canopy a stone-faced rhombus and yet a rhombus with real drive

I had to get through all this landscape to get the rhombus off my trail

I ran into a quarry I thought a rhombus wouldn’t like I went through a lot of narrow spaces

I thought the rhombus would be too broad for but it made it through a very tiny pipe at one point

it came with me into a hollow

all the theorems and I were wrong about it, it could fold up like a house

to get through a tube and it could support itself on one tip which we thought it couldn’t do

and on its tip it could hop around and it was even capable of loving


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Mysterious Neighbors

By Connie Wanek

Featured Image: The Thundershower by H. Lyman Saÿen 1916

Country people rise early
as their distant lights testify.
They don’t hold water in common. Each house has a personal source, like a bank account,
a stone vault. Some share eggs, some share expertise,
and some won’t even wave.
A walk for the mail elevates the heart rate.
Last November I saw a woman down the road walk out to her mailbox dressed in blaze orange cap to

boot, a cautious soul.
Bullets can’t read her No Trespassing sign.
Strange to think they’re in the air like lead bees with a fatal sting.
Our neighbor across the road sits in his kitchen with his rifle handy and the window open.
You never know when. Once
he shot a trophy with his barrel resting on the sill. He’s in his seventies, born here, joined the Navy, came back. Hard work never hurt a man
until suddenly he was another broken tool.
His silhouette against the dawn
droops as though drought-stricken, each step deliberate, down the driveway to his black mailbox,
prying it open. Checking a trap.


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Listen

By Eric Schwerer

Featured Image: Sunset, Oxford by George Elbert Burr 1899

Here every evening a woman
strides into her backyard calling
her rabbit which raises an ear when she sings:
Peppermint’s eyes’re red, His fur’s so white, Oh
where’s Peppermint gone tonight? When she sees him
she relaxes and lingers in twilight
as fireflies make brief green slashes
and the blacktop ticks with the heat
it’s digested all day. Then in her grass
while the light collapses I watch her daydream
a portion of the dusk away. I mean
I imagine she daydreams as through my screen
I watch her stride about shoeless, her rabbit
nibbling the lawn going gray. In a clean blouse,
fresh from a shower, with night coming on,
she might think of marriage. The lace
curtains in the windows of her house
are drawn. In my own still air and losing light
I stare at her, her curtains, her rabbit’s white hair.
Downstairs at the sink in my darkening kitchen
a glass of iced water is crying a ring—
Has he hopped the gate?
Left me again? Peppermint please
She continues to sing, though it’s not
wandered and would not ever leave.


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The Last Litter

By Melissa Cistaro

Featured Image: Sunset by Edward Mitchell Bannister 1883

1975

It’s a nice place to visit my mom, a lot better than the last one. I get to stay for almost a week and even be here for my tenth birthday. There’s a bed with a blue quilt, a shelf piled high with boxes of puzzles and the scent of my mom’s L’Air du Temps perfume drifting down the hallway. She lives on this dairy farm with 180 cows and her new boyfriend, Roger Short. One of the first things she mentioned about Roger is that he’s colorblind. She says he can’t see how horrible the wall-to-wall chartreuse carpet looks in his house—in fact he can’t see the color green at all. I think that’s a shame, because there are green fields like patchwork for miles around his farm. But then again, I suppose that being colorblind is just fine for Roger since he only raises black-and-white cows.

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The Woman Who Didn’t Know How

By Maya Jewell Zeller

Featured Image: Clouds and Sunset, Jamaica by Frederic Edwin Church 1865

Her skin was too human too often,
hands too happy to touch the splintered

door of a barn, too easily moved toward
a nettle, too ready to cover her mouth

when she gasped in joy, so she let
the aliens take her when they came.

They moved like question marks toward her
and she dropped the garden tools

to watch their wavy willow-like eyes, slits
of smoke their mouths flung out in nets.

They didn’t make a sound. Instead they held
signs with shimmery words to tell

what they wanted. On board,
they began to teach her restraint,

offering pudding then peeling the lid
to reveal the round torsos of bugs.

She wanted to laugh, but they asked
her to keep the noise down.

She wanted to explore, but they said
it was best if she lay back, rest a while,

it would be a long trip, would she please
just draw them a picture of a horse or a spade,

a packet of seeds they could plant
back wherever they came from. Through

the floor-holes she could see her husband
still sleeping on the lawn.

She had never wanted more badly
to tear through his loneliness,

lie softly like an animal on his chest.


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Help Is On the Way

By John Brehm

Featured Image: Clouds and Rainbows, Jamaica by Frederic Edwin Church 1865

Time heals all wounds
except those
it
in-
flicts—and in
time even those.


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An Iris Murdoch Reader

By John Drexel

Featured Image: Sun and Clouds by Winslow Homer 1882

Everyone knows something. No one knows everything.
Most know less than they think.
As in life, there is much confusion,
especially about love. The girl in the basement kitchen,
grown disenchanted with the scholar
who is confused about the shape of his career,
considers entering a nunnery in Argentina.
Her mother has encountered a man
she has not seen in twenty years.
Someone is writing a book; someone
is hiding a crime; someone is about to suffer
near-death by almost-drowning. The narrator’s
cousin doesn’t know how to answer
her mentor’s letter, isn’t aware
she might be the heroine of this particular tale.
Everyone has forgotten something—
is this the moral?—with marvelous
consequences. There are self-delusions
and glimpses of God in surprising guises.
Children are always arriving home
or going away to school. In twos or threes
lovers or ex-lovers
or would-be lovers take cliff-top walks, receive invitations
to dinner parties given by former friends
or present rivals, send and perceive mixed signals.
A dog follows someone home.
People live in a succession of weathers,
patterns of drizzle or downpour or blazing sunshine.
It is difficult to see clearly. Some
thing is lost; something is foreign.
Somewhere a swimmer is diving
into the sea, the sea.


