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

The Uber Diaries

By Kyle Minor

Indianapolis, Indiana. Somewhere near Keystone Avenue and 62nd Street my iPhone pings. A college student from Hyderabad, India. He is pleased when I tell him he’s my first customer. He tips me two dollars.

*

I pick up my second customer in front of a bar in Broad Ripple. He gets in the front seat. His hair is grown to thigh length, and he is on some kind of party drug that makes him want to touch things.

“Please stop rubbing my arm,” I say.

He apologizes.

Near Rocky Ripple, he takes off his shoes and socks and rubs his bare feet
on the windshield.

His feet leave little rabbit marks. He is a large man with very tiny feet. When
I drop him off at the donut shop, he doesn’t leave a tip.

Read More

Leaf Blower

By Alan Shapiro

Featured Art: The Poet’s Garden by Vincent van Gogh

Swept up so suddenly in parabolic
spasms like a starling flock
or curtain swelling, billowing out
while all along the edges
this or that leaf frays
from the pack the force
keeps driving forward
over the courtyard bricks—

Read More

Hole in One

By Alan Shapiro

Since my dad was blind by then,
when David and I led him from his apartment
to the tee of the shrunken one hole
golf course that served as kitschy
courtyard for the complex
of retirees only well-off
enough for this unironic
aping of the rich, it was by habit
only that he looked down
at the ball he couldn’t see,
then up and out into the void
of stunted fairway and green
while first this foot then that
foot patted the fake grass, almost
kneading it cat-like till the tight
swing arced the ball up high

Read More

Closer

By Alan Shapiro

Featured Art by William A. Harper

How the great closer—when the batter lunged
and swung through the curve for strike three—
turned his back to the plate as if there were no batter,
and his one concession to the moment
(that there even was a moment) was
to hitch one shoulder as if to shrug off
a slight annoyance while his face unbothered
by expression measured its mastery by what
it wouldn’t feel, or show, was like and not like us,
our faces, lips, how, when I tried to kiss yours,
they shut tight against what up to then, it seemed,
they’d opened to so eagerly I never thought

Read More

Bay Sunday

By W.J. Herbert

Featured Art: Boys in a Dory by Winslow Homer

1.

Wind hits the cliff face and climbs the palisade
as three men at a slatted table play cards.
Two wear hats. A third faces the sun and smokes.
All three are gray-haired, but none is my father.
He wouldn’t have played without scotch
on a Sunday or sat on a park bench, anyway.

2.

A man holding a child speaks to her in Mandarin
as he touches a small seat attached to the back of a bike.
He pats handlebars and points to spokes, saying bike
every twenty words or so, then taps the front wheel gently,
the way you would touch the shoulder of an old friend.

Read More

Stateline Lake

By Arlyce Menzies

Featured Art by William Guy Wall

Slipping through the shadow of trees
at dusk to the old strip mine, we took off
our clothes under the wide catalpa’s
strung slender pods. The lake
shone with the last evening light,
cicadas casting their long call over the water.

We both dove and you didn’t come up
for a while. Then, you broke out, fist first,
and shouted for me to come look.
I sheared the dim surface with dark strokes
and found you gripping a watersnake
that curled and whipped your wrist.

You were delighted, and I tried to imagine
the impulse, impossible for me, that made you
grab the slither against your ribs
underwater. And the jolt you rose with,
the triumph of your quick hands,
and the body with which you felt the world.


Arlyce Menzies was raised in the Rust Belt, educated in the Bluegrass, and has taught ESL and creative writing in New England. She recently completed an MFA at Boston University, where she fell in love with translating Russian poetry. She will soon improve her translations, because she and her family are (voluntarily) moving to Siberia.

Real Things

By Nicole Hebdon

Lorna tells her fiancé that we met in the cemetery. “Chloe was writing a paper on the War of 1812 graves,” she says. “And I was taking photos for my photography class. It’s a haunted site. Paranormal investigators have looked into it and everything.” This is partially true.

The Riverside Cemetery is known for disappearing children and hovering orbs, but I wasn’t writing a paper. I was writing an article for the supernatural edition of the school magazine.

And we didn’t meet there.

