Issue 10

Driving to Malaga


(And way up north they’re starting to recover
in Maine the undeniable remains
of a settlement you might be interested in seeing
you’re into that whole hushed-up-history thing….

                                  —postcard from Tennessee


You’ll pull off the main road, Route 209, south of Phippsburg, where Google Maps tells you. It won’t be long until the pavement’s gone, dirt road bleeding off into thinner dirt road, the coastal woods around you more and more secluded, untouched, the stillness and silence cut only by the rattle-and-pop of your tires and undercarriage. Summer foison is in the woods and the thick roadside overgrowth oppressive. It leaps out urchin-fashion to snag your fenders and doors. Occasional capillaries, also dirt, appear from nowhere and feed into your passage; as you wind slowly deeper, you keep one eye to the rearview, making note which way you’ll steer to make it out. Time’s a lost thing, memory a maze. How long have you been puttering now? Trouble out here, nobody’s going to find you. Google Maps shows only a faint gray line extending vaguely westward through a cyberphoto block of green.

Isabel MeyersDriving to Malaga



The Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater is on a stretch of East Lake Street lined with Latino and African businesses. The South Minneapolis theater is committed to the Powderhorn Park neighborhood, to social and environmental justice, to creating community through puppet theater. Every year for a decade, I’d watched the theater’s May Day parade. The first Sunday in May, the parade ran down Bloomington Avenue to Powderhorn Park, where the theater held a Tree of Life Ceremony, and afterwards hosted a festival.  The giant puppets were strange and beautiful, the political statements loud and unequivocal. It was an event that wouldn’t happen in Saint Paul, with its quiet streets and big houses. Every April, HOBT had open workshops. Anyone could learn to make a mask or puppet, and be in the parade.

Isabel MeyersPuppetmaking




Bomolluck: not a thing in the night, but what you fear in the night.
It can sit on your chest

The train was pointed toward a hill town in Tuscany. From my seat on the exhausted maroon upholstery, I watched the bustle on the sooted platform: the hop-skip of those running late, the toe-to-toe and clutch of goodbye.

Isabel MeyersSiena

The Common Statement



Loon Island


At night I open all the shades so the dark comes in. This summer, I like the wide expanse of night. The full moon is high, and I see individual strands of onion grass in the shallow spot between the shores. Tomorrow we will learn that tonight’s moon is “blue,” a rare extra full in the cycle of moons. Truly, it is orange, and hovers low over the trees.

Isabel MeyersThe Common Statement

The Bone Church

In the dimness and filtered light of the school-hostel’s front hall, he read the note once more.

Looking for travel companion to hitch hike to Budapest this week. Meet here Wednesday at 13:00. Milku.

There he gleaned it. There it was, in this building with its waxed floor, in a band of daylight tossed from the long enameled windows: his next move. On lined paper posted on this bulletin board amidst the children’s artwork. He gazed at it, read it one more time. The handwriting was looping and firm, but not bubbly. It was welcoming. He read the word Budapest again. It whispered to him. It seemed far, too far. It was tantalizing.

Isabel MeyersThe Bone Church

Key Concepts in Ecology



Invasive species: a species that is non-native to an ecosystem and that is likely to cause harm to native species.

The creature had been spotted again, and this time, accounts came from two unrelated individuals. The sightings had taken place between the hours of seven and eight that morning, both within a mile of the New Zeniths building. City officials were at that very moment developing a plan of action. What we all needed to do was stay put. This news was delivered by Claudette Bowery, president of New Zeniths, in the lobby at forty minutes after eight.

Isabel MeyersKey Concepts in Ecology

The Folly



Nieuwenhuizen stood on the verge, in the darkness, looking down the street. In one hand he held a brown imitation-leather portmanteau; in the other some small, cold coins given to him by a taxi-driver moments before. The tail-lights of the taxi flared up at the end of the street, and vanished.

Nieuwenhuizen turned to the plot. It was smaller than he’d been led to believe, no more than an acre, and overgrown with tall grass and weeds. The land was bounded on two sides by an unruly hedge, breaking against the night sky, and on a third by a prefabricated cement wall with panels in the shape of wagon-wheels. The fourth side, where he found himself, had once been fenced off from the street: the remains of this frontier—crumpled scrolls of barbed wire, a gate, some club-footed wooden posts in concrete boots—lay all around. He tightened his grip on his change with one hand and on the sponge-swaddled handle of his portmanteau with the other, high-stepped over a tangle of wire, and pushed through the grass, onwards.

Isabel MeyersThe Folly




Hickory and Joey Bags twitched in their lawn chairs, coming back to life. They’d been zonked on Canadian Ghost for twenty, thirty minutes, long enough that I was starting to get nervous. Nervous and impatient.

We were sitting behind Hickory’s trailer with our feet in the kiddie pool. The beer was running low, and glimpses of morning sun flashed through the trees. It was early, but I could already feel the air warming into another brutal July day, and there was one full cord of seasoned, split wood behind Teddy Whitfield’s place that needed moving. The sooner Hickory woke up to lend me his truck, the better. One cord meant an easy few hundred bucks this time of year, the tourists needing logs for their campfires. I knew it wouldn’t be enough to replace my mother’s Chrysler, but it wouldn’t be nothing, either. At least she’d know I was trying. I’d recently come to suspect the full extent of her disappointment. I suppose you could say I was eager to set things straight.

Isabel MeyersUnwinding


There are days
I go to the mailbox
and find letters
from my dead husband
translating for me his suicide:
the cold blade softened into cursive,
his fear licked onto the stamp,
as the return address: the date of his death.

Isabel MeyersPostmark