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.
by Arya F. Jenkins
It was easy to get out of bed when Lucinda was not in it, easy to greet the day in which the most pressing responsibilities were to her. Everything was for her. She had helped raise her son Michael through his teens, helped put him through college. They had been through the loss of both Lucinda’s parents and her mother, Lucinda’s kidney stones, her own bouts of anxiety, so much.
Something to Find Me
by Jennifer Wortman
I couldn’t lock the bathroom door and I couldn’t open it. The door swung free, revealing an old woman, small and glaring, in the hallway, her hair long and dark as a girl’s. She wanted me dead and I started to scream. A hand grabbed my shoulder, shook me awake.
People in General (excerpt)
by John Colasacco
I am still trying to find the right dog among all these beautiful dogs here in the street. Some of them know me and they know my habits somehow and they know what I would say if I could speak to them. This is the morning no one comes out of their house, it’s only me, the dogs and I, we have been sleeping all night and some of us it seems have been sleeping forever. After all that sleep we need to go outside and join together in this crowd where all else is quiet and the murmurs echo so perfectly. Each dog is looking around for something, feeling ignored, and I sense this the way I sense my fear of speaking in anger up to the point where I might say something that I don’t really think is true.