by Fabrizia Faustinella
The house across the street from ours had been abandoned for many years and was now falling apart. The roof was collapsing, the front door hardly standing, the back door was jammed, and many windows were shuttered. The vegetation grew wild and unchecked; the vines took hold of the house like tentacles of a giant octopus. Continue reading
by Lynn Levin
When the final rounds of radiation and chemo exhausted my friend Pam but failed to halt the resurgence of her breast cancer, when her tumor markers rose and she lay bedridden, her family advised me that rather than calling and emailing, I should write her letters. I wrote to her on deckle-edged stationery silk screened with bright flowers, on museum cards depicting works of fine art, and on picture postcards. I wrote in my best penmanship. I told Pam again that I loved her, that I knew she never stopped climbing mountains, that I only wished she did not have so many mountains to climb. She once said that we were like sisters. Those words bounded me to her like a ribbon. We each wanted the best for the other. We laughed together and celebrated each other’s successes and joys. In darker times we sympathized, advised, and listened. We were friends for forty-seven years. I hope that I was as good a friend, as good a sister, to her as she was to me.
by Jenn Dean
If April and May felt hesitant and pale like an egg, with June comes the hatching of summer. Summer looks like the earth’s Bacchanalian dreaming: bees cluster, drunk on the pendulous and phallic spears of flowers, orgiastic birds couple, beetles crawl and heave, and snakes unroll from the marsh grass like rolls of striped tape. The trees pump themselves so full of water their trunks swell and water shoots up the inner bark’s xylem with enough force that you can hear it with a stethoscope. This is the tipping point, the point of no return: summer can no longer be stuffed back into the bag it came in. Continue reading
by Janet Yoder
Early in the coronavirus pandemic of 2020, two of my cousins and I did a Zoom ukulele session. Before the pandemic, we had planned a cousin reunion in McPherson, Kansas. A wheat farm near McPherson is where my cousins grew up, where their mom and my dad grew up, where my Grandpa Yoder farmed, where his father farmed, where one cousin and her husband still farm. We had planned the trip months ago. My Aunt Mary Ellen is 88 years old and lives in the skilled nursing section of her retirement home there. She is the family historian, storyteller, and one of its musicians. So, my sister Gail and our three cousins planned the reunion. We all anticipated our time together, especially Aunt Mary Ellen. But the coronavirus arrived and we had to settle for our Zoom ukulele session. That’s how I learned about audio latency. Continue reading