Summer 2013: Prose
Your Hand at Your Throat
Fiction by Karen Guth
That slice of scarlet. You adjust your scarf, feeling my gaze. I flick my eyes to your face then. So young. We hold hands across the table, mother and daughter, you for once not caring who sees it.
Outside the afternoon fades to dusk. The neon sign in the window flickers off and on, warming up. “Georg’s” it flashes, missing the “e” as it has since this was my hangout too, back when I was about your age. Old George is long gone, but “Georg’s” lives on among the students and professors here. They pour in from the cold, from the unrelenting grip of sub-zero weather that is Iowa in January. It’s happy hour. Steam drifts from wet clothing and voices shout in greeting. “Gay-org!” A young man leans across the bar. “Set ’em up!” You grow anxious as you watch the door, but I squeeze your hands more tightly and tell you it’ll be OK. Just watch for him.
You called me that night, called me from down in a deep dark place that no girl should ever be. Of course I came here as soon as I could, from half a continent away. The campus police had finished their investigation, had found nothing. “What were you wearing?” they asked you. I am incredulous still.
I try not to imagine how it was for you, but I can’t help but imagine what will never be. Those first fleeting glances that grow into lingering looks that develop into whispered exchanges and maybe a first date for coffee, just to see, and then if that seems promising there may be dinner or a movie (do young people still date like that?) and afterward those first awkward, groping touches where the skin feels electrified upon contact and the world falls away and you find yourself in a place you never knew existed. It won’t be. I so wanted that for you. Wouldn’t every mother? Instead you will have fear, may never know love, won’t trust enough for love. My throat tightens with the thought.
I feel your body stiffen across the table, and your hands squeeze mine so tightly it hurts. It hurts. I see him now, too. You would never know. He looks just like any of the other college boys in the bar. How could you have known? He orders a beer and turns around to see who else is there, blowing on his cold hands. Dark has descended outside and the bar is dim. He doesn’t see us.
You and I don’t really have a plan. Did we just need to see him? Just need to put the whole thing in some kind of perspective, with the hope that you could get past it? But seeing him creates a roiling in my gut that begins somewhere deep down and threatens to come up. My head pounds and a small bead of sweat trickles down the back of my neck. You sense my rage. “Don’t,” you say, strangely calm, but I am already on my feet and walking toward the bar. What propels me I can’t say, but it is something outside of myself and conscious thought. It is visceral and primeval and it all happens in a flash, my belt around his neck, pulling, pulling. I am giddy with it, with him feeling your pain.
“Don’t,” you say again and I realize that I am still sitting here with you. It surprises me. It was so real, so disconcertingly real. You speak softly into your phone and then we wait. We wait through happy hour, mostly silent, our hands entwined. The boy is drunk now, and loud, and finally two policemen come in through the back door and you point to him on his barstool and they raise their eyebrows as if to say, “Him? Really?” and you nod. They grasp his arms from behind and twist them behind his back, yanking him off the stool. He stumbles as they half carry, half drag him through the back door to a waiting car. He still doesn’t see us. Your face glows red with the neon in the window. You hold your breath, watching and shrinking back against the wall. Your hand is again at your throat, trembling.
Rich, strong, poignant, humorous and inspiring. We’ve caught twenty never-before-published poems by sixteen unique voices.
Seven talented women search for themselves in their bodies, their family, themselves.
Established dynamos and aspiring voices add colorful visions to our third issue.
Language leaps off the page in the poetry and prose of five young authors who delight in sensory detail.
Meet the authors and artists who make this Summer 2013 edition a rich, varied and engaging experience.
LETTER FROM THE EDITORS
Abandoned Church by Tanya Jarvik
Commencement by Kelly Running
Depoe Bay by Wendy Thompson
Directive by Cristina White
Hawk Moth by Wendy Thompson
How to Recycle Love Letters by Jennifer Dorner
I Swapped a '74 Mustang for This by Jennifer Fulford
Polaroid of My Mother by Cindy Stewart-Rinier
Lover, Molester, and Maindens (Haibun) by Margaret Chula
Savory by Pat Phillips West
Seascape by Marjorie Power
Suspended by Grace Kuhns
The Hand-Off by Pattie Palmer-Baker
The Ride by Linda Ferguson
The Ticking Shirt by Tricia Knoll
Three Facts about Sperm by Ursula Whitcher
Three True Stories by Penelope Scambly Schott
Today at the Library by Pat Phillips West
Trapped Birds by Grace Kuhns
You, who will be alive and reading after I'm gone by Penelope Scambly Schott
After the World Ends by Kait Heacock
Something Permanent by Ashley-Renée Cribbins
Your Hand at Your Throat by Karen Guth
Black Sharpie by Anne Gudger
Diagnosis by Helen Sinoradzki
For He's a Jolly Good Fellow by Laura Stanfill
Breathing Underwater by Valerie Wagner
Unity by Anne John
Rearguard by Anne John
Speculation by Anne John
Wire by Jocelyn White
Taitian Trio by Nani Chesire
Catch Your Breath by Nani Chesire
We Will Read to You by Rebecca Cleveland-Stout
Strawberry Party by Natalie Lerner
A Young Night by Clara Beaumont
Beach Wanderer by Isabella Waldron
Light and Dark by Colette Au