Spring 2023, Volume 44, No. 1
The Peace We Make looks at the topic of peace on a personal level. Find work on finding peace after the death of a loved one, making peace with historical trauma, finding inner peace, making up with a partner and much more in this ‘peaceful’ spring issue! New work by Kate Cayley, Ahimsa Timoteo Bodhrán, Evan J, Benjamin Hertwig, Pauline Peters, Rhonda Collis & more!
Cover art by Anonymous. Used with permission.
Ahimsa Timoteo Bodhrán
Marisa P. Clark
Sarah Yi-Mei Tsiang
Will J. Fawley
Mary W. Walters
Excerpt of To the American who wanted me to be a bomb
Your internet service provider was from somewhere in Ohio, and I’ve drifted through your state occasionally. Mostly gas, fast-food, and a Cavs game with a memorable Lebron moment, which is not to say Ohio isn’t worth a longer visit when time permits. Everywhere I’ve ever been—the 7-11 and alleys out back behind my childhood, the basketball courts with the crooked rims, the sandy ditch after the first of the suicide bombs—each taught me something about breathing and its absence, how pigeons cut new paths into warm wind. I digress. I wanted to ask about the email you sent. To summarize: something I wrote unbalanced your being, so you sent me a video of young men putting together bombs and told me to get blown up too. The subject line of your email, IED’s. Your use of the possessive perplexed.
Excerpt from River’s Wake
That night after the doctor’s appointment, sitting in the kitchen after dinner, the three dogs milling around their feet looking for fallen tidbits, River pulled a folded piece of paper out from the back pocket of his jeans. It was a page he’d torn from a book that he’d been flipping through in the waiting room. Mel’s eyes were glued to the jagged torn edge of the page. She was the kind of person who, when she encountered a dog-eared page in a book, would carefully unfold it and rub the crease, as if she could undo the harm done. River, who’d had an unconventional childhood—not just homeschooled, but unschooled; years living in a VW van with his moms, while they protested clearcutting in Clayoquot Sound; raised as a vegan before plant-based eating became the trend—often disregarded conventional rules around ownership. He didn’t respect property, but he respected the earth and all that it encompassed: animals, trees, ancestors, rivers, rocks, the stars above.
Mel had missed what River had said and asked him to start again.
“It’s from Out of Africa, by Isak Dinesen.”
“Oh, I saw that movie. Meryl Streep. Did you know that the director didn’t think she was sexy enough for the role? ”
River flashed Mel a quick smile. They were suddenly their old selves again, talking about unimportant things, not life-altering events. “Don’t get distracted by your Meryl obsession. Okay, so listen to this,” he continued, and he read aloud from the page: “they do not bury their dead, but leave them above ground for the hyenas and vultures to deal with. The custom had always appealed to me, I thought that it would be a pleasant thing to be laid out to the sun and the stars, and to be so promptly, neatly, and openly picked and cleansed; to be made one with Nature and become a common component of a landscape.”
Mel was stunned into silence. It was too close to the bone. She couldn’t fathom that River was dying; all that lay beyond that—burying him, becoming a widow before she’d even turned forty, giving up on their shared dream of the farm, which they had just purchased, of the long-eared donkeys they were planning to rescue, the kale patch they were going to plant—was unthinkable. She wasn’t ready to talk about burying her beautiful River, never mind imagining leaving him above ground for the scavengers of the world to feast upon.
Creative Non-Fiction Preview
Excerpt from Walking Alone—Dangerous or Heroic?
I AM NAKED, SPLASHING HAPPILY IN THE BIG white porcelain tub in the little downstairs bathroom with the big red door that locks. I like that it locks, but at age four, I’m not savvy enough to twist the key. As soon as I am smart enough, I will hibernate in this room for hours—no matter how many times my younger brother and older sister pound on the door. But right now I am naked, splashing, and blissfully alone because Mom left me here and is somewhere else. I don’t like long baths, so when the voice in my curly-brown-haired head booms “Enough!” I simply stand, grasp onto the side of the tub as I straddle it and climb out—a four-year-old’s version of vaulting the barrier. I don’t bother drying off. The big red door is open so I walk out… through the adjoining playroom with the cork floor, past the sliding concealed door into the dining room where I half-crawl up two carpeted steps to the front door which is always unlocked because that’s how it is in our little enclave of New York suburbia in 1955, and out the screen door I go.
I like how smooth and warm the white-veined blue slabs of marble on the front path feel on my little fat feet. The gravel on the driveway hurts, but I put each foot down carefully with as little weight as possible until I get to the paved road. We live on a dead-end street and our house marks the curve at the bottom of the first hill. If I go right, the road is flat, then descends in a second hill, and if I don’t make the next turn to the dead end, I might end up in the Hudson River. If I go straight up the first hill, I’ll get to where the cars go somewhere and that seems to me like a good thing to do.