Taking the Right Step by Cheryl Traylor

Concrete stairs surround by greenery
 

Life doesn’t come with an instruction manual. We are not handed a guide at birth entitled Fail-proof Steps to Living This Life. As such, I’ve lived most of my life through a lot of trial and error—heavy on the error side. I’ve also learned that sometimes I just have to take the next right step and try not to run the entire marathon at once. I’m getting ok with that practice. There is a source that I go to often for life advice. Poet Mary Oliver never fails to enlighten me or ease my weariness. She … Continue reading Taking the Right Step by Cheryl Traylor

Between Lanes by Stephen Poleskie


 

Off to my left the dark current of the Hudson River rushed downstream at 65 mph, a magnificent sight, but at the moment my mind was concentrating on the tail lights bobbing and weaving in and out of traffic in front of me. I was somewhere in the middle of the pack, an anonymous group of motorcycle enthusiasts who met on summer evenings on Eighth Street in Greenwich Village to ride out together. Being, more or less, one of the regulars, but never the leader, I would hang around, chatting and ogling the passing chicks, … Continue reading Between Lanes by Stephen Poleskie

After the Magician by Stephanie Milner


 

Jessie had worked at Meyers Auditorium for six years, by then. When she had started during her fourth year in college (it took five to finish her social sciences degree), she hadn’t planned to stay that long. It had just been a good arrangement. The job paid better than others on campus. She controlled her own schedule because crew members picked which shows they worked. But in any case, she had stayed. She didn’t regret it. She liked how physical the work was. There was equipment to push, pull, and carry. Ladders to clamber up. … Continue reading After the Magician by Stephanie Milner

My Sister by Peter Breyer

Picture of Berlin
 

The voice of the singer soared over the lyrics of the gospel choir that Easter morning a decade and a half ago. You plead my cause, You right my wrongs/ You break my chains, You overcome/ You gave Your life, to give me mine/ You say that I am free…How can it be? I had plenty of reason for celebration sitting by my wife of thirty-five years, our son and his fiancée, and finally, my 88-year-old mother, all in a row. The exuberant parishioners were filled with joy, but I was still distracted with the … Continue reading My Sister by Peter Breyer

Kalulu by Alex Rawitz

Cliffs with water between them
 

He emerged from the bushes clutching a bottle of wine, his face whipped red by the wind. They were huddled together in the clearing. Dry tufts of winter grass poked through the ratty blanket on which they sat. He stood a distance away and searched for Markus, who, noticing him, slowly detached himself from the others and approached. “Thanks for coming out, man.” Markus took the bottle of wine with trembling hands. “Some day for a picnic.” “Why did you come out of the bush just now? There’s a road right there.” “I don’t know. … Continue reading Kalulu by Alex Rawitz

Computing the Elusive Spirit of Place by Inderjeet Mani

Statue in front of blue and pink sky
 

We have our entanglements and love affairs with places. “And the end of all our exploring,” T. S. Eliot promises, “will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” Such knowledge may be never-ending. We don’t know what the sense of place felt like to our hunter-gatherer forebears, but judging from their sophisticated tracking and navigational skills, they were able to notice things in their environment that most of us have long forgotten. Luckily, along with other mammals, we still have our built-in sense of place, with maps of … Continue reading Computing the Elusive Spirit of Place by Inderjeet Mani

The Blue Dress by Karen Foster

Red shoes under blue cloth
 

***Karen Foster is an Honorable Mention for Streetlight’s 2018 Essay/Memoir Contest***   We Girls sit close together in the backseat of the car: Mission Accomplished. The Presentation of Mary Academy semi-formal is tonight and I am “doubling” with my friend, Maureen (a.k.a. “Mo”) and her steady boyfriend, Joe. A doll-sized study in organization, she has mapped out routes, timetables, and assignments over the past weeks with the efficiency of an executive level manager. Mo’s huge eyes and long lashes are framed by sharply penciled eyebrows that travel to the edge of her face. Joe’s large … Continue reading The Blue Dress by Karen Foster

Sequins by Gina Willner-Pardo

multi-colored sequins
 

Risa Eccles, thirty-nine weeks pregnant, sat in her car, furious at Dr. LaSalle for being an asshole, at Paul for having the kind of job that made him seem like a degenerate, at herself for thinking that having a baby might be fun. She watched people walking in and out of the clinic. Some of them held crying toddlers; others—mostly elderly—grasped canes, walkers, or other people’s arms. She thought, Everyone who comes here needs something desperately. It reminded her of church. When she was sure she wouldn’t cry, she called Paul. “The baby’s fine,” she … Continue reading Sequins by Gina Willner-Pardo

Patterns of Change: The Art of Judy McLeod


 

  As her life changed so did the patterns of her art. “I love patterns…I surround myself with patterns,” says mixed media artist Judy McLeod, a Charlottesville resident for more than four decades. “When I’m making art, I love the surface quality of textures and patterns—the opposite of minimalist and clean blocks of color—a kind of visual riot. That pleases me. “We also live patterned existences—we go to the same house every night; we have the same children every day; the same partner or set of friends; workspace. There’s a regularity to our lives. Sometimes … Continue reading Patterns of Change: The Art of Judy McLeod

First Favor by Joan Mazza

Trees in the early morning
 

Of all the scenes I could replay to rewrite or undo, one I go back to one again and again. It’s the end of my therapy session and I sit up and slip into my shoes, pick up my purse, when Dr. Bob asks to speak with me a minute. I look up at him, unused to facing him. “Let’s sit in the waiting area,” he says, and slides the pocket door open. I follow him out to the blue family room with a bar. Sliding glass doors open on two sides, facing the Intracoastal … Continue reading First Favor by Joan Mazza