New Ohio Review Issue 24 (Originally Published Fall 2018)

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 24 compiled by Isaiah Underwood

My Hometown, the Hypothetical Guided Tour

                                     

By Dan Wiencek

Featured Art by Jasper Francis Cropsey

            First we come to the field
where I did not hit the winning
     home run, where no cheers rose
            up and the game ball went ungiven

     Beyond left field,
            the bleachers where I did not
    make out with my high-school
         crush, did not taste her perfume
                  or dodge her brother’s freckled glare

      This is the house where a family of
                color did not live, there, where
         that guy is hosing Chinese
                              menus off his car

Read More

Trouble

By Danusha Laméris

Featured Art by Clara Peeters

He’d wanted the persimmons
and asked her for them, but when
she gave him the brown paper bag,
brimming over, he was taken
aback. Did he really need that many?
Still, he brought them home
to his wife, and soon
there were persimmons ripening
on the kitchen counters, lining
the windowsills. Each day,
growing more and more succulent
until the air was thick
and sweet with their scent.

At breakfast, he’d break one open
with his spoon—the skin supple
and ready to give—stir it into
his hot cereal. Indescribable,
the taste. And a texture he might
have described as sea creature
meets manna from heaven. When
he ate one, he thought of her.
And when he saw her, he thought
of the persimmons. When her arm
brushed, just barely, against his,
did he imagine they both felt
the same quickening? In myth,
fruit is usually the beginning
of disaster. And the way
they made themselves so obvious—
an almost audible orange
against the white walls—
made him wish he’d never asked
her for them, didn’t have to
smell them sugaring the air
with ruin, as he sat there,
face lowered to the bowl, spooning
the soft pulp into his mouth.


Danusha Laméris is the author of The Moons of August (Autumn House, 2014), and Bonfire Opera, (University of Pittsburgh Press, Pitt Poetry Series, 2020). Some of her poems have been published in The Best American Poetry, The New York Times, The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, and Prairie Schooner. The recipient of the 2020 Lucille Clifton Legacy Award, she teaches poetry independently, and was the 2018-2020 Poet Laureate of Santa Cruz County, California.

Bird

By Danusha Laméris

Featured Art: Young Woman on a Balcony Looking at Parakeets by Henri Matisse

We were sitting on the couch in the dark
talking about first pets, when I told him how,
as a girl, I kept a blue and white parakeet I let
y around the house and, sometimes, outside,
where he’d land on the branches of pine
and eucalyptus, balancing between seedpods
and spines. Only, while I was telling it,
my companion began to stroke, very lightly,
the indent of my palm, the way you do when you’re
sitting in the dark with someone you’ve never kissed
but have thought about kissing. And I told him
how my bird would sit on a high branch and sing,
loudly, at the wonder of it—the whole, green world—

Read More

Stopover on a Road Trip to L.A., 1981

By C.W. Emerson

Featured Art by Arthur Lazar

Didn’t I stand there once,
nineteen, loose-limbed,

dripping water onto the catwalk
above the motel pool?

And weren’t we luminous then?—
our bodies glistening,

pale as the slice of winter moon
that hung in a Vegas sky.

Wasn’t there a door, a threshold,
one simple, white-walled room?

Didn’t we taste peyote’s fire,
christen ourselves with totemic names?—

wouldn’t I become Gray Wolf,
Bitter Oleander, Monkshead, Moss?

And you would have been
Bobcat, Lily of the Valley, my love,

Salt Cedar, Eucalyptus—
if only you’d lived a little longer.


C.W. Emerson’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Atlanta Review, Crab Orchard Review, The Greensboro Review, The American Journal of Poetry, Tupelo Quarterly, and others. He was a finalist for the 2018 New Millennium Award for Poetry, and he works in Los Angeles and Palm Springs as a clinical psychologist.

We Have Got to Get Out of L.A.

By Suzanne Lummis

Nights, the expanse of lit streets and lights
of mini-marts sends out an avid, sex-tinged and
discontented glow for planes to drift through.

Days, the men no one would marry stand
too close behind us, in lines dangling
through Food-4-Less, Rite Aid Drugs.

Friends, we have got to get out of L.A.
Downstairs a couple yelp their seedy
bare-boned love, and then fight.

Upstairs a woman rehearses, once again,
the awful song no one will buy.
Its unlucky-with-men news wobbles

out over The Donut Inn’s clientele—
guys dressed down and broke till Friday,
unlucky with women.

Read More

To Inscribe

By Anne Starling

Featured Art: A Holiday by Edward Henry Potthast

The dead are with us to stay
                  —Charles Wright


But not the living, the fallible breathing.

For a while it seemed one thing
could be righted. One small piece at the
ocean’s bottom corner
or the bottom
dresser drawer with the scuffed
baby shoes and shoeboxes
               full of snapshots of kid parties, holidays, school picnics
               etcetera.

