About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis (susanlewis.net) is the editor of Posit (positjournal.com) and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom, winner of the 2017 Washington Prize, Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in such places as The Awl, Berkeley Poetry Review, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Cimarron, Gargoyle, The Journal, New American Writing, The New Orleans Review, Prelude, Raritan, Seneca Review, So to Speak, Verse, Verse Daily, and VOLT.

Dee Shapiro

—click on any image to enlarge—

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Artist’s Statement

 

As in a dream of alternative realities, absurd connections, or on a trip passing familiar landscapes in unfamiliar settings, new conscious and unconscious associations are brought to a 2-dimensional surface in my work. In the recent pieces, geometry (seen even in the structure of organic forms) directs composition: arbitrary drops of color undermine control and create shapes that succumb to the overwork of drawings, rendering obsessive intricacies and paint application building the forms. Collage material adds extraneous influences in a subtle blend.

In the beginning was pattern. First the Fibonacci progression color coded on graph paper, followed by a series of work that included architectural elements off the grid. With all the work, always color, a nod to the Albers studies. A redirection to small horizontal paintings of the geometry in cities and landscapes ensued for a number of years.

Missing the early fascination and engagement with pattern led to more recent work exploring evocative biological and organic forms, the evolution of which is the more recent work as well as borrowing from sources that include other artist’s work in a collaborative effort.

Another direction takes me to appropriate iconic paintings of women by well-known artists in the past and to rework those images in pattern with paint, ink and mixed media.

Always a continuum in my current practice is the exploration of pattern wherever it appears in other sources and cultures as well as imagined and combined.

In this newest body of work, I am unflinchingly forging ahead to newly wrought terrain with the underlying echoes of the beginnings.

Featured in the Pattern and Decoration exhibit at PS I, Dee Shapiro has exhibited in New York and elsewhere since the late 1970’s, with solo and group exhibitions at AIR, Andre Zarre Gallery, Everson Museum, Nassau County Museum, David Richard Gallery, Bernay Fine Art and many other galleries and museums in the US and abroad. Her work is in the collections of the S.R. Guggenheim Museum, Heckscher Museum, Albright Knox Gallery, Birmingham Museum, William Louis-Dreyfus Family Collection, and other university, corporate, and private collections.

 

A painter who also writes and makes artists’ books, Shapiro’s practice explores the intersection of pattern, nature and geometry. Her imagery is borrowed and imagined from weaving, beading and the crafts of other cultures, as well as biomorphic forms overlapping within each individual piece. She employs a variety of media and has produced several bodies of work including systemic patterning, city and landscapes, prints and large figurative mixed media pieces. She has been teaching art history and studio art at Empire State College, SUNY, and Old Westbury, NY.

Zach Savich

Will is Going To

Waited to send the card. Waiting for the flowers to press. All the
mysteries from the shelf stacked on the violets in a coffee filter
in the Dictionary of American Antiques (1952). An awmry is a pantry,
a bahut is an iron chest, a chromatrope is “a magic lantern’s slide.”
Pressed between marble soap (“reference is not to appearance of
the soap but to a ‘soap’ used to clean marble, a paste of lye and
whiting”) and massicot (“an ocher color derived from lead
oxide”). I’m assuming grief will wait, or still be arriving, or be
something else, whenever dry becomes preserved. Which is
slowed by my looking. And my leafing (“Leaf: Patterns of
pressed glass featuring a leaf with other elements: Leaf &
Flower, Leaf & Loop, Leaf & Dart, et cetera”). Leafing to
diversion, which becomes relevant, that is, grievous, as anything
will, to a point, in time (“Leaf silhouette: A large leaf, bearing a
scene in silhouette on the skeleton of the leaf itself. Such work
was achieved by removing the fleshy part of the leaf not required
by pricking it out with a needle point. This was the method to
1850s. Thereafter acid was used. Few examples survive.”). She’d
been building a bicycle, planning a trip. Had just made lasagna.
How to bear the scene.

