Month: July 2020

Decade Old Elegy: Personal Dream

by Sean Cho A.

and you wake. You’re in the passenger’s seat
now here’s the first choice:
look forward or
look left
what you chose says a lot
about trust. Let’s say you look left.
The man driving looks like your father.

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Book Review: Parakeet

by Ioannis Argiris

The opening of Parakeet by Marie-Helene Bertino starts off as a wild dream state for Luna, a young bride-to-be. Her dead grandmother manifests as a parakeet in a hallucinogenic vision and urges Luna to reconcile with her brother before her wedding day. We meet Luna at a dilapidated hotel on Long Island, trying on her wedding dress, as her grandmother inquires about family and traditions. But when Luna brushes off her grandmother’s request that she make amends with her brother, her grandmother—the parakeet—defacates on the wedding dress, forcing Luna to plunge into an unusual journey. The novel delivers an honest connection to family, through the lens of the theater, that makes for a great read.

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Already Dead Things

by Stacy Bierlein

Outdoor education was a thing the parents liked. Kids should know how things grow, they said. Children want to take care of things, we agreed, to be individually responsible. If the cabbage actually survived we took it to a local food bank. This time, though, the rabbits got in.

Was something wrong with the soil? a little girl wanted to know.

No, I said, the rabbits were hungry.

I didn’t explain that they probably came down from the cemetery at the top of the hill, displaced by a digging of graves. In our perfectly constructed greenhouse everything that should have been green was dead. The Lahiris had endowed the new greenhouse. Two of their sons were alums and five of their grandchildren were here. It all should have been very nice but I had forty kids in there with me, my second graders and Ms. Frothmeyer’s first graders, staring into empty planters, scattered soil, absence. It was pathetic.

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Book Review: Two Menus

By Andréa Ferrell Gannon

Rachel DeWoskin is a five-time novelist and memoirist. Two Menus is her debut poetry collection which, despite being billed as poetry, does not escape a certain delicious fictionness, like here: “The night Des tore her hair out, it was literal. / White sheets beneath her lit the hospital,” or here: “Today, school again in the wrong / boots, dress Kari S. writes along / my locker ‘bitch.’ She still / leaves me notes: ‘I hope you die – I will.”

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Rock

By Guna Moran

A rock can only be made smaller
By beating and hitting
Can never be made larger

Rocks are generally homeless
They lay everywhere

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Mother

By Guna Moran

Mother
Bless me to turn into dust
Would stay stuck to both your feet every day

Mother
Bless me to be your teardrops
Would glitter in your eyes in times of joy and sorrow

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Book Review: Rodham

by Amy Reardon

Today in America 2020, it is four months until the next presidential election and nothing is certain except our ever-growing regret that we did not elect the most qualified person for the job when we had the chance. But why not? And would it have made a difference if Hillary Clinton were not attached to Bill?

Enter Rodham, Curtis Sittenfeld’s sixth and boldest novel yet, a fictional story of Hillary’s life trajectory had she followed her own bright star instead of her husband’s. Delicious in its fantastical rewriting of history, the book’s most irresistible pull lies in the promise of the parallel life. For don’t we all secretly fear a better life might have been just around the corner, if only we had been brave enough? But the novel’s true brilliance lies deeper, in Sittenfeld’s examination of one key question: why didn’t we elect our first woman president in 2016? Was it her … or was it us?

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Slanting

by Heather Browne

I was eight before I knew she was crazy. Until then, I thought maybe it was me. Maybe I was confused or maybe not all that bright, not brilliant like her. I was eight before I understood that talking to trees, dogs, the coat hanging in her closet, dancing with imaginary fairies that only she could see, was something other than spectacularly magical. It’s hard to tell the difference sometimes between creativity, genius, and mere insanity, especially when you are too young to even know how to slant your pen.

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Book Review: Notes on a Silencing

By Linda Romano

Lacy Crawford’s memoir Notes on a Silencing speaks to the ways gender, privilege, and power silenced Crawford twenty-five years ago. When Crawford was fifteen years old, she was lured to a boys’ dormitory one night, pulled from beneath the night shadows, and sexually assaulted.

Crawford’s story is a familiar one. When psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford disrupted her life in the summer of 2018 to testify against Brett Kavanaugh, a nominee for the United States Supreme Court, she was harassed and forced to relocate from her Palo Alto home. Thirty years earlier at a high school party, she alleged, Kavanaugh had assaulted her and put his hand over her mouth to prevent her from screaming. Ford and Kavanaugh were students at elite prep schools in Maryland: Ford attended Holton-Arms, a private all-girls school, and Kavanaugh attended Georgetown Preparatory, a Jesuit high school for boys, where alcohol and deviant sexual behavior were a common cocktail.

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A Twist

by Mary Higbee

My sister Nancy and I have become used to answering the door to strangers. Since arriving a week ago, people we don’t know have shown up bearing sympathy cards, plates of cookies, and casseroles. They also brought a story or two to tell us about some adventure they had shared with my father.

But today we are too busy to welcome callers. The severe winter storm predicted to descend in twenty-four hours has shortened our time for being in Arkansas. Noon tomorrow is our deadline for starting homeward if we hope to stay ahead of the bad weather. My husband, sister, niece, and I are down to hours to get the house ready to close up and for each of us to pack the chosen keepsakes we are taking.

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