Issue 142

$10.00

WAITING FOR THE RETURN:

in which we sort out our collection of spoons and neckties, chase the bears that haunt us, find our long-lost writing voice, and learn to play guitar all over again

FICTION Meghan Bell, Cary Fagan, Philip Huynh, Eleni Polychronakos, Sivan Slapak, Madeline Sonik, Claire Tacon POETRY John Barton, Susan Haldane, Mike Madill, Stephen Maude, Suzanne Nussey, Marcel O’Gorman ESSAYS Jagtar Kaur Atwal, Myrna Garanis, Kim McCullough, Diane Schoemperlen, Kevin Shaw, Alister Thomas, Gudrun Will

“His phone buzzes. He reaches into his breast pocket. Feels nothing but cold, hard plastic against his chest. Damn those phantom vibrations. He’s been feeling them for days, waiting for the hospital to call. If he was still chief of cardiology, they wouldn’t leave him hanging like this. He tries to put the phone back, but it tumbles to the pavement. One of the journalists, a middle-aged man with thinning brown hair and a beard, picks it up, and their eyes meet as he hands it over. Takeo sucks in his paunchy stomach and runs his hand over his head, gently, to make sure the comb-over hasn’t moved. Why does he have such vanities, at seventy? It’s not like he’s looking for a date. Still, when he reaches for his phone, he wonders what it would be like to hold onto the man’s hand, bring it to his cheek and kiss the base of that square palm.”

– Eleni Polychronakos, “Stop. Rewind. Stop.”

“They spoke a strange language. The youngest was your age, but most were older. One had a moustache. Some were smoking. Others sucked juice boxes. Some pointed fingers at you, and you didn’t know whether they were talking to you or to each other. Then the Moustache took off his sweater jacket and tossed it at you, and you ducked. Then one of them stepped behind you. You were surrounded. You put up your fists, elbows at right angles like a boxing leprechaun.”

– Philip Huynh, “Mayfly”

“My English assignments would have slashes of red on every line; it was like pints of blood had been splattered on the pages. It hurt to see the red marks. It was as if someone had punched their hand through my chest and squeezed my heart like a stress ball. How could I be a writer if I couldn’t pass English? I tried not to think of having a writer’s life. I believed I didn’t have the right to it because I couldn’t master the do’s and don’ts of the language, but I still felt the loss as if I was grieving for someone I’d never known.”

– Jagtar Kaur Atwal, “Finding My Voice”

 

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