Lorna’s fiancé, Caleb, tells us how he and Lorna met, and she folds her hands in her lap, like a child at Sunday school. Whenever one of Lorna’s roommates stands to get a wine cooler, or giggles purposelessly, he starts his sentence over, so I’ve heard his story approximately three-and-a-half times when he finally lets someone else talk.

Read More

The Petrified Man


By Pamela Davis

Featured Art by William Trost Richards

It’s dead August, a go nowhere night, and I take
Mom’s Chevy Monza, pick up a girlfriend,
head down to the Nu-Pike amusement park
at the shore. We’re sixteen and sunburnt,
peasant blouses, short-shorts, ready.

Dad taught me to swim in the park’s domed pool,
ankles glitter-kicking past mosaic tile,
but only the Cyclone Racer’s left now,
a tattoo booth, dime-toss swindles, some freak shows.
Mary Lee says the senior boys hang out by the roller coaster

Read More

Ode on a Midlife VW

By Craig van Rooyen

Featured Art by Edouard Baldus

—After Matthew Dickman


Parked next to its German cousins,
the van’s a message to the office bourgeoisie:
Hey look, not me. I’ve got a 4-cylinder pop-top
escape pod back to 1983 with a picnic table in back,
motherfuckers. I could be a tortoise, tent in shell,
ambling away from a mortgage.
The kind of tortoise that shows up in Tallahassee
after ten years of grazing on roadside dandelions.
Driving home, I keep an eye out for Gandalf
like maybe he’ll have his thumb out at the city limit sign.

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Interstate 5 Ode


By Craig van Rooyen

To adopt a highway, say
between Kettleman City and Coalinga,
you don’t need to love
the shorn stockyards or the Holsteins
drowsing in the haze of their own stink. But it helps.

You don’t have to sing
to the rows of uprooted almond trees
next to the angry sign about the “Dust Bowl”
Congress has created.
You don’t even have to believe
“Jesus Saves.”

Read More

Ode to My Backyard Gopher


By Craig van Rooyen

Featured Art by Thomas Cole

Oh blind digger, furred borer,
miner of nothing at the end of a tunnel
to nowhere. My nocturnal brother,
I can report up top
the screech owl sounds like
he’s ripping holes in a paper sky.
Tonight’s scent salad:
honeysuckle-jasmine served under
a thin glaze of starlight. Nothing
between me and Venus
but goosebumps. What gets you
through the long hours down there?
Now and then when I go inside
to pour coffee or smash graham crackers
in warm milk, I read a few lines
of William Carlos Williams

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Costco Ode

By Craig van Rooyen

Featured Art by Joachim Beuckelaer

—After Marie Howe’s “The Star Market”

And they did all eat,
and were filled: and they took
up the fragments that remained,
twelve baskets full.
Matthew 14:20


Today, my people—the people Jesus loves—
are shopping at Costco.
Membership checked, we’ve entered
the light-drenched Kingdom of More.
We’re sampling Finger Lake
Champaign Cheddar morsels nested
in tiny paper cups. We’re watching golden
chicken carcasses ride a Ferris wheel to nowhere.
Our carts are full to overflowing
with applesauce squeezes and shrink-wrapped
Siamese twin Nutella jars. Take. Eat.
Take some more. But it’s not enough.
Here you can buy a theme park
for your master bath, on credit.
You can buy buckets of pain
killers, boxed sets of princesses, a
Rebel 4-Pack of Star Wars Bobbleheads.

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Weanie Tender, PO

By Jennifer Christman

Like the dry, hot winds of Santa Ana itself, the sound came in waves. Pop-pop- pop-pop-pop. Weanie Tender didn’t know from where. Weanie Tender didn’t know from what. Staccato bursts of varying lengths and speed, then brief re- spites. Now, however, is a different story. There’s a constant vibrato. Take any moment—take this moment—Weanie can hear it, by God. Pop-pop-pop-pop- pop. He can feel it. He need only focus his mind to detect what’s on the order of a cosmic palpitation. Pop-pop-pop-pop-pop. Weanie is a low-level PO. He wants to be a detective someday.

“Force’s under attack,” says his partner, Dom, wolfing Chick-n-Minis from his own private 20-tray, steaming up the cruiser. Bag-of-bones Weanie is crum- pled in the passenger seat.

