Issue 112 / Fall 2012

STORIES Monica McFawn Elegantly, in the Least Number of Steps J. David Stevens The Poetry Bandit David Williams Coming Alive in the Milky Way Gary Gildner Pro Bono Mark Hage Luz and Min-Jee Wendell Mayo Inches Victor Schultz The Thrillsprite Downed Jennifer Solheim On the Island Craig Boyko Paddy Gercheszky Denise Dirks Business and Pleasure Colleen O’Brien Montana Miranda McLeod Lady Alone

POEMS Robert Lee Mahon Fed Ex to Beowulf / Better Homes and Gardens / Last Letter from Starbuck Matt Schumacher they go drinking with villon Lyn Lifshin With Everything Opening, Pears, Magnolias, Cherry Petals, Apple, Dogwood Ana Minga, translated by Alexis Levitin Let no one dare to say Jen Edwards Sewing Circle / Disneyland Brandon Whiting The Therapist Speaks Kirk Wilson Deus ex Machina Michael J. Vaughn How to Sing Benjamin Goodney The Untold History of Central Florida Land Development, 1998-2007 / Itinerary for a Post-Industrial City William Jolliff The Rhetoric of Doubt Gary Mesick Smoker Mark DeCarteret Transparencies John J. Ronan At the Museum of Modern Art Charles Wyatt Bell-Ringer’s Knot Gary Lark Snow Sky Matt Summers The Slack Jeffrey H. MacLachlan Narquitecture Thomas Schwank scaling the walls of chicken school

ESSAYS AND MEMOIRS Christopher Thornton Flawed Dreams and the Morning After: Letter from Dubai Colleen Morrissey The Bones in Mammal Hall



From the editor’s desk (excerpt)

Editor’s Remarks

This September marked the fiftieth anniversary of the
publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, a simple,
thoughtful book, which is widely regarded as having
launched the modern environmental movement. Carson’s primary
concern was the damage done to many species of birds by DDT and
other chemicals widely used for agricultural purposes; her title refers
to the absence of music—birdsong—in modern forests. Her book
is methodical, scientific, packed with evidence, elegiac, quietly
outraged and, in places, poetic.

There had been “nature writers” before Carson (Thoreau and
John Muir, preeminently), but none was so controversial. Though
Carson had been a best-selling writer before her 1962 book, which
also flew off the shelves, she and it were attacked by the chemical
industry. Her science was questioned, her basic premises challenged,
she herself was accused of having Communist sympathies, and
“studies” were published claiming catastrophic damage to human
beings (starvation, deadly illnesses) if the agricultural sector ceased
massive, widespread chemical spraying.

Nonetheless, the scientific evidence, buttressed by the
laborious field observations of naturalists, many of whom were
birders, prevailed. The government passed laws restricting spraying
(eventually banning the use of DDT entirely), and biologists began
to devise other methods (crop rotating, employing natural enemies
of destructive insects, sterilizing the males of the species) to preserve
agricultural production. For the most part, Americans continued
to have enough to eat, the chemical industry to earn profits, and
bird and fish species such as salmon (endangered by pesticide-laced
streams) to rebuild their numbers. [Continued in Confrontation 112]

Jonna Semeiks



I drive from L.A. to Anaheim
in Judy’s four wheel drive, over-murdered
with mileage and cigarette burns.


My senior year at Stanford, I had two roommates, Eve and Bethany. Both of them were paying the obscene tuition on their own, and both were bitter about it. I liked to think they put me in a category apart from the rest of the rich, spoiled students, because every quarter my tuition was late...

Elegantly, In the Least Number of Steps

Behind a windowed storefront full of live butterflies, Aaron sat at an old Formica table surrounded by numbers. It was night, and the only light in the whole declining strip mall (the sub-shop next door was now a check-cashing outfit, the Laundromat gutted and for rent) came from his desk lamp. The numbers around him...

Business and Pleasure

Christian had the most professional Jerk Fade-Away I’d ever seen. Masterful. But it left me sitting at home watching TV marathons and burning frozen pizzas for lunch and dinner while I was supposed to be working on my lab write-ups. I would have had nothing but admiration for it, except that it was bullshit. He...

The Thrillsprite Downed

Ax-wielding madman, Taft said. Disfigured, with a musical voice and a long-dead wolfhound for a pet. He talks to its skeleton through the night and cries himself to sleep most mornings thinking about his wife. She died in the same accident that scarred him. Taft passed the Christmas scotch to Sid. Too obvious, Sid said....

The Poetry Bandit

One must have a mind of winter To regard the frost and the boughs Of the pine-trees crusted with snow . . . Harold watches the words sift through his head like subtitles in a badly translated French film. He started Modernism only a week ago and regrets not being asked for some Dickinson or...

Flawed Dreams and the Morning After: Letter from Dubai

It wasn’t so long ago—just a few short years, it’s so easy to forget—that the “Dubai boom” was in full swing. Arabs in other parts of the Middle East were still bearing the weight of corrupt, autocratic regimes, but in Dubai, construction sites pounded away late into the night; housing prices, which once seemed to...

With Everything Opening, Pears, Magnolias, Cherry Petals, Apple, Dogwood

the dead bloom, planted so
long ago. You never expected
much from them. It’s as if

The Untold History of Central Florida Land Development, 1998–2007

Haven't you had enough of 3:27 a.m.? Even the crickets
are woozy. The mind's eye a rotoscope, sexy as a sucking
ceiling fan. Blackmail jitters with a distraction; make

Last Letter from Starbuck

(The former first mate of the Pequod is permitted
one last communication after his tragic end.)

So I was dead. The question of the whale