Ruin

Rare Birds

Kara Smith

Rare Birds

Good Friday

Tishon

“I ain’t never seen nothin’ like it. Me and Momma was going to meet my Daddy at the bus station. I was hungry and asked if we could stop for something to eat. We walked by the hot dog man and I wanted one so bad but Momma said she didn’t have no money. I didn’t say nothin’ but—I mean it—if it wasn’t for Momma being there, I’da took one.”

“You wouldna took nothin’! You know how hot them dogs is? You can’t just stick your hand in there and pull one out! That hot dog man be on you so quick.”

“Shut up, Kenny. Lemme finish.”

The three boys formed a half circle. LeMonte, or Montie, as everybody called him, stood almost a foot taller than the others. The charcoal fabric of his slacks were worn grey at the knees. A patch of faded navy covered a hole in one of his back pockets. Kenny purposefully whacked the dusty concrete with the broomstick they used for stickball. Chuck was the youngest. He crouched down real low, like a catcher, his butt up against a street post, listening intently, as he ran his thumbs up and down his suspenders.

“Hurry up and finish telling it then. I wanna play already.” The broomstick flinched with each crack against the pavement.

“We didn’t get no hot dogs but Momma must have felt bad for me ’cause we stopped at one of them newsstands next to the shoeshine boys and she bought me a Charleston Chew. See, I still got the wrapper and everything.”

“Yeah, yeah. We all seen a Charleston Chew before.”

“Kenny! Shut up!”

“Okay okay.”

“So after that, we keep walkin’ and we gettin’ closer to the bus station and everything, when, outta nowhere, all these police cars come shooting pass. Their sirens was goin’. I could see just up the street there was a whole bunch of people crowding up, maybe five hundred people, look like there was something real bad had happened. I asked Momma what happened and she said she didn’t know but she hoped my Daddy was alright.”

“Did you find out?”

An old black car roared pass. The boys squinted through the dusty smoke and into the afternoon sun.

“Momma wanted to go around the crowd but we couldn’t ’cause the police wasn’t lettin nobody pass on the side. We had to walk straight through all them people and what I saw I ain’t never seen nothing like it and I don’t ever want to see nothing like it again.”

“What was it?!”

“Yeah, Montie, quit holdin’ out. What’d you see?”

“Well, you gotta promise not to tell.  ‘Cause Momma don’t know I saw it. She told me to look away but I’d already seent it.”

“What was it?!”

LeMonte leaned in real close and opening his eyes wide as two moons he whispered. “It was a dead white lady.”

Six moons.

“She must have been a movie star or somebody real important too because she had a white dress on, but it was all torn up. The police wouldn’t let nobody get close except for this man taking pictures.”

“What happened to her?”

“Don’t know. She was on the roof of this smashed up station wagon. There was glass everywhere and you could see her foot hanging off the side and one of her shoes was almost in the middle of the street.”

“Dang! You think somebody killed her?!”

“Don’t know. It looked to me like she fell right out of the sky.”

Escape Clause

Scott Schuer

Then –
suddenly awake, fibrous from
the slowly-kicked cold and
odd position of cat,
my still sleeping body –
twisted in ways of
accommodation.

Prone, on green sheets,
between the folds of 3:00 a.m. and
a light in the east – there, it
twinges, nightstick-deep
in the small of my back, a
sub-black, post-dream semaphoric
wavering.

Is this it? DNA’s unfiltered mortality
peeling back my bliss?

When mercy usurps a selfish nature,
something has got to
blow – seismic in significance,
reluctant in the presence of change, in
ways of
accommodation.

