Monday, October 5, 2015

#182: "Danish Modern" by Elizabeth Evitts Dickinson

~This story was previously published in Little Patuxent Review (2013).

Isabelle wondered how long it would take for the police to arrive.
Five minutes?
It depended on the store’s security system, she supposed. A silent alarm would be nice because then the racket wouldn’t disturb her (although she’d become quite adept at tuning out noise: conversation, TV, crying.)
What she wanted was right there in the window, a mere six feet away. She could scramble through the wreckage and have a few quiet moments before the cops shuffled her off in handcuffs. She would get caught, of that she was certain, but at least there would be no eyewitness to testify against her. This town shut down on weeknights, making it easy to stand here, undisturbed, at 11 p.m. on a Tuesday, with a cinder block cradled in her arms and a diaper bag spilling its contents on the ground a few feet away. She’d abandoned the bag—an oversized Vera Bradley with kitschy flowers and quilted material—after discovering the cinderblocks next to the warehouse. All that stuffing puckered between thick stitches reminded her of cellulite. When her mother-in-law gave her the bag, it had overflowed with poop-related paraphernalia including a bottle of something called Jr. Lil’ Stinker Spray Poo-Pourri.
“You spritz it on the diaper before it goes in the trash so it doesn’t smell as much!” her mother-in-law had said.
“Wow,” Isabelle had replied. “Who knew crap required so much crap?” and her mother-in-law had cocked her head and blinked the way she does when Isabelle mentions politics.

Monday, September 28, 2015

#181: "Y" by Colleen Carias

~This poem was previously published in Sin Fronteras: Writers Without Borders Journal (2011).


I have another X
so I am dragged from the tent
kicking  yowling  as gray grandma chides
go sleep with the girls in the house
Boo and his buds can camp outside
they have a Y instead
can roll in red dirt and fart and squirt
aim spitballs   moon the neighbors  belch a song
and I should comb my mass of hair
wear a curly dress my brother would dare to see me in
ten is too old  the wagging finger scolds
to sit on common mango trees  shoot
the breeze with geckos grazing up my arm
I watch through glass   wild colts passing
under the weeping window   watch me


Sunday, September 20, 2015

#180: "Meditation 32" by Julie Marie Wade

~This essay was first published in Fourth Genre (2013). 

Once upon a time, there was a girl who was not an orphan tended by a woman who was not a nanny in a red brick house that could never be, by any calisthenics of imagination, a castle—
though there was a view of the sea.
That girl sitting at the table was me.  That woman standing by the stove was my mother.
We lived then in the late splendor of catalogues.  Everything we ever wanted could be found on a glossy page.  Locate the little white letter in the upper right corner, then call and place your order.
I liked to linger in lingerie, with my scissors and my paste and my tablet of red construction paper.  These were old catalogues, mine to cut and alter.  My mother stirred a pot of something frothy and said, “Pack a suitcase.”  This was only pretend.  She wanted me to choose the clothes I would take on the trip that comes after the wedding.
If the man was there, the man who was every day less my savior and more my father, he would fill a glass with water and lean beside the sink.  “Did someone order a honeymoon salad?”  I never got it.  I shook my head.  Then, he’d chuckle—“Lettuce alone!”
I noticed over time the faces of women in the catalogues.  There were not many of them, so the same woman wore garment after garment, sometimes with her hair let down or her lipstick lightly blotted.  One face I loved—the dark curls, the pert nose, the creamy complexion.  She posed in nightgowns, pajamas, matching bras and panties.  Once, I found her in a black lace body suit.  Though it seemed transparent, nothing was visible beneath it.  I expected a glimpse of her real body, but she had none.  She was like a doll arranged on a low chaise lounge: her elbow bent by someone else, a smile painted across her lips, her bright eyes unblinking.
“Have you found what you’ll wear on your wedding night?”  My mother leaned across the counter as I tore the page free and trimmed its edges.
This,” I said, triumphant.
“That’s a little racy,” she murmured.  “Why don’t you try again?”

Monday, September 14, 2015

#179: Two Poems by Barbara Crooker

~This poem was previously published in St. Katherine Review (2013).


