Tag Archives: Essay/Memoir

Under the Wattle Bush by Mary Pacifico Curtis

Yellow flowers on wattle bush
 

Heaven and Earth Off the coast of the continent stars pinprick a black sky—tiny and plentiful, a cloud of a luminous multitude—announcement of lives, flows of history that date to creation and reach to uncertain futures through shifts of current day. Bright around the cloud of light: the planets, big stars proclaiming the universe and the lands below. I decided to come here instantly after the announcement that the next global gathering of our public relations agency network would take place in Cape Town. Although my heart was no longer in my competitive career, the … Continue reading Under the Wattle Bush by Mary Pacifico Curtis

Miss Madden by Rich H. Kenney, Jr.

Boy reading on bench
 

She was a bully, a backer, a stinker, a treasure. She was a finder of fault and forte, folly and facility. She was the picture of rigor and push and impeccability, her visage stern and stately and a dead-ringer for the man on the one-dollar bill. The first time I saw her standing on stage in her blue satin suit and snow-white hair delivering a rule-laced welcome to school, I felt wings of butterflies and tips of prayers brushing my soul in a nervous wish for her retirement to sync with my grade six arrival. … Continue reading Miss Madden by Rich H. Kenney, Jr.

Leaving Promise Road by Amelia Zahm

Sunset over snow-capped Rocky Mountains
 

I understood the world around me on Promise Road. I felt at home on the edge of the rolling valley, looking out at the distant mountain range. I learned to fight creeping Charlie, pigweed and cheat grass with soil enhancement, rotational grazing and early weeding. I recognized the arrival of summer as the swallows began daubing their mud nests above my windows, swooping through the evening sky to clear the air of mosquitos. I named the bats that flew in my open doors on warm summer evenings, searching corners and hallways for moths. Over time, … Continue reading Leaving Promise Road by Amelia Zahm

Late-August Mass Transit Railway (MTR) by James Ellis

MTR station hallway
 

  The city’s Central district is different in the early morning, just after sunlight usually appears: near empty streets, no black skirt suits, few voices. Today, damp bundles just delivered to the newspaper vendors cover the sidewalk and tobacco smoke hovers heavily in a steady monsoon drizzle. My old dimming eyesight smooths out the vendors’ features—softer noses, subtler chins. Flaws fade into blurs. Down two flights of stairs, I descend into an almost empty Central Station, bathing in one of Mozart’s perky piano melodies. A human din will soon drown out the pleasant music. Hong … Continue reading Late-August Mass Transit Railway (MTR) by James Ellis

Fuzzball and the Quakers by Lassiter Williams

Woman under branches
 

They are called Quakers because the spirit, which is in all beings, begins to move and demands a voice. They quake where they sit, on their plain wooden benches, until that which is in their hearts is spoken aloud to the Meeting. Very often what they have to share is a question or a confirmation of the notion of peace and they stand to speak in the hopes of a self and a world free of violence. My parents joined a Friends Meeting when I was three years old. My younger brother and sister are … Continue reading Fuzzball and the Quakers by Lassiter Williams

The Ribbon Test by Lisa Ellison

holding hands in support
 

When I was younger I prayed that if I had to get sick, I’d get a movie star illness—one with a color, ribbon, and celebrity spokespersons. It’s not that I wanted to be ill, but in my family broke-down-body lore was a frequent supper topic and bedtime story, complete with mysterious myalgias, fogs, and cases of The Nerves. For years, I thought I’d descended from malingerers or hypochondriacs. I moved six hundred miles away to avoid their fate, believing that, if there was in fact a problem, it was likely the water, Upstate New York’s … Continue reading The Ribbon Test by Lisa Ellison

Skin by Marlena Baraf

dough in small tart pan
 

Sweet Tarts Tía Mimí was lumpy. My tía Esther was fat. My father’s two sisters never married. “You’ll grow up to be old maids like your aunts,” mami sang to Patricia and me. “Julita doesn’t appreciate your wonderful papi,” they refrained. “Your mami’s spoiled,” they said. “She doesn’t deserve him.” Our tías were surrogates for mami. One or the other would sleep at our house to help their brother Eddie when mami had to travel for treatment. Tía Mimí with dark brown hair and eyes like mine had little bumps all over her body and … Continue reading Skin by Marlena Baraf

Cousin Paul by Joseph Fleckenstein

Paul McCartney playing at concert
 

I wrote to Paul, but a response was not received. The second time I enclosed adequate British postage, thinking the postage might my enhance chances. It wasn’t as though I was asking for a grant or a personal visit. My mere request was for an autographed photo. A souvenir to hang on the wall. Something to elicit oh’s and aah’s. A “Where did you ever get that?” One would think that, if Paul did not care to be bothered, he would have a secretary to take care his fan mail. Perhaps an elderly widow in … Continue reading Cousin Paul by Joseph Fleckenstein

Cuba Revisited by Marjorie Rissman


 

We lived in a very small town on Eastern Long Island, closer to duck and potato farms than New York City. But my parents believed that it was important to see beyond the local environment and travel was one of the ways they taught us, my sister and me, to open ourselves to the world. Thus, almost every Winter Break we went on a journey. When we were young we traveled to Florida staying at hotels that were steps away from the beach. When I was eleven we went on a cruise which was so … Continue reading Cuba Revisited by Marjorie Rissman

The Whirlwind by Lyn Martin

Whirlwind illustration by Lyn Martin
 

It was a fall day, not cold but cool… a brisk and breezy day, full of that feeling you have when a peppermint melts in your mouth and your nose suddenly wakes up. Except this feeling affects your entire body, your mind and your emotions. I remember that feeling from when I was a child and it always made going back to school seem special. But this was an ordinary school day for me; I was in the fourth or fifth grade. Life was wonderful then, every day was a joy, going to school and … Continue reading The Whirlwind by Lyn Martin