ISSUE 32: WINTER 2016

Fiction.

Little Half Moons.

by Trevor Shikaze

Tatiana liked the sitter. She was a thin girl with dark skin and bright teeth and big beautiful eyes, good legs. She was a neighbourhood girl; Tatiana had bonded with her mom in the organic grocery store, talking about dental floss. The girl, Lani, lived four houses down and responded in seconds to Tatiana’s Friday morning text. You free to sit tonight? “There’s mac and cheese in here and they can have candy after dinner but not too much, one little Twizzlers packet each, and I understand if you can’t make them go to bed but just try, they can sleep in tomorrow so it’s not the end of the world. Kendra knows how to work Netflix and they can watch whatever, but obviously use your judgment, Chloe scares easily. I’ll be back by, I don’t know, elevenish?” David pulled up and tapped the horn. “There’s my ride. Gotta run. …

Life During Wartime.

by Ingrid Keenan

On the table by the front door there are twenty-six gifts. Two of them are small boxes, four of them are gift bags, and nineteen others are large bo...

Strike Anywhere.

by Matthew J. Trafford

   Vaughn sat down with a calendar to try to figure out when it had started—the exact first day that he hadn’t left the house. There had been a doct...

Silicone Giddy.

by David Huebert

  Yeah there were non-stop girls. Yeah the girls did not stop. Yeah we were silicone giddy. Yeah there were enhancements. Yeah there was tanned skin...

Poetry.

Everything of You Resembles a Human.

by Emily Schultz

  Month 3 The sad plight of old parents—we know all days are small. By the time you are old enough for regrets, it’s possible I will be in the place where regrets are rainwater. And so I tell you this: when you sleep your hands reach out to grasp what isn’t there. Already your fingers search the emptiness with a kind of expectation. What will soothe you? Your downy head soothes me this night, the breath of hair that rises against my lips as you doze, recently fed, on my chest, although you do not know me. I am only a voice, and in the night across the blank sky of the room, I come to you, through a predictable darkness, muttering a clumsy language. I love you— I love you because you will not remember the moments I cherish most. You cannot replay this. You are not wholly …

Three Poems.

by Michael Prior

20 / 20   Release me from seeing, from being seen: the gorge’s flaking shale, the teens in Converse skidding down its ribs, the canals wrapped ...

Endnotes.

by Jamie Sharpe

“Chalk Outline”: At a reading, one of the authors described herself as a Confessional Poet. When pressed about the type of writing I practiced, I sa...

Two Poems.

by Suzannah Showler

SINCE YOU ASKED   This whole business about unfinished business is bullshit. I don’t know where that rumour started, but it’s bad for the new o...

Don’t Become a Statistic.

by Amy Carlberg

  Become a grapevine flowering across a wall instead. Instead, become a little boy named Larry who was born in Fresno. Instead, become the shad...

Evolution of the Species.

by Elizabeth Ross

  After the infant’s birth, the pugs became animals. Once cute tails now exposed pink and brown anuses. They grew slimy snouts and swamp odours...

The Bachelor.

by Robert Steckling

  The man who lives next door is walking home all by himself again. He’s coming up the street in steady measured steps, one by one past the sno...

Exact Fraction.

by Maria Tessa Liem

  1/2 She is off white, right? Off white, exactly right. Not exactly white. Which white exactly? Which fraction white? She is visibly off white...

A Daughter’s Lullaby.

by Lily Gontard

Hushaby, my little one Hushaby, my darling Hushaby, Hushaby, Hushaby, my little …  —Origin unknown We end as we began together in a hospital b...

The Last Time He Ever Touched Me.

by Caitlin Scarano

It’s like Sharon Olds and Freud are having breakfast at Gertrude Stein’s place. From outside to inner worlds, the poem steadily dissolves walls, bod...

Two Poems.

by Sadie McCarney

Milford The grown kids war at whim again, split their Lincoln Log cordwood and scowl or putt to town on Tinker Toy exhaust. So go. Slip away in pree...

The Signals.

by Louise Carson

A rectangular post with a globe on top that seems to be a kindly courteous gentleman looking at his lawn turns out he’s meant to define someone’s fr...

