The Bicycle Review
Issue # 19
Poetry and prose by Keiko Amano, Molly Bond, Ryder Collins, Nancy Davenport, Holly Day, Peggy Dobreer, Kaitlin Dyer, Dani Jimenez, Hope Johnson, Marie Lecrivain, Eleanor Levine, Jennifer McCartin, Linda Ravenswood, Lyndsay Wheble, and Jasmine Angel Woods
Original Artwork by Caroline Picard: "Where the Mountain Came From"
Poetry and prose by Keiko Amano, Molly Bond, Ryder Collins, Nancy Davenport, Holly Day, Peggy Dobreer, Kaitlin Dyer, Dani Jimenez, Hope Johnson, Marie Lecrivain, Eleanor Levine, Jennifer McCartin, Linda Ravenswood, Lyndsay Wheble, and Jasmine Angel Woods
Original Artwork by Caroline Picard: "Where the Mountain Came From"
"A Binder Full of Women..."
Elaine Smithee: So what's the deal, J? The Women's Issue? Just trying to pick up chicks, or what?
J de Salvo: Exactly. A world wide harem. That's what I'm after. No sense in trying to hide it.
ES: Any other motivations?
JdS: We all noticed that submissions from women had slipped off. Some of the best work we've published has been by female writers. We didn't want to see that end.
ES: You thought they might be scared away?
JdS: Sure. Not scared, so much, tho. We didn't want the whole thing to turn into a sausagefest. No, but seriously, there are a lot of talented male writers out there, and some of them are steeped in the sort of Bukowski/Miller thing of being very forthcoming about their problems with women...specifically, or in general. We've published a lot of pieces that speak honestly about how both men and women perceive the attitudes of the opposite sex. Sarah Eaton's "A Soldier! A Soldier!" comes to mind. Also some work by Lyn Lifshin, Ginetta Correli, BC Petrakos, etc. Just the stuff that comes to mind. Now I'm going to make a lot of people mad.
ES: People get mad at you, J?
JdS: Sure. Any kind of editing or curating can get very political. Doing readings can be even worse. I set up an event recently, and it was on kind of a gloomy Monday, readers from out of town. There was maybe going to be an open mic after the features, but the owner wanted to get out of there. He'd come in especially for the event, and he'd sold his first few rounds of drinks. It wasn't worth it for him to stay open. I let a few people read, then I had to call it a night. This guy got extremely upset with me because he hadn't been able to perform, and I just had to kind of sit there and take it because what was I going to do? Start yelling at him? He had a point, I guess, but it was out of my control...
With editorial stuff, it's not usually that up front. You never know what people are thinking or saying about you until it's too late. You hear from a "friend" that another "friend" has been saying some rather unfriendly things about your publication. Then you have to reject things by people who are more than just friends in the internet sense, or you have to reject stuff by friends of friends. It can all make you a little paranoid if you have that streak in you, or if you let it. Of course you get people blowing up at you on facebook, too, but that's easier to ignore or write off.
ES: So would you say that you're doing this out of paranoia?
Jds: O Yes...no. The thing is, I don't know why we stopped getting as much work from women as we did from men. So, the main thing was to get those numbers up. I'm a little unusual in my tastes, I guess. I like a lot of stuff that the Bukowski/Miller crowd would sneer at as too feminist, but I also like some of the work that's coming from the sneerers, which a lot of feminists of whatever wave or degree or definition you (or more importantly, they...) want to put on that word would probably reject out of hand. I don't really care if something is queer, macho, feminist, whatever. That's not what art and literature are about for me; though any of these identities can certainly be an important element of a writer's point of view, I don't think they have much impact in terms of style or form --the things that really make writing interesting. None of us here care if something is experimental or sentimental, as long as it's well-written and avoids too much kitsch, cliches, and overt reference. Writers writing only about writing or other writers, sort of thing. You know what I mean. It's very common in contemporary poetry, especially among the Bukowskiites.
ES: What do you think of Bukowski?
JdS: Okay, now we're going to piss everybody off. Aren't there any other poets? I guess I wish people would read some of them. Obviously, a lot of people get very into his work at a young age, and they buy into his idea that there was nobody else writing good poetry at the time. He was a kind of egomaniac witch-doctor in that sense. Like he wanted absolute loyalty from his readers. Later on in his career, after he started to get some recognition he's almost using a kind of mind control, sort of like a cult leader or something. And it's been very effective. But there's just so much else out there. I feel like right now, and for the foreseeable future, there's just going to be this cult of Bukowski that only wants to read stuff by, about, or influenced by him, and I think that's limiting. He was a good poet, which is rare. Even the greatest poets have maybe two defining masterpieces per book, if that. A lot of his early, less faux-biographical stories had some very creative ideas behind them. His novels were pretty good, but it's the poetry that I think was most important. My friend Jay Passer always brings up that Henry Miller was doing those sorts of things with prose long before Bukowski or Kerouac, etc, and I think that's true. I'm kind of tired of this endless first person rock star narrative thing in fiction and poetry, but I don't see it going anywhere any time soon.
ES: What about his attitude towards women?
JdS: Not admirable, but not that uncommon, unfortunately. This is the women's issue. Why are we talking about him? You see? It's the mind control. It's working.
ES: You mentioned him.
JdS: Yeah, I guess I was talking more about male writers who have that influence; a lot of whom are great and have their own distinct voices. They're not just parroting. I don't want to give that impression. But I think the point was maybe more about how people view poetry as having all these cliques and sub-cliques, and really not caring about that. I knew this issue was going to raise eyebrows. Our former editor Kevin Watson posted a very carefully worded criticism in the form of a rhetorical question on our facebook page, basically asking "Isn't it patronizing to have a women's issue?" You have to understand Watson's sense of humor for that, really, but it's a good example of what I'm talking about as far as the eyebrow raising. My official answer to why we're doing this issue is "Why not?". And no one has really been able to answer that answer. We did a serial poetry themed issue, and no one seemed to be worried about that. We don't do a lot of themed issues, in general.
ES: It seems like you've been skirting around some issues that go a little deeper than why not, though, maybe?
JdS: Sure. Like I said, there's been this weird sort of attrition, whatever might be the cause of it, where we've slowly but surely been receiving fewer and fewer subs from female writers, and that bothers me. We've never been much on diversity for diversity's sake, but I feel like maybe we've allowed writers to be a little more honest about their feelings regarding sexuality, gender, relationships, and so on, than more mainstream literary journals. Seeing the female perspective on these things start to diminish to a trickle has been a little disturbing. We received over a hundred submissions from women for this issue, so hopefully female writers will continue to submit. Our last issue was great, but aside from Lyn Lifshin's tango poems and Erin Stone's work, it was pretty male dominated. This has happened a few times in the last year, and I'm hoping it won't stay like that, I guess.
ES: Any closing thoughts?
JdS: Share the road?
" Mom, can I have a cat?”
“ I'm allergic.” She downed a Benedryl with her champagne.
“ A hairless cat?”
“ Too expensive,” she replied, slipping on a pair of Chanel pumps.
“ Dad can keep one at his place.”
" I'll stop paying alimony,” she said as she left the room.
Copyright 2012 Marie Lecrivain
A Thing With Feathers
The bed scoops where she sits,
Clorox-filled jug in hand,
the succulent smell drawing
her lips closer to the tiny ridges
beneath its short blue cap.
A chalk line between two races,
they’d think her last breath slid
from her throat while asleep.
They’d forget she’d ever existed,
then, she’d slice her alien body
open, to a thing with feathers,
fly to God. No room left
on her wrists for the cutting,
no need to kiss another jug.
One sip, and she would have
been gone. Just like that.
Copyright 2012 by Hope Johnson
There is this chain wrapped around my right leg. The weight of it cuts into my ankle. Even when I'm in the grocery store. Sure, it shouldn't be such a problem when I'm standing by the produce squeezing and tapping the cantaloupes. Seems like it wouldn't cause any problems if I'm just standing still. The thing is, I always know it's there. I always feel it contract in the cold or expand in the heat. Try spending a little time at the pool or the beach. The sun warms up the metal so it burns and I have to go in the water, but the weight never fights the water, my leg just weighs me down. My right leg is forever pulling me down.
I get into the car every morning. I angle my butt into the driver's seat and swing my legs in. Then, I have to gather up all the chain and stretch it over the center console into the passenger seat. I mean, if I had to slam on the breaks, then I don't want the chain wedging underneath the pedals. Not again, anyway.
And whenever I enter or leave a room, I keep dragging this chain behind me. Not only does the noise of metal gouging the linoleum make me want to pop my own ear drum with a pencil, but I have to watch the damn thing too. Make sure it doesn't get stuck in the door behind me. God forbid I should try a revolving door.
Every morning, when I finally get out of the car and drag my chain into the office, everybody just smiles. Says, “Good morning, how was your weekend?”
I want to shout, “Very fucking miserable! There's a chain wrapped around my leg! Look! See!” Instead, though, I always say, “oh, fine, fine. Sleeping in is nice.” They nod, they agree, they're very happy to stand around the hallway ignoring my chain.
I go to work every morning. I wait the half an hour it takes for my computers to load. I lean over the receptionist's cubicle, ignoring how she's bejeweled her chain. I look over at the public relations manager who's shuffling with his pants down. His chain is that heavy. I know they can see mine. Their eyes flash the steel—judging the rust on my chain—and back to me. At the end of the day, we all clang and chink and ring ourselves back home.
