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

Totality by Rigel Oliveri

Photo of sunset in clouds
 

They knew exactly when it would happen. Not just the day and the hour, but the minute. The very second. Even before they knew it, it was still destined to happen at that precise moment because it had been—quite literally—written in the stars. Like god had wound up a big clock a million years ago and all people needed was to learn to tell time . . . Mrs. Robbenault talked like this because she was excited. The whole town was excited. There were t-shirts for sale and signs in the store windows. Every morning … Continue reading Totality by Rigel Oliveri

Collection Day Winton Place 1995 by Rachel Lippolis

Old photo of slide
 

Sylvia wished she saw anything but houses when she looked out her bedroom window. A field, a lake, or the foggy moors of Wuthering Heights. Or if there must be houses, let them be stately. Like Pemberley or Brideshead. Misselthwaite Manor, with its secret garden. Not the plain cape cod homes that filled her street. Only a narrow driveway separated the postage-stamp yards. These houses were like her own: two bedrooms, one bathroom, and low ceilings. Sylvia preferred reading books about faraway places, about people whose names were exotic like Helmer and Katrina. Of times … Continue reading Collection Day Winton Place 1995 by Rachel Lippolis

The Wounded Warrior of East Boston Terrace by Cyndy Muscatel

Photo of woman with bandaid on hand
 

I have a scar under my chin, right at the end where it meets the jaw. You can’t see it unless I’m hanging upside down, which is a rare occurrence these days. I’d forgotten about it—hadn’t seen or touched its roughness for years. But then my granddaughter cracked her chin open jumping backward into a swimming pool. All the blood reminded me of when I was five and jumped off a wall. Like Humpty Dumpty, when I landed I cracked open—but just my chin. It didn’t hurt. It was only when the TWO GIRLS started screaming. … Continue reading The Wounded Warrior of East Boston Terrace by Cyndy Muscatel

William Crawford’s DRIVE BY SHOOTING

Photo of man painting
 

Some of America’s greatest photographers roamed the country by automobile. They forever changed the context of artistic imagery. They eventually replaced traditional monochrome with color, and they shot the unnoticed aspects of the backside of our country. Stephen Shore, Bill Eggleston, and Lee Friedlander were well known, working members of this New York school of photography. I am their present day disciple. An avid minimalist shooter, I helped to invent “forensic foraging,” a throwback approach to modern digital photography. The heavily saturated, vivid color of these pictures drive the work. The subject matter is often banal … Continue reading William Crawford’s DRIVE BY SHOOTING

Learning the Names of Flowers and As Close as They can Whir to the Porch Light, 2 poems by Rodney Torreson

Photo of landscape covered in red and purple flowers
 

Learning the Names of Flowers Each day, when my wife reaches inside the mailbox, her eyes catch on the bright morning glories, whose vines have twirled up the post with glad faces. Somehow they know, better than she, her hidden will, that it’s for them she settles a foot on every porch step, one arm bearing the bluster of the bushes before she lingers in her strides toward the street, all the while maintaining an eye with irises and white gardenias, so that I’m surprised their spell has not swept her from our cares, drifted … Continue reading Learning the Names of Flowers and As Close as They can Whir to the Porch Light, 2 poems by Rodney Torreson

Erebus by Patrick Christie

Light barely penetrating through darkness
 

The Captain had not been himself ever since we extracted the frozen bird carcass from the ice. He had become withdrawn, seeking solitude, showing disinterest in his duties even as four of his men resided in the makeshift infirmary, coughing up blood all hours of the day.   The expedition had begun without incident. We departed from the Port of Bluff in New Zealand on the 3rd November and spent only five days caught in pack ice in our passage across the Ross Sea. We entered McMurdo Sound under sail and landed on Ross Island … Continue reading Erebus by Patrick Christie

The Enormous Gift by Laura Marello

Rocks in water
 

Absolutely unmixed attention is prayer. Simone Weil Love is not merely an emotion. It is a meltdown that reestablishes a more unified space of brilliance, goodness, and sadness. This is the real function of love in spiritual tradition. Lama Lodro Dorje   Last week, the week before my last semester of university teaching (online, in an unprecedented pandemic), I had the most extraordinary experience with a stranger that I have ever had in my long life. I was nervous as always about the semester starting, but extra nervous because of what that last full-time teaching … Continue reading The Enormous Gift by Laura Marello