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Flying Island Journal 5.21

      Dear Flying Island Readers: Welcome to the 5.21 Edition of the Flying Island Journal! We have four contributors this month in creative nonfiction and poetry.  This issue includes three poems that jolt you, reminding you what it's like to be alive and present but also grounded in changes and relationships with siblings, ourselves, and nature. This issue also includes a creative nonfiction essay that welcomes you into the world of the American Saddlebred that's rooted in history and nostalgia and the world of show horses. We hope you enjoy this issue and don't forget to submit your poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction (link in the tab above). We publish new issues the last Friday of every month. Thank you for reading, Flying Island Editors CREATIVE NONFICTION Emma Hudelson: "Damline" POETRY Frances Klein: "Between the Devil and the Clear Blue Sky" Vincent Corsaro: "Growing Up" Virginia Thomas: "Trip Taken by Rail" Follow us
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Damline, creative nonfiction by Emma Hudelson

  When an equitation rider on an American Saddlebred trots to the rail for pattern work, the show ring goes soundless. No organ music. No applause. No cheers from horse show moms. No whispers from the spectators in the red bunting-hung stands. No tap-tap-tap of the trainer’s whip on her thigh. It’s so quiet, the other riders, left to wait their turn or—God forbid—not get called to the rail at all, can hear their horses breathe. Or themselves breathe. It’s hard to tell the difference. Focused, they feel every crease in their gloves, see every hair on their horses’ necks, and smell their own sweat.             Horse shows have the agricultural ambiance of any barn, but with a party twist. There’s the tang of livestock urine soaked into sawdust, but on top of it, the Aqua Net used on both horse and human manes and the grease of hot dogs rotating endlessly behind the concession stand. The ring, which might also take turns being a basketball stadium or ice-skating rink, is footed with dirt

Between the Devil and the Clear Blue Sky, a poem by Frances Klein

          Between the Devil and the Clear Blue Sky In the Tongass we had ten months a year of the good stuff. At times it came even from an empty sky, the perspiration needling earthward from some source beyond perception. A rain different entirely  from the usual storm clouds that would stoop, blackberry heavy, to lick the walls of the Inside Passage. The kids who lived out at Mud Bight, in the shanty-houses built  on pilings, used to say about that rain that it was the devil beating his wife, the sound of it some precipitous thing we didn’t yet know, standing then on the cliff of childhood before we dove over. Frances Klein is a high school English teacher. She was born and raised in Southeast Alaska, and taught in Bolivia and California before settling in Indianapolis with her husband and son. She has been published in So it Goes: The Literary Journal of the Vonnegut Memorial Library and Tupelo Press, among others. Readers can find more of her work at  https://kleinpoetryblog.wordp

Growing Up, a poem by Vincent Corsaro

Growing Up At first, we were microscopic, brothers throwing punches with fists  that neither of us could feel, and we swam through the primordial soup  until we grew a little bigger, evolving like the pink mammals who crawled up from the crucible, and we were as small as household pets, still biting with gnarled teeth and trying to edge a nail into the other’s throat, and we grew even more until we stood like adults, kicking and screaming into the evening sun, teeth meeting flesh, growling into skin,         and by then we realized that our only language was violence, and we tried to talk it out with more sharp edges and metal points, and soon we were so large and bloody that we towered over buildings, falling backward through their walls, spilling into the world and coating it with ourselves, metal and wood alike  splintering into dust beneath our large and calloused feet, and still,  we kept growing, until our heads periscoped out of the atmosphere,  and then our chests,     our belt

Trip Taken by Rail, a poem by Virginia Thomas

              Trip Taken by Rail There were too many trains this summer  so I didn’t get much sleep. They came rattling through my teeth and dreams. They came singing like mechanical whales in the distance and I stopped for the flashing red lights and pressed my hands against the gate arm and pressed my face into the air they dragged with them. I danced and danced to the ding-ding-ding. I put my ear to the rail  and watched death rocket toward me, its huge hungry mouth black and toothless. I bought tickets and swallowed  my own flaking skin to hide my trail. I wore a hat to stop  the wind-tangles from falling out of my hair. I lived off stored body fat and memories of my mother  who died. Her hands, always so soft. I chewed the corners off my tickets and pasted them all in my notebook so I would never ever forget that there was a time  when I went rambling off implacably the way a train never goes backward except  sometimes when it does, creeping back and never the same when it returns

Flying Island Journal 4.21

Dear Flying Island Readers: Welcome to the 4.21 Edition of the Flying Island Journal! We have five contributors this month in creative nonfiction and poetry.  Alyssa Chase's creative nonfiction work, "Shell with Halo: A New Orleans East Family Mystery in 13 Parts," showcases original artwork alongside her stunning and heartbreaking piece involving child sexual abuse. April marks National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. Visit RAINN for information on victim services, public education, public policy, and consulting services. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline, accessible 24/7 by phone (800.656.HOPE) and online ( online.rainn.org ). Amy Ash's poem "Racket" and James Green's poem "Squeeze Play in Five Acts" explore sport as a way of reflecting poignantly on the human condition. Kyle Hunter's "Peach Tree on Winfield" and Norbert Krapf's "Flicker in the Dogwood" connect us loos

Shell with Halo: A New Orleans East Family Mystery in 13 Parts, creative nonfiction and artwork by Alyssa Chase

PART 1: THE SECRET “There are things you don’t know—things I want to tell you,” my mother said.  I nearly dropped the spoon I’d been using to dish yams into Tupperware.  My mom, on her annual Thanksgiving trip to my house in Indianapolis, stammered when I asked her about and the origin of her mother’s dirty rice stuffing. Her childhood in New Orleans suddenly seemed like a tender spot, then this.  “I want to talk to you and your sister at the same time,” she said.  One month later, in Kansas City for Christmas, I sent my husband and kids over to my sister’s house and hung back at Mom’s condo, where my sister joined us. In my mom’s small, suddenly quiet kitchen we knocked around with mugs and teabags and the kettle on the stove, busywork to take the edge off the awkwardness.  What was she going to say? We’d never had a meeting like this. In fact, our mother’s way of talking tended toward stream-of-consciousness. She gave voice to every thought, and we knew her every worry—or so we belie