Okay, I’ll admit it: I had no idea what ‘juked’ meant. So I consulted my trusty OED, only to find that the word is a football term: sort of. It means, in essence, to fake someone out; pull them offside (this is where the football thing comes in). At any rate, I found that the stories and poems contained within Juked’s pages are, in fact, of the sort that employ a bit of skullduggery.
For example, in Ron Burch’s short story “Flower Pot,” we meet newlyweds Michelle and Dennis. They live in a big Victorian that is admittedly a little worse for wear. Dennis is unhappy with the house (the story begins with the couple encountering a leak in their bedroom), but Michelle wants to stay. After all, she reasons, “Because here we don’t have to take care of anything. It’s not our responsibility.” Still, Dennis wants to check the attic for a source to the leak. It’s been pouring rain outside for two weeks straight. When Michelle tells him, “It might be too late for that,” we don’t have the slightest inkling that she may not be talking about the time alone. It’s a wonderfully crafted story, and if you pick up this issue and don’t read “Flower Pot,” you might find yourself a little worse for wear.
Also, Genevieve Burger Weiser’s poem, “Annals of an ice fisher,” is a lovely piece reminiscent of childhood dreams. As it opens, “At five she stood on a glacier in red cable-knit tights. // Have you ever held a fish?” Though this would imply that she comes from a family of ice-fishers, it turns out she does not. Her family may live in this world, and eat its fruits, but they don’t participate with the ice-fishermen in the hunting and gathering. Just a touch of deceit, here. Burger Weiser’s writing is superb, and as she muses that the little girl, “dreamt of the ice fisher / Sitting in his shanty for days saying / Amaranth / Over and over. Behind her eyes / Gold crops foliated like rapidfire / Dropping fat seeds to the frozen lake.” It’s a beautifully rendered poem, and I simply adored it.
Finally, in Howard Good’s short poem, “The Parable of Sunlight,” there is complete trickery. At the poem’s introduction, Good writes, “It’s a rare sunny day,” then continues, “but the streets are strangely quiet, // as if arrests have been made, / or are about to be.” What follows is a harrowing account of an unnamed war-torn and destitute country, where crossing an area of land is putting your life in its hands. The unnamed narrator of the poem wonders, at poem’s end, “whether tomorrow / is supposed to be as nice as today.” It truly is a parable of sunlight. And when you’re finished reading this issue of the magazine, and as you lean back in your chair to silently consider what you’ve just read, you realize that you have, indeed, been Juked.