Donley Watt: Circling

When we are young we look forward, our eyes always on the future, it seems. The present is illusory; “now” disappears into our past the instant our mind forms the concept and then the word. And for the young that past is often ignored, blotted out, refigured into a history that gives reason and comfort to their lives as they relentlessly focus on what is coming next.

But if you have the fortune to live with relatively good health and a somewhat sound mind until you are, like me, closer to eighty than to seventy, dwelling on what future still looms ahead often seems futile and without purpose.

So what am I, or anyone my age, to do but look back, relive my life’s history, once again going over those things from the past that have left their marks, a search for self-acceptance and self-understanding. Continue reading “Donley Watt: Circling”

George Held: Night Falls at Nightingale’s

Dear Paul,

I miss you so much but they won’t let me receive letters here unless they read them first so I guess you might have written but got censored. I’ve asked Jill to play go-between for us since she’s the only one I trust and she puts on her bland nice little girl act when she visits. Otherwise only my brother has visited (once) and Daddy (twice).  But he puts on a cheerfulness that he never had to fake before. I know it’s because that bitch my stepmother Caroline has made him promise not to see me. She’s the one who put me here of course in the sanitarium. Nightingale’s. They don’t call it Nightingale Sanatorium or Nightingale Booby Hatch of course just Nightingale’s. Maybe you can write one of your poems about it, sort of an anti-Keats poem. I know how much you love the ode and one of my best memories is of you reading it to me under the big oak at the high school. Continue reading “George Held: Night Falls at Nightingale’s”

Dennis Vannatta: Adoration

Bobbi woke with a start with him kneeling by the bed, his face inches from hers.

“The toaster isn’t working,” he said.  “I can’t make toast.”

It wasn’t Derrick, her husband, but Aaron, Derrick’s older brother.  Bobbi was relieved because if it’d been Derrick, well, what on earth would he have been doing kneeling beside her?   She wasn’t surprised, though, to find Aaron there or anywhere else around the house—as long as he was in the house.  Aaron rarely went outside. Continue reading “Dennis Vannatta: Adoration”

TJ Neathery: Turing Test

At times, Braff Grieg forgot Cait wasn’t a real woman, especially moments like this as her delicate fingers slipped a garlic cracker into his mouth. He chewed and let the pulpy blend roll over his tongue. The garlic was sprinkled with sea salt, and he could almost taste the ocean. A happy thought—he was back at the old beach house, the place he had once loved so much, leaning over the porch railing and letting the brine-soaked wind wash over him. He allowed himself a smile, and just then, while standing on his balcony in New York City, he felt a sharp breeze blow up from the street below and catch the edge of his shirt collar. It was just as if the breeze had been recalled straight from his memory. He looked out over the city. The leaves of Central Park smoldered orange and red. It was a chilly mid-November evening. The weatherman said it threatened to snow the next day, but it was not snowing yet. Continue reading “TJ Neathery: Turing Test”