“You hear it now?” says Weanie, drawing in a sharp, short breath.

He and Dom are on break outside the Chick-fil-A on Bristol. Weanie can’t sit still lately. He jiggles his legs and wrings his hands, listening, deeply, to what he’s now thinking must be an engine running—that’s it, an engine running rough, like an outboard motor, and snappy, pop-pop-pop-pop-pop. But that would require a boat, and water. And the city, the entire county, is landlocked. And the seismic index is low. Weanie checks daily.

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Naked, Fierce, Yelling Stone Age Grannies

By Lisa Bellamy

Featured Art by Evelyn De Morgan

I shudder when I think of the giant beavers—
tiny-brained, squinting Pleistocene thugs—
they bared rotting incisors longer than a human arm,
they infested ponds and rivers, smothered
gasping sh with their acid-spiked, toxic urine,
they slapped their murderous tails—bleating,
they dragged themselves up the riverbank,
spied sweetgrass; they charged the crawling babies,
the tiny baby bones, trampling, they didn’t care—
hurray for the naked, fierce, yelling Stone Age grannies—
they dropped their hammer stones, they grabbed
sharp sticks. Who can forget their skinny, bouncing breasts?
They beat the giant beavers, they speared; they smeared
hot, thick beaver blood over each other’s faces,
their bony, serviceable buttocks—who can forget the grannies—


Lisa Bellamy teaches at The Writers Studio and studies with Philip Schultz. Her poetry collection, The Northway, is forthcoming from Terrapin Books. Her chapbook, Nectar, won The Aurorean chapbook prize in 2011. Bellamy’s writing has appeared in The Southern Review, TriQuarterly, Massachusetts Review, Hotel Amerika, Asimov’s Science Fiction, and The Sun, among other publications. She received a Pushcart Prize Special Mention and a Fugue Poetry Prize. She lives in Brooklyn and the Adirondacks.

Our Fathers

By Lisa Bellamy

Our fathers never spoke to us of their wars.
Each morning, they girded their loins with tool belt
and slide rule, according to their appointed trades.
In the summer, as they backed out
our driveways, we ran after them. In the winter,
they left, whistling, as we slept.
They created Japanese–style goldfish ponds,
built backyard gazebos, sang barbershop harmony
and strummed the ukulele, but they refused
to call themselves makers of beauty.
They woke us at midnight to see
the Aurora Borealis, carried us out
to the rose and white light-waves streaming,
named for the goddess of dawn who brings life,
and the god of the north wind who brings death.

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Moo

By Chrys Tobey

Featured Art by Vincent van Gogh

Woman is not yet capable of friendship: women
are still cats and birds. Or, at best, cows.
—Nietzsche

Love, I’m sorry for the time we were walking home with groceries in our
arms—you carried the chicken and potatoes and I held the chocolate. As we

laughed about something I can’t remember, our dog barked
at someone, and I just bolted, ran off. Also, love, there were all

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Cockadoodledoo

By Chrys Tobey

Our parson to the old women’s faces
That are cold and folded, like plucked dead hens’ arses.
—Ted Hughes

An old woman thought her face was a dead
hen’s arse. Maybe it was all the years
of plucking and waxing. The woman had no idea
what would make her think her face
was a dead hen’s arse and not a live hen’s
arse, and why the arse and not the beak, but
she did. It couldn’t be my age, the woman thought.

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Coach O

By Robert Hinderliter

Featured Art by Owen Jones

Coach Oberman watched from his office window as a group of students prepared the bonfire by the south end zone. Two kids stacked tinder while another knelt beside a papier-mâché buffalo they would throw on the fire at the end of the pep rally. Oberman couldn’t wait to watch it burn.

He’d just gotten off the phone with Mike Treadwell—coach of the Ashland Buffaloes—who’d called to wish him luck in tomorrow’s game. Mike had been Oberman’s assistant for three years before taking the job at Ashland High. And now, after back-to-back state titles in his first two years, he’d been offered the defensive coordinator position at Emporia State University. This would be the last time they’d face off.

“I’ll miss seeing you across the field,” Mike had said. “Although I sure won’t miss trying to stop that Oberman offense.”

