Although he bore plenty of battle scars, Captain Hook was a good-looking guy, and he treated Mom like a queen. I can see now why she was so into him, but at fourteen, I was mortified by my stepdad, and it wasn’t just the crocodile. He was forced to wear the standard issue postal uniform during the week, but on his days off he dressed in knee-length breeches, stockings, a red frock coat, and a wide-brimmed hat with a plume. His hair was even longer than mine, and it curled into black ringlets. My mom never seemed to notice the things that set her husband apart from other people—she saw only the man who’d rescued her from a lonely, loveless existence.
We are pleased to announce that Michigan Quarterly Review has awarded this year’s trio of literary prizes to Rebecca Makkai, for a finely crafted story about connection and quiet reappraisals, Angie Estes, for two exquisite poems “balancing the omnipresence of death with the fragile pleasures of life,” and Margaret Reges, for her poems’ exuberant physical description.
In 1772, the twenty-six-year-old violinmaker Henry Whiteside began to build a lighthouse on a pile of rocks twenty miles off the coast of Pembrokeshire, Wales, called the Smalls. His design was unusual; the light perched on top of eight oak piers like the head of a stiff-legged octopus. Rather than making a solid base, Whiteside reasoned, he would let the force of the waves pass through the structure. But when the waves did so, the living quarters swayed violently; one visitor reported that a full bucket of water was half empty by the time he left. The force of the storm made each thing—bucket, glass, stove, table—resonant; it bent the lighthouse, shaping it into an instrument of music.
Expounding a triptych on a violet reed
he assumes attention
as if you’d luck in, or programmed,
like a charity on the council, learnt buccaneer
She frills his omen, doily to the chair
as a film amps decrepitude’s feast
You don’t know where to put your eyes