25.2 - Summer/Fall 2013

Table of Contents

Authors in this issue: Chelsea Wagenaar, Quan Barry, Elizabeth Barnett, Wendy Xu, Ryan Teitman, Eamon Grennan, Jacques J. Rancourt, Ada Limón, Jamaal May, Kimberly Williams, Eric Weinstein, Tue Sy, Danniel Schoonebeek, Joshua Young, Gustavo Arellano, Sophie Klahr, Kerry Howley, J.S.A. Lowe, Caitlin Maling, Austin Tremblay, Joseph Scapellato, Will Donnelly, and Carmen Giménez Smith, Carolina Ebeid, Angie Cruz, Rigoberto Gonzalez, Juan Felipe Herrera, David Tomas Martinez, Zach Mueller, Shara Lessley, David James Poissant, Petur HK, J. David Stephens, Michael Copperman, Matthew Ferrence, Katie Cortese, Kevin Brockmeier, Josie Sigler, John Longo, Emma Copley Eisenberg, Suad Khatab Ali, Jennifer D. Munro, Craig Reinbold, Marc Gaba, Laura Kasischke, Austin LaGrone, Ander Monson, Jim Daniels, Traci Brimhall, Emma Straub, Patti White, Jose Angel Araguz, Simeon Berry, Wayne Miller,

Features

Introduction to the 2012 Barthelme Prize Winners

Ander Monson

We are told we live in a brief world. Our diminishing attention spans underwrite this as we click and click, birds between bushes, the brain between buzzes. Some days it’s all in flux, and we know we live only briefly—brightly, lightly—and…

Features

The Compartment

Josie Sigler

When children lose their wings, the compartmentopens briefly at the crux of disintegration, in the tenderupper back. You’ve seen the space that remainson sunny days at public beaches or when readying achild for school or bed. Unless you’re…

Features / Fiction

The Only Thing We Argue About Is Time Travel

John Longo

These are debates into both the philosophy and the physics. They can be heated, the way other couples might argue over politics, money, or infidelity. But those have never been our problems. Our problems are theories of compossibility, paradox,…

Features / Fiction

There was

Emma Copley Eisenberg

There was brick and there was sun. There were floorboards of stained pine. There were water circles from where terracotta pots full of cacti had been, and leaked. The sun went down and people came. The friend who stood with me on the fire…

Fiction

The Anatomy of Shame

Suad Khatab Ali

       1.            I have something to tell you, a secret.       I don’t want to tell you, not really, but something, or perhaps someone, is trying to make me. This thing or one is whispering in my ear, sticking needles in my arm, poking…

Fiction

Two Days in Seventh Grade

Kevin Brockmeier

      The gym stands on one side of the hall, Mr. Gates’s class on the other, and every day, after first period, the girls finishing PE and the boys finishing Bible meet in the middle, twisting around each other like the tails of two kites.…

Fiction

Lexa Flying Solo

Katie Cortese

Lexa’s mother had always been funny, but cancer put her over the top. “Intestine pieces are no big deal,” she said in month six of a six-month sentence. “It’s my uterus I miss most. Now there’s an organ that could throw a party.” She wore…

Fiction

Tuesday

Petur HK

  There was nothing particularly ominous about the day the Earth disintegrated. It was a Tuesday, and John and Jane were in the car on their way to visit their son. They had done so every other Tuesday for the last twenty or thirty years.      …

Fiction

The Collector of Thoughts

David James Poissant

Weeks, he’d been collecting his thoughts, and now he had them. They were caught in two suitcases, one flannel with a zipper, the other black with brass piping and buckles that clicked when they latched. The thoughts tumbled and bulged. They…

Fiction

Art Builds Bridges

J. David Stephens

First came the Bridge of Grocery Tins in Terre Haute. For months, Meredith picked through dumpsters as far north as Clinton and as far south as Farmersburg, even across the Illinois line. She loved the colorful metal: the rich luster of Campbell’s…