L’ombre de ton ombre

Sarah Van Bonn

L’ombre de ton ombre

Looking Back

Lot's Wife

Looking Back

Monument

Luis Henao Uribe

People said that Civil War was over but you still could see smoke coming out of the Central Library and wounds would still bleed through bandages and sheets. Of course, there were celebrations but people was too tired and the houses too dusty to really be happy. The afternoons were silent because we already were used to the sound of bombs and guns, and screams and cries. But we didn’t find contempt or assurance in that silence. Too many promises were already broken and too many compromises already done. We weren’t well, we just stopped fighting.
History will say that at the dawn of the 21st Century the Purple Party took control of the city over the Orange Party. They will be called winners. But I have seen them: legless and childless, scarred enough to not be able to build upon their victory. Their Purple flag up high on the Mayor’s office is just a symbol of useless change, of nothing achieved. It could have been worse: in other cities, where people were leaning towards the Orange Party, the war was longer and the Purple army had to fight mothers and kids armed with stones and pans.
Certainly, we will survive. We will go out and clean up and rebuild. We will reopen stores and create monuments to those lives lost. Buses will do their routes, taxes will be collected. Kids will be learning how to add two plus two and poets will keep trying to capture freedom in a piece of paper. My neighbors will say hi to me on my way to work and they will ask me to water their plants when they leave for vacations. It’s not going to be pain free, but it’s going to be.
But now, weeks after the Storming of Lica, we face the first challenge of our renewed city: The monument to García de las Vacas, the founder of the city, was destroyed in one of the assaults. What was the statue of a proud men, strongly stepping on a rock, pointing forward with determination and holding a compass in his left hand, now is just pieces of metal bent all over the place. Only his left foot survives in its original position. You can still make out his hand holding the compass some twenty feet away from where it used to be.
The first person to bring up the issue was a columnist of “Memorando,” a weekly newspaper that even before the Civil War was on the brink of disappearing. Tomás Martínez, former Dean of the School of Journalism of the Departmental University, wrote in his opinion column about his recollections as a young kid playing around de las Vacas’s paternal image. Martínez already had seen too much, and such an old soul as his only could ask for a little sense before he abandoned the typewriter once and for all. He wanted the new local government to commit to rebuilding the old monument “that celebrates a history common to all of us, disregarding favorite colors.” The reconstruction of the statue will represent the reconstruction of the society willing to amend all the mistakes that by force or by omission were made during the Civil War. Having García de las Vacas’s right hand pointing towards the future will mean that the city itself has achieved the subtle balance between respect for tradition and progress. “My ink is about to finish, you know, and we, the old inhabitants from Lica, deserve the tranquility of knowing that we stand firm in the memory of this city.”
Soon enough, voices on the radio, specially from the Estación Primordial, started to call old Martínez a senile pawn, mumbling words from the Orange’s tombs, because he was closer to death than to life. Yoyo Gonzaga, one of the most influential DJs, even suggested than probably Martínez and de las Vacas had gone to school together. Less offensive were those voices from the new government that respectfully rejected the idea for merely economical reasons: “So many hospitals that need supplies, schools that were partially destroyed, even those bridges. . . We can’t follow the path of history and spend our limited budget on ornamental issues when there are so many needs to be solved.” Of course, somebody would reply that it was them, the Purples, who overcrowded the hospital, destroyed the schools, and blew up those bridges. But, just a couple of days after this statement, the new appointed Secretary of Urban Development announced a public contest to design a new statue to be erected where de las Vacas stood for centuries.
Openly, there wasn’t any Orange Party anymore. But there was an Orange mentality that quickly accepted its place outside the government but was still willing to keep voicing its ideas. Nobody wanted war, that’s true, but we still weren’t an uniform mass of minds ready to move at the same beat and in the same direction. But the divisions weren’t just those of parties; they were certainly deep: division of race and class, age and gender, left handed and right handed, blonds and brunettes. We, the city, were a shattered mirror, broken beyond repair.
One of the most respected figures of the Purple Party, Antonio Oro, former governor and author of Blue and Red: Aspects of the New Purple Identity, publicly announced that he agreed with professor Tomás Martínez’s statement. The need to rebuild the statue of García de las Vacas was imperative, he said. The founder also fought his way trough the jungle, the mountain, combating the indigenous tribes and unknown diseases, to earn the privilege of calling Lica his home. That courage and determination were fundamental parts of the new citizens that new order proposed. Having de las Vacas holding his compass again will mean that not even time can conquer brave souls—a deserved tribute to those fellow fighters fallen in battle. Of course, Yoyo Gonzaga, from Estación Primordial, asked to put Antonio Oro in the same fucking museum as more-dead-than-alive Martínez. And suddenly kids started printing shirts with de las Vacas’s image and tagging walls with #teamdelasvacas.
A group of recognized artists released a statement from the Plaza where the statue lies. “The past and History are the ones that have brought us all these sufferings. The war should end where it began. In order to move forward we have to create. New ways for new days. Let’s forget, let’s be reborn.” All of them were wearing white clothes and holding hands and all of them talked about a monument that reflects what we, as a city, wanted to become. It wasn’t an empty promise, but a strong commitment to a better society. People clapped and drank white wine being extremely careful not to stain their dresses. Next day, surprisingly, Yoyo Gonzaga laughed at those “How do you call it? Mimes? Do they think we are still in the fucking seventies?” Wearing white ribbons became a symbol of agreement with the idea of a new monument.
The way this city is, people don’t talk about anything else. Rebuild. Build something new. Every taxi driver had an opinion and they made sure that you listened to it. Family dinners turned sour and a few couples broke up, all because of the statue. Orange and Purple alike aligned for or against. Opinion columns, talk shows, beauty parlors, barber shops, bank lines, street lights, social networks, chat rooms. Everywhere, all the time, the same.
And just yesterday fucking Yoyo Gonzaga, a devious guy in my opinion, threw another stone at the broken mirror: “You know what? Do you? Just leave the fucking pile of garbage right there. Leave the foot standing there, you know. And so we all could go and see the freaking left hand holding that compass and all the pieces of garbage all around. Let’s leave it there, just like that, just like the fucking monument that we surely deserved. I mean, let’s be serious, we’re all fucked up. And that’s what we are, no? Am I crazy now? That’s what you’re thinking? Is Yoyo cuckoo? Finally lost it? Yes, I am. I always have. So are you, lovely listener, so is all the city of Lica, my friends. Let’s leave the blown-up statue as it is. That’s the fucking thing that we should see today, tomorrow, and the years to come: that fucking statue”.
And, for the first time, I think that he is right.

