Contents 11.1

Poetry


Nonfiction


Fiction

Giant White Squill

by Marcela Sulak

Drimia maritime, or giant white squill, grows up to a meter tall along the rocky Mediterranean coast. It was used in ancient times to mark borders and boundaries, and as both a poison and a remedy.

Dear great white squill in my little life, how your delight

is always predicated on the death impulses of this world. Your practice

 

of planting heavy feet, which we can see in the movement

of your lightly scented wrists:

 

in such a world, it is simplicity itself to be beautiful.(More …)

We Carry Smoke and Paper

by Melody S. Gee

A week after my oldest daughter was born, I asked my mom if she wanted to come out for the baby’s one-month celebration. Having only heard about this ceremony, since I neither had one myself nor ever attended one, I asked her, “You know that red egg party for babies? Do you want to do that?” My mom agreed and she and my dad traveled from LA to St. Louis.

My daughter was one month and three days old. She was covered in baby acne, still learning to nurse, and sleeping in forty-five-minute stretches. My mom arrived at my home armed with a printout of a website’s directions on how to conduct a Chinese red egg ceremony. It was written in English. I wondered if she had called her sister, Auntie May, who was eighteen years older and grandmother of twelve. Auntie May was who we called for traditional recipes or instructions on how to set out ancestor offerings correctly on our mantle, who loaded our car with fuzzy melons only she could grow to taste like their childhood.(More …)

Aren’t There Any Beautiful Things in Your Own Country?

by Melissa Matthewson

after Susan Sontag

In which she answered (1977): “Yes. No. Fewer.” 1
In which I answer (2018): “Yes. No. Also, fewer.”

I want to think there are/were beautiful things in the country I grew up: in the chaparral hills of California, at the border of two countries, where a line on the map draws a curtain between the US and Mexico.
If you go, you should take foot if you can, though horses could be adventurous, cars more likely.
Is it still there?
Yes.
But not for long.
When you arrive, take off into the hills with heart and fortitude.
Were you happy there?
Sometimes.
I lived for the auburn-haired boys who played baseball and came from the east, and the mountains. Nature as it was then. (More …)

Crescent

by Rochelle Smith

John Coltrane is my father. The jazz saxophonist, yes, who many say was the greatest musician of the twentieth century. I’ve known this all my life. Or that’s not true, not all my life, really only since I first heard his music, which was in college. Before that, I’d always wondered who my father was. My first boyfriend, Brian, used to sneak recording equipment into the library in his messenger bag and bootleg jazz albums onto cassettes. He would play them for me later, and that’s where I heard them all: Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk and Lester Young and Charles Mingus and Miles Davis and Dexter Gordon and Coleman Hawkins and Max Roach. (Why do jazz musicians have such interstellar names? Who else that you know has had the last name Mingus? The first name Thelonious?  The middle name Sphere?  Uncle Ornette, Uncle Thelonious, that nice Mr. Strayhorn who drives the school bus.)  And my father. My mother was the last woman he made love to before he died in the summer of 1967. He was her first, her only for years to come. Let me tell you about him. He was born in a crook of the southern end of North Carolina, in a town called Hamlet. He was raised Methodist. He loved to roller skate as a boy. He joined the Navy at the age of nineteen and became a sailor. He had three other children, all boys: John, Ravi, and Oran. (More …)

Place Settings

by Lawrence F. Farrar

From the Officer Evaluation Report on the work performance of Foreign Service officer Peter Hempel.  Mrs. Hempel, an attractive young woman, is the mother of three small children.  She is a gracious and charming hostess. Her poise, conversational ability, dignified reserve, and subtle sense of humor make it obvious that she is a credit to the Service.  

From the Officer Evaluation Report on the work performance of Foreign Service officer Frank Barnes.  Mr. Barnes is assisted in his work by an attractive and intelligent wife who is an accomplished hostess and is active in local affairs.  She serves as the social chairman for the Wives Club, a position which requires her to make extensive contact in the local community. In addition to the attributes already mentioned, Mrs. Barnes is fully versed in the social requirements of the local society.  
(More …)

Beautiful Toes

by Scott Hunter

As Dad lay brain dead in the ICU that short week, three nurses remarked on his beautiful toes.  So smooth, so clean, the nails so perfectly clipped and squared off. Nothing in-grown, no dark corners, no fungus.  Doctors say the state of an old man’s toes will tell you the state of his mental and physical health. An old man can’t clean what he can’t see—or reach, maybe—and will stop tending to things like toes if he’s forgetful, or if there’s no one left to impress.  These were not the toes of a man ready to die. Living alone, free to do as he pleased. “Every day’s a Saturday,” he said to me, after retiring. Time! Time to run to fish to golf to bike. Tend to his tulips, tend to his toes. On league nights, a beer or two at Mingles.  There are still bowling leagues where he lived, where he competed. At home he sipped a single malt over pictures of fish caught and released. They all looked like the same damn fish to me, date-stamped photos or not, but Dad could point out the distinctions. Like a nurse can talk about an old man’s toes.  Bigger dorsal fin, redder near the gill covers. “Oh look,” he said, “a hook scar on the lip—maybe you’re right, maybe it is the same damn fish.” We laughed about that, and sipped some more. (More …)

As to the Manner Born

by Stephanie Trott

It was nothing they could have planned for, not something to be learned from a book or a blog. They’d read the manuals, consulted the experts, taken classes and received high praise. So when the couple spoke with their doctor during the start of the pregnancy’s thirty-first week, you have to understand their surprise in learning that their child did not wish to be born.

