by Laura Shaine Cunningham
For nine years, Len and Kit Callendar faced west. One morning they drove into their view.
Outside, in the predawn dark of Riverside Drive, Kit sat at the wheel of their car, motor running, while Len made several return trips up to 7B, to ensure that he had not forgotten anything.
No matter how hard he concentrated, his papers seemed to disappear as he looked at them, especially his own birth certificate.
by Cathy Allman
I pace in front of the mercury glass mirror,
hold her, try to memorize us,
if only a flicker. She’s surprised to see herself.
She studies our reflection
with those eyes that are like yours,
that are like mine in color and shape,
by Naphisa Senanarong
The day my mother and her three sisters floated out to sea on an inflatable raft, the jellyfishes were on their annual, fatal pilgrimage to shore. A sea of white, she’d described. The storms parted, like in an animated children’s movie, revealing poison lotuses blooming as far as the eyes can see. I picture them: Ariel’s sisters, muted mermaids drifting onto a patch of hostile ocean—round eyes and naive parted lips, like posters of girls in the fifties congregating around some kitchen appliance. They were too young to register that afternoon as their first brush with mortality. No matter, because life had many more for them—at the hands of loved ones, behind doors too heavy for small fingers, Ohioan winter closing like cracks around frozen throats, in rooms with too many people, hospital beds with too few, restaurants that smell like chicken oil, bathrooms that smell like old blood—leftovers—fine mixtures of rust and self. Smells that linger—how they got used to those, always finding them in unexpected places: hair, collars, breaths.
by Julie Marie Wade
This story begins with salt—three and a half bushels of it—excellent, fine, strong, & white¹. That’s what the explorers wrote in their log, leaving Seaside on February 20, 1806.
These men had traveled from Missouri, army volunteers under the command of Captain Meriwether Lewis and Second Lieutenant William Clark. It was the first United States expedition to venture all the way west, across the Continental Divide and down into the Columbia River basin. But then the explorers met winter in the Pacific Northwest and found themselves dripping (some things never change), rain riding every gust of wind, the dim light heavy as a helmet on their heads, and the elk meat at risk of spoiling.
by Nancy Dickeman
We push the baby through the crush of waterlogged leaves, past
a slumped brick wall
seared by a swastika’s fresh paint.
The jagged white arms loom,
stark as hooded figures igniting
a tide of embers.