This was pandering bullshit. In their two head-to-head contests, Mike’s Buffaloes had routed Oberman’s Hornets by at least four touchdowns.

“I just wanted to say thanks,” Mike had said. “I couldn’t have gotten this far without you.”

He’d said it like he meant it, with no hint of sarcasm, but Oberman knew there was venom behind those words. In Mike’s two years as assistant, Oberman had treated him badly. Mike had a good mind for the game, there was no denying that, but he was a scrawny wuss with thick glasses and a girlish laugh. He didn’t belong on a football field. Oberman had banished him to working with the punter and made him the butt of jokes in front of the players. When Mike’s brother-in-law be- came superintendent at Ashland and handed Mike the coaching job, Oberman had scoffed. And now Mike was moving on to a Division II college while he was stuck muddling through another losing season with an eight-man team in Haskerville. He knew the irony wasn’t lost on either of them.

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Women in Treatment

By Theresa Burns

Featured Art by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Why had I not noticed them
before? The women in treatment
on every block, it seems, leaving
the library, walking their dogs.
Once they hid themselves
beneath wigs, fashionable hats
in the city, or entered softly
in Birkenstocks and baseball caps,
stayed out of the way. Now they
show up, unannounced.

In offices, in waiting rooms,
in aisle seats with legs outstretched,
the women in treatment
flip the pages, reach the end,
bald, emboldened. One
outside a florist today arranges
lantana in time for evening
rush. A bright silk scarf
around her pale round head
calls attention to her Supermoon.
And one woman my own age,
in my own town, takes up a table
right in front. She nurses a chai latte
in a purple jacket, her hair
making its gentle comeback.

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My Babysitter Karen B Who Was Sent to Willard Asylum

Winner, New Ohio Review Poetry Contest
selected by Kevin Prufer

By Jessica Cuello

There are only two photos of me as a child.
She took them, she had no child.

She had Kool Cigarettes and a job at the drugstore.
She gave me the Crayola box with the built-in sharpener.

Four hundred suitcases were stored in the attic
of Willard Asylum for the Chronic Insane.

She joined her twin brother there.
She wore her black hair down.

A child could admire it.
She bought me an Easter basket,

a stuffed rabbit whose fur rubbed off.
She walked everywhere.

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Calculations

By Linda Hillringhouse

Featured Art by Julia Margaret Cameron

We’re waiting for our copying jobs
at Staples, so she starts chatting me up,
says she’s a retired math teacher.
When I tell her I taught English,
she says that English teachers
are the worst and she always kept
her mouth shut at the book club
because they always wanted
evidence and she just wanted
to talk, have a cup of tea,
what’s the big deal?
And I’m being too nice as usual
making it clear to her I’m not
one of those book bitches.

Now I’m hearing about the math museum
in New York and I can tell she wants someone
to go with. I’m brainstorming excuses
but it’s my turn to say something so I say
how much I like zeros and that I even
tried to read a book about them.

Now she’s telling me how she used to prove
to her students that she can get 2 to equal 1
and keeps saying, Let A=B and it’s like
God’s saying it, but now she’s saying, Anything
can be anything and this is starting to sound
like patent bullshit and she’s droning on

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An Education

By Molly Minturn

Featured Art: Still Life with Cake by Raphaelle Peale

It was spring and I walked
the streets in the late afternoon
with the best poet I knew.
She was tall with a severe face
like an early New Englander.
Her ancestors survived genocide.
We didn’t discuss our work, only
the weather, how the blossoms
were upsetting. The war was on.
We bought a hefty slice of cake
and walked slowly under a murder
of crows back to my apartment.
This seemed too evocative,
almost to the point of embarrassment.

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Here Comes Happy

By Shauna Mackay

So, as I understand it, none of your children have died?

They die all the time, she says. Over and over.

The doctor, young as ever-dying sons, suggests a short course of medication and refers her to someone who might help her to change her thoughts.

