“The Mouse” by Rolf Yngve (fiction, ’12)

Rolf Yngve (fiction, ’12)

Rolf Yngve’s (fiction, 2012) story “The Mouse” was included in the 2017 issue of War, Literature and the Arts. “The Mouse” is one of a series, The Ehrlich Stories, one of which, “A Prerogative” appeared in Kenyon Review issue May/April 2015.

The Mouse

The executive officer … shall be primarily responsible to the commanding officer for the organization, performance of duty, training, maintenance, and good order and discipline of the entire command…

Standard Organization and
Regulations of the U.S. Navy

Zero Three Thirty—0330—has always been the normal hour to relieve the morning watch, the watch associated with the rise of spirits brought on by the smell of night-baking newly out of a ship’s ovens and the dawn over the sea. Of course, in the Pentagon, there is no night-baking. Nor is there really a dawn, only the maze of corridors and offices, empty and the same, where at 0330 one Saturday morning, Commander James Ehrlich found himself stabbing his key code onto the tiny buttons of an electronic lock. … continue reading here.

from Cockaigne by Matthew Olzmann (poetry, ’09)

A prose piece by Matthew Olzmann (poetry, ’09) appears in Virginia Quarterly Review Online:
from Cockaigne
It was actually a good year, the year before the downfall, a surprisingly good year in our little town. It was a year of bread on the table, a year with a new IPA in our glasses, a year with friends who visited with great frequency. There was laughter, that year, and uncontaminated water flowed from every faucet. In general, our children were kind, that year, to the animals they found in the forests, and I held your hand as we walked through the park. … continue reading here.

“Lessons in Stillness From One of the Quietest Places on Earth” by Meghan O’Rourke (poetry, ’05)

Poet Meghan O’Rourke (poetry, ’05)

An essay by Meghan O’Rourke (poetry, ’05) appears in The New York Times Style Magazine:

Lessons in Stillness From One of the Quietest Places on Earth
In the wilderness of Washington State’s Hoh Rain Forest, a
poet searches for the rare peace that true silence can offer.

by Meghan O’Rourke

This story is featured in T Magazine’s Travel issue, on newsstands Nov. 12.

THE OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK stretches down coastal Washington and east toward Seattle on a thumb of land known as the Olympic Peninsula, some 60 miles long by 90 miles wide. Around a three-hour ride by car from Seattle, it feels much farther, as if you have passed into an otherworldly realm. Within it are volcanic beaches scattered with the remains of massive Sitka spruces, evergreen-crowded mountains, broad, flat valleys and the Hoh Rain Forest, through which 12 miles of hiking trails and the glacier-formed Hoh River run. The Park, in total nearly a million acres, is home to what may be the most complex ecosystem in the United States, teeming with big-leaf maples, lichens, alders, liverworts, Monkey flowers, licorice ferns, club mosses, herbs, grasses and shrubs of remarkable abundance. Today, thanks to federal protections, it is home to some of the largest remaining stands of old-growth forest in the continental U.S. [… continue reading here.

An Excerpt from Day of All Saints by Patricia Grace King

Here is an excerpt from a new novellaDay of All Saints, from Patricia Grace King (fiction, ’13), available for purchase now from Miami University Press.

Day of All Saints

Ghosts in the trees. Martín wants to rip them all down. If he could, he’d bury them deep in the flowerbed that he’s uprooting, or stomp them into the grass. Sure, these ghosts are small, even playful, made of white handkerchiefs and—what?—Ping-Pong or Styrofoam balls? But even so: ghosts. With little magic-markered-on ghost eyes and smiles. Like they’re a fun thing to have. Dangling from maples around the gringa’s front yard, the ghosts jig on their strings with each shift in the breeze. The gringa has not made an appearance all afternoon, and waiting for her sets Martín on edge.

He stands from the cold-blackened bed of begonias to steal a look at Diego, piling bags of leaves down by the curb, then up at the maple branch over his head, aflutter with a family of ghosts. Someone—the gringa?—must be having a joke, for these ghosts are made from bright-red bandanas. Like a host of mini-sized demons, they’ve waggled around Martín’s ears for the past hour until all he can think of is blood. The blood inside his work glove, for one thing, which is oozing again, though he won’t take off the glove for a look. To remove it might cause an eruption—geysers of blood. Today of all days, Martín can conceive of such things.

With his good hand, he lunges after the branch full of ghosts. But a fresh bout of dizziness clouts him straight down through his brainpan, and Martín falls to his heels with a lurch. His empty hand swipes the air.

Diego is on him again in five seconds, garden rake over his shoulder. “Buddy, don’t think about it.”

If he holds very still, Martín has learned, the sick hollow feeling will pass. Even so, he swings again at the nearest ghost and gives it a furious yank.

“Cálmate, vos,” says Diego. “These people don’t mean nothing by it.”

They’ve been arguing the point for a month, ever since plastic gravestones began to loom from these well-tended yards and zombies appeared on the porches. It’s just a warm-up for Christmas, Diego has said: more candy, more pretty lights. But Martín cannot make peace with this holiday, and this very morning, heading to work, he tried to kick over a coffin. Diego had to drag him away.

Now the red baby ghost, its string unbroken, stepdances madly across the gray air, and wooziness does Martín in. With a groan he sinks back to his knees.

“Vos, what’s wrong with you now?” says Diego. “Are you sick or something?”

Gently clasping his stomach, Martín shakes his head. It’s not entirely a lie.

“What is it, then?” Diego sets down his rake. “You still worrying after that girl?”

Martín stares at the dead grass between them. “She hasn’t come back,” he admits.

… to order, continue here.

“We Were In Our 20s and We Didn’t Have a Clue” by Peter Orner

An essay by Peter Orner appears in the The New York Times:

Always hard to believe the ways details vanish. Even what John Cheever once called the marvelous skulduggery of illicit love, time chips away and scatters, and what you’d thought would be seared for life? Reach for it, it’s gone.

We were still in our 20s though she was already married, a weird novelty. My first conflict with that specter: husband. Society’s great, dull bulwark. We met at another wedding. She was a friend of the bride’s. I was an old roommate of the groom’s. The husband hadn’t joined her. I’d come alone also. We were both in the wedding party and had been assigned to walk down the aisle, arm in arm. She wore a lemon dress. It was my first time in a tuxedo. . . . continue reading here.