Blessed be the breadmakers of la belle France
who rise before dawn to plunge their arms
into great tubs of dough.  Blessed be the yeast
and its amazing redoubling.  Praise the nimble
tongues of those who gave names to this plenty: 
baguette, boule, brioche, ficelle, pain de campagne
Praise the company they keep, their fancier cousins: 
croissant, mille feuille, chausson aux pommes. 
Praise flake after golden flake.  Bless their saintly
counterparts:  J├ęsuit, religieuse, sacristain, pets de nonne.
Praise be to the grain, and the men who grew it.  Bless
the rising up, and the punching down.  The great
elasticity.  The crust and the crumb.  Bless
the butter sighing as it melts in the heat. 
The smear of confiture that gilds the plane.  
And bless us, too, O my brothers,
for we have sinned, and we are truly hungry.


Monday, August 31, 2015

#178: "The Reign of the Gypsies" by Randy Bates

~This nonfiction narrative originally appeared in The New Orleans Review (1980).

Editor’s note: This piece contains offensive language.


The Reign of the Gypsies

My stepfather slept with pistols.  I have a memory from shortly after my mother married him and he moved the three of us into the blue house on the hill.  I am sitting cross-legged on their bed.  Marvin reaches into the drawer of the night table.  This is Joe, he says, hefting out a stubby .38.  He opens his coat.  And Old Tom.   A squarish .45 is strapped to a stiff piece of leather under his arm.  The point of the display was that I was never to touch these things, which I became accustomed to as furnishings of their room, Joe on the night table with the medicine bottles and mystery books and Old Tom under Marvin’s pillow.
            No one ever explained to me why Marvin armed himself.  I doubt anyone could have.  I came to understand on my own that he gambled and that his successful amusement company supplied local honkytonks with illegal slot machines as well as with nickelodeons and pinball.  Our east Mississippi town accepted him as a benign sort of rich outlaw.  Except for the benign part, he so encouraged this impression that I eventually decided his guns were props.  Now I know it wasn’t that simple.  No more simple than childhood, which I once thought was overrated as being a time of wonder.

Marvin feared gypsies.  I didn’t know that gypsies had a history in our town and that a gypsy queen is buried there, and I didn’t know if gypsies were even real or if they were like the fantasy people in some of my books.  Yet one afternoon after I came home from elementary school, he almost convinced me a gang of them had laid siege to the house.  I remember charging at windows with my baseball bat and a favorite kitchen knife.  Our excitable dogs roiled about me.  Marvin joined in from his window chair at the kitchen table and shouted encouragement and warnings as I kicked paths through the dogs.
            The game ended when he locked me indoors and took the boxers to guard outside.  Through the picture window in the playroom I watched him standing at the top of the driveway overlooking an acre of yard.  The boxers have run off.  Breeze ruffles his silk pajamas and thick, perfectly white hair.  He ignores a neighbor’s called greeting, cocks my BB gun, and sets himself to stare down a pine tree.
            There were many pines in that yard, and woods lay beyond.  He must have held the vigil until my mother came home from her work at his office.  By the time she coaxed him inside, I was either picking at the house dogs or peering through snow on the new television set.

Monday, August 24, 2015

#177: Three Poems by Paulette Beete

~This poem previously appeared in Callaloo (1999).

Improvisation #2: Charlie Parker Dies for Our Sins

exhale a blue dream and follow it up
hear heaven sing back to you
its majestic tone flatted a ¼ step as
it riffs your breath
don’t look down
Hail Mary and Praise Jesus will not save you though
a needle can prick the pain into
a single sixteenth under your skin
Thou shalt not wear brown skin boldly.
Thou shalt not cry in laughing notes.
Thou shalt not wallow in the bottom to reach the top.
these songs will be a burning bush in your mouth
the notes will buoy you up til you are
spoonfeeding each vibration
into God’s allergic ear.
God himself will remind you that
the wages of sin are death.


Saturday, August 15, 2015

Welcome to Kenneth A. Fleming, Assistant Editor!

We're pleased to introduce the new assistant editor of Redux, Kenneth Fleming, who has signed on to help review submissions and solicit previously published work from writers. 

Kenneth A. Fleming is a fiction writer living in Silver Spring, Maryland. He holds a Master of Arts in Writing from Johns Hopkins University. He is currently finishing up a short story collection and working on a novel.