28.1 - Winter/Spring 2016

Table of Contents

Authors in this issue: Fatimah Asghar, Sharon Olds, Timothy O'Keefe, Paul Maliszewski, Montreux Rotholtz, Adrian Matejka, Jessica Rae Bergamino, Sergio Pitol Demeneghi, Anders Carlson-Wee, Mathias Svalina, Corinna Rosendahl, Ocean Vuong, Lauren Hilger, Kelly Morse, Aurvi Sharma, Adam Day, Sultana Banulescu, Emily Skaja, Emma Törzs, Jonathan Starke, Susan Briante, Raphael Rubenstein, Jennine Capó Crucet, Laura van den Berg, Tiphanie Yanique, Nina McConigley, Jan Frank, Julian Schnabel, Kseniya Melnik, Danzy Senna, Annette Oxindine, David Reed, Mario Ariza, Susan Bee, Amy Woolard, Carl Palazzolo, Cathy Linh Che, Michele Filgate, Matt Hart, Jeremy Voigt, Margaret Emma Brandl, Jenny George, Jeff Bennett, Devi K. Lockwood, Patrice Gopo, Thomas Reiter, Michael Derrick Hudson, Jason Arment, Cythia Steele, Cecilia Llompart, trans. Cynthia Steele, Kenneth Hart, Keetje Kuipers, Jacob Sunderlin, Amy E. Glasenapp, Edgar Kunz, Andrew Nance, Shena McAuliffe, Sumita Chakraborty, Julie Bloemeke, Ruth Madievsky, Gwenn Thomas, Melvin Edwards, Chris Martin, Andrew McCutcheon, Debra Spark, Norman Dubie,

Poetry

Those Minor Regrets

Adrian Matejka

We ran Carriage House East / nonstop like a bunch of hungry mouths— / in jacking-jawing & ravenous orbits— / & the huffing in the throat stack / & double-ply knee cracks as we slid / Toughskin thick past the dented...

Poetry

It's Hot in Indianapolis, Basquiat

Adrian Matejka

It hasn’t rained in 6 weeks & my jaw is so tight, it clicks / like my mother’s heels in the early morning kitchen every / time I try to talk. Indy & summertime’s disreputable shimmer / of salt & red spray paint is on all the recalcitrant domes…

Non-Fiction

Double Entendres

Jason Arment

Smith lay on his back, on the top bunk of the rack he and I shared in Machine Gun’s squad bay, with both of his feet tied to the wooden support beams that ran to the ground. Smith and Ulrich had been wrestling...

Editor's Note

Translator's Note: Victorio Ferri Tells a Story

Cythia Steele

Sergio Pitol Demeneghi is arguably Mexico’s greatest living short-story writer, novelist, and translator. He was raised in the countryside of Veracruz. After studying law and philosophy in Mexico City...

Art

The Day Cy Died

Julian Schnabel

From the Art Lies Feature: Prepositional Art

Fiction

Victorio Ferri Cuenta Un Cuento

Sergio Pitol Demeneghi

Sé que me llamo Victorio. Sé que creen que estoy loco (versión cuya insensatez a veces me enfurece, otras tan sólo me divierte). Sé que soy diferente a los demás, pero también mi padre, mi hermana, mi primo José y hasta Jesusa, son distintos,

Fiction

Victorio Ferri Tells a Story

Sergio Pitol Demeneghi, trans. Cynthia Steele

I know my name is Victorio.

Poetry

Quadrilateral : Amoratic

Timothy O'Keefe

Bees bumble, cumulus ensues, and that’s the new precision : / They hailed for love, an October grammar, the linking orchard : / The opposite of agency is weathervane : / Show us again, the ripening. Show us what fell.

Poetry

Quadrilateral : Entropy

Timothy O'Keefe

Ragtime wounds, my friends, ragtime wounds : / The balloon man hoists a mosaic emotion : / Tell us the one about the sinking island—point to the very spot : / Summer peaches we said, as if there were another kind.