“Impossible!” said the woman. “We’ve wished for this baby and nothing more.”

“You’re a liar!” said the man. “We’ll take you to court for such fabrication.”

“It’s true,” thought the child, though no one else could hear. “I would prefer not to participate.”(More …)

Contributors 11.1

Derek Annis

Featured Work

Derek Annis is a poet from Spokane, Washington, who holds an MFA from Eastern Washington University. Their poems have appeared in The Account, Barrow Street, Colorado Review, Crab Creek Review, Fugue, The Gettysburg Review, The Missouri Review: Poem of the Week, and Spillway, among others.

Chelsea Dingman

Featured Work

Chelsea Dingman’s first book, Thaw, was chosen by Allison Joseph to win the National Poetry Series (University of Georgia Press, 2017). Her second poetry collection, Through a Small Ghost, won The Georgia Poetry Prize and is forthcoming from the University of Georgia Press (February 2020). She has won prizes such as: The Southeast Review’s Gearhart Poetry Contest, The Sycamore Review’s Wabash Prize, Water~Stone Review’s Jane Kenyon Poetry Prize, and the South Atlantic Modern Language Association’s Creative Writing Award for Poetry. She is also the author of the chapbook, What Bodies Have I Moved (Madhouse Press, 2018). Her work is forthcoming in The Kenyon Review, The Iowa Review, and TriQuarterly, among others.

Lawrence F. Farrar

Featured Work

Lawrence F. Farrar is a former US diplomat with multiple assignments in Japan as well as postings in Germany, Norway, and Washington, DC. He also lived in Japan as a graduate student and as a naval officer. His stories have appeared over seventy times in lit magazines such as The Chaffin Journal, Zone 3</em>, Streetlight Magazine, Curbside Splendor E-Zine, Evening Street Review, Big Muddy, Tampa Review Online, O-Dark-Thirty, Jelly Bucket, The MacGuffin, and Green Hills Literary Lantern. His stories often involve people coming up against the customs of a foreign culture.

Melody S. Gee

Featured Work

Melody S. Gee was born in Taiwan and grew up in Cerritos, CA. She is the author of two poetry collections, The Dead in Daylight (Cooper Dillon Books, 2016) and Each Crumbling House (Perugia Press, 2010), as well as essays that have appeared in Blackbird, Copper Nickel, North Dakota Quarterly, and Barnstorm. Melody is a freelance writer and editor living in St. Louis, MO with her husband and two daughters.

Scott Hunter

Featured Work

Scott Hunter is the author of over 10,000 post cards. A 2018 Lambda Literary fellow, his work is forthcoming in Emerge: 2018 Lambda Fellows Anthology. His short fiction has appeared in the Kyoto Journal and was included in The Writers Studio at 30, an anthology released by Epiphany Editions. He was a semifinalist in Nimrod’s Francine Ringold Awards for New Writers in 2018 and has won Honorable Mention and Top 25 in Glimmer Train’s short fiction contests. He teaches at the Writers Studio in New York City.

Kaitlin LaMoine Martin

Featured Work

Kaitlin LaMoine Martin was raised by a community of writers in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She’s been published in Bellevue Literary Review, Passages North, Third Coast, with forthcoming work in RHINO. She owns a photography business, works for a non-profit, and spends hours thinking of new ways to entertain her dogs, Frida and Adam Lee Wags II.

Melissa Matthewson

Featured Work

Melissa Matthewson’s essays have appeared in Guernica, DIAGRAM, American Literary Review, River Teeth, The Rumpus, Bellingham Review, Mid-American Review and elsewhere. She teaches at Southern Oregon University and owns an organic vegetable farm. Her first book of nonfiction, Tracing the Desire Line, is forthcoming from Split Lip Press in the fall of 2019.

Erin Slaughter

Featured Work

Erin Slaughter is editor and co-founder of The Hunger, and the author of I Will Tell This Story to the Sun Until You Remember That You Are the Sun (forthcoming from New Rivers Press in 2019). Her writing has appeared in The Rumpus, Prairie Schooner, Split Lip Magazine, New South, Passages North, TYPO, and elsewhere. Originally from north Texas, she is pursuing a PhD in Creative Writing at Florida State University.

Rochelle Smith

Featured Work

Rochelle Smith holds an MFA in poetry from the University of Idaho, and has published nonfiction in Callaloo, The Sun and So To Speak, and poetry in Touchstone and The Meadow. Originally from Trinidad and Tobago, she is an associate professor and humanities librarian.

Marcela Sulak

Featured Work

Marcela Sulak’s third poetry collection and first memoir are forthcoming with Black Lawrence Press, where she’s previously published Decency and Immigrant. She’s co-edited Family Resemblance: An Anthology and Exploration of 8 Hybrid Literary Genres. A 2019 NEA Translation Fellow, her fourth translation</em>, Twenty Girls to Envy Me. Selected Poems of Orit Gidali was nominated for a 2017 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. She hosts the podcast ‘Israel in Translation,’ edits The Ilanot Review, and is an Associate Professor of English Literature and Linguistics at Bar-Ilan University.

Stephanie Trott

Featured Work

Stephanie Trott lives and writes in southeastern Massachusetts. She holds an MFA in fiction from UNC Wilmington, where she was poetry editor of Ecotone magazine, and is now an editor of Harvard University’s College Class Reports. Her fiction additionally appears New South.