Tag Archives: spotlight

Drive-Thru Angel by Lynne T. Pickett

Bonnie took a toothpick and dug at her fire-eaten scalp. Fifteen more minutes. Her mama always loved Bonnie’s red curls. “Just as sweet as the bluebirds singing in the oaks,” Mama would whisper to her. “God spun those curls out of fire with his little finger just for you, precious.” Maybe that’s why the perm solution and the hair dye burned so bad: Bonnie was trying her best to take on God’s job. In the past few years, her perfects curls had turned into frizzy wires and her flame-red hair diluted into a muddy rust. … Continue reading Drive-Thru Angel by Lynne T. Pickett

Flood; Listen by Judith Grissmer

Flood   Small hands pull a mud-stained pillowcase across wet ground, prized possessions, blessings still bound, boxes filled with half-spilled lives, lugged uphill. Hear the river roar: I take all I take all from those who look back.   Listen           I came here to count the bells that live upon the surface of the sea… “Here” by Pablo Neruda Now on this turquoise sea glitter a million silver reflections of the morning sun. And I think they make no sound at all— Still, I listen. Judith Grissmer has been published in The Alembic, Burningword, … Continue reading Flood; Listen by Judith Grissmer

Two Emmas by Nancy Taylor

I didn’t know exactly where we were going as my brother took me for a ride in the countryside of my home county on a late February Saturday. He drove down a narrow paved road and stopped near an overgrowth of trees and bushes. “Do you know where we are?” Not until I heard, “This road used to be dirt” did it hit me—Emma’s. We made our way through tangles of vines and wintery twigs, only to find the four-room house completely collapsed with just an old chimney of “Pee Dee” imprinted bricks left standing. … Continue reading Two Emmas by Nancy Taylor

I Have; Home by Benjamin Harnett

I Have   I have never been so tired in my whole life. The mountains run across the river—pointing like a knife. Forlorn boathouses perched out on rotting piers. Empty lots of naked scrub. A water tower. A column of fire. The lattice of clouds make sparkling fishmouth, the intervening atmosphere, twinkling distant lights. Crepuscular, this stand of trees. In my hands, a paperback— its yellowing leaves. Everything I have and everything I need.   Home   It may not be as surprising to you as it was surprising to me to learn that a … Continue reading I Have; Home by Benjamin Harnett

John Younger: The Illusion of Reality

  Suzanne, oil panel, 32 ⅝ x 42 ½,” a National Portrait Gallery finalist, 2009   Whether nature, still lifes, intimate interiors or portraits, John Randall Younger aims for the sense of reality rather than an exact, perfect replica. “I paint more illusion of reality,” says Younger, two-time finalist of the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition      at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. “If you saw me paint you’d think ‘what’s he doing.’ I use palette knives and old cheap brushes. I scratch the canvas. I don’t fuss.” Younger is the son of eminent wild … Continue reading John Younger: The Illusion of Reality

My Grandmother Kills a Chicken by Guy Terrell

2nd place winner of the Streetlight 2017 Poetry Contest My Grandmother Kills a Chicken   The hen house her grocery, she strode the aisles of cluck, straw, and feathers for eggs reaching under each bird for breakfast. Vegetables canned in summer did not freeze in a closet lined with newspaper in the barn heated by a single naked lightbulb. A rural palace and grounds made from a white clapboard farmhouse, a ribbed metal garage, the one-room wide long building, a hen house with flaps that rolled up on each side, and a small barn with … Continue reading My Grandmother Kills a Chicken by Guy Terrell

Invisible Girls by Tonja Matney Reynolds

We were the ones who fell between the cracks in the social order. We loathed the popular kids—the jocks, cheerleaders, and rich kids. We pitied the stoners and the nerds. To all of them, we were invisible, shadows on the tile. We wore camouflage pants, oversized shirts, shoes with untied laces, and only enough makeup to cover our zits. We were grunge before Grunge was a thing. During pep rallies, we read Sartre and Flaubert and Nietzsche. We were adored by the administration for our GPAs, AP scores, and early admission letters. We challenged the … Continue reading Invisible Girls by Tonja Matney Reynolds

Tooth by Jennifer Coffeen

  She felt the first loose tooth at 5am on Tuesday. A back tooth on the lower left side, her wisdom tooth? She felt it the moment she woke up, lying in bed while the monitor screamed in her ear. She pushed her tongue against it and the tooth moved, like a rock rolling around in mud. Nearly painless, she found herself pushing her tongue against it over and over to the tune of the screaming monitor. It reminded her of picking a scab, how the little wince kinda felt nice. “You should do something … Continue reading Tooth by Jennifer Coffeen

Telling the Story: Photos by Stephanie Gross

  Stephanie Gross was intrigued early by pictures and their stories. “I spent a lot of time as a kid looking at pictures,” she says. ”My mom was a docent at the National Gallery and she used to walk me through the West Wing. We’d look at paintings and she’d talk about their composition, how your eye moves around the frame, and about the stories they were telling. For me, it was like this giant picture book that we could walk through. I think a lot of that has stuck with me.” While first fascinated … Continue reading Telling the Story: Photos by Stephanie Gross