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Flying Island Journal – January 2021 Edition

Welcome to the January 2021 Edition of the Flying Island Journal! FICTION Sara McKinney: "Itemize, Deduct" Dan Carpenter: "Getting On" POETRY Jenny Kalahar: "The Dolls of 2020" F. Richard Thomas: "Assemblage" Jennifer McClellan: "A Weakness In My Eye" Joseph Kerschbaum: "Portrait of an Afternoon with my Daughter"   CREATIVE NONFICTION Brian Garrido: "Sowing the Seeds of Love: Taking Care of Martin Luther King Jr. Park and Peace Memorial" Jeff Rasley: "Healing the Heart of America" READ FOR FLYING ISLAND Flying Island Journal is seeking readers to join our staff. We care about representation and are looking to diversify our team and the work we publish.  What is a reader? A reader is an invaluable member of the editorial team. Readers help read submissions and recommend work for Flying Island to publish.  What is involved? This volunteer position will take roughly four hours a month. Readers will be assign

Itemize, Deduct—fiction by Sara McKinney

It is January 31, and the accountants, still smelling faintly of furniture polish and printer toner, sit at their desks with hands clasped, hands sliding fresh ink cartridges into fountain pens, hands balled into eager, moistening fists. The men wear black blazers with blue ties and the women blue blouses, a blue that is the shade of cornflowers and baby blankets, of sugar sand beaches and Silicon Valley. They are professional yet approachable, classic yet modern. For weeks, they have subsisted on wheat germ, watercress, juiced vegetables, cleansing their bodies of toxins and excess oils, freeing their minds of desire and bad intentions.  The waiting room has a new Boston fern and three glass tables, their tops wiped clean of fingerprints. Outside, the sun refracts off last night’s snow and paints the wall with golden tracers. The year is still, so new you can smell the plastic of its wrapping.   In tentative trickles, we come to fill the sensible black waiting chairs, tap our feet, cl

Getting On, fiction by Dan Carpenter

The jingle jangle mornings, I called them. They’re long gone now. So are we, Estelle and I and just about all the others. We weren’t youngsters back then, and the city-suburban bus was already near the end of its road right along with us. We could tell by the fewer and fewer buses, the fewer and fewer passengers, the whole feeling of a way of living that had gotten raggedy and slow and ready to be swept into a dustpan to make way for something brighter, something cleaner. Folks had cars. Old folks were in old folks’ homes. If you were too poor to get around on your own and didn’t have people to help you, you were just hanging on, far as transportation went.  By 1975, a bus that would take you in and out of Indianapolis, to and from Greenfield and Shelbyville and New Palestine and the like, to visit or do your shopping or, like us, get to a job, was a relic, and looked it, and sounded it. Old castoff city buses, not like the nice smooth Greyhounds, with hard seats you slid around in and

The Dolls of 2020, a poem by Jenny Kalahar

      Even the dolls have turned white-haired at first from shock  and then from unending at-home grooming, no judging eyes upon them  except through edited electronic captures Even the dolls in the background of video chats and meetings have given up their fine dresses for comfort, and even the dolls on shelves are dusty and have lost companions in the virus But we will return one day to collect them under our arms, bathe them in communal rivers, clothe them in designer frocks, and let them wander  on their plastic legs from their houses, hair trimmed and dyed  any unnatural color of their choice, walking stiffer among the crowds, breathing laboriously without their masks Jenny Kalahar is the author of fourteen books and the editor of Last Stanza Poetry Journal . She lives in Elwood, Indiana with her husband in an old schoolhouse full of books. She is at the helm of Last Stanza Poetry Assn. and the publisher for the Poetry Society of Indiana. She’s been published in literary journals

Assemblage, a poem by F. Richard Thomas

Dirty business— the coal bin in the basement— my chore to shovel coal into the furnace,  shake the grate, stoke the fire, haul the ashes to the alley on Saturdays. Dirty business, until the new gas furnace. Dad and I cleaned the bin and built his workroom where we spent his free days among saws, levels, drills, drivers, hammers: ball peen, claw, tack and sledge; a floor-to-ceiling cabinet of wooden Velveeta cheese boxes labeled carriage bolts, lag bolts, machine bolts, clasps, hinges; Sir Walter Raleigh tobacco cans of switches, screws, nuts, washers, fasteners. Countless hours we measured, cut, glued, nailed, assembled, connected, joined, the two of us,  in the coal bin. Not until you were dead a dozen years did I see— you gave me all the tools I’d need to be a writer. F. Richard Thomas was born in Evansville, attended Purdue University and Indiana University for undergraduate and graduate degrees, and in 1980 edited one of the first anthologies of Indiana place poems, The Landlocked

A Weakness In My Eye, a poem by Jennifer McClellan

  She whispers my name, invites me to dance  in the Haight, where musical history thrives. She says each street glows a different color,  so lively, I’ll never want to close my eyes. She promises peace to my Pisces heart  when my feet touch the Pacific waves.   She promises air so expressive and sweet I’ll be lifted off my notebook’s page, higher than the city’s hills to a place  where possibility can mate with my dreams to create my new life of art! Finally… sick of making wishes on candles  Wish You Were Here fills my head  as our plane lands. Only a sad, inspired song  like that can predict my mood as we sit close  on the rocking boat, drinking wine on the bay. I can’t take my eyes off the Golden City’s lights; a weightlessness of birds taking flight explodes in my eyes, and I realize  San Francisco kept her promise,  though I can’t keep a promise to myself as I clip my own wings; I’m not brave enough to stay. Jennifer McClellan is an Indiana poet who lives with her husband, son, a