Poetry

Quadrilateral : Wharf Life

Timothy O'Keefe

Toes numb in the brackish waters but no great waning : / The rooms were gabardine, were doily. Each a different monogram : / When the men are afraid they are men. Yesterday is tall : No sailors sank in that thrall...

Poetry

Manchineel: St. Kitts

Thomas Reiter

Waiting at a jitney stop, these boys / in school uniform. Today’s history lesson / told of voyagers on a ship whose mainsail blessed / the New World with a painted cross. / A Carib elder greeted them as / men from the sky. Remembering...

Non-Fiction

Holding On

Patrice Gopo

“It reminds me of Zimbabwe,” Nyasha says as he stares out the car window at the changing landscape of Jamaica’s northeastern coast. Trees with lush, green leaves fringe the two-lane road. Peeking from beyond swaying palms, we see a cobalt…

Poetry

The Importance of Football

Jeremy Voigt

Since I have cultivated a dislike for football / for as long as I can remember, never playing / or watching, and since I can make nothing / of the nomenclature of X’s and O’s my coach / friend obsesses over like a monk in his cell,

Poetry

Reaching the Awe Sound

Matt Hart

Here and now, this blue winter sky, / and outside a light / frost, / the windows of the houses / and the windows of the cars / I walk out on the porch, and my glasses / fog up / I start my car to make things warm / Voices swirl around...

Non-Fiction

Level Guide

Margaret Emma Brandl

Level one is the snow and level two is a parking garage and level three is a room full of books. Level four is the middle of the night and level five is the summer, beers and water bottles, cookies and fruit pies and television on the internet.

Fiction

Candles

Paul Maliszewski

The priest asked if I would like to light the candles. There was a holder near the altar with several candles and then one large candle standing to the side. The large candle was decorated with crosses and doves and other things I can’t remember

Fiction

Proper Place

Paul Maliszewski

The old priest did not seem well. He approached the altar, moving haltingly, pausing some? times to look at the ground before taking a step. A younger priest went before him. When they reached the front of the church, the old priest sat to…

Poetry

Mnemonic

Jenny George

I forgot the prairie because it stood so / still. I forgot the clouds because they / were always moving. I forgot / the taste of water because it lay quietly inside the / taste of everything. / I forgot a childhood when it disappeared...

Poetry

Self Portrait of a Tidy Listener

Devi K. Lockwood

I have a heart as wide as the Mississippi Delta. All sorts / of things grow there: cotton, peanuts, / pigweed. Sometimes I have to fly through / with a big spray of Roundup just to get rid of it all. / My heart is too big to shop at department…

Non-Fiction

Uncle John

Jeff Bennett

At the time of my Uncle John’s death in the intensive care unit of the hospital up in Fargo, Minnesota, he had in his possession one leather jacket with attached liner, one pair of sweatpants size XXL with the elastic band snipped slightly…

Poetry

The Horses

Kenneth Hart

spend nearly all day with / their necks down, / lips moving an inch above the ground as if / they are whispering to grass. / Even in the rain, with its soft drone, when their / coats darken to a slick sheen, you go out and / watch them...

Poetry

We drive home from the lake, sand in our shoes

Keetje Kuipers

the dart of fish faint at our ankles, each shuttered BBQ shack a kudzu flash / in my side mirror. Pleasure has become the itch / of a mosquito bite between / my shoulders, and your rough thumb on my thigh a tickle / gentle as turtles bobbing…

Art

Poetry (for Jayne Cortez)

Melvin Edwards

Early in their relationship, Cortez wrote poems dedicated…

Art

Homage to Amy Winehouse

Chris Martin

I fell in love with Amy Winehouse when I first heard…

Poetry

Homeopathic Organ Repair

Andrew McCutcheon

This morning I am hopelessly optimistic / that I can fix everything I have ever written, / including this. By noon, you’ll find me / weeping inconsolably, up to my elbows / in wires and blood...

Poetry

Past Saturn, Voyager Two Imagines Herself as…

Jessica Rae Bergamino

We burn love wherever we find it, / smother darkness from the hungry stage. / Our wonder is a shadow; our slumber, a bear— / Ursa’s Minor chord without her Major lift. / Yes, I know!...