Mistake the Map for Innocence

Timothy Leland Shores

silhouetted profile of a little bird.
a kissing instrument
like a teapot drinking from my sermon.
skin trembling to lead the expedition
over bruised & mystic ink,
earned for the night under balmy heaps of august
when i peeled bare the apple of your fight.

A small word, neighbors, cousins.
bargain sneakers tearing up chemlawn.
dust remote, salt of saturn,
& the pepper smoke of oak leaves thumbing lifts
on school night winds, over the rooftop,
tangling with the tough crooks of Malus ioensis,
where a mean gang of apples don’t yield
that bitter green serum to tender
tooths, neighbors, cousins.

we climb across the autumn’s inky dusk
to scratch ways & means into the bark.
tickling limbs, shaking apples loose for scrawny worms,
and birds,
and eavestrough curates,
and the neglected wheelbarrow
that collects a concentration of modest, battered apples—
seeds pool in the philtrum
before diving down the barrowmouth of winter.
swallowed by a gullet made from, yes, november rain,
digested then with gizzard sticks and stones in winter’s locket.

When the depilatory season soothes at last to sphinctral spring,
we are forbidden from our tree by a bouquet. cider devils,
fermented in the peristaltic barrow, cloak our trunk
with the prohibitive stink
of trickster winter’s
dying chuckle.
In mystique’s parlor briefly
before innocence had yet learned to haunt me.
the map disentailed its percipient.
the trees took their leave.

The skirt of rot would fade, we knew.
while the tenor of offence
taken at sermon’s end
would outlast all perfumes fashioned.

Do You Want to Know a Secret?