A couple goes out for dinner. The woman crosses her legs. Shlink. The man leans forward. Chhhk. Multiply that. A whole culture filled with the sounds of constant rustling. This is why I don't date. This is why I don't go to bars or restaurants or even public transportation. At a certain point, I just can't take the sound of other people.
Copyright 2012 by Kaitlin Dyer
Why You Are Laredo To Me
I remember you like Laredo—a city
I’ve always wanted
to love but couldn’t. I remember
the restaurants with spaces full
of our words blurred into poetry,
into stories. We’d eat
breakfast at noon because it was
cheap: Two dollars for eggs, and water
was always free. There are memories
I’d like to forget, just like Laredo
would like to forget it was once a city
over 150,000 without a bookstore.
But the memory I wanted most
with you: You showed me the fear--
the loathing—in a city known for sin.
And yet—we knew we’d never extend
past the borders of Laredo.
Copyright 2012 by Dani Jimenez
start a broken hearts tumblr
tweet the face of my
breakup & facebook
my ex’s new fiancée. there
are only so many angel
food cakes in chain
groceries. why did you bake &
shake, & why wake & bake every
morning while i slept
naked. your towel wants to play
cookie monster; your towel wants
an emmy. the new girl skips rope; the new
girl hopscotches. thenewgirlthenewgirl
no shock except sparks &
smoke. half the duplex’s
on fire. that’s what you get
says my left eye. my right
cannot speak. it’s all over tho & you
Beethoven through: they call
your bedhead distinguished
now; they like your cravat.
Copyright 2012 by Ryder Collins
instead of Rilke,
she hums the Garden State Parkway
reads a Pisces horoscope
plays guitar at the nursing home
and meets her husband
who makes cheesecake,
her Orthodox Jewish sister
has grandchildren and
her uncle says I’m a dyke
while driving me home
those who love her are
the Mayor of Philadelphia
of violets, hoping their
daughters will be violets
boys who didn’t come out
while Daddy was in prison
they snap pictures
or visit Paris in spring
everyone has a skeleton
in the closet,
hers are a pair of JCPenney jeans
Copyright 2012 by Eleanor Levine
WALKING THE DISTANCE INSIDE ME
Recounting a case of vertigo,
it's not the room that spins
but the woman. A step is taken
and the ground disintegrates
beneath her feet. She is a moon
full of moths drowning. Her skirts
trail behind her.
Because frescoes and sculptures
induce silence and staring.
Because sitting in pews covered
in wealth recalls starvation's
whip of wind at winter's hip.
Because a hunger wall was built,
to feed the needy and call
the border one more time.
Because kindness curtly recoils,
under the livid remnants
of a communist correlative.
Because lovers embrace aimlessly
everywhere and the saucer chips
at each sip that escapes a full cup.
Because floating above sleep, he
sits at a desk in winter, new snow
sends a hush over the yard. She
brings a sweater of cabled Irish
wool, and thinks of a lamb, lowing
in a hot breeze before sheering.
Copyright 2012 by Peggy Dobreer
She scattered roses on the bedspread, and placed a copy of The Kama Sutra, along with a bottle of massage oil, on the nightstand. She smoothed her negligee, plumped up her cleavage. The click, click of a bicycle echoed in her ears. The doorbell rang; once, twice. Her missionary had returned, as promised.
Copyright 2012 by Marie Lecrivain
Rebecca Atwood's Having a Baby
Rebecca Atwood had a choice to make. It was the same choice that women all over this world had
to make day in and day out. To have a child or become immortal. But it was her choice, and that's
why it mattered. Rebecca Atwood thought she had the system figured out.
The system was, of course, what kept the world from overpopulating. Once we'd managed to
achieve our own immortality the problem had quickly arisen; with nobody dying the world's
population suddenly exploded. The first nine months were the hardest, even with governments
attempting to reduce the number of new pregnancies; no-one could stop children already conceived
from being born. Then came the coup de grace, there would be no more births. After all with
immortality assured, who would want to have children? There was no longer any need to secure an
heir to your fortune when you could just carry on making money. With boundless youth and health
in front of you there was no sense in living 'through' your children any more. With endless time on
your hands you could do whatever took your fancy, if you wanted to play with toy cars and dolls for
a few years then no-one could stop you and you could have your very own second childhood.
At least, that was the stance that those in charge tried to press upon us. Of course there were those
that disagreed, who said that having a child was a basic human right. And so a new law was passed.
To have a child, you had to give up your immortality. One basic human right for another, because
this was the only way they could balance the books. One child per couple. Their lives for its. Of
course people tried to cheat the system. They'd live half a dozen lifetimes to their satisfaction and
then decide to have a child. Then guidelines were put in place, that no-one over the age of thirty
could give birth. You made that choice and became sterile or became a parent. And if there were
those who got pregnant by accident, they too were granted immortality, if they gave their children
up to barren couples that were willing to sacrifice their own lives. But Rebecca Atwood was ready to
try the system.
The fact was that she just didn't see why she couldn't have both. She was approaching her twenty-
ninth year and decided it was high time that she and husband Duncan have a cute little baby. But
she wasn't prepared to give up her immortality for anybody. In all her short, pampered little life she
had never been denied anything by anyone, not by her father and certainly not by Duncan. It had
taken a great deal of time, and pleading and promises to bring him round to her idea, but now she
knew she had him wrapped firmly around her smallest finger.
Her plan was so brilliantly simple because everyone knew how easy it was to get a memory erased.
With immortality so easily obtained, memories were being erased at an enormous rate. After all
there were only so many new experiences available to the average person; people were erasing
memories at an alarming rate. From the first time they saw their favourite film to their first kiss, you
could experience the greatest moment of your life over and over again. Rebecca wasn't going to
erase her first love. She was going to erase her child.
The memory eaters didn't ask questions. Of course there were forms to be filled in and questions to
be answered but there was nothing they wouldn't erase. They had confidentiality, protection from
the law. They were confession boxes, doctors and psychiatrists all in one. And what got erased,
never happened. It was so much simpler to erase the memory of a rape or attack than live with
the feelings of horror and dread every time you stepped out onto the street, the months of court
proceedings reliving every minute of your experience. And the perpetrator would inevitably erase
the deed so that there was no evidence of it ever taking place. And perhaps to assuage their own
feelings of guilt. So if Rebecca erased her baby, she never would have had one. And she could keep
Her plan was simple. She would give birth and then pay a visit to the memory eater who would
erase every memory relating to the baby, its conception, its pregnancy, so that there was no
evidence that she'd ever had the thing. And if there was no memory there was nothing to stop her
from getting sterilised and ensuring her immortality. When she got back home there would be a
baby waiting for her. Of course no-one would realise that she was immortal until it was too late, and
she highly doubted that anyone could do anything about it. Of course she hadn't really researched
it very far, but then Rebecca got bored very quickly. Duncan couldn't really see anything wrong with
the plan either, but then he still hadn't managed to pass his driving theory test. So it would just
be Rebecca and Duncan and baby girl Atwood, it would be their little secret and the thought made
Rebecca giggle to herself as she gazed at her ever swelling belly in her bedroom mirror. She really
did hate looking like a fat cow and the thought of having a squidgy blob growing inside her made
her feel icky, but it would all be worth it when she had a living doll to dress in pretty pink dresses
and a dozen lifetimes to spend with a companion who, she was sure, would be her perfect little
She liked to tick down to important dates, like eyelash tints and spray tans, on her calendar with a
very large and very silly sparkly silver pen which perfectly matched its owner in that respect. Both
the fifteenth and the sixteenth of March were encircled with large glowing rings; the date of her
birth and the date of her appointment with the memory eater. Of course she was in no doubt that
her baby would be born on the fifteenth, because that's when she wanted it to come. Sitting on
the dressing table just below the calendar was a large letter addressed to Mrs. Atwood. As much
as she loved Duncan, Rebecca was not fooling herself that he would be adequately able to explain
why there was suddenly a new born baby in the house and consequently had written herself a
letter explaining everything. All Duncan had to do was make sure she got the letter and manage
to look after the baby for the hour or so it took for her to get the memories removed (and she
was not entirely convinced on that score even with half a dozen bottles of formula and a copy of
Spock's 'Baby and Child Care').
The birth itself was a simple affair. Rebecca had insisted on having the child at home so she could
be surrounded by all her nice things, and demanded enough drugs that she had sailed through the
labour with barely a thought but of waking in her fluffy cell with Duncan and a mid-wife with an
armful of sticky baby. It was small and wrinkled and rather red in the face, and frankly Rebecca was
glad to hand it back to the mid-wife and onto the nanny with the bottle. For her part she needed
her beauty sleep for the big day tomorrow. She snuggled down into feathery bed sheets, mercifully
changed from her dampened birthing sheets; how she had produced that much sweat in one go
she'd never know!
She had awoken early for the affair, pouring her sculpted curves into a tight business suit and
spending an age on hair and skin, ensuring she looked every inch the modern woman. She sprayed
herself with scents and preservatives a final time before heading out of her chambers and heading
down the long passage way to the room that had previously housed all of Duncan's WarHammer
figures, and was now a powder blue nursery for baby Serena. As she pushed open the door she was
greeted by the sound of a dozen mobiles and lullabies, but overriding this tinny cacophony was the
sound of Duncan cooing loudly as his child snoozed in his arms. Rebecca watched them fondly for
a minute, but as usual found herself with an all-consuming need to interrupt any scene with her
'I'm off now,' she coughed loudly.
'Right you are dear,' replied Duncan absent-mindedly, his focus still fixed on Serena.
