Monday, June 29, 2015

#171: "Terrier" by Leslee Becker

~This story originally appeared in The Kenyon Review (2009).

Will went with Linda to the animal shelter because he had a crush on her and thought that the trip would help her to see him in a good light.  She called Sunday morning, told him she needed a favor, and he said he was free.  A lie.  He’d planned on going to yoga in the afternoon for his back pains.  He met Linda a month ago at yoga, before she quit to join a more challenging class.
            She picked him up and told him in the car that she’d put a hold on a dog yesterday.  “Impulse shopping,” she said, and that she needed a neutral party.
            Will felt absurdly hurt, but said, “I’m your man.”
            The shelter was south of town, in an area that was undeveloped two years ago, when Will moved to Colorado.  Tract houses were there now, and people were raking leaves and washing cars.  He saw a sign for Shaeffer’s Miniature Animals and Petting Zoo, and in a small field beyond the houses, children were looking into an oval pen. 
            “They do something scientific to alter those animals,” Linda said.  “It makes me sad.”
            He saw a tiny goat and something prehistoric-looking, a shaggy thing, perhaps a yak, the size of a tricycle.  Miniature horses, their manes glamorously long, pranced among other mini-animals, including a pint-sized pig.  Children pitched lettuce at the animals, and a bossy, regular-sized goose honked, and nipped at the children’s ankles.
            Will knew that he’d recall this moment and the constriction in his heart.  The boy he’d been.  That’s what did it.  The boy who despised circuses and carnivals, and feared especially the clowns, back East, in the Adirondacks.  He was seven when he and his older brother saw the carnival parade--caissons of animals in cages, clowns lobbing candy at people, and at the very end, a skinny, dark woman in gypsy garb, riding an elephant.  Will’s brother Eddie swore that the woman winked at him.  

Monday, June 22, 2015

#170: Excerpts from "Sonnets to E——" by Dan Brady

~This poem originally appeared in a chapbook print to accompany the Call & Response Exhibit at the Hamiltonian Gallery in Washington, DC (2009)

You accused me of consuming too much
with my calm, sad face. I couldn’t stop,
so I didn’t feel remorse. I began to rot
from the inside. I understand what happened.
To save yourself you came to view me
without care or doubt, another bug
closed in on the porch, dead against the window.
To go back, even one step, is impossible
and imperfect. Beyond love is mercy,
and beyond mercy, oblivion.
You look at me now as a project
turned unrecognizable to you,
just as God cringes at the bitter taste
of the rivers and the seas.


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Redux Open to Submissions July 5 – July 31 (2015)


Redux is accepting submissions of fiction/poetry/essays during an open reading period: July 5 to July 31.  We’re looking for literary work of high quality that has been previously published in a print journal but that is not available elsewhere on the internet.  Our mission is to bring deserving work to a new, online audience.  Preference will be given to older pieces (i.e. published before 2012).

No novel excerpts, poems that appear in chapbooks, or pieces published in anthologies…even if these books are presently out-of-print.

Please read our guidelines for important submission information.  If your work is accepted, you will also be asked to write a short “story behind the piece” essay a la the Best American series. Pieces must be available in a Microsoft Word file.

Authors we’ve published include Margot Livesey, Sandra Beasley, Robin Black, R.T. Smith, Michelle Boisseau, Kelle Groom, Erica Dawson, Catherine Chung, Walter Cummins, Lee Martin, Dave Housley, and Terese Svoboda.

We look forward to seeing your work!

Questions: reduxlj AT gmail DOT com

Monday, June 8, 2015

#169: "Deja New" by Lee Martin

~This story was previously published in Ms. Magazine (2005).

            You’ve seen me. I know you have. Maybe at the Piggly Wiggly, maybe at the Speedway Auction House, Braum’s Ice Cream, or someone’s estate sale. I waltz in, wearing a wide-brimmed hat adorned with silk flowers and feathers, or a Carmen Miranda number stacked high with bananas, pineapples, grapes. Remember me now? Maybe I step right out of the fifties, demure in saddle oxfords, bobby sox, a poodle skirt, and a cashmere sweater, or better yet, you look up and there I am in a fringed flapper dress with thin shoulder straps and beads around my neck, strands that hang down to my knees. Please excuse me; I’m working on reclaiming joy. 
            Tonight, at the young widows’ support group the leader, Candace, tells my friend Nadine that it’s all right to be angry with her husband because he killed himself. We all have a right to anger and guilt, Candace says; pain lets us know we’re alive. If we verbalize, we can accept. We can love, and love can save us.
            “I’m pissed off,” Nadine says. “I plan on staying that way.”
We’re sitting in a circle, the five of us, around a table in a room off the Interfaith Chapel at St. Anne’s Hospital. The room is bright with fluorescent lighting so we can all try to feel hopeful and work on developing strength and tranquility through continual exposure to emotional intensity. Candace uses language like that; she’s a young widow herself. She tells us that grief relies on memory, so our stories are sacred.
Here’s one I’ve never told.