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Love Song (Lame)

By Courtney Queeney

Featured Image: Study of Clouds, Rome, Italy by Francis Augustus Lathrop 1893-94

This is a little like high school
he said, when I wouldn’t take off my clothes.
It was true, although in high school
I would’ve come over to torture him deliberately
and now the torture was an unfortunate side effect
of my sadness, and had nothing to do with him at all.
Sleeping with you would be like
a drowning woman grabbing an anvil,
I explained. A burning man guzzling gasoline.
Lame analogies, but I was trying to make a point.
When he got up for a drink, I missed him
but that feeling disappeared once he came back.
I sat there and tried to feel sad,
tracking my blue mute form
as it sank to a furrowed ocean floor.


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Her New Plan

By Kevin Casey

Featured Image: Desert Vista by Benjamin C. Brown 1932

The original plan: move to Los Angeles. Take acting classes. Meet people. Audition. Act. Get famous. (Not Katie Holmes famous. Kate Winslet famous.) Win awards. Get rich. Meet people. Shoot heroin and drown in a bathtub at Chateau Marmont, spawning sudden posthumous appreciation for the life’s work of Jill Dawson, the Actress.

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Lonesome While Kissing

By Jim Daniels

Featured Image: Clouds by H. Lyman Saÿen 1910-12

She would be dead in twenty years.

I never felt as lonely

as kissing her in between auto shop

and the field house, imagining

wind wouldn’t find us

but it did.

We pulled apart and said nothing.

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La Vie Ordinaire

By Mark Kraushaar

Featured Image: Kanawha River Valley by Samuel Colman 1888-90

Monsieur LeBrun est un ingénieur chimiste:
on page 8 of our ninth grade French One text
Mr. Brown was just leaving for work
and behind him, always, always, there was Madame
in her pretty print dress and beside her the waving twins
Marcel and Marie—Au revoir, Papa!
I’ll guess the rest:
next he drives to Toulouse or Roubaix
and there’s a big meeting on polymers, or pyrite,
heat flux, or octanes, and after his lunch
he walks to the lab with his good pal François.
One man pours a beaker of blue fluid into a flask
while the other graphs a special equation
or holds a test tube in the light.
Later the two men sigh and say goodnight
and Monsieur LeBrun climbs into his yellow Renault,
takes rue des Gallois to rue Saint-Michel and arrives
back home where with six kisses given, six received
the evening begins.
In fact, each evening starts with those same dozen kisses
for another decade at the end of which on a similar night
he opens his paper, sips his drink, eats, and sits
staring at a pink- and avocado-colored plate
which like a little TV he can neither focus on nor turn from.
C’est vrai, says Madame.
I guess we want to make sense, she says, except,
here’s this whole improbable, bright scene before us,
and we’re peevish and stuck, and then one day
you’re rinsing a cup and it’s like the heart
takes off for Bermuda and you rise right out of your shoes
and think how easy it is, how like a trick of the mind
to simply be happy, and as the Earth turns
into a map there comes a moment it feels
like forgiveness and thanks and when
you want to dive you dive—c’est vrai!
and recover soaring upwards
by thinking it so. I’ve met someone new, she says,
it’s true.


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Cake

By Mark Kraushaar

Featured Image: Landscape by Peter von Bemmel 1685-1754

She’s in the first booth left of the planters.
She’s been waiting an hour now.
She’s been waiting at the Watertown Family Buffet
with her little girl who’s dreamed up
some kind of a costume:
giant glasses, backwards cap, taffeta gown
which is clearly for him, for Al who’s
just now arriving, finally, and now

he’s seen them, and now
he’s walking over, and now
he’s standing there, standing there,
husband and father,
or boyfriend and father,
or boyfriend and father figure, except he’s way too late,
he’s too late times two and the party’s over
thank-you, and, no, they’re not having,
not the grin, not the story, not the hug.

The woman gets up, and then, face baggy with patience,
she nods to the girl who scoots out too,
and they exit together.
So over the chips and spilt dip,
over the drained Pepsi and the big white cake
with “Al” in caps and quotes
he watches them go,
looks out at the parking lot,
opens his book.
Here’s the waitress with her pad and pen.
And what in hell is he reading?


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Bridal Shower

By George Bilgere

Featured Image: A Bride by Abbott Handerson Thayer 1895

Perhaps, in a distant café,
four or five people are talking
with the four or five people
who are chatting on their cell phones this morning
in my favorite café.

And perhaps someone there,
someone like me, is watching them as they frown,
or smile, or shrug
to their invisible friends or lovers,
jabbing the air for emphasis.

And like me, he misses the old days,
when talking to yourself
meant you were crazy,
back when being crazy was a big deal,
not just an acronym
or something you could take a pill for.

I liked it
when people who were talking to themselves
might actually have been talking to God
or an angel.
You respected people like that.

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The Day After My Death

By Jeff Worley

Featured Image: Italian or Swiss Town by Frederic Edwin Church 1868

—after lines by Michael Van Walleghen

The moon, stars and weather
will happen as they always have,

though surely with my breath gone
the wind, in some slight measure,

will falter. Absent my footsteps
the earth will feel along its spine

a momentary shiver of abandonment.
And my friends? Won’t they gather

with me again, in whatever purple-
swagged room, for wine and stories,

some of them nearly impossibly true?
Meanwhile, the mailman, humming

like a bee in a blossom, will slip
my name into the metal box:

an unsigned note from The Paris Review
saying, simply, Sorry.


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