On the way home her walk’s different: rocking, dodgy. This is how the embarrassed go. Shanks’s pony won’t trot nice: one two, onetwo, no, one, two, for God’s sake. She keeps a Bonaparte hand to pat the phone in the pocket of her shirt, there, there; can’t let it lie at the bottom of her bag, roofed over by crap and the birthday card for Lance. Her middle lad hasn’t answered the text she sent from the doctor’s reception area: he’s got an away game today, rugby, that bloody rugby; he must be injured, quadriplegic, on a ventilator, brain dead. How can she go on? She smoothes out the prescription in her hand, crosses the road to the chemist.

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Wex in Totus Taggle

By Owen Doyle

Featured Art by James McNeill Whistler

Words in an old notebook
prove (I was twenty-ish, then)
that mind-mud and dismally
tangled brain material
have causes other than old age
or illness. At the time,
they might have been explained
by the rum or beer in mind-
blowing excess the night before.
I don’t remember.

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At the Wives’ Coffee

By Abby E. Murray

Featured Art: A Rose by Thomas Anshutz

You should know
             there is no coffee
                                at the Wives’ Coffee

There’s prosciutto
               and cream puffs
                               and conversation starters
                                               printed on glossy paper

And here’s a tip
               from the commander’s wife:

Wives who forget
               to wear the crest pin
                              will be fined a dollar
                                          because these pins
                                                             aren’t free ladies

and immediately
                I’m a stump
                      rolled into the river
                                               before a flood
                                                               I am uncooperative

a hollow log sheltering rebel fish
               a disruption of roots

But the conversation starters
                are required and my question is

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Language Immersion

By Jeff Walker

Featured Art by Martin Johnson Heade

Nobody, speaking of fluency, would remember
that party where I told the young woman
seated on the floor: this food tastes good. Nothing untoward.
She surprised me by crawling on all fours, her blouse fairly open
at the top by way of happy gravity, to gently
take the food from my hand with her teeth; alarmed me
because I was not young and
what could she be thinking by doing that?

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Return

Winner, New Ohio Review Fiction Contest

selected by Mary Gaitskill

By Analía Villagra

He was gone for eleven years, and Jackie is still getting used to the idea that Victor is out. Exonerated. His release had warranted a few sentences on the local NPR station, so Jackie knows that he has been at his mother’s place, three blocks away, for a week. She has not yet run into him on the street. Each time she leaves her apartment she scans the sidewalks, and when he does not materialize she feels equal parts relief and disappointment. Thursday afternoon she goes out of her way to walk past his building, willing him to be on the front steps or looking out the window. She slows down. Would he even recognize her now? Her hair is short, with a few stray glints of gray, no longer halfway to her waist and shimmering black. Her eyes have shadows beneath them. Her hips have spread. She’s thirty years old, in good shape she thinks, unless you’ve spent a decade fantasizing about a nineteen-year-old body. Jackie blushes. This is the first time she’s admitted to herself that she wondered—hoped? assumed?—that Victor thought about her while he was away. Eleven years. Maybe he’ll recognize her, maybe he won’t. She can’t decide which is worse, so she stares down at the sidewalk and hurries past the building.

She goes to the Y to pick her daughter up from camp. Graciela is running around the outdoor play area with a group of other kids, their hair wild, their clothes and faces filthy.

“Mama!” Grace shrieks when she sees her.

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The Blackbird Whistling

By Linda Bamber

Featured Art by John Frederick Kensett

I do not know which to prefer,
         The beauty of inflections
  Or the beauty of innuendoes,
           The blackbird whistling
                             Or just after.
                    —Wallace Stevens


1. The Beauty of Innuendoes

Meaning in poems comes and goes
like a car speeding down a tree-lined road
sun-shade-sun-shade-sun-shade . . .

Poems’ secret places:
fleeting, hidden, close.

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Trees in March

By Linda Bamber

We were seated near the back of the Chinese restaurant, and waiters were
rushing in and out of the swinging doors to the kitchen. At the time we had
not as yet so much as brushed shoulders. Resting on the formica table top, my
hand began to feel odd. Not bad-odd; but most unusual. Trees in early March,
aroused, their branches slightly reddened by the slightly stronger sun, may feel
something similar. They have a new sense of their importance in the scheme of
things; they remember (if I may say so) they are divine. He was looking at my
face, not my hand, so I don’t know how my hand, resting near the remains of
the General Gau’s chicken, intuited its sudden access of significance; but it did.
It had aura you could cut with a knife.

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