Tag Archives: Spring 2018

Death in Vienna by Brett Busang

Painting of bulidings in Vienna
 

Michaelerkirche goes back to the 1200’s and looks it. Being from a country whose ancient history—as far as English-speaking people go—stretches back to Plymouth Rock, I have no local frame of reference. What is the 13th century supposed to look like? Ancient and forbidding, I would think. Dark most certainly—though accommodations have been made for 21st century prejudices, which include a yearning for visibility. Yet I gave the 13th century my due attention and was duly rewarded. I seemed to understand its unpainted stonework, its dankly disarranged furniture, its pointy architecture. (Baroque people had re-shaped … Continue reading Death in Vienna by Brett Busang

The Semicolon, Another Grammar Guidepost by Erika Raskin

Shadow of person on bicycle
 

A while ago I went with one of my nieces to get matching semicolon tattoos. This was remarkable for a variety of reasons: 1. I was 56. 2. Years before, when my eldest daughter came home from college sporting her first permanent ink, I may not have reacted well. 3. Trends in general have always bugged me. A lot. Our landfills are filled with them. So are our photo albums. 4. In terms of the grammar symbol itself, I never really got semicolons. Half comma, half period—what is that about? (Kurt Vonnegut rudely referred to … Continue reading The Semicolon, Another Grammar Guidepost by Erika Raskin

How to Grow Wild by Kathy Davis

photo of Fleabane flower
 

How to Grow Wild   Vision failing, she feels the leaves looking for butterfly weed, a seedling from her greenhouse for me to take, add to my efforts to flower a field. Cup plant, sweet goldenrod. Stratify the seeds six weeks then scratch them in—instructions on the packets she presses in my hands, stressing the importance of natives. On this street of manicured lawns, her home, its yard not mown, could be mistaken for abandoned. Fleabane, milkweed. But no monarchs this summer so far—a hint of loss that worries her. “Invasive,” she says about the … Continue reading How to Grow Wild by Kathy Davis

Only Skin Deep by Linda Nemec Foster

broken pearl necklace
 

If I could erase anything from my distant past (not the recent one), it would be that first half of fifth grade from September to December of 1960. The country was on the edge of its Camelot years with JFK and Jackie, perfectly coiffed, on his arm. I was on the edge of my first meltdown: pre-adolescent, pre-pubescent, pre-everything. Stuck in fifth grade, I viewed the universe from a basement classroom in the bowels of St. Wenceslas Elementary School in a boring suburb of Cleveland. Most of the teachers were nuns, relegated to black and … Continue reading Only Skin Deep by Linda Nemec Foster

Just Another One of Those by Stephanie Coyne DeGhett

Three rockers on a porch.
 

Just another one of those, he’d say to himself when it all got really annoying and he was trying to talk himself down a little. And we know just how to take care of things like that. He’d say this to himself, even when there would be no we involved. What he meant by those things included various kinds of car trouble (the catalytic converter, twice now) and conversations with the lawyer of his soon-to-be-ex-wife. They included—like now—glitches in the master schedule of the small college where he was registrar. The pair of phrases would … Continue reading Just Another One of Those by Stephanie Coyne DeGhett

The Jumping Off Place by Diana Pinckney

slats with light and shadow
 

The Jumping Off Place Josephine Hopper’s comment on husband Edward’s painting, Rooms by the Sea, 1951   Azure waves float two rooms            a door opens                       catching the ocean breeze sunlight streams            in a part of this suite                       where under a slice of picture the red sofa invites            shadowed in blue-gray                       the corner of a chest no balcony   no steps   no sand            the jumping off place                       for someone who gazes from these disembodied rooms            waiting for the horizon                       to widen   the sea to deepen who would want            to be drifting here                       only a seeker of the spare ways            a … Continue reading The Jumping Off Place by Diana Pinckney

Wrestling With Peace by Mary Alice Hostetter

Rainbow colored peace symbol
 

I remember that day in sixth grade at Gap Elementary School with painful clarity. Mrs. Groff turned from the board where she had written in her careful cursive the names of the countries involved in The War—seemed pretty much the whole world—and she asked, “How many of your fathers fought in the war?” She might as well have asked, “And how many of your fathers stayed home and milked cows while brave men went off to foreign lands to fight for freedom?” That’s how I heard her question, and I wanted to disappear. It was … Continue reading Wrestling With Peace by Mary Alice Hostetter

The Birds of Spring by Roselyn Elliott

2 red-headed woodpeckers on a limb of a tree
 

The heavy, punishing rains have stopped for now, and I step out onto the sun-warmed deck facing our back yard. A third of the space is now a lake, and in the center of this six-inch deep water stand our bird feeders. One with a metal green box perched on a steel pole is full of basic mix composed of sunflower seeds, millet, yellow maize chips. The others hang eight feet away offering sunflower seeds, and suet. Tufted titmice, cardinals, sparrows, nuthatches, and the persistent chickadees are busy at each feeder. A blue jay swoops … Continue reading The Birds of Spring by Roselyn Elliott

My Grandfather’s Garage, 1966; Heart Box by Lynda Fleet Perry

Old wooden garage in the countryside, black and white photo
 

My Grandfather’s Garage, 1966   Steel licenses, galvanized, nailed to the wall, black Virginia plates, rusted and dented, years spanning a life on this farm, his World War, to the second, his sons’, our fathers’. Children, we kneel before sagging cardboard on the oil-soaked dirt, reeking still of machines. Brittle pages crumbling as we rifle Field & Stream, National Wildlife. Silverfish scuttle. Dust rises in dimness. We peer into a fading Popular Science over and over, breathless and startled cousins whispering, sunburned noses turning up and freckled like our fair-haired fathers’. Rapt, as if I … Continue reading My Grandfather’s Garage, 1966; Heart Box by Lynda Fleet Perry

Just a Crush by John Ballantine

Two people looking out at the sea
 

Did she touch you like that, with a little more than love, a little more hurt than you want? Did you see the pain in the dulled eyes; hear the shame in her slurred words? Did you know the room was not safe? I knew when I turned in the dark that I should not switch the light on—not because my clothes were thrown on the chair, or the book on my desk was opened to unfinished homework. No, I knew that the door was open a crack letting in eyes that were too familiar. … Continue reading Just a Crush by John Ballantine