Rebecca watched them happily for a moment, her perfect family unit. She tottered back out of the
room on kitten-heels, down the stairs and out the front door into the waiting taxi cab. The streets
and houses flew by the grimy window in a blur as they drove. The taxi driver stole frequent glances
into his rear mirror at his passenger, tutting and rolling his eyes as she burst into bouts of giggling;
she hadn't been this excited since she'd won tickets to Lindsey Lohan's court hearing. Not only was
her brilliantly conceived plan about to reap rich rewards, it was her first visit to the memory eater,
she'd never experienced anything unpleasant enough to warrant deletion before, and she was quite
looking forward to it.
It was an impressive building, all glossy white marble and twirling columns flanked by white stone
lions. A large bronze statue decorated the front steps, two disembodied hands stuck to a golden
orb. Rebecca tipped the cab driver heavily, not because it was in her nature to be generous, but
because she had little concept of worth. She stumbled up the steps and pushed open the heavy
doors. A lushly carpeted reception greeted her. It smelt floral, in a chemical kind of way and the
walls were lined with a bizarre assortment of paintings: little girls riding ponies, a young couple on
a picnic, grand-parents at Christmas- all relentlessly cheery. It was at utter odds with the room's
main occupants, an assortment of miserable looking patients and the stern receptionist. Rebecca
approached the front desk, a spring in her step. The receptionist glanced at her briefly, shoving a
form and chewed biro in her general direction. As she signed her name with an extra flourish the
receptionist grabbed the sheet from her hand, stuffing it under a scanner that bleeped softly.
'You been here before?' she asked in a tired voice.
'Okay,' the receptionist shifted her bulk in the swivel chair. 'You wait for your name to be called,
you head through those doors,' she pointed vaguely behind her, 'and you'll have a brief consultation
before they let you loose with the memory eater. We are not liable for any damage caused to your
cerebral cortex during memory loss or…' She trailed off at the empty, happy look on Rebecca's face,
bemused by her apparent ebullience. 'You can just go sit down now.'
'Thank you.' Rebecca threw herself into a seat between a sweaty, grossly overweight man staring
fixedly at the pony picture and a teenage boy in a Spider-Man T-shirt who was rocking back and
forth on his chair, his arms around his knees. She nudged the sweaty man in the rubs.
'So! What are you here for?'
He withdrew his attention from the picture with clear reluctance, but fixed it just as firmly on
'I'm in and out all the time. Well, so they tell me, it's always a bit hard to remember, you know.' He
laughed nervously. 'I like to come and forget how many kebabs I've eaten. That way I don't feel so
much of a GOD DAMN FAILURE,' he began shouting, 'every single morning.' Rebecca patted him
gingerly on the arm as he began weeping softly.
'And what about you?' she asked the boy in a vain attempt to be friendly.
'I just can't believe,' he said, his voice muffled by his arms, 'I just can't believe they cancelled
Wolverine and the X-men.' He continued his rocking.
Rebecca took a deep steadying breath and decided that maybe the doors ahead were the best focus
of her attentions. One by one the patients around her entered those doors, and came back out with
a look of unfocused, dreamy bliss upon their faces. The sweaty man even gave her wink as he went
out, heading for the nearest takeaway Rebecca presumed.
This was it. She flowed gracefully to her feet and headed down the room to the doors at the far end.
They led to a long corridor, the walls lined with doors as far as the eye could see. A little nurse with
a clipboard greeted her.
'Room 7. Just there on your right.'
Room seven was a tiny consulting room, surgically white and clean with a long couch and
large computer screen. The consultant was a sober looking man, tall in his white coat with a
bristling moustache. But he smiled at Rebecca as she entered, now a little nervous at her clinical
'Take a seat,' he gestured at the couch.
Rebecca perched on the edge, twiddling her fingers anxiously. The enormity of what she was about
to do was beginning to dawn on her.
'It's alright dear, don't be nervous! I'm Smythe.' He held out a large hand for her to shake. 'Now
I'm just going to ask you a few questions and then Nurse Marko out there will lead you to the
Memory Eater. We can't let you in on your own unfortunately, health and safety, you know, but
you'll barely know we're here. After the procedure you'll feel a bit disoriented, a little bit unpleasant
admittedly, but it means you won't remember coming here afterwards. Now I'll need to know what
memories you want deleting and why. Don't worry, we don't judge here and you have our complete
discretion.' He polished his glasses on his lab coat as Rebecca took up her tale.
'I'm here to delete…my baby.'
'I see,' Smythe began typing. 'Might I ask why?'
'She died. Cot death. Just a few days ago.'
'Well I'm very sorry for your loss,' he continued typing. He swung his chair round to face her, holding
out pen and paper. 'I'd like you to write down some key phrases relating to the event. You'll take
this with you to the Memory Eater and use it as a prompt as the memories get wiped away.'
'Sure.' Rebecca rested the paper on her knee and scribbled baby, birth of baby, Duncan holding
baby. She returned it to Smythe's waiting hand.
'Er…you haven't mentioned the death of your baby. Isn't that what you want to erase?'
'Oh. Right.' Rebecca snatched the paper back and scribbled some random wavy lines on it, shielding
it from Smythe's view with her hand.
'I appreciate this is a difficult time for you Mrs. Atwood but every detail you give ensures…'
'No, no, it's fine!' said Rebecca, looking up at Smythe with a beatific smile that unnerved him
'…right. Now Mrs. Atwood, at this point I have to offer you the opportunity to review your file. That
is, to discuss any previous visits with you. It's just a formality, but it can help you keep track of why
you come to us. Of course you can choose to delete the review as well.'
'Oh that's alright Dr. Smythe, I haven't been here before!'
'Ah…Mrs Atwood,' Smythe removed his glasses and massaged the bridge of his nose. 'Due to the
very…nature, of this facility, you wouldn't remember if you had.'
Smythe hesitated for a moment. 'And I can tell you that you have been here before. Several times
'Mrs. Atwood. You came to have each of your children deleted.'
Rebecca gaped at him for a moment, utterly speechless. 'How…how many?'
'This would be your fifth.'
'Well what happened to them?' she demanded.
'I don't know!' spluttered Smythe. 'If you can't remember them I suppose someone must have got
rid of them after you came! Given them up for adoption or something, I don't know, I only have
what is here on your file.'
'But why? Why would I do that, I mean, I've always wanted children!'
'No, you think you've always wanted children. In my professional opinion you're just addicted to
'What do you mean?'
'You've become obsessed with the concept of giving birth. The compassion of random strangers,
the helpfulness of friends and family, that little, tiny, spark of life growing inside of you! After that
the actual caring and raising of the child rather pales in comparison. Probably an absent mother,'
Smythe muttered as an afterthought to himself. 'Tell me, Mrs Atwood, do you remember your last
labour at all?'
'I…no, not really. It just seemed to happen…'
'Mmm,' Smythe steepled his fingers and nodded sagely at her. 'When you wipe a recurring event
repeatedly eventually your brain forgets how to hold onto it in the first place. Now,' and suddenly
he was business, 'would you like this conversation wiped as well when you visit the Memory Eater?'
'What? No!' Rebecca got to her feet suddenly. 'I'm not going to wipe this conversation and I'm
not going to wipe my child. I can't keep just having children and forgetting about them, that's
'The death of a child can be a painful time for any parent…'
'My baby isn't dead!' Rebecca snapped. 'That was something else entirely, just forget about it. No, I
wanted this baby and I'm having it!'
'Look, be reasonable here! If it is, as I suggest, and you were suffering some form of psychosis then
you'll only want to get rid of it further down the line!'
'You said I were, I mean, I was suffering from a psychosis. Well if your precious Memory Eater can
make me forget my labour maybe it's cured my addiction!'
'I really find that highly unlikely Mrs. Atwood,' sighed Smythe in a tired voice. 'In any case you can
keep coming back here and erasing memories and getting pregnant until your time's up.'
Rebecca sat back down on the couch, her face sullen. As much as she disliked being accused of
having some sort of mental illness, she hated being proven wrong even more. A glimmer of an idea
was forming in her mind. It would mean giving up something that she'd previously held in high
regard, but suddenly she found herself not minding so much anymore. Smythe sat and watched her
as the minutes ticked past before, 'Ah…Mrs Atwood? I do have other clients to see you know. Have
you made up your mind yet?'
Rebecca didn't dignify him with a reply. Instead she shot to her feet, pushed open the door and
strode purposefully past the astonished nurse and back into reception. Her grim, set expression did
not go unnoticed by the clerk and patients, so used to the auras of dreamy bliss surrounding the
average client. Instead Rebecca headed out of the door, down the steps and across the street to a
building just diagonal from the Memory Eater.
It was nearing dusk by the time she got home but there were tiny fireflies flocking around the
passion-flower growing in the porch and a warm light in the nearest window. Rebecca unlocked the
front-door, no longer nervous the way she had been the long taxi ride home but sure and certain
that this had been the best decision. Duncan poked his head out the living room door, then swung
his whole body into the hall way to give her a hug.
'Here you go love.' He held out a large envelope. 'You wanted me to give you this.'
Rebecca smiled. 'It's okay. I changed my mind. I'd rather live a single lifetime with you and Serena
than a thousand without…' she stopped. The writing on the front of the envelope was not her own.
'Duncan what is this?'
'It's what it always is. The death certificate.'
'You…' Rebecca tore open the envelope with trembling fingers. The paper fell to the floor with a soft
whoosh. She stared at it blindly until Duncan bent to pick it up.
'Cause of death unknown?'