A comfort, even knowing that wrong
can’t be undone, is more like oceans plural
rushing in
               weighing in with their trick of
                no light, unfathomable.

Read More

Asking for a Friend

By Emily Sernaker

Featured Art: Shop Girls by Elizabeth Sparhawk-Jones

What if you haven’t enjoyed dating
for a while? You’re tired of sharing pieces
of your life story with men
in crowded restaurants
all over the city who you know
within five minutes you won’t want
to see again? What if you get too excited
when you find a guy you like
at a holiday party? Becoming very
forward while wearing a Snoopy Christmas sweater,
because you believe it’s your power-outfit
and you only have a three-week window to rock it?

Read More

Thing-Poem After the Social Event

By Karen Benning

Featured Art: Landscape with Two Poplars by Vasily Kandinsky

Did you have any fun? Tell me.
What did you do?”

—from The Cat in the Hat, by Dr. Seuss

Never speak aloud the thing that first
pops into your head, pops like a balloon, black,
bursting in a shock, pops like your bubble burst,
pops like a blister of blood, a BB gun at a bird,
a red blot on a white backdrop, thought precedent
to mismatched utterance precedent
to the stare, the crash into

silence, the inevitable turning
away as you stand there (again) staring into
your wine glass and facing newly open space

between yourself and a back. Never speak
to strangers, never say that first thing

Read More

Talking

By Christopher Brean Murray

Featured Art by Alfred Stieglitz

Sometimes I talk too much. I tell myself
it’s good to socialize so I say almost anything
to get the conversation going, something
like “What’s your favorite crime film?” or
“The media really needs to tone it down.”
Then we’re off and talking about what
kind of dog to get or whether garlic
belongs in guacamole. I might not know
the person I’m talking to but we can
work that out on the fly like rolling a car
down a hill to get it started but what if
it has no brakes? Sometimes that happens
and you have to steer away from the river
rushing over the black rocks and turn
onto the lane that snakes through the trees

Read More

Merriweather

By Christopher Brean Murray

I first heard his name in passing. Someone
was rinsing coffee from a spoon, saying, “That’s just
how Merriweather is . . .” I was new to the city.
I was emailing my CV around and smiling politely
at new faces. I noticed that people really deferred
to this Merriweather—his first name? A man I met
at a potluck had camped with Merriweather in Patagonia.
Merriweather had gotten him and his friends
out of a jam when the stove gas ran low and a sharp sleet
hemmed them in for days. Another guy explained
that Merriweather had secured for him and his fiancée
a cherry farm where they could have the wedding
they’d dreamt of. Merriweather’s band played,
and his bass solos shook bits of hay from the dusty catwalk.

Read More

Happy Lamp

By Catherine Carter

Featured Art: Under the Lamp, c. 1882 by Mary Cassatt

It’s made to make you glad
on dull cold days, keep you
from crying over car insurance,
made to stop the visions
of flogging your flesh with barbed
wire, gouges gone rust-brown,
swelling with tetanus.
Full spectrum, mock sun;
maybe it helps.

Read More

Soulmates

By Peter Krumbach

Featured Art by Claude Monet

I was sent a how-to-carve-a-whistle book.
I thought of whistles.
I thought of carving.
I bought a whistle-carving kit.
I stuffed tobacco in my pipe and sparked it.
I opened a buck knife, put a willow stick in my lap.
I carved a whistle.
I blew.
I tossed it in the fire and looked at the flames.
I carved another whistle, then another.
I carved nineteen whistles, the ground strewn with chips.
I carved the last one to sound a quarter-step above high C, a tone only I and my soulmate could hear.
I blew it every morning, then listened.
I heard soulmates blow back from their graves.
I heard whistles from the Mariana Trench.
I heard them sound from Pluto’s moon.
I blew the other day, but no one blew back.
I blew louder. Still, no reply.
I filled my lungs with all the air of the garden.
I blew the loudest. And nothing. Only the neighbor calling if
I could keep it down.


Peter Krumbach was born in Brno, Czechoslovakia. His most recent work has been or is about to be published in Beloit Poetry Journal, Bitter Oleander, jubilat, Massachusetts Review and Willow Springs. He lives in California.

Box in a Closet

By Faith Shearin

Featured Art by Emil Carlsen

I open a box
in a closet and here I find us,
stuck in scenes long forgotten: my uncle

disappearing down an oak alley
in a horse-drawn carriage,
my grandmother dressed for a garden party,

gloves to her elbows, posed in a stiff
southern parlor, 1953. Here is the trip
to Disney World where we drank from

plastic oranges, held balloons
with ears; oh, we grow younger
on beaches, until we are babies, naked

Read More

The Deluge

By Alan Sincic

It wasn’t the voice that woke me, but the jolt of the trailer. It was Dad. He’d lurched out of bed. Fumbled upright as if in a dream, as if he’d skippered a boat upside a pier in the dark, struck a piling and—pow—off the pitch of the deck and onto the dock he stumbles.