Poetry

Airport

Mathias Svalina

Too much neck, in fact, a whole lotta neck, neck like a lorgnette, gentle as a cuticle. But I forget the motto of Airport. I forget some people like themselves. I remove your pants each night to see the detour sign blink with wrong dongles…

Poetry

Feeling Underappreciated, Voyager Two Imagines…

Jessica Rae Bergamino

My ship is rough as a body, my body / a ship. Even pigs in space are wrapped / in purple and lace, eager to explode / inside the invisible sky of women’s work. / But when it’s time to play the music...

Poetry

Aquarium

Mathias Svalina

There is no no?choice in Aquarium & color makes everything a little thing. There is only one way in & out—it is like a labyrinth, but you might be a shark or a tiger or a rattlesnake & there is always something horrifying near a vent & something…

Fiction

The Phenomenology of Religion

Debra Spark

I began, an apology springing instantly to my lips. I took a step back. She jumped to her feet and turned for a shopping cart that I hadn’t associated with her that was in the nearby bushes. She started to push it rapidly south...

Poetry

Apartment

Ruth Madievsky

I’ve been thinking about the space a body needs / to move in, how it’s getting harder to tell / who owns property in my brain / versus who is just renting.

Poetry

Observations from the Base

Julie Bloemeke

Later you say this to me: / The blank space is how / I honor it, deliciously gone. / Even the fog makes promises, / spans the hips of mountains. / Such great heights. / The fire wet ashes / we cannot light again.

Fiction

Candace

Amy E. Glasenapp

Unable to form words, I nodded. I could see both her hands now, the thick veins running through them. When I looked down, her sweatshirt was gone. A dark stain had spread across my un-tucked shirt. The skin beneath it was growing colder by…

Poetry

Jericho

Jacob Sunderlin

I could change / my name, turn my liver / black. But when break is over, / I'm on the palletjack. Gary, one eternity / machine over, came to work so drunk / he messed his self, Sugar said, / then ate a tuna sandwich...

Poetry

After the Attempt

Edgar Kunz

The receptionist holds up / a small paper bag / stapled shut. Whatever / you had worth saving. / You look, then look away. / Once, hungover / on a gut-and-remodel job / in Grafton, you cracked the root of your nose...

Poetry

Inverted Halo

Andrew Nance

Pogroms are / playing out on our plew as our dollars fall free / at last saying, there's so much to see and do, so much / to do one's bit in before the epiblast breaks / and we all must bed. In front of this café, we take / breaks, smoke...

Non-Fiction

Possessed

Michele Filgate

My dog haunts me, too. The worst ghosts are the ones that are alive. You yearn for them, and yet you have no closure. They continue breathing and eating and sleeping and dreaming. And you do the same. Every dog on the street...

Poetry

Luz

Sumita Chakraborty

A roe deer shot in Slovenia / has a single antler, looks / like it has just walked out / of a fairy tale, marvels / the hunter, marvels / the scientist. Worlds such as this / were not thought possible to exist, / marvels the astronomer...

Non-Fiction

By Soot, by Flour, by Beetle Track

Shena McAuliffe

If the umbilical cord stretches straight, the baby will live a life of ease, but if it is looped around itself, the child will grow strange and have a wild imagination. If it is looped around her arm, she will always work for others. Around…

Poetry

What He Saw, Again

Norman Dubie

The giraffes and hairy German widows / crying in the western district / of the city...exaggerated moon / and the world aching on its hinges— / sepia republic handbills / slapped by wind against the limestone blocks / of the dark public urinal...

Poetry

Antonio Machado to Miguel de Unamuno, after…

Mario Ariza

After expiration I stare hours / at the Hurricane lamp. Outside / spring rain fell on Soria / fell on the laurel she'd planted / now happy in the onslaught of / spring / Miguel, my spirit is shred. I do prefer / my own death, I think...

