On Field Pond by E. H. Jacobs

Photo of water lilies
 

We put the canoe in, Sophie and I, before the sun had warmed the pond and the fog had dissipated. Enveloped by the smell of damp-draped earth, we paddled in silent synchrony, each paddle angled efficiently, barely registering sound slicing the water. When we spoke, it was of the European cities we would visit, the country house we would build and the summers we would spend on Martha’s Vineyard. As the chill and the fog lifted, we saw the blue sky, expanding like a promise that we were moving into. Sophie was silent, as the … Continue reading On Field Pond by E. H. Jacobs

How Writers Can Stop Being Consumed by the Fear of Not Being Good Enough by Lauren Sapala

Edited writing
 

Although I have always considered myself a writer, I have also spent many years not writing. In fact, for most of high school, college, and my 20s, I didn’t write at all. Not one story, not one poem. During that period, I was mostly entangled in living the life of a depressed alcoholic, while trying to keep my shit somewhat together in the meantime. So, you could say I didn’t have time to write, but the truth was that I was really in no place to write. I didn’t start writing seriously—and by seriously I … Continue reading How Writers Can Stop Being Consumed by the Fear of Not Being Good Enough by Lauren Sapala

SESTINA: SNOW ANGEL by Saramanda Swigart

large snow angel
 

Walking in Queens, I stop, make a snow angel in a quiet lawn, flakes coiling like crystal— Above my head trembles a black bough I start: from the house, an eruption of singing two girls, a mother, a father with a cognac this yard, I see, belongs to a family I’m outside in the dark, concocting a family, in the window two girls dressed up like angels school pageant costumes, mother pouring cognac, a lush amber river, in a snifter of crystal she smiles at the girls in their reverie of singing overhead a snarling … Continue reading SESTINA: SNOW ANGEL by Saramanda Swigart

A Rebel Yell on Michigan Avenue by Pamela Sumners

Photo of cotton field
 

Corsets of snow belly-bust traffic in Chicago, mercifully blurring the blocky derangements of Mies van der Rohe’s window arrangements. You look from Floor 23 down at Michigan Avenue, wax maudlin for a platter of deep-fried kudzu. We are not meant for such a graceless place, its buildings faceless, its rapacious bland spaces, its huge inhabitants, its malignant tenements, its grim aborted experiments with Southside facelifts. We were invented for the Redneck Riviera, the eternal Virginia Reel with Miz Scarlett O’Hara ravishing her radish from the ruined ramparts of Tara. The fantasy of Atticus Finch has … Continue reading A Rebel Yell on Michigan Avenue by Pamela Sumners

On Arizona Highways by Jennifer Cummings

Photo of empty road, going toward mountains
 

There’s a scuba certification center in the middle of the desert, promising a deep heated pool. There’s a billboard with a picture of an elderly couple smiling for the camera, the woman wrapping her arms around the man’s shoulders from behind, with bold white text declaring, “E.D.? Keep the love going!” There’s a prison complex that’s all dirt and barbed wire, directly across from a shopping center advertising multiple designer brands and large stores with mission-style architecture. I stare from the window of a bus as they pass. I’ve driven this highway—which connects my college … Continue reading On Arizona Highways by Jennifer Cummings

Deep Ellum B.C. by Alex Joyner

photo of bookstore with sepia tone
 

Wednesday night in Deep Ellum, the eclectic little arts neighborhood lingering in the shadow of I-45 east of Dallas’s downtown. Ever since the 19-teens when Blind Lemon Jefferson came to the barbershops and dives of Elm Street to play the blues with Lead Belly and T-Bone Walker, the area had a reputation as a collection point for artists, misfits, and the occasional spectacular violent outburst. By August 2017, it hadn’t much changed. Pecan Lodge, a hipster barbecue joint, and the brightly-tiled Café Brazil were colonizing the neighboring streets, but the scruffy music and arts scene … Continue reading Deep Ellum B.C. by Alex Joyner

GOYA, THE EXECUTION OF THE THIRD OF MAY by Michael O’Mara

a giant sitting under the moon
 

      “The world is charged with the guilt of god & country,” that from the hanging judge is a quote that skulks into mind with startling regularity. In a moment freed of time, in that moment, how dark must the sky be, how subdued the distant buildings, or real the wall? Oil on a ninety-eight-plus-square-foot canvas stretched over two centuries —carbon dating of the leftmost still bleeding corpse    confirms this— At sixty-eight Goya paints the belated evening news: “Last night in response to local insurrection the soldiers of the Emperor Napoleon in … Continue reading GOYA, THE EXECUTION OF THE THIRD OF MAY by Michael O’Mara

Trespass by Stephanie Coyne DeGhett

Coyote in snow
 

The dog had gotten out, slipped out, wriggled out, sneaked out. Too smart for her own good—clever at door latches, willing to bide her time when the mood was on her to go solo. You’d think it was too cold to want to walk the wild side—somewhere near zero. Kit would go call her in a minute, stand in the pool of light at the kitchen door call Lillie, Lillie. Too late, too dark, too cold to let the dog just return—as she always did—in a few hours. Kit pulled on her jacket, stepped into … Continue reading Trespass by Stephanie Coyne DeGhett

Art: You Know It When You See It

Stone sculpture of sunrise behind mountains
 

From impressionism to pointililsm to my nursery-school grandboy’s stick figures with appendage-sprouting-heads, the outward expression of other peoples’ internal creativity knocks me out. Whatever it is. Following a visit to the Van Gogh Museum, an old friend and I had a big argument about whether or not an objective definition of good art exists. I said no. He said yes—using the exhibit as evidence of a quantifiable measure of talent. I refuted this by saying there were only two paintings in the whole building that I would want in my living room. And only if … Continue reading Art: You Know It When You See It

Color by Number by Jennifer Schneider

A prism
 

Teachers said I’d be okay, if I follow the rules. No turnstile jumping. No jaywalking. Perfect change for bus fares. No hoodies. No song. No fights for my name, nor my girl’s. Walk straight. Down the corridor. No crossed lines. Life. A color by number book, with no directions. My life. In scribbles. Teachers said I’d be okay, if I stay in line. Use their sharpened #2’s, Ballpoint BICs, Red, Orange, Yellow, Green Crayola. My box. Full of chips of cracked colored wax. Unfamiliar hues. Burnt orange. Brick red. Deadwood brown. No rules. No straight … Continue reading Color by Number by Jennifer Schneider

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