Not that the camper was what you’d call terra firma. Less like a home on wheels and more like a traveling dollhouse, everything pretending to be more than it really was—parlor the size of a bathroom, bathroom the size of a fridge, fridge the size of a toaster, toaster the hearth around which we’d huddle when the rain shattered and the dark thickened and the cold rose up to stab us in  the ankles. The Cookie Tin’s what Mom called the trailer. Dad and Mom in the fold-out bed at the back, at the foot of which you got a curdle of flannel, Ben-Ben, not a toddler anymore but still squat enough (Tater-Tot we called him) to wedge in cross-wise. Up top of that the rack for Cece—canvas on a pair of poles, like a stretcher. Down below a carpet runner rolling out a luxurious four feet to the front-end boudoir—Len and me bull-dozed into the same bed together, head-to-toe across a table-top that, every morning at eight, we’d pop back up into place.

Oh. And Sal. Little Miss Bon-bon. Seems like the second a girl gets a couple of—what would be the polite word for it?—bosoms—you got the whole damn troposphere torqueing up to accommodate the blessed event. The VW van should’ve been for Len and me but no, Sal’s gotta have her privacy, her womanly solicitude, as if a girl who burns a whole afternoon spot-welding a girder of curls into a confectionary (what would be the word?) spectacle could give a damn about privacy.

Read More

On the Ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles

By Kirsten Abel

Featured Art by Hilaire Germain Edgar Degas

Bright squares of sunlight slosh across the ferry’s deck,
seesawing as the ship sways.

A pool of water flecked with coal threatens to seep up to our feet.
It drifts a little closer with each westward tilt.

You are sitting next to me reading.
The boat rocks worse than ever.

Read More

Calling Annie Oakley

By Kirsten Abel

Written on the side of a payphone
lashed to the wall of the bathroom in a Montreal café
is Annie Oakley’s telephone number.
I see it while I’m peeing.
That’s how close the payphone is.
Annie Oakley in black marker and then her number.
I’ve only touched a gun once.
Or maybe I didn’t touch it, I just thought about touching it
and then said, No, thank you.
It was my father’s gun. It was small, perfect
for tting into a lady’s hand. Is that called a .38 Special?
Annie Oakley would know.
I didn’t grow up with guns.
I didn’t grow up with my father.
People sometimes think that is a great tragedy.

Read More

Calchas Reading the Signs


By George Kalogeris

Featured Art by Piet Mondrian

It’s ’68. Whatever he saw, whatever he smelt
In that smoky, dripping handful of purple entrails
Just thawing out from the freezer, the news from Athens

Was ominous, and he wouldn’t haruspicate
On how and when the Colonels might react—
But the gobbets of offal keep piling up in the pail.

It’s not that he fully trusted the lordly voice
Of the BBC, but hearing Vietnam
He drops what he’s doing, and cranking up the volume

On that crackly plastic Panasonic—
That’s when I hear it too: Khe Sanh. It’s what
Comes through the speaker’s throbbing bamboo mesh

As I’m stamping prices on jars of baby food:
A staticky hiss like burning jungle grass . . .
My father wiping his hands on his butcher’s apron,

Oblivious to his customers as he listens
To a transistor radio broadcast the blood
Of a world in shambles. And then he’s back at his block.

Read More

Europeans Wrapping Knickknacks

By David Kirby

Featured Art by Gustave Caillebotte

                                  They’re so meticulous, aren’t they? They take such care
             that I am ashamed for my country, that impatient farm boy,
      that factory hand with the sausage fingers. First there’s
                        the fragile object itself—vase, jewel, ornament—then tissue,
                      stiff paper, bubble wrap, tissue again, tape, a beautiful bag
      made from something more like gift wrap than the stern brown
                        stuff we use here in the States, then the actual carry bag

Read More

My Father Visits Not Long After My Mother (His Wife Twenty Years Ago) Dies

By Brock Guthrie

Featured Art by Paul Gavarni

My father’s in town for a quick couple days
and it’s early morning and not much to do

and he needs some smokes and I need
a few things from Lowe’s. We walk to my car

and he says, “Man, you need a car wash,”
and I say, “Yeah, I’ve just been so busy,”

which isn’t really untrue, but I tell him
there’s a place on the way. We get in my car

and he says, “Go to McDonald’s, I’ll buy,”
and we wait in the drive-thru and he says,

“You need a vacuum too,” and I don’t reply
because the food is ready. I pass him his

Egg McMuffin and drive down the road,
carefully unwrapping my breakfast burrito,

and this commercial I’ve heard a dozen times
comes on the radio, some guy with a nasally

New York accent, but only now do I gather
it’s an advertisement for snoring remedies.

Read More