Showing posts from 2021

On the Pleasure of Eating a Corn Dog

  By Alizabeth Worley No doubt, more than one reader will be so affronted by my title that they have not only vowed against reading this first sentence but boycotted whatever magazine or book or website this essay finds itself in. I myself might feel so had I stumbled on such a title, except about Vienna sausages. But in this case, such a response would be a pity, for although this essay is undeniably about the pleasure of eating a corn dog, it is in another sense only about my pleasure eating a corn dog. In no way do I wish to inflict upon the reader's mind the pain of contemplating his or her own experience with corn dogs. You see, for me, the pleasure of a corn dog is only partially about the physical components: the fat, the baked batter, the honey crisped edge of the cornbread, the stick, the thin dribble of baked hard bread unavoidably left two-thirds down the stick (though since I'm thinking about it and have just finished two corn dogs responsible for the title, I migh


  By Taisha Ostler      Though the air was beginning to cool, the back of the van was still hot and humid; dust flew in through open windows and stuck to her face.  Her parents were speaking in hushed tones. She knew they were worried. She repeated the mantra that soothed her mind— “Books, there will be lots of books!”—and took hold of her Madre’s hand. Two months earlier they’d sold everything they could to pay a Coyote to bring them to “the promised land”. Her parents had painted a vibrant picture of third grade in the United States. Walls lined with books, a new puppy, and free lunch. The idea of going to school was the only thing that kept her moving on those cold desert nights as her feet shuffled along cactus-lined trails. Finally, after months of living in tents, trucks, and safe houses, Xochitl and her parents were only minutes from the U.S. Border. The Coyote pulled over. “This will be the most dangerous part of the journey,” he said. “You will need to split up.”  “That

The Things You Didn't Choose

By Jarom Petrich The past can be a cauldron of the most destructive brew, Like a vice it grips the future of those who boil and stew. For he who lets the injuries of things now long forgot by those who did the hurting is the one who’s in the pot. And no amount of boiling in a bath of hate and heat can heal a wound or broken heart or make its bitter sweet. The heart’s not just a muscle that pumps all day and night; it will also harbor memories of things that weren’t right. But unlike the other muscles that grow harder when they're stronger, a hardened heart holds little joy, and makes its owner suffer longer. Painful slights and grave injustices are carried there by choice. Why grant such precious lodging to another's hands or voice? Far better to forgive the hurt and walk within their shoes. Compassion comes from treading long the roads you didn’t choose. The greatest gifts will often hide down paths you’d never gladly trod, so you would surely miss them if not guided there by

I Run

  By Kelly McDonald The harsh wind, twenty knots, gusting before dawn, I should be sleeping, not out running in weather. My heart rate is spiking, the pace is declining, up ahead mile-one, I’ve only begun, not much of a run, more like a stagger. Each morning, a ritual of dressing, the eventual parking next to the path, same place, same space. Leg stretches and limbering, set my listening and timing, I’m off on the run, breath is already undone, stiff legs are aching, an inelegant race. My mind racing to catch, new ideas in a class, jogging memories, stretching concepts together. Flexing brain to reform old opinions, change my norm, dashing caution aside, fresh abstractions defined, thoughts rushing, to start new adventures. My daily refine, running body and mind, I’m not ready to bend to conformance.  No Bingo nor Backgammon, shuffleboard or shuttlecock, moves me from the couch to performance.

Nana's Lemon Ice Cream

By Elizabeth Smith One day I'll lose her besting me at cards, her urging me to munch the turkey lunch, her dreaming Pappy after funeral-day, her holding in those slender arms a loose-toothed me— She whispered  Pal. I churn and chill her cream.

If I Can Stop One Heart from Breaking

  By Emily Dickinson Editor's note: During particularly chaotic periods, like the one we are currently living through,  it is easy to feel that what we do doesn't make much of a difference in the grand scheme of things. This short poem by Emily Dickinson, however, is a powerful reminder of the impact of simple, small acts of kindness. If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain; If I can ease one life the aching, Or cool one pain, Or help one fainting robin Unto his nest again, I shall not live in vain.

Sine and Cosine

By Rachelle Larsen       We ride the roar of eight cylinders, orange sand frothing around the massive tires of our rented Rubicon, our bodies bouncing to the rhythm of tire-stained boulders. I’m thrown to the right, and I smash my arm against the window. To check for damage, I start waving my hand back and forth to the beat of the engine like I’m saying goodbye. My best friend James and I are off-roading the Chicken Corners Trail in Moab to celebrate my birthday.      “How’s your wrist? I saw you hit it pretty hard.”      James is staring straight ahead at the miles of ragged, burnt desert, his neck stiff from always—always—looking forward, even when the Jeep jerks him towards me, or me towards him. Even when I wish our eyes would meet. Even when he speaks to me, as he does now.      “It’s fine…” I say. “Something’s just not quite in place.”      “That doesn’t sound good.”      “Do you know what also doesn’t sound good? Morty.” I stop waving, ignoring the wrongness in my wrist. It does

Chup by Glen Clyde

By Sean Oliver      Kaitlin and Ron were, in every sense of the word, complete and utter soul mates. From the beginning a person would not be able to stumble upon one without seeing the other. During the wear and tear of the day it was easy to see they were made for each other, and away from prying eyes at night their bodies would lie entwined, rolled together in a knot during those intimate moments made possible only in the dark.      Every night of bliss comes with a morning of responsibility, and with a dull sliding click of their dresser’s drawer they would be out—walking the dog, running to the pharmacy, picking the kids up from school—and the list of errands grew with the steady tread of years. Together life wore them out, though the stitching of their love protected them from the holes other couples often found in themselves. Life wasn’t perfect, as both were a little awkward at times: Kaitlin had a habit of putting her foot in her mouth, and she often toed the line in social se