All posts by Erika Raskin

Vena Amoris by Kathleen McKitty Harris

Photo of hand with wedding rings on ring finger
 

When he put this ring on my finger, my skin was smoother, and more supple. My hand was thinner, and less freckled than it is now. When he asked me to marry him, he got down on one knee in front of the London flat where he had once lived, and where our love had blossomed—when we were both study-abroad college students living on Dunhills and half-pints of lager and takeaway curry fries, and falling outrageously in love with each other. On the night we got engaged, we lay in a hotel bed after too … Continue reading Vena Amoris by Kathleen McKitty Harris

Salmonella Summer by Suzanne C. Martinez

Photo of person in sky hanging from a parachute
 

I spent four days and nights smashed against a bus window in transit to my first husband’s family reunion half nauseous from breathing in the diesel fumes and the aroma of the chemical toilet a few feet behind us. The vinyl seat stuck to the back of my thighs, as he seeped into my half of the bench I was sharing with him. He was a big guy, Swedish-Norwegian and a lapsed Mormon. Six months earlier he’d announced it was necessary for him to move out so he could enjoy anonymous sex, drugs, drinking and … Continue reading Salmonella Summer by Suzanne C. Martinez

Inhabiting Your Character by Deborah Prum

woman wearing Virtual Reality glasses
 

Have you ever used virtual reality goggles to watch a movie? Imagine that the film starts off in an African village. Ahead of you, you see a hut and can almost smell the smoke rising from a campfire. You hear laughter. On the left, two small boys run past. Behind you, mist rises from the river. On the right, men start arguing loudly. Within a few seconds, you are dropped into the middle of the story, exactly where the screenwriter wants you to be. Watching a movie this way reminds me of how I feel … Continue reading Inhabiting Your Character by Deborah Prum

Broken by Alison Thompson

Stairway in a teal hallway
 

On the third visit, they kicked his stomach and broke his thumbs. The bones cracked like an electrical charge shooting through his entire body, exiting via his skull, as if everything he knew, everything he had ever perceived, was wiped clean. For those few moments, the world flashed white, then just as quickly, his whole reality dumped back down on him, a furious writhing mess he could not make sense of. Then he blacked out. When he regained consciousness, he was lying in a pool of his own blood-tinged vomit. He had two thoughts; one … Continue reading Broken by Alison Thompson

Photo of My Street by Katie Davis

BLack and white photo of brick row houses
 

A few years back, a new neighbor called. “Katie, there’s an old man leaning against my front wall, should I call the police?” I pulled my window up and leaned out to look, just two houses over. There was Paul, a retired carpenter who’s lived on my street for thirty-five years. (My mom paid him to build me a loft bed when I was 16.) Paul. How can she not know who Paul is? He spends every day outside, walking a few hundred yards, resting, walking, and smoking, always in pressed white carpenter pants. I … Continue reading Photo of My Street by Katie Davis

Shop of the Heart by Cynthia L. Singerman

View up the stairs through a tunnel
 

“You can get a wax.” She rubs the stubbly black fuzz on my calves, nodding. “A little long.” “Yeah, I know. It’s been cold.” I feel the need to defend myself to the woman painting my toenails. Suddenly my mother has somehow teleported herself into the salon, kneeling at my feet, reminding me that I’ll never be doing it quite right. I look down. The hair is long on my legs. I could braid it. French braid my armpit hair too, but I’m wearing a sweater, so she’ll never know. The guy waiting for his … Continue reading Shop of the Heart by Cynthia L. Singerman

Cat Ladies by Paula Spurlin Paige

Black and white cat on its back
 

It was a sticky, overcast August day in the Connecticut River Valley, and it was going to be a heavy one. Already, at 9:00 in the morning, Ed was poking his head into a series of little rooms upstairs in Elsie’s old Colonial, looking for the bathroom, only to find each room occupied by a resident cat, or two. Gray and white cats, tabbies, a Maine coon, and a black one whose white mustache made him think of Charlie Chaplin in reverse. Finally, he located the bathroom, where he inspected the toilet, which hadn’t flushed … Continue reading Cat Ladies by Paula Spurlin Paige

Of Cars, Lucille Ball and Dogged Determination by Erika Raskin


 

The quarterly meeting of Streetlight’s editorial staff had just ended. It was a particularly uplifting one. It’s incredibly gratifying to be part of a team that is committed to ushering art into the world. We tackled tech concerns, mapped out the spring issue and welcomed the gifted Deborah Kelly as the new associate editor. Assignments in hand, I’d said my goodbyes and left Elizabeth Meade Howard’s beautiful home. Filled with light, paintings and photography (including an autographed black and white of Lucille Ball, my soul-sister), just being in the art editor’s house is kind of … Continue reading Of Cars, Lucille Ball and Dogged Determination by Erika Raskin

A Look and a Voice by William Cass

Aerial view of road and buildings coated with snow
 

Doris said, “Seems like it might snow. First of the season.” She turned from where she stood in front of the kitchen window and looked at Martin. He was sitting at the table holding a nearly full glass of milk. He regarded her with a blank stare. They’d been married for forty-six years. She said, “Well, what do you think about that?” Martin shrugged. The mid-morning light in the room was dim. He stood up, went to the sink, poured out the milk, rinsed the glass, and put it in the dishwasher. Then he turned … Continue reading A Look and a Voice by William Cass

The Last Time by Kathleen McKitty Harris

Shadowy figures walking into twilight sky
 

Last month, as we celebrated our daughter’s 17th birthday, it struck me that we would enjoy only one more birthday celebration together as a family unit before she heads off to college. Her birthday falls in October, and after next year, she’ll be in Boston or DC or Iowa or God knows where, taking poli sci classes in her fall semester, drinking cheap beer and making magnificent mistakes—and figuring out who she was born to be. After so many years of princess birthday cakes and streamers and sweet 16 party carpools, the realization was stunning. … Continue reading The Last Time by Kathleen McKitty Harris