Isabelle Davis

What do you mean you hate Bob Dylan?
Just what I said. I hate Bob Dylan.
But.
But?
But.


That’s like saying you hate the Beatles.
Well, I hate them too.

Breakfast with the Beatles is a syndicated weekend radio show found on most cities’ classic rock stations. It’s extremely self explanatory and extremely popular. It’s been running for over two decades and is hosted by Dennis Mitchell, a self-proclaimed “Beatlemaniac.” Equal parts nostalgic and terrible, its blueprint is designed for people who care about the gossip related to the band’s members, both living and deceased. It spends a lot of airtime trying to convince the audience that the Beatles are still making history, which, unless we are talking about Paul McCartney and breaking the world’s record for marrying gold diggers with no pre-nup, they are not.

It’s a mixed bag. Early hits, like “Love Me Do” or one of the Motown covers, will be side by side with “Savoy Truffle.” Sometimes it throws you a curve ball, and Ringo a bone, and appeases the younger kid demographic with “Octopus’s Garden,” and a lot of Rubber Soul is played. Major risks aren’t taken until the second hour, which means you will hardly ever hear anything from the Maharishi or Yoko years until the last half, which, looking back, is very considerate.

I listened to it almost every single weekend growing up. With my dad, while eating bagels with cream cheese and drinking mint tea. But not in our kitchen, and not with my mom. We listened to it in the small, L shaped breakfast nook of my best friend’s house, on the fake because it was more or less just a parking lot street of East Rochdale. When I was in nursery school, my dad would drop me off at her house, before work, to carpool. That was when we lived on the opposite side of town. Barely light out, I’d still have my pajamas on. That was when I still got chronic nosebleeds. He’d lay me down on the wooden bench in their living room (they didn’t get a real sofa until her mother moved out, and in an effort to overcompensate, her father bought a massive leather couch with cup holders and a massage component, which broke after the first month). I would, like clockwork, begin to cry.

Molly and I hardly knew each other then. Her classroom was next door to mine, and she was invited to all my birthday parties, but really, that was it. She always wore a flannel shirt, and her braid would swing in a circle like a helicopter. We became real friends in the fourth grade. That was when I began having real sleepovers, and not just the kind where you make your mom come get you at 1am, faking sick.

I would always have to stay at her house, and usually on a Saturday night, because Molly had cable and everyone knew that the SNICK lineup was infinitely better than TGIF’s.  In the morning, my dad would come to pick me up. Although, pick me up isn’t really the right term. And stop and chat isn’t either. Coming in for coffee would be the most acceptable, but really, if carrying-on-a-decade-long-affair-and-using-your-children-as-impetus-to-see-each-other legitimately was a saying, I’d go with that.

They would make us go outside and play in the co-op’s playground. We would swing on the swings, and remark, aren’t we just so lucky to have parents that aresuchgoodlifelongfriends? You never even have to go home. We could stay out here all day! They just love having coffee and talking so much. Suckers. We can play FOREVER. God, they are so boring. What do they even talk about? Who cares. Just asking. Your mom thinks my dad is really funny. What. She laughs in a funny way around him. I’m just telling you, so you know. OK, now I know. Well, I think it’s kind of weird. You only think it’s weird because, I mean, no offense, he isn’t funny. What. He can be, you just don’t know. I said no offense. NONE TAKEN.  One time I saw them hold hands. YOU DID NOT. DID TOO. DID. NOT. DID. TOO. I’m going back inside. I’m coming with.

We would immediately wish we had stayed outside.

Molly’s dad was never around. He was in the basement, in his “office,” which was really just a desk and a computer situated next to the litter box. He spent the majority of his time down there during that marriage. I think everyone preferred it that way.

The Beatles, though, were everywhere.

