Obstructions by Ann E. Michael

Man at typwriter with hed replaced by crumpled papers
 

Things that get in the way, viz., from Online Etymology Dictionary: 1530s, from Latin obstructionem (nominative obstructio) “an obstruction, barrier, a building up,” noun of action from past participle stem of obstruere “build up, block, block up, build against, stop, bar, hinder,” from ob “in front of, in the way of” (see ob-) + struere “to pile, build” (from PIE *streu-, extended form of root *stere- “to spread”). I’ve been in an odd sort of writing funk–not a writer’s block in the classic sense, because I am writing—both prose and poetry. Drafting, anyway. I feel … Continue reading Obstructions by Ann E. Michael

Indelible Tracks Essay by Erin Levens

Train Tracks
 

***Erin Levens is an Honorable Mention of Streetlight’s 2018 Essay/Memoir Contest***   I know I’m falling asleep when I slip under the cowcatcher onto a bed of hay. Strands of hay poke through the bars of iron used to clear the track of obstacles impeding the train’s journey. I curl up and feel protected and safe behind these bars. I trust that the train will guard me with its power. My holy place is a train station. I remember standing on the platform careful to stay behind the white line. Four, five years old. If … Continue reading Indelible Tracks Essay by Erin Levens

Tips and Guidelines for Becoming a Shooting Star by Ashley Morrow Hermsmeier

Shooting star in dusky sky
 

Remain calm. You have purchased the crème de la crème of packages; don’t squander the experience with a panic attack. So bridges make you sweat. So you chew three Xanax every time you board a plane. So you refuse to open your eyes at the top of the Empire State Building, so so so…Think of the hospital beds and the tubes and the shots you will not have. Think of the chemo and the surgeries and the lopped off body parts you’re not trading for a few extra months. You’ve made your decision, so take … Continue reading Tips and Guidelines for Becoming a Shooting Star by Ashley Morrow Hermsmeier

Eel River Meditation by Ann Michael

two fireflies
 

Eel River Meditation   Above the Eel River, a concrete bridge: every summer we plied humid afternoons with hickory bark canoes. Lying on the sloped bank we paddled between walnuts and hickories— we were on the brink of believing. The Eel was clay-colored in July, and familiar as salt, solid as a Pontiac sedan although some nights, when the frost-glass lamps were lit and warm air was damp it seemed we might find the bridge led lightning bugs across water to a stream of galaxies, sets of blurred moons. While the crickets sang their growing-the-corn-tall … Continue reading Eel River Meditation by Ann Michael

Shadows in the Afternoon by Miles Fowler

Light through small, barred window
 

The day before Halloween 1967, I came home from school, turned on the television, and discovered the supernatural soap opera Dark Shadows. All I saw was the episode’s final minute: A beautiful blonde descends a staircase and stops in front of a portrait. She loosens her scarf to reveal two puncture wounds on the side of her neck. It seems that the glowering man in the picture is probably the vampire that bit her. Cut to commercials, followed by the closing credits, which are accompanied by the haunting theme, composed by Robert Cobert and performed … Continue reading Shadows in the Afternoon by Miles Fowler

A Road Trip Through Texas After We Stopped Loving Each Other by Ashley Stimpson

Car parked by curb
 

***Ashley Stimpson is the 3rd place winner of Streetlight’s 2018 Essay/Memoir Contest***   You insist it’s okay to smoke in the rental car, that you’ve done it so many times and never had to pay a cleaning fee. Gently as houseflies, my four left fingers land on the window buttons each time you reveal the Camel Lights from your shirt pocket. Every few hours, I have one too, so you won’t ask if I’m upset. A hot wind shotguns the breath from my lips before I feel even a pang of satisfaction. The highway south … Continue reading A Road Trip Through Texas After We Stopped Loving Each Other by Ashley Stimpson

The War by Carla Myers

microscopic germs
 

Private Wilson hesitated at the precipice. It felt like a long time since his Sargent had barked, “Wilson, GO! GO!” Technically, Wilson hadn’t heard it, the air rushing by the plane was moving by so quickly that it hijacked all speech and left angry roaring wind in its place. Still, he knew what the Sargent had said, there was no mistaking his squinting eyes and tensing body trying to squeeze out sound and even though Sarge’s skin seemed to be blown back, trying to take his facial features with it, Wilson could still make out … Continue reading The War by Carla Myers

Photographs by James Ray Paradiso


 

  I began making photos, suddenly and unexpectedly, in 2005, when a dear friend was diagnosed with cancer. Making photos help me to fill temporal-spatial, psycho-social holes and, on rare good days, to enjoy the flow. Other than that, as Wittgenstein wrote in his Tractatus, “Some things can not be put into words. They make themselves manifest. They are what is mystical.”     Now, my cRaZy quilt background is unrelated to my photography. I earned graduate degrees in both business administration and philosophy and consulted/taught higher education for 30 years at two community colleges and … Continue reading Photographs by James Ray Paradiso

Malady by Jesse Albatrosov

knitted baby blanket
 

Malady   He’s never been sick before skin warm and ill-fitting, moist as he sinks into me, that exhausted root for comfort and the fear that he’ll be declining soon. Children know to seek this oath from their mothers, the affirmation when the darkness comes and they feel as though they will never stop ailing. I can feel it swallow him—skin pale, lukewarm and halfhearted the lids of his eyes bending over yellowing whites, each heavy and brimming with unease. I feel him wilt like day old flowers in my arms and at my breast, … Continue reading Malady by Jesse Albatrosov

Nesting by Stefanie Newman


 

I had long been convinced that destiny had intended me to be born and bred in Italy. Instead, I grew up in suburban Chicago. In September 2008 I set out to rectify fate’s error. Together with my husband Bill and our ten-year-old son Asher we would rent an apartment in Bologna, Italy for three months. It was a city whose streets were practically paved in tortellini and prosciutto and then, for good measure, covered over with miles of graceful porticoes. My husband and I were artists who had spent our youth among the angst-ridden expressionists … Continue reading Nesting by Stefanie Newman

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