26.2 - Summer/Fall 2014

Table of Contents

Authors in this issue: Keith Leonard, Richie Hofmann, Joe Wenderoth, Rodney Koeneke, Christopher Kondrich, Craig Morgan Teicher, Kenny Williams, John James, Carolyn Creedon, Adam O. Davis, Marina Weiss, Lisa Fey Coutley, David Kirby, Rosalie Moffett, Taisia Kitaiskaia, Meghan Privitello, A. Powell, Katie Condon, R. Khanna & Z. Sedira, Mariola V. Alvarez, Legier Biederman, Julia Brown, Conor Bracken, Malachi Black, Ines Pujos, Stephen Burt, Maureen N. McLane, Nick Narbutas, Margo Berdeshevsky, Alan Stewart Carl, Halimah Marcus, Pamela Ryder, Jennifer Sinor, Will Boast, Sierra Bellows, Colin Winnette, Robert Coover, John D'Agata, Lawrence Coates, Ana Reyes, Timothy Denevi, Jessica Blank, Christopher Bakken, Carl Phillips, Karyna McGlynn, Jeanne Marie Beaumont, Stephen Burt and Maureen N. McLane, and Leslie Jill Patterson, Pamela Colloff, David R. Dow, Anthony Graves, Zachary Martin, John R. Beardsley,

Editor's Note

Editor's Note

Karyna McGlynn

Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana. It seems like only yesterday that we were saying hello to you, announcing our grand plans for Gulf Coast. And here we are, two years and a few gray hairs later, rapidly approaching the end...


Introduction to the 2013 Barthelme Prize

Robert Coover

All three of these stories echo Donald Barthelme’s brevity, concision, and wry intelligence, his gift for memorable one-liners. Notoriously withering as his critiques could be, he would have loved all the first and last sentences here...


Attempts at Love

John D'Agata

Understandably, the ambitious man’s friend fled for protection to the one place where he figured he’d be safe, Corinth, and there he raised a son who grew up to have his own son—a boy who was considered the most beautiful in Corinth...

Fiction / Features

2013 Barthelme Prize Winner: Bats

Lawrence Coates

In November, all the women in Northwest Ohio have bats in their purses. They hang upside down within the purses, no matter the size, silent, peaceful, their tiny claws clinging to the cell phone pocket, or the built-in coinpurses...


At the Edge of the Kitchen's Light

Ana Reyes

Tonight I'm almost asleep when the smells come. Intestinal pigs feet smells. She's cooking again, my grandmother, inside the little house. Abuela was a night person. She rises in the dark to stir her vat. Hominy, tripe, pigs feet, sweat.


Cement Men

Colin Winnette

We were out of touch with love. We're not cement men anymore we reminded one another, walking hand in hand. We rented a cabin to focus on love. We made lists of what love could be like and should be like and was.


There's Nothing Here You'd Want

Pamela Ryder

Broom clean, the realtor had said. Don't give the buyer a reason to renege. Certainly not. Not after so many delays: the dickering over price, the demands for repairs before the closing date. One last look, the daughter decided, arriving broom…



Will Boast

I thought if I wrote about Rory maybe that would get him out of my dreams. I was renting a house—four months rent paid up, nothing to do but write—from a professor of Archeology away on a dig. She'd promised to have someone...


John the Baptist

Timothy Denevi

Imagine: an afternoon desert. The wilderness at its horizon. Together we're crossing a well-traveled path. Our destination? A river about thirty miles east of Jerusalem's walls. Who do you want to be? A corrupt soldier? A widow? A businessman…


Insomnia as Art

Adam O. Davis

A distress / of ambulances / pass. / Snow like / diphtheria. / She called / love "lead / poisoning," / left by / the backdoor. / Like cake / in a casket, / she made mud / of my hospitality. / No one has / a dime for / the telephone. / No one…


Schadenfreude (Memory)

John James

Drunk again. You do the math. You wanted / happiness and I can't blame you for that. I wanted / to tell this story without having to confess / the water stains on the ceiling remind me / of shedding your clothes. / Darling, I gave you...



Jeanne Marie Beaumont

At this counter you can buy mints, M&Ms, slick magazines, and / a chance for the end of the / rainbow. It doesn't help to be / a sourpuss (I should know). / One automaton please in good operating condition, bringing food to / her mouth....


Sam Says Let’s Go To The City & See Joe Strummer

John R. Beardsley

I will never love you like I love Joe Strummer / she said and I said that’s / ok I won’t either / Our lips were there in the rearview mirror / and if you were in the backseat maybe it would have looked / like a movie from the 1990s you know,…



Richie Hofmann

In another time the choice / might have been depicted as two gates: Open the one, and it is winter. / Snow covers the cobbled pathways, the spires, / the December markets shrill / with lettuces. Snow covers the butcher's stoop,the little chapel.…


after lunch, some poems

Rodney Koeneke

After lunch, some poems. Wild ember, / isn't it pleasant to sprawl on this grass at my insistence, dropping the knife / for pushing the rice plugs into mud with, / eyes blue smears in summer, / two holidays from service? / No question's…


[Near the end, James]

Keith Leonard

stands in a bubble in the backyard. The bubble is large, and so only looks / like an oily wall. His whole life / behind this one thin wall, and he presses his hand through. The wall feels like a small water / fall on his wrist. It is a Wednesday.


The Golden Calf

Meghan Privitello

If you ask for a god, / I will give you a hum-drum sculpture, a cheap / vessel to fill / with what you think / is worthy: your angst / and cum, that one memory / of your mother / when she was still alive / enough to groan. / Give me your earrings...


Against Porcelain

Ines Pujos

scientists in Hong-Kong have discovered a prehistoric fish / washed ashore in my bathtub among hair knots & soap suds / National Geographic is on its way / this creature with ten eyes & no fins / there are debates...


To the Lighthouse: Zineb Sedira & Ranjana Khanna…

A. Powell, R. Khanna & Z. Sedira

Amy Powell moderates a conversation between Zinab…


Maintaining Cars, Pools, and Other Modernities:…

Mariola V. Alvarez

By including the car, Tossin, like an archivist...


Fruit Metaphors, Objects, and Histories: The…

Legier Biederman

Fruit is many things for many people...