They were the LPs my aunts and uncles fought over when they spotted them under each other’s stereos, because CLEARLY, IT SAYS PROPERTY OF MARY DAVIS ON IT, ARE YOU FUCKING ILLITERATE? I THOUGHT I LOST THIS IN ’78. JESUS. They were animated and on TV, during the multiple viewings of Yellow Submarine we watched with our cousins, laying on their huskies, Wiley and Mona, like pillows. Their songs floated around our Christmas dinners, supplemented our drives to our grandparents’ beach house, and were always being played by my dad on his acoustic guitar and grand piano.

As a kid of parents from a certain generation, I think it’s considered mandatory to raise them to Help! and hope that they’ll grow up to have self-righteous and pointless conversations about “Let It Be” and Phil Spector. Saying that you were “raised on the Beatles” is like saying that you ate Cheerios as a baby. Almost everybody knows the lyrics to their songs and almost everybody has had at least one conversation about them. But almost nobody else hears “Do You Want to Know a Secret?” and silently and sadly begs, No I don’t. Please don’t tell me.

Domestic Terrorism

Sarah Grieb

Domestic Terrorism

Tense

Sarah Van Bonn

Tense

Excerpt from “Mendzy”

Kevin Dugan

It was the first noon of August and the middle-aged outside guys were sitting shirtless on lawn chairs, drinking in secret and bullshitting in the sun. ‘Tian had woken up drunk and kept it that way, first by the dusty wine left over from last night’s uncorked, and then from one Corona after the next that he’d pay neighborhood kids to get for him from the bodega. The kids didn’t respect him, but he thought they did. He was still large and mean, still had military tattoos on his arms. He only kept enough money for a beer and a tip in his pocket when he sat outside, and he was reliable for at least a good twelve bucks a day. But mostly, it was because the guys he drank with were less ruined and less likely to sit in their own lawn chair. That’s why no one ripped him off.

Hot 97 played throwback jams on the radio he brought outside, and the sound coming from its bassless speakers clashed with the music coming out of the Baptist church across the street. The church had a band playing gospel with its drone screech organ, its don’t-touch-the-downbeat singer. The sunlight felt gigantic, quaking in the hot, stubborn air. Those who had air conditioning stayed inside. These were the days when kids would ride the subways for a few hours just to cool off until night came. Walking down Nostrand felt unhealthy, the humid air clumping up with the exhaust from the constant traffic.

‘Tian held court outside of a big white apartment building on the corner and, even with his slurred speech and occasional nodding off, still had a capacity for remembering, and feeling protective of, the other tenants. He had lived there since the 70s, when he and his wife lived well off working for the MTA and didn’t pay more than a hundred fifty a month to rent away the bad old days. But Bed-Stuy had been becoming whiter for years now, and his wife was long dead, and he lived off the disability payments he earned. He resented the new ones pushing out acquaintances and old friends, but he felt they were harmless. He would try, and succeed, in scamming them for a few dollars every once in a while, or just seeing how little he had to do to intimidate them. And they would let it go. There was one couple, though, that had called the cops. ‘Tian had pulled out a pocket knife and threatened to kill their dog right in the foyer. It barked a lot. The cops warned him but didn’t do anything else. So the couple moved out the next night, at around midnight, and got a subletter to take their space the next month. That was three months ago, and he had only caught a glimpse of the new kid a couple times. One of the tenants told him his name was John Paul and he went to school in the city. He kept his eyes down and didn’t really talk much. Never had many guests.

At around a quarter after, a U-Haul van pulled up to the curb and started honking in sustained blasts. “Shut the fuck up man, we hear you,” ‘Tian said. Not that anyone heard him say it. ‘Tian spoke like a dehydrated somniloquist. Among the competing sounds, ‘Tian’s was not recognized, or if it was, it was ignored. Way back when I had the red and black lumberjack with the hat to match. And the driver continued honking. And the organ wheezed and howled. It wasn’t until one of the other guys made a comment that ‘Tian got up from his lawn chair, took his half-empty Corona and hurled it against the starboard side of the van. And the DJ yelled THROWBACK! over the song.

