Category Archives: Essay/Memoir

The Trees Are a Better Mother by Genevra Levinson

Black and white photo of bare tree
 

Genevra Levinson is an Honorable Mention in Streetlight‘s 2020 Essay/Memoir Contest It is autumn. I think of Mary Oliver’s river of loss as I watch the trees burn fragrantly and allow themselves to be naked in their distance from the sun. I wonder about this kind of graceful dying, and how we humans grapple with death and the strangeness of our own faces during the fall season—the dying season. The ghoul-masks, monsters, blood, and skeletons no longer thrill me darkly as they did when I was a child, nor fill me with dread as they … Continue reading The Trees Are a Better Mother by Genevra Levinson

Stripping by Vicky Oliver

Photo of outside of goodwill store
 

Vicky Oliver is an Honorable Mention in Streetlight’s 2020 Essay/Memoir Contest It was an orgy of silk and satin and velvet. Twenty cocktail dresses sprawled on my floor, all temptresses still in their peak, wanting to be touched, craving admiration. They each had their stories and I thumbed through them the way most people listen to golden oldies, remembering with a mixture of awe, sadness, and a lurch of nostalgia that tugs somewhere between the heart and the gut. This was me, I thought. They all were, and not so very long ago. The sleeveless, … Continue reading Stripping by Vicky Oliver

Finding Barbie’s Shoes by J Brooke

Photo of Barbie
 

J Brooke is an Honorable Mention in Streetlight’s 2020 Essay/Memoir Contest There were many reasons I didn’t play with Barbie dolls. Besides being gender-nonconforming before the term existed, besides not liking girls in my class who did play with Barbie dolls, and besides knowing that for every Barbie I was given for a birthday or holiday, there was some present I would have actually enjoyed that I would now never receive, there was the utter anatomical stupidity of that useless toy. Forget Barbie’s disproportionately tiny waist and large breasts that became famed objects of scrutiny … Continue reading Finding Barbie’s Shoes by J Brooke

A Sign by Carol Jeffers

Photo of blue butterfly
 

Carol Jeffers is an Honorable Mention in Streetlight’s 2020 Essay/Memoir Contest “Stephanie wanted you to have her eyes,” her sister Susie said. “Please say you’ll take them.” That was in 2018, the second time she died. *** Seven years earlier, the blips on the monitor flat-lined, the alarm went off. The ICU team flew into action. Gloved hands thumped her chest, injected epinephrine, jolted her silent heart. Seconds ticked by. Minutes. Stephanie’s soul was suspended, a chrysalis dormant among the milkweeds. She languished between the light and the dark. That was the first time my … Continue reading A Sign by Carol Jeffers

Troubling the Fields by Mary Alice Hostetter

Photo of large white tent
 

Mary Alice Hostetter is an Honorable Mention in Streetlight Magazine‘s 2020 Essay/Memoir Contest The first thing I noticed was the sign. My mother and I were driving back from getting corn meal at the mill, and we saw it on Leroy’s fence, “Brunk Tent Revival Coming August 15-22.” Leroy’s farm bordered ours. “Well, I guess that’ll take care of the peace and quiet for a while,” my mother said. “Looks like the show is coming.” The next week Leroy mowed his hayfield as close as he could cut it, pulling the hay mower back and … Continue reading Troubling the Fields by Mary Alice Hostetter

Stealing Light by Billie Hinton

Closeup photo of broken glass under window
 

Billie Hinton is the 3rd place winner of Streetlight Magazine‘s 2020 Essay/Memoir Contest I’m holding the reins of a twelve-hand half-Shetland pony when I get the call. My daughter hops into the saddle, I release my grip, and off she goes to the riding arena for her Pony Club lesson. Hello, I say into the cell phone. My office, a quirky second floor space I rent in a large historic house divided into small offices, has been broken into overnight. The photographer who rents space across the hall from me went in to work and … Continue reading Stealing Light by Billie Hinton

Beautiful Monster by Amy Stonestrom

Photo of inside of hot air balloon
 

Amy Stonestrom is the 2nd place winner of Streetlight Magazine‘s 2020 Essay/Memoir Contest A strange February morning, gray sky lined with tangerine. Ten degrees. From my spot in the front seat, bursts of flame appear to shoot from piles of snow, tall as the houses across the street. Well-insulated children perch on the jagged banks as they wait for technicolor giants to emerge from the earth. Babies bundled in strollers, old men in blaze orange and camouflage. Women in long puffy coats, fur rimming their faces. No place to park. The entire population of the … Continue reading Beautiful Monster by Amy Stonestrom

Plight of the Humble Bee by Richard Key

Closeup photo of honeycomb
 

Richard Key is the 1st place winner of Streetlight Magazine‘s 2020 Essay/Memoir Contest Honeybees are swarming outside my home office under the eaves of the roofline. I would say they are hovering like tiny drones, except they probably are tiny drones. They seem very interested in a certain corner of the house. I’m afraid I’ll get stung if I investigate too much, but I know exactly what they’re up to. Six years ago we had a similar problem and called in a “bee man” who opened up that same space, vacuumed them out with a … Continue reading Plight of the Humble Bee by Richard Key

The Stairway by Thomas Laver

Photo of stairway leading up
 

The visit was long overdue. At my wife Margie’s suggestion, I decided to do something about it. So, on a summer day that was forehead-dripping hot with a steely blue sky, the two of us strolled in shorts and sandals up the Toronto street where I first lived. The cicadas sang lustily. Did they remember me? We walked past Charlie Haskin’s house. It hadn’t changed as far as I could tell. I recalled sitting in the back seat of his big gray Ford Tudor sedan in 1946 while waiting for my mother to emerge from … Continue reading The Stairway by Thomas Laver

A Birth by Jess Williams

Photo of newborn baby
 

Daniel and I had done a lot of preparation for labor, I thought, but I never considered that it would start during the night. I had pictured it many times and it was exclusively a daytime event. In fact, it started in the morning, like most civilized activities. Like a workday. But that wasn’t how it happened. I spent the night of October 15th-16th intermittently awake with contractions. I didn’t wake Daniel up to tell him the news, though, because I’d read a passage in a birthing book about some Amish woman who didn’t tell … Continue reading A Birth by Jess Williams