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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

Peach Tree on Winfield, a poem by Kyle Hunter

  Peach Tree on Winfield I am only afraid of what lives in the dark corners of my shed when I force myself to plan a time to retrieve the mower. I have growing affection for the weeds that search their way through my chain-link fence, in beautiful reaching, that eat at the edges of my driveway,  that play in the lines of my sidewalk. I imagine God, Adam, and Eve would be displeased with the way that I tend to neglect. I pick a peach tree at the garden shop, thinking about this and about my unborn son. Buckled in the back seat, dangling vernal limbs out the car window, it rides home to be tucked in under sumptuous soil blankets in view of the kitchen window. From there I do nothing but watch letting a little time pass. I feel my neglect is being rewarded when juices soak my beard and fill his pudgy cheeks. Kyle Hunter 's poems have appeared in Main Street Rag , Rockvale Review , So It Goes , Gravel , and elsewhere. When he's not writing or wrangling his five young children, he p

Racket, a poem by Amy Ash

    Racket The neighbors all look like former tennis pros. Starched smile and silence, they eye each other  through the cage of the lattice. Low-clipped grass,  they stomp on silhouettes, designer dogs on leashes hanging from their hands like racquets.  The streetlights are little suns volleyed into the air.   Houses built into hills on the cul-de-sac, the neighborhood is a stadium of sadness. Bay windows become box seats.  Drill, drop shot, slice chip. His strong backhand slices at her.  The crowd turns their heads away in unison.   I’m the little girl crouched down  in the shadow of the net.  Amy Ash is the author of the full-length collection of poetry The Open Mouth of the Vase , winner of the Cider Press Review Book Award and the Etching Press Whirling Prize. Her poetry, creative nonfiction, and collaborative writing have been published in various journals and anthologies. She is an Assistant Professor of English at Indiana State University, where she directs the Creative Writing

Squeeze Play in Five Acts, a poem by James Green

  Squeeze Play in Five Acts Squinting into lights through a cage, the catcher tucks his fist into his crotch  and flashes signs  to the pitcher, poker-faced, leaning-in,  like a panther assaying quarry before the pounce,  hiding the ball behind his back,  turning it in his fingers to find the seams  he will command to enchant its flight, then  squaring his shoulders and staring like  a gunslinger  at the runner who teases a step at a time,  freezes on the balls of his feet, legs coiled,  arms cocked, instinct triggering the dive  to safety or dash into that soundless corridor  that points to home. Bending backward, like a catapult winding,  the pitcher points his cleats at the sky and a fielder with his glove open-mouthed begins to tiptoe toward the borderland  dividing hesitation from commitment and the final act begins:  A man, centerstage, standing alone  who will detect rotation, estimate rate,  speculate on trajectory, before reaching  to tap the ball softly as a pool shark,  the

Flicker in the Dogwood, a poem by Norbert Krapf

  Flicker in the Wind As my wife stands at the stove a bird thuds against the window and flops into the top branches of the dogwood buffeted by wind. Then a northern flicker with dark dots on her light belly rights herself onto the window ledge and looks in at us looking back out at her. “You will be okay!” I say softly as she turns sideways looking at me. “You will be okay.” She shows bright red on the back of her head and black eyes and spots on tan feathers. She comes closer and closer to the window to see and hear us better. She is calm. Katherine lets her walk into the camera eye leaving us with images of her coming through our window before balance and strength return lifting her back into her airy world with images of us soaring away with her. Norbert Krapf is a former Indiana Poet Laureate.  His most recent of fourteen collections are Indiana Hill Country Poems (2019) and Southwest by Midwest (2020), both from Dos Madres Press. His chapbook of fourteen children’s poems, “Peyt