31.1 Summer/Fall 2018


Can I Have a Hug First?

Mary Paula Hunter

As a witness should I run to her? Make sure she's not suffering a stroke or an aneurysm? I pictured a headline demanding the whereabouts of a witness who'd left the scene of a potential homicide.


Poetry, Fiction, & Nonfiction

May This Story Have Several Facets: An Interview with Moshe Sakal

B.J. Love

By recreating the past, I do not mean going back in a sentimental nostalgic way, but by rebellion and opposition to a world in which we see more and more borders, and walls.

My Mother's Face

Claire Scott

my mother leaning in listening / her usual face her yesterday’s face / out cold on the couch

The 20th Century

Michael Martone

SAFE Employees make a SAFE railroad. With SAFE employees, a railroad devoid of any mechanical safety devices CAN and WILL be operated safely.

The Evangelist

Samuel Kolawole

He never finished a performance without making a prediction. His predictions, if right, would immediately boost his prestige and reverence so much so that when he passed his offering bowl around afterwards people would be more than willing to part with their hard-earned cash.

In the Valley of Whatever, I

Katherine Gibbel

I love expectation // beauty subsumed

A Door, Prone, Crushing a Field of Flowers

Michael Schmeltzer

I am at my threshold. / The dirt of our daughter. / The mole of her squirming body.

How to Forget a River

M.K. Foster

Why hide? To be found. Why be found?

Casanova

Serhiy Zhadan transl. by Alan Zhukovski

When you greeted each other / your palms / like embers in cigarette stubs / red and hot / showed from your sleeves

Ghost Dinner

Jon Hickey

As they headed back into town in Smiley’s pickup, she could only feel like they had all done something wrong, something to be ashamed of. Something they could never talk about again.

The Pirate Story

Tom Macher

I learned to sleep as light as a new mother, in increments of minutes rather than hours, listening as I dreamed for a rustling of clothing, a knife unsheathed, and then I stopped sleeping altogether.

3 Poems

Kamil Bouška, transl. by Ondrej Pazdírek

We're not here yet, and still the key aches in the lock. I am leaving, and it's as if I was returning

The Trophy

Siamak Vossoughi

I'd never felt so sad engraving a trophy before, like I wanted to throw it away when I was done with it.

Heavy Lyfting

Ben Austin-Docampo

It's easy in the sense that all you have to do is get in the car and fire up the app. It's hard in that it requires long, monotonous hours to be fruitful, and constant vigilance to stay safe. San Francisco is a tough city to drive.

4 Poems

Ama Codjoe

Before I am beautiful I'm in the hairdresser’s chair, / perched atop two phone books, holding my ear. My reflection / in the bathroom mirror is a landscape painting.

Cora Lee

Desiree Evans

She understands the place she was born into is full of shadows. They slip into her open cracks, slide oozing into the gutters of her ribs, spill against the long, unbroken lines of her legs.

Can I Have a Hug First?

Mary Paula Hunter

As a witness should I run to her? Make sure she's not suffering a stroke or an aneurysm? I pictured a headline demanding the whereabouts of a witness who'd left the scene of a potential homicide.

The Ocean Won't Give Him Back to Us

Jane Medved

You have found out that someone dies every two seconds. This shouldn’t make you feel better, but it does.

Voyage: Happening in an Egg

Megan McHugh

Why did he shape my brother’s body to the contours of war? Is this the shape of all our language already?

2 Poems

Sara Lupita Olivares

blame grows small in the moth’s circling / day to day the slightest tooth loosens / a landscape changes until returning by habit

Harborless

John Sibley Williams

If I had known all boats eventually yield / to the current, I would have readied myself / long ago

House on Toluca

Jesus De La Torre

Bars or no bars, if you did have something worth having, they’d take it, whether you were ridiculous about home security or not.

Communicating with Your Dead: An Interview with Sam Roxas-Chua

David Nilsen

"I've always been interested in the invisible poem. When a poem is finished, what is the undercurrent? What is it still trying to say?"

Matters of Consequence

Jesse Donaldson

The other day I received my first offer for term life insurance (how are corporations so prescient?), which has the effect of reminding a man he’s going to die, just as a baby has the effect of reminding a man that if he dies, it shouldn’t be for nothing.

2 Poems

Paúl Puma, transl. by Jonathan Simkins

You return, at last. / At the edge no longer./ At the margin’s curve no longer. / Circular no longer. / In the embers of unfading foam. / The sputum of inscrutable lava.

Artificial Flower Garden

Sara McGuirk

excuse me this chambray tie / this cummerbund, these plain chops, / these dull lips. I’ve no guilt for gild's sake.

Tinderbatrachus

Mirri Glasson-Darling

We think that Tinder is just for fun, swiping like in a videogame, like the 1980s game Frogger where the frog hops across the freeway and tries to avoid getting flattened by cars—this is how we feel about dating.

3 Poems

Shamala Gallagher

Elsewhere, some later year, I’ll try to be good. Today I don’t care.

Bra Fitting

Kasey Payette

It’s not the contraption itself that I love—this pair of shells of steel and lace—but the woman who measures me and tests my straps as if armoring me for battle.


From the Archives

4 Poems

Ama Codjoe

Before I am beautiful I'm in the hairdresser’s chair, / perched atop two phone books, holding my ear. My reflection / in the bathroom mirror is a landscape painting.

The Movies

Naomi Kanakia

The man has a gun. He walks into a bank with the gun. He sees himself from the outside, enacting a scene from a movie. He shows the gun to the security guard, who sits down, and he shows the gun to the cashier, whose face congeals with fear, and it’s all happening too fast, too automatically.

Strawberry Girl: A Prose Sestina

María Isabel Alvarez

Your husband watches like a phantom through the window, his face silvered in smoke. His eyes, once brimming with affection, have slanted into whispers. You want his puckered face to catch a clod of dirt.

Communiqué

Erin Saldin

Even the commentator on NPR said, in her living room concert voice, “It appears that, once again, we Americans have asserted our individuality in the universe..."