499

Enrique García Máiquez

Translated by David Alexander

To the 498 Spanish martyrs of the 1930s and all those who suffered religious persecution during the 20th century.

The militia men shoved him out of his house, ready to make him the 499th martyr for some future beatification. Don Bartolomé let himself be pushed along, knowing that he had few hopes. Just the same as always. When he discovered that the leader of the so-called Death Squadron was Manolito–the kid from las Tejas–he thought maybe all was not lost. He had been Manolito’s teacher in the town’s school and he knew well that the boy’s brute force was matched only by his pride. [Read more…]

Pity

Sarah Gajkowski-Hill

and we were supposed to recognize this dank silhouette:
He--mottled, knotted, screaming
shrugged into a lice and tick-eaten rag,
wrapped tightly in her unwashed hair?

light emanated from his bare footsteps
his progress spreading a dim glow miles around,
energy prompting boats he stood on to push themselves
into the middle of lakes [Read more...]

Book Review: Redeemed

Katy Carl

Redeemed: A Spiritual Misfit Stumbles Toward God, Marginal Sanity, and the Peace that Passes All Understanding
by Heather King
Viking Press, 2008
238 pages, $24.95

After my recent conversation with Heather King, I am again left thinking about what self-gift means for the writer: “You willingly allow yourself to be consumed.” Of course, when King said this, she meant that writing consumes the writer, not that reading does. But “consuming” also connotes nourishment, refreshment. [Read more…]

The Salvation of Glorianne

Dena Hunt

Brother Bob stood behind the pulpit and read the Scripture slowly and sorrowfully: “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” The sleeves of his white shirt were rolled up, so the golden curls covering his thin arms showed when he raised the open Bible. He had been preaching for over an hour. The shirt was wet almost all over with sweat. His red curly hair was combed back into an oily ducktail with curls on top and a single small corkscrew curl falling down on his forehead. His eyes were light blue, and they could look icy mean sometimes. That’s why Glorianne thought he must be a good preacher. [Read more…]

Mesquite

Kate Bluett
The mesquite is not a tree
although it can be climbed.
There was one on the playground,
and the pretty girls claimed it for their own.
They laughed among its leaves of lace
while we less-favored
sweated in the sun. [Read more...]

Carla and Jaime

Arthur Powers

“Carla and Jaime” is an excerpt from my novel, Shadow Companion. In 1965, in a period of rampant inflation and weak democracy, the Brazilian military seized control of the government. After General Castelo Branco’s death in 1967, the hard-line wing of the military assumed control of the government. In 1968, there was a particularly severe crackdown. [Read more…]

Winter Rain

J.B. Toner
A sad grey dawning, this; a sad grey cloud
  Bemists the morning’s eye with doleful mirk;
And under dreary treetops’ drizzling shroud,
  Bedraggled crows in lonely murders lurk.
The whiskey's all but spent, the wine is lost;
  The beer-fen on the bare cold floorboards molders;
The fridge holds half a jar of apple-sauce;
  The last butt in the brimming ashtray smolders. [Read more...]

Gadarene

Amanda Griswold

He did not get my soul without a fight,
But foaming, seething, reeling in my brain,
I bowed to darkness and emerged in light.

My mind was scorched by shadows grown too bright.
The demon smoldered and I roared in pain.
He did not get my soul without a fight. [Read more…]

Impromptu: Reporting from La Mancha

Joseph O’Brien

For Max Pizarro

I

God almighty! The puissant progress of it all! Arch-mad with digits,
The 20th century summed up through a fogged pane of sky-blue limits,
Its typeset changes out each Pater Noster for news, front-page and back.

These are outside happenings which remand nothing—for thou art
Naught to me! Yet they require my innermost fealty of stone-to-heart,
Even as the stone grows smaller, harder, more cardiac.
 [Read more...]

Loki Brother to My Blood

Gabriel Olearnik

Suffering reknits creation. In suffering we become the actors in the divine drama, until the beauty of the uncreated is made fully manifest. —Op. cit 32.

 

There is a traced place around the drag of your eyes

that a traitor the face is. Here, the forehead is like sand

Here, the mouth torn with terse flattery

as if the lips were scarred by threadpoint.

In the badlands of your youth

the wilderness of first loving

walking with you was like dark walnut with a hint of fire

and your smile broke teeth. [Read more…]