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Cairn - May 2004

  • Issue Number: Number 38
  • Published Date: May 2004

Cairn: from the Scottish, a pile of stones meant as a monument or landmark. Also an exceptional literary magazine out of St. Andrews Presbyterian College. Kevin Frazier’s haunting story “The Magic Forest,” the tale of a lonely child who, on the spur of the moment, absconds with an infant “being aired” in the yard, considers the law of unintended consequences in a (disturbingly undermined) fairy tale setting. Carol V. Davis’s endearingly original poem “The Exotic: What the Locals Eat” stumbles upon the key to an alternate universe of sorts in small foil packages of Russian candy, “each the size of a squat nail”: “All doors will open for me now in this mysterious society. / My luck will change here, I know it.” John Spaulding’s affecting poem “The Children Who Work at Night,” based on the photographs of Lewis Hine, c. 1910, makes us look into the eyes of forgotten child laborers, “the coal-faced little boys without shoes / and those working in dust so thick you can’t see them / those carrying messages between pimp and prostitute and / those in factories who put out the lights at dawn.” And Marty Silverthorne’s “Kissing” describes the most passionate kiss of all, the one between his elderly parents during his father’s last days on earth: “Unsteady in life, not knowing / how many days he had left, / he pressed his love against his bride.” Cairn. A mound of stones, or perhaps a configuration of words like these, to say that we were here, that we loved this world, that though we were earthbound and our materials heavy, we always built toward sky. 

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Review Posted on October 31, 2004

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