Gretchen Clark’s “Please Connect Me” tells the story of Clark’s young desire to be noticed by boys, told through three vignettes, all wrapped around the idea of calling, from phone calls to an insane asylum when she was in sixth grade to the calls of female cats in heat: “The animals cried for hours, filling the darkness with their chorus of agony, calling into the night for some random male to pay attention to them, to answer.” And while this quote is the only a tiny part of the story, its message rings true within the whole piece.
Catherine Mauk’s “Listening to the Wind” both expresses concern for her sister’s current emotional state and recalls the beauty and power of nature from a time they were together in Australia. When Mauk describes being out in the desert with her sister, I feel as if I’m there with them:
At dusk, the dingo appeared from out of nowhere. . . . He could have been a stray dog with his curled tail and ginger coat, shiny and neatly matted, but for the fire in the eyes. He fixed us in his gaze with an unnerving penetration as he moved in front of the car and continued to watch us as he crossed the road. When he reached the edge of the road he gave us a final look, then broke into a run and disappeared into the bush.There are many poems to pick from, some which you’ll want to read after only reading the title—such as Susan J. Erickson’s “Before Her Round-the-World Flight Amelia Visits a Psychic” and Doug Draime’s “Gertrude Stein Has Been Cursed Properly.” Draime’s poem is the perfect note to end the poetry section on. According to Draime, “What We Are Left With” is “Crumbs, for example, just after. And kaleidoscopes of specks / stuck on the skin, or floating away, looming, thinning or bloating.”
There’s really more in this issue than can be discussed; lots more poetry, three more nonfiction pieces, and five fiction pieces. And that’s one of the bonuses of the online journal—as long as there is time to edit it, there is always space for more work if the quality work presents itself.