Issue 111 / Spring 2012

STORIES Reema Rajbanshi Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughter Katherine Scott Nelson Rita in Love John Brantingham Let Us All Pray Now to Our Own Strange Gods Christopher K. Miller The Loneliness from Which Love Springs Jennifer Wortman Median Brandon Patterson Symphony for the Ruined World Julialicia Case People of Substance Marian Crotty Crazy for You Claudia Putnam Hangfire Stephanie Coyne DeGhett Pescatore’s Contest Andrew Hoffmann The Vanishing Bourgeoisie Patricia Stiles Infirmities Amanda Bennett Extractions

POEMS Keith Alexander Museum Pieces Amy Eisner Welcome to the Cloud Alan Catlin The aliens M. J. Kledzik Tuscany Tourist Michael Poage Grapska Michael Homolka Junior Year Abroad Marc Berman Moving Day Ken Holland Migration Brandi George Father Teaches Me How to Kill a Man John Hazard Why Fairy Tales Are Gothic Brady Rhoades A Parade in Galway Mitchell Untch A Nightingale’s Ode Richard T. Rauch Cross-Point Bill Edmondson Goodbye Red-Eyed Monkey

Geoffrey Babbitt Island of Apollonian Light and the Golden Spring Erin Pushman Intercourse, Recall Virginia A.K. Moran Forgive Us Our Skins: Reflections on Humanity, Mortality, and Small, Plastic Food-Storage Containers



From the editor’s desk (excerpt)

Editor’s Remarks

Does the truth matter?

Can we know the truth, and if so, how can we come to know it and how can we know we know it? Can we share the truth with others, assuming we possess it, or are we all trapped in the solitary confinement of our own minds, incapable of communicating through language or sharing our perspective with anyone else? Can we achieve truth by telling lies? Are lies better than truth in describing reality? If we dislike the bald-facedness of lies, is “truthiness” just as good, in fact, as truth?

Does truth lie bleeding in the streets?

I am moved to ask these questions because of a constellation of things I’ve been reading about, all of which are disturbing signs that truth, like the many species of birds, amphibians, and mammals experiencing spectacular “die-off” (the phrase suggests that human agency is not involved), may increasingly be endangered.   .  .  .  .

Jonna Semeiks


Selected Highlights:

Forgive Us Our Skins . . .

. . . Reflections on Humanity, Mortality, and Small, Plastic Food-Storage Containers My father is dying. He is elderly and is dying gently. I live in his house, along with my two sons, whom I raise by myself. By gently I do not mean quietly. My father has gotten very loud in his leaving. He...

Crazy for You

That summer while Emily’s mom painted pictures of Iranian militiamen in the garage, we watched Sarah Morrison have sex. Sarah rented the casita behind the Freedman’s pool shed, a tiny stucco building with just enough room for a bed and desk—a little alcove in the corner with a hot plate and a mini-fridge. She took...

The Vanishing Bourgeoisie

So you kiss a man on the lips, a student. The student is beside himself and reports the incident to your boss, the school administrator, a slack-jawed misanthrope who calls you directly, and with a certain glee lets you know you’re in trouble. It changes your life, the kiss, the phone call, and later that...

Rita in Love

Rita, to save Ishtar’s paper-grading hand, lettered all of the Christmas cards at the kitchen table. Ish scored strawberries at the counter, her spine bending like a reed, her hands furtive and fast. Sly and the Family Stone purred from the radio. Rita drew a perfect O, an eternal silver loop. Whenever her calligraphy pen...

Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughter

The year my father built his Zerega house—a two story ramshackle with mirrors for walls and fake marble chips in the rose beds—was the year I joined my storytelling contest. It was my mother, really, who pushed me that way, but it was my fifth grade teacher who was right. Your destiny was laid out...

Why Fairy Tales Are Gothic

Sun lights the geese, and the gander
glides along the route of his reflection.
He’s attentive, takes his time


There’s a festival of stilt walkers crossing the meadow.
The slow ascending sweep of their torsos,
The measured declivity of their glide.

Welcome to the Cloud

Cherished trail of transactions, report me.
Guide my car. Stamp my tkt. Sign the chk.

The burbling machines, the tickering.