Poesie of Defense

Skunk smell in everything freshening, everything coming back
Up at the tree-line, which is where they stop, where we come
from them, up, having been down in them, trees
Upon the vertical meadow
Passable hours
Parsley walls, the deer leave alone
Lest whatever road is down the road once we’re a few roads
down, a few roads out
The name for an hour after sunrise
The admissible sky a simple crossword, simple syrup, simpering
boil lanced
As Caligula made losing orators praise winners in elaborate
speech, they failed and had to scrub their speeches from
stones with their tongues, after writing them there
Employing precious ink, worth the waste, the emperor said, for
its bitter taste, for the look on each loser’s face
Day making its losing speeches, resignation first thing,
preemptive separation priming its pen on the stones
For the pleasure of the look of precious ink on stones, perhaps,
equivalent to the bitter valley of the taste

“Only Connect”

Chances are,
in most situations,
you’ll mostly respond
like most people do.
And feel the insufficiency
and indignity
of that. And in response
to that indignity,
judge others’
insufficiency. You won’t,
mostly, have a choice,
which is fine because
you mostly won’t remember
most things, which is fine
as long as you continue
learning or forgetting
faster. Much as
19th century
naturalists who couldn’t
account for this
beast here and also
there, or companionable
rocks, separated
by seas, explained a lot
with land bridges, you too
should assume expired
links between facts
you can’t recall. For instance,
isn’t it the crossing
that made the land a bridge,
and wouldn’t the water
on either side need to
have been, comparatively,
continuous if cartographers
preferred to claim those once-
divided gulfs remain
one form? Semantically
speaking, a parted sea
precedes the water’s
rise, as from ice
berg chunks sloughing trapped
polar fur onto a water
bottle factory’s grated
floor, while elsewhere
gathered plastics wreathe
a hermit’s floating perch, mangroves
shallowly ballasting duct-
tape strung pallets
camouflaged as trash
to draw brackish garbage birds,
migrating nowhere,
he’s taking his chances he can
live on?

Elegant Regrets

The eye gets wider, in pain. It’s looking for something.

The doorway you shelter in—it could be your house, you could live here, nothing else to be done. Or wait there long enough. It isn’t your house. Go on.

The eye closes tighter. To forge.

Say the storm starts in the petals. Down they go. Is the storm still in them? The storm that starts in the petals—but isn’t in the tree.

Over by the time you see.

Zach Savich is the author of eight books of poetry and prose, including Daybed (Black Ocean, 2018). He is co-editor of Rescue Press’s Open Prose Series and an associate professor at the Cleveland Institute of Art.

Elizabeth Robinson

Augur

for Robert Kelly

The promise did not promise
to be beautiful.

The promise was of labor,
not virtue.

You perceive the grail: it attests
to its existence, but, as always,

refuses to disclose its whereabouts.
And somewhere you find a landscape,

deep in that landscape,
whose particulars are your birth.

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You, sojourner, find a stained
rag there, a faded scarf

which you read. Could it
have been so long ago

that you learned to read?
When reading is place

bereft of location. When the scarf,
once green, became bluer.

None. Known. Nonce. Anon.
Anonymous. Anomalous.

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You had, perhaps become exhausted
with the saying of it when

the mistake blossoms: exhaustion
is the cure

for reading, for mapping.
Talk, in the hidden place

becomes the work of itself.
A scarf, wadded and stuffed

into the mouth, is exhaled with
great force. See how it lofts

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on the words like a cloud
as they move definitely

away from you. Broken
perception is a place, even

“home,” if you will. The work
was never meant to be ethical. A thing

becomes its own imperative most often
because you live there and you break it.

Extensive practice. When finally the eyes
fail to read the broken script, then:

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yes. You, having so recently heard
of this thing called reading, essay it.

Error-ridden sentence verb subject
you topographical backwards, the

ruddy and green layers of it. In this
placeless specificity, you assay it. Never

a map but a disemboweling, discovery
joyously fractures what it finds, and

deeper. Deep blindness of the word.
Its glee. The work rummaging

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itself, mine brought provisionally
to the surface, silt bubbling into

all streams. Ash caressing this
particular scape like a silk scarf.

The practice of intention is
its own discovery, wise and

iniquitous. “There once was a story,”
you read aloud,

and it undermined itself
in receipt of its recognitions.

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Home or fire? Work
or reworking? If there were a door—

should there have been a door—
entry onto what? Reciprocity

means also exit. And after it all
burned down, haven’t you wondered

why it’s always the chimney
that still remains? One spark

or another as the unseeing eye
forces a blurred word to register, a glint

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made specific by indeterminacy. The
promise offered itself like a body

you may, or may not, have declined. A shapely
word, swathed only in a blue scarf, whose

dimensions fall away before the scarf does.
Down the well or into the mine, up

the chimney. The promise whose articulation
is “poof,” whose word

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lingers as an aroma in the air. You quaff it
through nose and mouth. Smoke, too, is the embodiment of what’s broken.