'Well of course the real cause of death was smothering darling,' said Duncan matter-of-factly. 'Like
always. Like we agreed. You do remember darling, don't you?'
Rebecca shook her head mutely. 'Of course,' nodded Duncan. 'I expect you had that deleted too.
Honestly, you're back and forth like a yo-yo these days, I lose track. Now, I'm gonna take you up
stairs, run you a nice warm bath and then we can try again…'
But Rebecca was no longer listening. She had bartered the life of her only child for her own
immortality. And now there couldn't be another.
Copyright 2012 by Jasmine Angel Woods
out the kitchen window
everything is so white and still
it looks like heaven. i dream
that this is what heaven looks like.
of walking through the backyard
the full garbage bag in one hand
lying down in the snow
on my back, flat against heaven
so many stars in the subzero sky
on my back, make it look like
i slipped on the ice
taking out the trash
when they find me in the snow
hours and hours too late
it will look like i slipped on the ice, such
for such a minor accident, they'll say
what a pity.
Copyright 2012 by Holly Day
The Five Chinese Brothers go to Berlin
One day in Long Shou, The Five Chinese Brother’s caught wind that their friends the Jews were being pushed around all over the place in Europe and North Africa. Since no one was racing to their aid, The Five Chinese Brother’s decided all at once that they had to do something.
So they gathered their belongings, kissed their mother and set off straight away for the west.
The first person they met was Tashkip, the Ukrainian who lent them a magic shovel made from wood, with three strings pulled up tightly on its back.
This reminds me of the beautiful Bhan Hu said Eldest Brother.
You see Brothers, we are on the right path! Second Youngest Brother said.
So Tashkip gave the violin-shovel to The Brothers and made them promise that after they had helped their friends the Jews they would return and have a nice, long visit.
Tashkip waved as The Brothers walked out of sight but just as the last light fell on the last Brothers’ shoulder, Tashkip was struck by a thought.
The Five Chinese Brothers are on their way to help their friends the Jews, was it ? My goodness, there are some Jews who live not far from here, I wonder if they can shed light on what The Brothers are up to and if also they need help.
So Tashkip went off, into the forest to find his neighbours the Jews to find out what was going on.
When he came to their hut, the Mrs. Jew was beating a fine, lovely rug between two branches.
She stopped and blessed the stranger and called for her husband to come round.
The Mr. Jew was behind the hut chopping and stacking wood with his daughters.
They ran around to the front of the hut, blessed the stranger and asked if he was in need.
Tashkip laughed and told the Jews that he had only come to see if they had needed anything,
and by all accounts they seemed fine.
Is that right Mr. and Mrs. Jew, are you well and good ?
Oh yes, they lied, all is fine here in the forest.
Behind the hut three men were hiding who had come upon the Jews to rob them just before Tashkip arrived. The three men said Get rid of this nosey body or we’ll kill him and it will be all your fault.
So Tashkip, not wanting to disturb the Jews any further said goodbye and told them how relieved he was that all was fine and dandy. He tipped his cap to the Jews, and told them that if they ever needed anything, he was there to help. As he went to walk away home, Mrs. Jew said Sir, remember us. Our name is Cohen. You will always be our friend.
Tashkip bowed his head and thanked the Jews and said that he too would always be theirs.
After Tashkip had gone, the three robbers tore apart the hut looking for gold and money. Finding only a few rubles, they screamed Where is the rest?
One robber said to the other I heard they swallow diamonds so no one will be able to get them. The other robber said he had heard that as well and the third robber said that they should gut the Jews and search them. Mrs. Cohen told them that they had not swallowed any jewels and begged the robbers not to hurt the children. The robbers took that as a sign that the children must have swallowed the jewels, so the three robbers grabbed them and tried to cut them open. Their father, who had been tied to a tree, broke free and ran towards the robbers who struck him in the neck with his own axe. Mrs. Cohen ran to his side and they hit her in the back of the head as well. After the three robbers had sliced open the children and their parents and found no gold or diamonds, they shouted at the dead bodies and stormed around. They decided that they had to burn the whole place to the ground to hide their crimes. The three robbers took whatever they could carry and put it off to one side. Then they dragged the bodies into the hut and arranged them in their chairs and set fire to the place.
Just as Tashkip was almost asleep that evening, he was struck by the thought that the Jews had been telling him tales and that really they were in need of help. That morning, when he arrived at the clearing in the forest, all he found were the smoking remains of the hut. Tashkip fell to his knees and remained there until it was dark.
The next day The Five Chinese Brothers arrived in Budapest.
You see Brothers, said Second Youngest Brother, one side of the river is the town of Buda and the other side of the river is the town of Pest. Budapest, you see?
How fascinating, said Eldest Brother. Let’s find out if anyone is awake in this place.
So The Brothers took out their violin shovel and began to play in the streets just as Tashkip had shown them. The Romanians threw open their shutters and said, What in the world are you gypsies doing at this hour? Can you not be quiet? We are all asleep!
So Eldest Brother said, We are sorry to wake you, people of the river, but we have come for our friends the Jews. Do you know where they might be ?
Like all sane people, the Jews are probably asleep. They live all over the place. You gypsies must be mad. Be quiet! And the Romanians closed their shutters and went back to sleep, like all sane people. The Five Chinese Brothers were not tired though, and so they set out through the town looking at every door lintel for the houses of their friends the Jews.
When they had travelled along the main roads for a while, they came to a wonderful rock grey edifice, with a great wall abutting the road. They saw the gate keeper and asked
What house is this?
The servant replied, This is no mean house, This be the castle and I keep her safe from nosey pan handlers — Push on. This is the queen’s residence.
How did she acquire such finery and such a one to keep it safely in her midst? Youngest Brother said.
She and her kind took it, bless them, that’s the way they have done and will keep doing to keep theirs own. Middlest Brother found his face reflecting in a puddle in the road.
I am tired of poverty, he thought. Being rich and cozy doesn’t seem like such a stretch.
And they went away cold and hungry, like most ones on two legs, and four legs do.
Once in Frankfurt – am – Mains, they heard there was a Jewish cobbler who kept a business in the square, but when they arrived at his stand, there was only an impression of a stall which had once stood in the plaza.
And in this way, the Brothers traveled the high roads, and across into the low country for many seasons, until their clothes fell away and dragged along the bi- ways they wandered. By the time they reached the East again, years had passed.
Near the Yangtse, close to home, someone told the Brothers Ah! you could have helped the Jews any time, you just forgot all of your gifts !! … of stretching, and burning hot, and holding your breath and the other ones ! Don’t you remember ?
When the talker had walked off, the Brothers looked at one another. Then they tried to do the tricks that had made them so renowned, but they had no memory of what those were or how to retrieve them, and they thought it all a joke played on them by the teller of the play of their lives. Those gifts of mystery had been translated into new talents; of walking, and seeing, of believing in each other, of tenacity of spirit, and of long life. The Brothers were special, but not because they could perform like a pack of hounds in a circus. (They were truly amazing, these Brothers, but in the end they died like every man: in their beds, in a carriage on the road to Damascus, in a fire, while eating red noodles, and at the hands of an estranged wife’s uncle. They were remembered for a while, but then their story passed from memory - until it became part of the great story. But that is ages from now ! )
When the Brothers finally returned home, they found their mother locked behind doors in the ancestral house. She would not open the house to the Brothers, but sent a message over the wall tied to a brick. I do not see you it said. In the village the Brothers heard from some neighbours that their mother had sold the families holdings and piled up gold in rows in the breakfront. Mrs. Chang handed the Brothers a cup of twig tea which they passed around. Everything was in her name, Brothers. What would you have had us do? The Brothers smiled at one another and thanked Mrs. Chang for the twigs and hot water. That night as the Brothers huddled under a bridge, Second Youngest Brother thought about Tashkip and that of all people, at least he was their kith and kin. Only then was he able to fall asleep. The snow fell down in wisps.
The Brothers never saw Tashkip again. He died alone is a pensioner’s home in 1899.
Copyright 2012 by Linda Ravenswood
Heavier and Heavier
Carrying Arthur on the train as an infant;
I’d be carrying my purse, my big bag (this
is the bag that has my notebook,
my sweater, and
whatever book I am reading that day),
our laundry in a basket,
and back then,
of my own
on my person.
I’d be carrying all
of this stuff
and a baby’s seat
to my mom’s (oh
and Arthur’s bag too).
if Arthur slept
in my arms,
wanted to put him
Copyright 2012 by Nancy Davenport
This is Japan, and my name is Ayako. I’m a forty-five-year old returnee from the U.S. My friends and relatives are all Japanese, so I speak only Japanese in Japan. It’s a sunny May afternoon. After our Chinese language class at a community center, Miho and I are strolling along Oooka River which leads to Yokohama Bay.
“Japanese women cannot say no,” I say “no” in English.
Miho tightens her lips.
Cherry trees line both sides of the river, and their branches and fresh green leaves cast shadows on the sidewalks and a part of the river. A man ahead of us is walking a miniature dachshund.
“We are taught to say only yes,” I say. “We feel guilty when we say no.”
Miho lifts her chin. The sky is clear blue with pure white clouds.
“If a child says iie in response,” I say, “we feel weird. It sounds too adult. Don’t you think?”
Miho giggles. Iie means “no” and is pronounced as yee-yee-eh. She adjusts the spaghetti straps of her pajama-like jumpsuit. She is a petite twenty-year-old.
“I never said no to my mother,” I say. “I expressed my dislike all my life, but not iie.”
“I usually tell my mom yaa or uun.”