The bottle broke into three or four large, craggy pieces. The hollow van resonated for a while after the impact. The driver, a Peruvian, came yelling out of the car. There was a dent on the side of the van where there had been impact.

The singer cross the street, pitching away from the beat: And I’m going . . . to get my reward.

“I own this van,” he said. “I have to get this fixed! I have to fix this now! Who threw that? Which one of you threw that?”

Traffic clustered as trucks brought their deliveries to the Home Depot across the street.

Some of the guys laughed. One walked away. ‘Tian ambled over to the man like he had long ago abandoned yaw. “Pretty bad dent you have there, sir,” he said.

Cars went Byeeeaaawweeep.

He ran his shaking fingers over the impression. The Peruvian had stopped yelling. ‘Tian kept his gaze with his yellow-rimmed bloodshot eyes and long, lazy blinks. Some of the others had come over and stood behind ‘Tian. “My friend here’s got some tools to knock out that dent. He’d do it for a right price, too.”

And my whole crew is loungin’ celebratin’ every day no more public housing.

The other man nodded. “I’ll go get my mallet right now, sir. It’ll be just a minute. It’s a nice, big mallet, too. My tools are right over there,” he said, nodding to somewhere across the street.

The Peruvian said no, and then when ‘Tian insisted and the other guy went to get his tools, he repeated ‘no no no no no,’ even as he got himself back into the van, locking the door.

When the singer sang I’m living for my Jesus this perhaps twentieth time, he reached a note that unlocked for one moment the sublime and all the congregants went oooooh.

John Paul had been standing outside the door with two suitcases for a little while, watching ‘Tian and the driver. He knew of ‘Tian because his friends had warned him, but he had always seemed like a useless drunk. It was only when he heard the driver muttering ‘no no no no no’ and backing up and going back into the van did he realize that something had happened. The van drove away. ‘Tian looked at him standing there with the bags but did not acknowledge him.

John Paul picked up his two suitcases and walked over to ‘Tian. “What happened? Why did he drive off?”

‘Tian looked at him crosswise. “I wouldn’t worry about it, young man.”

The radio interpolating a droning party and bullshit and party and bullshit into the mix.

“But that was my van, I have to move out today,” he said. “I had to move out yesterday.” John Paul’s voice started to crack.

The other guys started to walk away, bored. “I would think that that would be none of your business, what was said between me and that man,” ‘Tian said.

John Paul was turning red from embarrassment and fear. He was tall but lanky with a concave chest and very thin blond hair that was already receding. His fare skin obscured no embarrassments. Sweat had already been collecting above his eyebrow, and then the bead broke and dribbled into his eye, all salt and anger. “What am I supposed to do now? I can’t get a van at this short notice. This is like, the biggest moving day of the year.”

“That man,” ‘Tian said, “was causing a nuisance in my neighborhood.” He stumbled a little closer to the boy with the luggage. The keyboardist blustered along with the sound of one hundred hands clapping. “How can people go to church right there if there’s a van beeping all day long? You got kids sleeping right now just down the block with Mrs. Robin’s daughter having the summertime flu. And I can’t even enjoy the day now with that honking and all this commotion.” It was just them talking now, the other guys having gone to whatever elsewheres they’d preferred. ‘Tian’s radio was still playing and the church band had not even crescendoed and trucks were loading and unloading from the Home Depot across the street. “So,” he went on, “I recommend you find another way to go about your business, young man.”

Watching It in Reverse

Brie Hero

She asked him at dinner: “What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen out there?”

He opened his mouth and then shut it again, unable to decide. It wasn’t that he couldn’t decide on what story to tell her—the one yesterday, he had known when he saw the hand prints. But he couldn’t decide on the best way to tell it. Start with how he found her body? He opened his mouth to start there, then shut it. Start with what he saw on the roof, where she jumped?