It fills the dislocated grail with its syrup. You

have always felt its sting in your throat, the hole in the cup

that breathes on your behalf.

Elizabeth Robinson is the author, most recently, of Rumor, from Parlor Press. Being Modernists Together is forthcoming in 2022 from Solid Objects. Recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Big Other, Denver Quarterly, Fence, New Letters, Plume, Scoundrel Time, and Posit.. With Jennifer Phelps, Robinson co-edited Quo Anima:innovation and spirituality in contemporary women’s poetry, published in 2019 by University of Akron Press.

Peter Leight

Private Time

When I cover my face

there’s more space.

I’m wearing my turtleneck,

underneath is the shell,

sitting on the bed

or in a chair

next to my desk—

please leave the furniture out of this.

Personally I’d like to live with somebody

who doesn’t even need to live

with anybody else,

I mean she actually wants to.

Touching my lips

and pulling them apart,

picking a little,

as when you deadhead the irises—

I don’t know why it takes me longer

than anyone else.

In a country of one

no borders.

There’s no one to give a gift to.

No need to close the door.

I’m not even sure why it’s taking me so long.

When I turn around there’s an empty space behind me that doesn’t even belong to me,

I’m leaving the keys to everything I need to open

in a drawer I’m not going to open,

I’m thinking it’s that simple.

Picking at my lips,

as if I’m making an opening

for the shadows passing over my lips like a border crossing

and the shadows falling in my lap like a rest period.

In a country of one

you don’t bother to knock.

And never hit reply,

Pulling back my lips to make an opening for the watery breath that pools in front of me

like a gift you give yourself

when you don’t have anything else to give.

City of Separation

In our city there are two sides that are separated. The other one is different, it’s so different it needs to be separate—we’re not even comfortable until we’re separated from the other side. I mean how different something is depends on what it’s different from. Breathing the same air, we have our air on this side, and they have theirs on the other side, have you noticed the way the same things are often in different places? It isn’t that far away, just on the other side of our side, touching but disconnected like cells in an ice tray—adjacence isn’t a substitute for attachment. We don’t actually know what it’s like, we’re not inspecting the other side or investigating on the other side, that’s not what it’s there for. It’s true, everybody says it’s a mess, it’s the messy side, they don’t even know when to stop on the other side—everybody says they would ruin our side if we let them, it’s the first thing that happens. Of course, we stay on our side and they stay on theirs—there are sacrifices on both sides. There are signs on both sides, although we don’t understand theirs, and they don’t understand ours. We don’t even speak to them. What would we say? Once we actually waited for them to come over to our side while they were waiting for us to come over to their side at the same time. Were we waiting together? I think it’s better from a distance, better when it’s a safe distance, no closer than we are right now, it’s better when they don’t know us at all and we don’t even know who they are.

City of Meeting

Every time you open the door in our city you’re in the middle of a meeting that continues without interruption as long as everybody is participating, like a program that keeps going as long as you’re watching. There’s a place for everyone in the meeting, to be honest the same place is reserved for everybody, like a pie chart that’s undivided, without a single wedge. You don’t need to be pre-qualified. You don’t have to sit and wait—everybody’s sitting down at the same time, as long as you need to sit down you sit in the front with everybody else who’s sitting with you in the front or in the back with everybody else who’s sitting with you in the back, it doesn’t even matter where you’re sitting as long as you’re sitting next to somebody. Nobody’s saying no you’re not, or not at all, you don’t have any secrets you’re not telling because you don’t need to. Of course you can only be helped when they know what’s wrong with you. Sitting on the edge of your seat to make sure you’re not missing anything, when you open the door the meeting has already started, it’s the kind of meeting that continues as long as everybody has something to contribute, it doesn’t even matter where you’re meeting when every place is a meeting place. Not waiting for anybody to take your hand or give you a hand, it’s not about you. Everybody has something interesting to contribute, as long as you’re contributing there’s nothing wrong with you—if you have something different to say it’s even more interesting, it contributes even more. Honestly it’s the kind of meeting that continues without interruption even if you’re not participating, it doesn’t even matter how long you’re attending the meeting, as in a program that doesn’t end when you stop watching.

