Taxonomic Confessions by Nate Braeuer

Silhouette of man against dusky sky
 

  I mix up the names of common furniture pieces like cupboards and cabinets, closets and shelves And bureaus. And Ursas, both major and minor Armoires. To know only of somethingness— I can’t name one star and I’ve waited so long for these cupped hands to dip they’ve grown stoic I lie down in night frost            the twin clotheslines above cross like high wires                         for timid constellations I feel space like I’ve reached              the cold region of a cabinet— I watch keyholes flicker starlight                         from a closet If I could rise … Continue reading Taxonomic Confessions by Nate Braeuer

Finding Thomas Merton by Sharon Ackerman

statue of monk in crude stone and wood structure
 

My summer reading list (and Spring) centers around the writings of Thomas Merton. After sifting through his prose and poetry I think the most amazing thing about him is how many people lay claim to him and find a sense of permanency in his writings. It is as though his thoughts formed in solitude in the forests of Kentucky were destined to travel outbound, arriving as the first French Trappists first arrived, sailing up the Mississippi river from New Orleans to the Abbey of Gethsemani. A Roman Catholic from the age of twenty-three, Merton nonetheless … Continue reading Finding Thomas Merton by Sharon Ackerman

The Tree by Betty Moffett

Photo of hole in tree's bark
 

There’s this Tree. It’s a Cottonwood. It’s been there longer than forever, a gentle, generous tower on the long green lawn in front of the dorms. Three decades ago, when I was still teaching at the college, I recruited a few of my students to help me measure its trunk—not in feet but in arm-spans. It took six of us, holding hands, stretching our arms, and pressing our faces to its rough bark to complete the circle around the tree. I invited them to imagine what the tree had witnessed—protests against Vietnam, intense games of … Continue reading The Tree by Betty Moffett

The Hidden Curriculum by Naomi Raquel Enright

Photo of chairs in classroom
 

Naomi Raquel Enright has earned an Honorable Mention in Streetlight’s 2021 Essay/Memoir Contest I am the brown-skinned, biological mother of a son presumed to be white. My mother is Ecuadorian and my father was Jewish American. I was raised to name and understand racism and was taught that the racism I experience is because of an ideology of racial difference that systematically privileges and protects whiteness while simultaneously disenfranchising and criminalizing blackness and brownness. Even before I had the language to describe this understanding, I knew it was an ideology and a system that I … Continue reading The Hidden Curriculum by Naomi Raquel Enright

Hunting Gems and Pamplona, Virginia, 2 poems by James Swansbrough

Photo of man and child climbing mountain
 

Hunting Gems I don’t comprehend the chemistry of how geodes form but their creation makes enough sense for my layman mind to teach an abridged version to my daughter: Some rocks may look dull, but many have secret hollows inside. If water and minerals can creep in and dry, over time they can grow into the beautiful crystals they are now. There’s a lesson in that for her, I’ll think. Something about humility and patience or about finding unexpected splendor on the inside. But I won’t share the metaphor with her no matter how inspiring … Continue reading Hunting Gems and Pamplona, Virginia, 2 poems by James Swansbrough

Celebration (Part II) by Susan Shafarzek

Photo of wine glass on colorful tablecloth
 

I’m amazed and delighted every time we hold Streetlight’s Essay/Memoir contest to see how many wonderful submissions we get. The only sorrow is that we can’t give out more than three cash awards. But, we can offer honorable mentions and this year, I’m happy to say, six very excellent writers have agreed to let us publish their work under that aegis. We’ll be starting to roll out those wonderful essays this coming Friday, with Naomi Enright’s insightful and useful criticism of the usual way our troubled American history gets presented in school. The Hidden Curriculum, … Continue reading Celebration (Part II) by Susan Shafarzek

Little Betrayals and Not Exactly Genesis, 2 poems by Clair Scott

Photo of old man walking with girl
 

Little Betrayals I was six I knew he had a quarter in his pocket I knew it was mine if when he roared who is the greatest grandpapa of all and the silver and Wedgewood china on table shook and the Irish maids ghosted by in starched uniforms and the chauffeur polished the silver Lincoln Continental and my grandmother tended to the terra cotta pots of pink and white orchids in the gazebo and my face flamed and I yelled Grandpapa looking down at my poodle skirt its rhinestone eye staring   Not Exactly Genesis … Continue reading Little Betrayals and Not Exactly Genesis, 2 poems by Clair Scott

Martha Woodroof by Liz Gipson

Photo of four cameras
 

Monday for Mom was splat day. She was working on splats up until her last few days. We talked about the splatforms a lot in her last few months. About a week ago she asked if I would write a splat about what it is like to be splat adjacent. This is what I came up with and she scheduled it for today not really intending it to be a last splat in this format. I’m posting it today in her honor. One thing I tell my students is, it’s not the mess we avoid … Continue reading Martha Woodroof by Liz Gipson

Russel Square by Andrew Hanson

Photo of stone gateway
 

Fate is read in the routes of the snails that methodically spell their own names in the park. Leaves shrivel and shiver off of white birch trees. Alongside an old church, pigeons storm a sliver of stale bread that once was communion, and the sounds of taxis and Ubers buzz by the parks as the partitioned paths of bees. Nervously, an academic and the pipes of the chemistry department share a smoke, while the pipes’ rusty stubble snags the cool evening’s light. The goldfinch warbles choirlike before it swoops in to cull a butterfly stuck … Continue reading Russel Square by Andrew Hanson

Pesthouse by Katie Anderson

Photo of rooms filled with sand
 

  The first year of the pandemic lockdown was the worst for Frankie and PJ. Most of their time was spent worrying about the health of Frankie’s Mom and then PJ’s Mom and then as it turned out all that worry was for nothing because they both died anyway. Due to the pandemic there was no funeral service, but both moms had been fiscally savvy and left considerable sums of which eased the pain a little. Not surprisingly, PJ’s mom went first. Her smoking and general laziness made her a prime target for this strain … Continue reading Pesthouse by Katie Anderson

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