So instead he told her the story about the guy who got hit in the eye with a baseball. He knew as he spoke, as he uttered the phrase, “I mean, by the time we got there, he didn’t even look human anymore,” that this was not good first date conversation. Probably he would never see her again. He didn’t care about seeing her again, necessarily. She had asked. She had asked for the craziest. But he did care about getting to touch her, sleep with her, and he flinched, thinking this talk was probably going to hurt that too. He kept going though, and instead of becoming disgusted, she leaned forward and opened her mouth.

After he finished the story by wondering aloud whether the guy’s tear duct could have possibly been going off after the eyeball broke like a raw viscous egg all over the shards of the shattered occipital bone, or whether what had looked like tears running down the man’s face must have been just some other fluid from inside the eye, he couldn’t stop himself. He told her the story he originally intended, about the jumper and the hand prints.

The jumper lived in Park Slope, where this girl had told him she lived, so he started there. The jumper had paid a lot for one of those apartments in the fancy developments in the north, one of those shiny towers that beckoned Manhattanites with ads showing pools, craft beers, bicycles, and models in the grips of lulling, newlywed love. She had jumped from the tiny ledge that was the true top of the building, a little outcropping of vents and wiring boxes perching high above the sculpted roof deck.

She fell 26 stories and hit a fire escape on the way down, severing her body in two, roughly along the waistline. He had accessed the fire escape through the window of a young couple. His partner waited behind him, in what the couple were decorating to be the baby’s room, with the gurney and the body bag. He had plucked up her legs and her lower body and lifted them easily in through the window. There were bruises, cuts, and scrapes on them, and the legs were turning white. But otherwise, they still looked like legs, still wearing green running shorts. Blood leaked onto the new, baby-blue carpet. Down on the street, where the cops pushed back a crowd of gawkers, they picked up her head, shoulders, and the majority of her torso.

Then the cops went up to the roof, to check out where she jumped from, put it in their report, and he went too. He wanted a cigarette anyway, and the street was still full. He followed the cops as they tried to climb up, up to the ledge. First they hauled their heavy bodies up a rusty metal ladder, stepping on each other’s fingers, leaving them all rubbing strained muscles and scratched palms. Then they picked their way over a series of awkwardly spaced, knee-high green boxes. One cop used a piece of scrap metal to hoist up a strand of barbed wire so they could all slip underneath. He saw wisps of the woman’s hair on the barbed wire. Blood drying on top of one of the green boxes from a cut she must had received.

He imagined her climbing this way. He felt sick as it occurred to him that it had been hard for her to make this climb. He thinks about the feeling of the skin on her legs. They continued onto the ledge itself, which had a dirty Plexiglas rim above its low cement wall. On the rim are her palm prints. The jumper. He could read them as plainly as the path of one person, headed one direction, in freshly fallen snow.

On the far right are both palms. They start low, streak upwards, fumble, and then climb again six inches to the left. Then one flaps out to the side, but then finally they both grab the top of the Plexiglas, and with one final toe-print, a few feet to the left of the final set of hand-prints, she kicks over.

As he stood with the cops, all of them panting from the difficulty of the climb, he felt how hard she worked on dying.  He thought about all his convulsing, gasping patients, all the ones who worked so fucking hard on staying alive.

“It was like watching it in reverse,” the girl said.

“WHAT?” he shouted, not sure who is speaking. “Sorry. Sorry I shouted.”

She stared at him, and he realized he had been shouting since he started telling the story. He looked around the restaurant. No one was looking at him, but maybe they weren’t looking on purpose.

“Sorry,” he mumbles. No one says anything for a minute. “Yeah, it was like . . . in reverse,” he says finally, not sure what they’re talking about.

“Like watching a movie in reverse? I mean, rewind?”

It was kind of like watching a movie in reverse. Like watching the movie of staying alive in reverse. He didn’t know the movie could run that way. That was kind of what it was like. Sure. That was one way to tell it.

Outside the restaurant he slowly, deliberately led her away from the crowds. She knew what was about to happen and started babbling, trying to stall. She was mid-sentence when he put his palm to her cheek, turned her face towards him, and kissed her. She didn’t kiss back, but didn’t tear her face away either. Her lips went limp against his. Her dark hair blew against both their faces in the breeze off the water.