Peter Leight’s poems have appeared in Paris Review, AGNI, FIELD, Beloit Poetry Review, Raritan, Matter, Posit, and other magazines.

Patrick Kindig

corona, n.

A small circle or disc
of light. A halo, a ring
around the moon. As in:
the moon’s corona is shining
tonight, it has a corona
that shines. Like glass
or a bright fish, often
prismatic. As in: the moon’s
corona is in the creek tonight,
a silver ripple. The creek
is carrying the moon the way
a man might carry a king.

corona, n.

A crown-like appendage
on the inner side of some
flowers, such as the daffodil
and the daffodil’s close
relations. Royal lips
kissing the air, poised
to pollinate. More stamen
than petal: meet the plant’s
cock. Shaped like
a tube, a trumpet, a prolapsed
rectum. Its function is distinct.
Its function is unknown.

corona (lucis), n.

A chandelier suspended
from the roof of a church:
crown (of light), light
(of God). Darkness
is a sin. As in: where pleasure
is taken (from God), where
the eye (of God) fails. See
curiosity: the lust of the eye.
In a clean, well-lit place,
there is no need for wonder.

corona, n.

A solar halo, mock
sun. A sun throwing
its voice. Anthelion:
a bright spot opposite
the sun. A bright spot
where the sun is not. A
sun dog. A light in the sky
chasing its tail. Heel,
sun; stay, sun. Get in
your crate, sun, and
do as you are told.

corona (radiata), n.

A mass of fibers in the brain
spread radially from capsule
to cortex. Made of white matter,
well-sheathed. A transit system
prone to stroke, stuttering
processionals, funerals
in the brain. A kind of crown
beneath the crown: kill it
and kill the king.

corona, n.

A luminous appearance in the gas
surrounding a conductor, a sheen,
a shining in the night, the night
a cloud of air, the air a jar of lightning
unlidded, unleashed, discharged
like a patient who has completed
treatment, a soldier, a religious
office performed secretively and
with care, a gesture electric enough
to make the heart beat faster, not
strong enough to cause a spark.

Patrick Kindig teaches writing and American literature at Indiana University. He is the author of the chapbook all the catholic gods (Seven Kitchens Press, 2019) and the micro-chapbook Dry Spell (Porkbelly Press, 2016), and his poems have recently appeared in Copper Nickel, Washington Square Review, Shenandoah, Columbia Poetry Review, and other journals.

Kylie Hough

If I’m Honest

If I’m honest, the sky feels different depending on where I stand. You eat chocolate cake before the movie begins. We all want freedom but I am too scared to ask and you are too stunted to know. I have the feelings I have. You label me a conspiracy theorist but I think the parts of you you don’t show sprout wheatgrass. The earth spins on its axis in a matterless universe and I would like to give it up. You don’t talk behind my back and from time to time we meet and embrace like old friends. I converse with dead people. You come to my thing and insist on paying for copy that wouldn’t exist without you. I brush my teeth and smile white foam when I think of you. There’s a space in your chest where my heart used to be before I gave it to the comma. I sign a blank page with the words, For You Love Me, because I believe in something. You don’t have the feelings you don’t have. I read somewhere that to love a thing means wanting it to live. If it can’t be scientifically proven, you won’t leave the bedroom. It’s the way of us, but if I’m honest, the pursuit of liberation is an oarless raft on a flooded highway.

The Problem with Eggs

I told you it works like eggs. You shrugged your shoulders, said you never knew. I thought, there are a lot of things you don’t know about eggs and guar gum and binding and being bound. You insisted you didn’t feel trapped and questioned me about why sex worked like eggs. Not the polysaccharide composed of two sugars whose composition you would have quizzed me on had I given you the chance. Guar gum is frequently used as a food additive in processed foods. I nodded because we were bound and I couldn’t articulate an answer, only watch you chew steak or tune into the voice in my head that whispered I needed the bathroom or to feign a headache or to go outside and shoo the Great Dane defaecating on our front lawn. None of which I did because it wasn’t my turn and if there was anything more to sleepwalking in clingwrap without a compass, I needed to explore it. Yesterday. Like an egg navigates the oiled sides of a wok there was this feeling I got with you. A join consists of two ropes. One lead from you to race, reach, rage toward me. A gypsy unawares. Last year. There was the way I placed you on the top shelf with the strawberry jam and the Jarlsberg. The way you encouraged me. With a look, you took me by the hand and led me up the carpeted stairwell to the waiting king bed. Splice with me, you said and I placed your hand between my thighs. Instead of thickening, though, you split. This is the problem with eggs.