Reviews

Voice, Witness, Action: The Long “Engagement”

Adam Day

Philip Metres, Sand Opera         Alice James Books, 2015. Paperback, 112 pp, $16.95 (paper)   There is a growing awareness of the breadth of work from contemporary Arab and Arab American poets and from poets of Arab descent, though it is…

Non-Fiction

Apricots

Aurvi Sharma

By morning, our tongues were covered with fuming blisters, prickly like scorpion bicchuu grass, growing between the gaps in silica-laden stones laid down the path to the Haida Khan temple, right across the stationery store that sold pencils...

Fiction / Features

The Last Dragoman

Sultana Banulescu

1.       Visiting Professor Florin C. Merisoreanu feels the pain in the left side of his chest more keenly on Tuesdays than on Thursdays. On Tuesdays he shares an office on the Upper West Side, at Columbia, with what he calls amicably A Tale…

Poetry

My History As

Emily Skaja

In my history, I was bones eating paper / or I was paper eating bones. Semantics. / I lived in a narrow house; / I lived with a man who said / You fucked up your own life, who said / I could never love someone so heavy.

Non-Fiction

In the Small Hours

Jonathan Starke

What I do is absorb. Pah-pah, pah-pah. I hear the punches when I walk these rainy streets. I hear them when I sleep. I hear them in the small hours on my knees in the dark, running my cut-up hands over the soft carpet. If I can become...

Poetry

What to Expect When You’re Expecting

Kelly Morse

This week your baby is learning guile, wears / a homespun vernix jumpsuit. It is the size / of one night. / Your baby weighs the same as the box you've carried / unopened through three moves. / This week your baby is growing webbing. Maybe...

Poetry

Towards the Shoreline

Susan Briante

A beautiful young woman stands naked at the shoreline in one birthing video, while the Black Sea laps at her thighs. Her equally beautiful friends hold her up like a crucified Jesus as she sways through her contractions. In another, a woman…

Poetry

Two Stanza Republic

Lauren Hilger

I know ten bright-eyed ways to start a breakfast. Borrowed / and blue, / pregnant as a 19th century hot air balloon, no longer / just a pretty face, / your butter colored wife. Right / here. This longing / ahum. For this house...

Fiction

Now That You Are Milk

Corinna Rosendahl

Seeing myself hung / in the mirror at the end of the hall / is no different than when I would come up / against my face / as a child, and think / I do not look like someone / yet. And now, while washing my face after / leaving you alone...

Poetry

Of Thee I Sing

Ocean Vuong

We made it, baby. / We're riding in the back of the black / limousine. They have lined / the road to shout our names. / They have faith in your golden hair & pressed blue suit. They / have a good citizen / in me. I love my country. / I pretend…

Poetry

Affording the Funeral

Anders Carlson-Wee

Your folks were about to downsize anyway. The Ford. / The riding lawnmower. Letting go of the furniture / was harder. The hope chest / had sailed from Norway with Great-Grandpa Morris in 1904, / but the age and the make...

Poetry

Cousin Scott on His Liver

Anders Carlson-Wee

Ma's always on me about my diet. Always on me about the / heart attack and the stomach acid / and the diabetes. And if it aint one thing / it's a goddamn nother. So what if my liver gave out? So what if I got the diabetes?

Non-Fiction

Counter Service

Emma Törzs

Six years ago, in the autumn after I graduated college, I got a job in a coffee shop staffed almost exclusively by gay ex-meth addicts from Texas. They all hated me. Upon reflection, I think my hiring was a dual case of mistaken identity:…

Poetry

Waiting Room

Fatimah Asghar

the woman next to me has been dead / seventy years / she says she lost her husband / i say i've lost mine too / i tell her last night his ghost arrived in / a text message / in the morning it was gone / three days ago he lit up my gchat...

Poetry

Poem in Which Nature Makes an Appearance

Fatimah Asghar

Each morning my mother wandered across a bed of jasmine / petals & picked phal. Each fig bursting / with sweet flesh, a seedy caramel. We only ate fruit / my aunt says & her hands fill with the apples / of her youth. Each morning...

Poetry

Playroom

Fatimah Asghar

i never had enough kens so i / made my barbies fuck / each other or fuck beanie babies. / i never had more than one beanie baby per / species. they were rarer / that way & like some perverted / noah's ark, it kept them from multiplying...

