Issue 03

Double Life

By STEPHEN O’CONNOR

 

1.

I was twelve when my family shared a big gray house on Fire Island with the McKennas. The house was at the end of a series of narrow boardwalks, just over a small dune from the ocean, which was easily visible from our veranda. I believe the house also had a sundeck off of one of the upstairs bedrooms, because I have a vague memory of someone—my mother, I think—telling me not to disturb Mrs. McKenna, who liked to sunbathe “in the nude.” I had never heard that expression before and, at first, could not believe I had understood it correctly. Only the weird blend of excitement and disapproval in the voice of whoever was speaking convinced me that my interpretation was exactly right. I have no memory of the sundeck itself, however, nor of ever seeing Mrs. McKenna in anything more revealing than a one-piece bathing suit.

Julia PikeDouble Life
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On and Off the Map

By MICHAEL KELLY 

 

Maps are one way humans make sense of their environment. In this age of Google Earth, where a few mouse clicks call up a satellite image of almost any inch of the globe, it can be difficult to imagine a time when maps were often based as much on hearsay and guesswork as scientific surveying.

Julia PikeOn and Off the Map
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In This Island

By MICHAEL JOYCE

In this island human corpses are not buried and do not putrify, 
    

    but are placed in the open and remain without corruption.

Here men see with some wonder and recognize their grandfathers,
           

           great-grandfathers, great-great-grandfathers, 
                      

                       and a long line of ancestors.
   

     —Topographia Hiberniae, Giraldus Cambrensis (1220)

 

I have seen them in other guises, in dreams or along wind-blown streets here and across the sea

where they go by with a nod or sometimes not, benign or monstrous, familiar passers-by

and now it is I who pass before them where they recline, still upon the rain-polished limestone,

each in his own bed

Julia PikeIn This Island
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Girl Scouts Visit the FBI, circa 1975

By JANE SATTERFIELD

 

Fox’s series the X-Files starred David Duchovny and Gillian 
Anderson as FBI
agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully


Lights fade on this snow-erased suburban street as our screen flickers with roadside
bombs & body count. News is another stalled front,

a season past its prime. The house rattles with gale-force winds & Doppler radar
promises more.

Julia PikeGirl Scouts Visit the FBI, circa 1975
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Family of Strangers

By JANE SATTERFIELD

 

for Deborah Tall (1951—2006)
Baltimore, 2006


 

Not cool for September so we walked
slowly, slowly to cross the still-green campus
gold-struck in morning’s light.
That’s the kind of phrase I’d have used,
years ago, an undergrad arriving in town
the same year that you’d left.

Julia PikeFamily of Strangers
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Salt

By JANE SATTERFIELD

 

Not apocrypha, as in Scipio salting
the Carthaginian fields, a curse
on re-inhabitation; not the blacklisted
feature nor Jagger’s salute

to the working man, but that
which purifies, preserves, seals
a bargain, signifies wisdom, intelligence,
and virility—.

Julia PikeSalt
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