Karla Van Vliet’s lyrical imagination has unearthed for us a tender relic, Fragments: From the Lost Book of the Bird Spirit, her third collection. Fragments is posited as salvaged pieces of an ancient spiritual text, written in an early defunct language (as suggested by the cuneiform-like marks on the book’s cover), ardent lines that are the survivors of extensive effacement and erasure.read more
The minister is at the Days of Jesus before the girl arrives. He is in his office, waiting. His sermon is written and placed on the pulpit and he waits for the girl to arrive as he has all summer. She comes in the side door and takes the stairs to the basement practice room where she says she is working on her scales. The minister’s office has a large glass wall facing the basement. The girl looks up. The minister is standing at the bank of windows.read more
In the black water it is hard to see the body, one more shape floating amid chunks of ice. The railroad trestle looms ahead, the lights of town casting a faint latticework shadow on the water’s surface. There is no moon.read more
My first camping experience. We’re in Vermont over a Columbus Day weekend on the land of our absent friend Vinny. I’m keeping my husband company as the camera on its tripod records the imperceptible nighttime movement of the stars. Peace. Love. Tranquility. Until the mood is shattered by Ron’s passionate certainty that the two young strangers—unexpected intruders we’d encountered on this private land—are our murderers-in-waiting.read more
Stephen Florida by Gabe Habash Coffee House Press, 2017. I’m overcome with dread when I begin a novel and realize that the author is invested in voice. Voice is presented as a such an integral aspect of the writing craft that we take for granted its importance. Of...read more
A week after the fourth of July, my dog Speedy nipped an eight-year old kid who wandered onto my property from the subdivision across the way. Speedy was a Shepherd-Husky mix and normally pretty docile, so I thought the kid must have been teasing him, asking for it somehow. The kid went home and cried to his parents, then his father came over and said he’d called the police. He was about a foot shorter than me, and had a litigant’s righteous air. But, either he was bullshitting, or the police forgot to come, because that was the last I heard about it.read more
I was never bent on saving you. / It seemed to mean a kind of coddling language: / the easy I hear you, the unnatural You’re seen. / Anyhow, I couldn’t step away from drinking / long enough to seem credible
when it came to addiction.
noun / the inability to remove a person from one’s / thoughts, most often accompanied by a kind of / vibration in the chest similar to the flickering light / of fireflies over a summer meadow or minnows in / a shallow pool; their silver dartings.read more
I arrived early at the Church of St. Mary at Westminster College to get my music together and try the piano. It was late April in Fulton, Missouri, cold and damp, and the morning haze set the church in a sort of numinous relief against the pervading Midwestern gray. I leaned against the large wooden door, stepped inside, and shook off the chill.read more
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