by Kate Tagai
Here: South Pacific, July 2011
Anna seems to grow from the woven mat spread between her and the dusty ground. Her skirt’s elastic stretched and sagging around her waist from so much wear, like Anna’s own skin. She is eighty, or maybe closer to ninety years old. She doesn’t know, but measures her years in world events and the thirteen children she has raised. Continue reading
by Richard Key
June 4. I’m one hundred days from turning sixty. Seems not so long ago I calculated that I had exactly one thousand days remaining in my fifties, which didn’t bother me so much. That’s almost three years. You could get a law degree in that time. People have biked around the world in less time. Sixty is intimidating. You’re supposed to be grown up by then. I mean completely grown up. Fifty is the youth of old age, according to Victor Hugo, and maybe that’s the rub. Now even the youth of old age is fading fast. My “over the hill” T-shirt has holes in it…and they’re getting bigger by the day.
by JC Reilly
Like that cow-mother we saw once on our Grandpa’s Pennsylvania farm, straining with her calf that warm November day, you too lay impatient and writhing for your boy to come. Late, it would be the first of many times he’d defy you. “No drugs,” you’d said.
Tied to machines and IV, the nurse-call button strangled in your right hand like a dead mouse, you were trussed as the turkey your in-laws would roast ten days later on Thanksgiving. Something tar-like and unholy lurked in your all-pupil eyes. Curses no devil dare speak steamed from your mouth like poisoned milk. Continue reading
by Robert Miltner
(after a photograph by Andrew Borowlec)
Leaves fall along rows of tree trunks in the late October orchards. The last apples hang, red as the cheeks of pretty children playing in the first snow of winter.
In town, stunted skeletons of burr oak, catalpa, and Osage orange irregularly line the waste lots located along the train tracks. Wasps buzz, ready to swarm relentlessly if their underground nests are threatened.
by John Coyne
When I was first at the Blue Marlin Hotel at the edge of the Indian Ocean in the summer of ’63 the hotel was full of Brits. It was the last days before Kenya’s independence. By the late Sixties the Brits had been replaced by German tourists. Today, I’m told, the village, and most of Kenya, suffers from a lack of tourists because of Al-Shabbaab.
My story begins, however, in the early ‘70s when the hotel was full of Germans and where the few English speaking tourists gravitated to one end of the bar. It was there that I met Phillip and his beautiful wife, April, and their two lovely young daughters. They were finishing up dinner and I was dining alone and we started up a conversation, as English speakers strangers will when they are outnumbered. Continue reading