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Vol. 9, No. 2 Contents

The Weight of Things  by NICOLE CALLIHAN

11 July 2009
fiction, short story

Mid-spring and the trees bloom haphazardly—rich, dense, thick—so lush that standing beneath them, we cannot see the sky clanging against the hills. In a blue car, a radio plays; a man's thumb drums a steering wheel; a woman, her legs folded under her in a practiced N, blows her hot breath onto the window, takes her fist and presses the pinky side onto the fog her breath has made. With her index finger, she forms five perfect toes above the fist. A baby's foot—a trick her mother taught her when she was young. She wipes the spot away.

For Better or Worse  by W. W. JACOBS

18 August 2009
fiction, short story, classic

"I've had a shock, George," he said, regarding the other steadily. "I've heard news of my old woman."

"Didn't know you 'ad one," said Mr. Wotton calmly. "Wot's she done?"

"She left me," said Mr. Davis, solemnly—"she left me thirty-five years ago. I went off to sea one fine morning, and that was the last I ever see of 'er."

Lillian in White  by JEN MICHALSKI

23 July 2009
fiction, short story

Lillian calls Roy out of the blue. It had been so long since they'd dated, for him, anyway, that he doesn't recognize the number in his cell phone. But he knows the voice that speaks and is instantly filled with the warm giddiness of promise, the delusional kind in which Lillian has made a terrible mistake and wants him back. He doesn't know if he wants her back, necessarily, but he swings his feet over his bed and pulls on yesterday's socks.

"Roy, I know it's been a long time, but I have a favor to ask you," she says, her voice breaking up as Roy walks around the room, looking for a shirt.

Favor. Shit.

New Lease  by JOSEPH P. THAYER

23 June 2009
fiction, flash fiction

The nurse pulls my legs one way and my arms the other, positioning me to her liking. Her face is beautiful, like a magazine cover, and I lie across the cold metal table like a wounded dog, my side pressed flat against the surface. A long-armed x-ray device hangs over my head. She smiles, and I lose myself in her face, imagine myself wandering into Candy Land; I walk over her gumdrop eyes.

My wife is beautiful too, but she's not here. When I told her I was going for some tests she said, okay—you're fine. She said nothing about my tendency to over dramatize or my need for attention. She didn't ask why she should care or if womanizing could cause cancer.

Five Questions with T.C. Boyle About The Women  by BRYAN HURT

8 June 2009
nonfiction, interview

Bryan Hurt: The historian and literary critic Hayden White has said that all historical narrative (biographies, journals, chronicles, etc.) are forms of fiction, no more or less so than their literary counterparts. For you (a) what are the reasons for, and advantages of, exploring the past through the form of the novel? And (b) why use the past (i.e. "actual people") at all?

T.C. Boyle: I agree most emphatically with Mr. White. Which is part of the fun I'm having with The Women and other historical narratives I've pursued. In the present case, we have actual people doing actual things as reported in newspaper and biographical accounts, but their actions are filtered through the recollections of the book's editor, Tadashi Sato, who responds in footnotes to the rather odd text he's received in translation and amplification from his grandson-in-law, the unpublished Irish-American novelist, Seamus O'Flaherty. Where, one wonders, does the truth reside? Not simply the truth of fiction, but the truth of history.

Dream of the X-Rayed Rose  by WESTON CUTTER

11 June 2009

It was the dream of the

          x-rayed rose, of the

dentist in Seville and his love

          for a Flamenco dancer, of how

when he took an x-ray of her jaw

          she refused to let go of

the rose she held in her teeth

          while she danced.

Starlings  by KATHY DAVIS

15 July 2009

A black hand across the landscape, then thousands

rummaging the corn's winter wreckage

for plunder.

They rise and clap, swarm, recede. Black is one

of only three proper colors…

Not Noon, 1904  by NORMAN DUBIE

2 August 2009

Poincaré sits in the turning dark

of the stairwell

folded in a thin nightshirt

eating a dry husk of carp, mostly

all huge brass head, eyes


with declining bones like a harp.

An influenza is in the suburbs.

Shelter #1: Husk  by CAROLYN GUINZIO

21 August 2009

We placed it on the ground between us.

After it fell again, we rebuilt it.

The wind keeps gusting it into the barbed

fence. Holes are torn roughly, not cleanly

punched. We have to keep this between us…

Shelter #2: Frame  by CAROLYN GUINZIO

24 August 2009

It's warm in the frame, under the lamps.

No one speaks because

                        keeping warm.

To speak takes it out of the body.

Shelter #3: Felled  by CAROLYN GUINZIO

27 August 2009

even the

most meek

puddle where

life worms

its way

into being


Shelter #4: Last  by CAROLYN GUINZIO

30 August 2009

Guided by the memory of light.

