May 2008


 

 



I AM
By Tim Elhajj

When I was a boy, I always wondered if Dad were black. No one in our small town looked like Dad. He had the thick features of an Arab. If he let his hair grow, it piled up in messy loafs on his head. Of course, I never asked Dad about any of this. I wasn't sure how to present it.

SOME THINGS ABOUT THAT DAY
By Debra Marquart

I remember, the men seemed the more bereft. Facing forward, their elbows resting on knees, their faces covered with hands. Or pushed back hard in the seats, gazing at a spot on the floor, legs stretched out in the aisles.

QUINTO SOL
By Michelle Otero

"Our people were kings," your father would whisper after handing over the day's corn and chile verde to El Lagartijo, a man with one polished star to hold up his pants and another to cover his heart. A man with thick hands and skin so clear you could almost see his blood run.

SNAIL PICKING
By Donovan Hohn

Usually I’d show mercy, restoring them to their universe of leaves, but sometimes I’d hurl them hard against a garage door, where they left ichorous spots. Snails were pests, after all.

HOUSE IN THE SUBURBS
By Richard Terrill

This morning, while I was watering, the pair of robins with the nest on the post top beneath the summer porch dive bombed me from two angles in turns. I am encouraged by their relationship, but today fended them off with the hose.

SCENES FROM A WEEKEND POETRY CONFERENCE
By Rebecca McClanahan

This boy wears a black beret, reads Ginsberg and howls. Back home, a perfect domestic moon lights the boy’s head, but he borrows the ancient moon pasted in the sky, whispering to the girl with dark eyes and breasts he would die for, who writes of flowers, generic, unnamed. The pale boy beside her (whose father’s eyes, I happen to know, are headlights screaming at him each night) blinks back the glare and squints into the sun of a dozen abstractions, writing guilt, control, the words white and safe as aspirin, and it stops thudding awhile, this ache between his eyes.

RUNNING THROUGH THE DARK
By Jennifer Sinor

This morning while I was running, shoes smacking the pavement, Venus bright above the spine of the Bear Mountains, and my thoughts pinned to the day ahead, the meetings, the deadlines, the writing I would not do, a deer was hit by a car.

THE OTHER NANA: A MEMOIR
By Kelle Groom

When I'm in college in a nearby town, The Other Nana opens the door to her bedroom. All pink. "Here' s a light," she says, switching on a table lamp. The edge of the shade, bedding, curtains -- everything is lacy. She gives me the room, her bed. I don't know where she sleeps.

ON THE FARM
By Judith Kitchen

Oh my god, who is she? I want her for my own. I want her affinity with all those chickens, her lopsided leaning, her house all atilt. I want that tipping chimney and the angle of her neck as she lets one hen push its way into her heart, another pose as a hat. I want that practical dress and the long black stockings, even the sensible shoes.

THERE'S THINGS
By Jill Noel Kandel

“We was out shootin’ rabbits and Raymond was there just a bitty ahead of me. We both saw that dang bunny at the same time. Onlys when he pulled his trigger he stood up. And when I pulls my trigger, there’s Ray’s head, affront of me.”

DYAD
By Lynne Nugent

The couple’s corners are worn and gray, like those of a favorite trinket carried around in a pocket for too long. They sit straight as royalty, gazing through the glass at a point somewhere over our heads.

TO ALL THOSE WHO SAY WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW
By Kate Petersen

I know something of desire. I know the blue spell of afternoon on his skin, the way a minute's kiss can absolve one hundred wasted days. The plain chance of bodies I've been willing to mistake for fate, like playing cards found facedown on the sidewalk. I know the words—the yes and the sorry and gone—that stand in for other things we can't say. The constellation of freckles on my left arm I am waiting for someone to read me like tarot. I know the aftermath of want.