The Cast

Poetry

By Nathan Bartel

Florence, your flowers
bloom perpetual turquoise,
& the starlings come
to your fields casting
undulant rainbows
across the near-dusk.  
Cut cleverly into a drift of snow,
an inhabited house with an oaken
door, the bedclothes tucked
soundly in at the corners,
they say these hours are luckless
& the seraphic tattoos we wear
are shot through with muons  
& hold little lava back.
But I’ve seen an entire landscape fold
itself, catlike,
to embrace a day just like this,
even if it can’t feel its feet,
even if grape arbors punctuate
its wooden frame.  
The gap you left glows a little lavender.
It iridesces through the breaks.  
The breaks of osage & cedar.  
The breaks of ash & pine.  

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Hijo del Pule-Zapatos

Poetry, Short Stories

Por Nicole Eitzen

A petición de su suegra Doña Mari lavaba su cuero cabelludo con machaca de plátanos machos, una pizca de azúcar y jugo de limón. Su cabello alongado y terso se mecía, a la vez que su cuerpo voluptuoso se movía como un gusano de seda al entrar en contacto con el amor caliente como la sangre y pesado como el sol. Tito desde el hoyo entre la cocina y el baño la observaba y la alegría del albañil se palpaba en el sonido que silbaba la tortilla con manteca en el comal del señor. Señor bendito y puro como la hermana, como la ausencia de aquella crema tan cara para restregarse los puntos negros y acabar con el salpullido del interior. Doña Mari terminó de a punto su baño y mientras se alistaba en su cuarto el perro de la casa, “Borracho” se acercaba a lamerle los claveles de piernas que la señora de leches evaporadas protegía como la verruga con la que nació.

“Buenas, Doña Mari”, dijo el hijo del pule-zapatos, el joven quien con prudente arrebato había entrado a la casa de los Lucero. Tito y Doña Mari desde diferentes partes de la casa lo observaban, Tito con ojos bizcos y Doña Mari con la piel clara, usando cada quien lo suyo para ponerse presentables e ir a atenderlo con el más último detalle en modales y atención. Tito, sabiendo que la patrona se molestaría si se sentaba en el sofá, se apresuró a tomar una silla del comedor y colocarla en la sala, ágil y de movimientos que contrarrestaban con su pésimo sentido de cordialidad y humor.

Poetry Dance of Death, of Breath

Poetry
,
Take me to the Center
Words dance around Circle all day I need them. My coffee is silently sparkling
The wind is begging for my hand
Poetry is stop.
                      stop.
                              stopping time. but must there be lines of jabber

to see the space between?

Who will show us where to look?

Peel the sugary glaze off our Eyes.

And when Eye speak with my tongue,
Notice only my breath, it wears You.

My tongue, 
                 twisting, 
                              turning around the Center

a back-up dancer to our silent song.

And when we stop,
                              stop. 
                                      stopping.
We’re suddenly Home.

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Hurricane Denny

Short Stories

By Martin Olson

Somehow, Jacob Wilde kissed Chastity Goldbern in his college dorm room, standing between the dresser, which hid bottles of liquor beneath its clothes, and the desk, whose drawers collected friends’ lighters and empty packs of cigarettes. Somehow he sat at her side and held her hand, even as she cried for his addictions and weaknesses and condemned his soul. Somehow he won the approval of both her midwestern parents and the majority of the ghosts of her ancestry, and somehow he settled down with her in Bantam, Nebraska, where she worked telling dysfunctional children Mommy and Daddy may be going to Hell, but there is still plenty of Jesus left for you. Somehow, they conceived and raised a child, Dennis Mitchell, to adolescence, and remained stable enough to serve as a loving foster family. But that is where their miracles stopped.

On the television, the afternoon news botched a convenience store robbery in Lincoln, shooting the clerk in the face before he even opened the register, then fleeing the scene empty handed, just to be killed in a confrontation with police less than a mile away.