Issue #8, 2005

Dedicated to Molly Buckingham Sweet

Price: $6.00

stringtown8

Table of Contents

The Visitor, Jess Mills (excerpt)
Advice to Female Deckhands, Erin Fristad
Pass Work, Lana Hechtman Ayers
Boy Tries for Neverland, Joanne Lowery
Our Town, Robert Hasselblad
The Shell Collector, Rachel Chalmers
From Inside the Cave a Voice Comes, Phyllis Mannan
Owl Stories for My Son, Sheila Nickerson
Iceberg, Steve Lohse
The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, Tom Holmes
A Little History, Joannie Kervan Stangeland
The Walk, David Massengill
Nexting, Joshua Weber
Sprats, Jean Esteve
Superman's Last Date, Robert Hasselblad
The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, Jonathan Evison
Coercing My Father onto the Wild Moose Ride When I Was Eighteen, Martha Clarkson
When I Drew Your Face on the Blackboard, Susan Casey

August 11, Nha Trang, Sibyl James
The Way Elephants Know Blind Men, Jan Priddy
Sandpit, Michael Casey
Chief Steward Stanky, Michael Casey
Psyche, Daniel Mintie
Oil on panel, Jack Granath
Crumbs, Steve Cleveland
Drowning, Terry Martin
Snoqualmie, Matt Briggs (excerpt)
Ernest Tubb, Steve Cleveland
Watching an Eastbound Freight Train from my Northerly Window, Dan Morris
The Next Hand, Martha Clarkson
Folded, Jess Mills
After the Accident, Carol Lee Lorenzo
Dandelions, Jane Alynn
The Yaak in Suspense, Tom Holmes
August 24, Water Puppets, Sybil James

Excerpts

Jess Mills

The Visitor

The god of winter afternoons
is a scraggly god. I've invited him
for tea and conversation,
but he has few words to say.
Rheumy-eyed, uncombed,
he smiles and nods
and smacks his lips.
When sirens scream
just one street over,
he winks at me,
pats my shoulder
with a trembling hand.
Only a low, gray day
would welcome such a deity.
He shambles off,
bread crumbs sprinkled
in his beard.

Matt Briggs

Snoqualmie

Bret first saw the figure on the railroad tracks during the four mile walk from his job in North Bend to his apartment in Snoqualmie. He had just finished his dishwashing shift at the Mexican restaurant where he'd started working after he quit the gas station. When he started to walk, the light fell against the top of the upper boughs of the Douglas fir. He walked in the middle of the tracks without thinking about the trains, because the few engines that did run along the tracks inched along and sounded their horn at every curve and trestle. In the dusky summer heat, the creosote drooled and released a resinous vapor that hung in sticky clouds. Two miles further down, the rails passed over the Snoqualmie River, a stretch of deep, green water that hardly showed its sluggish flow. As the light tipped off the top boughs, he saw the figure that he thought might be Martha but couldn't be Martha. She lay buried in the Mount Si cemetery next to her father who had died back in the seventies while felling timber along Quartz Creek.

The figure wore a red and green Mount Si High letterman's jacket. Bret thought that it was a high school kid, until he noticed that the jacket hung funny. It was too large. He started walking quickly to catch her. He stumbled on the tracks, kicking stones down the steep banks. The figure glanced back at him.. He unmistakably saw her long nose and slightly cleft chin. Bret was certain then, because he could see the golden thread spelling out the name SKYLAR, and he knew it was Russ Skylar's coat. Martha was the only person who would still wear it, even if she was lying dead and buried in Mount Si cemetery.

... (continued in magazine issue)