Poetry

Abuelo

Cecilia Llompart

How little we know, in the end. That a boat can stall / at the edge of the sea, until it is / overturned, at last, by what it loves most. That love is / the fortress with no walls / and winding gardens. That time gnaws / us down to a new bone...

Poetry

Monsoon

Cathy Linh Che

I survived sheets of rain under / the thatched eaves of a / stranger’s house. / For months, heartbreak has / been tearing / blue notes from me. / When the tide drains, / I crawl into a body / that feels most contained. / Boat which I repaired...

Art

The Notebooks of Ralph Humphrey

David Reed

In the spring of 2015 there were, by chance, two related shows at Chelsea galleries next door to each other: Ralph Humphrey: Conveyance (paintings 1974-1977) at Garth Greenan Gallery and Blinky Palermo: Works 1973-1976 at…

Poetry

Childhood

Annette Oxindine

Incrementally all at once / behind a shiny metal hatch, a gumball, a clank / of shut over the dark / that rolled out red to meet me. / Nonetheless, chomp, chomp, / I am loved, a penny given, spent / Or a spell forever cast / backward over…

Art

Prepositional Art

Raphael Rubenstein

Volumes of fiction and poetry, as well as specific poems and stories, often carry dedications, but we generally don’t consider them as central to the meaning of the texts, unless they are part of the title as in, to cite a pair of famous mid-20th…

Art

On Dreamers and Ruby Dee

Susan Bee

When the actress, poet, playwright, and activist…

Art

Homage to Lee Krasner's "City Verticals"

Gwenn Thomas

From the Art Lies Feature: Prepositional Art I was…

Art

On Stephen Mueller

Carl Palazzolo

From the Art Lies Feature: Prepositional Art

Art

"Crush" (for John Chamberlain)

Jan Frank

From the Art Lies Feature: Prepositional Art

Poetry

Composite

Montreux Rotholtz

  The woman is divided into an arctic region and a subarctic region. There are no forestsin the arctic, but shrub willows gather in fistson her.               The soil everywhere is poor. The woman                   is made up of valleysand…

Poetry

Psalm

Montreux Rotholtz

planetary coldlime gates limps up the old citadelthe wrecked chime killed celestialhum-parlor its lack help me I'm partial  

Poetry

After the Girl

Amy Woolard

  It’s just a chapped lip that won’t stop bleeding. Let me Try that again: strip where the field of the face meets The woods of the mouth is called the invitation—No, It’s called the vermilion border. There are nameless parts Of the body that…

Poetry

Departure Gate

Sharon Olds

She was standing near a departure gate, / sandal-footed, her wiggly hair / and the latticework of her mercury footwear / the same satiny gold, and there was something / wistful about her, under the burnish / of her make-up she looked extremely…

Poetry

Pacific Coast Ode

Sharon Olds

First light; minus tide;above the Pacific Ocean bowlthe moon is drawing the sea up into agreen nipple craving her mouth.Here, above the pine-tops, the airis making grey breaths, like my mother’sashes into the Bay, the sinuoustrail of her will…

Poetry

Mean-Spirited Poem of Thanks to My Mother

Sharon Olds

I don’t believe I ever thanked youfor dying when you did. How quietlyyou left, making your entrance intothe vestibule of dying -- pressing your lefttemple with your left palm,your right with your right, crying out onelast, Callas note, I hopenot…

Features

Viva la Mujer!: A Conversation with Early Career…

Danzy Senna, Kseniya Melnik, Laura van den Berg, Jennine Capó Crucet, Tiphanie Yanique, Nina McConigley

Each of the women of this roundtable is quickly ascending to the realm of notoriety; each is winning prizes, awards, and praise like medals on a general's chest. These women are boss. I consider myself lucky to call each of these amazing writers…

Poetry

Feeling Sorry for Myself Because the Grizzly…

Michael Derrick Hudson

Marooned! With only this shred of wind-tangled orange / polypropylene, the frosty dented rim / of an aluminum pot, and a hank of acrylic fur / to knot around my aching throat. The icicles of my flag / scratch at the tent.