“But yaa or uun are not words in the dictionary. Women in my generation tend to avoid saying iie, and if we say it, we apologize beforehand.”
“That’s true. My mom always says I’m sorry when she meets solicitors.”
“What do you say to your mother when she asks you something you hate?”
“I never thought of that. I think I don’t say anything.”
“Most people are that way.”
She adjusts her white t-shirt underneath the black and pink flowery jumpsuit.
“Miho chan, I want to ask you something. I live alone in a very old house.”
“How old is it?” She combs her shoulder-length hair with her fingers.
“One hundred years old, and it is not a temple.”
“Eh!” Her facial skin looks like a pearl.
“For ordinary houses, it’s too old.”
“That sounds like an important cultural property.”
“People don’t believe me when I tell them it’s that old.”
“Ayako-san,” Miho says pointing ahead, “that’s the café I told you about. They make a design on top of the cream.”
A small cafe stands at a corner ahead. Near the entrance, a long haired miniature dachshund lies against the white wall. She wears two pink ribbons on her reddish brown head. A blue bicycle is heading toward us. A similar-looking dachshund sticks his pointy nose out of the bicycle’s white basket.
“Gee,” I say, “dachshunds are everywhere!”
“They are cute.”
“They are cute, but why has it become so popular?”
“Because it’s small and cute,” Miho says. “The café is crowded, but shall we go in?”
“Sure. I have plenty of time before I go pay for a ticket.”
We enter the crowded café, order drinks, and search for a table. A man and woman stand up and leave their tiny table next to the window. I rest my red backpack on the shining parquet floor although most Japanese women do not place their belongings on the floor. Miho’s round eyes shoot a glance at my backpack. She places her caramel-colored hobo bag on a chair and sits in front of it.
“Why don’t you put it on the floor?”
“I’m fine.” Miho’s hips press her bag against the back of her chair. “So, what’s the problem with your house?”
“I am having a difficulty getting estimates. The house is the old type, with a verandah.”
“My grandparents’ house had a verandah.” She lifts her cup of cappuccino.
We stare at the leaf design drawn in chocolate on top of white cream. She sips the cup with her eyes closed.
“Mmm, good,” we chorus.
“Has your mother ever tried to get estimates?” I sip my coffee.
“We used to live in company housing, and we moved to our new condo. They said the condo would be trouble free. I don’t see any old wooden houses around my neighborhood.” Miho shifts in her chair.
“Mine is the only one in my neighborhood,” I say. “You look uncomfortable. The floor is clean. It’s okay to put your purse on the floor.”
“I’m all right.”
“There is plenty of room down there.”
“I’m fine, really.”
Our eyes meet.
“Do you feel dirty putting things on the floor?”
Miho says nothing.
“I used to feel that way.”
Miho rests her hands on her thighs.
“You feel guilty if you put your bag on the floor, don’t you? But, you can learn to ignore it.”
“Really? Because you’ve lived in America for 20 years, you became used to it?”
“That’s right. There’s nothing wrong with it when you really think about it.”
We finish our drink and walk over to the Sakuragicho Station. We say goodbye, and Miho enters the station. I’m meeting an actress friend of mine for an early dinner at Manja Manja.
I head to the fifth floor of Landmark Tower. Only a few booths are occupied. Junko is sitting at a window table facing me. Outside the window, a Ferris wheel with a clock stands tall against the bay and the city view.
“Hi, Junko,” I say. “How have you been?”
“So-so.” Then she lowers her voice. “I have only a few lines in the play. The director insists it isn’t the number of lines that matters. He repeats that many times.”
Junko acts calm, but the fact that she mentions her few lines tells me it’s been troubling her for some time.
“Tell him, ‘If it really doesn’t matter, then please give me more lines!’”
“But that’s reality.” Junko wrinkles her nose.
“After ten years of your diligent work, commuting back and forth between Yokohama and Tokyo, and spending a lot of money! It’s about time to tell him straight out exactly what you want!”
“The actors who have the most lines sold the most tickets. That’s the truth. I heard that even Kabuki actors have a ticket quota to meet.”
“I see. Well, I’m not surprised, having grown up in this society. If I were you, I would have gone somewhere else long ago. Who needs that?”
“Where would I go?”
“Well, there are thousands of theaters around the world.”
“I have no plan to go to a foreign country. I’ve tried a number of groups around Tokyo over the years, and all are about the same. And I still can’t go around selling tickets. I buy ten tickets and give one to my daughter and my cousin. The rest is my donation.”
A waitress brings a basket of bread and butter. We order the special.
“Have you seen Kimiko lately?” Junko says.
“Nope. She wishes my house would burn down!”
“She doesn’t mean that.”
“She said if the house burned down, demolition fees would be free. I haven’t seen her for more than a year.”
“So, what’s wrong with your roof? Kimiko was concerned about you.”
“Oh, did you talk with her recently? Well, I don’t think the roof is a problem after all. It’s tile, and it hasn’t leaked at all.”
“The problem is renovation, isn’t it?” Junko says.
“I’m unsure what it is. But, I’m having a hard time getting free estimates. Probably, there is something in the cultural practice I’m unaware of, because I was young when I left Japan. A returnee like me must go through cultural rehabilitation.”
“What cultural practice? Rehabilitation for what?”
“After my mother died, I asked my mother’s Ocha students what the main reason she liked my mother. One student replied, ‘Because she introduced me to people.’ Her words struck me. My mother was open, and I took that for granted.”
Junko puts some butter on her bread and bites into it.
The waitress places two bowls of salad and a bottle of oil and vinegar in front of us.
“Workers with traditional skills are rare nowadays,” Junko says. “To fix a wall, we need wall experts, and we call tatami-mat experts for tatami.” She pours some oil and vinegar on her salad.
“Yes. I understand that. Skillful craftsmen are becoming extinct.” I sprinkle a bit of salt on my salad and pick up my fork.
“Nowadays, the cost of maintenance is very high for traditional houses. That’s why almost all the traditional house owners let go of their old homes and build a new house.”
“What a shame! I like old Japanese homes better than new ones. Have you ever asked for a free estimate?”
“Do you mean to fix kitchen or bathroom?”
“Right. Estimates are free in the U.S. But are they free in Japan?”
“Yes, estimates are free. Nowadays, that’s what all merchants say.”
“Have you ever received free estimates?”
“Yes, when we rebuilt our house. It was a local contractor. Kimiko owns many properties. Ask her to introduce you to someone.”
“I did ask her. I don’t know why, but no matter how many times I asked her, she wouldn’t give me a number. She always said, ‘I’ll give it to you next time.’”
“Maybe she forgot.”
“No, she didn’t forget. That’s the mystery. Every time we discussed my old house, she talked as if my house were about to crumble at any minute, and I needed to fix it right away. But when I asked her to introduce me to one of her carpenters, she always said she would, but she never followed up with a number. Isn’t that strange?”
“Did you ask her why?”
“Yes, a number of times. But. Well. Last year. Finally. AT LAST! She gave me one number.”
“That’s good then.”
“Actually, this happened after three years of asking her on and off. No, wait. It happened after ten years, come to think of it.”
“She isn’t a quick type. She eats slowly. She often ends up walking behind us, remember? She never does things in rush like you. You and she are like the hare and the turtle. You decide to do something, and next thing we know you’ve done it.”
“My mother was that way, but I’ve been slowing down.”
“It’s good she gave you a number. Have you called?”
“Yes and no.”
“What do you mean?”
“No because it hasn’t leaked even once, and the tile roof is top quality which I didn’t know until one of my neighbors told me. She said my mother spent a lot of money for it. But yes, I did call for something else, the roof of my apartment which also hasn’t leaked yet. But it looks quite miserable. The carpenter seems a trustworthy seventy-year-old, but he subcontracted to a few hoodlums. They came, jumped up and down on the roof, and ripped up here and there. It was horrible. I don’t want to tell her about this. Please don’t say anything to her. She’ll feel bad. If that was in the US, there would be a lawsuit. Now I really need a roofer.”
“What a trouble you’ve gone through. So, you have called the number.”
“That’s right, but now it’s unpleasant to tell you the truth. The head carpenter was very apologetic to me and told me he would pay for damages. I’ve never seen such irresponsible and disrespectful workers like them before. I felt sorry for the old carpenter. But, I told them clearly I wouldn’t hire them. Now I really need a good expert to do a roof and exterior paint.”
Junko furrows her eyebrows.
The waitress brings our plates of eggplant and salmon egg spaghetti. Junko picks up her fork and large spoon.
“Most Japanese advise me to buy a new condo, but I like my old wooden house.”
“If we think long term, it’s cheaper than fixing things here and there. It’s less trouble.”
“I’m sorry, but that’s a myth!”
Junko widens her eyes.
“Americans buy old homes and fix them. My US home is fifty or sixty years old. There’s nothing wrong with it. We Japanese do not practice what we preach. Ise Shrine dismantles some of their buildings every 20 years. Is that eco-friendly practice? No. Ancient Japanese abandoned their capital and created new one, just because they wanted to live in brand new home.
“When someone dies, we worry for a bad luck.”
“We can’t change our house every time someone dies.”
“And Samurai burned their castles when they lost a battle. What a waste!”
“Ayako, that’s because samurai didn’t want the enemy to have it.”
“Well, we justify our reason in any way we want. I love Japan. I was born here. I’m a nationalist like you. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have come back. After WWII, a distant relative of mine made money out of the old Ise Shrine wood. He made Shinto altars out of it and shipped them all over Japan. Isn’t that radical?”
“Wow! Most people wouldn’t do anything like that out of their fear.”
