Rappahannock Review | Issue 3.1: Tasha Cotter
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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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Girl in the Cave

 

For years, the messages go unanswered.

Receiving no response is a kind of response.

She hardly remembers their slips and starts.

She marks their breaks in time.

But she mostly thinks there is not enough time, watching

as it cascades like water over the edge,

pooling past the shale and sandstone.

Lies form and free themselves on her lips.

She tells stories. Spins stories about animals.

There’s this story about a black bear, she says,

and the hunter who chased it deep into the woods.

Careening through the southeastern woods,

tracing a muddied path. The ancient silence

yielding just the slow heaving of breath.

The rush of leaves and sticks that split

in their wake, breaking against the earth

as a train named Hercules rumbled

in the distance. The bear gallops on,

past Cedar Sink and leads the man

into a limestone cave and the man rushes

headlong into it, only coming to a stop

when he finds himself in a licking coldness.

Bellowing for help, his cries unanswered.

Terrorized by the silent, dripping earth.

Blinded by night and damp with a target

on his back, he’s sure. His open eyes

no different than shut eyes. She likes this part:

How the man got lost, how the bear outwit him

in the end. How the bear knew how to get away.

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