All posts by Erika Raskin

Monana! Or: A Writer Thinks About Language in the Age of Trump by Erika Raskin


When I was in college I took a child development class with a lab, complete with Osh Kosh B’Gosh clad tots. We studied how they picked up language to convey meaning. It was fascinating. I remember one experiment in particular. The little kids would be shown pictures of an action word–in present, future and past tense illustration: –See the clown? Soon the baby will laugh. –The baby is laughing now. –The baby laughed when the clown came over. Then the young subject would be shown a picture of somebody doing something random like touching a … Continue reading Monana! Or: A Writer Thinks About Language in the Age of Trump by Erika Raskin

Gables by Sherri Perry

Milk carton shaped watertower

Who knew milk cartons had gables? ‘Embossed on gable’ said the fine print, explaining where to find the identifying information, in case of what, a recall? Dottie wondered. Does half-and-half get recalled? The children were running, seemingly mindlessly, through the backyard and around to the side yard. Was it a bad thing that she couldn’t see them or hear them when they were on the side? She put her face close to the wire screen, straining to catch a sound through the open window. Faint shouts and laughter bounced off her ear. Satisfied, she hung … Continue reading Gables by Sherri Perry

Calico Cat by William Cass

Train caboose in the snow

In a northern portion of the Midwest, on a night of light snow, during the few minutes just before and after ten o’clock, some things happened. They occurred along a route on which a southbound train traveled through fields that bracketed a town. The train carried few passengers. The conductor sat in the back of a nearly empty car working on a crossword puzzle. He was having trouble thinking of a six-letter word for “spotted, mottled, multi-colored”. He looked outside where the wisps of snow blew sideways in the darkness, but found himself staring at … Continue reading Calico Cat by William Cass

Three Dances by Kate Bennis

Woman dancing

  I wrote these poems to capture and preserve real events. They depict shifts from isolation and loss to connection and love—the dance of relationships in unexpected places, with unexpected dance partners. I witnessed two men, so clearly from different worlds, collapse together in a moment of grief and compassion. The second poem tells the story of a friend’s struggle to remember who is familiar and who is foreign, as early onset dementia takes hold. And the third shows the dance of freedom that comes from the structure of love and belonging. —Kate Bennis   … Continue reading Three Dances by Kate Bennis

Push Back, Breathe, Repeat: A Brief Bio by Erika Raskin

The word RESIST

I recognize that I may be a tad more sensitive to the prospect of police state behavior than the average Jo but I come by this extra helping of unease naturally. Because of his liberal politics my dad, Marcus Raskin, earned a permanent spot on J. Edgar Hoover’s radar. Bigly. Dad was the frequent object of surveillance and dirty tricks. (He even had his own covert agent assigned to him when he worked as an adviser in the White House—something I discovered in college when I accidentally dated a guy whose father was that agent.) … Continue reading Push Back, Breathe, Repeat: A Brief Bio by Erika Raskin

Natives by Chuck Nwoke

Wildly crowded beach

  They arrived at the beach at dawn. The Family: Father, Mother, Son and Baby Girl. They enjoyed sole ownership of the beach, playing, swimming and napping as the tide rolled back. Morning settled in and they returned from their long swim to find they had neighbors, scattered far away but close enough to be acknowledged. The Family didn’t mind. There was plenty of room for everybody, they thought. However, as more people arrived, staking their plots of sand with umbrellas, tents, chairs and towels, the Family worried for a moment that they hadn’t brought … Continue reading Natives by Chuck Nwoke

Accidents Will Happen by Nancy Christie

Dollhouse man in a dollhouse bedroom

  Catherine carefully dumped the coffee grounds onto the center of the front page and then folded over the four corners, making a neat bundle. Robert didn’t like to read the news and she was always careful to remove the paper before he came down. The headline would have really set him off: CYANIDE KILLER CLAIMS ANOTHER VICTIM! STOMACH REMEDY DEFINITE LINK! She carried the bundle of paper to the trash bin, wincing a bit when she raised the lid. Her shoulder was still sore, although the bruise had nearly faded. At least it wasn’t … Continue reading Accidents Will Happen by Nancy Christie

Excerpts From A Life: Margaret Klosko

Reclining figure on side

In my old age, I have become an artist’s model. Every couple of months, I remove all metal adorning my body, enter a radiation-proof inner sanctum, climb up on a conveyor belt that carries me into a cavernous machine and a radiation artist makes images of my brain. The images are preserved in the Cloud, potentially for posterity. *** How terrible is nostalgia for one’s former self. There I am dancing down city streets like Gene Kelly in Paris. Healthy and fit. Ready for adventure and new friends. Oblivious to clouds floating up over the … Continue reading Excerpts From A Life: Margaret Klosko

“The Fish”, A Love Story by Mary Esselman

Pink row boat in water

I first read Elizabeth Bishop’s “The Fish” when I was in college. Five American Poets was the course, taught by a ruddy-faced Midwestern professor who began class by reading aloud a poem, often reciting it from memory. We were to sit and listen, book closed, before discussing anything. His sonorous voice hung in the air, like a small plane flying low over crops on a hot summer afternoon, his words trailing like a lazy line of smoke across the sky. The physical pleasure surprised me, the low hum of language a warm breeze on my … Continue reading “The Fish”, A Love Story by Mary Esselman

Invisible Girls by Tonja Matney Reynolds

Sheer girl's top that is glowing

We were the ones who fell between the cracks in the social order. We loathed the popular kids—the jocks, cheerleaders, and rich kids. We pitied the stoners and the nerds. To all of them, we were invisible, shadows on the tile. We wore camouflage pants, oversized shirts, shoes with untied laces, and only enough makeup to cover our zits. We were grunge before Grunge was a thing. During pep rallies, we read Sartre and Flaubert and Nietzsche. We were adored by the administration for our GPAs, AP scores, and early admission letters. We challenged the … Continue reading Invisible Girls by Tonja Matney Reynolds