Non-Fiction

True Zeroes

Michael Copperman

One boy, Nyson, was moon-faced and dull-eyed and never closed his mouth all the way, his slug of a tongue perpetually protruding. He arrived early to my classroom and lingered in a wistful, patient manner that begged response. He did not know…

Non-Fiction

The Slashing

Matthew Ferrence

Two deer emerged out of the thick upper woods of my parents’ farm, a place my father and brother called the Slashing. For two weeks, I had waited for this moment. Since the cold opening morning of deer season—always the Monday after Thanksgiving…

Non-Fiction

Life Cycles

Jennifer D. Munro

1969 Honda CL 125 Scrambler, maroon and chrome, an on-off road bike with a high exhaust and skid plates: my dad’s last motorcycle and my earliest memory. He took the helmetless kids on the block for rides one day. We lined up for our turn,…

Non-Fiction

Holding the Plank

Craig Reinbold

I’ve got to talk fast if I’m going to get through this, through enough of the history behind all of this that maybe you’ll understand what this is about. I am doing the plank—a yoga position recently co-opted by the exercise world. I’m stretched…

Non-Fiction

Three-Hour Tour

Emma Straub

I lived in Madison, Wisconsin, on a narrow spit of land between two lakes. The actual word for this land formation is an isthmus, but no one who is not a crossword puzzle champion or a resident of said city knows what that means. I lived closer…

Non-Fiction

The Sound

Patti White

Everyone asks what it sounds like. It does and does not sound like a freight train; it rumbles, but the high notes of the rails are missing, the click and clatter and screech. It does and does not sound like a jet engine, though it shrieks…

Poetry

Reading Hunger

Jose Angel Araguz

Poetry

The children

Elizabeth Barnett

Poetry

The storm you say

Elizabeth Barnett

Poetry

loose strife

Quan Barry

Poetry

ars

Quan Barry

Poetry

from Monograph

Simeon Berry

Poetry

A Brief History of Evolution

Jim Daniels

Poetry

Vogue, Vogue

Marc Gaba

Poetry

Word

Eamon Grennan

Poetry

Rat Poison

Eamon Grennan

When the rat had come back to the attic and woke him to its scratching         at the poison he’d laid that would be its bane for sure he felt no pity for a death that had to happen but only some dread or antique horror         at having the…

Poetry

Suffering Song

Laura Kasischke

Poetry

Gin Blossom

Austin LaGrone

Poetry

Dawn at the Dead Sea

Shara Lessley

Poetry

How to Triumph Like a Girl

Ada Limón

I like the lady horses best, how they make it all look easy,like running 40 miles per houris as fun as taking a nap, or grass.I like their lady horse swagger,after winning. Ears up, girls, ears up!But mainly, let’s be honest, I likethat they’re…

Poetry

Down Here

Ada Limón

Poetry

On Metal

Jamaal May

Hmm...drags at the back of a throat, occasionallybecomes mmmhmm...when three men huddle around a car, admitting some smaller defeat,while not quite admitting the emergence of digitalparts means this won’t be solved by ratchet alone.No one…

Poetry

Thalassophobia

Jamaal May

Poetry

Image: Psychotherapy

Wayne Miller

Poetry

Act of Contrition

Jacques J. Rancourt

Two people who are honest for the first time speakhonestly to each other.There are flocks of sheep herding dogs inside me. There are lovers I’ve pared with knives from apples. This season smutted into two othersuntil the body could have what…

Poetry

Chinkhoswe

Jacques J. Rancourt

Poetry

Correction

Danniel Schoonebeek

The question of whether the idea of America is dead is not a question.A question by its definition does not cease to exist in the language.You hear spoken by those who ask it. This is why the dead, if we say.Where the living belong are the…

Poetry

My Father's Shadow

Tue Sy

Poetry

Archipelago

Ryan Teitman

A bird is a kindof island. In flight,a flock is calledan archipelago.At rest, a peninsula.When two flocksmeet, they are calleda communion.Used in a sentence:Two flocksmet and becamea communion.A surgeon opensa body with a scalpel.A scalpel…