Her Last De facto

Can you see you’re torturing yourself? he said. Yes, she thought and took his right leg and plucked it from its socket much like she would a carrot from her vegetable garden. She stuck it on a cardboard rectangle by a pane of glass beside a wooden frame on the kitchen counter. You’re not thinking of the future, he said and she raised an eyebrow because she was always thinking of how good it would feel to disarticulate him. She removed his left arm with a lurch and placed it beside his right leg. Do you hear yourself? he said, which was strange because all she ever heard was the sound of his voice. He collapsed into a bar stool, with the face of a chastised puppy, and patted the empty space beside him with his remaining hand. She smiled, took his right arm in her left hand and shook it until it plunged pool-like from his shoulder into her waiting lap. I give and you take, he said. She waggled a finger then took a hacksaw to his head. His left leg came away with a tug. She pondered his parts on the counter and poured herself a gin. Pieces of him she arranged into patchwork. You’re mad, he mouthed mounted on the wall, and to a future replete with framed men, she lifted her glass.

Kylie Hough studies Arts at UNE in Armidale, Australia. A Vice-Chancellor’s Scholar, in 2015 Kylie received the Lucy Elizabeth Craigie Award, the Richard B Smith Memorial Prize, and the Australian Federation of Graduate Women Inc. (AFGW) NSW (Armidale) UNE ARTS AWARD. She was a finalist in the Gertrude Stein Award in Fiction 2018 and is published with Feminartsy, the write launch, Verity LA, and Other Terrain. Kylie is a grateful recipient of a 2021 Australian Society of Authors (ASA) Award Mentorship in Fiction.

Janis Butler Holm & Gina Osterloh

Apples and Bananas

Artists’ Statements
 
Gina Osterloh: Through the simple gesture of trying to grasp, “Apples and Bananas” is a play on the futility of gender categories, critiquing the absurdity of our gendered expectations. The video is a response to Richard Serra’s 3-minute 30-second film “Hand Catching Lead” (1968), which has a grasping hand–in profile, palm facing camera–repeatedly missing, catching, dropping a piece of scrap lead.
 
Janis Butler Holm: Gina Osterloh’s “Apples and Bananas” brought home to me that what we perceive to be natural–so natural that we readily consume it–is in fact a weighted ideology, designed to reinforce dominant binaries even as we fail to align with them.
 
Gina Osterloh’s photography, video, and performance art address symbolic themes and formal elements such as the void, the orifice, and the grid–and encourage a heightened awareness of color, repetitive pattern, and repeated actions. Osterloh’s work is represented by Silverlens (Manila) and Higher Pictures (New York).
 
Janis Butler Holm has served as Associate Editor for Wide Angle, the film journal, and currently works as a writer and editor in sunny Los Angeles. Her prose, poems, and performance pieces have appeared in small-press, national, and international magazines, including Posit. Her plays have been produced in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.
 
Bassist/composer/producer Joël Dilley’s original music is heard in TV, film, web, and ambient settings worldwide, including HBO, Discovery Channel, Food Network, and more. His website is www.joeldilley.com.
 
Award-winning songwriter Bett Butler’s poetry and short fiction have appeared in Weave, Feathertale, Voices de la Luna, Amp, and Fabula Argentea. Her website is www.bettbutler.com.

 

Joey Hedger

Paper Teeth

“One day, this old world’s gonna just up and knock out those chompers of yours,” says the self-proclaimed prophet Eloise. “The word of the Lord.”

I push down the “Thanks be to God” that forms in my throat like indigestion. She chews on a cube of ice as if she’s biting glass—a paralyzing sound for me, considering my issue with teeth. I cannot bite ice. Or drink anything too hot or cold. This is likely from my stubborn determination to avoid dentists, a fact Eloise could not have learned without help. But maybe she is not a stranger, and I actually do recognize her as we sit across from each other on the interstate passenger train. She, a dentist or hygienist I have visited in the past. Me, heading back home from Tampa to West Palm Beach. Her, traveling for traveling’s sake, maybe. I never thought to ask.

“Huh?”

“Some people, you can see it like visions. They keep their teeth closed. And you can tell by the way they speak. Others, they’re bound for chaos in the end.”

