Category Archives: Essay/Memoir

No God or Stars by Jennifer Cox

taxotere
 

Jennifer Cox is the 2nd place winner of Streetlight’s 2016 essay/memoir contest. Until I was six I was loud and my eyes lit up and family was everyone everywhere. Then my cousin Jeffrey died, and it took a year for the brain tumor to kill him. We were the same age, he was me, and I watched him die. It took a year for him to lose his hair, his sight, his hearing, his face, his hand/eye coordination. He taught me to tie my shoes and then he suddenly couldn’t put his on. He was … Continue reading No God or Stars by Jennifer Cox

St. Anthony of Poughkeepsie by Cora Schenberg

Main Mall Row, Poughkeepsie, NY
 

I’ve always known that what I love can disappear. When I was three, I fell asleep on the subway, head on my father’s lap, my stuffed green bunny clutched in my arms. One instant I slept; the next, Daddy roused me and rushed us off the train. Standing on the platform, I remembered Bunny. “He’s on the train!” I screamed. But the doors had slammed shut, the train roared and screeched into its tunnel, drowning my cries. Perhaps this was when I learned that a dark, howling void waited to carry away what I loved. … Continue reading St. Anthony of Poughkeepsie by Cora Schenberg

Something Like Poker by Amy Grier


 

I had what most people would describe as a full-time mother. I believed this, not knowing that other kids had mothers who didn’t get weary of their lives, who didn’t need to box themselves into their bedrooms from time to time. Since I can remember, my mother would sometimes hide for days, wrapping herself in her ivory sheets, sleeping or eating toast with margarine and jam from a small plate my father would bring her. Then,one morning, she’d be in the kitchen when I got up for school, drinking coffee as if nothing had happened, … Continue reading Something Like Poker by Amy Grier

Coming Down from Sky Pond by Glenn Freeman


 

Sky Pond is one of the more popular destinations in Rocky Mountain National Park. Perhaps you’ve been there. The trail ascends through heavily traveled Glacier Gorge, past the Loch, then curves through a large, steep bowl of alpine meadows. Once you emerge from the trees into the meadow, you can see a plateau with a moderate cliff face with Timberline Falls plummeting through the middle. Steep peaks surround the falls and it’s easy to see that Sky Pond will be in the middle of these peaks, but you can’t see it yet. From this point, … Continue reading Coming Down from Sky Pond by Glenn Freeman

Keeping the Meadow Green by Rose Elliott


 

Growing up on a dairy farm in Northern New York, in Southern Jefferson County during the 1960’s meant, for my family, doing most of the work with our physical bodies. With a maximum of 25 dairy cows, one tractor, a pick-up truck and a few older pieces of machinery that came with the farm when we purchased it, my parents and we older children eked out a living. Our cows were rotated from field to field during warmer months after the hay had been harvested, and during the winter they were kept in the barn, … Continue reading Keeping the Meadow Green by Rose Elliott

Singing at Auschwitz by Diane Baumer


 

For close to thirty minutes that first evening, we danced recklessly and with joy, clasping hands, twirling, and twisting to the beat of the “Havah,” reveling in our freedom and singing with abandon. Our dance line snaked up the auditorium floor and into the Museum’s lobby then circled ‘round the brightly colored kiosks. Forming three smaller circles, we laughed and sang and bumped without grace into one another until finally, as the music died down, we collapsed onto the benches against the wall, out of breath and exhausted. After a few minutes, one of the … Continue reading Singing at Auschwitz by Diane Baumer

Magical Thinking by Judy Longley

Hey Diddle Diddle illustration
 

Memphis, on the brink of World War II, a crowded city, my family squeezed in a small duplex. Mother and Father work in weapons factories. We’re gathered around the radio in our tiny living room. Suddenly a shout bursts from the curved wooden box— “Pearl Harbor has been bombed!” Three years old I hear Mother’s small scream, see my Father’s frown grow deeper. Not sure where or what Pearl Harbor might be, I’m afraid to sleep that night. I lull myself with a favorite nursery rhyme. Hey diddle diddle, The cat and the fiddle, The … Continue reading Magical Thinking by Judy Longley

Tourist by Jim Krosschell

Maine coastline
 

Sometimes a trip starts out innocently. You may not even know you’ve departed. (1963) On summer vacation, a boy and his family travel to the college town on the northern coast. He’s an adolescent, incarcerated for the past year by pimples and prairie, his father having moved them from suburbia to prison – a prison without walls, more accurately with the invisible walls of an ethnic enclave, and him with his driver’s license still several years away. All of this has made the vast flat plain fairly terrifying. The day after they arrive in New … Continue reading Tourist by Jim Krosschell

Lunchero by Larry Strauss

tacos truck
 

I used to think the school at which I taught should have been named Rodney Dangerfield High because nobody got any respect. Oppressive rules treated students like babies. Weapons checks regarded them as criminals. Teachers faced overcrowded classrooms with shamefully inadequate resources and endured blatant—and often profane—rudeness from students and endless interruptions from everyone. We—the teachers—disregarded administrative rules as a matter of course. Other high schools and the district as a whole disdained us because we were small and had no football team, because our basketball team had a reputation for fighting and mayhem (because … Continue reading Lunchero by Larry Strauss

The Yellow House by Judy Longley

tiger swallowtail butterfly
 

Sleep bears me to the farmhouse slanted on a steep hill, commanding the highway below. Yellow clapboard and fieldstone constructed after the Civil War, the first floor a single room of stone, fireplace centering it. I warm my hands at the stone hearth—a rosemary bush flames silver-blue tongues, new stems uncoiling as fast as they burn. Through pungent smoke shades appear: my children young again, interrupted in their play, John, my professor husband with his eternal scatter of books, friends, just passing through and the ghost we all tolerated. A woman we agreed, wearing white … Continue reading The Yellow House by Judy Longley