Poetry

Mendicant

Ryan Teitman

Poetry

Milk

Chelsea Wagenaar

Poetry

Apology With Whales and Coyotes

Chelsea Wagenaar

Come listen to the coyotes, you say, your voice a smudgeof ash in the Iowa night. I hear the encroaching yips,  the bellow of a frightened cow, though I do not admit this.We agreed not to shout when we are angry. In the kingdomof night are…

Poetry

Love Poem in Four Nocturnes

Eric Weinstein

I replace the pan of water on the radiator in my sleep. I know this because I wake standing by the fogged window upon which I’ve transparently written: REFILL RADIATOR PAN. CHECK.There are parts of my body I have never seen. I have told you…

Poetry

Cane: 1962

Kimberly Williams

Poetry

ways we imagine

Wendy Xu

Poetry

patterns of excitement

Wendy Xu

How many sentences do you need to sink a kayakWelcome to my list of necessarily unanswerable questionsDear person I am writing this for your morning urgency of lightFor whatever questions about the future come into your bedThis is just to…

Interviews

"The Cinnamon Tsunami is Here": A Latin@ Writers…

Gustavo Arellano, Angie Cruz, Carolina Ebeid, Rigoberto Gonzalez, Juan Felipe Herrera, David Tomas Martinez, and Carmen Giménez Smith

This roundtable brings together a number of prominent Latin@ writers. The term “Latin@,” which signifies both Latinos and Latinas, is a semiotic gesture by Latinidad scholars intended to mitigate gender privileging in language. Or, as the…

Editor's Note

Crossing Borders: A Review of Michel Stone's…

Will Donnelly

Michel Stone, The Iguana Tree.           Hub City Press, 2012. Hardcover, 220 pp, $24.95.       It’s not easy to write from a cultural perspective that’s different from one’s own. To do so respectfully, any author must not only perform deep…

Editor's Note

Vox Gravitatis: A Review of Elena Passarello's…

Kerry Howley

Elena Passarello, Let Me Clear My Throat.           Sarabande Books, 2012. Paperback, 240 pp, $15.95.       “You don’t get to have a voice,” an eminent poet once shouted at me and my aspirant-poet peers. One’s voice, he meant, ought not to…

Poetry / Editor's Note

Such Hunger: A Review of Eduardo C. Corral's…

Sophie Klahr

Such Hunger: A Review of Eduardo C. Corral's Slow Lightning Sophie Klahr Eduardo C. Corral, Slow Lightning.           Yale University Press, 2012. Paperback, 96 pp, $18.        What is it anyway—lightning? How does it happen?…

Editor's Note

Handmaiden with a Broken Urn: A Review of Mary…

J.S.A. Lowe

Mary Ruefle, Madness, Rack, & Honey.           Wave Books, 2012. Paperback, 352 pp, $25.       The poet-critic: that vital hybrid, the one who persists in existing despite endless deliberation about her place on the scholarly chain of being.…

Editor's Note

A Booming Outpost of Poetry: Cathy Park Hong's…

Caitlin Maling

Cathy Park Hong, Engine Empire.           W.W. Norton & Company, 2012. Hardcover, 96 pp, $24.95.        Concerned with frontiers of economics, language, culture, and technology, Cathy Park Hong’s triptych Engine Empire opens upon a Wild West…

Editor's Note

Small in Size, Enormous in Scope: A Review…

Joseph Scapellato

James Tadd Adcox, The Map of the System of Human Knowledge.           Tiny Hardcore Press, 2012. Paperback, 138 pp, $12.       When we were boys, my brother and I cut brown paper bags into treasure maps. We named terrains, dangers, and caches…

Editor's Note

That Dog'll Hunt: Searching for Meaning Through…

Austin Tremblay

Matthew Pennock, Sudden Dog.            Alice James Books, 2012. Paperback, 76 pp, $15.95.       Coming up on my twenty-first semester of higher education, I often apologetically disclaim even the most casual conversation by saying, “Please…