            Don't forget not to speak of

            what should stay on the ground

between us. A heron lifts off the limbs,

tucking its feet beneath it

My entire childhood I thought there is no mystery  by LILAH HEGNAUER

20 June 2009

                    to the rain: it rains every night, clockwork

                                                                                of my undoing,

          vital to each iris as it was to my lantern of a self,

belly down in the low-slung fulcrum

                                        of shyness; obdurate and unwieldy and refusing to say…

Glass Doors  by LUKE JOHNSON

17 June 2009
poetry, ghazal

If it wasn't for the windows, it would all be so different.

The light forced to choose sides, shadows grow different.

A house of glass with wooden gaps wrapped by trees,

gray inside when it rains, at dawn no different.

Porches hold what's too nice for closets. Reminders.

Rackets and bats, balls that you're taught to throw different.

If Given the Chance  by SANDY LONGHORN

5 June 2009

Would you search for the source

of god, which is the mouth

and possibly many-tongued,

or for the nest of the swan,

which is a large, open bowl,

a grass house & honest?

June Meditations  by SANDY LONGHORN

2 June 2009

Start with a bird—a blue heron

coasting over the reservoir—

and a tree—a loblolly pine,

planted for paper and pulp,

dropping its rusty needles.

What does it take to be awake

in this particular world?


29 June 2009

Now I understand why. Someone turns loose the winds on me

and I'm a fountain of fire, someone tosses me into the sea

and I float in a boat of flames, someone pushes me under

and my lungs implode like hydrogen blimps. Every bronchiole burns…

All I want is a lot of babies and a lot of money; you made me so pay it  by DANIELLE PAFUNDA

8 July 2009

The fuckwad has her caged rat-style. He sends babies chute face,

chute face. She chews face, face plowed, baby after baby.

He box checks, he checks box, he slots baby, he plows.

Then cokes. He offers to coke her. She nuzzles

a baby, opens her face.

The next time you survey your land, your land will accommodate your skull  by DANIELLE PAFUNDA

2 July 2009

Take note and heed. My drab elastic shackle worried the bone

to dart. Poison tipped present day cervix fasting, preparatory.

Ugly Park looms, and I file its gates. Specific access: trees

denied, fur denied, zing and whoosh denied, all water denied.

Dark denied, particle-free oxygens denied, nutrients denied.

Girls, boys, tom-toms, flowers, spoons, ink, porcelain, fruit,

tone, flint, exploration, and tonic fetal compass denied.

When something is rooted in you, it will be difficult to root it out; you are a fungal-faced pig, your own nose is a blight:  by DANIELLE PAFUNDA

5 July 2009

The farmer sends you and your children into the woods to puke

up his property. He says, you're wolf meat, now. You're dead

to meat. Hoof it pinkling mama, if you like, but beyond

that forest lies the forest, and beyond that, a tight shut eye

nothings you flat.

Bird Creek, Alaska  by CINTHIA RITCHIE

14 August 2009

Spruce trees smell

wicked at night

we lie in lavender

twilight we think

we are so clever with our pale

bodies and sly-tongued minds

Tofu and Potatoes  by CINTHIA RITCHIE

11 August 2009
poetry, prose poem

It is evening and the dark climbs through the window, sits down beside us on the couch, demands the remote control. We curl our legs together, socks to socks, my hand pressed on your lower belly. "What if you suddenly stopped breathing," I say, imagining your death, the funeral, the useless black shoes. I smile, bury my nose in your dirty dark hair.

Ice Above, Water All Around  by ANDREA SCARPINO

14 June 2009
poetry, prose poem

Below the ice, frozen air, hibernating frogs. My cheeks alive with the burn, my ears. I wanted to touch air, awaken the frogs from their sleep. A bitter cracking sound. From the bottom of the pond, I called to you.


30 July 2009

Because we stash words

in our temporal lobes

in pairs—best friend with dog,

dog with cat, catatonia with last Friday, fried

eggs with broken plate

we see associations before we say them: …

Fast Forward  by KAREN SCHUBERT

27 July 2009

You couldn't talk to me, you said, meaning

you couldn't hear, which was ok since

I'd lost my voice. That was before I started

singing, pushing the vacuum ahead of me

like a seed spreader, tethered to the stereo

by headphones. You were absent enough for me…

In Dreams and in Love There Are No Impossibilities  by SHEILA SQUILLANTE

26 June 2009

Where you cut your hand upon entering.

Where the affable proprietor warns you away from the saw.

Where the dog and the cat play beneath the table,

between your many legs.

Where the woman has painted her black hair gray.

Pensacola Beach, March  by JOSEPH P. WOOD

20 July 2009

If my I put my ear to Daisy's

I hear her grape-sized heart

& she, tiny love, knows not


pumping erratic

milliliters of blood

the unfocused, gray cloud

in the left sliver of her right

iris, a mumbling

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