Rappahannock Review | Issue 3.1: Roy Bentley
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Saint Agnes House by Justin Carmickle
“‘How much work can sitting with an old man possibly be?’ Ian’s mother…”

A Lonely, Cold Place by Barbara Harroun
“I rise in the dark brutality of mid-February, feel for my slippers, grope for my warm, parka-like robe and cinch it at my waist…”

Built to Sink Biannually by Jaap Kemp
“Our ideals were at once immortal and despondent, seeking the sense of perpetuity that only death can afford…”

Tusk by David Nelson
“I knew there was nothing to say. You kept glancing down the line, then looking over at me to see if I’d caught you…”

The Good Sentinel by Alex Pruteanu
“Many years later, as he stepped up to the gallows…”

Ghostland Blues by Billy Wallace
“I can tell that Bennie’s no townie. He wants to smoke, but doesn’t want to leave his drink…”

The Ninety Day Wonder by Judy Bolton-Fasman
“Decades after he was in the Navy, when I was no more than six or seven years-old, my father tracked the weather as if he were still on the bridge of his supply ship…”

HG Pieces by Michael Levan
“Over the next three days, he realizes his life is ruled / by numbers…”

Plumb from a String: An Essay in Nine Sutures by Connor O’Neill
“It was something like the sound of two clocks ticking just out of sync, my brother’s bandages being cut….”

Dead Animal Farm by L.B. Thomas
“The goat screamed all night. It sounded like a human child yelling at the top of its lungs…”

How Not to Spell Gymnasium by Roy Bentley
“As for the rest, they spat consonants and vowels
in correct order while I was…”

Tucson in the Future by Kayla Rae Candrilli
“In the time it takes to fly across
the desert again…”

Girl in the Cave by Tasha Cotter
“For years, the messages go unanswered…”

Life in Outer Space by Tasha Cotter
“The people vowed never to leave…”

After Eden: Hopper’s Pennsylvania Coal Town by Karl Plank
“After Eden he made his way to Pennsylvania
tracing the coal seam with bruised feet…”

Still Life with Pronoun and Scalpel by Christina Stoddard
“With this blade, I must trim you…”

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How Not to Spell Gymnasium

 

As for the rest, they spat consonants and vowels
in correct order while I was in the john
and so not around when the Bs were called,
my phonological bowels a reproach to thoughts
of metalinguistic glory. I wanted an easy one:
Diarrhea: d-i-a-r-r-h-e-a. Diarrhea.
Like all of my life to come, I wanted
what I wanted and got what I was handed
instead. Most children like language—
they breathe near-painful meaning, kids,
and they look you dead in the eyes
until they forget—as I did—or look away
and dash to error. Shame. For the rest
of my life I’d recall what being in a hurry
gets you: asked to have a seat at a desk
of carved-and-initialed mutable moments.
All right, so I spat a j first fucking thing
and had to play-act at being glad for others
while being taught a valuable lesson: not
to be looking at Shelley Staddon’s budding
breasts; as if I could stop myself, as if, like Jesus
who, on the Cross, learned about phonemes
blending and segmenting—what’s the Aramaic
for sacrifice—and that loss decants too easily
from us, like Jesus, like that j instead of g,
spewed while thinking of acrobatic c-l-o-u-d-s
above the gray-shiny slide and a Jungle Jim—
there was that resurrectionist of a j, which
had tricked me into thinking there is no trick,
that once you understand the future has breasts—
Breasts: b-r-e-a-s-t-s—you watch your step down
from Rolling Fields Elementary School’s stage
past what is beyond words, thinking you know
a way to move through the life you’re given.

 

for Al Maginnes

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