Volume 22 Number 3
Sheheryar B. Sheikh
Each text in this issue of The MacGuffin is precisely located to aid the journal’s reading. Consider the opening lines of the first piece, Sara Lamers’s poem “California, Long Distance”: “Let’s drift through these looming / vineyards all afternoon.” Then wade into inter-national and inter-cultural exchanges in Elizabeth Khan’s “Saeeda” and Efrem Sigel’s “The Boy Who Always Told the Truth,” the former a family saga set in Pakistan, the latter a disillusioning tryst of a volunteer teacher in one of the African nations so terribly in need of things other than volunteer teachers drifting in and out of their deserts. The thick middle pages are full of imaginary leaps through age and time. In Oyri Thuhp’s “No Eyewitness” an old people’s home has residents fighting over a glass eye, mulling over a love triangle and determined to be crowned monarchs of their dotage. There’s a parable, “The Poet,” by Herman Hesse, and it blends into the issue as well as the poignant, and just enough photographs. Lynn Pattison, a late-but-resplendent-bloomer poetess is especially featured, with an interview and six poems, the first of which, “Catching Her,” is beyond compare in its evocative accuracy. It opens with: “Four minutes ago, the light told a different story, / but the man holding the camera wants this one.” After this halfway point the texts begin to embrace disintegration and a nostalgic longing develops until it is at crescendo near the end. Near the back pages are the aptly placed “Poetry Reading, State Prison” by Shelby Allen, which ends with “becoming what you are capable of”; and Connie Harrington’s “Texas Armadillo” flash piece “Texas Armadillo,” in which the said animal is “alive” and induces a man to reach for his “wife’s hand, and hold on tight.” What an armadillo. What an issue!