The Fall 2015 issue of Superstition Review really grabbed me with its nonfiction selections. Marilyn Bousquin’s “Sweet Cream and Vanilla: A Breast Eulogy” carries readers through Bousquin’s relationship with her breasts, from the awkward, aching appearance at puberty, to later being a link of love and a moment of bonding with her infant son. Bousquin addresses her left breast as she prepares for a mastectomy:
What I’m trying to say, left breast, is that a cultural shame surrounding women’s bodies seeped into me and separated me from you for a long time and for that I am sorry. Shame, I have learned, is its own kind of bourbon that blots a body from her Self.Throughout the piece, she writes with openness and honesty, leaving off at a moment of light and life.
Brianna Bjarnson, however, examines death: the death of animals and the loss we feel in “Gone,” moving swiftly and smoothly from one encounter with a deceased animal to another, each instance ringing with clarity.
Vic Sizemore tackles equally heavy subjects in “Big Bully”: bullies, religion, and what happens when those two worlds collide. Sizemore remembers neighborhood bullies and an evangelical movie character who bullies, seamlessly tying the worlds together, and finally concludes with the figure he sees as the biggest bully of all.
This issue has a lot to offer in fiction and poetry as well, including Telisha Moore Leigg’s heartbreaking story “Discount,” in which her narrator grapples with the past guilt of failing a childhood friend in need and accepting discounts from childhood friend now that they’re grown. The piece unravels as it progresses, the narrator admitting to the lies she’s telling us as she tells them:
I lied. Carol Mark sold me one thing. I bought some nails, carpenter nails. And I told her not to give me the discount. And she did it anyway. And yes, we went to school together. And yes, we got history. And Carol Mark thinks she knows me, but I don’t think I know anyone.Jon Pearson also writes about a childhood moment in a different light in the flash piece “Saturday.” From the main character’s future goal to turn into cheese: “with a cheese face and a cheese heart and cheese lungs and cheese arms and legs, everything cheese,” to an ultimate moment of happiness being likened to a Saturday, Pearson gives an accurate snapshot of early youth that doesn’t veer into sentimental.
Tasha Cotter shows readers another snapshot in her poem “Solar”: “And so I defied the bucking yellow- / tinged landscape. Braved the white-hot mesas, and blistering heat,” a poem that carries readers along with the speaker from Mariposa Grove to Yosemite.
Cotter’s poem pairs well with Christopher Colville’s photos found in the Art section this issue. Rich in texture and lush, earthy colors, the photos show the variety and artistry in western landscapes. Colville’s photography is just a small fraction of the great selection of art this issue, which also includes Corelein Scherff’s stunning set of portraits titled “Protect Me,” showing faces covered in different forms of protection like pills and thumbtacks, and Denton McCabe’s colorful, clashing collages.
For lovers of interviews, there are nine to check out in the Fall 2015 issue. My favorite question of the interviews is one that everyone was asked: What does your writing space look like? Lily King writes on a desk her late stepfather made, Daisy Hernandez has a height-adjustable desk filled with cute toys, Maggie Nelson has a writing shed, and Karen Bender works among a “total and complete mess.” The question is a fun way to wrap up the interviews and continues to give a look behind the scenes after the rest of the interview is over.
While you may not receive seven years’ bad luck if you don’t read this issue of Superstition Review, you will miss out on a fantastic selection of writing and art—something infinitely worse than a little bad luck.