Rappahannock Review | Mark Jay Brewin Jr.
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FICTION

The Permanent Ache by Gary J. Garrison
“Last week we put out cigarettes on our wrists…”

A Woman Should Have Legs by Robyn Goodwin
“The problem with Nancy’s suicide attempts was that nobody knew about them…”

Mostroferrato, Ancient Stronghold of the Briscoletti Family by Sam Martone
“Go south to a town with a tower towering beside it…”

Accidents by Ian Riggins
“Simple wooden things, painted white, with the usual assortment of bouquets and wreaths—the crosses stared up at me…”

Her Last Friday by Lucas Southworth
“Three months ago, the girl had three months to live…”

To the Wall by Holly M. Wendt
“The inside of her car bakes…”

 

NONFICTION

Justice by Alyce Miller
“On a cold snowy Sunday afternoon, two days after Christmas in 2009…”

The Pine Tree by Joy Weitzel
“Pollen from the male pine cone will drift with the wind, hoping to reach a female pine cone…”

 

POETRY

Mix-tape (#4) With the One I Still Haven’t Learned the Lyrics to by Mark Jay Brewin Jr.
“I couldn’t tell you how early I learned and lost the words…”

Jack Listens to the Language People Use by Kevin Brown
“When Wendy told us she had lost her…”

French Carousel by Susana H. Case
“Midnight in Paris, the party scene at the …”

Let there be spaces in your togetherness by Susana H. Case
“Let there be spaces in your togetherness…”

Imaginary Waltz with a Woman Wearing a Dress of Virga by Christopher Petruccelli
“Her silhouette is caught between windows and hanging …”

The Heron Rookery by Timothy Shea
“Now that the storm clouds have settled like sleeping dogs above the pasture…”

The Haircut by Timothy Shea
“While I know this road is not my river…”

Feature Issue:

The Suburbs

 

NONFICTION

Death Row Report by Dale M. Brumfield
“In 1992, my father toured Richmond, Virginia’s old Spring Street Penitentiary…”

Invalids. Girlfriends. Beer. by Brenna Horrocks
“I needed a change of tempo…”

Lights by Matthew Zanoni Mṻller
“On Saint Martin’s Day in Germany the children would go into the dark woods…”

Bret Hart & the Finished Dungeons of My Youth by Brian Oliu
“Legends are born here: of sweat soaked vinyl & broken bones…”

 

POETRY

Bloom by Kate Bolton Bonnici
“I stepped on a dead squirrel…”

Afternoon Heat Wave, Northern California: Lament for the Gulf Coast by Kate Bolton Bonnici
“Here, heat steals in—no air conditioning…”

Mix-tape (#4) With the One I Still Haven’t Learned the Lyrics To

I couldn’t tell you how early I learned and lost the words
for nursery rhymes, or even recall the simple gist

of The Merry Miller or Billy Goat’s Gruff—I’m sure someone
upped sticks with their lover’s silverware, or else swore

a worthier valentine was behind them and ripe for the picking
(the “grass is always greener” type of deal), but it sounded

romantic enough for me to bring you to Storybook Land.
That weekend we would split a twin bed, and I would share

with you the attractions of my childhood. Or maybe try to
impress you with South Jersey’s kitsch? What’s cute about me?

Fifty-year-old, kid-sized fiberglass cottages. Playing
the mix-tape you made for me when I picked you up

at the Hammonton train station. Why else would I say
Pigeon, a pet name, if I didn’t love you? What else could you

have called him besides Simple Simon? The squabs
roosting and cheeping under The Crooked House’s awning

were as soft and miraculous in the June humidity as the faint
hint of salt when I kissed your neck, a little reckless, defiant

as the popcorn we tried to toss them despite the signs
that asked park-goers not to feed the birds, their cries

lonely, starved, like a music box in its slow diminuendo
or how we hummed to ourselves in our sleep.

The main draw for this dated wonderland: Peter, Peter’s
Pumpkin shell, four foot tall, and hollowed out.

Children screaming and knocking their heads
on the curved walls. I helped you in and guided your hips

so as to make sure your legs were centered
in the doorway and snapped a photograph, this picture

I still keep of you in a cigar box, somewhere,
at my parents’ house, along with a small porcelain bear,

gray, no bigger than a garden stone. Of the sweet nothings
I can speak of, of our spell together, it was that visit,

how cramped and warm we were that night, how there was no
way we would ever doze off, my whispering in your ear

“Hay diddle, diddle, let me kiss your nipple,”
the pale laugh that followed, and my palm on your lower back.

Before I would understand that there is nothing tender
about Mother Goose, before you would forget your overnight

bag in my near-empty bathroom cupboard (contact solution,
toothbrush, a change of underwear), before

I stopped hiding below the sheets with you, when I
still could find I love you, I love you like moon craters

outside my dark, uncurtained window, before I would watch
your train car rattle back southbound to Baltimore,

the same mix-tape still going, I would sit and listen
to what I didn’t know and wait, and I am sorry (for so much)

to say that I would skip ahead to the other tracks I could
roll over in my mouth, the ones I could make believe

were verses I would write for you. But not that one.

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