Issues

Telephone

I. An appendage of my stepdaughter’s hand, pink as the tongue it has muted. Even as she sleeps it snores gently in her loosened grasp. All day her thumbs tap coded words across the screen, her eyes alive in its light. II. In my mother’s hand, another riddle she once…

Interview: Jacinda Townsend

In February, Jacinda Townsend’s debut novel Saint Monkey was published to critical praise. Deeply moving and beautifully written, the book follows two young African-American women as they grow up in Eastern Kentucky in the 1950s. Audrey Martin and Caroline Wallace are consistently confronted with challenges and change; not only must…

Battlefield

Mid-October, and around the rocks of Devil’s Den legions of cabbage white butterflies march in wild disorder, like scattered clouds of ashes in the late-day light. Under the blank staring eyes of bronze generals we negotiate winding dirt paths among boulders encrusted with shapeless patches like grey-green lace: when I…

Johnson City

Stephen was singing along and tapping his hands on the steering wheel to the Mountain Goats, one of his favorite bands. It was a good day for driving and singing. October blue sky, hills layered with oaks and maples and sweetgums flashing scarlet and gold leaves. We’d left Chapel Hill…

The Big Chair

Joanne stood by her car in the parking lot of Blue Hills Nursing Home and filled her lungs with cold October air. She’d spent the last hour sweet-talking her mother into eating tiny spoonfuls of mashed potatoes and gravy, waxy green beans, and stringy chicken. She took another deep breath…

The Creek

My brother barefoot in its grey thread, in his hands the small fish hooked out, fluttering like a loose paint chip. A jar of crawdads to carry home sat on the bank. We’d watch them for a day until the tiny albino shapes would hang shiftless in the water like…

Translation

for Loyal Jones So I came out of my rainy bower covered with white petals dropped from a tree. My people long ago whose milky eyes I still can see would have said I had a God’s plenty of petals on me, an expression I liked to hear as a…