Tag Archives: Summer 2022

Dee’s Salon by Jeff Ventura

Pink blossoms on branches

Jeff Ventura has earned an Honorable Mention in Streetlight’s 2022 Essay/Memoir Contest The love of a husband for a wife, of my father’s love for my mother, is scattered in my memory like peach blossoms after a spring storm. Sometime in the mid-to-late 70s, my mom—pregnant, and happy to leave the hot production floor of the Bonnie Lane pajama factory in New Bedford, Massachusetts—decided to open her own “beauty shop.” After all, she had graduated top of her class from the LeBaron Beauty School, and had, for a time, rented the best chair at the … Continue reading Dee’s Salon by Jeff Ventura

Missing by Ruth Spack

Silhouette of truck against cloudy, dark blue sky

  I found my calling on a bleak Sunday afternoon in the fall of 1958, standing at the edge of a fetid swamp, questioning why bad things happened to little children. It was the day four-year-old Billy Flynn disappeared. I was nine at the time, living in Pawtucket, Rhode Island with my mother and grandmother, in the kind of friendly neighborhood that was pretty common back then. That afternoon had started innocently enough, in the Flynns’ backyard, right after Halloween. Decked out in Stetson hats and feathers, a bunch of us boys were playing Cowboys … Continue reading Missing by Ruth Spack

Florida by Jessica McEntee

old man with hat tipped over face leaning against a tropical tree

This is the place that emptied my father, sucking him through the tunnel of its straw. Four days into a farewell visit, I’ve overdosed on sunlight, rousing the insomniac within. The grass is gravid with alligators; the air poses as sand; cars scaffold a melted wax of spent bugs. Everywhere, I see darkness edging, shadows twitching to keep pace—the gloom that magics the glass into mirror. Jessica Noyes McEntee is a fiction instructor at Westport Writers’ Workshop in Connecticut and a graduate of Amherst College. Her debut chapbook, Jackie O. Suffers Two Husbands, was published … Continue reading Florida by Jessica McEntee

Pandemic, 1918 by Eric Forsbergh

Photo of field with blooms sprinkled throughout

….1. France. Poppies blooming blood. Hedged by four sheets strung on wire, my grandparents spent their wedding night, December 1917: a New York married-barracks, moans muffled the night before the men shipped out. Three faces to a porthole on a transport ship. “Fish in a barrel” riflemen would say, sometimes with pity. Who would notice a patient in an Army hospital with a different kind of cough? ….2. Tennessee. Fields overflowing corn. As a girl, my wife heard it from her grandfather. Elmer could bear to tell it only once. He’d turned 18. After morning … Continue reading Pandemic, 1918 by Eric Forsbergh

Reliquary by Annie Stenzel

Photo of wrapped gifts

“Lose something every day. Accept the fluster . . .” (Elizabeth Bishop) Every once in a while I open one of too-many, tiny boxes, and there you are, bright stab of memory: My brave lover from long ago. I see you exactly as you were then, because time took care to preserve the details, the same way amber traps an insect for eternity. One could almost map the genome from this fossil: golden ring with its garnet chip. I used to wear it on my little finger. There are things we find that were never … Continue reading Reliquary by Annie Stenzel

Angry by Alan Brickman

Photo of two old hands holding each other

  Marie moved her mother Florence into an elder care facility only two months ago, but still got lost trying to find it. It was an incongruously red brick institutional building dropped into a suburban neighborhood of single family split levels and ranch houses, all on tree-named streets like Birch or Willow that formed no recognizable grid or pattern but were rather a random and meandering tangle that was impossible to navigate. She left her house late, and was now even later for being lost, which would add yet another level of tension to this … Continue reading Angry by Alan Brickman

It’s Wrong to Feel Lucky by Marjorie Gowdy

Photo of field of poppies

It’s wrong to feel lucky when a poplar blooms. …………Branches spit out slender pinks below low clouds. In fields here, we find arrowheads. Ancient whispers on the ridge. One death begs another. …………Axe, arrow, bullet, bomb. A siege of poisoned bolts. Up the road, old battlefields sit surprised, suddenly covered in grey blankets …………of stinging dust. Charming fencerows buried. Once, old soldiers sold poppies, tried to warn us. Some rode to save us. …………Yet Zeus swung back and slung his fire. Capitol’s newly fallen: an ugly man of bare ambition, youths who rose through thunder, … Continue reading It’s Wrong to Feel Lucky by Marjorie Gowdy

The Notebook by Susan Valas

Photo of pen on open notebook

Susan Valas is the 3rd place winner of Streetlight’s 2022 Essay/Memoir Contest It’s a drizzly-gray day in the spring of 1966. I stroll out the back door and climb into my dad’s Thunderbird with minutes to spare as I wait for my family. Like any eleven-year-old, I rummage through my father’s console hoping to find Clorets gum, or maybe some pipe cleaners. But lurking in a bunker inside of me is a tangle of hope and dread that I will also find a clue. And I do. Below the passenger seat—a throne upon which a … Continue reading The Notebook by Susan Valas

Vigil and Work Gloves, 2 poems by Ron Stottlemyer

Photo of work gloves and tools

Vigil Outside the nurses’ station, third floor east, twilight spreads its white canopy over the busy avenue of bright buildings. Down the hall, an orderly lofts a pale sheet over a vacant bed. In the next room, the ventilator pulses on, pushing a steady breeze through the cracked wall of a failing lung. In the dim light, the old woman tethered to a fever floats under the fluorescent aura shimmering above her head. Beneath shuttered eyelids, night pools. Right up to the edge. Work Gloves Nothing much to look at lying on the shelf, one … Continue reading Vigil and Work Gloves, 2 poems by Ron Stottlemyer

Erik and George by Ty Phelps

Photo of doll

  Erik awakens full of pain, lying in a hospital bed in a propped position, his throat sore from the tube that snaked down into his mouth and nose, his limbs heavy and bruised. His head feels like it belongs to someone else. The lights are low in his hospital room and he hears the soft whir of machines. No one is in the room with him that he can see. Panic floods his heart as he remembers the accident: the whirl of lights, the spinning crush of metal. And ten-year-old George, his son, in … Continue reading Erik and George by Ty Phelps