FALL 2021 ISSUE:
When my four year old son was diagnosed with AIDS, I learned about secrets. It was in August 1986, just before his birthday. To the outside world, Zack was a bright, engaging bundle of enthusiasm. But he had been premature, endured many surgeries and crises, almost didn’t make it to his first birthday where, in an oxygen tent in the Pediatric Intensive Care unit, he had his first taste of ice cream.
By Anna Belle Kaufman
MY MOTHER'S PLANT
It tried to die with my mother
whether from neglect or empathy
we’ll never know. My son
the gardener and pessimist
said he’d try his best
but don’t hope too hard
then, sonlike, left
this coast for the other
and left the plant to me
By Iris Litt
When you arrive she’s sitting in the grey armchair, chin on chest, sound asleep. The door is half-open; roaring and screeching fill the room—the TV is on and they’re showing motor racing. You knock again and call again: Mum.
By Annette Higgs
The community session convened at 8:00 each morning in the conference center, a low, rustic-looking, yellow-sided building that bordered the town green. The dozen or so clients would trudge inside, yawning and clutching Styrofoam coffee cups after a late night at the lodge’s bar.
By Edward Belfar
I wanna go to the grocery store with you.
In your presence, the mundane is an adventure too.
I wanna run down the aisles like a little girl
You can help direct me so I don’t
Bump into anyone as I twirl.
Can we check all the eggs in the carton
Make sure that none of the babies were cracked or
I never cared about any of this before
But now I find myself crying
Over every shell
By Bella Bromberg
EYES ON THE PRIZE
I saw her in a crowd. She? Maybe not. The sex sat right upon the edge, indeterminate. One angle revealed a man. A slight shift, a delicate tilt, then he became a she. A shapeshifter. An image reflected on moving water. Fluid. Whatever they are, that person, they had my attention.
By James Callan
THE YELLOW SUITCASE
Coco Bouldin wouldn’t cry about missing her train. Doing that would risk mussing her makeup and so further muss the beauty of her passage, by train, across Italia (which was about the extent of the Italian Coco knew). By her itinerary, she should already be on her way to Florence. But instead, here she was, marooned in Milano Centrale.
By Chelsey K. Shannon
His favorite tree was the cherry, how he loved
the riot of pink fluttering blossoms in April, the
rich ruby fruit of June and the misty leaves of
October the same color as plasma dripping from an i.v. into a blue vein. The soul that was this sweet child’s soul was too young to figure the arithmetic
By Brian Yapko
The chronological sorting of memories is an interesting challenge. My time then is distant and blurry, except my time with him. Although, we had so many happy days that they sometimes merge into a sweet and indistinct blur. But that may be how I want to remember those days... I might have had any number of ways to speak about him, but this is the only way I will ever do so.
By Jack Cooper
It’s never easy for a daughter to remember what kind of man her father once was. More specifically, a tall, striking man who met women in East L.A’s projects during the 1970s. Even more specifically, Robert who met Salma, and months later asked her to meet in front of their high school’s concrete wall, the one covered in Bulldogs, after receiving permission from Salma’s father for her hand in marriage.
By Marilyn Ramirez