A Special Day by Miles Fowler

Black and white photo of the liberty bell
 

Was I crazy to want to attend two different public events on a single hot summer’s day? Maybe, but after two years of the Covid pandemic, there were a couple of Fourth of July events I really wanted to attend. The first was two events in one: the July Fourth Independence Day Celebration and Naturalization Ceremony at Monticello, which is the historic home of President Thomas Jefferson, located just outside of Charlottesville. And this year, I actually knew someone who was taking the oath of citizenship, a woman who goes to the same church we … Continue reading A Special Day by Miles Fowler

Pandemic Casserole by Catherine Pritchard Childress

Photo of casserole in white dish
 

Catherine Pritchard Childress is the 2nd place winner of Streetlight’s 2022 Essay/Memoir Contest Offering food as a form of comfort for those in mourning is as much a part of my Appalachian upbringing as Vacation Bible School and dinner on the grounds. Where there is death there will be cream soup casseroles and fried chicken, jugs of sweet tea and deli trays. Condolences unaccompanied by a Pyrex dish (name written on masking tape and secured to the bottom) or a lidded Rubbermaid container  (“Honey, I don’t need it back”) are lacking—or so we’ve been raised … Continue reading Pandemic Casserole by Catherine Pritchard Childress

Cottonmouth by Ron Stottlemyer

Photo of open-mouthed cottonmouth
 

Cottonmouth As the boat eased out on the pond, there was just enough light to see pale ribbons of sky rippling in the water. Dad paddled ahead with slow, heavy strokes, but the lives watching from trees, listening in the grass knew what had just arrived. As he rested the paddle on his knees, the boat glided on as if it knew where it was going, pulling a wide scarf of quiet behind it. Then the first deep croak sounded in duckweed near the far bank. When he dipped the paddle over the side to … Continue reading Cottonmouth by Ron Stottlemyer

Beholder by Erika Raskin

Photo of shards of broken blue dish
 

I went on a museum field trip not too long ago and had a revelation. I’m sure I’m not the first person to have pondered the following—but isn’t it wild to think that all sorts of currently priceless artifacts may well have started off as gee gaws shoved in the junk drawers of days of yore? I mean the pottery fragment on display could have come from a set of unregistered-for-salad plates some caveman’s new bride couldn’t put in the give-away bag fast enough. Or you know, accidentally dropped. In other words, it’s entirely possible … Continue reading Beholder by Erika Raskin

Master of Fine Arts by Robert Detman

book suspended open
 

Like Portland or is it Austin I am also trying to keep weird. Nobody says keep Oakland weird. It’s got a gentrifying mix with floaters on top and busted bits settling on the bottom and curious pieces swirling suspended. According to Ferlinghetti simile and metaphor make poetry. Ferlinghetti whom I once saw at Brandy Ho’s getting lunch as was I at the counter after having just bought Carlos Fuente’s Terra Nostra as I needed a novel the size, shape and weight of a brick to give my MFA bildungsroman some DNA like Moby Dick, or … Continue reading Master of Fine Arts by Robert Detman

Abortion Decision Life-or-Death for Some by Celia Rivenbark

Photo of protest, sign says "March Like Your Future Depends on It"
 

We had been married a little over a year when I had an abortion. Put down your rocks and torches. If I had not had the abortion, I might well have died. Not so simple now, is it? If I had been your wife, your daughter, your sister, your friend. I had an abortion because I had a molar pregnancy in which a tumor forms in place of a normal placenta. Your body, and your blood work, doesn’t know that yet. You have a positive pregnancy test; you celebrate; you even buy a couple of … Continue reading Abortion Decision Life-or-Death for Some by Celia Rivenbark

Serenity by the Sea by Virginia Watts

Photo of orange suitcase on beach
 

  Today is Nora Richard’s seventy-fifth birthday. She sighs, blows her nose, rests her head back against the scratchy, cheap couch that came with Apartment 205 inside Serenity by the Sea, an assisted living community she and her late husband moved into six years ago. Another long day stretches ahead of her like a superhighway to the moon. Mornings are the worst without Harvey brewing eight cups of Chock full o’nuts drip coffee instead of two cups because a full pot of brewed coffee really makes this place smell like home. Harvey’s baritone voice talking … Continue reading Serenity by the Sea by Virginia Watts

Listen and Blessing the Way, 2 poems by Cindy Buchanan

empty phone booth in rain
 

Listen When I first conceived of you I was inside a graffiti-covered phone booth near a rundown beach motel. I wept. The OB’s voice on the other end filled with static. You swam through the phone line anyway, lodged for years inside my heart before you sped away. I loved you as best I could, but leaving was what you got good at— lured by street meds, accelerating down tracks that imprisoned us both. Do you ever pass abandoned booths and wish you could make one call? Pick up the phone. Hear my blood pound … Continue reading Listen and Blessing the Way, 2 poems by Cindy Buchanan

Stories by Sharon Ackerman

Mother holding a baby next to a mountain
 

I Like the Story Of the watch my father gave my mother How it stopped whenever they fought, except that is not the full story, the whole one. In the beginning there was a hard-earned dollar then another and another in a jar. And a jeweler in Hazard on a bull hot summer noon, the boy charging in, a gold chain paid to his keeping, and his face, which glowed but did not show yet that love is a stop-start thing unwound and lapsed into the silence of a drawer. Collecting years of bitter dust, … Continue reading Stories by Sharon Ackerman

What Killed the Video Star by Betty Wilkins

Photo of Blockbuster store
 

Betty Wilkins is the 1st place winner of Streetlight’s 2022 Essay/Memoir Contest Rewind. By September 2002, I had been out of college for nine months and the student loan officers were calling to collect my debt. I was only working thirty hours a week as a technical writer and editor of university computing documentation, which sounds more glamorous than it was and came with zero benefits. Calvin and I had moved out of a bad living situation with another roommate, so with only the two of us to share the rent and utilities money was … Continue reading What Killed the Video Star by Betty Wilkins

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