My first impression of Niche was: it is great to look at. Like that initial, hormonal attraction when you meet someone new, I was drawn in instantly, ready to say, “I’d like to get to know you.”
Nicholas Hathaway’s “Bear Cave” was a nice introduction, a piece of creative nonfiction that begins, “My brother is schizophrenic, crazy, off his rocker.” Hathaway has fond memories of playing video games with his brother as a child; “We were locomotive children who ran on Gatorade and Cheeto dust.” But the family has slowly discovered that after his accident, Hathaway’s brother isn’t the same. Hathaway learns to treasure his memories and see his brother for who he is now. The description and turns of phrase in this piece made it a joy to read.
In Don Kunz’s fiction piece, a woman literally walks a mile in someone else’s shoes. The shoes? Black patent leather Salvatore Ferragamos stilettos. The someone else? A woman in black cocktail dress, found in a dumpster, “eyes wide open, a thin line of blood crusted on her throat, imitated Sleeping Beauty.” Enjoy.
Brian D. Morrison’s poem “Hand-washed Laundry” is a heartbreaker: “they cleaned the small clothes for hands / never held but washing was all they could do / for the soap that wasn’t cleansing.” And in John Grey’s poem, “Rex Explains Sex at Sixty”:
. . . forget about
that lying on top of each other
as if we barely touch,
as if a thin lining of air called love
softens the cushion
between bone and flesh, flesh and bone.
Now every pound of body
is felt, upward and downward,
like steel-plates squeezed together,
flattening pleasure into pain.
Though it was at times difficult to read, that was primarily due to the fact that it was in issuu and on my laptop screen. Designer Maria Surawska did an excellent job making the entire journal visually appealing; the atmosphere created fit well with the included pieces. The entire issue had content well worth the read. It was nice to meet you Niche; see you again next issue.