She walked away first, headed back towards the corner, and he followed. He gave her directions to walk home and watched her go, the halogen glaze from the streetlights etching a million spiderweb-fine shadows along her long white limbs.

Château de Fougères 2

Ania Pietraszek

Château de Fougères 2

Phaistos, Crete

Ania Pietraszek

Phaistos, Crete

Salt Mine

Timothy Leland Shores

when we reign,
it’s war

(Nineteen eleven)

the common year on sunday, punch guns computing,
tabulating, and recording fiat holes
drilled thru the hollerith meadows of Binghamton,
where stuff never gets too metaphysical.

and the big blue snap of eleven/eleven
arrives at the prairie to civilize the indian summer,
yanking the sky down from an imperious eighty fahrenheit
to Freezing death by nightfall.
hot saturday distorted, memorably, into murderous
tongue-twisters & wreckage pockets
in the blizzard pinch of night

& Bingham the third at Machu Picchu and the dissolution of Standard Oil
and Chinese Republicans and, and

while Browning’s forty-five caliber Colt mod was the innovation of choice
for the islands under Manila,
where the formerly standard United
Stateser army thirty-eights were inept
for civilizing charging Muslim breastbones to jungle deckplates
& keeping them there
to secure the spoils secured from the spoils
of big sister España
where the precipitation settles
mainly on the

umbrella darling petty
nymph, your lightly
salted booties jig, dig
their way by grains into
the ion-channeled salary,

glands slaked by lottery,
in the fits of ordnance storming.

Once upon

Sarah Van Bonn

Once upon

On The Edge Of The Bed

Blake Hamilton

It is a step,
—mild desperation
to attempt
to memorialize you
in a poem.
You don’t deserve to be
memorialized.

Hanging
half bent over
the edge
of my bed
a swimmers back,
bare,
three brown marks
like thumb prints
pressing up your spine.

“They’re starting to feather.”
You say this,
fingers flipping onion thin pages;
a ruined text
describing the best way
to approach Marxist
criticism.

“If it’s melanoma, I’m fucked.”

Your criticism for me
is that I am
too Passionate
and that I talk
about my Passion
for you.

In public, you and I
ignore each other artfully—
subtle glances now
a firm reminder
of how much of you I took in,
samples.

And you and my
enemies
have vigorously
nailed me up
—wrists and feet—
without the chance
to tell you—
despite your collection
of hammers and tape,
your variety of drills,
walls of ropes well knotted,
that I had such love
for you.

Swimming in the Spent Fuel Pond

Scott Schuer

Harrisburg, in the last century, slowly wound its way through our red, white, and blue electron psyche.  Pripyat glowed with graphite tonnage.
Teenagers still danced and cared about the fuck.
The clicking and crackling, held at yard’s length, kept us from feeling what can’t be felt.  Geiger’s name dropped to the back of the queue, America split into red and blue, the earth trembled and
oceans grew.
The Sun still rises in Eastern skies – beta, gamma, iodine flowers and leaches – and sometimes
breaches, say,
human device.
FU KU SHI MA DAI I CHI is no haiku stanza, it may no longer compete for a place name.  But the bathing – good, and the temperature – fair,
wherever one
may find
solitude.

A Time

Sarah Van Bonn

A Time

Skyline

Scott Schuer

Significance vaporizes between
pages and mouseclicks, the
applause and breathtaking pearls
disintegrate with disinterest and shoulder shrugs –
involuntary gestures, jonesing for the “whatup next?”
making impotent solitary vision stakes,
shaking awake
collective naptime.

From coast to placid coast, from server to
stolid server, waiting for interpretations, the
similes and satire of expansive irrigation disks, of
concrete slabs and ribbons, of
drought and deluge, of
carbon bipeds consuming all with
tall, silicon, security voices,
successfully steering
nostalgic SUVs.