“Behind the fear is superstition. He built a hospital for his son with the money from the altars.”
“Ha! Your family is different. That’s why you’re different.”
“I admire that relative. He and his wife were survivors. My mother always said it all depended on how we think about things.”
“These days, we all prefer modern homes,” Junko says. “Nobody wants to live in old homes.”
“If I were the prime minister, I would support the people who want to repair and live in old traditional homes. I don’t understand why most Japanese want to live in a three- story, match-box-like house made of concrete and new construction material. Who wants to climb up to the third level when we get old?”
“Mine is a three story house,” Junko says. “The first floor is garage.”
“I thought your home is a two story. I’m sorry.”
Down below, Hikawa-Maru, a retired-ship-turned-museum rests in the dock.
“That’s okay. My daughter’s driving me crazy. She finds some small thing wrong and makes a call right away. The other day, a hinge in a toilet room was a bit loose.”
“Your house is only three years old, and you called a repair man?”
“It’s under warranty for ten years, but it still costs money each time we call for service. They say it’s free, but it’s not really free. When we call, they say they don’t know how much it will cost until they see it, meaning something is not under warranty. My daughter already nags me to save money for a new roof. She says, ‘What will happen when the warranty ends?’ She is crazy, but our house is immaculate because of her. I’ll eventually die.”
“Hahaha. Whether you plan it or not, if you die, she’ll inherit the house. If I were you, I would tell her, ‘Pay all repair charges and property taxes, because when I die, you will inherit the house. If you don’t like it, pay the rent!’”
“It’s not good for us to worry too much.” Junko casts her eyes on the floor.
“Right. Besides, your roof is tile. Mine, too. If we have a giant earthquake like the Tohoku Big Tsunami, there is nothing we can do.”
We both shake our heads and chats about March 11, 2011 and its aftermath. A new waiter comes over with a tray of coffee cups and saucers. He asks Junko if she’d like a dessert. I look at her. If she orders cake, I will get apple pie or chocolate cake, because it’s no fun for her to eat alone. With downcast eyes, she says nothing to the waiter.
“Check, please,” I say.
Maybe, she said “it’s all right” which means “no, thank you,” but I didn’t hear it.
“Here’s a Shakespeare ticket for you.” Junko hands me a ticket.
“I’ll be there on Sunday.” I pay her $40 and examine the ticket. The theater is in Tokyo, and the play is King Lear.
“What role are you performing?”
“Goneril. She is one of the daughters of King Lear.” Junko wrinkles her nose.
“You know Goneril is like a venereal disease,” I say. “I think Shakespeare named her on purpose.”
“Really! I can’t believe it.”
“Yep. Even in English, Regan and Goneril are horrible female names. No western woman would name her daughter Goneril. Shakespeare was mischievous.”
“I don’t know about Goneril. But some western female names surprise me.”
“Gwendolyn was a shock to me,” I say. “I read The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde in my college literature class in Los Angeles. Over the years, I grew to like the name, but have you realized that Japanese women’s names are mostly pure sounds? Michiko, Yoko, Sachiko, Masako, Aiko. See? Gomi means garbage, and garbage has three murky sounds if I write it in Japanese. At some level, our languages must be all connected. I wonder if the sound of Gwendolyn shows the Celtic influence because the names of most Celtic gods have murky sounds.”
All the Japanese spoken sounds are either pure or murky. This pure-murky concept comes from the Classical Chinese. The interesting thing is that Mandarin today has only pure sounds. That tells us how much spoken languages change in 1000 years.
“Well, my name Junko starts with Ji. Ji or Ju is a murky sound.”
Junko is written as 純子(じゅんこ). To write a murky sound letter, we add two dots on top right. し(shi) becomesじ(ji), or か(ka) becomesが(ga). The Japanese letters which start with the sounds of b, d, j, or z all get two dots.
“Junko, your name is an exception, but your kanji Jun means pure,” I say. “I can see our obsession through the name, and Shinto has many purification rites.”
“Christians do the same when they baptize people,” Junko says.
“True. It will be interesting if we compare the number of purification rites. It’s good to re-think our habits. If we are doing something just out of habit, and there is not much benefit to it, then we should consider stopping it. Like watering in front of shops and houses for example. Kimiko defends this habit. She believes it makes hot summer days cooler. How much water does it requires to bring the temperature down one centigrade degree? It’s a lot. More humidity in mid-summer makes us feel sticky. I heard that Indian people do not bathe as often as Japanese, because water is scarce in India. I don’t mean to say we should follow Indians or any particular group, but we should look around and see ourselves. Maybe, many foreign visitors have slipped and injured themselves because someone watered an entrance. Pretty soon, they might be suing us right and left.”
“Sometimes” Junko says, “even Japanese slip on the pavement when someone throws a bucket of water suddenly.”
“Japanese legs used to be very strong, but now we use chairs and beds. Western toilets make a big difference, too. We all used to use squat-type toilets. I bet Japanese will begin to sue for wet pavement accidents. Wait and see. And I’ve read that foreign visitors laugh at Japanese women who cannot go pooh pooh without first turning on a water-flushing noise in the toilet. If there is no noise music to camouflage our natural sounds, we flush the water several times. I used to be guilty of that. It wastes water. Our habits are not as eco-friendly as we believe. Let’s face it. We are constantly thinking of cleansing our minds therefore our bodies, isn’t that true?”
We pay the bill and go down on the elevator. We stand on a people mover and chat about Junko’s upcoming King Lear performance. Below us, people go in and out of the buildings and zigzag around the square.
“About your estimate, why don’t you just call up or drop in at a few contractor offices and ask?”
“I can do that, but I’d rather get a few good recommendations from the people who’ve actually done it. I tend to be an easy target for crooks.”
“You don’t look to be the type.”
“Even after all those years in the U.S., I’ve never learned how to deal with it. I got cheated right after I returned to Japan. I paid $1,000 for a panel, and it wasn’t even to install it. It was only a paint job. Someone said later that it was only a $100 job. Good grief. I did ask around for advice, but people told me everything had become much more expensive since I left, so what could I do? I hired the first man who came. My apartment renter couldn’t wait.”
“We all have similar experiences.”
“Since then, seemingly decent people have charged me more than double the going-rate. But I find that out only after it’s finished. Then it’s too late. One of my good doors was replaced with a cheap door while I was away. I admit it was my fault to give my key to that crook carpenter. Now I can see spaces between the door and the wall. I thought Japanese were honest.”
“Dealing with people isn’t easy.” Junko pulls out her cell phone from her bag and opens it. “Do you want to see our new pet?”
I peek in. The screen shows a photo of her dog.
“I named her Anne of Green Gables.”
“She is cute. But out of all the dogs, why did you choose a miniature dachshund?” Why do Japanese like miniature dachshunds so much?
“Mine is different. It’s light brown. Scroll down. You’ll see more of Anne-chan.”
Anne wears a red Valentine outfit with two pink ribbons on her head. Photos of the dog wearing green, blue, and orange designs follow.
“They are cute, but I hope people don’t dress up their dogs in summer. It’s too hot and humid in Japan. I feel sorry for dogs.”
“But on rainy days, I dress Anne-chan in her raincoat. Otherwise, she’ll get wet and catch a cold.”
Have you ever seen dogs coughing and with runny noses? Dogs are dogs. Just wipe her with a towel, for goodness sake, but I can’t say that to Junko.
“They are nice photos. Does your dog groomer give you this kind of photo every time you visit?”
“That’s a part of their service.” Junko clicks, clanks, and drops her red cell phone into her pink purse. Many charms dangle from a corner of the purse.
We go down on the escalator to the square. We meander through street musicians and a trained dog with a group of workers for visually impaired people, and head for the station.
“Junko, are you satisfied with your contractor? It’s a small outfit, right? He did a good job, didn’t he?”
“I left everything to him. The house is fine.”
“Do you have your contractor’s phone number?” I say. Why didn’t I think of this before?
“Probably, “ Junko says, “it is lying around somewhere.”
“Would you email it to me?”
“Sure. The number must be somewhere in the house.”
We say goodbye, and Junko takes out her train pass and heads to the ticket entry booth of the train station.
“Please don’t forget that phone number.” I call after her.
“Please don’t forget to send that phone number, okay?”
Junko mumbles something.
“What did you say?”
“When you make up your mind, I’ll send it.” Junko rushes past the ticket booth and on to a staircase that leads to the platform.
I blink my eyes a few times standing there. I’ve already made up my mind to ask for estimates. Why is it so damn difficult just to pass on a telephone number?
The following week, Miho and I finish our Chinese language lesson. It’s been raining since morning. We open our umbrellas and walk to the nearest subway station. I tell her about my free-estimates problem. Miho holds her umbrella upright and listens. The raindrops keep falling. Inside the train, we sit down side by side.
“Why is it so difficult to give out a phone number?” Miho says sandwiching her head between the palms of her hands.
“Thank you for agreeing with me.”
Miho’s dainty fingers adjust the collar of her pressed white blouse. Outside the window, it is dark. The train continues making a motor noise.
“You know what?” Miho says squeezing her bag close to her chest.
“I think I’m like Junko san and Kimiko san. I can’t tell my true feeling.”
“You mean not even to a good friend?”
She nods, meaning no.
Copyright 2012 by Keiko Amano
It’s Tuesday afternoon. I’m naked in my house. I like to be naked, especially in the afternoon. I just took my third shower of the day. It’s not even three yet. I’ll probably take two more before bed time, whenever that comes. It’s a hygiene thing. When it comes to hygiene I’m a little excessive. Actually it’s more than a hygiene thing. I’m a little excessive.
