by Grant Maierhofer
We snuck in I think cos my friends we wanted to die. One of us thought maybe he’d write something about the place, some poem or something, I don’t know. My friends and I we didn’t think much then, just sort of did what came and went like that, but when we heard they’d decided to destroy this massive space we thought maybe we’d sneak in and let it swallow us. I remember looking through the windows of this like old husked-out building walking home from school without much else to do. I’d stare and my father’d say whatever he’d say about the black families and poor families who lived there but it never stuck much, I didn’t care. My friends the young ones mostly were black kids with sneery faces not unlike my own—I preferred to keep around a crew of unhappy-faced weirdos and we’d hound St. Louis for better guts and it was great. The 70s are piss but I don’t know. My father didn’t work and my mother barely could. The house we lived in wasn’t far from school and school wasn’t far from the buildings and I can remember sometimes going in there to eat dinner at friends’ homes and it wasn’t a big deal at all. We heard adults talk left and right about the politics or something. We’d drown it out like anything and just couldn’t be bothered to care. I love my city, maybe, some days I guess. I don’t know. Sometimes I think about it and still get sick over the noise. We’d almost been caught for so much young bullshit it was odd when it was over, like the city upped and wiped away our sneaky nights in dead sunlight as the community watched confused. I feel tormented that way sometimes. Like the back of my neck might shove through my Adam’s apple and go spattered on the wall. We had endless cans of spraypaint and the city sounded like it might set half itself on fire over “racial tension” or something. Women cried in streets and in front of the buildings. Families and young men screamed out for their fathers like it was all that was left to do. I don’t know. I remember school feeling sort of tense before they came down. I remember that kid who thought he’d write something about it all doing all sorts of research. It was him, he was Jeremy I think; it was Jeremy, Michelle, Mike who we called Igor (a black kid from East St. Louis who didn’t live in the buildings but went to school with Michelle and Mike/Igor loved old horror movies) Enny this girl who always followed Jeremy to sing his praises, and myself, that is Terence, who went to school and set small fires and loved so much to die.
by Gessy Alvarez
At home, I face a predator. I am in the living room. A plush rug is under my bare feet. Nick is in his club chair, the one he took from his father’s house. Our TV is on, but its sound muted. The cat sits on the rug next to my feet. Where is the dip in the floor? The dip that we feel when we walk from the dining room to the living room. It’s a dent made by 80 years of feet stepping on it. I pace around the room hoping to feel that dent. The cat stalks my restless feet.
Still Andrew for Denise: When young love turns into middle age loss
by Andrew Skerritt
The news arrives as it often does these days, via Facebook messenger. It is timestamped 10:45 p.m. Tuesday Sept. 20, 2016.
It’s from my former high school biology teacher in Montserrat, the small Caribbean island where I grew up.
Her message is saturated with grief.
On These Seas, Colors Wash to Gray
by Justin Bryant
The South Atlantic Ocean, June 1974
By nightfall, the near-fight between Francis and Randolph had been forgotten. The Barracuda pivoted from her anchor, the stern swinging in slow arcs near a pair of identical rock islands. In the lee of Dyer Island, the water was calm, but winds pushed the fifty seven-foot vessel to the length of her anchor line and into the jagged seas. Cape fur seals bellowed from Geyser Rock, fifty yards across the channel. The wind shifted and brought the ammonia stench of guano from the rocks. Lights from Gansbaai lay like a string of jewels low on the horizon. Just after sunset, sea birds took flight and wheeled away in severe arcs. Cold, dark water chilled the hull. Inside the cabin, the men pulled on sweaters and coats. Lucas caught Randolph’s eye as he was climbing into his bunk. Randolph smiled at him.
The Mating Rituals of Turtles
by Donna Hemans
When it is not nesting season, sea turtles may migrate hundreds or even thousands of miles.
We’re in Treasure Beach at a literary festival. Rain is coming down around us, pounding the tent, thrumming against it like a thousand hearts beating. Water pools on the ground and on the top of the tent, which dips in places under the weight. Mud oozes beneath our feet and chairs. A songwriter thrums a guitar, and talks over it, explaining the poetry of a Bob Marley song. Together—the rain beating on the tent, the guitar, the man’s voice, the breeze coming off the sea, the sea itself roiling with angry waves—it is poetic, romantic even. I don’t want to leave at all. But it’s the last day of the festival, and besides it’s not even the primary purpose of our trip. We happened upon it.
Sunsets Are Giant Rainbows
by Joel Tomfohr
Chris is a poet who lives in Marin with his mom. He thinks his poetry sucks and can’t send it out. Next fall he’s moving to China to teach ESL because the Bay Area is so expensive. We’re supposed to go to Baja to go surfing for a week at the end of July. Last weekend, though, while my girlfriend Malalai was out of town, we went to a movie and when we tried to get tickets for the 7:15 show, it was sold out so we had to wait until 9:15.
King Lear and Great-Uncle Schika
by Stas Holodnak
I expected more from my first experience of Shakespeare on stage: The Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of King Lear should have been spectacular. Yet the play felt all too familiar, reminding me of the subject of endless family feuds over the years. An old and frail, borderline senile man, bouncing all over the stage in a shabby fur coat like a leaf in the wind, might have been King Lear to the rest of the audience, but to me, he was the dramatic version of my very own Great-Uncle Schika.
The House With the Plexiglas Frame
by Martha Anne Toll
Lynette awoke to find her husband Jack sitting in a Plexiglas house in her brain. He was as clear to her as the blinking red 7:01 on the face of her digital clock. Just in case, she rolled over and checked again. He was not on his back, lips open, snoring. Gone. As if she needed evidence! Her head was throbbing, punctuated like snare drums rat-a-tat-tatting.