Two Poems.

by Patricia Young

OLD LADY COUNTRY    Don’t say the old lady screamed—bring her on and let her scream. —Mark Twain I have dragged old ladies out of their b...

American Girl circa 1907.

by Paula Parris Eisenstein

  i When we play we pretend to be boys. Boys can do more. Father is our main supporter. Brings home baseballs, bats, upon request a football. W...

Two Poems.

by Vincent Pagé

Pyrenean Ibex. Capra pyrenean pyrenean. 2000   Where your horn bunts crack like sixteen sudden balls through a pool hall, over and across dry P...

Essays.

Sarajevo Roses.

by Christine Estima

July 2008 It is unnerving, being on a bus for so long, but also calming. I read a book and I eat my peaches, sucking down on the meat, trying not to let the juice dollop on my chin or thighs. I listen to music I’ve heard countless times on my MP3 player and gaze out at the blurring horizon beyond the window. Little villages and hamlets nestle into the burrow and curve of Bosnian mountains, sometimes climbing beyond where they reasonably should. Ordinarily, the eye would go to the church steeple or bell tower rising above the houses. But here, the Orthodox churches remain gutted skeletons from the war. Instead, the eye from the bus looks for the mosques. The domes and prayer chants rise high like warblers, which nest there like they would in the beams of a church. They don’t pray. Birds have no religion. And they …

What Silence Doesn’t Say.

by Deborah Thompson

In a creative nonfiction workshop I recently facilitated, the piece up for discussion was a personal essay about the culture of silence that the writer’s religious background fostered. Her culture’s premium on silence kept her from speaking out during years of sexual abuse. Even as it portrayed the narrator’s gradual, uphill struggle to speak out and name names, the essay, deftly subtle and brilliantly understated, never directly identified the exact nature of the abuse or named the perpetrator. It ended with the narrator on the verge of going public, but never told the reader exactly what she said. Fellow workshoppers in this group of gifted and savvy writers said they appreciated the “non-judgmental” and “unbiased” tone. Even more, they praised the piece’s subtlety, restraint, and use of indirection; the way it practiced “show, don’t tell”; the way it let the misogyny of the religion “speak for itself”; the way it …...

Conversations.

Reviews.

How droll the world is!: A Review of Patrick deWitt’s Undermajordomo Minor.

by Liz Harmer

Lucy Minor is, from the start, aware that life is something to be played at. About to leave his family for the first time, he decides that he is “mourning the fact that there was nothing much to mourn about.” We watch him imagining being watched as he smokes his pipe for the first time: “Lucy was looking forward to pointing with his pipe in a social setting; all he needed was an audience for whom to point, as well as something to point at.” Lucy is, as this passage indicates, all about gesture, all about style and form. The content is beside the point. Undermajordomo Minor opens with Lucy seeming to have miraculously recovered from an illness, hoping to live only so that something might happen to relieve him of his boredom. A job is arranged for him at the mysterious Castle von Aux, and Lucy leaves his …

Forty Winks: A Review.

by Mark Sampson

A curious thing happens when you read three books about the (dys)functions of sleep in a row. Can you guess what it might be? Actually, I exaggerat...

SVPPLEMENT.

Citizens of the Cosmos: An Introduction to Literary Cosmopolitanism, Winter 2016 Svpplement.

by André Forget

The first person to ever call himself a “cosmopolitan” was a 4ᵗʰ century Athenian vagrant named Diogenes. Diogenes had come to the city after getting caught up in some rather shady financial business back in his native Sinope, and quickly became known for his extreme asceticism, bad temper, and often spectacularly rude publicity stunts. One day, one of Diogenes’ fellow-Athenians asked him where he came from. History has not recorded why—perhaps as an immigrant from a distant Black Sea colony, he spoke with an unusual accent, or maybe it was that Athens in the 4ᵗʰ century wasn’t all that big and strangers stuck out—but it could have been something more threatening, too: the Hellenic world was, at that time, riven by feuding city-states and proxy wars and shifting alliances, and it is possible that Diogenes, as a foreigner, was under some suspicion. We don’t know why this Athenian was so interested …