Did I say I lived in a house? Well, I don’t. I live in an apartment. It’s a rented space. I rent alone. Except for my roommate. She’s not actually my roommate but more a friend who’s just crashing on my floor for the time being. And by “time being” I mean last two months. Since I like to be naked in the afternoon, and she doesn’t have a job and neither do I, and the place is really tiny, it gets a bit awkward. She always asks me to put on clothes, and at first I was cool, but now I’m getting agitated - like, I fucking rent this place. And guess what? I’ll be naked if I damn well please, and if you don’t like it, you can find another floor to sleep on.
I brought this dude home from the bar one night, and I was super stoked and when I opened the door, there she was. My squatter. She was sleeping, and it was my birthday and I wanted to party, so I did. With the dude. I figured my friend would be cool about it, but she wasn’t. Party poop.
She also calls my sofa “my bed” and gets mad when I sit on it in the day. It’s my sofa. I just bought it when I moved a few months ago. I moved a few months ago and when I did I trashed all my furniture and most of my clothes and bought all new stuff because bad vibes and evil spirits travel on fabric. This is a little known fact. I just didn’t want to carry any of the wicked that went down in my old pad into my new one. I wanted to start anew. No smoking, no drinking, and absolutely no sex in my apartment. That lasted 24 days exactly. So now all my brand new stuff has brand new vibes from brand new people. That wasn’t the plan. But none of this was really. It’s the middle of May. I just took a shower. I think I’ll take another. I need to get clean.
Getting clean. Under water, under this roof, under God almighty. The thing about water that makes me obsess is that it can kill you or clean you. Kill or clean. Right now it cleans. But what comes next? I dream about water five nights out of seven. Water puts out fire. It saves me. It comes at me in waves. It drowns me. I’m dirty filthy disgusting and it cleans me up like new.
It’s Tuesday. I’ve been clean all day. But before that, I was dirty. I did something dirty. I’ve been cleaning up ever since. But only partly. All the water in the world can’t purge memory - unless, of course, it purges you too. So far that hasn’t happened, but I’m a woman of excess. Water is just one example.
Copyright 2012 by Jennifer McCartin
Boy, you turn me
into an Aztec
because, while I can
appreciate the plunge,
I don’t know how
to appreciate the taste
of a man’s heart beat.
Copyright 2012 by Dani Jimenez
My grandpa was
the only one
that could still see her.
He would see her
in the nurses giving him shots
and in the paralyzed women
who drove their wheelchairs
into the bathroom.
Whenever he would see
a wheeling woman
stumble out of bed
he would limp over to her
he would say to these women
“Need help, Ellie?”
They would be confused
but his liver spots charmed them
and his confidence
was so contagious
that these women truly believed
they were his wife
until grandpa wheeled them back
until grandpa fell asleep
and forgot the day’s events.
The next morning
a nurse would come to see him
he would wink and salute
“How are you, Ellie?”
and the nurses too
would fall into his world
“Quite fine, and yourself?”
He would comment then
that the war will be over soon
that his fellow pilots
are working hard to end it
and his Ellies would smile
and see the sixty-year-old calluses
where he had flown
in war before
When I visit his empty house
to keep things in order
I always vacuum
the spot where Ellie
used to sit
because if he still sees her
she is here
gathering dust, but ready.
Copyright 2012 by Molly Bond
27th November 1781
Today I scrubbed my hands clean until they were red and swollen with anguish and small
dots of red blood prickled across my knuckles. It gave me no pleasure to do so, but for a few
moments, those few short moments before my nerve endings prickled in alarm, I felt like the
ringing, ice-packed pain that lives in my head and chest had dislodged itself and was rushing
down to my fingertips. I breathed in, an unsullied breath, and my diaphragm fell beneath
the line of my ribcage and my lungs were mine again. Just for a second. Then the bristles of
the brush made contact with my rational mind and I cursed myself as I scraped them up and
down, up and down, unable to stop although I realised the harm of it, and when the first red
droplets came I was able to drop the brush in the sink and fell slowly to the floor.
Thank goodness I’m able to write – I will forever owe my father a debt. Once detailed
like this, the events are logged and can be forgotten like dispatches or reports from the sea. I
cannot confide in anyone about it: the other wives think they know how I’m feeling, which is
nonsense considering that their husbands were pulled from the water an hour after the
wreckage and my husband’s now been missing for two whole weeks. Two weeks. Thinking
that makes my stomach lurch and numbs my mind right through. If they comprehended just a
little bit, they’d help me bring him home. Today I tried to do it, but today was not good
29th November 1781
Today I went to the market to buy food and speak out loud. The sea had whipped
itself up on the wind so I wrapped myself in woollen layers and covered my head with a
hood. I slipped a little on the cobbles at the top of the high street and fell hard onto the briny
stones, covering myself in horse excrement and the watery fish slime that sits in the crevices
between the cobbles. I considered returning home to recover myself and change, but without
a market visit there’d be no food, and without food there could be no meal tonight. I managed
to gather at least a quantity of the things I needed and stacked it all perfectly in my basket,
with the exception of the rennet I needed to make junket. I must have looked a fright as when
I lifted my head to tell to the farmer why I must have it, he flinched and reached over to
touch my hand.
“Begging your pardon love, what did you say?”
“I said I need the rennet to make junket. It’s my husband’s favourite; I’m making it
for him tonight.”
At this he suggested that I pay a call on Rev. Doidge or stop in and see his wife; I
thanked him, of course, for the kind offer but explained that I really didn’t have time for
social calls today. I ascertained then that there wouldn’t be any more rennet, from anyone, for
several days. Some kind of problem with the herd. I could barely conceal my anger - why
must I be expected to cope if other people cannot manage what little business they have? I
don’t think I’m asking much. When I’ve not completed my chores this last week I’ve been up
at three, my hands busy and a storm raging in my head. In any case, I found myself at an
angry loss after that and I ended up crying part of the way home. I considered stealing a
calves’ stomach and making my own but my vinegar stores are low and I couldn’t bear any
more confusion. I passed several of the wives on the cliff path, but managed to avoid getting
into conversation with any of them. Too many questions. No rennet today though, so I don’t
blame him for not choosing today. I couldn’t bear to prepare any part of the meal, knowing it
was incomplete, and I must admit I’m deriving a little pleasure from the empty, woozy
feeling in my core. It’s wrong that he should be the one to suffer. Tomorrow must be better;
today was not enough.
28th November 1781
Today I felt driven to check that all had been in order that day, so I went up to the
Huer’s Hut early with the express intention of speaking to John, the Huer. I think he was a
little taken aback to see me standing there, on the sea-scrubbed doorstep of his white, round
hut, right on the cliff edge, but he was most courteous and bid me come in whilst he lit the
fire to keep out the chill. I’ll admit the temperature has dropped these last few days and the
wind whistled through John’s windows, portentous and shrill.
First off, I asked him how the sea had been that day and how confident he’d been
before shouting the hevva! call.
‘’Most certain, Mrs Silver,’ he replied slowly. ‘The sky was coming in heavy, but the
shoal was big enough for me not to hesitate.’ His thick grey beard barely moved as he
spoke. ‘I made the hevva cake too, Mrs. Silver, if you were wondering about that.’
I thanked him and thought of the other things I must ask. He wouldn’t know if the
men had been whistling or playing cards aboard ship, but with such a big catch, it was most
‘Did you see a woman on the ship or anyone throwing stones into the sea?’
He looked at me with soft pity and then said no, not as far as he knew. He gave the
same answer when I asked about calling voices and I began to feel desperate. He promised
me that had anything been amiss he wouldn’t have let them go out. I grasped the last reason I
could bring to mind.
‘Did any of the fishermen look back after the boats had cast off?’ I asked. ‘Did
Reuben look back to find me?’
He shook his bearded face slowly from side to side and exhaled deeply.
‘I don’t know, love. I don’t know.’
This made things clearer for me. If everything else was in order, it is me who has
failed so far. Thinking this, I struggle not to dig my fingernails deep into my hands. I made
dinner for him most passionately and waited at the table for him until the lamps snuffed out.
1st December 1781
Today I feel more hopeful that all will be well. I slept deeply and without waking, and
as I sat up off the sheets this morning, I could see the sea was a crisp, calm blue. The seagulls
were circling and saluting the good weather, which made me feel that today might be the day
– how could the grass and soil not look enticing on a day like this? It was coldly fragrant
when I stepped outside, I all warm in my wool, and the smell from the pilchard cellars was
profitable and fresh. No-one could hide in the water on a day like this.
With this thought in mind, I walked down the cobbled hill to the seafront, unsure of
the appropriateness of smiling at those I saw. I might smile, knowing what I know, but a
smile on the face of a supposed-widow is not something anyone would understand. I know
that’s how they see me – tilted heads and wide eyes have made that clear. I can’t blame them,
as they don’t know him like I do, but my faith in him will be rewarded and on Tom
Bawcock’s Eve we will dance a troil in the cellar of his master’s house. The lights from
Mousehole on that night will light the way for all the lost men, and the other women in black
will wear colour once more.
Jenna Pascoe was down on the seafront when I arrived there, her ashy locks dancing a
jig around her rough face in the wind. She had little Henry strapped to her bosom and a
basket full of chill oil, eggs and cheese. There was no difficulty between us. She came over
with the baby and asked me how I was.