For years, now, I have been told by dentists that by the time I turned 30, my teeth, if not properly maintained by a plastic retainer, would erode until they become as thin as a sheet of paper. Erode. Like a fading beach. I am close to 30 now, and I can already see the early signs of the prophecy. Yes, thinning. Paper thin.

So recently, to either ignore the forewarning of dental professionals or to live out my days as if the end is near, I have been eating almost nonstop. Snacks. Junk food. Large breakfasts, larger dinners—coupled with entirely irregular meal patterns. Some days no breakfast at all, some days no dinners. Weight gain. Drastic loss. Even here, on this train, I have a half-cleared bag of cashews on my lap.
“How long has she been sick?” asks Eloise.

“Huh? Who?”

“Your mother.”

A handful of cashews comes up to my lips, and I use the pause of my chewing to think of a response. It’s been months, now. Nearly a year. Then maybe she does know me. Somehow. From somewhere.

“You don’t know me, right?” I say, finally. “You didn’t mean anything about that teeth comment?”

But Eloise’s focus has strayed from me to the window beside us. An orange grove slips by, its blossoming flowers dotting the sunny landscape like floaters in our eyes. I did not notice us pass into the orange groves yet—I always try to remind myself to look during this part of the trip. I always want to see these parts of the state.

“Train’s about to stop,” she says thoughtfully. “It stops when I command it to.”

And it does. Just then, the chugging wheels below us slow, and the heavy machine skids to a halt on the tracks, right in time to align itself with the next station on our route. Ah, then. It’s a magic trick, I think. Who’s not sensitive about their teeth? She’s only guessing at when the train stops, at people’s fears of the earth, at my mother’s illness. Only a guess.

The cashews fill my mouth, again, as Eloise gives me a toothy smile, rises, and exits the train. I forget to smile back, as if I was raised with no manners at all. A child, avoiding dentists and chewing with my mouth open.

Blurry Exit Signs

In a pitch-black office outside Washington, DC, an ophthalmologist shines a flashlight into my dilated pupils. With each flick of the light, my backwards eyesight encounters something new. The frontal lobe, possibly. Or the cerebral cortex. A diagram from high school flashes back to me in my vision. Now I nearly see it all in bright pinks and blues and greens to help me memorize the names of each part.

“You don’t box, do you?” she asks, clicking the lights back on, “or regularly get struck in the face?”

“No,” I reply, wondering if she has seen some new bruise, something I cannot find when I look at myself each morning in the mirror. Droopy eyes. Large brows. Irritation wrinkles on my forehead. Yellow teeth. But a nose anybody would kill for. A large gorgeous nose if I ever saw one. At the funeral last month, someone compared it to a beak. A big old bird’s beak. Maybe they lacked the imagination to think further than the taxidermy eagle I had been standing beside. My—well, the deceased loved birds, loved to collect them. Stuff them. Keep them hanging around her apartment like a museum. They brought this eagle out for the funeral, because we could all remember her better with it there.

“I really only came here because I have trouble seeing in the evening,” I tell her. “Like when I’m driving on a highway and the exits further away start to blur. It’s not dangerous, though. It’s just those exit signs that are far up there, that you need to cross traffic to reach. I start to lose my ability to read those.”

“You have a smartphone, right? You can always use a GPS.”

“Well.”

“My concern isn’t your vision, it’s the holes you’ve got in your eyes.”

“The holes?”

“Yes. You have about four in your right one and two in your left. If you were to get hit too hard, they might erupt and leak blood. Which is why I asked if you box.”

The doctor hands me a cardboard container, which I open like a birthday present. Inside is a pair of massive plastic sunglasses I am supposed to wear for the next couple hours. I wait in the Panera Bread below the doctor’s office for my pupils to readjust from the dilation drops. Somebody orders me a coffee, because I must look pitiful sitting there. Alone. In these massive plastic glasses.

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On the drive home, even now, the distance begins to fade. Evening is approaching, my line of sight growing hazy, as if there is a wall up ahead that I will soon hit, an incomprehensible, constantly moving wall.

I can only focus on the immediate to get by. The stoplight blinking yellow overhead. The fire station on the right. Fast food restaurants on the left. A neighborhood sloping downward toward train tracks.

Then, the bird.

