* fiction by Rachel May, excerpted from MQR 53:1 Winter 2014 *
And the old ones, the ones who were afraid, looked at each other and sat down, and cried. They threw up their hands. They said, You’re going to do it, anyway, aren’t you? And the new ones said, Yes. And the old ones said, All our work? And the new ones said, We’re sorry. And they all knelt down, and began to pull back the grass.
Pearl Abraham on family, Yom Kippur, and the rites of forgiveness; Martha S. Jones on family, race, and identity; Michael A. Chaney on the slave craftsman Dave the Potter; Susan Kushner Resnick on the lingering emanations of a 1943 coal mine disaster; Amy Bernhard on her mother and the Amish; Natania Rosenfeld on shame, James Morrison on Edmund White.
Fiction by Gabriel Brownstein, James Brubaker, Margaret Eaton, Brady Hammes, Rachel May.
Poetry by Stephen Cramer, John Hart, Shara Lessley, Travis Mossotti, Mary Peelen, Stephanie Pippin, Martha Serpas, Ruth Williams.
* A.L. Major *
The weather in Michigan this winter is stubbornly cold. March has arrived, but spring seems distant. Used to be on days of obstinate gray, I would curl up on my sofa and read a great novel, but lately I can only read a few pages before the author’s beautiful prose charges my insecurities about my own writing. Instead of relaxing I’m analyzing every sentence, thinking again of that scene I need to fix, and then I’m worrying that I’ll never finish and I will be a failure. So instead after I’ve finished writing for the day, I wrap myself in a fleece blanket, and I watch a movie, often a romantic comedy.
* fiction by Amber Burke *
In the white bathroom light, she can see all the orange hairs poking out of her arms and her legs. She stares at the ring on her finger, the ring Bruce bought her last night on an installment plan, gold-gold with a fleck of diamond inside a flower shape.
* Gina Balibrera *
For my part, I remember regularly, systemically, intruding upon my little sister’s dreamstate. The idea occurred to me one night as she snored in the pull-out trundle beneath my twin bed. A perfect motor inside of her. Four years younger than me, I could pick her up whenever I felt like it, and I would. That night I lifted her into the closet, placed her gently amongst the sneakers, and shut the door, hopped back onto my bed. She awoke with a start, a snort, a gasp.