A Toast to the Lovely Couple

by Andrea Auten

You danced a wedding pas de deux,
winning a cash prize and a bottle of wine.
Strong arm curving around her,
you posed for pictures
in an orange blossom-scented sundown.

Our feast followed the humble walk down a cobbled aisle,
her beach curls framing an organza and satin bateau neck
your dying brother, a sentinel Best Man in his military dress
stood up for honor and accountability,
a scarlet stripe running down the length of his trousers.

Wet-cheeked cousin, husband, parents, friends,
alighting candles in the trees—
small watchful wind-moving faeries.
Tapas passed down on plates of joy.

Cuban-Spanish, German, Scotch-Irish, and Dutch; carafes pouring
favorite songs and stories told
gathered together, a union.
White on white towering cake dotted with American Beauty roses,
picking up the same scarlet in your uniform, the same uniform as your brother’s.

Roundtable good wish filled with presents,
wrapped and ribboned boxes and bags to place in
your ground floor one room apartment
twenty steps from parents
promising a private start, Sunday family breakfasts.

Arms around her small shoulders, crying,
“Someone stole our $75 dollar prize and the bottle of wine.”
Kiss this new cheek to make the sting better,
To glue the broken figurine, to clean up this night.

I awake instead to the Communist morning
your t-shirt courthouse elopement
no guests, no songs, no pictures, no gifts, and no honor.
A printed certificate folded in your sock drawer.

My Memories of Resurrection City 45 Years Ago

by Carlos Raul Dufflar
May 12, 2013

Only good news has transmitted at this moment. Before I emerge from the valley of science after 45 years in a series of hero tales of 5000 residents of Resurrection City as I was laughing vividly in which I will tell my son and my family and friends that is filled by a poetic eye.

It was the Sixties right after high school that life took its turn into the wings of consciousness from happiness to sadness like a path that your heart says yes to human rights, justice, and democracy, and peace and hell-no to war.

From the pages of the psalms of Dr. Martin Luther King who said if you can’t fly, you can run, and if you can’t run, then you can walk, and if you can’t walk, then you can crawl.

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A Blue Grasshopper with Elizabeth Kracht of Kimberley Cameron and Associates

by Whitney Bell

Last semester in the Creative Writing Master’s program at AUM, I had an assignment to interview an agent. I chose Elizabeth Kracht because I saw her name on the Antioch Writers’ Workshop roster, and I like to meet people in person. Before I reached out to Liz, I did some research and found some fun facts. She began her writing / editing career in Puerto Rico, her favorite color is sea-foam green, and she has dating stories that you could write books about. When ordering a drink, sometimes she has the bartender surprise her.

I wanted to take a shot at creating Liz a customized drink, but first I wanted to know what it was like to be an agent, and what she could tell me about creating a platform. (Work before play, right?). It turns out she’s the kind of person I’d like to sit down and have a cocktail with, (or an iced tea and maybe some cheese). Here’s part of our conversation:

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Double Agent

(the work-a-day adventures of a Yellow Springs peacenik and her green Honda Element, Egbert)
By Joan Harris

Me and Egbert, we’re always the odd men out

Egbert hates parking at Wright-Patt
He feels lost, a tiny fuel-efficient foreign SUV
Adrift in a sea of hulking Aspens and Escalades and Grand Cherokees
Sporting faded bumper stickers for Bush and the NRA
Each intent on sucking up its share of the spoils
From the war in the Middle East

Inside, I’m the butt of their jokes
“Peacenik Flower Child from Yellow Sprinkles”
Employment implies consent to monitoring and random drug screening
Confirming and denying are tasks above your pay grade
They lock you securely in a box then pretend
They want you to think outside of it.

Surrounded by retirees and their
Incessant chatter about the free health care they didn’t get
Their lives a private orbit of benefit and privilege that is never enough
While kids whose only hope for college is the GI Bill
Serve in war zones and return screwed up
More die by suicide than combat

We fit no better in Yellow Sprinkles
Egbert conspicuously parked in a row of Priuses at Tom’s
War protestors on the corner give us the thumbs-up as we drive past
They like the “Peace is Patriotic” magnet on the side
But we are not allowed to stand with them
Only smile and offer hot coffee

Sorry, I cannot sign your petition
The base pays us well to keep our opinions to ourselves
Speaking out against our Commander-in-Chief will not be tolerated                       Watered-down editorials submitted to the newspaper
Slip of tongue could result in pink slip
Mum’s the word. Or else.

Oh happy day and long-awaited
My retirement and the chance to live my authentic life
Ready to resist, rebel, reclaim… maybe a whiff of forbidden Mary Jane?
And just for the record, I can neither confirm nor deny
The existence of alien life in Area 51
I honestly have no idea

English Lessons

by Christina Dendy

We meet twice a week to practice letters
to make greetings and small words to translate ourselves
from one space to another. We speak different tongues
but we resonate with the language of mother. Still
she tries to learn the inflections of English a bastard
born of conquest and demographic dispersal

(she needs to work rent buy grain for dumplings
that simmer and bob with stove-top chicken bone)

even as I scrabble letters to read the meaning
between the lines on her face on her hands to decipher
the graphing in the pink-on-brown scars that mark
the place where bullets entered and exited her life

shooting what remained of her family
from one discovered country to another.

Once upon a history her ancestors fled and fought
such linguistic mastery only to seek refuge now in its body
writ when some butterfly wings the world to new effect

(events are tidal)

and our children chase butterflies in the sparse
green amid concrete gable courtyard in four-square
apartments that remind me of the military complex
my own folks once made us home—strangers in
strange lands—but we had the guns.

My tales never bled bullets.

I wonder what story she will tell when she is able if she
will blend the syllables of the several speeches she knows
already to make anew to squeeze the pulp from every forgotten
fruit trampled and juiced in the road—to compose

fresh seeds of her own
to bear to be born to produce to be known.

If all the pain is worth what we grow.

The Year of Good Things

by Greg Belliveau

“Let’s make hope our New Year’s resolution,” my wife said. I was doubtful, but after a year of good things, a new job, a new child, a new town with new potential, someplace away from those lurking obstacles, rusted, jagged things that leave us wounded – after such a good year… sure, why not hope. Tomorrow was the first day of class, and I wanted to keep the Mojo going. I would bring cookies.

It was close to four in the afternoon, and the sun was out and the sky a deep blue and students grouped and goof-awed and hurried to their next class or their dorm rooms, the coffee shop, a bar. I pulled into the turning lane and stopped just before the pedestrian walkway and thought about how I really needed to secure the adjunct position for next semester, if I had time, maybe after class. A young Asian woman, maybe eighteen, in suede boots and grey sweats, a blue coat pulled up against the cold, December breeze glanced up at me, I nodding, she looking down the road, I waving her onward, and she hurried across the front of my car. I watched her pass, and watched the red blur of a truck come up from my right, watched her fold into the grill, watched her launch into the air, a shockwave, a thunder, a thud, and squeals as the body spun, legs spread and splayed out then landing, crumpled onto the gray pavement thirty, twenty, ten yards away.

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