Why Not Leave

Andy has been standing at the back door for three years now, his hand resting on the cheap wood handle. “What’s for dinner, Ma?”  he shouts.  He can hear her whistling.  He grimaces.  He wants to tell her he hates her.  He wants to tell her he loves her.  He can smell fried onions wafting from the kitchen . . . again.  Last night it was the must of boiling potatoes.  He’s grown thin standing there watching cars pass on the side street, the birds that build their nests in the hedge, the young couple that sometimes stands in the cul-de-sac and kisses. The glass is strong, almost translucent, almost.  He can see his vague body like a ghost, the way, as dusk approaches, darkness [...]

Photo of my Mother as a Girl

I never recognized her except in fragments – the thin line of black that made her smile (the thin black line between her two front teeth), the caught look of her stance kneeling but rising in the grass beneath a new tree, the reach of her arms, long and thin and bent before her like thin, bent wires ready to spring. But she is all in pieces there, torn bits of known mingled with the foreign, the historic, the before me. It is as if she doesn’t know me, her stomach long and thin and pale white, my father absent, the sun freckling her face through unpruned branches of a young tree. Sarah Newman


They want for nothing—the blue heron the snowy egret— salt of their lives here in the marsh at sunset This is how it is if you follow the Coopers Hawk in cold winter air, sun crowning head feathers as it wings away This is how it is, delta wind over cord grass and black rush, how it dries the outstretched wings of the cormorant, earthbound thunderbird Here in the marsh, mallards skate to landing. The Blue Winged Teal and the Green Winged Teal scatter in iridescent color in Six Mile Creek where sun sketches that last-minute trill of color, and breezes edge toward December Fiddler crabs scuttle over pluff mud and even the White Pelican can be seen near river water on sand bars, gathering [...]

The Deer Unspoken

She appears, ghost of the corn, in the dim evening, almost an absence, brown velvet neck muscling the soil. I raise the rifle, place crosshairs on her spine.  She is pulsing there in fine electric signals.  My heart quickens and something old opens inside me. Midwife to death, it tells me we are one thing breathing along the telescopic sight.  I hold my breath and pull the trigger. We are shattered, the deer, the gun, the coming night, by rupture and silence.  My closed eyes see nothing, but the skin knows the body is lying in a heap, blood and air rivering the field into blooms of bone and flesh.  I take her in the dark, the empty weight stronger than gravity, rooting us to [...]

Kendal Turner


Ghosts Someone fought for this, do you remember? Daddy tucking you in and night, swirling your dreams with a touch on the forehead, as mother rocked your fever into submission. The kiss behind the swing set in elementary school that lit your tiny heart on fire. The first time you said “I love you” and meant it. The first time you said “I’m leaving” and didn’t look back. Hold me like breath until my lungs burst and I tell you the mystery behind family photographs. Muses passed from parents seep into cooking and the way we carry our fishing poles. Tattoos of ghosts filling our skin with ancestral messages, oujia board proclamations that Yes, we can hear you. We follow your footsteps daily and are [...]

American Gun is in Therapy


One of the songs on the back end of American Gun’s new album, released May 10, 2011, is about the joys and travails of being in a local rock band—and it’s called, in a somewhat tongue-in-cheek fashion, “Breakin’ Up.” It’s a sneering punk-rock tune, full of careening guitars and a biting cynicism about band mates, club dates, and alcohol. But halfway through the song, something striking happens. In the space of  just a few beats, the guitars fall out and the drums go from   pummeling forward to marking out a muscular half-time groove that lifts the tune from a sweaty barroom into the rock-and-roll arena. The instruments build the song back up again, eventually renewing their lunge forward with a new purpose. Lead singer Todd [...]