‘I’m feeling brighter today, Jenna,’ I replied, not wanting to give away the depth of
my hope, for superstition and luck. ‘I slept last night,’ I said, as an offering. She placed her
basket down on the rough wall and shifted Henry on her chest.
‘Gwen, are you keeping house all right? I know a lot of women struggle after - why
don’t you come around for your tea? You can see I’ve got plenty in,’ she said, waving a
chapped hand towards her basket. The baby sneezed and she looked down to wipe his face
and bring the blanket up higher over his head. ‘I can’t imagine how you must be feeling.’
She turned to me as she said this, and put her hand to my forearm, which was pulled,
like the other, in a tight wrap over my chest. There was something in her manner that made
me forget my hopeful feeling, and for a moment I felt something deeper and darker, as if I
were leaning over the cliff edge and knew I was going to fall.
‘Gwen, I’ve upset you, I’m sorry. That wasn’t my plan.’
‘No, no, I’m alright,’ I said, looking out over the water to regain my better feeling.
‘Thanks for your worry, Jenna,’ I said, and meant it, in spite of what I knew.
‘Of course, Gwen. We’re all so sorry for you, and wish we could do more. The men
especially – they find it hard when it’s one of their own; it reminds them that anyone might
go over at any time. I’m so sorry, Gwen. We all just must hope for the best, mustn’t we?’ she
said, glancing down to the stone pathway. I smiled a little to myself and agreed.
I saw a boat wreck on my way home – oddly, the men lifting it apologised to me and
tried to shift it from my view. I ate heartily at Jenna’s, and it became clear to me that no-one
knows anything really, at all.
3rd December 1781
Today I cannot breathe, cannot think, I cannot move without my husband here; I’m
not sure I’m even the same woman he left. In the night, I awoke to find the darkened room
clutching at me with such oppression that I could not breathe, and I must admit, I fell into a
darkness that surmounted even the shock of Aubrey’s boy appearing at my door after the
storm. A beast raged in me that was only stilled by my screaming, as if it were its own voice
rather than mine. After the squall had passed, I lay back upon the greasy pillow and rested
my hands on my belly to calm myself down. I tried to focus on Reuben’s face, and was
shocked to find him gone from the present, and that I could only imagine him in the past.
I cannot recall the time before the wreckage, except in the halcyon half-light of a
passing dream. He’d come through the doorway, soaked to the skin, stinking of fish and his
clothes stiff with salt, and I wouldn’t mind, and we’d kiss and laugh and light the lanterns
and then eat the meal that was the everyday representation of my love. My husband. His
hands rough like tree-bark and his eyes a salty kingfisher blue. They dance before me now,
twinkling and empty, begging me to get my part in this right so he can return. I wanted to
help him today, but I remained in bed, pinned to the sweaty sheets by the weight of my
aching heart. This is all a dream, and it is up to me to wake us up. Today was not good
6th December 1781
Today my neighbour came and knocked on the door and I was forced to answer it in
my nightgown as she would not leave me in peace.
“Mrs Silver, are you quite well? The service on the dockside will begin soon; surely
you want to attend?”
My unstitched mind pulled straight then and I recalled talk of the service for the
missing. How many days have passed?
“Mrs Silver, I – would you like to borrow my handkerchief?” she asked. “I’m sorry, I
didn’t mean to -”
“No, no, it’s fine. I will follow you. I won’t be late.”
“If you’re sure, Mrs Silver? There isn’t long now.”
“Yes, quite sure. Thank you,” I said.
Salt burnt lines down my face like a lash; I had to close the door to conceal my
weakness. I did dress, actually, after that, but somehow the hours went and I was unable to
rouse myself to respond to the incessant banging on the door. No meal again tonight;
whatever am I doing with these passing days?
7th December 1781
Last night I did not sleep, and today I could not rise. I was rash about the service and
now I worry that he was watching from the frozen water and will think I do not care. If he
can read my soul I am safe, but if he can only watch me and wonder then he will think I have
abandoned him or that I am dead. Why are all the other wives not helping me? They should
be furious that I have failed to complete whatever key thing it was that they managed within
that first hour. They must guess how I’ve been idling; perhaps they fear my moment has
passed. I fear it also. But how did they know? Most of us didn’t even realise that there had
been a wreckage until the men floated in on the rip curl that curves around the cove.
Aubrey’s boy had come to get me as I’d been gutting pilchards in the kitchen and hadn’t
heard the cries or taken much heed of the rain. I almost cut my thumb off with the knife as
he’d said it and I barely saw a thing as I ran down the hill. He hadn’t been there though. The
first snow fell on him today and I lay out in it to feel the chill.
I feel that today is my last chance to redeem myself and steer us both through this
nightmare and out into the sun. I see now what I must do. I am going to write this all down
and then I can make sure I complete every part; if I fail this entry can be the word that damns
me and I shall accept my punishment with grace. Everyone knows I’ve had enough of a
Today I must go to the market in the suit I married him in and my husband will see
this and be glad. I must buy the rennet and come home and make his meal for him and then
when he bursts through the door, frozen to the bone after three weeks in the sea, I will fall to
my knees and beg his forgiveness for not being able to bring him back sooner. I must lay my
pen down now and begin.
God forgive me, if I do not have a sup of brandy I will not be able to steady my frigid
hands to write. I started this morning, after detailing my plan in a reasonable humour and felt
optimistic that I could fulfil my promises and make today the day. I tidied and swept and
even managed to smile at John when he walked past the door on the way back to the Huer’s
Hut. I then went to the cupboard, basket in hand, to check that rennet was still the only thing
I needed and when I got there I was hit by a overwhelming wave of nausea when I saw that
the food was covered in white and grey and had begun to putrefy and ooze all over the shelf.
How much time has passed since my visit to the market? I’ve had no wash days either,
although a Monday has passed, I’m sure. Well, I realised I must rush to market to buy the
whole lot again, so hurried to dress and had to steady myself at the dark stain I found upon
my lapel. Normally I would have dismissed it as a fancy but I knew he’d see me so I daubed
it quite hurriedly and lay it over the stove; time was of the essence and I added to my own
worry by dropping a cup and neglecting my suit until I smelt it singe. I must have cried out as
I had to ignore a door knock and then move from the window when Mrs. Morgan came
around nosing at the side. As I pulled the suit off the heat, the side of my hand brushed the
stove’s edge and for a second the warmth of it reminded me of his skin and his comforting
touch, and before I knew it I’d pressed both hands against the burning edge and felt the shock
in my nerves jolt through my body but I held them there, almost enjoying the pain, feeling
the connection to him and moving the epicentre of pain from my head. My palms are scarlet
now, crinkled and blistered, and my chest feels so tight; I must remove this clothing – God, I
cannot breathe. There is no air, no space. I feel as if the blood is gone from my veins. Now I
think of it, why am I bothering to write all this down? This is not helping him, it’s just
wasting time. Yes, what a fool I’ve been. How strange I feel. I can barely feel my limbs.
The rattle of the wind revived me a moment ago and I curse myself for my weakness.
I can’t believe how I’ve neglected him: lying around, writing and thinking of him like he’s
dead which is a sin when he’s as much alive as me. Maybe it’s all been an illusion and he
can’t see me and I can’t bring him back with my futile efforts? Or perhaps he tries to come
home at night but sees the closed door and thinks that I’ve overthrown him for another?
Perhaps it’s him that knocks and growls. Yes, yes, that’s it. I must leave this stupid writing
now; I see now that I have been too subtle in my entreaties. I must go to the water’s edge and
then he’d see me and we’d be together and everything will be fixed. Yes, yes, I must ride on
the wind until our hands touch one another and we are united for eternity. The halcyon days
are soon to come. I will write news of it all tomorrow. O diary, I can feel my heart bursting
with heat and blood and light.
Copyright 2012 by Lyndsay Wheble
before you i never
thought about my mismatched dishes or the hole
in my duvet. i mean, i had a duvet &
that was enough. before you. i would eat
standing up or slumped in front of my box
TV. i didn’t care it was a box & dust
covered the screen & i had to turn the sound
uploudlouloud to hear anything. before
you. i never could think of hearts in boxes
as protection & i never decoyed
a woodsman. i never flirted with a veteran.
i never danced with spats & i never
eyed spatulas or sized up baristas.
i never shaved a vee in my vee for
v day & i never olive gardened neither.
Copyright 2012 by Ryder Collins
you put knowledge into my heart – The Crucible/Arthur Miller
On the cusp of womanhood,
your heart and hormones intertwine.
As your loins swell with the blood
of seventeen years, the dark lover
appears, ready to pluck the rose
and inhale the sweet scent of yesteryear.
In the ashes of your passion
he’ll tell you, Child... you will go on...
and, as a man on the far side
of respectability, he’s not concerned
with the repercussions of
a woman scorned.
You'll get over
you've made your mark...
you’ve left a trail of bad memories,
regrets, and corpses in your wake.
He'll escape the specter
of your pain at the end
of a hangman's noose,
while you are left to whore
for sustenance in exile,
the shadow of his shade
in every man that sets himself
between your tired thighs.
Copyright 2012 Marie Lecrivain
she cowers from me there in the corner
why do I even think of it as she anymore
when all there is is me and my hunger
this shadow trying to shrink across from me is
nothing to me nothing but meat my fingers twitch
uncontrollably my lips and teeth are so ready for
the feel of flesh gently tearing between perfect polished
white incisors the feel of blood spurting into my
mouth like cum down my throat like cum why
can't I stop thinking of these women as she
instead of just meat
Copyright 2012 by Holly Day
The Bicycle Review #19 was edited and curated by J de Salvo.