It flies in from behind that incomprehensible wall. Hits me hard, right on the windshield and I am swept into a halo of feathers. A falcon, maybe. Or a hawk. Then it drops away, likely into the street. As I slam on my brakes, my eyes drift to the median, searching for the bird. The SUV that has been tailgating me for the past mile nearly topples into my rear bumper, swerves around, indicates another sort of bird—as best as I can guess. I cannot see the driver or his gesture. I cannot find the bird’s body in this dimming evening. So I continue on and pull off into the McDonald’s parking lot.

The cashier must think I’m odd, when she comes out cautiously, approaches me circling my car. Frantically searching for any sign of the bird on my hood or grill or windshield.

“Are you OK?” she calls out. “Do you need . . .”

But I can hear the way she swallows her words. Is it my nose? My wrinkled forehead? My tears? What does she see that elicits this reaction? Surely, I am not so drowned in bloody tears that she cannot see what is going on. The bird. That she cannot help me find it.

Joey Hedger lives in Alexandria, Virginia, where he edits for an education association. He is author of the chapbook In the Line of a Hurricane, We Wait (Red Bird) and has stories in Flyway Journal, Ghost City Review, and Maudlin House. You can find him at joeyhedger.com.

Christina Haglid

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Artist’s Statement

There has always been an intersection between the process of writing and painting in my work. It has somehow been my guide. In the last six years, that connection intensified as I started writing short stories and flash fiction while taking online classes. I find the process of writing and painting so different in almost every way, but there is something freeing and generative in writing which helps my painting process. Or perhaps it’s a reminder of what painting is for me – something intuitive that needs to be trusted. And what they do have in common is a desire to encapsulate and distill a single moment, a story, about the complexity of our emotions and experiences.

My work is about something I wish I could have seen, imaginary worlds, a commentary on awe that is inspired by nature, science, and history. Objects in my work are a stand in for the figure as psychologically inspired narratives comment on the strength vs. fragility of life. Items in a painting are like words on a page. Objects, spaces, and most importantly light are placed to create meaning similarly.

Christina Haglid exhibited her artwork with Ann Nathan Gallery (1997-2016) and is now represented by Gallery Victor Armendariz in Chicago. A graduate of the Maryland Institute, College of Art, Haglid attended Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 1990 and has an M.F.A. from Cranbrook Academy of Art. Her artwork has been included in numerous gallery exhibitions, art fairs, and museum shows including Loyola University Museum of Art, Illinois State Museum, Greenville County Museum of Art, Art on Paper New York, Art Chicago, and Art of the 20th Century at the NY Armory. She is based in Chicago, IL.

Gabe Durham

A Fox in the City

What’s the difference between living on the fringes and seeing yourself that way? Once at the cafe, I was so sure it wouldn’t impact my livelihood that I leaned back in my chair and scooped up the remaining mac ‘n’ cheese of a diner who’d left it behind. My attitude was: try and stop me humans.

I’ve known too many people and now see danger where there’s only interest. I did not get chased out with a broom that time, but these days as I patrol the city, my fox tail perks up as I pass tables where I am not even a patron: Taco stands wafting their smokers in daylight. Families on their porches. Somehow they see my hunger and rightly fear my bite.

New People

My dear old friends have nothing on new people. I don’t even know if what a new person is wearing is an outlier or the usual. I want to wow new people with charms they can’t tell are stale, even if I’ve got to cram those charms into conversation through an impression or a song or a quiet dig at dear old friends. There’s a mischief in me new people should see.

To draw in new people, I lower my voice and tell them vulnerable secrets my dear old friends could never handle, or already know, or who cares.

Have you ever noticed how many stiff drinks new people sure can put down? My dear old friends have been taking care of themselves lately, playing the long game, but not new people. I love the smell of cigars I hate the smell of wafting from the yellow lips of boldly dying new people.

I love seeing new people commit unforgivable offenses so I can keep their secret from the cops, proving my loyalty. When new people declare the most horrible things, it reflects on me not at all. I did nothing wrong! Nothing but chant

do it, do it, do it, do it, do it

to a new friend man who should not have done it, and is now in the ER becoming less interesting by the moment, receiving vital fluids from a nurse who while new shuts me down with her eyes as if a dear old friend.

Gabe Durham is the author of three books, including a novel in monologues, FUN CAMP (Publishing Genius, 2013). His writings have appeared in the TLR, Barrelhouse, Hobart, Puerto Del Sol, and elsewhere. He lives in Los Angeles where he runs Boss Fight Books.