All posts tagged: Issue 22

Fixation

By HALA ALYAN

 

It’s like knowing there’s
a house on fire and only
you  have  the  key,  but
there’s  no  address,  the
streets   keep   changing
numbers,   and   if   you
don’t  make  it  in  time,
everybody   inside   dies.
Even   the   houseplants.
You  never  make  it  in
time.    I still   like   my
brain.    This    feels   as
impossible   as    crown
shyness, but it’s true—I
feel  its  lure flash like a
camera bulb sometimes,
the magic  and the grief
like two  rivers  necking
where they meet.

 

Fixation
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My Body as the George Washington Bridge All Lit Up at Midnight

By ALEXANDRA WATSON

434 wires unlock the land
double-decked suspension
hot for incandescence
a 14 lane corridor
top exposed
stiffening truss
to come over


limbs sling across the chasm
100 million self propelled cells
carbon hardening soft iron
opens all 29 tolls
bottom enclosed
can’t afford
unanchored 

My Body as the George Washington Bridge All Lit Up at Midnight
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Family of Origin Rewrite: 1982

By K. IVER

 

My father teaches ethics at a university. 
My mother teaches ethics at a university. 
They save. Their money. Buy 
a large bungalow in Connecticut. 
They continue. Saving. Enough 
to support the San Francisco AIDS
Foundation and their baby.
They read the news and wish kindness
into our laws. One of them will say
Sweden hasn’t been to war since 1812. 
The other says you can start a business
in Sweden and get free healthcare.
They’re excited. About my arrival. 
They remain. Calm. When 
midnight cries wake them. 
My father waits. For my mother to heal. 
Before asking for sex. She’s good. 
At saying no. She throws meditation
and exercise and intense therapy 
at her trauma. Still goes to AA. 
When wrong. She promptly admits it. 
Every night she arrives home from
the university. Her soft. Low voice. 
Builds a replica in my throat. She wears 
minimal. Makeup. Cuts her nails down 
because who needs the fuss. When I walk. 
Into a room. And see my father. 
I continue walking in. When my father
and I leave. The house. Lots of women
introduce themselves. When we get back
he tears. Their numbers over the trash. 
On weekends my father and I dig 
in the dirt. I watch him plant 
lilac bulbs around the spruce. He lets 
my small hand pack the ground. 
Affirms it as help. When my father puts.
me to bed with true stories of him 
sewing clothes for new mothers 
in Ukraine. I fall asleep fast.

Family of Origin Rewrite: 1982
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Melh

By REWA ZEINATI

 

Water. 
At the shore we don’t build anything. Behind our sunglasses, our eyes dart in every direction. A man carries a sandcastle on his back. A fish. Or is that a tattoo of a fairytale palace? His arms are full sleeves of ink. Maybe he’s been working in the financial district for years. Maybe he’s only here for three days. 

In the water we talk salaries and offices and how much saltier this sea is compared to ours. Ours? We talk about hunger, the likelihood of lunch. On my left, Burj Al Arab juts forth its belly of glass and steel. 

Melh
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Appetite

By DAN ALBERGOTTI

Emerging from her cocoon without a mouth,
the luna moth climbs onto a stem to unfurl
and dry her wings. She’ll find a mate tonight.

There will be no kiss. There will be no taste.
There will be no speech or song. After midnight
the still, silent couple will join like drops of rain.

Appetite
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“It was No Arabian Nights at All”: Coming of Age in America’s Kingdom

By KEIJA PARSSINEN 

This was Arabia as a romantic imagination might have created it; nights so mellow that they lay out under the scatter of dry bright stars, and heard the silence beyond their fire as if the whole desert hung listening. 

—Wallace Stegner, Discovery! The Search for Arabian Oil

“When we arrived there [Aramco], it was no Arabian Nights at all. It was just a kind of shack, it seemed to me.… Air-conditioned shacks with a great big swimming pool in the middle with a canvas over the top.” 

—Mary Stegner to her husband’s biographer, Jackson J. Benson

“It was No Arabian Nights at All”: Coming of Age in America’s Kingdom
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